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07 June 2022 à 18:36

'Edmond and Lucy,' an innovative series that invites children to marvel at nature

The first animated television series to be developed entirely in real-time 3D, 'Edmond and Lucy' was made in keeping with the values of respect for nature that it conveys. Hanna Mouchez, president of MIAM ! Animation, and Mélanie Errea, head of sales and acquisitions, talk to us about the story, production, and the series' international ambitions. The series will be launched in France on July 2, 2022 on France Télévisions' youth FreeVOD platform, Okoo.

Unifrance: Your company, MIAM ! Animation, has worked on the 'Edmond and Lucy' project since the beginning. How did the project come about?
Hanna MouchezHanna MouchezHanna Mouchez: At the beginning there was 'Edmond and Friends', a collection of albums illustrated by Marc Boutavant. It was a joint project with François Narboux, director and artistic director of MIAM! We wanted to adapt Marc's marvelous universe in 3D and to convey to children the emotion we felt when reading the albums: to feel the power of forests and living things through images. To make children want to play outside, explore the living world, the forest, the mountains that surround us, they had to feel, from behind their screens, the pleasure of being outside. So, we had to innovate and turn to real-time 3D. Real-time allows us to achieve a richness of atmosphere, textures, and vegetation, which is in line with our artistic project. By pulling on the thread of this innovation, we realized that we had the opportunity to devise a coherent project in its entirety. How does one envisage an editorial project driven by concerns about the Earth, if in passing we pollute the planet during three years with the installation of a fossil production pipeline? We therefore worked on the implementation of a cleaner pipeline.

'Edmond and Lucy' is the first stone of a virtuous edifice where the content resonates with the form, i.e. the production method.

What distinguishes 'Edmond and Lucy' from other preschool series? Can you tell us about the story, the characters?
HM: 'Edmond and Lucy' aims to reconnect children with nature, to awaken them to the richness and diversity of the fauna and flora in all seasons.
The series recounts the daily life of a group of children who live in permanent contact with the forest: Edmond the squirrel and Lucy the bear are raised as brother and sister, in a beautiful chestnut tree in the middle of the forest. They are accompanied in their adventures by two pre-adolescent mice, a four-year-old bat, and a funny pink thing. The forest is a huge playground for this band of children who live in the great outdoors: playing and growing up in the heart of nature, unravelling its mysteries and living adventures in the great outdoors... what a wonderful life!

'Edmond and Lucy' is a comedy and educational series that promotes the values of living together, inclusion, empathy, and solidarity. A program that celebrates knowledge, family time, and respect for nature.

The episodes were written in collaboration with three naturalist experts: Louise Browaeys, agricultural engineer, CSR expert and author, Gaëlle Bouttier Guérive, author and Head of the Education Unit at Under the Pôle NGO, and Didier Moreau, an ethnobotanist and naturalist with a degree in experimental ecology. Together with the teams, they selected the major themes to be evoked, and then, at each stage of the writing and production, validated the nature information conveyed. Each episode thus brings its small stone to the construction of a better world!

The technology used, in real-time 3D, is also very innovative. What were the main advantages of this technique in the series' development?
HM: 'Edmond and Lucy' is a world premiere: it is the first animated series of 52, 12-minute episodes, broadcast on a linear channel, mostly produced in real-time 3D. A technological choice that corresponds to an artistic and sustainable approach, coherent with the series itself.
To achieve the artistic ambition that we set ourselves, namely to adapt Marc Boutavant's universe for the first time in 3D and to give life to the forest as a character in its own right, a technological development was indeed initiated for the use of Unity, a real-time 3D rendering engine. It is thanks to real-time that it is possible to create a rich, textured universe, depicted in the four seasons. This tool is widely used in the world of video games, and this is the first time it has been used to make an industrial format animation series.
As real-time allows us to reduce one of the major steps in the production of a series, namely the time needed to calculate the images, it leads to a very significant reduction in the carbon footprint for the image calculation phase. Roughly speaking, it takes a few hours to calculate a 12-minute episode, whereas it would take about 200 days, on a single machine, to calculate a 12-minute episode in pre-calculated 3D. The difference is considerable!

You've managed to sign up many partnerships, including several at an international level. Can you tell us more about them?
Mélanie ErreaMélanie ErreaMélanie Errea
: France Télévisions and the CNC are our historical partners on this project in France. Internationally, the series has already been pre-bought by HR for KiKA (Germany), RTS (French-speaking Switzerland, VRT (Flanders), TV5MONDE (the French-speaking world outside Canada), SVT (Sweden), SYN (Iceland), TV Puls (Poland), MTVA Media (Hungary), LTV (Latvia), LMT (Latvia), and RTVS (Slovenia). The series is also supported by the European MEDIA program.

In France, the launch is scheduled for July 2, 2022, with a few episodes available in preview on France Télévisions' Okoo platform, and at the beginning of the school year on France 5 in linear mode.
In Germany, HR/KiKA, whose teams were very attracted by the concept of the series and the technological innovation employed, came on board the project very early.

The first 26 episodes in English are now available. The last 26 episodes will be available by November 2022.

What is your strategy to make 'Edmond and Lucy' travel the world?
ME: We aren't just offering broadcasters a series of 52, 12-minute episodes, we are arriving on the international market with a complete universe for play and learning fashioned around the series.The choice of real-time technology offers children and their families the possibility of taking part in the adventure and continuing their discoveries thanks to a whole range of additional interactive content that will vary according to the country of broadcast (quizzes, activity books, interactive video games, etc.).
In addition, we can count on the international success of the collection of albums 'Edmond and Friends' by Astrid Desbordes and Marc Boutavant, published by Nathan. Indeed, the collection has already been translated into 15 languages and published in 20 countries with new releases to come.

Last but not least, in parallel with pre-sales, we are developing a licensing and merchandising strategy tailored to 'Edmond and Lucy's concept. We want to promote the richness of the universe created by Marc Boutavant. The series' settings, depiction of life, and stories are perfectly adapted to sustainable games, toys, and accessories for children. Parents will identify Edmond and Lucy as television's Nature partners –  in France, but also internationally. We therefore expect 'Edmond and Lucy' branded products to travel wherever the program is broadcast.


Contact : TV Department

Latest update : 09 June 2022 à 18:36 CEST

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