TBI Kids Hot Picks: ‘Super Sema’, ‘Unstoppable Yellow Yeti’ & more

Super Sema

TBI takes a look at some of the most interesting projects heading to market as MIPJR throws open its doors in Cannes.

Super Sema
Producer: Kukua (Kenya/UK)
Distributor: Cake
Broadcaster: YouTube
Logline: A heroic 10-year-old and her brother protect their African village from an evil ruler and his robot army

UK-based distributor Cake recently picked up global distribution rights to this African animated kids’ superhero series from London-Nairobi studio Kukua.

Exec produced by Lupita Nyong’o, (12 Years A Slave, Black Panther), Super Sema is written by Claudia Lloyd (Charlie & Lola, Mr. Bean) and follows the adventures of a brave and heroic 10-year-old girl, Sema, and her twin brother MB as they protect their African village from the villainous Tobor and his bungling robot army.

A heartless artificially intelligent ruler, Tobor meets his match in Sema, who learns that with determination, creativity and a helping hand from the amazing worlds of science and technology, almost anything is possible.

“They are constantly trying to thwart Tobor’s evil plans, from battling his fossil-inspired robotic dinosaurs to saving an adorable baby elephant from his clutches,” reveals Kukua CEO & founder Lucrezia Bisignani, of the siblings’ adventures.

“But Sema and her brother are also 10-year-old kids at the end of the day, so many of their adventures are spent ‘technovating’ (that’s our word for technological invention and innovation) really cool virtual reality games, 3D printed pizza, the most amazing squishy slime, or a space walk for their grandpa Babu!”

The series has already garnered millions of views per episode on YouTube for its first season, while it also offers a strong STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning element, something that Bisignani says is reflected in Sema’s approach to her superheroics.

“She doesn’t have supernatural gifts. If she needs to fly, she invents the world’s coolest rocket boots. If she wants to change the weather, she technovates mixed reality goggles to bring snow to Africa or rallies the community to create a giant canopy to save their village from a heat wave.”

Despite her epic adventures, Bisignani adds that Sema is also incredibly relatable to young audiences: “She may be super smart, but she’s also a kid just like the audience watching along – a kid who expresses kid-sized joy, frustration, confidence, and even makes mistakes.

“Most importantly, though, Sema represents an audience from the African diaspora that deserves to see itself on-screen, and shows kids all around the globe that kid-power can change the world.”

The Unstoppable Yellow Yeti

The Unstoppable Yellow Yeti
Producer: Zodiak Kids & Family France, Gigglebug Entertainment (Finland), co-developed with Disney EMEA
Distributor: Zodiak Kids & Family Distribution
Broadcaster: Disney Channel (EMEA,) YLE (Finland), DR (Denmark), NRK (Norway) and SVT (Sweden)
Logline: Two 10-year-olds in a remote Arctic village befriend a chaotic yeti and head off on comedic adventures with a Nordic spin

Aimed at children aged 6+ and their families, this quirky animated comedy follows surfer boy Osmo who moves with his dad from the beach to live with their distant family in the quirky town of Winterton, where it snows all-year-round and monsters are strictly forbidden.

Osmo and his plucky cousin Rita form an unlikely friendship with a giant goofball yellow yeti called Gustav. Together, the fearless cousins help keep Gustav hidden from Rita’s monster-loathing father, Mayor Chrome, while making offbeat adventures in their beautiful frozen home.

“Sitting below the Arctic Circle, forever covered in snow, and nestled next to Monster Mountain, there is so much to explore in this unique part of the world, from frozen caves to monster graveyards, steaming springs and fields of rainbow snow,” reveals Gary Milne, head of content development at Banijay Kids & Family, which owns producer & distributor Zodiak Kids & Family.

“The trio’s adventures can arise from a human, or monster issue – like solving a mystery at a chainsaw ice sculpting show, or kitten-sitting turning into a monster hunt,” he tells TBI. “Just about anything can happen.”

Milne reveals that the show’s Finnish creators Gigglebug have “put their own spin on the universal stories of friendship, community and embracing difference.”

