BARCELONA– Emmy winning producer Karen Fowler has been tapped as the showrunner on children’s TV skein “Flora of the Forest,” (aka “Deer Little Forest”) the pre-school property of Koko Rose Media, Bejuba! and King Rollo Films.
With PBS’ remake of “The Electric Company” show, producer Fowler nabbed three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children’s Series from 2010 to 2012, as well as a trio of Parent’s Choice Gold kudos, among many other awards and nominations.
Aiming to be structured as a 52 11-minute upper pre-school series, “Forest” follows Flora a singular seven-year-old powerhouse of a girl, an animal-loving, tree-hugging, universe-exploring adventurer. She lives with her research scientist Mom in an enchanted treehouse in the middle of an old forest surrounded by her furry friends.
“Flora speaks to me. She’s a fiercely free and funny seven-year old with a righteous life. She rolls like a hedgehog, howls like a wolf and considers the stars her friends. Flora is the party,” said Fowler, adding the design was “unlike anything I’ve seen before.”
Koko Rose is a joint venture between children’s media executive Lisa Hryniewicz and “Forest“ creator Jo Rose. A PR and Marketing consultant at Koko Media, Hryniewicz was manager and distribution head at TV Loonland and founder of Paris and Miami-based Salsa Distribution.
“Koko Rose is more of a brand management company than a production company and given the extent of ancillary activity in place before the show has even been on air licensing agents in 13 countries, apps, greeting cards, housewares, etc., that will be our main focus for the foreseeable future,” Hryniewicz pointed out.
Hryniewicz has worked with, among others, TeamTO, Cottonwood Media, Guru Studio, Rainbow, Zodiac Media, Marathon Media, and the Jim Henson Company.
Jo Rose is a prestigious designer working with paper cutting, illustration and photography. She was nominated for the prestigious Henries ‘Most Promising Artist/ Designer’ category in 2013.
Chris Parker and Sam Dransfield (“Peppa Pig,” “Timmy Time,” “Mike the Knight”) are penning the “Forest” script.
Founded by veteran kids TV exec Tatiana Kober, the Toronto-based Bejuba! –“Ruff-Ruff Tweet and Dave,” “Bug Bites”– handles TV series international sales. U.K.’s King Rollo Films (“Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies,” “Poppy Cat”), a BAFTA and Emmy awarded shingle, completes the team.
A Bejuba! rep will present the new “Forest” bible at France’s Annecy Animation Festival, which runs June 13-18.
“An important trend that is particularly close to my heart, is the rethinking of gender roles. Most urgently for girls and girl role models, but also for boys and parents,” said Hryniewicz.
We hope our cast offers some unexpected and fresh characters in that sense, not just a very strong girl lead but also the secondary characters: a research scientist mom that Flora looks up to, Barley-Crumb the male Martha Stewart Character and Lockhart, the female slapstick comedy relief.”
In the same line, Fowler added: “Larger media movements like ‘throw like a girl’ underscore the changing dialogue around what it is to be a girl. Rich expansive girl-driven properties are in demand.”
She added, “We’re seeing really funny girls, flawed girls, loud girls, girls who build, who conquer, who question, who nurture. And we need to continue to push this for girls and to bring the expansive opportunities for reflection for our young boys as well.”
Fowler is currently also working on Jim Henson & Industrial Brothers’ animated series “Dot,” based on the book by Randi Zuckerberg, for Sprout and CBC. Fowler held staff positions at Nickelodeon, CBC and Sesame Workshop and worked independently for Sprout and Toca Boca. She is represented by Vanguarde Artists Management in Toronto.