An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is the feature directorial debut of Terence Nance. The film mixes live-action with a wide array of animation styles to explore “the fantasies, emotions, and memories that race through Terence’s mind as he examines and re-examines a singular moment in time.” After a healthy festival run, Oversimplification was recently picked up for distribution by Variance Films, which will open the film in New York on April 26, and expand to other cities on May 17.
Nickelodeon’s weekly ratings serve as a sobering reminder of the network’s perputual stasis and its inability to produce a hit show for well over a decade. But this wasn’t always the case. In an earlier era, Nick used to be the dominant name in children’s entertainment, pumping out hit show after hit.
That classic era of Nickelodeon is the subject of “It’s the shizNICK”, a group art show that will open Friday, April 19, from 7-11pm, at the iam8bit gallery (2147 W. Sunset Blvd., LA, CA 90026):
Nickelodeon—a network brave enough to broadcast bold, awesome, epic and irreverent programming that embraces the free-flying spirit of being a kid, ignoring the conventional rules of TV development and just… well… going for it!
An entire generation was raised on Nick’s onslaught of 90′s awesomeness – truly weird, funny, and honest entertainment that speaks for itself:
The Ren & Stimpy Show, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rocko’s Modern Life, Salute Your Shorts, Doug, Double Dare, You Can’t Do That on Television, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rugrats, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Hey Dude, SpongeBob SquarePants, etc.
The list flows on, but you get the picture. Nickelodeon has had a lasting cultural influence, far deeper than any other cable channel can claim.
The line-up of artists exhibiting in “It’s the shizNick” is impressively eclectic:
Opening night festivities will include DJs, drinks, an “Animated GIF Theatre”, a photo playset, and, of course, green slime. Full details on the Facebook event page.
Iam8bit provided Cartoon Brew with an exclusive preview of some of the art that will be exhibited:
The 4th edition of Anifilm International Festival of Animated Films will take place in Třeboň, Czech Republic from May 3 to 8. The festival recently announced its competition line-up which includes 10 animated features and 50 short films. Anifilm will also present tributes to the legendary animation studios Zagreb Film and United Productions of America (UPA) with multiple programs dedicated to the films of those studios. Special guests include legendary filmmakers Borivoj Dovnikovic of Zagreb Film and Gene Deitch of UPA.
I’m excited to be heading to the festival to moderate a panel about UPA that will include Gene Deitch and filmmaker Emily Hubley (John and Faith Hubley’s daughter). I will also be serving on the feature film jury with filmmaker Regina Pessoa (Kali the Little Vampire, Tragic Story with Happy Ending) and Igor Prassel, programming director of the Slovenian festival Animateka International Animated Film Festival.
(Anifilm photo by Danica Kovacevic)
More workforce cuts are coming to Disney. Following the closure of LucasArts, Reuters news service reported yesterday that Disney will begin a new round of layoffs within the next two weeks. Most of the cuts will come from the marketing and home video units, but layoffs in the animation department are also expected. The staff reductions are the result of an internal audit that happened in late-2012 to identify positions that were redundant or no longer necessary thanks to technological advances.
The Animation Guild doesn’t know where the animation cuts will come from. Their take on the news:
Since there are multiple divisions (Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Toon Studios, and Disney Television Animation) they could be anywhere…Walt Disney Animation Studios has been hiring of late, putting staffers on Frozen and Big Hero Six as they ramp up into full production.
The image at top was sent in by a Cartoon Brew reader. The chalk outline of Mickey Mouse allegedly appeared this morning at the studio’s Glendale campus.
As most Cartoon Brew readers are aware by now, we’ve had a “no crowdfunding” policy in place for a long time. But times change, and as more animation filmmakers incorporate crowdfunding into their production plans, we feel that it’s necessary to provide a platform for noteworthy projects that need funding. Starting today, we’re going to try something new by featuring a curated selection of crowdfunded animation projects on Fridays. We especially aim to give exposure to promising animation that may slip through the cracks due to a lack of exposure in mainstream media.
For starters, I’d like to highlight WONDER 365 Animation Project by Japanese filmmaker Mirai Mizue. Mizue creates his abstract films the old-school way by drawing and painting onto paper, but he uses digital compositing techniques to fantastic effect:
If you follow Mizue on Vimeo, you know that he’s been working diligently on WONDER 365 for the past 365 days in a row. Mizue received a grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan, which allowed him to hire over 150 painters to help color the film, but he’s still looking for funding to complete the music recording and post production.
