New York, NY, January 19, 2000 - Renowned author Amy Tan's imaginative story of discovery, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat, will premiere in fall 2001 as a daily animated television series on PBS KIDS stations. Forty half-hour episodes of the series will be produced by CinŽGroupe in association with the Children's Television Workshop (The Workshop) and IF/X Productions. CinŽGroupe and The Workshop will also distribute the series worldwide.
The series is adapted from the award-winning children's book by Amy Tan, whose critically-acclaimed, best-selling adult novels include The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, and The Hundred Secret Senses. Executive Producers are Gemini Award winner Jacques Pettigrew and Emmy Award winner George Daugherty. Executive Director is Michel Lemire. Creative Consultants will be Tan and artist Gretchen Schields (who originally illustrated The Chinese Siamese Cat). Production Executive for CinŽGroupe is Ken Katsumoto, and Production Executive for The Workshop is Alice Cahn.
Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat follows the adventures of a spirited and curious young cat named Sagwa. Amidst the time-honored culture of Ancient China, Sagwa, a spunky kitten, sets out to find her own place in an enchanting world of customs and traditions. With the soaring imagination of an eight-year-old child, she discovers that there is more than one way to view the world. Through that discovery she finds that even though the choices can be difficult, you're never too small for your own voice to be heard.
"Working with Amy Tan and Gretchen Schields and producing this innovative daily animation series with The Workshop, IF/X, and PBS, the most trusted place for pre-school television, is a major coup for CinŽGroupe," conveyed Ken Katsumoto, CinŽGroupe's Head of U.S. Operations. Jacques Pettigrew, President and C.E.O. of CinŽGroupe, added, "This exciting alliance affirms CinŽGroupe's role as a major player in the world of children's programming."
"We are delighted to be working with Amy Tan and CinŽGroupe to bring wonderful stories to children on PBS KIDS," said Alice Cahn, The Workshop's President of Television, Film and Video. "Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat is a remarkable series that blends imagination, tradition, adventure and history with wonderful characters that parents will love and trust."
"Collaborating with Amy Tan and Gretchen Schields throughout this development period has been a magical experience," said Daugherty. "Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat is quintessential Amy Tan, and it resonates with a universal theme of discovery, hope, and childlike joy which will touch a wide and diverse audience. Over 27 million adult readers, in 24 languages, have been touched by Amy's work, often on a uniquely personal level. Now, children everywhere will have the chance to experience her remarkable words, unique voice, and vivid imagination," he concluded.
Each half-hour episode will be comprised of two 11-minute animated segments with related interstitial components. The series will combine classic animation, music, folk stories and fairytales to create a unique experience for young children.
The series, which will be truly convergent with interactive activities on the Web, will debut online on pbskids.org prior to its launch on television. The interstitial elements linking the animation segments in the series will be produced by CinŽGroupe Interactive using Web animation techniques. They will produce new creative elements complementing the animation segments and inviting the children to continue the experience on the Web.
The premiere destination for children's entertainment and education, PBS KIDS provides a nonviolent, noncommercial daily schedule that kids love and parents trust. PBS KIDS extends far beyond the TV screen to the Web (pbskids.org), home videos, educational outreach materials, and the new PBS KIDS CHANNEL. The PBS KIDS Ready to Learn Service leverages the television programs with workshops in local communities to help adults boost children's reading and social skills. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week.
With headquarters in Montreal and offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, CinŽGroupe is a leading integrated entertainment company, involved in the development, the production, the post-production and the distribution of hit animation and fiction programming as well as digital products for the worldwide market. Known for their high quality, CinŽGroupe's award-winning productions are seen in 125 countries. CinŽGroupe has over 500 half-hours of animation series to its credit. It is currently producing and distributing in association with Sony Wonder, Lion of Oz and the Badge of Courage for SuperChannel and Disney Channel and, also with Sony Wonder, Mega Babies for Teletoon and Fox Family. The company is also producing the popular The Kids from Room 402 series for Fox Family.
Children's Television Workshop is a non-profit educational organization committed to maximizing the power of the media as an educational force in the lives of children. Its properties include television, online, CD-Rom, magazines, books, film, community outreach, and product licensing. Best known as the creator of Sesame Street beginning its 31st season on PBS in 2000. The Workshop produces programming that has been enjoyed in 148 countries, including 20 indigenous co-productions reflecting local languages, customs and educational needs. With Columbia TriStar Television Group, The Workshop recently launched Dragon Tales on PBS. Several of The Workshop's earlier award-winning programs, including The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact and Square One TV, can now be found on Noggin, the new 24-hour-per-day kids' thinking channel, a joint venture between The Workshop and Nickelodeon. Find The Workshop online at www.ctw.org and www.sesamestreet.com.
Founded by George Daugherty and David Wong, IF/X Productions has been creating culturally diverse projects for children and families since 1989. IF/X's ABC live-action/animated production of Peter And The Wolf, starring Kirstie Alley, Lloyd Bridges, and the animation of the celebrated Chuck Jones, won the 1996 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program. IF/X's projects also include the Warner Bros. concert production Bugs Bunny On Broadway, the award-winning Rhythm & Jam for ABC, and the Warner Bros. feature documentary film The Magical World of Chuck Jones.
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