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The animals that came in from the cold
June 8, 2010

The animals that came in from the cold

Argentina’s Banzai Films has teamed up with TAG (The Adkins Group) in New York to co-produce Zooper Troopers, a wacky 2-D animated series about a team of outlandish animal spies that gets sent to the concrete jungle to fight a group of mutant monsters plotting to take over the world. Targeted at kids six to 12, slapstick comedy abounds as unsuspecting humans putter around the city, clueless to the dangers that lurk in every corner. Thankfully three special agents – a chameleon, a tapir and a piranha working undercover as everyday zoo animals – sneak out regularly to perform top-secret missions and scupper the plans of their foes.

Chameleon Speet is a martial arts expert with a telescopic tongue that comes in handy on many occasions. Bongo the tapir is a little clumsy, but uses his brute strength to save the day, and the leader and brains of the group, Hugo the piranha, can chew through almost anything. Wading through the sewers of the city, the good guys find themselves locked in combat with evil genius guinea pig Titus, zombie cyber monkeys, a gargantuan gator, an enormous scheming cockroach and a ninja rat.

TAG is overseeing distribution and production of the series, in conjunction with its Indian animation arm, Land Marvel Animations, and is working with budget of US$3 million for the project. Banzai, meanwhile, will shoulder pre- and post-production work. Delivery for the first 13 x 22-minute episodes is scheduled for fall 2010. At press time, TAG was keeping tight-lipped on broadcast deals. MD Rose Adkins says TAG will be on the lookout for more presales at Annecy this month and MIPCOM in the fall.

A multiplatform mouse in the house

Montreal, Canada-based Sardine Productions’ new 52 x 11-minute CGI series, Mia, for kids four to six, stars an inquisitive little mouse who moves into the attic space of an abandoned Victorian house with her grandmother. Every day sparks an adventure for the curious and fearless rodent, who makes it a personal quest to collect ordinary items that she finds significant from her surroundings. It isn’t long before Mia and Grams meet and befriend other inhabitants of the house, including fellow mouse Marty, who quickly becomes Mia’s brainy best friend. On the first floor, under the stairs, there’s a general store run my Maurice the mouse, while frogs Jet and Freddy live in the pond outside, and a trio of chipmunks inhabits the big tree in the backyard. An elevator in the laundry shoot and a series of ropes for scaling walls help the mini-society of squatters get around the house. And cleverly employed household items, such a tea bag mattress and a bottle cap stool for sitting, furnish Mia and Gram’s home.

Sardine developed the series with Société Radio

Canada and is working with a preliminary budget of US$250,000 per half hour, aiming for a fall 2011 delivery. Mia is based on a PC game created by Montreal-based software manufacturer Kutoka Interactive. Planned multi-media brand extensions include an online kids play space with multiplayer games and downloadable goodies, console games, educational books and smart toys.

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