Call For Entries: 19th International Film Festival Etiuda&Anima in Poland

The 19th International Film Festival Etiuda&Anima 2012 in Krakow, Poland will be held November 23-29, 2012. The festival has opened its call for entries for the ANIMA COMPETITION for short films. Open to students and professionals alike, submissions must be under 30 minutes.

The deadline for submissions is September 17, 2012. The entry form and competition rules can be found by clicking on ANIMA COMPETITION at

The following Prizes will be awarded at Anima 2012 competition:

• Grand Prix — Golden Jabberwocky and 2500 Euro
• Silver Jabberwocky
• Bronze Jabberwocky
• Special Golden Jabberwocky for the best animated festival’s student’s etude

The Jury also reserves the right to award Honorary Diplomas.

Laika Taps The Foundry’s Katana for VFX Pipeline

London — Visual effects software developer The Foundry announced that animation studio LAIKA has purchased a site license of KATANA and plans to fully implement the software on its next feature film production.

LAIKA is the world-renowned animation studio behind the Academy Award-nominated Coraline (2009), the first stop-motion feature film to be conceived and photographed in stereoscopic 3D, and forthcoming release, ParaNorman (in 3D in select theatres this summer).

LAIKA’s decision to purchase a site license comes as the VFX team looks for ways to better manage the consistency of lighting and handle increasingly complex shots. KATANA will now help them to build a more asset-driven pipeline with better control over the looks of their CG materials.

The node-based approach will allow them to create and manage looks for large numbers of assets with minimal setup between tasks. It will also streamline shot lighting workflows and let them easily maintain standards and rigs across multiple assets, shots and sequences.

Andrew Nawrot, CG and Look Development Supervisor at LAIKA comments: “KATANA’s procedural workflow makes perfect sense for feature film look development and lighting. KATANA’s core features were driven directly out of large-scale visual effects production and this makes it an incredibly unique, flexible and effective platform for look development and lighting. With stop-motion, the scope of the sets and environments as well as the quantity of characters has traditionally been bound by the physical dimensions of the stages. With KATANA’s ability to handle incredibly complex environments and thousands of assets, we’re able to keep up with the increasingly expansive stop-motion worlds in which our films are set.”

Originally developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, KATANA takes an innovative recipe based approach, enabling facilities large and small to build highly scalable and efficient lighting pipelines without a large internal engineering effort.

Jeff Stringer, Director of Production Technology at LAIKA comments: “In each successive film at LAIKA, we are more ambitious than the last. We expect that KATANA will put our VFX team in a better position to scale up the complexity of their work on these films. The team at The Foundry has been very attentive and responsive to us as we work through the integration. It is a collaborative effort, since many of the tools we need are developed at The Foundry. We knew we could expect this as we have enjoyed years of good support from them with NUKE.”

Andy Lomas, KATANA Product Manager at The Foundry comments: ”LAIKA is a wonderful addition to the growing portfolio of KATANA clients. KATANA is incredibly versatile and can be used on all types of productions including live action, CG and stop-motion. We are excited to be working with such a respected studio and can’t wait to see their first KATANA project.”

KATANA 1.0 was released in October 2011 and is already in use in production at Industrial Light and Magic, Digital Domain, Sony Pictures ImageWorks and most recently, Reliance MediaWorks and Spin VFX.

KATANA continues to be under evaluation at a number of studios, both large and small.

Music Videos by Los Temblooores

I need to share these music videos by Barcelona musicians Puig M. Fabra and Mike Moko, aka Los Temblooores (The Earthquakes).

Make the Mongolian (Haz el mongol) is very simply drawn, crayon styled animated piece with a real catchy beat. Low budget but highly enjoyable.

Fight in the Bowling Alley (Pelea En La Bolera) is less animation and more of a mash up of live action found footage, old clips, commercials, scenes from trailers and TV shows – my kind of stuff.

Steve Moore’s “Redux Riding Hood,” The Short That Disney Hid For 15 Years, Is Finally Online

Director Steve Moore has finally posted one of my favorite (and rarely seen) Disney shorts of recent (or semi-recent) vintage. Moore recounts the making of the film – a product of Disney’s Television Animation unit, that went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1997 – on his Flip Animation blog. Written by Dan O’Shannon (now of Modern Family), narrated by Garrison Keillor, and voiced by Mia Farrow, Michael Richards, June Foray and Adam West, here at last is Redux Riding Hood:

Olmos Productions and Animex Join Forces on “El Americano: The Movie”

Los Angeles, CA (May 18, 2012) Olmos Productions and Animex are partnering on the 3D animated film El Americano: The Movie, the first animated co-production between the US and Mexico. The story will follow Cuco, a young Mexican parrot, whose epic quest to enlist the aid of an American crime-fighting TV celebrity, to defend his family in Mexico from bullies, teaches the young parrot to be a hero himself. The film will be directed by Ricardo Arnaiz (director of La Leyenda de La Nahuala and Nikte) and Mike Kunkel (animator of Disney’s Tarzan, and Hercules), with six-time Emmy Award winner Phil Roman (The Simpsons) serving as production supervisor and executive producer.  Alex Flores, Gerry Cardoso and Michael D. Olmos spearheaded its development at Olmos Productions and Animex respectively, and will serve as producers. Edward James Olmos will serve as executive producer and lend his voice to one of the main characters. Other cast members will be announced shortly.

“We’re delighted to be working with Edward James Olmos and his production company here in the US”, said Ricardo Arnaiz, award-winning director and founder of Animex in Puebla, Mexico. “It’s a story we have been working on for the last three years and we feel we have a really strong team in place to execute this film scheduled in 2013.”

Aleks Syntek, the Mexican singer, songwriter and producer who has been a member of the team from the project’s inception will compose the theme song for the film. “What motivated me to write the theme song for this film was the work Ricardo Arnaiz and this extraordinary production team have accomplished. Without a doubt it shows the passion, creativity, and talent Mexicans can have in the animation industry. Animation for the whole family has always been magical to me, which was another great incentive to create the music for this great film, which I’m sure will be huge hit”, said Syntek.

Story Training Program for Blue Sky Studios

Blue Sky Studios is proud to announce its inaugural Story Artist Training Program. Beginning in mid-June, this 16-week program for recent graduates will provide the opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by our talented story artists. Trainees will be immersed in our environment of 400+ artists who have created some of the top grossing animated features over the past 15 years.

These paid trainees will be mentored and evaluated throughout the process and considered for full-time positions.

Highlights of the Program
• One on one daily interaction with mentors
• Individual assignments
• Working in a team dynamic with other trainees
• Pitch sessions with directors
• Guest lectures
• Opportunity to work on a feature film in production

Blue Sky Studios is located 45 minutes north of New York City. Shuttles are provided from nearby train stations to the Blue Sky campus.

Rolling admission is now open. Applications are being accepted through June 1, 2012. Submit PDF portfolio and resume to [email protected]

AniMazSpot Q3 Winners

AniMazSpot had a very close race for the top two shorts of the Third Quarter entries. Lots of terrific shorts, in different styles, different techniques, different stories, and from many different countries, and although there were several top vote getters, two clear winners emerged, which will go on to vie for Best of Festival at the fourth annual AniMazSpot 2012 festival, September 10 through 16.

Two from each quarter will make up the eight nominees for Best of Festival. The top Best of Festival Winner will receive Larry Loc’s Bozu Bronze trophy. Of course, other close runners-up will be nominated for various category awards, to be announced after the fourth and final quarter toward the middle of August. The final winners in all categories will be announced, and presented their awards on the last evening of the festival on September 16.

So, the two winners for this Third Quarter are:

Michael Zachary Huber for his Worlds Apart, which focuses on a teddy bear who’s the central character an adventure that is part science fiction, part thriller and part cautionary fairytale. Some of you may remember Mr. Huber for his short, The Offering, which was nominated for Best Design at AniMazSpot 2010. He studied animation at Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, California, and got some good advice from the AniMazSpot jury panel, and now works in the San Francisco Bay area.


Özgül Gürbüz for her Flawless Life, which follows a homeless man through the back alleys of Istanbul, where he finds something in a dumpster which changes his life, while giving us an insight into a life many of us can not even imagine. Ms. Gürbüz is from Istanbul, Turkey, where she studied at Anadolu University / Fine Arts / Animation. This is AniMazSpot’s first Quarterly Winner from Turkey, and if Gürbüz is any example, they hope more Turkish animators will follow.

Congratulations to these two Q3 winners, as well as the Q1 winners, Lissa Pascale and Nathan Jones, and the Q2 winners, Michaela Copikova and Michael Cawood. These six will be joined by the two winners of the Fourth and final Quarter to see who wins the Bozu Bronze trophy.

The fourth quarter now is open for entries and the deadline for submissions is July 16th, all entries are accepted and receive comments from the AniMazSpot jury panel. To submit a short visit, click “submit a short”

AniMazSpot Welcomes Kaj Pindal

Animation Spotlight is delighted to announce that Kaj Pindal (Denmark/Canada) and Cinzia Bottini (Italy/Singapore) have recently joined the AniMazSpot international jury panel. Many people think of AniMazSpot as simply an annual animation festival, but actually at its core is a non profit organization with a mandate to support and promote animated shorts filmmakers.

The most important success of this mandate has been their unique panel of animation experts, who not only score each short, but give the filmmakers comments and advise. Entrants consistently tell us it’s what they appreciate most about AniMazSpot, now in its fourth year. Many filmmakers have taken advantage of the panel’s ideas to apply to their next short, and every new short of theirs that have been entered into the next festival have been much better, thanks to the AniMazSpot panel.

