Newly formed Alligator Planet, based in San Francisco, has formed a joint venture with tv-animation, the Copenhagen creator of animated and interactive characters. Alligator AP will market to North America programs made with tv-animation's revolutionary Cartoon Broadcast System (CBS) technology and develop new products to utilize this real-time animation broadcast tool. Ralph Guggenheim, AP's exec. producer (former Pixar VP and producer of TOY STORY), told AWN he encountered the tv-animation people at MIPCOM in October 2002. Guggenheim formed his own company in January 2003 with former Colossal Pictures execs and creatives Eli Noyes, Tim Boxell and Alan Buder. "We've been talking with TV cabler channels and the like. We constantly hear, 'How can you do it cheap?' The CBS system is a great opportunity to produce content fairly cheaply and still be fun and compelling." The technology is used now on the NELLY NUT show airing on the BBC, as well as shows airing on many other European channels, including a two-hour talk show. Guggenheim said he's seen how other types of shows, popular in Europe are making their way to the U.S., and sees this is a good opportunity. Guggenheim firmly believes this technology is the new scale of animated TV to come.The Danish firm will market any shows AP comes up with to the European market. Guggenheim said they named the new enterprise Alligator Planet (www.alliagtorplanet.com) because the founding partners like alligators and it's helpful to have a company name near the top of the alphabet while the planet in its name signifies AP's global approach to entertainment and business. The goal of AP is tap into the creative and production capacities of emerging animation studios around the world to produce and distribute stories and characters across a variety of media and ancillary markets.
Special Event: MIPCOM
Sunwoo Entertainment USA plans to turn BOOKASHKIS, Mikhail Aldashin's award-winning short film about insects, into a series. At MIPCOM 2002, the Korean-based studio finalized an agreement with Aldashin and producer Chuck Swenson to develop and create a 52 x 11-minute animated series featuring the trio of bugs. Sasha, Simmons and Shmutz are the BOOKASHKIS, tiny insects living in the big city. They have their work cut out for them trying to stay alive in an apartment inhabited by a rotating set of human beings, all of whom seem hell-bent on the bugs' ultimate destruction.
Corus Entertainment's Nelvana put the wrap on MIPCOM 2002 with a number of new sales and renewals for its kids' brands and programs. BEYBLADE continued to be a popular property for the company and was snapped up by the UK's terrestrial broadcaster Five TV (formerly Channel 5), which licensed 51 episodes of the series for debut in November 2002. BEYBLADE currently airs in the UK on Cartoon Network UK. Nelvana also completed video and DVD deals for BEYBLADE and MEDABOTS in the UK with Contender Entertainment Group, which set the titles for a release date of December 2, 2002.
Latin American distribution specialist Salsa Entertainment returned from MIPCOM 2002 with a slate of program sales for the Latin American region. The Salsa Entertainment catalogue features award-winning products from well known international producers and distributors including TV-Loonland, Scholastic Entertainment, Decode Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company.
Heading home from MIPCOM, Illuminated Films' half-hour animated special WAR GAME is boasting sales in a number of territories. Deals concluded in Cannes included Teletoon in Canada, Television Suisse Romande in Switzerland and NHK/Mico for Japan. The short has already sold to FR3 in France, SVT in Sweden, YLE in Finland and Channel Four in the UK. Most of these countries intend to screen WAR GAME on their national remembrance holidays. Based on the book by Michael Foreman, WAR GAME is the story of three English boys who are members of the same football (soccer) team.
At MIPCOM, EM.TV & Merchandising AG concluded a comprehensive deal with the childrens channel KI.KA that sees the German public broadcaster acquiring at least 300 half-hours of children's and youth programming from EM.TV, for broadcast on the jointly owned ARD-ZDF channel. Under the terms of the deal, KI.KA will receive the first free-TV broadcasting rights for all new shows, which will include POOCHINI, MOMO and WHAT ABOUT MIMI?
