Last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in the news for signing a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce a wide array of content, such as documentaries, docuseries, feature films, and children’s programming. And now, Markle is ready to produce the animated series Pearl under Archewell Productions, the company named after their son Archie.
The couple has been in the news for a variety of reasons, but this time, the focus is on creating content and animation that informs and gives hope. In a media statement, Markle announced, “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us. Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges.”
Markle, an executive producer for the series, will work with Carolyn Soper (director of the animated movie Sherlock Gnomes), Liz Garbus (an American filmmaker whose work includes Lost Girls) and David Furnish (a Canadian filmmaker and husband of Elton John).
Earlier this year, Markle also published an illustrated children’s book called The Bench. It seems her proclivity towards animation series has grown leaps and bounds ever since she’s become a mother.
Not just Pearl, there’s a whole new wave of animation films and series waiting to be discovered in the near future. Animation has opened yet another space for creators, characters and producers, and is an important medium to speak bold, stand out or show original narratives. The stories, emotions, ideas are unique and work best for both kids and adults.
Like The Simpsons is one of the most-loved animated sitcoms of all time, “but it is always a challenge for the makers to keep the show topical,” said showrunner Al Jean in a media interview last month.
Africa’s recent focus on the animation industry shows there’s a growing global demand for more inclusive kids and family content. Now, Disney and Cartoon Network have collaborated to work on African animation. Cartoon Network commissioned a full series for Garbage Boy and Trash Can. The series is based on a pilot by Nigerian animator Ridwan Moshood and will debut next year. It’s about a boy with imaginary superpowers who fights for justice with his trusty sidekick. Disney+ announced a 10-part collection of original films titled Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire by animators from six African countries next year.
Netflix and Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures will make a multi-year exclusive rights deal in the United States for animated film franchises such as Minions and Puss in Boots. Besides this, the platform will also show three new animated comedy series—A Tale Dark & Grimm, Dogs in Space (both this year) and Super Giant Robot Brothers (next year)—for kids and families around the world.
In June this year, Pixar’s first queer animated tale Luca told the delightful story of friendship between Luca and Alberto with a powerful message. While the film delivered a strong message on friendship, many viewers accused it of queerbaiting.
Animation in India is not far behind either, a viable alternative to live-action this year, Salman Khan’s Chulbul Pandey from his blockbuster franchise Dabangg has pleasantly surprised many in his animated avatar. Apart from Chulbul Pandey, his brother Makkhi (played by Arbaaz Khan) and Rajjo (essayed by Sonakshi Sinha) are also part of Dabangg—The Animated Series, which is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar VIP.
In fact, cricket legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced that he will produce an animated spy series titled Captain 7. The first season of the series, which is based on Dhoni himself, is currently in pre-production and will release in 2022. The ‘seven’ in the title comes from Dhoni’s jersey number 7 that is associated with the legend’s remarkable cricket journey.
Last week, The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) joined hands with Voot Kids and Green Gold Animation for a virtual adventure in Singapore with the iconic Indian comic character Chhota Bheem. The mini-series features the thrills and spills of a memorable trip, set in various locations across Singapore. Chhota Bheem and friends travel to prominent attractions like Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. It’s a treat in an innovative format for kids studying at home. The mini-series is available in three languages—English, Hindi and Tamil.
Time to say, it’s raining animations.