Calabash Animation Adds New CG Production Manager & Lead Animator

CHICAGO, IL — Forecasting a busy summer of production, Calabash Animation has added accomplished animation director Chris Blake as the company’s new CG Production Manager, and Lead Animator Eric Meister. In addition, the company is ramping up with a significant investment in technology, including several new CG workstations and software licenses.

”Our latest initiative has been to leverage our CG capabilities, and the market is definitely showing a lot of interest,” Sean Henry, Calabash Executive Producer says. ”With that in mind we’ve brought in Chris to manage our growing CG department and Eric to take a lead role in our creative work.”

A veteran animator and Chicago native, Blake is very familiar with Calabash, its creative team and clients, thanks to many years of freelancing at the award-winning studio. Before joining Calabash, he was academic director at the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago. Prior to that he was the director of animation at the Chicago-based- Post Effects. His resume also includes stints at Film Garage, London, as well as running his own company, Blake Animate.

”This industry is ever-changing, but to be successful you need to understand the basics of character development because that ultimately is what drives viewers, and that is something Sean and Wayne (Brejcha, Calabash Creative Director) have always stressed,” Blake says. ”Business-wise these guys are on the right track, moving into different areas of animation such as high-end CG and web based Flash animation. They’re a very well-rounded creative company and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Since joining Calabash Blake worked extensively on Everybody Flies, the recent Lucky Charms ad that rendered the Lucky character in 3D for he first time.

In addition to Blake, Calabash welcomes Eric Meister as its Lead Animator. A noted animator, Meister is known for his deft touch in both traditional animation styles, as well as CG. Since joining Calabash he has provided art direction for the indie doc On The Shoulders of Giants, which features several minutes of traditional cel animation, and took the lead on a new Trix spot that combines both CG and traditional cel.

”Calabash is a close knit, very talented group,” Meister says. ”There’s also a great diversity of work, which I love. Some projects might be CG or traditional or a mixture of both. You never know where you’ll be needed on a specific project — as an animator, working here keeps you on your toes.”

Cake’s “Oscar’s Oasis” and “Poppy Cat” Picked Up by Disney Channel Overseas

Leading kids’ entertainment specialist, CAKE has bolstered its relationship with The Walt Disney Company’s television group following strong sales of two key programmes to Disney Channels.

Oscar’s Oasis, a 78×7’ 3D cartoon comedy has been picked up by Disney XD in India, Japan and Benelux and by Disney Channel in Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. CAKE has also secured sales for Poppy Cat, a 52×11’ preschool series, to Disney Junior in Spain and Latin America.

Oscar’s Oasis, a co-production between Tuba Entertainment, TeamTO and CAKE, is a high-octane 3D cartoon comedy for six-to-11 year olds. The series follows desert-dwelling lizard hero Oscar on his adventures to find food and water, but he is not alone. Popy, Buck and Harchi, the blundering bane of Oscar’s existence, are never too far behind.

Poppy Cat is produced by Coolabi Productions and King Rollo Films. The preschool series brings to life the much loved literary character based on the international best-selling and award-winning books of the same name by Lara Jones. The series follows the playful cat with the big personality, along with her colourful companions, on inspiring adventures to amazing places. Poppy Cat’s imagination fuels each and every episode and when you’re with Poppy Cat, anything can happen.

Ed Galton, CCO and Managing Director, CAKE said: “Both properties are excellent examples of high-quality kids’ animated series that fit in perfectly with the type of content Disney Channels show. It is great to be able to reinforce our relationship with Disney with these programmes and we look forward to working with them on future projects.”

TV Series Based on Kids Property “Juno” Set up by CCI Entertainment

CCI Entertainment is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with The Juno Company to produce a television series based on the Emmy award-winning Juno property. Under the deal, CCI Entertainment will play a role in the further development of the brand and be responsible for financing the production and distributing the series globally, as well as creating and executing the broadcast strategy and roll-out internationally.

The Juno Company proudly announces that The Day the Music Stopped from the new Juno Jr. series has garnered two 2011 Emmys in the Musical Composition/Arrangement and Children’s Programming categories. Co-Founders of The Juno Company, Belinda Takahashi, Ph.D. and Adam Adelman, accepted the awards at The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences ceremony this past Saturday, June 18th, 2011.  ”Our intent is to create original children’s programming based on music, that is loved by parents and children alike.  We’re honoured and thrilled to be recognized by our peers for our work as well,” states Takahashi.

“Enthusiasm for The Juno Company and our brands is growing exponentially fast and fans of our children’s franchise are eager for us to bring Juno, her friends and their musical adventures to the TV screen,” said Liza Coppola, SVP Marketing, The Juno Company. “CCI’s extensive production experience and unprecedented recognition in family television is a perfect fit for the Juno property.”

“We are really excited to be working with the Juno team to build this property on an international scale”, said Arnie Zipursky, Co-Chairman of CCI Entertainment Ltd “With every storyline, Juno sparks a genuine love of music in young children. The rich content, friendly characters and real orchestral music behind Juno properties give us the ingredients to create a TV series that does just that.”

Members of Monty Python Reunite for 3D Animated Feature Based on Deceased Colleague Graham Chapman’s Book

NEW YORK, Jun 27, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — EPIX, the premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand and online service announced that it is in production on A Liar’s Autobiography, a film based on the memoir of the late Monty Python member, Graham Chapman, who died in 1989. The 3D animated feature, made in association with Bill and Ben Productions Ltd., Trinity (UK) and Brainstorm Media, tells the story of Chapman’s life in the famously atypical Python style. The film’s world television premiere will be in both 2D and 3D on EPIX and in the Spring of 2012 and released theatrically in the UK by London-based Trinity.

The EPIX original will feature recordings of Chapman that he made of his book in 1982. Premiering under the newly introduced EPIX Pictures banner, the film reunites members of the Monty Python troupe.

“This innovative and modern take on Chapman’s comic genius is an exciting event, and EPIX is thrilled to premiere A Liar’s Autobiography in the United States,” said EPIX President and CEO Mark Greenberg.

“I had no idea until recently that Graham Chapman is in fact dead–I thought he was just being lazy,” said Monty Python’s Terry Jones. “However, I am now delighted to find myself working with him again on this exciting project.”

The feature is being produced and directed with that trademark Python humor by Bill Jones, Ben Timlett and Jeff Simpson of London-based Bill and Ben Productions, responsible for Who Killed Nancy, Rebel Truce — The History of the Clash, Chemical Wedding, Monty Python Almost the Truth: the Lawyers Cut.

“We’ve been working closely with the Chapman estate and the Pythons to make sure we get this exactly right,” said co-director Jeff Simpson. “Graham would be delighted that his work is being re-imagined in glorious 3D. He always loved wearing silly glasses.”

Executive producers Mark Sandell of Trinity (UK) and Meyer Shwarzstein of Brainstorm Media will distribute the animated feature in the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively.

“Defective Detective” by Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis

Defective Detective is the week two film in our Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival. It’s directed by Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis from Ringling College of Art and Design. To comment on the film, read their production notes, or watch their Student Academy Award acceptance speech, click HERE.

Cartoon Brew’s second annual Student Animation Festival is made possible through the generous support of Titmouse and JibJab.

CBTV Student Fest: “Defective Detective”

We’re proud to present the second film in this year’s Student Animation Festival: Defective Detective directed by Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis at the Ringling College of Art and Design. Every aspect of the production is done to a high professional standard, but to us, the film also illustrates the value of CG filmmakers who are well versed in traditional drawing and painting. Visit the blogs of Geller and Lewis, and you’ll discover two artists with a solid knowledge of design, drawing and color, and that knowledge is well applied throughout their film. The seamless integration of hand-drawn sequences was also a novel touch that we enjoyed.

