Puppet show boosts toon skills in Africa, Central America

MADRID — Spanish toon studio Munecos Animados is readying a 22-seg half-hour pre-school series, “Amigos,” aimed at disseminating animation skills and general development in Central America and Africa.

Spanish sales agent Nottingham Forrest will handle international sales.

“Amigos” features six friends: an elephant, crocodile, bear, fox, a black panther in a wheelchair, and a little chicken.

Puppets are made of curtain or sofa fabric, fleece, polystyrene foam, polyester — all common materials easily found or accessible in Africa or Central America.

Voicing will be dubbed in Spanish for Spain, South American Spanish, French and English. And screenplays will be written out of Spain, said Roman.

In an usual link-up, “Amigos” is backed by Spain’s Munecos Animados, Spanish pubcaster TVE, and state broadcasters from Niger, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea. Pubcasters in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador also back the project.

“Amigos” has also tapped finance from Spain’s Ministry of Culture and Ibero-American Agency for Development.

Spanish bank BBVA has signed a sponsorship and investment deal on “Amigos.”

“Amigos” will go into production in 2012.

Profits would revert to the countries involved, said Roman.

It will go into production around March or April. Total series budget is Euros2.5 million ($3.4 million).

Munecos is based out of Colmenar Viejo, a village about half-hour’s drive north of Madrid.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more