Out of Context Animation

If you ever wondered what your favorite childhood cartoon characters might look like having sex, or doing something nasty, wonder no more.

Out of Context Animation is a Tumblr site that posts unique frames from innocent animated films, which out of context could possibly be interpreted as something incredibly obscene. Here’s a couple of examples from the site below (click thumbnails to enlarge image). Mickey, Porky, Spongebob, Inspector Gadget… no one is spared. Nothing not-safe-for-work, but actually quite funny… or at least I think so.

Animated Fragments #18

Stereo Skifcha by Denis Borisovich (Russia): Borisovich’s earlier piece Jumpman was featured in Animated Fragments #12.

Bacon Clock by Greg Lytle (US)

Jammin’ by Hobo Divine (Canada)

Faces by Alexander Gellner (Germany): “This is an abandoned project and study, pretty much in preparation for my One Minute Puberty piece…I want to develop this approach further at some point. For now, it’s a nice study and tribute to a certain michael jackson video. The “John Jay Marathon” tune was made by beatbox legend Mando.”

Bonheur Partagé by Joshua Catalano (France)

Tee Hee Meets the Eames

Tee Hee meets Charles and Ray Eames

I was digging around for some UPA photos the other day when I stumbled onto this photo that I’d labeled “Tee Hee and visitors.” Tee Hee is, of course, the gentleman on the right–a sequence director on Pinocchio and the “Dance of the Hours” segment in Fantasia, before moving over to UPA where he worked with director Bobe Cannon on shorts like Gerald McBoing Boing, Fudget’s Budget and The Jaywalker. When I looked at this photo again though, I thought, “Wait a second…these aren’t any ordinary visitors…they’re the legendary husband-and-wife design team of Charles and Ray Eames!” At least I’m fairly certain they are. If anybody can confirm this, please do.

The cross-pollination between creative disciplines was an essential ingredient of the “cartoon modern” era. I wrote a little bit about Charles and Ray Eames and their relationship to animation on the Cartoon Modern blog. The story goes that Charles Eames was so impressed after he visited the UPA studio that he bought stock in the company. The Eames later created some animated projects and hired animation artists like John Whitney, Dolores Cannata, Ed Levitt and Chris Jenkyns. Here’s a film they produced in 1958 called The Expanding Airport:

“The Adventures of Tintin” Coming to DVD and Blu-ray on March 13, 2012

2012 Golden Globe® Winner ~Best Animated Feature Film~

FROM ACADEMY AWARD® WINNERS* STEVEN SPIELBERG AND PETER JACKSON COMES THE YEAR’S MOST ORIGINAL, ACTION-PACKED ADVENTURE

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN

Based on One of the World’s Most Beloved Characters, Critically-Acclaimed Adaptation Debuts on Blu-ray 3Dâ„¢, Blu-rayâ„¢ and DVD March 13, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The incomparable team of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson brings the world-renowned stories of Hergé to life in the rollicking and wildly imaginative The Adventures Of Tintin, bursting onto Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD (all with UltraVioletâ„¢), On Demand and for Digital Download on March 13, 2012 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Winner of the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film, The Adventures Of Tintin has been called “a grand thrill ride of a treasure hunt” (New York Post) and the “most delightful dose of pure entertainment since Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Minneapolis Star Tribune). Featuring groundbreaking and visually-stunning motion capture animation, an outstanding cast of voice talent headed by Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig, and a thrilling story filled with non-stop action,
The Adventures Of Tintinis a must-own film that the entire family will enjoy watching again and again.

The Adventures Of Tintin three-disc Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack include over 90 minutes of special features that take viewers behind-the-scenes with Spielberg and Jackson to discover how the filmmakers brought the characters to life, learn about Tintin’s origins, delve into the design and animation processes, explore the creation of Tintin’s faithful dog, Snowy, and much more. The film will also be available as a single-disc DVD. All Blu-ray and DVD releases available for purchase will be enabled with UltraViolet, a new way to collect, access and enjoy movies. With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them — reliably and securely — to a variety of devices.

