“O Rei Gastão” By Diogo Viegas

O Rei Gastão (King Gaston) by Rio de Janeiro-based animator Diogo Viegas picked up the best children’s animation award at this year’s Anima Mundi festival. It’s easy to see why: the animation, design and color are undeniably charming. There’s English captions for non-Portuguese speakers, but the visual storytelling is so clear that I found it just as charming (if not moreso) when I didn’t understand the lyrics.

TRAILER: “The Cold Heart” By Hannes Rall

German animation director Hannes Rall, who has previously adapted Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Erlking to animation, is wrapping up another hand-drawn animated adaptation of classic literature. This time, he’s tackling the work of German writer Wilhelm Hauff and his fairy tale The Cold Heart.

The short is set in Germany’s Black Forest during the 19th century: “Peter Munk is a poor but goodhearted young man, desperately wishing to be rich. Tempted by the evil ghost of the woods, he trades his warm heart for a heart of stone. He becomes rich but turns into a merciless and cruel man. Is there still hope for him?”

The 29-minute short channels classic German art influences including the distorted human figures of Expressionist woodcuts and the silhouette animation design of Lotte Reiniger. The film also boasts the color design of animation veteran Hans Bacher, who was the production designer of Disney’s Mulan, among an extensive list of Disney animation credits. Both Rall and Bacher teach at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where they connected for this project.

The short received German production funding from MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg. It will premiere later this year. Rall shared with Cartoon Brew some of Hans Bacher’s color scripts for the film:

DreamWorks’ “Me and My Shadow” Poster

DreamWorks released a poster this afternoon for its upcoming hybrid feature Me & My Shadow slated for release in spring 2014. The film, which is about a shadow that takes control of its owner’s actions, will combine CG and hand-drawn animation, the latter which will be used for the shadow animation.

The film’s director is veteran story artist and animator Alessandro Carloni, who served as head of story on How to Train Your Dragon and who is directing for the first time. The original director of the film back when the project was announced in 2010 was Mark Dindal (The Emperor’s New Groove, Cats Don’t Dance), but he appears to no longer be involved. Regular updates about the film can be found on Me and My Shadow‘s official Facebook page.

“The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete” by Adam Campbell, Uri Lotan and Elizabeth McMahill

Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival proudly presents Ballad of Poisonberry Pete by Adam Campbell, Elizabeth McMahill and Uri Lotan from Ringling College of Art and Design. The filmmakers give fresh life to the tried-and-true Western genre by inserting a left-field element into the mix: baked goods. Despite the brief running time, the filmmakers create distinctive personalities and designs for all the characters. Dramatic shot composition, atmospheric lighting, and appropriate music complete this tongue-in-cheek tribute to classic Western films.

Click HERE to read an interview with the filmmakers Adam Campbell, Uri Lotan and Elizabeth McMahill.

CBTV Student Fest: “The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete” By Adam Campbell, Uri Lotan and Elizabeth McMahill

Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival proudly presents Ballad of Poisonberry Pete by Adam Campbell, Elizabeth McMahill and Uri Lotan from Ringling College of Art and Design. The filmmakers give fresh life to the tried-and-true Western genre by inserting a left-field element into the mix: baked goods. Despite the short running time, the filmmakers create distinctive personalities and designs for all the characters. Dramatic shot composition, atmospheric lighting, and appropriate music complete this tongue-in-cheek tribute to classic Western films.

Continue reading for comments from the filmmakers, pictured below from left to right, Uri Lotan, Adam Campbell and Elizabeth McMahill:

THE IDEA
The idea for The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete developed from a partially realized side project that we made with our good friend Josh Garlick. We had seen a lot of 24 hour films online from students at other schools and wanted to make one too, so when we had a day off from school due to a holiday we jumped at the opportunity. After the animation labs closed at midnight we went home to brainstorm and plan out the day ahead. Adam was a resident advisor and one of his residents had given him a pie, which he brought with him.

