Youth Media Alliance Youth Media Alliancen Youth Media Alliance Youth Media Alliance Press Releases Youth Media Alliance Youth Media Alliance


This year’s chosen theme is the target audience that the industry should be striving to serve better. During discussions, presentations and workshops participants will explore ways to create better content that meets young people’s needs and expectations.

November 13: General Conference

8:45–9:15 a.m.: Registration & Breakfast

9:15–9:30 a.m.: Opening of the Children, Youth & Media Conference by YMA Executive Director and Co-Chair of the Board

9:30–10:45 a.m.: Developing Kids’ and Entertainment Content with Amazon Studios

Last April, Amazon Studios began developing children’s original programming, spearheading a new way to develop original content by offering open submissions to anyone who has a great idea. Projects are turned into pilots and customers are then invited to watch, provide feedback and help determine which pilots should be produced as a series. The programming coming out of this new development process include kids’ shows Annedroids, a science-based series from creator J.J. Johnson, and Creative Galaxy, an animated interactive art adventure series created by Angela Santomero. Johnson and Santomero together with Amazon Studios’ Head of Children Series Development, Tara Sorensen, will take a look at the Amazon Studios approach to developing content, how the Amazon Studios process has changed the way new kids’ content is developed, how feedback and collaboration have become the driving force behind development, and the opportunities the studio offers for creators.


  • Tara Sorensen, Head of Children Series Development, Amazon Studios
  • J.J. Johnson, Partner, Executive Producer, Director, Writer, Sinking Ship Entertainment
  • Angela Santomero, Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Out of the Blue Enterprises


  • Ira Levy, Executive Producer and Partner, Breakthrough Entertainment

11 a.m.– 12 p.m.: Where Are the Drama Series for Young People?

Presented by

The TV industry is producing fewer and fewer drama series for young people. What’s driving this decline? Is drama a relevant genre that appeals to young viewers? We’ll talk to the creator of the hit series The Next Step, Frank Van Keeken, to find out the factors behind his success with audiences. How do you craft a drama series that will have an impact on young people? How have long-running series like Degrassi managed to evolve and stand the test of time? Are the writers dealing with the same topics they were 30 years ago? Are topics being handled differently? The discussion will also include an international perspective with Jan-Willem Bult. Do European shows cover the same topics? Are there themes with universal appeal to all young people? Or does content need to be created at the local level to meet their needs and expectations? And what about the broadcasters? Where do drama series fit into their priorities?


  • Frank Van Keeken, Creator and Show Runner, The Next Step
  • Matt Huether, Producer and Writer Degrassi
  • Jan-Willem Bult, Creative Head of Children & Youth programming, KRO Netherlands Public Broadcasting
  • Michael Goldsmith, Director, Original Programming, Family Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD


  • Miklos Perlus, Director of Development, marblemedia

12–1 p.m.: Lunch

1–1:30 p.m.: YMA Annual General Meeting (for members only)

1:45–2:45 p.m.: Enter the Digital World: Reacting Quickly to Audience Needs and Expectations

Presented by

For today’s kids, interactivity is more than just an entertaining concept – it’s a way to take control of all screens. This control directs their media choices, allowing them to convey their expectations and actively contribute to the content offering. To what extent does children’s input influence the creative process? How can you evolve your product in response to young people’s feedback?

Jocelyn Stevenson from the British company Mind Candy will explain how the wildly popular Moshi Monsters, a digital world with 80 million registered users, has benefited from engaging its target audience. Moshi Monsters is set to be launched on television and the big screen.


  • Jocelyn Stevenson, Executive Creative Producer, Mind Candy


  • Vince Commisso, Co-Founding Partner, President and CEO, 9 Story Entertainment

3–4 p.m.: .: The Changing Nature of Quality in Children's Media

Presented by

Today’s children have nearly infinite options for watching “television.” It comes to them through the box in the living room (and sometimes their bedrooms), through their computers, streamed to their phones and tablets, and even through their game controllers. It can be almost unrecognizable from the 30- and 60-minute programs that used to define “TV”: now, children take in everything from million-dollar animated series to Minecraft how-to videos to stunts or funny moments captured on a mobile phone.

Many corners of this world lack gatekeepers (or even gates!), executive producers, writers, or standards & practices executives. Much of the content lacks what the industry has traditionally honored as “quality”: high production values, age-appropriate writing and storytelling, thoughtful content and polished performances. And yet, young people are perfectly happy to watch (sometimes over and over) and give high marks for enjoyment.

So, how we define excellence in children's TV when Charlie Bit My Finger is as engaging to a child as Charlie and Lola? How do we build a taste among kids for quality productions – not necessarily education, but thoughtful and expert use of the medium? Or should we broaden our vision to embrace these as a new form of quality – say, in the way that garage band tapes can be as eye-opening and entertaining as a big-label, highly-produced release?


  • Kim Wilson, Creative Head, Childrens and Youth Programming, CBC
  • Russell Miller, Managing Director, The Center for Intentional Media
  • Carolyn Wilson, Instructor, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario
  • Sara M. Grimes, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto


  • David Kleeman, Senior Vice President of Insights Programs and PlayVangelist, PlayCollective

4:15–5:30 p.m.: What Are the Key Elements of a Successful Feature Film for Kids and Families, an Underexploited Niche in our Industry?

Presented by

Corus Entertainment has joined forces with Telefilm Canada to create a one-of-a-kind program aimed at kickstarting the Canadian feature film industry and nurturing the growing demand for great family entertainment. Their research confirms that “younger Canadians are the heaviest consumers of films, on multiple platforms, in the country. With this in mind, the Family Feature Production Fund is geared to produce and promote Canadian films that will connect with this important demographic.” Accompanied by renowned directors and scriptwriters, Michel Pradier (Telefilm Canada) and Jocelyn Hamilton (Corus Entertainment) will discuss the new Family Feature Production Fund and the key elements of a successful children’s film.


  • Jocelyn Hamilton, Vice President, Programming and Original Production, Corus Kids, Corus Entertainment
  • Michel Pradier, Director Projects Financing, Telefilm Canada
  • Sean Patrick O'Reilly, Founder and C.E.O., Arcana Studio
  • Michael McGowan, Director and Writer Still Mine, Score: A Hockey Musical and Saint Ralph and Director Vacation with Derek (TV Movie)
  • Mark Slone, SVP, Acquisitions, Entertainment One
  • Éric Tessier, Director, The Pee-Wee 3D: The Winter That Changed My Life


  • Tom McGillis, President, Executive Producer and Writer, Fresh TV

5:30–6:30 p.m.: Networking Cocktail Reception

November 14: Workshop with Jan-Willem Bult

Creating for Boys Aged 9 to 12: Isolation or Integration?

This master class will discuss experiences and practical ideas for creating original content that appeals to boys aged 9 to 12. Jan-Willem Bult, creative head at KRO Youth (part of KRO Netherlands Public Broadcasting), will focus on a number of examples from his large body of TV, film and cross-media productions, such as UNESCO Prize–winning short Genji and Prix Jeunesse International–winning TV show ZigZag. Looking at international research conducted on his productions, he will answer such questions as “How do you combine values and interest?” “How do you turn content into exciting stories?” and “What are the biggest mistakes?”

9–9:30 a.m.: Registration & Coffee

9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Workshop

  1. Introduction to Bult’s « children in the centre » philosophy.
  2. Concepting children’s media, the programming policy Bult designed for KRO Youth.
  3. Creating fiction, examples.
  4. Creating non-fiction, examples.
  5. Q&A, conclusions.

12:30–2 p.m.: Networking Lunch

About Jan-Willem Bult

Jan-Willem Bult started as a scriptwriter/director of TV, film and audiovisual productions. From 1995 to 1997, he was Program Director for two private TV networks: KinderNet (kids 3–12) and VTV (women 20–49). In 1997, he moved to KRO Netherlands Public Broadcasting to become Creative Head of Children & Youth programming. Bult has won a number of prestigious awards, such as the Prix Jeunesse International, Japan Prize, UNICEF Prize, UNESCO Prize, and Dutch Academy Award. “Children in the Centre” is his philosophy. Since 2007, Bult has also run his JWBfoundation, supporting children’s media and sports for development and peace, and has been a guest lecturer at universities in Europe and Latin America.

November 15: Forays into the Latin American market

First, we’ll screen some of the best youth programs from Brazil’s ComKids Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano event. Discussions will then be facilitated by Beth Carmona, executive director of ComKids.

A round table on co-productions with Brazil will follow the screenings, focusing on the new rules in place and case studies.


