Kiwi pre-schooler series Kiri and Lou a hit in the UK

A TV series about the adventures of a dinosaur called Kiri and her purple friend Lou - which is animated in a Christchurch studio - is winning hearts all over the world.

Pitched at kids aged 3-7, Kiri and Lou is written and directed by feature film director Harry Sinclair and features the voices of performers Jemaine Clement and Olivia Tennet and music from Don McGlashan.

The characters in Kiri and Lou are hand-sculpted from clay, which allowed the animation team a lot of room for creativity, says producer Fiona Copland.

"You can do things with sculpting clay in the emotions of the characters faces that it's really hard to do any other way."

The appealing sweetness of Kiri and Lou began with Harry Sinclair as the writer, Copland says.

"The sweetness is the voice of the writer and the animators pick up on that and add character… and the actors really get it. Then you put Don McGlashan into that mix. He and Barry write the songs together. Amy Barber mixes the sound and puts her own heart into it.

"Basically you just need really nice people working together and by the time they've all put their own sweetness in it you end up with something very sweet."

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Neither Sinclair or Copland had ever worked in kids TV and as a result, created something out of the ordinary with Kiri and Lou.

Copland is very happy that parents are enjoying watching the show along with their children.

"I was talking to Harry [Sinclair] about why that might be - and I think it's because it's not really full of mummy messages. It's quite anarchic.

"Because we haven't come from a children's TV background, we haven't really understood how to do the messaging that you're supposed to do for children… they're just stories, it's not medicine."

The children’s series is animated in the Ferrymead studio of leading Kiwi animator Antony Elworthy. It also spurred Christchurch City Council to develop an animation competition, claymation workshops and a display, along with a special sand sculpture based on the popular title characters who live in an ancient forest.

Find out about the workshops in Christchurch here or the Kiri and Lou exhibition and screenings here.









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