Disney has just announced that it will theatrically release Goro Miyazaki’s Tales from Earthsea (Gedo Senki) in the US on August 13th under its Touchstone Pictures banner. This marks the second fully animated feature to be released under that label — the first being Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, another Touchstone picture, was live-action/animated).
Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro directed this adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels in 2006. The film was held up from US distribution due to an existing non-compete arrangement with Sci-Fi Channel, over their live action mini-series based on the same material. The voice cast in Disney’s dub includes Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin and Mariska Hargitay.
His involvement with the animation world was relatively brief, but his inspiration to artists, animators and cartoonists, world over, cannot be denied. Frank Frazetta, the science fiction/fantasy painter, whose commercial art appeared on movie posters, in comic books and on numerous paperback novels has passed away. He began his career in the 1940s drawing funny animal comics for various publishers. He later ghosted L’il Abner for Al Capp and occasionally assisted Will Elder on Playboy’s Little Annie Fanny. He became famous for his sword-and-sorcery art, which included covers for Creepy and Eerie magazine, and on the Conan the Barbarian novels. For animation, he drew the poster for Rankin-Bass’ Mad Monster Party (1967) and collaborated with Ralph Bakshi in producing the animated feature Fire & Ice (1983). Perhaps the most satisfying adaption of Frazetta to animation was by Richard Williams in this 1978 Jovan after shave commercial:
In 2007, you’ll recall Madame Tutli Putli‘s disturbing and effective use of live action eyes composited onto the animated puppets.
A few years earlier, British filmmaker Lizzie Oxby combined stop-motion animation, live action performance (placing a live action head on a stop-mo puppet) and digital effects for her film Extn. 21. The results are equally effective — a bit creepy, but totally intriguing.
Tonight is the opening of The Art of Harvey Comics exhibit over at the Van Eaton Gallery on Ventura Blvd. Many pieces in this exhibit are for sale and Van Eaton has just posted some of them online. This page offers some of the Irv Spector and Bill Tytla story sketch art that was of the display. The second page has several 1950s Harvey pages by Tom Golden, Marty Taras, Bill Hudson and Steve Muffatti, as well as several vintage Famous Studios model sheets by Dave Tendlar.
Good stuff – it’ll all be on display through May 15th at the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks.
Last night, Bill Kroyer and I participated in an animation panel at the Hammer Museum, which followed a screening of some newly restored silent era cartoons by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Those films have now been posted online on a new website established by the UCLA Library.
An initial eleven films are now available to view or download, with titles including Blackton’s Enchanted Drawing (1900), tinted prints promoting The Lost World and other interesting obscure shorts and orphan films. They can be viewed silent or with a choice or musical scores (with audio commentary by composer Michael Mortilla), some with Preservationist audio commentary (by Jere Guldin), each with historical notes (by me, Jerry Beck), an Historical Overview essay by Mark Langer and a Study Guide prepared by UCLA which notes much of their animation holdings, papers, prints and materials available for further study.
If the early history of animation is of interest to you, this is a good site to know. And I’ve been told the Archive will be adding more material to it as time goes on. Check it out, here.
It seems as if the entire history of Russian animation is now on You Tube if you search deep enough.
Here’s a good one and certainly worth a look if you’ve got a spare 22 minutes (it’s broken up in three parts). It’s called Shareholders (1963, directed by Roman Davydov) and it’s quite a scathing look at American capitalism. A real piece of cold-war propaganda:
2. Hugo The Hippo at the CineFamily/Silent Movie Theatre. At 8pm, this rarely screened 1975 animated feature from Hungry’s the Hungarian Pannonia Studio (shown in 35mm), is the first in a weekly sereies of Fun and Funky Kids Films, curated by Lance Robertson and Kevin Lee (of Yo Gabba Gabba). A program of rarely shown stop-motion animated shorts from the Czech Republic, France, and Russia begins the program, and then Hugo, a psychedelic kiddie film, featuring the voice talents of Burl Ives, Paul Lynde and several funky tunes sung by Marie and Jimmy Osmond. For more info click here.
ADA SPORT (ADA standing for Animation Dance Association) is a web competition where animation teams create quick short films which compete against each other for an ADA “Championship Title”. Here’s one of the better entries, a nice bit of guerilla filmmaking by Christi Bertelsen.
Headless Productions is a small independent animation studio founded by Adrian Garcia, Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres (directors/production designer of Nocturna) in Barcelona. These guys are good.
I haven’t posted an opening title sequence in some time. This one is from a short live action fantasy currently making the festival rounds: Plant Girl by the Affolter Brothers.
Animator Nathan Affolter (Ren & Stimpy’s Adult Party Cartoon, Wayside and El Super Beasto) co-runs an independent production company, Affolter Entertainment, with his three brothers in Vancouver, BC. He created this stylish opening title; simple, elegant and effective:
Here’s an exclusive first look at one of the big movies of 2011: Thor.
No, not the upcoming Kenneth Branagh Marvel Comics super hero movie. This is Thor, The Edda Chronicles, a new feature from Iceland’s CAOZ animation studio, Germany’s Ulysses Films and Ireland’s Magma Films. This is also coming out in 2011. The last time I criticized a Europeon production, I was raked over the coals. So I won’t say a word this time… I’ll let you be the judge:
Starting next week, the touring exhibition From Richie Rich to Wendy, The Art of Harvey Comics will make a stop in L.A. with rare comic book and animation artwork on display (and some for sale) at the Van Eaton Gallery. On view for only one week, Saturday May 8th through Saturday May 15th, Van Eaton will augment the Harvey exhibit with a wealth of rare material from Paramount’s Famous Studios (the creators of Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Audrey, Baby Huey, Buzzy the Crow and Herman & Katnip) and its predessesor, Fleischer Studios. There will be rare model sheets, pencil animation art, and cel set ups from Casper, Popeye, Superman, Color Classics, Noveltoons, Little Lulu and others.
There’s an opening reception on Saturday night (May 8th, 7pm -10pm) and I wouldn’t miss it. Schedule permitting, veteran Harvey editor Sid Jacobson may be joining us. The reception is open to the public, but they would prefer you RSVP at (818) 788-2357. The Van Eaton Galleries are located at 13613 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, CA. For more information on Harvey Comics, check the Facebook page.
This week, the first three are editorial cartoons. From the top: Mike Peters (4/16) for the Dayton Daily News, Joel Pett (4/27) for Lexington Herald-Leader, and Steve Kelly (4/29) for the Times Picayune. Below that, Rhymes With Orange (4/30) by Hilary Price, and Free Range (4/29) by Bill Whitehead.
(Thanks Jim Lahue, Uncle Wayne, John Hall and Charles Brubaker)