ON the eve of its first anniversary, local animation company Reel Rock GSW Animation has secured an agreement with Studio Red Frog, an animation production company that bills itself the “Digital Storytellers”, based in Lille, France.
The agreement calls for the production of 13 episodes of Quiz Time, a cartoon targeting children in the twoto -six age group that airs on Disney Junior in France. The contract is believed to be the first of its kind for an animation studio based in the Caribbean, to provide production work for a series airing on a major international television network.
“This is an amazing achievement for us, considering that we are still less than one-year-old. It is a testament to the very hard work put in by our dedicated and super talented team of animators and illustrators and this augurs well not just for us, but the Jamaican and Caribbean animation industry,” said Wayne Sinclair, executive director of Reel Rock GSW Animation.
He also paid tribute to JAMPRO, which he said was instrumental in facilitating the “first steps on this journey of the local animation industry”.
In responding to the news of the Red Frog contract, Milverton Reynolds, managing director of the Development Bank of Jamaica, congratulated Sinclair and his team. “This is very good news for Reel Rock GSW and Jamaica,” he added.
“The company is a great example of local entrepreneurs who are not only providing employment and an outlet for local creative talent, but also earning valuable foreign exchange for Jamaica. The DBJ is pleased to have facilitated the provision of financing for the company and hopes that this contract marks the beginning of bigger and better opportunities,” said Reynolds.
Lisa Bell, managing director at EXIM Bank, said: “We are pleased that Reel Rock GSW is getting the opportunity to make its mark internationally. EXIM Bank is not just a financial partner, but a supporter of the creative industry and we strongly believe that these opportunities will create new foreign exchange streams for Jamaica and open doors for other entrepreneurs wanting to do business in animation.”
Citing a strict confidentiality clause in the agreement, Sinclair said the financial terms of the deal could not be disclosed, but he was quick to point out the role of Toon Boom Animation in Montreal, Canada.
“Toon Boom’s software was a crucial component of this opportunity. I had met briefly with one of the principals of Red Frog last year at the Annecy (France) Animation Festival and struck up a conversation. But Red Frog is a Toon Boom (software) studio as well and this established a common technological platform between us. So we did a test and they decided that we were good enough to work with them,” he said.
Sinclair also confirmed that he has had preliminary discussions with Red Frog for additional work relating to other aspects of their distribution pipeline.
Red Frog is a leading producer of content for various media platforms including broadcast television, online webisodes and apps for tablets and smartphones.