“Doomed”, a new series by the creator of “Pocoyo”


Take Ward Kimball’s crazy space creatures from Mars and Beyond, add some computer animation, and voila, you get this fantastic trailer for Doomed, a new series by Pocoyo co-creator Guillermo García Carsí and his studio El Señor.

Boy, does this look fun! I love Guillermo’s approach to computer animation, which avoids the cacophonous visual overload of most computer animation by making clear and bold artistic choices. It’s what made Pocoyo such a refreshingly different series, and Doomed appears to be on the same track.

According to the site, they’ve just completed the pilot episode. Carsí calls it a biological cartoon that displays the failures of natural selection: “A set of strange creatures whose instincts, instead of focusing on survival, have doomed them to an absurd and comic extinction, in the presence of the astonished gaze of the narrator.”

(Thanks, Rohit Iyer)


Winky Dink

The early television kids show, Winky Dink (CBS, 1953-57), was less an animated cartoon and more a two-dimensional puppet show (Mae Questel provides Winky’s voice live in the studio). A photoblog called Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery has just posted several great photographs taken on set of host Jack Barry and of kids demonstrating the draw-on-screen process that made the show so famous. It was a bit before my time, but no less interesting as a early interactive television experiment. These newly discovered photos are fascinating flashback to one of TV’s earliest kid’s shows.

For the record, Fred Calvert and Al Kouzel supervised a cheap, Tom Terrific-derivative, animated version in 1969, about which, the less said the better.

(Thanks, Devlin Thompson)

TUESDAY NIGHT in LA: “Cartoon Monster Mash!”

This month my Animation Tuesdays screening at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theater is our third annual Halloween Spooktacular show. (Jeez, have I been doing these for three years already?) This year we have a double-bill, a “Cartoon Monster Mash”, if you will. First up, our pals Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero from Screen Novelties are presenting a selection of classic horror-toons that have inspired their marvelous stop motion monstrosities. I will be supplementing the show with a few hideous new finds of my own.

Then, in the second half of the program, we’ll the screening of a 35mm studio print of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in 35mm (Thanks, Disney). Released exactly 61 years ago (on Oct. 5th 1949), Toad and Sleepy Hollow are two of my favorite Disney short films and, for me, mark a bittersweet end of an era. And of course, its a perfect way to usher in the Halloween season. Trick or treat? Check out the trailer below and you decide. Hope to see you there at 8pm.

Bill Plympton’s “Idiots and Angels” Opens Wednesday in New York

Idiots and Angels

Bill Plympton’s fifth animated feature Idiots and Angels opens Wednesday in Manhattan at the IFC Center (323 6th Ave. at West 3rd St). The film screens for an entire week at the IFC (screening times HERE). Though it was completed in 2008, it has never received distribution outside of the festival circuit, where it has received nearly twenty awards. The feature will be preceded by Plympton’s latest short The Cow Who Wanted to Be A Hamburger. Bill will personally be appearing at the theater for Q&As on Wednesday, October 6 and Thursday, October 7.

Bill is self-distributing the film to cinemas, something which he has never done before. Three of his features–The Tune, Mutant Aliens and I Married a Strange Person–had film distributors, and his fourth feature, Hair High, was never distributed theatrically. He’s been keeping a diary on his blog Scribble Junkies that documents the challenges of theatrical self-distribution. In his entries (which sadly aren’t tagged properly for easy browsing), he discusses why he chose the self-distribution route and how he found a theater in New York.

Tomorrow, we’ll be running an Idiots and Angels contest here on Cartoon Brew. Below is the new trailer for the film:

October 13: DMTV in Portland

Portland’s Floating World Comics store presents their fourth annual animation screening, DMTV, on October 13 at the Holocene club (1001 SE Morrison). Trailer is up top. The one-night event includes an intriguing line-up of experimental, abstract, psychedelic and digital animation, as well as live music performances by Nice Nice and Atole with visuals mixed by e*Rock and Yoshi Sodeoka. Tickets are an affordable $7 day of show or $5 in advance purchased at Floating World. More details at the Floating World Comics website. Needless to say if I lived in Portland, this is where you’d find me on Wednesday, October 13.

The DMTV line-up of films follow after the jump:
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Weekend Brew Reviews

While waiting for the ultimate video presentation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to come out this week on Blu-Ray, I’ve just caught up with Charles Solomon’s somewhat-recently released book Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Beauty and The Beast. Solomon relates the entire fascinating behind-the-scenes story of how this landmark film got made, through its box-office and industry success, to its re-release in Imax (with additional footage) and right up to the forthcoming 3-D version. He begins with a history of the original 1757 story itself, and its subsequent film and TV adaptations. He then devotes a chapter to the 1980s Disney animation re-birth and the early Michael Eisner era. Through interviews with key personnel we get an insider look at how the pieces came together to create this modern Disney classic. Of course, being a Disney book, it is lavishly illustrated with pre-vis materials, cast and crew photos, and loads of production art. Definitely worth a spot on your bookshelf.

