Planeta Junior, Sony Music, Isla Roll on ‘Oliver Rock’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Planeta Junior moves into live-action family entertainment

MADRID – Barcelona-based Planeta Junior, DreamWorks Animation’s distributor/licensing manager in Southern Europe, is teaming with Sony Music Entertainment and Spanish production house Isla Audiovisual to produce “Oliver Rock.”

Going into production Aug. 3, “Oliver Rock” marks the first live action co-production for Planeta Junior which, founded in 2000, now has offices beyond Spain in Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Poland, and will represent international sales rights on the series. Planeta Junior will present a trailer at October’s Mipcom trade fair.

“Oliver Rock” also signals the latest production from Isla, whose “Rabia,” a Mip TV highlight about to bow on Spain’s Mediaset España, has been optioned for a U.S. remake by Captivate Entertainment. Originated by Isla, “Star Crossed” bowed on CW as a mid-season 2013 series.

Unusually for Spanish production, “Oliver Rock” targets a 7-12 audience, especially 10-12 tweens, and both boy and girl demos, said Diego Ibañez, Planeta Junior international commercial director.

Based on an original idea from Isla, the 26-seg half-hour skein turns on 12-year-old Oliver, who dreams about the Olivers, one of the best rock bands on planet Earth, fronted by superhero singer Bravo, and also featuring Brinco, who plays acoustic guitar; Black Flash, who’s crazy about street sports; and Beta, a kickass android. Mixing action, comedy and loads of music, performed by real-life Spanish act La Sonrisa de Julia, skein focuses on the band’s adventures and includes music vids – of, for example, the Billy Boom Band, formed by La Sonrisa de Julia, Oliver’s favorite band — combining street sports, puppets and digital effects.

A modern format principally targeting Europe and the U.S., “Oliver Rock” will be sold in English and Spanish-language versions, with songs sung in both languages. Ibanez said.

The TV series is also designed for Internet viewing with episodes’ storyline split into blocks – vidclips, tracks, for instance — which can play as capsules on the Internet, added Ibañez, for whom the series is gender neutral: “The series attempts to establish associations between music and events in the daily lives of pre-adolescents. That interests girls as much as boys.”

For Planeta Junior director general Ignacio Segura, the 7-12 demo is underserved: “I believe the market’s been asking for the format for some time,” he said.

“Music content for young audiences has been a strategic business area for Sony Music España for some time,” Jose Maria Barbat, president of Sony Music Iberia, remarked. “When we discovered the Billy Boom Band and its TV incarnation — ‘Oliver Rock’ — we immediately wanted to be part of this amazing adventure, through which we again hope to change the rules of the game.”

David Garcia, Isla Audiovisual director general, added: “For Isla Audiovisual, ‘Oliver Rock’ is a strategic project and an incredible adventure…. Together we are going to work to make ‘Oliver Rock’ a benchmark for children’s content.”

Planeta Junior’s current sales slate also includes “Mutant Busters” and “Bubble Bip,” pitched at June’s Annecy Animation Fest.

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