Penguin Random House to Publish ‘Cleo & Cuquin’ Books – Variety

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One of the world’s leading trade publishers, Penguin Random House, will publish the children’s books series based on “Cleo & Cuquin,” a pre-school transmedia brand from Madrid-based Ánima Kitchent and Mexico’s Televisa.

The books will be released in Spain and Latin America by spring 2018. Also produced by Ánima Kitchent, but in co-production with Famosa, the audiovisual subsidiary of the toy maker Famosa, “Piny, Institute of New York” will count on U.K.’s ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) as licensing agent in the U.K., where Sony Pop is airing the series. “Piny” has already been broadcast in France (Gulli), Italy (Frisbee), Portugal (Disney Channel), Russia (Carousel TV) and Turkey (MCD Kidz).

Toy maker Clementoni will launch a line of “Cleo & Cuquin”-based toys in Spain in fall 2018 including puzzles, edukit toy cases and electronic games. Clementoni will support toy manufacturing giant Mattel, recently appointed global toy master for “Cleo & Cuquin,” a 52-episode seven-minutes TV show.

The new deal on “Cleo & Cuquin” marks the first time a Spanish company has established a licensing deal with a global toy master or a publisher such as Random House, according to Ánima Estudios CEO Víctor López who also commented that it on “Piny” it was “a great achievement” to have reached an agreement to join forces with ITV and Sony POP in the largest European market for licensing.”

Pre-school toon series “Cleo & Cuquin” is also co-produced by Barcelona-based Selecta Visión and the Moro Family’s company MAI. An adaptation of the legendary Spanish hit “Telerin Family,” a cartoon and daily jingle broadcast in which where six siblings tell children that it’s time to go to bed. It became a popular success in Spain and Mexico during the ’70s and ‘80s, coloring the now nostalgic childhood of a generation of newish parents and young grandparents.

The new brand will also include a bedtime app, web content and music video clips. Launched one year ago on the Famila Telerín’s YouTube channel, “Cleo & Cuquin’s” 17 music video clips have scored 600 million views and 1.5 million subscribers.

“Piny” re-creates the life in an unusual New York educational center which focuses on creativity, fashion and careers of the future. Series centers on Piny –the janitor’s daughter at this elite high school. A 52-episode toon TV show, “Piny” targets 6-8s.

A joint-venture founded by Latin American animation powerhouse Ánima Estudios with former executives at Spanish toon company Vodka Capital, Ánima Kitchent was launched in 2014.

In addition to Ánima Kitchent, the Spanish delegation attending this weekend’s 25th MipJunior under the umbrella Animation from Spain includes Baleuko, Ficción Producciones, Imira Ent., Motion Pictures, Pausoka Entertainment, Planeta Junior, Peekaboo Animation, Rokyn Animation, pubcasters TV3 and TVE, and Zinkia.

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Singapore Media Festival to Add VR Conference, Animation Events – Variety

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A one-day conference about virtual reality is the highlight among new events being added to the fourth edition of the Singapore Media Festival. The series of events run from Nov. 23 to Dec 3, with the VR conference on Nov. 29.

The VR conference will span subjects including the use of VR in entertainment and immersive technology in business. Key speakers include Allen Foo, CEO of China’s Ultimate Creators Create Virtual Reality, Jacqui Hocking, MD of Vision Strategy Storytelling, and Alexandre Regeffe from consultancy Neotopy. The conference will be complemented by a two-day convention Creators X SMF Ignite.

With VR, digital streaming and other challenges to the theatrical film business, the SMF will also include a Future of Cinema forum, organized with Canadian filmmaker and creative director of EyeSteelFilm, Sandra Rodriguez, and Australian filmmaker Aaron Wilson.

