In spite of battles in the Persian Gulf and concerns over a new Asian virus, most of the animation producers, distributors and broadcasters AWN polled are traveling over the next few days to attend the MIP-TV market in Cannes, France, which gets underway Monday, March 24. Iain Pelling, managing director of Cosgrove Hall Films, said, "It's a difficult time for everybody, but we have to carry on in as normal a way as possible. We will be going to MIP as usual.
Special Event: MIP-TV
Bardel Entertainment will be unveiling its new animated action series SILVERWING at MIP-TV. Based on the first novel in a trilogy by Ken Oppel, it follows the coming-of-age tale of Shade, who is in search for his father. The book is selling well in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Denmark, Australia, Holland and will soon be available in Italy. Negotiations are underway for the trilogy to be re-released to coincide with the launch of the television series in fall 2003 on TELETOON in Canada.
Anime fans should rejoice that ASTRO BOY will be getting a new animated series from Sony Pictures Television based on the original 50-year-old series from Manga master, Osamu Tezuka. Aimed at kids 6-11, Sony Picture Television International sales execs will launch the new ASTRO BOY at MIP-TV this month. The show continues Tezuka's comics-to-TV tale of a scientist who builds a robot boy after the death of his own son.
London-based Elephant Prods. is expanding its slate of animated projects it will take to MIP-TV. Heading the slate is WAVERLY A HAMSTER OF SOME IMPORTANCE. The 2D series follows the adventures of the Wilson family and daughter Jessicas most unusual pet, a quirky hamster that speaks only to Jessica. The series is written by Roger Planer whose previous credits include, ROMUALD THE REINDEER for the BBC, THE NEW MAGIC ROUNDABOUT and HILLTOP HOSPITAL. The companys animation studio, Elephant Egg, is producing the show for kids 4-8.
EM.TV has completed another big sale for its children's animation series THE WORLD OF TOSH. Fox Kids UK has acquired 26 x 22-minute episodes of the series, scheduled to air in the UK in October 2003. THE WORLD OF TOSH follows Tosh, a nine-year-old Swedish boy whose one goal in life is to get his first kiss.
Tremendous! Entertainment, Inc., a leading TV and film producer, distributor and rights acquisition company, is expanding its sales and distribution arm with the appointment of Jane Durkee as its new program sales executive. Based in Minnesota at Tremendous! Entertainments headquarters, Durkee will report to president Colleen Steward Needles and work closely with Germaine Deagan Sweet, vice president of sales and co-productions, to continue expanding the companys growing distribution efforts by selling the companys programs in both domestic and international markets.
France Animation has signed a number of deals across its children's programming catalogue. Following the success of the first 26 episodes of animated series WHEEL SQUAD, Disney Channel Asia has made a commitment to the second season with a deal for a further 13 episodes. Radio Canada has also picked up all 39 episodes for broadcast beginning in September 2002. The series, which has also been sold to Disney Middle East and Fox Kids Latin America, is a co-production with Rai, M6, Praxinos and Colorland Animation.
Spanish production companies MSL and Grupo Trimagen have recently signed a joint venture agreement to create animated programming. The new international company, MSL-TRIMAGEN, will develop, produce and market a wide range of animated series and feature films. The company is currently working at the head offices in Madrid and Barcelona on several projects, including BUNNIBAL, a 26 x 13-minute animated series currently in pre-production.
Last October, MIPCOM 2001 Personality of the Year, MTV's Tom Freston, stated in response to the events of September 11th and the diminished attendance of the market, "TV will bounce back." This year's MIPTV, which took place in Cannes from April 15 to 19, 2002, showed strong evidence that the television community is on the way to recovery. Organizer Reed Midem reported over 2,600 buyers from 1,052 companies attended the market and representing an increased number of buyer companies, up 20% from last year.
Canadian CGI animation house Mainframe Entertainment and ANGELA ANACONDA creator Honest Entertainment, announced at MIP-TV that they have joined forces to create the new collage animation series FAMILY VALUES. Created and written by Tom Brady (THE SIMPSONS, THE CRITIC) and Joanna Ferrone (co-creator of FIDO DIDO and ANGELA ANACONDA) the series will be produced using collage illustration made from cut paper with photographs used to portray each character's face.
Now under Disney ownership, Fox Kids Europe (FKE) has announced that Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV), a division of The Walt Disney Company, will service distribution for FKE's Saban library beginning May 1, 2002. The Saban library contains more than 6,300 episodes of children's programming including major franchises such as SPIDER-MAN, POWER RANGERS, X-MEN, DIGIMON, THE INCREDIBLE HULK and INSPECTOR GADGET. FKE owns the television rights in Europe and the Middle East to all children's programming in the Saban library.
This week at MIP-TV, Gullane Entertainment announced that it has begun production on 78 new five-minute episodes of THOMAS & FRIENDS, augmenting the property's current library of 130 episodes. Produced at Shepperton Studios in England, the new episodes will begin airing in September 2002 on Nick Jr. in the UK. In the U.S., these episodes will be released direct-to-video by Anchor Bay Entertainment. The first U.S. release will be available September 24, 2002 on VHS and DVD.
At MIP-TV 2002, TV-Loonland has struck a first time deal with Italian state broadcaster RAI for several shows. RAIs free TV channels RAI 2 and RAI 3 will air CRAMP TWINS (26 x 30 minutes) in 2002 while LITTLE GHOSTS (39 x 7 minutes), PETTSON AND FINDUS (13 x 13 minutes) and CLIFFORD (40 x 30 minutes) are expected to air in 2003. Additionally, RAIs pay-TV channel RAISAT will broadcast CLIFFORD, LITTLE GHOSTS and CONNIE THE COW (52 x 7 minutes) in 2002.
