Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka created a real winner with this video for Odezenne’s catchy hip-hop tune “Dedans.” The stark black-and-white visuals evoke a 1930s Fleischer Studios cartoon nightmare. But this is no pastiche. Mavounia-Kouka has a graphic style that samples from the past, but speaks in its own fresh voice, much like Odezenne’s song, which smartly weaves classic big band samples into its contemporary sound. (P.S. – The filmmaker says on the Vimeo page that a version with English lyrics is forthcoming; the animation tells a story in itself, but it’ll be great to know what they’re saying.)
British animator Cyriak does more with less than just about any other animator today. In Because, he “found a stupid photo of my face and decided to make a video out of it. Why? Just because.”
Cyriak pushes off-the-shelf software to its absolute creative limits. Because‘s outlandish array of creatures and spacecraft were created using 3D layers in Adobe After Effects. He composed the film’s music, too.
Internships are addressed with increasing frequency on Cartoon Brew. While there is value to the concept of internships, too many studios use internships as a means to free labor for their animated projects. The practice is both unethical and illegal.
Time published a piece earlier this month suggesting that the era of unpaid internships may be coming to an end. It’s a good introduction to the issues surrounding interning and a must-read for any student.
The growing backlash to unpaid internships is not limited to just the animation industry. Companies who are accused of wrongdoing in the Time article include movie studios (Fox Searchlight), TV shows (PBS’s The Charlie Rose Show), and magazines (Harper’s Bazaar). More and more workers who have been victimized are filing lawsuits against their employers, a trend that could eventually pressure the US government to more strictly enforce labor laws regarding interns.
If you work in the animation industry and feel you have been subjected to an unfair labor situation, please contact me (names and contact info will be kept confidential). I can’t follow up on every request, but Cartoon Brew will continue to bring light to labor issues as much as possible.
Luca Raffaelli’s Le anime disegnate: Il pensiero nei cartoon da Disney ai giapponesi e oltre may be a very good book, but this cover for its new edition is something else. Share your nominations for ugliest animation book covers in the comments.
Festivals rarely make animated spots to encourage film submissions, much less spots that are as cool as the one above. The piece was created by Diego Akel to encourage filmmakers to submit to the MUMIA Underground World Animation Festival. The festival, which is celebrating its 10th edition this fall, screens in various Brazilian cities including Belo Horizonte, Betim and Nova Lima.
If I understood their submission rules correctly, they also have an awesomely renegade film selection process: “There will not be selection of the films and videos submitted. As long as four hours of the festival programming is completed, the selection will be over.” If you’re interested in showing your film at MUMIA, go here for submission details. Entries need to be postmarked by May 31.
Cartoon Brew reader J. M. Walter imagined Pixar characters in the role of The Avengers and shared this image on our Facebook page. Click to embiggen.
We’ve entered a new era of Disney-related memoirs–books written by artists who worked at the tail end of animation’s Golden Age or memoirs written by friends and relatives of the artists. Below is a look at four such books. At least a couple of them are self-published. And while some of them may be short on Disney or animation-related content, they should be worth a look for those who are interested in the lives of animation artists.
Warp and Weft: Life Canvas of Herbert Ryman is a memoir/bio of Herb Ryman by his longtime friend John Stanley Donaldson. Ryman worked as an art director on a number of early Disney features, including Dumbo, Fantasia and The Three Caballeros. He was selected by Walt Disney as one of the artists to accompany him on the famous 1941 South America trip, and he later spent many years working as an Imagineer, where he famously drew the first comprehensive map of Disneyland in 1953.
Warp and Weft has garned more than its share of controversy: this review of the book alludes to the author’s personal squabbles with the Ryman family and rhyming ‘beat poetry’ writing style. Historian Didier Ghez, who is an authority on Disney literature, warned on his blog that, “This book is highly problematic and should be read with an extremely critical mind.” If you’re adventurous enough to try it, it’s available for $20 on the author’s website.
Disney veteran Floyd Norman has put together Animated Life: A Lifetime of Tips, Tricks, Techniques and Stories from an Animation Legend, which looks to be part-memoir and part-tips & technique. Floyd, who began working at Disney in the 1950s, never shies away from sharing an honest opinion, as evidenced by the multiple gag drawing books he’s published, so this book promises to be a valuable record of his thoughts. The book will be out in June from Focal Press and can be pre-ordered on Amazon for $21.44. Some of the interior pages can be previewed on the publisher’s website.
Hanna-Barbera designer (and Milt Kahl’s clean-up man) Iwao Takamoto wrote his autobiography before passing away in 2007, and there’s plenty of good stuff in it. Now, his step-daughter, Leslie J. Stern, has written a memoir that will be released in September. Living with a Legend will tell “the story of her step-father’s emotional influence on her and never before told humorous anecdotes of her youth.” The book will include personal drawings by Iwao, family photographs, and holiday cards drawn by Iwao and other animators.
A limited edition numbered hardbound can be pre-ordered on Leslie’s website for $79.95. I hope a less expensive edition will be made available, too.
It’s Kind of a Cute Story is a memoir by Rolly Crump, written in collaboration with Jeff Heimbuch. Crump started working in Disney’s animation department in 1952, but made his greatest contributions to the company as an Imagineer, where he worked on classic rides and shows like the Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tiki Room, and It’s A Small World. Crump was a pretty chill dude, and I’m looking forward to learning more about him. There’s no official release date for the book yet.
