With two of its flagship series—Fishtronaut and Earth to Luna! (pictured)—airing on US nets, Brazilian animation studio TV PinGuim is officially putting its flag on US soil. The production company has launched a Miami-based office called Penguin Animation that will serve as an administrative and sales hub for worldwide content distribution and co-productions.
Helmed by former Discovery Kids Latin America exec Paul Lamb, the office will enable TV PinGuim to boost co-production opportunities and licensing efforts stateside.
TV PinGuim creative director and co-founder Celia Catunda says that even though the studio has sold shows in North America, it hasn’t garnered a large US foothold yet.
“Although we’ve been selling shows globally, we feel like having a presence in different markets is a challenge for us because licensing needs to be adapted and we have to find the right partners to make the series and IPs even stronger,” says Catunda. “What we are working on now is growing outside of Latin America.”
The prodco, founded in 1989 by Catunda and Kiko Mistrorigo, has already gained recognition outside of Latin America with Earth to Luna!, which currently airs on Universal Kids in the US and Discovery LatAm. The company is also currently working on a feature film based on Fishtronaut, as well as Earth to Luna!’s third season. TV PinGuim is also behind a 52 x seven-minute animated series called Ping & Pong, co-produced with Canada’s Kondolole Films, which already has several broadcasters signed on including Discovery Kids, TVO, TFO, Tele-Quebec and Knowledge Network. New series The Charlie Show, meanwhile, uses elements of animation, puppetry and stop motion through different interview-based segments.
“I think that kids are open to cultural differences more so than adults, so we’ve been creating our shows using universal themes and characters that can appeal to every child,” says Catunda. “Some cultural aspects, like music, work globally.” To that end, Catunda says the Miami office will be looking for partners that can create preschool series with elements of science, music and arts-based education.
“It’s more about working with companies that have a similar approach to kids content that we have. We like to create shows that are both educational and fun,” says Catunda. Beyond building partnerships, Penguin Animation will dabble in pre-production in the US including development, storyboarding and bible building, while working in tandem with the company’s Brazilian office.
As for licensing, Penguin Animation will look to replicate TV PinGuim’s strong CP success in Latin America. Its Earth to Luna doll by Intek Toys, for example, was the number one bestselling doll for Christmas 2015 in Brazil.