Animated series steals the show at SuperPitch '02

SINGAPORE: The venue for SuperPitch 2002 is Singapore's Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort on the picturesque Sentose island. It's late in the afternoon and six different producers (each has just five minutes to give their best) are waiting to make their programming concept presentations to a prestigious jury consisting of Asian TV commissioning executives.

One of them will go on to win a $5,000 prize and a chance of getting its work commissioned/financed by a TV station/producer. An audience of close to 200 professionals from television awaits their performance.

Welcome to SuperPitch 2002, a concept which was organised by a regional magazine, Television Asia, in conjunction with the Banff Television Foundation. In its second year, it had close to 120 entries, of which six - three from Singapore (Ochre Pictures, Oak Films, Fly Entertainment), one each from Hong Kong (Studio Media), Philippines (Shockpost Multimedia) and India (Grey Cells & Crayons) - were shortlisted as the finalists.

After two hours of pitching, and questions and answers, the winner is finally announced: Hong Kong-based animation studio, Studio Media, which proposed a series of 50 one-minute animated vignettes that take a humorous look at the mating habits of 50 well-known animals, such as frogs, grasshoppers and barnacles titled Ani-mated Animals .

The US$5,000 prize will be officially awarded on the morning of 3 December at the opening ceremony of the third annual Asia Television Forum. The cheque will be awarded to Studio Media's Larry Feign by Singapore's acting minister for the ministry of information, communications and the arts David Lim.

During the discussion that followed Ani-mated Animals pitch, the issue that came up most frequently was censorship and the possibility of much of the one-minute vignettes ending up victim to Asian censors' scissors.

Singapore judges, however, did not anticipate censorship problems. Most said that because it was animation, they did not think anyone airing the vignettes risked contravening local content guidelines. Among the factoids presented in the series are that minks do it for eight hours at a stretch; that dragonflies have shovels on their penises to scoop rivals' semen out of their mate's vagina; and that snakes have forked tongues and forked penises.

Ani-mated Animals is based on a book of the same name by Larry Feign. Making the pitch, Feign said the series was educational, entertaining and documentary. He added: "Ironically, the Singapore edition [of the book the series is based on] is more explicit than in the UK. Yes, we admit that there are censorship boards that would find it difficult, but we will be very careful to draw the line at lewdness and the voice over will be light-hearted and humourous but with no exaggeration."

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