Rare Terrytoons Comic Strip FOUND!

Animator Mark Kausler has uncovered a rare 1950s “Terrytoons” comic strip, Barker Bill, and has started posting them on his blog. Paul Terry was a comic strip artist well over a hundred years ago, and became an animation pioneer in the early-teens. Apparently as a tie in to selling his old cartoons to television, Terry introduced his Barker Bill as a strip (drawn by animator Bob Kuwahara) in 1954. They appeared in only a few papers and copies of these strips are scarce. Kausler has grabbed them from various sources, including the Google News Archive from the Greensburg Daily Tribune. He’ll be posting them regularly, eight strips at a time, for the time being HERE. For classic cartoon geeks, this is a real find!

Earl Kress and Dwayne McDuffie Receive 14th Annual WGAW Animation Writers Caucus Writing Award

LOS ANGELES — Animation writers Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress have been posthumously named co-recipients of the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus’ (AWC) 14th Annual Animation Writing Award, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the craft of animation writing, as well as their work with the Writers Guild in organizing animation.

The AWC’s lifetime achievement award will be presented to McDuffie’s and Kress’ widows, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie and Denise Kress, at the AWC’s 2011 meeting, reception, and awards ceremony held tonight at WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles. 2003 honoree Mark Evanier will present this year’s award to Kress, and AWC member Matt Wayne will make the presentation to (Fullerton) McDuffie. WGAW Vice President Howard A. Rodman is set to introduce the evening.

“This year, animation lost two talented, hard-working people who have given much of themselves and their talent to our field. Dwayne McDuffie was a talented writer and creator of comics and animation who worked hard for others, particularly for minority writers. Earl Kress was a writer whose career included both feature and TV animation and hard work on behalf of all animation writers as a member of the WGA Animation Writers Caucus and the Animation Guild Board of Directors. Both were people I was glad to call friend and colleague, and whose efforts, it can truthfully be said, made all of us the better for them. They left us much too soon and too young, and I’m pleased we can commemorate their work and their memory with this year’s award,” said AWC Chair Craig Miller.

“Earl Kress spent 30-plus years working tirelessly to improve the lot of animation writers. He leaves behind a legacy of iconic cartoons and well-deserved awards, along with scores of fellow animation writers who have health and pension benefits because of Earl, and Earl alone,” commented AWC member and 2009 AWC Animation Writing Award honoree Stan Berkowitz.

“Dwayne McDuffie came to L.A. to work on Static Shock, the animated adaptation of an African-American comic book hero he co-created, and it wasn’t long before he was one of the leading lights of superhero animation. Though his stories were often set at the edges of the universe and in other dimensions, they invariably reflected Dwayne’s all-encompassing humanity,” added Berkowitz.

Born on August 22, 1951, and a WGAW member since 1994, Kress recently died on September 19, shortly after turning 60, of complications due to liver cancer.

Launching his career in 1975 with The Oddball Couple, his cartoon adaptation of The Odd Couple, Kress’ animation writing credits over four decades include Transformers, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain, Tom & Jerry Tales, The Smurfs, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Little Rascals, The Berenstain Bears, Ghostbusters, DuckTales, Pound Puppies, Tiny Toon Adventures, Kim Possible, Krypto the Superdog, and the memorable, final “Road Runner” Looney Tunes short Little Go Beep (co-written with Kathleen Helppie-Shipley), among many other animated programs. Kress’ animated feature co-writing credits include story work on Disney’s The Fox and the Hound (1981), as well as several direct-to-video animated features such as the recent Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes (2010) and Wakko’s Wish (1999). His live-action TV writing credits include Down to Earth and Wally and the Beaver.

In 1998, Kress earned an Annie Award for his work on the Pinky and the Brain episode “The Family That Poits Together Narfs Together (shared with co-writers Charles M. Howell IV and John Ludin). A five-time Emmy nominee, Kress shared two Daytime Emmys over the course of his career, one for Pinky and the Brain in 1999 (Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, the other for Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain in 2000 (Outstanding Children’s Animated Program).

Over the course of his career, Kress worked at studios such as Warner Bros., Universal, and Disney, and animation production companies including Hanna-Barbera, Marvel, DePatie-Freleng, and Filmation.

In 1995, Kress joined the Animation Guild’s executive board and was elected vice president of the Animation Guild (Local 839) in 2004, a position he held until his death earlier this year.

In addition to writing comic books for The Simpsons and Looney Toons, Kress most recently “ghostwrote” Life is a Pic-a-Nic: Tips and Tricks for the Smarter Than Av-er-age Bear with Yogi Bear, published in 2010 as a tie-in for the recent big-screen animated feature Yogi Bear. He also co-authored the 2009 autobiography of voiceover legend June Foray, “Did You Grow Up with Me, Too?” with co-writer and close friend Mark Evanier.

A man of diverse talents, Kress worked as a voice actor and a puppeteer for The Muppets, in addition to serving as a sought-after animated programming historian, playing a key role in producing several DVD box sets of classic Warner Bros. cartoons and contributing “special feature” supplemental materials to many animated TV series DVD collections, as well as working with Rhino Entertainment to release several CDs of vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon soundtracks, among other animation-centric industry projects.

