June 18, 2007 – New York, NY: Magic Cellar, the first animated series to be based on African culture, has been acquired for broadcast in the United States by Home Box Office (HBO). The sale is historic as no African television program has ever been acquired by a major American network before.
Magic Cellar is the first 3D animated series based on African culture. The series marks the first time Africa’s children see themselves in an animated television series. The series is based on 20 folk-tales, partially collected by conducting interviews with elders in African villages.
Magic Cellar will be shown on HBO Family in the United States and Bermuda. The multi-award winning 3D animated series will bring African culture into the homes of American families starting at 6:30pm on Saturday, June 23. Each episode will debut on Saturday and repeat on Tuesday and Thursday.
The deal was negotiated by Ottawa, Canada-based Firdaus Kharas, Director and Executive Producer of Magic Cellar. Mr. Kharas commented “We are extremely pleased to partner with HBO Family, a channel known for bringing very high quality programming to American families. I see this sale as another indication of the thirst for high quality multicultural programming.”
Charles Owen, Head of Children for the South African Broadcasting Corporation said: “It gives SABC Children’s Content Hub great pride that Magic Cellar, our flagship program, travels globally into the world giving a new dimension to African story telling.”
Morula Pictures’ Adeelah Carrim said: “The sale to HBO is very exciting for us and encouraging for other African producers as it shows that we can deliver high end productions. Hopefully, this will open the doors for other African programs to be acquired internationally.”
Magic Cellar is a joint venture between South Africa and Canada. Magic Cellar was commissioned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation and is a production of Chocolate Moose Media Inc. of Ottawa, Canada and Morula Pictures of Johannesburg, South Africa. Magic Cellar is directed by multi-award winning Canadian producer and director Firdaus Kharas, a specialist in inter-cultural communications.
Magic Cellar has won 42 international recognitions in 2006-2007. These include Gold and Silver World Medals at the New York Festivals, Best Animated TV Series at the Chicago International Children’s Festival (CICFF), Platinum REMI Award at WorldFest Houston, Best Animation Film at the Independent Black Film festival, 2 Telly Awards, Grand Festival Award at Berkeley, 2 Aegis Awards, 2 Aurora Awards, Silver Plaque at Chicago Intercom, 2 Davey Awards, Silver Globe at the World Media Festival, and US International’s Silver Screen and 2 Certificates of Excellence.
Magic Cellar has been selected by the following competitive festivals in 2006 and 2007: BAMKids; Berkeley Video and Film Festival; Bimini International Festival of Animation Films; Clermont-Ferrand; Columbus Film and Video Festival; Deadcenter Film Festival; Hiroshima Animation Festival; Kids First Festival; Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival; One World Festival; Oxford Film Festival; Pan African Film and Arts Festival; and San Francisco Children’s Festival. Magic Cellar has received an “All Star” endorsement by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media.
HBO Family® is the home of commercial free, non R or TVMA-rated programming selected to satisfy the needs of different age groups. HBO Family is part of the Home Box Office® channels. Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing 24-hour premium television services. HBO networks reach approximately 30 million subscribers in the United States via cable and satellite delivery.
Further information on Magic Cellar may be obtained from the comprehensive web-site, www.magiccellar.tv. Further information on HBO Family can be obtained at www.hbofamily.com. Further information on Firdaus Kharas can be obtained at www.kharas.ca.
For additional information and interviews please contact:
In South Africa: Elanie Janse van Rensburg, Production Co-ordinator, Cell: (27) (0) 825615192 Tel: (27) (0) 11 482 1152 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org