“Adventures of Tintin” Animated Series Coming to DVD Courtesy of Shout! Factory & Nelvana


Shout! Factory and Nelvana Enterprises today announced a new deal to bring the world renowned animated TV classic The Adventures of Tintin to the U.S. home entertainment marketplace. Under its multi-year agreement, Shout! Factory will be the exclusive home entertainment distributor for DVD to 39 memorable episodes of The Adventures of Tintin. This announcement was made by Shout! Factory’s founding partners Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos; and Colin Bohm, Managing Director, Nelvana Enterprises.

“The Adventures of Tintin is one of the most endearing animated series of all time and has been embraced by thousands of fans worldwide,” stated Shout! Factory founding partners. “We’re excited with the alliance and the premiere opportunity to bring this television property to multiple generations of fans.”

”Nelvana is pleased to partner with Shout! Factory to bring Tintin’s classic tales of worldwide adventure and intrigue back into the homes and hearts of American families, especially given the excitement surrounding the soon-to-be released 3D feature film” said Colin Bohm, Managing Director, Nelvana Enterprises.

Adapted from the long-running graphic novels by the late cartoon artist Hergé (a.k.a. Georges Rémi), popular animated TV series The Adventures of Tintin, co-produced by Nelvana and Ellipsanime Productions, chronicles the young and intrepid investigative reporter Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy, along with Captain Haddock, the muddled genius Professor Calculus, the bumbling detectives the Thompson Twins as they embark on incredible globe-trotting adventures full of excitement, mind-boggling mystery and fun.

Originally created as a French comic strip in the late 1920s, The Adventures of Tintin spawned a series of popular graphic novels, translated in 80 languages and published in over 50 countries. Throughout the years, Tintin and a unique cast of characters have evolved into memorable animated TV series (1990s), a BBC radio series (1992), stage plays, as well as the upcoming 3D motion capture feature film The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Shout! Factory plans an aggressive rollout of The Adventures of Tintin home entertainment product line later this year. As excitement builds for upcoming releases, Shout! Factory and Nelvana will announce DVD titles and bonus content for fans in forthcoming months.

Toon Boom Animation Wins HSBC International Business of the Year Award

Toon Boom Animation Inc. has won the inaugural HSBC International Business of the Year – Small and Medium Enterprise Award.

As part of the Business without Borders program, the HSBC International Business Awards honours Canadian companies that have successfully branched out beyond our borders.

“Canada is home to over 2.3 million businesses – the overwhelming majority of which are small and medium enterprises – and we are a nation of traders. HSBC Bank Canada is very proud to celebrate their accomplishments internationally,” said Mark Watkinson, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Commercial Banking, North America, HSBC. “Toon Boom embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and opportunity in global business, and we salute their accomplishments.”

Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer credits determination, passion and high quality standards as well as extensive presence in the field with the company’s win. Vogelesang said, “It such an honour to be acknowledged for the amazing work the Toon Boom team has been doing internationally for 15 years, not only with the prestigious studios such as Disney and Warner Brothers, but also in the areas of education and online business.”

To be eligible, firms must be majority Canadian owned (50.1 percent); headquartered in Canada; generate at least 10 percent of their revenue from activities outside of Canada; and have minimum sales of CAD $2.5 million for each of the last two fiscal years. Applications were selected by a judging committee drawn from Canadian Business magazine, The Globe and Mail Report on Business, Import Export Canada, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, and the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. PwC Canada performed due diligence on all the finalists.

“Learn Our History” by Mike Huckabee

If you thought Superbook was didactic… TPM.com is reporting that former minister-turned-Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is producing a series of Learn Our History animated videos that tell the “true” story of American history, the story our “schools are afraid to tell”. Says Huckabee:

“Some teachers and education boards are using history and social studies classes as their soap box to promote their own political opinions and biases! Using animated videos that kids love, this series tells the tales of…a group of friends who create an incredible time machine that takes them back in time to relive history in the making.”

