***This article originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. ’21 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 313)***
This year’s MIPJunior market has moved into the annual MIPCOM and is scheduled for October 11-14 at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. (No separate registration is required.) Here are some of the new, noteworthy animated shows that will be available to buyers at the market:
Created by: Produced by Magic Light Pictures
Based on: Superworm book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Distributed by: Magic Light Pictures
Format: 1 x 30′
Animation: CG animation provided by Blue Zoo Animation Studios
Target Audience: Children and families
Synopsis: A hero with a difference and a wonderfully entertaining villain clash in this joyful special. Superworm tells the story of a super-long, super-strong earthworm who always comes to the rescue of bugs and animals in distress. He can fish Beetle out of a well, and rescue Toad from a busy road. But who will come to Superworm’s rescue, when he’s captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard? Luckily, all of his insect friends have a cunning plan.
Stand-Out Qualities: This new film from the multi-Oscar-nominated Magic Light Pictures is narrated by the Oscar winner Olivia Colman and features a stellar voice cast including Patricia Allison, Rob Brydon, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Cariad Lloyd and Matt Smith. A comedy drama with wonderfully entertaining characters, stunning visuals and a sweeping score for the whole family to enjoy.
Exec Quote: Martin Pope, co-founder of Magic Light Pictures, says, “This is our ninth animated adaptation of a Donaldson/Scheffler title and we are delighted to be producing it for BBC One this Christmas. It’s a lovely comedy. Superworm is a brilliant central character, who has great friends who will ultimately triumph over the wonderfully entertaining villain.”
The Coop Troop
Created by: Colin Williams and Alex T. Smith
Distributed by: Sixteen South Rights and Tencent in China
Format: 52 x 11′
Target Audience: Boys and girls 6 – 9
Synopsis: The Coop Troop is a gang of five unlikely heroes: hyperactive rabbit Maggie, eccentric inventor Flo the chicken, bon vivant swine Clive, excitable lamb Billy and enigmatic egg, Jo d’Oeuf. Thirsty for adventure and eager to escape their mundane farm life, their mission is to help any animal with a problem – and they’re kept busy by the precious and very pampered pets in the nearby town of Animauville.
Stand-Out Qualities: This super-deluxe, fast, funny, farcical and feathery new comedy series is a co-production between Sixteen South, Mikros Animation, France Télévisions and Tencent Kids and features filmic animation with rib-tickling story lines.
Exec Quote: Collin Williams, showrunner at 16 South, says, “After the doom and gloom of 2020, we wanted to create a ridiculous and silly series that would be funny enough to make kids spit their dinner all over the screen while watching! Imagine The A Team — only with animals, and animated in Pixar quality CGI — that’s what we’re making!”
Delivery Date: 2022
Created by: Sonia Manzano
Produced by: Fred Rogers Productions, PBS KIDS
Distributed by: Sinking Ship Entertainment
Format: 40 x 22′, also available as 11′
Type of Animation: 2D
Target Audience: Kids 4-6
Synopsis: Six-year-old Alma is a proud Bronx-born, Puerto Rican girl living her fast-paced city life. The viewer is Alma’s best friend and confidant. She tells them her secrets, shares her feelings and challenges, and adds colorful commentary to her life’s moments — big and small. Alma doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, and her confidence can sometimes get her into trouble. But that’s okay, because Alma is just beginning to put concepts together and think on her own.
Stand-Out Qualities: The show is created by Sonia Manzano, best known as Maria from Sesame Street. It’s produced by Fred Rogers Productions (Daniel Tiger‘s Neighborhood) and PBS KIDS, and it’s full of engaging and beautiful music and problem solving plotlines.
Exec Quote: “From the first time we saw the materials for this show, we fell in love with Alma, her sense of confidence and optimism,” says Marilyn Kynaston, Sinking Ship’s head of sales and distribution. “We are looking forward to bringing this beautiful new series about decision-making and problem-solving to our global buyers.”
“Sonia is naturally funny and perceptive, and she has created in Alma a heroine who is similarly able to confront challenges with humor and thoughtful intention,” says Linda Simensky, head of PBS Kids Content.
