The Big Pic­ture

Animation Magazine - - Spotlight -

There are sim­ply too many ex­cit­ing short-for­mat projects to sum up in these pages — but we can try to tackle the ex­pand­ing fea­tures line-up. Salma Hayek’s col­lab­o­ra­tive la­bor of love The Prophet will open the fes­ti­val.

In com­pe­ti­tion are Adama by Si­mon Rouby ( France), Avril et le Monde Truque by Franck Ek­inci & Chris­tian Des­mares ( France/ Canada/ Bel­gium), Mune by Alexan­dre He­boyan & Benoit Philip­pon ( France), Pos eso by Sam Orti ( Spain), Sabo­gal by Juan Jose Lozano & Ser­gio Me­jia Forero ( Colom­bia), Sarusuberi: Miss Hoku­sai by Kei­ichi Hara ( Ja­pan), The Case of Hana & Alice by Shunji Iwai (Ja­pan) and Tout en haut du monde by Remi Chaye ( Den­mark/ France).

Dis­ney- Pixar will encore its Cannes pre­miere of In­side Out, as well as of­fer­ing a sneak peek at Zootopia and footage from The Good Di­nosaur. More eclec­tic screen­ings in­clude Ghost in the Shell: The Movie from Kazuchika Kise and Kazuya No­mura, an­i­mated doc­u­men­tary Magic Moun­tain, the res­ur­rec­tion of Richard Wil­liams’ The Thief and the Cob­bler, a preview of Folim­age’s Phan­tom Boy and the first act of Ankama’s de­but fea­ture Do­fus — Book 1: Julith.

Ex­pect key an­nounce­ments from the ma­jor play­ers at the year’s most hotly an­tic­i­pated gam­ing press con­fer­ences be­fore the show floor opens.

Bethesda Mi­crosoft Elec­tronic Arts Ubisoft Sony

An­niver­saries are al­ways fun to celebrate, but as Cy­ber Group Stu­dios is find­ing out, it’s much more fun to do so when your an­niver­sary year is your most suc­cess­ful to date.

In the past year, the Paris-based stu­dio — cel­e­brat­ing its 10th an­niver­sary in 2015 — has seen tremen­dous growth in in­ter­na­tional sales and dig­i­tal. Cy­ber Group Stu­dios CEO Pierre Siss­mann says the stu­dio has ex­panded its sales all over the world and now boasts around 150 clients world­wide. Its dig­i­tal busi­ness has been grow­ing rapidly based on the strength of the cat­a­log of about a thou­sand half-hours of pro­gram­ming.

And, per­haps most sat­is­fy­ing, the stu­dio’s shows have sold to Amer­ica, with the preschool se­ries Zou air­ing in the United States on Sprout as well as on Hulu and PlayKids TV, while Made­moi­selle Zazie and Ozie Boo are stream­ing on Splash En­ter­tain­ment’s free VOD plat­form Ka­bil­lion.

“For us it was a big move as a French pro­ducer to get into North Amer­ica,” says Siss­mann.

Build­ing on his ex­pe­ri­ence in mar­ket­ing at Sony Mu­sic and with Dis­ney help­ing, among other things, found and run Dis­ney Chan­nel France, Siss­mann started Cy­ber Group Stu­dios 10 years ago with five peo­ple work­ing in three rooms. Now the com­pany has more than 200 em­ploy­ees and oc­cu­pies its own build­ing in Paris.

The com­pany made a big bet about three years ago by ex­pand­ing its pres­ence in the preschool space, where it first found suc­cess, as well as ex­pand­ing into shows for older chil­dren, in the 4-6 and 6-12 de­mo­graph­ics.

Now the stu­dio has at least 15 shows ei­ther in pro­duc­tion or in de­vel­op­ment — and more

that it’s han­dling dis­tri­bu­tion on.

