Company targets kids

MADRID — France’s Canal Plus has issued a call for short-form animation projects as part of New Cartoons, its latest push to hike the production of original, family-skewed toon fare for the giant paybox.

Open to animation makers of any nationality, the tender was announced Wednesday at the 32nd Annecy Intl. Film Festival by Francois Deplanck, Canal Plus head of children’s programs and channels.

The animation push reflects new programming challenges at Canal Plus. It has lost its huge supply of Warner Bros. cartoons, and last October launched a new family-targeted channel, Canal Plus Family, as part of Canal Plus Le Bouquet.

“Over the last five years, there hasn’t been much family-orientated animation on Canal Plus, apart from feature films and chase cartoons,” said Deplanck.

Aimed at the production of short-format series — segs should run five to seven minutes — New Cartoons offers producers of 10 winning projects full Canal Plus financing for a pilot.

Successful pilots will be made into 37-51 seg first seasons. Series will be broadcast on Canal Plus Ca Cartoon Sunday evening block and a Canal Plus Family block, Cartoon Family, over the 2009-10 season.

“There are lots of series for kids, but what we’re looking for is family entertainment through animated series, slapstick humor, maybe cutting edge series,” said Deplanck, citing Xilam Animation’s “Oggy and the Cockroaches,” which Canal Plus Family has just reupped for a third season as a prime example.

“What makes Canal Plus special is that there are a lot of shows coming in which are innovative, first run and exclusive,” he added.

Highlights of Canal Plus Family’s 2008-09 season include “Oggy,” the Cube-produced short-format “Kaeloo” and U.S.-Canadian manga-style “Three Delivery.”

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