my friend Pancake
Image courtesy of Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon has officially opened its 2016 global Animated Shorts Program for submissions, which will be accepted from Feb. 3 through April 15. Designed to mine and cultivate a new generation of creative talent, the Animated Shorts Program will accept domestic and international pitches that will be developed into animated shorts for the Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. audiences.

Nickelodeon also named 22 participants from the 2015 Animated Shorts Program, whose projects will be developed into shorts that will potentially air on Nickelodeon, or appear on the network’s site or app. One of the projects (whittled down from almost 950 pitches from across the globe) is created by Rikke Asbjoern and titled “My Friend Pancake.” The short follows the fantastic adventures of young Hazel and her best friend, a giant talking cat named Pancake. Together they explore a mystical, living forest where the rules of nature don’t apply and strange things hide in the shadows, shrouded in mystery. Variety has an exclusive first look at the short below.

“We continue to garner terrific worldwide response from our Animated Shorts Program, and we look forward to working with this new creative group to develop and bring to life original characters, innovative content and kid-inspired storylines across all of our Nickelodeon platforms,” said Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s President of Content Development and Production.

The submitted shorts must be original, humor-based and character-driven. Pitches specific to Nick Jr. should come from a child’s POV, and focus on science, technology, and/or family for a preschool audience. Animation styles are encouraged from 2D, stop motion, CG or mixed media, and final pitches should be 2-3 minutes in length. For more information on the program, click here.

You can watch Nickelodeon’s previous short toons here. A full list of the 22 participants selected from 2015’s submissions is below.

Someone Needs to Stop Aunt Phyllis
Created by: Lisa Vandenberg (graduate of 2013 Nick Artist Program, storyboard revisionist on Sanjay and Craig)
Penny both loves and fears spending time with her Aunt Phyllis – an unstoppable force of nature who doesn’t believe in rules or consequences. Simply put: there is no one like Aunt Phyllis!

The Super Dooper Studios
Created by: Sabine Ravn and Stine Buhl
Bernie, a cameraman bear, and Bingo, an actor penguin, work at a once great, now struggling film & TV studio. There, they give the audience a tour and behind the scenes look of the place.

Farkel’s
Created by: Greg Kletsel, Valerie Lockhart, and Jaime Bassil
Dez (with her sentient hair, Hair) is the heir to Farkel’s Inc., famous for its oddball products and services, where creating fun and silly adventures is just part of her daily job.

Dog and Squirrel
Created by: Andrea Gerstmann (background artist on Pig Goat Banana Cricket)
Dog is a simple dog who likes human food and wants to play as dogs do. Squirrel is neurotic and seed-obsessed as squirrels are.

Girl from Dinosaur Island
Created by: Celestino Marina (graduate of 2014 Nick Artist Program, storyboard revisionist on Harvey Beaks)
Fearless and tough cave girl, Xotchi, along with her less brave sidekick Chuuk and her flying pterodactyl steed must rescue a stolen dinosaur egg from a mysterious group of evil-doers.

Lazybones
Created by: Casey Alexander and Lizz Hickey
Li’l Gil always seeks attention and is full of energy & strange ideas. Her silent sidekick and magical partner in crime, Lazybones, lives in her bag and comes to life when summoned. He can help by transforming into a ladder, car, etc.

Space Mission: Danger
Created by: Lynn Wang and Ed Skudder
Space explorers Diego the dog and Orbot the Robot are stranded on a remote planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth Casey is the last employee at Mission Control after an apocalypse, which she keeps secret from them.

Pig and a Blanket
Created by: Brendon Ingvy Gillas
A very earnest Mr. Rogers-like Pig believes it’s his duty to teach others in the woods valuable life lessons. His trusty flying friend, Blanket, helps but doesn’t always agree with Pig.

Planet Panic
Created by: Gene Goldstein (background artist on upcoming series The Loud House)
On Planet Panic, giant monsters roaming the city are as normal as morning traffic. Pibbles is a boy hero in training and Zeus is a man-machine hybrid assigned as his partner & mentor.

Slimelab
Created by: Nick Arciaga (story artist on Pinky Malinky)
Toby and Gooby, two scientists at Slimelab, are hungry but have no microwave to cook their frozen burritos.

My Friend Pancake
Created by Rikke Asbjoern (Co-Creator of Pinky Malinky)
The fantastic adventures of young Hazel and her best friend, a giant talking cat named Pancake. Together they explore a mystical, living forest where the rules of nature don’t apply and strange things hide in the shadows, shrouded in mystery.

Best Baddies
Created by Max Wittert (selection from Small Press Expo)
Four mischievous baddies turn a sweet little town upside down, making all the good girls go bad!

Mini Cops
Created by: Nicolette Groome
Offier Boi and Officer Gurl aim to save the world with their magical mustaches, but their playful ‘rescues’ tend to cause mass destruction.

Myth of Robo Wonder Kid
Created by Joel MacKenzie
Robo is an eternally optimistic, magical robot boy created from an ancient blueprint by a group of curious mythical monsters.

Monster Taco
Created by Vincent Scala (designer on Dora)
Olivia and Ferdinand, her cat, run a Mexican food truck serving the best tacos in town!

Ramblers
Created by Brett Jubenville and Morghan Fortier
Norville, Mr. Gobbles and Opee are Ramblers: intergalactic scouts on a mission to explore the universe and earn badges.

Burger Bros.
Created by Kevin Li (School of Visual Arts student)
Kipp becomes BFFs with a flying, talking, puppy-like burger after he discovers a portal in the dumpster behind his fast food employer.

PRONTOsaurus
Created by Evan Sussman and Allison Dressler Kramer (Hero4Hire Creative)
Dougie, a young Brontosaurus living in an anthropomorphic animal city, is the delivery dino for his parent’s fast-paced courier service. In every adventure, Dougie helps out a member of the community with their unique job, in an unexpected, comedic and heartwarming way.

Pony
Created by Ant Blades (Birdbox Studio, UK)
What would life be like if you had your own pony? Who was your best friend. Who lived with you. Who was doing something stupid again. Stop it, Pony. PONY!

Sharkdog
Created by Jacinth Tan & Raihan Harun (Chips and Toon, Singapore)
Max thinks he’s found his new best friend when he adopts Sharkdog – half shark, half dog, all appetite. But can Sharkdog suppress his ravenous urges and, just this once, not eat Max’s homework?

Trufax: Tot Cop
Created by Jason and Méabh Tammemägi (Mooshku, Ireland)
“The name’s Truman. Truman Faxfinder. But most people call me… Tot Cop.” Join the world’s tiniest, cutest detective, on his noir-influenced adventures as he solves preschool mysteries.

P.E.T. Academy
Created by Robert Smith (UK)
Welcome to PET Academy, a unique school where the animal teachers and students are all masters of their own particular sport. But can they learn to combine their skills and save the day?

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