I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid for Tex Avery, for years now. Little did I know Avery actually directed a Kool-Aid TV spot, until I came across one in my collection this past weekend. Credits for such commercials are scarce, so if this isn’t Avery I don’t know what is. Love the politically incorrect native American designs and Thurl Ravenscroft’s narration. “Oh Yeah!”
UK’s Open Mind Shakes Up Management (Kidscreen)
French Post & VFX Unit Quinta Shuts Down (Variety)
Manga Artist Creates Animated Short To Celebrate Completion of Jashu Manga (AnimeNewsNetwork)
NEW YORK, Dec 19, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Liquid Comics and Tiger Hill Entertainment today announced the launch of the first four episodes in a 13 episode animated web series from acclaimed filmmaker, John Woo (Mission Impossible 2, Face-Off, Red Cliff). The series is being released exclusively on Machinima (YouTube.com/Machinima), with new batches of episodes to be distributed every two weeks. The animated series is an adaptation of the graphic novel, Seven Brothers, created by Woo, with writer Garth Ennis and artist Jeevan J. Kang.
“For me, working in comics is quite comfortable – it’s like the ultimate storyboard. The original Seven Brothers graphic novel, and this new animated comic book series, takes the seed of an idea I had about famous Chinese folklore to a whole new level. It creates a modern, global story, and an art form that is unique and yet, clearly, a brother to the film medium,” said creator, John Woo.
“We at Machinima are excited to partner with the Liquid team and world-class action directors like John Woo,” said Allen DeBevoise, Chairman and CEO of Machinima, Inc. “Because of the strong overlap between the worlds of videogaming and comics, Machinima was the natural distribution outlet for this high-octane animated series, and we hope our global audience of over 118 million viewers will enjoy it. We’ll continue to partner with the best creative talent to produce and distribute more and more original content that resonates with the male 18-34 demo.”
Seven Brothers tells the story of how, six hundred years ago, long before history’s great explorers stole the credit for their feats, mighty Chinese treasure fleets set sail to reach every continent. These voyages of discovery left behind an evil legacy and a plot by a powerful Chinese sorcerer to dominate the world. Now, in modern day Los Angeles, an ancient prophecy must be fulfilled and seven men, with nothing in common but their destinies, must face the Son of Hell to save the world.
“Seven Brothers is a fusion of mythology and edge that only an icon like John Woo and the brilliant creative team behind Seven Brothers could pull off. It exemplifies how the best mythologies constantly transform and re-invent themselves when filtered through the imaginations of great artists,” commented Liquid Comics Co-Founder, Gotham Chopra.
“We are thrilled to work with John Woo and the teams at Machinima and Tiger Hill to bring this exciting story to audiences worldwide through digital platforms,” added Liquid Comics Co-Founder & CEO, Sharad Devarajan. “For Liquid, the future of comic books is about jumping from the printed page on to the digital screen and John Woo’s Seven Brothers is the perfect project to launch our new line of animated web shows.”
DreamWorks Animation today released the first poster from its Christmas 2012 feature Rise of the Guardians. Based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood books, the feature follows Santa, Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost as they join forces to put a stop to Pitch the Boogeyman before he destroys the world. Set for release on November 21st, 2012, the film is directed by Peter Ramsey and William Joyce.
Bethesda, MD, Dec. 19, 2011 — Pixeldust Studios, a multi-award winning digital animation and visual design studio, has brought Academy Award-nominated producer and business/marketing executive Dianna Costello onboard as its Executive Producer. Ricardo Andrade, President/Executive Creative Director for Pixeldust Studios made the announcement.
The addition of Costello will further extend Pixeldust Studios’ efforts to develop creative and business partnerships in the production of non-fiction entertainment for broadcast and cable TV networks, museums, corporations, government agencies and educational institutions. She will oversee marketing and development efforts and will work to expand Pixeldust’s core business of providing award-winning graphics packages, show opens, animations, and visual effects for a variety of broadcast television and cable network programs, television specials and series.
Mr. Andrade said, “The opportunity for us to work with Dianna is very exciting. In this new position, she’ll be able to combine her creative talents for project development with her many years of experience as a business development and marketing executive, tapping into her extensive film and television industry contacts. She is a major new asset to our company.”
Adds Ms. Costello, “I’m thrilled to be coming onboard with Pixeldust at this stage in their development.Â Pixeldust Studios has taken their company to a whole new level, as evidenced by their stunning work on the highly acclaimed NOVA/PBS television series, The Fabric of the Cosmos. Ricardo’s desire to create original product is a logical next step in the evolution of his company. Given his well-respected reputation in the industry, and his large body of work for so many TV networks, the future for Pixeldust is full of exciting possibilities.”
We are being bombarded with holiday wishes from animators all over the world. We simply can’t post them all, but here’s a sampling of some of our favorites:
First up, from Corrie Francis, an incredible sand animation.
This is the third music video Billy Polard has made using the Nintendo DSi’s Flipnote animation program:
And finally (for now), from those blokes at Mukpuddy Animation in New Zealand:
Steve Milman was a checker at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the 1930s and 40s. (Courtesy the collection of Tim Walker)
Lady Ice is a Disney epic in seven minutes. Liron Pe’er began the film in 2004 as her final performance piece for the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. After graduating, Pe’er continued to work on it and in 2010, 5-and-a-half years later, she completed it. Pe’er is currently a freelance animator in Israel.
(Thanks to Maja MajkiÄ‡)
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.
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.”
Another nice one from the Selzer family: making his characters work over the holidays, to clean the studio (at 1351 N. Van Ness, still on the Warner Sunset lot in this pre-1955 card) so the artists will have a clean office when they return in the New Year.
(Courtesy the collection of Tim Walker)
Linnea Sterte is an artist living in Stockholm Sweden. Lonely Little Teacup is her first film, a poignant little film that’s as soothing as a cup of… tea.
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
Penciled by ANTONELLO DALENA & TERESA QUEZADA-GEER
Cover by MARCO GHIGLIONE & SILVANO SCOLARI
ON-SALE IN MARCH 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.”
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.
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.
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.