The Adventures Of Tintin Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

The Adventures Of Tintin Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description, and with English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The DVD in the combo pack is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description, and with English, French and Spanish subtitles. The disc breakdown is as follows:

Blu-ray
Feature film in high definition
Toasting Tintin: Part 1
The Journey of Tintin
The World of Tintin
The Who’s Who of Tintin
Tintin: Conceptual Design
Tintin: In the Volume
Snowy: From Beginning to End
Animating Tintin
Tintin: The Score
Collecting Tintin
Toasting Tintin: Part 2

DVD
Feature film in standard definition

The Adventures Of Tintin Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

The Adventures Of TintinBlu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes all of the above, plus a Blu-ray 3D presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description, and with English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The Blu-ray 3D includes the feature film presented in high definition and 3D.

The Adventures Of Tintin Single-Disc DVD
The single-disc DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description, and with English, French and Spanish subtitles. The disc includes the feature film in standard definition, plus The Journey of Tintin and Snowy: From Beginning to End.

“Happiness Is…Peanuts: Team Snoopy” Coming to DVD on May 8, 2012

HAPPINESS IS…PEANUTS™: TEAM SNOOPY, AN ALL-NEW COLLECTION FEATURING HILARIOUS SPORTS-THEMED ADVENTURES WITH THE ENTIRE PEANUTS GANG IS AVAILABLE ON DVD MAY 8, 2012 FROM WARNER HOME VIDEO

Release Includes Television Special Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown

BURBANK, CA (February 16, 2012) — It’s a grand slam hit with Charlie Brown and Snoopy in Warner Home Video’s DVD release of Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢: Team Snoopy, the all new animated, sports-themed Peanuts collection available May 8, 2012. Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢: Team Snoopy is the newest installment of the Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢ collection. This title pairs the TV special Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown with an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show on one disc. This title will retail for $14.97 SRP.

Batter up with Peanuts and celebrate their greatest sports moments in Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢: Team Snoopy. For Charlie Brown, a new baseball season equals new hopes of winning. Unfortunately, one player just isn’t measuring up, which makes the team decide that Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown. This delightful special finds Charlie Brown trading his teammate, Lucy for Marcie, one of Peppermint Patty’s players in hopes this will finally end his losing streak. Will Marcie lead Charlie Brown’s team to victory? More importantly, will Peppermint Patty have the patience to tolerate Lucy and her antics?

Viewers will then suit up for a triple-header of laughs with The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. The three featured segments available on DVD for the first time include, The Pelicans, which finds Charlie Brown getting stuck with mascot duties while Peppermint Patty is on the road to victory with her baseball team. In Great Pumpkin, the Peanuts gang visits the bowling alley in hopes of teaching Charlie Brown a new sport with hilarious results. In Spike, it’s game on as the neighborhood cat meets his match when Snoopy’s older brother Spike trots into town. It’s time to catch the winning spirit and share these tales with your teammates!

“With summer on the way Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢: Team Snoopy is the perfect way to celebrate having fun outdoors with sports and activities,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, WHV Executive Marketing Director of Family & Animation Franchise. She added, “We are delighted to add another title to the growing Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢ collection, which offers consumers great value with one Peanuts television special along with an episode from the Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. It’s a must own title for Peanuts fans and anyone who loves classic animation.”

“Tom & Jerry: Around the World” Landing on DVD, in Stores on May 8, 2012

IT’S INTERNATIONAL CAT AND MOUSE MAYHEM WITH WARNER HOME VIDEO’S DVD RELEASE OF TOM & JERRY: AROUND THE WORLD LANDING IN STORES
MAY 8, 2012

Release is Available on DVD with UltraVioletâ„¢ Digital Copy

DVD Will Feature 22 Rip-Roaring Cartoons for Over Two-Hours of Tom & Jerry Fun!

