MIP-TV News: Cloud 9 Dreams Up New Animation/Film Unit in Australia

London-based Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group has established a new company called Dreamcloud on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia as a joint venture with Light Knights Entertainment, the Brisbane-based animation company whose credits include the 3D musical animated drama series, THE SHAPIES.

For the past decade, Cloud 9 has been producing quality live-action family programming in New Zealand, but is diversifying into animation and feature film markets with the enterprise down under. The new operation is set to employ 100 fulltime people and up to 500 during production of TV dramas, new media ventures, feature films and animation. Raymond Thompson, Cloud 9´s founder/chairman, is also setting up the Cloud 9 Screen Institute in order to foster and nurture new writing, producing and directing talent (in liaison with universities throughout the State of Queensland).

Heading up Dreamclouds animation slate for MIP-TV is a 3D pre-school series ROLY IN THE COUNTRY WITH BLUE (52x12 or 26x24) about a polar bear, Roly, and a snail, called Blue, who live in the country with a range of wacky farm animals. ROLY IN THE COUNTRY WITH BLUE is in pre-production, with production scheduled to commence in July and delivery available from October 2004.

Also in development is PENNY DREW (26x30), aimed at kids 6-12, which combines both CGI and live-action. Penny is a 9-year-old girl who draws amazing pictures and characters that end up coming to life with the aid of her magic pen, including an animated version of herself, which proves to be her nemesis. PENNY DREW, a co-production between Cloud 9 and Dreamcloud, is in the script stage with pre-production due to start around August and delivery expected from January 2005.

Cumulus, Cloud 9s London-based distribution operation, will retain global distribution rights and is in pre-sales discussions with key broadcasters for both series at MIP-TV. The Cumulus stand at MIP is 05.03.

Other titles on the slate include an animated version of the companys cult hit series, THE TRIBE, a new childrens live-action adventure series, OUT OF TIME, and a pre-school series, BREAKFAST TIME WITH SHINE, which will combine puppetry, music, dance and animation and CGI effects.

Commenting on the new animation venture, Thompson said: We are very excited about our first foray into animation and delighted to be working with the talented animation team at Light Knights. Our aim is to maintain the same quality levels and the same intrinsic family values in our animation programming, but to push the creative boundaries back by working in a new medium. We feel confident that our combined talents of scriptwriters, story editors, animators and 3D technicians will lead to some very exciting programming.

Cloud 9 takes its first step into feature film production with THE QUEEN & I, which is co-produced by Nik Powells SCALA Production, the FFC and PFTC.

Since 1994, Cloud 9 (www.entercloud9.com) has produced more than 400 episodes of quality family dramas. Cloud 9s credits include the international hit series THE TRIBE, in its fifth season; WILLIAM SHATNERS A TWIST IN THE TALE, THE LEGEND OF WILLIAM TELL and THE ADVENTURES OF SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, starring Richard Thomas from THE WALTONS. Production of live-action projects will continue both at the companys extensive studio in Wellington, New Zealand and at Cloud 9s new base on the Gold Coast, Australia.

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