Rodney-based animation studios, La Luna, is about to launch five new animated television series for children to international distribution.

And the two-year project, the largest yet for the fledgling studio, is already drawing praise from one of New Zealand’s foremost film-makers.

Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop says of La Luna’s accomplishment, “La Luna Studios have been developing a range of IP for children’s television and family entertainment feature films over the last few years. It is very exciting to see these projects develop here in New Zealand and all at Weta Workshop wish them the best with this exciting step in New Zealand owned and controlled content.”

La Luna’s founder and director, Cris Casares, says the series will create a significant bank of intellectual property for the company, “If New Zealand want to be leaders in the digital content arena, then companies should look at creating their own production instead of being just service providers for the rest of the world”.

Full production for the series is ready to begin and will be launched with an initial episode for each in early 2008. To help secure international distribution, the series will feature at the biggest international broadcast fairs around the world like Mipcom in France and Kidscreen in the US. Further promotion for the shows will be done through the Internet.

A key motivator and passion for the series is the concept of learning via fun for children worldwide. Says Casares, “The content and stories of a lot of TV series I watch with the kids is absolutely shocking. The animation, colours and sound effects give you a headache. I want kids to be left with a nice feeling and message, not an anxious one.”

All four of La Luna’s new series, “Kea”, “Tana”, “The Wish”, “Pride and Joy” and “Little Solar Street”, have been created with this strong vision and attitude in mind. “Connecting with kids’ heads, hearts and humour is the ultimate winning recipe for all these projects,” says Casares.

She is also keen to include learning into her wider repertoire of entertainment so Casares and her team have incorporated an interactive component into all the series. It involves free online educational activities and games for each TV show. They will present kids with fun clues that they can collect and use to play integrated games with.

La Luna’s altruistic goals and thinking can be aligned with similar global companies and initiatives that support and enhance the well-being and development of children worldwide, like Makepovertyhistory. Casares is planning to implement a charity donation for each episode of her new series broadcast.

La Luna sees the digital content industry in New Zealand as the perfect opportunity to globally share learning through laughter and empowering animated stories that capture every child imagination.