Toronto-based Decode Entertainment has launched a distribution arm to handle the company’s burgeoning production slate. However, the purpose of the new division isn’t to turn Decode into a pure distribco.
‘We want to build it organically by keeping pace with the amount of production we’ll be doing-not only the stuff that’s totally developed and produced in-house, but also projects that we’re executive producing as well as distributing,’ says Decode partner Neil Court, who is heading up Decode’s as-yet-unnamed distribution arm.
According to Court and partner Steven DeNure, Decode plans to produce between five and seven animated series and two or three live-action shows a year. The prodco currently has two new projects lined up on the 2000 slate. Preschool series Toy Castle goes into co-production this fall with Ottawa’s Sound Venture Productions of Ottawa. With a rough budget of US$80,000 for each of the 26 half hours, this live-action series will combine a ballet theme with puppetry to appeal primarily to girls. The show is based on a successful CBC special.
Animated series What About Mimi is aimed at girls ages seven to 11 and goes into production this month. The 26 x 30-minute toon stars an irreverent young girl who tries to control the lives of her friends and family with disastrous results. The series budget is around US$300,000 per episode. So far, it is set for broadcast in fall 2000 on Canada’s Teletoon.
Decode is taking four series to MIPCOM this year, making it the company’s biggest-ever slate. The foursome includes Freaky Stories (I-II), Angela Anaconda (produced in association with C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures), The Zack Files and Watership Down (a co-production with Alltime Entertainment).
Court says the plan to develop the company’s own distribution area is on target with Decode’s development goals. ‘A production company can be largely valued on how good its library is,’ he says. ‘There’s been a lot of junky properties out there, so we’re getting happy results with our work,’ says Court.