Jonathan Pekar, Memphis-born filmmaker, comedian, and musician has announced a major new animation project, which will launch in 2019.
“PPPI Productions hired me to write, direct and create the music for their new 30-minute cartoon series Coalition Xing
,” he says via IM from Los Angeles, where he is wrapping up work on the pilot episode of the series.
The character Hatemon in still from the Coalition Xing pilot
Pekar says PPPI is a Chinese company who "have expanded into America, uniting with several former Disney creatives to produce projects for both the Chinese and American markets."
The new show is a bilingual production intended for both Chinese and Western audiences whose characters will figure into a new theme park PPPI is developing in China.
is a 30 minute animated series geared towards edu-taining 6-to-10-year-old kids in China and the United States by cleverly using subtitles, original music, and compelling storytelling.”
This is Pekar’s first entry into the realm of animation since he graduated from the University of Southern California film program. His resume includes producing Shark Week for the Discovery Channel. But “pouring cow blood in the ocean was never my idea of edutaining,” he says. “I made that word up on a Guadalajaran island while we were filming for Shark Week — well, on a boat next to the island. ”
Pekar got his start as a teenager in Memphis playing with hardcore punks Distemper at he Antenna Club. He currently performs in two bands, the Los Angeles outfit Are You A Cop? and the Memphis band Pig Star
, with Distemper guitarist George Cole.
Pekar is composing music for the Coalition Xing
“Dr. Herman Green, Chuck Sullivan, Richard Cushing, Will Gilbert, and many other Memphians have collaborated with me on this project," he says. "We recorded half of the soundtrack and audio design in Memphis."
The pilot episode will also include music from Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson.
Pekar, who has a history as a standup comedian, says it's been easy for him to refocus his writing on a much younger audience than the ones he performs for at L.A.’s Comedy Store.
“I spend time with people that are more immature than me, if that’s even conceivable,” he says.
Pekar’s crew consists of about 38 animators, including veterans of Nickelodeon’s Teen Titans
. The pilot will air in China in September. The American release date for Coalition Xing
is currently up in the air, but Pekar says the early reactions to the work have exceeded his expectations.
“It was sold before it was completed,” he said.