Lest we forget: a tribute to a pioneer.
(Thanks, Matt Enlow and The Birthday Boys)
Lest we forget: a tribute to a pioneer.
(Thanks, Matt Enlow and The Birthday Boys)
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.
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.
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.
For your viewing pleasure, CalArts undergrad Sabrina Cotugno‘s third year film, animated mostly at Gobelins in Paris.
Bob Jaroc‘s video for Black Moth Super Rainbow’s “The Sticky” was made by “modding a bunch of old b&w TVs, playing the separate parts from the track through them and taping the results,” plus some After Effects. Some readers on Boing Boing have pointed out that the circuit bending technique that Jaroc used is a variation of the Wobble Vision technique. Whatever Jaroc did, the results are mesmerizing.
Dilcidio Caldeira at Paranoid in Sao Paulo directed this one minute station ID for MTV Brazil using images drawn on hundreds of balloons. They were popped by a needle-tipped camera, mounted on a dolly which traveled at a speed fast enough to pop and film 10 balloons each second.
Director: Duldicio Caldeira
Photography: Alexandre Ermel
Animation/Illustration: Daniel Semanas
Sound Track: Hilton Raw
(Thanks, Kent Osborne and Grey Wears)
Kidscreen is reporting that Luken Communications, the owner of broadcast channel Retro TV (which currently airs much of the Filmation cartoon library), is partnering with Classic Media to create a new retro-style cartoon network called PB&J. According to the press release:
The 24-hour network, set to launch in the US this summer, will feature Classic Media titles from the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Those include The Archie’s, Mr. Magoo, The Lone Ranger, Gumby and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. PBJ will be available to broadcasters, cable and satellite providers.
If they have the Classic Media library, this new channel could also air the Harveytoons (Casper, Herman and Katnip, et al), the Jay Ward library (Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, etc.), Roger Ramjet, Underdog, Felix the Cat, Rankin-Bass Specials, UPA’s Boing Boing Show, Dick Tracy cartoons and Magoo’s Christmas Carol – among others…
I admit it – I would love to program a channel like this. A retro-cartoon channel is very much needed, and Classic Media has amassed an impressive collection of vintage properties. As the basis for such a channel, I dare say they have more potential than the material endlessly rerun on Turner’s tired Boomerang network. And with all the possibilities of future acquisitions (Universal’s Woody Woodpecker Walter Lantz library, Viacom’s Terrytoon collection, Beany and Cecil, and on and on…) this could be a dream come true. If anyone from Luken Communications is reading this, gimme a call…
UPDATE – Reader Steve Cook found a promo for the new channel on You Tube:
Pure Funk is Marc Adamson’s graduation film, from his third year of animation at the Arts University College at Bournemouth. It’s a 3-minute mixed 2D/3D animation set in a version of the future when the world is ruled by an oppressive dictatorship and music has become illegal. The film took almost a year from the idea to completion. More production information and a gallery of pre-viz art at Freedom to Funk.com.
It’s a gutsy move for any TV network to promote itself nowadays with a 90-second animated piece, especially one that’s as visually sophisticated as this ChilevisiÃ³n spot directed by Nola Pictures’ Juan Delcan. The Chilean network wanted to promote “the channel’s approach of respecting all people, without judgment and reporting clear unbiased truth.” Here’s a version with English subtitles.
Production Company: Nola Pictures
Director: Juan Delcan
Design & Animation: Juan Delcan, Arthur Metcalf, Peter Ahern, Toni Tysen, Celia Bullwinkel, Jake Armstrong
EPs: Charlie Curran, Ximena Cano
Producer: JJ Wilmoth
Agency: 180 Grados, Chile
Creative Directors: Sergio Gamboa, Joacim Montaner
Another impressive outing by a CalArts student: Drop’d is second-year effort by Manny Hernandez. One of the big reasons I’ve been so impressed with the CalArts Character Animation shorts in recent years has been the general shift towards simpler character design styles in which the students emphasize animation over design. This film is a terrific example of that.