Michael Fragstein directed this video for the group Vania and the Master. It looks even better in High Def. Fragstein produced it through German design firm BÃ¼ro Achter April, and concieved it with artists VÃ¢nia Oliveira and Moritz Reichartz All three animated the piece.
On Sunday, October 4th, Renegade Animation will host an exhibition of serigraphs by animation veteran David Weidman. Best known for his work on Mr. Magoo, Fractured Fairy Tales, King Features TV Popeye and Hanna Barbera cartoon series of the 1950s and ‘60s, Weidman will also sign copies of his new book The Whimsical Works of David Weidman, And Also Some Serious Ones. The event, which is open to the public, will occur from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Renegade Animation’s studio, 116 N. Maryland Ave., Lower Level, in Glendale.
We mentioned Weidman and his new book here back in March. Now, you have a chance to meet the man in person. Weidman, now 87, began his career as a designer at John Hubley’s Storyboard, and later worked as a designer at UPA where he developed his signature personal style while creating backgrounds for animated shorts. He also worked in magazine illustration and commercials. His many credits include Crusader Rabbit, Calvin and the Colonel, The Boing Boing Show, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. Weidman will also be signing copies of Renegade Animation director Darrell Van Citters’ new book, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special, which highlights Weidman’s work. For fans of the special, there will be production artwork for sale from Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Click on thumbnails above to see larger images of Weidman’s art.
For the second year in a row, Brewmaster Jerry Beck will be programming a selection of strange and creepy Halloween related animated cartoons on the big screen at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood. Using vintage prints in 16mm and 35mm, this years’ Animation Spook-tacular will screen next Tuesday, October 6th at 8pm. Milton the Monster, Casper, and all the famous monsters of filmland will be here. Special guest animators will show their films and discuss their ghastly influences. For more information and to order advance tickets, click here.
For several hours over the weekend, 14 Cartoonstitute shorts were posted on You Tube. Monday morning they were all gone. However, one of them – Derek Drymon’s Danger Planet – has escaped and I’m pleased to post it below. Watch it while you can:
John McElwee waxes nostalgic about collecting 8mm home movies and Flip The Frog on his Greenbriar Picture Shows blog. As usual on his site, McElwee’s illustrated the piece with rare trade advertisements from the 1930s.
Also, this Flip doll has to be one of the ugliest pieces of cartoon merchandising I’ve ever seen. That said, I want one.
Leah Shore just graduated from RISD. This is her thesis film. This is either genius or nonsense. I’ll let you decide. It’s NSFW.
And so it goes: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was the number #1 film in the country last week, grossing $30.1 million dollars in its first three days of release. However, Ben Fritz of the LA Times choose to report the story this way:
Sony’s animated film opens at No. 1, but its $30.1 million is so-so. Although it’s relatively strong for the historically slow movie-going month of September, the opening of “Cloudy” is decent but not spectacular compared with its $100-million budget.
Animated features are earning big bucks, but what does it take for animation to earn some respect? Cloudy had a $30 million dollar opening, coming in at #1 – with #2 (Soderbergh’s The Informant) grossing almost $20 million dollars less, $10.5 million. Hollywood would declare any live action flick earning $30 million over three days in September, beating the competition two-to-one like Cloudy did, a major blockbuster. Instead, the film’s opening gross was “decent, but not spectacular.”
Instead of comparing Cloudy to other movies in the marketplace, or maybe to previous live action comedies, the LA Times rated its success against Dreamworks, Pixar and Blue Sky’s CG films – and judged it poorly against them. To quote again from Mr. Fritz:
It also keeps Sony behind several of its more experienced animation competitors — DreamWorks, Disney’s Pixar and Fox’s Blue Sky — all of whose movies usually have bigger openings.
For good measure, Fritz decides to remind us of how poorly Sony’s previous film did – and despite Cloudy’s number one status in South America, has doubts about its chances in Europe:
The studio’s second animated movie, 2007′s “Surf’s Up,” was a box-office flop that opened to just $17.6 million. It remains to be seen how Sony’s new animated film will perform overseas, although it did open at No. 1 this weekend in four countries: Britain, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador.
It never ceases to amaze me. You can have the biggest hit in Hollywood, and the industry trade reporters will still treat your film as a second-class citizen – if its animated.
Now, for a second week in a row, Cloudy came in again at #1 – with a 19% drop-off in attendance from the previous week. Word of mouth is clearly kicking in; and 19% is a record low for a second week of any Hollywood film. Still, several industry pundits are now tying Cloudy’s surprise success to the fact that it was released in 3-D.
