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

We Are Royale, Artolution Bring Refugee Kids’ Art to Life in Animated AR Mural

Creative production studio We Are Royale has partnered with Artolution, an international community-based public art organization, to bring its latest public mural to life with augmented reality. Located in New York City’s East Village, the mural highlights the stories, struggles and dreams of immigrant and refugee youth seeking safety in the United States.

Fifteen teenagers and children from Central America created original artwork for the mural under the mentorship of Artolution artists. The project provided an educational and therapeutic experience for the children, who are clients of KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), a non-profit that provides pro-bono legal services to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children.

The AR experience launched during a public event on August 28 in front of the mural, located on the Key Food supermarket on Avenue A. Using an iOS and Android compatible app (in English and Spanish), visitors can hold their smartphones up to view the mural, and the characters in the artwork will emerge from the wall, moving and dancing — and learn more about this meaningful initiative.

Artolution tasked We Are Royale with bringing vitality the youths’ art through animation and AR. The project marks the second partnership between Artolution co-founder Joel Bregner and We Are Royale, following the mural-based teaser campaign Amazon Prime Video series Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton.

“This project was an incredible experience for all of us who were involved,” said Bergner. “I enjoyed partnering with [We Are Royale ECD and Partner] Brien [Holman] and the whole Royale team as we guided our youth participants in the creation of their own characters, which were manifested through the mural, mask-making, and performance. The animation and augmented reality elements were especially exciting, as this is the first time that an AR mural has been created with youth, so we all had the sense that we were making history.”

For We Are Royale, this project brought together many of the studio’s skill sets and passions: contributing time and resources to social awareness projects, and fluidly designing for various mediums, from character and app design to UX and AR. To create the character animations, We Are Royale took inspiration from the video footage the team shot of the young artists doing their dance choreography at the close of the mural unveiling event last month.

“We wanted to faithfully recreate what the participants created,” said Holman. “While we provided some guidance on how best to design their characters for the animation and AR aspect of the project, the youth actually took the lead in directing us. Ultimately, this was about empowering them through art. It was amazing to see how everyone opened up in the process — and all the credit goes to Joel and his team at Artolution who dedicate their lives to making beautiful initiatives like this happen.”

Bregner concluded, “This creative platform that the project has given these young people is especially important given the challenges that they’ve faced fleeing from violence and conflict, and starting over in a new country. It’s critical that we create these opportunities for displaced children to build community, shape their own narratives, and begin the healing process after the trauma they’ve experienced. The arts and technology are powerful tools to achieve this.”

Artolution

Artolution

Artolution is an international, community-based public art organization based in New York City which seeks to ignite social change through collaborative art-making, bringing together diverse communities in the face of conflict and social exclusion in order to address the trauma and challenges that they face. www.artolution.org

We Are Royale is an award-winning creative production studio with offices in L.A. and Seattle. Founded in 2007, the company is known for its end-to-end creative solutions, diverse capabilities and fluency across platforms. www.weareroyale.com

Animation Magazine

Marakids Launches First Animated Preschool Series ‘Hushabye Lullabye’

Glasgow-based indie producer Maramedia, which specializes in natural history documentaries, is breaking into preschool animation with its new Marakids title Hushabye Lullabye, coming to CBeebies by year’s end.

The 10 x 3? series is created, written and directed by TV and theater director Sacha Kyle (Glasgow), with animators Once Were Farmers (Stirling) and Maramedia delivering the show with exec producer Simon Parsons. Giles Lamb is series composer, and Will Adams handles 3D animation. Julia Bond is the Commissioning Editor for BBC.

Hushabye Lullabye has been created to incorporate the powerful benefits of lullabies in a way which is both loving and playful, and I am passionate about bringing the tradition of lullabies to contemporary early years’ audiences,” said Kyle.

Cuddly, quirky and music-filled, Hushabye Lullabye follows loveable little alien Dillie Dally as he climbs aboard the Hushabye Rocket on an interactive and relaxing musical journey of exploration and discovery to Planet Dream, a wonderfully soft and cozy place. The soothing power of lullabies is charming and totally captivating.

“We’re thrilled to be in production on this exciting new animation series. The magical and enchanting world of Hushabye Lullabye brings lullabies, and the connections created by them, to our young audience and the grown-ups in their lives,” said BBC’s Bond.

Maramedia, co-founded by Nigel Pope and Jackie Savery, was joined by former head of BBC Scotland children’s production Simon Parsons to expand their children’s output for its Marakids brand.

“We are delighted to be embarking on our first preschool children’s animation series, an exciting addition to Marakids following the launch of previous series Gudrun the Viking Princess for CBeebies,” added Pope.

“Once Were Farmers are thrilled to be part of this charming CBeebies commission. We’ve really enjoyed helping Sacha realise her vision for Hushabye Lullabye and think young audiences will love the unique and tactile style of animation,” said Will Adams, Director, Once Were Farmers.

Animation Magazine

Iggy Pop Stars in New Animated Music Video

The Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop is back—in animated form. This time around, Iggy stars in “Run Like a Villain,” a new animated music video released in conjunction with the upcoming reissue of his 1982 work Zombie Birdhouse.

The new video is director by Polish helmer Marta Kacprzak and features the animated version of Pop jumping in to volcanoes, surviving snapping alligators and dancing like a madman. The project was inspired by a photo by Esther Friedman. The musician’s sixth solo studio album will be reissued on vinyl and CD on June 28 via Caroline International. Pop also stars in Jim Jarmusch’s new zombie movie The Dead Don’t Die, which was released in theaters today.

