Momentum is growing for French prodco Xilam’s first preschool series Paprika. The company behind Oggy and the Cockroaches has started production on the 78 x eight-minute 2D-animated series and is currently seeking licensing partners.
The fact that Paprika is Xilam’s first preschool IP signals a significant shift for the company, according to chairman and CEO Marc du Pontavice.
“It’s important for Xilam to demonstrate to the market that we can do different things,” he says. “Preschool is a segment that gives us an opportunity to set a bigger footprint on the market and to diversify.”
Xilam isn’t straying too far from its older-skewing roots, however, and is using its background in comedy to create a show that features humor that appeals to the preschool set.
The series follows a brother and sister as they go on adventures in their backyard and the park. Aimed at kids ages three to six, the show is meant to appeal to both girls and boys and sends an important message, du Pontavice says.
“One of the characters is in a wheelchair,” he says. “He’s a daredevil and he really leads the pack. We love the way it’s been handled because the subtext is that you can be different, and that is not a problem.”
While there are plenty of comedic moments in the series, none of come at the expense of a character’s feelings. The show, du Pontavice says, is very much about positive messages like acceptance and inclusion.
Xilam has signed deals with broadcasting partners including Disney Jr. (EMEA), Discovery (Italy) and France 5 (France).. Paprika is set to air in France and Italy in fall 2017, followed by premieres in EMEA in spring 2018.
According to Xilam’s EVP of global consumer products Marie-Laure Marchand, the company is currently looking for licensing partners with a particular focus on Europe.
“I’m actually looking for a master toy licensee at the moment,” Marchand says. “Toys and publishing will be the primary categories for the moment. We don’t have broadcasting partners in the US yet, so for now we are only in discussions with European partners.”