CyberGroup Studios, one of France’s leading animation producers and publishers, is developing the “Alex Player” and “Digital Girl” series with its new partners in the UK, Italy and Singapore.
The company, run by chairman and CEO Pierre Theisman and chief operating officer Dominique Boers, has recent hits including season 3 of “Dragon” and “Drone.”
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Earlier this month, Cyber Group Studios moved into new headquarters in Paris, to complement its real-time animation studio Roubaix, Haut de France. It has offices in Burbank, California, USA and is run by Karen K. Miller.
In early 2022, the studio acquired Rome-based Graphilm Entertainment (run by CEO and creative director Maurizio Forestieri and executive producer Anna Lucia Pisanelli) and Singapore-based Scrawl Animation (run by directors Choon Meng Seng and Chi Kong Wong). Operations), the Chief Operating Officer.
“Working internationally has been in our DNA since we founded the studio in 2005,” explains Executive Vice President Raphaelle Mathieu. “Over the past few years, due to the pandemic and other factors, the world has become more and more regionalized. In order to enter a region, it makes more sense to have a local subsidiary or partner.”
CGS and Scrawl have previously produced two CGI animated series, “Zou” and “Mademoiselle Zazie.” “Our partnership with Scrawl is very important to us because it gives us better access to the Asian market,” Mathieu said. “It gives us access to local talent, makes us more effective in the region and more attractive to a global audience.”
CGS, Graphilm and Scrawl are now co-producing the esports series “Alex Player”, commissioned by France Télévisions in France and RAI in Italy. The series is original by French Cyber Group Studios and Bee Prod, and co-produced by French Webedia. It tells the story of a 12-year-old sports video game player who dreams of winning the national intercollegiate “Titanland” championship. CGS previously collaborated with Graphilm on “Nefertine on the Nile” with RAI.
“Alex Player” uses real-time animation, powered by Unreal Engine, utilized by Cyber Group’s new real-time animation studio in Plaine Images, Hauts-de-France, one of the leading animation and VR centers in France -France Innovation Campus. “‘Alex Player’ will also be the first long-running animated series in Singapore to use the real-time pipeline,” explains Mathieu. “This enables Scrawl Animation to become an important node in Cyber Group Studios’ global real-time workflow.”
CGS previously used real-time animation in “Giganto Club,” an original series inspired by its “Giganto” series. “Our aim is to make our studio in Plaine Images the largest platform in France for real-time animation as well as 2D and 3D animation,” says Mathieu.
Cyber Group Studios is also working with Graphilm on a new series “The McFire Family” for French children’s channel Gulli (part of M6 Group), which will be a co-production with Italy.
In 2022, the studio formed a joint venture with Bristol, UK-based A Productions (“Love Monster”), managed by Katherine McQueen and Mark Taylor, and is currently producing the animated series “Digital Girls”, by Sissmann, was commissioned by the BBC and pre-sold to Super RTL in Germany and Discovery Kids in Latin America. Set in the futuristic eco-Frisco city, it will use real-time technology.
A Productions’ previous studio credits include “JoJo and Gran Gran” for CBeebies and “The Monster at the End of the Story,” Sesame Street’s first-ever Sesame Workshop animated special.
China is an important market for CGS strategy. CCTV has bought all three seasons of “Dragon” and “Toffee,” which was co-produced with Turner, France Television and Guli.
Last year, CGS partnered with Japan’s Nippon Animation to co-produce a feature-length film based on the classic Japanese series “Tico and Friends.” The feature-length film “Nanami and the Quest for Atlantis” aims to consolidate the long-term cooperation between the partners, including classic series and new works of Japanese animation.
Cyber Group Studios’ line-up also includes projects aimed at teens and older audiences, such as “The Tern,” based on the “manfra” art style, which blends French and Japanese graphic styles, and was voted top viewer at Cartoon Forum 2022 most movies.
The studio has teamed up with Square Enix Co. Ltd. to adapt Final Fantasy IX into an animated series for the first time. The US office has teamed up with OTT streaming service Peacock to develop its first animated series, “Press Start!”
CGS also recently entered into a partnership with Los Angeles-based children’s entertainment studio Splash Entertainment to create and produce original animated series and feature films.
Mathieu said she was pleased with the synergies generated within the group, highlighting an internal seminar to be held in La Baule, France, in mid-2022. “We had the opportunity to share ideas, strategies, aspirations, and most importantly, emotions. This is the first time we have brought together employees from Singapore, Bristol, Rome, Los Angeles, Paris-Roubaix. One of the great moments!”
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