  • Peter Moss, Co-Founder, PDM Entertainment
  • Ira Levy, Executive Producer and Partner, Breakthrough Entertainment
  • Beth Carmona, Executive Director, ComKids
  • Ale McHaddo, 44 Toons

8:30–8:45 a.m.: Registration & Coffee

8:45–9 a.m.: Welcome and Introduction

9–9:50 a.m.: Screening - Preschool programming

  • Fishtronaut (PEIXONAUTA)
    Dir: Célia Catunda, Kiko Mistrorigo,Prod.: TV PinGuim e Discovery KidsLatin America, Brazil, 2009, 11 min 55 sec
    1st place at 2009 Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano
    The incredible, wet and slippery adventures of Fishtronaut, a fish that is a secret agent of OYSTER. His best friends are the little girl Marina and the Monkey Zico. When he needs to go out of the water he wears a special suit that resembles the ones that the astronauts use. But in his case it is filled with water. Fishtronaut lives adventures between the “wet” and “dry” worlds, revealing mysteries and seeking for solutions for the protection of the environment.

  • The Princess of the Frozen Heart

    Dir: Antonio Navarro, Beca Furtado, Zu Escobar, Prod: Sílvia Penna, Mínima Concepção, Produção Visual Ltda. (Porto Alegre), EBC-TV, ABEPEC, Zuleika Escobar, TV Brasil, TV Cultura, Brazil, 2010, 11 min
    Finalist comKids Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano 2011
    Not far away from the Amigolá Realm lives Lucy, the Princess. She was born with a cold heart and the only way to cure her is a spell that unites five magical elements. While seeking for the missing element, Lucy and her friends will have to face the dreadful Dr. Dumal.

  • Playing with water, Snow (JUGANDO CON EL AGUA, NIEVE)
    Dir: Juan Manuel Costa, Prod: Lucia Colombo, Pakapaka, Argentina, 2012, 2 min 40 sec
    Finalist at comKids Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano Festival 2013
    Lila and Nico are two curious siblings that play using varied material.They experiment and build different systems related to water. The bird Enrique follows them, as they live their adventures. In the “Snow” episode, Lila and Nico play in the snow and end up finding an unexpected lake hidden below a big iceberg.

  • Godofredo, The switch (GODOFREDO, O INTERRUPTOR)
    Dir: EvaFurnari, Prod: Um Filmes, Brasil, 2009, 5 min
    Godofredo is a green clumsy ogre that lives in a fantastic forest with trees, flowers and exuberant fruits. His acts are always intuitive, emotional and curious. He’s not very good at logical thinking. He doesn’t speak, only expresses himself through gestures, imitation and facial and bodily movement. He’s like a big curious child, in the body of a big monster. Godofredo is faced, then, by a thing that doesn’t belong to his world. It is rather an object of the human world: a switch that lights up everything he finds in his way.

  • Yoga for kids: Aisha, the super-star: salutes the moon (YOGA PARA NIÑOS – AISHA LA SUPER ESTRELLA: FAMOSA VACA)
    Diana Rico and Richard Décaillet, 4direcciones audiovisual (Bogotá), SeñalColombia – Villegas Editores -Pakapaka – CNTV – AF 097, Colombia, 2012, 7 min 53 sec
    Finalist at comKids Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano Festival 2013
    Aisha the cow, jumped over the moon and is extremely tired. Swamichico , the Guru Cat, leads the Moon Salutaion sequencce with the postures of The Mountain, The forward Bend and the Crescent Moon pos to finish with a little meditation and visualization about the light of the moon.

  • João, the unusual rooster (JOÃO, O GALO DESREGULADO)
    Dir: Camila Carrossine, Alê Camargo Prod: Buba Filmes, Brazil, 2013, 10 min
    Finalistat comKids Prix JeunesseIberoamericanoFestival 2013
    Musical that narrates the story of João, a cock with an unusual behavior. He became famous for his habit of singing whenever he wanted to. Even though the neighbors didn’t like the noise, an unexpected transfer made people miss him. Based on a true story.

9:50–10:15 a.m.: Discussion

10:15 a.m–12:15 p.m.:

Screening - Age 7–11 programming

  • Calling Quilombola

    Dir: David Reeks, Prod: Estúdio Veredas (São Paulo), Brasil, 2011, 13 min
    ComKids Prix JeunesseIberoamericanoFestival 2013 – 2nd place 7-12 Nonficition
    In Disque Quilombola, children of Espírito Santo chat about how life is in a quilombola community (a piece of land inhabited by slaved African descendants) and also in a slum in the city of Vitória. Through a child’s telephone game, the two groups speak about their roots and realize that childhood has more similarities than differences.