Somehow that pie got us to the Cowboy Pie that became known as Poisonberry Pete. We then stayed up making pie puns and silly drawings until 3am. The next day we set to work. By the end of the day we only had half an animatic, but it was half of an animatic that we loved. At Ringling we pitch several ideas for our thesis shorts and fully pre-produce two of those ideas in the second half of our junior year. We completed the work for and passed one idea for our first pitch. When we had to start pitching ideas for the second film we tossed in the pie western idea. Our class liked it and we liked it, so we went with it. A lot of the jokes and characters from the first version are still in the final, but the story, quality of the characters, and everything else got a huge overhaul in the weeks that followed.

TOOLBOX
We used Autodesk Maya. Rendering was done with Renderman for Maya, compositing with Nuke, editing with Adobe Premiere, and a great deal of miscellany was done in Photoshop. Our rigs were created using Rapid Rig, but we modified it to better meet the needs of our characters. To achieve better fidelity and control, all of our rendering and post was done using a linear workflow. The software and powerful HP workstations that we used were provided by Ringling, as was use of the school’s wonderful render farm. Outside of school, we had the pleasure to work with Garth Neustadter, who composed our music, as well as Mutante Media, who did our sound and mixing. They did an amazing job and really helped to bring the film to life.

CHALLENGES
One of the greatest challenges in making this short was getting the flow and emotion of the story to work. The whole film was under constant revision in the preproduction phase and right up into early production. It was all pretty much working, but everything needed to be made better. We cut a lot of gags for the sake of flow, the showdown portion probably is half of what it used to be in earlier versions. We edited a lot of stuff out but we also added a lot as well. Right before we entered the layout phase we had a gag session where we got together and just let ourselves go to town thinking of any stuff we could add or plus before really committing to the film layout in 3D–that was the night we decided little Blueberry should burst into song instead of giving her little speech. Even after our layout was completed we were trying to smooth out the story. It was then that the shots of Pete tossing the coin to Blueberry at the end were added in. It was tough to go back, think, and add shots when we were under such pressure to get animation underway and just stick to what we had, but when we saw those new shots play next to each other with our temp tracks it gave us all shivers and we knew we had made the right move.

LESSONS LEARNED
We all learned so much in making this film, we overcame a lot technically and sharpened our artistic sensitivities a great deal. Most importantly though, we learned the power of the audience. It seems like an obvious thing, but this film really made us appreciate the power of an audience that buys into your film. You really define the arena in your film, but the audience is integral and as soon as they stop participating you have a problem. We had that issue for a long time with the sheriff, people just couldn’t accept that he’d shoot at a little girl like that and we kept working his shots and dialogue for a long time to fix it. In contrast, other parts like the piano playing pie at the beginning getting shot and our cut to live action were eagerly accepted by audiences.

INSPIRATIONS
We drew a lot of inspiration from westerns, both classic and contemporary, such as Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars and 3:10 to Yuma. Puns were of course a HUGE source of inspiration as well. Humor was just as important to us as our choices in film making and things such as SNL, the Muppets, and Airplane! were always in the backs our our minds. And who could forget pies, what could be more inspiring than dessert?

FILMMAKERS’ WEBSITES:
Adam Campbell
Elizabeth McMahill
Uri Lotan
Poisonberry Pete Facebook page




The Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival is made possible by the generosity of our presenting sponsor JibJab.

TONIGHT in LA: CARTOON DUMP 5th Anniversary Show!

This very month in 2007, Cartoon Dump was born. Come celebrate our 5th anniversary with our performance, Monday night, filled with sketches, songs, puppets, and some very funny comedians! And some very awful cartoons.

This month’s guest stars include Jimmy Dore, Emily Maya Mills, Paul Gilmartin and Dylan Brody. Plus, as usual, TV’s Frank Conniff as Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl, Erica Doering as Compost Brite and J. Elvis Weinstein as Dumpster Diver Dan. Showtime is 8pm tonight, July 23rd, at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood (4773 Hollywood Blvd; two blocks west of Vermont), and tickets can be purchased at the door or online here. Join our FaceBook Event page for more information and updates.

(Art above by Thom Foolery)

TRAILER: “Chicken With Plums” By Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, the directors of the Oscar-nominated French animated feature Persepolis, are back with a new fantasy-drama Chicken With Plums. Sony Pictures Classics will release stateside on August 17. The live-action film, with minor bits of animation, is based on a graphic novel by Satrapi.

The film is set in Tehran, Iran, in 1958:

Since his beloved violin was broken, Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, has lost all taste for life. Finding no instrument worthy of replacing it, he decides to confine himself to bed to await death. As he hopes for its arrival, he plunges into deep reveries, with dreams as melancholic as they are joyous, taking him back to his youth and even to a conversation with Azrael, the Angel of Death, who reveals the future of his children. As pieces of the puzzle gradually fit together, the poignant secret of his life comes to light: a wonderful story of love which inspired his genius and his music.

Watch the trailer below:

CARTOON WTF? “Hello Kitty/KISS” Toilet Paper

Finally, something appropriate to wipe yourself with…

This unusual toilet paper is part of a whole collection of collaborative merchandise between Sanrio and Gene Simmons, tying Hello Kitty and KISS. Other products include Hello Kitty/KISS dolls, T-shirts, tissues, and posters. These items are primarily being sold at KISS concerts worldwide.

(Thanks Ed Austin via Trend Hunter)

DreamWorks Releases Its First App Called Ptch; Wants To Be ‘Technology Company’

Ptch is a new iPad/iPhone app that allows users to remix photos, videos, songs and text into 60-second music video-style shorts called Ptches. Sort of like an Instagram for videos (with “styles” instead of filters), Ptch aims to make video editing as intuitive and reflexive for the masses as taking a photograph with a smartphone. The app also allows users to remix ptches made by their friends so that each person can share their own version of an event. The software is available on Apple’s iTunes Store for free, though add-on songs and film “styles” will cost money in the future.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Ptch is headed by Ed Leonard, the Chief Technology Officer of DreamWorks Animation and the former director of R&D at Disney Animation. He convinced DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to launch a new company called DWA Investments. The company, which is funded entirely by its parent DreamWorks Animation, has 15 employees, a third of whom are former DreamWorks staffers who took paycuts (in exchange for stock) to join Ptch.

Sites like Fast Company and BetaBeat have been debating what Ptch means for the future of DreamWorks. For example, does it signal the company’s transition from being a content producer into a technology company? Ptch helmer Ed Leonard hinted at that possibility while speaking with BetaBeat:

“There’s a lot of ambition at DreamWorks, they’re thinking about how to leverage ambition on the film side and how to reinvent themselves as more of a technology company than a movie company and really leverage all that value. If you get close to what Jeffrey is thinking about in terms of the DreamWorks brand … Jeffrey really believes in the intersection that’s happening between technology and entertainment.”

It’s hard to know what to make of all this just yet, but Leonard’s quote reveals that DreamWorks Animation is evolving in different and unexpected directions.

“Mia and the Migoo” Coming to DVD on August 7, 2012

“Gorgeous to watch! Go for the fantasy, stay for the art.” — Los Angeles Times

“A hand-painted film that draws inspiration from Van Gogh and Cezanne, Mia and the Migoo is genuinely beautiful, with eye-popping color and motion and dreamscapes: really inspired stuff.” — The Oregonian

“An endless delight” — Time Out New York

FROM THE DISTRIBUTORS OF THE OSCAR®-NOMINATED THE SECRET OF KELLS AND ENTERTAINMENT ONE COMES AN UNFORGETTABLE AND BREATHTAKING ANIMATED ADVENTURE!
MIA AND THE MIGOO

NEW Street Date: August 7, 2012

DVD SRP: $19.98
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

From the distributors of the Academy Award®-nominated The Secret of Kells, comes Mia And The Migoo, the gorgeous second feature from renowned French animator Jacques-Rémy Girerd. A fable-like journey of a young girl who must overcome her fears on a quest to find her father and save the world from destruction, Mia And The Migoo was created from an astounding 500,000 hand-painted frames of animation. A stunning work of art, breathtaking to behold, with backgrounds that invoke Van Gogh, Monet, and Cezanne, it also features the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Modine, James Woods and Wallace Shawn.

Following a premonition, Mia sets out on a cross continental journey, though mountains and jungles in search of her father, who has been trapped in a landslide at a construction site on a remote tropical lake. In the middle of the lake stands the ancient Tree of Life, watched over by innocent, bumbling forest spirits called the Migoo, who grow and change shape as they please, morphing from small childlike beings to petulant giants. The Migoo have been disrupting the construction to protect this sacred site — and now together with Mia they join in a fight to find Mia’s father and save the Tree, with the future of life on Earth hanging in the balance.

CAST

John DiMaggio (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Little Fockers, Bee Movie)
Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, For Colored Girls, Sister Act)
Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Married to the Mob, Cutthroat Island)
Wallace Shawn (Toys Story 1, 2, 3, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.)
James Woods (Once Upon a Time in America, The Virgin Suicides, Casino )

BONUS FEATURES

“Making of” Featurette
Interview with the Director

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Type: DVD
Catalog #: EOE-DV-7081
Running Time: 91 mins. + extras
Genre: Animation
Rated: PG
Aspect Ratio: 16 x 9/1.78:1
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Language: English w/English SDH Subtitles

For the latest breaking news on Mia And The Migoo and other releases, follow Entertainment One on Twitter: http://twitter.com/eOneHomeVideo

FIRST IMAGE: McCracken’s “Wander Over Yonder”

I was just cleaning out my bags from the Comic Con last week and found this postcard (both sides, below) for Disney’s forthcoming Craig McCracken series. I’ll bet this was posted on the internet somewhere, or Facebook, but I hadn’t seen it myself till now, so I thought you should see it too. Intriguing images… I can’t wait to see the show!


New Books of Note

Three new books popped into my mailbox this week. What were they? Funny you should ask…

I’m a big fan of Chronicle’s Art-Of books for Disney and Pixar’s recent animated features – but this one, based on Laika’s new stop-motion feature, is one of the best yet from the publisher. The Art and Making of ParaNorman is not only loaded with the usual gorgeous pre-production art and character designs – it’s got that in abundance – but it takes you through the entire process of making a modern stop motion feature. Jed Alger’s text goes beyond the usual artist interviews and tells us the whole story – the book is crammed with behind-the-scenes images; illustrating all the puppet parts, the sets and the people behind them. Bravo! This is a wonderful peek behind the curtain for anyone who loves hand-crafted animation – and if stop-mo is your thing, this book is a must-have.


This is an unusual surprise: a newspaper comic strip I never heard of, The Adventures of Buck O’Rue and his Hoss, Reddish written by animation legend Dick Huemer (Scrappy) and Disney animator and comic book artist Paul Murry (Mickey Mouse, Goofy). It lasted about two years and was unsuccessful, but now Huemer’s son Richard, and comic book editor Germund von Wowern have collected all the strips (daily and Sunday) in this beautiful volume, augmented with several articles, prefaces, epilogues and appendiices filled with rare Murry and Huemer art, newspaper clippings, photos, the stories behind the men, their careers and newspaper syndication. The strip itself is an amusing parody of cowboys and western lore – but it’s the “bonus materials” that bookend the strips that make this a must-get. The project as a whole an interesting footnote to the history of Huemer and Murry – and, by extension, to the history of Disney.


Iwao Takamoto’s 2009 autobiography (written with Michael Mallory) was an excellent account of the animator’s career. Now his step-daughter, Leslie E. Stern, has written another account, Living With A Legend, from her point of view and its a nice memoir of a life with Iwao behind the scenes. Her publisher send me an advance copy and I can attest that its a well done tribute. Apparently their will be several versions of the book available at various prices. For anyone, everyone, who grew up with Hanna Barbera, this is a treat.

AniMazSpot Fest Moves to Bi-Annual Schedule

LOS ANGELES, CA – To advance its mission “to support and promote international animated shorts filmmakers,” and further energize the AniMazSpot festivals and other programs, Animazing Spotlight’s non-profit Board of Directors have clicked the “Refresh” button.

The primary change will be to hold the AniMazSpot festival every other year, rather than annually, as it has been doing since 2009. This creates a more efficient use of financial, staff and program resources, and will allow the board additional time to continue the high quality programming of the first four festivals, and also to explore additional venues and tour locations. This bi-annual format is utilized by most international animation festival, and the Board sees the wisdom of this format to benefit the future of the AniMazSpot festivals.

Therefore, the next festival will be in 2014, and animated short filmmakers will be invited to submit their shorts around mid-July 2013 for AniMazSpot 2014. Nevertheless, all is very much on for AniMazSpot 2012. Weekday Tours, approximately a dozen, Sep 10 thru 14, Weeknight Nomination Screenings, Sep 12 thru 14, Magoo at the Alex gala red carpet celebration, Sep 15, and more programs, and awards, at Woodbury, Sep 16. For tickets and more information, visit www.animazspot.com and click on “event.”

The other change will be that Tee Bosustow, Festival Director for these first four years, will step aside after the AniMazSpot 2012 festival, to make room for a new festival team to share the important festival work ahead for 2014. Bosustow will move over to head the non-festival work such as bringing back animated shorts to precede features, getting AniMazSpot filmmakers’ works to major studios, and other ways of bringing attention to long neglected area of animated shorts.

Additionally, Bosustow will be returning to the completion of The Boing Heard Round the World, a documentary feature on UPA’s influence on modern animation.  Thanks to a successful fundraising drive for the documentary, the doc team is offering additional funds to make AniMazSpot 2012’s Magoo at the Alex event even better, a veritable red carpet celebration.

AniMazSpot is the Spot to be for Animated Shorts.

Animation Voice Acting Legend June Foray To Address Women In Animation LA Voice-Over Class

LOS ANGELES, CA – The one and only June Foray, voice of some of the most memorable characters in cartoons, will address the Women in Animation LA Voice-Over class on August 5th. If you have even the slightest interest in animation, you cannot miss this opportunity.

WIA/LA is also pleased to offer its Member discount to members of ASIFA. Please include your membership number when you sign up.

Over two weekends in August, WIA/LA will offer classes in writing, voice-over, storyboard/ visual development and animation, taught by a selection of highly talented and experienced professionals.

WIA/LA classes will be held at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art in Van Nuys, the only local art school with its own bank vault:

The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art
16926 Saticoy Street
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 708-9232

Because there’s more to animation than moving stuff around.

Schedule of Classes

Saturday, August 4
10:00 am – 12:00, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Animation Writing
Gordon Bressack (Pinky and the Brain), Jeff Howard (Tinkerbell), Craig Miller (Pocket Dragons)

Sunday, August 5
10:00 am – 12:00, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Voice-Over for Animation
June Foray (Rocky and His Friends) and Mark Evanier (The Garfield Show) and a reception afterwards.

Saturday, August 11
10:00 am – 12:00, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Storyboard and Visual Development
Sean Bishop (Shrek the Halls), Larry Leker (Beauty and The Beast), Linda Miller (Sofia the First) and Bonita Versh (Duckman)

Sunday, August 12
10:00 am – 12:00, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Animation
Tom Decker (Curious George), Linda Miller (An American Tail), Lynn Walsh (Rugrats)

Price List
Single Session – WIA and ASIFA Members — $65
Single Session – Non-Members — $75
Multiple Sessions – WIA and ASIFA Members — $125
Multiple Sessions – Non-Members (includes membership) — $175

Visit the Women in Animation LA website for more information, and to register for classes.

2012 Animation Emmy Nominations

The 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced today by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Congratulations to all our animation industry honorees. These include:

Outstanding Animated Program
American Dad! – Fox Television Animation
Bob’s Burgers – BentoBox Entertainment
Futurama (The Tip Of The Zoidberg) – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television
The Penguins Of Madagascar (The Return Of The Revenge Of Dr. Blowhole) – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation
The Simpsons (Holidays Of Future Passed) – Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox Television

Outstanding Short-format Animated Program
Adventure Time (Too Young) – Cartoon Network Studios
Disney Phineas And Ferb (The Doonkleberry Imperative) – Disney Channel
MAD (Kitchen Nightmare Before Christmas / How I Met Your Mummy) – Warner Bros. Animation
Regular Show (Eggscellent) – Cartoon Network Studios
Robot Chicken (Fight Club Paradise) – Stoopid Monkey, Shadow Machine, Williams Street

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance

Disney Phineas And Ferb: Across The 2nd Dimension – Disney Channel
Dan Povenmire as Doctor Doofenshmirtz

Disney Prep & Landing: Naughty Vs. Nice – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Rob Riggle as Noel

Futurama • The Silence Of The Clamps – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Maurice LaMarche as Clamps, Donbot, Hyperchicken, Calculon, Hedonismbot, Morbo

The Looney Tunes Show • Double Date – Warner Bros. Animation
Kristen Wiig as Lola

The Simpsons • Moe Goes From Rags To Riches – Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Hank Azaria as Moe Szyslak, Duffman, Mexican Duffman, Carl, Comic Book Guy, Chief Wiggum

Complete list of nominees here.

“The Croods” Print By Chris Sanders

A few thousand copies of this Croods print drawn by Chris Sanders and painted by Arthur Fong were handed out at Comic-Con last week. The charm and vitality of Sanders’ sinuous line artwork will inevitably be lost in the transition to CGI so enjoy this little taste of what the film could have been. (Click on the image for a bigger version.)

(via The Croods blog)

Using Kinect Point Clouds To Animate Figures

Brazilian artist Jomário Murta used multiple Microsoft Kinects to generate a sequence of point clouds (a set of points in 3D space) as reference for creating animation. The process is akin to motion capture, but not the same:

This is something like animating over the videos. Just like we usually do as reference for timing and more complex movements. The difference is that I can animate three-dimensionally “inside” the video; the advantage instead of mocap is that the animation process is more free, where I can easily exaggerate the movements and play a lot with the poses without compromising my style of animation.

Murta admits that he is still in a research phase and hasn’t figured out any practical applications for the technique, but that’s to be expected of any exploration of a new technology. The results are promising thus far, and it’ll be interesting to see how he and others build on the process.

Call For Entries: Midwest Animation Celebration

Do you have an animated short or feature that you would like to see on the LARGEST screen in the state of Kansas (75 x 100 ft.)?  What about screening them along side some of entertainment’s hottest animators working right here in the Kansas City metro area?  How about getting feedback right from the artists?  MAPA and CinemaKC are joining forces to make that dream a reality.

The Midwest Association of Professional Animators (MAPA) is proud to propose a joint partnership with CinemaKC in bringing the Midwest its first and only Animation Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012.  The event will be held at the Boulevard Drive-in, 1051 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, KS 66103.

This rare opportunity will give student, amateur and professional animators a chance to screen, discuss and answer questions about their respective works side-by-side.  Furthermore, the Boulevard’s ground camera will give willing artists a chance to make their own silver screen debuts and talk about their works before our live audience.

All submissions should be on DVD or a .mov file in H.264. They must all include a complete credit list. There is no cost for submission. Deadline to submit is August 21, 2012

Contact Dylan Dietz for submission details.  You can reach him by email: [email protected].

“Ben & Izzy” Set for North American Debut

Los Angeles, CARGH Entertainment announces the July 2012 debut of Ben and Izzy, on Kidobi.com, a new online destination for children’s programming targeted to kid audiences in the U.S. and Canada. The announcement was made today by Rubicon Group Holding CEO Randa Ayoubi.

A 3D animated action-adventure comedy series, Ben and Izzy follows the tales of two eleven-year-old boys, Ben, an American, and Izzy, a Jordanian, who embark on historical quests to ancient times and places in the Middle East and Africa region. The property has proven a favorite with kids on Cartoon Network Arabia, and in its featured window on Emirates and Qatar Airlines flights.

“It is exciting to be extending the reach of this wonderful series to new regions of the world,” said Ayoubi.  “Kidobi’s safe, kid friendly portal provides a great platform to share Ben and Izzy’s many adventures in the MENA region with children across the globe in North America.”

“We are thrilled to be featuring Ben and Izzy at Kidobi.com. It is a program we have been following since it came into the marketplace as a pilot because of its unique storyline that explores foreign cultures. Ben and Izzy is an important new addition to our programming lineup for kids in the U.S. and Canada,” said Eric Sorenson, Director of Research & Content at Kibodi.

Ben and Izzy travel the world with their archaeologist grandfathers in search of lost artifacts. With the spirited genie Yasmine at their side, the outspoken young Jordanian (Izzy) and the precocious adolescent American (Ben) endeavor to rescue antiquities from black market baddie Clutchford Wells and his silent but feisty henchwoman Roxanne. Although according to Ben and Izzy, Yasmine is often the thorn in their collective side