Ten Animated Shorts Make the Oscar Shortlist

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this morning the shortlist of ten animated shorts for the 2010 Best Animated Short category. Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch will now vote one more time to narrow it down to five nominees. The final vote, which determines the winner, is open to all Academy members provided that they have watched every nominated short.

We published the list of 33 qualifying shorts a few weeks ago on Cartoon Brew. The ten shorts that were voted to move forward are below. Did your favorites make the cut?

Coyote Falls
Director: Matthew O’Callaghan
United States, 2010, 3 min
Link to filmmaker website

Day & Night
Director: Teddy Newton
United States, 2010, 6 min
Link to filmmaker website

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Where Cartoon Brew Readers are From: 2010 Edition

With 2010 drawing to a close, I thought it might be fun to check our stats and find out which studios and schools have driven the most traffic to Cartoon Brew between January and November 2010. We published a similar study of reader traffic for a shorter period of time in early 2009. Since that time, our traffic has skyrocketed, and there have been a lot of shake-ups in the rankings.

Whereas in early 2009, Pixar was the studio network that visited Cartoon Brew most, today it is Disney, followed by DreamWorks. Viacom and Turner have also jumped ahead of Pixar in the number of their visits. All five of these companies have recorded visits in the tens of thousands, as has Blue Sky Studios. The schools that visit us the most are CalArts, Savannah College of Art and Design and Ringling. I limited the list below to entertainment and media companies that have generated at least 1,000 visits in 2010.

See the full list of companies and schools after the jump, along with more analysis of the numbers.
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Financial Review spots by Kapow Pictures

Sydney, Australia-based Kapow Pictures wrapped a series of five spots for the Financial Review. The handsome Catch Me If You Can-styled spots were created in After Effects.

Client: The Financial Review
Agency: Brand Central
Production Company: Kapow Pictures
Director: Mark Gravas

See the other four commercials in the campaign after the jump.
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Doug – the Movie

No, it’s not the latest Nickelodeon Movie, but maybe it should be. It’s the third viral comedy video from “Dr. Coolsex” – a NYC sketch comedy trio consisting of Alex Charak (who plays Doug), Dustin Drury (playing Roger), and Greg Murtha (Chalky). This trailer was co-conceived with Alan Starzinski (Boomer), and that’s actress Janet Passanante playing Patti Mayonaise.

Cabarga’s XXX “Topless Summer Love Girls”

This is one of the strangest things I’ve ever plugged on Cartoon Brew. We all know Leslie Cabarga as the author of The Fleischer Story, the best history of the Max Fleischer studio ever published. More recently Leslie blessed us with The Logo, Font, & Lettering Bible, which presents comparisons of early Mickey Mouse comic strip inking of Floyd Gottfredson, and the classic Betty Boop inking of Fleischer animator Willard Bowsky to how various type faces are rendered. Now Leslie’s got a new book and it’s slightly OT, thoroughly XXX and totally NSFW.
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“Flicks: How the Movies Began” by Arnold Schwartzman

Flicks: How the Movies Began is an interactive 12-page book published by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2001. The designer of the book, Arnold Schwartzman, was the former design director of Saul Bass and Associates. Someone should republish it for a wider audience.

(Thanks, Philip Hunt)

‘Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea’ by Guy Delisle

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
(Photo by Jason Garber)

A guest book review by Linda Simensky, PBS’s senior director of children’s programming:

North Korea has been in the news lately. So where do this country and animation intersect? You probably didn’t know there is (or at least was) at least one animation studio there. For an interesting look at North Korea through the eyes of an animator who worked there, check out the graphic novel, Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle (originally published in French in 2003; English version published by Drawn and Quarterly in 2005)

Delisle, a French Canadian cartoonist, was sent by a French animation studio to be an overseas supervisor at Scientific and Educational Film Studio of Korea (SEK) in Pyongyang. In this graphic novel, he writes about his experiences there, both in animation and in his attempts to see North Korea outside the studio.

