Apartment 11 producing new Big Top Academy spin-off series with Sony Pictures Television Networks UK channel POP, TVOkids and support from Shaw Rocket Fund

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Cast of hit series Big Top Academy returns with first ever episodes filmed at home

Montreal, Quebec (June 15, 2020) – This month, Apartment 11 Productions begins filming a Big Top Academy spin-off series it’s producing in association with Sony Pictures Television Networks UK flagship channel POP and TVOkids.

Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition, which received crucial funding from Shaw Rocket Fund, sees the young circus artists of Apartment 11’s award-winning hit series Big Top Academy staying connected during summer break via their online school newspaper. They’ll compete for the coveted job of Big Top Bulletin editor by showing off their incredible circus skills and solving epic mysteries along the way.

Each of the 26, 11-minute episodes will include segments filmed on location in-and-around the actors’ homes, parks, beaches, circus gyms and more. Featuring amazing acrobatics, circus artistry, and musical performances, Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition is everything fans love about Big Top Academy as it’s never been done before.

“We know viewers will relate to seeing their favourite Big Top Academy characters connecting remotely,’’ Apartment 11 executive producer Jonathan Finkelstein says.

“We hope they’ll be inspired watching the creativity flourish outside of school and we know they’ll be intrigued by the mysteries that follow the circus students from the Secret Room and into a virtual one.”

POP will be airing Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition throughout the fall.

“POP is thrilled to be airing this special spin-off series in the fall. Our viewers love the Big Top Academy’s awesome stories and characters and appreciate the show’s strong and inspiring messages for all the family,” Sony Pictures Television’s UK Director of Kids Networks Craig Hunter says.

“The original series has been hugely successful on POP and we’re also very excited about next month’s premiere of Season Two.”

“It’s incredible what Apartment 11 will be able to produce while following COVID-19 production guidelines,” says Marney Malabar, the director of Kids TV at TVO. “They’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to develop Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition and we know our audience will love it.”

An all-star creative team from the original series returns for this spin-off: producer/writer, Leila Basen, producer/director, Guillaume Lonergan, as well as writers Amy Cole and Matt Schiller.

Big Top Academy was originally produced by Apartment 11 Productions in association with Discovery Kids, TVOkids and in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil Images.

Big Top Academy: School’s Out Edition will be streamed on Cirque du Soleil’s newly launched CirqueConnect content hub. CirqueConnect provides a source of high-quality entertainment for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their homes.

The series received support from a consortium of partners including Shaw Rocket Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Quebec Film and Television Tax Credit.

Agnes Augustin, President & CEO of Shaw Rocket Fund acknowledges the importance of fostering creativity and industry during unprecedented times: “We are pleased to continue our support of Apartment 11 with Big Top Bulletin: School’s Out Edition,” she says.

“It is fantastic that young audiences will be able to connect with their favourite characters in a new and relevant way. The excitement of Big Top Academy continues with this innovative digital series!”

Media contact: Katie Rook | katierook@apartment11.tv | (416)995-7749

About Apartment 11 Productions 

Founded in 2000 and led by its passionate President, Jonathan Finkelstein, Apartment 11 consistently delivers quality, story- driven ratings successes to its global broadcast partners. The independent, Montreal-based creative hub has produced more than 285 hours of scripted and non-scripted programming. Taking an entertaining approach to discovery, Apartment 11 is recognized for series that encourage kids to ask questions and investigate big ideas. Apartment 11 collaborates often with international partners, co-producing Rank the Prank with BBC for CBBC, Nickelodeon and BBC Kids, and most recently producing Big Top Academy in partnership with Cirque du Soleil for Discovery Kids and TVOkids. The company is proud to have created ratings hits such as Prank Patrol (YTV), one of the first kids’ series to be formatted and sold to multiple territories, including the U.K. (CBBC) and Australia (ABC) as well as Mystery Hunters (YTV) broadcast worldwide on Discovery channels. In addition to its television series, Apartment 11 also connects with young people across a range of platforms with exciting interactive projects. Apartment 11 has won a Peabody Award, multiple Japan Prizes, Youth Media Alliance Awards and Gemini/Canadian Screen Awards, a Viewers’ Choice Kidscreen Award and has also been nominated for two International Emmy Awards. http://apartment11.tv/downloads/media-kit.pdf. For more information, please visit www.apartment11.tv

About Shaw Rocket Fund

The Shaw Rocket Fund is a vital partner of the Canadian children’s media sector in offering children robust world-leading content on all platforms. The Rocket Fund invests in and supports Canadian-made media that reflects Canadian values and diversity, and most of all respects and speaks to children, while positively showcasing Canadian leadership on the world stage. By working with producers, regulators, and government, the Shaw Rocket Fund aims to make quality content for kids a global priority. Since its inception, the Shaw Rocket Fund has invested over $234 million in 934 Canadian media content for children, family, and youth audiences worldwide. Contributors to the Fund are Shaw Communications and Shaw Direct. For more information, please visit rocketfund.ca

About Sony Pictures Television

POP and Tiny Pop are run by Columbia Pictures Corporation Limited, part of Sony Pictures Television. Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry’s leading content providers, producing, distributing and carrying programming worldwide in every genre and for every platform. In addition to managing one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, SPT is home to a thriving global content business, operating 24 wholly-owned or joint-venture production companies in 12 countries, as well as linear and digital channels around the world. Sony Pictures Television is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company.

About TVO
Since 1970, TVO has existed to ignite the potential in everyone through the power of learning. Through impactful digital education products, in-depth current affairs, thought-provoking TVO Original documentaries, and award-winning TVOkids content, we prepare Ontarians for success in school and life. As we mark our 50th year, TVO’s ongoing evolution as a modern digital learning and media organization prepares us to serve Ontarians for generations to come. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario, and is a registered charity supported by thousands of sponsors and donors. For more information, visit tvo.org and tvokids.com.

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