The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger

Attention! If you are hungry for a new Bill Plympton cartoon – or some great barbeque steak – New York’s Hill Country Barbecue Market will present the world premiere of Plympton’s latest, The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger on Tuesday March 2nd. Plympton will be there to introduce his brand-new cartoon short, along with live performances by his musical collaborators Nicole Renaud and Maureen McElheron. Everyone who comes receives a free Bill Plympton cow drawing.

When: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, 6-8pm
Location: Hill Country Barbecue Market is located at 30 West 26th St., NY.

Animated Euro-Trash

Each year I’m dismayed at the lack of U.S. distribution for several high quality theatrical animated features, out of the dozens of really good ones, produced around the world.

However, I recognize that not all non-U.S. features are of the quality of The Secret of Kells, Persepolis, Waltz With Bashir or The Triplettes of Belleville. Here are two examples of recent Euro-features that will probably never see the light of day at an American multi-plex (though I wouldn’t rule them out from the $1 dollar bin at Target):

The first, a Germany Danish film, Sunshine Barry and the Disco Worms

The next, a Belgium-Luxembourg co-production, is based on the graphic novel by Willy Vandersteen, Bob and Bobbette and the Devils of Texas:

An Afternoon of Remembrance

Once each year at the DeMille Barn in Hollywood, the Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood and Women In Animation present An Afternoon of Remembrance, “a non-denominational celebration of departed friends from our animation community”.

This year the event takes place on Saturday, March 13th, at 1pm (A reception precedes the memorial at 12 noon). Tributes will be paid to many, including:

Wayne Allwine, Ray Aragon, Dina Babbitt, Bob Broughton, Art Clokey, Vincent Davis, Virginia Davis, Jaime Diaz, Roy E. Disney, Bob Dranko, Heinz Edelmann, Ric Estrada, Victor Haboush, Dallas McKennon, Marty Murphy, Tony Peters, Arnold Stang and others.

The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. Food and refreshments, 12 noon, Memoriams, 1 pm. The Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn) is located at 2100 N. Highland Ave. (across from Hollywood Bowl) in Hollywood, California.

Brownstones to Red Dirt Postcard Art Benefit

Sandeep Menon card

The generosity of the animation community never ceases to amaze me. Inbetween demanding workloads and crushing deadlines, we still manage to find the time to pull together and help with bigger causes. Just in the past few months, we’ve had the Help the Hodges campaign and Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich’s benefit for Haiti auction.

Now, two employees at Blue Sky Studios, David LaMattina and Chad Walker, will be holding an online postcard art auction between March 6-13. Over one hundred and fifty artists, including many Blue Skyers, have donated work. The proceeds from the “Brownstones To Red Dirt” benefit will go towards building a school for orphans in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and to create a school library for kids in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, which incidentally happens to be my own neighborhood. The use of wooden postcards and the choice to support these two projects is not random; the benefit is tied in to a feature-length documentary that LaMattina and Walker made a couple years ago about “a pen pal program between a group of at-risk sixth graders living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and orphans from the war living in Freetown, Sierra Leone.” The documentary website is

There are a surprising number of beautiful and delightful pieces created for the auction. A preview of all the pieces can be found on the Brownstones to Red Dirt auction website. The postcards I’ve included in this post are, from top to bottom, by Sandeep Menon, Patricia Horing, Dice Tsutsumi and Nicole Gustafsson.

Patricia Horing card

Dice Tsutsumi card

Nicole Gustafsson card

“Higglety Pigglety Pop!”

Higglety Pigglety Pop

Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, the filmmakers of Madame Tutli-Putli have finished a new 23-1/2 minute short based on the Maurice Sendak book Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life. The adaptation, which combines live-action actors and puppets with animation and digital manipulation, will be included on the Where the Wild Things Are Blu-ray release next month. Its world premiere will take place on February 28 at the Montreal Children’s International Film Festival. Spike Jonze was among the producers on this National Film Board of Canada production; Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker provide voices in the film. The stills on the NFB website look intriguing, and I’m definitely looking forward to it based on the strength of Lavis and Szczerbowski’s last effort.

The Storyboard Book + Contest

Storyboard Book

The Storyboard Book is a new product out of Brooklyn that may prove useful to animation folk. Each Storyboard Book is 32-pages, 3.5″ x 5.5″ and consists of 16:9 square-ruled storyboard panels. More description:

A lightweight, portable, and durable sketchbook for storyboarding, sketching, listmaking, visualization, plans, doodles, and just about anything else. The idea is simple: a frame for the action and space for notes, story, dialog, stage directions, enemies lists, etc. The Storyboard Book is designed to be used as a personal sketchbook, but also sized to be handy for project notes and ideas.