Delivery Date: January 2022
Eddy and the Ecosaurs
Created by: Omens Studios
Distributed by: Omens Studios
Format: 52 x 11′
Target Audience: Kids 5-8
Synopsis: Eddy and the Ecosaurs follows novice inventor Eddy and his junior dinosaur crew, thinking big to help others all around Volcano Valley. Each dino has a specialist skill that befits their natural talents and size. Together, they help their evolving community of dino and human friends with all sorts of challenges and problems, using a winning mix of dino-strength, cool tech and teamwork. Only one problem: on the other side of the Volcano lives Lucy Lava – a highly ambitious inventor who thinks everything’s a competition with Eddy.
Stand-Out Qualities: The series champions inclusivity by focusing on stories that spring from the characters’ varied points of view, hobbies and cultural references. The episodes see the characters creatively use eco-friendly technology and engineering to solve problems and spark children’s interest in science through wacky inventions, lost-island adventures and comic entertainment.
Exec Quote: “As the second series to be developed out of our London office by our talented team of experienced creatives, Eddy and the Ecosaurs is a show with diversity and caring for the environment at its heart and makes a fantastic addition to our expanding preschool slate. We’re confident that the adventures of Eddy and his dinosaur crew, which all take place in a fun and vibrant setting, will resonate with young audiences globally,” says Harry Teper, managing director, Omens Studios.
Kung Fu Wa!
Created by: Tencent Video and UYoung
Distributed by: Federation Kids & Family (select territories)
Format: 52 x 11′
Target Audience: Kids 6-9
Synopsis: The heart-warming action series follows the adventures of a curious eight-year-old girl named Tee Zee who discovers an odd-looking sock in her mother’s laundry that talks — and was originally a Kung Fu Master charged with guarding an ancient scroll. When the Master came through a vortex into Tee Zee’s time, his powers were weakened, and he was transformed into a sock. However, when Tee Zee puts the sock on her foot she transforms into a kick-butt kung fu super heroine, and together they must complete the Master’s mission and follow the ancient scroll to defeat evil and protect their world.
Stand-Out Qualities: The show combines the pizzazz of girl power, kung fu, Asian aesthetics, comedy, action and more.
Exec Quote: Monica Levy, Federation Kids & Family’s head of sales, notes, “This is a funny fast-paced show packed with action and adventure with an incredible heroine who is an inspiration to all kids. It is also interspersed with endearing moments especially around the special relationship that forms between Tee Zee and the Kung Fu Master.”
Chase and CATCH
Created by: Saturday Animation Studio
Distributed by: Digital Dimension Entertainment Group
Format: 13 x 22′
Animation: UHD CGI
Target Audience: Boys 7+
Synopsis: Wunderkind teen Kenzo Chase joins the futuristic Vivacity police force where he must learn to work as a team with his straight-laced, prototype robot partner CATCH. Together they strive to crack the clues that will dismantle a diabolical outlaw syndicate led by the notoriety-starved Brainwreck and his VANISH crew, and prevent them from bringing chaos to the chrome-filled, slick streets of Vivacity.
Stand-Out Qualities: This is a high-octane action-comedy series produced in ultra-high-definition CGI utilizing Digital Dimension Entertainment Group’s proprietary real-time pipeline based on Epic’s Unreal Engine. By utilizing the Unreal Engine technology, entire story worlds and their characters can be brought to life across multiple dimensions – from content to toys to video games.
Exec Quote: “Our mission at Saturday Animation Studio is to ‘bring back the magic of Saturday mornings,’ and in creating Chase and CATCH, we were Inspired by the classic 1980s cartoons that many of us grew up watching each Saturday! The show is about brotherhood, collaboration, belonging and carving your own path partnered with some tech-enhanced high-octane thrills and next-gen gadgetry. We are thrilled to introduce our new series to buyers at MIPJunior and are confident that Chase and CATCH will resonate with boys around the world,” says Fred Faubert, Digital Dimension Entertainment Group’s CCO and series showrunner.
Jasmine & Jambo
Created by: Teidees, Barcelona
Distributed by: Dandelooo
Format: 26 x 7′
Target Audience: Preschool (3-7)
Synopsis: Jasmine and Jambo are two friends who share a passion for music. They love music so much that everything they do is related to it. And they live in the perfect place: Soundland, a surreal land where music reigns.
