Kidscreen » Archive » Cartoons on the Croisette: MIPJunior highlights

The 30th edition of MIPCOM prelude MIPJunior consisted of two days of panels, presentations, screenings and pitches in sunny Cannes, France.

In her keynote speech on Saturday, Cecilia Persson, director of BBC Studios Kids & Family, revealed that the division has doubled its development portfolio and explained how the recent restructuring is intended to boost growth.

With a streamlined one-budget-one-slate operation, the studio has developed partnerships to market new series, including Phoenix Rise, which the BBC has commissioned and co-produced with Canada’s Sinking Ship; and Popularity Papers, co-produced with Canada’s Aircraft Pictures and distributed by Wexworks Media.

Persson also shared details about two children’s projects on the studio’s enhanced development slate. The first is a live-action sci-fi from Irish author Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl) and screenwriter Viko Nikci. Described as “bingeable”, it follows a group of unlikely young heroes through many mysterious and comedic plot twists. And on the animation front, the BBC has teamed up with Big Deal Films to develop a wannabe rapper series based on the Little Bad Man books by Humza Arshad and Henry White. Finnish prodco Haruworks is also developing a preschool series called Flip, Flap and Zip, inspired by the unboxing trend.

At this year’s MIPJunior Project Pitch, Canadian prodco Big Bad Boo Studios and Starlight Media from Ukraine emerged as big winners in the kids and teen/teen categories respectively. Big Bad Boo pitched Ava Undercover (pictured), an animated series about an Iranian-American girl who loves to crack business while Starlight Really? introduced, a live-action film about a teenage girl in eastern Ukraine whose life is affected by the war.

Later on Saturday, KidsKnowBest’s Chief Strategy Officer Pete Robinson took the stage for the “New Kids On The Block” presentation, which charted trends in children’s behavior and content preferences. As influencers continue to serve as a gateway to content for a younger audience, Robinson presented a case study in which children discussed the appeal of YouTuber Mr. Beast, who launched a crowdfunding initiative to plant 20 million trees. Insights revealed the extent to which today’s young consumers value proximity to social goals.

In his presentation, Robinson also warned of brands and kidcos looking to wade into the proto-metaverse. “A kid was recently discussing with us how adults have kind of messed up the real world, and now they’re coming to Roblox and kind of making a mess of it [there, too],” he said. “Kids are starting to feel powerless with all the branded and commercial content for Roblox. It has to be authentic.”

On Sunday, children and animation managers from India hosted a seminar called ‘Indian Animation & VFX: Forging a Global Destiny’, which discussed the growth of animation and creative opportunities in the region.

While financial support is available for international co-productions, the challenge lies in creating “universal” stories that can thrive in the Indian market, but also resonate in other areas, said Anu Sikka, EVP of the children’s division at Viacom 18 in Mumbai. (Nick India).

“Now India is not just a post-production hub – we are actively investing to become a content hub,” added Senthil Rajan, co-secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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