Shingle links to Eddadesign for 'Wilbur'

BARCELONA — Edebe Audiovisual Licensing is teaming with German pubcaster ZDF, Toronto-based Yowza Animation and Catalan state television TV3 to produce toon series “Four and a Half Friends.”

Edebe Audiovisual Licensing is the TV and cinema production and distrib arm of Grupo Edebe, a leading publishing group in Spain and Latin America.

Directed by Eva Fontanals and targeting 7 to 11 year olds, “Friends” is a half-hour series about the detective adventures of Charly, Stefi, Radish, Fred and their scruffy street dog, Dandy. It is budgeted at €4.5 million ($6.1 million).

ZDF and Edebe handle international sales.

“Friends” is based on a book series by German Joachim Friedrich that has sold more than 20 million copies in 40 countries.

Edebe has linked with Italian producer-distribber Gruppo Alcuni to produce the toon feature “Pet Pals and Marco Polo’s Code,” which is helmed by Sergio Manfio and has been released in Italy. “Pals” nabbed the Kineo Diamanti al Cinema prize at this year’s Venice festival.

Another Edebe project is the 52-episode cartoon series “Wilbur Willmore.” In development, it is co-produced by TV3 and industrial design house Eddadesign, which produced “Sweesters, Virtual Room” with Cromosoma.

Catalan animation has traditionally gone abroad to seek co-finance for series, even in good times. International co-production “will increase now in a downturn,” said Edebe sales manager Ivan Agenjo.

“Friends” will shortly go into production. It is skedded for delivery by 2013.

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