  • What your dreams are?, Trinidad Anwandter Diaz (¿CON QUÉ SUEÑAS?, TRINIDAD ANWANDTER DIAZ)
    Dir: Paula Gómez Vera, Mi Chica Producciones (Santiago), TVN, Chile, 2010, 29 min 39 sec
    Finalist at comKids Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano Festival 2013
    Trinidad is an eight-year-old girl that lives in Santiago. She doesn’t like to play with dolls, she prefers riding a motorcycle. When she was five, she changed her bike for a motorbike that was proportional to her size. Since then, she hasn’t stopped riding the vehicle and has been taking part in championships. Her dream is to be a firefighter when she grows up and to help poor people. ¿Con qué sueñas? (“What your dreams are?”, in free translation) is a series that shows the contrasts and diversities in Chile, seen by the sight of children. The protagonists are little boys and girls aged between 7 and 13 years old, from different parts of the country.

  • My grandmother (MI ABUELA)
    Dir: Carlos Eduardo Smith Róvira, Prod: HIERROanimación (Bogotá), Colombia, 2012, 8 min 8 sec
    Finalistat comKids Prix JeunesseIberoamericanoFestival 2013
    A seven-year-old girl spends a weekend in the house of her grandmother in the countryside. She is afraid of the wrinkled skin of her grandmother and sees her as if she was a big knotty tree. The little one will have to overcome her fear in order to get close to her grandmother.

  • Lord Lucas Vacation (AS FÉRIAS DE LORD LUCAS)
    Dir: Tatiana Nequete, Prod: Jéssica Luz, Besouro Filmes, Brasil, 2008, 16 min 12 sec
    Histórias curtas award 2008, Best Actor: Arthur Quadros (Lucas), Best Supporting Actress: Lurdes Eloy (Nona), Best Script: Tatiana Nequete and Luís Mario Fontoura, Best Movie, 8th Mostra Nacional de Cinema Infantil de Florianópolis 2009, Best Movie, 7-11 years old, Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano Festival 2009, Next Generation Prize, Prix Jeunesse International 2010, 2nd place, 7 – 11 years old, Prix Jeunesse International 2010
    Lucas is a eight-year-old boy that is impressed by comic books about vampires. When his teenage sister appears with a purple spot in her neck he decides to act and tries to kill the Master Vampire.

  • Newbie and the Disasternauts (BACK IN THE GAME)
    Dir: Ale McHaddo ,Prod.: 44 toons/ TV Cultura, Brazil, 2011, 7 min
    As Newbie tries to win a game by cheating, his DNA modifies his body as if he was a videogame avatar. Every time he loses, his appearance transforms to an earlier rendition of himself. by the end, newbie is hardly recognizable, except maybe as a chess piece from the pre digital era.

Screening - Tween and Teen programming

  • Take me out (LEVE-ME PARA SAIR)
    Dir. and Prod: José Agripino, Coletivo Lumika, Brazil, 2013, 19 min 29 sec
    Winner at comKids Prix JeunesseIberoamericanoFestival 2013
    Testimonials made by homosexual teenagers of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In the series, there is a discussion about option and choice, prejudice and tolerance, the world nowadays and homophobia, amongst other issues.

  • Pedro and Bianca – Between being born and death, we grow up (PEDRO E BIANCA – ENTRE NASCER E MORRER A GENTE CRESCE)
    Dir: Fábio Mendonça and Roberto Moreira, Prod: Maria Fernanda Ortiz, TV Cultura, Brazil, 2012, 24 min
    Winner at comKids Prix JeunesseIberoamericanoFestival 2013
    Expectation, desire and fear are the sensations of the brother Pedro and sister Bianca, a few hours before their first day of classes in college. Pedro is excited. Bianca mixes anxiety and fear, trying to make her hair perfect for the special day. While their parents discuss, the grandmother Arminda gives them support in such an important moment. Bianca overcomes her fear and imposes her personality. Pedro is bullied by his classmates.

  • The moon in the garden (LA LUNA EN EL JARDÍN)
    Dir: Yemlelí Cruz and Adanor Lima, Prod: Arlene Comas Fernández, Estudios de Animación – InstitutoCubano de Arte e IndustriaCinematográfica (ICAIC) Havana, Cuba, 2012, 11 min
    Heart Prize at comKids Prix Jeunesse Iberoamericano Festival 2013
    Animated short film of great sensibility, inspired by the Jardin romance written by the Cuban writer Dulce Maria Loynaz. Surrounded by the chaos of the city, a woman strolls in her quiet garden by the shadow of the trees. Something unexpected is about to happen...

12:15–12:45 p.m.: Discussion

12:45–1:30 pm.: Lunch

1:30–3 p.m.: Round Table on Co-productions with Brazil


Thanks to Our
2013 Edition