Spain’s BRB Preparing Toon Swashbuckler ‘Dogtanian’

China’s Mili Pictures co-produces swashbuckler

ANNECY, France — BRB Internacional, one of Spain’s biggest kids TV producers, is moving into movie production, with a spinoff feature of one of the most successful Spanish TV series ever, “Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds.”

“Dogtanian” is produced by BRB and Screen21 and is co-produced with Chinese animation firm Mili Pictures, producer of Annecy out-of-competition player “Dragon Nest: Warriors’ Dawn.” The Chinese linkup ensures entrance into China’s market and a link to a building producer: Mili Pictures opened a division in Los Angeles last year.

Series and now feature film are based on Alexandre Dumas’ 17th century classic adventure “The Three Musketeers,” but with dogs embodying the swashbucklers. Loyal to the spirit, plot will be significantly different from the book and series in order to increase the surprise factor, said Carlos Biern, CEO of BRB Internacional.

Jose Javier Martinez, a children and young adult literature writer (“The Author of this Book is a Zombie”) a toon series helmer (“Iron Kid,” “Cloud Trotters”), will direct, Trained in L.A., Martinez won a Fullbright Scholarship. His plaudits include an Annual Student Academy Award and Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence Award.

“Dogtanian’s” production budget is about $8 million, depending on final voice cast.

“’D’Artagnan’ is a giant and vibrant brand that is very well known in France, U.K., Spain, Italy, but also in countries such as Japan and Mexico,” said Biern.

Producers are in advanced talks with Hollywood majors for an international distribution deal.

“Dogtanian” will bring together all the bedrock musketeers mythology: The new-guy-in-town, adventure/action, love, frenetic clashes between heroes and villains, palace intrigue and justice, honor and friendship — all gathered together amid a bold comedic tone, announced Biern.

Recent references could be “Kung Fu Panda” and “Puss in Boots,” both also addressing the “Dogtanian” target –children and family auds.

Production-distribution-licensing company BRB, which is based out of Barcelona and Madrid, produced the original toon TV series in 1981. It went on to sell worldwide. Series was co-produced with Nippon Animation. More than 130 broadcasting stations have aired it through these three last decades, including BBC, France’s TF1, Japan’s MBS and Italy’s Mediaset.

A second season was co-produced with Thames Television and Spanish pubcaster TVE in 1990.

Some of BRB’s other hit series are “Iron Kid,” “Angus & Cheryl” and “Bernard.”

BRB has also offices in Shanghai and has a high-volume sales business targeting VOD platforms. Co-production treaties between Spain and China require 20% minimum local investment in order to avoid China’s quota system for theatrical distribution.

Spain’s animation sector was ravaged by recession but may now showing some signs of recovery. One galvanizing factor is the digital revolution, argued Biern, who is also president of Spanish animation lobby Diboos. “In a single digital market, which is now being talked about, where shows will not be sold by territories but languages, working with digital platforms is not a future but a fact,” said Biern.

“Children’s shows are an ideal product for VOD platforms, all of them have kids shows. It’s a way of having content for the whole family and kids don’t watch TV just in living rooms but on tablets, sofas, their bedrooms, the cars, so for kids shows anytime-anywhere viewing via smart-phones is perfect.”

“Dogtanian’s” production is scheduled to finish by the end of 2016.

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