Stand-Out Qualities: An original concept, fun and a smart way to initiate pre-schoolers to all kinds of music. It has a unique look with its design and loveable characters.
Exec Quote: Emmanuèle Pétry Sirvin, Partner at Dandelooo, tells us, “We fell in love immediately with these two charming and fun characters who are not afraid to test, to fail, to joke around and embark kids in their creative swirl. We had been looking for a ‘music show’ for a while and this one is just perfect!”
Ranger Rick Adventures
Created by: Bix Pix Entertainment, Red Rock Films, in assoc. with National Wildlife Federation
Format: 8 x 22′
Animation: Hybrid (animation on top of live action)
Target Audience: Kids 5-8
Synopsis: Brought to life for the first time on TV, the National Wildlife Federation’s beloved ranger raccoon and friends explore the wonders of nature. Ranger Rick, Boomer the Badger and Scarlett Fox help kids dive into conservation themes that show how interconnected our environment is and how simple actions can lead to big changes. In the first season, the friends embark on an epic 3,000-mile adventure to help the plucky, but laser-focused Tunia the Monarch Butterfly reach her ancestral family tree.
Stand-Out Qualities: Ranger Rick has a 50-year legacy of inspiring kids to be wildlife champions. The Ranger Rick magazine has been a Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner for the past 10 years and more than two million children ages 0 to 12 are reached through all Ranger Rick print and digital outlets.
Exec Quote: Executive producer Brenda Wooding tells us, “This series will not only have one of the largest and most trusted conservation organizations backing it [National Wildlife Federation], but will also have the fresh, imaginative storytelling and animation magic of Bix Pix steering it forward for the next era. My hope is that kids connect to the series and realize they too can make a difference.”
Produced & Distributed by: TeamTO
Based on: Panique Mythologie by Fabien Clavel
Format: 26 x 22′
Type of Animation: CG
Target Audience: Kids 6-10
Synopsis: Kiran has no idea how he wound up in the world of Greek mythology, but it turns out he is the chosen one for a hero’s quest! With his new friend Leuki, the daughter of Hades — who also happens to be all prepped to be a hero — and with Kiran’s video gaming skills, they have a chance of keeping history on track.
Stand-Out Qualities: TeamTO brings mythological stories to life through a modern lens — giving the classics a long overdue dusting off for kids. GG Odyssey explores the vast and exciting world of mythology through the ubiquitous world of gaming. What’s not to love?
Exec Quote: Creative development producer Mary Bradin tells us, “In this modern adaptation, we encounter all the great mythological figures, including Odysseus, in an action-packed serialized retelling of ancient Greek myths seen through the eyes of a young kid and his badass new best friend Leuke, who happens to be the daughter of Hades. The bridge between time allows us to revisit these classic stories with fresh eyes with updated topics like diversity and inclusion.”
Rita Peters: 1.19 Meters
Created by: Adam Redfern and One Animation
Distributed by: One Animation
Format: 26 x 11′
Target Audience: Kids 6-9
Synopsis: Rita Peters is a small girl with a big justice button. Often overlooked and patronized by people with misguided assumptions based on her size, what she lacks in height, she compensates for with an energy and zest for life, plus an empathy and desire to fix inequality wherever she finds it. When she discovers the characters on her faded old height chart can magically come to life and enter the real world, Rita and her best friends think these larger-than-life visitors can help every situation!
Stand-Out Qualities: The capers of Rita and her two best friends, Suzi and Marv — who are all unique in their own ways but fit together perfectly — will show young audiences there is not a magic remedy to make it through life’s challenges, but that real life offers a chance for good friendships, helping one another, perseverance and making your unique mark on the world. The series is also inspired by Adam Redfern’s own real-life experiences of being the smallest in his school class.
Exec Quote: Michele Schofield, senior VP of content distribution at One Animation, says, “We want this comedy series, which is based around friendships and teamwork, to encourage kids to have self-belief and focus on all the amazing things they can achieve. It’s been great working closely with Adam on developing this series and we’re really looking forward to introducing Rita and her friends to potential partners at MIPCOM 2021.”
Delivery Date: End of 2022