Clip: ‘Promare’ English Dub Heats Up Theaters Sept. 20

GKIDS has unveiled a new English dub clip for its upcoming anime release Promare — the highly anticipated, action-packed feature film debut from Studio TRIGGER, directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill). The film will premiere with special Fathom Events screenings Sept. 17 & 19, followed by a select U.S. theatrical roll out on Sept. 20.

Synopsis: Thirty years have passed since the appearance of the Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who once destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants calling themselves Mad Burnish appears, the epic battle between Galo Thymos, a new member of the anti-Burnish rescue team Burning Rescue, and Lio Fotia, the leader of Mad Burnish, begins.

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Animation Magazine

Trailer: A New Generation of DreamWorks Dragons Take Flight in ‘Rescue Riders’

DreamWorks Animation unveiled the high-flying trailer and cast of its new preschool series Dragons Rescue Riders. This all-new chapter for young fans set in the world of DreamWorks Dragons follows the adventures of twins, Dak and Leyla, who were raised by dragons and share a unique ability to communicate with them. The brother and sister lead a team of five adorable young dragons — Winger, Summer, Cutter and Burple — with whom they spend their days rescuing other dragons, and helping the people in their adopted town of Huttsgalor.

All 14 half-hour episodes from the debut season of DreamWorks Dragons Rescue Riders will take off on Netflix on September 27.

Emmy Award winner Jack Thomas (Dragons: Race to the Edge, The Fairly OddParents) serves as executive producer and showrunner, and Brian K. Roberts (VeggieTales in the House) serves as co-executive producer and showrunner.

DreamWorks Dragons Rescue Riders features the voice talents of Nicolas Cantu (The Amazing World of Gumball, Sofia The First) as “Dak,” who is in charge of training the Rescue Riders, and Brennley Brown (The Voice, Sofia The First) as “Leyla,” who is a whiz on all things dragons. Voicing the young dragons are Marsai Martin (Little, Black-ish) as “Aggro,” Zach Callison (Steven Universe, The Goldbergs) as “Winger,” Skai Jackson (Jessie, Bunk’d) as “Summer, ” Noah Bentley (Adam Ruins Everything) as “Burple,” and Andre Robinson (Dragons: Race to the Edge, Niko and the Sword of Light) as “Cutter.”

Additional cast includes Carlos Alazraqui (Where’s Waldo?, Happy Feet), Moira Quirk (Castlevania), Roshon Fegan (Shake It Up, Insecure) and Brad Grusnick (Bunnicula). The series features an array of guest stars, including John C. MicGinley (Scrubs, Chicago P.D.), Tara Strong (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Fairly OddParents), Grey Griffin (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, DC Super Hero Girls), Jacob Hopkins (The Goldbergs), Sam Lavagnino (Bravest Warriors), Patton Oswalt (Veronica Mars, Veep) and Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory).


Animation Magazine

Haruworks, Zodiaks Kids Team Up for ‘Worst Best Friends’

With Cartoon Forum around the corner, Finnish production company Haruworks has struck a distribution deal for its pitch project Worst Best Friends. Zodiak Kids, part of Banijay Group, has come on board to secure co-production partners for the property and will hold worldwide distribution rights to the completed series.

“We’ve been looking to work with Zodiak Kids on a suitable project for several years,” said Haruworks Producer and CEO Nick Dorra. “I’m super happy we ended up partnering on this one. Our creative goals match really well, and now we’re set to conquer the market circuit!”

The deal follows 18 months of heartfelt development work on the 52 x 11’ series, which is based on the kids’ novel by Finnish author Miikka Pörsti. South Africa-based Lucy Heavens (Space Chickens in Space) has written the bible and two sample scripts, and Brink Helsinki has created the fresh visual style. Finnish public broadcaster YLE2 wrote the sponsoring letter to help the project get selected for this year’s Forum.

Benoit di Sabatino, CEO, Zodiak Kids commented, “We are so pleased to be partnering with Nick and Maija on this great comedy show about friendship, it has been love at first sight and an unanimous decision from the team at Zodiak Kids to join forces.”

At Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, Haruworks will be looking for broadcast partners to line up production financing, as well as an animation studio to shoulder the production work.

A surreal coming-of-age sitcom, Worst Best Friends is a digital 2D animated show for kids 6-11 which follows the day-to-day adventures of five tweens — – Fox-Peter, Cheese-Moutard, Pomps, Vicky & Mo — navigating the charms and perils of elementary school relationships; their deepest dreams, desires and fears represented in funny moments of magical realism.

