How to Make Tom and Jerry Popular Again

I wanted to find out what was the most viewed Tom and Jerry short on YouTube tonight, and it turned out to be Salt Water Tabby with 24.4 million views. But this is no ordinary copy of the short; it has a completely new dialogue track in a Moroccan Arabic dialect by Bouchana Abdelilah. By comparison, the non-Arabic version (i.e. the boring original) of Salt Water Tabby has a mere 346,000 views. Why does a remixed version of a classic short have seventy (yes, 70!) times more viewers than the original? And will an Arabic voice-over make any cartoon funny and popular? In that case, Allen Gregory could’ve used a whole lot of Arabic. I don’t claim to have the answers to such questions, but I’m intrigued by this YouTube anomaly.

Dorse Lanpher (1935-2011)

Veteran effects animator Dorse Lanpher passed away this past Friday (12/16). His presence will be sorely missed.

I first met Dorse in the period after the Disney rebellion, during the making of The Secret Of Nimh (the United Artists publicity photo above is from 1981) and though I can’t say I knew him well on a personal level, he was always a friendly face to run into a various animation events. I just had a nice conversation with him at last month’s CTN Expo.

Lanpher was one of the industry’s best, having honed his craft at Disney on Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians. He left the studio during production of The Sword In The Stone to work on industrial films. He directed a handful of religious TV specials in the 1970s (Christmas Is, Easter Is, etc.) then returned to Disney to do effects animation on The Rescuers, Pete’s Dragon and The Black Hole. Joining the Bluth renegades he contributed to Nimh, American Tail, Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. Lanpher rejoined the Disney fold with Roger Rabbit, then toiled on every significant Disney animated feature, from The Little Mermaid (1989) all the way through to Home on The Range (2004). Last year Lanpher self-published a memoir called Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck: Memoirs of a Life Spent Doodling for Dollars. The book, and his blog, are well worth reading.

His artist granddaughter, Holly Conrad, sent in this tribute:

“Dorse Lanpher was my hero. He made my artistic career possible with his encouragement and talent, he was like a father to me and his only complaint was that I couldn’t get more famous than him (that would never happen, Grandpa). His animation will live on and so will all that he taught me, even how to play the ukulele. He was proud of me enough to write about me on his blog and in his book and I’m never going to forget to live my life as art, as he always wanted and encouraged me to. And neither should any of us. He lives on in his art and in his words.

He liked like Cherry Pie from Marie Callender’s and Greyhounds. I recommend we all have one in his name, and in the name of those amazing effects that were animated by hand by so many talented artists, my grandpa included, and may they inspire generations of creative people with their magic. They inspired me.”

Marvel & Disney Publishing Launch All-New “Toy Story” #1 Comic for March 2012

New York, NY — Dec 16, 2011– Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and the rest of the gang lead readers to infinity and beyond as Marvel and Disney Publishing debut Toy Story #1 #1 (of 4). Featuring Toy Story characters from the Disney-Pixar films, Toy Story #1 delivers entirely new content and stories to comic fans.

“Everyone loves Toy Story, so we’re excited to team with our friends at Disney-Pixar to bring readers all new stories of our favorite characters from these blockbuster films,” said Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief, Marvel Entertainment. “Toy Story allows us to bring great new material to the market that’s not only perfect for kids, but also a great read for fans of all ages. What’s next for Woody and Buzz in these stories? We can’t wait for you to find out!”

Andy’s new puppy, Buster, loves to play with toys – but if Woody, Buzz and the gang can’t control the playful pooch, all that chewing and shaking will leave them in a world of hurt! Will our heroes make it through in one piece with batteries intact? Find out this March in Toy Story #1!

