By Matt Kapko
The Walt Disney Company has announced plans to boost TV animation from its London base.
The global movie and programme maker’s EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) division is to triple its investment in production of television animation to reflect the growing importance of internationally sourced content for its global portfolio of channels.
This will see output of animation increase from two to seven ‘long-form’ series per year for Disney Channel, Disney XD and Playhouse Disney.
The European production drive will be spearheaded by a 14-strong London-based team led by Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Channels EMEA, who will drive two series for Disney Channel, four for recently launched Disney XD and one for Playhouse Disney.
Marc Buhaj, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Channels EMEA commented: “For The Walt Disney Company, it’s about creating world class animation that will appeal to kids and families both locally and internationally.
“Part of our ongoing strategy as a global company is to provide a local voice to the Disney brand in markets around the world,” he said.
The London-based production hub was created in 2007 to drive forward investment in and development of long form animation outside of North America, for both European and global distribution.
It has already achieved success with series such as Kid Vs Kat, Famous Five: On The Case, Bunnytown and this year’s Jungle Junction, which is proving popular with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Among the series currently in development are (on Disney Channel), I’m in Love with Rikki Doom, written and created by Dan Berlinka and Andy Williams at Dandy Productions (Brush Head, The Raoul Show), produced by Robert Chandler (Space Age Films), and designed by James A. Brouwer (7 Shades of Awesome).
On Disney XD is Max Helsing: Monster Hunter, created by Curtis Jobling (Frankensteins Cat; art director on Bob the Builder) and Joe Giant, created by Alexander Bar (Lunar Jim) as well as Inventory X, created by Andy Briggs (Hero.com/Villain.net).
The team has also co-produced the European shorts series The Secret Life of Suckers and Marvo the Wonder Chicken and is currently in production on the animated comedy Rekkit Rabbit from French producer Marathon.
Mr Buhaj concluded: “These new series need to stand up next to our unrivalled stable of hits like Hannah Montana and Phineas and Ferb, and we believe the wealth of creative talent in the UK and Europe will help us achieve that goal.
“At a time when much of the industry is cutting back its investment in new content, this is fantastic news for the creative community and a testament to the success of Disney’s branded channels with audiences around the world.”
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