Canadian prodco Catalyst Entertainment spent the summer on location in Toronto filming a pair of MOWs-Virtual Mom and What Katy Did-as well as producing several animated series.
Virtual Mom is a US$2-million Catalyst/Miracle Pictures production for the CBC. The live-action movie is about an overprotective mother who is magically transformed by a computer reaction into a 13-year-old version of herself who becomes her daughter’s best friend-later finding out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
What Katy Did is a co-production between Catalyst and the U.K.’s Tetra Films. The US$1.6-million film based on Susan M. Coolidge’s turn -of-the-century children’s novel, is about a girl whose life is changed by a tragic accident and who must find her way back to happiness. Catalyst Distribution has foreign rights to What Katy Did and Gullane Pictures will distribute it in the U.S. The TV movie will air on England’s ITV.
Also in the works for Toronto’s Catalyst is Tales From the Longhouse, a co-production with France’s Tele Images in association with Toronto’s Run With Us Productions. At a cost of US$170,000 per episode, 26 half hours are in the works for the children’s series, featuring live-action, puppetry and CGI. The series is based on Native folklore and features a community of animals who look to spirit guide Tom Jackson for advice, but never quite get it right. Production of the program, aimed at eight- to 10-year-olds, will finish in May 2000.A French-language version of Tales will be ready for delivery in spring 2000. So far, the program has been sold to CBC and TVO.
An animated spin-off from Catalyst/Cellar Door special The True Meaning of Crumbfest, called Eckhart, is also heading into production as a 26 x half-hour series. Set in Prince Edward Island, the series (estimated at about US$300,000 per episode) details the further adventures of the mouse adventurer. Eckhart is an 85% Canadian production, with the remaining 15% of production done by Animation Services (Hong Kong). It will be distributed in the U.S. by Gullane Pictures.