France Televisions, the Paris-headquartered public broadcaster which ranks as the leading backer of European animation, announced Wednesday four new animated features and dozens of series at Annecy Film Festival.
The broadcaster, which invested 30 million euros – more than 50% of which were invested in original French content in 2017 — is co-producing Remi Chayé’s “Calamity,”Tanguy de Kermel’s “SamSam,” Eric Tosti, David Alaux and Jean-Francois Tosti’s “Terra Willy” (pictured), and Toby Genkel and Xavier Giacometti’s “Yakari.”
“Yakari,” based on the character of the popular series and the comic books by Derib & Job, follows a Sioux boy who lives a great adventure every day in the wilderness with his best friends. The series is produced by Dargaud Media, Wunderwerk, Belvision, France 3 Cinema, Bac Films Production, Universum Film and Gao Shan Pictures.
Set in 1863 in the Wild West, “Calamity” follows Jane, a 10-year-old in the year after both parents died. The previously-announced feature marks Chayé’s follow up to critically acclaimed “Long Way North.”
“SamSam,” a spinoff feature of the hit series, abouta kid who discovers an anti-monster power thanks to a new student at school. Didier Brunner’s Folivari is producing “SamSam.”
“Terra Willy,” meanwhile, follows a young boy who is separated from his parents following the destruction of their ship and lands on a wild and unexplored planet. TAT Productions, the banner behind “The Jungle Bunch: The Movie” is producing. Bac Films handles international sales.
France Televisions also has about 20 animated series for pre-schoolers in development or production, and around 30 series for kids age 6 and above.
New France Televisions-commissioned shows currently in production including “Coache Me If You Can” about a famous soccer player who was cursed and turned into a ball (produced by Xilam), Bestioles Motel, about a adventures of a band of insects Cohabiting with humans in a motel (produced by Je Suis Bien Content), Power Player,” about a 9-year boy who can transform into a living action figure (produced by Zagtoon). Series in development include “Osmund” about a lonely 10 year-old girl who bonds with Osmond, a gentle, magical monster (produced by Superprod), and “Viking Skool” about budding Vickings (produced by Samka Productions/Cartoon Saloon).
During the press conference, France Televisions executives addressed the pending reforms of France’s broadcasters which calls for a shutting down of France 4 and said they are currently exploring a new business model which would allow them to relocate a portion of the channel’s budget on commissions for their digital service. Today, 80% of children watch programs on TV, 10% of them watch them on-demand and the remaining watch them on digital services.
“It’s a mistake to axe a flagship channel like France 4 because it’s there that animated programs can gain recognition,” said Roch Lener, founder and president of Millimages, the production banner of “Molang.” “Without flagship channels, series are diluted on digital platforms and kids will not be able to find these quality programs but will be instead directed towards mediocre programs recommended by algorithm,” added Lener.