Next Week in LA: Aboveground Animation Screening

On Thursday, May 30th, the Museum of of Contemporary Art in downtown LA will present a screening of Aboveground Animation featuring new commissions by Kathleen Daniel, Barry Doupe, Erin Dunn, Casey Jane Ellison, Lauren Gregory, Jacolby Satterwhite, Katie Torn, and the premiere of a video work by Ben Jones (Paper Rad, The Problem Solverz). The screening will be followed by a conversation with Aboveground Animation curator Casey Jane Ellison and Ben Jones, moderated by MOCAtv creative director Emma Reeves.

The screening will take place at MOCA Grand Avenue’s Ahmanson Auditorium (250 South Grand Avenue, LA, CA 90012). Doors open at 7pm, screening at 8pm. RSVP at [email protected]

First Look at The Simpsons’ Springfield Area at Universal Studios

This summer, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida will open a Simpsons-themed area at its park to complement its existing Simpsons ride. The new space will allow visitors to walk around Springfield and spend their hard-earned dollars on Simpsons-related food, like Duff Beer, which will be brewed exclusively for the park. Simpsons creator Matt Groening has said in the past that he wouldn’t allow actual Duff beer to be brewed because he didn’t want to encourage kids to drink.

The press release describes how parkgoers will be able to buy other food items as well: “[You] will be able to grab Krusty-certified meat sandwich at Krusty Burger, snatch the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman, get a slice at Luigi’s Pizza, go nuts for donuts at Lard Lad, enjoy a ‘Taco Fresho; with Bumblebee Man and imbibe at Moe’s Tavern.”

The area will also feature a new attraction—Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl—as well as the statue of Springfield founder Jebediah Springfield. Cick on the image at top for a close-up rendering of the new area.

How Giphy Plans to Transform Animated GIFs Into An Artform

When Jace Cooke and Alex Chung founded Giphy, they simply wanted a convenient platform for sharing and searching GIFs. But now, Giphy, which launched in Febrary, is reaching beyond its search engine origins and aims to serve as a tool to empower artists and animators.

The first round of features to roll out on Giphy over the coming month are built to serve GIF makers rather than consumers. Artists will have dedicated URLs, making their work easily accessible for fans. When embedded on another blog, each GIF will include a coded block that shows the creator’s name. That’s right, no more stumbling onto a great GIF on Tumblr and wondering who created it. “I want Giphy to be what Vimeo is for videographers or Soundcloud is for musicians,” co-founder Jace Cooke told Cartoon Brew.

Cooke invited several notable GIF makers to launch artist pages, including  animator Frank Macchia (see GIF below) and wildly popular Tumblr GIF artist Matthew DiVito (aka mr. div). The next step will be providing GIF makers with uncapped uploads—Tumblr, for example, has a maximum upload of 1 MB per GIF. Eventually, artists will have personalized dashboard with analytics for tracking where their GIFs are being shared. “I want to lend more credence to GIFs, give them a wider audience and open up the possibility of monetization for artists,” adds Cooke.

For Cooke there are two major questions going forward: For GIF makers, how can Giphy adapt to best serve their needs? For everyone else, how can Giphy encourage more people to try creating GIFs? Cook is turning to the animation community to find answers to these questions, particularly the latter. Many creative people who work in CGI are interested in GIFs, but they haven’t yet given it a shot. “There’s a learning curve,” Cooke says . “They understand the value and they’re excited about it, but they’re a little apprehensive.” Ultimately, Cooke hopes to see more animators embrace GIFs, which he describes as “animated trading cards.”

Even though there are many GIF repositories and search engines like GIFSoup, Tumblr, and Google’s new animated image search, Giphy is the first coherent attempt to elevate GIFs as an artform. “There is something really powerful about an art that is halfway between a photo and a video,” says Cooke. “GIFs are a legit medium, a form of expression that’s only going to grow.”

“Epic” Artist of the Day: Sandeep Menon

Sandeep Menon

Continuing our week of Epic artists, we take a look at the designs of Blue Sky visual development artist Sandeep Menon.

