This brilliant piece of stop motion/pixilation from Buenos Aires-based Juan Pablo Zaramella was on the Oscar shortlist last fall. Visually clever, funny and sweet, it’s now online and worthy of your attention:
Posting random classic photos has become the raison d’Ãªtre of Facebook, but I just couldn’t resist sharing this vintage 1948 photo of pioneering animation producer Walter Lantz and his characters. There is so much goodness here – that zany painting of Woody Woodpecker, those cool off-model Woody stuffed dolls – not to mention Lantz himself holding an Oswald Rabbit plushie, and that scary Andy Panda doll giving him the evil eye.
This publicity still was released in August 1948 by the “World Wide Photo” news service. This was a period when Lantz had broken with Universal and his studio was about to close (temporarily). The caption on the back reads:
ANIMATED CARTOON MAKING
In his office in Hollywood, animated cartoon motion picture producer Walter Lantz sits with dolls inspired by some of his cartoon stars. He holds Woody Woodpecker and Oswald Rabbit. Alongside of him are Andy Panda and another Woody Woodpecker. The last named is also shown in the painting hanging on the wall. Lantz, a graduate of the Arts Students League in New York City, began in the animated cartoon field in 1916.
Animator/director Uli Meyer’sCasting The Birds is not a new film, but a beautiful limited edition print Meyer’s been selling online. It’s a hand-made seven color screen print featuring a different requested drawing in the top right hand corner – making each one unique. Meyer has started a blog to display each of his one-of-a-kind birds (a few samples below). He still has 20 left (from a limited run of 50)… make that 19, I’ve decided to get one myself.
Seth MacFarlane’s first full-length feature is a hilariously raunchy mix of live action and CG animation. Mark Wahlberg stars as John Bennett, “a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish…and has refused to leave his side ever since”. Universal will release Ted on July 13th. The following is an R-rated (for language) redband trailer – you’ve been warned:
Dark Hall Mansion, who produces those cool Peanuts Specials limited edition posters by Tom Whelan, are at it again. This time they’ve commissioned Belgium artist Laurent Durieux to create a set of retro posters for 60s anime robot super star Gigantor. Only 75 copies of Gigantor: The Lab and Gigantor: Tokyo Night (below) were produced. If interested, you better check the site before they sell out. Tetsujin 28-go never looked so good!
Last year it was garden gnomes, later this year it’s Foosball. This Argentine-Spanish co-production is being directed by Oscar-winner Juan José Campanella (The Secret in their Eyes) and Disney veteran Sergio Pablos (Tarzan, Hercules, executive producer of Despicable Me, character designer for Rio) is an animation supervisor on this project.
Canada’s Sheridan College is well known for the quality of their animation program and the work of their students (alumni include Dean Dublois, Michel Gagné and Danny Antonucci). Here’s a sneak peek/montage of this year’s graduate films – 63 of them in 2 minutes – which will screen publicly on Industry Day, Thursday April 26th. Beautiful looking stuff – can’t wait to see the full finished films.
DreamWorks animators David Stodolny and Steve Meyer created this little short, filming all over the Dreamworks campus, during breaks over a three week period. Says Stodolny, “For all you animators out there. Or really just about anyone who has had a crappy day.”
Opening in London on May 4th is Dinotasia, a new feature film containing a series of vignettes about dinosaurs, narrated by filmmaker Werner Herzog. The animation for this film was originally created for the Discovery Channel series Dinosaur Revolution, which aired in the U.S. last fall. Erik Nelson, best known for his work with director Werner Herzog on his documentary features, co-directed the film with David Krentz, lead character designer for Disney’s Dinosaur, and has contributed to Fantasia 2000, Treasure Planet, Valiant and The Ant Bully. It should open in the U.S. later this year.
Just released: another trailer, an alternate cut for Laika’s new stop-motion feature ParaNorman. Compare it to trailer #3 to note the additional scenes. Lookin’ good to me – this is shaping up to be a very interesting year for features.
A kick-ass Santa Claus, Sandman, Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny take on the dark forces of evil – via William Joyce and Guillermo del Toro. This Dreamworks production opens November 21st and here’s our first look at the animation:
As a longtime non-sports card collector, I was delighted when the original series of Garbage Pail Kids stickers came out in 1985. I recall that the characters, a parody of those god-awful Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, were a hilarious spoof in the vein of Mad Magazine. The gags even got funnier in the 2nd and 3rd series before I moved on. I haven’t looked at those stickers in years and my memory of the property has been tainted by the horrible 1987 CBS animated series – so awful it didn’t air for years (it was pulled at the last moment from the CBS Saturday morning line-up, allowing Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse to move into the coveted post Pee-Wee Herman time slot). I’ve embed a sample episode below for your viewing displeasure.
On April 1st, Abrams ComicArts will release a hardcover book featuring full page images of every card in the first 5 series (1985-86) of the popular Topps bubble gum stickers. At first, I didn’t think much about the idea of such a book, but after reading Art Spiegelman’s introduction, and John Pound’s afterword, then leafing through the pages I came to realize these hilarious pieces haven’t lost any of their subversive edge. Alternative (or Underground) cartoonists Spiegelman, Pound, Jay Lynch, Tom Bunk and Mark Newgarden were the brains behind these beauties. The art is way better than I remembered and I had a ball checking these out anew – they actually work great in the book format. It’s lavishly produced, with the book jacket looking like the original wrapper, and an actual set of Garbage Pail Kids stickers included inside. This tome goes on the shelf next to my Mad paperbacks, Kurtzman’s Hey Look and Crumb’s Fritz The Cat. Maybe the new animated movie in development by Michael Eisner and Pes doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all. Check out what all the fuss is about (Amazon is selling it for $11.27 – a steal!). Highly recommended!
Last week we posted a first-look link to a Russian language version of the trailer for Genndy Tartakovsky’s forthcoming Hotel Transylvania. Today, Sony Animation uploaded the U.S. English language version and we have a better idea of how it works with Adam Sandler and the all-star voice cast. Here it is: