Adult Swim Launches Free Branded Mobile App

Adult Swim Digital announced today the launch of a new free app, now available in the iTunes App store. The Adult Swim app is an all-inclusive experience that allows fans to now enjoy Adult Swim shows and games on iOS devices. Fans can watch full-length episodes and clips from their favorite Adult Swim shows including Robot Chicken, The Venture Bros, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, Childrens Hospital, and Metalocalypse, as well as download popular original games such as Amateur Surgeon and Robot Unicorn Attack.

Developed in partnership with interactive agency HUGE, the new Adult Swim app also features an interactive programming schedule, so fans can keep track of when their favorite shows are airing, and the ability to share content with friends via Twitter, Facebook and email. The app also includes unexpected features like a clock, artistic wallpapers, weather information, and a calculator, with easter-egg surprises hidden throughout the app for fans to discover. New content will be updated to the app every week and new features will be added throughout the year.

“We didn’t want to publish just another video app,” said Jeff Olsen, vice-president of Adult Swim digital and games. “We’ve got great content and a very savvy audience. We wanted something fun and original that was worthy of them both.”

Adult Swim has launched 19 apps in the iTunes store, with seven ranking in the Top 10 Apps. Robot Unicorn Attack, an Adult Swim original online game that became an internet sensation in 2010, has had more than 150 million gameplays and is currently available to play on mobile, AdultSwim.com and Facebook. All Adult Swim paid game apps are currently on sale for 99 cents in the iTunes store.



“My Giant Friend” Coming to U.S. courtesy of Viz Media

VIZ MEDIA ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO SHOP MY GIANT FRIEND TO U.S. BROADCAST PARTNERS

VIZ Media has acquired the rights to shop the eagerly anticipated My Giant Friend to prospective television partners in the United States. My Giant Friend, a co-production between SAMG Animation Co., Ltd. and Timoon Animation, is a full CGI action comedy for boys 7-12 years old currently on air in France, Korea, Italy, Norway, Czech Republic, Turkey, Spain and more!

Save the Aliens! Follow the exciting adventures of a 12-year-old boy and his best friend in the world – a giant alien! Linus, leader of the Astronomy Club, and Boom, an alien who can transform into a giant boy, help lost aliens get back to their home planets! Together with their friends from the Astronomy Club and other friends from outer space, they fight against the Space Development Center that is conspiring to take over the world!

For more information on My Giant Friend please visit the official My Giant Friend website at www.mygiantfriend.com.

Chip and Dale meet 50 Cent

Talk about Disney merchandising Fail. This is taking “urban” fashion to the extremes of bad taste: “roflerskatez” found this wallet for sale in Taiwan yesterday and posted it on Tumblr. It’s Chip and Dale with a lyric from a 50 Cent song called My Gun Go Off. Despite the copyright notice, this is (I hope) a knock-off.

(via Reddit WTF)

SATURDAY in NYC: Powerhouse Stomp

My advice to New Yorkers looking for something to do this holiday weekend, GO TO THIS! Dances of Vice is paying tribute to classic cartoons of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s at the vintage Liberty Hall / Ace Hotel, featuring live big band cartoon music and hot jazz by Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra. Special guests include artist Molly Crabapple, juggler Michael Karas and DJ Miz Margo.

The music starts at 10pm. Betty Boop Pinup Contest at 1AM!

EVENT: POWERHOUSE STOMP: A Tribute to Classic Cartoons of the 1920-40s
TIME & DATE: February 19, 2011 – 10PM-4AM
LOCATION: Liberty Hall at The Ace Hotel, 16 W. 29th St. NYC
ADMISSION: $10 In Advance (Order Tix), $12 At the Door
Mention MoCCA the door and pay only $10 for Admisson!!

Mike Barrier interviews Robert McKimson

Whenever I want to remind myself why I love cartoons, I simply have to watch a classic Warner Bros. cartoon. Whenever I want to remind myself why I love animation history I pull out my set of Funnyworld magazines, edited by Michael Barrier. Mike’s website is a fount of knowledge and he has just post a must-read interview with Looney Tunes animator/director Robert McKimson (1910-1977). The interview, recorded in 1971, is one of the few McKimson ever did, and the conversation yields much information from the man and allows us to get to know a bit of his personality. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the guy who designed Bugs Bunny, created Foghorn Leghorn and the Tasmanian Devil, go here now!

Marvel Launches ‘Disney-Pixar Presents’ Comics Magazine

Marvel and Disney Publishing will debut Disney•Pixar Presents, a new monthly magazine featuring some of the most popular characters from the acclaimed Disney/Pixar films. Intended for readers of all ages and priced at $5.99, the first issue will hit stores in May 2011.

Each issue of the magazine contains 96 full color pages of content, including a mix of brand new stories, classic adventures, puzzles, games and more. Featuring characters from Disney/Pixar’s hit movies Cars, Cars 2, The Incredibles, Toy Story 3, and more, Disney•Pixar Presents, will be available at bookstores, retail chains, comic stores and more. The series debuts with Disney•Pixar Presents: Cars Magazine #1

“We’re excited for the launch of Disney•Pixar Presents, teaming with our friends at Disney/Pixar to bring some exciting new material to fans all over the world and introducing a whole new generation to comics,” said Axel Alonso, Editor-in-Chief. “We’re committed to providing a great product and ensuring these books are available in locations that parents and kids frequent. The Disney/Pixar library includes some of the most popular characters of all time, making Disney•Pixar Presents, exactly the kind of comic magazine that kids and parents have been demanding!”

Rev up those engines and join your favorite characters from Cars in Disney•Pixar Presents: Cars Magazine #1 as Lightning McQueen organizes a charity race for young cars with special needs, but he didn’t invite Piston Cup champion Chick Hicks. The snub gets Hick’s competitive juices flowing, and he’s out to show McQueen a thing or two about racing! Will Hicks ruin the good nature of the Radiator Springs Rally Race? Find out this May everywhere books and comics are sold.

Factsheet for Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures”

Genre: Comedy adventure
Rating: TBD
U.S. Release date: October 5, 2012
Running time: TBD

Voice Cast: Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer
Director: Tim Burton
Producers: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate
Executive Producer: Don Hahn
Screenplay by: John August
Based on an original idea by: Tim Burton

From creative genius Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas) comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life–with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

A stop-motion animated film, Frankenweenie will be filmed in black and white and rendered in 3D, which will elevate the classic style to a whole new experience.

In Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

NOTES:

* When Tim Burton originally conceived the idea for Frankenweenie, he envisioned it as a full-length, stop-motion animated film. Due to budget constraints, he instead directed it as a live-action short, released in 1984.
* Frankenweenie follows in the footsteps of Tim Burton’s other stop-motion animated films “Corpse Bride” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”–both of which were nominated for Academy Awards®.
* Over 200 puppets and sets were created for the film.
* The voice cast includes four actors who worked with Burton on previous films: Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands), Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas), Martin Short (Mars Attacks!) and Martin Landau (Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow).
* Several of the character names–Victor, Elsa Van Helsing, Edgar “E” Gore and Mr. Burgermeister– were inspired by classic horror films.

Del Toro, Henson Co. and Pathe partner for 3-d stop motion “Pinocchio”

Hollywood, February 16, 2011 — Guillermo Del Toro and The Jim Henson Company have joined forces with Pathe to develop and produce a 3D stop motion animated version of Pinocchio based on the edition of Carlo Collodi’s classic tale illustrated by Gris Grimly. Grimly will codirect with Mark Gustafson (Animation Director on The Fantastic Mr. Fox). The team plans to move forward with production of the film later in 2011.

In this new version of one of the world’s best-loved tales, the puppet Pinocchio embarks on a series of extraordinary and thrilling adventures, proving himself to be as indestructible as his love for his father.

Del Toro and his frequent collaborator Matthew Robbins have been developing the screen story over the past year, and Robbins wrote the screenplay. Del Toro will produce with Lisa Henson and Jason Lust of The Jim Henson Company and Allison Abbate (The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie). Gary Ungar will serve as executive producer, as will Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken for Pathe. Veteran rock musician and film composer Nick Cave will serve as music consultant for the production.

The team will develop the puppets and other 3D elements with UK-based MacKinnon and Saunders, which has performed the same duties on The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie.

“I believe that our tale of Pinocchio recaptures the darker, more daunting aspects of the book that have been missing from previous film incarnations and takes advantage of all the allegorical aspects of the tale. Gris and Mark have a clear vision of this world. Matthew, the directors and I have constructed an adaptation that I feel enormously proud of,” said Guillermo Del Toro.

“Stop motion animation will be a new style of telling this well-known tale, a hand-crafted style with which we were eager to work since it requires a high level of artistry and craftsmanship that is similar to the work of The Jim Henson Company,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company.

“There is a perfect match between the visionary world of Guillermo, the story of Pinocchio and Gris’ wonderful illustrations. The talent and experience of the Henson team will ensure that Gris, Mark and Guillermo’s vision comes to life in the most thrilling way,” said Francois Ivernel, Executive Vice-President, Pathe.

Cartoon Network lines up licensees for “Adventure Time with Finn & Jake”

What time is it? Time for an awesome assortment of consumer products for the hit animated comedy series, Adventure Time with Finn & Jake! Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), the global licensing and merchandising arm of the network, today announced an algebraic line up of apparel and accessories partners that will feature the best buds Jake and Finn, the Ice King, Princess Bubblegum and other loveable characters from creator Pendelton Ward in a range of categories across retail this spring. Building on its smash hit ratings success and the ubiquitous appeal of the brand for audiences of all ages, CNE has signed seven awesome soft lines partners to date, many of whom will showcase Adventure Time products at the MAGIC Marketplace trade event on February 14 in Las Vegas.

Coming off of an extremely strong roll-out of product at Hot Topic retailers nationwide, existing partners Bioworld, Mighty Fine and Changes will expand upon their product assortment for Adventure Time by adding SKUs and expanding retail distribution. Bioworld will expand its placement of bags and headwear to specialty and mid-tier starting later this spring, while also launching kids t-shirts across mass market retailers this fall. Mighty Fine will create additional junior and tween t-shirts, knit tops and fleece for specialty and mid-tier retailers that will launch later this spring while Changes unleashes boys and young men’s t-shirts and accessories, rolling out at specialty and mid-tier retailers later this spring. PS Brands/Planet Sox will join these other existing partners and offer hosiery for both kids and adults that will be available starting this spring across a variety of specialty retailers.

Adding to this expanding product assortment beginning later this spring will be a range of first-time partners for CNE, including:

· Underboss-Undergirl will unveil a line of juniors and young men’s underwear, sleepwear and robes beginning this spring across specialty and mid-tier retailers.

· Hot Properties will create a line of magnets and key chains based on the show’s most popular characters that will be available beginning this summer at specialty stores

· High IntenCity will launch jewelry, hair and novelty items for specialty retailers beginning this fall.

Adventure Time has cultivated a large and loyal following that spans all ages thanks in part to its unique voice, creative sensibility and cast of quirky characters,” said Pete Yoder, vice president of Cartoon Network Enterprises. “With this soft lines program, we have created a range of product that delivers a targeted assortment to each segment of our fan base, encapsulating the imagination and humor of the brand. This is a great program that we look forward to building upon in the coming months.”

From the mind of Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time is produced in partnership with Frederator Studios with Fred Seibert serving as an executive producer on the series. Ooo is a land built for adventure. Teeming with imposing mountains, lush green plains, accessible forests, ubiquitous prairies and winding rivers, the cities and towns are filled with bizarre characters in need of unique assistance. Whether it’s saving Princess Bubblegum, defeating zombie candy, mocking the “oxy-moronic” Ice King, or rocking out with undead music wiz Marceline the Vampire Queen, with Finn & Jake it’s always Adventure Time.

Since its debut, fans of the show have enjoyed an immersive online experience on the official show site www.itsadventuretime.com/, which is full of branded information as well as original Adventure Time games, Sound Castle and Righteous Quest 1 & 2, with more than 26 million gameplays to date. Additionally, CNE continues to add consumer products partners for the brand, with announcements in the toy and interactive categories expected in the coming months. New episodes from the Adventure Time television series can be seen on Cartoon Network on Monday nights at 8:00 pm (ET/PT).

Brooklyn Animator Hustles Cartoons on the Subway

Mark Stansberry

Taking a page from the playbook of hip hop musicians who peddle their CDs in tourist areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn animator Mark Stansberry is using a novel way of promoting his cartoon character Puddin–selling DVDs on the subway. The NY Daily News has more about his story. According to Stansberry, he’s sold over 40,000 DVDs over the past two years at $1 a piece. The DVDs contain multiple Puddin cartoons like this one:

Stansberry’s grassroots promotion of his animation is laudable, even if the actual cartoons don’t excite me personally. He is proving that there is more than one way to get your animation into the hands of an audience. Here’s another interview with him in which he talks about how his oldest son is helping out with the digital animation.

