Joint-production between Abu Dhabi and UK wins top industry plaudit
Abu Dhabi, 26 February 2013: The popular pre-school TV show Driver Dan’s Story Train has claimed the ‘Best Animated Special’ prize at the Kidscreen Awards in New York. Produced by 3Line Media in association with twofour54, an Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority Company, and Blink Studios, a leading UAE-based animation and production company, Driver Dan’s Story Train is a children’s CGI-animated (Computer Generated Imagery) story series about a loveable train driving lion.
The 22 minute award-winning Special was singled out for the way it succeeds in keeping an audience of pre-schoolers engaged with the show, with child actors playing a large role in bringing the story to life. All 11 of the Driver Dan characters appear in the Special and the extra carriages for them translate into the longest most colourful train that Driver Dan has ever driven.
Produced in both Arabic and English, Blink Studios, Abu Dhabi produced animation for the International version and localised the content for both the Arabic version of the series and for the award-winning Special. Additionally, Blink Studios contributed to the award-winning Special sourcing Arab talent including a team of visual artists, animators, script writers, story writers and illustrators. Arab script writers and story writers also contributed to the award winning Special.
The Special features two stories; one written by the Arab script-writer with the other inspired by Arab culture. Driver Dan is known as Captain Karim Wa Qitar Al Hekayat in the Middle East and North Africa region with the show airing on Cartoon Network Arabic, Abu Dhabi Al Emarat, Bareem JCC and MBC3 (in English).
Hani Kichi, Director and Producer at Blink Studios said: “We’re particularly thrilled that the Arab talent that we sourced for the animation and script of this Special edition can take their share of the credit for this Award. Driver Dan or Captain Karim, as he’s known here, has always been immense fun to work with.”
Noura Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of twofour54, said: “twofour54 has supported Driver Dan’s Story Train since 2009. This award highlights the quality of content being produced by our partners for regional and global export.”
Driver Dan’s Story Train was created and designed by Rebecca Elgar and launched in 2010. Since then the show has enjoyed enormous success being sold to over 40 countries including the United States Canada, Australia, Turkey and Latin America. It is currently being aired on PBS Sprout in the United States; ABC2, Australia and CBeebies in the UK where it is a top rating show.
This year’s Kidscreen Award is the second for Driver Dan’s Story Train. In 2011 it won ‘Best Companion Website’ for its immersive and interactive online interface. Driver Dan has a global publishing partner Macmillan, its own column in the BBC’s CBeebies Magazine and consumer products for the brand include toys, games and puzzles. There are also plans to develop software for a Driver Dan Story Train electronic game and a major leisure promotion with Thomson Family Resorts, the UK’s leading tour operator, will see parent and toddler sessions themed around the show.
Established in 2010, The Kidscreen Awards recognises the best in children’s television globally. This year the awards took place at The Hilton hotel in New York City.
twofour54, an Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority company, is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s leading media and entertainment hub. As part of its mission, twofour54 is driving the development of the creative industries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), supporting talent and content development initiatives, creativity and young entrepreneurs.
It does this by offering training across all media sectors; business development and funding support to Arabs with great ideas; a creativity lab that allows members to get involved in creative projects; and by facilitating world-class content through its production and post-production facilities.
These services are supported by twofour54 tawasol, facilitating easy business set-up and providing ongoing support services. The campus is home to over 190 local, regional and international companies, including Ubisoft, Cartoon Network, Sky News Arabia, CNN, BBC, Flash Entertainment, Sport 360, Reed Exhibitions, Charisma, Tahadi and Jawaker.