(Toronto, Canada) — Nelvana Enterprises’ new animated comedy series, Scaredy Squirrel, will debut in the U.S. on Cartoon Network on Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, airing weekly in the same time slot.
Scaredy Squirrel is based on the popular book series by Canadian author Mélanie Watt, published by Kids Can Press, featuring an endearingly obsessive-compulsive hero. Scaredy lives in Balsa City and has the perfect job for a creative squirrel with a touch of OCD: stacking cans into elaborate displays at the Stash n’ Hoard grocery store. In his spare time, he is a huge paddleball fan and dreams of becoming the best paddler ever. At first glance, Scaredy may seem geeky and quirky, but he’s actually one cool confident squirrel. Comfortable in his fur, he makes no apologies for his idiosyncrasies and quirks, and that makes him totally awesome!
“Nelvana is excited about the buzz around our great new comedies like Scaredy Squirrel, and are especially pleased about our broadcast placement and partnership with Cartoon Network in the U.S.,” said Jerry Diaz, Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Nelvana Enterprises.
Remember Officer Bubbles, the Toronto cop who tried to sue YouTube because he didn’t like cartoons that satirized his abuses of power? Well, some police officers in the US are trying to outdo him in the crooked cop department. The prosecutor and police department of Renton, Washington are trying to arrest a person who used the animation software Xtranormal to create animated videos that exposed the Renton PD’s long history of misconduct. (One of the cartoons is posted above.)
Though the city’s name was never used in the cartoons, Renton police didn’t appreciate their dirty laundry being made public and claimed that the videos constituted “cyberstalking,” a felony that could earn the filmmaker five years in prison. Legal experts say the charge “absolutely does not apply” to the filmmaker, and have called the First Amendment-bashing behavior of the Renton PD an “extreme abuse of power.”
That hasn’t stopped the police from creating a search warrant (posted below) to go after MrFuddlesticks, the name of the YouTube account that posted the animated videos. A local Washington judge James Cayce rubber-stamped their warrant, which will force Google-owned YouTube to hand over information revealing the identity of the filmmaker.
The standoff between DreamWorks Animation and Paramount is explored in this piece in the Hollywood Reporter. It’s a good primer on the situation, and interestingly, positions it mostly as a battle of egos between Jeffrey Katzenberg and Paramount head Brad Grey. Unidentified insiders in the piece also support my contention from earlier this week that Paramount is kidding itself if it thinks it can start producing animated blockbusters like DreamWorks by 2014.
Some fans of Disney comics are calling Ducktales #3 published by Kaboom! the single worst Disney comic book they’ve ever seen. Here’s a detailed review of the issue by Chris Barat. Some of the complaints will make sense only to those familiar with the Disney comic universe, but the incompetent drawing and staging will be evident to all. Panels are flipped and repeated, characters speak to other characters that aren’t even drawn into the comic, backgrounds appear to be drawn by a twelve-year-old in MS Paint, and even the cover is an uninspired swipe of an earlier Daan Jippes cover:
Reversebeardpixilation is done so often it’s almost an animation meme, but there’s always room for one more, especially when it’s as well done as Peter Simon‘s Trim. The comments on the Reddit post about the film are interesting too–”I love how my assumption of who he is changed with each new hair style,” “Nazi, punk kid, white trash, hipster, biker, Jesus, Ultra-Jesus”–as well as the response from the director Simon: “That is something we were talking about while we were working on this. Each style has a very specific stereotype attached.”
London, 04 August 2011: FremantleMedia, one of the largest creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world, today announces that as of 1 September 2011, Monica Galer, who has worked in a dual capacity for the past two years, will concentrate solely on the overall management, strategy and business development of FremantleMedia France, in the newly created role of President of that company. This move signals an intensification of FremantleMedia’s focus on France, a key territory for the company.
This also marks the end of a process of revitalisation of FremantleMedia’s operations in Northern and Southern Europe, led by Ms Galer as CEO, Northern and Southern Europe, during which time she built new management teams in The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain, while fulfilling her responsibilities as CEO, FremantleMedia France.
Under her leadership, FremantleMedia France has been responsible for producing market-leading game shows, entertainment, and factual entertainment programming including The Farmer Wants a Wife (L’amour est dans le pré) which is attracting record ratings in its sixth series and is the number one show on M6, along with The Price is Right (Le Juste Prix), Password (Mot de Passe), Idols (La Nouvelle Star), Got Talent (La France a un incroyable talent), X Factor, How Clean Is Your House? (C’est du propre) and Supernanny, among others. During her tenure, the French company developed the global hit format Take Me Out, which has been on air in more than 15 territories worldwide.
Ms Galer is also a member of FremantleMedia’s IP Leadership group, which steers the Group’s international creative agenda.
Tony Cohen, CEO, FremantleMedia said: “Monica Galer is one of the architects of the European format and production industry, with formidable experience and a significant track record of success across Europe. Her creative leadership has resulted in substantial renewal across our Northern and Southern European businesses, and I am very confident that her renewed and exclusive focus on France will assure us of further success and growth in this key territory.”Monica’s appointment to this role is an indication of the strategic focus we are placing on maintaining momentum in France,” he added.
Monica Galer, President, FremantleMedia France, said: “France is an incredibly vibrant, creative and important market in the international television landscape. FremantleMedia France is responsible for creating and producing some of the country’s most popular entertainment, and I am looking forward to the opportunity of working exclusively with the French team as we expand upon our considerable creative and commercial success.”
Ms Galer joined FremantleMedia in April 2002 and is a highly experienced international TV executive, having worked for Endemol and RTL, amongst others, during her career. She established Blue Circle, FremantleMedia’s Dutch operation, as a company of outstanding creativity, producing many of the most successful shows on Dutch television. Ms Galer reports to Gary Carter, COO, FremantleMedia and remains on the Blue Circle board.
Century City, Calif. (Aug. 2, 2011) — Birds of a feather will once again flock together as the blockbuster 3-D animated comedy adventure Rio and the phenomenon that is Angry Birds match up for a line of co-branded plush. The plush will add to an exclusive toy line for Rio already in place at Toys“R”Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com, featuring the film’s most beloved characters — Blu, Jewel, Nigel, Pedro and Nico — designed in the unmistakable fashion of Angry Birds Rio. The plush, developed in partnership with Rovio’s primary toy partner Commonwealth Toys, will be available exclusively at Toys“R”Us stores beginning in mid-August.
Additionally, on August 2, Fox Home Entertainment will release Rio on Blu-Ray and DVD.Â Included in the Blu-Ray and DVD release, Fox Digital and Rovio will offer a clue granting fans access to 15 new and long-awaited levels of Angry Birds Rio, the record-breaking app from which fans downloaded ten million games in ten days. The app has now been downloaded over 60 million times.
Toys“R”Us stores nationwide and Toysrus.com will offer fans an exclusive opportunity to purchase Angry Birds Rio plush through Fall 2011. The line features both 5” and 8” plush with sounds derived from the characters in the Angry Birds Rio app.
“It’s a partnership that just makes sense,” said Robert Marick, Executive Vice President of Fox Consumer Products. “The consumer market has already gone crazy over the Angry Birds app, and now fans who have also enjoyed the hit sensation RIO can have the best of both worlds.”
Capitalizing on the considerable success of Rio, which grossed $473 million worldwide at the box office this year, Fox Consumer Products has seen an enormous consumer response to its Rio merchandise line, which launched in April and features video games, toys, books and more.
Angry Birds has quickly evolved from an addictive mobile application to a merchandising phenomenon. Since its release in 2009, the game has been downloaded more than 300 million times, becoming the most successful app of all time. Its worldwide popularity is now being catapulted by Rovio into various areas of consumer products, including plush, figurines and apparel.
Fox and Rovio partnered to create Angry Birds Rio, the next game and chapter in the Angry Birds franchise, which launched in March 2011. Angry Birds Rio is now available on app stores worldwide.
“Angry Birds Rio has really been a special partnership for us, and the response from Angry Birds fans has been incredible,” said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio. “We are proud and excited to continue our collaboration with Fox, and plan to create more delightful experiences and products in the future.”
The introduction of the Angry Birds Rio plush line from Commonwealth Toy is only the beginning. There are plans to introduce additional Rio characters to the line and expand the co-branded line to vinyl figures and other product forms.
“This is far from the last product being released by these two brands,” Marick said. “We intend to continue what we believe is a very productive and mutually beneficial partnership.”
LOS ANGELES and VANCOUVER, B.C. — Aug 4, 2011 — Render Rocket LLC, an advanced cloud-based rendering services company, and Thinware Media Ltd., the developers of the StudioCAP workflow automation and asset management solution for animation studios, announced today a new strategic partnership and technology integration that will enable animation studios to fully automate the process of rendering in the cloud.
StudioCAP (CAP=Computer Aided Production) is a completely new workflow automation and asset management solution for animation studios. This cloud-based system enables studios to more efficiently store, track, and move 2D and 3D CGI (computer generated image) assets through the creation process without having to install and manage a costly IT infrastructure to do so. Render Rocket is a cloud-based, high-end rendering service that provides professional-grade rendering power on-demand to any 2D or 3D production team regardless of its size or location.
Together, StudioCAP and Render Rocket will enable studios to manage their files more effectively, and to automatically trigger a render job by simply submitting an image or shot after an artist has completed it. This will immediately package and send all the files to Render Rocket for rendering. Render Rocket will quickly return the files to StudioCAP fully rendered. The entire process not only automates rendering for artists, it alleviates the need for studios to purchase and maintain dedicated file servers and rendering machines, since both StudioCAP and Render Rocket operate in the cloud.
“We are very excited that Ruben and his team are onboard with Thinware Media,” said Mark Rocchio, CEO of Thinware Media Ltd. “Render Rocket is a well-established, easy-to-use rendering solution that works seamlessly with StudioCAP, and this will undoubtedly simplify how our customers take content from concept to final render.”
Ruben Perez, CEO of Render Rocket, added: “StudioCAP is the perfect complement to our cloud-based rendering solution. Now studios of all sizes can create content more efficiently, manage projects and assets more efficiently, and render more efficiently – all within the cloud and without massive capital investment. This partnership has the potential to re-define how all types of media are produced.”
Houston, TX, August 03, 2011: Sentai Filmworks today confirmed the latest in its recent string of anime series acquisitions by announcing the company’s acquisition of the futuristic thriller No. 6. Based on the manga written by Atsuko Asano and illustrated by Hinoki Kino, the 11 episode post-apocalyptic mystery anime is the first series directed by storyboard and opening animation master Kenji Nagasaki (Kiba, Mobile Suit Gundam 00,) with series script duties being handled by Seishi Minakami (Heaven’s Memo Pad, Living for the Day After Tomorrow,) and character designs by Satoshi Ishino (Excel Saga, Puni Puni Poemy.)
In a near future world after the last great war, most of mankind now lives in a handful of city states. There, for the privileged elite, life should be perfect. But for young Shion, the only thing perfect has been the nightmare his life has become since letting a strange boy named Nezumi shelter for the night in his apartment. Banished to the outskirts of the city and stripped of all privileges for helping the mysterious stranger, Shion’s personal danger only compounds when his inquiry into a new series of mysterious deaths results in his being arrested on suspicion of murder! But even as Shion is being sent to the city’s Correctional Institute, the long missing Nezumi reappears to rescue him! Now, on the run, the two young men have only one chance at survival: uncover the mysterious secrets that lie at the sinister heart of City Number 6!
No. 6 is currently airing digitally on Crunchyroll, and will soon be available through other digital outlets with a home video release of the series to follow next year.
LONDON UK, – AUGUST 3, 2011 – Nokia and Aardman Animations have set another Guinness World Record for the ‘World’s Largest Stop-motion Animation Set’ with their follow up short film: Gulp, shot entirely on the Nokia N8, after having set a record for the ‘Smallest Stop-motion Animated Character’ last summer with Dot.
As part of Nokia’s on-going campaign to bring amazing, authentic uses of mobile technology to life, Nokia has partnered with Aardman Animations and Wieden + Kennedy once again to create Gulp, a new animation filmed on the Nokia N8.
After their success with the ‘Smallest Stop-motion Animated Character’, Aardman creative team Sumo Science directors Will Studd and Ed Patterson were set with the task of going large with their next film for Nokia.
The film explores the life of a little fishing boat when the tide goes out. As the sea ebbs away oilskins and nets come to life manifesting a lone fisherman, out to find the catch of the day.
When he sets off across the sea he encounters an ocean vista of waves, gulls, clouds and fish all created using giant sand animation, carved in the beach itself. As the fisherman hauls in his sandy catch he is swallowed by a huge sea monster. Trapped inside the beast’s cavernous stomach, he accidentally sets off a chain reaction and is catapulted back to the surface, too late to save his catch from escaping back into the ocean.
Shot entirely on the new Nokia N8 smartphone, Gulp showcases the smartphone’s Carl Zeiss optics and its 12-megapixel photography capabilities. Three phones elevated 36 meters above the ground on a cherry picker on a beach in South Wales, UK, shot a canvas of 42.71 meters x 24 meters creating the ‘World’s Largest Stop-motion Animation Set’.Â The phones were mounted in a custom built rig inside a specially designed Peli Box and operated remotely by the camera crew in order to capture the huge images.
Sand In Your Eye director Jamie Wardley, choreographed a team of sand artists and 30 art student volunteers to create gigantic sand drawings with precision timing that had to be smoothed over and re-drawn every 4 minutes to stay on the tight schedule dictated by the spring tide. The team was shooting up to 75 frames per day and each time the sand had to be raked over in order to create the individual drawings for each frame. The shoot lasted for seven days including one night’s shoot.
The huge set was made up of recognizable nautical objects, such as seaweed, ropes and nets. Aardman’s expert prop makers built a replica life-sized fishing boat that was light enough to carry around on set.Â Both a half boat and full boat were constructed for the different perspectives.
Heather Wright, Executive Producer on the project and Head of Aardman’s Commercials and Branded Content department was delighted with the follow up challenge. ”Gulp is crazily ambitious.Â We’ve never done anything even approaching this enormous scale before and it’s a massive technical, logistical and artistic learning curve — once again!Â We’re working right at the edge of what’s possible in all areas,” says Wright.
Philip Hickey, Global Digital Marketing Manager Nokia, says, “We are extremely proud of Gulp and are delighted to have achieved yet another Guinness world record in film and animation. The creativity of Aardman Studios, coupled with the industry leading imaging capabilities of the Nokia N8 smartphone has resulted in a beautiful animation which will astonish all our advocates, fans and customers.”
Will Studd shared his experience of directing this ground breaking film, “The film was a huge test of planning and coordination with Mother Nature, we were incredibly lucky with conditions and tide times, sometimes we got our final frame for the day just as the waves crashed in around our set! Obviously the turnaround had to be so quick with such a short window, but working with the W + K team was fantastic as usual and we got everything we set out to achieve. The Nokia N8 stood up to the challenge and produced some outstanding images.”
Nokia and Aardman have been engaging fans by opening up the production process on blogging and social media sites, revealing the challenges and excitement of the shoot through photographs and behind the scenes video snippets.
Tom Seymour and David Bruno, Creatives at Wieden + Kennedy London said, “Attempting a Guinness world record was never going to be easy, especially the World’s Largest Stop-motion Animation Set’. But with the right team of people, the right technology and a little optimism how could we possibly fail? The Nokia N8 produced some amazingly detailed photographs, both day and night. The result is a charming short film with a fantastic production story.”
Gulp is a short stop-mo animation created by “Sumo Science” (Ed Patterson and Will Studd) for client Aardman Animations. The film has broken a world record for the “largest stop-motion animation set”, with the largest scene stretching over 11,000 square feet. It was shot frame-by-frame on location on a beach in South Wales, using the camera on a Nokia N8 smart phone. But even more inspiring than the film itself (embed below) is the making-of video (click here).
Toy Masters is a feature-length documentary (currently in production) on the story behind the toy line and animated series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. In addition to interviews with all the principals behind the toys and Filmation cartoon, the preview below contains the central conflict of the film – the stories of toy designers Roger Sweet and Mark Taylor, both of whom claim to have created He-Man:
Wow, here’s something I’d never seen before: Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam discussing his animation techniques on Bob Godfrey‘s Do-It-Yourself Animation Show in 1974. Godfrey’s show, which made animation accessible to the masses by taking the mystery out of the production process, was vastly influential and inspired an entire generation of kids in England, including Nick Park, who created Wallace & Gromit, Jan Pinkava, who directed the Pixar short Geri’s Game, and Richard Bazley, an animator on Pocahontas, Hercules, and The Iron Giant.
In a day and age when more kids are interested in animating than ever before, it’s a shame that TV shows (or Web series) that are fun and informative like this don’t exist. The DIY advice that Gilliam gives in this episode is not only brilliant, but still as relevant today as back then:
“The whole point of animation to me is to tell a story, make a joke, express an idea. The technique itself doesn’t really matter. Whatever works is the thing to use.”
It’s been twelve years since the last short by filmmakers Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, and that was the Palme d’Or-winning and Oscar-nominated When the Day Breaks. They recently wrapped their new film Wild Life. The National Film Board of Canada has released these two clips on-line from the thirteen-and-a-half-minute film, which premiered on the festival circuit in May.
The official description:
In 1909, a dapper young remittance man is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick and the folly of living dangerously out of context.
My love for bouncy retro-style cartoons has no bounds. This was produced a few years ago (2002?) by Argentine cartoonist and animator Lucas Nine, but I just caught up with it today. This is so good the poor quality of the upload doesn’t spoil it for me.