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Animation Studio Casts In Color

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Animation Studio Casts In Color

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Animation Studio Casts In Color

Animation Studio Casts In Color

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Big Bad Boo Productions' animated series, Mixed Nutz, features characters from cultures all over the world and has just been sold to 27 PBS stations in the United States. Host Scott Simon speaks with the animation studio's co-founder Shabnam Rezaei.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Check this out.

(Soundbite of theme song of TV series, �Mixed Nutz�)

Unidentified Group: (Singing) It's a (unintelligible)...

SIMON: The opening theme to a children show called �Mixed Nutz,� a multicultural cartoon series that aims to make kids proud of their diverse cultures.

(Soundbite of theme song of TV series, �Mixed Nutz�)

Unidentified Woman: And you are from Iran?

SIMON: The cartoons are made by an animation company called Big Bad Boo that will soon be shown on 27 PBS channels across the country. Co-founder Shabnam Rezaei joins us from our studios in New York. Thanks for being with us.

Ms. SHABNAM REZAEI (Big Bad Boo Animation Studios): Thanks for having me.

SIMON: So what gave the idea for this animation company?

Ms. REZAEI: I had started a Persian cultural Web site called persianmirror. The reason behind all of it was feeling a little bit alienated as someone from Iran and coming across individuals who may have not had the opportunity to learn about Iran and really get all their information from the media and wanting to sort of balance out the negative with some positive. So while you're seeing all this war and terrible activity going on on television, wanting to bring the human story to people, just telling them that Iranians are just like anybody else and talking about sort of the more fun cultural holidays like Nowruz - one of our first shows �Babak and Friends: A First Nowruz� which was sort of like a Charlie Brown Christmas Special, basically exploring the Persian holiday of Nowruz with the character of Babak.

SIMON: And tell us about your projects. so far. You mention �Babak and Friends.�

Ms. REZAEI: Yeah, after �Babak and Friends� we realized that there was gap in the market for culturally rich entertainment that wouldn't be just for Iranians, but for other immigrant families as well as Americans who are just interested in the world.

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

Ms. REZAEI: So, we came up with the concept of �Mixed Nutz,� and �Mixed Nutz� is basically kids from around the world that have something in common - they're friends in school and their adventures in school and at home. And so, we have the character of Babak, we also have Jay who is from Korea, and we have Sanjay, who's Indian.

(Soundbite of TV Series, �Mixed Nutz�)

Unidentified Woman: I think all you kids have the opportunity to become anything you want (unintelligible) Iranian, Indian, Korean whatever you are or wherever you come from, you can do whatever you dream of.

SIMON: I must say, it sounds like my youngster's school�

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: �which is to say a lot of American schools at this point. What do you hope at the end of, say, three years shows like this can accomplish?

Ms. REZAEI: We just want to create basic curiosity in children to want to know more, to want to go around the world and communicate. But if our cartoons reflect the diverse world that we live in, how great would that be?

SIMON: Ms. Rezaei, thanks so much.

Ms. REZAEI: Oh, thank you so much, Scott.

SIMON: Shabnam Rezaei is the co-founder of Big Bad Boo Productions, joining us from New York, and you can see a clip from the forthcoming series, �1001 Nights,� on our blog, npr.org/soapbox.

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