CG Academy Escape Studios Adds Five to Advisory Board

Today, Escape Studios, one of the most successful and well-respected CG academies in the world, announced five new US advisory board members, including Afonso Salcedo of Pixar Animation Studios, Ken Maruyama of Sony Pictures Imageworks, John Leonti of The Mill, Patrick Davenport of Method and Andrew Bell of MPC. The five new advisory board members will reinforce Escape Studios’ already strong ties to the CG industry.

“We pride ourselves on having direct contact with the VFX industry and incorporating their insight and feedback into our training programs,” said Dom Davenport, CEO and founder of Escape Studios. “I am delighted to welcome this caliber of industry talent and experience to our advisory board and look forward to working with them to make our US campus the best it can possibly be.”

Coming from diverse and qualified backgrounds, the advisory board members each bring a different perspective and knowledge base to Escape Studios:

“As a former Escape Studios student, I’ve experienced the quality of training first-hand and look forward to impacting future students with my knowledge of the industry,” said Afonso Salcedo, a full-time lighting artist at Pixar Animation Studios.

“Aspiring technical directors typically don’t have the right skill sets, even after completing college courses. But Escape Studios emphasizes training that’s based on actual industry criteria and I hope to continue that tradition by sharing my insight as an advisory board member,” said Ken Maruyama the vice president of recruiting, academic relations and animation artist management at Sony Picture Imageworks.

“It’s an honour to be part of Escape Studio’s advisory board and influence the academy’s direction and training offerings, especially when it comes to new VFX and 3D technologies,” said John Leonti, the co-head of 3D at The Mill’s Los Angeles office.

“I’ve seen the industry evolve and grow, creating the demand for new skill sets. Schools like Escape Studios are essential for developing talent that will keep up with this evolution and I am excited to be a part of that process,” said Patrick Davenport, vice president of creative operations at Method.

“The VFX industry is multifaceted and newcomers require a variety of skills to be successful. I look forward to bringing my experience to the advisory board and helping the school to develop the best talent,” said Andrew Bell, head of product for commercials at MPC’s Los Angeles studio.

“Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!” Series Coming To DVD

When the forces of evil are so overwhelming that no single hero can save the world… the Avengers assemble! Featuring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk, fans can now own the first 13 episodes of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! in two must-have, collectible DVD volumes, available April 26 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Volume 1 includes episodes 1-7 plus an exclusive look at the evolving characters and storyline of Season 2, and Volume 2 includes episodes 8-13 plus another exclusive sneak peek at Season 2 that reveals what makes the Marvel Super Heroes and Villains so unique.

Featuring your favorite animated Super Heroes – Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk – The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! sees planet Earth threatened by Super Villains, time traveling conquerors, alien invaders, mythical beasts and rampaging robots — all bent on the total destruction of humanity. Unfortunately against these impossible odds, no individual hero has the power to save the world and just when all appears to be hopeless, the most skilled champions in the Marvel universe join forces to form the mightiest Super Hero team in history. The Avengers come to the rescue when the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! stars the well-known voice talents of Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, House M.D.) as Thor, Brian Bloom (The A Team, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2) as Captain America, Fred Tatasciore (Tron: Evolution, Hulk Vs., Wolverine and the X-Men) as The Hulk, Wally Wingert (The Family Guy, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) as Ant Man, and Phil Lamarr (Mad TV, Futurama) as Jarvis.

EPISODES:
Volume 1 Episodes:
1.Iron Man Is Born!
2.Thor The Mighty
3.Hulk Versus The World
4.Meet Captain America
5.The Man in the Ant Hill
6.Breakout: Part One
7.Breakout: PartTwo
Volume 2 Episodes:
8.Some Assembly Required
9.Living Legend
10.Everything Is Wonderful
11.Panther’s Quest
12.Gamma World: Part One
13.Gamma World: Part Two

DISC SPECIFICIATION:
Street Date: April 26, 2011
Direct Prebook: March 8, 2011
Distributor Prebook: March 22, 2011
Suggested Retail Price: Volume 1 – Single Disc DVD = $19.99 U.S.
Volume 2 – Single Disc DVD = $19.99 U.S.
Rated: TV-Y7
*Bonus materials not rated
Run Time: Volume 1 – Approximately 154 minutes (seven 22-minute episodes)
Volume 2 – Approximately 132 minutes (six 22-minute episodes)
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 1.78:1
Sound: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound
Languages: English dub & subs & Spanish subs

Nepal’s First 3-D Animated Short Competition Announced

Nepal’s first 3D animated short movie making competition, The One Film 3D Animation Challenge, has announced that 36 finalists will be contesting for the title of outstanding excellence in the field of animation.

The entry form distribution opened from March 7. A Maya Animation Academy initiative, the competition is aimed at promoting the animation scene in Nepal.

The shortlisted finalists of Nepali origin from India, the UK, Singapore, Australia and Nepal itself are expected to submit movies ranging from two to seven minutes in a span of six months.

The panel of judges that comprise 3D animation mentors, 3D studios, production companies, film experts and computer graphics professionals among others will then deliver on the basis of five criteria: content quality, production, post-production, image and sound quality.

With a total prize value of over Rs 500,000, One Film 3D Animation Awards will be presented on November 5. The winning short film will be sent to compete in International Animation Festival.

Japanese Nuclear Crisis Explained Via Animated Toilet Humor

“Nuclear Boy Has a Stomachache” explains the nuclear crisis in Japan through animation. The cute scatalogical analogies illustrate the power of animation to creatively summarize complex ideas, but the positive spin on the situation reeks of propaganda. It would be interesting to learn who commissioned the piece.

(via BB)

“The Indescribable Nth” by Steve Moore

I was surprised to run across The Indescribable Nth, an odd curio from 1999 directed by Steve “Oscar” Moore and produced at Character Builders in Ohio. Moore, who lives in New Jersey nowadays, is also the director of Disney TV Animation’s Redux Riding Hood, a 1997 Oscar-nominated short that, as he notes on his site, “has since never aired on television, never been released on video or DVD, and has not been shown publicly since 1998.” One would assume there’s something seriously wrong with the film for it to be buried so unceremoniously, but its only crime is that it’s fairly funny and well made. Below is a clip from Redux Riding Hood.

“Chunkothy” by Celyn Brazier

Experimental – and cool. Chunkothy was directed and animated by Celyn Brazier at London-based Nexus. The track is from the new Wagon Christ album “Toomorrow”. Brazier created this amazing 2D music video in Photoshop, inspired by Norman McLaren with “multiple frames exposed and overlaid creating spontaneous and mesmerising patterns”. Indeed… consider me mesmerized.

CREDITS
Celyn Brazier – directing, deigning, coloring, animating
Beccy Mccray – producer
Steve Mcinerney – editor
Bali Engel – coloring, animating
Margot Tsakiri-scanatovits – assistant coloring
Manav Dhir – assistant coloring

Indian Animation Company DQ Entertainment Announces 3D Feature Film Slate Through 2014

DQ Entertainment, the global entertainment animation production and distribution company, today announced its 3D feature film release slate currently under development, to be released starting 2012 onwards through 2014.

The Company will release three 3D feature films starting 2012-13, with one release planned every year:

1. The Jungle Book (2012-13)

2. The New Adventures of Peter Pan (2013-14)

3. The Phoenix And The Flying Carpet (2013-14)

These feature films are to be produced at a global budget of $25-30 Million each. (as envisaged now)

The DQE feature film slate will be lead by the flagship property of DQE, The Jungle Book 3D TV Series, which has seen great success recently after being broadcast on leading networks such as TF1-France, ABC-Australia, BBC-UK, Disney-SE Asia, ZDFTV-Germany, TVO Canada, EBS Korea, and several others globally.

The first season of The Jungle Book TV series in 3D CGI has been sold in over 160 countries and has already been green lit for a second season. A 3D Stereoscopic Christmas special is also in production for release in 2011. The DQE Jungle Book franchise has received tremendous response for global publishing, merchandising & licensing and its development into a major $25-30M 3D stereoscopic feature film is a natural progression by DQE’s Feature Film division, “DQE FEATURE”.

The company will further present these productions at the feature film markets at Cannes and AFM with a view to appoint sales agents and distributors worldwide.

The Company has recently produced a 3D animated stereoscopic feature filmThe Prodigies with Onyx Films and Fidelite Films, France to be distributed
by Warner Bros Pictures and Studio37, France. This brilliant action, adventure animated 3D film is fast under completion and will soon be released world-wide.

Eisenberg, Shaw and Kress discuss Hanna-Barbera

It’s cartoon time on Stu Shostack’s Internet radio show, Stu’s Show. This week, Stu welcomes animators Jerry Eisenberg and Scott Shaw! – with Hanna-Barbera writer/historian Earl Kress as co-host – to discuss the golden age of Hanna Barbera’s TV cartoons.

If you’re a fan of Ruff, Reddy, Huck, Yogi, Fred, Barney, T.C., Wally Gator, and Magilla Gorilla, this is your chance to hear how they were all conceived, drawn, and animated by television’s top cartoon company! Jerry Eisenberg actually began with H-B while they were still at MGM and then became one of the regular layout artists for “The Flintstones”, plus many other 1960s classics. Scott joined H-B in the mid 70s, and worked on many series, but he’s also a genuine Flintstones buff – up until recently, he drew and animated practically all of the Post Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles commercials. Cap it all off with notes from H-B authority Earl Kress and you’ll be getting a dynamite couple of hours that are not going to be nearly enough…at least it’s a start.

And you can join in, too. If you’d like to ask these experts anything about the good ol’ days of Saturday morning cartoons, send an e-mail to comments-at-shokusradio.com – or call the station during the live broadcast today at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific. This show repeats each day at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific, 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific and 7am Eastern/10am Pacific.

And next week, yours truly Jerry Beck will appear with two full hours of DVD news and cartoon history. Tune into the discussion here!

Virtual Animation Studio Aniboom Partners with Mutaisaian For First Animated Film

Aniboom Virtual Studio, the world’s first virtual animation studio, has partnered with Mutasian Entertainment to co-produce Mishmash Bash, the first in a series of children’s animated films. Aniboom is utilizing the proprietary technological platform of the Aniboom Virtual Studio, working with animation professionals located worldwide, to create this original children’s video.

The Aniboom Virtual Studio (AVS) is at the forefront of the future of entertainment production with the virtual studio platform. Aniboom has recruited over 10,000 animation professionals to its virtual studio. This is the first AVS release with a US based entertainment company.

Mutasian Entertainment develops creative educational entertainment for children ages 13 and under.  Mutasian Entertainment promotes a quality family experience by encouraging children to embrace individuality, accept differences and inspire them to try new things.  Mishmash Bash will appeal to kids’ love of fantasy and adventure and will focus on life lessons and values. The animation will complement Mutasia’s branded collection of original multimedia content, which includes books, web games, mobile applications, music, merchandise and an interactive website.

The story line centers on the Mutasians, an illogical, utterly impossible mixture of two or more animals that inhabit the remote island of Mutasia. The diversity displayed through these characters teaches children to respect and appreciate each other and themselves. The animation will inspire children to love nature and be inquisitive about things that are different and strange.

Uri Shinar, CEO of Aniboom, said “We’re very proud to announce the first major virtual animation studio production with a US based entertainment company. This animation production is proof that animators don’t have to be located in a brick and mortar site to produce high-quality animation.” He added, “Aniboom is thrilled to be partnering on this project with Mutasian Entertainment, and we are confident that Mishmash Bash will be a huge success.”

Suzanne Cotsakos, President and Co-Head Writer of Mutasian Entertainment, said “As a virtual entertainment company, we are both excited and pleased to form this partnership with Aniboom, who combines their creative talent and animation experience with their unique virtual platform and thousands of very talented animators to cost-effectively deliver high-quality film production.”

Aniboom will be announcing more co-productions in Europe and North America soon, deepening the revolution in the production of state of the art animated screen entertainment via the studio without walls.

Marvel Announces “Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers”

Marvel Knights Animation is proud to announce Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, an all-new four-episode series debuting on iTunes, Xbox LIVE, and PlayStation®Network on Monday, March 28th. Further episodes debut weekly on Wednesdays beginning April 6th, with each high-definition episode priced at $2.99 (standard definition is also available at $1.99/episode).

Inspired by the acclaimed graphic novel from Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic, Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers takes a powerful look inside the minds of Thor & Loki, brothers in the mythical land of Asgard and seemingly forever enemies. But just why does Loki hate his brother Thor? And could it be that this master of mischief isn’t really the villain he’s been branded? Loki’s insatiable lust for power and his feud with Thor take on new meaning in this resonant epic.

“It’s been an incredible experience developing and producing Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers,” says Ruwan Jayatilleke, producer of Thor & Loki. “The source material by Robert and Esad is absolutely brilliant and works on so many different levels as a story for multiple mediums. To be honest it’s been an honor–and a blast — to work with the talented creatives of Magnetic Dreams, Edge Studio, Underground Music, and NYAV! What we’ve put together as a team will further define and push the boundaries of what Marvel Knights Animation can be as well as entertain comic book enthusiasts and mainstream fans with a very compelling piece of content.”

He’s the Super Hero everyone’s talking about and before Marvel Studios’ Thor feature film debuts, experience one of Thor’s most popular stories in comic history through cutting edge animation. It’s Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers–and you’ll never see the world of Thor the same way ever again!

Nickelodeon’s CG series “Fanboy and Chum Chum” Comes to DVD

Fanboy and his trusty sidekick, Chum Chum, are bringing their hyper imagination to stores with their first DVD, Fanboy and Chum Chum. Featuring an all-star cast of voices including Josh Duhamel and Jamie Kennedy, this DVD comes packed with eight adventures from the first season of Nickelodeon’s hit CG-animated comedy series, including two Emmy®Award-winning episodes. In addition, fans will find exciting extras including six Fanboy and Chum Chum shorts and the pilot episode of Nickelodeon’s Planet Sheen. Created by Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment, Fanboy and Chum Chum hits shelves on May 24, 2011 for the suggested retail price of $16.99.

Created by Eric Robles, Fanboy and Chum Chum is the hilarious story of a boy named Fanboy and his best friend and trusty sidekick, Chum Chum, two endlessly energetic “super fans” of all things sci-fi and fantasy. Their world is full of comic adventure (and misadventures) as they share a hyper imagination that enables a wide-eyed acceptance of the bizarre. They’re fearless! They’re adventurous! They wear underwear on the outside of their costumes! They’re Fanboy and Chum Chum.

Fanboy and Chum Chum Episode Synopses:
Wiz Boy: There is a new kid at school, Kyle, who is claiming to be a wizard and Fanboy and Chum Chum are determined to “play” wizards with him — whether he likes it or not.
The Janitor Strikes Back (Emmy® Award-winning episode): Fanboy and Chum Chum have a new best friend made of gum. Since gum is not allowed in school, evil Janitor Poopatine is out to destroy their friend.
Dollar Day: Fanboy and Chum Chum can’t wait to spend their only dollar on two delicious Frosty Freezy Freezes. When Chum Chum loses the dollar after they’ve already finished the drinks, they have no way to pay.
Trading Day: In a moment of weakness, Fanboy agrees to trade Chum Chum for one of Yo’s awesome toys. Soon after, Fanboy misses Chum Chum and wants to swap back. Unfortunately, Yo won’t give Chum Chum back without a fight.
Chimp Chomp Chumps (Emmy® Award-winning episode): Fanboy and Chum Chum are waiting in line at the movies when Boog arrives to ruin everything. In a wonderful twist of fate, they get the last tickets and Boog has to obey their every command to get into the movie.
Fanboy in the Plastic Bubble: Fanboy and Chum Chum buy Boog’s childhood plastic bubble and have the time of their lives. When Boog realizes the bubble makes them bop-proof, he regrets selling it.
Fan vs. Wild: Fanboy, Chum Chum and Kyle embark on a camping trip in the great outdoors, also known as the roof of the Frosty Mart. Their camping trip takes a turn for the worst when the boys get marooned on the roof. A harrowing adventure ensues.
Freeze Tag: When Man-Arctica comes down to play freeze tag with the kids, they quickly realize he plays by his own rules, freezing everyone in sight.
Fanboy and Chum Chum Fast Facts:
Street Date: May 24, 2011
Catalogue: 821804
DVD SRP: $16.99
DVD Running Time: 88 Minutes
Special Features:
· Pilot Episode of Nickelodeon’s Planet Sheen (spin-off of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius)
1 Fanboy and Chum Chum Shorts:
· Berry
1 Frosty Freezy Freeze
2 Sliding Doors
3 Kyle
4 Yo
5 Flying

Gallery Nucleus hosts tribute exhibition to Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands”

April 16, 2011 — May 09, 2011
Opening Reception: April 16, 2011(7 pm – 11 pm)

On April 16, Gallery Nucleus transforms into the mystical world of Edward Scissorhands as we host an exhibition to tribute Tim Burton’s classic love story and its unforgettable characters; Edward, Kim, Peg and a band of colorful suburbanites.

It was twenty years ago that the public was introduced to the modern-day fairy tale Edward Scissorhands. Though the story of an outcast or “freak” misunderstood by “normal” society is nothing new, this brilliantly designed film with the sweetness and sadness of romantic love coupled with Gothic overtones resonated deeply with audiences and injected beauty and enchantment into the familiar.

The curatorial online project Scissorhands 20th created by artist Sebastien Mesnard, is an ongoing online blog that features the work of artists from across the globe, creating works inspired by the story and its’ characters and executed through the artists own unique approach. In collaboration with Sebastien Mesnard, Gallery Nucleus will be showcasing a selection of original works from the Scissorhands 20th blog. The exhibit will highlight the works of over 40 artists, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, etc. and unite enthusiasts and fans in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Edward Scissorhands and Tim Burton’s unparalleled creative vision.

Opening Reception highlights include:

  • Live music.
  • Free refreshments and ambrosia served.
  • A chance at great prizes for those dressed in their best Scissorhands-inpired attire.
  • Giveaways courtesy of Avon.
  • This is an all ages event
  • Admission is free.

Artists Featured: Alina Chau, Amelie Fléchais, Andrea Kalfas, Aurian Redson, Aya Miyazaki, Becky Dreistadt, Benjamin Lacombe, Bill Robinson, Bob Doucette, Brigette Barrager, Brittney Lee, Celine Loup, Chuck Groenink, Cory Godbey, Daniela Volpari, Dave Perillo, Denny Khurniawan, Drake Brodahl, Drazen Kojan, Emmanuelle Walker, Eren Blanquet, Graham Annable, Israel Sanchez, Jason Caffoe, Jerrod Maruyama, John Kenn Mortensen, Josh Parpan, Joyce Colson, Ken Garduno, Ken Turner, Laura Iorio, Lilidoll, Lorelay Bové, Lorena Alvarez, Luisa Uribe, Maly Siri, Marietta Ren, Nicolas Léger, Pascal Campion, Robert Kondo, Roberto Ricci, Seo Kim, Uli Meyer, Vincent Ehrhart-Devay, Xander (Alex) Leighton, Xavier Collette ..and more!

For more information, please see:
http://scissorhands20th.blogspot.com/
http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/exhibition/292

Lucky the Leprechaun from “Lucky Charms” Cereal transitions from Cel animation to 3-D

Over the years Calabash Animation has taken Lucky the Leprechaun — the beloved brand icon for General Mills’ Lucky Charms cereal — on an amazing number of adventures. But none quite like their latest ad, “Everybody Flies” (:30), which finds Lucky animated in 3D for the first time ever. The ad was created by agency Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

While previous Calabash animated Lucky Charms ads have featured a lot of CG environments and special effects, “Everybody Flies” marks the first time the Lucky character himself has been animated in 3D. This, according to Executive Producer Sean Henry, was a timely “evolutionary” update for a beloved character, and one that the Calabash artists wanted to get just right.

“Today’s kids are more familiar with CG animation than they are with the classic 2D animation that we grew up with,” Henry says. “There are high expectations because the medium itself offers such amazing potential. We thought CG was a perfect fit for Lucky and would enable us to bring this rich fantasy world to life in a way that we have always imagined in our heads. Adapting the characters into 3D enabled us to do camera and lighting effects that are very difficult and expensive to achieve in 2D.”

“Everybody Flies” opens with Lucky opening his book of magical spells to the one that imparts the power of flight. Suddenly Lucky finds himself caught up in a magical roller-coaster ride through the night sky atop a flying shooting star charm. Unbeknownst to Lucky, three kids far below are preparing an ambush from an ancient stone bridge. When Lucky swoops low overhead, the kids temporarily snag him in a giant net but are pulled over the edge, landing on their own magical flying shooting star charms and following Lucky up into the sky in a scene that recalls the classic bicycle chase scene from the film ”ET.” The spot ends with the kids crash landing unharmed and Lucky swooping in to nab his box of Lucky Charms before flying off into the starry sky shouting his motto “they’re magically delicious.”

“The challenge for our CG team was to capture the spirit of Lucky and the kids in a way that feels both natural and expressive,” Wayne Brejcha, Calabash Creative Director says. “Traditional animators tend to think about the characters differently than CG animators. When you’re drawing something you bring a sense of design to it simply because every line in it comes from hand to the paper. With CG a digital model exists inside the computer with form and structure, and there’s a tendency to let the computer model do its thing, but doing that gives up some of the artistry you get from cel animation. We wanted our CG team to think about the nuances you get with cel and bring that to life in 3D. We took all of the expertise our staff has developed drawing these characters for the last 20 years and brought it into the CG world.”

“Rocko’s Modern Life” creator Joe Murray Launches Internet animation channel Kaboing TV

Kaboing TV has always been in the back of Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo creator Joe Murray’s mind since the internet came into being, but it wasn’t until he wrote a chapter about “alternative distribution of animation” in his book Creating Animated Cartoons with Character, did he really begin pursuing the idea of an exclusive Original programming Animation/Cartoon channel on the web.

In early 2010, after fruitless attempts at outside funding that matched Joe’s vision, Joe was urged by others to take his idea “to the people.” Joe started a pledge drive campaign on Kickstarter.com to raise some seed money for original episodes of his new series Frog in a Suit to “kickstart” the site. Over 346 “backers” stepped up to meet the funding goal in 45 days. With the additional help of countless volunteers, interns, and favors from friends in the industry, (and additional funding from Joe,) a total of three original episodes of Frog in a Suit were produced for the launch of KaboingTV.com.

Although this group effort came together to launch the site, it will take the support of viewers to watch, pledge and purchase from the Kaboing shop to keep the site up and running and producing new original programming.

The mission of KaboingTV is to provide an alternative channel for quality animation that serves both the cartoon fan, and the animation community of artists and writers.

“N.Y.C. (No York City)” by Rick Liss

“N.Y.C. (No York City)” by Rick Liss is a deliriously energetic pixilation tour of early-Eighties New York, where crime was rampant and mimes infested Central Park. A lot has changed since then, but the city’s relentless, wired bustle remains thankfully the same. The jarring electronic score, an inspired auditory complement, is by Laurie Anderson.

Tokyo International Anime Fair 2011 Cancelled

From a Press Release by the Tokyo International Anime Fair Executive Committee:

First of all, we would like to express our deepest condolences to the families of all those who have lost relatives as a result of the Tohoku Earthquake as well as to
convey our sincerest sympathies to many people who have been affected by this terrible disaster. It is our sincere hope to see a swift recovery of all the afflicted
areas.

Due to the extreme circumstances, Tokyo International Anime Fair Executive Committee has decided to cancel the Fair this year.

We’ve reached this conclusion considering the safety of all participants and visitors because power supplies are uncertain and traffic accessibility is unclear. We
apologize to the companies and organizations which had planned to participate, and to all the people who had planned to visit the Fair. We sincerely appreciate your
understanding to this issue.

“Try To Say” by Noella Borie

This music video, featuring paper cut-out animation by Paris-born, New York-based artist Noella Borie, follows a woman on journey “through a mirror, in search of an elusive heart, illustrating the song’s message of leaving a relationship that has gone sour”. Borie’s blog is NSFW. The song is a new single by Broadway actress Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages).

(Thanks, Tim Dunleavy)

Ward Kimball Treasures

I was thinking recently how wonderful it would be if the Disney Company compiled a Blu-ray Treasures collection of projects directed by Ward Kimball. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine a project like this ever happening, especially under the (dormant) Treasures label where the only name promoted is Walt’s. Still, I can’t help but think there must be some way for the Disney company to recognize the work of its most original and experimental director, or in the words of Walt Disney, “the one man who works for me I call a genius.” Ward has inspired everybody from Hayao Miyazaki to Chris Sanders, and it’s high time to introduce his work to new generations.

Some will point out that a decent amount of Ward’s work is already available: Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom and Melody appeared on the Disney Rarities DVD, and the space specials and Eyes in Outer Space were featured in the Tomorrow Land Treasures. However, a lot of Ward’s most memorable work as a director, including some of the studio’s oft-requested cult favorites, have never been released onto DVD. The majority of these works are from his later period when he was at his satirical peak. As an exercise in wishful thinking, here’s what my ideal Ward Kimball collection would include:
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Sucker Punch viral: “The Trenches” by Ben Hibon

Here’s an interesting little viral trailer for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, animated by Ben Hibon (The Tale of Three Brothers animation sequence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1).

THE TRENCHES, Synopsis: In Sucker Punch, the girls face off against an army of mechanized WWI soldiers. Through the use of clockwork and steam technology, human soldiers who die in battle are reanimated and sent back to the front lines. Although seemingly indistinguishable and soulless, the zombie army is not just made of gears and steam, but also of human flesh, bone, and memory. In “The Trenches” there is a tragic tale behind each lifeless mask.

Nickelodeon Greenlights New Seasons of “Yo Gabba Gabba!”, “Dora The Explorer”, a new “Tales of Peter Rabbit” And More

NEW YORK, March 10, 2011 – Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, has ordered 125 new episodes of the network’s top-rated preschool series, including new episodes of the latest hits Bubble Guppies, Team Umizoomi and The Fresh Beat Band and new episodes of the groundbreaking series Dora the Explorer. The network, which is home to four of the top five preschool shows on all TV—including top-ranked Bubble Guppies- has also ordered new seasons of Yo Gabba Gabba!, Max & Ruby and Olivia.

“Over the years, our preschool shows have introduced a wide range of educational concepts, from Spanish and Mandarin language and culture to mathematics and music,” said Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group. ”All have found that magic mix of educating and entertaining our audience, and we’re excited to continue creating content with great storytelling, that delivers on our commitment to give kids and parents what they really want.”

In addition, Nickelodeon in conjunction with media content company Chorion (Olivia, Max & Ruby) and publisher Frederick Warne & Co. (owners of the Beatrix Potterâ„¢ property), is in production on 26 episodes of the brand-new animated preschool series The Tales of Peter Rabbit. Slated to air in 2012 on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., the series will feature many of the beloved and iconic Beatrix Potter characters, including Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny.

David Levine Named Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD Worldwide

MARCH 15, 2011 — David Levine has been promoted to Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD Worldwide, it was announced today by Carolina Lightcap, President, Disney Channels Worldwide. Mr. Levine will take on strategic oversight of the multiplatform Disney XD and will focus on fueling its continued growth. The new role is designed to leverage a fast-growing portfolio of brands under the Disney Channels Worldwide banner, to provide more brand-focused leadership and meet an increased commitment to delivering high quality creative content to kids and families. Levine, who joined Disney in 2004, will report to Ms. Lightcap in his General Manager role and, in his program planning and scheduling role, will report to Paul DeBenedittis, Senior Vice President, Programming Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide.

In making the announcement, Ms. Lightcap said, “David brings dedication and a wealth of experience to this newly created position, and I am confident he will increase our strength by serving as Disney XD’s brand champion, driving the overall strategy and marshaling the many opportunities it offers.”

In the U.S., Disney XD marked its two year anniversary in February and has delivered eighth consecutive quarters of ratings growth on television. Disney XD is available via 21 channels, in 18 languages in 120 countries/territories worldwide.

In the role of Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD Worldwide, Levine will guide Disney XD’s program planning and scheduling and will work with the Programming team to identify acquisition and co-production opportunities. He will broaden his operational scope to include strategic direction for the multiplatform Disney XD brand and 24-hour, ad supported channel in the U.S. He will also support the Disney XD channels around the world in original content development and programming acquisition strategy.

Levine most recently served as Vice President, Worldwide Programming Strategy, Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Disney Channels Worldwide, and was responsible for overseeing global programming and acquisition strategies for the Disney ABC kids’ brands worldwide. He led the task force to launch Disney XD channel in the U.S. and guided its roll out worldwide. Levine created the business model and led negotiations for Disney Channel’s global television movie co-productions and identified both “Harriet the Spy” and “16 Wishes” as co-production projects. He also managed the inception of co-production opportunities for all Disney kids platforms, and furthered the connection Disney Channel has with kids and families by setting strategic direction to globalize local content developed by Disney Channels around the world.

Before joining Disney, Levine was Vice President of Business Affairs and Development, Ragdoll USA, where he oversaw all legal matters and North American television sales. Previously, he was General Counsel to The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, overseeing the legal group supporting the billion dollar Teletubbies franchise in North/South America. Levine got his start in the industry working for Marvel Entertainment Group overseeing legal compliance of its licensees and working on a variety of intellectual property matters.

He is a member of the New York State Bar, and is a law graduate from George Washington University. He received an undergraduate degree from CUNY-Queens College and resides in Los Angeles.

“The Cyclotrope” by Tim Wheatley

I’m really into zoetrope-related experiments this week, which is a line I don’t recommend using as a conversation starter at any party. Above is a funky riff on the idea by Tim Wheatley that uses a bicycle wheel:

The cyclotrope is a cycle of 18 images that is spun at a certain speed so that the frame rate of the camera filming it gives the illusion of animation.

Tim is currently a student at the University College Falmouth in Cornwall. More details about the project on his website.

(Thanks, Loring Robbins)