Spellbound Entertainment has granted an international toy license for its new pre-school property, THE KOALA BROTHERS, to leading toy company Hasbro Inc. The deal covers key merchandise categories including plush toys, figurines, play sets and Play-Doh. Items will be available in stores next year following the show's premiere on the BBC later this year.
Special Event: MIP-TV
When Spanish newcomer Zinkia Entertainment attended MIPCOM, the Madrid-based company received more interest in its older-skewed series, SHURIKEN SCHOOL (6-10-years-old). But at the conclusion of MIP-TV, Maria Doolan, director of int'l co-productions at Zinkia, reports a mood change with buyers showing interest in her pre-school show POCOYÓ. "The pre-school market appeared to be more buoyant again," said Doolan. Zinkia is close to signing int'l pre-sales on both series. POCOYÓ is a 52-part, 3D animated series starring Pocoyó, an inquisitive toddler who wants to reach out and touch everything, as well as a plastic yellow duck, a magic clown, an athletic elephant and a friendly narrator. The series is created in short stimulating blocks for infant learning and development, using vibrant sound, music, movement and images. Zinkia has developed its own technology to give a clay-like quality to the characters. The comedy action series SHURIKEN SCHOOL (52x13), aimed at kids 6-10, features a manga style student, Eizan Kaburagi, attending the oldest and most respected ninja academy in the world, a weird and wild place where anything can and does happen. Produced entirely in Flash animation, the series is due to start production in spring 2003. Both series, which have been developed and created in English, have been created as multimedia concepts and are fully compatible with all kinds of multi-platform applications. Zinkia Entertainment (www.zinkia.com), is a multi-platform production company, creating quality entertainment, animation, commercials, IDs, graphics and music.
FXDigital/DiFarm, a Korean and Los Angeles based digital studio specializing in 3D animation production, is debuting its BUMPER KING ZAPPER (26x30) animated series aimed at kids 7-12, at MIP-TV. Set to broadcast on SBS Korea in September 2003, BUMPER KING ZAPPER takes place in the year 2034 in the city of Kore, where a young boy named Tyron dreams of becoming the king of "Bumper Cross," the remote control racing game that dominates pop culture society.
Vancouver-based Atomic Cartoons is showcasing four new properties at MIP-TV 2003. The creators of ATOMIC BETTY (recently picked up by TELETOON Canada, Teletoon France and Cartoon Network Europe), are presenting animated trailers of DENNIS, DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION, DIRTY LIL BASTER and THE CARNEYS at the spring television market in France. DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION (26x22) is an irreverent primetime social commentary for adults about a well-to-do family that goes bankrupt and is forced to move into a trailer park.
The North Sydney, Australia-based Kapow Pictures is taking its first animated series YAKKITY YAK the brainchild of KPs founder Mark Gravas to MIP-TV. The co-production with Canadas Studio B for kids 8-12 is already airing on Canada's TELETOON and has been sold to sold to TF1 (France) and Channel 10 (Australia). KP partner and executive producer Sandra Walters is presenting the 52x11 series at MIP. "Its a character-driven series, and its quirky by nature, she said. "That gives us license to reference reality, but to really push the boundaries," she said. Kapow (www.kapowpictures.com) has built its six-year-old reputation doing commercials for Kellogg's, Optus and Bonds, as well as pilots EGO FROM MARS and AGENT GREEN, which aired on Nickelodeon. The outfit made a big impact with its animated short film SHOW AND TELL, which was nominated for an AFI in 2002, and was named best short film at the Telluride Indie Fest and Most Popular Animated Film at Ausfest 2002. It followed on the heels of Kapows first short film, WYATT EARP, which won Best Animated Short in the Vancouver animation festival in 2000. WYATT EARP has since screened at more than 20 festivals, while Australian television rights have been bought by SBS.
France Animation, one of Europes leading production and distribution companies specializing in youth programming, has a number of MIP-TV 2003 offerings for the teen and pre-school markets. COSY CORNER is a preschool series (52x6 or 13x26) that features a host of soft, cuddly CGI animated animal characters with strong merchandising potential. It tells the story of a group of Stella, Margot, Arthur and Jacky, who have been thrown together by chance. Living as neighbors in a huge tree, called COSY CORNER, they soon discover that it isnt always easy to get along and put up with each other! Produced by French production company Storimages and co-produced by France 5 and Teletoon France, France Animation has worldwide distribution rights. Also on France Animations MIP-TV 2003 slate, is the second season of hit show WHEEL SQUAD 2 (13x26) which completes the series of 39 episodes. WHEEL SQUAD combines wheel sports, rap, hip-hop and techno for older children. Is a co-production between France Animation, M6, Praxinos, Colorland, RAI and for series one Canal + Belgique. The show can already be seen on the Disney Channel in Asia, Hong Kong and the Middle East, and in Latin America (Fox Kids), Spain (Antena 3), The Netherlands (Kindernet), Portugal (SIC) and Poland amongst other territories. Concluding France Animations animated lineup is the well-known TITEUF (78x7 or 26x26), a successful property all over Europe based on the comic books by Swiss cartoonist Zep. Already a major hit on France 3, the series has already sold to broadcasters in Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, North Africa, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Korea, Ukraine, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Ireland and the Middle East. In addition, TITEUF has inspired lucrative product ranges across a variety of markets with 250,000 GameBoy games sold by Infogrames in Europe alone and 250,000 video cassettes selling in the last 12 months through Universal Pictures Video France. Other merchandising available includes Lafuma school bags, a confectionery deal with Cadbury and a pan-European card deal with Hallmark. Various deals have also been struck with Hasbro, McDonalds, Danone and Kellogg's. TITEUF is a co-production between France Animation, Editions Glenat, Canal J, France 3 and SMEC, in partnership with RAI, Infogrames and Universal. France Animation also brings factual entertainment to MIP-TV with new completed episodes of the fascinating documentary series INSECTOSCOPE and live-action kids series CYBERGIRL. Maia Tubiana, managing director of France Animation said: "We are maintaining our strategy of seeking quality properties for our catalog, partnering at the earliest possible stages on new projects and developing or co-developing series in formats varying from 5 to 26 minutes. We are also happy to announce that we have started production on PETIT VAMPIRE (working title LITTLE VAMPIRE) which we launched with our co-production partner Story at Cartoon Forum this year. The 52x13 series will be ready for delivery in 2004. PETIT VAMPIRE is a Story, France Animation, France 3 and Telegael co-production." Formed in 1984, France Animation (www.france-anim.com) is subsidiary of Wanadoo (France Télécom) and has a sales catalog with more than 1,200 half-hours sold in more than 100 countries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.