Belfast-based Sixteen South is exploring the rich fabric of family life with two new shows that are currently in development. And although each concept touches on themes that have taken center stage during the pandemic, neither are directly tied to the global health crisis.
Ivory Towers (pictured right) is a 2D-animated series created by Sixteen South’s development producer Stephen Coulter. The 52 x 11-minute preschool show is set in a home for elderly animals, and revolves around a four-year-old elephant who regularly visits her grandfather.
Daycares and nursing homes are really quite similar in that they both descend into unstructured madness on the regular, says Coulter. He plans to highlight their similarities but keep the tone of the series light, even while tackling heavier storylines about older adults, such as losing one’s hearing or being confined to a wheelchair.
“We’re trying to celebrate those things, and not turn them into a negative. That’s just who these characters are at this point in their lives,” says Coulter. “It is a slightly serious environment, but we wanted to make it fun and inviting, so we used animals to do that.”
Coulter believes the inter-generational family moments will resonate with audiences and broadcasters alike.
Meanwhile, Spaghetti Sisters (pictured left) is a 2D-animated series created by development designer Katie Lyons. It tells the lightly serialized story of a pair of sisters and their plans to keep the family’s failing pasta restaurant in a remote mountain range afloat. The 10 x 22-minuter is aimed at kids ages seven to 11, but Lyons is hoping the whole family can sit down to enjoy it together.
Inspiration for the show hit while Lyons watched so many food delivery workers coming and going while she was in lockdown.
“Food was the one thing that was alive, [and] I was thinking who was the person brave enough to be going out in a pandemic to deliver a pizza?” says Lyons. “There was something really absurd about it all. So the location of this story—and the absolute hassle of getting there—is just silly.”
Sixteen South is looking for broadcast partners for both projects as a next step. Ivory Towers has a short bible and initial artwork completed, while Spaghetti Sisters has a pitch and a few story springboards.