20 MAY 2020

PAM WESTMAN: “THE ANIMATION GENRE DEFINITELY GIVES US AN ADVANTAGE”

The President of Nelvana describes how the company is coping with the pandemic, and explains why animation is a genre that has the advantage in this context of social isolation.

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Pam Westman, President of Nelvana

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Founded in 1971, Nelvana is one of the world's leading international producers and distributors of children's animated content. Part of Corus Entertainment, the company develops, produces and distributes animated shows, and its library now has over 4,000 half-hour animated episodes including classic properties such as “Babar,” “Franklin,” “Max & Ruby” and “The Berenstain Bears,” and new hits such as "Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe" or "Miss Persona".

To face these difficult times, the company has adopted a work-from-home strategy which allows it to continue producing and doing business with its partners. According to Pam Westman, President of Nelvana, clients’ demands during this pandemic have neither changed nor decreased.

“Clients did not really ask for anything different from what we are already producing. I know there are now a few shows that actually deal with kids in quarantine, but we have not received that message at all from our partners. In fact, it is the opposite – they want to keep things light-hearted to allow kids an escape,” Westman told Señal News.

Animation is a particular genre, since it allows to continue producing even in these times of social isolation. “We are completely on schedule. This genre definitely does give us the advantage to be able to produce content without interruption,” the President of Nelvana said. However, the animated content is not delivered for 18 months, so Westman believes that producing coronavirus-related shows now is not a good idea. “Let’s not remind kids 18 months from now about this very scary time that they are going through right now,” she warned.

According to Westman, entertainment plays a huge role in a situation like this. “At the beginning of this pandemic, everybody was really scared, especially children, who did not understand why was this happening. When you allow a child to still be able to have their favourite characters in their life and to watch something that is entertaining, it is a huge benefit to his wellbeing and day to day activities. It gives them something to look forward to, and also gives parents a break, because they are also dealing with work from home and having children full time,” she assured.

Last of all, Westman indicated that demand for content will definitely increase, but as production did not stop, Nelvana will be able to deliver shows to their partners across the world on time and on budget. “The content is going to be consume voraciously. Kids are in front of the screens more often and we, as content providers, have to make sure that the content is appropriate,” she concluded.

By Federico Marzullo