Academy salutes Hubley in NYC; Mary Blair in LA

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has two different programs – one on each coast – worthy of your attention and attendence:

On Monday October 10th An Academy Salute to John Hubley. It will be hosted by Oscar winning animator, educator and author John Canemaker and co-curated by filmmaker Emily Hubley. The program will include rarely seen films and an illustrated look at his life and his art by Canemaker, Hubley and animator Michael Sporn. Tickets are $5 for general admission ($3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID). It will sell-out. Order your Tickets Online NOW!

Monday, October 10, 7 p.m.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Academy Theater at Lighthouse International
111 East 59th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues), New York City


On Thursday October 20th, the 17th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation will present Mary Blair’s World of Color; A Centennial Tribute. This panel will feature Pixar director Pete Docter, Disney animator Eric Goldberg, art director Susan Goldberg, Pixar color key artist Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi and character designer Michael Giaimo in a discussion moderated by animation historian Charles Solomon.

Tickets are $5 for general admission ($3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID) and will go on sale starting October 3rd online, by mail, and in person at the Academy Box Office. This too will sell-out. Be there!

Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m.
at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills

9 Story Announces Plans for MIPJr and MIPCOM

Toronto, Canada – September 27, 2011- (Virtual Press Office) — 9 Story Entertainment is pleased to announce new and returning animated series at MIPJr and MIPCOM.

Screening for the first time are children’s animated comedy series’ Numb Chucks (52×11’) and The Super Dupers (52×11’). Launching sales at MIPJr and Mipcom are the pre-school animated series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (40×22’) and prime-time animated sitcom Ben’s City (13×22’), in addition to season 2 of popular children’s animated comedy series’ Almost Naked Animals (40×22’) and Wild Kratts (66×22’).

Numb Chucks (52×11’) is a comedy about two half-witted woodchuck vigilantes, Dilweed and Fungus, who use their non-existent kung-fu skills to protect the citizens of Ding-a-Ling Springs, whether they need it or not.

The Super Dupers (52×11’) follows the escapades of 12-year-old twins, Danny and Daisy, as they discover they might not have the greatest superpowers ever, but they still know how to have super-size fun.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (40×22’ or 80×11’) is based on the longest-running children’s program on American television Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. This all-new animated preschool series features Daniel, a shy but brave 4-year-old tiger who lives in the magical Neighborhood of Make Believe and learns key skills necessary for school and life.

Ben’s City (13×22’) is a new prime-time animated sitcom from French celebrity comedian François Pérusse featuring a crew of odd-ball characters living in a large cosmopolitan city. Ben’s life seems pretty ordinary, but in reality it’s the complete opposite. Pérusse uses the pretext of everyday life to create extreme parody as his characters careen from one bizarre adventure to another.

Almost Naked Animals (40×22’ or 80×11’) The Banana Cabana is a beachfront resort, home to mayhem and all around fun, run by a bunch of free-spirited underwear-clad, accident-prone animals led by Howie, a hospitality-challenged canine manager.

Wild Kratts (66×22’) features Chris and Martin Kratt, real life brothers, zoologists, and creators of the hit shows Kratts’ Creatures and Zoboomafoo, as they travel the world to meet amazing new animals and use their fantastic Creature Powers Suits to rescue their animal friends.

Mind Candy Makes Brad Schultz Head of New Online TV Platform, Moshi TV

London — 26th September 2011 – Mind Candy today announced the appointment of ex-Kabillion exec Brad Schultz as Head of Moshi TV – a new online TV platform set to appeal to Moshi’s 50m registered users worldwide.

Based out of a newly formed LA office, Schultz will be responsible for overseeing and driving forward the company’s all-new online TV division. The platform, which was announced at Kidscreen earlier this year, will host a combination of video content including animated Moshi shorts, safely moderated user-generated content and programming from third party producers. Moshi TV will incorporate a social layer via which kids can comment, rate and recommend shows to their network of friends. The revenue model is yet to be defined but it’s likely to be a mix of both free content and pay-to-view premium content.  The platform is set to have an online presence by late 2011.

Brad Schultz, Head of Moshi TV – Mind Candy, commented: “I’m thrilled to be on board with such an exciting project. You Tube revolutionised the online video space, now it’s time to bring that innovation to the kids’ space. Our vision is to change the face of children’s content production. We want to be the go-to destination for safe, fun video entertainment for under 13′s.”

Schultz brings a wealth of experience to the role having led digital content for MoonScoop’s kids’ content platform Kabillion for the last four years. Prior to this Schultz also worked within Moonscoop on the launch of several new shows including Hero:108, Rob Dyrdek’s Wild Grinders and Chloe’s Closet alongside all the major kids’ TV networks. Schultz has a particularly natural flair for kids’ content having grown up in the animation industry with his father Bill Schulz, a successful TV producer.

Michael Acton Smith, CEO – Mind Candy, said: “We’re delighted to have Brad heading up this immensely exciting area of the business. We share the same vision, and with his experience and skill set, he’s definitely the right man to get Moshi TV off the ground.”

Schultz will be out at MIPCOMJr/MIPCOM in Cannes next week talking to both producers that are interested in working on Moshi content and also third party producers looking for a network to air their content.  ”We’re looking to work with content producers to help launch cool new brands. We’ll also produce all sorts of Moshi content that will further deepen the story behind the characters and the brand,” he says, ‘we have loads of ideas up our sleeves”.

Nathan Fillion, Tim Daly join heroic alums in voice cast of “Justice League: Doom”

Primetime television stars Nathan Fillion and Tim Daly, the reigning voices of Green Lantern and Superman, respectively, join an exciting group of actors reprising their famed cartoon roles in Justice League: Doom, an all-new entry in the popular series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies due in early 2012 from Warner Home Video.

Justice League: Doom finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. The story is inspired by Mark Waid’s much-heralded JLA: Tower of Babel.

Fillion, the star of ABC’s hit TV drama Castle, made his debut as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in the recent Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. Fillion made his initial DCU bow as the voice of Steve Trevor in the 2008 hit Wonder Woman.

Currently headlining the cast of ABC’s popular Private Practice, Daly originated the title character’s voice in the landmark cartoon, Superman: The Animated Series. He has reprised the role in two DCU films: the 2009 extravaganza Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and the 2010 thriller Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

In addition to current primetime stars Fillion and Daly, the cast is a grand reunion of the original group of actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name and its follow-up, Justice League Unlimited. Reprising their roles are Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as Batman, Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Breaking In) as Flash, Susan Eisenberg (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) as Wonder Woman and Carl Lumbly (Alias) as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter. Bumper Robinson (A Different World, Transformers: Animated) joins the cast as Cyborg.

The Justice League faces two sets of villainous teams in the film — The Royal Flush Gang and a sextet of notable evildoers. The latter group includes three voice acting alumni of the Justice League animated series: Phil Morris (Smallville, Seinfeld) as Vandal Savage, Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) as Star Sapphire, and Alexis Denisof (Angel) as Mirror Master. Also opposing our heroes are Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) as Bane, Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files) as Metallo, and Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate SG-1) as Cheetah.

David Kaufman (Danny Phantom) also reprises his Justice League role of Jimmy Olsen.

The film is executive produced by Bruce Timm (Batman: Year One), and directed by Lauren Montgomery (Batman: Year One), who is also credited as producer alongside Alan Burnett (Batman: The Animated Series). Justice League: Doom is the final script from the late Dwayne McDuffie (All-Star Superman, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths). Casting and dialogue direction is once again in the capable hands of Andrea Romano (Batman: Year One, SpongeBob SquarePants).

Warner Home Video will premiere the Justice League: Doom trailer during its presentation at New York Comic Con on Friday, October 14 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. in the IGN Theater. Also premiering during that session will be the Catwoman animated short that is attached to Batman: Year One, the next DC Universe Animated Movie (streeting October 18).

Nickelodeon Presents “Team Umizoomi” Special, “Journey To Numberland” on October 3

Milli, Geo and Bot set off on their greatest math adventure yet in the new hour-long Team Umizoomi special, “Journey to Numberland,” premiering Monday, Oct. 3, at 10 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. The hit preschool series, which encourages kids to be strong and mighty in math. Team Umizoomi combines action-adventure missions with an interactive math curriculum designed to help kids develop self-confidence in their math abilities and appreciate the many ways in which math shapes their world.

In this special double-length episode, Milli, Geo and Bot travel to Numberland to visit their friend, the King of Numbers! There, Team Umizoomi discovers a magical world where numbers are everywhere —there’s a number train, a number Ferris Wheel… even a number castle! Everyone in Numberland loves numbers! Everyone except.. Zilch the Wizard! Zilch can’t stand numbers! He dislikes numbers so much he uses one of his magic spells to lock the King in his crooked tower! To rescue the King, Team Umizoomi must embark on an awesome adventure to find the three keys that will unlock the tower. Their quest takes them across the sea on a pirate ship captained by Squarebeard the Shape Pirate. They have to find some way to cross a treacherous crumbling bridge in the Cave of Numbers. And finally, to get the last key, Team Umizoomi must engage in an epic race to beat Zilch to the top of Pattern Peak. Zilch the Wizard uses his magic spells to try and stop them at every turn. But even Zilch and his magic spells are no match for Team Umizoomi and their Mighty Math Powers!

Nickelodeon’s award-winning website, www.nickjr.com, currently features Team Umizoomi “Journey to Numberland” games, activities, printables and more.

“Good Girl Bad Girl” by John Loter

Here’s a delicious piece of eye-candy by artist John Loter to promote his latest merchandising brand, Good Girl, Bad Girl.

Loter’s company, Loter, Inc., does freelance merchandising artwork and design for various studios, particularly Disney. For the past several years the Loters have been selling their own original characters on merchandise at Comic-Con and other events.

About the GGBG piece above, Loter writes:

“The project started with an original song from Joel J Dahl of the band De Novo Dahl (currently By Lightning). We sent him our GGBG book and before we knew it, Joel had a song that we loved and became a huge inspiration for me.

“I drew the boards, with advice from my brother, animation director Steve Loter. Pascal Campion did us the huge favor of assembling our animatic. We had been discussing this project with our friends at Ghostbot and even though the production time was very tight, they agreed to animate it for us. I drew all character key poses (thanks Dancin’ Bob McKnight!). Kevin Martonick was a blessing, creating the Flash assets from my drawings.”

Netflix and DreamWorks Animation Announce Multi-Year Premium Pay TV Window Agreement in the United States

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. and GLENDALE, Calif., Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced a new multi-year licensing agreement that will make Netflix the exclusive subscription television service for first-run feature films and select television specials from DreamWorks Animation, the award-winning creators of such beloved franchises as Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

Beginning with its 2013 feature films, new DreamWorks Animation titles will be made available for Netflix members to watch instantly in the pay TV window on multiple platforms, including television, tablet, computer, and mobile phones. Under the agreement, certain critically lauded and commercially successful DreamWorks Animation catalogue titles – including  Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar 2, Chicken Run and Antz, among others – will also be made available to Netflix members over time.

“DreamWorks Animation is one of the few family entertainment brands that really matters. The studio is brilliantly creative, technologically innovative and incredibly successful at making films and TV shows that delight people of all ages,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “This agreement strengthens the lineup of great family content Netflix members will be able to watch instantly and also increases the number of hit first-run films we’ll have available in the pay TV window.”

“Netflix has emerged as an innovative brand with an impressive track record for attracting high-quality content providers to its service and we look forward to making DreamWorks Animation titles available to over 24 million Netflix members in the U.S.,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “This arrangement allows us to get more value for our content while giving us a greater degree of flexibility in how we distribute it across multiple platforms in today’s evolving digital world.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Spain’s Imira Partners with DQE for “Escape Hockey”


DQ Entertainment, the Global entertainment production and distribution company today announced that Imira Entertainment, Spain’s leading production and distribution company specialising in youth programming and Enne Entertainment Studios and Spanish broadcaster TVE has joined as co-production partners on new 3D animated series Escape Hockey.

Aimed at 6-12 year olds and created by Enne Entertainment, Escape Hockey (26×26’) is a blend of comedy and space adventure that tells the story of Dan, who is abducted along with his friends to a prison planet named Plutonium. The only way for him to go back home is to win the great Escape Hockey Tournament, the biggest sporting event in the galaxy, where the most dangerous inmates battle it out for the ultimate prize. Their freedom!

The series will be produced in two versions, a standard television series and an interactive version which will feature the innovative gaming format ‘Watch and Play’ – a revolutionary system that allows the viewer watch the series and play at the same time thanks to the mini-games integrated in each chapter. Scenes incorporated in the storyline will be played out by the viewer. This will be developed with VOD, online, interactive TV and games console platforms in mind. These videogames will also allow TVE develop the interactive potential of its web offering including skills of socialization and community creation around the series.

Imira is also handling worldwide sales for the show, and will be at MIPCOM seeking presales.

Sergi Reitg, CEO of Imira Entertainment: “We’re very happy to have DQE on board as a co-production partner for Escape Hockey, joining the strong team already in place at Imira, Enne and TVE. We’ve had a fantastic initial response to the show and its unique and innovative cross-media ‘Watch and Play’ format which we hope will revolutionize the viewing experience for kids.”

Guillermo Velasco, Business Director at Enne Entertainment Studios and Executive Producer of the series pointed out that “We could never imagined we would have such great co-producers on board. Imira, DQE and TVE have been very passionate about the concept of the series and the added value that ‘Watch & Play’ offers to the market. We are very optimistic regarding the acceptance of other broadcasters to this innovative series”.

Tapaas Chakravarti, Chairman & CEO of DQE Group commented “ The watch and play format will be a great attraction for the children viewing the series. We are sure that the combined synergies of DQE, Imira & Enne Animation will make Escape Hockey a great success worldwide”.

41 Entertainment Named Worldwide Distributor for Pac-Man 3D


41 Entertainment LLC (“41e”), the New York, London and Barcelona based animation production and distribution company announced today that it has been appointed by Namco Bandai Games to distribute worldwide the brand new series entitled Pac-Man 3D (26 x 26’) in time for a fall 2013 airing.

Based on the iconic brand, the series will be produced in stereoscopic 3D by Avi Arad (Spider-Man for Sony Pictures, Iron Man for Paramount, Hulk for Universal and Fantastic Four and X-Men for 20th Century Fox) and Rick Ungar (Biker Mice from Mars for New World, X-Men Evolution for Marvel and Legend of the Dragon for BKN) and written by Tom Ruegger (Scooby-Doo for Hanna-Barbera; Animaniacs and Batman – The Animated Series for Warner Bros. Animation) and Paul Rugg (Animaniacs and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated for Warner Bros. Animation).

States 41e CEO, Allen Bohbot: “We are very pleased to handle Pac-Man, an adventurous and whimsical character, who by celebrating his 30th birthday joins a shortlist of iconic cultural phenomena, and project that broadcasters and licensees worldwide are sure to want to be associated with him.  We will not publicly exhibit at MIPJunior, but rather screen privately for major clients at our MIPCOM booth in 3D (with glasses).”

Avi Arad adds: “Pac-Man is one of my all-time favorite characters – a reluctant hero who is full of humor and friendship. Pac-Man and the ghosts create an amazing world of action-adventure with special attention to character and commitment.  In our show, our ghosts come in all shapes and sizes – creature-like ghosts that make for an endless world of escapades. This character allowed us a unique shape in animation and out of this world scenarios. I am especially excited by the work done by Sprite Animation, which is just magnificent.”

Rick Ungar adds: “The opportunity to work with such an iconic character as Pac-Man was an opportunity not to be missed. When you add to the mix the remarkable 3D animation being produced for this series and the chance to work with the best writers in animation, the entire adventure has been, and continues to be, a fantastic experience.”

Mr. Unozawa, Chief Operating Officer at Namco Bandai Games Inc., states: “We are very happy to be working with both Arad Productions and 41 Entertainment on this property.  We are planning to invest more than $15 million in the production and launch a major toy program worldwide.”

41e will be launching this first run new property at MIPCOM (Booth 09.19).

DQE to Co-produce “Franco and Formula Fun” Pre-school TV Series

DQE, the global entertainment production and distribution company, is pleased to announce signing of a co-production agreement with Formula Fun Entertainment Limited (“FFE”) in the UK and Telegael in Ireland to co-produce a new CGI (computer-generated imagery) animated pre-school series based on the award-winning property, Franco and Formula Fun. The series is expected to be available for broadcast in early 2013.

Franco and Formula Fun won the 2009 MIP Junior Licensing award and the TV series has been pre-sold into 28 countries worldwide through broadcast partners including: TV2 (Norway), MTV OY (Finland), Al Jazeera Children’s Channel (Middle East), Israel (Hop! TV) and Iceland (CH2). The series is aimed at 3-7 year olds and comprises 52 episodes of 11 minutes each. FFE and Telegael will oversee pre-production, with animation production taking place at DQE’s studios in India and post-production at Telegael in Ireland.

Inspired by the global motor racing sport, this series sees six-year-old Franco’s adventures with his ten superpower toy racing car friends, both on and off the racing track, come to life in a CGI racing world.

Tapaas Chakravarti Chairman & CEO of DQE said, “With India making its Formula 1 circuit debut in October, this animated series makes perfect sense for us. We are extremely excited to work on this action packed TV series alongside Formula Fun Entertainment in the UK and Telegael in Ireland. We are sure that children throughout the world will delight in watching their favourite super cars come to life on TV.”

Marina Nicholas, Creator and CEO of FFE said, “FFE is delighted to work with two prestigious production companies to produce this animated television series. Their wealth of experience in high quality productions makes Telegael and DQ Entertainment ideal partners to deliver a global series, which combines entertainment, education and sport to the younger generation.”

Paul Cummins, CEO Telegael, Ireland said “Telegael is delighted to partner with Formula Fun Entertainment and DQ Entertainment to bring this award-winning property to a worldwide children’s audience. The combination of compelling characters, exciting storylines and colourful locations set the tone for a series that will wow children the world over.”

Ottawa Festival Wrap-up

The Ottawa International Animation Festival concluded last night with its award ceremony honoring some of best animation of the year.

Stephen Irwin‘s Moxie (trailer above) won the Grand Prize for Independent Short. Phil Mulloy‘s controversial Buried But Not Dead won the big prize for Best Animated Feature (see my opinion of it below).

Other awards of note include: Best Student Grand Prize to Jason Carpenter’s The Renter; Best Commissioned Film to Intel The Chase; Best Animation School Showreel to Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; and Best Graduate Animation to Eamonn O’Neill’s I’m Fine Thanks (see trailer below). Click here for the full list of winners.

Festival highlights for me were the tributes to Aaron Augenblick, Pen Ward and Thurop Van Orman, which were both highly entertaining and somewhat educational (hat tip to Pen for showing Rebecca Sugar’s Singles off of Cartoon Brew TV); John Canemaker’s incredible heart-felt tribute/talk for Joe Grant and Joe Ranft; Pixar’s Enrico Casarosa screening and discussing (in wonderful detail) his new short La Luna (which will be released with Brave next year); Disney’s screening of both The Ballad of Nessie and Winnie The Pooh with animator Mark Henn and Pooh directors Steve Anderson and Don Hall on hand to answer all questions; and Brandon Oldenburg’s whimsical presentation on the making of The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lesmore.

