26 episode Canadian-South African animation co-production gets the go-ahead

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Cape Town’s animation industry has scored another coup with Peter Pepper’s Pet Spectacular receiving the greenlight this week. Cookie Jar Entertainment and Clockwork Zoo to make first Canadian-South African Animation Co-Production.

The co-production between Canada’s Cookie Jar Entertainment, a global independent producer of children’s entertainment, and South Africa’s biggest animation studio, Clockwork Zoo, recently received official co-production status from National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and was approved for a production incentive by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) TV and Film Incentives unit last week.

The 26-episode half-hour show is based on the immensely popular book of the same name by the hottest family in children’s content, mother-son duo Betty and Mickey Paraskevas (Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Junior Knoll).

Cookie Jar is behind some of the biggest hits in children’s entertainment, creating nearly 300 episodes annually of some of the world’s favorite shows including: Caillou, Arthur, Hurray for Huckle! and Johnny Test. Their library includes classics like The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Inspector Gadget, The Wombles and Paddington Bear and their licensing division represents their own properties such as Strawberry Shortcake and The Doodlebops.

Clockwork Zoo is the biggest animation studio in southern Africa, creators of 104 episodes of URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika on SABC and currently delivering outsource work for Welsh, French and UK companies. Peter Pepper will be the studio’s first long-term co-production.

“We are delighted to be working with Cookie Jar on Peter Pepper” says Sean Rogers, MD and executive producer at Clockwork Zoo. “We couldn’t hope for a more value-driven, experienced company and we will be learning invaluable lessons from their development, production and merchandising teams.”

“To grow our industry and ensure that jobs in animation are sustainable, we require a steady flow of work into South Africa. The Cookie Jar relationship galvanises the Cape Film Commission’s vision of creating 10 000 animation jobs by 2020,” says Sean.

Peter Pepper’s Pet Spectacular starts pre-production this Spring. It is the first SA/Canada animation co-production where the work will not be subcontracted outside the country. With Cookie Jar and Clockwork Zoo negotiating more future projects, Peter Pepper’s Pet Spectacular is a landmark in activating the growth of Cape Town animation.

“The National Film and Video Foundation as the South African competent authority is proud to have issued an advance ruling for the first animation project under the South African/Canadian Co-production treaty,” says Terrence Khumalo, the NFVF’s International Co-Production Analyst. “We view this project as very important in terms of the relationship between the two countries since the treaty was signed in 1997. The spin-offs from this co-production are immense and will lead to more jobs, productions and development of the animation industry in South Africa.”

Karin Liebenberg, Director of the DTI’s Incentive Administration concurs: “We are also very excited about the future of the animation sector in South Africa and specifically the role that Clockwork Zoo is playing. Since the new film and TV incentive was launched a year ago, six animation productions have been awarded approximately R30 million in total. This is an indication of the DTI’s serious commitment to partnering with animation companies in promoting transformation and sustainable employment in this sector of the creative industries”

Peter Pepper’s Pet Spectacular will be the first Cookie Jar project using Toon Boom software. Toon Boom has taken an active interest in investing in South Africa by promoting it as an outsource and co-production destination, and now has more than 200 licenses up-and-running in the country. Clockwork Zoo is currently the only active Toon Boom Harmony pipeline in the country.

Filmmaker South Africa