Toy Story #1
Written by TEA ORSI
All Ages…$2.99

“Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire” Takes Viewers on a Musical Mystery on March 13, 2012

BURBANK, CA (December 16, 2011) Warner Home Video (WHV) has a brand-new animated film consumers will want to sink their teeth into with the upcoming release of Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire, available in stores March 13, 2012. Get set for monstrous mayhem as Scooby-Doo and the gang hit the road to attend a vampire fair in this must-see, full-length musical adventure. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Premiere, Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire will be available in both Blu-rayâ„¢ for $24.98 SRP and standard DVD $19.98 SRP. The Blu-rayâ„¢ edition will be sold in a combo pack which includes both the Blu-rayâ„¢ and DVD editions of the film, plus, for the first time ever on a Scooby-Doo movie, an Ultraviolet digital copy. An Ultraviolet copy is also available on the DVD edition.

This title will be available for an exclusive early VOD window starting December 22, 2011 and then available on EST for download day and date with the DVD on March 13, 2012.

Get set for big laughs, good times and cool tunes with the Scooby-Doo gang as they travel to the super spooky parts of the Deep South for the Vampire-Palooza Festival. The event kicks off with good fun and lots of tasty Southern snacks, but it’s not long before the festivities are interrupted by a real vampire who threatens the townsfolk and tries to take Daphne for his vampire bride!

Good thing our intrepid heroes don’t believe in the bloodsuckers – or do they? Packing a little garlic never hurt anyone, except a vampire, and so the gang sets out to investigate. Could the culprit be the descendant of a famous vampire hunter who is trying to sell his book? Or is it the festival’s owner, who is trying to use vampire lore to promote the fair? Maybe it’s the festival’s traveling musical troupe, whose very handsome lead singer is taking his vampire role just a little too seriously?

Things get more complicated when Shaggy, believing he’s been bit by a vampire, decides to hide from his friends in the swamp, but his loyal friend Scooby-Doo will not abandon him. And when Daphne goes missing, can Fred and Velma bring everyone together to prevent her from becoming the vampire queen? Everything culminates in a not-to-be-missed song-filled showdown in the swamp!

“Vampire stories are a hugely popular genre with consumers and now Scooby-Doo has his very own modern-day vampire encounter in this exciting new film,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, WHV Executive Marketing Director of Family & Animation Franchise. She added, “This is Scooby-Doo’s first ever musical, which we think is a fun concept that goes well with the premise of the film. It actually takes us back to Scooby-Doo’s early television series, which incorporated a lot of musical elements. We think viewers of all ages will enjoy this DVD release.”

Winsor McCay’s 1921 Short “The Flying House” Restored by Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton, Legendary Oscar-nominated Animator, announced today: The short film, The Flying House‘ (1921 / 2011) was screened, at the Second Annual Williamsburg Independent Film Festival, on Sunday, November 18, 2011 and won the Best Animated Film Award, 90 years after its original creation!

Bill Plympton stated:
”Using Winsor McCay’s beautiful artwork, I took it upon myself to resurrect his last animated short, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Flying House (1921), using contemporary digital technology. This landmark re-mastering of McCay’s beautiful film is attracting a great deal of attention and controversy. I hope that my updating of this obscure short film, will bring the genius of Winsor McCay, to the attention of a new generation of animation fans. This brilliant piece of animation was McCay’s last film; because he was forbidden to make any more films by press baron William Randolph Hearst. This demand quickly ended his passion for cartoons, and he died soon after.”

In August 2011, Bill Plympton’s studio completed the work of modernizing the film. The original black and white prints were in bad condition, deteriorating, scratched and dirty, there were no voices, sound effects, or music, and the word balloons and inter-titles made it hard to watch. Painstakingly, his studio digitally cleaned each frame of damaged footage, added full color, the voices of Patricia Clarkson and Matthew Modine, and a new score. Please save the date for the Film Premiere at the Society of Illustrators on February 8, 2012.

Synopsis: The Flying House’
A woman’s escapist dream, of discovering her husband about to fly their house away from their problems, could well be something that might happen today. This film has current overtones and themes, of a landlord threaten-ing impending mortgage foreclosure, people gathering in protest rallies who won’t take it anymore and the search for new worlds to live in.

Production Information:
The restoration and re-imagineering of the Winsor McCay, classic animated short film, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Flying House (1921)
Length: 8:28. Format: DVD Digital File; Dimension: 1920×1080, pillar box;

Cast and Crew:
Winsor McCay, Director, Original film.
Bill Plympton, Producer, modernization.

Associate Producer: Serge Bromberg (Lobster Films)
Co-Producer: Society of Illustrators
Executive Producers: Adam Rackoff And Matthew Modine (Cinco Dedos Peliculas)
Production Supervisor/Editor: Desiree Stavracos
Restoration Supervisor: Kerri Allegretta
Art Director/Color: Lindsay Woods
Digital Compositing: Celeste Lai, Judy Lee, Desiree Stavracos And Lindsay Woods
Voice Actors: Matthew Modine; Patricia Clarkson; John Holderreid; Bill Plympton
Music Composer: Thomas Vanoosting
Music Editor: Biljana Labovic
Sound Mix Designer: Weston Fonger
Clean-Up & Coloring: Julia Altabef, Rene Chandler, Che Min Hsiao (Pegasus), Emily Garrett, Yoomi Kim, Celeste Lai, Judy Lee, Bora Nah, Mina Sanwald, Ying Zhang.

Film Festival 2011 screenings as a Work In Progress:
Annecy Animation Festival, Annecy, France,June 6-11

Burbank Film Festival, Burbank, CA.

Sept. 15-18

Film Festival 2011 Screenings after August restoration completion date
Hamptons International FF, Easthampton/Montauk NY HD Cam Oct. 13-17
The Second Annual Williamsburg Independent FF, Brooklyn NY, Nov. 17-20,

Film Festivals Entered: Florida Sonoma; SXSW; Anifest; Stuttgart Trickfilm IFF, Interfilm Berlin; Martha’s Vineyard; New York Film Festival; Telluride.

Phil Tippett’s “MutantLand” Short Debuts On Ain’t It Cool News

December 15, 2011 – BERKELEY, CA – MutantLand, the award-winning short film produced by Tippett Studio, will get its official public release Friday, December 16th on the website Ain’t It Cool News.

MutantLand is a dark glimpse into an ominous civilization, populated by monsters of all shapes and sizes. Directed by legendary animator and visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett, the three-minute animated short tells a dark tale where hunters are lured into a forbidden zone in their quest for food only to find themselves candidates for the main course.

“The far-flung future is not what we imagine but what we estimate,” says creator and two-time Academy Award winner Phil Tippett. MutantLand uses cutting edge computer generated animation drawing from the well of dramatic, sci-fi, fantasy, and action/adventure movies, crosspollinated with anime and Tex Avery. Tippett Studio is very pleased to be partnering with Harry Knowles in releasing the short on such an amazing platform as Ain’t It Cool News.

“Phil Tippett’s MutantLand is a stunning phantasmagorical short film that you’ll long to see as a feature! It conjures atmosphere and a fascination with every alien critter that’s a part of this very mutated land! You’ll just love it!” says Harry Knowles, Head Geek at Ain’t It Cool News.

The short is one small adventure that is part of a larger composition. Phil Tippett is currently finishing a script based on the ideas behind MutantLand, but with more characters, worlds, and adventures. To date, the short has played at 16 film festivals around the world, winning honors for “Best Short Film” at the British Horror Film Festival and A Night of Horror International Film Festival in Australia. Ain’t It Cool will be its debut online for the world to see.

Angry Birds Flock To Nick With Holiday Short On Dec. 17

An all-new exclusive Angry Birds holiday short film, Angry Birds — Wreck the Halls comes to Nickelodeon, Saturday, December 17 during the 11 a.m. airing of Kung Fu Panda: Legend of Awesomeness in Nick’s Saturday morning animation block.

Angry Birds — Wreck the Halls is a global exclusive to Nickelodeon and will air on Nick channels around the world starting Saturday, December 17.

In Angry Birds — Wreck the Halls, the Pigs try to get away with the Angry Birds’ Christmas presents.  After bickering with each other, Red and Bomb bird mount a bold gift rescue down the steep mountain slopes. Following a wild chase, Bomb finally catches up and is able to salvage the presents, wrecking the Pig’s halls in the process. Seeing what has happened, the Birds feel pity for the Pigs and let them have one of the presents.  It’s Christmas after all!

Following the exclusive world premiere of the short, viewers can catch the birds again at

Angry Birds are the most downloaded games ever, with over 600M downloads in the two years since they launched. The Angry Birds Seasons app with the Wreck the Halls holiday update is currently available in app stores worldwide.

Nickelodeon’s Saturday morning block (8a.m.-12p.m.) has been the number one destination for kids for 17 consecutive years averaging 3.0 million total viewers.

Bosko and Honey postcard

We interrupt this animation blog with a discovery of tremendous historical signifigance. Or at least, I think so. Warner Bros. cartoon art super-collector Eric Calande just found this postcard (from the 1950s?) depicting Harman & Ising Bosko and Honey dolls which we’ve never seen before. It’s known Harman and Ising continued to license Bosko (in comic books and coloring books, and home movies) into the 1950s. But postcards? With plush dolls? Anyone with further information on what this “series” is part of, please let us know.

In the meantime, cool image, huh?

“Periwinkle Around the World” by Aaron Springer

Here’s a real treat to start the weekend: Aaron Springer (SpongeBob SquarePants, Korgoth of Barbaria) created this series of Periwinkle shorts in the mid-2000s for Cartoon Network. Originally intended as a pilot, the network asked him to instead transform it into a series of two-minute vignettes that it wanted to use as cell phone content. They eventually aired them on a short-lived CN series called Sunday Pants and they’ve been out of sight since then. That’s a shame because they are among the most inspired, laugh-out-loud pieces of animation that Cartoon Network has ever produced. If I had to make a list of the necessary ingredients for a funny animated short, I couldn’t do better than what’s contained in Periwinkle: appealing characters who are fun to watch, simple set-ups that allow for visual storytelling, gags that build in intensity, and inventive animation.

Congrats to Rob Kohr!

Rob Kohr

Earlier this week, I traveled to the Bahamas for the wedding of my pal Rob Kohr (seen above in his self-designed cake topper). Rob is not only a friend, but also the webhost and tech guru for Cartoon Brew. He’s the unsung hero who keeps us up and running, and without his attentive daily management and skillful problem solving, there’s a very good chance you wouldn’t be reading this site right now.

Of course, it’s only fitting that Cartoon Brew’s tech genius would also be an animator. Rob’s day job is at Viacom where he works in their on-air promo department, animating Nick Jr. projects in both Maya and Flash, like this:

But having a full-time job and running a webhosting company isn’t nearly enough for Rob, who gives new meaning to the term workaholic. He also recently completed his first independent animated production, the anime-flavored The Lift, which has screened in nearly fifty festivals and won multiple awards. Take a look:

So here’s three cheers for Rob–for finding a great lady AND for keeping Cartoon Brew pumping!

Jerry’s Cartoon Holiday Events!

The holidays are upon us – but that’s no excuse to stop watching cartoons on the big screen in Los Angeles! Ye olde Brewmaster (Jerry Beck) is involved in two theatrical animation events – one this weekend, the other next weekend – that will be a lot of fun to see and participate in.

Next weekend, the day after Christmas (Monday December 26th) the Alex Film Society will present the 2nd annual Greatest Cartoons Ever. Frank Gladstone and I will host this big screen event that presents some of the most acclaimed, beautifully realized and funniest animated films from Hollywood’s Golden Age on the huge screen of the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA.

All films screened will be 35mm vault prints (several in Technicolor) direct from the studios, and will feature Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, Gerald McBoing Boing, Woody Woodpecker and Mighty Mouse among others (I’ll announce the specific titles in my reminder post next week – or you can sneak a peek here). If you love these films or characters you’ll really enjoy this experience. On-line tickets are available now for two shows, at 2pm and 7pm, and will also be available at the door — at the historic Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Blvd. in Glendale. If you happen to be in Southern California for the holidays, join us there!

As you know, I run an animation night each month at The Cinefamily (at the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax). The Cinefamily is a non-profit organization of extreme film fanatics that run the greatest repertory cinema in Los Angeles. This weekend they are staging what they’re calling “The Craziest Thing We’ve Ever Done!”, Cinefamily’s Fantastic Elastic 24-hour Fundraiser Telethon.

This marathon event – which is FREE to attend and will be live streaming on the internet – will feature film screenings hosted by filmmaker Spike Jonze, actors Michael Cera and Benicio Del Toro, as well as on-stage interviews with actors Elliot Gould and Robert Forster. I will be screening semi-obscure Saturday Morning Cartoons on Sunday Morning sometime between 8am-11am (Pacific Time) on Sunday Dec. 18th, sharing the time with DJ Lance Rock (from Yo Gabba Gabba) and my hero, actor/puppeteer and classic kiddie show host, Chuck McCann! For more information, visit – and join me Sunday morning live or online.

69th Golden Globe Award Nominations For Best Animated Feature Film

The Adventures of TinTin — Paramount/Columbia/Hemisphere Capital/Amblin/Wingnut Films/Kennedy/Marshall Production
Arthur Christmas — Columbia Pictures & Sony Pictures Animation; Sony Pictures Releasing International
Cars 2 — Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Pictures

Puss In Boots — DreamWorks Animation; Paramount Pictures

— Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, A Blind Wink/GK Films Production; Paramount Pictures

For the full list of nominations, visit

Artist Olly Moss Creates Unique “My Neighbor Totoro” Print For Upcoming Studio Ghibli Retrospective

Austin, TX— Wednesday, December 14, 2011 — Mondo, the collectible art boutique arm of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, is excited to announce their first-ever print for a Studio Ghibli film, from living legend Hayao Miyazaki and his incomparable classic My Neighbor Totoro. The first poster in Mondo’s Studio Ghibli series is from world-renowned artist Olly Moss.  The limited edition, hand-numbered prints will go on sale Friday, December 16th. Follow @MondoNews for exact sale time.  Details on the stunning print below:


Artist: Olly Moss

Size: 20” x 36”

Edition: 400 Regular / 150 Variant

Price: $50 / $90

The poster release coincides with a recently announced 15-title, 25-year retrospective from Japan’s beloved Studio Ghibli, which plays the IFC Center in New York City from Friday, December 16 to Thursday, January 12.  The 15-film retrospective is presented by GKIDS, a distributor of award-winning animated films. The full schedule can be found on the GKIDS website.  Following the NYC engagement the Studio Ghibli retrospective will be visiting Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle and other major North American cities.

Mondo and Studio Ghibli will donate all profits from the My Neighbor Totoro print to Ghetto Film School, an organization of educators and students who share a love for storytelling and filmmaking.  Ghetto Film School is a non-profit organization with the mission to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers.

Mondo will next create a poster based on Studio Ghibli’s Porco Rosso, which just screened at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas for Butt-Numb-A-Thon, Ain’t It Cool News’s 24-hour movie marathon.  The new 35mm pristine print wowed an audience of diehard cinephiles.

Speaking about the impact of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli films, Mondo Creative Director, Justin Ishmael said, “The fact that Studio Ghibli put faith in Mondo and trusted us to work with their legendary characters is a great honor. I very much hope that we make them proud!”

Mondo’s Mitch Putnam added, “”Having created some of cinema’s most enduring works of art, the amazing folks at Studio Ghibli are understandably particular about who they work with, so we’re incredibly honored to be creating original artwork interpretations of their films. We all consider these movies to be nothing short of sacred. I’m sitting here with my six-month-old son right now and can’t wait to introduce him to them.”

Bonhams Auction House Sells Rare Disney Film “Hungry Hobos” & Classic Production Art

[Editor's Note: Edited to focus on animated-related topics]

Los Angeles - Bonhams is pleased to announce a stellar result for the December 14 auction of Entertainment Memorabilia in Los Angeles. The sale celebrated the role of the visual arts in the making of film, and included the only known copy of the Disney film Hungry Hobos and two rare and important collections of original production art from the 1950s-1970s, in addition to several works of art by Frank Sinatra and Disney artists Eyvind Earle and Campbell Grant.

Highlighting the sale was the only known copy of the Disney film Hungry Hobos, which was previously recorded as lost, sold for $31,250. The film was re-discovered in a social history film archive in the UK. The film features Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, a prototype for Mickey Mouse, and Peg Leg Pete.

Another significant collection of production art hailed from the Disney Studios of the 1960s and 1970s, and featured rare Mary Poppins (1964) production artwork by famed designer Peter Ellenshaw, including two views of the Bank’s house at 17 Cherry Tree Lane (lot 4128 sold for $28,750, lot 4130 sold for $22,500 and lot 4129 sold for $20,000). Present also was original artwork from fellow production designer Jim Schaeffing and included concept paintings of Mary Poppins and Burt riding off on carousel horses from the “Jolly Holliday” animation sequence and Uncle Albert’s floating tea party (lot 4122 and 4123 each sold for $11,250).

Within the animation section of the auction was a Charles Schulz Peanuts Sunday page depicting the beloved characters of Lucy and Peppermint Patty (est. $25,000-35,000, sold for $25,000), a preliminary watercolor drawing from Fantasia (1940) from the Estate of Campbell Grant (est. $1,500-2,000, sold for $4,750) and two concept drawings from the 1959 classic children’s film Sleeping Beauty by Disney artist Eyvind Earle.

The Disney Studio hired Earle in 1951. Within two years, he became the color stylist and inspirational artist for Sleeping Beauty. His artistic style, derived from medieval tapestries based on paintings by Durer and Breughal, had a large impact on the look of the characters and backgrounds. The watercolor on board pieces featured in the winter auction depict the evil Maleficent as a dragon behind the castle walls (est. $7,000-9,000, sold for $8,125) and standing on the balcony beneath an arch of the castle with the sun setting in the background (est. $7,000-9,000, sold for $8,125).

Kavaleer Animations To Create 30 New Animation Jobs In 2012

Kavaleer Animations, the award winning Irish animation production company who have just celebrated their 10 year anniversary have announced that in order to keep up with their international work load, they will create 30 new animation jobs over the course of 2012.

Kavaleer’s award winning animation is internationally respected, and has allowed them to work with notable names such as Sesame Street, Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt and Disney.

In addition to a co-production of 50 x 11 minute pre-school series, they intend extending their interactive games and e-learning production to €1 Million turnover by April 2012.  Kavaleer also have big plans for the world of apps and digital games.  Some of their notable work in the interactive field includes the artwork they produced for the game Diner Dash, a Playfirst property.  Diner Dash is played world-wide and available as an app for iPhone, iPad and PC.

CEO and Founder Andrew Kavanagh talked about coming through 10 years of business:

“It’s amazing to think that what started out in 1998 as a hobby has developed into something this big over the past decade. Ten years ago, we got our first commission and took a risk by starting a business in the midst of a recession. I’m so glad we did because now this gets to be my day job. We’re delighted to announce that we will be taking on additional staff in 2012 as we work on exciting international projects.”

Kavaleer is one of Ireland’s leading animation producers, twice nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award, a British Animation Award and winning four Digital Media Awards. Their film work has been selected by over 100 international festivals over the past ten years.

What started out for Kavaleer as a series of shorts has moved onto TV series development,  first co-producing with Belfast’s Straandlooper Productions on their preschool series Lifeboat Luke (39 x 5 minutes)  which was set in and around the small fictional seaside community of Donaghadoo. This was soon followed by their very own pre-school series aired on RTÉ Junior: Garth and Bev, a cartoon about time-travelling siblings who lived long ago in harmony with Nature. The series has been sold to a number of territories including the UK (CBeebies), China, Portugal, America and Australia to name but a few.

Kavaleer’s most recent collaboration was with Dinamo Productions on their new pre-school series entitled Abadas (52 x 11 minute) a multi-layered interactive word and sound association series that has appeal to a broad range of pre-school viewers. Set in the magical world of a pop-up book, pre-schoolers are transported to the playful world of Pop-Up Island.

