Monello gets first commission with Barenboim toon

Fledgling French prodco Monello Productions has won its first commission, Kevin Maestro, an animated series developed with, and featuring, renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim.

France Télévisions, Italy’s Rai and HR, a regional affiliate to ARD, are all investing development money in the toon series.

Animation indie Monello was cofounded in September 2013 by former Télé Images and Gaumont Alphanim execs Giorgio Welter and Christian Davin. It is part of the Tetra Media Studio.

Kevin Maestro is based on an original idea by Giorgio Welter and Agathe Robillard, and aims to introduce classical music to 6-to-9 years-old kids. Each episode will teach a musical concept and each script will be approved by Daniel Barenboim. The pianist, and current music director for Milanese opera house La Scala, will also appears in the series in animated form.

The 52x13mins series has a budget of €6 million (US$7.4 million). A pilot will be shot in Spring 2015 and production is slated to start next summer. It tells the daily life of a 2015 young suburban boy who becomes friends with his neighbour, Barenboim.

“Daniel Barenboim feels very concerned by the kids’ musical education and works to fill in the gap between classical music and youngsters,” Giorgio Welter told TBI. “He quickly showed interest in the project and we’ve agreed he will lend his image to the show and be our musical advisor.”

Production will take place in France and Italy. Monello is coproducing it with Italian music-specialist MP1. Its CEO, Piero Marenghi, is the co-owner of channel Classica, transmitted on Sky Italia.