The Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) is an entity that is very passionate about high-quality children's media and television. Based in Melbourne, the company develops and distributes television projects and accompanying educational resources for Australian and international markets. Tim Hegarty, International Sales Manager at ACTF, spoke with Señal News about the Australian shows that travel worldwide.
▸ What does ACTF look for to greenlight a new project?
"We are always on the lookout for Australian stories with global appeal. Live-action scripted comedy, drama, and animation will continue to dominate our development slate, with a small amount of factual. We look for stories with heart and don't shy away from difficult subjects when done in an age-appropriate way. But most of all, comedy will always be at the center of what we do".
▸ ACTF also sells its kids' series around the world. Which are the central values of these titles?
"Scripted shows that we sell to the world will always have well-developed 3D characters, a strong narrative and point of view that is relatable for the audience, with authentic diversity that reflects the audiences' real world".
▸ You are currently promoting "The Inbestigators" and "Hardball Series 2". What is the potential of those shows?
"'The Inbestigators' is a live-action comedy series that capitalizes on children's (and adults) insatiable appetite for puzzles. Each episode includes a self-contained mystery to be solved. The series is currently available on ABC TV (Australia) and Netflix (Worldwide) with recent sales to linear broadcasters KAN (Israel), Clan TV (Spain), RTV (Slovenia), and SABC (South Africa). The Emmy award-winning, live-action comedy 'Hardball' returns for a second series. Created by Guy Edmonds and Matt Zeremes, the show is produced by Northern Pictures and commissioned by ABC TV (Australia). The second series has already been sold to the BBC (UK), ARD SWR (Germany), Canal Panda (Spain), ETB (Spain), RTE (Ireland), RTV (Slovenia), TV Catalunya (Spain), TVO (Canada), and SABC (South Africa). ACTF internationally distributes both shows".
▸ Does ACTF have more projects in the production pipeline?
"We currently have three live-action drama series in various stages of production: one upper teen series, two animation series, and one factual series. All will be delivered over the next 12-18 months and will launch in 2022 and 2023. ACTF also recently joined forces with Australian SVOD platform Stan to create the Original Film Initiative. That venture will see ACTF funding for developing and producing children's movies to be screened exclusively on Stan in Australia and distributed to the world by the ACTF. We are very excited by the response to the initiative, and we are looking forward to moving a project to production in 2022".
▸ How difficult is it to find a project that appeals to digital native kids?
"Kids will always love good stories, well-told ones, and the appetite for high quality original children's series is as high as ever. The audience's expectations get higher and higher each year and that's a challenge. These unique and original stories will stand out in the market; they are the ones that are going to rise to the surface. There are great ideas out there; it's all about putting the right team together and taking the time to develop an idea to its full potential, and then finding the right partners to carry out that project".
By Romina Rodríguez