Superights Delivers 'Picnic with Cake’

Superprod nurtures new French, Belgian toon talent

ANNECY — Superights Family Entertainment, a new French film-TV sales company launched by Axone Invest and Superprod, is making its market bow at Annecy’s Intl. Animation Film Market (MIFA), which kicked off Wednesday, introducing buzzed-up TV series “Picnic With Cake.”

Paris-based production house Superprod is already co-producing TV series “Lassie” with DreamWorks Classics and India’s DQ Entertainment, plus Tomm Moore’s eagerly anticipated animated feature “Song of the Sea,” his follow-up to Oscar-nommed “The Secret of Kells.”

Headed by Clement Calvet and Jeremy Fajner, Superprod is now developing a portfolio of animated feature films from the latest generation of French and Belgian animation helmers.

Produced by Holland’s Submarine Prods., Belgium’s Walking the Dog and Spain’s Tomavistas, “Picnic” is a pre-school animated TV series, interactive website and iPad game adapting the delicately drawn picture-books “Picnick met Taart” and “Waar is de Taart,” authored by The Tjong-Khing, a multi-prized Netherlands-based children’s book illustrator.

The series and a 25-minute special have a central storyline: Mr. and Mrs. Dog baking two delicious cakes for a picnic with their animal friends. But at the picnic, the cakes go missing.

Typifying Superights and Superprods’ mix of artistic ambition and commercial appeal, each episode tells the story from the P.O.V. of a different animal, making the seg, variously, a thriller, slapstick or a romantic comedy.

“Picnic” has been bought by Scandinavia’s four major pubcasters: Sweden’s SVT, Denmark’s DR, NRK in Norway and Finland’s YLE.

Run by Morgann Favennec, who ankled Gallic commercial network M6 in May to head up sales and acquisitions, Superights is also repping “Kika & Bob,” a comedy for 6-12s, full of useless trivia, which tracks the globe-crossing misadventures of 6-year-old Kika and Bob the Fireman.

Submarine is producing “Kika & Bob” for Canal Plus Family, RTBF and VRT in Belgium, the Netherlands’ NTR and DR.

Paris-based Superights will sell a highly select number of productions, maybe four to five a year, Calvet told Variety.

“If you have too many projects, the producers you’re working for won’t be taken care of and we don’t want the products cannibalizing each other,” he said.
He added that Superights’ sales slate will run a wide gamut from live action to animation, pre-school, kids, adult and family entertainment, and movies, short TV formats, half-hours and TV movies.

Underscoring Supeprods’ bet on original animated projects, which stand apart in terms of their stories and style, Superprod is teaming with Belgium’s Tondo Films and the Netherlands’ Topkapi Films to produce Belgian Jan Bultheel’s “Cafard,” an unusual World War I story about the odyssey around the world of a member of Belgium’s armored car division. “Cafard” uses motion-capture, low poly models, sketchy textures and plain backgrounds.

Further Superprod animation films in development include redemption tale “White Fang,” an adaptation of Jack London’s novel by Dominique Monfery (“Eleonor’s Secret”), Luc Vinciguerra’s fantasy tale “Faustine et la chimere,” and “Miles,” from famed children’s book illustrator Rebecca Dautremer, who served as art director on “Eleanor’s Secret,” a toon pic that grossed $5.3 million in France and was picked up by The Weinstein Co. for the U.S.

“Song of the Sea,” presented by Moore at an Annecy Work in Progress session Friday, is now in post-production and will be completed by summer 2014, Calvet said.

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