Imagine Kids+Family Partners With ‘Hair Love’ Studio Lion Forge Animation on First Look Deal

The deal includes the studio’s existing IP for the preschool-age animated series “Chippy Hood”

Imagine Kids+Family has partnered with Lion Forge Animation, the studio behind the Oscar-winning animated short film “Hair Love,” on a first look deal to create short form content, TV series and other digital content, Imagine Kids+Family announced Wednesday.

The projects in development will draw from the company’s existing IP and original ideas, including a series based on “Chippy Hood,” an animated series aimed at preschool kids that was made in partnership with South Korean animation studio Mostapes.

The other projects as part of the first look deal include “Puerto Rico Strong,” about the devastation after Hurricane Maria, and a series with the working title “Black Comic Anthology,” which featuring African American creators.

Productions will be executive produced by Imagine Kids+Family president Stephanie Sperber and Lion Forge Animation president Carl Reed and founder David Steward II.

“I have admired Carl and David for their originality and unique storytelling for years. They are visionary content creators and cross-platform franchise incubators,” Sperber said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with them to produce an original slate of content that also amplifies unique voices and tells diverse stories.”

“The Imagine brand has always stood out as a blue chip moniker for best-in-class entertainment and their Kids+Family group certainly carries on the tradition. We’re excited to work with Stephanie and the Imagine team as we explore and mine Lion Forge’s vast IP holdings that include comics, graphic novels, original content and celebrity affiliations, and as always, introduce diverse voices and characters to impressionable audiences who will see this as more relatable in today’s world,” Reed said in a statement.

“We’re seeing a surge in demand for animated content aimed at children and expect this trajectory to continue in step with the proliferation of screens and streaming platforms globally. To meet this demand and continue to deliver at the high-level families are accustomed to, we’re happy to forge this partnership with Imagine Kids+Family and collaborate on a really fun and distinct slate that carries our messages of diversity and inclusion,” Steward II said in a statement.

“Chippy Hood” is an animated series for preschool aged kids set in a magical place where four little chipmunks, Chippy, Kong, LaLa, and BamBam, look for opportunities to add fun events into their daily lives.

“Puerto Rico Strong” is and animated anthology series based on the Eisner Award-winning book of the same name that was created by the those who came together after Puerto Rico faced devastation from Hurricane Maria. Many within the Latinx community stepped forward to share their stories, both fictional and personal, that spoke of the culture, history, and strength of the Puerto Rican community. And “Puerto Rico Strong” explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept, from today’s most exciting Puerto Rican comics creators.

“Black Comic Anthology” (working title) is a series of animated episodes, featuring African American creators, that offers a journey through time, and a look at the black experience at each stop. It will explore subject matters of race, inequality, triumphs, and tribulations and has a connecting fiber throughout that culminates in a surprise ending that ties its seemingly unrelated episodes together.

The projects will be jointly produced and financed by Lion Forge Animation and Imagine. Lion Forge Animation and Imagine will collaborate on the development and pre-production of the projects including the creation of story, character design and other assets. Animation work will be conducted at the Lion Forge Animation studios in St. Louis, Missouri.

Lion Forge Animation was launched less than a year ago and won the Oscar this past year for “Hair Love,” directed by Matthew A. Cherry. Cherry himself on Wednesday signed a first look deal with Warner Bros. Television Group.