French toonco finds joy in preschool book IP
Banking on the appeal of a built-in audience, Paris, France’s Mare Nostrum is looking for production partners to help bring Olive’s Little Joys to the small screen. The preschool book series by Lili Pissenlit boasts eight titles that have sold well in their native market. Their charm rests on a floppy-eared bunny protagonist and a striking 2-D/CGI backdrop that closely resembles the books’ hand-painted illustrations (courtesy of Vanessa Gautier).
Mare Nostrum has worked the concept up as a 52 x 11-minute comedy-adventure series about Olive and his friends investigating the rocky coves, wild forests and abandoned farmhouses that pepper their Mediterranean island home.
In one ep, Olive is so frightened by his brother’s yarn about a monster called Magou that he jumps in bed with his parents for the night. In the light of day the following morning, however, Olive feels much braver and heads out with his friends to trap the beastie. The pals set up a trap for Magou, but they get peckish waiting for him to rear his ugly head and run home for some pastries. When they come back, they find the trap sprung – except all it has caught is Olive’s brother, who finally admits that Magou doesn’t really exist.
Mare Nostrum plans to secure a domestic broadcast deal before shopping the US$7.4-million series around to other European and international prodcos and kidnets. The company expects production to begin before summer, with an eye towards delivering the show by October 2008.
Simpsons voice star makes
Corner Stone’s one-off sing
L.A.’s Corner Stone Animation is enlisting some big-name talent to break into the educational market with Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures. With vocal tracks from Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons) and Tom Bosley (Happy Days), the US$400,000 project consists of two 13-minute eps that encourage kids to use book smarts to solve real-world problems. For example, in one episode, Betsy’s class learns about division in school and then uses the lessons to work out a sharing issue that crops up during recess.
Featuring traditional 2-D animation with a high-def finish, Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures tips its hat to Peanuts with its soundtrack, which will feature up-tempo jazz designed to complement the action. There is also a possibility that a live-action component will be added at some point in the future.
So far, Corner Stone has sold the show to PBS Kids, but the goal is to land a few more international pubcasters and edu-centric commercial nets by the time it’s delivered in August.