LM interviewed Francesco Manfio, General Manager and co-founder (with Sergio Manfio) of Gruppo Alcuni, to find out more about the company’s upcoming news and objectives
Trade shows are finally back, what are Gruppo Alcuni’s expectations?
For our company, it is very important to be able to resume participation at trade fairs, so we were really happy to have been back in Cannes for MipTV and to confirm our presence at upcoming events like Mifa, Kidscreen, Mipcom, etc. Of course, expectations are high as we have many new TV series that we can’t wait to share with buyers.
Our readers are curious to know if there is any news regarding one of your very successful series: Mini Pet Pals.
After 156 episodes, 14 specials and a feature film for the cinema with our co-production partner RAI Ragazzi, we asked ourselves where we could take the adventures of our extraordinary pets next. There was no doubt, the most natural thing in the world was for the Mini Pet Pals to go to school!
So the new series: “Mini Pet Pals – Start School” (52 x 6′) sees Diva, Pio, Top Hat, Moby, Holly, and Nameless grappling with their first school adventures. It is a truly unique school where play is used as a tool to learn about oneself and the surrounding world.
Knowledge is gained through the experience of doing: acting, playing in a group, visiting cities and museums, cultivating a vegetable garden, playing with math, and much more.
Which other new characters will enhance the world of Mini Pet Pals?
The school is the ideal place to meet lots of new friends such as Curly the Hedgehog, Jasmine the Otter, Coco the Fox, Nicky the Woodpecker, Dazzle the Chameleon and Freddy the Earthworm, just to name a few. Along with some great teachers like Laura the Lynx, Otis the Owl, Sebastiano the Flamingo, Celeste the Stork and Ester the Turtle.
And in these brand new and exciting adventures, the Mini Pet Pals are also accompanied by Methuselah the Tree, always available to lend a hand to find a solution to their problems.
We could not miss asking about Leo da Vinci that you just mentioned. We know that you are preparing the second series: what is the latest news?
Thanks to the success of the first series distributed in 36 countries around the world, “Leo da Vinci 2” (52 x 13 ‘) is already in production.
The second series is very different from the previous one in the sense that, while the first 52 episodes were completely set in Florence, the new ones will take Leo, Lisa, Bianca and Lollo on a long journey across Europe in search of the King of Seilan’s ruby. It is a priceless stone described in “The Travels of Marco Polo.” In addition to our heroes, the ruby is also of interest to a handful of unscrupulous merchants.
The co-production team for the new adventures about the Tuscan genius has been confirmed: in addition to Gruppo Alcuni, it includes RAI Ragazzi, Hessischer Rundfunk, ARD and Cosmos Maya.
And what about new series?
We have several series in pre-production such as “Gateway 66” (26 x 6′), created in collaboration with Muse (the science museum of Trento) and with the Trentino Film Commission. “Gateway 66” is a hybrid series that combines live-action and animation. It talks to a wide audience, including young people, about science in an adventurous and fun way. Anna and Gabriele, the protagonists of the series, make an extraordinary journey into a “space-time tunnel” in search of a scientist who is lost in another dimension.
With Rai Ragazzi we are also working on further development of the Mini Pet Pals brand with the creation of the “Mini Pet Pals & Mini Dinos” series where our young heroes enter a new world populated by hilarious Mini Dinosaurs. We are confident that these new characters will provide an endless source of inspiration for our licensee friends.
… And as for our third new project “The Black Diamond Race” (9 x 60‘), I’ll save that for the next interview!