itty bitty HeartBeats producer Anita Mann has a message for kids that’s pretty simple but seems doubly important nowadays–learn to think with your heart. Says the Emmy-award winning choreographer and creative artist, "The heart is easily broken, so it needs to be cherished and respected. It’s never too early to remind children to pay attention to their hearts and feelings and learn to think how their actions might effect others."
Mann, along with Shuki Levy (co-founder of Saban Ent.), founded LevyMann Ent. to relate just this sort of message to kids. The Heartbeats animated series, Levy’s brainchild, launched last week on VHS and DVD in conjunction with a 21-city tour of Toys “R” Us stores. Supported by Radio Disney, in-store shows include dancing and singing costume character stars CoolHeart, SweetHeart, BabyHeart and Heartache.
Animation Magazine caught up with Mann, Levy and the Heartbeats at the opening of the tour last week. Goodwill literally overcame all, as pop and Broadway star Deborah Gibson appeared outside the flagship Toys “R” Us in New York City’s Time Square. Later, performances moved indoors and included Radio Disney personality Jazzy Jen, who helped kids in the audience make the itty bitty Heartbeats’ pledge to “always do things from the heart.”
Distributed by StudioWorks Ent., the four episodes and one music video sell separately on VHS ($9.99), DVD ($12.99) and in an attractive combo-pack ($16.99) that includes a VHS, a CD and Sweetheart and Coolheart plush. Says Mann, “I have to tell you, the combo-packs have only been out for five days and they’re jumping off the shelves. The stores are ordering and then ordering again.”
As far as television distribution for the show, Mann explains that she enjoyed an extremely successful MIPCOM market and hopes to announce international broadcast sales before year’s end. Part of the enticement for broadcasters is LevyMann’s broad and grassroots campaigns, which Mann says will continue as the property begins to launch worldwide. Pre-production for the show is completed at LevyMann’s Los Angeles offices, while animation is completed in Hong Kong at Hong Ying studios.
Upcoming dates for itty bitty HeartBeats Live Tour:
Houston & Detroit Nov. 11
Cleveland Nov. 12
San Diego Oct. 28
Dallas & Indianapolis Nov. 13
Sacramento Oct. 29
Phoenix & Seattle Nov. 17
San Francisco Oct. 30
Tampa & Salt Lake City Nov. 18
Atlanta & Wash. DC/Baltimore Nov. 4
Miami & Denver Nov. 19
Nashville & Philadelphia Nov. 5
St. Louis & Minneapolis Nov. 20
Boston & Pittsburgh Nov. 6
Chicago Nov. 21