Geller is currently working at Pixar, Lewis is at DreamWorks. Here is a video from a few weeks ago of the duo accepting a Student Academy Award, and below, dressed up as their characters from the film:

Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis

They provided us with the following notes about the production of Defective Detective:

It took about a year to complete the film from the story development until it was rendered and done. The film is mostly done in 3D. The program at Ringling focuses on 3D computer animation, and the course of study take you through all the stages of production, from the story and design stages, through Modeling, Animation and Lighting. In the first two years we take course in traditional hand drawn animation, and when we got to work on our film, we knew we wanted to incorporate that in some sort of way. The Detective’s dream sequences were a perfect opportunity to use a different technique that will take the viewers through a unique experience.

We weren’t very familiar with this style of storytelling and cinema, and had to do a lot of research. Learning more about the world in which the film takes place was one of the most fun stages of production. We collected a lot of picture reference of old apartments in France and studied different kinds of furniture and appliances that were used during that time. We watched a lot of film noir movies and were inspired by the tone and style of detective films. Once you immerse yourself in a certain world you start recognizing new references that relate to it everywhere. For instance we started to see detective images and caricatures everywhere even when we weren’t looking.

The Music for the film was composed by Raphael Beau, who wrote the music for Micmacs (directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who also directed Amelie). We really loved his work and sent him a version of our film in very early stage. Luckily he saw the potential in it and agreed to write music for us. We were extremely happy and he did such a fantastic job. From the very first draft he sent us it was clear that we are on the same wavelength, and it was pleasure working with him. The sound design was done by Clement Maleo (who worked on Gobelins, l’école de l’image film, Burning Safari) and he was also great to work with. He was very particular about every little nuance in the film and really brought it to life through sound.

It was a fantastic experience to work on this film. Animation is such a long and tedious process sometimes and it’s a really unique feeling to see how it all came together at the end. Even though it was hard to see the film through fresh eyes because we watched it so many times, we still loved watching and working on the film even until the very end. We really enjoyed working together and we hope to collaborate on more projects in the future.

Filmmaker Websites
Avner Geller
Stevie Lewis

Cartoon Brew’s second annual Student Animation Festival is made possible through the generous support of Titmouse and JibJab.

“We are Police” by Sarah Phillips and Lachlan Dean

Zoetrope-inspired animation techniques have made a big comeback this year. It’s a flexible technique that allows for many creative interpretations, as evidenced in this music video for The Weekend People’s single, “We Are Police.” The directors are Melbourne, Australia-based Sarah Phillips and Lachlan Dean. Phillips tells me that, “The music video was made using a record player and was made with no budget–even the record player was found as rubbish on the sidewalk.”

Buy Joe Barbera’s Studio City Estate

Joe Barbera

Sheila Barbera, the wife of the late Hanna-Barbera co-founder Joe Barbera, has listed their Studio City estate for $6.795 million dollars. According to the LA Times, Mrs. Barbera “will be making her primary residence at her Old Las Palmas estate in Palm Springs.”

The 2-acre property has a 6,900 square foot feet home with 4 bedrooms, staff quarters, and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the living room. There’s also a 7,200 square feet car garage, lighted tennis court, pool and spa. The home was built in 1988 so it’s not the site of any real animation history, unless you’re an admirer of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and Jetsons: The Movie.

The home is listed by Karen Misraje of Partners Trust, Beverly Hills. Here’s the ALL-CAPS listing from her site:
Continue reading

The London Barbican Art Gallery Presents 150 Years of Animation

London- The Barbican Centre is proud to present Watch Me Move: The Animation Show, on view until September 11th. Watch Me Move is the most extensive exhibition ever mounted to present the f ull range of animated imagery produced in the last 150 years. It brings together industry pioneers, independent film-makers and contemporary artists including Etienne-Jules Marey, Harry Smith, Jan Svankmajer, William Kentridge and Nathalie Djurberg alongside the creative output of commercial studios such as Walt Disney, Aardman, Studio Ghibli and Pixar. Presenting animation as a highly influential force in the development of global visual culture, Watch Me Move explores the relationship between animation and film and offers a timely insight into the genre as a cultural phenomenon. Cutting across generations and cultures, the show features over 170 works, from iconic clips to lesser-known masterpieces. Taking the viewer behind the dream-world of the finished film, it includes puppets, stage sets, storyboard drawings, wire-frame visualisations, cel and background images.

