Company’s new China-based animation incubator project, Hot Pot! Cartoons, seeks innovative creatives and content from the Middle Kingdom to develop for global markets.
FredFilms’ Fred Seibert and DeZerlin Entertainment have joined forces to bring promising Chinese animation talent and animated content to the West. Their new project, Hot Pot! Cartoons, will reach out across China to find the most innovative and imaginative Chinese creators from animation, comics, games, and theater, and work with them to develop animated short films for the global market. The projects will be supervised by the FredFilms development and production team in the United States and at DeZerlin’s creative offices in Zibo, China.
“For my entire cartoon career, I’ve elevated new talent in the animation industry,” commented Seibert. “I’m proud to partner with Lin Zhang of DeZerlin Entertainment to bring extraordinary Chinese talent across the world. Lin has his finger on the creative pulse of China and has demonstrated a capacity to draw together creative, industry, and governmental resources that will allow us access to the heart of the creative community.”
Hot Pot! Cartoons is executive produced by Seibert and Zhang, along with Brian J. Murphy in Los Angeles, and Mark Byers in China.
“Fred is a legend in animation worldwide, and renowned for his ability to discover nascent talent,” added Zhang. “It is an honor to work with him and to learn from his experience.”
Seibert and his teams have created several successful incubator series including Oh Yeah! Cartoons and Random! Cartoons for Nickelodeon, Too Cool! Cartoons with YouTube and GO! Cartoons with Sony Pictures Animation, as well as spin-offs of long running hits such as Butch Hartman’s The Fairly OddParents for Nickelodeon, Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time on Cartoon Network, and Bee and PuppyCat with Netflix. As president of Hanna-Barbera in the 1990s, Seibert promoted incubator series that discovered talent and shows for the fledgling Cartoon Network, such as Genndy Tartakovsky’s Dexter’s Laboratory and Craig McCracken’s Powerpuff Girls.
“Talent incubators have proven highly successful in both the creative and the tech industries and Fred has developed a sound business model with proven successes,” noted Murphy. “We are pleased to be applying this methodology to the creative potential of China.”
Back in 2020, Seibert resigned as a director and chief creative officer of WOW!, as well as CEO of Frederator, the studio he founded and had run since 1997. Rainmaker Entertainment bought Frederator in 2017 and as part of the transaction, changed its name to WOW! Unlimited Media. Michael Hirsch, the former DHX Media exec and Nelvana Limited and Cookie Jar Entertainment co-founder, became CEO and chairman of the board; Seibert joined as COO. He announced the launch of FredFilms earlier this year.
DeZerlin Entertainment was founded in 2010 in Qingdao, China. The IP and content creation house has long-term relationships in animation, live-action, games, publishing, and merchandise across Europe, Asia, and North America. Creative offices for Hot Pot! Cartoons will be based in a newly formed subsidiary in Zibo, China.
“I’ve been producing both live-action and animation in China for over 20 years, and the thing that has always struck me is the world-class level of talent in China that, sadly, is seldom seen outside the country,” remarked Byers. “I’m excited that for the first time we can directly showcase that talent to the world.”