Netflix Unveils Roster of Family-Friendly Animated Films and Series

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Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos

Jorge Gutierrez's 'Maya and the Three' is one of several new projects announced Tuesday.

Jorge Guitierrez, who directed 2014’s The Book of Life, will write and direct an animated limited series for Netflix called Maya and the Three, about a warrior princess set in a mythical Mesoamerica-inspired world. Silvia Olivas (Elena of Avalor) will serve as co-writer and co-executive producer, and Jeff Ranjo (Moana) is head of story on the project.

The series is one of a half-dozen new family-oriented animated projects, including both series and features, announced today by Melissa Cobb, vp kids and family at Netflix. 

Other projects include the 2D animated feature My Father’s Dragon, from director Nora Twomey (The Secret of KellsThe Breadwinner) and written by Meg LeFauve (Inside OutThe Good Dinosaur), with story by LeFauve and John Morgan, who are also exec producing, based on the Newbery-honored children's novels by Ruth Stiles Gannett, which tells the story of young runaway Elmer Elevator who searches for a captive dragon on Wild Island. Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures are producing together with Paul Young of Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells) and Tomm Moore. Alan Moloney and Ruth Coady of Parallel Films will also serve as executive producers alongside Gerry Shirren.

Writer-director Kris Pearn (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2) is directing The Willoughbys, a stylized CG animated feature film, which is currently in production with Bron Animation in Vancouver. It tells of four children, abandoned by their parents, who must learn how to adapt their old-fashioned values to the contemporary world. Based on the book by Newbery-winning author Lois Lowry, the movie will star Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Martin Short, Alessia Cara and Jane Krakowski.

On the series front, Kuku Studios in Berkeley is turning out the animated preschool series Go! Go! Carson, which will follow the adventures of kid car Cory Carson as he navigates the winding roads of childhood in Bumperton Hills. The series is based on the toy line Go! Go! Smart Wheels from VTech Electronics. Alex Woo (Wall•e, Ratatouille), Stanley Moore (Finding Dory, Monsters University) and Tone Thyne (Wonder Pets!, The Adventures of Napkin Man!) are executive producing. 

Kid Cosmic, an animated series from Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff GirlsFosters Home for Imaginary Friends), will follow a young boy who dreams of becoming a hero and who stumbles across some cosmic stones of power.

Trash Truck, an animated series in production from Max Keane (of the Oscar-winning short Dear Basketball), concerns Hank, a six-year old boy who is best friends with a trash truck. Glen Keane (The Little MermaidAladdinBeauty and the Beast) and Gennie Rim (Dear Basketball) serve as executive producers alongside Max Keane.

The new projects join such previously announced titles as Guillermo del Toro’s PinocchioJacob and the Sea Beast, a CG-animated feature written and directed by Chris Williams; Klaus, a 2D animated film from writer-director Sergio Pablos with voice actors that include Jason Schwartzman and Rashida Jones; Mighty Little Bheem, an animated preschool series being produced in India from director  Rajiv Chilaka (Chhota Bheem); Motown Magic, an animated series from Josh Wakely (Beat Bugs) that brings together 52 newly recorded versions of classic Motown; Over the Moon, a CG musical adventure about a girl who builds a rocket ship, directed by Glen Keane; and Wendell & Wild, an animated feature film from writer-director Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline) and writer Jordan Peele (Key & Peele, Get Out) with Monkeypaw Productions, about two demon brothers (voiced by Peele and Keegan Michael Key) who escape the Underworld.