What’s developing in kids production

Extraterrestrial canines coming from Ellipse...
December 1, 1999

Extraterrestrial canines coming from Ellipse

Paris-based Ellipse is set to release Nick and Perry-Alien Dogs in September 2000. Budgeted at about US$7.3 million, the 52 x 13-minute traditional cel-animated series is a co-pro with Germany-based Trickompany, and will air on M6 in France and WDR in Germany. Targeted at six- to 10-year-olds, it features alien K-9s Nick and Perry from planet Dogma, who land on earth and have to deal with dim-witted earth dogs that pale in comparison to their advanced race. Nick, who is adored and, more importantly, fed by his owners, doesn’t mind the human-inhabited planet, where it’s okay for him to just lie around, but the cerebral scientist Perry would like nothing better than to get back to his own kind.

Link’s Shrinking Violet

London-based Link has teamed up with Elephant Productions and Ealing Productions, also of the U.K., for production of Shrinking Violet, a stop-frame animated 26 x five-minute series geared to the four to seven set. Budgeted at US$12,500 per minute, or about US$1.6 million total, the series is slated for delivery in January or September 2001. Link will handle worldwide distribution.

The series is based on an original idea by Nigel and Roger Planer about a painfully shy girl who plays solo hopscotch in her back yard. With her trusty magic pebble in hand, Violet hopscotches her way right into her own imaginary, microscopic world full of interesting insects, where she isn’t backwards about coming forwards anymore.

Catalyst starts series with Egmont

Hot off the green light, Toronto’s busy Catalyst Entertainment is in development with

yet another children’s series, the first of

three co-pros with Danish publishing

giant Egmont Imagination.

Bit & Bob wraps puppets and CGI up into 26 half hours, each budgeted at about US$170,000. Egmont is producing 26 x 15-minute episodes in Europe, and Catalyst is reconforming them into 13 half hours for the first phase of production and then producing 13 more for the second phase.

Slated for production in May 2000 in Denmark, the series, aimed at the six to 11 demo, is about two 10-year-old kids who, in an effort to avoid going to camp, end up in outer space, where they meet various alien races, space pirates and The Borax, the most evil empire in the galaxy.

Roman holiday

Two Christmas specials are slated at Studio City, California-based Phil Roman Entertainment, both aiming for a holiday 2000 air date. The Gaudins: A Christmas Special is a half-hour animated tale budgeted at US$300,000. The project was inspired by the work of Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudi. Interestingly, Roman’s co-pro partner in the venture is Barcelona design firm ABCN, designer of the Olympics in Barcelona. The firm was also involved in restoring the Gaudi bank in Barcelona. Slot of Spain will distribute in Europe, and a U.S. distributor is still being sought.

Describing the unique premise of The Gaudins: A Christmas Special-that of developing a kid’s special based on the Dr. Seuss-esque work of the designer and architect-Roman explains, ‘We see the possibility of creating a world based on this type of design.’ Following completion of the special, a 26-episode series, also inspired by Gaudin’s designs, is planned.

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, based on the pop song recorded by Elmo Shropshire, is a one-hour special co-pro with Fred Rappoport Company and Vancouver’s Atomic Cartoons. The actual tune from the pop song will be used in the special, which will be created by former Film Roman animation talents Jim Stahl and Jim Fisher (Bobby’s World). A major U.S. broadcast outlet will be sought for the US$750,000 project, which centers aroung a young boy’s attempt to rescue Grandma after her hit-and-run incident with a reindeer and subsequent disappearance.

Astro Boy makes a comeback

Columbia Pictures, Don Murphy’s Angry Films and Jim Henson Pictures’ feature film spin-off of the `60s TV show Astro Boy is slated for release in summer 2001. A TV series based on the character is also planned as a co-pro with Tokyo-based Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and Tezuka Productions. The feature will recreate the title character-a ‘futuristic Pinocchio,’ according to Murphy-using a combo of CGI and live action. While the movie targets parents and kids, borrowing heavily from the crime-fighting themes of the original, the series will target kids. Angry and Henson are also doing a CGI/live-action feature version of Parasyte (see ‘Beyond Kermit,’ page 44).

Red Rover’s Three Pigs in prepro

The Three Pigs is a co-pro with Toronto-based Red Rover and Montreal’s Ciné-Groupe. Skewed to the 12 to 17 set, the story is about an Odd Couple-like pair of pigs. Fox Kids is lined up as a broadcaster, although no air dates are set for the 13 x 22-minute, 2-D animated series.

English squidgees in search of broadcasters

U.K.-based VGI Entertainment is in preproduction with Squidgeeland, a 22 x five-minute clay-animated series for preschoolers. VGI holds worldwide distribution rights, and is currently looking for broadcasters in Europe. An unnamed Korean broadcaster was signed on at press time.

The self-contained shorts center around Ted and Tim and their animal pals in Squidgeeland.

Look out for spanish chicks-and

their madré

Barcelona’s Piruli Movies is looking for co-pro partners and casters for Maryhen & her Chicks. The 52 x five-minute preschool series in the works is also available in a 104 x two-minute format, with a one-minute filler. The 2-D animated story follows Maryhen and her fuzzy brood on their barnyard adventures.

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