Pic is directed by Richard Phelan and Will Becher, produced by Paul Kewley and written by Mark Burton and Jon Brown, with executive producers Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, Peter Lord, Nick Park, Carla Shelley and David Sproxton. Voice cast includes Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Kate Harbour.
The 2015 first movie grossed $106M globally, including $19M in the U.S. Backer Studiocanal will distribute in UK, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand in autumn 2019. Lionsgate has U.S. rights.
In a surprise move, Bert Habets, the CEO of Euro media giant RTL, has resigned. Thomas Rabe will take the reins while also continuing in his role as CEO of RTL-owner Bertelsmann. According to Reuters, Habets is leaving for family reasons and there were no disagreements over strategy. Martin Taylor, currently vice chairman of the group, has been appointed as chairman and James Singh as vice chairman.
Euro TV powerhouse RTL owns production giant Fremantle (American Idol) and has interests in 56 European TV channels. Habets had been running the group for just over a year and recently unveiled a major push into VOD streaming platforms.
The British Film Institute has revealed the team behind its new Young Audiences Content Fund, which has a pot of money up to £57M ($75M) to invest in youth-oriented TV content for free-to-access broadcasters and platforms.
Previously announced head of fund Jackie Edwards will be joined by John Knowles as production executive, Harriet Williams as development executive, Hesham Sabry as business affairs executive, Gill Biddle as YACF project manager, Chandan Shergill as the fund coordinator, and Aisha Jan as administrator.
Knowles was previously in-house development producer for animation and puppetry at BBC Children’s. His previous credits include Nickelodeon series Nella The Princess Knight and Disney’s Club Penguin TV specials. Williams joins from Disney Channel EMEA where she was on the original programming team. Sabry was formerly part of the BBC’s commercial, rights and business affairs team as a manager.
The fund, which will have bases in Leeds and Manchester, is financed by the UK government as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s contestable fund.
Ben Roberts, BFI’s Deputy CEO, said of the fund, “This fund has the potential to foster a step change in the creation of original content for young people in the UK, particularly under the guidance of Jackie and her new team. The content we consume in our youth can have an enduring impact and contribute to shaping who we become. Technology and audience appetites are changing the way content is financed and consumed, and young people will continue to propel the industry forward in unexpected ways. That is why it is vital this Fund creates quality content for them, accessible on a range of platforms.”