He adds: “We’ve worked with writers from many backgrounds, but every story has been filtered through a Nordic lens. The Unstoppable Yellow Yeti is inspired by the people, customs and traditions in Finland and the Nordics, to give it that unique feel, sense of place and off-kilter comedy, that will make it stand out in the market.”

As for the titular terror, Milne reveals: “Like his name suggests, Gustav the Yellow Yeti is an unstoppable force of fun and comedy. The series features a lot of slapstick silliness, but it is also full of heart, relatable characters and situations.”


Our Piggy
Producer: Bionaut (Czech Republic)
Distributor: Dandelooo
Broadcaster: N/A
Logline: A small and curious pig learns about the world around him, using his imagination to answer questions important to young viewers

This 2D animated series is created and based on the book by Jaromir Plachy about a curious pig who discovers the magic of ordinary objects and invites young viewers into his extraordinary world.

Piggy will embark on “small but huge adventures,” aimed at introducing children to “the magic of ordinary things”, says Emmanuèle Pétry Sirvin, producer & head of international at Dandelooo

“Imagination is unlimited since Our Piggy uses daily objects to travel the world – over the ocean in a truck on a dragon’s back. A bucket, for example, becomes a hat, a cardboard box becomes an elephant, another box a train and suddenly Piggy is an elephant trainer driver.

Just like the 2- to 4-year-olds it is aimed at, Our Piggy discovers and learns about the things around him, tackling such questions as is a washing machine more fun than a TV? And, what’s the best thing about getting a present?

“Kids will love the fact that Piggy is exactly like them (since the episodes are written and based on true stories and experiences) but with total freedom since there are no adults or antagonists,” shares Sirvin.

“It is one of those rare and beautiful series’ and with non- dialogue, it allows for sounds to create strong and tender emotions,” she adds.

“The round and colourful design will appeal to an early preschool audience in an original way. The difference between the daily situations and imaginative scenes are seamless which leads the viewer to jump into the creative world unknowingly.

“The charismatic simple stories and slow pace of each episode allows the youngest children to discover and learn about things that surround them.”

Interstellar Ella

Interstellar Ella
Producer: Fabrique Fantastique (Belgium), Apartment 11 (Canada), Zeilt Productions (Luxembourg)
Distributor: Aardman
Broadcaster: VRT Ketnet TV (Belgium), Knowledge Kids, Société Radio- Canada,TFO,TVOkids (Canada)
Logline: Young hero Ella Ryder boldly goes where no eight-year-old has gone before in a series of exciting adventures of discovery

Set in the distant future of 3021, this CGI animated series takes place on a space station somewhere between Mars and Jupiter.

The show, which is aimed at 4-6-year-olds, follows eight- year-old Ella Ryder as she sets out with her friends on exciting adventures of discovery. And because they are in space, there is lots to experience and even more to explore.

“The show is packed with action, comedy and interstellar adventure as Ella and her friends discover amazing things about comets, planets and all the incredible stuff that makes up their home, the Milky Way Galaxy. Kids will also relate to Ella and her friends as she navigates common challenges for eight-year-olds; they’ll figure out how to define and discover themselves as they follow her stories,” Aardman’s head of acquisitions, Robin Gladman, tells TBI.

While Ella’s adventures are always fun, they are also emotionally charged too, allowing her to discover a little bit more about herself with each unexpected twist.

“Every episode has heart, adventure and science,” shares Gladman. “The writing teams put heart first because that comes from character and is why we care. Adventure is what makes us stay. And the science is what adds to the fun.

“The series tells compelling and engaging stories that instil the desire to look up at the sky and wonder what may be up there.”


Producer: Cottonwood Media, ZDF Studios, Opéra de Paris (France)
Distributor: Federation Kids & Family & ZDF Studios
Broadcaster: Hulu (US), ZDF (Germany), France Télévisions (France
Logline: An American teenager must struggle with the dual demands of ballet and her emerging magical abilities after she enrols at the Paris Opera Ballet School

This new live-action tween series shares a lot of the same DNA as Hulu teen dramedy Find Me In Paris, hailing from the same producers and showrunners, and similarly set in the Paris Opera Ballet School.

However, this new series trades time travel for witchcraft, and features an entirely new cast, following Cece Parker Jones, a 15-year-old who relocates from a small town in the US to France to study at the prestigious school.

