Taking a creator-driven approach, Little Engine Moving Pictures specializes in the development, production, financing and distribution of live-action CGI-blended series for an international audience. Its programming is targeted to young (and young-at-heart) viewers, with curated kids’, family and young adult content that features characters ranging from talking puppies to puppets, adventurers and aliens to artists and astronauts.
Maria Kennedy is owner and co-founder of Little Engine and oversees the company’s international business and sales strategy. Her expertise lies in the financing and presales of new series and digital content. Since 2014, she has secured $5 million for the production and distribution of the Little Engine shows Cutie Pugs, Starseeker, Canada Crew and Now You Know, which have been sold into more than 100 countries.
Co-founder Ben Mazzotta, as head of creative, manages Little Engine’s full-time, part-time and contract teams of over 70 development, production, post and VFX creatives, delivering world-class stories with humor and heart that have been recognized around the world.
While delivering Cutie Pugs ABC, its first 2D animated series, in the middle of the pandemic, the Toronto-based Little Engine quickly shifted its focus to development. Through a nationwide preschool pitching initiative that resulted in over 70 creator submissions from across the globe, the company optioned three pitches: Happy Trails(in development with CBC), Tiny and Tall and Camp Coup, which Little Engine is bringing to market.
In this video interview, Kennedy speaks with Kyle Perez, distribution coordinator at Little Engine Moving Pictures, about the company ethos, its strong business relationships and highlights from its catalog.
The company’s mission, she says, is to entertain, enlighten, educate and engage kids around the world. “We want kids to be transformed after watching our shows, for them to be more aware of and open to concepts of diversity and inclusion.” Indeed, diversity, inclusion, equity and exploring the deeper “why” in children’s programming is important to Little Engine. The company is constantly looking to push the envelope with bold, innovative and uplifting storytelling that is impactful in a positive way for young audiences and fosters a deeper awareness of the world we live in.
Kennedy calls Little Engine a one-stop-shop. “We’re open to different strategies and models of producing new content with partners. What’s important to know is that our company is equally exceptional at development all the way through to delivery and distribution.”
She cites among the company’s competitive advantages that it’s a nimble, boutique outfit that produces global content with world-class creators on board. “We operate like a family but we offer great bang for your budget because we’re bringing amazing creative combined with domestic financing to the table.”
See Little Engine Moving Pictures’ Spring 2021 Showcase here.