Kavaleer and WDRmg team up for "Dougie Noir"
Kavaleer Productions and WDR mediagroup GmbH (WDRmg) are delighted to announce their forthcoming collaboration on a new 52 x 11 action-comedy series for 6-11 year olds, ‘Dougie Noir’. The development and distribution agreement, signed this week, is the first teaming up of the Dublin animation studio and the Cologne-based distributer. The (estimated) €4.5m series is scheduled to begin pre-production Summer 2017.
‘Dougie Noir’- follows the adventures of the eponymous eight-year-old hero, who despite having been born to a circus life, dreams of growing up to be the world’s greatest detective. One slight problem- Dougie is more than a little challenged with paying attention and focusing on tasks, so details like gathering proof and finding evidence are annoying distractions for him. Luckily for Dougie, his best friend and partner Mnemonica Memoire is on hand to compliment Dougie’s shoot-from-the-hip style and together they make an indefatigable crime-busting team:
The show was created by Kavaleer’s CEO Andrew Kavanagh, who designed Dougie with a very specific purpose in mind. “Roughly 10% of all kids suffer from some form of attention or hyperactivity disorder, but they don’t have a recognisable character on TV to root for who demonstrates the beneficial side of the condition, attributes such as hyperfocus,” he explains. “Dougie is by no means the first neurotypical character to feature in the detective genre- think Sherlock, Poirot, Monk, all the great detectives have an edge that society might stigmatise in some ways, but if channelled, can achieve incredible results.”
ADHD is a condition routinely medicated in the United States but diagnosed celebrities such as Jim Carrey, Will.i.am and Michael Phelps have battled adversity and risen to achieve their goals through embracing their passions and injecting the extra measure of energy they have been born with into pursuing their dreams. “In Dougie, we want to put on the screen a character that not only inspires kids who are having trouble with this condition to follow their dreams, but every kid who might doubt their abilities just because their grades don’t stack up. Dougie might have a lot of obstacles to overcome, but he always wins,” Kavanagh says.
Having secured development finance under Creative Europe’s slate initiative and from the Irish Film Board’s Animation Development scheme, Kavaleer developed a teaser, pitch bible and pilot script, which caught the attention of WDRmg.
Michael Loeb, CEO of WDRmg, says: “International co-production is an attractive business segment for us. By joining a project at an early stage of the production process, we can not only lend financial support but also contribute to shaping the programme for global audiences as well as secure comprehensive rights for further distribution. Our focus here is set on innovative and original kids’ content.” Stefanie Fischer, Head of Content at WDRmg, adds: “With Kavaleer, we have found a first-rate, highly creative partner. ‘Dougie Noir’ is a truly unique programme that conveys an important message: It shows kids all over the world how to turn something stigmatised as a weakness into an individual strength.”
The deal represents yet another successful development in Kavaleer’s recent business model, which is strongly IP focussed and champions positive role models with clear purpose. Shows like ‘Kiva Can Do!’ which features a young Indian-Irish girl with a talent for engineering and ‘Alva & The Trolls’ which is the first pre-school show that bridges the social and emotional development of under-6s with themes they will encounter in online social interaction in a few short years later. This innovative approach to content development has been strongly supported by national funding bodies, such as the Irish Film Board, who were early champions of Dougie Noir.
Reacting to the news, Mary Callery, Project Manager at the Irish Film Board said “Having supported the development of Dougie Noir from the outset, we are delighted that WDRmg will partner with Kavaleer to progress this wonderful series – it is a great endorsement of the originality and creativity of the team at Kavaleer and further evidence of the quality and skill of the Irish animation industry.”
Kavaleer MD and Dougie producer Gary Timpson echoes these sentiments. “We are delighted and thoroughly looking forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with WDRmg. From the outset, we felt that they were the right fit for Dougie, they really got the nuances of the character and recognised the potential for a hit detective show for kids, something that has been missing from the airwaves for too long,” he says. “The deal also signifies the ongoing strength of the development support we are fortunate to have both in Ireland and Europe and will help Kavaleer grow our slate and business, creating dozens of new jobs next year.’
‘Dougie Noir’ was unveiled at Cartoon Forum, the annual European event for pitching new kids content in Toulouse last September and was in the top 10% of 91 showcased projects in terms of attendance, almost a quarter of whom were broadcaster / investors. Following significant interest from a slew of potential distributors, Kavaleer opted for WDRmg, who, in addition to handling the international distribution, will also support the final phase of script and art development. Alongside Kavaleer, WDRmg will co-exclusively procure finance for the series, beginning at MIPJr in October.
Once financed the entire production budget is estimated at €4.5m and preproduction of the show is provisionally slated for Q3 2017. Kavaleer anticipate the creation of 20-30 additional jobs over the lifetime of the production in what has already been a growth phase for the company, currently engaged on producing two new animation shows, their own show ‘Kiva Can Do!’ and ‘Pablo’ with Belfast-based Paper Owl Productions.
For further information on this press release, please contact:
CEO, Kavaleer Productions Ltd
+353 (0) 1 661 8585
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Kavaleer Productions and WDR mediagroup will collaborate on a new 52 x 11 action-comedy series for 6-11 year olds, "Dougie Noir". The (estimated) €4.5m series is scheduled to begin pre-production Summer 2017.
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