Kidscreen preview with Aardman's Alison Taylor
Ahead of the Kidscreen Summit 2021, Alison Taylor – Director of Distribution and Business Development at Aardman – talks us through new content that Aardman will be distributing from a range of animation studios.
Despite all of the challenges to everyone’s lives that Covid brought to 2020, fortunately enough we were able to adapt to the situation, and despite some obvious obstacles (and some real sadness at not being able to see clients and industry friends at various events) over the course of the year, it has not stopped us doing what we love to do – selling quality shows across the world, to multiple platforms on behalf of the studio and third party producers.
I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since Kidscreen 2020, when our biggest concern was a raging storm that was hitting the UK shores, just as flights for Miami were due to take off… not a fun experience! But this now pales in significance to what the rest of the year bought, and I am forever grateful that the team and I were able to enjoy everything the Kidscreen Summit had to offer in person last year, and to follow up on such great business leads as the pandemic started to strike.
Looking forward now towards the virtual Kidscreen Summit 2021, we’re really excited to be able to “see” everyone once again, to show them what we’ve got going on in the Aardman studio, but also who and what we’ve been working with from a third party studio perspective, which I’d like to focus on as part of this blog.
Firstly, we’re excited to share the brand new 2D animated family special, Sol, a 28’ film that was in development ahead of the pandemic, produced during, and released on the longest night of the year in 2020 (The Winter’s Solstice), and which aptly conveys loss and grief of a grandparent to a little boy called, Sol, and his subsequent quest to find the light and not let the darkness take hold. We’re now able to share this beautiful and heart-warming film with partners all around the world following its UK premiere. Produced by Paper Owl Films.
Following a slight hiatus in development, we’re also delighted to be returning to Kidscreen with Interstellar Ella (52 x 11’), now in pre-production, which is a bridging pre-school CGI series set in the near distant future out in space, where a girl named Ella is gleefully testing her limits in a star-filled playground called “The Milky Way”. Each episode is packed with action, comedy and adventure, and filled with absolute wonder at what space has to offer Ella and her space-native and alien friends. Produced by Apartment 11 and Fabrique Fantastique.
Another new property we’re excited to launch at Kidscreen, is called “Big Lizard”, produced by Beakus and Je Suis Bien Content. This is an upper pre-school CGI series, centred around a girl called Cosima who’s spaceship breaks down and lands on an unknown planet, where they discover the amazing, impulsive and loveable Big Lizard. Together they discover a world that’s strangely similar to prehistoric Earth, a time before even the dinosaurs existed, and enjoy crazy exciting adventures up mountains, in the sea, and in the forests.
Pop Paper City
Following a successful Cartoon Forum and MIPCOM, we’re excited also to bring Pop Paper City (52 x 11’) back to Kidscreen to find remaining partners on the series to trigger greenlight – this truly is a unique, “View and Do” adventure series with craft, set for a bridging pre-school audience and produced in CGI. The series focuses on a group of unique paper friends as they find ways to have fun together by creating new parts of their stunning paper world. Produced by Love Love Films.
Last but not least from our new third party production slate, we’re looking to finalise remaining licenses for the pre-school 2D series “Brave Bunnies”, that we took to Kidscreen for the first time last year, and who we can now count Milkshake, Super RTL and ABC Australia amongst many other confirmed licensees. The series is centred around Boo and her big brother, Bop, who are on a big adventure with Ma and Pa, and their four wee siblings. Together they bravely explore the Bunny-World and at each stop, Bop and Boo meet new animal children. Despite their differences, they always find a way to make friends and play new games! The first 26 episodes are now ready for delivery, with the remaining 26 episodes delivering in the coming weeks.
Regarding future acquisitions, in particular we’re looking for series that look to deliver from 2023 onwards, with comedy at their heart. We also hope to give a “sneak-peak” to a brand new CGI series coming out of the Aardman studio, aimed at 7-11 year olds – it’s too soon to share the detail here – so if you want to hear more then you’ll need to book a meeting! As ever, looking forward to seeing many familiar faces, and hopefully some new faces too at Kidscreen 2021, and if you’re interested in a meeting, please contact me via my Kidscreen Exchange portal, email me directly, or connect via LinkedIn.
Alison Taylor is Director of Distribution and Business Development at Aardman, and responsible for driving the financing, distribution and long-term content exploitation strategy for each of Aardman’s brands.
In addition, Alison has the responsibility of acquiring third party content for distribution, and managing the roll out on a global level across all media, and currently represents a carefully curated portfolio of hit children’s properties.
With more than 15 years experience within the industry, Taylor specialises in distributing kids and family content across multi-territories and platforms and has been instrumental in the studio’s global expansion over the years.