5f Chennai, India came out of MIPCOM with two co-production deals for new animated series. MUV has teamed with Comet Entertainment of Toronto, Canada and Lasal of the Canary Islands, Spain to co-produce and provide animation for the CG series TINGUARO, THE SUN LIZARDS. Set in a futuristic world where peace-loving lizards struggle against war-mongering scorpions, TINGUARO is a 13-episode action/adventure series, which is also the first and only series to be supported and funded by the Spanish government, according to Carmen Llanos Acero, Comet COO.
While at MIPCOM, Egmont Imagination signed a distribution deal for the Frederico Vitali series LAVA, LAVA. In a collection of 3-minute stories that take a normal situation and turn it on its head, animation artist Frederico Vitali invites viewers to watch what really happens inside a cuckoo clock when the figurines aren't announcing the time. Or find out what would happen if extra-terrestrials landed on earth and were given a tour by a fanatical goon. A co-production between Les Films du Triangle S.A., La Fabrique S.A.
Millimages has sold the broadcast rights to four of its new animated properties to Australian broadcaster, ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation). The programs included in the deal are HILLTOP HOSPITAL, CORNEIL & BERNIE, PIGEON BOY and JASPER THE PENGUIN. HILLTOP HOSPITAL is a 39 x 10-minute stop-motion animated series. Described as a "pre-school medical soap opera," the stories focus on a hospital that is run by animals, for animals. Both CORNEIL & BERNIE and PIGEON BOY are Millimages co-productions with France 3.
Egmont Imagination has signed an exclusive worldwide direct marketing agreement with Readers Digest to distribute THE FAIRYTALER on video and DVD. Launched this week at MIPCOM Jr., THE FAIRYTALER is a 26 x half-hour animated series that newly illustrates Hans Christian Andersens classic tales, which include THE UGLY DUCKLING, THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, THUMBELINA and THE LITTLE MERMAID. The series is a co-production between Magma Film, Egmont Imagination and fellow Danish companies A. Film and Danmarks Radio, as well as Germany's Super RTL.
CineGroupe has joined with Fox Kids Europe (FKE) to distribute its new animated TV series PIG CITY. The series is a co-production of CineGroupe and AnimaKids (France), in association with Merchandising Munchen and Fox Kids France. The agreement with FKE includes the television, home video and merchandising rights to the series across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. CineGroupe will continue to distribute the series in Canada, the U.S., Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Animakids will handle the rights in France and Merchandising Munchen in Germany.
On October 6, 2002, MIPCOM Junior wrapped up its 10th year with the market reaching its all-time high in number of buyers. According to organizers, 433 buyers of childrens programs from 53 countries attended the two-day event, with animation remaining the favorite category and scoring the highest number of screenings. The total number of buyers represented a 19.3% increase compared to last year.
DECODE Entertainment and Sunwoo USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunwoo Entertainment, have finalized a co-production deal to produce the series B-BOT VS. THE ALIEN POSSE. The deal is being called the first Canadian/Korean co-production based on a property developed by a Korean company. Sunwoo USA developed the show for television from a concept originally created by Sunwoo Entertainment's commercial division for an advertising campaign. The concept was introduced at MIP 2002 and caught the attention of DECODE.
This week at MIPCOM, LEGO Media and Miramax Films unveiled the first production and marketing materials available for its direct-to-home video movie, BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT, based on the successful LEGO Company toy line. The 70-minute, CGI-animated feature is currently in production at Los Angeles-based Creative Capers, with a debut date scheduled for fall 2003. The trailer, which can be viewed at www.maskoflight.com, will be featured on Miramax Films upcoming home video release of SPY KIDS II, scheduled to hit shelves in January 2003.
The award-winning team of writer Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean are in development with TV-Loonland subsidiary Sunbow Entertainment to create a series based on their children's book THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH. This week at MIPCOM, Sunbow is presenting the 13 x 22-minute animated series, targeted at 6 -11 year-olds. Gaiman is best known for his critically acclaimed and widely successful graphic novels SANDMAN and the 3-part series DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING which he is currently adapting to a feature film for Warner Bros.
Studio B will be attending MIPCOM with their latest series in development including TINSELLANIA, a Canada/France co-production with Saban International Paris. The series features the inhabitants of a fairy-tale kingdom that collide with the modern world. Studio B just confirmed a development deal for 26 x 22-minute episodes of TINSELLANIA with Family Channel Canada. Studio B is also highlighting INTO THE SHADOWS and BEING IAN at MIPCOM. Based on a series of popular books published by Smart Kids, Family Channel Canada has already ordered 52 x 11-minute episodes of INTO THE SHADOWS.
