Spotting the Superted of the future

Seven hundred animators are on the prowl for European cash at the Cartoon Forum gathering on the Faenol Estate near Bangor, Gwynedd.

Over three days, they are wooing television bosses and eyeing the co-production funds which could help them get the next big series onto television screens around the globe.

BBC News Online previews the six Welsh cartoons vying for the backing needed to become the Superted of the 21st century.

© Agenda Television

1. ‘Backpackers’ Agenda Television, Llanelli

Aimed at young adults, Backpackers is an “anarchic and outrageous” character-driven comedy following five disparate and dysfunctional late-teens on their global travelling oddesey.

Created by the men behind two of Wales’ biggest animated exports and scored by Super Furry Animals, this knowing, post-watershed affair has perfect pedigree.

Deiniol Morris helped create live-action prehistoric plasticene series Gogs with Aaargh! Animation and Dave Edwards directed Superted for Siriol.

S4C and RTE of Ireland have already commissioned the show, which was awarded 500,000 euros from European Union media development fund MEDIA – its largest ever hand-out.

© Beryl Productions

2. ‘Dreams and Desires’ Beryl Productions International, Cardiff

Cardiff’s Beryl has at the helm Joanna Quinn, who scored awards and helped mark out the Welsh animation scene with feminine comedies Girls Night Out and Body Beautiful.

Quinn also bagged a 1998 Oscar nomination for “rock cat” musical Famous Fred.

Dreams and Desires is a video diary of a character drawn in much the same way – warm, emotional, sweeping colour.

© Cartwn Cymru

3. ‘Kirk’ Cartwn Cymru

“Kirk’s world is a familiar one. You will recognise it – if you’ve ever been four. You’re leaving the world where everything’s done for you and crossing the bridge to where you do things on your own.”

“Each KIRK episode is a step on this sometimes wobbly bridge. Luckily for Kirk, he’s got some friends to assist him. They may be imaginary but their help is real.”

Cartwn Cymru are specialists in translating grand tales to small screen feature films, having produced acclaimed The Miracle Maker, The Bible in Animation and The Mabinogi.

4. ‘Love Bytes’
Living Doll Animation

Using models, Love Bites is a comedy vampire film based in a small Welsh village and spoofing Naked Gun, Buffy the vampire Slayer and Scooby Doo to create a new “Welsh gothic” aesthetic.

Handsome – if intellectually challenged – Dirk of Darg seeks a virgin to help kill his evil brother who has stolen his Pokémon collection – but finds semi-virginal Myfanwy, who finds Dirk is not all he seems when love bites.

Fledgling outfit Living Doll – based in Cardiff art space Chapter – has already notched up wins at Bradford Animation Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and the British Animation Awards with its Codename Corgi production.

© Fairwater Films

5. ‘Man & Puppet’ Fairwater Film, Cardiff

Pitched at children aged eight to 12, Man and Puppet focuses on the relationship between tough secret agent Herman Eggnbaconburger and his partner, a fluffy but annoying bunny named Bun, who has become attached to his arm.

The tension frequently bubbles over when, for example, Burger has a bomb to defuse with just 10 seconds – but Bun needs the toilet.

“The series is a priority for broadcasters to commission – they have achieved a life of their own,” says Fairwater boss Tony Barnes, who created The Shoe People and whose team has been in Wales for 20 years.

© Siriol Productions

6. ‘Tiff!’ Siriol Productions, Cardiff

Tapping a contemporary vein, Tiffany is an angelic 10-year-old squeezed out by step-siblings and school bullies when her mother re-marries and she is picked on.

But when her anger boils over, her secret is out – she turns into a huge, vengeful monster, using her super powers to right wrongs.

Tiff! comes from Superted creators Siriol of Cardiff, which still has ‘Ted writer and Welsh Animation Group chair Robin Lyons at the helm.