BURBANK, CA (February 15, 2012) — Get set for an unforgettable journey with everyone’s favorite cat and mouse duo in Tom & Jerry: Around the World, available from Warner Home Video (WHV) May 8, 2012 . This hilarious, new animated title features 22 action-packed cartoons featuring the tussling twosome in some of their best adventures from around the globe. Naples , Spain , Australia , New York and Hollywood are some of the memorable destinations that await viewers on this exciting trip. Tom & Jerry: Around the World will retail for $19.97 SRP.

Pack your suitcases and renew those passports! Tom & Jerry: Around the World is your first-class ticket to an entertaining, globe-trekking adventure. An exciting voyage with the popular cat and mouse duo awaits in this 22-cartoon collection consisting of classic theatrical shorts and episodes from Tom & Jerry Tales.

It’s Bon Voyage for Tom and Jerry as they duke it out as competing streets performers in the Big Apple in Way-Off Broadway. Tom chases Jerry through the streets of Naples in Neapolitan Mouse. In Flamenco Fiasco, the dueling duo find themselves in Spain where Tom shows off his fancy footwork as he engages in a very competitive Flamenco dance competition. It’s a trip Down Under in Kangadoofus where Jerry takes refuge with a kangaroo mother and her joeys in an effort to ditch Tom. In Freaky Tiki, it’s “Aloha” for Tom and Jerry as they relax on a Hawaiian beach and find themselves entering an active volcano where they encounter Pele, the goddess of flames. Next it’s off to Tinseltown where Tom conducts a symphony orchestra in Tom & Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl. These and several other captivating adventures are featured on this must-own release.

“It’s a lot of fun to see these two iconic characters out of their typical environment and in new and exciting settings. What is equally exciting is that you get over two hours of international high-jinks and an Ultraviolet digital copy of the whole release” said Mary Ellen Thomas, WHV Executive Marketing Director of Non-Theatrical Franchise. She added, “Tom and Jerry fans of all ages will want to add this title to their DVD libraries. It’s a collection that’s not to be missed.”

Originally created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Tom and Jerry centers on the never-ending rivalry between Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse. The plots of each short usually center on Tom’s attempts to capture Jerry. Jerry however, is clever and quick on his feet so Tom hardly ever manages to catch him. The original series is notable for having won the Academy Award® for Best Short Subject: Cartoon seven times.***

Featured Shorts:

Way-Off Broadway
Martian Mice
Medieval Menace
Abracadumb
The Million Dollar Cat
Din-O-sores
Invasion of the Body Slammers
I Dream of Meanie
Neapolitan Mouse
Kitty Hawked
Flamenco Fiasco
You’re Lion
Kangadoofus
Monkey Chow
Freaky Tiki
Monster Con
Royal Cat Nap
Spaced Out Cat
The Two Mouseketeers
Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl
Johann Mouse
Treasure Map Scrap

“Academy Award®” and “Oscar®” are the registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

***Academy Award® Winners
· The Yankee Doodle Mouse — 1943 Best Short Subject: Cartoons
· Mouse Trouble — 1944 Best Short Subject: Cartoons
· Quiet Please! — 1945 Best Short Subject: Cartoons
· The Cat Concerto — 1946 Best Short Subject: Cartoons
· Little Orphan — 1948 Best Short Subject: Cartoons
· The Two Mouseketeers — 1951 Best Short Subject: Cartoons
· Johann Mouse — 1952 Best Short Subject: Cartoons

DreamWorks Announces Joint Venture For China-Focused Family Entertainment Company titled Oriental DreamWorks

GLENDALE, Calif., Feb. 17, 2012 – DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that it has agreed to form a joint venture with China Media Capital (CMC), with plans to include Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and Shanghai Alliance Investment, Ltd. (SAIL), to establish the leading China-focused family entertainment company.

