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MipJunior: Cottonwood’s ‘Ollie & Moon’ Closes U.K. With Sony’s Tiny Pop (EXCLUSIVE)

Secured by Federation Kids & Family, deal adds to distribution pacts in U.S. and multiple English-speaking markets

CANNES — Federation Kids & Family, the Paris-based premium  family content distributor, has closed U.K. rights on “The Ollie & Moon Show” with Tiny Pop, the U.K. pre-school TV channel owned by Sony Pictures Television Networks.

Produced by Cottonwood Media, FK&F’s production arm, in association with Sprout and France Télévisions, the buddy slapstick comedy features two six-year-old square-headed cats:  the near obsessive-compulsive Ollie, and the highly impulsive Moon, his best friend; and Stanley, a blue and purple snail, their traveling companion.

Adapting Emmy-awarded author-illustrator Diane Kredensor’s best-selling book series, a typical episode features some reason for Moon to drag Ollie off around the world. In “A Sweet Time in Scotland,” Moon gobbles up Ollie’s special honey that his auntie gives him for his birthday ever year and tastes likes Scottish heather flowers and which he needs on his toast breakfast every morning. Otherwise, he doesn’t function.

There’s a visit to a foreign location, maybe a moral – in “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” the buddies learn not to lie – and certainly a lot of knock-about comedy; some information about foreign cultures – yes, some men in Scotland really do wear skirts – and live-action photo backgrounds giving vistas of real locations, which is only appropriate for a series designed to promote children’s curiosity about other cultures.

“It’s about standing out in a way that is smart and not too commercial, not making more of the same thing, which can become a commercial opportunity at the end of the day,” said Cottonwood Media and FK&F president David Michel, who co-developed the series, and also produced with Cottonwood’s other founders, Zoé Z. Carrera and Cécile Lauritano.

Making its global debut in the U.S. on NBC’s Sprout on May 27 last year,”The Ollie & Moon Show” has pre-sold and sold robustly to dozens of territories. Netflix (U.S., Canada), France Télévisions (France), UYoung (China), TVO, TFO and Knowledge (Canada), Discovery (Middle East), and VRT (Belgium) count among the buyers. “Ollie & Moon” closed with K2 (Italy), RTP (Portugal), ERRTV (Estonia) and LTV (Latvia) in deals announced earlier this year. Discovery Latin America has re-upped for Season 2.

Meanwhile, a further Cottonwood Media production, now renewed for Season 2,  tween adventure “Find Me in Paris,” was acquired by Nick U.K. in the run-up to MipJunior. completing its sales to major English-language markets.

Taking place in the iconic Parisian Garnier Opera House, “Find Me in Paris” turns on Lena Grisky, a dancer and princess poised to become the next young star of the ballet world in 1905. But suddenly she is whisked to the modern world. A rare European high-end live action series aimed at tweens and teenagers, “Find Me in Paris” is written and co-executive produced by Jill Girling and Lori Mather-Welch (“Ride”).

But the origins of the original writing talent on “The Ollie & Moon Show and “Find Me in Paris” does not explain their sales success in English-speaking territories, Michel argued.

“I don’t think it’s connected to country, more to taste. We like bold and gutsy characters. Over the top, optimistic characters with an attitude. Stories that have perspective and character. Fast-paced storytelling,” he said, adding that “It’s a good thing for the U.S. market, but it’s a personal taste”

Also, with regard to “Find Me in Paris,” “the mix – sci-fi with something very classical – is different.,” Michel added.

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