Comedy Central Brings “Ugly Americans” Game To Playstation & Xbox

NEW YORK, NY — August 30, 2011 — Join Mark, Callie, Grimes and all the rest of your favorite Ugly characters and shoot your way into saving the world! 345 Games, the video gaming arm of Comedy Central and Spike TV, announced today that its highly anticipated top-down arcade shooter Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon launches today for PlayStation Network and tomorrow for Xbox LIVE Arcade for a retail price of $9.99. Published by Comedy Central Games and developed by Backbone Entertainment, this hilarious game unites the humor and spirit of the popular animated comedy-horror series Ugly Americans with classic and addictive dual analog shooting gameplay. The game features all of the voice actors from the show, a script penned by the show writers and original characters created by the show creator Devin Clark.

“Today, gamers will get their own chance to see what everyone was raving about at PAX recently who played this game,” said Dan Yang, general manager, 345 Games. “It’s been a long but extremely rewarding process working with the show’s talented staff and our wonderful development team, but I’m unbelievably excited that we’re here at the finish line and people can share in this hilarious and addictive experience we’ve worked so hard to create.”

Coinciding with tomorrow’s XBLA launch is a brand new avatar collection featuring your favorite characters from the show! Deck out your avatar with either a completely new skin or even a miniature drunk Leonard to follow you around as a pet! Pricing for these avatar collection items range between 160 and 400 MSpoints.

With four-player top-down co-op gameplay that hearkens back to such classics as Gauntlet and Robotron, Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon features four playable characters, each with their own unique abilities, weapons and strengths.  Players must comb the streets of New York City and pacify raving demons, delinquent man birds and zombies by lactating fire or hurling wacky objects like flying demon skulls, fish, baseballs and wrenches.  Investigate case files from the Department of Integration and battle devastating and distinctive bosses, each bringing you one step closer to finding out who is trying to bring about the end of days!

Augenblick Studios To Have Outdoor Screen Of Work Before Ottawa Animation Festival International

The Big Screen Plaza is pleased to present a special outdoor screening featuring the animation work of Augenblick Studios. The show will feature highlights from Comedy Central’s Golden Age, MTV2′s Wonder Showzen, and other independently produced Augenblick shorts. The work will screen on a 10,000 sq ft. plaza on a cutting-edge 30×15 ft LED screen. Admission is FREE, and seating is first come, first serve. Enter through the Food Parc on 6th Ave between 29th street and 30th street.

Grab a beer and enjoy the show!

Augenblick Studios is an independent animation studio located in Brooklyn, NY. Founded in 1999 by Aaron Augenblick, their team of artists has created a wide array of animated shorts for television, film, and the Internet. Recent projects have included the new Comedy Central series Ugly Americans.

Pink Panthermobile for sale

For the Pink Panther fanatic who has everything…

When the Pink Panther theatrical shorts were first broadcast on NBC’s Saturday Morning in 1969, DePatie Freleng created a live-action opening title segment (see below) using a customized “Panthermobile“, designed by Jay Ohrberg. Now, the original car is now being offered for sale via an online auction from September 4th through October 14th. I was never sure what they thought creating such a vehicle would do for the Pink Panther – other than create publicity at car shows around the world – but it’s a pretty cool car. If you got the green (and the pink) for it, a once in a lifetime opportunity could be yours.

(Thanks, Charles Brubaker)

Neil Patrick Harris Returns to Nick in New “The Penguins of Madagascar” Special Sept. 9

NEW YORK, NY — August 31, 2011 — Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) returns as the title characters’ sinister nemesis, Dr. Blowhole, in Nickelodeon’s brand-new Penguins of Madagascar special, Blowhole Strikes Back, premiering Friday, Sept. 9, at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The hour-long special features Harris performing in four original musical numbers, two of which he is singing alongside The Penguins of Madagascar characters. The series recently garnered six Daytime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Children’s Animated Program, Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (Danny Jacobs) and Outstanding Writing in Animation. Year to date, The Penguins of Madagascar ranks as one of the top five animated series on all TV with kids 2-11.*

“Our viewers loved Dr. Blowhole in the first special, so we were excited to bring the character back and work with the very talented Neil Patrick Harris again,” said Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon. “In this second special, he has expanded his role with unforgettable vocal performances, including a stand-out power ballad.”

In the special, Skipper arrives in Shanghai on a super secret solo mission that leads him waddling right into a Dr. Blowhole trap. Without his men, who are back at the zoo, he is helpless and his memory gets wiped away by Blowhole’s “Mind-Jacker.” Blowhole’s despicable plan uses Skipper’s memories to locate Kowalski, Private and Rico, blast them with his “Diabologizer,” and render them evil monsters who destroy their headquarters. The lyrics from the special–which includes six original songs–were written by series executive producers Robert Schooley and Mark McCorkle and composed by Adam Berry, who recently won a Daytime Emmy Award for his work on the series.

Leading up to the premiere, Nick.com will help get fans ready for Dr. Blowhole’s return with training games and top secret videos. On September 1, fans can play Menace of the Mind-Jacker, a brand-new puzzle game based on the special, where Dr. Blowhole is stealing Skipper’s memories and players must match memory bubbles in order to fill Dr. Blowhole’s memory trap. Additionally, Nick.com and Nick’s social media channels will roll out songs from the episode and there will be a dedicated Penguins category on Nick’s video-on-demand. Following the premiere, Nickelodeon will air an encore of the special on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 10:00 a.m. (ET/PT).

Matt Groening Hudges Shooting People Film of the Month Competition

Matt Groening has rocked the world of animation once with The Simpsons, twice with Futurama, and now thrice as judge of Shooting People‘s Film of the Month competition in September 2011!

For our Animation Takeover month, the inimitable Mr Groening will be on hand to watch and comment on your work. All you have to do is upload your most impressive animation to Film of the Month in September, then get fellow members to watch, love and vote for you.

We want the best, most imaginative and downright mind-blowing animators around the world to showcase themselves during our Animation Takeover, and have a crack at this unique chance to get feedback from an undisputed animation idol. Of course, you can upload short films of any kind, but we think animators will be particularly excited to about the competition.

Upload your film from 1st September. The top three films at the end of the month will be sent to the desk of Mr G himself for approval and winning decisions. You must be a Shooting People member to enter.

Add your animation to September’s hottest competition from 1st of the month: http://shootingpeople.org/watchfilm/home

Wacom’s Inkling Turns Pen Drawings into Digital Files

Wacom Inkling

Lots of buzz yesterday over the announcement of Wacom’s new Inkling device. It allows users to sketch directly onto paper using a real pen, and records the strokes, which can then be exported to the computer as a vector file. The consensus amongst various professional artists posting on Twitter appears to be, “Wow, this is a cool gadget, but I’m not sure how it fits into my workflow.” On the plus side, it’s priced at $200 which is a relatively affordable cost of entry for a new technology. Are you excited about the Inkling? Can you envision using it in your film production workflow?

Watch this intro to the Inkling:

The Future of 3-D Movies According to an Old Man

3D Kid

Eighty-one-year old Fred Cohen, owner of Poughkeepsie’s Overlook Drive-In movie theater, is either clairvoyant or a crotchety old man. He offered his assessment of 3-D movies in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal and it ain’t pretty:

“I’ve been in this business long enough to see it fail once. And I’ll be in it long enough to see it fail again.”

The jury is still out on how much longer Fred will have to wait.

Chipotle Taps Johnny Kelly for an Animated Short

One of the reasons I like Chipotle is their emphasis on humanely raised animals. Whether raising meat can ever be as idyllic or beautiful as depicted in this new stop motion short called Back to the Start is open to debate, but it’s an undeniably attractive piece of advertising. It was directed by designed by London-based Johnny Kelly whose hand-made approach to the art form is a perfect match for Chipotle’s message. Like George Pal’s Puppetoons, Kelly knows how to animate stylized geometric forms with organic appeal.

Behind-the-scenes production photos on Johnny Kelly’s Flickr account.

Making of video and credits after the jump:
Continue reading

India’s Chitrakatha’11 International Festival Honors Australian Animation Vet Yoram Gross


Yoram Gross’ films will represent Australian animation at the Chitrakatha’11 international festival in India, from October 19 to 23. Yoram Gross built an animation empire by bringing Australian characters, from Dot and the Kangaroo to Blinky Bill, to the screen.

The Chitrakatha festival celebrates animation design and graphic storytelling from across the globe. The Cinema of Wonders program features Persian tales – animation from Iran to the Yoram Gross films: Blinky Bill The Mischievous Koala and The Little Convict starring Rolf Harris.

Chitrakatha 2011 commemorates 50 years of animation education at the National Institute of Design. This year’s theme is Back to Basics – exploring effective and timeless animation design.

Yoram Gross’ films and children’s series have been enjoyed by generations and are still cherished today. The Blinky Bill Series first aired in 1993 and is currently rated fifth on ABC2 – children’s programs 9:30am weekend slot. The filmmaker was awarded the Murray Forrest Achievement in Film Craft award at the Australian International Movie Convention on Thursday.

Sarah (aka The Seventh Match) featuring Mia Farrow, Dot Goes to Hollywood and Dot and Keeto are some of the feature films he has made. The animator was awarded the Order of Australia in 1995 for his contribution to the Australian film industry.

Veteran filmmaker, Yoram Gross, continues to create screen stories in a career that spans 64 years. His Art Alive series depicts a pre-schooler’s artwork – from a cardboard house to a cut out mouse, coming to life and interacting with its creator, which is currently screening on the Disney Channel.

He is also producing Professor Filutek – a colourful series of two-minute animated shorts based on the cartoon strips by Zbigniew Lengren. The short films will premiere at the 2011 Canberra Short Film Festival.

The documentary Blinky and Me, tells the story of Gross’ animated life, by New York filmmaker Tomasz Magierski. The film will premiere in Poland in October.

“I love this profession it makes me happy,” said Yoram Gross.

“Santa’s Apprentice” Dashing Into Cinemas In Time For Christmas

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — August 30, 2011… This year’s most anticipated animated theatrical release, Santa’s Apprentice will dash into cinemas in time for the festive season on November 10, 2011.

The heart-warming Christmas animation featuring the voices of Australia’s own Shane Jacobsen, Magda Szubanski, Delta Goodrem, Hugh Sheridan and Georgie Parker follows the story of young Nicolas (voice of Jack Versace), a 7 year old Australian boy on his adventure as he struggles with the ups and downs of being the next Santa Claus.  It’s a big responsibility that would scare even the bravest boy — but Nicolas wants to be the best Santa ever.

So he will have to learn a few lessons along the way. Christmas has a way of making even the biggest mishaps alright and thanks to his loving mentors, Santa (Shane Jacobsen) and Waldorf (Hugh Sheridan), Nicolas learns, as we all do, the true meaning of Christmas!

“Santa’s Apprentice is a delightful story filled with fun and friendship — a truly heart-warming story!  Imagine spending time in the North Pole hanging out with Santa — well Santa’s Apprentice takes you there.  It’s a film about the spirit of Christmas and there is something for everyone to take away from this magical tale filled with recognisable and well-loved Australian voices” said Creative Producer, Avrill Stark.

The Avrill Stark Entertainment and Flying Bark Productions animated adventure recently won the special UNICEF award at the largest animation event, the Annecy International Animation Festival in France recognising the best animation which highlights the goals of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Released last year in France — selling over 100,000 tickets in the first week and 650,000 over the life of the release -, Santa’s Apprentice was ranked fourth in the country on its opening weekend behind Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows Part 1.  Santa’s Apprentice has already been sold to many countries including Austria, Canada, Greece, India, Russia and the United States of America.

Distributed by Becker Film Group, Santa’s Apprentice takes you to a place where wishes really do come true and proves that sometimes, happy endings are only the beginning — a film experience for every parent who wants to see Christmas again through the eyes of their child!

Adult Swim’s “Squidbillies” To Return With New Season on September 11th

Leave it up to Squidbillies co-creators Dave Willis and Jim Fortier to bring together musical talents ranging from Grammy winner and hip hop hit-maker T-Pain to country music legend George Jones in a new season of hillbilly shenanigans.

Season 5 of Squidbillies premieres Sunday, September 11 at 11:45 p.m. (ET, PT) on Adult Swim.  When you can’t count on that expensive hog mess we call “modern medicine” to fix your funnybone, Squidbillies season five is there to scrub up for surgery, y’all!  North Georgia’s patriot in residency, Early Cuyler, is revving up for another celebration of ill-informed ideas, spontaneous violence, and general backwoods ‘neckery that’s gonna whip you into a dysfunctional frenzy.  Your television ain’t never looked this gorgeous.

Fans will get an added bonus of a free Squidbillies album, Music For Americans Only Made by Americans In China For Americans Only God Bless America, U.S.A., for download featuring tunes by artists from this season and past seasons. Early Cuyler knows people are stealing music anyway so we might as well make it easier for them.

20th Century Fox Releasing “Strawberry Shortcake: Growing Up Dreams” DVD

HOLLYWOOD, CA — Strawberry Shortcake and all of her friends take summer fun to new heights in the fabulous new adventure Strawberry Shortcake: Growing Up Dreams, arriving on DVD August 30 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and American Greetings Properties.

Strawberry Shortcake and her friends can’t wait to grow up, and they wonder what they’ll become some day. It’s all berry exciting as imaginations soar and Strawberry and her friends see what it’s like to be busy career girls! But when Peppermint Fizz becomes Mayor and gets berry, berry bossy, trouble strikes in Strawberryland. Growing Up Dreams is all about getting along, working together, and believing in your dreams. Plus, no matter how big you get…you should never outgrow being nice!

Strawberry Shortcake is a top rated show on The Hub network. Prebook for the Strawberry Shortcake: Growing Up Dreams DVD will be July 20.

DVD Special Features
●     Printable Coloring Pages
●     Fun Music Video

Nickelodeon Releases “Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Halloween Parade” DVD

NEW YORK — Preschoolers will join Dora and her friends on exciting Halloween adventures in the new four-episode DVD, Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Halloween Parade. Created by Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment, Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Halloween Parade will be released on DVD on August 30, 2011, for the suggested retail price of $16.99.

Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Halloween Parade Episode Synopses:
Halloween Parade
Dora and Boots are headed for the big Halloween Parade when they run into their friend Little Monster. He really wants to be in the Parade but he doesn’t have a costume. Dora and Boots tell him not to worry as they help him find a costume at the parade.

Boo!
It’s Halloween, and while trick-or-treating Dora and Boots are surprised by a cute little monster who they help home before the arrow on the big clock strikes 12.

The Backpack Parade
Everyone is dressing up their backpacks in different costumes for the Backpack Parade. Backpack is really excited because this year she gets to lead the parade but she’s having trouble with her allergies.

Dora, la Músico
Dora and Boots are leading a musical parade to free the instruments that were locked up by the evil Señor Shhh.

Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Halloween Parade Fast Facts:
Street Date: August 30, 2011
Catalogue: 822374
DVD SRP: $16.99
DVD Running Time:  Approximately 97 Minutes

Cartoon Network and Hasbro Celebrate New Season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” with Fan Sweepstakes

In anticipation of the upcoming fourth season premiere of the hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network, Hasbro and the network are joining forces for an exciting fan promotion. Starting today, Cartoon Network viewers will have the opportunity to check out CartoonNetwork.com/toys to enter for a chance to win one of 500 Hasbro Star Wars Ultimate FX Lightsabers to be given away over a two-week period. The all-new Ultimate FX Lightsaber features a progressive light-up “blade” with vibrant LED lighting, allowing kids to experience the Force in a whole new way. The sweepstakes page will expand the week of September 5 to offer fans a sneak peek of Season Four of the series premiering on Friday, September 16 at 8 p.m. (et/pt) and the opportunity to enter for a chance to win a $1,000 grand prize. Full details and rules for the sweepstakes will be available at CartoonNetwork.com/toys.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a thrilling, weekly 30-minute “mini-movie” created by the talented artists at Lucasfilm Animation. Season Four: Battle Lines promises to continue the saga that Star Wars fans of all ages have grown to love, with the most fearless heroes and evilest bad guys returning for an action-packed season of fun and adventure.

As the heroic Jedi Knights and their clone army fight to preserve order, their efforts continue to be met with strong resistance from the massive Separatist Droid army. Escalating and expanding into uncharted corners of the galaxy, the scope and scale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars continues to grow – with exotic adventures and enhanced animation strengthening ties to the Star Wars saga. Within the galactic battle, fearsome foes from the past return to settle the score. As unexpected alliances are formed on both sides of the conflict, the action explodes and the course of the war takes an unforeseen turn!

“Passenger” by Africanus Okokon

Passenger is a hand-drawn film that abstracts the nighttime driving experience into a playful, kinetic performance of color and shape. It’s a junior year film by the piquantly named Africanus Okokon. He attends Rhode Island School of Design, which was also the point of origin for Playing for Keeeps, the short that we debuted yesterday as part of our Student Animation Festival.

New Adult Swim Bumpers from John K

John K. has several new pieces of animation coming up – bumpers for Adult Swim – that explore a more abstract style. I have no idea if these have aired yet, but John is posting clips and discussing them on his John K. Stuff blog.

Eddie Fitzgerald thinks this (below) is “one of the funniest walks in the history of TV animation“. He might be right.

UPDATE – Here’s one that did air:

Youku and DreamWorks Animation Enter into Online Distribution Agreement for “Panda” Films in China

BEIJING, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Youku.com, Inc. (NYSE: YOKU), China’s leading internet television company, and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NASDAQ: DWA) announced today that they have entered into a first-of-its-kind online distribution agreement for rights to the DreamWorks Animation KungFu Panda franchise films in Mainland China. This is the first time that DreamWorks Animation titles, which are distributed by Paramount Pictures, will be made available through an online platform in China.

Both Kung Fu Panda titles are available for on-demand viewing on Youku Premium and will subsequently debut on Youku’s Hollywood Movie Channel after the paid viewing window closes.

“We’re excited to add both of DreamWorks Animation’s KungFu Panda movies to our online channels,” said Victor Koo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Youku. “As technology matures and Chinese internet users increasingly turn to the web for entertainment, Youku has been able to expand on the traditional movie release roadmap through agreements for studio films such as Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2. Both titles have a proven track record of success with Chinese audiences, and we look forward to expanding our alignment with Hollywood studios in the future to offer even more compelling content.”

DreamWorks Animation’s KungFu Panda franchise has grossed over $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office to date and is wildly popular with Chinese audiences. In China, Kung Fu Panda was the #1 animated film of 2008 and Kung Fu Panda 2 became the fastest film in history to surpass RMB 100 million at the box office – in just two days. The DreamWorks Animation artistic team visited China to obtain cultural references for the KungFu Panda films, both of which feature lush environments, scenery and landscapes inspired by traditional Chinese art and architecture.

“Youku is an innovative company with extraordinary reach in China and we are thrilled that the KungFu Panda features will now be offered through their platform, which presents high-quality content to consumers online,” said Kelley Avery, Head of Worldwide Franchise Strategy and Distribution for DreamWorks Animation. “It is particularly satisfying that Chinese audiences have responded so enthusiastically to the cultural references within our franchise and we look forward to making both Kung Fu Panda movies available to more and more consumers in China through Youku.”

Youku is the leader among China’s online video sites in introducing a new model for content distribution, under which recently released films become available for on-demand viewing for a certain period of time before becoming available on a subscription basis, followed by a free-on-demand basis. The model, which debuted with Chinese movies and recently expanded with the launch of the Hollywood Movie Channel, allows studios to monetize the online release of their titles while also ensuring that their films reach as wide an audience as possible.

“Playing For Keeeps” by Dylan Hayes

Playing For Keeeps comes to us from Dylan Hayes who graduated last spring from the Rhode Island School of Design. The film is both witty and violent, primitive and sophisticated, and through all its strangeness, surprisingly poignant. Hayes uses hand-drawn animation to startling effect, creating a stark, ominous environment with a minimalist drawing style. The motivations of each of the film’s characters is crystal clear, yet the message one takes away is open to viewer interpretation. Perhaps a clue lies in Hayes’s film synopsis, in which he outlines the rules of his world:

Lesson 1. Everyone gambles, not everyone loses.
Lesson 2. The world is full of traps.
Lesson 3. You cannot win if you don’t take risks

Comment on the film or read production notes from the filmmaker on Cartoon Brew TV.

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

Titmouse and JibJab

CBTV Student Fest: “Playing For Keeeps”

The eighth selection in our Student Animation Festival, Playing For Keeeps, comes to us from Dylan Hayes who graduated last spring from the Rhode Island School of Design. Playing For Keeeps is both witty and violent, primitive and sophisticated, and through all its strangeness, surprisingly poignant. Hayes uses hand-drawn animation to startling effect, creating a stark, ominous environment with a minimalist drawing style. The motivations of each of the film’s characters is crystal clear, yet the message one takes away is open to viewer interpretation. Perhaps a clue lies in Hayes’s film synopsis, in which he outlines the rules of his world:

Lesson 1. Everyone gambles, not everyone loses.
Lesson 2. The world is full of traps.
Lesson 3. You cannot win if you don’t take risks

Hayes (above) wrote these background notes on the creation of Playing For Keeeps:

It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly where this project started off. When I returned to RISD in the fall, I knew I vaguely wanted to work with the ideas of risk taking and gambling for my Degree Project, but wasn’t sure where to go with it. I ended up making a lot of visual maps, and became interested in opposing concepts like frugality and risk taking, passivity and aggressiveness, and the idea of traps, rituals, and relationships. I was also reading about a lot about various mythologies, specifically, how life, death, spirits and the afterworld are perceived by cultures in New Guinea and Haiti, the world of Vodou, and a little bit of Japanese folklore to top it off. I wasn’t interested in recreating or depicting these traditional myths so much, but in creating my own mythos with its own rules, structure, and logic.

I spent most of the year doing little animation sketches and doodles, comics, songs, whatever, around all of these concepts, started making connections, and basically began fabricating a story about these four beings in a forest. I didn’t get around to actual real production until February, which admittedly, is later than I would have preferred. A lot of that early experimentation and basically procrastination of “real work” came from my fear to commit to a project, especially a year-long project, but in the end it worked out great because it allowed me to really explore these ideas and characters. The further you go you just keep discovering more and more relationships between seemingly disconnected concepts, which was really exciting for me.

As for the actual production of the animation, the whole piece was hand drawn in pencil, occasionally painted, and then all of the masking, compositing, and general post production was done with a combination of After Effects and Photoshop. I’m a big fan of the aesthetic of pencil drawings, and didn’t want to lose the physical, personal feeling you get when flipping through someone’s sketchbook. The sound design, which is the real fun part, was either recorded live or created in Ableton Live, usually a combination of the two. Other than that, this was a crazy piece to work on (and get in on time), but it was a good project that really pushed my own reservations in commitment and risk taking. I’m not exactly sure what’s next, but something science fiction might be on the horizon. Or maybe more ghosts?

Filmmaker Websites
Dylan Hayes website: Haaaay.com
Dylan Hayes blog: Ahayhoy.blogspot.com

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

An Update on Sketchtravel

Here’s an animated piece by Maud Remy and Gérald Guerlais describing Sketchtravel, a sketchbook that has been sent around the globe and drawn in by over seventy artists, including Frederic Back, Quentin Blake, Juanjo Guarnido, Glen Keane, Hayao Miyazaki, and Carlos Nine. We first announced the project back in 2006. The book is finished now and will be auctioned off later this year. A reproduction of the book will also be published and it is available for pre-order on Amazon France. A new website, Sketchtravel.tv offers video interviews with the participating artists.

“The Lion King 3D” Coming To Theatres With Limited Edition Simba RealD 3D Glasses For Kids

LOS ANGELES, Aug 26, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — RealD Inc. and Walt Disney Pictures are celebrating the release of the animated classic “The Lion King” for the first time in 3D with limited-edition, Simba-themed RealD 3D kids’ glasses. Featuring movie-themed colors and a picture of the cheerful and feisty lion cub Simba, the collectible RealD 3D glasses will be distributed at theatres free of charge with the purchase of a child’s ticket to see “The Lion King” in 3D. Simba-themed RealD 3D glasses are available exclusively at RealD 3D-equipped theatres in North America beginning September 16th while supplies last.

“‘The Lion King’ is an animated classic that a new generation will be able to experience like never before when it’s shown in theatres for the first time in fully immersive RealD 3D,” said Joseph Peixoto, President, Worldwide Cinema at RealD. “I can’t think of a better way for kids to get in on the fun than with their own pair of Simba-themed RealD 3D glasses that they can take home as a reminder of Disney’s epic story about the cub that would be king.”

Sealed in individual packaging to ensure they are sanitary and of high quality, limited-edition, Simba-themed RealD 3D glasses are designed to fit children 8 years of age and younger. Standard kids’ RealD 3D glasses are also available at theatres throughout North America. Visit www.RealD.com/theatrelocator to find a RealD 3D-equipped theatre playing “The Lion King” in 3D.

Call for Submissions: Japan Media Arts Festival

The Japan Media Arts Festival makes awards for outstanding creative works in the divisions of Arts, Entertainment, Animation and Manga, and provides opportunities to introduce these works through the award announcement, ceremony, and exhibition of the award-winning works.

Applications must arrive on or before Thursday, September 22, 2011.

To apply: https://bunka-jmaf.jp/?locale=en

Ottawa Festival Emphasizes TV Creators This Year

Pen Ward, Aaron Augenblick and Thurop van Orman

I’ve attended my fair share of foreign animation festivals over the years, and have always bemoaned the lack of Los Angeles industry artists at these gatherings. In Annecy artists from throughout Europe’s animation industry show up, in Ottawa a sizable lot from the New York and Toronto industry attend, but artists from Los Angeles have been conspicuously absent at every animation festival I’ve ever attended. There might be a few stragglers, but undoubtedly they’ll be outnumbered by the LA-based development and creative execs, who pounce on any opportunity for a free “business” trip.

The apathy of LA industry artists is historical. During the legendary 1967 Montreal animation expo, which was one of the great all-time gatherings of animation talent, only one Disney animator who had worked on Dumbo and was still employed at the company, took the time to attend the screening of that film. It was, of course, the studio’s most creatively curious artist, Ward Kimball.

This all leads up to some positively encouraging news. Browsing through the schedule for the upcoming Ottawa International Animation Festival, I noticed that not only are Adventure Time and Flapjack being shown in competition screenings , the creators of both shows–Pen Ward (top photo, left) and Thurop Van Orman (r.)–will attend and participate in a discussion about their work. This interaction between Los Angeles animators and the much larger world of animation beyond the San Fernando Valley doesn’t happen nearly often enough. Considering how relatively inexpensive it is to attend one of these festivals versus the mind-expanding benefits of meeting like-minded artists and seeing innovative new animation, I’m surprised that more studios don’t encourage and finance these trips for their employees. It would certainly be a wiser investment than shipping a cartload of executives to each festival.

The appearance of Ward and Van Orman isn’t the only TV-centric event at Ottawa either. Aaron Augenblick (top photo, center) who runs Brooklyn-based Augenblick Studios (Superjail!, Wonder Showzen, Ugly Americans) will be presenting a retrospective of his work. The program isn’t exclusively TV-related, but Augenblick is best known nowadays for his studio’s consistently high quality TV output, which is no small accomplishment.