Packs of three are sold for $12 and can be ordered at We’re giving away a 3-pack to two lucky Cartoon Brew readers. Simply write a comment on this post saying “I want a Storyboard Book” by 3pm EST (noon West Coast time), and you’ll be entered in a random drawing. (Fine print: If you’ve won anything from the Brew in the past year you’re not eligible to participate. Giveaway open only to residents of US and Canada.)


Concert Visuals by Naked

The animated music videos above and below weren’t created to be seen this way. They are the creations of a “motion design” company called Naked. They are used as backdrop light shows for concerts and special musical events. The one above is synced to a track by Canadian pop singer Coeur De Pirate (Beatrice Martin). Directly below is a visual to accompany French DJ David Guetta; below that, a video backdrop for Mika (Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr.) followed by a video of his performance in concert, with the animation in use behind him.

Annie Awards video

Until Asifa-Hollywood posts the official videos of this year’s Annie Awards (2/5/10 at UCLA’s Royce Hall), we’ll have to do with hand-held shakey cam videos popping up on You Tube. This one was shot from the nose-bleed seats, and the center screen is too bright to be properly photographed, but it does give you a sense of the event – It’s the first seven minutes of the ceremony, which includes a gag video of Tom Kenny battling William Shatner ala a sequence from Star Trek (“Arena“); Shatner’s opening remarks; and Seth Green presenting the Home Entertainment Award to Futurama’s creators.

Animation Block Party in LA

NYC based Animation Block Party, is coming to Los Angeles this week.

ABP is an annual New York festival dedicated to showcasing the world’s best independent, professional and student animation. The Best of Animation Block Party will be screening at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood on Thursday February 18, 2010 at 7:30pm and 10:00pm.

This program is highly recommended. A complete list of the films being shown is listed here. Filmmakers in attendance at screenings include Mike Hollingsworth, Rebecca Sugar, Max Winston, Turner Lange, Ben Li and Caroline Foley. Both shows will be introduced by ABP founder, Casey Safron. You can buy tickets online at Brown Paper

Out of a Forest by Tobias Gundorff Boesen

Tobias Gundorff Boesen‘s Out of a Forest is a stop-motion effort out of Denmark’s The Animation Workshop, the same school responsible for Vegeterrible, which was featured on the site a few days ago. A lot of Out of the Forest was shot on location in forests around Viborg, Denmark, and the presence of prim and proper bunnies in this natural setting lends the film a magical flavor. The film was animated by Katrine Kiilerich, Frederik Villumsen, Christophe Peladan, and Tobias Gundorff Boesen, and the song,” Slow Show,” is by The National.

The Animation Workshop’s students first caught my attention a few years back with John K. Mortensen’s short Fishing with Spinoza (2007). If Out of a Forest and Vegeterrible are an indication, the school’s Bachelor program, which only began seven years ago, is worth watching closely.

The Sunday Funnies (2/14/10)

At the top, today’s (2/14/10) Ink Pen by Phil Dunlap (it looks like the arms/legs belong to: (1) Mickey Mouse, (2) Hippety Hopper, (3) Popeye, (4) Magilla Gorilla The Grape Ape, (5) Snagglepuss & (6) Heathcliff); in the middle, Argyle Sweater by Scott Hilburn (2/11/10); and Adam at Home by Brian Basset (2/7/10).

(Thanks, Jim Lahue and Charles Brubaker)

Winsor McCay’s Hell House

According to Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay news blog, the so-called “Hell house” at 1811 Voorhies Ave. (between Ocean Ave. and Shore Road) — currently inhabited by a horde of insects — turns out to be a former residence of legendary cartoonist and pioneering animator Winsor McCay.

According to the blog, “…the property’s owners seek to tear down the structure and replace it with condominiums. Failing that, they’re attempting to subcontract it to the city for a new life as a halfway house or homeless shelter. What should be done is a full restoration and landmarking.” We couldn’t agree more.

(Thanks, Anne D. Bernstein)

Getting Over Him in 8 Songs Or Less on HBO2

Last month I told you about Debra J. Solomon’s remarkable one-woman hand drawn independent animation special, Getting Over Him in 8 Songs or Less. Tomorrow night, on Valentine’s Day, the film will receive it’s television premiere on HBO2 at 7:30pm Eastern/4:30pm Pacific.

This is a beautiful, funny and poignant film – and a rarity for HBO or any U.S. broadcaster to produce. Highly recommended – set the TiVo.

