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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Here’s something that’ll jolt you out of any post-Thanksgiving Day lethargy: a creepy and suspenseful trailer for O ApÃ³stolo (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 ApÃ³stolo can be found on the film’s official website OApostolo.com.
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.
This moody and stylish little film was directed and animated by french musician/artist Kadavre Exquis (aka FranÃ§ois 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”.
I was prepared to see Spongebob, Snoopy and various animated stars in today’s telecast of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, but was stunned to see Popeye in this commercial from General Motors. It’s a classy spot from GM, thanking us – the American people – for the loan that got them out of a financial hole and allowed them to report a record breaking $1.2 billion dollar profit this past week. I’m pleased they spent some of that money to give thanks – and to license a clip from Max Fleischer’s Axe Me Another (1934).
Glitch is a Flash-based massively-multiplayer online game launching in early 2011. The creators explain that, “It takes place inside the minds of eleven peculiarly imaginative Giants. You choose how to grow and shape the world: building and developing, learning new skills, collaborating or competing with everyone else in one enormous, ever-changing, persistent world.”
The game, which sports some distinctive graphics, is developed by Vancouver and San Francisco-based Tiny Speck, which is run by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield. The NY Times published an article earlier this week about Butterfield, and reports that his fledgling company has raised $6.5 million to create on-line games.
Disney considers Tangled its 50th animated feature (not counting The Reluctant Dragon, but including Dinosaur and The Three Caballeros, but not Victory Through Air Power or… oh, you get the idea). The other day we posted a goof on this list by The Fine Brothers, but today Disney released its own viral tribute (nicely synched to the song Dreams by Brandi Carlile). Worth a look: