Local 3D cartoon series ventures in Chinese market with made-in-Singapore spin off

The original Dream Defenders series follows twins Zane and Zoey as they battle Icela, the evil ruler of Dreamworld, who threatens the real world with nightmarish creatures.
The original Dream Defenders series follows twins Zane and Zoey as they battle Icela, the evil ruler of Dreamworld, who threatens the real world with nightmarish creatures.PHOTO: TINY ISLAND PRODUCTIONS

SINGAPORE - An adaptation of a made-in-Singapore children's 3D animated series about twin heroes who do battle in the world of dreams is now heading to China, after gaining popularity locally, in Europe and the United States.

Home-grown animation company Tiny Island Productions, the studio behind the animated series called Dream Defenders, will work with Chinese media group WingsMedia on adapting the cartoon for the Chinese market.

It will fall under a new science-fiction franchise called Starship MZ, which will include TV series, feature films and comics adapted for China.

Gaining an entry point into the Chinese market was not easy, said Tiny Island Productions chief executive David Kwok, as the country has very strict regulations on the kind of media allowed to be screened there.

"We needed to have an adaptation of the Dream Defenders intellectual property, rather than bring the original series in, as the Chinese market is very particular. We needed to include things from Chinese history, for example," said Mr Kwok.

The original Dream Defenders series follows twins Zane and Zoey as they battle Icela, the evil ruler of Dreamworld, who threatens the real world with nightmarish creatures. It has been sold to 80 countries around the world since it was first broadcast in 2011.

The Chinese spin-off will see China come under attack from monsters in Chinese mythology, such as dragons, the qilin and the phoenix. A pair of Chinese twins reach out to Zane and Zoey and learn how to enter the dreamworlds to protect China from these creatures.

Tiny Studio Productions will work on the animation and creative content for this Dream Defenders spin-off, while WingsMedia will distribute it both in and outside of China.

Having inked the collaboration at the23rd Shanghai TV Festival last week, Mr Kwok said the studio is currently working on sourcing for investors and starting work on the spin-off.

"There's no date fixed yet for when the first TV episode or feature film will be released, but the earliest might be two years from now," he said.