Singapore, 1 May, 2013 – Beach House Pictures has blown out of the water the old adage ‘never work with children or animals’ with their new series Kids Vs Film for Discovery Kids.
The series, which premieres in June, is one of the fresh lead titles headlining Asia’s Discovery Kids channel and is BHP’s first venture into kids’ television.
BHP’s Managing Director Jocelyn Little says BHP has moved quickly into a number of new genres in recent years including wildlife, cooking shows and now kid’s television.
“We knew we could pull this off as the company has a strong story-telling backbone. When Discovery Channel’s Vikram Channa called out for original kids formats in the live action space at the end of last year we leapt at the chance to give it a go.”
Kids Vs Film–a 12×30 min series–involved 48 kids aged eight to 12 years old from Asia being challenged to become first-time filmmakers under the careful tutelage of professional production experts. Each episode sees two teams made up of two kids, guided by hosts Oli Pettigrew and Mohini Sule, compete against each other to research, write, direct, shoot and edit their very own Discovery style two minute documentary – and at the end of it all, their final creations are pitted against each other on the big screen and judged by an audience comprising kids of the same age group.
Discovery Channel Asia Pacific VP Production and Development Vikram Channa says Kids Vs Film has its roots in Discovery Channel’s signature filmmaking boot camp ‘First Time Filmmakers’ targeting creative professionals in the documentary industry.
“It was appropriate that Kids Vs Film emerged in collaboration with Beach House who have helped us produce ‘First Time Filmmakers’ over the years.”
Jocelyn says that the production team were very lucky to have Vikram’s foresight and intuition as the series evolved.
“He has a history of working with young film-makers so we really benefited from his know-how. The big challenge was formatting it and Vikram was pivotal in getting that format right.”
“Once we had locked the format, we had very little time to cast the 48 contenders and create themes which the kids would enjoy and engage with. We also had to learn about the children’s behaviour which affected a normal working day –for example kids this age don’t have long attention spans and we had to plan for that,” says Jocelyn.
“We were lucky that everything we needed for the content was here –and we built a very robust game-plan from the get go, including a full code of conduct for working with the children. We also set up a strong local Singapore team headed up by BHP Head of Production Paul Stevens and one of Australia’s most experienced children’s television producers Susan Oliver.”
But the best surprise for the team was the kid’s level of filmmaking knowledge at such young age.
“Setting it up strongly from the beginning was key to us making it work but we were also happy to see how the kids embraced the format and really enjoyed the filmmaking process. Their resulting short documentaries are very creative and fun to watch.”
Discovery Channel Asia Pacific’s Producer Production and Development Bryan Seah says the content and Beach House Pictures were a great match.
“Kids Vs Film’s main aim was always to empower the kids creatively in a playground of ideas and filmic possibilities. And we certainly found no better partner than Beach House to be the creative chaperone for the kids in this documentary sandbox. The team certainly brought all their creative, as well as paternal/maternal instincts to bear during this production!”