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HandMade launches kids division, looking for content

British film company HandMade Films has launched a joint venture with National Geographic Kids Entertainment and acquired US kids producer Animation Collective in a move that will see it launch into the kids TV business. Incoming COO Simon Flamank has told TBIvision that it will look to supplement the content it has at launch with new programming.

The new company has hired TV Loonland boss Simon Flamank as chief operating officer and finance director and former MTV Networks International executive Debbie Back as president of sales. Flamank told TBIvision he will leave Loonland after a scheduled EGM at end-November and start in his new role on December 2.

HandMade Kids has also struck its first licensing deal; acquiring the rights to Duchess of York’s Sarah Ferguson’s kids books Tea for Ruby and Little Red. The company has paid US$12 million to acquire Animation Collective, which produces series including the BBC’s Thumb Wrestling Federation and Nickelodeon’s Three Delivery.  It will also invest US$5.6 million into the new joint venture with Nat Geo Kids, which will include the rights to its existing kids series Mama Mirabelle, Toot & Puddle and Iggy Arbuckle.

Flamank said it will also look to add other content to its line-up. “It’s all about building a company and a team. But from day one there’s an opportunity to add to what [content] is there and there will be additions  – there’s lots of opportunity in the market.”

HandMade Films was originally set up by Beatle George Harrison in the 1970s to produce and finance British films including Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Withnail and I.