New York, NY: Magic Cellar, the first animated series to be based on African culture, was awarded Gold and Silver World Medals at the 50th New York Festivals.  Magic Cellar is the only animated television series in the world across all categories to receive a Gold World Medal.

Receiving the award in New York, NY on February 2, 2007 was Ottawa, Canada-based Firdaus Kharas, Director and Executive Producer of Magic Cellar.  Mr. Kharas commented “The fact that Magic Cellar was the only animated series in the world to be honoured with a Gold World Medal is remarkable and humbling.  I see the award at such an international competition as a testament to the truly cross-cultural nature of the series.

While it showcases African culture, it brings universal values to children the world over.”

Two episodes of Magic Cellar were awarded World Medals.  Episode 1, Where Stories Come From, was awarded a Gold and Episode 2, The Tortoise and the Elephant, was awarded a Silver. Both episodes were entered in the category Youth Programs (Ages 7-12) in the 2007 International Television Programming and Promotion Awards of the New York Festivals.

Other Gold World Medal winners included the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ORF Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Discovery Networks, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), ITN, WDR of Germany, Japan Broadcasting (NHK), GMA Network of the Philippines, and ESPN, CNN, NBC and HBO in the US.

Magic Cellar is the first 3D animated series based on African culture.  The series marks the first time Africa’s children see themselves reflected 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 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.

Magic Cellar has won 27 international recognitions recently, including 18 international awards.  These include the Best Animated TV Series at the Chicago International Children’s Festival (CICFF), the Platinum REMI Award, 2 Telly Awards, the Grand Festival Award at Berkeley, 2 Aegis Awards, 2 Aurora Awards, the Silver Plaque at Chicago Intercom, 2 Davey Awards and the US International’s Silver Screen and 2 Certificates of Excellence.  Magic Cellar has been selected by the Hiroshima Animation Festival, the Los Angeles Children’s Festival, and for a gala screening by the One World Festival in Ottawa, Canada.  Magic Cellar has received an “ALL STAR” endorsement by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media.

The New York Festivals (NYF) celebrated its 50th. annual ceremony in 2007.  Entries are received from around the world.  The New York Festivals International Television Programming and Promotion Awards recognize “The World’s Best Work” in news, documentary, information and entertainment programming as well as in music videos, infomercials, promotion spots, openings and station identifications.  Each NYF competition is supported by a Board of Judges and Advisors, each of which is led by a chairperson and represents a veritable “who’s who” of international communications.

Entries are judged by panels of international award winning professionals who are recognized as leaders in their respective fields. The preliminary round of judging produces Finalist winners. Finalist winners receive a Finalist Certificate. Further judging rounds determine Bronze, Silver and Gold medal winners.

Further information on Magic Cellar may be obtained from the comprehensive web-site,  Further information on The New York Festivals can be obtained at Further information on Firdaus Kharas can be obtained at

For additional information and interviews please contact:

In Canada:  Firdaus J. Kharas. Director and Executive Producer. Tel: (1)(613) 820-6121 Fax: (1)(613) 820-4679 web-site: e-mail:

In South Africa:  Elanie Janse van Rensburg, Production Co-ordinator, Cell: (27) (0) 825615192 Tel: (27) (0) 11 482 1152 e-mail: