“Be a Vegetarian” by GlossyRey

Serbian animation outfit GlossyRey came up with Be a Vegetarian, which if not particularly effective at making its case for vegetarianism is at least cute. Pre-production artwork from this brief After Effects piece is posted on their website.

CREDITS
Production Company: GlossyRey Animation and Design
Story: Nemanja Zivkovic
Art Direction: Stanko Stupar
Art Direction: Nemanja Zivkovic
Animation: Stanko Stupar
Rigging: Nemanja Zivkovic
Music and Sound Design: Rajko Stupar
Special Thanks to: Marko Bugarski and Nemanja Saric

Calgary Oil/Gas Company Renames A Subsidary After PIXAR

[Editor's Note: This business is totally unrelated to PIXAR, but I thought it pertinent in a "news of the wierd" kind of way. I wonder what Emeryville's lawyers will think.]

Paramount Resources Ltd. (TSX:POU) (“Paramount” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the reorganization of all of the Company’s oil sands and carbonate bitumen interests into a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Pixar Petroleum Corp. (“Pixar”). The reorganization is being undertaken to create a focused, self-funding oil sands entity in order to accelerate the development of Paramount’s bitumen interests. Dr. William Roach has been appointed as Pixar’s President and Chief Executive Officer. In addition, the initial independent resource estimates for the Saleski and other carbonate bitumen properties have now been completed
and the Company is pleased to announce the results.

REORGANIZATION
Upon completion of the reorganization in early-December, all of Paramount’s oil sands and carbonate bitumen leases will be owned by Pixar — including Paramount’s Hoole and Saleski leases. In total, Pixar will own approximately 275 sections of Crown oil sands leases in the western Athabasca region of Alberta, the majority of which are 100 percent owned. These leases are prospective in multiple formations, primarily for thermal in-situ development, but also have potential for cold production.

Irish Film Board Announces Funding For Six Projects

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the national development agency for the Irish film industry, today announced its latest funding decisions. In a significant boost to the indigenous film, television and animation industry, the IFB decisions will ensure Ireland’s continued growth in this key sector, providing vital support and allow Irish production companies to raise international market investment for their projects. The funding decisions represent the agency’s response to production applications processed over the last three months to the end of October.

Ireland’s film, television and animation industry is widely recognised as a significant economic contributor and is worth over €557 million to the Irish economy and employs 5,000 individuals. The Creative Capital strategic plan which was launched in July this year aims to double the value of the audiovisual industry to €1 billion, to double the number of jobs to 10,000 and to increase exports in the sector.

Among the highlights in today’s announcement are details of further support for Ireland’s thriving animation industry; confirmation on filming for Neil Jordan’s major feature film ‘Byzantium’; detail on ‘Mister John’ the first ever Irish-Singapore co-production; and funding for a number of feature-length films by famed short-film directors.

Parallel Film Productions are to receive support towards the production of ‘Byzantium’. Directed by Neil Jordan and written by Moira Buffini, this vampire film starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton and Sam Reilly will commence filming in a number of locations around Ireland, including Dublin and Wicklow and it is also expected that the project will film in another regional location. Produced by Alan Moloney and Stephen Woolley, it is estimated that ‘Byzantium’ will result in a net inflow of just under €7 million to the Irish economy in terms of spend on local jobs, goods and services.

Ireland’s burgeoning animation industry sees six projects approved for funding. Emmy-award winning, Boulder Media, which produces work for Cartoon Network, Disney and Nickelodeon, is co-producing the animated feature film entitled ‘Astrid Silverlock & the Staff of Virtue’. Oscar-nominated, Brown Bag Films, will receive development support for ‘The Wooden Sword’ directed by Paul Bolger. Multi-award winning Igloo Films’ latest project is entitled ‘The Boy in the Bubble’, written by Will Collins and directed by Kealan O’Rourke and is being developed into a feature film from a short film funded by the IFB which premiered at the Galway Film Festival this year. Monster Distributes are to produce ‘I’m a Creepy Crawly’, whilst Magpie6 Media are working on two projects, both directed by Paul Shanahan: ‘The Adventures of Young Marco Polo’ and ‘Inis Spraoi’. Recent Cartoon Forum winners Monster Animation are in late stage development for their science based children’s television series ‘Cosmo’.

The first ever co-production between Ireland and Singapore: ‘Mister John’ is a feature-length film produced by Samson Films, and represents a further move by the IFB to create new production opportunities, opening up the Asian market for Irish producers.

Short film Oscar nominee, director Steph Green has also received support for her much anticipated feature film debut ‘Run and Jump’. Written by Ailbhe Keogan, the project was selected for the prestigious Sundance Labs in 2010, has attracted significant international market investment and is one of a number of feature-length film debuts from new talent developed by the IFB.  Another upcoming director Peter McDonald, whose award-winning short ‘Pentecost’ made a splash on the international festival circuit last year, received development funding for ‘The Steamroller’ which he will co-write with Irish actor Michael McElhatton who will also star in the project.  Jim Sheridan is also developing a re-imagined version of the feature film “Into the West”.

Commenting on the announcement today, James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board said: “The Irish film and television industry continues to grow despite the challenging economic conditions that prevail. The number of projects produced in this country and the resulting inflows into the economy has grown year-on-year and we are very proud of the role that the industry is playing in terms of employment creation and exports.

“The strength and breadth of applications for funding this quarter was diverse and impressive and shows the strong mix between large scale feature length productions, animation and documentary films.   These funding decisions reflect the Board’s intention to foster Irish talent and creativity as well as support productions that have a strong opportunity of enjoying commercial success.

“We envisage that these production investments alone, will result in generating production activity of up to €38 million and will ensure that 2012 will be another year of sustained activity for the Irish film, television and animation industry.”

These decisions are part of an overall framework of the Creative Capital Report which was launched by Minister Jimmy Deenihan in July identifying the audiovisual sector as a pillar of Ireland’s creative industries and a key area in which to deliver growth and jobs to the Irish economy over the next five years.

Leading Irish producer Alan Moloney, whose credits include ‘Albert Nobbs’, ‘Neverland’ and ‘Treasure Island’ said “The investment by the IFB in ‘Byzantium’ will ensure that the project can be produced in Ireland, bringing with it international investment and ensuring Irish talent are attached to it.   The Irish film and television industry has major potential for future growth and delivering a strong return to the Irish exchequer in terms of job creation.”

European Film Awards Announces 2011 Nominees

European Film Academy Animated Feature Film


A Cat In Paris / Un Vie De Chat
Director: Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
Producer: Jacques-Remy Girerd

Chico & Rita
Director: Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal, Tono errando
Producer: Cristina Heute, Santi Errando, Michael Rose, Martin Pope

The Rabbi’s Cat / Le Chat Du Rabbin
Director: Joan Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux
Producer: Antoine Delesvaux

[Editor's Note: For the full list of awards nominees including the non-animated categories, see the European Film Awards website.]

MEG Toys Unveils US Broadcast Deal for “Puppy In My Pocket”

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In a deal with Cartoon Network, Inc., MEG Toys has announced the arrival of its animated television series Puppy In My Pocket Adventures in Pocketville for broadcast in the US on Boomerang.

The new agreement with Cartoon Network, Inc. marks an expansion of the Adventures in Pocketville relationship with Turner Broadcasting into the United States, and extends the show’s reach beyond broadcasts already underway across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Pan-Asia on Turner platforms.

The Adventures in Pocketville animated TV series is based on the highly successful Puppy In My Pocket® Brand from MEG and is a co-production between Mondo TV, Giochi Preziosi and MEG.

The 26 x 26′ episodes will commence airing on Boomerang in the United States in early 2012.

The toy line, based on the television series, will be distributed in North America by leading U.S. toy company JAKKS Pacific, Inc. and will feature collectible figures, accessories, play sets and plush, which are expected to begin shipping to retailers nationwide in Spring 2012.

North American merchandise licensing and promotions for the television series is represented by Licensing Works!®.

Joe Morrison, CEO of MEG stated: “We are very pleased with the expansion of our relationship with Cartoon Network into the United States and for Puppy In My Pocket Adventures in Pocketville to air on Boomerang. The addition of the powerful reach of Turner Broadcasting in the US will surely make the series a children’s broadcasting success worldwide.”

Orlando Corradi, CEO of Mondo TV, stated: “We are very honored to work in the US with Boomerang on this wonderful property and we really believe that the property is on its way to becoming a worldwide success.”

DreamWorks Eyes Shanghai

California animation studios have had satellite studios in Asia since the 1980s, when Disney operated out of Japan and Hanna-Barbera had Fil-Cartoons in the Philippines. It’s the same today, only the names of the companies have changed, like Lucasfilm with its studio in Singapore and Digital Domain in India. Now, according to this Reuters story, DreamWorks is aggressively pushing forward with its plans to launch a studio in Shanghai, a development that we first reported last September. The new studio, DreamWorks East, could be up and running by January, and its first feature is slated for 2015. DreamWorks and a consortium of Chinese companies will invest up to $2 billion over five years in the joint venture, and the studio will also develop theme park rides and distribute films.

“Charlie Brown” posters by Tom Whelan

I really like these limited edition Peanuts Special posters by artist Tom Whelan. The Great Pumpkin piece (below) sold out a few months ago. Now the Christmas special (above) will go on sale Thursday in three editions:

450 Standard Edition ($75)
100 Variant Edition ($125)
50 Silver Bells Edition (on metal with Variant image imprinted) ($250)

It’s pretty mysterious how these are being distributed. eMoviePoster.com will release all 3 editions exclusively on Thursday (12/1) at a random morning hour. The next day, Friday (12/2) publisher Dark Hall Mansion will make them available in their online Store. For more information on Tom Whelan and his amazing poster art, check Whelan’s blog.

(Via Fire Wire)

Animation Breakdown begins!

Cartoon Brew is co-presenting Animation Breakdown at the Cinefamily this weekend. It kicks off Thursday night with Don Hertzfeldt in person with his brand new short (first two screenings sold out – but a 12:35am show has just been added). Tomorrow night is an opening reception for the gallery show at Synchronicity Space being done in conjunction with the fest – it’s also how we’re kicking the whole thing off. The show features artwork from animators, including Bruce Bickford (in his first L.A. gallery appearance), Adam Beckett, Andy Ristaino (of Adventure Time), Jim Tozzi (of Xavier: Renegade Angel), David O’Reilly, Amy Lockhart and more. So join us at Synchronicity Space (713 N. Heliotrope, LA, CA, 90029) Wednesday, November 30th for our opening night reception!

Clay-animation madman Bruce Bickford will also be on hand Sunday night (12/4) at 8:30 to present, in person, a rare evening of shorts, experiments, and brand-new works highlighting his vastly underseen and equally remarkable hand-drawn animation – plus, the world premiere of Bickford’s finally-finished, twenty-plus-years-in-the-making magnum opus Cas’l. A trailer for Bickford’s show is above.

Aardman Animates ITV1’s Text Santa’s Promo Campaign

New York, NY – November 29, 2011 — The new animated promo campaign for ITV’s major new charity initiative Text Santa kicks off on 26th November 2011.  ITV Creative worked alongside industry experts Lambie-Nairn and Aardman Animations to bring the campaign to life.

The aim of Text Santa is to raise awareness and money for those most vulnerable during the festive period and will appeal to the public to raise money mainly via text donation. The promo uses the concept of using joy as currency to send happiness to those who need it most at Christmas. The first phase of the campaign launches on 26th November 2011, with a call to action featuring celebrities launching on 3rd December 2011. The loveable Text Santa animated characters will also take over the ITV idents from 10th December 2011.

Lambie-Nairn developed the brand identity for the campaign, both on and off air. This included the creation of a family of loveable characters named Santa’s little helpers, each with their own personalities and character traits.  Aardman  (the animation house behind Morph and Wallace and Gromit) were appointed to bring the ideas to life, spreading the spirit of Christmas.

Text Santa is an ITV Studios production for ITV1.

The promo campaign was created by Mark Gouldie, Senior Graphic Designer, Oscar Cariss, Senior Creative, Helen Ewer and Phil Bolger, Creatives, Kirsty Beale, Senior Producer for ITV Creative, Sophie Lutman, Creative Director for Lambie-Nairn and Tim Ruffle for Aardman.

TV Academy Adds Nine To Hall Of Fame, Including Michael Eisner

Nine television industry legends will be inducted on March 1 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Bringing the total number of inductees to more than 120, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame will add a new group of industry legends to its ranks on March 1, 2012, at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The new inductees, selected by the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame Committee and announced by Television Academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner, are:

• Producers Mary-Ellis Bunim & Jonathan Murray

• Network executive Michael Eisner

• Game show host Don Francisco

• Actor Sherman Hemsley

• Lighting designer Bill Klages

• Producer Chuck Lorre

• The beloved comedy duo of Vivian Vance & William Frawley

Additional details about the inductees and the 21st Hall of Fame ceremony are available here.

2012 Kidscreen Awards Nominees Announced

Toronto, November 29, 2011: Kidscreen, host of the global kids television industry’s leading awards for excellence, is delighted to announce the shortlisted entries that will be continuing in the competition through a final round of judging.

In the Programming Categories, these nominees are:

PRESCHOOL
Best Animated Series

Abby’s Flying Fairy School (Sesame Workshop)
Babar and the Adventures of Badou (Nelvana Limited/TeamTO)
dirtgirlworld (mememe Productions/DHX Media)

Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series
Driver Dan’s Story Train (TwoFour54/3Line Media)
Fairytales of Mr. Sandman (Meyer Media/Efteling B.V.)
Sesame Street (Sesame Workshop)

Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie
Dino Dan (Sinking Ship Entertainment)
Imaginext, Either Ore (Fisher-Price, Inc.)
Imaginext, Serpent Pirate Ship (Fisher-Price, Inc.)

Best Companion Website
Octonauts (Plug-In Media)
Bananas in Pyjamas (ABC TV)
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That (Random House)

KIDS
Best Animated Series

Rated A For Awesome (Nerd Corps Entertainment)
The Amazing World of Gumball (Cartoon Network Europe in association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media & Studio Soi)
Transformers Prime (Hasbro Studios/The Hub TV)

Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series
Horrible Histories (Lion Television in association with Citrus TV)
How to be Indie (Sudden Storm Entertainment)
Me & My Monsters (Sticky Pictures, Tiger Aspect Productions, The Jim Henson Company)
My Place Series 2 (Matchbox Pictures in association with ABC TV and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation)
Tati’s Hotel (Tati’s World Inc.)

Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie
Heart Catch Pretty Cure! The Movie: Fashion Show in Paris! (Toei Animation Co. Ltd.)
Wapos Bay (Karma Film)
ZhuZhu Pets, Quest For Zhu (Dreamgarden/Moonscoop)

Best Companion Website
Horrible Histories (Lion Television/Citrus TV/CBBC)
Power Rangers Samurai (Saban Brands LLC)
Shaun the Sheep (Aardman Animations)

TWEENS/TEENS
Best Animated Series

Bob’s Burgers (Bento Box Entertainment/20th Century Fox Television)
Dan Vs. (Film Roman/The Hub TV)
Total Drama World Tour (Fresh TV Inc.)

Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series
Dance Academy (Werner Film Productions)
In Real Life 2 (PTN Productions Inc.)
Leonardo (Kindle Entertainment Ltd.)

Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie
How the Earth Became Round (Cinquième Etage Production)
My Babysitter’s A Vampire (Fresh TV Inc.)
Some Dogs Bite (Kindle Entertainment Ltd.)

Best Companion Website
In Real Life Interactive (Secret Location)
The Next Star (Tricon Film & Television)
Total Drama World Tour Online (Fresh TV Inc.)

These shortlisted entries will be reviewed and assessed by a fresh panel of judges, comprised of the following leading kids broadcast executives: Andrew Beecham (Sprout), Joe D’Ambrosia (Disney Junior), Cecilia Persson (Turner Kids), Julien Borde (France Télévisions), Jules Borkent (Nickelodeon), Frank Dietz (Super RTL), Adina Pitt (Cartoon Network), Carole Bonneau (TELETOON Canada), Jocelyn Hamilton (Corus Entertainment), Damian Kavanagh (BBC Children’s) and David Levine (Disney XD Worldwide).

Meanwhile, Kidscreen’s 11,000 readers will be invited to determine the winners of the Broadcasting Categories by vote over the course of December. The shortlisted entries up for nomination are:

Channel of the Year
CBBC (UK)
Family Channel (Canada)
PBS Kids (US)

Best Channel Design
ABC 4 Kids
Cartoon Network (Summer Bump–Upchuck)
France 3

Best Channel Website
ABC 4 Kids (www.abc.net.au/abc4kids)
Cartoon Network (www.cartoonnetwork.com)
PBS Kids (www.pbskids.org)

Best Integrated Promotion
Cartoon Network (How to Train Your Dragon DVD launch, with Paramount Home Entertainment)
Cartoon Network (Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
PBS Kids (The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That launch)

Best Interstitial Campaign
Cartoon Network (Adventure Time 6:58)
Family Channel (Family rebrand)
Family Channel (Family summer branding)

Best On-Air Host or Hosting Team
ABC 4 Kids (Jimmy Giggle and Hoot the Owl)
PIWI+ (Kevin Métayer)
TéléTOON+ (Caroline Costa)

All winners will be announced and celebrated at a special presentation event and after-party during Kidscreen Summit, on the evening of Thursday, February 9. Kidscreen Summit delegates are invited to attend as part of their event experience, and tickets for just the Kidscreen Awards evening can be purchased for $150 by contacting Kidscreen Events Sales Manager Joel Pinto (416-408-2300 x650 or [email protected]).
Additional details about the Kidscreen Awards, including categories, eligibility, judging and entry process, can be found at http://awards.kidscreen.com.

Kidscreen Summit 2012, which takes place from February 7 to 10 at the Hilton New York, offers an unparalleled opportunity to keep abreast of important issues and trends in the fast-moving international kids entertainment industry, generate business and revenue opportunities, and network with leading decision-makers.

Last year, Kidscreen Summit welcomed nearly 1,600 attendees, representing 850+ companies from 42 countries around the world. And more than 350 kids TV buyers and investors were at the event looking for new content and partners. More information about Kidscreen Summit 2012 is available at summit.kidscreen.com.

Flintstone Flyer Fanatic

Calling all Flintstone freaks! My friend David Nimitz is an animator, caricaturist and Flintstone fanatic par excellence. He always wanted a toy based on the first aired episode of the series, The Flintstone Flyer, but since none existed he built one himself. He took his prehistoric helicopter out to the Vazquez Rocks and shot a few pix (above and below) – and I just had to share. Well done, Dave! Perhaps these will inspire some toy-maker to create a mass-market version. Till then we will play vicariously through your photos…

Click thumbnails below to enlarge. Second row are some of Dave’s tributes to our favorite cartoon voices.


2011 British Academy Children’s Awards Winners Announced, “Peppa Pig” & “Amazing World of Gumball” Among Winners

A top line-up of presenters including Jack Whitehall, Martin Kemp, Warwick Davis, Heidi Range (Sugababes) Tanya Byron, Sam Branson, Ronni Ancona, Sam Claflin, Richard Fleeshman, Laura Hamilton, Anthony Horowitz, Sebastien Izambard (Il Divo), Dakota Blue Richards and Ted Robbins joined host Barney Harwood at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

The final Harry Potter instalment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, took the Feature Film Award and the BAFTA Kids’ Vote in the ‘Film’ category. This comes as a fitting climax to a year in which the franchise received the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the Orange British Academy Film Awards earlier in 2011.

There were three other double-winners on the night: Peppa Pig won for the second time in the Pre-School Animation category, its first win since 2005 (it has been nominated for the past four years) and also won the Performer Award for nine year-old Harley Bird, who voices Peppa; Deadly 60 won Awards for Factual programme and Presenter, for adventurer Steve Backshall; and Cartoon Network’s new hit show, The Amazing World of Gumball, took the Animation and Writer Awards.

Newsround, the world’s first regular news bulletin for children that celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, was honoured with the Special Award. BBC political editor, Nick Robinson presented the Award to the programme’s very first presenter, John Craven, creator Edward Barnes and current presenter Ore Oduba.

The BAFTA Kids’ Vote competition powered by Yahoo attracted over 400,000 votes from 7 to 14 year-olds in the UK. There were winners in four categories: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Film); Good Luck Charlie (Television); Just Dance 2 (Video Games); Bin Weevils (Website).

The BAFTA Young Game Designers Award in association with Electronic Arts was presented to a team of 15 year-olds called Nose Dive Studios, from London. Tyger Drew-Honey presented the Award to the team, who will also receive a prize package including a valuable work experience stint at EA’s Criterion Games studio and a prototype of their winning game developed with Abertay University. This was the culmination of a BAFTA initiative that, now in its second year, encourages young people to consider a career in video games.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “Getting young people interested in and engaged with film, television, video games and online media is a very important part of BAFTA’s charitable activity, which takes place all year round. We encourage engagement with the Kids’ Vote, giving children their voice and a website full of entertainment and interactivity, and we reward the spark of creativity — and hard work — with the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition. Just as importantly, the Awards ceremony celebrated the very finest talent behind the nation’s favourite children’s television shows, films, games and websites, and the nominees and winners are incredible inspirations to the next generation of creative talent in Britain. We encourage kids everywhere to follow in their footsteps.”

TELETOON Announces Winter-Spring Lineup and ‘Can’t Miss Thursdays’


TELETOON Canada adds some colour to those winter blahs this season by announcing a Winter-Spring lineup made to brighten spirits and bring on the laughs this January 2012.

Inspired by the cult-favourite My Babysitter’s a Vampire movie, this homegrown TELETOON original production brings season one of the much-anticipated series. Joining the roster is also the animated/live-action series Mudpit which shows the trials and tribulations of four teen musicians hoping to make it big in a cyber battle-of-the-bands called Muzika. Also new to the lineup this Winter-Spring is Detentionaire, The Haunting Hour and Total Drama: Revenge of the Island.

TELETOON superfans will be pleased to know that many of these titles, as well as some old favourites, have been added to a special Thursday night block — ‘Can’t Miss Thursdays!’ The night’s schedule will roll out as follows:

6:00 p.m. Johnny Test (15 minutes) & Jimmy Two Shoes (15 minutes)

6:30 p.m. Detentionaire

7:00 p.m. Total Drama: Revenge of the Island

7:30 p.m. Mudpit

8:00 p.m. My Babysitter’s a Vampire

8:30 p.m. MAD: The Animated Series

Highlights of the 2012 Winter-Spring lineup include:

The Haunting Hour: Season One

Premiere: Monday, January 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT

New episodes: Mondays to Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT

A suspenseful and terrifying approach to the short stories of critically acclaimed horror author, R.L. Stine, The Haunting Hour picks up where Goosebumps left off, bringing a new generation of young horror lovers a fresh look at one of the most popular anthologies in children’s suspense.

Detentionaire: Season One

Premiere: Thursday, January 5 at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT

New Episodes: Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT — Encore: Sundays at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT

Lee Ping is about to start grade 10 — the best year of his life — when he is blamed for pulling off an epic, mind-blowing practical joke and sentenced to spend the rest of the school year in detention. It’s goodbye freedom, goodbye girls and hello worst year of his life. Detentionaire follows Lee in his attempts to uncover the mystery behind the practical joke and clear his name. Detentionaire is created by Daniel Bryan Franklin and Charles Johnston and produced by Tracey Dodokin.

Total Drama, Revenge of the Island: Season Four

Premiere: Thursday, January 5 at 7 p.m. ET/PT

New Episodes: Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT – Encore: Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT

We’ve been to the movies. We’ve been around the world. Now, Total Drama is taking a brand new cast of competitors to the most dangerous place on Earth, for the harshest, cruelest, cringe-worthiest million dollar competition EVER… right back where it all began, at Camp Wawanakwa! This season Chris MacLean is amping up the danger and bringing the pain with a whole new set of hazardous challenges. And since Chris rented the island out to a toxic waste disposal company while he was gone, the island now boasts a whole new collection of vicious, deadly, and freakishly mutated creatures!

Mudpit: Season One

Premiere: Thursday, January 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT

New Episodes: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT – Encore: Sundays at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT

Mudpit is a live-action and animated comedy series about four teens, Reese, Geneva, Liam and Kyle, who form a virtual rock band in hopes of becoming real rock stars! In each episode, the live-action members of Mudpit head to the sickest gaming café around, the Game and Grub, run by ex-boy-bander Fitzy. The café’s popularity is due to Muzika, a state-of-the-art game in which hi-tech cameras scan kids and translate their images and actions into their stylized, animated avatar musicians.

My Babysitter’s a Vampire, The Series: Season One

Premiere: Thursday, January 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT

New Episodes: Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT – Encore: Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

When Ethan Morgan’s over-protective parents assigned a babysitter to watch over him and his 8-year-old sister, he thought he’d die of embarrassment. But no need to worry: embarrassment is now the last thing on a long list of stuff that wants to kill him and his geeky pals Benny and Rory. This babysitter may look like the girl of his dreams, but Sarah just happens to be half-vampire (a “fledgling” for you experts), and she drags Ethan and his buddies into a world of wild supernatural battles against creatures straight out of their nightmares. Now Ethan not only has to take on demons, ghosts, werewolves, and zombies, he still has to get his homework done on time and be in bed by 10.

AUCTION: Lost Disney Oswald film

Going once, going twice… a long lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon by Walt Disney. It will be up for auction next month, December 14th, at Bonhams in Los Angeles.

The only known copy of Hungry Hobos (1928) has been found in UK’s Huntley Film Archives based in Herefordshire. It is being estimated to sell for $30,000-40,000. The Bonhams press release says:

Stephanie Connell of Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia department comments, “Hungry Hobos” an incredible find, a lost masterpiece and a cartoon with a unique and vital place in animation history.” Comprising a 16mm double perforated celluloid acetate positive print, silent, probably dating from around its distribution date of late 20s/early 30s, total running time 5 minutes, 21 seconds and 2 frames at a running speed of 24 frames per second.

The Huntley Film Archives recently re-discovered the film and when they realized its significance they decided to sell it, and will devote the proceeds to their collection of 80,000 films, which are badly in need of restoration. Amanda Huntley of Huntley Film Archives comments, “When we checked this film we couldn’t quite believe our eyes. For an archive, finding a lost masterpiece is incredible – you just don’t think it will happen to you. We are excited and delighted to offer this gem to animation aficionados and collectors.”

$30,000-40,000? Has any silent-era cartoon ever been sold for more than $1000? Is this cartoon really worth five figures. All I know is, I want want to see it. If you want to place a bid, or need more information: visit Bonhams website.

The CARTOON DUMP Xmas Special

The final Cartoon Dump of 2011 is here! Your last chance this year to see some of the worst cartoons ever made, and also dive into the Dump’s mixture of sketches, songs and the stand up comedy of our special holiday guests Chris Hardwick, Wayne Federman and Jay London!

Join our regular cast: TV’s Frank Conniff as Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl, Erica Doering as Compost Brite, J. Elvis Weinstein as Dumpster Diver Dan, Kristin Ariggo as Cue Card Goddess and me – your host, Jerry Beck – at the infamous Steve Allen Theatre – tonight at 8pm!

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

A Few Thoughts on Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”

Amid Amidi and George Melies

Above right is a photo of me in Paris some years ago standing besides the grave of French filmmaker and visual fx pioneer Georges Méliès. I’d heard that Martin Scorsese’s new film Hugo incorporated the character of Méliès (portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the left-hand photo above), but I didn’t anticipate that the entire film would be essentially about him. More broadly, Hugo, which I saw in 3-D last night, is a celebration of filmmaking magic, the medium’s dreamlike possibilities, and true to Scorsese’s personal passions, the importance of film preservation. That Scorsese was able to package these themes into an entertaining family film is nothing short of miraculous.

The film’s strength is its visuals. I got a real kick out of the imagery, from the main setting of the train station and its cogs-and-gears innards to the intricate mechanics of the automaton who figured prominently in the film. The 1930s train station, which provides a warm and intriguing setting for the film, is almost a character in itself, but like most of the film’s characters, it suffers from broad caricature. In this case, it’s the cliched and tiresome American view of Paris, which was also seen in Woody Allen’s recent Midnight in Paris. The film’s freshest visual spectacles were the scenes that recreated Méliès’ films, appropriately so since the film was a celebration of his genius.

The 3-D must be mentioned. It was not offensive–an accomplishment in itself–but as usual, I’m left wondering how much it truly added. The opening shot of the film (was it all CG?), was contributed by ILM I think, and it was a fun use of 3-D in the roller coaster ride sense of the technology. In some of the early scenes, Scorsese showed motes of dust floating around the screen. The fact that I remember that, but not what was happening on the screen doesn’t speak well of the effect. To Scorsese’s credit, it appeared that he cut back on the 3-D trickery midway through the film, mostly recycling 3-D shots used earlier in the film or simply putting it aside in favor of more straightforward storytelling.

Final verdict: Hugo isn’t necessarily a classic, but it is a memorable children’s film with a refreshing lack of cynicism and lofty ideals.

A couple of animation-related notes:

* The film is an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s quasi-graphic novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret. A film based on the book was announced in May, 2008, and was slated to be the live-action directorial debut of Blue Sky co-founder and Ice Age director Chris Wedge. That version, for reasons unknown, was canned.

* A hand-tinted color version of Georges Méliès’s classic “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) was discovered in the 1990s and its restoration was recently completed by French film historian Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films. Bromberg is better known in the animation world as the artistic director of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Voyage to the Moon

Bardel Entertainment Expands Into Kelowna, British Columbia With Funding From First West Capital

The Company’s New Satellite Studio Is Expected to Create Jobs, Stimulate the Industry and Advance Educational Opportunities in the Region

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Nov. 23, 2011) – Bardel Entertainment, a Vancouver-based animation studio, recently announced plans to expand its operations into Kelowna, British Columbia supported by funding from First West Capital. Slated to officially open in January 2012, the new satellite office is currently set up to accommodate a dozen animators and editors with plans to further expand over the next three years to house up to 50 employees.

“We are so thrilled to be able to partner with the First West Capital team to fund our long awaited expansion into Kelowna,” said Barry Ward, president of Bardel Entertainment. “Not only do we have a solid and longstanding relationship with Kristi, but we also appreciate First West Capital’s creativity and ability to deliver personalized solutions that are tailored to our needs as well as their extensive knowledge of our industry.”

Bardel considered several other cities in British Columbia for its expansion plans but eventually selected Kelowna for a variety of reasons that include the ability to recruit from a growing pool of talented animators in the region, particularly now that companies such as Club Penguin are well established. Access to regional tax incentives provided by the Province, as well as the opportunity to provide the alternative of a smaller-town lifestyle for their team and their families, were also important.

Drawing upon the company’s success in building deep relationships with educational institutions in Vancouver, Bardel is also excited to further grow the animation community in Kelowna. Bardel is presently in discussion with Okanagan College on the development of an animation programming designed to drawing additional talent to the region.

“Okanagan College is so pleased to welcome Bardel to our community,” said Heather Schneider, Regional Dean Central Okanagan of Okanagan College. “Bardel is a well-known media and entertainment company that believes in incubating great talent, growing the industry and showcasing its creativity and innovation on the world stage. Our future students will benefit greatly from opportunities to work with an entertainment company of this calibre.”

“Bardel is a great example of a highly successful B.C.-based, family-owned business that’s fueled by a talented and dedicated team. The Bardel team is committed to continuous innovation, and this agility has allowed the company to remain an industry leader in the field of animation for more than 20 years,” said Kristi Miller, vice-president of First West Capital. “From its humble beginnings creating short films and commercials, Bardel now works on television and film productions for major US studios such as Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Warner Brothers and develops world-class interactive online content. We are excited to contribute to the company’s growth and look forward to being a part of its ongoing success in Kelowna.”

“Me & Mr. Wolf” from The Real Tuesday Weld

Me & Mr. Wolf is the latest animated music video from The Real Tuesday Weld, a collaboration from the band’s Stephen Coates with George Fort and Monica Smith of Monkey Frog Media in Ecuador. Fort told The Huffington Post:

“My wife Monica and I moved from NY a year and a half ago to Ecuador where we opened our studio and did some production work for Superjail! season 2 and The Venture Brothers. The crew includes Artists from Ecuador, New York, Vermont and Canada. I wrote some of it on the beach in Ecuador and the rest at 8200ft in the Andes mountains. There were artists from Beavis and Butthead, Superjail!, The Venture Brothers, Ren and Stimpy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fast Forward, Celebrity Deathmatch, and Sesame Street to name a few. “Stephen gave me free range for the video, which left it wide open. I’ve always loved monster movies, so of course I took inspiration from The Wolfman (1941). I also looked at old classic noir, surrealist films and art to add interest and suspense. In addition, I tried to incorporate things from old ’30s cartoons, especially Fleischer. These are all things from the 30s and 40s which fits the feel of The Real Tuesday Weld’s music. I really wanted to make it exciting so I didn’t hold anything back.”