Has it ever occurred to these geniuses that maybe, perhaps, possibly… that this non-Pixar-Dreamworks-Blue Sky animated film could actually be “good”. That audiences might conceivably want a funny story, with crazy characters, spectacular visuals and great animation?
Until they figure it out, animation will remain Hollywood’s biggest mystery. And like Rodney (or Rover) Dangerfield, animated features will still be waiting for respect.
I’m still not a fan of Family Guy, but I have to admit this is a terrific sequence from last night’s 8th season premiere episode.
UPDATE: You should read the comments on this post for sequence production details from Family Guy director Greg Colton, and the lead animator of the piece, Darlie Brewster (posting with the handle DarlieB). Our thanks to both of them for participating in the comments.
This is an absolutely beautiful teaser trailer for a proposed feature by a group of Argentine animators. Diego De Rose and his grupo at Wujoco Animation sent us the trailer along with this introduction:
WUJOCO was formed by a team of professional animation artists who were determined to fuse their skill in the craft, as well as their experience in the trade, in order to produce original content of their own. So far, I would like to introduce you to an animated feature film project we are working on, whose title is Angel Vitamina.
Angel Vitamina is a low budget independent project that required a huge effort by the group, and most of our working time, just to reach to this level. We at Wujoco realize that this is just a beginning. But, nevertheless, we think this tale is something worth fighting for. Please, take a look: our Angel needs a lot of support to rise and fly!
The character designs and a short storyline can be found at angelvitamina.com. I’m certainly rooting for Wujoco to finish the film.
I collect all the Pixar and Disney Little Golden Books because they usually feature incredible artwork by the studio’s best artists. And the price is right too, only $3.99. The uber-talented Lorelay Bove illustrated the latest one based on The Princess and the Frog and she’s offering a tiny sneak peek on her blog. It’ll go on sale October 13th – and I can’t wait.
We’ve posted often about Jules Engel, and now the iotaCenter has released a DVD of his later, rarely seen experimental works. Jules Engel: Selected Works, Volume I is a collection of fifteen animated films from the famed artist, animator and educator.
Engel, who started as a inbetweener on Columbia Krazy Kat and Scrappy cartoons, went on to become a major influence at Disney during it’s golden age, a key artist and designer at UPA in their heyday, a founder of Format Films, a beloved teacher at Cal Arts, an acclaimed abstract artist and experimental animator.
Check out the excerpts (below) from his 1963 personal film Carnival and see excerpts from others films contained on the DVD at iotacenter.org.
Britain not only has universal health care, but their National Health Service is supporting animation with a competition to find a new cartoon spokesperson. Five finalists have now been chosen and the NHS has posted them online for public feedback. You can view the films on the shortlist here – and scroll down to see a vintage Halas and Batchelor cartoon, Charley in Your Very Good Health, which introduced the NHS to the public in 1948.
All five are of merit. This one (below) by The Brothers McLeod is perhaps my favorite.
“Enchanted by a pixie, a child called Yorick enters a magical kingdom, but when Yorick returns he finds his world ravaged by time.”
Another nice music video by Giles Timms, this time set in a hand drawn pen and ink world inspired by Edward Gorey and animated in a cut-out style. Compositing and animation in After Effects. Produced at the Animation Workshop at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The track, Dead All Along, is performed by Ceri Frost.
In case you were wondering what happened to a U.S. release of Adam Elliot’s clay animated feature Mary And Max… The film was finally picked up for US distribution by Sundance Selects, a video-on-demand service that’s an adjunct to the Sundance Channel and the Sundance Film Festival. The film will be available to purchase and view on cable and satellite systems beginning October 14th.
If you have a hankering to see the film on the big screen, the way it was designed to be seen, it starts tomorrow at the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino for an Oscar qualifying one week run. It will screen
everyday at 10am Friday and Saturday at 10pm, Sunday through Thursday at 1pm. Asifa-Hollywood members have been invited to a private screening in Glendale next Wednesday, which will feature a Q&A with director Eliiot.
Mary and Max will also screen Wednesday October 14th, 7pm, as the opening selection at the Ottawa ’09 International Film Festival.
(Thanks, Eric Graf)
Robbert Bobbert is a character and album created by Robert Schneider of The Apples in Stereo. The new music video, We R Super Heroes, was directed by Puny Entertainment. Super Hero Guest Artists include: Jordan Crane (The Clouds Above, NON, Uptight), Gene Ha (Top 10, The Fourty Niners. DC Cover Artist), Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends), Chris McDonnell (Meat Haus, Vice Comics), Mark Todd (Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?) and Todd Webb (Tuesday Moon, Nickelodeon Magazine).