Pindal and Bottini join a distinguished group, which this year includes; Kine Aune (Norway), Frank Mouris (New York), Paul Dopff (France), Weiling Guo (China), Bill Matthews (California), Dr. Jose Garcia Moreno (Mexico), Yaprak Morali (Turkey), Larry Loc (California), Malcolm Turner (Australia), Jim Keeshen (California), Sharon Wu (Taiwan), Jack Bosson (California), and Monique Renault (Netherlands). Visit, click “entries”, then, “intern’l panel” to see other panel members who have come and gone over these first four year, and often return once again. They seem to enjoy it as much as the entrants.

AniMazSpot is particularly pleased with the addition of the internationally revered Kaj Pindal, who has now added an Emmy to his long list of International awards, for Peep and the Big Wide World, a half-hour animated children’s show, featuring the characters of Peep, Chirp and Quack, which introduces pre-schoolers to a range of science topics.

Kaj Pindal is a long-time professor of classical animation at Sheridan College, but the origins of Peep pre-date his 1970 beginnings at Sheridan, back to Pindal’s long creative career at the National Film Board of Canada. Pindal actually began his animation careen in his native Denmark, during the Second World War. His international acclaim began when he moved to Canada, and started woking with the NFB in 1957, animating, designing and directing shorts such as; People by the Billions, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, the City: Osaka, and his Oscar nominated, What On Earth, among countless other animation gems.

Cinzia Bottini, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer, in comparison, to animation. She comes to AniMazSpot through the recommendation of Giannalberto Bendazzi, the historian and author of the soon to be republished version of his highly popular tomb, Cartoon, the encyclopedia of world animation.

Bendazzi was Bottini’s MA thesis advisor at the University of Milan, which she followed up by working with Bendazzi on his upcoming revision of Cartoons. In August she moves to Singapore to continue her studies in animation and work on her Ph.D. at the Nanyang Technological University, where a number of AniMazSpot entries have come from. So, AniMazSpot welcomes Kaj Pindal and Cinzia Bottini to continue our mission to advise and support animation shorts filmmakers from around the world.

With this in mind, AniMazSpot has invited a number of top animation professionals to participate in the celebration of UPA Pictures, the little studio that revolutionize the style and content of animated shorts back in the 50s. Their award winning shorts continue to inspire several generations of animation filmmakers. “Magoo at the Alex” is the event, which will take place on September 15, as part of the AniMazSpot 2012 festival, from September 10 to 16. The evening event will screen all 15 of UPA’s Oscar nominated and winning shorts, recently restored by Sony Pictures. Check, click “events” for schedules, ticket sales, and studio tours.

“Gravity Falls” Premieres Friday, June 29 On Disney Channel


Gravity Falls is just west of weird, slightly east of eerie and always north of normal, in a fresh new comedy series that follows city kids and twins Dipper and Mabel Pines who are sent to spend the summer with their eccentric Great Uncle Stan (aka Grunkle Stan) who runs a tourist trap called The Mystery Shack in a remote northwestern town where nothing is what it seems. There are creatures in the forest, there are monsters in the lake and even time traveling adventures. The comedy, produced by Disney Television Animation, has a special preview FRIDAY, JUNE 15 (9:55 p.m., ET/PT) and premieres FRIDAY, JUNE 29 (9:30 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel.

Created and executive-produced by 2007 CalArts graduate Alex Hirsch (Fish Hooks, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack) and inspired by his real life adventures with his twin sister, Gravity Falls features The Voice talents of Jason Ritter (Parenthood) and Kristen Schaal (Toy Story 3, 30 Rock) in the lead roles. The cast also includes Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks) and Alex Hirsch, and guest stars including Jennifer Coolidge, Will Forte, Alfred Molina, Lance Bass, Coolio and Larry King.

The schedule is as follows:

Friday, May 25

Viewers are invited to enter the elusive world of Gravity Falls at and play the game “Mystery Shack Mystery” in which Dipper and Mable must collect objects to solve puzzles, and customize postcards with various backgrounds, objects and fun messages in the activity, “Postcard Creator.”

Friday, June 15

A full episode preview of Gravity Falls follows the premiere of “Let It Shine” (9:55 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. In the premiere episode, “Tourist Trapped,” Dipper and Mabel arrive to spend the summer in Gravity Falls and soon discover that something is amiss with the remote town.
“Tourist Trapped” will be available on iTunes.

Friday, June 22

Gravity Fallsseries premiere available on Disney Channel SVOD.

Friday, June 29

“Tourist Trapped” encores on Disney Channel (9:00 p.m., ET/PT) and will be available immediately after on A new episode, “The Legend of the Gobblewonker,” follows on Disney Channel in its regular timeslot (9:30 p.m., ET/PT). In the episode, the twins embark on a mission to prove that a legendary sea monster exists at the bottom of the local lake.
Viewers can take a speed ride through Gravity Falls in the new game, “Mystery Tour Ride” featured on

Saturday, June 30

A new episode “Headhunters” premieres on Disney Channel (9:25 p.m., ET/PT). Larry King and Coolio guest star in a classic “whodunit’” episode filled with life-sized doppelganger wax figurines.
Series launches on Disney Channel On Demand, Mobile VOD, Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation.

