Elias sets sail for international TV distribution

Michelle Clancy | 07-09-2013

Elias, the little rescue boat that first gained popularity as a children’s picture book in Norway, is now on its way to becoming a global children’s entertainment brand.

Henson Independent Properties (HIP), which is the Jim Henson Company’s third-party media distribution and licensing banner, has acquired the media distribution rights for the TV series Elias: Rescue Team Adventures from Animando.

The company will debut 52 11-minute episodes of the CGI-animated preschool series, now in production at Caoz Animation in Iceland. The series is a follow-up to the successful original series and movies. HIP’s consumer products team will unveil the property at MIP Jr. 2013, and to the international licensing community at Brand Licensing Expo in London in October.

Elias is a brave, playful little rescue boat with an enthusiasm for life, fun and adventure. His berth is in Cozy Cove, a caring community comprised of houses, boats, cars, cranes and other distinct, non-human helpful characters. Elias loves the unpredictable seas that lap the wind-swept harbor of Cozy Cove as much as he loves his friends -- Helinor the helicopter, Dippy the submarine, Swifty the rubber dingy and others. His friends help Elias to learn the skills of his trade while sharing in his adventures and helping to keep everyone safe. Elias: Rescue Team Adventures series features kid-sized adventure stories that encourage young children to explore their own world.

“Elias: Rescure Team Adventures is a very distinct and captivating series for the global pre-school audience,” said Richard Goldsmith, executive vice president of global distribution for the Jim Henson Co. “We’re always on the lookout for unique characters and storylines that resonate with audiences worldwide. Animando has put the emphasis on entertainment while also managing to convey important lessons on safety, cooperation, community and bravery. Animando has done an amazing job on developing the property, and HIP is excited to establish Elias’ success in the global marketplace.”

Elias first came to life in 1999 in the form of a children’s picture book created by Alf Knutsen and Sigurd Slåttebrekk entitled Elias the Little Rescue Boat. The book targeted young children with the story of a heroic little rescue boat dedicated to making the world a safe and happy place. In 2005, Elias was transformed into a national television series supported by Norway’s largest commercial broadcaster TV2 Norway. The 39-episode series earned recognition including an International Emmy nomination in 2006. This opened the door to big screen productions -- Elias and the Royal Yacht (2007) and Elias and the Treasure of the Sea (2010), which received the Amanda Award in 2011 from the Norwegian International Film Festival as the best children’s feature film.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) has already committed to airing the 52 new episodes of Elias: Rescue Team Adventures, beginning in spring 2014.