A Case for Eliminating the Best Animated Feature Oscar

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Animated Feature category in the Oscars, but I play along because that’s what all the cool kids do. This piece by Mark Harris on Grantland is a compelling argument though for why the animated feature category is, statistically speaking, silly and unnecessary. It’s such a thoughtful piece that I’m even willing to overlook Harris’s identification of animation as a genre, which we all know is incorrect..

At the very least, the Academy should consider Harris’s suggestion to cap the number of animated feature nominees at three. To date, there has not been a single year where more than three films have been worthy of the award. And it makes little sense to select five nominees out of a field of eighteen, when the Foreign Language category selects five from over sixty films. And those 60 films are already whittled down from a long list of contenders in each country. The dozen-and-a-half contenders in the feature animation category aren’t even preselected from a larger pool; films that nobody would ever think of rewarding like Mars Needs Moms and Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil are what make the category possible. Are animated films really that much better than live-action that every third film made is Oscar-worthy? As much as I like animation, even I’m not that deluded.

(Thanks, Chris)

Oscar Focus: Enrico Casarosa Talks “La Luna”

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 Pixar’s La Luna with its writer/director Enrico Casarosa:

Jerry: Enrico, how long were you at Pixar before La Luna?

Enrico: Roughly 8 years. I’ve been there 10 years this month, and it was a couple of years ago that I pitched La Luna.

Jerry: You worked on Ratatouille

Enrico: Yes, I worked on Ratatouille, a little bit on Cars and Up, and then a little bit on Cars 2. It sounds funny, but in eight years I was mostly on two movies. But then, of course, these movies are marathon. (laughter)

Jerry: What is the pitch process for shorts at Pixar? Is John Lasseter open at all times or does he takes pitches for shorts a couple of times a year? How does that work?
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Google Animates Valentine’s Day

Google Valentine's Day

Be sure and visit Google’s front page today for an animated Valentine’s Day short with music by Tony Bennett. For a Google Doodle, it’s an impressively long piece. I hope they’ll be doing more of these long-form animated pieces in the future. The designer and writer of the piece was Willie Real and the animator was Michael Lipman (aka Lippy). Also, kudos to Google for not being afraid to slip in a nod to gay marriage.

Submit to the Vimeo Awards

Vimeo Awards

Video hosting website Vimeo will be presenting their second-annual Vimeo Awards this June in New York City. The deadline to submit films is next Monday, February 20. The awards have an animation category, as well as other categories that may apply to readers of the Brew, like music video, experimental, advertising, remix and motion graphics. The winner in each category receives $5,000 and there’s also a $25,000 grand prize. Entry fees are $20 per film, or $5 for Vimeo Plus/Pro subscribers. Submission details and official rules are available on their website.

I’m a big fan of the service that Vimeo provides to the filmmaking community. They get everything right from their high-quality video player to elegant site design and respectful community standards. That’s why I’m delighted that they invited me to be one of the judges in their Animation category, along with DreamWorks’s Marcy Page and Eran Hilleli, whose short Between Bears won the animation prize at the first Vimeo Awards. Make our jobs hard and submit lots of great animated films!

9 Story Takes Over Production & Distribution of Skywriter’s “Camp Lakebottom” & “Vivi”

"Camp Lakebottom"

Toronto, Canada — February 13, 2011  — 9 Story Entertainment and Skywriter Media announce 9 Story’s acquisition from Skywriter of two new children’s animated series — Camp Lakebottom, which is being produced for TELETOON Canada and Vivi, a co-production with MIXER being produced for TVO.  The transaction will see 9 Story Entertainment taking over all production and distribution of the series.

Camp Lakebottom and Vivi are a great fit for the 9 Story brand.  Not only are these terrific series’ being produced for leading Canadian broadcasters with which we have wonderful relationships, both will be high quality, complimentary additions to our growing catalogue of internationally distributed content,” said Vince Commisso, President and CEO, 9 Story Entertainment.

“We’re excited to be working with the talented team at 9 Story and are confident in their ability to realize the creative vision we’ve developed for Camp Lakebottom and Vivi. Now Skywriter’s plans to capitalize on global development opportunities and rapidly grow the interactive Skyreader division will be realized,” said Kevin Gillis, Skywriter Media Executive Producer and CEO, who will remain attached to the projects as an executive producer.

