Having taken a year off to survey the market and set up his next kids entertainment move from behind the scenes, distribution veteran Louis Fournier is officially back in the game as head of GalaKids. A start-up subsidiary of Montreal, Canada’s Galafilm, the new division will focus on original concepts and co-pros for preschoolers and kids six to 11. The plan is to stick to comedy-driven concepts – so while action may be part of the mix on some projects, it’ll take a backseat to humor.
Galafilm already has a solid grounding in producing kids live-action projects, with co-pros The Worst Witch and 15/Love under its belt, but Fournier’s animation expertise will drive a style expansion into 2-D and CGI projects. Prior to his year-long hiatus, Fournier put in almost 12 years heading up sales and co-productions at Cinar, taking a brief break in 2000 to establish TVA International’s youth and animation unit.
Despite his impressive track record in distribution, Fournier’s passion has always been production, so he’s very excited about the opportunity to do what he loves most in the world of kids entertainment.
Fournier already has a first project in the pipeline, but all he would say at press time is that it’s a 2-D animated preschool show and goes heavier on laughs than learning. To get this series up and running, Natalie Dumoulin has been brought in as GalaKids’ head of development, fresh from completing Gerald McBoing Boing for Cookie Jar. Fournier and Dumoulin have worked very comfortably together in the past on various Cinar and TVA productions.
Volume output is not a goal for GalaKids, and Fournier is very firm in his commitment to delivering high-quality, market-relevant shows that tap into the passion and talent of their creators. The goal is to find one or two more projects to partner on for year one, and then once it gets into renewals, the unit will likely have room in its pipeline for one or two new shows a year.
GalaKids will concentrate on development and financing, and since there aren’t any immediate plans to set up an animation studio, production work will be shopped out to Canadian service companies or handled by co-pro partners.