Satoshi Kon passed away in Tokyo on Tuesday. He was 46–and in the middle of directing a new film, The Dream Machine. Kon was one of a handful of internationally respected directors of anime films. He started his career as a manga artist and editor for Young Magazine, and then became art designer and key animator on Katsuhiro Otomo and Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s Roujin Z (1991). He then wrote the “Magnetic Rose” sequence in the animated anthology film, Memories (1995). Kon made his directorial debut with Perfect Blue in 1998, followed by Millennium Actress (2001), Tokyo Godfathers (2003), Paprika (2006). His 2004 TV series Paranoia Agent played in the US on Adult Swim. All of his works as a director have been made by Studio Madhouse, where he was a staff director along with Rintaro and Yoshiaki Kawajiri.
If Epic Mickey didn’t rock your world – maybe this will…
Technologizer’s Harry McCracken posted this on his personal blog, and I couldn’t resist sharing it with Brew readers. It’s video of Fisher-Price’s Dance Star Mickey doll, from Toy Fair 2010 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. It goes on sale next month.
Submitted for your approval: Medium Large (8/19) by Francesco Marciuliano; Mother Goose and Grimm (8/20) by Mike Peters; Adam @home (8/20) by Brian Basset; Keeping Up With the Sevilles (8/20) by Alex Dudley; Brevity (8/18) by Guy & Rod; and Reality Check (8/19) by Dave Whammond.
(Thanks, Jim Lahue, Kurtis Findlay, Ed Austin, Jed Martinez and Chris Allison)
Cartoon historian Tom Stathes continues to amaze me with his rare finds and research into silent-era and early talkie animation. Tom has recently begun a regular series of public screenings in the New York area, highlighting many gems from his remarkable collection. Next Friday at Attic Studios in Long Island City, Stathes is collaborating with Cinebeasts to present Travelaffs, a selection of vintage Looney Tunes, Van Beuren, Ub Iwerks, and Fleischer goodies, taking you to Italy, China, Spain, and the politically incorrect Congo. The show starts at 7pm.
Even if you think you’ve seen it all, this show is must. Tom has located a long lost Fleischer Talkartoon, Ace of Spades (1930, released January 1931) and will present its first public showing in almost eight decades. And its a good one – with card sharp Bimbo out to win a poker tournament – all done in rhyme, with the usual cross-eyed Fleischer menagerie, zany rubber-hose animation, and Mickey Mouse-like rodents running loose. Here’s a few clips to whet your whistle, assembled by co-conspiritor David Gerstein:
I’m not hiding my enthusiasm for Teddy Newton’s short Day & Night, and neither is Pixar. Instead of releasing a Little Golden Book based on the short, as they had for several previous shorts, the studio contracted with Chronicle Books to produce a handsome little hardback edition. Teddy wrote and drew this adaptation and its a wonderful souvenir of the film — a cartoon sure to be nominated for this year’s Best Animated Short. I took these snaps with my iPhone above and below (click thumbnails below to enlarge). The book just came out and is listed on Amazon now for ten bucks ($10.19 to be exact)! 36 glossy pages, beautifully rendered and a must-have.
P.S. Next week we’ll have a surprise contest for an autographed copy of the book.
An armadillo lives in a perfect world that is threatened when a hunter enters the scene. Directed by Mike Klim, Stanley Moore, Dominic Pallotta and Mikey Sauls, Dilla was produced at Sarasota Florida’s Ringling College of Art + Design.
The ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Educators Forum Student Animation Film Festival will take place Saturday, November 6th at Cal State Long Beach. The event is open to all and there will be a full day of film screenings, panels and portfolio reviews, ending with an awards ceremony and a reception. The First place winner will receive their Student Annie Award at this years gala Annie Awards event in February. There are also additional prizes for the top films provided by their sponsors.
Deadlines to submit a film are September 1st (a soft deadline) and Oct 1st (the final deadline). The festival is also looking for volunteers and is already taking appointments for portfolio reviews. For more info, go to: Animator Educators Forum.com.
Jetset Studios in Los Angeles creates online campaigns and internet video for the major Hollywood studios. But between projects the studio has been quietly developing The Velvet Mouse Show. Created by studio co-founders Russell Scott and Patrick Young, The Velvet Mouse Show is anchored by a 2D cartoon that is a very deliberate love letter to Saturday Morning cartoons of the seventies.
So far, they’ve concocted a seven minute pilot and two teasers on their YouTube channel. Their main website and Facebook page features further background material, music, images, and “artifacts from the history of show”. Here’s a sample (with a nifty vintage Ice Bird commercial):
Nick DiLiberto is an animator currently working in Japan. He recently completed a fully animated 2D short film and just uploaded it to YouTube. He sent it to us with this note:
“I’m a really big fan of Cartoon Brew and was hoping you could watch my film and tell me what you think and, if you like it, I would be honored if you would be willing to post it on your site for others to watch. If you or your readers have any questions I would love to answer them.”
I like it – and I think our readers will dig it too:
A Battle of Animation Studio Bands? Women In Animation International (WIA) is planning a “Battle of the Animation Bands” concert, an evening of indie music, to be held in late September in Hollywood that will feature bands created at animation, visual effects and game studios.
Bands will be selected by the Women in Animation board from CDs submitted to WIA before the deadline of Friday, September 3rd. All music genres are welcome however music with a dance-able beat is preferred. At least one member of the band must work for an animation, visual effects or game studio. The evening’s “Battle Star” will be chosen by the audience and win “a very huge, very tacky trophy”.
If you have a band, mail a CD of your work to: P.O. BOX 17706, Encino, CA 91416. Or e-mail a link to your demo to Rita Street: rita-at-radarcartoons.com. If you have questions concerning the event or would like to serve as a sponsor, please also contact Rita.
Craig Yoe’s latest book is a beautiful love letter to the comic book legacy of Otto Messmer/Joe Oriolo’s Felix The Cat. As usual, Yoe has produced an art book that is unto itself a thing of art, a 226 page celebration of Felix’s four-color career. Previously John Canemaker covered the animated films and David Gerstein collected selected Sunday newspaper strips. Here, Yoe focuses on the Dell/Toby/Harvey periodicals created by animators Messmer, Oriolo and Jim Tyer. The book itself is lavishly produced (which is standard for Yoe’s publications) starting with the classy black and white cover – a clever contrast to rainbow-hued Messmer end papers and content to come. It begins with a 35-page introductory text, liberally illustrated with original Messmer/Oriolo art, rare photographs and odd-ball historical material (my favorite is a 1925 Photoplay magazine spread featuring a Ziegfeld Girl teaching Felix the latest dance craze, The Black Bottom). And then the real fun begins: twelve choice Felix stories, originally created between 1946 and 1954.
The Felix comic stories were always quite “trippy” (to use the 60s expression), usually starting off normally then drifting into worlds of giants, oversized talking vegetables, robots, magic carpets and trips into space. The artwork is always imaginative and very cartoony. This is a wonderful tribute to a cartoon super-star’s most neglected – but still significant – work. As far as I’m concerned, Yoe’s Felix The Cat: The Great Comic Book Tails is another must-have.