Camp Lakebottom (52×11’) is an animated comedy about 12 year-old, mastermind McGee and the most horrible summer camp in the world. The cabins are possessed, the lake is toxic, the forest creatures are mutants, the counselors are a danger to themselves and others, and the kids are having the time of their lives.

The series is stated to run on TELETOON in 2013.

Vivi (52×11’) is an animated co-production with award winning Brazilian production company Mixer.  The series follows the wonderful adventures of 7 year Vivi who is taken on extraordinary trips to exotic places by her Grandma Rosa, a world famous photojournalist.  Vivi captures what she learns in her Memory Book, which uses a multi- platform approach to engage and interact with viewers. A key driver of the series is the online component that allows kids and their families to create their own Memory Books of their journeys — real or imaged — to share with each other.

Call For Entries: Remembering Helen Hill, a Mentorship Residency with Amy Lockhart, Toronto

Call for applications to: The Toronto Animated Image Society
Remembering Helen Hill: A Mentorship Residency with Amy Lockhart
Submission Deadline: Friday, March 2, 2012

The Toronto Animated Image Society is seeking proposals for a commissioned, mentored project. Selected artists will be inspired by the work of the late Helen Hill, her style of animation, and contribution to the animation community. As a former student of Helen Hill, Amy Lockhart will facilitate the residency; mentoring artists in the creation of their new works. Media and themes can include but is not limited to: mix cut-outs, collage imagery, found elements, social activism, home made- hand made, Super 8, 16mm or new tech-low tech.

Selected artists will receive:
-TAIS Full Studio Membership, worth $150 ­ includes studio space & equipment access
-$400 cash honorarium
-Two day intensive workshop with Amy Lockhart
-Mentoring & support from an experienced instructor

Each application must include:
-Project description ­ 200 to 300 words
-CV, resume, or brief bio
-Samples of recent work (i.e., CD or DVD for time-based artists; maximum of 10 images on CD for visual artists)
-A self-addressed, stamped envelope. Submissions without a SASE will not be returned.

Presentation:
This mentorship residency will culminate in a full day celebration!
In Summer 2012 at Cinecycle, Amy Lockhart will facilitate an afternoon children’s animation workshop in the format of a “tea party”. In the evening, the  commissioned works will be presented in conjunction with the Toronto premiere of The Florestine Collection (which was started by Helen Hill and completed by Paul Gailiunas) as well as a retrospective of Helen Hill’s films, highlighting her experimental animation practice, and her invaluable contribution to the animation community.

Selected artists will be announced on Friday, March 9, 2012

Contact and mailing address for submissions: TAIS Programming Committee Toronto Animated Image Society 60 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 102 Toronto. Ontario, M6K 1X9 Email: [email protected] Phone: 416-533-7889
Digital submissions can be submitted via email through a file hosting site or via ftp link. Please do not send large files via email.

NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival Adds North American Premiere of “The Monkey King: Uproar In Heaven”

JUST ADDED – MONKEY KING – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE – The New York International Children’s Film Festival is thrilled to present this sumptuous new frame-for-frame restoration and 3D rendering of the Wan Laiming masterpiece, a national treasure and China’s most celebrated and accomplished work of animation.

Composed of gorgeously flowing animation created by hand from over 130,000 ink drawings and an opulent soundtrack inspired by the Beijing Opera, the film follows the adventures of the magical Monkey King of Flower Fruit Mountain, a mischievous character who creates havoc by refusing to bow down to the authority of the Celestial Jade Emperor. After stealing a magic staff from the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea, the cheeky Monkey King challenges the established order of heaven, freeing horses from the imperial stables, disrupting imperial banquets, and entering into epic battle with one colorful god after another. This is a truly stunning work of animation and mythological storytelling, far surpassing anything China has produced before or since.

The film will play Sat, Mar 10, 11:00am and Weds, Mar 21, 6:30pm at Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

To view the complete NYICFF 2012 lineup and purchase tickets, CLICK HERE!

Matt Groening Donates $500,000 To UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television

Los Angeles, CA– Matt Groening, multi award winning creator of The Simpsons, has donated $500,000 for the endowment of The Matt Groening Chair in Animation to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT), as announced today by Dean Teri Schwartz.