Kavaleer currently have two more shows in development: a “top secret” major UK children’s series, and an Irish show called BedHeads.

Gary Timpson, MD and Producer of Kavaleer expressed his delight at their success:

“The passion, support and energy shown by the Kavaleer crew over the last ten years has been tremendous. Their dedication helped the company through some tough times and to strive for bigger and better opportunities.”

China-Based Crimson Forest Creates Epic 100-Part Animation Series, “Ginseng vs. Aliens”

LOS ANGELES & BEIJING–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Crimson Forest VFX/Animation Studio, one of China’s most modern and fastest growing film and animation studios, is taking viewers to entirely new realms of the imagination with its upcoming 100-part animation series, Ginseng vs. Aliens.

The story takes place in a magical village deep in Changbai Mountain where the series’ main character, Little Ginseng, and his team of friends — Radish boy, Deer boy, Grass head and Tang (his love interest) — live happily together. That is until their world gets turned upside down when an alien spacecraft crashes nearby. The Ginseng family uses its powers and those of the magical ginseng root to battle the aliens and eventually find ways to co-exist with them.

“Each episode deals with the Ginseng family and the daily problems they run into with their new visitors,” said Xiao Xin, Head Writer, Crimson Forest Films. “There are many lessons to be learned along the way, like friendship, respect and virtue. We are excited to share the awesome story of the Ginseng family with our audiences around the world.” To get a sneak peek of the new show, please visit:

Crimson Forest’s Jason Huang, originally from South Korea, directs the series. “Eastern culture and traditions are cherished throughout Asia, and the root of the series is to demonstrate how this is honored. Ginseng vs. Aliens is a fantastical voyage to help people regardless of age, culture or country, learn about traditional Eastern culture in a highly entertaining and visually stunning way.”

General Manager Jon Chiew and COO/ VFX Supervisor Andy Chen lead the animation team of more than 100 artists in creating high quality CG animation. Chen comes to the studio with a background that includes positions at DreamWorks and Electronic Arts, and works with his team of Chinese and international artists to bring a fresh perspective to China’s animation industry.

Ginseng vs. Aliens is produced, scripted, directed and animated in China by Crimson Forest Animation/VFX, with investment from Beijing Datu International Cultural Investment Co. Ltd. and Xin Entertainment and Culture Communication Co. Ltd. The team is producing the complete package for the series, from original sketches to final animation, original theme music, as well as merchandising and games.

The first episodes of the series are finished and are planned for broadcast in early 2012. U.S. distribution is planned for mid to late 2012.

NYC’s Jewish Museum Presents “Kids Flix Mix” Animated Showcase

The Jewish Museum will present “Kids Flix Mix,” twelve animated short films for kids, on Monday and Tuesday, December 26 and 27 at 11:30 am. Showcasing a spectacular array of traditional, CGI and collage animation styles in films from around the world, the program features three adaptations of books by Ezra Jack Keats. “Kids Flix Mix” is produced in collaboration with the New York International Children’s Film Festival, and conjunction with the current exhibition, The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats.

Tickets are $12 per adult; $10 per child; $10 adult Jewish Museum family level member; and $8 child Jewish Museum family level member. This program is for children age 3 and up. Adults are asked to accompany their children. For further information regarding family programs at The Jewish Museum, the public may call 212.423.3337. Tickets for programs at The Jewish Museum can be purchased online at the Museum’s web site.


Aston’s Stones, Sweden, 2009, 9 min.
Aston feels sorry for the stones he finds along the path on the way home, so one by one he takes them home to care for them. But soon the stones have taken over the home, and his father suggests a solution.

The Snowy Day, United States, 2010, 6 min.
Enchanted by a city snowfall, a small boy makes snow angels and snowballs, slides down snow mountains, and looks forward to going outside again. Based on Ezra Jack Keats’s beloved book.

Breaking the Mould, United Kingdom, 2009, 1 min.
In this one-minute cycle-of-life, an intrepid young apple goes out to see the world, and discovers a home.

