PREVIEW: “Le Tableau” by Jean François Laguionie

Le Tableau

French animation website Catsuka has posted the trailer for Le Tableau, an upcoming CG feature by veteran French animation director Jean François Laguionie. The high-concept film, which takes place in a world of paintings, is about some kind of conflict between characters that have been painted and those that lack color or have yet to be painted. The film’s wild, unnatural color choices appear to be directly inspired by French art movements like the Nabis and Fauves. It’s refreshing to see such a bold non-photorealistic rendering style in a CG feature and it’s no surprise that such an artistically accomplished filmmaker as Laguionie would be the one to attempt it, but the generic animation in this clip from Le Tableau is somewhat less inspiring than the trailer.

On a sidenote, with the release of this film, will Laguionie become the oldest director of a CG feature? He’s now 72 years old.

Here’s a portion of Laguionie’s earlier masterpiece Gwen, or the Book of Sand:

“Lion King 3D” talkback

NPR loves The Lion King, but calls the 3D release a “cash grab”.

You know what I think. How about you? Intrigued enough to see a classic Disney hand drawn feature converted to 3-D? If so, share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments below (Please respect our talkback rule and only post below if you’ve actually seen the 3D version).

UPDATE: The 3D Lion King was number one at the US box office this week.

Animaze Animation Film Festival Announces Its First Edition

Montreal,QC-  Animaze Animation Film Festival is proud to present the schedule of its first edition to be held at Cinema du Parc (3575 Ave du Parc) and Concordia University’s Hall Building Auditorium (1455 Ave de Maisonneuve  W) from November 18 to November 20, 2011.

For its inaugural year, Animaze will celebrate the wonderful world of animation through a wide range of activities:

*International Film Competition
Several highly-acclaimed features will be screened in North America for the first time, such as Jeż Jerzy ( an off-beat satire from Poland) and Viva the Nam ( an eclectic stop-motion made with GI JOE dolls). Two prizes will be awarded in this competition; one for “Best in Show” as determined by a panel of judges and one for “Audience Favourite” as voted by the public.

*30th Anniversary Screening of Heavy Metal with director Gerald Potterton
The cult classic gets the special anniversary treatment. Legendary director Gerald Potterton will be attending the screening and will address his legion of fans before the show.

*Saturday Morning Cartoon Extravaganza for Sun Youth Montreal
In honour of that lost time where children had to wait a full week till they got their cartoon hit, we are recreating CBS’s 1986 Saturday Morning lineup with all proceeds going to charity. For this event, we will feature the Berenstein Bears, Muppet Babies, Galaxy High and the unforgettable Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

*Student Animated Shorts Contest
It’s institution vs. institution in this animated short film contest exclusively for undergraduates of local film schools.

*“Freleng: Frame by Frame” charity screening for Sun Youth Montreal with presentation by director Greg Ford
An elusive documentary about Warner Bros legendary director Friz Freleng.  Director Greg Ford will be present to share his memories of working at Warner Brothers with the godfathers of modern animation ( Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Virgil Ross, and Bob Clampett).

+ many more activities

Our mission at the Animaze Festival is to celebrate animation in all of its forms whilst contributing to the community.

More details to be disclosed shortly!

FX Orders Animated Comedy Series “Unsupervised”

LOS ANGELES, September 15, 2011 — FX today placed a 13-episode order for a new animated comedy series, Unsupervised (working title), announced Nick Grad, Executive Vice President of Original Series, FX. Unsupervised is scheduled to premiere in January and will be paired with the acclaimed animated comedy Archer.

Unsupervised is a comedy about optimistic best friends “Gary” and “Joel” navigating the harsh landscape of teenage life and trying to do what’s right without any parental guidance whatsoever.

The series was created by and it is executive produced by Rob Rosell, Scott Marder and David Hornsby, all who currently serve as writer/producers on FX’s hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. It features an outstanding voice cast including Justin Long, Kristen Bell, Romany Malco, Fred Armisen, Kaitlin Olson and Alexa Vega, along with Rosell and Hornsby.

“Having worked with David, Rob and Scott for many years on Sunny, it gives us great pleasure to see them make their own stamp on FX,” said Grad.  “Unsupervised is a great addition to our comedy roster and, like all of our comedies, it’s smart and really funny.”

Unsupervised is produced by FX Productions, in association with RCG Productions and Floyd County. RCG is the team of Sunny Executive Producers/Writers/Stars Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton.  The deal for Unsupervised is the first series order for RCG as part of their overall deal with FX Productions.  The series will be animated by Archer Executive Producers Adam Reed and Matt Thompson.

With the order of Unsupervised, FX now has six comedy series on its lineup and the pick-up continues the network’s rapid expansion in the comedy business.

Four Theories on the Death of 3-D

3D Kid

Slate offers four theories on (what they’re calling) the “death of 3-D.” The article points out that theater screens showing Cars 2 in 3-D earned 5 percent less than theater screens showing the same film in 2-D, reflecting an industry-wide downward spiral in 3-D grosses that has been happening all summer long. And if I understood the article correctly, Kung Fu Panda 2 earned 65% less on a per-screen basis from 3-D showings than 2-D versions. Based on this information, it would be reasonable to assume that the sequel to Kung Fu Panda wouldn’t have earned $50 million less than the original in the US if the film had been shown in 2-D only.

All this, and to think that it was only 16 months ago that 3-D was the future of filmmaking:

The Simpsons Network?

All Simpsons, All The Time? News Corp. COO Chase Carey said earlier this week that Fox is considering starting an entire digital TV channel devoted to airing only The Simpsons. With over 500 episodes in the can (486 have aired to date) and no cancellation in sight, it seems like a very profitable idea. I love the concept – but why stop there? If successful, perhaps someday they’ll be channels devoted solely to South Park, or even Looney Tunes. Cowabunga – Count me in!

“Cars 2″ is the biggest of the year – so far

It may or may not win any Oscars, but the Disney Company has announced that Pixar’s Cars 2 is the highest earning animated feature of the year.

Cars 2 opened in June 24th and earned $189 million domestically. It’s made $548 million total to date when combined with all international box office figures. Disney claims the film is now the 16th highest-grossing animated film in “global cinematic history”.

This is, of course, before the release of some heavy hitters from Dreamworks, Aardman and Spielberg to come, not to mention Happy Feet 2. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out and who’ll come out on top at years end.

Vancouver Animation Studio Bardel Opens Satelitte Studio in Kelowna

September 12, 2011, KELOWNA — Vancouver-based animation studio, Bardel Entertainment Inc., is expanding its operations with the opening of a new satellite studio in Kelowna, located in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.

“We are excited to be branching out to Kelowna,” says company CEO, Delna Bhesania.  “It is a great opportunity to reach a new talent pool of animators, work with industry leaders such as the Nickelodeon Animation Studio and to provide the alternative of a smaller-town lifestyle for our crews and their families.”

Bardel is also currently in discussions with Okanagan College in Kelowna for the development of a two to four year animation program, to help build talent in the region.

With over 20 years of experience in the animation industry, Bardel is a well-respected animation script-to-screen service provider, working with major US studios such as Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Fox, Disney, Sony and Warner Bros.  It is one of a few studios in Canada with production expertise in feature film, television and interactive online content.  The company’s own propriety shows include the award-winning, Silverwing, The Christmas Orange and Zeke’s Pad.

Kelowna was selected by Bardel for several reasons: its international airport; access to the regional tax incentives provided by the Province of British Columbia; and the growing talent pool in the area, with companies such as Disney Interactive (Club Penguin) already operating in the city.

Bardel would like to thank the Okanagan Film Commission, the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission and the City of Kelowna for their support in this venture.

Russia’s The Big Cartoon Festival 2011 Announced

The Big Cartoon Festival is one of the most prominent international animation reviews in Russia. Every year the Moscow BGF opens on the International Animation Day, the 28th of October, and all the year round it brings its programs to different Russian cities. The Festival has 12 cinema halls, galleries and showrooms. This year the dates of the festival are 28 of October-7 of November.

This year BGF plans to widen the Cartoon Factory project, e.g. to extend the ground, to enlarge the quantity of specialists involved, to make the occupations split-level. In 2010 the Factory was attended by children of elementary-school age who knew nothing about animation. But this year, besides that, it will become a Welcome Day for senior children who think of possibility to cast their lots with animation films. Along with games and workshops, we plan to organize deeper exercises that could be a tour of the profession for those teenagers.

Moreover one of the crucial Festival events will be the opening of animation expo PRO animation. The exhibition displays advances in digital technologies such as computation (graphics programs, edit ones), motion capture installations, equipment for computer graphics producing, sound-recording hardware, etc. The leading producers of the above-mentioned applications will host wide and deep presentations of their products, workshops and so on to train visitors how to use this kind of facilities. The major animation studios and TV channels will present their new projects. There will be professional workshops, lectures of Russian and foreign directors, broad-ranging discussion in the framework of PRO animation. In particular, one of the subjects to be discussed will be the making of animation series for TV in Russia and abroad.

Fox Debuts New Web Design for

FOX has unveiled a fresh, new web design for Fans of The Simpsons can visit the revamped website to explore new interactive elements and graphics, stream full-length episodes and keep up with the most recent news about The Simpsons with enhanced special features.

The new website will feature “booths” modeled after Springfield’s most famous landmarks.  Fans can stay up-to-date with The Simpsons by visiting the news carousel in the Kidz Newz Booth, watch full-length episodes and episodic clips at the Police Booth and shop for books, DVDs, toys and more at the Kwik-E-Mart.  For the first time ever, fans will have the opportunity to download limited edition wallpapers and icons and are encouraged to get to know their favorite Springfield residents by exploring character files that include extensive bios and photos.  The website also hosts comprehensive show information, episode recaps from all 23 seasons, and links to The Simpsons’ Facebook and Twitter pages.

In the Season 23 premiere episode, “The Falcon and the D’ohman,” airing Sunday, Sept. 25 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT), Homer (Dan Castellaneta) befriends Wayne (guest voice Kiefer Sutherland), a reserved security guard recently hired by the nuclear power plant. Plagued by violent flashbacks from his past as a CIA agent, he must overcome his tortured nightmares to save Homer from a Ukranian terrorist.  Meanwhile, Marge (Julie Kavner) fantasizes about being a contestant on Top Chef hosted by Tom Colicchio (guest voicing as himself), and the future of Springfield’s hottest “it” couple “Nedna” will be revealed after months of online fan voting and speculation.

Superfad Tapped to Animate Part of Monty Python Biopic “A Liar’s Autobiography”

Monty Python fans will rejoice in the upcoming release A Liar’s Autobiography (EPIX) an animated 3D stereoscopic film based on the memoir by Monty Python member Graham Chapman. Superfad is one of the key creative teams involved in the project and is currently in production on a seven-minute sequence for the highly anticipated film. The EPIX stereoscopic animated feature, made in association with Bill and Ben Productions Ltd., Trinity (UK) and Brainstorm Media, tells the story of Chapman’s life in the famously atypical Python style.

Superfad designed extensive character studies for the young Graham, mother and father, before going into production on the animated sequence. It is the first 3D production by Superfad and the official foray of the company into feature film animation production. For Superfad’s creatives, many rabid Python enthusiasts, the opportunity to contribute to the film is an honor and the opportunity break new ground for the company in terms of its creative and technical reach.

“This project is exciting for so many reasons, from the irreverent and compelling narrative to the structure involving many different animation companies, to the stereoscopic production,” comments Superfad Partner/EP Geraint Owen. “It is a first of its kind and totally original. We can’t wait to see it all come together on the big screen.”

The film’s world television premiere will be in both 2D and 3D on EPIX and in the Spring of 2012 and released theatrically in the UK by London-based Trinity. Details on the film can be found at: and via the Facebook page:

Virtuos Acquires “Igor” Animation Company Sparx*

Shanghai, China, September 14, 2011 – Virtuos today announced that it has acquired the assets and core team of VFX and animation company Sparx*, reopening the company’s Vietnam studio. This deal allows Virtuos to further expand and to consolidate its services offering to clients in the movie industry under the Sparx brand.

Sparx is an animation and VFX company for feature films, most famous for being the animation company behind the 2008 feature film Igor starring John Cusack and Steve Buscemi.

Virtuos is one of the largest providers of digital entertainment production services, and has played a role in blockbuster movies since 2008, creating high-quality 3D models for films including this year’s hit film Rango.

“Virtuos is very well known in the gaming sector, and may also be the best-kept secret in Hollywood. We are very happy to partner with them, and add our specialized talents to their 800-strong team,” said Sparx General Manager Didier Montarou.

“Our origins in HD game production have afforded us the talents to create extremely high-quality assets, including digital doubles, for the movie industry. Bringing together Virtuos’ art production infrastructure with Sparx expertise in film-quality animation, cinematics and VFX, we will be able to offer a more fully integrated solution for all our clients,” said Gilles Langourieux, CEO, Virtuos.

The teams in Shanghai and Vietnam have already begun working together on new projects.  After moving into new facilities in November, Sparx Vietnam will be expanded back to its original size of over 100 staff in 2012. Sparx currently employs over 100 animation professionals in Saigon and Shanghai and aims to employ over 200 by the end of 2012.

Obsessive Disney-related trivia: A Tyrus Wong in-joke

For those who must take note of everything (like me): inbetweener/inspirational artist Tyrus Wong (Bambi) was let go from Disney after three and a half years (1938-1941) and spent the next 25 years in the art department at Warner Bros. as a production illustrator, creating story boards and concept sketches for live action feature films.

Last night, I took a break to catch whatever movie happened to be playing on TCM. It turned out to be the star-studded wartime morale booster Thank Your Lucky Stars (Warner Bros. 1943) – and there I spotted, in one quick shot, on a wall behind actor Richard Lane (frame grab above), plaques for various businesses – including one that says “Tyrus Wong, Importer, Chinese Art“. Since Wong – who will be 101 next month – never got the proper credit he was due at Disney, I’d say this particular in-joke was poetic justice.

Dreamworks Animation Plans Shangai Production & Development Division, Says AFP

The French news agency AFP is reporting that Dreamworks Animation is set to open a China-based division of the company in Shanghai. AFP came into this news after Los Angeles-based recruitment firm RSR Partners revealed that the animation giant had enlisted the company to recruit a president for this overseas expansion. According to a letter from RSR sent out to prospective hires obtained by AFP, Dreamworks Animation is looking to “establish a production and development presence in China.” Read the full story here.

Disney/Pixar’s “Cars 2″ Ranks #1 at the Domestic Box Office Among This Year’s Animated Titles

BURBANK, Calif., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Walt Disney Studios announced today that the Disney/Pixar animated feature film Cars 2, which opened on June 24, 2011, has earned $189 million domestically, ranking first among this year’s animated features. The film has earned $548 million to date at the domestic and international box office, making it the 16th highest-grossing animated film in global cinematic history.

Additionally, on September 7, The Hollywood Post Alliance nominated Cars 2 in two categories:  Outstanding Editing-Feature Film (Stephen Schaffer, A.C.E./ Pixar Animation Studios) and Outstanding Sound-Feature Film (Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Michael Silvers/Skywalker Sound).

“This is the real fast and furious,” said Rolling Stone magazine’s Peter Travers in his June 23, 2011, review. “And it’s even better than before. The sequel is a tire-burning burst of action and fun with a beating heart under its hood. You can bet Cars 2 will rev your engines.”

John Lasseter directed Cars 2, a follow-up to his 2006 two-time Oscar®-nominated and Golden Globe®-winning Cars. Cars 2 is co-directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar®-winning film Ratatouille, and produced by Denise Ream (associate producer, Up).

A culturally diverse, comedic spy-thriller set in cities around the world, including Paris, London and Toyko, Cars 2 has surpassed the worldwide box-office totals of other Disney/Pixar hits such as Monsters, Inc. and WALL-E.

Cars 2 is the 12th feature-length animated film from Pixar Animation Studios (its first 11 have earned $6.5 billion at the global box office). Pixar, winner of 29 Academy Awards® and seven Golden Globes®, celebrated its 25th anniversary last month.

An all-star cast voiced Cars 2, including Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, John Turturro, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Jason Isaacs, and Joe Mantegna.

Taipei’s Golden Horse Film Festival Unveils 2011 Line-Up

Still from "A Happy Wish" by Jack Shih

The Golden Horse Film and TV Film Project Promotion (FTPP) announced its 2011 selections today. The 25 selected projects are officially invited to participate in the FTPP 2011 meetings in late November, where potential investors and a Grand Prize of USD 33,800 await.

The surge of submissions from all over the world began in mid-June, a record-breaking 109 projects were considered, from areas including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States. Entries from Hong Kong in particular have increased in 2011, thanks to cooperative efforts by the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association.  Another interesting increase this year is the number of female directors throwing their hats into the ring. With surprising ideas about their bodies and uncanny observations on contemporary life, these female directors look to pioneer a new corner in the film world.  2011 also saw the most animation film projects selected by the FTPP.

Five years since its founding, the FTPP is fast becoming a top consideration for film investment circles, and for good reason: The now-in-theaters Seediq Bale, the box office smash hit Jump Ashin!, and the highly-anticipated releases of Black & White and The Soul of Bread are all success stories who enjoyed the support of the FTPP. In addition to bringing together business suits and creative types, the FTPP is a hot spot for locating opportunities: Well-known North American distribution company, Distant Horizon, plans to seek out outstanding Chinese director and lead actor at the conference for its own entry project. International co-productions between Singapore and Hong Kong, Taiwan and France, and Malaysia and Japan all cite the FTPP as an important hand in the matchmaking process.  Additionally, projects like The Second Coming and Age of Flux, by venerated directors Herman YAU and YUEN Wo-Ping respectively, may herald a brand-new style in the Hong Kong filmmaking industry. Other entries this year, such as CHU Yui-Pan’s black comedySuicide Store and newcomer Adam Sau-Ping WONG’s innovative musical Beat It, all hold the promise of eye-popping creativity.

From Taiwan, the simultaneous reappearance of directors CHANG Yi (Kuei-mei, A Woman)and YEE Chih-Yen(Blue Gate Crossing)stirs up anticipation with the revelation of their new animation film projects. CHANG’s Blackbum will be executive produced by YU Wei-Yen (a favorite collaborator of the late Edward YANG) while YEE collaborates with LEE Lieh (2011 Presidential Cultural Award winner) to create City of Lost Things. Also in the animation film category, director Jack SHIH (2007 Golden Horse Best Short Film winner) submits A Happy Wish, a blithe children’s fantasy. Returning to the FTPP is Tom Shu-Yu LIN (Starry, Starry Night, 2010 FTPP Official Selection), exploring relationships and morality in his new project,Touched.  LIEN Yi-Chi (Make Up, 2009 FTPP Official Selection) is another familiar face, offering a bloody and passionate combination of Betelnut Girl vs. Zombie. Rounding out the entries from Taiwan are I Am Beautiful by noted photographer CHIENN Hsiang and 3KW2Y, adapted from the stage by director WU Mi-Sen.

Among the new and old faces in the crowd, four new female directors stand tough in competition. WEN Chih-Yi takes on Behind Love and Hatred, a Taiwan/France co-production; her short film Sleeping With Her won recognition at 2011 Golden Horse and Asian Pacific Film Festival previously. Rising director Seven WONG from Taiwan continues to step toward her vision with Turtle Men, after recently wrapping Bad Girls and was formerly First Assistant Director to the likes of Tom Shu-Yu LIN, CHENG Wen-Tang, and Clara LAW. Director TSANG Tsui-Shan from Hong Kong joins the conference with The Gate of Youthafter winning Best Film at the 2008 South Taiwan Film Festival with her debut feature,Lovers on the Road. Representing Singapore and Malaysia is TAN Ai-Leng whose projectSinema Paradiso makes observations on the completely different yet strangely similar Chinese lives lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mainland China.

Of the entries from Mainland China, two animated film projects selected are: Captain Lin, a collaborative project between Taiwan’s Wang Films Production Company (Fire Ball, 2005 Golden Horse Best Animated Feature) and Mainland China’s Xiaoxiang Animation and Culture Company, and The Mighty Green, a 3D animation film by the much-lauded veteran director SONG Yue-Feng. Also making a splash is The Yangtze River Maps, a romantic fantasy shot in the style of Chinese calligraphy painting, an innovative vision that will be shot by the critically acclaimed and award winning cinematographer, Mark Lee Ping-bin.

The FTPP is hosting its 2011 conference from November 22nd to November 24th, when more than 300 face-to-face meetings will be held. For this year’s “Perfect Ten” sponsorship program, ten post-production companies (including well-known international companies in Korea and Thailand) have been invited to support selected projects in post-production efforts. Out of the 25 officially selected projects, only one will win the 2011 Grand Prize. This exciting announcement will be made at the Closing Ceremony on November 24th.

Entertainment One Considers Sale After Approached

The Board of Entertainment One Ltd. notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is considering its strategic options, which may include a sale of the Company in response to interest it has received from various parties. J.P.Morgan (KOSDAQ: 019990.KQnews) and Credit Suisse (NYSEArca: CSMAnews) have been engaged to co-ordinate the review for the board. There can be no certainty that an offer will be forthcoming for the Company. A further announcement will be made in due course.

Wish Films Acquire Picture Book Series “Barry The Fish With Fingers” for Animated Series

Simon & Schuster Children’s Books today announced that animation rights have been optioned for their bestselling preschool brand Barry the Fish with Fingers, written and illustrated by Sue Hendra.

Wish Films have secured the option for television animation rights on two titles: Barry the Fish with Fingers and Barry the Fish with Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monster. Wish Films will be developing animation material to pitch to broadcasters.

Sue Hendra is a rising star on the S&S picture book list with four further titles already signed up for 2012 and beyond. Her first title for S&S, Barry the Fish with Fingers, was published in 2010, and became an instant hit, selling more than 105k copies to date, with several foreign rights deals secured. Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell (January 2011) was the bestselling new picture book for the first four months of this year and continues to be one of the top selling picture books of 2011.*

Barry the Fish with Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monster was published in August 2011, and will be followed by Barry the Fish with Fingers Tickle Hide & Seek puppet book in 2012.

Barry the Fish with Fingers is also available as a full-colour picture eBook, with digital editions of Hendra’s other titles to follow soon.

Wish Films is run by award-winning directors Will Brenton and Helen Cadwallader, formerly both of Tell-Tale Productions (creators of The Tweenies among others). Wish Films has created live action show Jim Jam & Sunny, and animated series Wibbly Pig based on the books by Mick Inkpen.

Sue Hendra said of the animation deal: “I am thrilled and very excited at the thought of Barry the Fish with Fingers swimming off the page and onto the screen.”

Ingrid Selberg, Publishing Director at S&S, said: “We are delighted to be working with the talented team at Wish Films to bring the inimitable Barry to a wider audience through broadcast.”

“Countdown” by Céline Desrumaux

Every so often I run across a piece of animation that’s truly special. “Countdown” by ​Céline Desrumaux is one such piece. The short, which took over two years to make, is quite simply a masterpiece of composition, cutting, color and design. Céline, whose work experience include Passion Pictures and Cartoon Network UK, uses the malleable nature of film to express her vision: the film is narrative and the ideas pictorial, yet many of the compositions and shots would appear to be completely abstract if not for their sequential context. In other words, it’s a graphic experience that takes advantage of the animation medium and could make sense only as a film.

Her stated influences for the film are Chris Ware, Hans Richter, Len Lye, Stanley Kubrick and Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy. In the years to come, I’m sure a lot of people will be citing her own film Countdown as an influence.

Directing/design/animation/composting : Céline Desrumaux
Additional character animation : Florent Remize
Music : “Granulard bastard” from Apparat

(via Catsuka)

More New Books

Who says print is dead? It’s been about a month since my last batch of book reviews and I’ve come up with four new books worthy of your attention – if not your hard-earned dollars…

The World History of Animation by UK animator Stephen Cavalier fills a void – it’s a perfectly suitable text book for those looking for a general international history of the artform and industry. As an animation history teacher myself, I find Giannalberto Bendazzi’s Cartoons a bit too dense for my students, and my own book, Animation Art, is long out-of-print. Cavalier’s book covers much of the same ground, so if you have the previous two you can skip this one – but if you are looking for a solid general history that covers the basics and then some, this fills the bill nicely. It covers the field right up through 2010′s Toy Story 3 and The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet provides the Foreword), and the Appendix is filled with useful information, including all the Oscar winners, animation books and important websites (nice to see Cartoon Brew among them). Recommended solely for students and novice historians.

Oh Boy! More Craig Yoe books! Yes, Craig is a friend – and yes, I’m a huge fan – but his seemingly endless series of books, for IDW Publishing, are worthy of all the hype. Here’s two more: first up, The Best of Archie’s Mad House. I loved this Archie comic when I was a kid almost as much as I loved Mad and Cracked! I’m grateful this material hasn’t been forgotten. Yoe’s hardcover collects the mag’s funniest stories, including the first appearances of Sabrina the teenage witch, Captain Sprocket and Chester (Cool) and Lester (Square). The reproduction of comics pages is great and as usual, Yoe has a front section that gives the backstory of this oddball comic with rare artwork and a cover gallery. Buy this – its funny!

Amazing 3-D Comics is one amazing comics reprint book. Here, Craig Yoe has selected the best examples of the 3D comics from the 1950s, produced at the height of the first 3D craze. Most of the comics herein are of various adventure comics genres – but Yoe includes a healthy dose of funny stuff from Otto Messmer (Felix), Milt Stein and Norman Maurer (Three Stooges). I love classic 3-D movies and comics – this book satisfies my dimensional needs quite nicely. Joe Kubert contributes a new 3D cover and Introduction and of course, a pair of red-blue 3D glasses are included. Highly recommended!

Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series: Layout & Background is the latest in the Archive series of large, lavishly illustrated books highlighting a different aspect of the classic production process. Previous entries in this series included Design, Animation and Story. These books showcase the art – there is hardly any text – and that’s as it should be. The large size and perfect reproduction makes it feel as if you are looking at the original pieces. In this case its background paintings and layout sketches by Eyvind Earle, Claude Coats, Walter Peregoy, Maurice Noble, James Coleman, Serge Michaels, Al Dempster, Bill Layne, Art Riley and Brice Mack. Amazing, beautiful stuff. A must-have for anyone with an interest in Disney and classic animation. This book will be released October 25th.

NYC Festival MetroCAF Announces 2011 Dates

MetroCAF is the annual NYC Metropolitan Area College Computer Animation Festival organized by the New York City ACM SIGGRAPH Professional Chapter.

Started in 2003, MetroCAF has grown into the most important local festival of its kind. It provides an exciting opportunity for all students in the NYC metropolitan to show their work to not only their fellow students but also to professionals in the field of computer graphics.

This year’s festival will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 7pm at FIT’s Haft Auditorium. The Haft is located in Building C (2nd Floor) of FIT’s campus on W 27th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues).


Fashion Institute of TechnologyHaft Auditorium (Enter through Building “C”)
W 27th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York, NY

Directions to FIT


NYC ACM SIGGRAPH Members (including student members) – Free
Faculty, Students, and Staff of FIT – Free
Non-Members – $10.00
Non-Member Students – $5.00 with current Student ID

Wacom Announces the Cintiq 24HD

Wacom 24HD

As someone who lives in a Cintiq household, I know well how highly this is anticipated. Wacom made the official announcement today for their Cintiq 24HD. The first thing one notices is the sexy new counterweighted stand that allows for adjustable height and angling of the screen. Here are some of the key under-the-hood specs:

* 1920 x 1200 HD display
* 178° viewing angle
* 16:10 aspect ratio
* 550:1 contrast ratio
* 2048 levels of pen pressure and 40° of tilt
* Featuring Wacom’s new Tip Sensor
* DVI-I and DisplayPort connectors
* Weight: 63.8 pounds
* Price: $2,499

And here’s a video of a sophisticated and serious artist (clearly not an animator) using the beast:

“Maya & Miguel” Debuts on Univision’s “Planeta U” Programming Block

NEW YORK — September 12, 2011 — Scholastic Media announced today its popular and award-winning animated show Maya & Miguel premieres on Univision Network’s “Planeta U” children’s programming block this month. Univision Network is one of the top five networks in the U.S. and is the country’s most-watched Spanish-language broadcast television network, reaching 95% of U.S. Hispanic households. Univision’s “Planeta U” educational/informational programming block airs three hours on Saturday mornings. The block includes segments that promote literacy, reading, problem-solving skills, respect for others, self esteem, and pride in Hispanic identity — values infused into each Maya & Miguel episode. Twenty-six half-hour episodes will be seen in rotation in Spanish only; the series currently airs in English on PBS KIDS GO! in the United States.

“We are delighted to bring Maya & Miguel to Univision and its many viewers,” says Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc, the global publishing, education and media company. “The characters’ unique ability to promote cultural diversity, family values and the strength of communities has long resonated with children and families — and we look forward to the show’s continued success.”

“Our partnership with Scholastic Media speaks to our commitment to deliver high quality, educational programming to our younger audience. This is also an extension of our Es el momento initiative focused on creating a college bound culture and Maya & Miguel will help us enforce this message at an early stage,” adds Luis Fernandez, president of Entertainment & UVN Studios at Univision Networks.

Maya & Miguel centers on the adventures (and sometimes misadventures) of irrepressible ten-year-old twins Maya & Miguel Santos, their loving extended family, their groups of friends, and their pet parrot Paco, all of whom live together in a fun, active and diverse neighborhood. Lively and colorful, the never-a-dull moment comedy revolves around Maya’s well-intended meddling in her family and friends’ lives, which almost always leads to new predicaments to fix. Even though Miguel gets mixed-up in Maya’s friends’ crazy schemes, he always lends a hand to untangle any resulting mess. With humorous twists and turns, the underlying message of Maya & Miguel is the importance of doing good for family and community, and the philosophy that a shared happiness is greater than personal gain.

Maya & Miguel originally debuted in 2004 and presented culture and language learning as fun, relevant, and rewarding for all children — with a special emphasis on the Latino population. The show has received numerous awards including the prestigious Corporate Citizenship award from the Hispanic Federation, an Imagen Award for Best Children’s Programming, an iParenting Media Award, and a Parents’ Choice Award. The twins also were chosen in 2010 as ambassadors for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which encouraged children to be more active in their daily lives.

Portfolio Entertainment Launches CGI Animated Movie “Young Abraham” at MIPCOM

Portfolio International will launch worldwide sales of two newly acquired properties entitled Brilhante F.C. (26 X 30) and Young Abraham (1 X 60), at MIPCOM.

Brilhante F.C. (26×30’) is a coming of age teenage dramedy that tells the story of five adolescent girls who decide to form the first all girl football team in a small town in Brazil. Using the football field as its canvas for life, the series follows the trials, tribulations and triumphs of teenage life.

Produced by Brazilian production company Mixer, for TV Brasil, the series premiered on May 23, 2011.

Young Abraham (1×48’) is a CGI animated movie that merges cutting edge production values with a classic storyline. The iconic Abraham is shown as a courageous boy who dared to question conventional wisdom and became a historic leader against all odds. Filled with adventure and plenty of laughs, this film will entertain viewers of all ages and inspire faith in the human spirit. Produced by BKC Productions.

“Strong messages and superior production quality are what makes these titles [Brilhante & Young Abraham] so appealing.” Said Louis Fournier, VP Sales & Acquisitions at Portfolio Entertainment. “Tweens all over the world will relate to the stories in Brilhante, and Young Abraham will provide a wonderful co-viewing experience for families.”

Both properties will be available for international buyers at MIPCOM.

Visit Portfolio International at the Canada Pavilion Booth 00.01 for more information.