The division of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s company will partner with David Steward II’s business to co-develop short-form project, TV series and digital stories.
Lion Forge Animation, which launched less than a year ago, produced Hair Love, the animated short directed by Matthew A Cherry and voiced by Issa Rae about a father’s attempt to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.
It has already identified a number of projects including Chippy Hood, Puerto Rico Strong and Black Comic Anthology (w/t).
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Chippy Hood is an animated series, created in partnership with South Korean animation studio Mostapes, for pre-school kids set in a magical place where four little chipmunks, Chippy, Kong, LaLa, and BamBam, look for opportunities to add fun events into their daily lives.
Puerto Rico Strong is an animated anthology series based on a book created by a number of people who came together after the devastation the island faced from Hurricane Maria. Many within the Latinx community stepped forward to share their stories, both fictional and personal, that spoke of the culture, history, and strength of the Puerto Rican community.
Black Comic Anthology is a series of animated episodes, featuring African American creators, offer a journey through time, and a look at the black experience at each stop. It will explore subject matters of race, inequality, triumphs, and tribulations and has a connecting fiber throughout that culminates in a surprise ending that ties its seemingly unrelated episodes together.
Productions will be executive produced by Imagine Kids+Family President Stephanie Sperber and Lion Forge Animation President Carl Reed, and founder David Steward II.
The projects will be jointly produced and financed by Lion Forge Animation and Imagine. Lion Forge Animation and Imagine will collaborate on the development and pre-production of the projects including the creation of story, character design, and other assets. Animation work will be conducted at the Lion Forge Animation studios in St. Louis, Missouri.
Imagine Kids+Family was launched in January 2019 and is run by Stephanie Sperber. The division is currently in production on its first live-action series The Astronauts, with Nickelodeon, and recently announced a partnership James Patterson’s kids division Jimmy Books, and a partnership with Life to develop Life for Kids, an animated series using images from the preeminent picture magazine. Imagine Kids+Family also has an equity stake in The Tiny Chef Show to develop content.
“I have admired Carl and David for their originality and unique storytelling for years. They are visionary content creators and cross-platform franchise incubators,” said Sperber. “We are excited to partner with them to produce an original slate of content that also amplifies unique voices and tells diverse stories.”
Lion Forge Animation President Carl Reed added, “The Imagine brand has always stood out as a blue chip moniker for best-in-class entertainment and their Kids+Family group certainly carries on the tradition. We’re excited to work with Stephanie and the Imagine team as we explore and mine Lion Forge’s vast IP holdings that include comics, graphic novels, original content and celebrity affiliations, and as always, introduce diverse voices and characters to impressionable audiences who will see this as more relatable in today’s world.”
Steward II said, “We’re seeing a surge in demand for animated content aimed at children and expect this trajectory to continue in step with the proliferation of screens and streaming platforms globally. To meet this demand and continue to deliver at the high-level families are accustomed to, we’re happy to forge this partnership with Imagine Kids+Family and collaborate on a really fun and distinct slate that carries our messages of diversity and inclusion.”
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