I watched all four feature films in competition: Chico and Rita is a beautiful film, grown up film based around the world of jazz of the 40s and 50s. Not exactly sure what technique is used here, but if its rotoscope, its one of the best uses of the form I’ve ever seen.

Mati Kutt’s Taevalaul (Sky Song) is an amazing non-narrative sci-fi/fantasy stop motion film (45 minutes) in the Brothers Quay tradition. Hilarious in parts, thought provoking throughout. Might be my favorite film of the week.

Colorful by Keiichi Hara presents important themes – like suicide, teen prostitution, reincarnation, bullying and dysfunctional families – in his compelling anime feature. I liked the film and its story, but it is told at a snail’s pace (126 mins!), and despite a fantasy premise concerning an angel there is nothing in this film that couldn’t have been said perhaps better in live action.

Dead But Not Buried I hated. I actually admire the shorts of Phil Mulloy, but this feature is a continuation of his previous Mr. Christie film. Talking heads in silhouette may be fine for 12 minutes on Adult Swim, but 80 minutes (twice) is too much to take.

As for the rest of the fest, I had a blast. Met many Brew readers, saw many old friends. I screened a bunch of violent cartoons at several venues and did a CBC radio show on Saturday morning to promote the screenings. You can listen to it here:



At the picnic Friday afternoon (above), left to right: Yvette Kaplan, me, Tom Knott, Steve Stanchfield, Mark Mayerson.

And finally, a strange taste of Chris Robinson’s late-night festival programming: a mock panel discussing the history of animation held on Thursday night, featured this piece (below) written and animated by Morgan Miller (“Teela“) and Josh Kleefeld. Here, they discuss the history of animated short films and the Ottawa Animation Festival’s role in fostering the medium.

“Flapjack” Creator Thurop van Orman Wrestles Fan in Ottawa

Flapjack

The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack creator Thurop van Orman has taken fan interaction to a whole new level. This video (reposted HERE) recorded during the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which is happening right now, shows Thurop wrestling one of his fans to the ground. Here’s the setup, according to Andrew Stewart, who filmed the action:

A few of us were talking with Thurop (guy who created the show Flapjack.) and Steve Smith faked wrestled with him, but then Thurop took him out into the bushes. Steve then challenged Thurop to a 2nd match 10min later and this is that match!

Rest assured that this kind of wrestling is considered perfectly normal by Thurop, and according to Stewart’s followup tweet, might even be a kind of kinky foreplay in the van Orman household: “Thurop said he loves to wrestle and he does that with his wife too. He said she cheats by pulling his beard.”

Add this as one more reason why LA artists should consider attending Ottawa: if you’re looking for a good place to bodyslam your fans into the ground, Canada and its universal health care system beckons!

MONDAY in L.A.: “Cartoon Dump!”

Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl cannot be in Carton Dump this month because he’s in rehab for his auto-erotic-asfyxiation addiction. (In a very emotional group therapy session this morning he got all choked up.) So this Monday’s show will be guest-hosted by Andy Kindler and Dumpster Diver Dan with a sensational line-up of stand-up comedy guests mixed with the usual assortment of unbelievably awful cartoons.

Monday, September 26 at 8:00pm – Special guest host Andy Kindler, plus Melissa Viallasenor, Hugh Moore, an incredibly jet-lagged Jerry Beck, and special guest star Greg Proops!

Where? The Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. • Free Parking! • Advanced Tickets here • Phone: (323) 666-9797 • Map & Directions

We’ve Created A Bronster!

As the second season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic commences, it’s worth another look at the post that started the phenomenon known as The Bronies.

Amid’s commentary on the state of TV animation, which was directed towards a professional audience, was interpreted differently by younger animation fans who aren’t as familiar with industry lingo like creator-driven animation. The unexpected reaction to the article spread on 4chan’s /b/ and sparked a world-wide fandom for this innocuous children’s show, leading to obsessive sites like this and this.

Now the folks at Know Your Meme have created the video history of this show’s popularity (and done a pretty good job of mangling the pronunciation of Amid’s name in the process):

(Thanks, Kelly Toon)

News Around The Net: September 23, 2011

Anime News Network: Anime Art Director Shichiro Kobayashi Wins Gov’t Film Award

Animation Magazine: Zinkia Taps Disney Vet Pastor as GM

Taiwan Today: New Zealand-based Huhu Studios Opens Studio in Southern Taiwan

IFTN: Monster Entertainment Completes I’m A Monster

Kidscreen: YouTube Hit Bernard Gets Feature Film via BRB Internacional

Kidscreen: Former Chorion Chairman Waheed Alli Launches New Company, Starts Buying

Roald Dahl’s “The Enormous Crocodile” Greenlit for Animted TV Series

London. 22 September 2011. Writer-led indie Adastra Creative and the literary estate of world-renowned author, Roald Dahl, have joined forces to produce the first ever animated television series based on a Roald Dahl title.

Developed from the best-selling children’s book The Enormous Crocodile, the television series will be faithful to Roald Dahl’s unique style of storytelling and the distinctive illustrations of his principal illustrator, Quentin Blake. Brand new stories will chart the further adventures of the hopeless Enormous Crocodile whose “secret plans and clever tricks” are humorously thwarted by the animals in the jungle – Humpy Rumpy, Mugglewump, Trunky and the Roly Poly Bird.

Adastra will develop and produce the series — 52 x 11 minutes — for the literary estate.

Although there have been many hugely successful feature film versions of Roald Dahl books (most recently Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox), this is the first time Roald Dahl’s literary estate has allowed the creation of new stories based on an existing work. The task has been entrusted to highly-experienced writers Mellie Buse and Jan Page of Adastra, the creators of the award-winning pre-school comedy success, Grandpa in my Pocket.

Amanda Conquy, MD of Roald Dahl’s literary estate says: “We are delighted by our forthcoming collaboration with Adastra.  Mellie and Jan’s experience and sensibilities make them the ideal partners for Roald Dahl’s uniquely anarchic, naughty and whimsical Crocodile. It’s a very exciting project and we are delighted that it is now underway.”

Mellie Buse adds: “We were overjoyed when Roald Dahl’s literary estate contacted us with the idea of turning this timeless classic into an animated series. The Enormous Crocodile is a much-loved character and Roald Dahl books are at an all-time high. In 2010, a Roald Dahl book was sold every 5 seconds day or night. His work is currently published in 49 languages so we are sure a television version will have huge international appeal.”

Adastra is currently in discussions with UK broadcasters and is keen to talk to further potential UK and international partners.

Animation Mentor Presents Webinar “Anatomy of a Fight”

Emeryville, Calif., Sept. 22, 2011 — Animation Mentor, the state-of-the-art online animation school founded by animators for animators, announced today that Dr. Stuart Sumida, professor of biology at California State University, San Bernardino, will be featured in the webinar Anatomy of a Fight on Tuesday, October 11, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Pacific Time. This event is free to animators, students, Animation Mentor alumni and others who register in advance. A second airing will take place later that day on the Animation Mentor Facebook page.

In addition to his university tenureship, Dr. Sumida is a world-renowned paleontological researcher and the foremost authority of anatomy and fight choreography for the animation industry. “Anatomy and fight scenes are near and dear to me as I’ve been doing martial arts since I was eight years old,” says Dr. Sumida. “This webinar takes everything that I love and puts them into one event.”

The Animation Mentor curriculum emphasizes the skills needed to animate realistic character and creature performances in any setting, including difficult fight sequences. Anatomy of a Fight will combine physical demonstrations by Dr. Sumida, footage from classic live-action and animated movie fight scenes, detailed descriptions of anatomical principles, explanation of skeletal anatomy and other valuable insights to increase the skills of animators. “If you’re an animator who wants to learn more about the anatomy of an animated fight scene, this webinar will be an eye-opening experience,” says Dr. Sumida.

Dr. Sumida to Appear with Animation Mentor at CTN animation eXpo
Dr. Sumida will also join Animation Mentor at the upcoming CTN animation eXpo in Burbank, Calif., from November 18 — 20, 2011. He and the school will discuss character and creature animation from films and the Animation Mentor curriculum, and how to believably animate a punch, kick or take down. In addition, Dr. Sumida will perform a demonstration with martial arts experts.

“Everything we do is designed to provide the most personal and fulfilling learning experience on the planet!” says Bobby Beck, Animation Mentor’s CEO and cofounder. “Having someone of Dr. Sumida’s standing is an incredible honor for us. His excitement and passion for his craft inspires all of us – students, alumni, staff, and hopefully some new friends and future students, too!”

FOR SALE: “Foodfight!”

We’ve been posting about Foodfight! since 2004 (the year Cartoon Brew began!) and every year we wonder if it will ever be released. (Click the Foodfight! tag to see all of our coverage.) It’s becoming The Day The Clown Cried of animated features. How bad can it be?

This bad: I spotted this classified ad (below) printed the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter (9/23/11):

So, next Monday you can purchase the film, lock, stock and barrel from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, who obtained the rights when C47 Productions and Threshold Animation Studios defaulted on their loan. That is, of course, if you have at least $2.5 million dollars to throw at a film that looks like this: Click here to see Foodfight! trailer.

David OReilly and NMA Collaborate on a Short

The inevitable has happened: CG provocateur David OReilly has partnered with Taiwan’s Next Media Animation, whose mocap news reports are at least as truthful as anything you’ll see in the mainstream media. The resulting short, Children’s Medium Used for Dissemination of Truth, is exactly what you’d expect of a collaboration between these two non sequitur aficionados in that it’s totally unexpected.

“Sabrina, The Teenage Witch” Returns To Animation

New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA (September 22, 2011) — Archie Comics, the leading mass market comic book publisher in the world and home to leading all-ages properties Archie, Betty and Veronica, Jughead and Josie and the Pussycats announced plans to partner with Moonscoop, one of the leading worldwide animation production studios, to create a new animated series based on the adventures of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Sabrina, one of the most popular properties in Archie’s wide collection of characters and universes, has been a strong presence in visual media since the 1970s, and was the focus of a long-running ABC and The WB sitcom, which was followed by an equally-successful animated series which ran on ABC.

The Archie/Moonscoop partnership will bring a new look to the long-running character, and bring her in line with a more modern and teen-centric sensibility. Sabrina will face the trials and tribulations all teens come across — along with monsters and the supernatural.

“Sabrina is a huge and important character for Archie, so we were very careful in how we brought her back to animation. The team at Moonscoop are the perfect partners for us,” said Archie Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “They know how to put together quality animation and they get the characters. We’re excited and honored to be working with such a talented group.”

Moonscoop will bring the company’s award-winning production and creative teams together to reimagine the character and her supporting cast for a modern audience and an integral part of Moonscoop’s past catalogue of animated programming (currently over 3,000 half-hours and growing). Current Moonscop projects include Hero: 108, Tara Duncan, Fantastic Four, Casper, Code Lyoko, Titeuf and Wild Grinders among many others.

Mike Young, CEO of Moonscoop’s North American office said: “We can’t wait to collaborate on production of these fantastic new shows. The Archie Comics library is a real treasure trove of brands ideal for bringing to animated life for television.” Nicolas Atlan, Executive Chairman added: “Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Little Archie’s will have a top-quality look and feel that captures the essence of the original illustrations and stories, while giving them fresh appeal for international TV audiences.”

Moonscoop and Archie are looking to launch the animated series with a network or cable partner in the coming year.

BRB’s “Khuda-Yana” Cartoon Series To Debut at MIP Junior & MIPCOM


BRB Internacional is set to present Khuda-Yana, its newest cartoon series, at the upcoming editions of MIP Junior and MIPCOM, in October. Khuda-Yana is, literally, the story of Khuda, a street thief who finds himself having to face a most unexpected destiny: that of becoming the next king of Kosala. It all starts when Khuda steals by mistake the Mystic Tulip and awakens the Blue Girl, a very special kind of genie, who will try and change the incorrigible young thief into a responsible monarch.  The series, co-produced by Screen 21 and TVE with collaborative assistance from ICAA and ICIC, will premiere on a world level in 2012.

The adventures of Khuda are told over 26 half-hour episodes spiced with far-flung comedy, heart-thumping pacing and lots and lots of action. Right from the beginning, the life of the protagonist changes forever when he has no choice but to somehow balance the dangerous search for hidden treasures, making legendary caches of riches all his, with a life of ease… with the magic teachings of the Blue Girl: he must learn how to behave at the table, to study law, tame gigantic monsters and even… take a shower every day. And all this happens in the marvelous, fantastic, metropolis of Kosala, which showcases an incredible mix of styles, epochs, aromas, buildings and graffiti with references from Bombay to New York with stops in old Alexandria, Renaissance Venice, classic Athens or modern Tokyo.

Khuda-Yana is also story about destiny, power and its responsibility and discovering new worlds… all with a very carefully concocted blend of genres and styles that go from fantasy to science fiction, with all the diverse resources and narrative tricks, parody included.

9 Story Takes Over Production of Animated Children’s Series, “Arthur”

Toronto, Canada — September 20, 2011 — Vince Commisso, President and CEO of 9 Story Entertainment, is pleased to announce a new co-venture with WGBH Boston to produce the popular multiple award-winning children’s series Arthur (20×30′), beginning with its 16th season, now in production.  Under the agreement, 9 Story Entertainment has also taken on international  distribution of the new season, slated to premiere in the US in fall 2012 on PBS KIDS GO!(r)

9 Story will digitally animate Arthur, which debuted fifteen years ago on PBS.  The company is committed to maintaining the series’ celebrated standards of excellence, while also staying true to the elements that have made the show beloved by children and parents alike.  This is 9Story’s third  collaboration with WGBH, having previously worked on the production of two of its popular children’s series, Peep and the Big Wide World and Postcards from Buster.

“We are very proud to again partner with WGBH, the originators of Arthur, to both shepherd a refreshed production of this remarkable series and bring it to a new generation of children around the world,” said Vince Commisso.  “We were thrilled with the opportunity to work on Peep and the Big Wide World and Postcards from Buster, and look forward to bringing the same enthusiasm and commitment to Arthur.”

9 Story, one of the industry’s leading producers of award-winning content for young  audiences around the world, has produced more than 500 half hours of quality children’s and family programming to date. ARTHUR, one of television’s most beloved children’s series, will markits fifteenth anniversary this fall with a season of ten new episodes beginning in October.

“We are delighted to expand our work with Vince Commisso and the 9 Story team to include Arthur,” said WGBH Senior Executive Producer Carol Greenwald. “As we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we are looking ahead at new and exciting ways to continue the Arthur legacy that will resonate with our existing viewers as well as our new audiences.”

“The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That!” Gets Second Season & Christmas Special

Toronto, CANADA — September 21, 2011 — Portfolio Entertainment & Collingwood O’Hare Productions are pleased to announce the commencement of production on the second season of the highly acclaimed preschool series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!.  In addition, lead broadcasters PBS KIDS (USA) and Treehouse (Canada) have commissioned a one hour Christmas special based on the series, scheduled to air during the 2012 holiday season.

CBC (Canada) has also signed on as a broadcast partner of the series. CBC commenced airing the first season episodes earlier this month.

This recent pick up brings the number of episodes of the series to 60 half hours.   ”Since its launch last year, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! has consistently ranked among the top-rated preschool shows on TV in the U.S.,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS. “We are excited to continue to bring this series to America’s children, helping foster a love of science and exploration in the next generation of kids,”

“Dr. Seuss was an iconic children’s content creator,” says Kim Wilson, Creative Head, CBC Children’s & Youth Programming, “it’s wonderful that his great work can live on in this way for a new generation of Canadian viewers here at the CBC.”

Voiced by award winning actor Martin Short, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! has consistently been a top ranking show on Treehouse (Canada) and PBS KIDS (USA). The series airs internationally in over 80 countries worldwide including  Disney Junior Australia, Spain, Italy &  Korea;  Discovery Kids Latin America, NRK (Norway), Hop!(Israel), &  MTV OY (Finland).  The series also offers interstitials and an accompanying online gaming component.

An Appreciation of the Animated GIF and Gif Shop

“Animated GIFs are the web’s vinyl records,” wrote Jamie Zawinski on Twitter a few months ago. It’s a sly but accurate observation. In the face of Flash and streaming video, the animated GIF, which has been around since the 1990s, has refused to fade away. It remains a ubiquitous part of Web culture and inspires countless memes amongst a new generation of Web users. While the underlying technology of the animated GIF hasn’t changed, artists continue to explore new approaches to the form, such as cinemagraphs and the recent animated GIF comics trend.

There are many reasons for the extended reign of the animated GIF, prime among them the form’s emphasis on cycles (or loops). Rhythmic repetition was a staple graphic technique of theatrical animation during the 1920s and 1930s before being cast aside in favor of more realistic approaches to movement. The inherent beauty of cycled movement, which was cheapened by limited TV animation in the 1960s, has enjoyed a creative rebirth with the advent of the animated GIF. The animated GIF is also a remarkably potent form, and combined with good timing, it can deliver a surprising punchline as funny as any comedian’s joke. The British animator Cyriak has perfected this type of animated GIF. Perhaps the underpinning reason for the endurance of the animated GIF is its utter simplicity: it has no sound, generally last less than 10 seconds, and require no technical knowledge to create, thanks to the abundance of gif-making websites.

This brings us around to the latest development in animated GIFs: a new iPhone app (also iPad/iPhone Touch compatible) called Gif Shop. Created by Daniel Savage and Matthew Archer, the app, which costs $1.99, streamlines the GIF making process on the iPhone, and makes it easier than ever for anybody to create their own animation. While it’s possible to make any kind of animation using Gif Shop, because of the app’s integration with the iPhone camera, it lends itself particularly to the pixilation stop-motion technique.

Here’s a quick demo of how it works:

Daniel Savage, the app’s co-creator, foresees a social media component to Gif Shop as well, and believes it can become to animation what Instagram is to photos. “The concept of simply creating animated GIFs,” he writes, “evolved into a service that enables our users to share animated GIFs across their networks with no concern for hosting and file size limitations other services may impose. Since the initial concept, Gif Shop is no longer the first of its kind, but we think there is one key factor the others have missed: simplicity. It is extremely important to us that we take the tedious act of making a GIF and make it as fun and intuitive as possible.”

It’s exciting to see the emergence of easy-to-use animation software for smartphones. These apps have the potential to make the act of animating as second-nature to the general public as taking a photograph. That’s a revolutionary concept, especially when one considers that fifty years ago, there were at best a few thousand people in the entire world who could animate. Most of the people using the Gif Shop app aren’t professional animators, but then again, most people who take photographs aren’t Cartier-Bresson. It hardly matters that every animated GIF be a masterpiece. The real victory is that as more and more people animate, appreciation and understanding for the art form will inevitably grow. That may end up yet being the greatest legacy of the animated GIF.