Fox Kids Europe (FKE) is at MIP-TV this week and has already acquired 26 half-hour episodes of the new animated series ROBOROACH and 52 episodes of the animated series HAMTARO. ROBOROACH, starring a cockroach superhero named Rube who can morph into almost anything, and Reg, Rube's street-smart big brother, is a co-production between RTV Family Entertainment AG and Canadian producer-distributor Portfolio Entertainment.
Mike and Liz Young of Mike Young Productions (MYP) and Bill Schultz, former nine-year veteran executive vice president of Film Roman, have formalized their current working relationship by announcing the formation of a new partnership. "Although the name on the door says Mike Young Productions at the moment, the studio has for the past four years been the mind-meld of three experienced producers -- all of whom are passionate about the business and the art of animated programming," said Mike Young.
Kids animation producer-distributor TV-Loonland will present a new slate of animation programming at MIP-TV 2002. Leading the Loonland catalogue is the launch of REBOOT - SEASON IV. Animated by Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. REBOOT was the first ever half-hour computer animated TV series produced. Originally seen on North American television in September 1994 on YTV (Canada) and on ABC Television (USA), the series remains one of YTV's top-rated programs and can be seen in the daily Toonami block on the Cartoon Network.
Production and distribution company France Animation is attending MIP-TV with a slate of new animated series for children of all ages. Heading the slate is new animated sitcom DR. DOG. Aimed at children aged 6 to 10 years old, this 52 x 13-minute series, co-produced with Silver Lining Productions, is based on the irreverent book by British author Babette Cole. Their documentary series INSECTOSCOPE makes its international debut at MIP-TV as well. Geared toward 6 to 12 year-olds, INSECTOSCOPE (52 x 6-minutes) is a co-production with France's MC4 and TF1 and RAI Italy.
The first two episodes of the BRB Internacional and Telecinco (Spain) co-production GLADIATOR ACADEMY (26 x 30 minutes) will be available at MIP-TV 2002. The show is targeted to 6 to 10 year-olds and follows the adventures of a family of young gladiators living on a Mediterranean island during the Roman Empire. Another BRB animated series making its debut at MIP-TV is THE INVISIBLE MAN (26 x 30 minutes), which is currently in pre-production. This series combines 2D and 3D animation and is geared to 8 to 12 year-olds.
DECODE Entertainment is launching two brand new preschool series at MIP-TV 2002. SAVE UMS is a 26 x 30-minute 3D animation produced by DECODE and executive produced by creator and writer Dan Clark of the Dan Clark Company (BRATS OF THE LOST NEBULA). The series is a fun and educational project with an emphasis on problem solving. The SAVE UMS characters are preschool action heroes who encourage children to learn about technology. Each episode inspires children to develop their own skills and initiative and to adapt to the technology in their world.
UK-based media company Elephant Productions is bringing new children's series ANIMAL SCHOOL to MIP-TV 2002. Aimed at children aged 10 to 15 years-old ANIMAL SCHOOL is a series of 30 x 45-second interstitials each featuring different animals receiving their lessons for life. Jointly commissioned by CBBC Acquisitions and Education, the interstitials will air on CBBC'S new channel and also the Website. Produced by Elephant Productions, ANIMAL SCHOOL is animated in Flash by Fictitious Egg's Andy Wyatt.
Egmont Imagination will bring their new stop-motion animated series LITTLE PEOPLE to MIP-TV 2002. Specifically developed for a preschool audience, the series follows five little people as they explore and discover the world around them. The versatile 65 x 5-minute or 13 x half-hour series will premiere on SRTL in Germany this fall.
France Animation will be attending MIP-TV 2002 with their brand new animated series COSY CORNER. Produced by French production company Storimages, in association with France 5 and Teletoon France, COSY CORNER is a 52 x 6-minute traditionally animated series that teaches preschoolers about forming relationships with friends and family. Although the show is in the early stages of development, Universal Visual has already picked up the home video rights for France. France Animation holds the worldwide distribution rights.
European animation studio Varga has teamed up with Australian production company Screentime to co-produce an animated version of the reality series POPSTARS. POPSTARS: BAND ON THE RUN (52 x 11 minutes), is due to start production mid-2002. Aimed at 8 to 13 year-olds, the series follows the adventures of a teenage band on tour. Varga will be at MIP-TV 2002 to secure co-production partners and pre-sales. International distribution will be handled by the UK's Target, who will also be promoting LILLY at MIP-TV, a tween-oriented series currently in development.
German entertainment company RTV International will introduce the new animated series ROBOROACH at MIPTV 2002. Starring a cockroach superhero named Rube who can morph into almost anything and Reg, Rube's street-smart big brother, the series was inspired by a Japanese newspaper story in which scientists claimed to be able to control cockroaches through implanted computer chips. ROBOROACH is a co-production between RTV Family Entertainment AG, VIDEAL and Portfolio Entertainment. RTV International holds all distribution rights except for North America.
Egmont Imagination's new animated series JUNGO is currently in production at Egmont's sister company A. Film, and will debut this April at MIP-TV 2002. Egmont has recently completed of a raft of pre-sales for JUNGO, including Germany's Super RTL, TV2 in Denmark and Norway and TV4 in Sweden. The 13 x 26-minute series finds jungle creature Jungo and city fox Rita on a quest to find a place where they can live in peace. JUNGO is an Egmont co-production with Denmark's TV2 and Ocean Group in Canada. It is based on the main character in two A.