What’s happening in kids production

In Development......
March 1, 2000

In Development…

COWS bows from France Animation

The Paris-based production company is on the lookout for casters for COWS, a traditional cel-animated series currently in development for a planned fall 2001 delivery. COWS comes with a US$7-million price tag and is geared to ages eight and up.

COWS stands for Covert Operatives With Style, and the acronym refers to Rosy, Margaret and Lila-three bovine secret agents who engage in death-defying acts of espionage and evasion. France Animation is looking for co-pro partners for the 26 x 26-minute toon.

CTW’s take on life if kids ran the world

The New York prodco is close to inking a co-pro deal with Sydney-based Southern Star for Carney’s Class. Geared to ages five to eight, the 2-D toon’s premise is the stuff of Hallmark wisdom. ‘It’s based on the theory that everything you need to know, you learned in kindergarten,’ says Julian Scott, CTW’s VP of creative development.

A group of aliens travel through space looking to wipe out civilizations with no redeeming qualities. When they happen upon earth, they think they’ve hit paydirt-that is until an E.T. named Deek sends back an ‘abort destruction sequence’ message. He has found Earth’s single saving grace-Miss Carney’s kindergarten class. The aliens give earthlings a year to get their act together, on one condition-all global decisions must be made by the members of Carney’s Class. CTW is shopping for a caster for the 13 x half-hour series, which is slated for a late 2001 delivery. CTW and Southern Star will share distribution rights.

Dynomight’s dumb bunny inks HIT

London-based HIT Entertainment has teamed up with Dynomight Cartoons of Ottawa, Canada on a 65 x five-minute series called Untalkative Bunny. With a budget of US$300,000 per half hour, the cel-animated toon is geared to ages six to nine and centers around an apartment-dwelling bunny in the big city. ‘It’s visually funny,’ says Peter Curtis, director of co-productions and acquisitions at HIT. ‘The humor comes from the bunny’s expressions.’ The series is spun from an original short by creator Graham Falk that aired on MTV’s Cartoon Sushi in 1998. The short went on to win an award at this year’s New York Animation festival. Untalkative Bunny is slated for a February 2001 delivery, and HIT will be courting casters with a pilot episode at MIP-TV in April.


Link and Silver Fox bow Polly’s Present for holiday 2000

Continuing in their Christmas co-pro tradition (First Snow of Winter and Forgotten Toys), London-based Link and Silver Fox Films have teamed up again on the cel-animated special Polly’s Present. Currently in preproduction, the 30-minute family toon is budgeted at US$1.2 million. Polly will air on BBC1 in December, and Link, which retains worldwide distribution rights, will be on the lookout for additional broadcasters and co-financing deals at MIP-TV. The toon follows the story of a hamster, a rabbit and a guinea pig that come across a present on Christmas Eve. They quickly surmise that the gift has fallen from Santa’s sleigh, and so the rodents set off to find the intended recipient-a child named Polly.

A different kind of duck

London-based ITEL is shopping for broadcasters for a 38-minute special called The Sissy Duckling, now ready for delivery. Produced by HBO, the 2-D toon tackles issues of diversity and acceptance via an updated version of The Ugly Duckling. Written by Harvey Fierstein (of Torchsong Trilogy fame), the family-targeted musical toon is narrated by Sharon Stone and features an original song performed by Dionne Warwick. The story revolves around Elmer, a duckling who prefers playing make-believe to baseball. Elmer is ridiculed as a sissy by other tougher ducks, but he perseveres in the end to show that heroes don’t have to know how to pitch. ITEL holds worldwide rights, excluding the U.S., Canada and Japan.

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