A Note about Comments

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Goodbye by Nick Childs

Animator Nick Childs just finished this dream-like, semi-abstract, stop-mo music video he’d been working on during the past year.

“It’s a stop mo piece that the folks at LAIKA/house in Portland Oregon were kind enough to give me some space on the stage to shoot. It’s for the band Eulogies, off their 2009 album Here Anonyomous. The song is called Goodbye. As I recall from back in my school days it may considered kinesthetic animation. I see it as a stop motion piece with a minimal style that fits with the song, hopefully.”

Pasadena Rock’n Comic Con

Any excuse to post David Silverman (The Simpsons) playing his flaming tuba on The Tonight Show is worth it. My excuse this time is Silverman’s upcoming appearence with Fire Groove as part of the evening’s entertainment at the upcoming Pasadena Rock’n Comic Con this Memorial Day (May 28-30th) at the Pasadena Convention Center.

This event is a “film, art, music & entertainment convention” sponsored by They are planning rock concerts each night, and a full comic con experience during each day. “Top talents from major Animation Studios & Comic cons, lecture panels, art demos, autograph signings, recruiters, portfolio reviews, and an Animation Festival in a 3000 seat theatre”. Tickets for this have just gone on sale. For more information, visit their website.


Well, it’s official. Disney’s Rapunzel has been renamed Tangled. *sigh* Not as bad a title as The Emperor’s New Groove, but still…

They obviously want to make it very clear that this isn’t a traditional re-telling of Rapunzel. In fact, according to Tangled’s producer Roy Conli on Facebook, “It’s a really fresh, smart take on the Rapunzel story.”

“In our film, the infamous bandit Flynn Rider meets his match in the girl with the 70 feet of magical golden hair. We’re having a lot of fun pairing Flynn, who’s seen it all, with Rapunzel, who’s been locked away in a tower for 18 years.

“I’m so proud of the crew working on this film — they’re doing a fantastic job creating an awesome story with great characters and a stunning world — and it’s all going to look amazing in 3D. All of us here at the studio are incredibly excited for you to see Tangled when it comes out in theaters this November.”

(Thanks, Edward Himmel)

Overcoming Creative Block

Twenty-five designers, illustrators and photographers were asked the question, “What do you do to inspire your creativity when you find yourself in a rut?” A lot of the answers to the question are common sense tactics (e.g. do something else, go outside), but at least you can take comfort in the fact that everybody runs into this problem. Feel free to share your favorite strategies in the comments.

(via Kottke)

Pro-Iranian Student Movement Music Video

New York animator Simon Ampel created this well drawn and effective music video to support Iran’s increasingly bold student movement against its authoritarian regime. Ampel told me that he spent about two months working on it off and on. “I did all the animation in Tvpaint and colored it with Animo,” he said. “Backgrounds were painted by Micah Cohen, and the compositing and effects were done by Sean Theophil. The music is Fared Shafinury and Tehranosaurus.”

David Scheve Caricature Contest

David Scheve

David Scheve’s lawyers at The Deep Archives sent us a DMCA takedown notice today demanding our webhost Webintellects remove the photo of him. The letter from his lawyers has been reprinted on the original post. (If you can help us out legally with the DMCA counter-notice, please contact us). In the comments of that post, director and story artist John Sanford recommended that we hold a caricature contest. Now, with the prospect of having to replace the picture of him with something else, we actually have a valid reason to do this.

So here’s the deal. Everybody is invited to draw their interpretation of David Scheve. Links to the images can be emailed to me here. Deadline is the end of Monday, February 15. I’ll choose an image that I like and send the winner a signed copy of one of my books (your choice): Cartoon Modern, The Art of Pixar Short Films or A Sketchy Past: The Art of Peter de Seve.

UPDATE: I’ve looked through all the entries and chosen David de Rooij from The Netherlands as the winner of the David Scheve Caricature Contest. There were a bunch more terrific entries and I’d love to share them, but I’ve decided to be nice and give David Scheve another chance to prove himself as a decent guy.

Following his falsely filed DMCA notice of copyright infringement, Cartoon Brew filed a counter-notification. For now, the photo of him can remain on this site. Should he choose to pursue further frivolous legal action forcing us to remove the photo, then I will have no choice but to replace his photo with David de Rooij’s drawing and share all of the other entries.

However, I’m hoping that he’s had a chance to study up on fair use laws and recognize that Cartoon Brew is fully within its legal rights to use his photo. Fair use “allows for limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship.” The ball is in his court now. If he’s willing to be an adult about the situation, so am I.