Sandeep Menon

Sandeep Menon

Sandeep works as a designer, drawing and painting concepts for objects, vehicles, environments and structures.

Sandeep Menon

Sandeep Menon

Sandeep Menon

Sandeep studied at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where for one project he developed concept art about a future India which included flying elephant cars and robots designed with traditional Indian motifs integrated into their structures.

Sandeep Menon

Sandeep previously worked as a product designer in India, which gives him practical experience in designing functional, real objects that he can apply to his current work designing fantasy worlds. See Sandeep’s animation design work on his blog.

Sandeep Menon

Sandeep Menon

John Knoll Named Chief Creative Officer of ILM

Veteran visual effects supervisor John Knoll has been promoted to the position of chief creative officer at Disney-owned Industrial Light & Magic, reports Variety.

Working directly with ILM president Lynwen Brennan, Knoll will ensure creative consistency throughout the planning and production stages of ILM projects. The move is similar to John Lasseter becoming chief creative officer at Pixar following Disney’s purchase of the company.

Knoll is held in high regard throughout the visual effects industry. He was a visual effects supervisor on the Star Wars prequels as well as the first three Pirates of the Carribean films. He has worked on countless other major projects at ILM stretching back to Willow and The Abyss, and including films in the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises. Knoll is also known as the creator of the software package Adobe Photoshop, which he developed with his brother Thomas in the late-1980s.

Besides serving as a creative voice in the production process, Knoll told Variety that he will leverage the company’s talent pool by encouraging interaction between crews working on different projects. He also said that he will remain hands-off in many instances:

“We have well-established supervisors here that certainly don’t need me to interfere with their project. Michael Bay comes because he wants to work with Scott Farrar. J.J. [Abrams] comes to ILM because he has a great relationship with Roger Guyett. These things are already working and I don’t need to interfere. [My role] is just to help from a facilities standpoint to make sure they get the resources they need, and to troubleshoot problems.”

Mel Brooks Talks About Ernest Pintoff’s “The Critic”

The clip above is an animation-related outtake from the new Mel Brooks documentary Make a Noise which debuted earlier this week on PBS. In the clip, Brooks talks about the genesis of Ernie Pintoff’s Oscar-winning short The Critic:

This wasn’t the first time Pintoff had collaborated with a Jewish comedian. An earlier film he’d made, The Violinist (1959), featured the voice of Carl Reiner:

Neither of the shorts, however, can live up to Pintoff’s greatest collaboration with a Jewish actor—Flebus—the 1957 Terrytoons short that featured the vocal stylings of the inimitable Allen Swift.

(Thanks, Rogelio Enrique Toledo, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)

Bob Clampett Centennial Screening in Zurich

On Thursday, May 30, the Filmpodium Zurich in Switzerland will present a screening of nine Warner Bros. shorts directed by the legendary Bob Clampett. The show is being presented in honor of his centennial, which was earlier this month. Clampett’s work isn’t well known in Switzerland and the film lineup is a solid primer to his work:

  • Porky in Wackyland (1938)
  • A Tale of Two Kitties (1942)
  • A Corny Concerto (1943)
  • Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943)
  • Draftee Daffy (1945)
  • Book Revue (1946)
  • Baby Bottleneck (1946)
  • Kitty Kornered (1946)
  • The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946)

Better yet, each film will be introduced by Swiss animator and historian Oswald Iten, who will discuss different facets of Clampett’s visual style. Iten runs one of my favorite animation blogs Colorful Animation Expressions, where he has recently been writing some fantastically informative posts about Clampett’s art. Ticket and screening details are available on the Filmpodium Zurich website.

“Epic” Artist of the Day: Tom LaBaff

Tom LaBaff

Continuing our week of looking at some of the artists behind Blue Skey’s Epic, we focus on storyboard artist Tom LaBaff.

Tom LaBaff

Tom LaBaff

“Print illustration is one of Tom’s passions,” according to the bio on his website. Tom creates editorial and book illustration work in addition to working on animated features.

Tom LaBaff

Tom extends the energetic, rough line often used during the animation process to his illustration work. He works with ink and watercolor washes and sometimes with a digital/analog hybrid technique demonstrated in this time-lapse video:

Tom also has a blog here where you can see large versions of his illustrations.

Tom LaBaff

Sneak Peek: Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” by Rebecca Sugar

Cartoon Network has released a seven-and-a-half-minute preview episode of their upcoming series Steven Universe. The show was created by Adventure Time artist (and Singles director) Rebecca Sugar. Notably, she is Cartoon Network’s first-ever solo woman series creator.

From Animation School to the Real World

Last week, I flew out from Los Angeles to New York to attend the annual Dusty animation screening at the School of Visual Arts. I watched forty thesis films from this year’s graduating class—a very solid year, I might add—and witnessed many of the students experience pre-show jitters and post-show relief. It was a fun night getting to see a lot of my old classmates, friends and teachers again, but most importantly it made me reflect on my own experiences since my own thesis screening two years ago.

While graduation was a big deal, the thesis screening was really the big night for us. The films we put a year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears into were going to be shown in front of an audience on the big screen, and for most of us, that was a completely new experience. Some of us felt that our thesis films were like big flashy business cards or “HIRE ME” signs, so if there were any industry people in the audience that night, it just might be the ticket to having a job lined up after graduation.

A few days later at the Dusty Awards ceremony, my film ended up winning the Outstanding Traditional Animation award (tied with my friend Zach Bellissimo’s Blenderstein, which was featured here on Cartoon Brew), so in a way I felt validated that I was a decent enough animator to go out and make a living after I left school.

There were times that I felt my future was uncertain, and that having a career in this field might not work out for me.

But after college, the excitement of working as a professional animator gradually began to fade. I went through many ups and downs (mostly downs). I had long periods of busy work, and even longer periods of unemployment. And some of the jobs I had, while keeping me busy, barely supported me. There were times that I felt my future was uncertain, and that having a career in this field might not work out for me. I became disenchanted with the medium, felt emasculated by my peers and started falling into a depression. And seeing a lot of my friends and classmates in equally dire straights filled me with even more trepidation about my career path.

After dealing with this for over a year, I finally made a very big decision to pull up stakes, leave New York and move to LA. It was risky because I didn’t have a job lined up for me when I came out here. Luckily I had friends who found a place for me to live and I got a job in the industry almost immediately upon arrival. Even though I’ve been in LA for only three months, I consider it the best decision I’ve ever made. I feel like I’m in an environment where creativity and appreciation for the craft is never-ending, and I’m the happiest I’ve been since I graduated two years ago.

Be hopeful, hone your craft, push yourself out there, and eventually you will find your place.

And being back at the SVA Theatre watching these incredibly talented young animators go through the same reactions and emotions filled me with both excitement and concern. These students, as well as the hundreds upon hundreds of other graduates coming out of animation schools all over the country, will be put through the same paces as myself. After graduation, that safety net of college life is gone, and despite what your professors or friends tell you, nothing can really prepare you for what happens after you graduate. But the important thing that I want to express to these soon-to-be professional animators is to be hopeful, hone your craft, push yourself out there, and eventually you will find your place.

Don’t let ANYONE or ANYTHING disenchant you. Everybody goes through these motions at one time or another after leaving school. Some of you might have jobs lined up right after school, and some of you might have to wait a little longer. It’s a very scary thing to go through, but it’s all part of the experience. You appreciate things more when you experience the bad alongside the good. It’s something you learn from, and carry with you for the rest of your life. Never wait for opportunities to come along, but instead seek them out. It’s different for everyone. I had to move from one coast to the other to find what I wanted, and I’m glad I did. Keep doing personal work, develop your skills up and surround yourself with people who love and support you and what you do. If you do that, everything will be okay.

With that, I want to congratulate and wish the best of luck to all the recent and soon-to-be graduating animation students. Don’t let employment statistics fool you. The world is chock full of opportunities waiting for you to snatch up. So go out there and keep this industry alive and thriving!

“Epic” Artist of the Day: Sang Jun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Continuing our week of looking at artists who worked on Epic, we focus on Sang Jun Lee.

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sang Jun has designed characters and concepts for many blockbuster movie franchises including Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Men In Black. After a stretch of working in California on these live-action films, he moved to New York to work on Blue Sky features such as Horton Hears a Who, Rio, and most recently, Epic.

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sang Jun’s website has a generous amount of drawings and digital paintings to explore. He also keeps a blog here.

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

Sangjun Lee

“Epic” Artist of the Day: Stephen P. Neary

Stephen P. Neary

This week we’re taking a look at some of the artists who contributed their artistry to the production of Blue Sky’s Epic, which opens in the United States on May 24th.

Stephen P. Neary

First up is Stephen P. Neary, a story artist at Blue Sky who has worked on two Ice Ages and Rio, in addition to Epic. He also creates his own short films such as Dr. Breakfast (embedded below) and Let’s Make Out, which you can find on his YouTube channel.

Stephen P. Neary

Stephen’s train commute provides daily sketchbook time and he shares a lot of drawings on his blog and Tumblr. Also being a pie enthusiast, Stephen naturally has a pie blog.

Stephen P. Neary

Stephen P. Neary

Stephen P. Neary

Stephen P. Neary

Disney Announces “Star Wars Rebels” Animated Series for 2014

Just two months after Disney cancelled the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, they have announced a new series called Star Wars Rebels. The show will debut on the Disney Channel as a one-hour special in 2014, before continuing as a regular series on Disney XD. The show will be set during the two-decade timespan between Episode III and IV, at a time when “the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape.”

Dave Filoni, who was supervising diretor on Clone Wars, will head up the production as exec producer. He will be joined by Clone Wars veterans Kilian Plunkett (Art Director) and Joel Aron (CG Supervisor), as well as some fresh faces:

Leading the development of the series is a creative team of exceptional talent. Screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) is an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels and will write the premiere episode. He is joined by Dave Filoni as executive producer, who served as supervising director of the Emmy nominated Star Wars: The Clone Wars since 2008. Executive producer Greg Weisman brings with him a wealth of animation experience with credits such as Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles.

Tomorrow in Brooklyn: Dash Shaw Screens Rare Anime

Cartoonist Dash Shaw, who has been working on a feature-length animated film of his own, will present a selection of his recent animation work on Tuesday, May 21st, at Light Industry (155 Freeman Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn). In addition to his own work, Shaw will screen the rare 1980s anime biker drama Bobby’s Girl, a film that has inspired his own approach to animation.

The screening will be followed by a conversation with Shaw. Doors open at 7pm, and tickets are $7. More details at LightIndustry.org.

Here’s a clip from Bobby’s Girl:

(Illustration at top by Dash Shaw)

ASIFA-East Animation Festival 2013: The Full List of Winners

Last night in New York City, the ASIFA-East Animation Festival Awards were presented for the forty-fourth year in a row. The Best in Show prize was awarded to the NYU student short Based on a True Story directed by Jacob Kafka. In the Independent Film category, first place went to Celia Bullwinkel’s Sidewalk. Other prizes in the indie category were handed out to films by Mark Kausler, Arthur Metcalf, Bill Plympton, Richard O’Connor and David Chai.

New York veteran Candy Kugel took home first place in Commissioned Films for her TEDEd short Sex Determination, while first place in Student Films went to Michelle Ikemoto’s Tule Lake, produced at San Jose State University.

The complete list of winners is below:

BEST IN SHOW
Based on a True Story
Directed by Jacob Kafka

INDEPENDENT FILMS: FIRST PLACE
Sidewalk
Directed by Celia Bullwinkel

INDEPENDENT FILMS: SECOND PLACE
There Must Be Some Other Cat
Directed by Mark Kausler

INDEPENDENT FILMS: THIRD PLACE (TIED)
It Took A While To Figure Shit Out
Directed by Arthur Metcalf

INDEPENDENT FILMS: THIRD PLACE (TIED)
Drunker Than A Skunk
Directed by Bill Plympton

EXCELLENCE IN ANIMATION
It Took A While To Figure Shit Out
Directed by Arthur Metcalf

EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN
Christmas Day
Directed by Richard O’Connor, designed by Kelsey Stark

EXCELLENCE IN WRITING
A Knock On My Door
Directed by David Chai

EXPERIMENTAL FILMS
The Productive AniJam
Produced by Katie Cropper & Cynthea Diaz

COMMISSIONED FILMS: FIRST PLACE
TEDed: Sex Determination
Directed by Candy Kugel

COMMISSIONED FILMS: SECOND PLACE
Quiet Loud (Sesame Street)
Directed by Bob Boyle

COMMISSIONED FILMS: THIRD PLACE
Sniffles
Directed by David Cowles & Jeremy Galante

STUDENT FILMS: FIRST PLACE
Tule Lake
Directed by Michelle Ikemoto

STUDENT FILMS: SECOND PLACE
Chasing Unicorns
Directed by Deena Beck

STUDENT FILMS: THIRD PLACE (TIED)
The Crawler
Directed by Seth Brady

STUDENT FILMS: THIRD PLACE (TIED)
Good Night Guard
Directed by Janice S. Rim

STUDENT FILMS: HONORABLE MENTION (TIED)
Mirror
Directed by Q-Hyun Kim

STUDENT FILMS: HONORABLE MENTION (TIED)
Register Rap!
Directed by Josh Weisbrod

DreamWorks Animation Bets That AwesomenessTV Will Deliver Awesomeness

Earlier this month, it was announced that DreamWorks Animation had purchased the YouTube channel AwesomenessTV for $33 million in cash. Factoring in earnings and performance targets, the sale has the potential to attain $117 million in profits.

An online aggregrator-network aimed at young male entertainment consumers, AwesomenessTV was founded as collaboration between TV producer Brian Robbins (Smallville), United Talent Agency and law firm Ziffren Brittenham. According to the May 1st press release, it “has already signed up over 55,000 channels, aggregating over 14 million subscribers and 800 million video views.”

“Awesomeness TV is one of the fastest growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy,” said DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Brian Robbins has an extraordinary track record in creating family content both for traditional and new platforms and his expertise in the TV arena will be invaluable as we grow our presence in that space.”

Under the new partnership, the network has already announced a new channel called AwesomenessX, that will offer “original sports, gaming, comedy, pranks and lifestyle content” targeted toward males in their teens and 20s. Robbins, who has stayed on to run the company, has also been rewarded with an executive position at DreamWorks to develop a DreamWorks Animation-branded family channel.

AwesomenessX will pick up some AwesomenessTV faves like The City – Basketball, Sk8 Spotterz, That Was Awesome and How To Be Awesome as well as launch a new series around Winter X-Games gold medalist David Wise and videos of choice game moves and swimsuit model photo shoots. Shows like Frank the Dog, Baby Gaga and Fingerlings – which provide pop and web culture commentary from a dog, a baby and finger puppets, respectively – will also be featured.

“[AwesomenessX] will attract some girls as well,” Robbins added.

Artist of the Day: Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Olga Stern is a visual development artist based in Toronto who also illustrates books. You can visit her website, blog, other blog, and portfolio blog to see her work.

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Besides her character and environmental designs, you can see landscape studies that Olga draws in pastels. She initially learned to “paint” with pastels during a class taught by Bill Cone that was part of her three-month internship at Pixar. See her work from that class here.

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Digging into Disney’s “Day of the Dead” Problem

Last week after word got out that Disney was seeking to trademark “Día de los Muertos” in preparation for its 2015 release of a Pixar animated feature inspired by the traditional Mexican holiday, several online communities were outraged. The backlash kicked into high gear when cartoonist and illustrator Lalo Alcaraz shared a poster of a Godzilla-like Mickey Mouse under the words, “It’s coming to trademark your cultura.” [Go here to see Alcaraz's cartoon via Pocho.com.]

Social media has always kept Disney in check, and this time is no different. Latino Rebels, an online community that has done a terrific job of tracking Disney’s depiction of Latino culture, helped handle and report on the groundswell of public outcry over the last few weeks. After several petitions and pressure, Disney announced last Tuesday that they would withdraw the trademark filing, claiming that it was no longer necessary since they had changed the title of the fim.

In an interview with Cartoon Brew, William Nericcio, a scholar specializing in the representation of Latinos in American pop culture and author of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the “Mexican” in America, said, “[Hollywood's] attitude towards culture is like a pelt hunter from the 19th century. They need the skin that people recognize and value in order to sell a project that will yield predictable profits.”

Nericcio acknowledges that Pixar and Disney face an uphill battle in producing their Day of the Dead feature, which is to be directed by Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich: “I think it’s wonderful that Pixar is working on a Mexico, cultural-based project. But it’s a public relations nightmare. They’re not really equipped to talk about other cultures in a way that shows even the slightest sensitivity.”

While Nericcio supports the critical eye cast by social media, he does express concerns over extreme backlash. “The downside of it is, companies like Disney could get scared off of projects that might be focused on Latin American culture, just because they got burned,” he explains. Ultimately, the appeal of a Dia de Los Muertos film is undeniable; the imagery connected to the celebration is so lush, providing a palette that would inspire any moviegoer. “It’s good business to green light a project on la cultura Mexicana. Everybody’s loving the wrestlers, the icons, the color, the exoticness,” Nericcio says. “But when you have the patent lawyers involved, they come off looking terrible.”

Nericcio, a self-admitted Pixar fan would love to see a Dia de los Muertos animated film, as would so many others. Fortunately, there’s another film on the horizon—Guillermo del Toro and Jorge Gutierrez are currently producing and directing (respectively) their own Day of the Dead-themed feature at Reel FX called The Book of Life, to be released through Fox in October of 2014, more than a year before the Disney-Pixar feature. There’s no word yet whether Mexico-born del Toro and Gutierrez will seek trademarks of their own.

Oreo “Wonderfilled Anthem” Directed by Martin Allais

If there’s anything that can both dazzle my senses and make me crave Oreos, it’s this 90-second animation for Oreo’s new “Wonderfilled” campaign, directed by Martin Allais and his production company Studio Animal. Animated to a jaunty tune performed by Owl City, the spot is filled with wonderfully stylized animation, a fantastic sense of design, fun transitions, and eye-popping colors from beginning to end. And much like the classic commercials of yesteryear, it makes me WANT to buy the product it’s selling.

CREDITS
Global Marketing Communication:  Jill Baskin
Brand Marketing Director: Janda Lukin

Agency Credits
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
Group Creative Director: Jorge Calleja
Creative Director: David Muhlenfeld
Creative Director: Magnus Hierta
Senior Art Director: Brig White
Planning Director: John Gibson
Managing Director: Steve Humble
Senior Broadcast Producer: Kathy Lippincott
Broadcast Producer: Heather Tanton
Broadcast Junior Producer: Caroline Helms

Production Company: Studio Animal
Director: Martin Allais
Producer: Maria Soler Chopo
Illustration: Martin Allais
Storyboards: Martin Allais
Animatic: Pere Hernández, Javi Vaquero, Matt Deans
Animator: Pere Hernández, Javi Vaquero, Pablo Navarro, Dani Alcaraz
Tracing and color:Ezequiel Cruz, Macarena Ortega, Eva Puyuelo, Joel Morales
Compositing: Santi Justribó Martin Allais

Music
Music (performed by): Owl City (Adam Young)
Voiceover talent: Owl City (Adam Young)
Original Music and Lyrics: David Muhlenfeld (English Major, LLC)

Help Crowdfund the First Animated Feature from Costa Rica

For this week’s crowdfunding profile, we travel to Central America where the husband-and-wife team of Guillermo Tovar C. and Nadia Mendoza A. is working feverishly to complete Costa Rica’s first full-length animated feature The Esoteric Birthday (El Cumpleaños Esotérico). They have been working on the film for the past two years, and plan to finish it by this December. They describe their unconventional-looking movie as an “experimental digital” animated film:

The Esoteric Birthday tells the story of the coming of age of a peculiar little girl who is about to become a powerful witch. She has to undergo a ceremony of initiation that involves a series of dangerous trials. It all takes place in a fantastic and mysterious tropical island, with over 50 characters, like a group of intergalactic witchdoctors, a religious sect of wild animals, two cannibal Amazonian warrior twins, and lots and lots more.

Guillermo and Nadia, who operate as Interdimensional Studio, are asking for $25,000 for the post production which includes sound design, original music, and hiring a small crew of local animators for lighting, texturing and compositing. The entire 70-minute film will be released online at no charge after its festival run in 2014. The rewards they are offering include drawings from the pre-production phase and having a donor’s face drawn into the film as a background character. They have currently raised just over $4,000 with 51 days left in their campaign.

LINK to The Esoteric Birthday Indiegogo campaign

Frenzer Foreman Animation Forum #2: Desiree Stavracos


Today on the Frenzer Foreman Animation Forum, Bill Plympton’s producer Desiree Stavracos visits the program. She talks about what it takes to produce cartoons for America’s King of Indie Animation, shares the genesis of Plympton’s upcoming animated feature Cheatin’, reveals Bill’s favorite kind of pencil, and teaches the proper way to communicate with artists.

LINKS RELATED TO THIS EPISODE
DesireeStavracos.com
Bill Plympton’s Website
Bill Plympton’s Tumblr
Ticonderoga Pencils

Artist of the Day: Nicolas Dehghani

Nicolas Dehghani

Nicolas Dehghani is an artist in Paris who draws and creates animated productions as part of the CRCR collective.

Nicolas Dehghani

He tends to use textured, thick black and gray lines/washes over saturated but limited color palettes. The subjects in his work are confidently stylized and drawn.

Nicolas Dehghani

You can see more of Nicolas’s work on his blog.

Nicolas Dehghani

Nicolas Dehghani

Nicolas Dehghani

Nicolas Dehghani

“Ghost in the Shell: Arise” Gets First Full Trailer

For fans of the much beloved franchise, Ghost in the Shell, a prequel to the 1995 anime by Masamune Shirow titled Ghost in the Shell: Arise will be released in four 50-minute parts.

The first installment, Ghost Pain, that will premiere in Japan on June 22, tells the story of cyborg squad leader Motoko Kusanagi, before she joined Public Security Section 9. The series, which is being produced at Production I.G., serves as the directorial debut of Kise Kazuchika, who worked as a key animator on the first two GITS films as well as the television movie, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society.

This Sunday in NYC: ASIFA-East Animation Festival Awards

It’s the time of year again when the East Coast animation community gathers to recognize its own. This Sunday in Manhattan, ASIFA-East will present the 44th annual ASIFA-East Animation Festival awards ceremony. Awards will be presented across a variety of categories including independent and student film, as well as commissioned/advertising projects.

The festivities will begin at 6pm in the New School’s Tishman Auditorium (66 West 12th St) followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public, though non-members are encouraged to donate $5. More details can be found on the ASIFA-East website.

(Award show illustration by Dagan Moriarty)

Artist of the Day: Geneviève Godbout

Geneviève Godbout

Geneviève Godbout is an illustrator from Quebec who studied in Montreal and Paris before moving to London where she currently works at Disney Consumer Products and moonlights as a book illustrator and fabric designer.

Geneviève Godbout

Her soft, friendly pencil renderings and dot-eyed characters make it easy to imagine that she is an expert drawing the Disney design of Pooh Bear at her dayjob, which she mentions is one of her primary assignments.

You can see more of her work on her blog.

Geneviève Godbout

Geneviève Godbout

Geneviève Godbout