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.
Special Event: MIPCOM
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.
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.
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.
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.
Effective October 1, 2002, animation studio Saban International Paris is changing its name to SIP Animation. The newly named company will be at MIPCOM to present its latest animated series W.I.T.C.H., adapted from a popular comic book series. W.I.T.C.H. is an action series combining epic adventure and comedy, magic and realism through the adventures of five young heroines gifted with magic powers, designated to maintain the natural order of the universe while at the same time coping with the daily trials and tribulations of teenage life.
Entertainment Rights will launch its new series LITTLE RED TRACTOR at MIPCOM and the Brand Licensing Show. Co-produced by Entertainment Rights and The Little Entertainment Company in partnership with the BBC, the preschool series will begin airing on BBC's kids' channel CBeebies in 2004. The series follows the adventures of an optimistic Little Red Tractor who has to rely on his cleverness and determination to compete with the big modern machines that appear in the series. Entertainment Rights owns the global TV, home entertainment, licensing and merchandising rights for LITTLE RED TRACTOR.
Quebec, Canada-based Sarbakan, a provider of animated content for the Internet and television, is taking its popular Internet-based game GOODNIGHT MR. SNOOZLEBERG to MIPCOM in the form of a 65 x 5-minute animated series. Mr. Snoozleberg is an important diplomat who also happens to be an incurable sleepwalker. So he must dodge all kinds of obstacles while he sleepwalks in order to make it back to bed so he can perform his diplomatic duties the next morning. The Mr. Snoozleberg online Flash-animated game is available at www.sarbakan.com. Sarbakan will be at Mipcom booth # C1.05.
Los Angeles-based entertainment company channelzero will be attending MIPCOM with the pilot episode of their animated series SOSOPHIE. The short entitled "Dead Dog Double-Dare," is a co-production between channelzero, Atomic Cartoons, SMEC Media & Entertainment and Hacienda Post. SOSOPHIE is an action series that is described by its creators as THE SIMPSONS meets THE DUKES OF HAZARD. SOSOPHIE debuted at NATPE in January 2002.
Production agency CeMEDIA (Central European Media Workshop) has added Hungary's FirkaFilm to its production network and named it "First Base Studio" for the CeMEDIA production pipeline. Firka will control the overall production process and subcontract to other CeMEDIA member studios. Under contract with Varga Studios, Firka has provided animation services for an ANGELINA BALLERINA special and most recently completed the animation for 5 episodes of the series MR. BEAN. CeMedia will be at MIPCOM to distribute nearly 50 hours of animation provided by their European member studios.
HOWDI GAUDI, a new animation series inspired by the designs of Spanish architect Antoní Gaudí, will be launched at Mipcom Junior. The Gaudins Project, Steve Walsh Productions and Agogo Entertainment, in association with TV Catalunya, have completed the 26 episode half-hour series which was supervised by SIMPSONS' producer Phil Roman. The series had its Spanish premiere this September 11th on TV Catalunya, which aired a "Making Of' special along with 3 episodes of the series. HOWDI GAUDI will debut September 17, 2002 on Disney Channel Spain.
On Sunday, October 6, 2002 MIPCOM Junior's "Talking With" sessions will host Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop. He will be interviewed by George Winslow, director of special projects, Reed Television Group. "Talking With" is an informal interview session that offers market participants an opportunity to interact with major players in the TV industry. Knell will unveil the story of the organization that revolutionized television with the legendary SESAME STREET and tell how its mission to create educational and challenging content for children is carried out.
Yet another animation player has struck out on his own. Following the news last week of former TV-Loonland head of programming John Bullivant forming his own company to create and develop character based projects, UK animation scriptwriter Alastair Swinnerton has announced he has left Skryptonite, the animation production company he co-founded five years ago. Swinnerton has now set up a new company called BA20 Entertainment in order to develop and market animation properties in a style similar to that of LEGO's BIONICLE, which Swinnerton helped create.
France Animation is launching two new childrens animated series at MIPCOM 2002. TAMA & MELODY (not to be confused with 4Kids' TAMA and FRIENDS) and SPACE DJS, both aimed at the 8-12 year old set. TAMA & MELODY (52 x 13-minutes) is a cross-cultural series based on the book PEAU ET VENT by Marie Félicité Ebokéa. Adapted for screen by Claire Paoletti, the series is seen through the eyes of two musical children, an African boy named Tama and a western girl called Melody, both aged 12. The show explores the encounter between the two cultures.