Transforming the gallery into an immersive environment, the exhibition is divided into seven interconnected themes: Apparitions, Characters, Superhumans, Fables, Fragments, Structures, and Visions. The first section Apparitions focuses on the emergence of the animated image, from early scientific experiments with photography to computer generated imagery. A pioneer of time-lapse photography, Percy Smith, captures the unseen wonders of the natural world. In The Birth of a Flower,1921, snowdrops and roses blossom in seconds. Speeding up time with his split-second frames photographer Eadweard Muybridge created now iconic images of animals and humans in motion are also on show. Breathing life into static objects, John Lasseter?s first film for Pixar Animation Studios, Luxo Jr, 1986, follows the antics of a small desk lamp, as its elder lamp affectionately looks on. Contemporary artist Christian Boltanski’s Shadow Cinema, 2011, features cut out silhouettes flickering gently on two large lightboxes, reminiscent of the modest graphic origins of animation.

In the 1930s there was a distinct shift from the early experimental animation to a series of cartoons and feature films designed to attract the masses. Characters presents a host of some of the biggest stars of our animated screens ( on cinema and TV) many borne of that time and still popular now. They include Mickey Mouse, Koko the Clown, Tom & Jerry, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, The Simpsons, Nick Park?s Creature Comforts and the celebrated cast of Toy Story. Whether drawn in pencil, cut with scissors, modelled from clay or generated by the click of a mouse, Characters demonstrates animation?s ability to construct strong, funny, emotive and complex personalities. This section also includes less well-known characters, showing the power of animation to convey social and political issues. For example Tim Webb’s award-winning film, A is for Autism, 1992, which combines word, drawing, music and animation by people with autism.

Individuals with extraordinary powers are a staple of post-war animation. Marvel and DC comics elaborated an initial line-up, while a parallel, more diverse roll-call was created by the Japanese manga and anime industries. Super humans tend to be ordinary humans, who have been possessed or traumatized beyond the realm of normal experience. In Betty Boop, Ha! Ha! Ha!, 1934, our protagonist accidentally inhales laughing gas causing her whole world to become hysterically alive; in Ralph Bakshi’s ambitious feature Hey Good Lookin?,1982, the character Crazy hallucinates himself into an orgy of violence and sex during a rooftop shooting spree; whilst the Hulk is an ordinary young man whose body is chemically altered, giving him remarkable strengths coupled with a profound sense of alienation. Other highlights include, Astro Boy, 1963-66, set in a futuristic city in 2030, featuring the amazing adventures of a child robot with superpowers. Originally created as a manga character in 1952, by the legendary Osamu Tezuka, it captured the imagination of a nation in need of hopes and dreams. People have always told and retold stories, whether real or imagined. The technical and artistic qualities of animation, in all its forms, have made it the ideal medium to interpret myths, fables, fairy tales and other forms of collective story-telling. Fables includes one of the oldest surviving animated feature films,The Adventures of Prince Achmed, 1926, by Lotte Reiniger. Captivating, intricate and beautiful, it features a silhouette technique invented by Reiniger that involved manipulating cardboard cut-outs and thin sheets of lead placed under a camera, then animated frame by frame. In 1937 Walt Disney made history with the release of Snow White, his first full-length animated feature in glorious Technicolor.

Fragments demonstrates the potential of animation to construct individual stories. The charming simplicity of Belgian artist Francis Alese;’s The Last Clown,1995-2000, uses illustrated line and colour wash to create the humorous tale of a lone, thoughtful man walking up a hill who encounters a dog, stumbles, gets his foot caught in the animal’s tail, and falls. Also on show is Tim Burton’s Vincent, 1982, a six minute stop-motion film about a young boy, Vincent Malloy, who longs to be like the actor Vincent Price (narrator of the film) and is obsessed with the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Since the earliest days of film, artists have experimented with its most basic properties (form, sound, movement and duration) often for the sheer pleasure of witnessing the results. Structures includes the film Tango, 1980, by Zbigniew Rybczenski. A collage of overlapping time and space, it shows individuals entering a claustrophobic room, repeatedly, until it fills with a crowd of people, each seemingly obl ivious to their neighbours. A Colour Box, 1935, is a riot of light and motion whereby Len Lye painted geometric patterns directly onto celluloid, to a soundtrack of Cuban music. Conveying the excitement of possibilities the moving image presents, Lye later adapted the film for the GPO Film Unit to advertise the postal system. Norman McLaren?s remarkable film Neighbours, 1952, uses stop-motion filming with live characters and props, weaving a dizzying visual tapestry in which two neighbours live peacefully in adjacent cardboard house. When a flower grows between their houses, they fight each other to the death over the ownership of the single small bloom.

Visions looks at how animation has taken us into a whole new virtual sphere. Thanks to the breath-taking realism of CGI technologies, and the emotional persuasiveness of new media techniques, this world is now almost inseparable from our own, as the real and the imaginary continue to collude. Disney’s pioneering film Tron,1982, was inspired by the emerging gaming industries, which developed out of the first commercially viable video game, Computer Space, in 1971. Nearly thirty years on, Avatar, 2009, used technologies that were effectively developed games engines, now so sophisticated that virtual characters (derived from motion-capture renderings of real actors) could be made to move as if through real space. RMB City is the online world of Second Life conceived by Beijing artist Cao Fei (aka China Tracy) as a place for participants  (currently around 20 million users) to create a parallel reality in which to live out their dreams. A comprehensive programme of events, films and talks also accompanies the exhibition.

JUNE 27 in LA: Cartoon Dump with Emo Phillips and Carlos Alazraqui

It’s that time of the month again. Monday June 27th, 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 Carlos Alazraqui (voice of Rocko on Rocko’s Modern Life), Emo Phillips and our usual gang of animated suspects, Mighty Mr. Titan, Johnny Cypher and who knows what-the-hell else…

Join us Monday (6/27), 8 PM at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. (two blocks west of Vermont). Buy advance tickets here!

GRAPHIC 2011 Animation Competition opens $20,000 prize

Sydney Opera House today announced the return of the global GRAPHIC animation competition as part of the GRAPHIC 2011 festival of storytelling, animation and music.

Illustrators, animators and storytellers of all levels — from established to up-and-coming and newcomers — are encouraged to enter. The winner will receive $20,000 prize money (to be used for professional development or to make a feature) and have their entry screened before the festival’s headline event on Sunday 21 August in the Concert Hall, Robert Crumb: In Conversation with Gary Groth.

Voted by the public with the finalists judged by a panel of industry experts, the competition takes place via three elimination rounds on the dedicated GRAPHIC YouTube Channel. Entrants are required to create a 30 second animation based on the theme “escape”, incorporating a specific element into the piece for each round and upload it. For the first round, the piece must include a sound-bite provided by ARIA-award winning musician, Gotye. Each round will be the next episode in an animated story.

The competition will be judged by Animal Logic CEO and co-founder, Zareh Nalbandian, GRAPHIC co-curator Jordan Verzar, James Hackett of Hackett Films and Gotye.

Competition is open now and entries for Round One close at 11:59pm AEST, 17 July.

Last year’s inaugural competition attracted 75 entries from animators in 13 countries and illustrated a diverse range of animation styles – from storyboard comic through to stop-motion and 3D. Judges Rob Coleman, of Dr D Studios, and illustrator Shaun Tan eventually named Canadian Dave Barton Thomas the winner for his work, Seven Year Twitch.

In its second year, GRAPHIC 2011 is a “festival of firsts” with 21 events including world exclusives, Australian premieres and specially commissioned works. GRAPHIC highlights include the first Australian appearance of seminal underground comic artist, Robert Crumb in conversation with his friend and publisher, Gary Groth of Fantagraphics; and Gotye: An Animated Album Preview, a showcase of songs from Gotye’s yet- to-be released fourth album brought to life by some of Australia’s most talented animators.

Also on this line up is an exclusive screening of Shaun Tan’s Oscar-winning short, The Lost Thing with the original score performed live; the Australian premiere of cult anime Tekkon Kinkreet with live music by PLAID (WARP), FourPlay and Synergy Percussion; the Sydney premiere of Talking with Gods: A Grant Morrison Documentary; a performance and talk by Parappa the Rapper Playstation game creator, Masaya Matsuura; a screening of selected animations from some of China’s best emerging talent along with talks and masterclasses including Understanding Comics with Scott McCloud; and the Best of the Independent Games Festival exhibition. Other guests include comic book author and toy designer Jim Woodring and artist and musician, Reg Mombassa, and Nathan Jurevicius, the Australian artist best known for his Scarygirl brand.

For more information on the Graphic animation competition visit:

“Istanbul” by Idil Ar

Canlandiranlar is a new animation society in Turkey, which organizes free educational courses, holds panels and supports independent animation in Istanbul. They held a project called “Animation Talent Camp” last year and produced several short films themed around “Istanbul” supported by professionals from the industry. Idil Ar’s film is a beautiful example of bold animation design in service of telling a story, setting a mood and capturing a moment:

Direction: Idil Ar
Animation: Idil Ar, Emre Ergenç
Art Direction: Idil Ar
Music and Sound: Can Ãœnal
Voice: Osman Poroy, Idil Ar
Producer: Berat İlk, 2010 Avrupa Kültür Başkenti

Best Animation Award ’22.Ankara International Film Festival’
Best Script ‘Canlandiranlar Talent Camp 2011′

(Thanks, Karl Cohen and Betsy DeFries)

JULY 2nd in LA: David O’Reilly Animation Shows

Independent animator David O’Reilly (The External World) is hosting two animation programs next Saturday (7/2) at the Cinefamily theater in Los Angeles. Both are extremely intriguing and well worthwhile for our more adventurous readers.

1) Found Animation @2pm

From the deepest, most corrupt corners of David O’Reilly’s hard drive comes a collection of lost animated wonders, forgotten by time and YouTube, destined to break hearts, minds and sense of common decency. David says: “There will be work I found from now-defunct private torrent sites, old video tapes, friends & places I cant remember, gorgeous 3-D tentacle porn, footage of bizarre video games, and work by surrealist animation genius Charley Bowers (who was forgotten in his own lifetime and died in poverty). If you love Pixar, you will hate this!”

In other words, he’ll be running stuff like this:

2) The Agency @11:59pm (aka Midnight Show)

The world premiere of The Agency, which O’Reilly co-wrote with Vernon Chatman (creator of Wonder Showzen). He’s claiming it’s the world record for fastest created feature length animation – from conception to completion in one week.

It’s official: one of the most twisted new animated works we’ve seen in a very long time is also a new record holder. The film very, very loosely follows several office-bound characters as they plot their upwardly-climbing corporate destinies, continuously insult each other with non-stop vicious flair, and morph their reality with that of a duo of cute panda bear-looking creatures for whom the office dimension is just a dream…? This baffling slice of cough syrup-like comedy dementia was created entirely with “Xtranormal”, an online service that lets users make their own CGI mini-movies through a limited library of characters, sets and music, and with awkward text-to-speech synthesis – serving to produce a sublimely blobby experience that’ll sautée your cerebellum with love!

He made it with Xtranormal– an online service that lets users make their own CGI mini-movies through a limited library of characters, sets and music, and with awkward text-to-speech synthesis –and basically has them streaming dialogue of insanity, profanity, and other craziness.

This excerpt NSFW:

These programs are part of CineFamily’s 2nd annual Everything Is Festival, a festival of odds, ends and found footage. For more information, visit the Cinefamily website.

Comment of the Day: Musical Executives

In the post earlier this week about animation executive Max Howard, I wrote (somewhat flippantly) that nobody understood why “almost anybody who worked in musical theater could become an animation executive at Disney” in the 1980s and ’90s. Of course, many people do know. A Brew reader, who prefers to remain anonymous, emailed a nice capsule history of what happened during that period:

Roy Disney was seeking a leader to put animation on a solid footing to move forward. He sought the advice of Robert Fitzpatrick, then-President of CalArts. Bob had just finished his stint as the director of the highly-successful Olympic Arts Festival, and he suggested that perhaps an arts management structure might be the most natural for Animation–both are project-based, but maintain ongoing management and cultural growth/identity.

Bob’s lieutenant on the Olympic Arts Festival was Peter Schneider. Bob connected Peter and Roy, and the rest is pretty well-known. Peter had worked with Howard Ashman and Alan Menken on “Little Shop of Horrors,” he brought in a lot of the Olympic Arts and theater colleagues in those early years in the 1980s including Thomas Schumacher, Kathleen Gavin, Karen Schmidt, etc.

As Ashman and Menken further identified Animation as a form of Musical Theater, the talents from that world naturally began to migrate to Animation. People often forget that there was no real paradigm for how Animation might work, structurally, in the 1990s, so they brought in all kinds of talents from all manner of entertainment, a lot from Theater, since it seemed to bear a stronger resemblance to the creative environment of Animation.

Time Magazine’s 25 All-Time Best Animated Features

Richard Corliss has compiled a list for Time Magazine of “25 All-Time Best Animated Features”. I’ve posted his choices below.

1. Pinocchio (1940)
2. WALL-E (2008)
3. The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979)
4. Dumbo (1941)
5. Spirited Away (2001)
6. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
7. Up (2009)
8. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
9. Finding Nemo (2003)
10. The Little Mermaid (1989)
11. Toy Story 3 (2010)
12. Toy Story (1995)
13. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
14. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)
15. Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
16. Happy Feet (2006)
17. Akira (1988)
18. The Lion King (1994)
19. Tangled (2010)
20. Paprika (2007)
21. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
22. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (2008)
23. Yellow Submarine (1968)
24. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
25. Lady and the Tramp (1955)

With all due respect, Mr. Corliss, this list is flawed. Very flawed. Where’s Bambi, The Incredibles, Toy Story 2, The Iron Giant, or Ice Age? What about Fritz the Cat or Heavy Traffic? Allegro Non Troppo and My Neighbor Totoro? Perhaps Nightmare Before Christmas or Mr. Bug Goes To Town?

And c’mon, even I can’t put The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie on such a list, much less at #3. It was essentially a compilation from classic shorts. Horton Hears A Who? You’ve got to be kidding.

Check out the original post on Time’s website. Each of his choices includes a brief write-up and an embed of the trailer. What else do you think Corliss forgot? Perhaps we’ll compile the Cartoon Brew Top 25 Animated Features as a rebuttal.

“Muscular Princesses” by Júlia Farkas

Muscular Princesses

Anybody can draw in a naïve art style, but few do it well. Muscular Princesses (original title: Izmos királylányok) by Júlia Farkas uses a deceptively childlike style to illustrate a decidely “fractured” fairy tale. There is expressive character animation, creative staging choices, and a playful sense of visual humor that matches the absurd tone of the story. The results brought a smile to my face. It’s a 2009 graduation film from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest.

“Cars 2″ talkback

Variety loved it. Maltin hated it. What did you think?

Me? I set the bar pretty low and wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I’d be. On the plus side, this is one slick piece of family entertainment, with visual opulence to spare. Great action sequences and yeah, even a few laughs. On the downside, the story (Pixar’s usual strong suit) was surprisingly cliche. For this film, you have to buy into the world of “Cars” or you might as well go home. There isn’t the emotional pull of the previous several Pixar blockbusters, and no relatable characters – just regional stereotypes (and several annoying ones at that). Oh, and be sure to understand that this is a “Mater” Movie. He’s the star, not Lightning McQueen.

The spy stuff is fun, but I couldn’t help wondering if this story would’ve been more fun if it were enacted by human characters. My biggest disappointment: Cars 2 feels like the first Pixar picture aimed at children exclusively. Before, audiences were delighted that a Pixar family film could be so sophisticated. Here, Pixar’s made a children’s film first, with numerous references to things children won’t understand.

There’s an old Hollywood saying I just made up: “When in doubt have a character fall into a tub of shit”. Nice to see Pixar include such a scene here. Here’s my prediction: this film will get Pixar’s poorest critical reception, and it’ll be Pixar’s all-time biggest moneymaker.

So, is it the “Best Cars movie Ever?” or has Cars run out of gas? Now it’s your turn. As with all of our other talkbacks, please comment only if you’ve seen the film.

Animated Fragments #7

Read THIS if you want to know more about Animated Fragments. Subscribe to our channel on Vimeo to see all the Fragments.

Supreme Believers (Nowness edit) by Universal Everything (UK)

Fancy One by Anthony VanArsdale (USA)
Clapping Mouse

Tram (excerpt) by Rozi Békés (Hungary)

Gahhd Beckay, first dialogue animation by Karl Hadrika (US)

Vintage animation test by Ollie Johnston, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men (US)

“Brave” characters

Interesting way to market the latest Pixar movie – by leaking posters, images and a trailer (coming soon) to the next Pixar film (a year away). Okay, I’ll bite, because Brave looks (to me) so damn good… here’s the cast, above our heroine Merida; and below left to right (click thumbnails to enlarge): Queen Elinor, Lord Macintosh and the Wise Woman.

(Thanks, Elena Ceballos via Nerd Reactor – and reader Darrin for the image above)

“Silence” by Olivier Ballast

Four second-year students from the Netherlands Utrecht School of Arts, aka HKU, recently produced this haunting and heartfelt short film entitled Silence. It was completed in four months using Maya, Cinema 4d, After Effects, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro.

Director: Olivier Ballast
Animation: Joost de Jong
Art Direction: Erik van Helvoirt
Technical: Michael Koning
Music: Gijs van Amelsvoort

John Lasseter and Matt Groening Among Those Selected To Receive Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

HOLLYWOOD, CA. June 21, 2011 –A new group of entertainment professionals in Motion Pictures, Television, Radio and Recording have been selected to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was announced today by the Walk of Fame Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. These individuals were chosen from among hundreds of nominations to the committee at a meeting held on June 17, 2011 and ratified by the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

The Walk of Fame recipients for the year 2012 are:

Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Scarlett Johansson, John Lasseter, Malcolm McDowell, Sumner Redstone, Kate Winslet and Richard Burton (posthumous)

Valerie Bertinelli, Matt Groening, Mariska Hargitay, Patricia Heaton, Marg Helgenberger, Walter Koenig, and Adam West

Pepe Aguilar, AMERICA, Boyz II Men, Hal David, David Foster, Vince Gill, Jennifer Lopez, Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart) and Barry White (posthumous)

Ellen K.

“The committee has selected a fabulous slate of stars to add sparkle and luster to the Hollywood Walk of Fame over the next year, as well as to generate a once-in-a-lifetime Hollywood experience for many of the visitors who stop by when their favorite personalities are having their stars placed in the world-famous sidewalk of the stars,” said John Pavlik, chair of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Selection Committee.


CHECK WEBSITE FOR UPCOMING STAR CEREMONIES:, Hollywood Walk of Fame on Facebook or follow on twitter @WOFstargirl