Press Release from Little Airplane Productions
NEW YORK, May 24, 2010 - Can a series of simple stories for television, told entirely without words, change the way children from all over the world view delicate issues such as conflict resolution, tolerance and mutual respect? Little Airplane Productions, the New York City-based producer of acclaimed television programming for young viewers, is entering into a bold initiative to create television that is designed, first and foremost, to make a positive difference in the world.
"The Olive Branch," a series of 26 one-minute short films, is being produced by Little Airplane's newly established non-profit Little Light Foundation. The groundbreaking series has been endorsed by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and UNICEF. In addition, The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation is a consultant on the series, further ensuring that its messages of conflict resolution, tolerance and mutual respect are accurately conveyed.
The series makes its premiere on June 1, 2010 on Nick Jr. in the U.S. The first three episodes will air exclusively for six months on Nick Jr. and on a non-exclusive basis on over 100 Nickelodeon networks worldwide. In addition, KidsCo worldwide has signed on and will take all 26 episodes. To ensure that children in all countries - rich and poor, developed and developing - will have an equal opportunity to see "The Olive Branch," Little Airplane has taken the extraordinary step of offering the program to broadcasters for one unit of their own currency per episode.
"After spending time working in the Middle East, I came to appreciate the enormous value of creating programming that fosters tolerance and mutual respect among children and adults," said Josh Selig, Founder and President of Little Airplane Productions. "In order to reach the widest possible audience, we have designed 'The Olive Branch' without words and have thereby eliminated the need for costly dubbing. This, combined with a minimal license fee, should help ensure that even the poorest of nations can benefit from the important messages of this series."
"Television plays a key role in determining how children learn to perceive themselves and one another," commented Archbishop Desmond Tutu. "'The Olive Branch' is a wonderful example of television that will make a positive contribution to the world. It will be understood and appreciated by children in every country."
Paul Robinson, Global MD of KidsCo said: "KidsCo is delighted to be supporting Little Light Foundation in its bold initiative to create shows that are designed, first and foremost, to make a positive difference in the world. KidsCo takes pride in its NPO partnerships and we are looking to add to this aspect of the business. Little Light Foundation follows our UNICEF's day for change initiative which was a huge success for us and we expect to see the same from this venture."
In order to help cover production costs, broadcasters can choose to make tax-deductible contributions to Little Light Foundation. Individuals, corporations and foundations may also make contributions or participate in the "Grow A Show" program, which allows funders to actively participate in the development and production of an "Olive Branch" episode.
"The Olive Branch" is about two characters who live together in the branches of a beautiful olive tree. One is yellow and one is red and they are as different as two friends can be. In each episode the two friends must find ways to resolve their differences and live together peacefully. In the first episode, for example, the yellow character wants to go to sleep while the red character would like play his guitar. Eventually they settle on an idea that works for both: The red character can play a lullaby to help the yellow character get to sleep.
The "Olive Branch" is written and directed by Josh Selig. The series features traditional hand-drawn animation by Pablo Smith ("The Wonder Pets!", "3rd & Bird") and is made entirely in Little Airplane's New York studio. The music is composed by Emmy Award-winning composer, J. Walter Hawkes.
To view the "Olive Branch" premiere episode please click the link below:
About Little Airplane Productions
Founded by Josh Selig in 1999, Little Airplane Productions created and produced "The Wonder Pets!" for Nick Jr., (winner of the 2009 Japan Prize for Best Television Series), "Oobi!" for NOGGIN and "3rd & Bird" for the BBC's CBeebies. Additionally, Josh Selig was the Head Writer for "Little Bill" on Nick Jr. He has received ten Emmy Awards for his writing on "Sesame Street" and was the Resident Producer of the historic Israeli/Palestinian "Sesame Street" co-production (winner of the 1998 Japan Prize). Josh also writes a weekly column for KidScreen Magazine called "Planet Preschool" which can be read at www.kidscreen.com . For more information about Little Airplane Productions please visit www.littleairplane.com .
About Little Light Foundation
Little Light Foundation was formed in 2009 with the simple goal of creating and producing the highest quality children's television programming that fosters tolerance and mutual respect. The Managing Director of Little Light Foundation is Melanie Pal and the Board Members includes American journalist and media host David Hartman, Nick McInnes of United Kingdom Trade and Investment and Donna Blackwell, former Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation. Little Light Foundation is a registered non-profit 501c3 and all donations are tax exempt as allowed by law. For further information on Little Light Foundation, please visit www.littlelightfoundation.org  or contact Melanie Pal in the US at 212-965-8999 or firstname.lastname@example.org .