This one is going right into the Cartoon Dump. It’s so poor, it looks like a Saturday Night Live parody… but it’s for real! Here’s a sample:

(Thanks, Frank Conniff)

Thoughts on the “New Yorker” Profile of Pixar

Elastigirl

Anthony Lane’s fawning eight-page profile of Pixar in the new edition of The New Yorker (May 16) has convinced me that it is next to impossible to write anything of substance about the studio at this time. The studio’s unparalleled string of successes at the box office inevitably leads to writers attempting to figure out why they’ve been so good, and the response from within the studio is always the same tired line about how all the elements of the film are created in the service of the story. That’s a great point, of course, and deserves to be shouted from the rooftops, but it doesn’t exactly make for thought-provoking commentary. Nor does it explain Cars. Lane’s article isn’t on-line, but if you’ve read anything about Pixar in the past few years, then you’ve probably read this piece, too.

Well, actually, Lane does have one original revelation: he harbors a fetish for the, umm, elasticity, of the The Incredibles’ Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl:

Helen, with bendy limbs adaptable for both vacuuming and fistfights, is a living joke about society’s expectation that women should have it all, or do it all, and never take a break. There is, of course, another skill that she could master with her natural sinuosity, but that is never mentioned. Back in 2004, some of us in the movie theatre wanted to shout, “Bob, she’s wearing a black mask and thigh-highs. What are you waiting for, man?” For the sake of the kids, though, we kept quiet. Bedrooms, in Pixar, are places where you chat to monsters, or horse around with your toys: not perspiring rumpus rooms, where Mr. and Mrs. Incredible play adults-only Twister.

Such is the state of commentary about Pixar today.

“Keymon Ache”, A Kids-in-School Show Debuts in India

Keymon Ache

Keymon Ache premiered earlier this week on Nickelodeon India. Watch the first episode on Nick India’s website. It’s about an ordinary Indian boy and his magical rapping monkey Keymon Ache.

The series, which is being touted as “India’s first non-mythological contemporary show,” is produced by DQ Entertainment. Why this is important: the show’s entire production, even the creative pre-production elements, were done entirely in India, and the results are almost on a par with Western animated series. There’s a handful of localized touches, such as the boy not wearing shoes in the home, but for the most part it looks and feels like a Western show. The fact that India can now produce an entire Westernized animated series from concept to completion is both an accomplishment and a game-changer for the animation industry.

(Thanks, Rohit Iyer)

“The Film Daily” 1922-1929 archives

Good news, animation historians! The complete 1922 through 1929 run, 22,000 pages, of industry trade paper The Film Daily has just been posted online at Archive.org. Reviews of rare and now-lost silent cartoon shorts, trade advertising (like the Krazy Kat ad above) and articles of historic interest are here – but you’ll have to diligent and scour each and every page to find nuggets like this ad for Winkler Felix the Cat and Disney’s Alice Comedies or this review of the second Mickey Mouse cartoon, Gallopin’ Gaucho. This is truly a gold mine for researchers like myself.

(Thanks, Leonard Maltin)

“The Looney Tunes Show” Premieres #1 on Cartoon Network Among All Boys Demographics

Cartoon Network’s Tuesday night (May 3) series premiere of The Looney Tunes Show (8 p.m.) charted as basic cable’s #1 program in its time period among all boys demos, and propelled the network’s entire Tuesday night early evening line-up (7-9 p.m.) to #1 on all TV among boys, according to Nielsen Media Research. The newest animated comedy from Warner Bros. Animation also earned double and triple-digit delivery and ratings gains across all kids demos vs. the same time period last year. Nearly 2.5 million viewers in total caught the Tuesday night, May 3 premiere of The Looney Tunes Show.

