1.Disney Junior EMEA picks up Claude
Sixteen South, a studio based in Belfast in Northern Ireland, has announced that Disney Junior Europe, Middle East, Africa & Australia/New Zealand has picked up its brand new animated series Claude (52 x 11’). The series is currently in production and is due to air in 2017. Based on the series of books by Alex T. Smith, Claude follows the humorous adventures of a little beret-clad dog, Claude, and his faithful sidekick Sir Bobblysock. Published by the Hachette Children’s Group, the books sell in 16 languages across five continents. Aimed at children at the upper end of the pre-school age range, the new series is adapted for television by Sixteen South in a distinctive 2D hand-drawn style, bringing to life the unique visual style of the original books.
2. The launch of the world’s largest Chinese-language VR platform
iQIYI, one of the largest internet and mobile video service providers in China, announced the launch of a virtual reality set and the introduction of a VR partner incentive scheme with an aim to establish the world’s largest Chinese-language VR platform. The company based in Beijing rolled out its plan during the 2016 iQIYI World Conference, which was held on May 5th and 6th. The company will work with VR video and game developers to make 10 copyrighted online films and dramas and 100 copyrighted games into VR productions through a VR Partner Incentive Program. As part of the scheme, iQIYI will provide marketing, production and operation assistance to more than 300 of its partners in VR content and device manufacturing sectors. iQIYI expects that the VR services jointly developed by iQIYI and its partners will reach more than 10 million users in China over the next 12 months.
At the event, iQIYI said it has reached an agreement with Wuxi Soulpower Culture Media Co., Ltd., 3D production company in China, to produce Iron fists of the Despicable, a VR fantasy film. Wuxi Soulpower is behind the 2015 blockbuster film Mojin: The Lost Legend. As of March this year, 350 million PC users access to iQIYI and 275 million people use iQIYI’s mobile app, according to iResearch.
3. Paramount Pictures and Locksmith Animation enter into multi-picture exclusive deal
Paramount Pictures and Locksmith Animation jointly announced that they have entered into an arrangement to co-develop and co-produce a series of animated projects for the studio. Under the agreement, Paramount and Locksmith are progressing three current properties, which Locksmith has been developing since its inception in 2014, with plans to head into production within the next twelve months and to release the first theatrical motion picture in 2020. The deal also contemplates developing other projects together over time to create a pipeline of releases.
Locksmith Animation is the UK’s first dedicated high-end CG feature animation studio. The company was founded by writer/director Sarah Smith (Arthur Christmas) and producer Julie Lockhart (Shaun the Sheep Movie, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!), and launched in 2014 with the backing of Elisabeth Murdoch. Lockhart describes this opportunity as a fantastic opportunity to build London as a world-class animation hub.
4. Ogilvy and Aardman produce Monster Stains for Persil
Unilever’s laundry brand Persil asked Ogilvy & Mather Group UK to bring to life their product demos to showcase the power of Persil’s stain removal capabilities. They teamed up with Aardman to take the new approach for the laundry product demo. They created a stop-frame animation, using school shirts as canvas and tough stains as paint. Aardman created a unique color palette using 28 common household stains, including everything from gravy and jam to grass and chocolate ice cream. It took a team of ten artists, and nearly three months, to complete the 60 seconds of animation. The meticulous method of painting, photographing, washing, drying, ironing and preparing for the next frame of animation was repeated 2,576 times in total.