Tiger Aspect taps Homeboyz for Kenyan series

Entertainment Rights has bought worldwide distribution rights to Tiger Aspect Prods.’ “Tinga Tinga Tales,” a weekly animated series already pre-bought by Playhouse Disney in the U.S. and CBeebies in England.

In a rare production initiative, Tiger Aspect will do the series in Kenya, helping a group of Nairobi-based animators and designers to set up a production studio called Homeboyz, which will create 52 episodes, each telling an 11-minute story about one animal. Deborah Dugan, prexy-CEO of Entertainment Rights North America, said that the episodes will answer such questions as why a hippopotamus has no hair and why a giraffe’s neck is so long.

Claudia Lloyd, head of animation and children’s programming for Tiger Aspect, came up with the idea for the series, basing it on animal folklore passed down through the generations in Africa. “Tinga” becomes available as 26 half-hours in fall 2009.

The Nairobi animators will hand-paint the images first and then add computer animation to the process.

Dugan, a former top executive with the Walt Disney Co., says she plans to begin “Tinga” sales talks with Playhouse Disney for its networks in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia and other countries. In April, these Playhouse Disney channels engineered a global buy of Aardman Animations’ “Timmy” series for 2009.

Andrew Zein, managing director of Tiger Aspect, said half of its profits from the sale of “Tinga” will go to children’s education in East Africa.

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