Showcase: Dandelooo


Dandelooo has a bevy of animated programs to offer the international market, including third-party titles and those produced through its own studio, Ooolala, which started out with Stinky Dog and has gone on to produce Mum is Pouring RainBilly the Cowboy Hamster and The Upside Down River. To expand its slate even further, the company recently launched Dandelooo Cinéma to focus on feature films, as well as a short-film department.

Dandelooo Cinéma provides “a beautiful opportunity to tell longer stories,” says Emmanuèle Pétry, producer and head of distribution. “It all started because we noticed that there is a lack of films for preschoolers. There are a lot of blockbusters for older kids, but very few for the little ones.”

Already, “we have three of our films that will be released theatrically in France at the end of the year,” she notes. “France is leading on that front with animated feature films. We’re hoping to develop that and bring these films to Europe and North America.”

Producing films isn’t something completely new to the company, which has been making longer compilations of its series for several years now, some of which have been released in theaters. The Dandelooo Cinéma department will produce 2D feature films, and the distribution arm of the business will focus on acquiring CGI films to complement them. The company’s short-film department will bring projects five to ten minutes in duration to the Dandelooo portfolio.

In terms of age demos, “We’re known for preschool and upper preschool because we have lots of series like Billy the Cowboy Hamster and Pompon Little Bear,” Pétry says. “We did explore the higher end with The Upside Down River. That’s 8 to 12, so it’s the highest [age demographic] we’ve ever done. Now we’re exploring early preschool. For the first time, we have a series for distribution for 2 to 5, coming from Korea. And we’re developing our own 2-to-5 early preschool program. So, we’re exploring from 2 to 12.”

No matter what age the series or film is geared toward, Dandelooo likes to get involved as early as possible and is able to provide help from storyboarding all the way through to final delivery. And it is open to hearing from anyone with good ideas. “Just before Christmas, we got a proposal from someone unknown to us, and it was amazing,” Pétry notes. “We fell in love with it. We decided to go for it. But we had no connection with this writer before. We’re making a teaser for a comedy show for Cartoon Forum. It’s quite exciting when that happens.”

And because of Dandelooo’s location within La Cartoucherie in Valence and its proximity to La Poudrière, it has a group of highly skilled creatives it can tap into to help bring ideas to life. “The beauty about [La Poudrière] is that the people love to live in Valence, and they stay there and marry and have kids, so we have a whole pool of very talented directors in that spot who love to work on our projects,” Pétry says.

Regarding specific topics Dandelooo is currently on the lookout for, “we’d love to do an ecology” project, Pétry says. “Not an in-your-face series about making your compost or closing your tap of water, but something that is really meaningful for what we’re facing today, the challenges of sustainability.”

This would be in line with the real action the company is taking in this realm. “We’ve been the first animation studio to do a carbon footprint on our full activities to understand where we can do better,” says Jean-Baptiste Wéry, CEO and producer. “We’ve been publishing this [information] publicly for two years now.”

The company also has a tool that it is installing throughout its production studio that helps it monitor the computers and the electricity they consume at various times. “The idea is to understand where we can consume less or be more efficient and then automate as much as possible,” he says.

Then, the company can take action to avoid buying new technology “because this is the essence of ecology,” Wéry continues. “You need to buy as little as you can and use the resources you have in the best possible way.” By doing so, the company is working toward producing high-quality shows and films at a lower, more environmentally friendly cost.

Ultimately, though, Dandelooo’s main focus remains on delivering projects that feature “themes that are important to everybody, about friendship, growing up, losing people we love, becoming who we are supposed to be,” Pétry notes. “We can help kids grow up and find answers for all these difficult questions.”

“What we aim for is to tell meaningful stories,” Wéry adds. “We have a sentence we like to say about ourselves: Dandelooo—eye-opening stories. And that applies to everything, TV or feature films.”

“Our goal is not to make margins but to make [projects] that we’re very proud of,” Pétry emphasizes.