Ar­guably the stu­dio’s flag­ship pro­gram is Zou, about a young ze­bra and his fam­ily, based on the chil­dren’s books by Michel Gay. The 52 x 10 min. first sea­son was fol­lowed up with a sec­ond, which be­gan air­ing just a few months ago and is be­ing prepped for in­ter­na­tional broad­casts later this sum­mer. A third sea­son has al­ready been re­quested, with writ­ing set to be­gin over the sum­mer, Siss­mann says.

Also in pro­duc­tion is the preschool se­ries Mia, which has done well in France and has sold into more than 20 coun­tries; and Ozie Boo, the stu­dio’s first pro­duc­tion, which still sells well. episode. The pro­duc­tion also did ex­ten­sive re­search to recre­ate 1820 Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing re­build­ing Los An­ge­les of the era start­ing with a 1780 map of the nascent city. And that was just the start.

“It was a mas­sive ge­o­graphic ef­fort,” he says. “We worked with Google Maps and we to­tally mod­elized the coast of Cal­i­for­nia from Monterey to Los An­ge­les.”

Also in the 6-12 demo, Cy­ber Group is pro­duc­ing with TF1 Pro­duc­tions a se­ries called Mini Nin­jas, based on the Square Enix video game, that just be­gan air­ing; and Mirette In­ves­ti­gates, for TF1 and WDR in Ger­many, a trav­el­ing de­tec­tive com­edy star­ring a 10-yearold sleuth.

For Mirette, Cy­ber Group is work­ing on in­ter­ac­tiv­ity, part­ner­ing with KD In­ter­ac­tive, mak­ers of the Ku­rio brand of tablets and phones for kids. That tech­nol­ogy that will be pre­sented at Car­toon 360 in Barcelona as an app that al­lows kids to re­ceive clues and help solve the show’s mys­ter­ies as they watch.

The Up­com­ing Slate On the de­vel­op­ment side, Cy­ber Group is work­ing on the third sea­son of Zou; a se­ries with France Tele­vi­sions called Pi­rates Next Door, based on the books by Jonny Dud­dle; and a se­ries called Gil­bert and Al­lie with Ire­land’s Brown Bag Films. Both are ex­pected to be­gin pro­duc­tion this year. Another se­ries, a mu­si­cal show, is in de­vel­op­ment.

Other shows in de­vel­op­ment in­clude Boubouh, for ages 4-6, and En­chanted Sis­ters, for girls 6-8, both with The Jim Hen­son Co.; preschool se­ries Gi­gan­tosaurus, also based on a Dud­dle book and set to be pre­sented at Car­toon Fo­rum; and a CGI ver­sion of Tom Sawyer that, like Zorro, will have a big story and mix 2D and 3D an­i­ma­tion.

Cy­ber Group also is dis­tribut­ing a cou­ple of shows: G-Fight­ers, an ac­tion se­ries for boys 6-12; and The Long, Long Hol­i­day, a se­ries from Les Ar­ma­teurs of The Triplets of Belleville and Ernest and Ce­les­tine fame about World War II from chil­dren’s point of view.

The com­pany’s dou­ble-digit growth in the dig­i­tal space has been a re­ward­ing pay­off for the in­vest­ments the com­pany has made along the way into its pro­grams, says Siss­mann. “It fu­els the rest of the com­pany by bring­ing us ad­di­tional rev­enues, but it also val­i­dates our strat­egy, which was to pro­duce se­ries that will live for re­newal, which is why — ex­cept for one small se­ries, which is the first se­ries we did — ev­ery­thing from 2006 on was pro­duced in HD and we’re now pro­duc­ing in 4K.”

Siss­mann cred­its the com­pany’s growth to a num­ber of fac­tors, in­clud­ing build­ing from within, in­vest­ing in the qual­ity of the shows and learn­ing from mis­takes.

“The phi­los­o­phy of the com­pany is to try to go fur­ther with the best peo­ple, the best part­ners and to be learn­ing all the time,” he says. “I like open­ing new doors. I like chal­leng­ing our team. I like chal­leng­ing my­self.” [

The Thief and the Cob­bler

The Prophet Miss Hoku­sai

Mune Pos Eso

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