He has written graphic novels about being an overseas supervisor in Shenzhen and about his time in Burma while his wife was stationed there for Doctors Without Borders. Delisle’s a great artist, and his experiences as an overseas supervisor will seem familiar to many of you. But his insider’s take on Pyongyang is fascinating, and well worth reading in light of current events.

The book is available on Amazon.

Cartoon Network Orders More Episodes of Monday Night Hits

Cartoon Network is ordering new seasons of the much-loved and hugely successful Monday night animated comedy series Adventure Time, Regular Show and MAD; it was announced today by Cartoon Network chief content officer Rob Sorcher.

“Each of these shows bring a distinct comedic point of view and are led by a great new group of talented animators and storytellers,” said Sorcher. “It’s wonderful to see how quickly our audience has responded to these unique cartoons, and made Cartoon Network the place to be on Monday nights.”

The Emmy nominated Adventure Time (8:00 p.m. ET/PT) continues to build in popularity among kids. In its first two seasons the series ranked #1 in its timeslots on all of television–broadcast and cable–among kids and boys 2-11, 6-11, and 9-14. Adventure Time has also generated substantial growth versus the same time period last year with kids 2-11 (+74%), kids 6-11 (+78%), kids 9-14 (+75%), boys 2-11 (+82%), boys 6-11 (+88%), and boys 9-14 (+85%) according to Nielsen Media Research. Adventure Time introduced viewers to unlikely heroes Finn and Jake, buddies who traverse the mystical Land of Ooo and encounter its colorful inhabitants including the Ice King, Princess Bubblegum and fan favorites Marceline the Vampire Queen and Lumpy Space Princess. Created by Pendleton Ward and executive produced by Fred Siebert, Adventure Time is currently in its second season and is now greenlit for a third.

Consistently winning its time slot with boys 6-11 and boys 9-14, Cartoon Network’s new original animated series Regular Show (8:15 p.m. ET/PT) dramatically increased both ratings and delivery among targeted kid and boy demos vs. the 2009 time period. Since its premiere, average kids 6-11 ratings have grown by 52% and delivery by 53%, average kids 2-11 ratings have grown by 41% and delivery by 43%, and average kids 9-14 ratings have grown by 58% and delivery by 56%. Regular Show features best friends Mordecai, a six-foot-tall blue jay and Rigby, a hyperactive raccoon, whose attempts to escape their everyday boredom take them to fantastical extremes. Created by J.G. Quintel, Regular Show debuted in September 2010 and has been greenlit for a second season.

Deemed a hit by the nearly 7 million kids (2-11) tuning in last month alone, MAD (8:30 p.m. ET/PT), the Warner Bros. Animation original series rooted in the eponymous magazine, will return for a highly-anticipated second season. Following its premiere in September of this year, MAD has been steadily winning its time slot with boys 6-11 and boys 9-14. MAD has also increased key kids and boys audience ratings and delivery, ranging between 31% and 71% across the board. Since the very first issue of the DC Comics magazine was published in 1952, MAD has satirized and parodied the pop cultural landscape. In this MAD original animated series, this same sense of the ridiculous is delivered with fresh relevance with parodies including Trans-Bore-Mores, Fantastic Megan Fox, Uglee, CSI-Carly and Avaturds. MAD is executive produced by Sam Register and produced by Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek.

Los Angeles Animation Festival starts Friday

I’m happy to report that my friends at Cinefamily – along with festival organizers, animation producer John Andrews and animator Miles Flanagan – have assembled a world-class program of new animated features, shorts and retrospectives (not to mention, parties) for this week’s 2nd Los Angeles Animation Festival at the Silent Movie Theater. From Friday December 3rd through Tuesday December 7th the theatre will host an amazing array of hard-to-see recent international animated works – from the U.S. premiere of the new Jan Å vankmajer feature, to the debut of the Chinese independent feature Piercing 1, the anime mindblower Redline, and Sylvain Chomet’s new masterpiece The Illusionist (I’ll be introducing it on December 7th).

Fest guest of honor Will Vinton is presenting his short films, specials, commercials and a 25th anniversary screening of his 1985 Claymation feature The Adventures of Mark Twain. I’ll also be introducing Pixar’s Teddy Newton (on Saturday morning 12/4 @ 11:30am) who will discuss his acclaimed hand drawn/3D/CG short Day & Night, and there is a lot more.

A special Festival Pass is available – it allows you free guaranteed entry into every show, early admittance to any show and admission into all festival parties. Its priced at $125 ($85 to students) and must be purchased no later than Wednesday at 6pm (only 75 passes will be sold). Individual show tickets are $10 ($6 to Cinefamily members). Programs will sell out (theatre only holds 150 seats) so I urge you to reserve tickets now. For more info go to the CineFamily website.

“The Hunt” by Double Triple

This visually striking video for WOOM‘s “The Hunt,” loosely retelling the myth of Persephone, was animated entirely with natural materials. Directors are Phillip Niemeyer and Dan Forbes of Brooklyn-based Double Triple. This page about the video includes some photos documenting the production.

Worked on by:
Katie Briggs
Michelle Forbes
Amelia Grohman
Jane Herships
Sara Magenheimer
Adam McClure
Michael McKoveck
Eben Portnoy
Sam Zide

“Tangled” Disney’s Biggest Animated Opening EVER!


Disney’s Tangled bulldozed its way past analysts’ expectations earning a FINAL $48.9 million over the weekend, and boosting its five-day Thanksgiving holiday total to a towering $68.7 million. Disney’s first CG princess cartoon was a couple hundred thousand dollars shy of Harry Potter’s first place box office finish, however, its three-day total still ranks as the biggest opening ever for a feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. Some more figures from Box Office Mojo:
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Calling All Furries: Orangina “Anytime”

Here’s something for the furries. A sequel to a 2007 Orangina ad campaign which apparently was quite a success…

Agency: Fred & Farid, Paris
Creative Directors: Frederic Raillard, Farid Mokart
DA: Frederic Raillard, Farid Mokart, Thomas Raillard
TV producer & post production: Alexandra Marik, Benoit Armstrong
Director: Tom Carty
Production: Gorgeous, London
Post Production: The Mill, London
Sound Design: Wave Studios, Johnny Burn

(Thanks, Jim Lahue)

Cartoons That Do More Than Entertain


David Bornstein wrote a fascinating profile in the NY Times about Julia Borbolla, a Mexican child psychologist who has developed a series of animated characters called Antenas that interact with abused, disabled and sick children. The digital characters are brought to life by a psychologist in an adjoining room. Another great example of the ever-growing uses for animated content in the new century:

Antenas characters have been used to assist children who are experiencing a range of difficulties. Therapists in Tacubaya use them in pre- and post-operative therapy and burn rehabilitation. In Morelia, one character, Bompi, is employed to assist children with disabilities. (Bompi says that all humans have disabilities because they don’t have antennas.) The program is being used to provide emotional support to children with heart disease and cancer, teach children how to protect themselves from potential abuse, and, at the government’s request, learn about children’s experiences in public day care centers. In a pilot project being conducted by the Pediatric Hospital of Iztapalapa in conjunction with four government agencies, children’s interactions with another character are carefully being reviewed as potential legal evidence in cases of violence or abuse.

When ABC believed in Cartoons

Here’s a unique vintage promo for ABC’s Saturday morning programming that was aimed at adults. Shown in prime time during summer 1973, actor Michael Constantine (then of Room 222) extols the virtues of Yogi Bear – whom he says will now face off against such “real life” villians such as “Mr. Bigot” and “Mr. Smog” – and other pro-social animated series like Scholastic Rock (The less said about Goober and The Ghost Chasers the better). “Let’s face it – kids love to watch cartoons.”

(Thanks, Mike Kazaleh)

Who Is This Character?

Filmmaker Fran Krause writes, “I found this guy in Syracuse over the holiday. Do you recognize him? It looks like it’s from the 1930s but I’ve never seen the character before.”

I have no idea what it is either though it looks more like some underground comix Gilbert Shelton-ish creation than anything from the Thirties. If anybody knows who this is, let us know!

The Future of Filmmaking Panel

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and writer/director/producer Jerry Zucker present “Where Do We Go from Here?” on Thursday, December 2, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater (8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills). The event follows along the lines of many topics we’ve been discussing on Cartoon Brew lately:

“Where Do We Go from Here?” will examine topics ranging from artificial intelligence to performance capture, 3D and non-traditional theatrical venues. Joining Zucker will be Council member and production designer Alex McDowell (Watchmen, Minority Report), immersive art and entertainment expert Ed Lantz, neuroscientist Eric Haseltine and transmedia storytelling expert Jordan Weisman.

Tickets for the event are affordable as most Academy events are: $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with ID. Purchase tickets at the Academy box office (8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or online. Doors open at 7 pm.

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore”

Check out this exquisite promo for a William Joyce’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore:

I’m not sure if this is a trailer for a longer film, or simply a part of the installation Joyce’s Moonbot Studios created for ArtSpace in Shreveport, Louisana. According to the website, the project is…

…inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. “Morris Lessmore” is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.

The exhibit runs through January 29th and is free. For more information click here.

(Thanks, David Cowles)

Amazing Animation Test of Ronald Searle’s “St. Trinian’s”

London-based animation director Uli Meyer created this sample animation of the St. Trinian’s schoolgirls and showed it to their creator, ninety-year-old illustration and cartooning legend Ronald Searle. It’s one of the finest attempts I’ve ever seen at animating Searle’s idiosyncratic drawing style. Not only does the drawing and inking perfectly evoke Searle, the animation is fun and vivacious, pushing Searle’s style to an entirely new level that I’ve never seen in other interpretations of his work.

A crew of all-stars brought the piece to life: it was boarded by Meyer and Matt Jones, animated by Sandro Cleuzo and Boris Hiestand, and hand-inked by Meyer with immaculate precision onto frosted cels.

Uli has a blog post describing the production process in detail. Somebody let these guys loose on their own hand-drawn feature or short, Searle-related or not. I NEED to see more of this!

“O Apóstolo” trailer

Here’s something that’ll jolt you out of any post-Thanksgiving Day lethargy: a creepy and suspenseful trailer for O Apostolo (The Apostle). The 3-D stop motion feature from northern Spain is directed and written by Fernando Cortizo. Animation director is Peggy Arel (Edison and Leo), head of the puppet department is John Craney (The Lord of the Rings), VFX supervisor is Colin Miller (Coraline), and Philip Glass composed the film’s main theme.

According to ION Cinema, the story is rooted in the “folklore, traditions and history of the north of Spain” and “revolves around an ex-con who arrives to a deserted town looking for a hidden treasure, but what he will find is a coven of dead elderlies looking for souls to trade with the reaper itself.”

Th film will be released in Spain next year, and Variety reports that it’ll also appear “on more than 1,000 screens across Latin America next year, with an emphasis placed on Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela.” As is often the case with animated features that skew mature, there’s no US distributor, though hopefully that will change. Another interesting bit about the production is that the filmmakers crowd-funded US$147,000 of the film’s US$9.6 million budget. Despite being a small portion of the overall budget, I’ve never heard of more money being raised via crowd funding for an animated project. A list of hundreds of donors is posted on their website.

More behind-the-scenes artwork and info about O Apostolo can be found on the film’s official website OApostolo.com.

Glen Keane tribute at The Egyptian

Jot this down on the calendar. The American Cinematheque has scheduled a tribute to Glen Keane for Saturday December 11th at 5pm, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. This event is open to the public, ticket information is located here. The tribute will include a 35mm screening of The Little Mermaid (1989) and a visual presentation detailing Keane’s 35 years as an animator. Charles Solomon will lead a discussion with Glen and a Q&A will follow. Be there or be Tangled.

“Theodore & Rosemary’s Orchard” by Kadavre Exquis

This moody and stylish little film was directed and animated by french musician/artist Kadavre Exquis (aka François Grumelin-Sohn). According to the filmmaker,

“it’s the story of a thief who gets into an orchard at night in order to steal some fruit he needs for his fruit addiction. He finally gets killed by the orchard’s owner and then we learn it was only a nightmare. The main purpose of this video was to work on “clichés”.

His official website (including a making-of) is at the Cargo collective.