what’s developing in kids production
Enoki Films USA is off to see
The Encino, California-based prodco is teaming up with Arait Multimedia in Madrid for Wonderful World of the Wizard of Oz. Co-pro negotiations are also underway with NHK in Tokyo.
Adapted from the Frank L. Baum classic 14-book series, Wizard is a 26 x 25-minute, 2-D/3-D combo series geared to ages five to 12. Slated for an October 2000 air date to coincide with the centennial anniversary of Frank L. Baum, the US$4-million series went into production last month. Enoki Films USA handles worldwide distribution rights.
Along with the iconic Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Wicked Witch, Dorothy and Toto, the story introduces kids to lesser-known Oz characters that were left out of the classic MGM flick, including Mother Mombi, Tip, Pumpkin Jack and the land of Girikin just north of Oz.
HaffeDiebold and Croatia Film let Lapitch loose
Lapitch, the mouse with the magic boots, has shown a propensity for walking well beyond its cultural environs of Croatia. In 1997, co-production partners HaffaDiebold, a subsidiary of Germany’s EM.TV & Merchandising, and Zagreb-based prodco Croatia Film teamed up to produce the direct-to-video animated feature The Adventures of Lapitch the Shoemaker, based on a classic Croatian children’s publishing property that went on to sell 100,000 and 50,000 units in France and Germany respectively.
Both co-pro partners have joined forces again, this time to develop an animated series based on the property. Simply titled Lapitch, the show will target four- to eight-year-olds, and will use classic cel animation to depict the adventures of the supernatural rodent and his posse. HD and CF have signed on to create 26 half-hour eps of Lapitch at a total cost of US$6.8 million. Barcelona, Spain-based animation house Neptuno Films will handle the physical production of the series, which is expected to be completed by July 2000. So far, Lapitch has been sold to six broadcasters, including TF1 (France), ZDF (Germany), ORS (Austria), SSDRS (Swizterland), TV Polska (Poland) and CCTV (China).
Cute, carnivorous housefly stars in new animated series
Fly Tales, based on the book La Mouche by Lewis Trondheim, is set to buzz onto television screens in the year 2000.
The 65 x five-minute animated series (done by Canada’s Cactus Animation and France’s Gangster) examines the life of a little fly who explores the apartment where he’s born and then sets off into the world for adventures with other critters, including his nemesis Mosquito. The series, which targets kids ages six to 12, is currently airing on Canada’s Teletoon with a December 1999 delivery date for other broadcasters, including Teletoon Europe, France 3, SABC in South Africa, Cartoon Network in the U.K., UBC (formerly IBC) in Thailand and Singapore Cablevision in Singapore (these last two have cable rights only). Fly Tales will also air either on BBC1 or BBC 2. Paris-based Futurikon is the show’s co-producer. London’s HIT Entertainment has financed 25% of the US$3.5-million series, and will retain worldwide rights excluding French- and German-speaking countries in Europe.
Argus sleuthing series set to sail
Moscow-based Argus International is gearing up for a June 2000 delivery of The Detective Duo. This 26 x 15-minute, cel-animated series is set in Anywheres-ville Europe. Each episode brings a new mystery that private dicks Ivan and Mitrofan must unravel. Like all good mysteries, The Detective Duo features a pair of evil-doers-crazed genius Doc and First Minister, the power-hungry Napolean-like baddie-who are at the heart of all the trouble. With the help of a handful of rotten sidekicks, the meanies almost manage to execute their diabolical plans, but in each episode the the resourceful detectives save the day.
Geared to ages seven to 12, The Detective Duo is a co-pro with Tubingen, Germany-based Intra-Median and is budgeted at between US$85,000 and US$100,000 per episode. Argus handles worldwide rights, with Russian broadcasters ORT and RTR on board.