Ischia, July 22 - Six teenage fairies who have won the hearts of girls around the globe - the Winx Club - were celebrated at the Ischia Global Fest film and music festival on Sunday. The businessman and cartoonist who invented the Winx fairies, Iginio Straffi, and his team at Rainbow S.r.l., were awarded for the animated heroines who are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. The Winx Club is a group of fairies who study magic at a school in the world of Alfea. They dress like hip teenagers, tussle with adolescent-type problems and frequently save the world from the powers of evil. Still going strong after a decade in stores and on screens around the world, Straffi confessed that his dream was "to turn the Winx into new the Barbies, cult dolls beloved by many generations, familiar objects not only to the littlest, but also icons to collect". Rainbow has become Europe's largest television animation studio, generating retail sales of 3.5 billion euros, and ranking 11th in the world for licensing, with 356 licensees, Straffi said. The Winx Club is broadcast in 150 countries. Fifty million Winx dolls have been sold. But Straffi noted that the Winx have come to appeal to a younger market over the years. The Winx were once aimed at girls aged five to twelve, but fans now tend to be four to eight years old, after which girls now gravitate to real-life characters on television series, Straffi said. Straffi plans to win back older girls and young women using the 10th anniversary for nostalgia, relaunching vintage dolls as collectors' items.
After two Winx movies, plus another in production, Straffi is conceiving a new film project with Winx fairies interpreted by real actors. "It will be done sooner or later," Straffi said. The cartoonist recalled how stoking the brand has been a constant - and not always successful - effort over the years. "In some countries the phenomenon has never waned, while in other territories (the Winx) have been gradually overtaken. "We've managed to renew these fairies with stories and themes that are always new or current, like ecology, respect for nature, or even nature mythology. "Adding to the renewal, there have also been ice shows, plus live and cinematic productions that have made the brand grow year after year," said Straffi. In 2010, the animated TV series inspired Italy's first-ever feature film using the 3D technology that helped make Avatar into the highest-grossing movie worldwide. The Winx Club is on its sixth television series on Italy's main public television station, RAI 1, but at least one key to the future, Straffi said, rests with handheld computers: "We are developing (products for) the interactive world and the Web, because even the smallest use the tablet".