Imira Entertainment, the Spain-based distributor-producer of kids and family content, part of the Toonz Media Group, has struck partnership deals at Annecy with Chile’s Lunes Animation Studio and Ireland’s Telegael on, respectively, properties “My (Ex) Imaginary Best Friend” and “Alexander and Pete.”
“My (Ex) Imaginary Best Friend” is an 11-minute 26 episode animated series about children dealing with the changes and frustrations during their puberty.
With Emmy-winning kids’-content producer Telegael, where Toonz has a majority stake, Imira has inked to pitch to prospective partners on the live action comedy “Alexander and Pete.”
A 22-minute 26 episode series, following the adventures of a magic loving schoolboy who discovers a six-hundred-year-old talking rabbit, “Alexander and Pete” has been created by Barbara Slade, whose credits include “Rugrats,” “Angelina Ballerina” and “Winnie The Pooh.”
“Both projects are development deals signed between Imira and the creatives to jointly produce and secure co-producers, with Imira having worldwide distribution and share of the property,” Paul Robinson, Imira CEO and former Disney and NBCUniversal senior executive, told Variety.
Imira has created bibles, presentations and two-minute trailers for each project to show them to broadcasters at Annecy.
In a further agreement unveiled at the event, Imira has teamed with Canadian producer Little Engine Moving Pictures to manage international pre-sales and distribution of “Starseeker,” a 22-minute 26-chapter kids and tweens live action space comedy adventure property, created by Little Engine co-founder and writer-director Ben Mazzotta.
“We see a significant increase in interest from broadcasters and streamers for live action shows to appeal to older kids, eight-to-12, because animation is becoming increasingly difficult to engage them. Kids are wanting more complex stories and reality rather than fantasy, so live action is better at delivering that audience need,” Robinson said.
He added: “There is also interest in hybrid shows, so a live action cast to relate to the audience but animation to create backgrounds or build the world in which the story is set.”
“For example, in ‘Alexander and Pete,’ the six hundred-year-old rabbit is animated and that gives the opportunity to create a really funny and dynamic character as a companion to Pete, who is played by an actor; in ‘Starseeker,’ the kids are real people but their space ship, the Starseeker, is CG animation.”
A further trend Robinson highlighted is comedy. “We have two new comedy shows at the market, ‘Sunnyside Billy’ and ‘Yolkels,’ and they are well received. Comedy is a unifying force for kids and the demand for comedy and sitcoms, both live action and animation, is growing,” he concluded.