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Cartoon Network Studios (CNS) is stepping up its commitment to short films. The studio has unveiled Cartoon Cartoons, a rebooted shorts program that will aim to “innovate the art of animated storytelling, showcase diverse stories, discover new voices, and mentor the next generation of animators.”

Shorts produced within the program will vary in length, target audience (spanning preschoolers to adults), and subject matter, ranging from character-driven and comedic narratives to experimental animation. Artists and producers “of all experience levels” will be able to participate, whether or not they are based at CNS, and the films will potentially be distributed on Cartoon Network, streaming platform HBO Max, or other Warnermedia platforms.

Participating artists will work with an in-house production team at the studio and be mentored by a “creative council” of four veteran filmmakers:

  • Pete Browngardt, executive producer and showrunner on HBO Max’s Looney Tunes Cartoons
  • Manny Hernandez, supervising director on Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears and executive producer on We Baby Bears
  • Katie Rice, series director on Hulu’s Animaniacs
  • Aminder Dhaliwal, animator and creator of graphic novel Woman World

As part of its efforts to showcase a wide range of voices in the program, CNS is also partnering with organizations dedicated to boosting diversity in the industry. They include Black Women Animate Studios, which gives pre-professional and professional support to women and nonbinary artists of color, and Exceptional Minds, which prepares young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in animation, vfx, 3d gaming, and related fields.

In 1995, Cartoon Network launched its first original shorts anthology series, titled What a Cartoon!. Since then, it has run shorts series and in-house programs under a variety of names, including The Cartoon Cartoon Show. These films created as part of these programs have sparked many hit shows, including Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Chowder, Regular Show, and Steven Universe.

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