CITV enlists saucy sea creature to help boy deal with death
London-based Pagoda Film and Television is producing a quirky seven x 20-minute comedic drama commissioned by CITV. Targeting kids up to age 11, Kevin and Krystan (working title) centers on a 10-year-old boy whose family is trying unsuccessfully to cope with the sudden death of his mom. Enter Krystan, an aggressive nine-inch humanoid creature from deep beneath the sea who is stranded when Kevin’s cat pounces on her submarine in the garden stream. Kevin makes some new digs for Krystan in the garage, and the two soon become inseparable. Although the rest of the series is live action, London-based Pepper’s Ghost will render Krystan in 3-D using a CG model and motion capture technology. Total cost for the series runs in the region of US$1.5 million, and delivery is set for January 2001.
Birds and bugs at Eesti Joonisfilm
Estonia-based prodco Eesti Joonisfilm has wrapped a 13 x five-minute series called Lotte for three- to 12-year-olds. Budgeted at around US$450,000, the 2-D toon is a co-pro with Germany’s Studio Hamburg Fernseh Allianz and Finland’s Omnia Media Arts, which is also handling worldwide distribution, except in the Baltic and Confederation of Independant States, which Eesti Joonisfilm will manage.
Lotte centers on a baby bird who lost her way while migrating south for the winter. Far from her ultimate destination, the chick is forced to land in the chimney of a house, where she meets Lotte, a girl dog who vows to reunite the lost bird with her flock. With the help of Lotte’s father Oskaris, his flying machine and Klaus, an old travelling dog who holds the map to the southern target, the journey begins. Several broadcasters, including Icelandic National Broadcasting, Italy’s GA&A, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NOS, VPRO in the Netherlands, Finland’s Yleisradio OY and Sverigies Television in Sweden, have pre-bought the series, eyeing the summer as a potential launch time.
Another kid title in the works at Eesti Joonisfilm is a 45-minute animated special, also aimed at the three to 12 set. Although production on the US$312,000 show has already begun, the company is still looking for co-pro partners and broadcasters. Omnia Media Arts will manage worldwide distribution rights, with Eesti Joonisfilm handling the Baltic and CIS States. This show tells the tale of two fir tree-dwelling ladybugs named Tim and Mia, whose abode is cut down one day to serve as a man’s Christmas tree. Temporarily stuck in the man’s house, Tim and Mia come across other domesticated bugs like Victor the fly, who tans under lamps and learns to modern dance. The insect duo turns to Santa Claus to grant their wish to return home. This Christmas special is slated for completion by summer of 2001.
Animated film mixes Russian fairytales
Moscow-based United Multimedia Projects (UMP) is working on an English-language feature-length film called Vasilisa that combines several classic Russian fairy tales into one story line. With a projected 2002 release date, the 2-D/CGI/live-action hybrid draws most heavily from a same-name fable about a rich merchant’s daughter who embarks on a journey to retrieve the magic fire that will save the Czar’s son. With the help of many forest spirits and animals, she must make it through the dangerous woods and overcome wicked witch Baba Yaga.
Roman Mokrov, business development manager at UMP, says the prodco is looking for financial partners to meet the estimated US$5-million budget, and is hoping to ink deals with distributors around the world.
Vasilisa is currently in pre-pro, with the music, script, production strategy and character style guides slated for completion by end of summer. All production of the film will be done at UMP’s facilities in Moscow.
Neptuno’s slate stars city fowl and swashbuckling feline
Neptuno Films is developing its latest kids series Urban Birds as an amusing yet educational lesson about the diversity of global cultures. The 26 x half-hour, 2-D animated series features a culturally-mixed cast of birds who must work together to overcome the same metropolitan difficulties (including traffic and pollution) often experienced by urban-dwelling humans, such as losing feathers because a dump is emitting radioactive waste. Urban Birds, which is aimed at five- to 10-year-olds, is budgeted at approximately US$225,000 per half hour. No delivery date or broadcaster has been confirmed, but Neptuno is on the lookout for co-pro partners for the series.
Neptuno is also at work on Puss in Boots, a 2-D animated series for the five to 10 set based on the classic fairytale about a rogue-ish cat who puts on magical boots and spends his time saving kidnapped princesses and fighting pirates. The 26 x half-hour series is also budgeted at US$225,000 per ep, and Neptuno Films is looking to secure financing from Spain, Germany, France and Italy. The prodco is also currently in search of a broadcaster and co-production partner. No delivery date has yet been set.