A can-do attitude abounds in Ella the Elephant
Toronto, Canada-based Cookie Jar optioned picture book Ella the Elephant, created by Seattle’s Carmella and Steven D’amico, and quickly turned to writer Sheila Dinsmore. Her job was to spin the story about the helpful young elephant into a full-fledged 52 x 11-minute series that echoes the artwork of the book property with its 2-D backgrounds and toon-shaded CGI characters. This series for preschoolers is ‘really about child empowerment and depicting Ella’s quiet self-confidence on-screen,’ says VP of development Jilliane Reinseth. You see, Ella has a floppy red hat, which she believes can transform into whatever object she might need to assist someone in trouble. So in one instance, she imagines her hat turning into a basket with which she can collect an errant bunch of apples that her friend has dropped. In another, it inflates to the size of tent that Ella can use to place over the heads of her pals and shelter them from a rainstorm. Cookie Jar has a bible, educational curriculum, scripts and a three-minute trailer ready to go and is working with a budget of US$9.5 million for a fall 2011 delivery.
Finding the funny side of science
New preschool animated series Rose & Timothy from Paris-based Millimages follows the adventures of a happy-go-lucky, kind-hearted cow named Rose and tenacious, hot-tempered little chick Timothy. The pair also happen to be investigative journalists assigned to discover all they can about the outside world on behalf of their fellow barnyard friends back on the farm. Its through this lens that the 52 x 11-minute series is aiming to instill an interest in science and experimentation in young viewers through the hilarious antics of the enthusiastic, yet hapless characters.
The duo sets out promising to faithfully report their findings each day, while their research requires them to do things like scour the desert to find a mirage or eat spinach to determine whether or not it really makes you stronger. Along the way, know-it-all manipulator Timothy often tries to take advantage of Rose’s naivety. For example, he gets Rose to traipse around a precarious mountaintop to assess the risk of an avalanche. However, Rose has unerring luck and after she completes her perusal of the snowy peak without incident, it’s Timothy who sets off the avalanche.
Still in development, the series has no firm delivery date, but Millimages has a bible and scripts on-hand and is seeking presales and possible co-production partners with an approximate budget of US$7.9 million.