Oriental DreamWorks will engage in the development and production of high-quality original Chinese animated and live action content for distribution both within China and to other territories around the globe. In addition to content creation, the joint venture will pursue business opportunities in the areas of live entertainment, theme parks, mobile, online, interactive games and consumer products.

“We are incredibly proud to establish Oriental DreamWorks alongside CMC, SMG and SAIL in this groundbreaking and historic alliance to create the leading Chinese-branded family entertainment company,” said DreamWorks Animation’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Together with our partners in China, we look forward to building a first-of-its-kind enterprise to locally conceive, produce and distribute high-quality creative content and family entertainment experiences — not only for the people of China but also for related export markets.”

“We share the same vision with DreamWorks Animation to build a world-class family entertainment company,” commented Ruigang Li, Chairman of China Media Capital. “By combining the expertise of CMC in investment and operation, SMG in media and entertainment management, SAIL in high-tech R&D, as well as DreamWorks Animation in creative processes, innovative technology and global network capabilities, Oriental DreamWorks will be in a unique position to create high-quality content and interactive entertainment products for China and international markets.”

The Chinese companies will hold a majority stake of approximately 55% in Oriental DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation will hold approximately 45%. The enterprise will initially be capitalized with cash and intellectual property valued at $330 million. The joint venture plans to launch business operations in Shanghai later this year.

DreamWorks Animation has enjoyed a great track record of success at the box office in China, led by its blockbuster Kung Fu Panda franchise. Kung Fu Panda was the #1 animated film upon its release into China in 2008 and last year, Kung Fu Panda 2 became the highest-grossing animated film of all time in the region, grossing approximately $100 million.

Oscar Focus: Grant Orchard Talks About “A Morning Stroll”

BREWMASTERS NOTE: This week Cartoon Brew takes a closer look at the five Academy Award nominated animated shorts. Each day at 10am EST/7am PST we will post an exclusive interview with the director(s) of one of the films. Today, we discuss Studio AKA’s A Morning Stroll with its writer/director Grant Orchard:

Grant Orchard

Amid Amidi: At Pixar, when artists pitch their short film ideas to John Lasseter, if Lasseter really likes the idea, he hugs you at the end of the presentation. Did you get any hugs at Studio AKA when you pitched A Morning Stroll, and if so, who hugged you?

Grant Orchard: Not really, some curious questions and then an — ‘OK, we trust you, give it a go’. I bet you think we’re all very Downtown Abbey over here. All arch and stiff, but no, it’s all free hugs and love man. In fact it sounds like Mr. Lasseter is holding back a little, he should share it around a bit more.

A Morning Stroll
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“The Secret World of Arrietty” talkback

Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty opens today and Disney is quite excited about it. It’s the biggest US release of a Ghibli film (1200 screens), and the feature will be shown in selected theatres in Japanese with subtitles, as well as the more common English dub. The press reviews are looking good – The LA Times says the film is “imeccable and pure”; The Village Voice calls it “pure magic”.

As longtime fan, follower and one-time distributor of Ghibli films allow me to add my two-cents and say that Arrietty is one my personal favorites from the Ghibli factory. It’s a gentle film, a beautiful film and, yes, it may have the most accessible story for Western audiences to grasp. It should be, as it is a relatively faifthful adaptation of Mary Norton’s 1952 book, The Borrowers. Who knew this would fit so perfect into the Miyazaki canon?

The comments on this post are open only to those who have seen the film and wish to share their opinion of it. If you haven’t seen it yet, I urge you to go see it this weekend – and tell us what you think.

“Wrinkles” Set To Open Cartoon Movie 2012

The 14th edition of Cartoon Movie, the pitching forum for animated features, will kick off on 7th March 2012 in Lyon by the screening of Wrinkles by Ignacio Ferreras. Based on Paco Roca’s multi-award winning comic, the 2D animated feature centers on the friendship between two senior citizens at a care home. This poignant film explores sensitive and universal themes such as old age and Alzheimer’s with humour and tenderness.

Nominated for the Annie Awards in Hollywood and the Spanish Goya Awards, Wrinkles is produced by Spanish studios Perro Verde FIlms, Cromosoma and Elephant in the Black Box.

Animation opens up to strong topics and adult audiences
Among other adult-skewed films to be pitched at Cartoon Movie, French project in development Young Perez (Explicit Films) tells the tragic story of the youngest boxing champion sent to Auschwitz during World War II.

Another audacious project, Another Day Of Life (Poland’s Platige Image) combines live action and animation to adapt famous journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski’s personal account on the Angolan war and its child soldiers.

Cartoon Movie will showcase 55 animated features in various stages of development to about 700 professionals of the sector, in order to clock up their financing and pan-European distribution. The pitching forum will run from 7-9 March in Lyon (France).

“Office Buddies” by Dan & Jason

Office Buddies

The commercial directing team of Dan & Jason has been developing Office Buddies over the past few years at the New York commercial house Hornet. The earlier episodes, including the funny “Stapler Face Off”, have screened at festivals like SXSW and Platform.

Three new 3-minute shorts were produced recently. Hornet’s website currently features two of the shorts–“Happy Hour” is the latest–and the third will be posted soon. The animation team on these new shorts was comprised of Lizzi Akana, Jake Armstrong, Efrain Cintron, Alan Foreman, and Connie Li Chan.

The Simpsons 500th

Three cheers to everyone involved with The Simpsons for achieving the unheard of goal of producing 500 episodes! There has been a lot of deserved hype this week in honor of this milestone – I especially love the $500,000 contribution by Matt Groening to UCLA’s Animation program, an endowment which will “allow visiting master artists to teach classes” and “bring working professionals with wide-ranging expertise” to work with students. Groening also got a star this week on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. All well and good.

But someone explain to me these looney “Simpson’s fashions” (below) which made their debut this week in New York. Designer Jeremy Scott, whose previous designs were inspired by The Flinstones and Mickey Mouse, unveiled an entire line devoted to The Simpsons which – as much as I love Bart – are embarassingly bad.

Regardless, I’ll be tuning in this Sunday for the 500th time and, like these fashions above, I’m sure the show will get many laughs. Congratulations Matt, and to the crew at Film Roman.

Oscar Focus: Patrick Doyon Discusses “Sunday”

BREWMASTERS NOTE: This week Cartoon Brew takes a closer look at the five Academy Award nominated animated shorts. Each day at 10am EST/7am PST we will post an exclusive interview with the director(s) of one of the films. Today, we discuss the NFB’s Sunday with its writer/director Patrick Doyon:

Patrick Doyon

An Oscar nomination is the ultimate hard-won honor for a short filmmaker. Thirty-two-old Canadian filmmaker Patrick Doyon achieved the Oscar nod with his first professional film. His short Sunday is as quiet and reflective as the day of the week its named after. Told through a young boy’s point of view, the film celebrates the triumph of imagination over the mundane routine of childhood.

The events that take places in this quaintly drawn world are accompanied by a feeling of foreboding. “Death is very present throughout the film,” Doyon says. “The three crows are never very far.” The apprehension about the future–signified by a large factory with a “for sale” sign on it–is in part rooted in Doyon’s childhood memories growing up in the Quebec town of Desbiens. “As young as I can remember, the factory was always closed. Maybe just a few times, it was functioning, but only for a short period of time,” Doyon says.


Watch a making-of documentary about Sunday.

Doyon acknowledges that a lot of the film is autobiographical–going to church with his parents, visiting his grandparents–but he took liberties with the animation. For example, though he lived near a railroad and his house vibrated with each passing train, his home didn’t jump and bounce off its foundation as the houses do in Sunday. “This is the pleasure of animation: not trying to recreate reality,” he says.
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Ghostshrimp Exposes the Hypocrisy of Cartoon Network

Ghostshrimp (aka Dan James), an artist on Adventure Time and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, is currently developing his own seven-minute pilot for Cartoon Network called Mars Safari. This is a peek at some of the pitch materials:

A few months back, Ghostshrimp posted some of the pilot’s insanely fussy notes he received from Cartoon Network’s standards & practices. They include such gems as:

The gang would need to be wearing seatbelts in this car.

This pooping bit would need Rob [Sorcher]’s okay before we elevate for Stu [Snyder]’s approval.

We’d need to see color models for the Alien guys here. There may be some issues with them stealing the car radio as it could play like an offensive stereotype

The references to the Afterlife would need Rob’s okay before we elevate for Stu’s approval.

Mister Nuggets suggesting that Bull Goose has mental problems would need Rob’s okay before we elevate for Stu’s approval.

It raises the question, If Cartoon Network is worried about such trivial matters, why would they greenlight a pilot for someone who openly jokes about incest and rape on his Facebook fan page? Ghostshrimp’s latest Facebook update asks, “But what would you do if you woke up and your mom was giving you a hand job?”

An earlier Facebook posting, which appears to have since been deleted, asked, “If you could rape anybody, ever, anywhere, who would it be?” This is a screengrab of the post (click for a larger version):

Ghostshrimp

It’s the height of hypocrisy for Cartoon Network to be so finicky over innocuous gags expressed in an animator’s cartoon, and yet turn a blind eye to a show creator’s public persona, which would be considered genuinely offensive by many people. The art we create is a reflection of our values and principles (whether we intend it to be or not), and when someone treats serious subject matter in a flippant manner, that attitude will inevitably seep into their work, too.

This is fine, of course, if Cartoon Network embraced the crude ideas of the artists they hired and if they’d given Ghostshrimp a long leash to explore his unconventional sense of humor. But the standards & practices notes tell a different story: Cartoon Network goes to great lengths to preserve a veneer of decency, while ignoring the fact that some of their show creators are anything but decent.

Music Video Round-up #5

Once again it’s melody time on Cartoon Brew with our periodic selection of new music videos. First up…

Halfway by Rayons

We begin with this lovely film by Jason Malcolm Brown and Aya Yamasaki Brown (aka Overture, who did the previous Bless) for a Japanese musician named Rayons.


Robbers by The Laureates

Next up, Chicago-based director/animator/illustrators Sara Jean Cough and Joey Potts created this mostly-live action video for local band The Laureates.


My Flea Has Dogs by Casper Babypants

Our friends in New Zealand, Mukpuddy Animation, fashioned some bouncy animation for this catchy kids tune.


Buy Me by Bev Lee Harling

And finally, this cute cut-out style video directed and animated by London based Zach Ellams.

Call For Entries: Croq’Anime Festival of Animated Short Films (Paris, France)

Croq’Anime Festival of Animated Short Films
Paris, France
September 7-9, 2012

Submit your animated shorts to the fifth edition of the Croq’Anime Festival of Animated Short Films. Open to students, amateurs, independents or professional filmmakers, the Croq’Anime showcases the young talents of short animated films from all over the world, allowing participants to promote their work to a wider audience and meet producers or potential partners.

Submissions will be judged on story, image quality and originality. Short animated films completed within the last 10 years are eligible for submission. Films can employ any animation technique, including 2D, 3D, stop-motion, puppets and painting, and must be between one and 12 minutes long. Films can be submitted in any language but must be subtitled in French.

The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2012. Entries must include a DVD or high-quality link, and a completed registration form. Entry forms and additional information can be found at www.croqanime.org.

“The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012″ Beats Box Office Record From Previous Year

Los Angeles, CA, February 14th 2012 – An early Valentine present for The Oscar® Nominated Short Films 2012, which opened on 120 screens across the United States and Canada last Friday, February 10th, 2012 when the release beat expectations and broke its previous record from the year before.  Ever since the programs started playing in theaters leading up to the Academy Awards seven years ago, they have been consistently outpacing expectations.

The box office grosses for the weekend of 2/10 — 2/12 totaled $412,304 with a per-screen average of $3,436.  Besting last year’s previous record of $300,706 with a per-screen average of $3,165.  This represents a 37% increase over last year and a consistent, significant increase in gross income every year since the program’s inception in 2006.

“We had a great opening weekend-our best ever.” said Carter Pilcher, ShortsHD‘s Chief Executive.  ”This just shows the enduring popularity of first-rate short movies while increasing the odds of winning Oscar pools.”

The program will roll out to additional markets in the coming weeks and will eventually be in over 200 screens nationwide and Canada prior to the 84th Academy Awards® ceremony on February 26th.  The Oscar® Nominated Short Films 2012 is comprised of three programs, Animated, Live Action and Documentary.

The Oscar® Nominated Short Films has become a key fixture of the awards season.  Last year, the theatrical release broke all records, grossing over $1,350,000 nationwide and playing in significantly more theaters than in previous years.  Since the inception of the program in 2005, attendance has grown by 800%.

Ross Bollinger’s Pencilmation History of the World

SVA grad Ross Bollinger has been steadily building his Pencilmation cartoon brand over the past few years, and his YouTube channel now counts over 4,000 subscribers and 2.6 million views. He recently started a new series of Pencilmation shorts that offer a tongue-in-cheek history of the world. It begins with cavemen:

A second episode about ancient Egypt is already online, and he’s also doing commentaries for each episode. Watch all of Ross’s Pencilmation shorts on YouTube.

Oscar Focus: Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby Talk “Wild Life”

BREWMASTERS NOTE: This week Cartoon Brew takes a look at the five Academy Award nominated animated shorts. Each day at 10am EST/7am PST we will post an exclusive interview with the director(s) of one of the films. Today, we discuss Wild Life with its writer/directors Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby:

Chris Arrant: This story centers around the concept of a remittance man, something most people don’t know about, but was pretty common in North America a few centuries ago. It sounds like a great historical fact, but what made it something you thought relevant and interesting to you two and to today’s audiences?

Wendy Tilby: We Canadians tend to think our national history is quite boring. One almost forgotten historical phenomenon was around the turn of the 20th century when thousands of these remittance men flooded into western Canada, sent by their well-to-do families because they were essentially useless. Britain was becoming a meritocracy and so these second sons could no longer expect to land positions just because they were members of the aristocracy. They tended to have a pretty good time….until the reality of surviving in the Canadian wilderness caught up with them.

We were also attracted to the idea of Empire and how education and breeding doesn’t prepare one for surviving in the very harsh conditions. The remittance men were victims of all that fine breeding and pressure from their families. But they also relished the escape and the adventure, and the dream of being cowboys.

Amanda Forbis: I don’t think we contemplated necessarily if it would be relevant to today’s audiences. I think sometimes you just find these things interesting even though you can’t nail down why exactly. But overall, there’s something inherently poignant about colorful characters inhabiting a bleak landscape.

Wendy: The other part of it is that both Amanda and I have English grandparents who came to Canada around that time and experienced similar hardships.

Chris: Were you able to talk to your grandparents about the story inside Wild Life to get their first-hand viewpoint on remittance men?
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Dreamworks Teases “Guardians” and “Croods”

Two Dreamworks publicity pieces, created for display at Toy Fair (currently going on in New York), have been leaked online and they look intriguing.

First up, a look at the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and Jack Frost by way of William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood. Dreamworks’ adaptation, Rise of The Guardians, will be released this year on November 21st.


Next, Chris Sanders is following up his firstDreamworks success–How To Train Your Dragon–with a caveman adventure, The Croods, due out next year – March 22, 2013. Can’t wait!

(via Bleeding Cool)