The ability to come up with mold-breaking visual styles is essential to survival in the animation biz right now, and Paris-based Alphanim has an ace in the hole with talented designer Jan Van Rijsselberge on-board. The creator of Potatoes & Dragons (which CiTV has picked up for broadcast in fall 2004) and Spaced Out (airing on Cartoon Network Europe) has struck gold with Robotboy, a project whose strong design and concept helped Cartoon Network Europe lure Cartoon Network U.S. into the European co-production fray for the first time. Cartoon Network Europe, Cartoon Network U.S. and Alphanim will co-produce the 52 x 13-minute show for a scheduled fall 2004 debut.
Alphanim’s director of international distribution and co-production Julie Fox says her team welcomes the opportunity to work with American writers on the toon (which will carry a per-ep budget of between US$150,000 and US$175,000) and speculates that if this co-pro is successful, new U.S. broadcast doors could open up for her company.
Alphanim has also inked a co-pro agreement with Montreal, Canada’s Cinar for Potatoes & Dragons, Zombie Hotel and Creep School. This new deal marks the first time Alphanim has worked with Cinar since the Canadian toonco had to pull out of co-producing Delta State when its well-documented financial troubles began. In exchange for bringing on a Canuck kidcaster, Cinar will take North American distribution and licensing rights for Potatoes and North American distribution for Zombie Hotel. Details about Cinar’s role on Creep School were still under wraps at press time.
Meanwhile, in Alphanim’s pipeline is another Jan original called Woofy, budgeted at US$2.2 million. Aimed at older preschoolers ages four to seven, the 65 x five-minute 2-D toon stars a little boy who’s desperate to have a pet despite his fussy mother’s refusal to consider the option. Antoine secretly adopts a stray dog (Woofy) and convinces the pooch to pretend to be a plush animal at home. Conflict arises when others who are wise to the scam threaten to blow the whistle.
The prodco has also agreed to distribute and help find funding for a new 2-D animated series called Cooking?…Child’s Play (working title), which shows kids how to prepare French delicacies like mousse chocolat and crèpes. Based on a series of best-selling cookbooks by Michel Oliver that have sold more than a million copies in France, the 39 x five-minute series is a collaboration between Oliver’s son Raymond and Michel Gillet of Paris-based prodco CCA. It will carry a budget of roughly US$1.2 million.