Sunday, July 1

Encores of “Tourist Trapped,” “The Legend of the Gobblewonker” and “Headhunters” air on Disney Channel (beginning at 9:00 p.m., ET/PT).

Digital Domain Media Group Collaborates with twofour54 to Develop Abu Dhabi Film Industry

DDMG to Establish New Animation/VFX Studio and Digital Domain Institute at twofour54

CANNES, France, May 21, 2012 — At the Cannes Film Festival today, digital production company Digital Domain Media Group, and twofour54, the Abu Dhabi government-backed media and entertainment hub, announced that they are collaborating to drive development of the local film, TV and media production industry in the Middle East.

Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) will establish an animation, visual effects and motion capture studio and Digital Domain Institute media school in Abu Dhabi. The collaboration is designed to support the Emirate’s goal to become the region’s center of excellence for media content creation, growing both the industry and national talent.

DDMG will begin production of visual effects and animation in studios in twofour54 at the beginning of 2013, with plans to recruit and hire staff immediately from local and international talent pools. Over time the studio will employ upwards of 500 people. DDMG will develop a purpose-built 150,000 square foot (14,000 square meter) state-of-the-art entertainment production complex, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2015.

The new Digital Domain studio will create animated feature films, produce visual and 3D effects, engage in the production of original Middle Eastern-branded entertainment for global audiences and contribute to international productions. The studio will become part of Digital Domain’s global feature film VFX and animation pipeline, connected to its studios in Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, London, Florida and Mumbai.

The Digital Domain Institute/Abu Dhabi, modeled after the Digital Domain Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, will train students in the essential skills of digital media production for entertainment, simulation and related applications. Classes at the Digital Domain Institute/Abu Dhabi are scheduled to begin early in 2014. The market development initiative and creation of the DDMG studio and school are funded by $100M (US) in grants from the Abu Dhabi government.

This marks the first time a major, global studio has established a presence in the region, highlighting the impact that twofour54 has had on the media industry in the Arab world. By bringing leading edge technologies and creative techniques to Abu Dhabi, DDMG will support the wider film and TV production industry and provide massive opportunities for talent and creative development in the region.

Separately, earlier this week, twofour54 announced that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi now offers one of the world’s most competitive production incentives — a 30% rebate for film, television and commercial media projects.

“We are incredibly excited to join twofour54 in building a strong foundation for the filmmaking industry in Abu Dhabi,” said DDMG CEO and Chairman John Textor. “There is tremendous opportunity to produce original entertainment content for Middle Eastern audiences worldwide, and to bring Hollywood work and our own original productions here as well. Pairing the studio and school enables us to help the Emirate to build a sustainable creative industries base. Abu Dhabi was the natural location for us given its strategic location, modern infrastructure and supportive government. We’re looking forward to grooming up-and-coming Arab filmmakers at a time of such great awakening in this part of the world.”

“Digital Domain represents the next great leap forward for twofour54 and Abu Dhabi — a strong move into digital production and the development of locally created feature films and TV content,” said Wayne Borg, Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer of twofour54. “The establishment of DDMG in Abu Dhabi is a significant event in the evolution of the media industry in the Middle East. It will provide incredible opportunities for young Arabs to develop skills and careers in an area of the media industry that has simply never existed before in the region.”

An award-winning digital production company founded in 1993, DDMG is a leading provider of digital visual effects and has contributed to more than 90 major motion pictures. twofour54 is the Abu Dhabi government-backed, media and entertainment hub which focuses on training and talent development, supports creative entrepreneurship and provides enabling production, post-production and broadcast facilities. twofour54 is home to more than 160 local, regional and international media companies including CNN, BBC, Ubisoft, Fox Intl Channels, Cartoon Network, Financial Times and Charisma.

“Dedans” By Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka

Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka created a real winner with this video for Odezenne’s catchy hip-hop tune “Dedans.” The stark black-and-white visuals evoke a 1930s Fleischer Studios cartoon nightmare. But this is no pastiche. Mavounia-Kouka has a graphic style that samples from the past, but speaks in its own fresh voice, much like Odezenne’s song, which smartly weaves classic big band samples into its contemporary sound. (P.S. – The filmmaker says on the Vimeo page that a version with English lyrics is forthcoming; the animation tells a story in itself, but it’ll be great to know what they’re saying.)

Direction and Design: Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka
Animation: Laurent Box & Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka
Music and sound design: Odezenne
Song extract from the album O.V.N.I _Edition Louis XIV

“Because” by Cyriak

British animator Cyriak does more with less than just about any other animator today. In Because, he “found a stupid photo of my face and decided to make a video out of it. Why? Just because.”

Cyriak pushes off-the-shelf software to its absolute creative limits. Because‘s outlandish array of creatures and spacecraft were created using 3D layers in Adobe After Effects. He composed the film’s music, too.

The End of Unpaid Internships

Internships are addressed with increasing frequency on Cartoon Brew. While there is value to the concept of internships, too many studios use internships as a means to free labor for their animated projects. The practice is both unethical and illegal.

