White Spot Films - Here Comes Mavo!
White Spot Films' Jan Bonath and Penned Pictures’ Josef Brandmaier were in Washington DC for the press announcement of 'Here Comes Mavo!'
Through White Spot Films, our new animation company, created with, and headed by Jan Bonath, Penned Pictures is proud to announce our involvement in 'Here Comes Mavo!', the first animated children’s television series featuring a Deaf lead character and 3D avatars who use sign language.
Created by Gallaudet University’s Motion Light Lab and Pigmental Studios 'Here Comes Mavo!' is designed to advance Deaf-led storytelling, increase diversity and engagement in entertainment, and make sign language in animation a prolific worldwide reality.
The lead character in “Here Comes Mavo!” was inspired by Melissa Malzkuhn, founder and director of the Motion Light Lab at Gallaudet University, a leading technologist and educator who is Deaf. In 2013, with an all-Deaf team, she created and launched “The Baobab”, the world’s first bilingual ASL and English storybook and the origin for the character of Mavo.
The television series was created by Marina Martins, CEO and Creative Director of Pigmental Studios, working in close collaboration with Malzkuhn. With studios in Washington, D.C., on the Gallaudet University campus, and Los Angeles and Ireland, Pigmental is an independent global entertainment company with dedicated financing for animated theatrical feature films and television series. For five years, Martins has been teaching Storytelling in Animation class which focuses on teaching deaf students to tell their stories in an industry level format, engaging them in all aspects of the studio.
One of the distinguishing elements at the center of “Here Comes Mavo!” is a customized motion capture technology solution developed by Gallaudet University’s Motion Light Lab, specifically designed to capture the unique essence and nuances of sign language, including finger and body movements and facial expressions, and to depict the complexity of movement, flow, and grammatical structures of sign language.
Following on from Apple’s Oscar success with CODA, Martins and Malzkuhn hope that Mavo will also help to further open the door to greater inclusion and representation for the Deaf community.
White Spot Films involvement in the project was catalyzed by Jan Bonath’s experience as producer of the successful German children's animated television series, JoNaLu, the basis of which is the promotion of children's language skills - a central theme of both JoNaLu and of Mavo. WSF also brings a VR studio to the collaboration, with whose support a VR application in the context of deafness will be developed.