This commercial simply blew me away. It was produced by The People’s Republic of Animation, an outstanding animation studio in Australia, founded on their philosophy of “BE BOLD, BE CREATIVE, BE ENTERTAINING”.
Formed in 2003, PRA founders Eddie White and James Calvert, have done numerous stylish commercials (such as the one above) and several outstanding shorts — including the acclaimed Carnivore Reflux (2006), which we featured on Cartoon Brew Films. For more cartoon goodness, check out their amazing sample reel on Vimeo.
Next Tuesday, July 22, indie filmmaker Brent Green is performing a FREE show of his animated shorts at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. I say “performing” because his mixed-media and stop-motion animated shorts are combined with live musical performance by Green and his backup band. I saw a show by Green last year and it’s an incredible experience that marries music and animation in ways that I hadn’t previously thought possible. Some of his films can be viewed online but the full effect really shines through during the live performance.
Expect a full body experience including live music, short films, and improvised narration–an evening spent on the verge of collapse with wobbly guitar, musical saw, banjo, fiddles, trumpets, accordion, drums and adamantly hand-made animations. Watch Brent Green’s films (Susa’s Red Ears, Hadacol Christmas, Paulina Hollers, Abe Lincoln, Carlin, Louisville/Gravity, and Walt Whitman’s Brain) accompanied by Brendan Canty of Fugazi, Jim Becker of Califone, Alan Scalpone of the Bitter Tears, Rodney McLaughlin, and Brent Green himself.
What does the little man on the emergency exit sign do when he’s not helping humans? “Signs of Life” is a witty animation installation created by Freddie Yauner that answers the question. Here is the explanation of how the interactive aspect of the project works.
Animator and eagle-eyed Brew reader Celia Bullwinkel spotted this faded sidewalk stencil graffiti of Mr. Magoo planting a bomb. The piece is in Greenwich Village. Are there more of these? Does anybody the story behind this image? Click on the image below for a larger version.
I admit it. I love seeing classic animation I’ve never seen before. I particularly go nuts for original title sequences of cartoons that had been cut 50 years ago for TV broadcast. Long time readers of this site already know this.
So what is so unusual about this Popeye card above? It’s simply the rarely seen opening graphic to the first post-Fleischer Popeye cartoons. This title treatment (above) only appears at the head of two cartoons – You’re A Sap, Mr. Jap and Alona On The Sarong Seas (both 1942) – immediately after the ousting of Max and Dave Fleischer. The next release (A Hull Of A Mess) is the first to proclaim the series “A Famous Studios Production” (the new entity created to produce cartoons for Paramount release), and feature a new animated title treatment.
Jerry has posted a super-rare gem on YouTube: the 1965 short The Shooting of Dan McGrew directed by Ed Graham, Jr. I was so excited about seeing the film online that I asked him to let me post about it. When I first encountered this short about five years ago, the thing that popped out to me was the striking background color design of Walt Peregoy, who is most famously the color stylist of 101 Dalmatians. Unfortunately, this copy on YouTube doesn’t do justice to his color work and gives only a vague taste of what an actual print looks like.
The film was created in the spirit of earlier UPA shorts like The Unicorn in the Garden and The Tell-Tale Heart which adapted classic pieces of literature to the animation medium. In this case, the inspiration came from Robert Service’s poem of the same name.
In addition to Peregoy’s contributions, the film also has character designs by George Cannata, Jr. and background layout by UPA veteran Bob Dranko. The animation was directed by another younger design-oriented animator, George Singer, and the primary animators were Golden Age veterans Manny Gould and Amby Paliwoda. Also worth noting: the music is credited to jazz great George Shearing. This is his only animation score as far as I’m aware.
The Sixties was an interesting time for theatrical shorts in the US. As studio animation was dying out, many of the major studios offered independently-produced one-shots like this one, which was released by Universal. There are plenty of other Sixties one-shots that are currently owned by major studios and deserve to be made available to animation fans. These include two films by John and Faith Hubley that are owned by Paramount–A Windy Day and Oscar-winning Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature–as well as Ernie Pintoff’s Oscar-winning The Critic, Ken Mundie’s The Door, Format Films’ Icarus Montgolfier Wright, and Chuck Menville and Len Janson’s Stop Look and Listen and Blaze Glory.
