PARIS: French children’s TV producer Claude Berthier is back in the kids biz a few scant months after retiring from his post as CEO of Paris-based Marina Productions. Since January, he has been serving as chairman at Toon Factory, an animation studio that was formerly a subsidiary of Group Total. Berthier has fleshed out the studio’s executive core to include president Eric Jaquet; Maureen Sery, managing director and VP of business affair; and Joanna Ruer, head of production.
Under Berthier’s guidance, Toon Factory will move into new offices at the end of April and will focus on creating original programming with foreign partners for the global market, while maintaining a 20% sub-contracting activity level. The first title on the studio’s seven-project slate is a 52 x 13-minute comic adventure co-production with TF1, Cosgrove Hall and ITEL called Kid Clones in Space. Production on the US$6.9-million series will begin on April 15th. Toon Factory will also be working on an animated 26 x half-hour preschool series, as well as animated, action-adventure and educational fare for the six to 14 demo.
Berthier holds an 80% share in Toon Factory, along with Sery and British investor Tabb Production. The other 20% share is owned by Jacquot. As part of Group Total, Toon Factory first moved into animation with its work in 1996 on action-adventure series The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest for Cartoon Network and TF1.