This week at MIPCOM, Los Angeles-based Mike Young Productions (MYP) introduced the companys international roster of partners for its new extraterrestrial property, PET ALIEN from John Doze Studios. The partners are: Frances Antefilms Production, based in Paris; jadooWorks PVT. LTD. of Bangalore, India; and Abú Media in Galway, Ireland. The partners are joining forces to create the CGI-animated project, a series of 52 x 11-minute episodes aimed at 4 to 11 year-olds.
Curious Pictures is currently in production on HEY JOEL, a 13 x 22-minute adult-themed sitcom that focuses on the behind the scenes action at a music talk show. The series is being developed in conjunction with VH1 and is scheduled to air on VH1 in the U.S. and Chum in Canada. Jon Cryer (PRETTY IN PINK) voices Joel Stein, the obnoxious host of a 3-minute rock-star interview show on VH1. Artist Robert Risko designed the characters, who include Joel's producer Michele; loyal P.A. Kevin; VH1 star (and Joel's nemesis) Leif; and Z, the no-nonsense head of programming.
Mike Young Productions (MYP) announced that renowned filmmaker-writer-actor Mel Brooks (THE PRODUCERS, HIGH ANXIETY, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, SPACEBALLS) will voice the role of Wiley the Sheep in the new half-hour CGI series, JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS, based on original stories by Irish writer Denise Fitzpatrick. The series, a co-production from MYP, Entara Limited and PBS affiliate WLIW, features 26 episodes aimed at children aged 4-8.
Atomic Cartoons will roll into Cannes with its latest cartoon, CONEY ISLAND CARNEYS, created by animation artists Garnet Syberg-Olsen and Jared Deal. The series centers on the lives of eccentric carnival characters.
Tremendous! Entertainment has secured the international television rights to the animated television series GARFIELD & FRIENDS, and plans on reintroducing the lasagna-loving feline to broadcasters at this years MIPCOM. To promote the series, Tremendous! Entertainment will produce and distribute a Garfield 25th anniversary television special, slated to begin production in January 2003 for broadcast in June 2003. The company also plans to release special home video and DVD Collector Editions in fall 2003.
Banjax, a new digital animation company based in Belfast and London, will be at MIPCOM Jr. and MIPCOM with four new animated projects: GENE-FUSION, SICK AND FAMOUS, GNARPH and THINGIES. GENE FUSION (26 x 22 minutes) is set in an authoritarian future society where mutant creatures, called Fusimals, battle a spectacular gladiatorial road show owned and run by the World Fusing Federation. The series is based on a comic book created by U.S. Publisher/IP House Beckett Entertainment. SICK AND FAMOUS (26 x 22 minutes) is a comedy about a series broadcast from an exclusive rehab clinic.
Germany's EM.TV continues to move into the tween age group with its animation slate. At MIPCOM the media group will be presenting TIMM THALER, a story about a young orphan boy named Timm who uses mysticism and magic to battle the evil Baron Lived. EM.TV holds TV and video rights for all territories except for Germany, Austria, Alto Adige, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein.
Although Egmont Imagination is substantially diminishing its production and development infrastructure while at the same time pursuing the sale of the companys assets, they will be at MIPCOM with a full slate of programs. Tom van Waveren, president of Egmont, said, "While Egmont Imagination no longer fits within the Egmont Groups strategy, our companys distribution structure remains in place for the foreseeable future as options are being considered.
Colorland Animation Ltd. and Tundra Productions, Inc. are introducing their first original co-produced series to buyers at MIPCOM 2002. Entitled OH MAX, the 26 x half-hour children's series is currently in production. OH MAX and the new animated film IN SEARCH OF SANTA mark Colorland's debut as producers of their own product. Max is an overgrown, accident-prone, recently adopted puppy with an overactive imagination. In his waking life (portrayed in CG animation), Max is still adjusting to his newly adopted household and resident pets.