“Domino Party” by Studio Ronda

This is fun. Studio Ronda has been creating cool TV spots and station IDs in Argentina since 2007. Here’s a neat little new short they made in their off hours:

CREDITS
Directed by Ronda + Sonni
Original Idea / Direction: Sonni
Character Design / Storyboards: Sonni Studios
Animation Director: Ronda
Animation: Fernán Graziano
Sound Design: Dj Fernandez / Ronda
Voice of Bullet: Katie Bel

Animated Fragments #13

In addition to the usual mix, there’s a few holiday-themed greeting cards in this edition of Animated Fragments. If you’ve made your own animated greeting card, send it over and we’ll devote the next Fragments to your cards.

Mpora Gear (Intro) by Raoul Paulet (UK)

Suspect Logo Animation by Taili Wu (US)

“Work in Progress: Swimmy Test” by Chris Harding (US)

Happy Holidays by Koji Nakagawa (Japan)

2011 Plymptoons Holiday Card by Bill Plympton (US)

XMas Card 2011 by Jacques Khouri (US)

Animator & Layout Artist Dan Mills Passes Away

The TAG Blog is reporting that animator and layout artist Dan Mills passed away on December 5th at the age of 80. Mills began his career in1956, and went on to work for Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Universal, Fox Animation and others. The veteran artist worked on everything from Jabberjaw to He-Man & The Masters of the Universe, and one of his last major projects was as layout artist for The Family Guy. Services were held earlier today at the First United Methodist Church in Reseda, California.

Beeline and DreamWorks Animation on a Quest to Bring “Shrek” Franchise to Smartphones

LOS ANGELES, CA — (MARKET WIRE) — 12/14/11 — Beelineâ„¢ Interactive, Inc., a leading developer and publisher of video games, and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NASDAQ: DWA) today announced the development of Shrek®’s Fairytale Kingdom, a new freemium game for smartphones inspired by one of the most successful film franchises of all time.

The game, available in the first half of 2012, recreates Shrek’s adventures throughout the Kingdom and his encounters with Donkey, Dragon, Lord Farquaad and, of course, Fiona. The solitude-seeking Shrek is introduced long before he embarks on his fabled quest to save the Princess. Players are immersed in the world through mini-games and brief quests, and they can outfit Shrek’s beloved swamp with all manner of ogre-ly comforts, including slug-laden logs, mud baths and an outhouse guaranteed to make any ogre green-er with envy.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing the world of Shrek to smartphones in a way fans have never before experienced,” said Midori Yuasa, President and COO, Beeline Interactive, Inc. “By retelling the story in a way that allows players to build Shrek‘s world, we hope to create a strong emotional attachment with the characters and the films’ many touchpoints.”

“We’re extremely pleased to be working with Beeline Interactive on the world’s very first Shrek-based social game,” says Chris Hewish, Head of Global Interactive for DreamWorks Animation. “Fans of all ages will enjoy creating and personalizing their own fractured fairy tales in the world of Shrek as they interact with the lovable ogre in ways they never imagined.”

Once various fairytale creatures intrude upon Shrek’s quiet swamp, players will set out on a journey that will take them to Duloc, Dragon’s Keep and other familiar locations in the Shrek universe. At each location, players can decorate and customize the realm with structures and characters plucked right from the films. As players progress in the game Shrek’s journey will be chronicled in a digital storybook that players can read and enjoy again and again.

Shrek’s Fairytale Kingdom adds to Beeline’s growing library of freemium smartphone games which thus far include The Smurfs’® Village, Snoopy’s® Street Fair, Monster Pet Shopâ„¢ and Dream Parkâ„¢ to name but a few. Cumulative downloads for these titles exceed 40 million. The Smurfs’ Village has ranked as the number one top-grossing app in 79 countries and consistently ranks as a top-ten grossing app worldwide on Apple’s App store. All three games regularly maintain a user review rating of 4 1/2 stars or higher on the U.S. App Store.

Digital Domain Media Group Announces Joint Venture in China

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla., December 14, 2011 – Digital Domain Media Group, Inc. (NYSE: DDMG), a leading digital production company focused on visual effects, original content animation and major studio co-productions, today launched its expansion into the high growth China film market with the announcement of the company’s first strategic partnership in China. The partnership between Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co., Ltd. and Digital Domain represents the first large scale initiative of a global visual effects industry leader to address China’s quickly increasing demand for high-end, American-driven film production values, including the very best of visual effects and animation imagery. The venture also serves to expand DDMG’s industry-leading global footprint of the highest quality animation, achieved at the lowest possible cost.

The new Digital Domain – Galloping Horse Studio will provide visual effects, animation and production services for motion pictures, television and related media. The company expects that the facility in China will be comparable in scale to the company’s nearly completed animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida, a facility that was funded by the city with an investment of approximately $50 million for land and building.

Digital Domain Media Group and Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co. will each own 50 percent of The Digital Domain – Galloping Horse Studio. Digital Domain Media Group will contribute its technology and expertise in operating a VXF operation and will be responsible for designing the facility and for training personnel. Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co. will provide the land for the Studio and will be responsible for the construction and build-out costs for the new facility. Galloping Horse will also lead related fundraising for the venture in the greater China capital markets.

The Digital Domain – Galloping Horse Studio may seek to expand these core services to develop additional media and entertainment services, including proprietary technologies and entertainment properties.

This agreement, which marks the company’s first step into the high-growth film market in China, provides the company with access to a source of efficient capital in China, and provides Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co. with access to the core U.S. film industry. This joint venture is another example of the Company’s use of strategic partnerships to implement its growth strategy. Not included in this agreement, but part of the company’s strategy in China, are various potential partnerships with Chinese companies focused on film production and financing and promoting the company’s education model.

“We have a high-growth model that is unique in its use of strategic and governmental partnerships to generate business expansion opportunities domestically and abroad,” said John Textor, CEO of Digital Domain Media Group. “We have mitigated financial risk by securing government grants or partner contributions for the high cost of land acquisition, facility expansion and training, and we have also mitigated business execution risk by partnering with well-funded, proven leaders in other markets.”

“This joint venture enables us to leverage our reputation for excellence and innovation in visual effects and our state-of-the-art proprietary technologies and patent portfolio into the large and rapidly expanding Chinese market,” continued Textor. “It supplements our strong studios in the U.S. and continues the implementation of our plan to expand our global footprint, adding to our existing international operations in Canada, India and London. It also highlights the growing importance of China as a market for video entertainment. Galloping Horse, which does not currently have VFX capability, is an ideal partner for us as we link our award-winning technology with that company’s excellent reputation and strong market position in China. In addition, Galloping Horse has an excellent track record of delivering blockbuster films in China and works with some of the finest film directors around.”

“China’s film industry is soaring,” said Ivy Zhong, the Vice Chairman of Galloping Horse. “According to Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the box office in China had a 64-percent annual growth rate in 2010 and is expected to maintain a 30-percent growth in 2011. We are also seeing strong needs among the Chinese audience for blockbusters with heavy visual effects elements in them. We are very excited that Galloping Horse and Digital Domain, both top-notch in their respective fields and territories, are combining our expertise to form a state-of-the-art VFX venture to further explore this market here in China and also elsewhere in the world. This joint venture creates a truly global player.”

Digital Domain Institute Announces Licensing by Florida Department of Education

Students to receive education and professional certified training through collaboration between Digital Domain Institute and The Florida State University

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (December 14, 2011) — Florida is now home to a newly licensed, world-class animation and digital arts institute powered by Digital Domain Media Group (NYSE:DDMG), the parent company of Hollywood visual effects studio, Digital Domain. Through a public-private collaboration with The Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts, the new Digital Domain Institute (DDI) will stand in a class of its own, offering programs that combine creative and technical training with hands-on immersion in a studio environment. DDI received its licensing in September from the Florida Department of Education Commission for Independent Education.

Students will have the opportunity to receive professional certified training at the Digital Domain Institute from “filmmakers in residence” who have directed, produced, or been involved in the creation of Cars 2, Gnomeo & Juliet and other major movies. After an intensive 10-week program in a specialized craft such as compositing, rotoscoping, matte painting and image acquisition, graduates will receive professional certification from Digital Domain — an indication they are able to apply those skills in the growing digital media industry.

Additionally, as a result of the groundbreaking collaboration with The Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts, students who want to pursue an undergraduate degree will also have the opportunity to dual-enroll at both DDI and FSU. From FSU they will earn a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree from the renowned faculty at the College of Motion Picture Arts, along with professional certification from DDI. This combination of specialized training and lifelong learning will propel graduates to a unique status in the industry.

“Digital Domain Institute inspires those who aspire to blaze new trails in digital media,” said Bruce Bullock, Director of Education at Digital Domain Institute. “Many of our instructors step into the classroom fresh from experience on major movies. Together with our DDI faculty, these creative pioneers prepare students with the technical skills that make them immediately marketable in this growing industry.”

With curriculum guidance from Florida State University, Digital Domain Institute will be unlike any other professional training institution in the country. The quality of education students receive will be at the level required for best in class university accreditation.

Regarding the relationship with Digital Domain Institute, Frank Patterson, Dean of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts said, “The Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts has a mandate from the Florida Legislature to prepare students for successful careers in the motion picture industry. This collaboration with Digital Domain Institute helps us fulfill our mission at a whole new level.”

BAFTA-Nominated Preschoolers Show “Octonauts” Makes US Debut January 9 on Disney Junior

Octonauts, the BAFTA-nominated animated show for preschoolers, based on the popular children’s book series of the same name, will make its U.S. debut MONDAY, JANUARY 9 (11:30 a.m., ET/PT) on Disney Junior, the daily programming block for kids age 2-7, on Disney Channel. Created by award-winning design team Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy of Meomi Design, the series follows the lively underwater adventures of Captain Barnacles Bear, Lieutenant Kwazii Cat and Medic Peso Penguin, as they explore the ocean and work to protect all of its unique sea creatures. Produced by Silvergate Media with animation by Academy Award-nominated Brown Bag Films, the animated series made its initial debut in the UK in October 2010.

Octonauts introduces young viewers to exciting new underwater worlds and fascinating marine life. In each 22-minute episode, Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso receive an “octo alert,” which serves as a call to action for the heroes to embark on the day’s mission. With help from their extended crew —Tweak, a bunny mechanical engineer; Shellington, a marine biologist sea otter; Dashi, a dependable dog who serves as the Octonauts’ official mission photographer; Professor Inkling, the Octonauts’ octopus founder; and Tunip, a special breed of underwater sea creature called a vegimal — the team sets out to explore, rescue and protect their unique underwater habitat.

Octonauts will air weekdays at 11:30 a.m., ET/PT and weekends at 7:00 a.m., ET/PT during the Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel. The series carries a TV-Y parental guideline.

Why There Isn’t a Spumco Coffeetable Book: My Personal Story

Spumco book cover

I occasionally receive emails asking something along the lines of, “Whatever happened to that John Kricfalusi/Spumco coffeetable book you were working on?” Recently, however, I’ve noticed that there have been some unflattering rumors about my involvement. That’s why I feel it’s time to set the record straight about what happened to the project. I should point out that this is a personal story written from my perspective, and you may get different versions from the other key players involved. My story, however, comes from first-hand involvement in the project and direct conversations with all the main players. To the best of my knowledge, it’s an accurate account of what happened.

I was asked in 2008 by PictureBox to work with John Kricfalusi and serve as the editor for a book celebrating his work and that of the studio he co-founded, Spumco. The publisher Dan Nadel assured me that, “You and John will have complete control over how the book is marketed, packaged, and presented. You know the audience and I know you, so that’s good enough for me.”

