Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada among Top Producers in TV Cartoon Boom

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada among Top Producers in TV Cartoon Boom

Article excerpt

Canada among top producers in TV cartoon boom

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CANNES, France - Think "peak TV" just applies to adult programming? Think again. The world of children's television has never been so crowded and prolific, especially during the current cartoon boom.

That Canada is one of the top children's content providers was the message last week at MIPCOM and MIPJunior, the annual worldwide content marketplaces on the Mediterranean.

The unprecedented quest for kiddie fare was brought home by MIPJunior keynote speaker Andy Yeatman, head of global kids content at Netflix. The international streaming service has been consuming children's shows the way "Sesame Street"'s Cookie Monster gobbles cookies.

Yeatman said Netflix will launch 37 new children's TV shows over one 52-week stretch. It's all part of the over-the-top streaming service's strategy to get everyone in the family hooked on their brand.

Almost half of Netflix's children's programs are produced outside the United States, said Yeatman, who shared a tip for selling kids' shows to the widest possible audience: avoid dialogue.

Quebec City animation house Squeeze can speak to that. Their series of hilarious "Cracke" shorts featuring an ostrich named Ed has already sold in over 200 countries and territories. Teletoon, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney are among their customers and a deal is close with China, according to Denis Dore, CEO, president and co-founder of Squeeze.

Edgy Ed is always busy trying to save his eight precious eggs in adventures reminiscent of the glory days of Warner Bros.' "Looney Tunes." Dore says co-founder/animator Patrick Beaulieu set out to create what amounts to a 3D homage to animation greats Chuck Jones and Tex Avery.

"Road Runner was a big inspiration," says Dore. "Especially for the gag, for the simplicity of one character trying to catch another -- very simple and at the same time very funny."

Squeeze is working on a feature-length version of "Cracke," as well as an animated children's series about a young magician named "Jax." They currently have 65 animators, storyboard and layout artists working at their Quebec City studio, many trained right in the province. …

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