I’ve neglected to acknowledge the release this week of Warner Bros. Academy Award Animation Collection. It came out last Tuesday and it’s a teriffic compilation containing all the Oscar winning animated cartoons, and most of the nominees, that Warner Bros. owns the rights to. This includes several great Looney Tunes, MGM Tom & Jerry, Tex Avery, Fleischer Popeye and Superman cartoons.
The prints are gorgeous, and there is expert commentary on several tracks provided by Mark Kausler, Eric Goldberg, Greg Ford, Paul Dini and Brewmasters Amid Amidi and Jerry Beck. Also worthy of mention is the special round table audio commentary on Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor by Bob Jaques, Leslie Cabarga and Ray Pointer, moderated by myself. There is also a wonderful one hour documentary on Oscar winning cartoons (with additional clips from Disney, Zagreb and Hubley films) and comments from Michael Sporn, Mark Kausler, Howard Beckerman, Charles Solomon, Bill Plympton, Jimmy Picker, Tom Sito, Eric Goldberg, and archival quotes from Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Many of these cartoons already appeared in several scattered video collections, though several of them were previously issued in edited form. Here, all the cartoons are complete and uncut – and it’s great to have them all collected in one place. A great package, highly recommended.
Next Tuesday, 2/19, at 7:30 p.m., ASIFA Atlanta is putting on To Hell with Hitler, a program of WW2-era cartoons at the Plaza Theatre ($4 members admission; $7 non-members).
Clay Croker (of ArgleBargle blog fame) curated the show, created the cool poster, and is providing the 16mm prints that will be shown. The only caution is that the screening willl take place in a part of the theatre that holds around 100 folks, so expect it to be standing-room-only!
In is a 23-minute CG/live-action short created by Philipp Hirsch and Heiko Tippelt in 2004. I have a bit of a history with this film; here is what I wrote about it after watching a portion of it at Annecy in 2004.
“The program was also home to the oddest film in the competition, the enigmatic IN by Philipp Hirsch. A significant portion of the audience, myself included, walked out in the middle of this 24-minute film. The Dada-ish looking short generated quite a bit of discussion during the last couple days of the festival and after speaking to folks who managed to sit through it, I regret not having had the patience to make it through the entire film.”
Animation director Peter Chung saw my comment recently and emailed to let me know that the film is online in its entirety. Watch In here. Chung was part of the 2004 jury for the Holland Animation Film Festival that awarded In the top prize for non-narrative short film. In his note to me, Chung offers valuable advice to anybody who plans to watch this film: “Forget everything you’ve known about animation before thisÃ¢â‚¬”and just watch with an open mind. This is filmmaking by someone inventing a new way to see, a film that breaks the boundaries between inner and outer experience.”
I was a fan of Pen Ward’s warped cartoon genius before I saw his two incredible Random Cartoons: Adventure Time and The Bravest Warriors. I have no idea when this series of cartoons will air on Nickelodeon (I’d assume they’ll show up sometime this year, considering they got a four page spread in the Nicktoons book), but while we wait, Ward has started marketing Adventure Time with a series of tee shirts based on the short.
Ward had a bunch of good ideas for the tees (12 in all) and is making a different one available each week on Cafe Press. Collect them all! The whole set will be posted on Channel Frederator Raw as they are produced.
One of the highlights of the Annie Awards last Friday night was a small video concocted by the cast of Spongebob Squarepants (M.C. Tom Kenny, along with presenters Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence and Bill Fagerbakke), created to prove they shouldn’t be stereotyped simply as Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward and Sandy. Here’s the video, see if you agree:
Photos and article about the Annies at CGSociety.org. I enjoyed this excerpt from the article about Jerry receiving his award from June Foray:
Foray listed the many achievements of recipient Jerry Beck, far too many to place here, including his blog cartoonbrew.com – though she admitted, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a computer so I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen it,Ã¢â‚¬? to the amusement of the audience.
(photo above, l. to r.: Jim Smith, Steve Worth, Mike Fontanelli, Eddie Fitzgerald)
I just got in from a wonderful night at the Annie Award ceremony, and yeah, it’s my birthday today. What a wonderful present and what a fantastic party.
Ratatouille was the big winner last night, winning several Annie Awards including Best Animated Feature, Best Director and Best Writing (Animated Feature). I’m a bit too tired to recall all the winners, but Pixar’s Your Friend The Rat won for best short, El Tigre for Best Children’s TV Animation, Creature Comforts America for Best Animated Program, Power Shares Escape Average (Acme Filmworks) won for Best Commercial, and Surf’s Up, The Simpsons and Robot Chicken took home other prizes.
It was a blast to be surrounded by some of the greatest names in animation (Groening, Bird, Kricfalusi, Canemaker, Keane, etc.). Tom Kenny did an amazing job as the master of ceremonies (more about this in a future post). The new venue, at UCLA’s Royce Hall, was terrific. If you were there please share your memories of the evening in our comments bellow.
Harry Knowles (of Ain’t It Cool News) has posted a top ten list (with YouTube links) of his some of his all-time favorite animated films. These include Disney’s Music Land, MGM’s Peace On Earth and Little Buck Cheeser, UPA’s The Tell-Tale Heart, George Pal’s Tulips Shall Grow, Ub Iwerks’ Balloon Land and Skeleton Frolic, Will Vinton’s Closed Mondays and Max Fleischer’s Great Vegatable Mystery and Ants In the Plants.
With all the debate over scripts versus storyboards, animation writer Steve Marmel (Fairly Oddparents, Danny Phantom, et al) has jumped into the fray, and put his money where his mouth is.
Marmel, on his Animation Writers blog, has started a contest challenging writers to craft a script from a classic Bob Clampett cartoon. The film chosen, Falling Hare, was selected by scripter Marmel with the help of Stephen Worth of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive, one of the most outspoken on the subject of storyboard-driven cartoons.
Once he receives qualified entries, Marmel plans on reaching out to other board artists, directors and story people to help judge and give opinions, but would like the final arbiter of this to be Stephen Worth himself. Marmel asks Worth:
Pick the best of the bunch. Show script writers what’s right. And in return, you can take the worst of the bunch, and gut it.
Here’s what happens when a winner is picked. I will see that the winner is paid a “teleplay fee” for a short-subject script – as determined by the IATSE/TAG 839 rules. I think it’s a little less than $2000. This may be out of my own pocket… (and) I will personally make an in-kind donation to the ASIFA-Archive.
The contest will begin when Worth accepts the terms Marmel proposes. For more information, go to Marmel’s blog.
“Above are some of the better pics that actually retain the brilliance of Carey Yost and Mark Colangelo’s original art, but judging from some of the other pics, the final product is falling a bit short of what it was supposed to be. I guess that’s what happens when the studio shuts things down way too early and sends everything overseas before it’s ready in order to concentrate on sure-fire winners like ‘Everybody’s Hero’…”
That’s disappointing news to hear. Back in August 2006, Jerry had written on the Brew about the promise of this project.
UPDATE: Multiple well-placed sources inform us that El Superbeasto is still being prepped for a theatrical release and not direct-to-video.