Italy is moving en force into CGI animation with a Euros 25m feature based on the hugely successful original animated TV series Winx Club produced by Rainbow, RAI Cinema and RAI TV.

Winx Club the Secret of the Lost Kingdom, present at the Cannes market has had multiple sales including Independent Film for Benelux, Turkey’s Filma, with deals in the final negotiation phases for France, Portugal, Greece, Eastern Europe and Russia, Brazil and Singapore, Rainbow’s CEO Iginio Straffi told Screen International.

Winx are a team of teen girl fairies that have taken Europe, Latin America and Asia by storm since their 2004 TV launch. Young female viewers have been lured in by the strong and resourceful girl characters that vie with their rivals (witches called the Trix) while mingling with boy magicians and dragon slayers. Film’s target spans
six to fourteen year olds and attracts 55 % girls and 45% boys according to research off the three year TV series, Straffi says.

Fans of the TV series will find development of themes presented in the
series reach resolution in the film. Lost Kingdom is slated for a
spring ‘08 release in Europe.

Winx was conceived and developed by Iginio Straffi - himself a comic
book author and, off the success of the series, Straffi has built
Rome’s first CGI 3-D animation studios, Rainbow CGI.

Concept became an immediate success and to date has been in broadcast
in over 130 countries and has sold over 6 million DVDs and has 615
global licenses with a E 1.5 billion retail turnover.

Straffi describes Rainbow as ‘a cash rich company.’ They are privately
financing (along with support of RAI Cinema and RAI TV) Lost Kingdom
and two other animated features- both with a projected Euro 25 million

Straffi says that slate includes another Winx themed animation
followed by a 3-D CGI ‘comedy’ scripted by Ice Age and Shark Tale
writer Michael Wilson.

Straffi says that Italian animators have been returning from Dreamworks and Disney Australia now that finally their own country has a CGI facility.