Up Next: What’s Developing in Kids Production

Astley Baker Davies delivers the darling of Cartoon Denmark
November 1, 2005

Astley Baker Davies delivers the darling of Cartoon Denmark

There’s always one clear crowd favorite at Cartoon Forum, and this year that project was preschool series Little Kingdom. The latest concept to come out of Peppa Pig hotshop Astley Baker Davies in London, this 52 x 10-minute show revolves around a five-year-old fairy princess whose mom and dad reign over the Little Kingdom. Holly spends her time learning to fly, practicing her newly acquired magic skills, and hanging out with her best friend Ben the Elf, who’s a budding inventor and craftsman.

This 2-D animated series is designed in a rich, pastel-inspired color palette, and ABD plans to recruit real children to voice the characters. Three scripts are in the bag, including one in which Holly visits Ben’s school so she can learn how to make toys. But when her teacher outlaws the use of magic and Holly’s prototype ends up falling apart during show-and-tell, Ben steps in to save the day with his trusty screwdriver, showing his chum that magic isn’t always the only way to get things done.

Budgeted at roughly US$11 million, ABD is keen to lock in co-producers and send the project into production early next year for a Q1 2008 delivery.

African folklore takes center stage in Magic Cellar

Myths and legends have been fuelling creative development in the animation industry for decades, but until now, few projects have explored the lore of Africa. Tapping into this rich cultural tapestry is Magic Cellar, a co-production from Johannesburg, South Africa’s Morula Pictures and Chocolate Moose Media out of Ottawa, Canada. At the start of each 12-minute episode in this CGI series, a group of tweens gathers in a cellar to hear wise old man Zee read from his book of folktales, which are still relevant enough to shine some light on the problems and insecurities kids face during puberty.

In one show, for example, a young girl named Pula gets really worked up when her father is late picking her up one day – until Zee spins his yarn about a King who falls in love with a woman living in the forest. An evil aide convinces the monarch that he must immediately tend to a crisis in his kingdom, leaving his new wife to wait until he returns. Years pass, but the King finally does come back, and so Pula learns that when you truly love someone, they are always in your heart.

The first of 20 episodes will be delivered to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) this month. Magic Cellar is budgeted at around US$3.9 million, and Chocolate Moose is on the lookout for a distributor.

Editor’s note: The electronic version of this article has been edited from the original print version in order to correct or clarify some information that it contained.

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