Today, in Annecy, France, Warner Bros. Animation premiered its raucous new slate of Looney Tunes shorts, screening more than 10 of them in front of a packed house of 1,000 enthusiastic festival attendees. The program was introduced by WBA’s vp of series Audrey Diehl, joined by executive producer Pete Browngardt and supervising producer Alex Kirwan who about the production process of the new shorts in between the screening of the films.
After the presentation, the short Dynamite Dance, directed by David Gemmill, debuted online:
The shorts are part of the studio’s commitment to creating 1,000 minutes of new Looney Tunes animation. When WB announced the project at last year’s Annecy festival, the studio touted that the shorts would take a “cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling,” and based on what was screened today, they’ve stayed true to that mission.
In fact, the cartoons shown today are truly unlike any recent incarnation of Looney Tunes television projects – the characters felt true to their personalities, the cartoons were visually driven with each one reflecting the distinct humor of its directors and board artists, and the gags were inventive and outrageous, in some cases outrageous enough to make one wonder, How did they get away with that in 2019?
Among the shorts that received the strongest reaction at the screening was Basket Bugs, also directed by Gemmill. Two of the gags in that film were so well constructed (and unexpected) that they received applause from the audience, and as anyone who watches a lot of animated shorts in theaters can tell you, it’s a rare occasion when an audience cheers for individual gags in the middle of a film.
Warner Bros. still hasn’t announced how it will release its new Looney Tunes content – there could be as many as 200-plus shorts of varying lengths when all is said and done – but wherever they put them out, a lot of viewers are going to be pleasantly surprised by this one-of-a-kind project.
Below are stills from two more of the shorts that premiered today at Annecy: Wet Cement and Mummy Dummy.