The Wonder 365 crowdfunding effort continues through April 30. The project is currently 22% funded. Here is the film’s trailer:
The annual MoCCA Arts Festival, presented by the Society of Illustrators and Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art, takes place this weekend (April 6 and 7) at the 69th Regiment Armory (68 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan). Tickets are $12 online or $15 at the door. I highly recommend the event; it’s a comic convention as it should be with a relaxed atmosphere and a focus on artists of all kinds (comic artists, illustrators and animators). The list of guests is solid as usual, and includes familiar names from the animation community such as Bill Plympton, Signe Baumane, Peter de Sève, Jules Feiffer, and JJ Sedelmaier. Many of the exhibitors hawking their wares also work in the local animation industry.
Derek Iversen, a writer on SpongeBob SquarePants, writes with some news:
Today Nickelodeon released Carrot & Stick, a short that I created with Miles Hindman last year. Marc Ceccarelli did the storyboard and Joel Trussell directed, and we couldn’t be happier with the result!
The two-minute pilot short can be seen on Nickelodeon’s website. It was recently selected for competition in the Annecy animation festival’s TV Specials category.
The shake-out from Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm continues. This morning, Disney shut down LucasArts, the 31-year-old gaming division of Lucasfilm. They gutted the whole division with approximately 150 employees losing their jobs.
The official statement from Disney:
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
The layoffs follow on the heels of the dozens of Lucasfilm Animation employees who were laid off after the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The only question that remains is what inspiring piece of photography this Lucasfilm exec will post on his Tumblr to commemorate the shut down.
For commentary on the LucasArts shuttering, here’s a perspective from GameInformer.com.
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres announced on her show today that Disney-Pixar will make an Andrew Stanton-directed sequel to Finding Nemo called Finding Dory.
Of course, Ellen’s fans went crazy:
Reactions outside of her studio audience were somewhat different:
Gennie Rim, who worked for the past decade at Pixar and Disney as a production coordinator and artist manager, opened the GR Works gallery space in downtown LA last fall. Her most recent show, “Ladies of Animation”, which featured the personal art of fourteen women who work in animation, wrapped up a few weeks ago. Samantha Conroy of the Animation Heroine Tumblr spoke to Rim about the show and Rim’s curatorial approach. The piece is a good introduction to this young and promising gallery that has the potential to do a lot of good for the animation community.
Thumb Snatchers From the Moon Cocoon is an unabashedly wild, funny, action-packed gem of a cartoon. Self-conscious references to B-movie genre tropes appear throughout, but the short has a fresh outlook by focusing the action around its lead character—an over-the-top short-fused Texan sherriff.
The craftmanship of the short inspires admiration, as does Schaffer’s cinematic approach to stop motion, which deserves a big-screen Hollywood outlet. Thumb Snatchers is a CalArts graduation film directed and written by Bradley Schaffer, and animated by Cooper and Ashley Arechiga, who was also the lead puppet fabricator and effects artist. Check out the film’s official website.
(Thanks, Kevin Parry)
Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?
I think so, Brain, but why would a school in Nigeria name themselves after us?
The pair of Warner Bros. mice may have failed in their countless attempts to take over the world, but they have proven successful in having a school in Abuja, Nigeria name itself the Pinky and the Brain School.
The school, which is almost certainly unauthorized by Warner Bros. and thus doubly awesome, has an official anthem that manages to praise both God and Pinky and the Brain (the school):
We are the children of Pinky and the Brain, Children growing in wisdom, age and grace.
We lift our voices to thank God; the giver of life.
Shout it out, far and wide,
Pinky and the Brain first among equal,
Pinky and the Brain, the flag bearer, for others to follow.
(Thanks, Jason, via Cartoon Brew’s Reader Submission Forum)
Barcelona-based Josep Bernaus gets a lot of mileage out of basic cube forms in his short The Lindy Cubes. The expressive movement was created in Maya with deformers. The tune is Slim Gaillard’s “Communication.”
From a report on ComicBookResources.com:
Cartoonist Bruce Timm has stepped down as supervising producer at Warner Bros. Animation to develop his own projects. He’s been replaced by James Tucker, a veteran of Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League and, more recently, Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
It’s the end of an era.
(Thanks, Paul Burrows)