A man is shot and can only survive as a head and a body who exist independently from one another. The forgetful body desperately collects souvenirs, while the head is lost in a series of illusions.
Evelyn Lee made Kanizsa Hill as her graduate thesis film for the Experimental Animation Program at CalArts. It has screened at various festivals including Slamdance, AFI Los Angeles, Comic Con International and the Seattle International Film Festival. It won Best Animated Short at San Fransico International Film Festival and Most Promising Filmmaker at Ann Arbor Film Festival. And now this delightfully surreal short is online:
Film historians have long declared the year 1939 the pinnacle of Hollywood movie making. But what about the cartoons?
Cartoon buff Ted Watts is reviewing all 158 Hollywood cartoon short subjects (and one feature) produced in that banner year, 70 years ago, one at a time in release order, on a new blog called Cartoons of 1939.
Ted provides plot information, credits and lots of frame grabs. It’s a fun idea. If you want to start at the beginning, click here.
It’s been over a year since we heard anything about Classic Media’s attempt to revive Mr. Magoo in something called Kung Fu Magoo. Our friends at TVShowsOnDVD now report that Vivendi Entertainment will release the film direct-to-video on May 11th. (Click image at left to see box art). The 80-minute feature, produced at Mexico’s Anima Estudios, pits Quincy Magoo and his 12-year-old nephew, Justin, against giant robotic spiders, ninjas on jet skis and mutant Beasteens which are half animal and half teenage girl. Jim Conroy (Ruff Ruffman, Kenny the Shark) provides the voice of Mr. Magoo. Doesn’t sound good…
We don’t see much independent animation from China – but you really need to see this one. After working on it alone for three years, a Chinese independent animator known as Jokelate has created this surreal anti-war themed animation titled See Through. It’s apparently a huge viral hit in China. It’s 16 minutes, uploaded in two parts on YouTube:
Word is spreading today of a top secret Lucasfilm CG animated musical now in preproduction at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. All that is known about it is that Kevin Munroe (TMNT) is directing and David Berenbaum (Elf, The Spiderwick Chronicles) wrote the screenplay, from a story idea by Lucas. And that the film centers around a group of fairy characters.
The image above has nothing to do with this film – I just thought it was cute.
My next cartoon show at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theater is on Tuesday February 9th. To commemorate Valentines Day (a few days early), we are presenting an assortment of classic animated shorts on the theme of love. From the sex-starved Pepe LePew, to Avery’s luscious Red Riding Hood, our program features rare 35mm and 16mm Technicolor film prints, projected the way they are supposed to be seen – on the big screen. Suitable for cartoon lovers of all ages, for more information or advance tickets, please click the CineFamily website.
Ralph Bakshi (Fritz The Cat, Wizards, Mighty Mouse) will return to New York in March to present an art show in SoHo. He’ll appear at a reception at the Animazing Gallery, with a new series of paintings in an exhibition entitled The Streets. These are mixed-media construction/paintings inspired by Bakshi’s youth in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
New York’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) will present a lifetime achievement award to Bakshi at the opening reception on Friday, March 19th, from 6-9PM (by invitation.) A public meet and greet reception takes place on Saturday March 20th, 2-5PM. Admission is free and open to the public. The exhibition runs through May 15th. Animazing Gallery is located at 54 Greene Street at Broome in SoHo. For more information visit www.animazing.com.
Reginald Hudlin, BET Networks and Titmouse Cartoons have combined to bring Marvel Comics Black Panther to TV. Eight episodes have been produced and have begun airing last week in Australia (on ABC3). No word on when the series will play in the U.S. – but here’s the good-looking opening credits:
Independent animator and producer Wendy Johnson Carmical has started a production blog dedicated to veteran animator Ken Mundie and his new traditionally animated film (still under production) called The Match.
Mundie, who is now in his eighties, directed the first Fat Albert special, created the titles for The Wild Wild West and produced a controversial Warner Bros. animated short, The Door (1967). Carmical says, “This endeavor to help Ken get his film made is inspired by a love of animation, respect for the pioneers, and regard for a really unique interesting artist.” The Match is “an animated film about an epic tennis match that represents the battle of brute force against the intellect. It will be animated entirely by Ken Mundie. We are hoping to find people interested in painting the finished animation and/or find funding.”
Below is a work-in-progress reel of the first act.
ASIFA-Hollywood has just announced that actor/director William Shatner will host the 37th Annual Annie Awards on Saturday, February 6, 2010, at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, CA. Very Cool!
Tickets have gone on sale for the event at the Annie Award website. The evening begins with a pre-reception at 5 p.m. followed by the Annie Awards ceremony at 7 p.m. and post award party at 10 p.m. All events will be held at Royce Hall. The Annie Awards ceremony will also be webcast on annieawards.org beginning Tuesday, February 9, 2010.
Move over Robert Zemeckis – your ideas are old hat. Max Fleischer invented the rotoscope in 1917 and, thanks to this newly discovered piece of film, we now know Westworld Artists conceived motion capture for animation in the 1960s. Only they called it AnimaScope (nifty title, eh?).
AnimaScope was “animation without drawings”. It was created by Leon Maurer (brother of comic artist Norman Maurer) and is related to his Colormation technique, which we posted about in 2007. AnimaScope was used in the original Yellow Submarine (ironic, isn’t it?) and several Bakshi feature films, but essentially abandoned after that. Here’s a look at the future of animation, that never was:
Ever wanted a Wall-E crew jacket — or a Woody doll autographed by Tom Hanks? Lee Unkrich (Director of Toy Story 3) is holding charity auction right now on Ebay. Lee is auctioning off a bunch of personal Pixar memorabilia with all money going to benefit Haiti. People can find out about the items and bid by checking out his Twitter posts.
Yes, in case you were wondering, I’m still co-producing the monthly live comedy-bad cartoons-musical show Cartoon Dump. We are now on the fourth Monday of every month at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood. Different special comedy guests every month. More info here. Next show on Monday (1/25) – another plug to follow.