By ZAM KARIMbytz@thestar.com.my
KUALA LUMPUR: Two animated shorts - Blox Brigade and Ziro The Wizard ... In Training - screened to the media recently, were the result of successful story ideas submitted to the Cartoon Network's Snaptoons (Short New Asia Pacific Cartoons) Malaysia 2010 programme.
The programme, which in collaboration with the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), offers local creative hopefuls an avenue to pitch their cartoons, comprising original ideas targeted at 4- to 14-year-olds.
The cartoons must also be smart, funny and with bold characters that can be the next-generation's cartoon heroes.
Blox Brigade, which is produced by Unizaru, revolves around the misadventures of three brothers - Edward, Arnold and Roscoe - as well as their mentor Ohka with the Supreme League of Evil.
While, Ziro The Wizard by Tomato Animation follows a bumbling wizard and his friend Nina's fascination with magic, which interestingly gets them into all sorts of trouble.
Both 10-minute shorts took half a year to complete.
Unizaru and Tomato Animation received assistance from Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific (the operator of the Cartoon Network channel) animation experts, as well as established local animation studios.
According to the Turner's regional creative director, Silas Hickey, Snaptoons Malaysia received more than 30 entries from budding, as well as professional, animators.
"As the No 1 kids' channel in Asia Pacific, Cartoon Network is always looking for ways to promote creative talent residing in our own backyard, and we're seeing some refreshingly awesome ideas emerging from animators in this country," he said.
Blox Brigade and Ziro The Wizard will premiere on the Cartoon Network, but the date is still under wraps.
At the moment there are no plans to develop any of the shorts into a full series, Hickey said.
But perhaps someday, home-grown products like these will join the channel's roster of iconic cartoons, such as Ben 10, Chowder, The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory and Johnny Bravo, he said.
MDeC is caretaker of the MSC Malaysia initiative that is working to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy.