In a bit of good news that surrounds the craziness going on across the country, Oscar winner Matthew A. Cherry (Hair Love) is partnering with director/writer Chaz Bottoms to adapt his animated short Battu: An Animated Musical into a series with Cartoon Network Studios.
Bottoms, who developed and raised monies to get his coming-of-age musical comedy series off the ground, will center the story on a “young group of misfit dreamers who move to their own beat.” Otis and Jada, two lead characters that have yet to be ascribed voice actors yet, are gifted dancers and free spirits who find themselves outcast in the world of mainstream dance.
Together, they join a troupe of hiplet dancers, where they find acceptance among their peers, their instructors, and themselves.
The show’s soundtrack will heavily explore Chicago’s house, hip hop, and footwork music scenes, while Battu itself will delve into themes that include self-empowerment, inclusiveness, courage, as well as the power of friendship.
“‘Battu’ is unlike anything we have ever tried at the studio,” Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios said in a statement. “This ambitious project brings together and celebrates two of our greatest storytelling mediums—animation and music. Matthew and Chaz are our perfect dance partners as we strive to tell authentic stories that both empower and entertain.”
Bottoms, whose credits include Dear John: Legendary Love Letters, is putting on the finishing touches of the Battu short, sharing with Variety, “I grew up on a healthy diet of Cartoon Network shows and to be working with them on ‘Battu’ is a dream come true. This project is my love letter to the city of Chicago, animation, and musicals.”
“Chaz is one of the most exciting young voices in animation and we are thrilled to be working with Sam Register, Nicole Rivera and the rest of the Cartoon Network Studios team to develop ‘Battu.’” Cherry said.
Be sure to read Chaz Bottoms’ and fellow animator and creative entrepreneur Thandi Mlauli’s exclusive chat with to learn more about Battu and Sola.