Well-respected comic book and animation writer McDuffie, who died at age 49 this past February 21 of complications after undergoing emergency heart surgery, was co-founder of Milestone Media, a ground-breaking company that created multi-cultural comic lines which introduced black superheroes such as Hardware and Static.

As a comic book author, McDuffie contributed to Marvel’s Fantastic Four and DC’s Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight and Justice League of America, among other popular comic book titles. As a television animation writer, story editor, or producer, his animated series writing credits include Static Shock (which he co-created with Christopher James Priest), Justice League, Ben 10:Alien Force, and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, What’s New, Scooby Doo?, Teen Titans, and Friends & Heroes, among other animated programs. McDuffie also penned the 2011 animated feature All-Star Superman, based on the comic book series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, as well as several animated features in the “DC Universe Animated Original Movies” series franchise, and the videogame Justice League Heroes. The last project McDuffie was working on prior to his death was Justice League: Doom, his videogame adaptation of Mark Waid’s “Tower of Babel” JL story slated for release in 2012.

Born on Feb. 20, 1962, and a WGAW member since 2003, McDuffie attended the Roeper School for gifted children in the Detroit suburbs of Bloomfield Hills. Later, he earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and attended film school at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Launching his career in 1987 as a special comics editor at Marvel Comics, McDuffie wrote for Spider-Man and other major Marvel characters, and co-created the limited series Damage Control, centering on the novel idea of a firm that repairs property damages caused by epic battles between super-heroes and super-villains.

In 2003, McDuffie shared a Humanitas Prize for penning the “Jimmy” episode of Static Shock (teleplay by Dwayne McDuffie, Story by Alan Burnett, Dwayne McDuffie), which explored the topical issue of gun violence in schools. In 2004, McDuffie received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Static Shock in the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program category (shared with Sander Schwartz, Alan Burnett, Denys Cowan, Swinton O. Scott III, John Semper, Len Uhley, and Andrea Romano), and in 2005 McDuffie shared a Writers Guild Award nomination for co-writing the Justice League episode “Starcrossed” (Written by Rich Fogel, John Ridley, Dwayne McDuffie, Story by Rich Fogel).

After several years spent freelancing as a comic book writer, in 1992 McDuffie co-founded Milestone Media, whose comics were distributed by DC Comics. The company, like McDuffie himself, championed a more multicultural and inclusive approach to comics.

The WGAW’s AWC Animation Writing Award is given to members of the Animation Writers Caucus or Writers Guild who have advanced the literature of animation in film and/or television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the animation writer. Founded in 1994, the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus represents over 600 animation writers and works to advance economic and creative conditions in the field. Through organizing efforts, educational events, and networking opportunities, the Guild’s AWC is a leading proponent for animation writers. Recent AWC Animation Writing Award honorees include Mike Scully, Al Jean, Michael Reiss, Brad Bird, Linda Woolverton, and Stan Berkowitz

Illumination developing CG “Woody Woodpecker”

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting about Universal Pictures new plans to revive Walter Lantz’ classic cartoon star Woody Woodpecker in a CG feature film.

Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop and The Lorax) is now developing the film with Blades of Glory co-writers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, who are planning to “modernize the character for contemporary audiences”. Altschuler and Krinsky were exec producers and writers on Fox’s King of Hill and currently on MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head.

Reviving classic cartoon characters is a hit-or-miss proposition. Alvin and the Chipmunks and Yogi Bear were huge commercial successes, but aesthetic disasters. Can Woody work in the 21st Century?

(Thanks, Paul Mular)

Nickelodeon Plans Packed Thanksgiving Weekend Line-Up


Slate Includes the Hour-Long Premiere of The Fairly OddParents “Timmy’s Secret Wish,” Brand-New Episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and the New Hit Series

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Plus Movies, Marathons and More!

NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2011 — Nickelodeon gives kids another reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving with special super-stuffed weekend of premieres and animated awesomeness! The programming feast kicks off Wednesday, Nov. 23 with the hour-long premiere of The Fairly OddParents “Timmy’s Secret Wish” at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT), followed by a marathon of Nickelodeon movies on Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, Nov. 25, Kids will need to save room for a heaping helping of SpongeBob SquarePants beginning at 9:00 a.m. (ET/PT), including back-to-back premieres at 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

The weekend continues Saturday, Nov. 26, with Nickelodeon’s newest animated series, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (see schedule below for times), along with brand-new episodes of The Penguins of Madagascar at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT), T.U.F.F. Puppy at 11:30 a.m. (ET/PT) and an hour-long Power Rangers Samurai special, “Clash of the Red Rangers,” at 12:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Nick at Nite will celebrate the holiday with nightly marathons of Friends, Wednesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 27, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT), while tots can catch encores of Thanksgiving-themed preschool favorites on Nick Jr., Thursday, Nov. 24. Beginning Monday, Nov. 21, Nicktoons unveils its “Feast of Fury Week,” featuring premieres of Speed Racer, Dragon Ball Z Kai, Iron Man and Voltron Force. Finally, TeenNick joins the festivities with a special daily movie Thursday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 27, at 12:00 p.m. (ET).

Below please find episode information and an episodic clip from Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness “Owl Be Back” airing Saturday, Nov. 26 at 8:00p.m. (ET/PT). Downloadable artwork is available on www.nickpress.com.


Wed, Nov. 23

8:00 p.m. – The Fairly OddParents “Timmy’s Secret Wish” hour-long special

Timmy makes his millionth wish which all of Fairyworld has gathered to celebrate. But after reviewing his wishes, the Fairy Council finds that Timmy should be put on trial for being the worst godkid ever! Wanda, Cosmo, and Poof think they can prove that Timmy’s a good kid, until the truth comes out — Timmy made a secret wish that no one knows about, not even his godfamily.

Fri, Nov. 25

8:00 p.m. – SpongeBob SquarePants “Way of the Sponge” / “Bubble Trouble”

Way of the Sponge: SpongeBob wants to earn his belt from karate master Fuzzy Acorns with Sandy’s help.

Bubble Trouble: SpongeBob and Patrick destroy Sandy’s air supply and have to help her find more oxygen.

8:30 p.m. – SpongeBob SquarePants “The Krabby Patty that Ate Bikini Bottom/ Bubble Buddy Returns”

The Krabby Patty that Ate Bikini Bottom: Mr Krabs uses Sandy’s experimental growth formula on a Krabby Patty with disastrous results.

Bubble Buddy Returns: SpongeBob tries to keep Bubble Buddy’s visiting son, Shiny, out of trouble and away from sharp edges.

Sat, Nov. 26

11:00 a.m. – The Penguins of Madagascar “Arch Enemy”/ “The Big Stank”

Arch Enemy: Private allegedly smashed Dale the Snail and keeps smashing him albeit accidentally. Even a public apology ends with Dale getting crushed. Sadly, Dale should never have been enemies with Private to begin with — it was a different penguin who did him wrong.

The Big Stank: King Julien becomes enamored of a giant toilet the penguins have built. He wants to use it as his new throne, only the toilet is actually a stink bomb the penguins built to trap Dr. Blowhole.

11:30 a.m. – T.U.F.F. Puppy “Doom and Gloom”/ “Law and Odor”

Doom and Gloom: Larry has finally snapped under Snaptrap’s ruthless authority and forms his own evil

agency dubbed “G.L.O.O.M.”! Much to Dudley and Kitty’s chagrin, it turns out Larry is pretty good at being bad!

Law and Odor: Petropolis’ worst smelling villain, the Stink Bug, has returned to make life odorous for T.U.F.F. Keswick has a cold and Dudley’s super sensitive snout is rendering him helpless. T.U.F.F. needs a plan fast, before the Stink Bug turns Petropolis into a cesspool of stench!

12:00 p.m. – Power Rangers Samurai “Clash of the Red Rangers” hour-long special

The Samurai Rangers team up with the mysterious RPM Ranger Red to defeat dual threats from Master Xandred’s Mooger army and an evil robot mastermind from the RPM Ranger’s dimension.

8:00 p.m. – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness “Owl Be Back”

Po learns that the most powerful member of the Furious Five almost always turns evil and begins to worry that his “good guy” days are numbered.

8:30 p.m. – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness “Bad Po”

After an incident with the Mystical Mirror of Yin and Yang, Po is acting strangely; he’s sweet and kind one minute, then mean and violent the next. Is it possible that there are two of him?

Sun, Nov. 27

7:00 p.m. – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness “Sight For Sore Eyes”

Two Kung Fu Masters visit the Jade Palace to check up on Shifu. Po disobeys an order and causes the downfall of the Shifu and the Furious Five.

7:30 p.m. – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness “Rhino’s Revenge”

Po befriends a bitter Rhino and helps him get back on his feet — until he learns that the Rhino’s secret goal is to destroy the Dragon Warrior.

“Ben 10 / Generator Rex: Heroes United” Premieres November 25th on Cartoon Network

On Friday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. (ET/PT), Cartoon Network will present an hour-long special event of out-of-this-world proportions! In Ben 10 / Generator Rex: Heroes United, two heroic teenagers — Ben Tennyson and Rex — team up to save both their worlds from an all-new evil menace.

In the midst of battle, Ben 10 is dragged into a dimensional rift and sent spiraling to a strange alternate world where microscopic nanites infect every living creature on the planet: the world of Generator Rex! Are Ben’s alien transformations any match for Rex’s power builds? Who is the mysterious villain threatening to take them down? And can they unite in time to keep both of their worlds from being destroyed? Tune in to find out!

“SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob’s Frozen Face-Off” DVD COming In January 2012

New York, NY — Nov. 16, 2011 — Start the New Year with America’s favorite sponge and enjoy wintery fun in this all-new DVD, SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob’s Frozen Face-Off. In Frozen Face-Off, while everyone in Bikini Bottom participates in a race to the South Pole, Plankton makes another attempt to get his hands on the secret formula and end the Krusty Krab’s fast-food supremacy for good. In addition to this epic battle, enjoy six other episodes from the current eighth season of SpongeBob SquarePants. As an added treat, enjoy four bonus episodes from Nickelodeon’s hit series, T.U.F.F. Puppy and Fanboy and Chum Chum. SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob’s Frozen Face-Off is available on DVD on Jan. 3, 2012, for the suggested retail price of $16.99.

Since its launch in July 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has emerged as a pop culture phenomenon. The series has been the number-one animated program with kids 2-11 for more than 10 consecutive years and over the past several years, it has averaged more than 100,000,000 total viewers every quarter across all Nickelodeon networks. Syndicated in 171 markets in 36 languages, it’s the most widely distributed property in MTV Networks’ history. SpongeBob SquarePants has a huge online following as well, currently with more than 28 million fans on Facebook.

SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob’s Frozen Face-Off Episode List:

Frozen Face-Off

Everyone in Bikini Bottom is participating in a worm-sled race to the South Pole. The big prize: one million clams! Will SpongeBob and the gang make it to the frosty finish line in one piece?

Accidents Will Happen

When Squidward gets hurt on the job, he threatens to take legal action unless Mr. Krabs agrees to wait on him hand and foot.

The Other Patty

Mr. Krabs and Plankton find a common enemy in the popular new “Flabby Patty” restaurant.

Drive Thru

Instead of paying to patch up a hole in the wall of the Krusty Krab, Mr. Krabs decides to use it to make more money by turning it into a drive-thru window.

The Hot Shot

Tony Fast, Jr., the son of a famous racecar driver, teaches SpongeBob how to drive.

A Friendly Game

SpongeBob and Patrick build an indoor miniature golf course in SpongeBob’s house.

Sentimental Sponge

SpongeBob has trouble throwing anything away when he realizes how many memories are attached to all his possessions.

Get these episodes and more of SpongeBob SquarePants on iTunes at iTunes.com/SpongeBob.

SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob’s Frozen Face-Off Fast Facts:

Street Date: January 3, 2012

DVD SRP: $16.99

Catalogue: 822794

Running Time: 88 Minutes

Special Features:

· Fanboy and Chum Chum episodes:

o The Last Strawberry Fun Finger

o Power Out

· T.U.F.F. Puppy episodes:

o Snappy Campers

o Lucky Duck

Comedy Central Renews “South Park” Through 2016

NEW YORK, November 16, 2011 — Trey Parker and Matt Stone have reached a new deal with COMEDY CENTRAL to extend cable’s longest-running animated series,South Park, it was announced today by Michele Ganeless, president, COMEDY CENTRAL.  The deal for three additional seasons ensures thetop-rated Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning series will remain in original episodes through 2016 and a milestone 20th season.  Parker and Stone will continue to write, direct and edit every episode of South Park, as they have since the premiere of the series in 1997.

“The collective genius of Matt and Trey knows no bounds,” said Ganeless.  “Week after week and season after season they continue to surprise and delight South Park fans, and that includes all of us here at COMEDY CENTRAL.  We’re thrilled that the adventures of Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman will continue through 2016.”

“COMEDY CENTRAL has been our home for 15 years and we love working there,” said Parker and Stone.  “South Park is a blast and we can’t wait to make more.”

Call For Entries: RED STICK International Animation Festival

Title: RED STICK International Animation Festival

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Description: The Red Stick International Animation Festival is seeking work from students, amateurs, and professionals to consider for the 2012 “Best of the Fest” competition. The festival will take place June 4-10, 2012, in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The Red Stick International Animation Festival submission categories are:

• Animated Short Film — Professional
• Animated Short Film — Student
• Music Video
• Experimental Animation & Visual Music
• Scientific Visualization

Submissions will be accepted until January 6, 2012. The top entry in each category will receive a Red Baton award and $1000.00 cash prize, and the best overall festival entry will receive the prestigious Baton D’Or award and $1000.00 cash prize.

Animations should be no longer than nine minutes, and the work must have been created within the past three years. The festival accepts animated films of any style or genre. Participants must submit work on DVD or Blue-Ray Disks as media or data (format in NTSC, PAL, HD 720 and HD 1080 only). A $25 entry fee per film will apply.

Deadline: January 6, 2012

Start Date: 2012-06-04
End Date: 2012-06-10

December 1-6: “Animation Breakdown” in LA

Hot on the heels of this week’s CTN Expo, animators and animation fans will be treated to the L.A. based Animation Breakdown festival at The Cinefamily (in Hollywood). Cartoon Brew and Animation Block Party are co-presenting this 6 day festival that celebrates the greatest in international animation, old and new, shorts and features.

Highlights include an advance screening of Pixar’s new short La Luna (with director Enrico Casarosa in person), new films by the Brothers Quay and Spike Jonze; live in-person appearances from animator Don Hertfzeldt, comics and cartoon creator Brad Neely (China IL), a cast & crew reunion of Cartoon Network’s Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and Frank Zappa’s legendary go-to claymation freakster, Bruce Bickford. An extensive 35mm retrospective of Polish animation is planned, with prints being flown in from Europe; and Cartoon Network will present world-premeire of Pen Ward and Thomas Herpich’s short Thank You.

Other events include:

- Rare 35mm restorations of Disney’s Laugh-O-Grams, Walt Disney’s long-lost silent era shorts, presented by Brewmaster Jerry Beck.
- Don Hertzfeldt in person for the LA premiere of his new film It’s Such A Beautiful Day
- Space Ghost: Coast to Coast cast & crew reunion and panel, C. Martin Croker and Andy Merrill in person.
- Pixar’s La Luna with director Enrico Casarosa in person for an advance screening and behind the scenes presentation.

All this and more (to be announced). For information and tickets (seating is limited) visit cinefamily.org.

List of 45 Oscar Qualifying Shorts

Here’s the list of qualified shorts, screened this past weekend for members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with links to all the films were you can find additional info, see the trailer or watch the whole film itself.

Members of the Short Film and Feature Animation branch will soon vote, creating a shortlist of ten films from this 45. A second round of voting, also restricted to members of the Short Films and Feature Animation branches, will narrow it down to the five nominees for Best Animated Short Film Oscar. The final vote, which determines the winner, is open to all Academy members provided that they have watched every nominated short. It’s a wide open field this year with a variety of techniques and themes; four major studio shorts (from Pixar, Warners, Sony, Disney) up against some of the best talents from around the world, along with student films and independent fare. Can’t wait to see who makes it to the shortlist. Good luck to all!

A Morning Stroll
A Morning Stroll by Grant Orchard (Studio AKA)
Read Cartoon Brew’s post about A Morning Stroll.

A Shadow of Blue by Carlos Lascano

Birdboy by Alberto Vasquez (Abrikim Studio)

Chopin’s Drawings by Dorota Kobiela (BreakThru Films) Poland
Continue reading

UK’s Big Giggles Sign Co-Production Deal with India’s Eden Animation Studio

Big Giggles Ltd. and Eden Animation Studio Pvt Ltd are pleased to announce that they have signed a strategic agreement to pool their talents and resources in the co- production and exploitation of multiple projects for Children’s TV series, Home Video and Multi-Platform Licensing.

Big Giggles, based in Telford, UK, has become recognised as a consistently successful supplier of renowned and potentially very profitable Intellectual Properties. Big Giggles have an exceptional portfolio of self owned and in house developed properties that have been signed for television and licensing by some of the most influential companies in the entertainment industry for Worldwide Representation

Eden Animation Studio, based in Rajasthan, INDIA is a dedicated production house of quality animated contents based on original IPs targeting audience across the world. The studio holds an exciting bouquet of IPs already produced and few in different stages of production.

Project # 1 – Mac & Co, 3D CGi, 52 x11 mins, Budget 2 million USD.

Mac and Co is a series of adventures centering on a bouncy, fun loving, excitable and very special and determined little red truck who is gearing up for lots of adventures with his best friends. Mac and his friends live at the Great Grille Truckstop which is at the centre of a very busy town called Coggington a transport distribution hub network that spans the world!

The little red truck likes to make new friends from many different countries and is excited and amazed by their interesting cultures and cargo. Every day is a different adventure and Mac & Co manage to resolve issues and make sure that business gets done so that the wheels of Industry turn smoothly in Coggington.

Project # 2 – Noa; sailing into adventure 3D CGi, 26 x 22 mins, Budget 3 million USD
A great escape story filled with exciting adventures as a group of exotic animals, led by Noa, a rock’n’roll loving Chinchilla escape their dingy pet shop prison in Manhattan. The quirky friends build an Ark and sail the highs vowing to help other creatures in peril across the world. Noa and his friends are posed with environmental and ecological issues and are introduced to the dilemmas faced by endangered species. Throughout the episodes there is a great deal of fun and humour even in the tightest spots and the underlying theme of hope overcoming adversity is always evident.

Project # 3 – Mindi the Mermaid 2D, 52 x 7 mins, Budget 1 million USD.

A lovely series of underwater stories as fun loving Mindi and her family face the everyday issues of life beneath the deep blue sea in a little lost world called Salt City. Children and parents can identify with Mindi as the series portrays a modern and contemporary family, focusing on everyday activities and the dynamics within it.

Cindy Edwards, MD of Big Giggles stated “It’s fantastic that Eden Animation have recognised the huge potential that our unique properties offer; we’re excited by the prospect of working with such a prolific production company and look forward to an exciting partnership!

Dinesh Jain, Chairman of Eden Animation informed, “We are looking forward to working with Big Giggles and bringing the properties on a successful journey across the world!”

Media Design School Animation Wins at Mississippi Festival

Auckland — November 14, 2011 — Media Design School has notched up another win for CGI-live action short film First Contact, taking the trophy for Best Sci-Fi or Horror at the Mississippi International Film Festival in Jackson, Mississippi.

Media Design School 3D Programme Leader James Cunningham directed alien comedy First Contact, which took 14 advanced 3D production students 13 weeks and more than 7000 hours to complete. Established New Zealand screenwriter Nick Ward wrote the script for the film that features actors Paul Glover, Andrew Beattie and Simon McKinney.

“We are thrilled to receive this award as an acknowledgement of all the hard work the students put into this production” said Cunningham. “They were able to build a crazy world, capture the fantastic performances of the actors and translate that into alien animations. Thanks also to all our industry supporters, especially Simon Reira, Nick Ward and Dave Whitehead.”

First Contact includes more than 55 digital effects, with digital head replacement throughout the film. Using sophisticated object-tracking and keyframe animation technology, the actors’ heads were transformed into animated aliens in the post-production process. The digital heads were matched to the live-action footage which was then composited over digital environments.

Media Design School’s Advanced 3D animation students undertake a group production to hone their 3D animation and production skills in a studio-like environment. Short films created using the latest technologies and produced to world-class standards are submitted to film festivals and competitions around the world, giving students the opportunity to be recognised by the industry.
This year Media Design School student films have been selected to screen at 15 international film festivals on four continents. The films have picked up over 30 awards including seven at the recent Los Angeles Movie Awards.

Media Design School delivers specialised education for 21st century creative careers by providing high-level qualifications for computer 3D animators, visual effects and motion graphic specialists, game artists and programmers.

The Mississippi International Film Festival showcases independent short films and features from around the world. The Festival shows off captivating contemporary films the movie-loving public would otherwise have little or no access to and this year included special guest Danny Glover who won the Outstanding Achievement Award for his work in the movie Freedom Song.

Bent Image Lab Produces Hallmark’s Stop-Motion “Jingle All the Way”

Bent Image Lab, the animation studio behind many successful commercials, music videos, shorts, and visual effects projects is now co-producing long format content for television. Jingle All the Way, a stop motion animated show for Hallmark Channel is Bent’s first endeavor into long form animation. Airing November 25th as part of Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas, Jingle All the Way is based off of an original storybook from Hallmark. The show was directed by Bent partner Chel White, produced by Bent’s Executive Producer Tsui Ling Toomer and executively produced by Bent Partner Ray Di Carlo and Hallmark’s Jodi Schade, Diana Stuart, Chad Harris, and Shawn McClaren.

The story is about a sweet Husky pup who is in need of a home. At a Christmas tree farm, he meets a boy named Andrew who gives him the name of Jingle since he loves the sound of jingle bells. The two instantly connect, but Andrew is unable to keep Jingle and drives away with his family. Jingle embarks on a journey to find his friend and along the way meets up with a wise cardinal, a determined dog catcher and a jolly man in a red suit who help him on his journey.

Shooting began in May with post production concluding in September. “Bent invested their own personal care into it and that makes a big difference,” says Kevin Swanson, Senior Art Director for Hallmark Gift Books. “These folks really understand Jingle’s world and acted like this was not just another job.”

Bent’s first experience in co-producing long form programming coincides with the first time Hallmark has brought one of its original characters to life. Jingle, a Hallmark interactive plush doll, is sold with its own storybook in Hallmark stores. When the story is read aloud (either by a real person or via a narrator from the Jingle interactive app) the Jingle plush doll reacts, barking and singing as Jingle does in the story.  “The ability for a parent or loved one to sit down and read this book [to kids] and have the dog respond to their voice…that was a great idea,” says Chad Harris Hallmark’s Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing and New Media and Jingle Executive Producer. “It’s a magical personal experience and we started thinking …wouldn’t it be amazing if we could bring this story to television?”

Bent, Hallmark and script writer Alan Neuwirth collaborated to flesh out the story and visually develop the book into a 22 minute special. “When we first started talking about the Jingle project I loved the idea of directing something that had a childhood sweetness to it,” says White. “I also saw the potential of a great story with endearing characters that viewers could truly care about.”

Produced in stop motion, the production also relied on Bent’s highly-skilled CGI/Visual FX department to complete the project. Bent’s CG Supervisor Fred Ruff explains, “Production shot all the buildings that the [puppets] interact with on stage and we added atmospheric nuance and the set extensions. Our post department can take a street that is only 12 feet long and make it look 40 to 50 feet long.” The production was able to utilize position point rendering passes to help with various compositing effects in Nuke. “What we are doing is actually using layers of data pixels instead of color pixels,” says Ruff. “So instead of rending RGB for Red, Green and Blue we are actually storing X, Y and Z locations per pixel…when we composite we work with that layer data in 3D space and this gives us a lot more control.” In a scene where Jingle sees the town of Pineville for the first time the crew needed a creative solution to turning the town’s lights on at different moments. “We worked with our composite team to figure out how each light location would be handled, and when in the sequence to bring each area of lighting on,” says Ruff. “We were able to do that really quickly in composite instead of trying to animate it in fully realized CG and re-render it every time. That’s been really helpful for us.” The crew used the node-based compositing program Nuke to defocus the shots adding more realism than the traditional Gaussian blur. “We used Nuke on this project because it was the best compositing tool for this job. It’s really made for doing this deep compositing work where your burying a lot of different data into the pipeline and using it to get some things out on the other end,” stated Ruff.

Bent’s extensive experience in stop motion animation, innovative CG abilities and comprehensive ‘under one roof’ approach to production allowed them to finish in roughly 25 weeks.

“Today stop motion has the benefit of using both older analog and modern digital technology,” says White. “The goal is to keep the wonderful hand-made quality but augment it in ways that accentuate the beauty.”

Jingle All the Way airs Friday, November 25 (7 p.m. ET/PT, 6C) only on Hallmark Channel. Find more times and details at http://hallmarkchannel.com/.

Icebox Signs Development Deal with Glenn Beck’s Internet Channel

GBTV, Glenn Beck’s live streaming video network and Icebox, the innovative animation production company, announced today that they will jointly develop an animated comedy series to air on GBTV.

GBTV and Icebox are currently discussing various ideas for an animated comedy series and will select one to jointly develop. The show will be developed by GBTV and Icebox, originally founded in 1999 by a group of primetime TV writers including Jon Collier (The Simpsons, King of the Hill) and Howard Gordon (24, Homeland) .

Icebox has a tremendous track record in animation originating over twenty original animated properties from the writers of hit shows including The Simpsons, South Park and King of the Hill. Icebox projects have appeared on multiple platforms including online, TV and in theaters.

Joel Cheatwood, President of Programming at GBTV said: “The team at Icebox has developed and produced shows for some of the most renowned and acclaimed networks on television and we are excited that GBTV will be home to one of their next projects. We look forward to working with Howard, Tal and Jon on bringing an entertaining animated show to GBTV.”

Tal Vigderson, Managing Director of Icebox said : “Icebox is known for edgy, irreverent programming. Many of our writers welcome the opportunity to create shows the whole family can watch. This venture lets us take a little break from shocking and offending our audience.”

New stills from “Brave”

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about seeing an original Pixar film again. Just like old times – no more Cars, no more Mater, no more Toys. The It’s Art blog has scored these new pix from Brave (click here to see them in hi-def) and they look refreshing. I don’t intend to post everything they release from the film, but these images certainly bode well for the studio – and us.

CTN Expo starts Friday

My buddy Oscar Grillo will be attending the CTN Expo this weekend. That alone will be worth the the trip from anywhere. Oscar is one of the most incredible artists and animators you’ll ever meet – and this is one of his rare appearances in the US. Learn from the master – he’ll be speaking on stage one-on-one with Eric Goldberg on Sunday (at 1pm) and doing demonstrations, signings and other workshops all through the weekend.

Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Ralph McQuarrie, Andrea Deja, Ron Clements, John Musker, Nancy Beiman, Tony White, William Stout, Stephen Silver, Bill Plympton, Florian Satzinger, Louie Del Carmen, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers are among the dozens of incredible guests who will explain it all. With over 150 planned sessions, a sold-out exhibit floor, book signings, gallery shows, live demonstrations, sneak peak screenings, networking… and, of course, The Cartoon Brew Over-Flow Lounge (stop by and have a drink!). You’ll probably find me there.

If you haven’t already, Register Now (save a few bucks by using the Cartoon Brew discount code: CBREWX11). For even more info on the CTN Expo, click here.

Call For Submissions: New Animated Series for Mondo Media

San Francisco, CA, November 14, 2011 — Mondo Media, the leading multi-platform distributor of online animated hits like “Happy Tree Friends” and “Dick Figures,” is looking for writers and animators to submit pitches for online series targeted to teens and young adult audiences for their YouTube animation channel, “Mondo Mini Shows.”

Mondo Media recently passed the 1 billion-view mark on YouTube and in the process built the Mondo Mini Shows channel into the definitive home for animation on the Internet. As part of the recently announced YouTube channel expansion, Mondo is dramatically ramping up its plans to finance and launch multiple new series throughout 2012.

“For decades, TV and film careers were the only viable avenues for comedy writers and developers,” says Aaron Simpson, Mondo Media’s VP of Development. “But with YouTube’s rapid rise, the digital comedy space has emerged as a real business, and Mondo is a proven innovator and leader when it comes to animated comedy. We can team up writers with animators, and vice versa – but first we’re reaching out to the creative community for pitches. Imagine what a college student in Miami, Madrid or Melbourne thinks is funny, and when your ready, visit our website and submit your pitch,” Simpson added.

“Dick Figures” producer Brendan Burch, CEO of Six Point Harness says, “Mondo has taken our animated series “Dick Figures,” and built it into the number-one animated show on YouTube in less than a year. Anyone can make a show and throw it up on YouTube, but partnering with Mondo has significantly accelerated the success of Dick Figures.”

Writers and animators interested in pitching their ideas should visit Mondo Media’s “Mondo Mini Shows” YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/mondomedia.

GKids Hosts Complete Studio Ghibli Film Retrospective at IFC Center

New York, New York — November 14, 2011 — GKIDS, a distributor of award winning animation for both adults and family audiences, is bringing a complete retrospective of films from Japan’s renowned Studio Ghibli to the IFC Center in New York from Friday, December 16 to Thursday, January 12.  The run will include US premiere theatrical engagements for several titles.

All fifteen Studio Ghibli feature films produced between 1984 and 2008 will be presented, including Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award® winning Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.  Films will be shown in both the subtitled and English dubbed versions.  (see below for complete list)

GKIDS recently entered into agreement with Studio Ghibli to handle North American theatrical distribution for their library of animated features.  As the first engagements announced under the agreement, New York Film Festival presented a 25 year anniversary screening of Castle in the Sky and 10 year anniversary screenings of Spirited Away.  LA County Museum of Art and Film Independent will be presenting these same anniversary titles in a special preview screening on November 26.

Following the IFC Center engagement, the retrospective will tour to major US and Canadian markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and other cities, throughout the first half of 2012.  GKIDS is also planning limited releases of select Studio Ghibli titles, many of which have never been released theatrically in the US, beginning late 2012.

Eric Beckman, GKIDS president, said, “I am both excited and deeply honored to be working with Studio Ghibli to bring this amazing slate of films to theaters across North America. I am in continual awe of the brilliance of the animation, the depth and humanity of the storytelling, and of the filmmakers’ understanding that even the youngest audiences are capable of appreciating all the subtlety and nuance that cinema has to offer.  As Miyazaki has said ‘Children understand the complexity and uncertainty of things almost with their skin. They cannot be underestimated.’ ”


Title Director (Producer) Versions Year RT
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Hayao Miyazaki (Isao Takahata) Subtitled and dubbed (Uma Thurman, Shia LeBouf, Edward James Olmos, Mark Hamill) 1984 116 min
Castle in the Sky Hayao Miyazaki (Isao Takahata) Subtitled only 1986 126 min
My Neighbor Totoro Hayao Miyazaki (Toru Hara) Subtitled and dubbed (Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Frank Welker) 1988 86 min
Kiki’s Delivery Service Hayao Miyazaki (Hayao Miyazaki) Subtitled and dubbed (Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo, Debbie Reynolds) 1989 102 min
Only Yesterday Isao Takahata (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled only 1991 118 min
The Ocean Waves Tomomi Mochizuki (Nozomu Takahashi) Subtitled only, digital only 1993 72 min
Porco Rosso Hayao Miyazaki (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Brad Garrett, David Ogden Stiers) 1992 94 min
Pom Poko Isao Takahata (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (J.K. Simmons, Brian Posehn, Tress MacNeille, John DiMaggio) 1994 119 min
Whisper of the Heart Yoshifumi Kondo (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Ashley Tisdale, Cary Elwes, Harold Gould, Brittany Snow) 1995 111 min
Princess Mononoke Hayao Miyazaki (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, Jada Pinkett Smith, John DiMaggio) 1997 134 min
My Neighbors the Yamadas Isao Takahata (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (James Belushi, Molly Shannon, Tress MacNeille) 1999 111 min
Spirited Away Hayao Miyazaki (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Michael Chiklis, Susan Egan) 2001 125 min
The Cat Returns Hiroyuki Morita (Toshio Suzuki) Subtitled and dubbed (Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Peter Boyle, Elliott Gould, Tim Curry, Andy Richter, Kristen Bell, Avril Lavigne) 2002 75 min
Howl’s Moving Castle Hayao Miyazaki (Toshio Suzuki) Dubbed (Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal) 2004 119 min
Ponyo Hiroyuki Morita (Toshio Suzuki) Dubbed (Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey) 2008 101 min

Saul Bass Bits

To celebrate the release of the new Saul Bass biography, Art of the Title created this nifty visual guide to some of Bass’s most celebrated title sequences.

There’s a Saul Bass tribute at MoMA in a few hours with the book’s author Pat Kirkham along with Kyle Cooper and Chip Kidd. Tickets for non-MoMA members are at the door so get there early.


Also, now would be a good time to point out that Universe will be re-issuing Saul Bass’s only (and nearly impossible to find) illustrated children’s book next February. Henri’s Walk to Paris, written by Lenore Klein, was released in 1962. I had a copy of the book for a few years, and found it so unenjoyable that I got rid of it. It struck me as being a failure as an illustrated storybook, and my ex-library copy confirmed that–it had rarely been checked out in decades.

It surprised me that I disliked the book as much as I did because Bass had a sense of humor (and his very able and funny collaborator Art Goodman worked on the book, too). But, the book’s illustrations are excessively formalized and austere (the curse of design for design’s sake), with none of the warmth, humor or vitality that the story required. Using minimalist graphics in a children’s book is a tricky task to begin with, but it’s possible to do it well. Graphic designer Paul Rand pulled it off more successfully in titles like Sparkle and Spin and Little 1. Or simply look to the master of super-stylized children’s book illustration, Abner Graboff. In spite of its shortcomings, if you’re a Bass fan, you’ll probably want a copy of the book, and now it’s easier to find than ever before.

(Thanks, Short of the Week for the video link)

New “Tangled” Short To Premiere With “Beauty & The Beast” 3D Screenings

BURBANK, Calif., Nov 14, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Walt Disney Studios proudly announced today that directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, the talented team behind Disney Animation Studio’s global blockbuster Tangled, will premiere a delightful new animated short film spotlighting the royal wedding of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) and Flynn Rider — a.k.a Eugene — (Zachary Levi) in front of each screening of Beauty and the Beast in 3D, which opens on January 13, 2012.

By popular demand, Greno and Howard are bringing back some of Disney’s most beloved characters when Tangled Ever After picks up where Tangled left off. The Kingdom is in a festive mood as everyone gathers for the royal wedding of Rapunzel and Flynn. However, when Pascal and Maximus, as flower chameleon and ring bearer, respectively, lose the gold bands, a frenzied search and recovery mission gets underway. As the desperate duo tries to find the rings before anyone discovers that they’re missing, they leave behind a trail of comical chaos that includes flying lanterns, a flock of doves, a wine barrel barricade and a very sticky finale. Will Maximus and Pascal save the day and make it to the church in time? And will they ever get Flynn’s nose right?

Tangled Ever After is the perfect accompaniment to Beauty and the Beast, which is returning to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D(TM) and introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for six Academy Awards(R), winning Oscars(R) for Best Song, by the renowned Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, and Best Original Score (Menken).