I worked closely with John throughout 2009 on the manuscript. I didn’t write a single word of the book, but came up with the book structure and molded the manuscript into shape. For those who aren’t aware, John is a terrific writer. I didn’t have to do much other than nudge him in the right direction. We ended up with an entertaining, educational and fun manuscript that I look at with pride, filled with new information even for those who think they already know all there is to know about the history of Spumco and John Kricfalusi.

During the time I worked on the book, PictureBox ran into financial problems. The reason Dan Nadel told me was due to disappointing sales of a huge two-volume coffeetable book about Gary Panter. As a result, Dan sold the John Kricfalusi book to Abrams ComicArts, a fantastic imprint started by the able Charles Kochman, who is now the executive editor of Abrams. PictureBox remained the book packager, and fundamentally, nothing changed in the production process, except that we gained a bigger publisher with deeper resources.

I was heavily involved on the visual side as well, and sequenced some early versions of the book. Unfortunately, the book began to unravel once it was handed off to the designer Norman Hathaway. It was almost immediately clear that he was a poor match for the book and didn’t understand John’s artwork or the presentation it needed. Dan, however, insisted on keeping Norman onboard because they were personal friends.

I was glad to wrap up my editorial duties and get out of there because I could see the whole project going south. On February 27, 2010, I sent an email to Norman where I expressed concerns that he was harming the book. In it, I wrote:

After multiple meetings about design and your phone discussions with John, I was all but certain that we’d arrived at some sort of a consensus of what John wants the book to look like. John admittedly hasn’t been clear about certain aspects of the design, but he’s been adamant about one issue: the use of white space. Your layout seems to purposely defy him on this essential point which, regardless of its importance to you, is a make-or-break issue for him. There is tons of wasted white space and columns that are filled with nothing or with a tiny piece of art. This process will not go smoothly unless you build and improve upon John’s ideas. John is asking for excitement for the eyes, a “visual blowjob” in his terminology. This current approach is tame, respectful, and completely at odds with what he’s has been asking for from the very beginning of the project.

Here are some of his early layouts that made me do a double-take:

Spumco book cover

Dan Nadel and Norman Hathaway ignored my advice and pushed onward, dragging John along with them into the mess they were creating. The results were, quite predictably, embarrassing and incompetent. I was told later that Abrams was concerned about the layouts they were receiving, but Dan convinced them that John loved the book and approved of everything.

It wasn’t until some time later that Charlie Kochman learned that John hated the book. John, for his part, wasn’t even fully aware of the deal that Dan had cut with Abrams ComicArts. When the details unraveled, Dan and Norman were removed from the project. To Charlie’s great credit, he took full responsibility for the mess and refused to publish the book in its dilapidated state, even though a lot of money had already been invested and it was nearly done.

The whole experience left me with a bitter taste. In my personal interactions with Dan Nadel, I found him to be untrustworthy (I had to threaten legal action to get paid for my work) and petty (he suggested I remove my parents’ names from the acknowledgments because they couldn’t spare an extra ten words to include them). As for his creative and aesthetic sensibilities, those are opinions that I’ll keep to myself.

I’m pissed that he wasted 18 months of my time, but more importantly, I’m angry that he kept an amazing animation art book from being published. This year was the 20th anniversary of Ren & Stimpy. It was a cause for celebration, and nothing would have been more appropriate than this long overdue volume about John’s contributions to the art form.

The last time I spoke to John about the book was in May, and at the time, he wasn’t interested in picking up the pieces and starting over again. I’ve moved on to other things as well and don’t anticipate being involved in any future coffeetable book about Spumco. Dan Nadel, who is now editing The Comics Journal blog, is pleading ignorance about the entire affair instead of being honest about his role in the book’s demise. In a July 7 posting on his PictureBox blog, when someone asked what happened to the John K book, he wrote, “I don’t have any info on that. Try John K. or Amid Amidi.” And if you try me, I’ll be as transparent as I know how.

One thing is clear: Spumco and John Kricfalusi deserve a worthy tribute. I hope we don’t have to wait until Ren & Stimpy‘s 40th anniversary to see such a book.

Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Angelina Jolie In Conversation

Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Angelina Jolie

The Hollywood Reporter offers a joint interview between Kung Fu Panda 2 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and the voice of Tigress, Angelina Jolie, who also recently directed her first feature film. While the interview doesn’t offer any earth-shattering insights, it’s a rare treat to see animation and live-action directors interacting as equals.

Daily Christmas Card (#1)

Feedback from our posting vintage Walter Lantz Christmas cards has prompted a search for more classic cartoon holiday cards. To the rescue comes our pal Tim Walker, who has unearthed a selection golden-age goodies – enough for us to post one or two each day from now to December 25th. Today we have two (click thumbnails below to enjoy at full size): the first, below left from Bob McKimson and family; the next (center) a postcard from animator John Carey sent to Carl Stalling (flipside, below right) in 1945.

Todd Oldham’s New Book on Alexander Girard

Designer Todd Oldham, who played such an important role in the rediscovery of illustrator Charley Harper, has set his sights on another relatively forgotten mid-century designer. This time, it’s Alexander Girard. Girard worked across many disciplines–textile, typography, illustration, interior design, architecture–and his work has influenced many people throughout the years, including animation artists like Lou Romano. He was to textile design what Mary Blair was to animation and Sister Corita to silkscreening–a designer with exquisite taste and playful, folksy aesthetic sensibilities.

A lot more people are going to know Girard’s name now that Oldham, along with Kiera Coffee and Ammo Books, has put together the massive 672-page monograph simply titled Alexander Girard. The just-released book looks stunning and easily one of the must-have art books of 2011. The video above features Oldham speaking about the book, which is 40% off on Amazon.

Alexander Girard

Alexander Girard

Alexander Girard

Jerry on Stu’s Show

Today I will sit down with Stu Shostack for another hard hitting interview, covering a wide range of animation subjects, on the internet radio program Stu’s Show. It’s being broadcast live at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific at StusShow.com. We will be discussing the latest events in cartoons – past, present and future. Looney Tunes on blu-ray, Tom & Jerry issues, UPA on DVD, I’ll give my opinion of the forthcoming Tintin movie and much much more… We’ll take questions via phone and email from listeners; we might also talk about Terrytoons. Join us and listen in here.

Persian Rug swipes U.S. Cartoon characters

Nice to know the Preston Blair book has made it to Iran. Here’s a perfect area rug for a cartoon nerd (like me) who happens to have $2800 to spare (NOT me). Now on eBay, a 5×8 “Mickey Mouse” Persian Rug. Check the detail in the thumbnails below (click to enlarge pics), you’ll spot off-model images of The Pink Panther, Mickey Mouse, Tom, something like Bugs Bunny, a Ninja Turtle, and the White Rabbit. This’ll go great in the room with my Donald Duck black velvet painting!

(Thanks, Rick Law)

Call For Entries: Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film


The Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film — ITFS — (May 08 — 13, 2012) was founded in 1982 and is one of the world’s largest and most important festivals for animated film. The Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film presents the Trickstar in seven different competition categories which cover a spectrum from short animated film and animated series to feature-length animated films. Cash prizes worth approximately 68,000 Euros will be awarded in 2012.

Call for  Entries:
The submission deadline for the following categories has elapsed at December 1, 2012: International Competition, student film competition Young Animation and children’s film competition Tricks for Kids.

Extended deadline: Cartoons for Teens and AniMovie
The deadline for the new competition category Cartoons for Teens and for the feature length film competition AniMovie has been extended till January 18, 2012.

For participation in the category Cartoons for Teens are admitted animated series, Anime series and cut scenes for youths aged between 12 and 18 years. AniMovie is open to animated feature length films from a running length of 60 minutes up. You can register your film online at www.itfs.de. Films can be uploaded or sent on DVD.

Call for Entries: Animated Com Award
You are kindly invited to submit films that fall into the category of applied animation and were produced no earlier than October 1, 2010 to the Animated Com Award. Prize money totalling 12,500 euros will be awarded for outstanding work in the areas of advertising, spatial communication, and technology and the special award.
Submission Deadline is February 15, 2012.

More information about the competition you’ll find on www.itfs.de.

Animation Company General Gau Launches in Boston

Boston, MA (December 12, 2011) — Renowned character animator Anders Beer has teamed up with Brickyard VFX co-owners Dave Waller and Geoff McAuliffe to launch General Gau, a hybrid animation/production company dedicated to creating custom character-based content. Based out of Brickyard’s Boston office, General Gau offers a specialized talent pool and customized internal pipeline to leverage in-depth, high quality character animation.

Beer, a Boston native, has a background in computer graphics and has focused on character animation throughout his career. He got his start at DreamWorks on character development for Shrek, and has since worked at Disney, Digital Domain, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Double Negative and more on character animation for video games and feature films. Beer recently moved back to Boston after working in London as animation supervisor on both Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and Greg Mottola’s Paul.

“I’m so thrilled to be back in Boston and to be launching General Gau,” says Beer. “Character production has always been my focus but in big studios it can sometimes get tied up in bureaucratic logistics. With General Gau I can just really let the artistry drive it and have much more creative freedom. And being able to work with Brickyard as a partner in this effort is great because with the quick timeline of commercial projects, the type of work you can do is always changing and it keeps everything fresh.”

Brickyard just wrapped its first project with General Gau, :30 spot Goodnight for Progressive Insurance. Breaking today, the spot showcases Beer’s character animation with a dream sequence cameo featuring a family of festive chipmunks and a feisty thieving squirrel.

“We always used to turn character animation work away because it was something we just couldn’t do as well as we do visual effects,” said Dave Waller, founder, Brickyard VFX. “But we always knew if the right person came along, character animation would make perfect sense for Brickyard–and when we met Anders, and saw his body of work, we knew right away that he was our guy.”

“Alexander The Grape” by Jim Henson (1965)

A few years ago, The Jim Henson Company Archives discovered material relating to an unfinished 1965 animated short by Jim Henson: Alexander The Grape. They combined the found footage with the storyboard and an existing soundtrack, and completed a reconstruction – which is now online. The complete story behind this find is here, on Jim Henson’s Red Book.

Call For Submissions: NFB Animation Hothouse 8

Deadline: 5pm Tuesday January 24, 2012
Program Dates: March 05 — May 25, 2012
Theme: “SHEEP DREAMS”

The National Film Board of Canada seeks submissions from emerging (young and not-so-young) filmmakers, creative programmers and artists intrigued by animation art, for the 8th edition of Hothouse, a 12-week paid apprenticeship in full-on, all-inclusive, real-world animation filmmaking.

Edition 8 parameter: include emerging technologies

This year, Hothouse invites you to exploit emerging tools and technologies in your animation.  In other words, take maximum advantage of new hardware, software or platforms to create your art. You might use a specific app for capture or animation. You might choose to tell a traditionally animated story on an interactive mobile OS (does the user influence the content?) You might integrate sensing devices for spatial tracking and gesture/facial/voice recognition (think GPS, Kinect, Wii, Siri etc.). Or develop a meaningful micro-narrative using existing engines and assets. To name but a few possibilities of hacking your animation!

Ultimately, the goal is to create a compelling 60-second experience driven by animation, moulded by technology.

Check out full submission details here:

http://films.nfb.ca/hothouse/?page_id=961

Disney Announces New Preschool “Winnie the Pooh” Television Series

Welsh-based Boomerang Plus and Milan’s Maga Animation Studios are to make a new preschool series called Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh for Disney Channels EMEA.

Scheduled to air on Disney Junior in 2012 in more than 21 countries worldwide, the show is set in the Hundred Acre Wood, where a storyteller reads special tales of the world famous bear and his friends.