Time published a piece earlier this month suggesting that the era of unpaid internships may be coming to an end. It’s a good introduction to the issues surrounding interning and a must-read for any student.

The growing backlash to unpaid internships is not limited to just the animation industry. Companies who are accused of wrongdoing in the Time article include movie studios (Fox Searchlight), TV shows (PBS’s The Charlie Rose Show), and magazines (Harper’s Bazaar). More and more workers who have been victimized are filing lawsuits against their employers, a trend that could eventually pressure the US government to more strictly enforce labor laws regarding interns.

If you work in the animation industry and feel you have been subjected to an unfair labor situation, please contact me (names and contact info will be kept confidential). I can’t follow up on every request, but Cartoon Brew will continue to bring light to labor issues as much as possible.

(Thanks to Jaime Ekkens for the link; photo of girl via Shutterstock)

3D Simpsons Short Starring Maggie Simpson In Front Of “Ice Age 4″

It was announced on last night’s Season Finale of The Simpsons that Maggie will star in her own stand-alone 3D animated theatrical short. The Longest Daycare will debut before Ice Age: Continental Drift opening in theaters on July 13th, 2012.

UPDATE: David Silverman appeared to confirm on Twitter that he is directing the short.

“Tron Uprising” Preview talkback

Tonight at 9:30pm Eastern/Pacific, Disney’s Tron Uprising airs its pilot on Disney Channel (it’s also available online). I personally think this series is a breakthrough for a US-generated animated action series; a game changer.

For decades the standard look for adventure cartoons was the model started by Doug Wildey on Hanna Barbera’s Jonny Quest (1964). Later, Bruce Timm and the team at Warner Animation advanced the field with Batman: the Animated Series (1992), and there’s no denying Anime certainly brought a new feel to the genre.

Tron Uprising certainly borrows from those traditions and ups it a notch – a BIG notch. To be fair, the pilot airing tonight only shows off half the picture – the beautiful visuals designed by Art Director Alberto Mielgo and Lead Character Designer Robert Valley. The pilot Beck’s Beginning is a bit of a paste-up – as its constructed from the elements of the previously announced mini-sodes which were originally planned to preview the show (Disney execs decided to edit them into one 31 minute episode instead of presenting them as serialized bite-sized pieces, as first intended). Producer/director Charlie Bean (The Ren & Stimpy Show, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, The Amazing World of Gumball) has the perfect sensibility for this show – and from what I understand the storyline for the actual series is far more complex than the set-up presented tonight.

But so far, I love what I see. How about you? What’s your take? You have no excuse not to give it a try. Take a look at some of this gorgeous production material below. Top row: two of Mielgo’s magnificent production paintings, and a third by Joon Ahn; second row: a model sheet for some of the lead characters; third row: a few of Valley’s storyboards and (at my request) a Beck model sheet (click thumbnails to enlarge). Click all images for larger, fuller views.

Aardman launches Animate It! website

Friday 18th May 2012 – London – Through Animate It!, Aardman make the highly technical world of an Oscar-winning animation studio accessible to everyone — regardless of skill, experience or talent — nurturing and inspiring a future generation of animators.

Animate It! is endorsed by Nick Park, creator of Wallace & Gromit who says: ‘The best advice I have for anyone interested in animating is ‘Have a go’ and Animate It! makes it so easy to try for yourself. I wish this had been around when I first started animating.’ will become the online destination for all young animators providing hints and tips from Aardman animators, regular video tutorials, resources and assets to download and the latest behind the scenes news from the Aardman studios and the wider animation world. It will also provide a platform for young talent to showcase and share their work.

The launch of coincides with the release of Animate It! Morph Edition, a do-it-yourself stop-motion animation pack developed in association with Aardman. It comes complete with animation software that is easy to use and compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, flexible moulds and clay to create your own Morph and Chas models, a ‘green screen’ to enable you to drop in your own choice of backgrounds, video tutorials — and 26 episodes of Morph! It was showcased by the Guardian Games Blog as one of the five highlights from Toy Fair 2012, and a live demo featured on the first ever show of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch on 25 March. Animate It! Morph Edition will be available from May in selected stores and from leading e-tailers including Firebox, Amazon and Suggested retail price £29.99.

A free 14 day trial of the Animate It! software is available on, and the website will also host assets and resources to be used in conjunction with the Animate It! software to enhance your animations.

Aardman Director Bram Ttwheam Directs “Shine” Music Video For Nordic Giants & Cate Ferris

London — Aardman director Bram Ttwheam has teamed up with artist Tristan Stevens to create the much-anticipated video release for the Nordic Giants‘ debut single, “Shine,” featuring the vocals and lyrics of Cate Ferris.

Post-rock duo Nordic Giants smashed onto the scene little over a year ago. Influenced by the likes of Massive Attack and Cinematic Orchestra, the band have already shared the stage with Ratatat, Mogwai and headlined the world premiere of “The Blot Symphony,” a visual art piece by Ralph Steadman.

Hidden behind feathered masks and effortlessly changing between instruments, the Nordic Giants perform live original soundtracks to a backdrop of award winning short films.  From dreamy ambient swells, epic builds and huge moments of power to a combination of dark, funny and beautiful short films, which can bring tears, smiles and actually scare you at times.

The debut video is a fully animated tour de force made and directed by Bram Ttwheam, with the kind use of artwork by Tristan Stevens. Nordic Giants discovered Tristan Stevens, a Somerset-based artist, at his exhibition and were very quick to build a collaborative relationship with him.

“Tristan’s work feels like a complete world, it is dense and ethereal at the same time, and the creatures who populate this world have a poignancy and depth that really intrigues,” said Nordic Giants.

Ttwheam says of working with Nordic Giants, “The emotional depth of Cate Ferris’ words charged with the power of the Nordic Giants musical interpretation immediately inspired the storyteller in me.  This video may tell a simple story but it doesn’t shy away from packing an emotional punch.”

Made to celebrate the launch of Nordic Giants’ first single, the official launch of the video will take place at Hoxton Hall, London on May 31st. Nordic Giants will curate a night of art, film, music and performance with chosen collaborators including internationally acclaimed artist Chris Bucklow, photographer and collector Martin Wade, costume designer Lizzie George, artist Tristan Stevens, and a selection of films from Shorts TV and Smith and Foulkes of Nexus, among others.

AM² Announces Celebrated Animator, Designer, and Director Hiroshi Nagahama as an Official Guest of Honor

Animator, Director and Designer Involved with Hatsune Miku, Doraemon, Fruits Basket, Mushishi, Pokemon, Revolutionary Girl Utena and X-men Comes This Summer’s Most Anticipated Animation, Music and Manga Convention in Southern California

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 18, 2012) — This year’s highly anticipated summer event, AM2, June 15-17, 2012 that will be held in sunny Southern California (Anaheim, California) proudly announces the attendance of Japanese animator, designer and director (recipient of the 11th Animation Kobe/Individual award in 2006) Hiroshi Nagahama as an official 2012 Guest of Honor.  Nagahama-san has been involved with some of the most popular animes of our time including Fruits Basket, Mushishi, Revolutionary Girl Utena, X-Men and Detroit Metal City. More info and convention registration can be found at

Hiroshi Nagahama started his career at MADHOUSE as a mechanical designer for (The) Cockpit and was also a part of the production staff for Azuki-Chan.  After leaving MADHOUSE, he became a freelancer and worked on the conceptual design for the Revolutionary Girl Utena series and the storyboard writer and animation director for Sexy Command-Gaiden Sugoiyo! Masaru-San and Ojamaru.  Nagahama-san was also involved with Doraemon, Pokemon, Fruits basket, Kimi Ni Todoke, X-Men and was also the director for the highly acclaimed Mushishi (TV Series), Detroit Metal City and Hatsune Miku music videos “Downloader” and Chime”.

“We are so honored to have Nagahama-san join us at AM2,” states Convention Representative Chase Wang, “His talent is amazing, and our attendees will have an amazing time getting to know the man who has been involved with some of the most popular recent animes.  Get your Passports today and join the fun!”

3 Day Passport Holders that also stay within the official hotel room block will be treated to a “private” panel/meet-and-greet with Guests of Honor during the convention–the official hotel is the Anaheim Hilton Hotel.

Please note that ALL Guest of Honor activities (i.e. panels, autographs, appearances, etc.) are ALL Passport preferred activities.  There will also be a private Meet & Greet event for each Guest of Honor EXCLUSIVELY for Attendees that are 3 Day Passport Holders and Anaheim Hilton Room Block Attendees (room key proof is required).

Please note that ALL film premiere events (i.e. Ace Attorney, Kaibutshu-Kun, Kaiji 2, etc.) will consist of an initial First screening (Passport ONLY & Hotel Priority)
and a 2nd Screening (Passport Preferred & General Audience).  All screenings are based upon seat availability.

Hiroshi Nagahama joins current AM2 Official Guests of Honor including Tara Strong. Putumayo, Andrea Libman, Quinton Flynn, Sixh. and Toshihiro Kawamoto.

Current Main Events include Masquerade and Sixh.’s Fashion Rock Opera Concert.

Attendees can avoid the anticipated huge lines at autographs, premiere screenings, workshops, main events, concerts and panels by purchasing a Passport fast pass for the event.  The Passport fast pass will also provide holders with premier seating options at Main Events and at Concert events as well as major discounts with theme parks (including Disneyland and the grand opening of Cars Land, Knott’s Berry Farm, etc.), retailers and local restaurants.  Bypass the lines and get your Passport today and experience the difference!

AM2 current activities include Exhibit Hall, AMV’s, Arcade, Summer Festival, Behind the Voice Actors Studio, Masquerade, Dances, Fashion Shows, Table Top, Console Gaming, Workshops, Panels, Concerts and more!

Summer Festival performers Yukie Dong, Brathzo, Icarus Kid, Kazha, Lucid, Momotoma, and Ant1Nett

AM2 Premieres, screenings and exclusive screenings include Ace Attorney, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Star Of Milos, Kaibutsu-Kun The Movie, Kaiji 2 and more!

Current Major Sponsors Include: Anime News Network and Snakebyte USA.

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World Premiere of Disney*Pixar’s “Brave” Heads to Hollywood for Grand Opening of Dolby Theatre


June 18, 2012

World Premiere of Disney•Pixar’s Brave Heads to Hollywood for Grand Opening of the Dolby Theatre

Epic Action Adventure Joins 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival Lineup

BURBANK, Calif. and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (May 18, 2012) — Disney•Pixar’s Brave, a groundbreaking adventure full of humor, heart and breathtaking action, extends its pioneering spirit to its world premiere on June 18, 2012, marking the Grand Opening of Hollywood’s Dolby® TheatreSM. The red-carpet event is a special presentation for Film Independent’s 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival. Premiering in Dolby 3D, a state-of-the-art imaging solution providing audiences with a superior 3D experience, Brave is an epic tale set in the mystical Scottish Highlands where the film’s headstrong protagonist, Merida, is forced to discover the meaning of true bravery. The film hits theatres nationwide on June 22, 2012.

“With a spirited heroine and enchanting setting in the ancient Scottish Highlands, Brave represents some exciting firsts for Pixar,” said Ricky Strauss, president, marketing, The Walt Disney Studios. “We are proud that the world premiere of Brave will serve as the inaugural premiere at the new Dolby Theatre as part of the LA Film Festival, a fitting way to launch Merida’s extraordinary adventure.”

According to Ramzi Haidamus, executive vice president, sales and marketing at Dolby Laboratories, the 180,000-square-foot, 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre will be a world stage for entertainment and a top venue to host world premieres and launch events. “The world premiere of Disney•Pixar’s Brave in conjunction with the LA Film Festival is perfect for kicking off the next era for Dolby,” said Haidamus. “We are committed to creating the best entertainment experiences, and now with the grand opening of the Dolby Theatre, we are honored to host the best as well. This is the first of many exclusive and exciting events–from movie premieres to awards ceremonies–in which Dolby and our technologies will play a featured role.”

Celebrating 18 years, the Los Angeles Film Festival will make this special presentation available to Festival attendees with Platinum All-Access or Gold Passes. An additional Gala screening of the film will be held the next day at Regal Cinemas at L.A. LIVE for pass and ticket holders. “We are thrilled to present the world premiere of Brave, a beautiful adventure story, to our LA Film Fest audience,” said Festival Director Stephanie Allain. “As Disney•Pixar’s first film with a female protagonist, it fits perfectly with our celebration of Women in Animation programming we’ll be holding during the Festival.”

With its grand opening, the Dolby Theatre is set to be a showcase for Dolby innovation, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby 3D and other new technologies for years to come. The Brave world premiere is sponsored by VisitScotland.

MUMIA Is A Quirky Animation Festival In Brazil

Festivals rarely make animated spots to encourage film submissions, much less spots that are as cool as the one above. The piece was created by Diego Akel to encourage filmmakers to submit to the MUMIA Underground World Animation Festival. The festival, which is celebrating its 10th edition this fall, screens in various Brazilian cities including Belo Horizonte, Betim and Nova Lima.

If I understood their submission rules correctly, they also have an awesomely renegade film selection process: “There will not be selection of the films and videos submitted. As long as four hours of the festival programming is completed, the selection will be over.” If you’re interested in showing your film at MUMIA, go here for submission details. Entries need to be postmarked by May 31.

“thoughtlessness” by David Martins da Silva

Perhaps this should be subtitled: “How an animator sees the world.” The visuals in this delightful short film are, according to the filmmaker, from the POV of a very imaginative child wandering through France. Filmed with a mobile phone with integrated 2D animation by David Martins da Silva, a student at EMCA (Ecole des Métiers du Cinéma d’Animation) the famed animation school located in Angoulême, France.

23rd Annual Dusty Film & Animation Festival Winners Announced

Awards Ceremony Celebrates Outstanding Achievements for 2012

May 11, 2012 (New York, NY) School of Visual Arts (SVA) announced the winners of its 23rd Annual Dusty Film & Animation Festival in an awards ceremony last night held at New York City’s SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street). The evening capped off a 3-day festival highlighting over 100 films and animations by students graduating from the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department, and last night’s event included clips of the films and animations of the honorees and winners; and an awards ceremony with notable presenters from the film and animation industry.This year’s Dusty presenters: John Turturro, Kathrine Narducci, Daniel Minahan, Chris Newman, Craig McKay, Barry Markowitz, Nina Rosenblum, James Manos Jr., Bill Plympton, Mike and Tim Rauch, aka, The Rauch Brothers, Roy Frumkes, Alex Levi as well as Valerie Smaldone, the MC for the event. For more info and event images, please visit The 2012 Dusty winners are:


Outstanding Film: Jorge Arzac for Los Medios de Intercambio

Outstanding Short Film: Francesca Coppola for Flamingos

Outstanding Achievement in Directing: Jorge Arzac for Los Medios de Intercambio

Outstanding Documentary: Evelina Gokinayeva for Day of Knowledge

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Ian Hoban for Los Medios de Intercambio

Outstanding Achievement in Editing: Jorge Arzac for Los Medios de Intercambio and  Evelina Gokinayeva for Day of Knowledge

Gotham Honorary Sound Grants: Steven Burgess,Nicholas Hallbilsback and Brittany Neff

New York Women in Film & Television Award: Claire Pereira de Souza

National Board of Review Human Spirit Award: Michael McSweeney


Outstanding Achievement in Traditional Animation: Kaukab Basheer for Dechen and Evan Borja for Otzi

Outstanding Achievement in Traditional Animation, Character Design: Jae Il Son for Vicious Circle

Outstanding Achievement in Traditional Animation, Production Design: Deena Beck for Chasing Unicorns

Outstanding Achievement in Stop Motion Animation: Colleen Newell for A Good Time

Outstanding Achievement in Stop Motion Animation, Character Design: Steven Cartoccio for Concrete Jungle

Outstanding Achievement in Stop Motion Animation, Production Design: Nicholas Newgent for Home Sweet Home


Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting: Francesca Coppola for Commedia All’Italiana (Comedy Italian Style)

“We are pleased to celebrate the success of our students by recognizing the fine work of these many filmmakers and animators, and giving members of the industry the chance to see the work of these talented and hard-working individuals,” said Reeves Lehmann, chair of the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at SVA.  “We also want to extend our appreciation to the many great sponsors and supporters, some who have been with us a number of years, and others who joined more recently. And we’d like to acknowledge all the hard work put forward by our team and crew, especially festival producer Annie Flocco and co-producer Meredith Engstrom, for another year of excellence and our most successful festival to date.

“I am thrilled with the success of the festival and awards ceremony this year and so proud of all of the students,” said independent producer Annie Flocco, SVA faculty member and producer of the event. “Our presenters were wonderful and inspirational. We also had a lot of film industry members in attendance who are now speaking with our students about working with them on future projects.”

Submit to Cartoon Brew’s 3rd Student Animation Festival

Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival

We’re excited to announce a call for entries for our third annual Student Film Festival, a yearly showcase of outstanding student films from around the globe. We’ve received hundreds of submissions in our first two years that have resulted in a fantastic selection of films, and we hope to continue that trend this year. Click to see the 2010 lineup and 2011 lineup.

Our mission for the festival is simple: to share student-produced animated shorts with the widest possible community of industry artists, fellow students and animation fans. And not just any student films, but films of the highest caliber…the most original, the most thought-provoking, the ones that make us laugh hardest and engage us emotionally. Of course, we present student films throughout the year on Cartoon Brew, but we want the festival to direct even greater attention to the exciting work being produced by today’s up-and-coming filmmakers.

Filmmakers who are selected to screen in Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival will each receive $300. We’re also adding a new twist this year. After all the films have debuted, there will be an audience poll where Cartoon Brew viewers can vote on their favorite film. The winner of the audience choice award will earn an additional $500.

Here’s all the info you need:


1. It has to be animated. (Obviously.)
2. It has to be a student film. (Even more obvious.)
3. Must have been completed after May 1, 2011.
4. Must be an online premiere. (Films that are accessible online to the public will not be considered.)
5. Submissions due by Sunday, June 3, 2012Thursday, May 31, 2012

To submit, send an email to studentfest (at) cartoonbrew (dot) com with the following info:

• Your name, school and country
• Film title and synopsis
• Private link and password (ex: Password-Protected Vimeo link, Private or Unlisted YouTube link, or a website download link).

Up to 12 films will be selected for the festival. We will announce the festival selections in early June. Screenings will begin on Cartoon Brew in late June. Every film that is selected to screen as part of the Cartoon Brew Student Film Festival will be paid a screening fee of $300(US). We don’t assume any exclusivity or ownership of your film. In other words, you are still free to submit to festivals, sell it to distributors, and post it anywhere else on-line shortly after its online debut in our festival.

Many students are informed in school that posting their film on-line ruins their festival chances. We’ve explored the issue before by speaking with festival directors and recommend reading this. None of the major animation festivals enforce such a rule today. However, some non-animation festivals, like Sundance, ask that a film be taken off-line during the course of their festival. As far as we know, the only awards organization that strictly demands films remain off-line is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, so if you’re trying to qualify for a Student Academy Award, you don’t want to post your film on-line. To understand the issues better, read this case study written by Avner Geller, who co-directed Defective Detective, a film that appeared in last year’s Student Animation Festival as well as won a Student Academy Award.

(Submit photo via Shutterstock)