The Looney Tunes Show serves as anchor to a new night of original and acquired comedy animation on Cartoon Network, extending the network’s current #1 ranking on Monday nights among boys. Further highlights of The Looney Tunes Show’s premiere performance highlights, compared to the same 2010 time period, include the following:

· Kids 6-11 delivery (877,000) increased by 86%, and ratings (3.5) by 84%

· Kids 2-11 delivery (1,264,000) increased by 59%, and ratings (3.0) by 58%

· Kids 9-14 delivery (656,000) increased by 177%, and ratings (2.7) by 170%

· Boys 6-11 delivery (661,000) increased by 100%, and ratings (5.2) by 100%

· Boys 2-11 delivery (876,000) increased by 56%, and ratings (4.1) by 52%

· Boy 9-14 delivery (490,000) increased by 202%, and ratings (3.9) by 200%

· Total Viewers 2+ delivery (2,462,000) increased by 89%

Propelled by The Looney Tunes Show premiere, Cartoon Network’s overall weekly early evening (7-9 p.m.) delivery and ratings also expanded across all kids demos vs. the same time period last year–kids 6-11 delivery (559,000) increased by 8% and ratings (2.3) by 10%, kids 2-11 delivery (849,000) increased by 9% and ratings (2.0) by 5%, and kids 9-14 delivery (382,000) increased by 11% and ratings (1.6) by 14%.

Screen icons Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are back as stars of The Looney Tunes Show, an all-new modern comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation featuring favorite Looney Tunes characters. Fresh designs coupled with a vivid, contemporary animation style enhance the timeless wit and charm that make these classic characters so beloved around the world. Bugs and Daffy haven’t changed–but their living situation has. Bugs is as brazen, sarcastic and ahead-of-the-game as ever, and Daffy, despite his narcissistic, sociopathic and paranoid tendencies, is Bugs’ best friend and seemingly permanent houseguest. No longer confined to seven-minute shorts, their larger-than-life personalities (and egos) offer an irreverent, comical take on our modern world and introduce a whole new realm of possibilities. Now Bugs and Daffy can wreak as much havoc at the grocery store or the DMV as they once did in the forest.

The Looney Tunes Show is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) is the executive producer, and Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone (Duck Dodgers, Back at the Barnyard, Space Jam, Tom and Jerry Tales) are supervising producers.

Disney Releases “The Fox and the Hound 2-Movie Collection” in August


In the tradition of heart-warming films, such as Bambi and Dumbo, comes Disney’s classic tales that taught us the power of friendship in The Fox and the Hound and The Fox and the Hound 2,in a special 30th Anniversary 2-Movie Collection. For the first time ever in high-definition, consumers can now experience the brilliant, humor-filled adventures of best friends Copper and Tod in an all-new digitally restored version of the original 1981 film, arriving to stores on August 9, 2011.

Featuring an all-star cast of voice talents, toe-tapping music and fantastic bonus features, consumers can take home two of Disney’s beloved “tails.” The Fox and the Hound and The Fox and the Hound 2: 2-Movie Collection features both movies in a single 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack. This release provides families with the value, versatility and opportunity to enjoy their favorite movies how they want, when they want and on the entertainment platform of choice — whether it’s in the home, on a portable device and/or in the car.

The Fox and the Hound and The Fox and the Hound 2 will be available as follows:
3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S. /$46.99 Canada)

1 Blu-ray Disc that has both films on it
1 DVD of The Fox and the Hound
1 DVD of The Fox and the Hound 2

2-Disc DVD Set (suggested retail price of $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada)

1 DVD of The Fox and the Hound
1 DVD of The Fox and the Hound 2

Movie Download (each film is sold separately)
High Definition

Fox and the Hound (HD) = $39.99 U.S./$45.99 Canada
Fox and the Hound 2 (HD) = $39.99 U.S./$45.99 Canada

Standard Definition

Fox and the Hound (SD) = $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada
Fox and the Hound 2 (SD) = $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada

Further engaging fans and families beyond the story itself, Disney has included five unique bonus features that provide consumers with the ability to further immerse themselves in the storyline, its history and characters themselves with an entertaining look inside the fascinating collection of unlikely friendships in the animal kingdom, Disney’s historic and legendary animators, the making of the music and more. They are as follows.
Bonus Features:
Bonus Features:
Blu-ray Disc:

Unlikely Friends: A fun and fascinating Collection of Unlikely Friendships in the Animal Kingdom (ALL-NEW) — Friendships know no boundaries. They can occur across country lines, be shared among young and old and even develop between different species!

DVD’s:
The Fox and the Hound:

“Best of Friends” Sing-A-Long — Viewers are invited to sing along with Pearl Bailey on this Walt Disney Classic Song.
Passing the Baton: Making of The Fox and the Hound — This feature allows fans to take a deeper look at this little bit of Disney history as legendary animators hand over the reins to a new generation.

The Fox and the Hound 2 :

“You Know I Will” Music Video High School Musical Star Lucas Grabeel sings this end-credit song.
The Making of the Music — Music is the center stage in The Fox and the Hound 2. As such, this feature showcases how the songs in the film were created with Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood and some of the hottest performers in Nashville. Viewers will further discover how animation and music work together to further enhance a classic story.

The Fox and The Hound, Disney’s 24th animated feature released in 1981, marked a ―changing of the guard from the legendary ―nine old men, including Wolfgang Reitherman, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, who had joined the studio its very early days and worked closely with Walt Disney to develop Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the very first animated feature, then went on to create timeless classics such as Cinderella, Bambi and Lady and the Tramp. These iconic figures passed the torch to a new generation of animators including Ron Clements (Animated Screenplay/Story Artist on The Princess and the Frog, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid) Glen Keane (Animation Supervisor/Directing Animator on Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid) and John Musker (Animation Supervisor/Directing Animator on Princess and the Frog, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid), who would lead Disney animation’s renaissance in the 1980’s with new landmark animated films such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

The voice talent on The Fox and the Hound was also a mix of old and new Hollywood with veterans such as Mickey Rooney (National Velvet, The Black Stallion), Pearl Bailey (Porgy and Bess) and Pat Buttram (TV’s Green Acres) joining up-and-coming stars Kurt Russell (Escape From New York, Miracle) and Corey Feldman (Stand By Me, The Lost Boys).

In 2006, Copper, Tod and their friends were brought back for The Fox and the Hound 2, featuring the vocal talents of Patrick Swayze (Ghost, Dirty Dancing), Reba McEntire (TV’s Reba), Lucas Grabeel (Disney Channel’s High School Musical franchise) and Trisha Yearwood (country music singer).

Social Media:
Those who want to stay connected with what’s happening with the upcoming release of The Fox and the Hound and The Fox and the Hound 2 are encouraged to:

Like the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/DisneyFoxandHound
Follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/disneyanimation
View exciting trailers, video clips and more at http://www.youtube.com/disneymovies

Disc Specifications:

Street Date: August 9, 2011
Direct Prebook: June 7, 2011
Distributors Prebook: June 21, 2011
Feature Run Time: The Fox and the Hound — approximately 83 minutes
The Fox and the Hound 2 — approximately 69 minutes
Rated: G (bonus material no rated)
Aspect Ratio: The Fox and the Hound - 1.66:1; The Fox and the Hound 2 – 1.78:1
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Language: English, French and Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
Suggested Retail Price: 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (1 Blu-ray + 2 DVDs) = $39.99 U.S./$46.99
Canada; 2-Disc DVD = $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada; a High Definition Movie
Download for $39.99 U.S./$45.99 Canada and/or a Standard Definition Movie
Download for $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada.

Bridnorth, England to Host Its First Animation Festival on August 27th

Bridgnorth is set to become animated this summer when the Bridgnorth Music and Arts Festival, currently in its 6th year, hosts its first Animation Festival on Saturday 27th August. The one day event, to be held at the town’s historic Majestic Cinema, will showcase short films by local animators and feature a special screening of an internationally renowned animated film, details of which are to be announced shortly. Demonstrations by professional animators will run throughout the day giving visitors the opportunity to try their hand at animation.

The animation event will also see the return of Brighton-based graphic novelist and artist, James Pearson, to the festival. Following on from his successful graphic novel event last year, James will be back to conduct a second workshop at the Majestic Cinema. Author of several published sci-fi and horror comics including The Reckoning, The Melting Man and The Heart of War, James will offer advice on how to publish a graphic novel  and provide writing and art tuition.

Festival spokesperson Glynis Madden says, “We are thrilled James is returning to the festival to host another fantastic workshop. We’re calling for all aspiring comic book artists and writers to come along to the event with their art folios for James to review together with any questions they can pose to James about getting into the exciting world of comic books. The atmosphere at last year’s workshop was amazing and it was lovely to see everyone creating/create their own comic hero strips with James. Everyone who left was filled with newfound inspiration and we look forward to recreating that feeling* this year”.

The Animation Festival and Graphic Novel workshops are aimed at ages 14+ or younger children if accompanied by an adult.

Keep checking back here for more details of the exciting events planned for this year’s Bridgnorth Music and Arts Festival. We can also be found on Facebook http://facebook.com/bridgnorthmusicandartsfestival, Twitter http://twitter.com/bnorthfestival or phone 07401 348797

Longtime Toei Animation President Shigeru Okada Passes Away

Anime News Network is reporting that Shigeru Okada, former president of Toei Animation,passed away on Monday due to pneumonia in a Tokyo Hospital. Okada, The 87 year old Hiroshima-born man was a fixture at Toei Animation and its predecessor, Toei Eiga, becoming President of the company in 1971.  Okada served as president from 1971 to 1993, and continued on as Chairman until 2002. The animation pioneer his survived by his wife Akiko and his son Yusuke, who is the current president of Toei.

“Sidewalk Scribble” by Peter Lowey

Lots of fun visual ideas in Sidewalk Scribble by Melbourne, Australia-based filmmaker Peter Lowey. The film was created for Annecy’s YouTube contest. The winner of the contest, who will be announced at the end of May, will win a trip to Annecy, an award from the festival, a five-night trip to LA and a visit to Disney Feature Animation. Not a bad prize package. You can vote on all the entries on Annecy’s YouTube page.

“Sumo Lake” by Greg Holfeld

Here’s something we don’t see nearly enough of nowadays: a hand-drawn full-animation short. Sumo Lake is a re-telling of “Swan Lake” animated by Adelaide, Australia-based Greg Holfeld. No fancy effects or gimmicks, the focus here is on drawing and movement and both are commendable. Holfeld reveals details about his process on the film’s official website.

(PS: Jerry posted Greg’s crappier work in 2007.)

Winners Announced for Stuttgart’s Festival of Animated Film

The winners of the 18th edition of the popular Stuttgart’s Festival of Animated Film (Trickfilm Festival) were announced on Sunday (May 8). David O’Reilly’s The External World took home the Top prize (15,000 euros). The offbeat short about a boy who learns to play the piano was also the top award winner at the Ottawa festival last year. You can check out O’Reilly’s highly original acceptance speech here:

http://www.davidoreilly.com/misc/Award_Stuttgart.mov

and watch the short in its entirety here:

www.theexternalworld.com

The best animated feature film award (sponspored by Super RTL) went to Tono Errando Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal’s acclaimed 2D feature Chico & Rita, which has opened in various territories around the world. Here is a list of the festival’s other winners:

Best Graduation Film:

The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Lion by Alois Di Leo (U.K.)

SWR Audience Award:

The Lost Thing by Andrew Ruhemann, Shaun Tan (Australia)

Lena Weiss Award for Humanity:

Der Wechsebalg (Changeling) by Maria Steinmetz (Germany)

Best Music in an Animated Film:

The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger by Bill Plympton (U.S.)

Best Student Film:

Bottle by Kirsten Lepore (U.S.)

Best Children’s Animated Film:

Ente, Tod und Tulpe (Duck, Death and the Tulip) by Matthias Bruhn (Germany)

Animated Commercial Award:

Amnesty International: “Death Penalty” by Pleix (France 2010)

German Animation Screenplay Award:

Die letzte Welt Konradin Kunze

Online Audience Award Trickparade:

MUTO by Blu (Italy)

German Voice Actor Award:

Christoph Maria Herbst

Hahns Charles in Konferenz der Tiere

Crazy Horse Session-48h Animation Jam

Layered

Directed by Dane Winn, Constantinos Mavromic Halis (U.K.)

