A long-necked, cute and cuddly creature named Uki took home the top prize at this year’s KidScreen Summit Pitch It! session.
The anticipated event traditionally tops off the three-day industry event and the West Ballroom at the New York City Hilton was packed for the showdown.
With four projects vying for top spot, the format allows each presenter exactly five minutes to pitch a kids series to an eight-member panel of industry insiders.
With the tough-minded judges including Al Kahn, CEO 4Kids Entertainment, Julien Borde, head of children’s programming for France 3, Art Roche, creative director new media for Cartoon Network, and Jesse Cleverly, head of co-production and acquisitions for the drama and animation department at BBC Children’s, the pitchers had their work cut out for them.
However, it was the CGI preschool program from Universal Music Belgium that stole the show. Uki follows the life of its title character that wakes up every morning to explore his surroundings with the curiosity inherent in most three-year-olds.
With a striking look and instantly merchandizable characters, Uki was the clear choice of the judges.
The runner-ups included: Montreal, Canada-based Sardine Production’s Biteneck Beatniks, a traditionally animated 52 x 11-minute stylish paranormal-musical-mystery series; Elfy Food, a 52 x seven-minute animated elfin adventure series with an emphasis on healthy eating, and a live-action multi-platform game show dubbed Are You Game?.
The winner of the session received free passes to next year’s KidScreen Summit and the ear of many a kids entertainment exec.