Inspired by stories from the soon to be released Disney Winnie The Pooh book series, also called Tales of Friendship, the pictures in the narrator’s storybook come to life through a combination of live action and unique book-style motion graphics.

The new show will air during the bedtime block on Disney Junior and aims to help preschoolers get ready for their bedtime routine.

Developed by Disney Channels production hub for EMEA and produced in Wales by Boomerang Plus and Maga Animation Studios in Milan, Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh consists of 18  episodes of five minutes. Beth Gardiner, vice president, original programming and development, Disney Junior EMEA, is leading the production process, and has appointed Tracy Bowerman as series producer and Dirk Campbell as series director.

Boomerang Plus is best known in the UK for its extreme sports coverage. It is a major supplier of children’s programming in the UK through its subsidiary Fflic.

Gardiner comments: “Winnie the Pooh is a classic character loved and trusted by mums around the world, and Tales of Friendship uses great storytelling to bring him and his friends to life for a whole new generation. At the heart of Disney Junior are fantastic stories that parents and kids can enjoy together. This new series is a perfect example of parents rediscovering this beloved bear of their childhood, and sharing the joy and warmth of these stories with their children.”

Giorgio Stock, executive vice president & managing director, TV, music, publishing, gaming and online, The Walt Disney Company EMEA, adds: “Disney Channels is dedicated to internationally sourcing content for our global portfolio of channels.  Jungle Junction, the first original animated series for Disney Junior from our London based production hub has been a global hit and we are very excited to build on that success with Tales of Friendship with Winnie The Pooh. The new series will join a portfolio of global hits including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and The Never Land Pirates.”

Created in May 2007, the EMEA production hub drives the investment in and development of long form programming outside of North America, for both European and global distribution. It has commissioned series such as Jungle Junction.

Disney Junior is an all-new multiplatform brand for children aged 2 to 7 years and their families, launched in the UK on 7th May 2011 and has since launched in a further 19 markets across EMEA. The newly created Disney Junior channel replaced Playhouse Disney, broadcasting daily content across television, an integrated website, YouTube channel, VOD, mobile, Facebook, social media and paid download platforms.

Susan Shipsky Named VP, Production for Turner’s Animation Group

Susan Shipsky has been named vice president, production for Turner Broadcasting’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media’s (AYAKM) Creative Group, it was announced today by Michael Ouweleen, senior vice president and group creative director for AYAKM’s Creative Group, which encompasses both on-air and off-channel creative departments.

In her new role, Shipsky will be responsible for overseeing all video, print, special event and digital production and post-production for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang sponsorship and collateral material.  She also will supervise all on-air branding, promotion production and post-production for Cartoon Network and Boomerang.  Shipsky will serve as communication point-person between departments for all production-related requests involving marketing, public relations, research, advertising sales, Turner Studios, Williams Street Studios and external production companies.  Additionally, she will analyze and manage budgets, track spending trends and oversee booking, production and post-production for live shoots for all network priority promotions, specials and weekly packaging.

Shipsky will be based in Atlanta and report directly to Ouweleen.

“Susan has great production chops in both live action and animation, combines TV and digital experience, has great management skills and has actually served as an informal mentor to many of our staff for more than ten years,” said Ouweleen.  “We’re very excited that we now get to work with Susan day in and day out.”

Shipsky comes to Turner Broadcasting from MaxMedia, a full service creative digital studio where she served as vice president of business development.  Among her accomplishments, she helped create a broadcast division for the company, leading a team of motion designers and animators to provide strategic, creative and technical expertise in interactive marketing across all digital platforms.  Prior to this, Shipsky was partner and executive producer at Primal Screen, a design and animation studio that primarily serves on-air departments at cable networks.  While there, she hired, supervised and trained all staff producers as she worked with creative directors and art directors on all phases of production.  She also handled business development, securing new clients to execute branding initiatives for new and existing cable networks, create original content for broadcast and on-line applications, and design original interstitial and marketing campaign content.