Just out from Steve Stanchfield’s Thunderbean Animation is Cultoons 3, a new DVD set which continues his madness of releasing cartoons that only us die hards would care about. This set features all the uber-rare 1939 Gran’ Pop Monkey series as well as Boyd La Vero’s lost Marty the Monk cartoons. It also has the eccentric foreign-toon Mr. E from Tow City and the Walter Lantz wartime rarity, The Enemy Bacteria. Trust me, this is oddball material, expertly curated and lots of fun.
Stanchfield is doing all of us a big favor – rounding up the odds and ends of cartoon history, using the best prints he can find of the most obscure cartoons ever made. Another new release of note, Grotesqueries: Ghosts, Goblins & Other Magical Moving Picture Illusions is from Blue Mouse Studio (Thunderbean will be distributing it). Chris Buchman and Rex Schneider (with some help from Stanchfield) produced this fantastic DVD featuring all sorts of goodies, both animated and otherwise (and a bunch of really great bonus features. They’ve done a really beautiful job with all the graphics and design… its been in progress for over 2 years! It’s a pretty unusual and cool DVD. It also features a restoration of A Night On Bald Mountain, the 1933 Pinscreen classic by Alexander Alexeieff and Claire Parker – the best it’s ever looked (restored and licensed from Cecile Starr). Highly recommended!
“Kaiserwetter” is a distinctive looking video for German musician Olli Schulz directed by Benjamin Leng of HickPix. Leng tells us, “I made the video together with illustrator Niklas Hughes in a six-week period, combining hand drawn backgrounds with computer animation in After Effects.”
Brooklyn’s homegrown cartoon festival Animation Block Party will return for its fifth edition from July 25-27. Over 100 animated shorts will screen during the three-day festival, chosen from 800 plus entries.The line-up of films and ticket info was officially announced today. If the event’s promotional materials (above) are any indicator, this is not to be confused with traditional festivals. It has an informal and indie spirit with plenty of opportunities for mingling and partying. I’ve heard positive things from everybody who has attended. Here are more details from their press release about the various festivities:
ABP opens on Friday July 25th at Rooftop Films, featuring live music from Plushgun, followed by a screening of ABP’s most fun and fan friendly cartoons. A party at Bar Matchless will follow ABP-Rooftop screenings with free beer from Radeberger.
ABP continues on Saturday July 26th at Bam Cinematek, with experimental works and music vids in Program One and a storytelling focus in Program Two. Screenings will be followed by an after party at Cherry Tree with free Newcastle courtesy of America’s Finest News Source, The Onion, Inc.
ABP closes on Sunday July 27th at Bam Cinematek, with top professional-independent works in Program Three and narrative local-international shorts in Program Four with an after party at Habana Outpost, featuring streaming toons, food specials and free beer courtesy of Autodesk.
Bonus Amid Geek-Note: The guy who did the drawing above is Doug Crane, who was the primary inker on the Terrytoons classics Flebus and The Juggler of Our Lady.
When I seek out films for my Worst Cartoons Ever! screenings or Cartoon Dump I look for animation so bad it’s unintentionally funny. So when I came across a batch of old issues of My Weekly Reader I had in stashed my archives and found this comic strip – Uncle Funny Bunny and Chumpy – I felt I’d found a comics equivalent to Paddy The Pelican and Bucky and Pepito: the lamest comic strip ever created! Mesmerizingly so. I just had to share. Click on thumbnails below to read some samples.
Admittedly it’s aimed at children, and produced in the more innocent era of the early 50s. But the consistently corny gags, the awful stiff artwork… surely this takes the prize. Unless one considers the Weekly Reader’s back up strip: Loki, Your Fuzzy Forest Friend.