Haruworks is based in Helsinki and is focused on building international character brands with a Nordic flair. The company embraces a Scandinavian style of storytelling and Nordic design heritage, taking inspiration from the works of Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson. Approaching properties with a multi-platform strategy, the team has a deep understanding of apps, games and digital distribution and a commitment to engage audiences wherever they are.

Led by Benoit di Sabatino, Zodiak Kids is a global independent leader in kids’ entertainment, combining Banijay Group’s dedicated kids production company, consumer products, digital and TV sales division. Its dedicated international sales and consumer products teams representing programming from Zodiak Kids Studios and third-party producers. This catalog includes animated hits LoliRock, Totally Spies!, Floogals, Magiki, Kody Kapow and Lilybuds.

Animation Magazine

Jetpack Takes Off with More ‘Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed,’ ‘My Petsaurus’

Global kids content distributor Jetpack Distribution has acquired the international rights for new seasons of two of its most popular shows: Beano Studios’ Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed! and Bumpybox’s My Petsaurus. Brand-new episodes join the company’s catalog just in time for the fall markets.

“We’re so excited to have more series of these popular and much-loved shows,” commented CEO Dominic Gardiner. “We look forward to finding more homes for TV’s notorious duo Dennis and Gnasher and for Chloe and her pet dinosaur. Both shows have resonated strongly with young audiences and we’re delighted to be bringing them to MIP Junior in October.”

Beano Studios recently announced that CBBC have ordered a 52-episode second series of the hit animated TV show Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed! It comprises 52 x 11’ episodes and stars Beano’s irrepressible hero Dennis (voiced by Freddie Fox) and his amazing group of fearless mates. The first series has been sold to 25 countries and airs on free-to-air public service broadcasters such as Super RTL in Germany, Rai in Italy and France Télévision.

My Petsaurus is a blended live-action and animation show produced by U.K. indie Bumpybox and commissioned by CBeebies. Season three comprises 20 two-minute episodes and will feature brand new adventures for Chloe and her troublesome pet dinosaur Topsy, as they encounter all the trials and tribulations that come with looking after your first pet. My Petsaurus has been sold to broadcasters across Northern Europe including: CBeebies (U.K.), NRK (Norway), NPO (Netherlands) and DR (Denmark).

Founded in 2014, Jetpack Distribution’s offerings also include global kid hits Talking Tom and Friends, Yoko and Kitty Is Not a Cat. Learn more at jetpackdistribution.tv.

My Petsaurus

My Petsaurus

Animation Magazine

BIAF Selects 8 Titles for Feature Film Competition

Global feature film competition selections have been announced for the 21st Bucheon International Animation Festival, taking place October 18-22 this year. The eight titles represent top-tier artistry and storytelling from filmmakers across Asia and Europe.

BIAF’s short film competition selections were announced last month. The complete list of announced selections and more information available at www.biaf.or.kr.

BIAF 2019 Feature Films in Competition:

Checkered Ninja

Checkered Ninja

Checkered Ninja | Thorbjoern Christoffersen, Anders Matthesen | Denmark
Alex gets a ninja doll from his uncle Stewart after a trip to Thailand. He then realizes that the doll is alive, and can help him deal with his problems at school. Alex agrees to return the favor, but soon understands that the Checkered Ninja is possessed and on a mission for revenge.

Human Lost

Human Lost

Human Lost | Kizaki Fuminori | Japan
Tokyo, 2036: A revolution in medical treatment has conquered death … By means of internal nanomachines and the “Shell System” network which controls them, human beings are guaranteed a 120-year lifespan, free from illness. The disparity between those who can afford the luxury of a prolonged life and those who cannot leads to the “Human Lost” phenomenon, in which people disconnected from the Shell network become malformed un-humans.

Marona's Fantastic Tale

Marona’s Fantastic Tale

Marona’s Fantastic Tale | Anca Damian | Romania/France/Belgium
Marona, a mongrel, has just been hit by a car. Still stunned by the accident, she senses her soul gradually rising up and leaving her. She sees cars zipping past and brushing up against her lifeless body, while Solange, her last owner, weeps over her. As death gently carries her away, Marona sees her life flashing before her eyes … A dog’s life …

Princess Aya

Princess Aya

Princess Aya | Lee Sunggang | South Korea
Princess Aya of the Yeon-Li-Ji kingdom carries a curse that transforms her into animals. When the realm is under siege, the king creates an alliance with the Kingdom of Vatar by marrying Aya off to Prince Vari. En route to Vatar, Aya is attacked by a magical beast. Soon, she witnesses a regent’s conspiracy and finds herself holding the fate of two kingdoms.

Swallows of Kabul

Swallows of Kabul

The Swallows of Kabul | Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec | France/Luxembourg/Switzerland
Summer 1998, Kabul is under Taliban rule Zunaira and Mohsen are young and in love. Despite the daily violence and misery, they hope for a better future. One day, a foolish gesture causes life to take an irrevocable turn.

Twilight

Twilight

Twilight | Yamamoto Yutaka | Japan
The final installment in the Tohoku Trilogy on the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Twilight depicts the value of everyday life in the meeting of a boy and a girl who fall in love. The story takes place in Fukushima, the region dealing with the aftermath of the nuclear plant disaster. “In this world, love still exists!”

The Wonderland

The Wonderland

The Wonderland | Hara Keiichi | Japan
Akane is a girl who has no self confidence. On the day before her birthday, an alchemist named Hippocrates appears from the door of the basement room at an antique shop, and asks her to join him on a mission to save his world. He transports her against her will to the “Wonderland” of happy colors. Inhabited by strange animals and people, this “Wonderland” is threatened with the loss of its colors. What is the life-changing decision that Akane, transformed into the savior of this world, makes at the end of her great adventure?

Zero Impunity

Zero Impunity

Zero Impunity | Nicolas Blies, Stéphane Hueber-Blies, Denis Lambert | Luxembourg/France
A 90-minute social impact film created as the centerpiece of an ambitious transmedia project, which combines investigative journalism with activism in a call to action. Zero Impunity confronts the dirty mechanics of major international institutions, fueled by a global culture of hopelessness, neglect and denial. The liberation of suppressed voices and the support structures now available are the first step in providing the crucial tools needed to heal. An important and necessary eye-opening scream, raising awareness and outrage. A film about life, love and humanity.

Animation Magazine

News Bytes: ‘Addams Family’ Original Songs, Apple TV+ Launch Date, Disney+ Pulls ‘Muppets,’ & More

‘Steven Universe The Movie’ Soundtrack Debuts in Top 10
Following its Sept. 2 release, the soundtrack debuted in the Top 10 of five Billboard charts, the week ending Sept. 14: #2 Soundtracks, #2 Children’s Top Albums, #6 Top Independent Albums, #8 Current Pop Albums, #9 Digital Albums, #19 Top Current Albums and #20 Billboard Top Albums. The expansive soundtrack continues to be available for download and streaming on all major platforms. Fans can grab a physical copy to treasure on Nov. 15, in both standard and deluxe vinyl sets — pre-orders now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and FYE.

Studio Movie Grill Expands Movies + Meals Program with DreamWorks/Pearl’s ‘Abominable’
Universal Pictures is offering multiple screenings at SMG theaters of Jill Culton’s upcoming yeti adventure. (Read all about it in Tom McLean’s feature story in the latest issue!) SMG Access launched nationwide last summer and is the only theater-loyalty program focused on positively impacting underserved children and local community members. Through their purchases, alongside rewards, loyal SMG guests are able to assist SMG outreach in offering movies and meals to local non-profits and under-resourced community members with the hope of harnessing the power of movies to inspire and change lives. Since the program’s inception, multiple studios have joined the movement, offering screenings and giving SMG the opportunity to give back more than 14,000 Movies + Meals in the program’s first year.

“We are delighted to support SMG’s efforts by offering screenings of Abominable to local non-profits providing services to underserved children in their communities and to join SMG guests in supporting purposeful outreach and a loyalty program designed to give back to local community members through Movies + Meals. Abominable celebrates friendships and the importance of family, and we can’t think of a better partner to help spread that message of kindness and empowerment than SMG.” — JIm Orr, Universal Pictures President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution

‘The Umbrella Academy’ S2 Adds Three to Cast
Ritu Arya (Humans) has been cast as “Lila,” a chameleon who can be as brilliant or as clinically insane as the situation requires. Unpredictable, mischievous and sarcastic, Lila’s gifted with a twisted sense of humor. Yusuf Gatewood (Good Omens) will play “Raymond,” a born leader with the smarts, gravitas and confidence to never have to prove it to anyone. He is warm, dedicated and has the innate ability to disarm you with a look. A devoted husband, he’s the kind of guy everyone wants to know. Marin Ireland (Y: The Last Man) will be playing “Sissy,” a fearless, no-nonsense Texas mom who married young for all the wrong reasons. Still in her prime, she’s eager to rediscover what life and love has to offer.

It was previously announced that Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher and Justin H. Min are set to reprise their roles. Production on season two is currently underway.

’The Muppets’ Disney+ Comedy Series Scrapped
Creators Adam Horowitz, Eddy Kitsis (Once Upon a Time) and Josh Gad (Frozen) have departed Muppets Live Another Day due to creative differences, causing the to-be-launched streamer to scrap the project. Sources say the trouble started when Disney swapped in Disney Parks Live Ent. SVP David Lightbody to head Muppet Studios, with some different ideas on where to take Jim Henson’s beloved characters.

MGM’s ‘The Addams Family’ Scares Up Musical Superstars for Original Songs
The first track to be released, “My Family,” is performed by Migos, Karol G, Rock Mafia and Snoop Dogg and drops Friday, September 13. The song was written by Antonina Armato, Quavious Keyate Marshall, Carolina Giraldo, Danny Parra, Tim James, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. and Vic Mizzy and was produced by Rock Mafia. The track is being released by MGM Records and distributed by 12 Tone Music. “Haunted Heart,” performed by Christina Aguilera, was written by Antonina Armato, Aguilera and Tim James and was also produced by Rock Mafia, to be released later this month by RCA Records ahead of the film’s debut. Both songs will be available for streaming and \or download at all major music retail digital platforms.

The Addams Family arrives in theaters Oct. 11 — read all about it in the November issue of Animation Magazine!

Apple TV+ Launches November 1
The new service will be available on the Apple TV App worldwide for $ 4.99 per month (free for a year with purchase of any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac as of today), and shareable with up to six people with Family Sharing. At launch, subscribers can catch exclusive originals like See (a post-apocalyptic thriller set 600 years in the future when surviving humans are all blind, starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard), Sesame Workshop’s Helpsters and new Peanuts/DHX animation Snoopy in Space.

Steven Universe soundtrack

Steven Universe soundtrack

The Muppets

The Muppets

Animation Magazine

Linda Simensky Upped to Head of Content for PBS KIDS

Accomplished kids’ TV exec Linda Simensky has been promoted to the new role of Head of PBS KIDS Content. Simensky will lead the development of a multi-platform video content strategy for PBS KIDS, designed to respond to the quickly evolving media environment and meet the needs of current and future viewers. In this expanded role, she will spearhead new, experimental approaches for emerging platforms to engage kids and support their learning, developing a slate of content that represents the next generation of children.

Simensky will continue to lead PBS KIDS’ children’s programming and maintain the pipeline of children’s programs for PBS stations’ primary channels and PBS KIDS 24/7 channel. She will continue to report to Lesli Rotenberg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager for Children’s Media and Education, PBS.

“Linda is a world-class industry leader who has developed PBS KIDS content that kids love and parents trust,” said Rotenberg. “I look forward to her leadership as we expand on our mission of creating high-quality, educational, and entertaining multi-platform video content for the next generation of children.”

Since joining PBS in 2003, Simensky has worked with renowned producers to develop hit shows that now reach 72% of all kids ages 2-8 in the U.S. on television, and 10.9 million monthly users across digital platforms – such as animated favorites Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train or live-action hit Odd Squad. Her efforts to transform PBS KIDS’ content have brought PBS to the forefront of the children’s media space. The American public rates PBS KIDS as the most trusted educational media brand for children, and PBS KIDS programs consistently rank highly with moms and preschoolers. PBS KIDS has been named Channel of the Year in Kidscreen’s broadcasting awards for five out of the past seven years.

Before joining PBS, Simensky was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw series development and production, working on shows including The Powerpuff Girls. She began her career at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch the popular series Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show.

Simensky is a frequent speaker and writer on the topic of children’s programming; she has presented at numerous national and international animation and television conferences and her work has appeared in several books on animation and children’s media. She also teaches college courses on the topic of animation at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

Animation Magazine

‘LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar’ Roars onto CITV

Universal Brand Development, the LEGO Group and CITV have launched the all-new, animated mini-series LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar. Just ahead of the show’s U.K. premiere on CITV Scrambled on Saturday, the LEGO Group globally launched four building sets inspired by the series — giving fans the chance to bring new adventures, characters and dinosaurs home for even more play.

Set in 2012, the mini-series takes place three years before the Jurassic World movie and picks up from LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit (the animated special that aired in 2018). Newly hired animal behaviorist Owen Grady and Assistant Manager of Park Operations Claire Dearing team up on Isla Nublar to deal with everything the Jurassic World park throws their way.

…Essentially, “everything” includes runaway dinosaurs, ongoing construction to expand the park, throngs of tourists, unpredictable tropical weather and an impulsive boss! There’s also a mysterious saboteur with surprising ties to the park’s past who is on a quest to find a legendary treasure and destroy Jurassic World forever. What could possibly go wrong? Well… everything.

Building sets based on LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar launched globally at retail in August, and range in price from £19.99-£79.99 (about $ 25-$ 100 USD). Sets include:

75934 – Dilophosaurus on the Loose

Explore LEGO Jurassic World with Owen Grady and build his drone to look after the dinosaurs. Meet Hudson Harper, a kid who knows everything there is to know about dinosaurs. And build the market stall in the shape of a dinosaur head with LEGO bricks. But, look out — a young Dilophosaurus has escaped and is creeping up behind Hudson. Fly to the rescue with Owen’s drone, fire the net shooter and capture that dinosaur. Every day is an adventure with this action-packed LEGO playset! (Ages 6+, 168 pieces, £19.99)

75935 Baryonyx Face-Off: The Treasure Hunt

Rush to stop Danny Nedermeyer and Sinjin Prescott’s dangerous treasure hunt in LEGO Jurassic World! According to legend, there is treasure hidden on Isla Nublar and Danny and Sinjin have a map and old videotape to help them find it. But, when a Baryonyx dinosaur thinks they are trying to steal her fish, they have to hide out in an old trailer. Help Owen Grady and Claire Dearing fix up the off-road buggy. Then drive with them and Red the dog to catch the bad guys before they steal the treasure! (Ages 7+, 434 pieces, £59.99)

75937?- Triceratops Rampage

Take a ride on the awesome new LEGO Jurassic World Egg Spinner with Simon Masrani and Allison Miles. But, watch out — there’s been a power failure and the mighty Triceratops has smashed through the fence and escaped! Jump in the buggy with Owen Grady and speed to the rescue. Dangle a carrot in front of the mighty dinosaur to distract it and save the tourist. There’s never a dull day in Jurassic World park! (Ages 7+, 447 pieces, £54.99)

75938 – T. Rex vs. Dino-Mech Battle

Danger! Danny Nedermeyer is roaming Jurassic World park in his huge Dino-Mech on a mission to steal the treasure hidden in the Isla Nublar volcano. But first he has to face the mighty T. rex. Jump in the boat with Owen Grady, Claire Dearing, Vic Hoskins — plus baby Velociraptors Blue, Delta, Echo and Charlie — and speed to the battle scene. Fire the boat’s stud shooters at the Dino-Mech. Put the T. rex to sleep with the tranquilizer gun. You must stop Danny before he finds a way to smash into the volcanic rock and steal the treasure! (Ages 8+, 716 pieces, £79.99)

LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar

LEGO Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar

Animation Magazine

‘Undone’: The Surreal Life in Rotoscope from Kate Purdy & Raphael Bob-Waksberg

***This article originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. ‘19 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 293)***

If you like your animated shows to be grown-up, surreal and a bit unsettling, then get ready to get hooked badly on Undone, the intriguing new offering from Raphael Bob-Waksberg (BoJack Horseman, Tuca & Bertie) and Kate Purdy (The McCarthys, Cougar Town). The half-hour rotoscope animated show, which premieres on Amazon Prime this month, is the kind of mystery that keeps you guessing and entertained until the very last minute.

Undone centers on a 20-something woman named Alma (voiced by Rosa Salazar) , who begins to see visions of her late father (Bob Odenkirk) after a near-fatal car accident and discovers that she has the ability to travel through space and time. The show, which is produced by Bob-Waksberg, Purdy, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen and Tommy Pallotta, also features a great, multicultural voice cast that includes Angelique Cabral, Constance Marie, Siddarth Dhananjay, Daveed Diggs, John Corbett, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Sheila Vand and Tyler Posey.

The origin of the show goes back to 2015 when Bob-Waksberg and Purdy were working on the first season of the acclaimed, Emmy-winning Netflix series BoJack Horseman. That’s when they started exploring the possibility of creating a new project that explored complex issues such as mental health and the nature of reality.

“We started talking about our own personal lives and families,” recalls Purdy. “I told him about my grandmother Geraldine, who had schizophrenia, and my own fears about mental health. I was going through a divorce and a hard time in my life, and as a result was discovering all these alternative healing modalities, and meeting shamans around the world. As a result, I came to see our world and our approach to mental health in a new light.”

In the beginning, the producers weren’t quite sure whether the show would be animated or not. Yet, as the different parts began to gel, they realized that the surreal nature of the content made it a natural candidate for animation.

Painterly Vision

One of the driving forces behind the show’s highly artistic look is acclaimed director Hisko Hulsing, an indie Dutch animator who is best known for his award-winning shorts Junkyard and Seventeen. “Our producers Noel and Steve found Hisko, who is absolutely amazing,” says Bob-Waksberg. “It was his idea to use rotoscopy since he wanted to capture the micro expressions of the animated characters’ faces, and we were all on board.” Purdy adds, “We wanted a style that felt real and grounded, but was animated enough so that when crazy things started to happen, you wouldn’t feel like we were suddenly breaking the show. We needed this seamless transition between what was real and what was unreal.”

Undone

Undone

The production of the show is quite different from other animated shows. “It’s almost like we make the show three times,” jokes Purdy. “We first shoot the show in live action in Hollywood. Then that footage is sent to Minnow Mountain Studio (A Scanner Darkly, Waking Life) in Austin, where they rotoscope it and choose which lines to animate for all the expressions and emotionality. Finally, it goes to Submarine Studio in Amsterdam, where Hisko oversees the animation and they oil paint the backgrounds and different elements are added in the compositing process.”

Bob-Waksberg says one of the exciting things about working on the show is the technology’s possibilities. “The thing about working in this medium is that there are not too many projects that are created via rotoscopy, so every time someone experiments, there is an opportunity for more innovation in the process,” he notes. “There are tricks that our animators are using now that weren’t available to us when we started the project. We have found these solutions that make the process run more smoothly. You also have to be careful when you mention other rotoscopy projects, because it’s a very small community. I made a joke about those e-trade [Charles Schwab] commercials one time after a screening, and it turned out that some of the animators actually worked on those spots as well!”

Another great thing about the show is that its central character is a strong, interesting Latinx woman. Purdy says it was very important for her to have diversity on screen and represent many kinds of people and their experiences. “I was born in Austin and raised in San Antonio, and we lived with our family in Mexico for a few years,” explains Purdy. “San Antonio is predominantly Mexican-American and Latinx, and we really wanted to have a realistic representation of the culture, heritage and make-up of that city on the show.”

Undone

Undone

“One of the biggest joys of working on Undone is how much all the amazing collaborators are bringing to the show,” says Bob-Waksberg. “We have these amazing actors who are so expressive and bring each episode alive. Then, there is this wonderful writing staff who took some of our ideas and built upon them in a beautiful way. Of course, then there are the rotoscopers, the animators and the painters and artists. I feel that everyone who comes on board finds a way to elevate the piece. I have to say that everyone who has worked on the show has been a real delight to collaborate with.”

Purdy says she has also been awed by everyone’s contributions. “It’s like labor pains,” she says. “Every process is incredibly painful, when it’s all done, you just think how blissful and beautiful it has all been. I just hope that after they see the first eight episodes, the audience questions the nature of reality and our purpose here, and they think about what they want our answers to be.”

Undone premieres on Amazon Prime Video on September 13.

Undone

Undone

Animation Magazine

Superprod Animation and Planeta Junior Form New Partnership

France’s Superprod Animation and Spain’s kids production company Planeta Junior have announced a new partnership to distribute, license and produce premium kids and family programs worldwide.

The allience kicks off with Helen’s Little School (52×11’). Superprod Animation (France) and Muse Entertainment (Canada) are producers of the show that currently airs on France Télévisions and TV5 Monde, Télé Québec, TFO, Knowledge Channel, MTVA in Hungary, C+ in Poland, Discovery Kids in Latin America. The series is also available in China on TENCENT and other digital platforms, through deals secured by UYoung, and in a growing number of territories in Asia.

The following project, That’s Joey! (52×11’), is an animated comedy series based on the comics created by Thierry Coppée and published by Delcourt, with over 3.7 million copies sold through the world. The series is produced by Superprod Animation (France) and coproduced by Planeta Junior, Digital Graphics (Belgium) and Atmosphere Media (Germany). That’s Joey! is in production for French free TV broadcaster M6.

Planeta Junior will become the master licensing agent of the series worldwide excluding French speaking territories and distribute the series in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Greece, Turkey, and jointly Latin America along Superprod. Atmosphere is handling sales in German speaking Europe. Superights is handling sales in all other territories worldwide. The first episodes of That’s Joey! will be presented at MIP Junior in October.

That's Joey

That’s Joey

Animation Magazine

Animated Freddie Mercury Video Raises AIDS Awareness

A new video animation featuring two white blood cells in love was released on Thursday to mark what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 73rd birthday and help raise awareness of the continued global fight against AIDS.

The British singer, songwriter and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen, died in 1991 aged 45 due to complications from AIDS.

The four-minute video released by Universal Music Group (UMG) accompanies the flamboyant singer’s 1985 track “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow”. The tale of the two white blood cells, one of which is infected with the virus, depicts the power of love over fear and ignorance.

Directors Esteban Bravo and Beth David said of making this short film, “We wanted to tell a story that was relevant to Freddie’s life, but not explicitly about him. The AIDS crisis of the 1980s is a huge part of LGBT+ history, and it’s something that we knew needed to be handled with care. It’s a fine line to walk between shedding light on a subject, and perpetuating a stigma, and we were cautious not to lean into tropes and stereotypes that might hurt the modern understanding of the AIDS virus, rather than help it.”

“In researching the HIV/AIDS virus and the way it affects the body’s immune system, we were inspired to take a look at the story through a more microscopic lens. It is a love story between two white blood cells, one of which has become infected by the virus. This perspective gave us a more direct visual representation of our conflict, which allowed us to explore the more nuanced struggles the characters face in their relationship with each other, their perceptions of themselves, and society’s perception, bias, and neglect of them.”

“The LGBT+ community fought for years for the right to proper research and healthcare, and because of that fight, millions of lives have been saved. We wanted to celebrate that victory. Through perseverance, strength, and love, our characters not only survive, but live long, healthy lives together.”

Freddie Mercury - Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow (Official Video)

Freddie Mercury – Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow (Official Video)

The video is a tribute to the work of the Mercury Phoenix Trust, set up after Mercury’s death to help support projects in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The animation for the video was produced by Woodblock.

The song “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” comes from “Never Boring”, the definitive Freddie Mercury solo collection, which will be released worldwide on Oct. 11.

You can watch the video here:

Animation Magazine

DreamWorks’ ‘Archibald’s Next Big Thing’ Hatches on Netflix Today

If you’re looking for a fun, animated show for the whole family to watch together, you’ll be smart to check out the first season of DreamWorks’ great-looking Archibald’s Next Big Thing. All 13 episodes of the show debut today on Netflix. The series is created and executive produced by two-time Emmy-winning actor, director and writer Tony Hale (who also voices the lead character). It’s also executive produced by Eric Fogel (Descendants: Wicked WorldCelebrity Deathmatch), and was developed for television by Drew Champion (Game Talk Live) and Jacob Moffat (Tiny Tiny Talk Show)..

In addition to Hale (Archibald), the series features the voices of Adam Pally as Sage,  Chelsea Kane as Loy,  Jordan Fisher  as Finly, Kari Wahlgren as Bea, and Rosamund Pike as the playfully sarcastic Narrator. Guest voices include Julia Louis-Dreyfus Casey Wilson, RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Gary Cole and more.

DreamWorks Archibald’s Next Big Thing follows the adventures of Archibald Strutter, a chicken who ‘yes-ands’ his way through life. Though living in the moment often leads him astray, Archibald always finds his way back home to an egg-shaped house in the center of Crackridge he shares with his three siblings, Sage, Finly, and Loy, and his trusty sidekick, Bea. Archibald’s Next Big Thing is described as a fresh comedy about the importance of being present and celebrating the journey, not just the destination. With each twist and turn, this gangly, happy chicken shows everyone around him how important it is to get out of your comfort zone and see the best in everyone and every situation.

You can check out some fresh, new clips here:

Animation Magazine

Warner Media’s Crunchyroll Invests in VIZ Media Europe Group

Two of the world’s biggest anime powerhouses have joined forces today: WarnerMedia’s Crunchyroll has invested in European anime company VIZ Media Group. The company, a division of Otter Media, has signed a deal that brings together Crunchyroll’s global platform with VIZ’s anime partners, while the Hitotusbashi Group will keep its minority stake in the operation. Closing of the transaction will occur once closing conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of required antitrust clearances.

Crunchyroll, which was founded in 2006 as an anime-sharing platform, has grown to attract a community of more than 50 million registered users through a variety of 360° content experiences including:

  • Streaming Video – Fans can choose between subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) and advertising-based-video-on-demand (AVOD) services; Crunchyroll’s two million paying subscribers spend an average of 85 minutes per day streaming. Crunchyroll streams more than 1000 licensed anime titles across devices, professionally translated into eight languages. Original content, largely from Crunchyroll’s studios in Tokyo and Los Angeles, will be joining the collection soon.
  • Events – Through participation in more than 180 events across 18 countries, Crunchyroll engages with an estimated 21 million anime fans globally each year. In addition, Crunchyroll hosts two marquee events annually, Crunchyroll Expo and the Anime Awards.
  • Consumer Products – Crunchyroll creates and sells a wide variety of anime products through more than 100 merchandising partners and their direct-to-consumer Crunchyroll Store. More than 2000 SKU’s are currently available online for purchase in the Crunchyroll Store.
  • Games – Crunchyroll Games is a game publisher working on a growing collection of anime-based experiences for fans; four mobile games are currently available.
  • Manga – Fans can download the Crunchyroll Manga app on mobile devices, with new titles updated regularly.

VIZ Media Europe Group, comprised of VIZ Media Europe (VME), AV Visionen, Anime Versand and VIZ Media Switzerland (VMS), is an established licensor and distributor of Japanese content for the EMEA region, bringing fans a variety of 360° experiences, including:

  • Content Distribution – VME and VMS are the content suppliers for EMEA TV broadcasters and VOD platforms. More than 40,000 hours of animation of all ages have been distributed in 100+ countries.
  • Theatrical Distribution – Regular anime rendezvous at theaters in Europe and successful event screenings (Kazé Anime Night) in German-speaking territories.
  • Consumer Products – Licensing, brand management and retail development for all categories in EMEA.
  • Manga Publishing – VME and VMS started successfully under the brand Kazé Manga in 2010 in French Speaking Europe and in 2012 in German-speaking Europe.
  • DVD Home Entertainment – VIZ Media Europe Group’s robust home video capabilities span across France (through Kazé), Germany (through AV Visionen), and German-speaking Europe including Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (through VIZ Media Switzerland).
  • Streaming Video – Anime on Demand (AoD) launched in 2007 as the first legal streaming platform in Germany for anime with nearly 5000 episodes and films available. Launched in 2013, Anime Digital Network (ADN), in partnership with Média-Participations, is a French platform dedicated to anime, with more than 6000 episodes and films available.

“Crunchyroll and VIZ Media Europe Group will bring together significant expertise, capabilities, and dedication to grow and promote our respective licensed and original content,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll. “We look forward to learning from and collaborating with our new colleagues in Paris, Lausanne and Berlin, so we can continuously create the most engaging experiences for anime and manga communities around the world.”

“We have built a large network in EMEA and beyond, expanding our manga and licensing expertise through multiple skills in various business lines: TV, DVD, Digital & Merchandising,” said Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, CEO of VIZ Media Europe Group. “Over the last decade, our team has shown a deep understanding of Japanese pop culture and adaptation within local markets, and I believe this relationship will strengthen our position and future growth, adapting to changes in the dynamic Japanese animation industry and global business climate.”

“Crunchyroll has helped enable anime to become a mainstay in popular culture, and we are committed to this growing category. This transaction between Crunchyroll and VIZ Media will combine one of the major anime brands ex-Asia with a well-known and beloved manga and anime distributor,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media. “Together, we aim to create connections for passionate anime fans across Europe and beyond.”

Animation Magazine

Bean Has a Hell of a Time in ‘Disenchantment’ S2 Trailer

The official trailer for Disenchantment Part Two has arrived, promising an even more intense series of adventures for everyone’s favorite dysfunctional princess as she quests to find her destiny, save Dreamland, and kick a few butts on the way. This season will put Bean and Luci through Hell (literally) as they seek to reunite with Elfo. Plus: Creepy prophecy, major mommy issues and at least one dragon. New episodes launch globally on Netflix on September 20.

Disenchantment followS the misadventures of Bean (Abbi Jacobson), the hard-drinking young princess of Dreamland, her feisty elf companion Elfo (Nat Faxon) and her personal demon Luci (Eric Andre). Along the way, the oddball trio encountered ogres, sprites, harpies, imps, trolls, walruses and lots of human fools.

Picking up where we left off, Disenchantment Part Two delves deeper into the un-fairytale’s mythology and explores faraway worlds well beyond Dreamland. But one question remains: Have we really seen the last of the beloved Elfo?

The series is executive produced by Matt Groening and Josh Weinstein. The voice cast also features John DiMaggio, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, David Herman, Matt Berry, Jeny Batten, Rich Fulcher, Noel Fielding and Lucy Montgomery.

Disenchantment

Disenchantment

Animation Magazine