The Hub has responded to yesterday’s brouhaha caused by this Care Bears press release from their pr agency, BWR Public Relations. Crystal Williams, the Hub’s manager of communications and publicity, sent me the following note this afternoon:
Last night I came across your story on Cartoon Brew titled “The Hub Hopes Men Will Start Calling Themselves “Belly Bros” and “Care Dudes.” In response, I wanted to let you know that this was an unapproved and unsanctioned pitch by our PR agency that we are completely taken aback by. Both The Hub TV Network nor American Greetings Properties had any knowledge of the pitch angle. It is not our intention to compare Care Bears to My Little Pony and/or the Brony community.
All the best,
Manager, Communications & Publicity
What if a couple of guys decorated a van with colorful images, drove around the countryside, and invited children to come into their van to watch cartoons? Normally, I’d caution parents to be wary, but Spanish artists Carles Porta and Toni TomÃ s are the real deal.
Their whimsical art project on wheels, Puck Cinema Caravana, is returning for its fourth season. They bill themselves as the smallest cinema on earth, and with only seven seats in their van-theater, they’re probably pretty close to that. The trailer above, created by Carles Porta, promotes this year’s programming theme, “Follies de la Simpatia a l’Absurd.”
Everything about Puck is thoughtfully designed from their promotional materials to the van itself. They also have great taste in curating films, and do a great job of introducing quality animated shorts to an audience that may not otherwise experience such films. This year’s all-star line-up of filmmakers includes Mark Baker, Grant Orchard, Torill Kove, Bruno Bozzetto, Alexey Alexeev, Juan Pablo Zaramella, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Txesco Montalt, Yann Benedi, Antoine Robert, Dorianne Fibleuil, Maud Sertour, Paulin Cointot, and Nathan Hall.
Puck travels around Spain throughout the summer months. Visit PuckCinema.com for more details.
French newspaper Le Figaro confirms that Oscar-winning Dutch short filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit (Father and Daughter, The Monk and the Fish) is directing his first feature film The Red Turtle. Dudok de Wit is long overdue for his shot at helming a feature, and whatever he comes up with, it’s surely guaranteed to be thoughtful, original, and high quality. More intriguingly, Studio Ghibli is co-producing the film, along with French companies Why Not Productions and Wild Bunch.
Next month, The Hub network will debut another revival of a 1980s toy commercial, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot. Their earlier series, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, sparked an unlikely following among adult males, otherwise known as the Brony phenomenon, but one fandom isn’t enough for the Hub.
They think their Care Bears show needs an adult male fanbase, too, and they’re shamelessly encouraging it themselves. Their PR firm sent us the following press release, which besides not understanding the distinction between drawn and CG animation, suggests names for potential male Care Bear fans:
What’s the Care Bears equivalent of a Brony? Belly-Bros? Care-Dudes? “Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot” premieres this June on The Hub TV Network and features the same re-imagined CG animation and spirit of friendship and caring that made shows like “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” a cult hit.
“Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot” is a modernized, CGI-animated version of the classic animated cartoon, which hits its 30th anniversary this year! Re-imagined in the same vein as the Hub’s other hit television shows, everyone’s favorite bears and their iconic Belly Badges have been transformed with today’s technology into a series that kids and families can enjoy together. I’d love to see if you’d be interested in featuring the bears for the series launch this June.
I have art and clips available and can also do email interviews with Executive Producer Sarah Finn, our director and voice talent. Let me know if this interests you and I can send over some more details!
This is likely the last time I’ll be mentioning Care Bears on Cartoon Brew’s homepage, but here’s a parting gift–the show’s teaser:
UPDATE: The Hub sent us a statement about this press release. Read it HERE.
A funny thing has happened: as hand-drawn studio-produced animated features have all but disappeared from the American animation scene, European and Asian studios are enjoying a mini-renaissance of drawn feature films. The latest example is Ernest et Célestine, adapted from a French children’s book series about the unlikely friendship between a gruff bear with artistic ambitions and an intelligent mouse who doesn’t want to become a dentist. The clip above gives a taste of the film’s breezy visual style that mixes broken-line characters with watercolor-style backgrounds–animated in Flash no less.
Directors are Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, the latter two of whom directed the recent stop-motion feature A Town Called Panic. The 80-minute feature is a co-production between France (Les Armateurs, Maybe Movies, Studiocanal France), Belgium (La Parti) and Luxembourg (Mélusine Productions). Ernest et Célestine will have its world premiere this week at the Directors’ Fortnight, which takes place alongside the Cannes Film Festival.
Another extended film clip as well as a video showing the paperless production pipeline can be viewed after the jump. It’s all in French, but don’t let that stop you from taking a peek.
As far as Pixar stories go, this one is pretty unbelievable. Pixar’s Oren Jacob and Galyn Susman recall how the studio almost lost the pre-rendered animation data for Toy Story 2 due to an accidental Linux command and faulty backup. The solution recalls a nostalgic time in the company’s history before they had become the industry’s most successful animation studio; it’s unlikely such a resolution would be possible today with the tightened corporate security at Pixar. Then again, I’m sure they have better back-ups, too.
It’s been far too long since Jérémy Clapin‘s last short, Skhizein, an existentialist/mental illness drama that ranks among the more original pieces of animated filmmaking in the past decade. The trailer above is for his latest short Palmipedarium, which he’s readying for release in 2012. This new ten-minute piece was produced entirely with free, open-source Blender software. I can’t wait to see it!
Check out his earlier masterpiece below: