“Vestmanna Eyjar” by Einar Baldvin

Back in February, Amid post Einar Baldvin’s Cal Arts thesis film, Catatonic. Baldvin just completed a musical piece in collaboration with Icelandic Klezmer-and-Balkan band Varsjár Bandalagið (The Warsaw Pact). It’s much lighter fare than Catatonic but just as intense and interesting in its own way. Perfect viewing for an end-of-the-world weekend.

MAY 23 in LA: “Cartoon Dump”

The world is ending on May 21st, so May 23rd is the perfect time for the apocalyptic hilarity of Cartoon Dump, with its rapturous mixture of sketches, songs, puppets, stand-up comedy and actual Saturday Morning Cartoons from the 50s, 60s and 70s that are so bad you’ll be praying for the destruction of the Earth.

I’ll be introducing Frank Conniff (MST3K), Erica Doering along with guest comedians Andy Kindler, Emo Phillips and our usual gang of Mighty Mr. Titan, Johnny Cypher and who knows what else…

Join us Monday (5/23), 8 PM at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. (two blocks west of Vermont). Buy advance tickets here!

MAY 22 IN LA: Experimental Animation at the Egyptian

Battery CageLA Film Forum presents Triumph of the Wild: New Experimental Animation curated by Eric Leiser. The screening, which presents recent experimental films from the US and Europe, takes place on Sunday, May 22, at 7:30 pm at the Egyptian Theater (6712 Hollywood Blvd.) Three of the filmmakers–Eric Leiser, Alice Cohen, and Gina Marie Napolitan–will appear in person.

Tickets are $10/general admission, $6/students and seniors, and free for Filmforum members. To purchase advance tickets, visit the LA Film Forum website.

Here’s the screening line-up:

These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us by Michael Robinson
(2010, USA, 13 mins)

The External World by David OReilly
(2011, Ireland, 17 mins)

Triumph of the Wild by Martha Colburn
(2009, USA, 10 mins)

Battery Cage by Studio Smack
(2009, Netherlands, 4 mins)

Mirror Moves for Private Eyes by Alice Cohen
(2010, USA, 13 mins)

Mastering Bambi by Persijn Broerson and Margit Luckas
(2011, USA/Netherlands, 13 mins)

Remisequenz by Xenia Lesniewski
(2010, Germany, 3 mins)

City of Progress by Justine Bennet
(2008, Netherlands, 11 mins)

Forest by Eric Leiser
(2008, USA, 3 mins)

Demons and Cathedrals by Gina Marie Napolitan
(2010, USA, 5 mins)

Six Animation Students Win Student Awards from National Board of Review

Student winners of the NBR Award: (Back Row, L-R) Bernardo Britto; John Canemaker, professor and Head of the Animation Program; Seiju M Einarsen; Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts; Matt Christensen; (Front Row, L-R) John W Xiao; Jacob Kafka; and Jennifer R Paehr.

Six students from the Animation program in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts have been awarded National Board of Review (NBR) Student Grants. Each student received $2,000 and a complimentary one-year National Board of Review membership.

The student winners and their films are: Jacob Kafka for Giraffe-stronaut; Matthew Christensen for A Rant; John Xiao for E;  Jennifer Paehr for Grandpa; Seiju M. Einarsen for The Octopus and the Crab; and Bernardo Britto for Time Machines.

NBR’s mission is to promote excellence in film through the public recognition of exceptional filmmaking achievements.  NBR asked eight film schools this year to send its best five student films.  An optional sixth film can be submitted if it is a musical or has musical elements.  John Canemaker, professor and director of the Animation Program, submitted the six animated films that earned grants this year.

“We have been giving grants to Kanbar filmmakers since 2007,” said James R. Janowsky, creative director for NBR.  “This is the first time, however, the Student Grant Committee has awarded a grant to every film that was submitted by a school, and we are thrilled with the outcome.  The quality of the NYU films is a testament to the Tisch School’s film program under the leadership of the Kanbar Institute faculty.”

Janowsky surprised the students with the news of their awards when he personally presented them with checks at the screening for the annual Spring Animation Showcase on May 12.

Earlier this year, two Undergraduate Film and Television students and four students from the Graduate Film division won NBR Student Grants for their narrative films, which were announced April 1 at the First Run Film Festival.  The undergraduates students are Alex Smolowe for Borderland, and Benjamin Halstead for Picture Perfect.  The graduate students are Levi Abrino for Little Horses, Prithi Gowda for Televisnu, Zelmira Grainza for La Pileta (The Pool), and Pamela Romanowsky for Gravity.

Curious Pictures Hires Space Program’s Bill Reilly as Executive Producer for Commercial Work

Executive Producer Bill Reilly has officially joined Curious Pictures. Bill Reilly brings with him an impressive entertainment industry background and a track record of success as an executive. Bill will be overseeing Curious Pictures’ commercial work. Bill will working out of Curious’ new Santa Monica office and will split his time between LA and NYC.

Universal Studios Orlando Announces “Despicable Me” Attraction & Enhancements for Spider-Man Ride

Universal Orlando Resort today announced that its newest attraction will be based on Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s blockbuster 3-D-CGI feature Despicable Me, bringing minions, mayhem and a whole new level of 3-D family fun to its guests. TheDespicable Me experience will replace the Jimmy Neutron attraction at Universal Studios Florida.

Universal also announced that The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, one of the greatest attractions in theme park history, will be completely reanimated in 4K digital high definition — once again redefining the theme park experience.

Both will open in 2012 and are being developed by the same award-winning Universal Creative team that has brought all of Universal Orlando’s spectacularly themed attractions to life. Both will utilize brand-new, highly sophisticated Infitec 3-D projection systems designed to make the experience sharper, clearer and more “real” than ever before.

Despicable Me

With a worldwide gross of more than $540 million, 2010’s Despicable Me, from directors Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin, is the sixth most successful film that Universal Pictures has ever distributed. It is now the 10th-biggest animated film in U.S. history. The 3-D animated adventure thrilled audiences across the globe with its outrageous humor, endearing characters and compelling storyline — all of which guests will be able to experience exclusively at Universal Orlando in 2012.

Despicable Me will become the first-ever Universal animated film to be transformed into a theme park experience. The Universal Creative team is working closely with producer Chris Meledandri, the founder of Illumination Entertainment, to create all-new animation for an all-new Despicable Me adventure that places guests right in the center of the action.

Gru, one of the world’s greatest super-villains, is bringing his high-tech empire — and his three adopted daughters — to Universal Studios, and he is looking for all the help he can get. First, he will transform guests into an army of mischievous, scene-stealing minions. Then he will train them. And that kicks off an unforgettable ride experience that creates a hysterical mix of chaos and family fun.

Guests will:

· laugh as they embark on an entirely-new, high-tech 3-D digital adventure with their favorite characters from the film — Gru, daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes, and of course, Gru’s not-so-bright pit crew, the minions
· marvel as they explore Gru’s lair and descend into his secret lab
· shriek as the entire family is transformed into minions
· celebrate as they are swept into a first-ever, minion-inspired, interactive dance party where they can show off their best moves

“The Despicable Me attraction is the latest example of how we tap into pop culture’s most compelling stories and turn them into extraordinary theme park entertainment,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “This is a perfect fit for Universal Orlando, and we can’t wait to bring this one-of-a-kind experience to life.”

“As we write, design and animate our films at Illumination, it is our singular goal to bring to life endearing and, hopefully, enduring characters,” said Chris Meledandri. “With the creation of next year’s Despicable Me attraction at Universal Orlando, audiences will be able to immerse themselves in Gru’s world for many years to come.”

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Already one of the most popular and innovative theme park attractions ever created, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal’s Islands of Adventure continues to raise the bar for theme park entertainment — combining advanced motion-based ride vehicles, 3-D digital film and live special effects to create an unparalleled ride experience. It is widely acknowledged as one of the best theme park experiences in the world — and it’s about to get mind-blowingly better.

The newly reanimated, high-definition experience will unfold within the attraction’s towering visual spaces — taking on even larger than larger-than-life proportions. The new digital animation — combined with the new Infitec system and new set enhancements — will transform what is already one of the most technologically advanced attractions ever created into what will feel like an all-new experience.

Facts about the enhanced ride experience:

· All-new digital animation done in 4K high definition — the highest HD resolution available
· The new HD animation will allow guests to experience details they’ve never been able to before — from the flames spewing from Hobgoblin’s pumpkins to the electricity arching through Electro’s body to the stitching on Spider-Man’s gloves.
· To take advantage of new HD clarity and detail, Universal Orlando is adding entirely new details to the film — and leaving it up to guests to find them.

“Guests will not believe their eyes when they experience the new Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man,” said Thierry Coup, senior vice president of the Universal Creative Studio. “We are talking about a larger-than-life environment and the HD animation will make it even more remarkable than it has been. It will seem brand-new.”

Toon Boom Withdraws From Annecy’s International Animation Film Market And Strikes Out With Own European Tour

As the industry leader with a solid expertise in production pipelines developed over 15 years, Toon Boom has become the premier global technology and workflow supplier in the animation industry. It is with great regret that Toon Boom is announcing its withdrawal from MIFA, due to a fundamental disagreement with the organizers.

As Toon Boom was planning to officially announce Harmony 9 at MIFA, the executive team will be embarking on a Harmony Launch Tour throughout Europe in June. Led by Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Francisco Del Cueto, Chief Technology Officer, the tour will give the team the opportunity to deliver more personalized presentations and demonstrations. Details will be communicated very shortly.

Harmony 9 delivers capabilities that simply did not exist before. Starting with True Pencil, the ability to draw with pencil lines supporting textures; then on to Deform, the ability to deform images and drawings over a period of time using advanced bone and curve deformers; Effects Inside, the ability to access built-in particle effects and dozens of other effects; and finally, 2D-3D Integration, the ability to import and modify 3D assets within Harmony as well as transform elements on all 3 axes. As the main animation production backbone, Harmony offers full artistic freedom with ease of use and total control.

“Chick” by Michal Socha

Chick Film

One of my favorite student films from a few years back — 2008, to be exact — has finally appeared on-line: Michal Socha’s Chick (Laska) from Poland. The images in this short stay with the viewer long after the film has ended thanks to a combination of stark production design and energetic animation, especially the jaunty dance of the lady, who appears to be a prostitute. The sex scene (safe for work) illustrates the effectiveness of abstracting an idea in animation instead of literally showing it. It may surprise some viewers to learn that the film was made primarily in CG, using 3D Studio Max along with After Effects and Toon Boom. Dig around the film’s official website to see the storyboards and concept art.

First Look: Fox’s “Allen Gregory”

Fox is premiering another new series this fall: Allen Gregory, created by actor Jonah Hill (Get Him to the Greek, Superbad), and Yes Man screenwriters Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul. The seven-episode order for the series is being produced by Burbank-based Bento Box Entertainment, which was started a couple years ago by three Film Roman executives.

Adult Swim Announces New Programming Line-Up for 2011-12 Season

CAPTION: (L-R) Adult Swim/Cartoon Network President and COO Stu Snyder, EVP/GM for Cartoon Network Ad Sales & Marketing John O’Hara, performer/entrepreneur Jay-Z, Adult Swim SVP programming and production Mike Lazzo, and SVP of Ad Sales Josh Feldman attend the Adult Swim Upfront 2011 at The Roseland Ballroom in New York City.

Adult Swim celebrated a new slate of programming for the 2011-12 season last night during their star-studded annual Upfront event in New York City. Coming off a stellar first quarter, in which the network added an hour of primetime to its schedule, Adult Swim ranked as cable television’s #1 network for total day delivery of adults 18-34 and adults 18-49. Adult Swim also has ranked #1 in total day delivery of adults 18-24 and men 18-24 every quarter since becoming its own individually ranked network in 2005 (23 consecutive quarters).

New original series and specials:

· NTSF:SD:SUV:: NTSF:SD:SUV::(National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle), is a clandestine team of government agents working together to protect San Diego from numerous terrorist threats coming in daily from such evil countries as Mexico, Canada and Guam. This team of highly trained operatives has only one job: saving your ass so you can drive your Prius and see your movies in 3-D without worrying about living in a country run by no-good terrorists. As with many other acronym-ed police procedurals that dominate the airwaves, NTSF:SD:SUV::’s season of 15-minute episodes is ripped from the headlines and full of suspense, action, drama, cliffhangers, yelling, passionate love-making, more yelling, death and plenty of pregnant pauses. NTSF:SD:SUV:: is created by Paul Scheer and stars Scheer, Rebecca Romjin, Rob Riggle, Kate Mulgrew, Brandon Johnson, June Diane Raphael, Martin Starr and S.A.M., the first sentient robot on television. Paul Scheer and Jonathan Stern are executive producers. Curtis Gwinn is co-executive producer. Series premieres this summer on Adult Swim.

· The Venture Bros. Special – From The Ladle To The Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy –See the Venture Family as you’ve never seen them before: in a 15-minute documentary-style animated special. Follow the meteoric rise, the equally meteoric fall, and the decidedly un-meteor-like second coming of the most important band Hank Venture, Dermott Fitctel and H.E.L.P.eR. robot have ever been in: Shallow Gravy. If you’re hungry for rock, then open wide, because here comes a ladle of heavy metal fire and metaphoric meat drippings. Launched on Adult Swim in August 2004, The Venture Bros. is an inspired spoof of 1960s action cartoon shows such as Johnny Quest. Created by Jackson Publick III (King of the Hill, The Tick), the 30-minute animated series follows the bizarre misadventures of the Venture family. The Venture Bros. Special–From the Ladle to the Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy premieres July 24 on Adult Swim.

· The Heart, She HollerThe Heart, She Holler is a new live-action soap opera about folk who ain’t never used soap or seen an opera. It’s a satire on the emotional Hee-Hawification of America, set in a town so inbred, the folks have become almost supernaturally wrong. The series is produced by PFFR, and stars Patton Oswalt and Heather Lawless. The Heart, She Holler premieres this fall on Adult Swim.

· China, IL–Frank and Steve Smith are brothers who teach in the history department of a state university in China, Illinois. They also happen to be legends in their own minds who will often sacrifice facts, lessons and syllabi for the sake of being awesome. Created by Brad Neely, executive produced by Brad Neely (Creased Comics) and Daniel Weidenfeld and produced by Titmouse, Inc. (Metalocalypse), China, IL premieres this fall on Adult Swim.

· Tight BrosTight Bros is a new animated comedy that follows two moronic “clergybros” who are on a quest for fat beats, hot chicks and tricked out cell phones. Vince and Aaron were called by God to spread a holy message: one of peace, love and tearin’ up the club. By day the two sell religious kitsch at a kiosk in Viceroy Del Sol mall. By night they hunt for babes, but only with mega tans and super smooth waxes in place. Premiering in the spring of 2012, Tight Bros is created and written and executive produced by Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil.

· Black Dynamite–Based on 2009’s critically-acclaimed feature film, Black Dynamite, the new 30-minute animated series will premiere in the spring of 2012. The Black Dynamite animated series further chronicles the exploits of the central character, Black Dynamite, and his crew. Under the direction of Carl Jones (The Boondocks), the series features the voice talent of Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Kym Whitley and Byron Minns, all of whom starred in the feature film. The feature film is an outrageous action comedy-spoof that follows ex-CIA agent and full-time ladies man, Black Dynamite, who’s out to avenge the death of his brother against kung-fu masters, drug-dealing pimps and The Man. Black Dynamite, the animated series, is being produced by Ars Nova Entertainment. Carl Jones is executive producer. Jon Steingart and Jillian Apfelbaum also serve as executive producers. Brian Ash is co-executive producer. Scott Sanders, Michael Jai White and Byron Minns are producers. Black Dynamite is being animated by Titmouse, Inc.

Returning series:

· Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1–The series formerly known as Aqua Teen Hunger Force is one of the most popular and longest-running original series on Adult Swim and has been retooled for glory and renamed Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1. Show creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, felt that after 100+ episodes, they really didn’t like the name. Now Frylock, Master Shake, Meatwad and their smelly neighbor Carl appears under a new banner and new theme song, which was written, composed and performed by Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Alain Johannes. The closing theme shred guitar performance is by co-creator Maiellaro. The cast also does a lot of the things they’ve done over the past 10 years: look for a new place to put their stuff, pay rent, make gut-wrenching decisions and talk about life while sipping herbal tea. Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 premiered May 8 and continues every Sunday at 11:45 p.m. (ET/PT) on Adult Swim.

· Childrens HospitalChildrens Hospital is an award-winning facility where happy and healthy children are looked after by doctors who deeply care about them and the overall well-being of their community. That whole sentence was a lie. Childrens Hospital is created by Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) and produced by Abominable Pictures, distributed by Warner Bros. Television and features an all-star cast. The series is based on the Webby Award—winning digital series that debuted on TheWB.com in 2008. In Season 3, Corddry is again joined by a cast of comedic geniuses, including Malin Akerman, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino, two-time Emmy® winner Megan Mullally and Henry Winkler. Childrens Hospital also won a Comedy Award this year for best Sketch Comedy/Alternative Comedy Series. Season 3 returns to Adult Swim on Thursday, June 2 at midnight (ET, PT).

· DelocatedDelocated is a live-action 30-minute comedy series from creator/executive producer and star Jon Glaser with co-executive producers Vernon Chatman, John Lee and Alyson Levy. After testifying against the Russian Mafia, “Jon” and his family are uprooted and start living undercover through the witness protection program. After existing quietly in an anonymous suburb, “Jon” accepts an offer for the family to participate in a reality show based on their lives. Season 3 of Delocated premieres in the spring of 2012.

· Eagleheart–The live-action comedy Eagleheart, starring Chris Elliott, debuted on the network in 2010. Elliott returns in season 2 as U.S. Marshal Chris Monsanto along with cast members Brett Gelman and Maria Thayer. Every episode of Eagleheart promises violence, suspense, intrigue and copious amounts of needless bloodshed as Marshal Chris Monsanto blindly kicks, punches and shoots his way to what may or may not be a legitimate solution to his case. Created by former Late Night with Conan O’Brien writers Michael Koman and Andrew Weinberg, Eagleheart is produced by O’Brien’s Conaco Productions and Dakota Pictures. It is executive produced by Koman, Weinberg, Jason Woliner, Troy Miller, Tracey Baird, David Kissinger, Conan O’Brien and Jeff Ross. Richard Schwartz is the co-executive producer.

· Mary Shelley’s FrankenholeMoral Orel creator Dino Stamatopoulos returns to Adult Swim in the spring of 2012 with season 2 of the stop-motion animated series Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole. This is the true story of Victor Frankenstein–the world’s most narcissistic genius–and his various attempts to become recognized as the great creator/scientist that he believes himself to be.

· Metalocalypse–From creators Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha, the fourth season of the animated series Metalocalypse premieres in the spring of 2012. The series chronicles Dethklok’s crusades into darkness and their exploitation as the world’s most popular metal band and most significant cultural force.

· Mongo Wrestling AllianceThe Wrestler meets Metalocalypse in this story of the once great Kleberkuh Clan. Back-stabbing smoking ring sluts, villainous mutants and pile-drivers from the top of great big ladders–it’s all in a days work for young Rusty Kleberkuh who is determined to restore his family’s name in the treacherous and deviant world of professional wrestling. Created by Tommy Blacha (Metalocalypse co-creator), Mongo Wrestling Alliance premiered season 1 part 1 in January. Season 1 part 2 premieres Sunday, June 19 at midnight (ET, PT).

· Robot ChickenRobot Chicken uses stop-motion animation to bring pop-culture parodies to life in a modern take on the variety/sketch show format. The Emmy Award®-winning series began airing in February 2005 and remains the top-rated original series on Adult Swim. Robot Chicken is created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich under their Stoopid Monkey Productions, in conjunction with Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico’s ShadowMachine Films. Green and Senreich also executive produce, write and, with Chris McKay, direct the series, with Green providing many of the voices. Season 5 part 2 premieres this fall.

· Squidbillies–The inbred squid-things of Dougal County return for a fifth season of hillbilly shenanigans in the spring of 2012. The squids won’t disappointify you, as long as you like bank robbing, drug trafficking, unskinny bopping, and guest appearances by bona-fide famous people. Squidbillies premiered on Adult Swim in October 2006 and is from creators Dave Willis (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and Jim Fortier (The Brak Show), both Georgia natives. Willis and Fortier worked as writers and producers on Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

· Superjail!–In April the hit series Superjail! slammed back in general population for a second season of destruction and continues to premiere on Sundays at midnight (ET, PT) on Adult Swim. Double the insanity. Double the crazy. Double the pain of being kicked in the guts really hard. Superjail! returns to Adult Swim with ten new episodes produced at Titmouse Studios in N.Y. Series creators and executive producers Christy Karacas (Cartoon Sushi, Robotomy) and Stephen Warbrick (Beavis and Butthead, Daria) teamed up again to take this over-the-top animated series to the next level. Chris McCulloch (The Venture Bros.) returned as a consulting producer this season and lent his talents with story editing and voice-overs.

Pilots currently in development:
· Regal Productions; Live action comedy created, directed, produced and starring Bob Odenkirk.
· The Dummiez; Nick Cannon project
· Untitled project with Major Lazer
· Untitled project with Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All
· Rolling with Dad; 30-minute animated sit-com created by Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg
· Untitled project by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland

Returning acquisitions:

· American Dad

· Bleach

· Family Guy

· Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

· King of the Hill


Xeopex and Ed-Online Technologies Partner for “Nabab Holidays” Animated Series

CAPTION: (L to R): Tan Chiang Loong, Executive Director of Ed-Online Technologies; Lee Chuen Loong, Executive Director of Ed-Online Technologies; Fethi Nedjari, Chief Executive Officer of Xeopex; Catherine Vernon, Representative of Xeopex; Charles Ballerait, Head of Development of Xeopex

From home-court in Cannes, Xeopex, a Paris-based animation production company which specializes in developing and producing entertainment programs for children signed a significant co-production agreement for Nabab Holidays with Ed-Online Technologies, a leading Malaysian animation and e-Learning development company.

This deal comes timely, just when the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) and Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA) had a meeting with the Centre National du Cinema et de L’image Animee (CNC) during the Cannes Film Festival (11 — 20 May) on a committed initial interest to understand how Malaysian and French producers could collaborate in the production of feature films and television productions with the support of its Government.

Adam Ham, Executive Director of GCMA said “The Malaysians have attended numerous MIPCOM, MIPTV and Marche du Film in Cannes, and it is natural that we’re extremely excited to witness a French-Malaysian co-production, which will surely open the European gateway for other Malaysian producers. The quality of Malaysian animation has improved significantly over the past few years, and this is surely a testament to the strength of the Malaysian contents and application industry and its state-of-the-art studio facilities, skill sets, and commitment of the Malaysian Government.”

Nabab Holidays is a 52 eps x 13 mins 2D animated comedy TV series that features a family running a holiday resort that serves holiday-makers from outer space.

Lee Chuen Loong, Executive Director of Ed-Online Technologies said “We are extremely happy to co-produce Nabab Holidays with Xeopex. I believe both companies can leverage on each others’ strengths and experience to make Nabab Holidays a successful comedy series.”

Fethi Nedjari, CEO of Xeopex also added “With Nabab Holidays co-production, we also want to develop promising partnerships between French and Malaysian animation industries.”

PassmoreLab to Add 3D Production to “Starfish Cove” CGI Animated Films

Colorado based animation studio Grand Design Productions is collaborating with San Diego’s PassmoreLab to add 3D production to two of Grand Design Production’s Starfish Cove CGI animated films. Utilizing PassmoreLab’s proprietary technology, the Starfish Cove films Never Trust a Krum and Da’ Codfather will be released for the first time in stereoscopic 3D for broadcast and distribution on 3D platforms around the world. Featuring state-of-the-art CGI animation, contemporary themes, powerful music and a cast of memorable characters, Starfish Cove delivers a fun-filled, family-friendly, 3D underwater entertainment experience for audiences of all ages.

“We are very excited about collaborating with PassmoreLab,” says John Douglas, founder and CEO of Grand Design Productions. “Being a pioneer and innovator in stereoscopic technology, they are natural partners for such a project and a company we can rely on to provide the finest 3D production possible for our films.”

Displayed in a stunning stereoscopic format, Starfish Cove is an animated series featuring an all-starfish cast that includes Bloo, Zozo, Poog and Weedle. Officer Crabihan also plays a key role in the series maintaining a constant vigil over Bloo and the gang in an effort to protect them from the most loathsome, despicable predator to ever set foot on the ocean floor — the Krum! In Never Trust a Krum, the Krum tries to lure Bloo into his lair but his nefarious scheme is thwarted by the ever vigilant Officer Crabihan while in Da’ Codfather, Bloo and the gang rescue a small codfish and learn that “one good turn deserves another” when his uncle Vito “Da’ Codfather” Codlione repays the favor by pledging his eternal allegiance to the little starfish.

“From Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to The Chronicles of Narnia to Rio, the success of 3D animated films is undeniable. We were looking for a production partner to help meet this consumer demand and we very impressed with the animation team at GDP,” stated Greg Passmore, CEO of PassmoreLab.

“With the addition of these family-oriented titles, we can now offer an even broader inventory of 3D films to our distribution partners around the world.”

Never Trust a Krum and Da’ Codfather 3D films will be in wide release this summer on 3D TV networks, video-on-demand services and new 3D smart phones and tablets worldwide.

Anchor Bay Films Acquires Anime “Redline”

Anchor Bay Films announced today the acquisition of Katsuhito Ishii’s Redline with all rights in North America, the U.K. as well as Australia and New Zealand. The film will be released under Anchor Bay’s Manga brand this fall. Written by Katsuhito Ishii (director of The Taste of Tea, Funky Forest, Shark Skin Man & Peach Hip Girl and the anime segment of Kill Bill Vol.1) and directed by the up-and-coming Takeshi Koike, who participated in the “World Record” segment of Animatrix (2003), Redline was seven years in the making and proudly demonstrates the new possibilities of 2D animation, amidst the current prominence of 3D animation. Bill Clark, President of Anchor Bay Entertainment, made the announcement.

Additionally, Redline has received rave reviews even from those admittedly not anime fans. From its premiere at Fantastic Fest, Harry Knowles said “Redline should not be missed, everyone came out smiling and happy. FANTASTIC!” He called it the “…coolest Speed Racer ever…and that counts the Wachowski film.” AnimeNewsNetwork.com called it “… the most insanely exciting, visually exhilarating anime film you’ve seen in decades. Incredible fun!”

Redline is a racing film created by studio MADHOUSE (Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars). Redline is about the biggest and most deadly racing tournament in the universe. Only held once every five years, everyone wants to stake their claim to fame, including JP, a reckless dare-devil driver oblivious to speed limits with his ultra-customized car – all the while, organized crime and militaristic governments want to leverage the race to their own ends. Amongst the other elite rival drivers in the tournament, JP falls for the alluring Sonoshee – but will she prove his undoing, or can a high speed romance survive a mass destruction race?

Chronicle’s Fall 2011 Animation Books

My favorite publisher Chronicle Books recently announced their fall publishing line-up and it includes three books that may be of interest to Brew readers:

A first of its kind book: Setting the Scene: The Art & Development of Animation Layout by Fraser MacLean. I haven’t seen anything from it, but I know Fraser has been working his tail off to finish the book. It promises to be a comprehensive examination of animation layout practices, both past and present.

Setting the Scene

Sasquatch’s Big Hair Drawing Book by Chris McDonnell. Chris has worked on animated series like Yo Gabba Gabba! and Tom Goes To The Mayor and also designed Bill Plympton’s new coffeetable art book. His drawing activity book should be something like this.

Big Hairy Drawing Book

The Art of Pixar: The Complete Color Scripts and Select Art from 25 Years of Animation by Amid Amidi. Yes, that’s me. But even though my name is on the cover, there won’t be a whole lot of my writing in the book. The book is almost entirely artwork, which is exactly as it should be since it’s called The Art of Pixar. It’ll be all kinds of classy.

The Art of Pixar

“Toy Story 3″ Director Lee Unkrich on “Win, Lose or Draw”

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich promised to post an embarrassing old video when he reached 100k followers on his Twitter account. He reached that number yesterday, and the embarrassing video is this appearance on the Eighties game show Win, Lose or Draw. Unkrich prefaced the video with three facts:

1) I was 20 years old
2) I was plump
3) I was coerced into buying that sweater by the show’s producers

Fun question of the day: What other animation artists, besides Unkrich and Ward Kimball, have appeared on game shows? Please share if you know.

Auction Results for 20 Pieces of Animation Art

Sleeping Beauty

Last weekend, Profiles in History in conjunction with Van Eaton Galleries (disclosure: they are an advertiser on Cartoon Brew) staged a massive animation art auction. I’m not a collector, but found it fascinating to browse through the auction results and see what prices the lots commanded as well as what pieces didn’t sell (for example, lots of Fantasia art).

Here’s a sampling of twenty pieces and how much each sold for. The last few prices are staggering.
Continue reading

“Africa Directo: Los Nadies” By Carlos Salgado

Carlos Salgado, an illustrator, designer and director for Spanish production company User T38 sent us a note with a link to his beautifully stylized spot:

“I’ve been following Cartoon Brew for a long time and has been a web of reference and inspiration for my work. In the last year I’ve been directing and design 3 pieces of animation that will be seeing this year, the first of them (ironically the last one I made ​​but the first to be shown) is a 1 minute and 40 seconds long animation made ​​for an NGO (non governmental organization), África Directo (a humanitarian aid group), I invite you to see the animation we have done.”

Credits after the jump…
Continue reading

Cartoon Brew’s 2nd Annual Student Animation Festival

Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival

Cartoon Brew is pleased to announce a call for entries for our second annual Student Film Festival. We launched the Student Film Festival last year and the response exceeded our wildest expectations with over 120 entries from around the world.

Our mission for the festival is simple: to share and promote student-produced animated shorts of the highest caliber…the most original, the most thought-provoking, the ones that make us laugh hardest and engage us emotionally. We know that students are producing some of the most exciting work in the animation art form today and we want to show this work to our broad community of industry artists and animation aficionados. This year, not only will our festival selections debut on the Cartoon Brew home page, we’ve also arranged real world screenings of the films at the new TRICKSTER festival in San Diego and at The Cinefamily theater in Los Angeles.

Here’s all the info you need:


1. It has to be animated. (Obviously.)
2. It has to be a student film. (Even more obvious.)
3. Must have been completed after March 1, 2010.
4. Must be an online premiere. (Films that are accessible online to the public will not be considered.)
5. Submissions due by Tuesday, May 31, 2011

To submit, send an email to studentfest (at) cartoonbrew (dot) com with the following info:

• Your name, school and country
• Film title and synopsis
• Private link and password (ex: Password-Protected Vimeo link, Private or Unlisted YouTube link, or a website download link).

Up to 10 films will be selected for the festival. We will announce the festival selections in early June. Screenings will begin on Cartoon Brew later in June. Every film that is selected to screen as part of the Cartoon Brew Student Film Festival will be paid a screening fee of $300(US). We don’t take any exclusivity over your film. In other words, you are still free to submit to festivals, sell it to distributors, and post it anywhere on-line after its debut in our festival.

Many students are erroneously informed in school that posting their film on-line ruins their festival chances. We’ve explored the issue before by speaking with festival directors and recommend reading this. None of the major animation festivals enforce such a rule today. However, some non-animation festivals, like Sundance, ask that a film be taken off-line during the course of their festival (although we know for a fact that they have not enforced the rule in the past). As far as we know, the only awards organization that strictly demands films remain off-line is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, so if you’re trying to qualify for a Student Academy Award, you don’t want to post your film on-line.

Disney Announces “Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever!”

Phineas and Ferb are gonna do it all! Disney Channel’s animated gem, the critically acclaimed Phineas and Ferb, TV’s #1 animated series among Tweens 9-14 for three years running, has reached a new pinnacle by inspiring an exciting live touring stage show which will play more than 80 hometowns across the country beginning in August.

Produced by Feld Entertainment, Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever!, brings Phineas, Ferb, Candace, Isabella, Baljeet, Buford and friends to the stage as they make the most of the last day of summer by building an invention bigger, better and more amazing than ever. Before anyone can wonder “Hey! Where’s Perry?,” the pet platypus dons his Agent P fedora, and hilarious hijinks unfold as he battles Dr. Doofenshmirtz to save the Danville Tri-state area and audiences everywhere from the evil scientist’s most havoc-wreaking scheme to date.

“Disney Channel has created an extraordinarily popular TV series that offers humor for multiple generations and I am thrilled that Feld Entertainment is bringing Disney’s Phineas and Ferb to the stage for the very first time,” said Producer Alana Feld. “The dynamic characters, witty humor and inspired music from the television series set the perfect foundation for Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever! to create an unparalleled Phineas and Ferb experience for audiences.”

“We are filled with a great sense of pride over this upcoming live tour and are especially thrilled with the achievements of the Feld creative team which has produced a smart, interesting and funny stage show, that extends the characters, stories and comedy that are at the heart of what we do every day,” said Phineas and Ferb co-creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh.

Audiences will be whisked on a high-energy ride that is part action adventure and part rock concert, while they move it and shake it to a soundtrack of hit songs from the animated series, including “Gitchee Gitchee Goo,” “Squirrels in My Pants,” “Backyard Beach,” “Busted,” “Today is Gonna Be a Great Day,” and “Summer Belongs to You.” Familiar songs serve as a main ingredient in the plot, advancing the story from scene to scene, while taking on a whole new feel when fused with fresh, original choreography and inventive special effects.

To bring Phineas and Ferb from screen to stage, Producer Alana Feld assembled a creative team whose sense of humor, understanding of a live audience and ability to incorporate the essence of the characters seamlessly brings the show to life. These industry experts include:

Fred Tallaksen (Director/Choreographer) — Award-winning choreographer of Madonna’s “Sorry” video and the finale of her Confessions World Tour; in 2008, earned a Latin Grammy® in the Best Video category for Juanes’s “Me Enamora;” has choreographed for many TV shows, including Modern Family, Outsourced and Wizards of Waverly Place; skating consultant for Austin Powers III-Goldmember;

Bradley Zweig (Writer) — Veteran of children’s programming who has written for Disney Channel, CW, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids and Nickelodeon; served as writer and producer on the Henson Digital Performance Studio television series Sid the Science Kid, for which he was nominated for an Emmy® Award;

Rick Papineau (Scenic Designer) — Vice President of Scenic Elements at Feld Entertainment; veteran designer who creates props, scenic elements and special effects for all of the company’s touring shows;

Cynthia Nordstrom (Costume Designer) — Designed costumes for more than 15 original dance shows in Downtown Disney; designed costumes for Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy;

Sam Doty (Lighting Designer) — Assisted in the building and planning of every Feld Entertainment show since 2006, including Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy, Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival and three editions of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® circus;

Mike Avila (Music Director) — Composition credits include an original score recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra for a Denmark celebration of the stories of Hans Christian Anderson; composed award-winning Peter Pan’s Neverland event spectacular at Universal Studios Osaka and opening ceremonies of Hong Kong Disneyland; musical director/arranger for the City of Philadelphia’s Millennium Fireworks spectacular.

To find out more about Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever! and to purchase tickets, the public should visit www.PhineasAndFerbLive.com or visit us on Facebook and YouTube.

Viacom Launches Nick Jr. and MTVN HD in Singapore & Malaysia

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), owned by Viacom Inc (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), today announced the launch of two of its channels in Asia, NICK JR. and MTVN HD.  These 24-hour channels will be available on StarHub in Singapore beginning 18 May 2011 and on Telekom Malaysia Berhad’s (TM) HyppTV in Malaysia from 01 June 2011 in groundbreaking deals involving cross-platform broadcast of NICK JR. and VOD programs included in the agreements.

NICK JR., aimed at pre-schoolers and parents, builds on Nickelodeon’s reputation as one of the world’s leading multi-platform entertainment brand for kids. With a commitment to stimulate, educate, involve, excite and develop enquiring minds, NICK JR.’s philosophy is to ‘play-to-learn’ through award-winning and exclusive international properties including Dora The Explorer and Go, Diego, Go! which are designed to engage and encourage early childhood development.

MTVNHD — VIMN’s first international high definition service – is a return to MTV’s roots, where the best live music, best music videos, best music documentaries and original productions are found on a 24/7 music channel. Broadcast in 1080i High-Definition and Dolby Surround 5.1, the state-of-the-art channel offers premium content that captivates thrill-seeking viewers with an enhanced music entertainment experience. MTVNHD is targeted to a largely male audience aged 25 years old and above.

“The launch of NICK JR. and MTVNHD in Asia shows our commitment to deliver high-quality programming to our audiences in Asia,” said Indra Suharjono, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks North and Southeast Asia.  “NICK JR.’s strong Play-to-Learn philosophy promotes social and thinking skills through playful entertainment and connected learning.  NICK JR. is a highly recognized channel having won multiple Peabody Awards and Parent’s Choice Awards.  MTVNHD, on the other hand, raises the music experience to a new level on Asia’s Pay TV offerings.  Discerning music lovers in this region now have a place where they can find rich content.  We will be launching the channels aggressively to the rest of Southeast Asia.”

MTVNHD’s programming line up consists of music-based programming that is original, acquired and from the vast MTV library, such as music festivals, live performances, music documentaries and original link and clip shows.  Key shows include MTVNHD Live Vibrations, 360 Sessions, Music Alphabet, Making the Performance and Uncompressed, among others.

Aside from Dora The Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!, NICK JR. will bring playful entertainment and connected learning with shows Little Bill, Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, Blue’s Clues, Wonder Pets!, Team Umizoomi, Bubble Guppies, Fifi and the Flower Tots, and Max & Ruby among others.

NICK JR. will be available on the StarHub TV’s Kids Basic Upsize Group while MTVNHD will be available to existing StarHub TV’s Entertainment Basic Group customers who are subscribed to the Basic HD Upsize group.  TM will offer the two channels à la carte to its subscribers on HyppTV, Malaysia’s newest Pay TV service.

Call For Proposals: Toronto Animated Image Society’s DRIFT: The Elements Project

Call for applications to:
The Toronto Animated Image Society and Art For Commuters
DRIFT: The Elements
Deadline Submissions: June 24, 2011

The Toronto Animated Image Society is seeking proposals for a commissioned project.
DRIFT: The Elements takes for its theme the essential elements of life:
Earth, Wind, Fire and Water; elements that can give or take LIFE. Artists are invited to explore their own personal interpretation of these fundamental elements with a focus on abstraction and experimentation.
Each successful applicant will produce a one to three minute animation exploring this theme.  Projects will be completed between July and September 2011. TAIS will offer support for the development and production process of the projects.  Selected participants will be expected to attend a workshop prior to receiving access to equipment.
Works will be screened on October 1, 2011 for 12 straight hours overnight at Nuit Blanche 2011 on the Onestop Network of 300 television screens in the Toronto Transit Commission Subway System.
DRIFT: The Elements will dominate the underground tunnels, bringing art to over one million commuters, without interruption from the news and advertisements that usually populate the screens.
The works will also be hosted on the www.onestopallnight.com website.
Selected artists will receive:
·     TAIS Full Studio Membership ­ including equipment access worth $150 each
·     $400 cash honorarium
·     Mentoring & support from an experienced instructor
Each application must include:
·     Project description ­ 200 to 300 words
·     CV, resume, or brief bio
·     Samples of recent work (i.e., CD or DVD for time-based artists; maximum of 10 images on CD for visual artists)
·     A self-addressed, stamped envelope.  Submissions without a SASE will not be returned.

Selected artists will be announced on June 30, 2011

Contact and mailing address for submissions:
TAIS Programming Committee
Toronto Animated Image Society
60 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 102
Toronto. Ontario,  M6K 1X9
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  416-533-7889

**Digital submissions can be submitted via email through a file hosting site or via ftp link. Please do not send large files via email.