Mainstay event, the Singapore International Film Festival announced that Oscar-winning Indian film maker Shekhar Kapur will head the jury of its Asian feature film competition. Other jurors include Iranian-American screenwriter and film director, Ana Lily Amirpour; Hong Kong-Australian filmmaker Clara Law, and Locarno Festival’s head of programming, Mark Peranson This year’s Southeast Asian Short Film Jury will be headed by the Tokyo International Film Festival selector Kenji Ishizaka.

Other novelties include the choice of Indonesia as the SMF’s first country in focus. Top Indonesian TV executive Chairul Tanjung, founder of Indonesian broadcasting companies, Trans TV and City Corp, will be presented an outstanding contribution award on Nov. 30.

The Asia Television Forum section will introduce an Animation Pitch session, organized in partnership with India’s Green Gold Animation. Shortlisted participants will pitch to a panel of industry veterans, with the winner take home a $2,500 cash award, as well as guidance and mentorship worth $16,500.

 

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Venice Production Bridge Kicks of With Robust Attendance

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VENICE, Italy — The Venice Production Bridge, the Lido’s concept market, kicked off Wednesday with more than 1,800 accredited industry execs, a slight increase from last year’s final number. This year’s edition is marked by a strong presence of streaming companies, including Netflix and Amazon, and the introduction of virtual reality works.

“Unlike Cannes and Berlin, this is not a sell and buy market,” said Bridge manager Pascal Diot, adding, “Our philosophy is [that] we are about projects.”

More than 1,000 curated one-on-one meetings have been scheduled tied to the 47 feature films, documentaries, TV series and virtual-reality projects that have made the cut for the Venice Gap Financing Market, which helps European and international producers secure the final portion of financing for their projects, roughly half of which are from Europe. The meetings are between the teams from the selected projects and potential investors, including producers, financiers, bankers, distributors, sales agents, TV commissioners and streaming platform execs.

The projects comprise 25 feature films and documentaries, many of which have been making the rounds of co-production forums on the festival circuit. What distinguishes the Venice market is that submissions must have at least 70% of financing in place, meaning that these projects have a better chance of actually reaching completion.

Netflix vice president of international original series Eric Barmack will be giving a keynote speech during a panel on their international expansion plans. Amazon execs on the Lido include former Tribeca Film Festival director Genna Terranova, who is in charge of their VR initiative, and business affairs executive Tara Pietri.

Diot noted a strong presence of Chinese execs, which is reflected in a panel on joint Europe-China VR collaborations.

French sales companies, including Celluloid Dreams, MK2, Wild Bunch, Pathe and Indie Sales, are handling a large portion of the non-U.S. titles in the official selection, and Germany’s The Match Factory also has a robust lineup.

The European Film Forum will focus on VR and also on the future challenges being faced by Europe’s Media Program in a panel featuring new European commissioner for digital economy and society Mariya Gabriel.

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House on Fire Boards ‘Under the Sun,’ ‘Family Tree,’ ‘Overgod’ (EXCLUSIVE)

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House on Fire Boards 'Under the

Courtesy of House on Fire

Vincent Wang’s Paris-based banner House on Fire, which has Alireza Khatami’s debut feature “Oblivion Verses” playing at Venice in the Orizzonti section, has come on board “Under the Sun” by Chinese filmmaker Qiu Yang, as well as Zhang Tao’s “Family Tree” and Gabriel Mascaro’s “Overgod.”

Satire “Family Tree” marks Tao’s sophomore film following “Last Laugh,” which played in Cannes’ Acid section this year. The film centers on a desperate mother using many remedies to make sure sure her eldest son and his wife produce a male heir, while her other son is in love with his 25-year-old distant aunt.

Set to shoot next spring in China, “Family Tree” is co-produced by Chinese banners Butong Pictures and Tender Madness.

“Under the Sun,” meanwhile, expands on the plot and characters of Yang’s 2015 student short by the same name that had played at Cannes’ Cinefondation, AFI Fest and Slamdance. Yang’s 2017 short “A Gentle Night” won Cannes’ Palme d’or.

“Under the Sun” follows a young boy who is accused of injuring an old woman in a bus station. Since there is no witness, the boy denies the accusation, calling it blackmail. But a local reporter then gets involved and starts investigating both families to hear their side of stories. The dispute between the families sparks a chain reaction that leads both clans onto a downward path and ultimately take the reporter further away from the truth.

“Under the Sun” explores how century-old traditional Chinese values can affect ordinary people and the moral corruption which exists in contemporary Chinese society, said Wang.

“Under the Sun” will start shooting in the winter of 2018. It is being co-developed and co-produced by Chinese companies Colorful Age, Culture & Media and Wang’s Taiwan-based banner House on Fire Intl.

Mascar’s “Overgod” was pitched at last year’s co-production forum at Berlin. Julio Machado has just joined the cast of the film and will star opposite Dira Paes.

Mascaro’s “Neon Bull” won the Special Jury Prize at Venice in 2015.

Written by  Mascaro, Rachel Daisy Ellis and Esdras Bezerra, “Overgod” takes place in a near-future Brazil, and follows the journey of Morgana, a devout evangelical Christian who spreads the word of God by inviting struggling couples to a gospel swingers club. When she discovers that she is pregnant, Morgana suspects that the baby she is carrying is the new messiah.

Brazilian outfit Desvia is producing the film, along with House on Fire, Denmark’s Snowglobe, Uruguay’s Malbicho Cine, Norway’s Mer Film and Mexico’s Buenaventura.

“Overgod” will start shooting its Brazil shoot in November.

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Venice: Security Beefed up to Counter Post-Barcelona Terror Threat

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Security checks and protection barrier separates

ONORATI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

VENICE, Italy — With Italy considered a possible upcoming ISIS target following the recent Barcelona attack, the Venice Film Festival put tight security measures in place on Wednesday for its opening day, which saw Italian president Sergio Mattarella disembark on the Lido.

Security checks and cement protection barriers to prevent truck attacks were the most visible aspects of the anti-terrorist effort, which also involve floating security devices in the lagoon, plainclothes policemen with body cameras and sharpshooters on rooftops, according to local media.

Paolo Baratta, who heads the fest’s parent organization, the Venice Biennale, said that he is pleased with the security measures. “We are countering the terrorism threat with policemen, cement boulders, and security savvy,” he said.

“The world in general is reacting beyond the most positive expectations with a sort of bold feeling of independence to the terrorism threat,” he added. “Italy is full of tourists. We need to have faith in our institutions and in our selves. And I think that we, like all those who can feel threatened, can be proud of the way we are reacting.”

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Wide House Acquires Venice Classics’ Docu ‘The Prince and The Dybbuk’

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Venice, Italy — Wide House (“I am Not Your Negro”) has acquired international sales to Elwira Niewiera & Piotr Rosolowski’s “The Prince and the Dybbuk,” a documentary that will world premiere in the Venice Classics section.

“The Prince and The Dybbuk” is a documentary about of Michal Waszynski, who was born in 1904 into a Polish-Jewish family in Poland and later became a producer for major American studios in Italy and Spain.

During his career as a director and producer, Waszynski made more than 40 films and worked with movie stars including Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale and Orson Welles.

Produced by Poland’s Film Art Production, Germany’s Kundschafter Filmproduktion and Zero One Film, the doc traces Waszynski’s journey from Poland, Ukraine and the U.S. into Italy, Israel and Spain.

The documentary also sheds light on the making of “The Dybbuk or Between Two Worlds,” which Waszynski directed in 1937. A passion project for Waszynski, “The Dybbuk or Between Two Worlds” became one of the most important and mystical Yiddish films ever made.

In the documentary, Niewiera and Rosołowsk show how “The Dybbuk or Between Two Worlds” mirrored Waszynski’s personal life as a restless man with many secrets and untold stories.

At Venice, Wide House is also selling Nancy Buirski’s “The Rape of Recy Taylor.”

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