Mondo TV Studios confirmed plans to serve as international distributor for the brand-new animated kids’ show Leo’s World, produced by independent production company Brand Cross in collaboration with RAI Kids and with support from the Ministry of Culture. “Leo’s World is the first cartoon series that speaks directly to autistic children and at the same time is suitable for all preschool children. This is an inclusive cartoon series that combines expert input with warmth and imagination and makes learning about the world fun, while celebrating diversity as it talks about other ways of being. We are honoured to be working with Brand Cross and Rai Kids on such a special property and delighted to be bringing this show to the international audience it deserves.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Mondo TV Studios will manage distribution for all territories except Italy, Vatican City State, Malta and San Marino Republic. The first season of the show – 10 episodes of 12’ – will be broadcast on Rai Yoyo, RAI's television channel for kids, and the RAI multimedia portal RaiPlay from 28 November 2022 until 7 January 2023. The beginning of February 2023 will see the launch of a specially designed Leo’s World game via apps on both iOS and Android devices. In addition, a teaser campaign for both the TV launch and the launch of the wider Leo’s World project is planned during which about 200 of the original drawings will be transformed into NFTs. Part of the income from their sale will be used to support an association dealing with autistic children.
"Leo’s World," based on an original idea by Emanuela Cavazzini and Eleonora Vittoni, is a 2D animated series, made with and for children and teens on the autism spectrum as well as neurotypical pre-school children. The show follows a mother of two autistic children, has been written by renowned Italian writer and TV author Nicola Brunialti and brought to the screen with the help and support of a number of experts, including Paolo Moderato, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and behaviour analyst, to ensure the scientific and rigorous nature of the content. It has also benefited from the involvement of children with autism. The title is specifically designed to engage in an active and direct communication with autistic children through stories, characters, scenarios and images.The animated content will allow autistic kids to engage fully, with all sensors involved as they watch the show.
"Leo's World" shows the daily adventures of little Leo, a boy on the autistic spectrum, and his two friends, Lola, a clever and friendly dog, and Babù, his beloved puppet. Babù comes to life to transport all three of them to “another place," a fantastic and highly imaginative version of our everyday world, where Leo can find out how much magic and fun there can be in the simple things he sometimes finds hard to deal with, teaching children how to deal with the emotions that come with everyday life. The director and concept artist for all the characters and environments in the series is Dario Piana. Dario is a director with thirty years of experience in the world of advertising and film. He started out as an illustrator and cartoonist after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts.
A contest for children with autism has been planned as well. Children will be invited to draw their own fantasy characters. The winners will have their drawings published in the end credits, next to their names, in the second season of Leo’s World. The award ceremony for the winners will take place on 2 April 2023, World Autism Awareness Day. "The problem of the autism spectrum, which affects more and more children worldwide, is unfortunately, like many disabilities, often underestimated, thus creating marginalisation," Emanuela Cavazzini CEO at Brand-Cross said. "This is why, together with Eleonora Vittoni, mother of twins with autism, we decided to build a project in the round, overturning the current narrative. Not to talk about autism as a disability, but to talk directly to children and young people with autism in an inclusive way so that they can identify themselves and feel equal to everyone else. A big challenge that we undertook with passion and courage supported by a team of neuropsychologists and an exceptional creative team. Finding then the support and collaboration of Rai Kids and Mondo TV Studios was the most beautiful and exciting reward for us.”