Things soon turn upside down when she discovers a book of family spells, unknowingly casting the antidote to a protection charm that has been hiding her identity since she was a little girl – and in doing so, summons her nemesis. This spit-fire teen must now juggle the pressures of an elite ballet school and her emerging magical abilities.

“Things can take a turn at any time and Cece and her friends may find themselves running through magical broom closets all over Paris, or weeping during an extra-credit dance number due to some magical cookie batter,” shares Monica Levy, head of sales at Federation Kids & Family.

“Cece is a great dancer but she’s not Paris Opera-level trained. She has just found out that she’s a witch and so are all the women in her family. While she gets a little help from magic to keep her in school, it becomes her main focus to become the best dancer at the school without any magical help at all.”

Levy names “the location, the high-end cinematic level of production, and great stories” as highlights of the production and explains: “There are a lot of shows about witches and witchcraft, but we have the added element of exquisite dance, choreographed by some of the best choreographers around the world.”

Super Wish

Super Wish
Producer: Redknot (Canada)
Distributor: Nelvana
Broadcaster: YTV (Canada), Discovery Kids (LATAM), Discovery + (Brazil), Teletoon (French Canada), TVNZ (New Zealand), True Corp (Thailand)
Logline: A youngster and his friends embark on a journey through the magical Happy Land of Birthdays to undo a wish and return home

Ten-year-old Jesse Cameron receives a lesson in being careful what he wishes for that he will never forget, when he accidentally wishes his birthday party away.

Pulled, along with his friends, into The Happy Land of Birthdays, Jesse must now track down his ‘super wish’ and undo it so that he can get home. But that is going to be easier said than done as he travels from one birthday-themed world to another.

“As they search for Jesse’s super wish to take them home, they will need to navigate laser- tag caves, battle giant pizza- crust mech-bots, save ‘goodies’ from a giant Magician’s rabbit, play their way through magical boardgames, escape enchanted restaurants and more.

“Each episode features wild and zany fun-filled adventures, celebrating how awesome it is to be a kid, reveals Julia Dodge, director of global strategy & distribution at Nelvana. “Super Wish is a ‘cake- way’ to fantasy, rooted in the universal theme of birthdays.

“Featuring strong character development and an immersive world, the series is unique in that it bridges kids to fantastical adventure while connecting them to a relatable cast of characters and the exhilarating familiarity of birthday traditions from around the world,” adds the exec.

Dodge says that Super Wish showcases a “unique and compelling world and artistic direction” thanks to art director Adrian Thatcher, who co-created the series alongside writer Vanessa Esteves. Nelvana’s Dodge adds that she believes the imaginative series will prove a hit with kids due to its “humour, fantasy and escapism”.

She says: “Kids will find themselves immersed in an imaginative new world filled with wondrous yet relatable characters, each with their own hysterical origin story and a hero in their unique way. “The series really does empower kids to celebrate their own awesomeness, and the joy of being a kid.”


Producer: Universal International Studios
Distributor: NBCUniversal Global Distribution
Broadcaster: CBBC & BBC iPlayer (UK)
Logline: Adventures in Victorian England with the Artful Dodger, Fagin and his gang, based on the characters created by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’ iconic literary creations, the Artful Dodger and Fagin, duck and dive their way through the tough streets of Victorian London, with their gang of young thieves trying to keep one step ahead of the police in this live-action series.

From acting in a haunted theatre and sneaking into Madame Tussauds, to breaking into Buckingham Palace itself, Dodger always has a scam ready to cause mischief.

Dodger brings to the screen something for everyone in the family to enjoy together,” says Mark Freeland, executive producer at Universal International Studios.

He tells TBI: “To really encourage co- viewing, we also made sure there were elements and humour for adults to enjoy too. There are very few genuine family dramas that appeal to such a wide mainstream, crossover audience as Dodger does,” adds Freeland. “The series really encapsulates audiences into a fresh, contemporary and reimagined world of Dodger, keeping them on the edge of their seats.”

Dodger contains real jeopardy, which Freeland says reflects the Victorian time in which the show is set, though young viewers “stay safe in the knowledge their young heroes will always win in the end and return to a place of comfort and wish fulfilment – their warm, but dysfunctional ‘family’”.

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