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29 August, 2017

Filly Funtasia: Not Dead Yet

News about Filly Funtasia has been extremely scarce for the last year, ever since BRB seemingly disavowed the franchise. Accordingly, Funtasia Daily has also been very quiet during this time period, since there has been very little to report on related to Filly Funtasia. That does not mean that we've been doing nothing, however. We have been reaching out to people who have been involved in the production of the show in various capacities, and a source speaking on the condition of anonymity has now confirmed to us what I think we all already suspected: BRB is no longer involved in Filly or Filly Funtasia.

So, is that it? Is Filly Funtasia as dead as a Valve franchise? No, not necessarily. Because while the schism between BRB (the company formerly producing Filly Funtasia) and Dracco (the owner of the Filly IP) seems to be final, there is also some indication that Dracco is at the very least intending to restart production of the show, if that has not already happened.

The main evidence for this is that Dracco representatives have attended and will attend events during 2017 geared towards childrens' entertainment. As the purpose of these events is mainly to find business partners of various kinds, it is hardly something you just attend casually for the fun of it.

The first one we could find was the Kidscreen Summit. This happened back in February in Miami, USA. They describe themselves thus: "Kidscreen's premier annual event, which has quickly grown into the world's leading conference on the business of kids entertainment, hosting nearly 2,000 attendees from around the world. Top decision- and deal-makers attend to engage in critical dialogue, network and find new ideas that will drive their businesses forward."

The delegate list features Axel Derendorf, Dracco's Head of International Licensing & Business Development. From what I can find, this is the first year Dracco has attended this event. Filly Funtasia is (as far as we know) the only cartoon production that Dracco has ever been involved in.

Next, there is the Cartoon Forum. It's happening in September in Toulouse, France. They describe themselves thus: "Created in 1990, Cartoon Forum is a unique event focusing on pitching sessions of pre-selected TV projects, where animation producers can find cross-border partners and speed up financial arrangements. It allows co-productions to be finalised, pre-buys agreed, negotiation of distribution agreements, options discussed on every type of right, and licensing of secondary rights."

Their list of participants features the very same Axel Derendorf of Dracco.

While both of these are fairly anecdotal, there's a more solid indication of what exactly Dracco is promoting at these events from the third event on our list: Brand Licensing Europe, an event that is taking place in October in London, UK. They describe themselves thus: "Brand Licensing Europe brings together 280+ leading brand owners showcasing the hottest brands, characters and images available to license. This is your opportunity to spot what’s up-and-coming, network with the industry and start the conversations that could lead to your next big licensing deal. Whether you’re a veteran of the industry or you’re looking how to get involved, Brand Licensing Europe will have something to offer you."

Dracco has a stand at BLE, and their description features something interesting.

The only brand they are bringing is Filly, and the Product Categories section features the category "Character/Animation". What could they be promoting in this category except Filly Funtasia in some form? It could be referring to the Filly TVCs that also feature animation, though it seems quite unlikely that they would promote this at an event like BLE. It could be that they're primarily referring to the "Character" part of the category, but that seems unlikely too. If you filter the BLE exhibitors by this category, what you find is a long list of mostly companies that produce animated cartoons of various kinds. (and yes, a certain well-known pony-peddling American company is of course also part of this list)

As a curious sidenote, the "Food & Beverages" section may seem strange to some, but besides everything else that Dracco does, they are in fact also a candy manufacturer.

Last but not least, some of you may be wondering about the twin events in Cannes, France - MIPCOM and MIPTV. News from these two events in April and October formed important sources of news for Funtasia Daily during the 2013 - 2016 period as BRB attended these events every time and chose them as the venue to reveal brand new trailers and other important Filly Funtasia news.

Unfortunately, I could find no indication that Dracco is attending these events. I could speculate about why Dracco is not doing that when they are attending other events, but there is no real way to know.

Another important question is who exactly is making this thing now. It's not BRB anymore. Dracco could be doing some work in-house as they do employ a number of 3D animators, but I would speculate that it might not be enough for something of the scope of Filly Funtasia. I could not find any information about any new animation company attached to Filly Funtasia, so the purpose of their attendance at these events could be to find a new animation company. Or, they could already have one that we just don't know about. In any case, Filly Funtasia seems to at least not be completely abandoned, which is good news under the circumstances.