Fantasy series rolls off strong Catalan backing

BARCELONA — Stor Fisk has licensed most international sales rights on toon series “Fungi” to Julie Fox’s Paris-based Awol Animation.

Mango Distribution, co-owned by the Philippines’ Top Draw Animation and Australia’s Sticky Pictures, is selling Australia, New Zealand and Asia outside Japan. Awol will handle Europe, U.S. and Latin America.

A Barcelona-based pre-school and kids toon studio, Stor Fisk is producing “Fungi” with Catalan pubcaster TV3 and Top Draw.

Directed by SF partners Pablo Jordi and Veronica Lassenius, the 26-seg “Fungi” follows the adventures of two kids, Max and Frida, who live in Fungihouse, a community of Undergrounders, where everybody uses fungi — truffles — for food, clothing, medicine and even hats.

Aimed at tykes age 4 to 8, “Fungi” mixes fantasy with realism and a Scandinavian style — Lassenius is Finnish and Jordi acknowledged the influence of Scandinavian picture books — with a cosmopolitan air. One family’s accents range from American to British to Scandinavian.

“The mix is original. ‘Fungi’ is set in a fantasy setting but offers realistic situations,” Jordi said.

First episodes will be ready by February.

A flagship toon production from Catalonia, “Fungi” has state financing in the north-east Spanish region from pubcaster TV3 and the ICIC Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries, said Jordi plus an incentive from the ICAA Spanish Film Institute and development coin from the EU’s Media Program.

TV3 plows about €3 million ($4.1 million) per year into local animation production. It is co-producing 24 toons, said TV3 animation co-producer Oriol Sala Patau.

Five Catalan TV projects screened at September’s Cartoon Forum: “Fungi,” “The Mint Fairy,” “Perfect Teeth,” “Night Breeds” and “Wilbur Willmore.”

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