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.
Special Event: MIPCOM
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.
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.
Germany's EM.TV found success with its first installment of the whimsical series FAIRY TALE POLICE DEPARTMENT (FTPD), which has sold to broadcasters in France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Africa and the Ukraine. Therefore, EM.TV will be bringing another round of FTPD to this year's show. The second series of FTPD (13 x 24-minutes) follows a special unit of the secret service that fights crime in the fairy tale world. FTPD agents Johnny Legend and his partner Chris Anderson ensure that all fairy tale favorites really do live happily ever after.
Sesame Workshop will be seeking co-production opportunities for the SESAME STREET brand and will also launch a new half-hour format of 50 episodes of the series at this year's MIPCOM. Also available will be ELMO'S WORLD, a 32 x 15-minute interactive series that looks at the world through the eyes of a three year-old. In addition, Sesame Workshop will launch a slate targeted to 9-14 year-olds including two new live action programs: ZOE HAWKER, NEIGHBORHOOD DOG WALKER and a co-production between CBBC (UK), ABC TV (Australia) and Noggin under the working title TWO DOWN UNDER.
At this year's MIPCOM, Nelvana will launch the preschool series LITTLE CRITTER, a 40 x 12-minute animated program featuring characters and stories culled from the collection of children's books written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer. Another new animated property based on a kid's book is JACOB TWO-TWO, a 26 x 30-minute animated series based on the Canadian best seller by Mordecai Richler.
TINY PLANETS, co-produced by Peppers Ghost Productions (PGP) and Sesame Workshop, will be returning to MIPCOM along with the newly formatted tween series BUS STOP. Nominated as "best new property" by License! Magazine at this years New York Licensing Show, TINY PLANETS has already been sold to 73 countries and Peppers Ghost Productions is seeking sales in Spain, Benelux and Scandinavia. TV broadcast rights are also still available in France and are being handled by Euro TV. Peppers Ghost will also be bringing the series BUS STOP to MIPCOM.
Television executive John Bullivant has launched Kickback Media, a new executive production and development outfit. According to Bullivant, the aim of Kickback is to create, develop and finance character and design-based intellectual properties. The television activities will focus predominantly on the children's market and will include both animation and live-action content.
Atomic Cartoons will be in attendance at this year's Mipcom, showcasing a bevy of shows including DENNIS THE DRAGON, CONEY ISLAND CARNEYS, GOAL!, and DIRTY LIL BASTER. And in other Atomic news, ATOMIC BETTY, the studio's co-production with Film Roman, has picked up a distributor. Toronto-based independent production company Breakthrough Films will act as the series' international distributors with Breakthrough's Ira Levy and Nghia Nguyen on board as executive producers and Kevin Gillis as producer.
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. will offer a variety of computer animated fare for preschoolers, kids, tweens and primetime audiences at MIPCOM 2002. Among the projects Mainframe will promote include TONY HAWK'S FEASTERS, with pro skateboard champion Tony Hawk acting as a mentor to a group of local kids; an all-new BETTY BOOP series featuring Betty on the road as the lead singer of a rock band; and the collage animation series FAMILY VALUES.
UK-based production company Animatrix Ltd. plans to create an all new 26 part series based on the 1980s preschooler DR. SNUGGLES. Featuring Sir Peter Ustinov voicing the title character, a cuddly bow-tied inventor who strives to make the world a better place, the original DR. SNUGGLES was broadcast in more than 80 countries, and can still be seen in Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, Ireland and Canada. Animation studio Telemagination has produced a 3 1/2-minute pilot of the newly revamped DR. SNUGGLES scheduled to screen this year at Cartoon Forum and Mipcom.
BBC (UK), France 3 (France) and ABC (Australia) have picked up independent studio Millimages' latest animated series CORNEIL & BERNIE. The 52 x 13-minute series, also known as WATCH MY CHOPS!, is currently in production and is set to broadcast internationally during 2003. Lead character Corneil is a cultured and well-read dog, who is likened by the producers to "a canine FRASIER." Corneil keeps his genius talents hidden from his owners, but when Bernie the dog-sitter is hired and discovers Corneil's secret, Corneil's life is turned upside down.
A new 13 x 10-minute series being billed as the first CG series from Africa is currently in pre-production at Johannesburg, South Africa studio AnimMate. "The series will be entirely produced by African talent in South Africa," Tanja Botha of Johannesburg-based Animation Africa, which is distributing the series, told C21 MEDIA. "It's a first for Africa.
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.
Barcelona-based animation house Neptuno Films and Megatrix, a Spanish kids' content multi-platform provider, have sealed a co-production deal to produce the animated series 2020. Aimed at 8 to 12 year-olds, the series focuses on the everyday life of a middle-class family in the year 2020, but the series' creators say it is an ironic reflection on what is happening now. 2020 will consist of 26 half-hours animated in Flash for broadcast on television and the Internet. The first episode will be launched in April 2002 at MipTV, and the remaining episodes are scheduled for delivery in fall 2003.
Canadian family entertainment company CINAR Corporation has recently repaid an existing bank loan which was due on October 15, 2001. The corporation had US$26 million outstanding as of November 30, 2000 and this amount has now been repaid in the current fiscal year.
According to organizer Reed Midem, MIPCOM concluded its 2001 run with a grand total of 1244 exhibiting companies, up nearly 5% from the previous year. Although attendance was down almost 15% from last year, the optimistic attitude of the participants, despite the troubling world events, made this years MIPCOM a success. As MIPCOMs Personality of the Year, MTV CEO Tom Freston stated, TV will bounce back. MIPCOM Junior saw encouraging signs for the international childrens programming business.
Peppers Ghost Productions CGI-animated series TINY PLANETS has been licensed to Germanys Super RTL network and ITV1 in the U.K. The show recently received two BAFTA Interactive awards nominations and is scheduled to debut in the U.K. and Germany in the first quarter 2002.
French childrens cable and a satellite channel Canal J has partnered with Nickelodeon U.K., Spain, Australia and Latin America and acquired Japanese anime series YU-GIOH, which will be broadcast in France in spring 2002.
German distributor peppermint and U.S. animation studio Wild Brain have entered into a strategic partnership for Asia and the U.S. Under the terms of the deal, peppermint will distribute Wild Brain's Flash animation catalogue throughout Asia, while Wild Brain will represent peppermints animation catalogue under the pepperkids label for TV distribution, home video and DVD, licensing, publishing and merchandising throughout the U.S.
C21 MEDIA reported that Varga Holdings and Australian producer Screentime are co-producing ANIMATED POPSTARS with the U.K.'s Target as the distribution partner. The series follows the adventures of a pop group on tour. It is based on the popular live-action show POPSTARS, where a group of unknowns is groomed to be the next big thing. Varga has also recently signed a co-development agreement with Happy Life (Sweden), which has already spawned three new pre-school projects MUFFIN, DARTANGYANG and PIGGY WIGGY, BJORN THE BEAR AND LORANGE.
Test your skills and challenge your brain with AWN's Animation Trivia Quiz. This week, we're asking more questions about feature year of release. Back in 1981, which films were released? 1973 saw the release of which memorable features? Good luck...you'll need it!
Spanish-based animation company BRB Internacional has secured two major European co-production partners for THE INVISIBLE MAN (26 x half hours). Italian state broadcaster RAI and French animation house Dargaud Marina are teaming up with BRB Internacional to co-produce the unique series, which is aimed at 8-12 year olds. The deal gives RAI exclusive Italian speaking rights, Dargaud Marina exclusive French speaking rights, plus some other distribution territories, with BRB Internacional and Dargaud Marina handling distribution for the rest of the world.