Coming off a year of major international growth, Paris-based animation giant Cyber Group Studios is presenting a wide-ranging lineup of new and returning shows at this year’s Unifrance Rendez-Vous in the French seaside town of Biarritz.
Among Cyber Group’s current high-profile titles is the new super-powered kid comedy series “50/50 Heroes,” which has sold to ITV in the U.K. and Discovery in Latin America. Commissioned by France Televisions and Disney Germany, “50/50 Heroes” follows the high jinks of Mo and Sam, a half-brother and sister duo, aged 11 and 9, who share super powers.
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Cyber Group has been expanding its global operations over the past year with a number of major acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures that have resulted in a number of new projects.
The company has acquired majority stakes in leading U.K. animation studio A Productions, Italian company Graphilm Entertainment and Scrawl Animation in Singapore.
The A Productions partnership has led to Cyber Group’s first commission from the BBC for the studios’ first jointly produced series, “Digital Girl,” which has also sold to Super RTL in Germany and Discovery Latin America.
Cyber Group’s acquisition in Singapore, meanwhile, is seen as a strategic expansion into a vital region.
“It’s a huge hub for us,” Raphaëlle Mathieu, Cyber Group’s executive vice president, told Variety. “Asia is critical. We have worked very well with China and we want to be even closer to the territory and the region.”
CCTV has acquired all three seasons of Cyber Group’s flagship preschool series “Gigantosaurus” as well as “Taffy,” a co-production with Turner and France TV about a scraggly raccoon who, pretending to be a cat, weasels his way into the home of a wealthy lady and her ever suspicious Dobermann.
The company also counts Japan’s NHK, which likewise picked up “Gigantosaurus,” as a key client.
“Our presence in Asia is really a next big step for us. That includes working with all the different potential local incentives and local talent. It’s really finding both the good talent and additional financing resources.”
Cyber Group has also teamed up with Japan’s Nippon Animation on the feature film project “Nanami and the Quest for Atlantis,” based on the classic Japanese TV series “Tico and Friends.”
“For us it’s really something very important because it is our first collaboration with Nippon Animation,” said Mathieu.
The new collaboration “marks the beginning of what is expected to be a long-term collaboration between the new co-production partners, which could include several of Nippon Animation’s classic series as well as new properties and initiatives,” Cyber Group stated.
The company has likewise partnered with Los Angeles children’s entertainment studio Splash Entertainment to form CyberSplash, a new France-based company that will create and produce original animated series and feature films.
The first project out of the joint venture is “Family Rocks,” a preschool series about the first modern family of the Stone Age. The digital cutout show, a co-production with Paramount’s Ananey Studios in Israel, is set to premiere in 2024.
In addition to Season 3 of “Gigantosaurus,” Cyber Group is also touting Season 2 of “Droners” in Biarritz. A high-tech adventure series aimed at older kids, “Droners” is set on Terraqua, a world covered 95% by water, where a team of young drone pilots take part in a competition that could help them save their island from sinking into the sea.
“Droners” proved a hit for French broadcaster TF1, leading it and Germany’s WDR to quickly greenlight Season 2, Mathieu noted. The show has also gone to Disney for a second window in France as well as to JEI TV in South Korea.
“What we try to do is really to have the most diverse type of offer possible,” Mathieu added. “That’s really important. We want to talk to as many clients as possible.”
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