SMF Studio Seals ‘Captain Kraken’ Pact With PlayBig, Bill Melendez to Distribute ‘Pirate School’ (EXCLUSIVE)

SMF Studio (Soyuzmultfilm), one of the oldest animation companies in Russia, and France-based PlayBig, specializing in distribution, development and production of animation content across linear and non-linear platforms, have announced a partnership to distribute “Captain Kraken and His Crew” to South and Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.

The deal – revealed during the Key Buyers Event, taking place online June 8-10 – includes 26 episodes of the show that targets 4 year olds and older, telling the story of a small fish, Flip, jellyfish Sue and sea duck Quack living with their grandfather, retired pirate Captain Kraken. SMF Studio’s KBE lineup included new animated series “Meow Magic,” “Rockoons” and “Mr. Theo, Cat & Dog.”

“‘Captain Kraken and his Crew’ invites young viewers to enter into the pirates’ world and see how much fun you can have with things that, at least at first glance, seem absolutely ordinary,” Valeria Korotina, head of international business development and sales, told Variety. “We are sure that kids from all over the world will relate to these funny little characters.”

It’s not the end of pirate-related news for the studio, which will celebrate its 85th anniversary on Thursday. Eleven episodes of “Pirate School,” depicting a trio of friends living on Pirate Island and studying at Pirate School, will now be distributed worldwide by the U.K.-based distributor and production company Bill Melendez Productions. The company is looking for investors to produce the second season.

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Courtesy of SMF Studio

“It’s a series created by Alexei Lebedev, famous Russian animation writer and director, so it has a very distinct design and sense of humor. We are sure these characters and stories can travel as far as the pirates did and make kids and adults laugh all around the globe,” said Korotina, with Lebedev noting that the story revolves around the constant collision between the world of children and the world of adults.

“The pirates represent adult society with all its flaws. During these clashes it often turns out that adults are acting like kids,” he said. While most of SMF Studio’s output is aimed at preschoolers, said director Boris Mashkovtsev, “Pirate School” is created for kids from 8 to 12 years old.

Finally, on dry land, Jetpack Distribution has acquired worldwide rights to “Claymotions.” The deal includes 62 episodes of the show that targets 2 year-olds and above, teaching them through games with the help of seven plasticine characters who can transform into anything they like. The series is being created with the support of one of Russia’s leading broadcasters, Channel 1.

“It’s so important for us to be building our edutainment offer right now,” noted Jetpack CEO, Dominic Gardiner. “We instantly loved ‘Claymotions.’ The characters are full of heart and engage with young children in a way that makes learning fun. The show is a clever combination of clay stop-motion and computer graphics, making it extremely unique and very cool.”

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