Electric Car, United States, 2010, 3 min., 30 sec.
This catchy music video by They Might Be Giants uses mixed media animation, as an electric car rolls across the landscape and a girl and her dog welcome the world to join them on a journey into a new day.

Peter’s Chair, United States, 5 min.
Peter wants to run away from home when his baby sister arrives, but soon learns something very important about growing up. Based on the book by Ezra Jack Keats.

Sooner or Later, Switzerland, 2010, 5 min.
A squirrel and a bat live in a colorful world where day is separated from night and controlled by underground gears. The animals can never reach one another, but can exchange gifts of acorns. One day, an acorn gets stuck in the cogs, stopping time, and leading the animals to work together to fix the problem.

Spot & Splodge in Snowstorm, Sweden, 2009, 8 min.
Spot and Splodge build a snowman, have a snowball fight and make snow angels. But as the storm intensifies, the snow sticks all over their bodies, and Spot and Splodge can’t see each other, or their house.

Cherry on the Cake, United Kingdom, 7 min., 30 sec.
It’s Cherry’s birthday and she’s excited about spending it with her family. But her family is caught up in their own worlds, and the smaller Cherry feels, the smaller she gets. Will she disappear all together?

Whistle for Willie, United States, 4 min.
For Peter, learning to whistle means being able to call his dog, Willie, and being a bit closer to those two magic words: grown up. Based on the book by Ezra Jack Keats.

Dinosaur Song, United States, 2009, 3 min.
The journey of a colossal dinosaur takes us from his life to millions of years later, when his bones are eventually put on display at the museum.

Hedgehug, United States, 2009, 5 min.
In this sweet, gentle animation, a lonely hedgehog searches for someone to love.

Knuffle Bunny, United States, 2008, 7 min.
Trixie, Daddy and Knuffle take a trip to the laundromat, but when Trixie realizes something is missing, their adventure takes an unexpected turn. Based on the award winning Mo Willems picture book, animated characters are overlaid on photographic images of New York City.

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is the first major United States exhibition to pay tribute to author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983), whose beloved children’s books include Whistle for Willie (1964), Peter’s Chair (1967), and The Snowy Day (1962). Published at the height of the American civil-rights movement and winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal, The Snowy Day became a milestone, featuring the first African-American protagonist in a full-color picture book. The Snowy Day went on to become an inspiration for generations of readers, and paved the way for multiracial representation in American children’s literature. The dilapidated urban settings of Keats’s stories are also pioneering — picture books had rarely featured such gritty landscapes before. The author and illustrator was born Jacob (Jack) Ezra Katz in Brooklyn. His parents were Eastern European Jewish immigrants and very poor. Primarily self-taught, he drew upon memories of growing up in East New York, one of the most deprived neighborhoods in New York City. Yet his work transcends the personal and reflects the universal concerns of children. Keats used lush color in his paintings and collages and strove for simplicity in his texts. The exhibition features over 80 original works by the artist, from preliminary sketches and dummy books, to final paintings and collages, including examples of Keats’s most introspective but less-known output inspired by Asian art and haiku poetry. Documentary material and photographs will also be on view. The Jewish Museum exhibition is part of a wide-scale celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Snowy Day.

Remembering Pres Romanillos Through his Artwork

Pres Romanillos Sketchbook

Brew reader Tim Hodge points out that Stuart Ng Books has published a Pres Romanillos sketchbook. Romanillos, who animated at Disney and DreamWorks, passed away in July, 2010 following an extended battle with leukemia.

According to Stuart’s website:

This sketchbook was conceived by his widow Jeannine Romanillos and reproduces artwork from Pres’ sketchpads and sketchbooks: life drawings, horse and animal studies, Disney character drawings, travel sketches, and a sampling of his personal cartoons and drawings. It includes a short biography of the artist written by Charles Solomon and a page of Pres’ notes from a 1993 lecture by Glen Keane.

The 32-page book is limited to 1,000 copies and sells for $15 on Stuart Ng’s website.

Pres Romanillos Sketchbook