News in brief
07 February 2022 à 15:26
Children’s series Presto: World of Magic works its magic on international sales
"Presto! School of Magic" started as a feature film and is now getting the small-screen treatment. The show follows the adventures of five children learning to be magicians at Lorenzo Presto’s magic school. With their faithful – and talking – animal companions by their sides, the kids find that teamwork is the ultimate trick they must master to become truly gifted illusionists. Patricia De Wilde, Director of Marketing and New Business at TeamTO and Monica Lévy, Head of International Sales for Federation Kids & Family, walk us through the story of how this enchanting series got off the ground.
Unifrance: This series tells the story of a group of friends attending a school of magic.
Patricia de Wilde: Magic is back! Houdini, Copperfield, Penn and Teller: illusionists have fascinated the public for decades and now magic tricks video on TikTok are trending. "Presto! School of Magic" introduces children to what lies behind the curtain through the eyes of our heroes, Dylan and Lisa, at the Presto School for young aspiring Magicians.
Dylan and Lisa cannot believe how lucky they are to be part of this new school. Lorenzo, a retired magician of international renown, and his nephew have turned their old mansion into Presto! School of Magic, where Lisa, Dylan and fellow aspiring magicians Nica, Violet and Vincent, learn the tricks of the trade. They all have a different reason for attending the school – but they have one thing in common: a passion for illusion, conjuring and the art of magic!
The show is very appealing for boys and girls. What child has never dreamt of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, picking the right card from a pack, or disappearing from a box?
Unifrance: The series is adapted from the film The House of Magic. Why take it from the big screen to the small? How do the two formats differ?
PDW: A few years after the film came out, Canal+ launched a call for tender to make the film into a TV series and selected us. Development and financing then took a few years. We presented the series at Cartoon Forum in 2017 and started production with M6 and Canal+ shortly afterwards. The film focuses on Lorenzo the old magician, and the story was told from the point of view of his cat, Thunder. For the TV series, we chose to tell the story of Lorenzo Presto’s amazing magic school through the eyes of the children who are training to become magicians.
Unifrance: Who is the series aimed at?
PDW: This adventure comedy is for boys and girls of 5 to 9 years old.
Unifrance: The series mixes the art of illusion with a little magic.
PDW: The series plunges the viewer into the enchanting world of illusion, with a touch of magic now and then. The animals that share our young magicians’ passion help them perform their tricks. They can talk to each other and understand the humans speaking.
Monica Lévy: The animation of the series skillfully blurs the line between illusion and fantasy revealing two facets of magic – one more real, with our beloved characters trying to master illusions, and the other somewhat extraordinary, in which animals can talk and amazing magic is performed. Children will love it!
Unifrance: A school, a profession, a passion – the perfect setting for this group of talented and inquisitive children to pursue their dreams.
PDW: The series mixes humor, adventure, and teamwork to help our heroes learn stage magic from Lorenzo Presto, the world’s greatest magician! Every type of magic is taught at Presto: from escapology to disappearing in a box, transforming objects, and guessing cards! Everyone has their specialty according to their tastes and character, and of course it’s all done with the unexpected support of their animal assistants - who are often their greatest champions.
The students train and prepare to perform shows for their friends and families. They also participate in competitions to test their talents before a real public.
The illusionist tricks the kids perform are dazzling, and a consultant magician who used to collaborate with David Copperfield worked with us on the scripts to ensure the tricks are spectacular and modern.
Unifrance: Why did you choose to represent this program on the international market?
ML: The international market (which means children over the world) wants to be transported! "Presto! School of Magic" is the perfect show for a wide audience of children who are fascinated by the fantastic – which they will find at Presto! The series follows a group of children who are all very different, and who help each other to save the school from threats. It sends young people a very positive message. For example, it shows that we can accomplish great things through teamwork and that it’s OK to be scared sometimes; it also shows children how to become more confident.
And finally, the series is very well crafted and of high animated quality as TeamTO is clearly a European leader in animation production.
Unifrance: What feedback have you had from buyers so far?
ML: Our initial sales reflect the show’s universal potential as it has been acquired by buyers from all over the world: Discovery in South America, NRK in Norway, Quebecor, RTS in Switzerland, RTBF & VRT in Belgium, and Showmax in South Africa… and that’s just the beginning. Buyers related well to the fact that the children discover who they are through their magician training and the joys of practicing as a team!
Unifrance: Are you preparing new adventures for our heroes?
PDW: We hope so – we certainly have a few tricks left up our sleeves!
Latest update : 08 February 2022 à 15:26 CET