LONDON — “Yoko” won the award for an animated series with the highest international potential at Suzdal Animation Festival in Russia. The award is backed by Reed Midem, which organizes content markets such as MipTV and Mipcom.
“Yoko” will receive free registration at Reed Midem’s children’s programming event MipJunior, and will be included in the MipJunior Digital Library. Laurine Garaude, director of the TV division at Reed Midem, said: “Such a partnership between our two key kids’ entertainment industry events creates an excellent synergy and helps to bolster the level of high-quality international TV series for children.”
“Yoko” is a co-production between Russia’s Wizart TVSeries, the television department of Wizart Animation, and two companies based in San Sebastian, Spain, Somuga and Dibulitoon. The target audience is preschool — 4- to 6-year-olds. The series contains 52 episodes, written by an international team, including Andy Yerkes (“Pocoyo,” “Jungle Junction”), Kevin Strader (“Jelly Jam”), Evgenia Golubeva (“Luntik”), Leo Murzenko (“Kikoriki”) and Edorta Barruetabeña (“Unibertsolariak”).
“Yoko” has been developed as “an international property focused on outdoor play patterns with a social curriculum that mixes friendship, nature and imagination.” The stories are about three friends, Oto, Mai and Vik, who meet in City Park to play. Yoko, who lives in the park, appears at the beginning of each episode, and his unpredictable nature turns the kids’ everyday games into a high-stakes adventure where playgrounds become spaceships, or the sun switches off because camping is just more fun in the dark.
Somuga’s Juanjo Elordi, one of “Yoko’s” producers, said: “‘Yoko’ is about playing outdoors with your best friends. It is the dream of all children. ‘Yoko’ uses large doses of fantasy and imagination to place its characters in extreme situations. Maintaining friendship in difficult conditions is the goal of our characters. It is the goal of all children in the world to be part of a fun-loving group of friends.”
Wizart will present new episodes of “Yoko” at MipTV in April and at MipJunior in October at the Russian Cinema Stand, organized by Russian Cinema Fund with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
Elordi added: “Co-productions present many challenges, but when you work shoulder to shoulder with hardworking people such as the Wizart team, it is a rewarding experience.”
Yuri Moskvin, the series’ producer for Wizart, said: “We are very happy to receive this award from Reed Midem, and we expect that broadcasters will also appreciate ‘Yoko’s’ potential for international markets. We are also in negotiations with licensing partners.”