This Canterbury award-winning project has attracted feature-film development funding from the NZ Premium Fund, was awarded NZ on Air Best Children’s Programme at the NZ TV Awards last year, and has just been awarded best animated short at the 2021 LA International Film Festival.
Watch Kiri And Lou Trailer
Catchy songs, colourful creatures and two friends who go through thick and thin: welcome to the world of Kiri and Lou.
The animated musical series tells the tales of Kiri, a little dinosaur and her friend Lou, a prehistoric creature. Shot in stop motion with creatures made of clay, the children’s series is focusing on social topics such as empathy and friendship.
Produced by Fiona Copland (Topless Women Talk about their Lives, Strength of Water) with writer/director Harry Sinclair and animation director Ant Elworthy (Isle of Dog, Corpse Bride), Kiri and Lou features the voices of Jemaine Clement and Olivia Tennet and songs from Harry Sinclair and Don McGlashan.
Being so successful it doesn’t surprise that Kiri and Lou is now in its third season, this time a co-commission with CBeebies for the BBC. Fiona Copland, the producer, feels that the new series is bolder: “We know the characters very well now and have a lot of fun with them. We also have some brilliant guest performances – Marlon Williams plays a takahe singing about his bodily functions, Anika Moa plays a one-legged bird enjoying a thermal hot pool and Tami Neilson lets rip a glorious song as a kind of duck.” As in the first two series, all these songs are written by New Zealand band The Front Lawn (Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair).
Animation Director - Antony Elworthy
The team loves being in Christchurch, especially with its proximity to the glory of the South Island wilderness”, says Fiona Copland. “We’ve also appreciated generous support from Christchurch City Council and consultation from Ngai Tahu.”
The series is produced in Christchurch, the home of celebrated animation director Antony Elworthy. “These things are always only about talent, so you’ve got to go to where it is,” says Fiona Copland. Over time they have built an experienced team, with additional stop motion artists brought in from the UK, US and Australia to live at the Mona Vale gatehouse and work at their studio in Ferrymead. “The team loves being in Christchurch, especially with its proximity to the glory of the South Island wilderness”, says Fiona Copland. “We’ve also appreciated generous support from Christchurch City Council and consultation from Ngai Tahu.” Being in Christchurch has had another advantage: during the recent Covid outbreak the studio could stay in production the whole time.
The Kiri and Lou team is part of the Christchurch City Council’s artists in residence programme, with visiting animators able to stay at the Mona Vale gatehouse for the second year in a row. The opportunity to stay in the gatehouse follows a commitment by the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board to make the most of Council-owned heritage sites. “We’ve had around 12 different artists staying at the gatehouse at different times over the period, which is a real privilege” says Fiona Copland. The building itself is like an animator’s paradise – so characterful and cute with beautiful gardens.” To make their work and the Christchurch artists in residence programme more publicly known, the team is hoping to work more closely with the Christchurch City events team, Fiona says. “We’ve already had some public events in the library and at the beach but there are plans afoot for more in 2022.”
Also planned is another season and a movie. With Series 3 in production and Season 4 in development, Kiri and Lou will continue on our screens over the next few years. The movie is in development for production 2023/24 and there is more: books, albums and merchandise that little fans all over the world have been eagerly waiting for.
Kiri and Lou screens in New Zealand on TV2 and TVNZ On Demand, and is also broadcast overseas, in the UK, Canada and Australia and in Europe (Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Slovenia, Iceland, Portugal, Hungary, Croatia and Czech Republic), the Middle East, Africa and Mexico. Episodes have also been screened and celebrated in many film festivals around the world, particularly in the USA and Europe.