The problem with youth-skewing documentaries, explains Eric Garnet, GM of France-based Antefilms International, is that broadcasters and kids alike hear the word ‘documentary’ and collectively cringe. That’s not to say that there isn’t demand for the genre, but entries need to approach the learning elements from an entertainment angle.
To help fill the niche, Garnet has hooked up with long-time friend Manuel Catteau of Paris-based Zoo Ethnological Documentaries (ZED) to launch a new label called AnteZED. It’s a joint venture, ‘a gentlemen’s agreement,’ Garnet says, where each partner shares in the expense and profit equally. The unit will focus on creating fun docs that combine live action and animation.
‘ZED is great at documentaries,’ Garnet says. ‘They’re great at telling stories.’ And Antefilms has proven experience in kids animation, having created series like Flight Squad and Fred the Caveman. Initially, the partners plan to bring these skills together on Akidou, a 26 x 13-minute series in which 3-D characters go back in time to explore periods in history. The stories are written for kids, and the series is produced to be compatible with a European web-TV platform called NPTV. The idea is that if kids find a period particularly interesting, they can access additional educational content through the interactive system. A pilot for Akidou is complete and will make its market debut at MIP Jr. in October.