Kids round-up: Toonz and SMF Studio to co-pro new CGI series; Genius Brands orders Shaq show

Aliens In My Backpack

Toonz and SMF Studio to co-pro new CGI series

Asian animation studio Toonz Media Group has partnered with Russian outfit SMF (SoyuzmultFilm) Studio to co-produce a new CGI animated children’s series.

The 52 x 11-minute series Aliens In My Backpack comes from Rob Lee and James Driscoll, creators of the hit shows Fireman Sam and The Shoe People. The deal was negotiated by Toonz Media Group EVP, and former Disney exec, Paul Robinson.

This new series brings to life a family of characters from a distant planet with perfect ecological settings, who are on a mission to share their secrets with Earth and make our planet greener.

“Partnering with Toonz is a significant milestone for SMF Studio growth, as one of our strategic goals is to establish our company in the international market,” said Yuliana Slascheva, chairman of the SMF board. “Both our companies have powerful creative potential and Toonz has an undoubted experience in the global promotion of content.”

P. Jayakumar, CEO of Toonz Media Group, added: “We are delighted to partner with a studio of such deep heritage as SoyuzmultFilm. For Toonz this is a very exciting project as it upholds the universal value of environment conservation, which would appeal to kids and families across the world.”

Shaq’s Garage

Genius Brands commissions Shaq show

Genius Brands International and ABG Entertainment have commissioned a new animated children’s series with US basketball sensation Shaquille O’Neal attached to star and executive produce.

The series, titled Shaq’s Garage, is also being exec produced by Genius Brands, PRP, and ABG Entertainment and is set to launch on Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! in early 2022.

As part of the deal, O’Neal also becomes a shareholder in Genius Brands.

The series will follow the secret adventures of the sportsman’s extraordinary collection of animated cars, trucks, and automobiles. All the vehicles in Shaq’s Garage have unique attributes, intellects, and skills ranging from musical stylings, “Shaq Fu”, and their mastery of the ultra-secret language of “Shaqanese” and the “Shaqtionary”.

“We challenged ourselves to come up with the most exciting storylines and vehicle designs inspired by Toy Story, Tony Stark, and 007, that could only be imagined by ‘Big Diesel,’ himself,” said Genius Brands chairman & CEO Andy Heyward. “The lead vehicle is named Big Diesel and will be voiced by Shaq.”

“Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by cars,” said O’Neal. “I’m so excited to bring this series to life with Genius Brands. We plan to showcase the most amazing, tricked out assortment of vehicles that can only be found in my garage.”

Production of the 52×11 minutes CGI series will start late in 2020 and the first episode will be available to show to potential media and broadcast partners by mid/late 2021.

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