Imagine Kids & Family and Lion Forge Animation have teamed up for a first-look partnership for Lion Forge’s licensed and original IPs. The deal already encompasses a trio of in-development animated series that the companies will jointly produce and finance.
The deal also includes a development partnership that covers the creation of short-form content, TV shows, and digital videos, which will be part of a global franchise and consumer products plan. The studios will collaborate on development and pre-production, including story and character design.
Lion Forge will handle the animation work at its studio in St. Louis, Missouri, and productions will be executive produced by Imagine Kids & Family’s president Stephanie Sperber, and Lion Forge Animation’s president Carl Reed, and its founder David Steward II.
One of the first series to be made under the deal is Chippy Hood, an animated preschool series created in partnership with South Korean animation studio Mostapes, which tracks four little chipmunks who are always looking for adventure in their daily lives.
Focused on creating diverse and representative content, the producers are also teaming up on the animated anthology series Puerto Rico Strong, based on the Eisner Award-winning—the Oscar of comics—comic book of the same name. The series will dive into the affects Hurricane Maria had on Puerto Rico by sharing the stories of the region’s creators.
Meanwhile, Black Comic Anthology (working title) is a series of animated episodes, which feature Black creators who look back through and exploring subjects around racial inequality and the Black experience, throughout history.
Both Imagine Kids & Family and Lion Forge Animation are burgeoning companies in the kids entertainment industry and are rapidly growing their presences. Launched last May, Lion Forge Animation has expanded from a comic book publishing into animation, and saw success with its first project, Oscar-winner short Hair Love. After its Academy win, the studio partnered with South Korea’s Studio Mogozzi to co-develop and produce the animated series Bugstron (26 x 22-minutes), set to be completed this year.
California-based Imagine is founded by directors Brian Grazer and Ron Howard who jumped into the kids space January 2019, hiring veteran kids execs Stephanie Sperber to run the new division. Since its launch, it has lined up a number of big deals for upcoming shows, including live action series The Astronauts (10 x half-hour episodes) with Nickelodeon, and feature film The Trail with Scholastic.