Earlier in her career, Shipsky was an account executive at Magick Lantern, a full service production facility offering editorial, design, CGI and audio services.  There she developed new business and collaborated with creative teams on new project strategies.  Before this, she was a sales executive at Crawford Communications, a full service post-production house offering editorial, audio, film transfer, design & special effects, satellite transmission, production stages and graphics.

Shipsky earned a bachelor’s degree in radio/TV communications from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.  She is an active member of Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT) and of PromaxBDA, the international association of entertainment marketing professionals.

ASIFA-Hollywood Launches “Pick The Winners” Contest For Annie Awards

BURBANK, Calif. (December 12, 2011) — The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood launched a new contest today called ‘Pick the Winners’ in an effort to drive awareness of the organization’s annual Annie Awards event that celebrates the best in animation.

To enter the contest, entrants must “Like” the Annie Awards Facebook page and then choose one winner from each category in the first seven Production categories.  These categories include: Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Special Production, Best Animated Short Subject, Best Animated Television Commercial, Best General Audience Animated TV Production, Best Animated TV Production for Preschool, Best Animated TV Production for Children and Best Animated Video Game. Categories 8-28 are tiebreaker categories.

The person who correctly guesses the highest number of actual winners takes the prize!  There will be a drawing in the event of a tie, and the winner will be announced at the 39th Annual Annie Awards ceremony at Royce Hall on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.  The winner does not need to be present to claim the prize.

“It’ll be a real challenge for anyone to correctly guess the award recipient in every category,” explained Frank Gladstone, ASIFA-Hollywood’s president. “But the prize is terrific, so it is sure worth a try!”

The prize includes a personal tour of Pixar Animation Studios, a two-night hotel stay, roundtrip airfare to SFO from either LAX, Chicago, New York City or Miami and an economy car rental during the stay.  All prize details are subject to policies of the hotel/airline/rental car company.  Travel must occur between May and July 2012.

Disney To Crown New Princess With “Sofia The First” Animated Movie & TV Series


Disney will introduce a little girl princess to its celebrated legacy of princess fairytales in an animated television movie and series, Sofia the First, premiering in fall 2012 and spring 2013 respectively, on Disney Channel and Disney Junior channels around the world. While Disney princess fairytales have been enchanting audiences for more than 70 years, this is the first time a series has centered on a princess as a little girl. The stories are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to preschool-aged children. The series and movie are productions of Disney Television Animation.

Sofia the First stories are set in the storybook world of young Sofia who starts out life as a regular girl. But when her mom marries the king, she is whisked off to a glamorous, but sometimes confusing, castle world of royalty, pomp and new step-siblings, Amber and James. Sofia the First will include appearances by Fauna, Flora and Merryweather (fairies seen in Disney’s classic Sleeping Beauty) as the headmistresses of Royal Prep, the academy that Sofia, along with other princes and princesses, attends. Special event appearances will be made by classic characters including Cinderella and other Disney Princesses.

In announcing the series, Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, said, “In Sofia, we have a ‘peer to peer princess,’ a relatable girl experiencing the same social issues as our young viewers — learning how to fit in, making new friends, conquering new skills and building sibling relationships.” She continued, “Although Sofia will have plenty of pretty dresses and sparkly shoes, our stories will show Sofia, and our viewers, that what makes a real princess is what’s inside, not what’s outside. That the inner character of kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty and grace make you special, not the dress you wear.”

Providing the voice of Sofia is Ariel Winter (ABC’s Modern Family). Also highlighting the voice cast is Sara Ramirez (ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy) as Queen Miranda; Wayne Brady (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) as Clover, a wise-talking Rabbit; and Tim Gunn (ABC’s The Revolution, Project Runway) as Baileywick, the family’s Royal Steward. The actors providing the voices of King Roland, Amber and James will be announced soon.

The series was developed by Craig Gerber (Pixie Hollow Games) who also wrote the movie. Jamie Mitchell (Special Agent Oso) serves as both Executive Producer and Director on the series. Gerber is Co-Executive Producer and serves as the Story Editor.