Insight Editions sent me a copy of their latest Dreamworks tie-in book, The Art of Megamind (by Richard von Busack). I haven’t seen Megamind yet, but the book and the production art herein is very cool. Say what you will about their films, you cannot deny the artists at Dreamworks Animation and PDI are some of the best in the field — and these “Art Of” books are a godsend to those of us who appreciate the hand drawn artistry that never makes it to screen. Sketches, paintings, boards and much more from names you should know like Tony Siruno, Craig Kellman, Andy Bialk, Kory Heinzen and Tim Lamb (and many others) fill the pages.

Had a chance this weekend to finally check out the 5th box set of The Animation Show of Shows and had a wonderful time doing so. This set (previous sets reviewed here and here) contains 18 award winning shorts, on six separate DVDs, Volumes 25-30 (3 shorts per disc). All completely different (in tone, technique and subject matter), in perfect presentations, the best possible way to preserve these contemporary classics. The CG stop-mo Madame Tutli-Putli (Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski), clay-animated Oscar winner Harvie Crumpet (Adam Elliot), and hand drawn Your Face (Bill Plympton) exemplify the wide range of material offered here. Recommended for your video library. For complete contents and ordering information, visit filmporium.com.

Rhode Montijo, a co-creator of Happy Tree Friends, has gone on in recent years to a successful career as a children’s book writer and illustrator. He sent me two of his books and they are an absolute joy. Cloud Boy, which came out in 2006, is a gentle minimalist classic about a lonely cloud with a big imagination. His latest book has just come out, The Halloween Kid, about a heroic masked avenger who protects kids candy on Halloween eve. If this were ever animated it would become a Halloween classic — as it is, its a perfect storybook for the little ones to read after a night of candy gathering… and beautiful to look at for anyone, of any age.

Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck

Regardless of your politics, “Right Wing Radio Duck” is a nearly seamless remix of Disney cartoons that pits Donald Duck against Glenn Beck, and captures the spirit of any number of earlier Disney propaganda shorts. The second half of the cartoon is particularly brilliant. It was created by Jonathan McIntosh, and dare I say, it’s the funniest and most relevant that Disney animation has been in years.

UPDATE: The creator of the piece Jonathan McIntosh did a blog post about the reactions to this Donald Duck remix. He says that his “favorite thread” about this cartoon has been right here on Cartoon Brew. So everybody, pat yourselves on the back.

(via Boing Boing)

“Sintel” by Colin Levy

Sintel is an independently produced short film, initiated by the Amsterdam-based Blender Foundation, directed by Savannah College of Art and Design Student, Colin Levy. It is the third film produced by the foundation–the first two were Elephants Dream (2006) and Big Buck Bunny (2008).

With initial funding provided by thousands of donations via the internet, this fifteen minute film was produced in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. Blender funds these films primarily to advance their software and improve their technology. For a small team with limited funds, I think this short is quite an accomplishment. For more behind-the-scenes information, check the Sintel production blog. But first, here’s the finished film:

(Thanks, Alex Curtis)

Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh present the Oscar to Bugs Bunny

The Academy just posted (as a tribute to Tony Curtis) a clip from the 1959 Oscar telcast with Curtis (and wife Janet Leigh) presenting the Best Cartoon Short award to producer John Burton for the Bugs Bunny short, Knighty Knight Bugs. Click here to see the video. And I believe that’s James Algar accepting for Walt Disney (for live action short, Grand Canyon).

(Thanks, Ed Himel)

Glen Keane Sells Dog Food

This is a new one on me: Glen Keane animated a Burger ‘n Bones dog food commercial ca. 1983. Wow! The commercial was produced by Kurtz & Friends, and the jingle was recorded by Leon Redbone, who was well known for his rendition of the Mercer/Carmichael song “Lazy Bones”.

Keane’s expressive and inventive animation steals the show. Can anybody think of any piece of commercial character animation today that’s as competently drawn or fun to watch as this? I sure as heck can’t. Some parts of the spot seem unnecessarily complicated–the moving camera at the beginning, the design of the dog–but perhaps those were intended to add some flash and glitz to what is essentially a simple, character-oriented piece of animation.

(Kudos to Michael Ruocco for discovering this on YouTube)