You can find out more about the festival at http://www.itfs.de/

KAFF 2011 Kecskemet Animation Festival Opens June 15-18, 2011


Kecskemet Animation Film Festival presents the latest Hungarian animated films made in the last two years, the Festival of European Animated Feature Films and TV-Specials shows European-made animations.KAFF has two separate competitions parallel.

In 2005 KAFF became a biennial, although previously it had only been held every three years, and in 2011 the most prominent Hungarian and European animation artists will gather for the tenth time between June 15 and June 19 to celebrate Hungarian and European animation films.

In 2009, KAFF officially became the partner festival of Cartoon. So the film that wins the Grand Prix at KAFF automatically competes for the pan-European animation award, the Cartoon d’Or in 2011.

The Oregon Cartoon Institute To Celebrate Mel Blanc


The Oregon Cartoon Institute is pleased to announce it has received its first grants, from Miller Foundation and from Kinsman Foundation. Oregon Cartoon Institute was founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson, who publishes Oregon Movies, A to Z, and film archivist Dennis Nyback. Working together, Oregon Cartoon Institute and Oregon Jewish Museum are creating the first ever public celebration of Mel Blanc as an Oregonian.

The most respected voice artist in the history of animation, Melvin Jerome Blanc grew up in Portland, was educated in Portland, and received his first professional training and work opportunities here in Portland. He conducted two parallel careers here from 1927 to 1935: he was both a musician and a radio performer. He was eight years into a show business career when he moved to Los Angeles, ready to take on Hollywood.

The Mel Blanc Project, a public history/arts education project, is a partnership between Oregon Cartoon Institute, Oregon Jewish Museum, Ethos Music Center, Oregon Historical Society and PSU’s School of Fine and Performing Arts. Oregon Cartoon Institute is fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization.

Oregon Jewish Museum’s Mel Blanc exhibit That’s Not All, Folks! opens on June 2. Oregon Cartoon Institute’s four part Mel Blanc Lecture Series begins June 8. Tickets are now on sale for the lecture series at Brown Paper Tickets Go to: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/63226

Guest speakers at the Mel Blanc Lecture Series include Gary Lacher, author of Theaters of Portland; Judy Margles, director of Oregon Jewish Museum; Craig Adams, early Portland radio historian; and Robyn Tenenbaum, producer of Live Wire. The first three lectures will be held at Ethos At IFCC, 5340 North Interstate. The final lecture will be held in Lincoln Hall,1620 SW Park Ave, where Mel Blanc himself attended high school.

Starting Tuesday, May 10, and continuing every Tuesday in May, at 7:00 PM, the Mel Blanc Project presents four “admission by donation” film programs at The Secret Society 116 NE Russell. The four evenings of 16mm films, curated by Dennis Nyback from his film archive (located at Marylhurst University), celebrate the life and times of Mel Blanc. Two of those programs, May 10 and May 24, will each feature a rare short film in which Mel Blanc himself appears.

Honky Tonk Prison, a ukulele band, will perform before the May 17 screening of Mel Blanc and the Jazz Age: Portland Jazz Baby, at the Secret Society. Dennis Nyback’s program of Jazz Age 16mm music shorts was inspired by the fact Mel Blanc received his first big break as an entertainer while singing and playing the ukulele with the Multnomah Hotel Orchestra.

Restored Version of Landmark Film “A Trip To The Moon” To Premiere at Cannes Film Festival

Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902) will be presented during the Opening evening at the Cannes Film Festival on May 11, 2011. 109 years after its first release, a fully restored color version is once again visible on screen, after being considered lost. In 2010, a restoration project was launched by Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage. Thanks to the advanced digital technologies available today, the fragments of the 13, 375 frames were reassembled and restored one by one.. The film will premiere at the Cannes Festival with an original soundtrack by the French band, AIR.

