France Télévisions and WarnerMedia are co-financing an animated special based on publishing property Akissi, which centres on a mischievous girl growing up in Ivory Coast.
French animation studio Ellipsanime has begun production on the 1×26′ special in Paris, based on Marguerite Abouet and Mathieu Sapin’s children’s comic book series.
The comics were inspired by Abouet’s childhood in Abidjan, a city on the southern Atlantic coast of the French-speaking West African country.
According to the producers, the show will use humour, energy and a universal style to tell the stories of an intrepid little girl and her monkey, while portraying a lively and uninhibited Africa “far from the usual clichés.”
The actors who voice the French version of the special, including Kayla Lingalé, were cast in Abidjan, while the dubbing for the international version will be done in South Africa by the African Animation Network.
French pubcaster France Télévisions will debut the special in France and WarnerMedia is set to air the toon on Boomerang in English-speaking Africa in 2022.
Aimed at six- to 10-year-olds and directed by Alexandre Coste, the special comes after an animated adaptation of Akissi was first pitched at Cartoon Forum in France in 2017.
Abouet said: “Akissi invites children to go off into a warm and chaotic unknown world, an uninhibited and relaxed roam through an Africa that is so near and yet so far away.
“It’s like an open-air theatre where your attention is unceremoniously grabbed by these young characters and their sense of hospitality. And even though they have some faults, they are always happy and active, and children from all over the world will be able to identify with them.”
Pierre Siracusa, head of animation for young audiences at France Télévisions, added: “This programme is our first incursion into the everyday life of African children, which is universal and accessible to our young audiences thanks to the talent of Marguerite Abouet and the graphic skills of Mathieu Sapin.
“Akissi celebrates the arrival of a modern heroine and contributes to increasing the number of heroic role models present in our editorial offer. One of the many riches of this special is that it promotes diversity on screen and is precisely what we want to cultivate on our channels.”
Ariane Suveg, kids’ content director for France, Africa and Israel at WarnerMedia, said: “Akissi is a free, singular, mischievous and kind heroine in the animated and vibrant environment of contemporary Africa. The idea is that, through this special, we will be able to increase our animation offer specifically aimed at young African audiences and work towards a diversity of characters in unique stories.”