A trio of nine-year-olds defend their city’s green spaces against an evil property developer. Sounds like Apple TV+’s Central Park for young ‘uns. What sets The Gardening Club apart from the legion of eco-conscious kids’ series is the extent of its activist message.
Our characters engage in “guerrilla gardening”: a form of protest that involves planting greenery in neglected sites. Olive, the protagonist, carries a megaphone; she and her friends stage sit-ins and rally their neighbors against the real estate mogul’s plans. As the climate crisis becomes more urgent, so will the tone of kids’ shows. Here’s a harbinger of that.
Director: Tomas Montalva
Producer: Llolleo Creativo, Osobuco
Looking for: (co-)producers, financiers, sales agents
Budget: €1.2M or $1.4M (30% secured)
The premise is a little convoluted: a retired fisherman, near death, embarks on a bucket-list quest to find the sweetheart of his youth, accompanied by his eight-year-old granddaughter (whom he’s only just met). It’s rare to center a children’s show on a decrepit old man, but there is potential here for a touching story about connection across generations.
The pitch was visually richer than most, packing in an animatic, model sheets, and concept artwork aplenty. The design is slick and Cartoon Network-friendly. Enticingly, the narrative takes the form of a journey across Chilean locations, starting with the San Antonio docks where the fisherman resides.
Director: José María González
Producer: Cusicanqui Films
Looking for: (co-)producers, distributors, financiers
Budget: €1.053M or $1.3M (19.3% secured)
This project, whose title translates as “secret (hi)stories,” stood out from the line-up with its melancholic tone and mature subject matter. The plot wasn’t very clearly explained, but appears to center on a father and son, whose relationship is used to explore two timelines: the modern day and Pinochet’s dictatorship.
Pinochet’s military rule is recent history in Chile and its painful legacy haunts many works of animation from the country, from experimental feature The Wolf House to Oscar-winning short Bear Story. Based on the eponymous graphic novel, Historias clandestinas has the makings of a sensitive family-friendly tale about a heavy subject, nicely rendered in monochrome, densely cross-hatched drawings.