The Simpsons’ 23 year series reign makes it the longest running television comedy of all time. Groening’s creative talents have resulted in his receiving 12 Emmy® Awards, 13 Emmy® nominations, the 2002 National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and a 2004 British Comedy Award.  In 2007, he was ranked fourth (and highest Americanby birth) in Britain’s Daily Telegraph list of “Top 100 Living Geniuses.” Later this month Groening will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His iconic brand of satire and social commentary evident throughout dozens of The Simpsons specials, spin-offs and feature films as well as the Futurama series, numerous books, merchandising and more.

“Matt Groening is recognized globally as a preeminent and pioneering animator, storyteller, cartoonist, writer and producer.  His groundbreaking animated series have truly changed the landscape of television and have become a gold standard for animation and great storytelling throughout the entertainment industry,” says Dean Schwartz.

“We are so inspired by Matt’s vision, and truly honored by his remarkable generosity and support of our Animation Program.  Our TFT animation program is known for its exceptional and diverse talent from across the globe who create outstanding, award-winning innovative works year in and year out,” Dean Schwartz continues. “With this amazing gift, Matt has given our students enormous support and ensured that we will be able to take our program to even greater levels of excellence.  Our animation students will benefit greatly from this endowment and it will reinforce TFT’s continuing position as a premier professional school of entertainment and performing arts. Thank you Matt Groening.”

The Matt Groening Chair in Animation endowment will allow visiting master artists to teach classes in TFT’s animation program.  The gift will enable the animation program to bring working professionals with wide ranging expertise to work with TFT students, some of which would not normally be available in the animation curriculum.

This is also the second year of The Matt Groening Initiative.  Pioneered by Groening and Barbara Boyle, Chair of the School’s Film, Television and Digital Media Department, Groening’s annual gift of $50,000 supports animation students producing short animated films with social responsibility themes.  The first year of The Matt Groening Initiative’s support led to TFT’s Erick Oh to be named Student Academy Award® 2011 Finalist forhis film Heart.  Oh graduated with distinction and is now an animator at Pixar Animation Studios.

Oscar Focus: Joyce & Oldenburg Talk “Morris Lessmore”

BREWMASTERS NOTE: This week Cartoon Brew takes a closer look at each of 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 begin with The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore:

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“Rango” and “A Morning Stroll” Win BAFTAs

Rango and A Morning Stroll

Yesterday, the BAFTAs–the British equivalent of the Academy Awards–were handed out, and the winners of the Animated Feature and Shorts categories were Gore Verbinski’s Rango and Grant Orchard’s A Morning Stroll. The production design nod went to Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo for their work on Hugo, and “special visual effects” was awarded to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (Tim Burke, John Richardson, Greg Butler and David Vickery).

Both Rango and A Morning Stroll are Oscar nominees as well, but it’s difficult to judge what a BAFTA win means for their Oscar chances. That’s because besides these two films, the BAFTA nominees in both categories were completely different from the Oscar nominees. Interestingly, the other nominees in the BAFTA animated feature category were The Adventures of Tintin and Arthur Christmas, two films that many said should have also received Oscar nods.

“Daffy’s Rhapsody” talkback

Far be it from me to urge you to see this weekend’s number 3 film, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – but it is accompanied by the four-minute 3D animated short Daffy’s Rhapsody. Based on the 1953 Mel Blanc recording (written by original Looney Tunes scribes Michael Maltese and Warren Foster), this is director Matthew O’Callaghan’s latest (and in my opinion, greatest) attempt to properly reposition the Looney Tunes in contemporary guise. Inspired by Blanc’s manic vocal track, the artists create a satisfying scenario and the appropriately zany visuals to match it.

But that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Unlike other talkback posts, I’ll allow any intelligent thoughts about the entire series of Looney Tunes 3D theatrical shorts in the comments below.

Steven Paul Leiva’s “Top Ten Funniest Hollywood Cartoons Of All Time” Heading To L.A.’s Pomona Fox Theater

Animation veteran Steven Paul Leiva is reviving his show The Top Ten Funniest Hollywood Cartoons Of All Time!! for an event at Los Angeles’ Pomona Fox Theater on Sunday, March 4th. The event, hosted by the Friends of the Pomona Fox, is set to start at 2pm with tickets priced at $8 for Adults and $3 for Children 12 and under. In addition to showcasing these ten cartoons, Leiva will also be talking to animation Roger Allers (The Lion King) and animator Mark Dindal (The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Groove).

This program was originally produced by Steven Paul Leiva in 1991 for the Montreal Juste pour Rire/Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. The ten films were chosen by a panel of expert advisers through a polling of their personal choices. Levia stated, “Although I came up with the idea of producing this show – and am happy to take all credit for it – I turned over the actual choosing of the ten films to a panel of expert advisers through a polling of their personal choices, thus deflecting all the blame to them. So if you don’t like or agree with any or all of the films on the list, you go talk to Martin Scorsese!”

The program will include a screening of the 10 cartoons with commentary and a conversation between Leiva and Roger Allers, codirector of The Lion King, storyboard artist on The Little Mermaid and winner of the Tony Award for writing the Broadway adaptation of the film and director of the upcoming animated feature based on Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, on the influence of these classic shorts on the renaissance of animation features that started with The Little Mermaid and continues to this day. They may be joined by other top talents in animation to be announced.

The original advisers Leiva asked to choose the 10 cartoons were: Martin Scorsese, director Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, King of Comedy, and this year’s winner of the Golden Globe for best direction  for Hugo; Joe Dante, director Gremlins, Gremlins II, and Looney Tunes Back in Action; Paul Fusco, television producer/writer/director and creator of Alf; Chuck Jones – Three time Academy Award winning creator of the Coyote and Road Runner; co-creator of Bugs Bunny; Mike Lah, Animator on the Tom and Jerry shorts; Shamus Cullhane, Animator of such characters as Popeye, Betty Boop, and Disney’s Pinocchio. Cordell Baker, director of Academy Award nominee The Cat Came Back; Richard Williams, animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Academy Award winning director of A Christmas Carol (1971); Darrell Van Citters, director of 1990′s Box Office Bunny, at the time the first new theatrical Bugs Bunny short in years; Rebecca Rees, directing animator on The Brave Little Toaster, writer on Aladdin; Kelly Asbury, director, Gnomeo & Juliet, Shrek 2; John Musker, co-director The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast; Michael Giamio, production designer of Box Office Bunny, art director for Disney’s Pocahontas; Mark Kausler, animator at Disney Animation, animation historian; Jay Cocks – Writer screenwriter Gangs of New York, Age of Innocence; Stefan Kanfer, author/critic, senior arts editor for Time Magazine; Tom Shales, Pulitzer Prize winning television critic for the Washington Post; John Canemaker, animator and animation historian biographer; Tom Kenny – Standup comic, the voice of Sponge Bob Square Pants; Richard Belzer – Standup comic, author, actor, regular on Law & Order SVU; Robin Budd, director on the animated Beetlejuice; Brad Caslor, director of Get a Job and creator of Bob Dog.

The 10 chosen cartoons are:

  • One Froggy Evening (Chuck Jones—Warner Bros.)
  • Bad Luck Blackie (Tex Avery—MGM)
  • Duck Amuck (Chuck Jones—Warner Bros.)
  • Red Hot Riding Hood (Tex Avery—MGM)
  • Bear For Punishment (Chuck Jones—Warner Bros.)
  • Birds Anonymous (Friz Freleng—Warner Bros.)
  • The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (Bob Clampett—Warner Bros.)
  • Quiet Please (Hanna-Barbera—MGM)
  • King Size Canary (Tex Avery—MGM)
  • The Clock Cleaners (Ben Sharpsteen—Disney).

When asked why he had decided to choose the 10 Funniest Hollywood Cartoons of All Time, Leiva responded, “Comedy! Comedy, folks, is what Hollywood animation has always been about. Comedy! Not — really, I swear this is true — not fairy tales or furry tails, but comedy!”

On the success of the original program, he further stated, “On opening night we had a line around the block to get in and a full house. The show was so popular, the Rialto Theater ran it for three weeks after the festival was over.”

“Crulic: The Path To Beyond” by Anca Damian

A Romanian feature-length animated documentary Crulic — The Path to Beyond will make its US debut at MoMA’s New Directors/New Films Festival (March 21-April 1). Filmmaker Anca Damian’s feature tells the life story of Claudiu Crulic, a 33 year old Romanian who died in a Polish prison while on hunger strike. The trailer (below) reveals a strong visual style, combining hand drawn, collage, stop-motion and cut-out animation techniques. Let’s hope this film gets wider international exposure.

(Thanks, Fabrica De Desene)

2012 Kidscreen Awards Announced

In Thursday night’s high-profile presentation event, hosted by The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee, the year’s best work in children’s television was singled out and celebrated by the global kids entertainment industry at Kidscreen Summit in New York.

Determined by two panels of highly respected broadcast executive judges, awards in the Programming and Creative Talent categories were given to the following entries:

PROGRAMMING–PRESCHOOL CATEGORY

Best Animated Series 2012
Abby’s Flying Fairy School
Sesame Workshop/Speakeasy FX

Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series 2012
Sesame Street
Sesame Workshop

Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie 2012
Dino Dan
Sinking Ship Entertainment

Best Companion Website 2012
Octonauts
Silvergate Media/Plug-in Media

PROGRAMMING–KIDS CATEGORY

Best Animated Series 2012
The Amazing World of Gumball
Cartoon Network Studios Europe/Dandelion Studios/Boulder Media/Studio Soi

Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series 2012
My Place Series 2
Matchbox Pictures in association with ABC3 and ACTF

Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie 2012
Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes
Wapos Bay Productions/National Film Board of Canada

Best Companion Website 2012
Shaun the Sheep
Aardman Animations

PROGRAMMING–TWEENS/TEENS CATEGORY

Best Animated Series 2012
Bob’s Burgers
Bento Box Entertainment/Twentieth Century Fox Television

Best Non-Animated or Mixed Series 2012
Leonardo
Kindle Entertainment

Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie 2012
Some Dogs Bite
Kindle Entertainment

Best Companion Website 2012
Total Drama World Tour Online
Fresh TV

CREATIVE TALENT CATEGORY

Best Design 2012
Leonardo
Kindle Entertainment

Best Acting 2012
Horrible Histories
Lion Television/Citrus Television/CBBC

Best Writing 2012
Horrible Histories
Lion Television/Citrus Television/CBBC

Best Animation 2012
The Amazing World of Gumball
Cartoon Network Studios Europe/Dandelion Studios/Boulder Media/Studio Soi

Best Directing 2012
Bob’s Burgers
Bento Box Entertainment/Twentieth Century Fox Television

Best Music 2012
Leonardo
Kindle Entertainment

Best Voice Talent 2012
Bob’s Burgers
Bento Box Entertainment/Twentieth Century Fox Television

Kidscreen was also privileged to work with the top-notch international research team at Nickelodeon Consumer Insights again this year on a special set of Viewers Choice Awards. NCI’s network of focus groups spanning all four age categories in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan and Brazil looked at the shortlisted programs and voted for their overall favorites. Here are the results:

VIEWER’S CHOICE CATEGORY

Best Preschool Program 2012
Abby’s Flying Fairy School
Sesame Workshop/Speakeasy FX

Best Kids Program 2012
The Amazing World of Gumball
Cartoon Network Studios Europe/Dandelion Studios/Boulder Media/Studio Soi

Best Tweens/Teens Program 2012
In Real Life 2
Apartment 11 Productions/YTV

For the second year running, the Kidscreen Awards included a category designed to spotlight the best efforts made by broadcasters to forge stronger connections with kids and family audiences around the world. These winners were determined by a Kidscreen readership online vote that took place in December and January.

BROADCASTING CATEGORY

Channel of the Year 2012
PBS Kids

Best Channel Design 2012
Cartoon Network
Summer Bump–Upchuck

Best Channel Website 2012
Cartoon Network
www.cartoonnetwork.com

Best On-Air Host or Hosting Team 2012
ABC 4 Kids
Jimmy Giggle and Hoot the Owl

Best Integrated Promotion 2012
PBS Kids
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That launch

Best Interstitial Campaign 2012
Cartoon Network
Adventure Time 6:58

Smiley Guy Studios & Whole Hog Crreations Team Up For Live Action/Animated Game Show “What A Croc!”

New York, NY [February 10, 2012] – Toronto’s Smiley Guy Studios has joined forces with UK-based Whole Hog Creations to develop 26 half-hours of the crime-solving game show, What a Croc! Combining live action and animation, Croc follows three real life kids on a comical adventure where they seek out the “whodunit” while concealed inside the world-famous detective, Croc Monsieur.

”Whole Hog Creations are absolutely thrilled to be working with Smiley Guy Studios on What a Croc!,” says co-creator, James Fox. “The project is a perfect fit for our collective passions and expertise. Smiley Guy Studios brings their outstanding animation portfolio, fantastic production experience and passion as standard. They also bring fabulous ideas and oodles of fun, too. We are very much looking forward to the adventure to come.”

Mike Valiquette, Smiley Guy’s Director of Development added, “We’ve been working with the guys at Whole Hog for some time now on Skatoony, so this is an obvious and organic next step. James and Rich are hilarious, with a really distinct creative voice and such a clear understanding of what makes this kind of show work. We really can’t wait to move this into production.”

Call For Entries: The Citrus Cel Animation Film Festival (Jacksonville, Florida)

The Citrus Cel Animation Film Festival is now accepting films in the following categories:

Animated Features, Short Films, Student Short Films, Movie and TV Title Sequences, Broadcast Advertisements, Animated Music Videos, Visual Effects, Classic Animation, Experimental and Mixed Media, 3D Animation, 2D Animation, Stop Motion, Gaming ANimation, and Children’s Animation.

Entry is free, and the deadline is July 31, 2013. You can download the submission form at www.citruscel.com.

Michel Gagné restores Jack Kirby’s Romance Comics

I ran into animator Michel Gagné at the Annie Awards last week (where he picked up an Annie for Best Video Game, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet) and asked him about his next project. Turns out Gagne had been toiling on a labor of love (literally) that has just gone on sale this week. Says Gagné:

“I have a new book that just came out. I’ve always had a very particular vision of how books reprinting old comics should be restored and presented, so a few years ago, I decided to put my own historical collection together covering a subject that had never really been documented before. I worked on the project for many years and last year it was picked up by Fantagraphics. The book was released last week.

That book, Young Romance: the Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics, is not the usual thing we endorse here at Cartoon Brew – but as a life-long Jack Kirby fan and oddball comic book buff, this project is right up my alley. Gagne writes more about why he wanted to do this project, and how he did the restorations on his website. I’ve ordered my copy and highly recommend it, sight unseen. Thanks, Michel!

“Kiss” by Joseph Hodgson & Franck Aubry

Fresh of the the festival circuit, where it was projected in super wide-screen, Kiss is what I’d safely classify as an art film. It was co-directed by Joseph Hodgson and Franck Aubry through Oslo, Norway graphic design studio Racecar. Hodgson writes:

As Paul Auster once said “The sun is the past, the earth is the present and the moon is the future.” “Kiss” is a no-budget, independent film, undertaken to examine a simple idea: We set out to explore the consequence of something as innocent as a kiss. We believe that every solar eclipse is the moon’s attempt to reach the sun. Our idea is personified through the sun and the moon as seen from earth… a love story plain and simple.

For more information and art, visit the Kiss website.

DC Nation Kicks Off with “Green Lantern: The Animated Series” and “Young Justice” on Cartoon Network

All-New Hour-Long Block Premieres Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m. (ET, PT)

Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment are teaming up to present DC Nation, a full hour of exclusive kids’ television programming and shorts based on DC Comics characters. Full of action and humor, DC Nation brings some of the most beloved and legendary heroes – as well as some lesser-known cult favorites – from the pages of DC Comics to the screens of a whole new generation of fans. Anchored by Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, DC Nation will premiere Saturday, March 3, at 10 a.m. (ET, PT).

Green Lantern: The Animated Series debuted in November 2011 on Cartoon Network as a special one-hour movie event and was greeted with much critical acclaim: Variety lauded the “beautifully rendered” series for its “bold, sleek design.” Now fans can experience the series again from the very beginning. With stunning, stylized CG animation, Green Lantern: The Animated Series takes viewers on a journey of cosmic proportions as Hal Jordan and his band of heroes fight to save the universe.

The second half hour of DC Nation will be comprised of new episodes of Young Justice, a series which Entertainment Weekly called a “super-ior cartoon” with “a good dose of super-hero action.” The series continues with more adventures for Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis as they continue to try to prove themselves as superheroes while dealing with all the pitfalls of being teenagers.

Rounding out this branded block of original programming will be a number of shorts featuring DC Comics super heroes and characters as you have never seen them before. With fresh designs and concepts, fan favorites such as Plastic Man and Doom Patrol will finally take center stage next to the likes of Wonder Woman and Teen Titans. Bringing them to life will be the result of a collaboration with some of the top talents in the animation industry, which include award-winning Aardman Studios (Arthur Christmas, Wallace and Gromit) with its stop-motion clay animation techniques, and the unique direction and character designs of Lauren Faust (The Powerpuff Girls, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic). In addition to these shorts, DC Nation will also feature event programming, interstitials, exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at theatrical motion pictures and an insider look into the world of all things DC Comics.

Call For Entries: Ottawa International Animation Festival

OTTAWA (February 8, 2012) — The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is pleased to announce its worldwide call for entries for its 2012 festival, taking place September 19 to 23 in Canada’s National Capital Region.
Animators are invited to submit their recent work into five major categories including: Independent short films, feature films, commissioned films (TV series, commercials, music videos and video game animation) student films and films made for children.
The OIAF is recognized as one of the world’s most competitive film festivals, receiving more than 2,000 entries annually. The Festival’s selection committee chooses approximately 150 films for competition and out-of-competition showcase screenings.
The Festival’s international jury: Barry Purves (England), Hisko Hulsing (Holland), Izabela Rieben (Switzerland), Mike Fallows (Canada), J.J. Sedelmaier (USA) and Sarah Muller (England) will review films in competition. Jury members will join the audience during screenings throughout the Festival and present the final awards at the closing ceremonies.
The OIAF is also introducing a new category for Non-Gameplay Animation, the first of its kind at any animation festival. Examples of non-gameplay animation include cinematic cut scenes that help advance a game’s plot and trailers previewing an upcoming release.
“Since the mid-1990s, we’ve been trying to find a way to seamlessly integrate videogame animation into OIAF competitions, ” says Festival artistic director Chris Robinson. “We found that the best way for us to acknowledge the outstanding work being done in gameplay animation was by encouraging the submission of non-game play components.”
A new award for Best Canadian Student Animation Film, celebrating the work of emerging filmmakers and the wealth of up-and-coming Canadian talent, will also be introduced. Canadian student films in competition and showcase will be eligible for this award.
All online entry forms for this year’s competition must be received by May 18th. The deadline for preview DVDs is June 1st. There is no entry fee.

Animated Fragments #17

Think Brilliance by Diego De la Rocha (Canada): “This is my animation final project from Vancouver Film School. Shot #1 (Head Title Sequence–Stop Motion / Cloth, strings, cardboards & maple leaves); Shot #2 (CG Lightbulb–Maya 2011/ Zbrush/ Photoshop/ Nuke/ Premiere Pro)”

Futile Devices–Kickers by Nicolas Ménard (Canada): “A series of 6 five seconds kickers made in Denis Dulude’s class at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal)”

God and Money by Philip Vose (US): “Finished in just under five days for my church as an intro to a short series topic of God and money.”

Embroidered Dog Animation–Front and Back by Aubrey Longley-Cook (US)
Running Dog
Running Dog

(NSFW) Twenty Four Hour Woman by Scott Lenhardt (US): “Celebrating the women who make the world go around.”

PHONO – a Sound Creature by Lucas Zanotto (Italy/Germany): “Sound creatures are imaginary beings, a collection started and maintained by composer & sound designer David Kamp in the name of science.”

(Futile Devices via Drawn)

“Aqua” by Gints Zilbalodis

Aqua is quite a sophisticated piece of visual storytelling for a 17 year-old. Created with Toon Boom Animate Pro, After Effects and Photoshop, this has been a passion project for teenager Gints Zilbalodis for the last year and a half. Says Zilbalodis:

“It started as vague ideas of a cat, ocean and overcoming fear. Then through numerous battles with the script it shaped up to something similar you can see now. After seven drafts I felt that it was ready to start storyboarding, but the film kept evolving all the way until the sound mix was done. I kept learning about filmmaking everyday, going through all of the different processes.

“I chose the cat as the main character mainly to save time with exposition, because people know that generally cats are afraid of water. So I could just jump right into action. Plus cat is a fairly small creature and the ocean seems even bigger to him. And of course cats are much easier to draw than humans.

“The film’s music is by my friend Bertrams Pauls PurviÅ¡Ä·is who helped a great deal to tell the story the way it was intended. Music had a lot of to convey in very little time and it came out much better than I could’ve ever expected”.