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France’s Dandelooo, best known for International Emmy winner “The Treehouse Stories,” and Belgium’s Vivi Film, whose credits include Oscar nominated films “The Triplets of Belleville” and “The Secret of Kells,” have partnered to co-produce and co-finance the animated series “The Upside Down River.”

Dandelooo’s animation studio Ooolala will produce the 2D animation in co-operation with Canal Plus Family, written by Jean Regnaud (“Ernest & Celestine”) and Marie de Banville (“Tobie Lolness”), and directed by Paul Leluc (“The Wolf,” “The Long Long Holiday”). The series, targeted at 8 to 12-year olds, will start production at the end of this year. Delivery is set for mid 2023, with Dandelooo responsible for worldwide distribution.

“The Upside Down River” is adapted from the children’s novel “La rivière à l’envers” by leading French children’s author Jean Claude Mourlevat, winner of the 2021 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s biggest prize for children’s literature.

Published by Editis Group, “La rivière à l’envers” has sold over one million copies in France and other countries including Japan, China, South Korea, Russia, Spain and Germany. The English version will be published worldwide by Andersen Press next year.

“The Upside Down River” is an adventurous quest in a poetic fantasy world following Hannah’s search for water drops from the Qjar River in order to heal her sacred bird. She’s followed in her hunt by Tomek, a shy boy, whose world is turned upside down when she enters his shop.

Veerle Appelmans, producer at Vivi Film, said: “We have a heart for authentic imagery and touching stories. That is why we fell head over heels for ‘Upside Down River.’ We look forward to co-producing this poetic and beautiful coming of age series.”

Emmanuèle Pétry Sirvin, co-founder of Dandelooo, added: “It’s so rare to find a magical composition of adventure, friendship, fantasy, nature and strong emotions and we feel privileged that Jean Claude has accepted our desire to adapt his masterpiece and to collaborate with Vivi Film on this amazing project.”