U.K.-based animation studio Telemagination is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the production of its first feature film. Work has begun on a new animated version of Heidi, which is slated for release in spring of 2005. The 75-minute feature is being directed by Telemagination animation director Alan Simpson, and is a co-production between Telemagination, parent company TV-Loonland in Germany and Canadian producer Nelvana.
Simpson joined the company in 1991 to direct the third season of Telemagination’s first major success, The Animals of Farthing Wood, and later went on to direct the Annecy Award-winning half-hour Christmas special The Last Polar Bears.
Telemagination was established as an independent 2D animation studio by John M. Mills and Elphin Lloyd-Jones in 1983. The company was immediately commissioned by TVS to produce 86 episodes of the preschool series The Telebugs. Other series would include Noah’s Island with EBU and Wiggly Park with ITEL.
The founders sold Telemagination to Munich-based TV-Loonland in July of 2000. It has since become one of the largest animation studios in the U.K., producing TV-Loonland shows the preschooler Little Ghosts for ITV and ZDF, and the animated witch sitcom Pongwiffy for CITV.