The best part of this story is that General Motors made his animation career possible. “I worked fifteen years at General Motors in Maryland, and when they closed down the plant in Baltimore, I got a buy-out,” Stansberry says. “But for all those fifteen years I worked there, I also had my own studio where I was working on my animation and making these shorts…General Motors pretty much put me in a place where I could concentrate on my animation.”

(Thanks, Dan Pinto)

Disney’s “Planes”

That’s Little Pedro, above, from Saludos Amigos, Walt Disney’s 1942 package film. Many feel Pixar’s Cars drew inspiration from Pedro and a later short, Susie The Little Blue Coupe.

What goes around, comes around. So today Disney – or more accurately “DisneyToon Studios” – announced a new direct-to-video CG feature inspired “from the immensely popular Disney/Pixar’s CARS world”. PLANES will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD in Spring, 2013. From the studio press release:

PLANES will introduce an entirely original and hilarious crew of daredevils from every corner of the globe and draws inspiration from the immensely popular Disney/Pixar’s CARS world.

“We had such a great time exploring the world of ‘Cars’ over the course of two films, so it seemed only natural for us to see where our imaginations would take us in a film where planes were the main characters. By expanding the Cars world, ‘Planes’ gave us a whole new set of fun-filled situations and a great opportunity to introduce some fantastic new characters,” commented John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

“The team at DisneyToon Studios has done such an amazing job creating a heartfelt story filled with great comedy, adventure, and emotion. I know audiences are going to love taking off into the wild blue yonder with these daredevil characters, as they experience a whole new kind of animated adventure.”

PLANES takes off with an international cast of the fastest air racers around, in a comedy packed with action and adventure starring Dusty, a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race … despite his fear of heights. With the help and support of a fleet of new and hilarious characters, Dusty wings his way into the biggest challenge of his life.

Nickelodeon Debuts New SpongeBob SquarePants Toy Lineup at Toy Fair 2011

NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2011 — Nickelodeon Consumer Products will unveil a broad new lineup of SpongeBob SquarePants toys for fans of all ages from The LEGO Group, Hasbro, THQ, and Cardinal at Toy Fair 2011. The new products include SpongeBob-themed building sets, games, videogames and more.

In addition, Nickelodeon has announced a multiyear renewal with The LEGO Group as a global licensee for SpongeBob SquarePants construction toys. The LEGO Group will unveil two new building sets at Toy Fair, allowing kids to build and play in SpongeBob’s world.

SpongeBob SquarePants has entertained kids of all ages for more than 10 years,” said Manuel Torres, Senior Vice President, Global Toys and Video Games for Nickelodeon Consumer Products. “The LEGO Group, Hasbro, THQ, and Cardinal have once again created incredibly fun toys and games that seamlessly bring SpongeBob and his friends to life off-screen and give fans new ways to experience the world of Bikini Bottom.”

“Combining the open-ended creativity of the LEGO brand with the characters and wacky adventures of SpongeBob has proven to be incredibly popular with children of all ages around the world,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president licensing and entertainment for LEGO Group. “We look forward to exploring the ways in which to continue to bring Bikini Bottom to life through LEGO building fun.”

SpongeBob SquarePants products at Toy Fair 2011 will include:

LEGO® Building Sets
Heroic Heroes of the Deep
Builders assemble the boatmobile to help heroes Man Sponge (SpongeBob) and Boy Patrick chase evil Plankton after he steals the secret Krabby Patty recipe! Includes 3 minifigures and 95 pieces.
(Approximate Retail Price: $14.99; Recommended Age: 5 & up; Available: August 2011)

Glove World
Build a “working” ride and interactive ice cream stand in Glove World. Includes SpongeBob, Sandy, Patrick and Ice Cream Vendor minifigures!. 169 pieces.
(Approximate Retail Price: $19.99; Recommended Age: 5 & up; Available: August 2011)

HASBRO
GUESS WHO?: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
Am I yellow? Am I shaped like a Star? Swell questions like these will be asked by young players when playing GUESS WHO?: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition this year. Bikini Bottom’s favorite characters are in play with this SpongeBob SquarePants take on the classic GUESS WHO? game. Players must ask “yes” or “no” questions to figure out who is who. The first player to correctly guess their opponent’s mystery SpongeBob SquarePants character wins! With all the friendly faces contained in this easy to set up and pack up grid, players will be diving in at Family Game Night or anytime.
(Approximate Retail Price: $18.99; Recommended Age: 6 & up; Available: Spring 2011; Players: 2)

YAHTZEE JR.: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
Get ready to roll the dice with favorite SpongeBob SquarePants friends! The YAHTZEE JR. game takes you into the underwater world, featuring images of the Bikini Bottom buds. Roll the dice and try to match as many faces as possible, but watch out for Plankton before he drowns your hopes of winning! Keep track on the scoreboard and get the most points to win!
(Approximate Retail Price: $7.99; Recommended Age: 4 & up; Available: Spring 2011; Players: 2 to 4)

ANTS IN THE SQUAREPANTS: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition
Guess who’s itching from ants in their pants? SpongeBob SquarePants! A mass of bugs has found its way into SpongeBob’s britches, and there is plenty of room for more. Flip and bounce the ants into his pants as quickly as you can. Be the first buccaneer to land all of the ants to win!
(Approximate Retail Price: $9.99; Recommended Age: 3 & up; Available: Spring 2011; Players: 2 or more)

SpudBob SquarePants
Enjoy a hilarious SpongeBob SquarePants spin on classic MR. POTATO HEAD character play with eight themed pieces available for mixing and “mashing.” Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and on HasbroToyShop.com.
(Approximate Retail Price: $9.99; Recommended Age: 2 & up; Available: Fall 2011)

THQ INC.
SpongeBob SquigglePants
THQ’s immensely popular uDraw GameTabletâ„¢ for Wiiâ„¢ brings laugh-out-loud fun to SpongeBob SquarePants fans with SpongeBob SquigglePants, scheduled to debut in April, followed by a Nintendo 3DS version later in the spring. The innovative uDraw GameTablet offers a gaming experience unlike any other as players tilt, flip, shake, roll, sketch, tap, trace and draw their way through six zany worlds. They’ll laugh their pants off as they sail through more than 100 frantic “nanogames,” featuring never-before-seen art styles from the Nickelodeon vault. These super-fast-paced games capture the creative energy of SpongeBob SquarePants — and hit the funny bone at the same time. SpongeBob SquigglePants just may be the craziest, fastest-paced and most laugh-filled SpongeBob video game experience yet!
(Approximate Retail Price: $29.99; Recommended Age: 6 & Up; Scheduled to be Available: Spring 2011)

CARDINAL INDUSTRIES
SpongeBob 3D Sphere Puzzle
SpongeBob takes you to a new dimension in puzzles. Put the numbered pieces together to form a sphere. 60-piece puzzle measures a generous six inches in diameter!
(Approximate Retail Price: $15.00; Recommended Age: 6 & Up; Available: Now)

Disney Junior picks up two new series: ‘Octonauts’ and ‘Gaspard and Lisa’

Octonauts

London/New York, 15 February 2011: Leading family entertainment producer, distributor and licensor Chorion has sold two of its new animated series for preschoolers Octonauts and Gaspard and Lisa to Disney Channel U.S. for premiere on Disney Junior next year.

The program acquisition deal will complete the international roll-out which started in the UK and France in Autumn 2010 and is continuing through 2012 across major global territories.

Geraint Marsh, SVP Television Sales at Chorion says: “The U.S. is a key broadcast market and Disney Junior is the perfect home for both Octonauts and Gaspard and Lisa. It’s testament to the appeal of both series that the channel is showing such support to two of our new shows, and we are thrilled to be bringing them to audiences in America.”

Octonauts is proving to be a major hit show for Chorion. Since launching on CBeebies in October 2010 the animated show has become a huge success, attracting large audiences and has quickly become a top-rated show for children aged 4-6 on the channel.* The show has been such a success for CBeebies that a second series has been ordered and is currently in development.

The first series has also been acquired by TF1 France, ABC Australia, RTE Ireland, Discovery Kids Latin America, MNet South Africa, Yoopa Canada, RTP Portugal, Disney Japan and Truevision Thailand.

Chorion will manage consumer products programs for both Octonauts and Gaspard and Lisa globally.

Based on the richly imaginative books by award-winning design team, Meomi, the TV series combines elements of classic team action-adventure with dazzling CGI animation to transport preschoolers into a world they can’t ordinarily visit…the ocean. The show will arouse the curiosity and feed the imagination of preschoolers, answering questions in a journey of discovery through the world’s oceans.

Executively produced by Emmy Award-winning writer Stephanie Simpson and Chorion’s Kurt Mueller, the brand new animated series includes 50 x 11’ plus 2 x 22’ special. The HD CGI animation was produced by Academy Award®-nominated Brown Bag Films who are also the producing studio on Chorion’s OLIVIA and Noddy in Toyland.

Gaspard and Lisa is an animated series for preschoolers which celebrates the joys of friendship. Based on the books written and illustrated by the husband and wife team of Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben and published by Hachette Jeunesse,  Gaspard and Lisa follows two six-year-old best friends as they experience the wonders and challenges of school, family life, and their Paris neighborhoods.  Outgoing, curious, and devoted to each other, Gaspard and Lisa are the centers of each other’s lives, and the rest of the world usually finds itself caught up in their adventures as well.  And while Gaspard and Lisa may sometimes disagree, in the end, they’re always there for each other – because that’s what best friends do.

The series is executively produced by Chorion’s Paula Rosenthal and Diana Manson and produced by Vanessa Amberleigh, a recipient of the Prix Jeunesse. Head writer Brian Hohlfeld was a recipient of the Humanitas Prize in Children’s Animation.  Gaspard and Lisa TV series includes 50 x 11’ plus 1 x 22’ special and is animated by Impossible Television.  TF1 in France is the lead broadcaster and debuted the show in Autumn 2010.

To date Gaspard and Lisa books have been translated in more than 15 languages worldwide and the property enjoys a high level of success both in publishing and consumer products in Japan, where it celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010.

*Source: Eurodata TV / BARB / Kantar Media October 2010

Codex Announces Free Fan Screenings of upcoming film ‘Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40k Movie’

Codex Pictures is pleased to present free fan screenings of Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie to select theaters in the US on Saturday February 26 and Sunday February 27, 2011. Passes are free and registration is available online. Otherwise, seating will be first come, first served, limited by theater capacity. One showing per theater.

Saturday February 26
Dallas, TX
11 AM, at the Lewisville Cinemark Movies 8, 1600 S Stemmons Freeway @ Corp Drive , Lewisville, Texas 75067

Seattle, WA
11 AM, at the Metro Cinemas, 4500 9th Avenue, N.E., Seattle, Washington 98105

Chicago, Il
11 AM, at the Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18, 3740 East Main Street, St Charles, Illinois 60174 Followed by Q&A with producer Bob Thompson

Sunday February 27
Los Angeles, CA
11 AM, at the Mann 10 Glendale Exchange, 128 North Maryland Avenue, Glendale, California 91206

Baltimore, MD
11 AM, at the Landmark’s Harbor East Cinema, 645 S President St., Baltimore, Maryland 21202

New York, NY
11 AM, at the Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue, New York 10012 Followed by Q&A with producer Bob Thompson

Register for free screening passes to secure your seat. Otherwise, it will be first come, first serve. ID may be required. Theaters will not be selling tickets or taking registration. You may choose the option to bring one additional guest.

California Historical Society Hosts Lecture on State’s Animation Industry

Friday March 11, 2011 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Lecture & Book Signing: History of Animation Industry in CA with Andrew Farago

Free Event @ California Historical Society

Few cartoons have been able to capture the attention of multiple generations like the Looney Tunes, they are the animated family we grew up with. The timeless generational appeal of the Looney Tunes is celebrated in Andrew Farago’s book The Looney Tunes Treasury: whether it’s Bugs Bunny or Yosemite Sam, each character gives their own off-beat look at the animation industry, the creative forces who gave the characters their unequivocal look, attitude and voices.

Farago will discuss the history of the animation industry in California and how Looney Tunes became a timeless animated classic while paying homage to the directors, draftsmen, writers, and composers that helped to create characters and cartoons that could thrill audiences with a catchy tune or slapstick comedy.

The book will be available for sale at the event and contains 200 pieces of concept art, paintings, and memorabilia. Warner Bros. opened up its vault contributing sketches, comic book covers, lobby cards, model sheets, and other art that gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite cartoon characters. Andrew Farago is the Curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco and has written for Marvel Comics, The Comics Journal, and Animation World Network. Space is limited. Please RSVP to 415.357.1848, ext. 233 or [email protected]

California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco

Director Hiroyuki Okiura Announces Next Film: “A Letter to Momo”

Production I.G announces the production of a new animated feature film, A Letter to Momo (original title: Momo e no Tegami), the highly anticipated second directorial effort by world-acclaimed anime director Hiroyuki Okiura (Jin-Roh). Supported by a top-class team of skilled creators and requiring seven years of work for its completion, A Letter to Momo will combine state-of-the-art traditional hand drawn animation with heart-warming, emotional storytelling for children and adults alike. The movie will be theatrically distributed in Japan in 2012 by Kadokawa Shoten.

Story
Momo is a young girl who grew up in a big city.
However, following the premature loss of her father, she has to move with her mother to the old family house on a remote island. Here, time seems to have stopped: old wooden buildings, holy shrines surrounded by trees, fields painstakingly carved out from steep hills… and no shopping mall.

Needless to say, Momo is not too overenthusiastic about this new environment.
Most of all, her heart is still feeling uneasy about an unfinished letter left by her father. A letter that contained only two words: “Dear Momo…”

What was dad going to say?

One day, exploring the attic of her new big house, Momo finds a dusty and worn out book.
And from that moment, something really unexpected starts happening around her…

Main Staff
Director / Screenplay / Storyboard: Hiroyuki Okiura (Jin-Roh)
Key Animation Supervisor: Masashi Ando (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away)
Key Animators: Toshiyuki Inoue (Tokyo Godfathers), Ei Inoue (The Cat Returns), Takeshi Honda (Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance), Tetsuya Nishio (The Sky Crawlers), Hiroyuki Aoyama (Summer Wars)
Background Art: Hiroshi Ono (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
Animation: Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh)

About Hiroyuki Okiura
Born in 1966 in Osaka Prefecture, Okiura is considered a natural talent in the world of animation, having started his professional career at the age of 16 with no academic background. His credits include some of the most sophisticated animated feature films produced in Japan: Akira (1988, key animator), Patlabor: The Movie (1989, key animator), Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993, assistant animation supervisor), Memories (1995, key animator), Ghost in the Shell (1995, character design, animation supervisor, layout artist), Cowboy Bebob The Movie: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (2001, opening credit sequence director and key animator) and Palm d’Or-nominated Innocence (2004, character designer, animation supervisor). Okiura made his feature film directorial debut in 2000 with Jin-Roh, that was selected for the 49th Berlin International Film Festival and won several recognitions in Japan and the world. A Letter to Momo is his second directorial effort after more than a decade-long hiatus.

New Canadian Production Company debuts with “Adventures of Napkin Man”

TORONTO — Little Tugboat, a new Canadian production company, has been formed to create original television programming for young audiences. Little Tugboat is owned and controlled by company President and Director Brenda Nietupski, who previously served as Director of Programming, Treehouse & Discovery Kids Canada at Corus Entertainment. Josh Selig, Founder and President of Little Airplane Productions, is Vice President and Director of Little Tugboat and has an interest in the company.

“Josh and I have similar perspectives on quality children’s programming,” said Nietupski, “Our goal with Little Tugboat is to create the highest quality children’s content while building strong creative alliances among the most talented companies and individuals we know.”

“I’m excited to be joining forces with my friend Brenda to launch our Little Tugboat,” said Selig. “Canada is the center of the universe when it comes to production and we look forward to Little Tugboat making some truly beautiful shows here, starting with ‘The Adventures of Napkin Man.’”

Little Tugboat will be working with industry leaders, Breakthrough Entertainment and Little Airplane, on their first project, “The Adventures of Napkin Man,” a live-action/animated series for preschoolers now in development with the CBC. The series is a CRTC co-venture between Breakthrough and Little Airplane created by Josh Selig and Tone Thyne. Little Tugboat will render animation services with the live-action elements of the pilot directed by J.J. Johnson of Sinking Ship Entertainment.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Little Tugboat on ‘The Adventures of Napkin Man,’” said Kim Wilson, Creative Head, CBC Children’s and Youth Programming. “Some of the industry’s top creative minds are not only part of this project but are the people we like to work with; people who really care about making a difference in the lives of children.”

“This is a wonderful project and wonderful group of companies,” said Ira Levy, President of Breakthrough Entertainment, “We look forward to this exciting new collaboration.”

“The Adventures of Napkin Man” tells the story of Mister Anthony, a preschool teacher who draws a superhero named “Napkin Man” for his students. Napkin Man comes to life in an animated world and helps young children better understand and manage their feelings. The curriculum for the series was created by Dr. Laura G. Brown (Ni Hao Kai Lan, The Wonder Pets.)

Steven DeNure will also sit on the Little Tugboat Board of Directors as an independent member. Steven is President and Chief Operating Officer of DHX Media. He serves on the board of the Canadian Film Centre as Vice Chair and is past Vice Chair of ACT the Alliance for Children’s Television (currently known as The Youth Media Alliance).

“Peanut Philosophies” Exhibit coming to Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa

(Santa Rosa, CA) Although Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schulz insisted that he was not a philosopher, his cartoon creations certainly proclaimed plenty of their own philosophies.  From Charlie Brown’s “I only dread one day at a time,” to Lucy’s renowned “Happiness is a warm puppy,” the Peanuts Gang’s philosophies are explored in the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s newest exhibition, Peanuts Philosophies. Sixty-five original Peanuts comic strips will be on display in the Museum’s strip rotation gallery, running February 23 through July 11, 2011.

Peanuts Philosophies focuses on the insights of Charlie Brown, Sally, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Rerun and Peppermint Patty. “Most longtime Peanuts readers know that many of the characters are deeply philosophical. Much of what has fascinated and entertained us for decades has been the spectacle of little children afflicted with adult concerns,” said Schulz Museum Curator Jane O’Cain.

Although his characters tend to ask life’s age-old questions, Schulz consistently stated that he was not philosophizing but simply drawing a comic strip; “For me broadly to tell you that everything I draw has a meaning just isn’t true. Most of the time, I’m merely trying to be funny.”

Among the Peanuts philosophies chronicled are; Sally’s nineteen irreverent philosophies, for example, “Who cares?” and “Where will it all end?”, and Charlie Brown’s night-time musings where he searches for meaning in the middle of the night with Snoopy draped over him asleep seemingly without a care.  In addition, Linus’s philosophy of “Five hundred years from now who’ll know the difference” and his cynical retort “I love mankind… it’s people I can’t stand” are revealed. Unlike much of the gang’s ponderings, Snoopy’s search for meaning often ends at his dog dish with philosophical tokens like “You’ll never convince me that there’s more to life than chocolate chip cookies.”

Comment of the Day: “Disney Can Do Better”

Some of the commenters in the post about Disney’s disastrous foray into “urban” fashion failed to grasp how embarrassing it is for a company with Disney’s legacy and reputation to release products as ill-conceived as the ones in its Graphic Edge line. Historian Jeff Kurtti saw the bigger picture and eloquently summed up everything that is wrong with the Disney Company’s approach to contemporary fashion:

What’s unfortunate is manifold:

1) Plain poor design. Not just ugly, but uninformed; putting characters in situations that have nothing to do with their long-standing and strong identities, or that belittle their history,

2) That an organization that continues to base so much of its business on the strength of its culture can prostitute their core characters in such a blatant way, and that does nothing to build on those characters, or have any cultural value beyond desire for profit,

3) That “relevance” is seen not in playing up the characters’ strengths and long-standing identities in a new and unique fashion, but rather in dressing them up in “whatever the kids are into.”

4) That, rather than using those built-in strengths to lead a design trend in pop fashion, they choose to ape an already-tired “Urban Fashion.”

It’s “Disco Mickey Mouse,” writ large and without tongue in cheek.

“Fuddles” Book Trailer by Frans Vischer

Simon’s cat move over; there’s a new animated cat in town. Veteran animator Frans Vischer, currently working at Disney, animated this charming trailer for a book he wrote and illustrated called Fuddles. It’ll be released in May by Simon & Schuster. Until then, you can watch this trailer over and over, and sulk about how much you miss that good old traditional animation.

FRIDAY in NYC: An Evening with Richard McGuire

New York’s Parsons/New School of Design is doing a public event with Richard McGuire, who directed and designed the closing segment of the animated anthology film Fear(s) of the Dark (embed above) among other projects (including the animated bumpers for PBS Kids). Richard is also a notable comics artist (RAW) and illustrator (The New Yorker), has designed toys and authored children’s books.

This event is in association with an exhibit Bill Kartalopoulos curated at Parsons called Cartoon Polymaths, which features artists whose work proceeds from a cartoon sensibility but embraces multiple media – and includes Winsor McCay, Tony Sarg, Saul Steinberg, Mariscal, Richard McGuire, and Paper Rad. There are five screens of animation running throughout the exhibit, which is open through April 15 and is free to the public. If you live in NYC: GO!

Friday, February 18, 7:00 p.m.
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
For more information, Click here.