Free Comic Book Day

There’s a new tradition every May in the U.S. – Free Comic Book Day. It was created to help promote new wares by comics publishers as well as an attempt to lure new consumers into local comic book shops.

Free Comic Book Day was last Saturday, but if you visit your comic store this week you can most likely pick up some of the leftover freebies. This year’s batch included several animated tie-ins, including comics based on Kung Fu Panda and Batman: The Brave and The Bold.

The one I was most interested in was the new version of Richie Rich from Ape Entertainment (under their Kidzoic line) and I able to snag one today. This is not your grandfather’s Richie Rich. In fact, the Richie here is pretty unrecognizable to old purist’s like me. The old Richie was the ultimate kid’s wish-fulfillment fantasy – you know, a bowling alley in the basement, a fully stocked soda fountain in the den, tons of comic books to read.

This new Richie retains the old cast: girl friend Gloria, rival Reggie and pet Dollar Dog, along with super-robotic maid Irona and his buff, ass-kicking butler Cadbury. Everyones gotten a makeover to look more like characters in comics today – and that’s okay with me. I’m not sure how kids will relate to their globe-trotting adventures or Richie’s new personality, which is touted as a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones, “with the bank account of Donald Trump” (they might want to change that). But the artwork by Jack Lawrence (covers) and Tina Francisco (interior stories) is somewhat attractive (check out her drawings of Casper, Scrappy, Bosko and Betty Boop here), so more power to them.

If I ever get nostalgic, I still have my old, pulp paper, 12-cent Richie Rich books from the 1960s and 70s. As for these new comics… let’s just say I paid the right price for the first issue.

Three Student Screenings: CalArts vs. USC vs. SVA

I’ve been to three student screenings in the past week: the USC and CalArts Experimental showcases in LA, and the School of Visual Arts showcase in Manhattan. Every screening had its usual share of spectacular, average and unwatchable, but this post isn’t about the quality of the films. Rather I wanted to talk about the lengths of the programs.

The USC screening was around 90 minutes with no intermission. This was long but tolerable. The CalArts Experimental program was just over ninety minutes with a fifteen-minute break in between. This was an enjoyable experience. (Even better, I hear the CalArts Character Animation Producer’s Show runs around sixty minutes nowadays. Perfect!).

But then, last night, there was the SVA animation department screening (their computer art department is separate and has a different screening) . This screening was over four hours long and no intermission. To put that into perspective, that’s longer than Gone with the Wind, and believe me, most of these films were no Gone with the Wind. Needless to say, I survived only a fraction of them.

It boggles the mind as to what the school was thinking when they arranged a screening of forty-two shorts. Screening forty-two animated shorts in a row is a bad idea even if they’re not student films. Sadly, it’s also a disservice to the very students that the screening is supposed to be promoting and celebrating. The excessive length guarantees that only a handful of professionals from the animation industry will attend. That’s why the most effective year-end school screenings, especially those that are open to industry professionals and media, are heavily curated affairs that showcase a school’s best efforts. There is a time and place for showing all of the films, and that is typically a more private affair for the students themselves.

SVA dropped the ball in one other big way. Whereas both USC and CalArts rewarded audiences with food after their screenings, SVA sent home the exhausted audience on an empty stomach. Unlike other schools which offer food after every student film screening, SVA hoards its food for a fancy invite-only party that follows an awards ceremony for the entire film department. Thankfully, I had already treated myself to Chipotle in the middle of last night’s screening so it didn’t really matter. But unless they reduce the length of the program to a more sensible running time, I’ll certainly think twice about attending in the future.

Share your experiences of student film screenings in the comments.

“Travelers with short legs” by Leo Campasso

Adventure Time – The Next Generation? Maybe. Travelers with short legs, by 23 year old, independent animator Leo Campasso from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has its own pace and sense of style. He mixes 2D, 3D and Flash animation to tell the story of a teen traveller on a strange journey, finding new friends and foes. Campasso’s previous film,Wild Wind, was featured on the Brew two years ago.