Here is the music video:

And a link to the director’s previous efforts:

Iggy Pop - Run Like a Villain

Iggy Pop – Run Like a Villain

Animation Magazine

Paramount Adds Animated ‘Spice Girls’ Movie to Menu

Paramount Animation president Mireille Soria told The Hollywood Reporter that the studio is working on a new animated movie featuring all five members of beloved 90s group the Spice Girls. The studio, which has mostly female senior staff, is in early development on a Spice Girls movie among a slate eyeing two releases a year, starting in 2020.

Melanie Brown (Scary), Emma Bunton (Baby), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty), Geri Halliwell (Ginger) and Victoria Beckham (Posh) are all on board. Simon Fuller is producing and Karen McCullah and Kiwi Smith writing the screenplay. The animated feature will include Spice Girls classics as well as new songs.

In May 2020, the studio will release The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge has added Awkwafina and Reggie Watts to its voice cast, with Cyndi Lauper (and her co-writer Rob Hyman) working on original songs for the film. The film, which looks at the origins of SpongeBob, is described as a “love letter to SpongeBob’s beloved creator Steven Hillenburg (who passed away last November), the fans, and the residents of Bikini Bottom. Tim Hill is directing and Ryan Harris and producing (with choreography by Mia Michaels). This is the first CG-animated SpongeBob movie, and will feature a score by Hans Zimmer and original song by Ali Dee. Then in July, the studio will offer the graphic novel adaptation Rumble ( formerly titled Monster on a Hill), directed by Hamish Grieve and a partnership with ReelFX and Walden Media.

Paramount Animation has has also made a first-look deal with the joint venture between Imagine Entertainment and Sydney-based animation studio Animal Logic (Happy Feet), which already has two movies in development, one of which Imagine’s Ron Howard plans to direct. Other titles include a Chinese American fantasy adaptation The Tiger’s Apprentice, due Feb. 11, 2022 will be joined in the summer by Jersey Crabs, a Grease-like musical set on the Jersey Shore where sea crab tourists clash with land crab townies. The studio is also in early development on a Mighty Mouse project planned as a hybrid live action/animation movie based on the classic property. Jon & Erich Hoeber are on board as writers, and Karen Rosenfelt and Bob Cort as producers.

“We are all about a diverse slate of movies, but the common denominator being quality, story, heart,” Soria told the Reporter.

Source; The Hollywood Reporter

Mireille Soria

Mireille Soria

Animation Magazine

Brain Zoo Studios Working on Animated Mueller Report

L.A.-based Brain Zoo Studios and Julian August Productions are working on The Mueller Report: An Animated Series. The topical animated TV series hopes to make the report’s findings more accessible to the public. In the coming weeks, the partnership will launch a crowd-funding campaign through Kickstarter.

“Erick and I have received much positive feedback on the project. The report is a long legal document, and people have busy lives. We believe combining education and entertainment is the best way to communicate what is in the report to the general public.” said, Mo Davoudian, the Emmy-winning producer at Brain Zoo Studios and Julian August Productions.

“Mo and I feel it’s our patriotic duty to make this series and we believe everyone needs to know what is in the report. We have found others who feel this project is important, including Emmy-nominated voice actor John Di Domenico who will be the voice of Trump.” said, Erick Armelin producer at Brain Zoo Studios and Julian August Productions.

Actor John Di Domenico has been seen and heard as Trump since 2004 on
television, feature films, podcasts, web series, apps, games and hundreds of live shows around the world. For more info visit www.brainzoostudios.com

The Mueller Report: An Animated Series

The Mueller Report: An Animated Series

Animation Magazine

‘Corner Gas Animated’ S2 Premieres Canada Day, Guest Starring Michael J. Fox

In a suitably animated appearance on May 27, Brent Leroy told CTV’s Your Morning viewers that season 2 of Corner Gas Animated is set to premiere on The Comedy Network on Canada Day. The channel’s most-watched original series of all time, Corner Gas Animated will return with two back-to-back episodes on Monday, July 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, featuring special guest star Michael J. Fox.

The new 11-episode, half-hour season sees Brent (Brent Butt), Hank (Fred Ewanuick), and Emma (Corrine Koslo) compete to make viral videos; Karen (Tara Spencer-Nairn) and Davis (Lorne Cardinal) trying to scam the town at the annual Turkey Shoot; Wanda (Nancy Robertson) going power mad during Darts Night; Oscar (Eric Peterson) launching an eyebrow-raising website for the local paper; and Lacey (Gabrielle Miller) organizing a Bachelor auction and attracting high bids for Brent.

In the season premiere, “Dream Waiver,” Brent recruits Wanda to help him figure out recurring nightmares about being attacked by Michael J. Fox. Then, in an all-new episode at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT entitled “Drone and Dumber,” Brent gets a new drone that he uses to terrorize Oscar. Meanwhile, Wanda and Emma set out to test a turkey’s intelligence.

Season 2 will also feature cartoon cameos by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chris Hadfield, Russell Peters, Jann Arden and Epic Mealtime’s Harley Morenstein.

Leading up to the back-to-back premiere, fans can spend Canada Day catching up with all the happenings in Dog River with a full season 1 marathon, starting at 8 a.m. ET and repeating at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The first season of Corner Gas Animated became a ratings hit after debuting in Spring 2018 with the most-watched series premiere in Comedy Network’s history and concluding the season as the most-watched series of the broadcast year on Comedy among total viewers and all key demos (A18-34, A18-49, and A25-54). The series won the 2019 Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing, Animation for the episode “Squatch Your Language,” written by series creator and star Brent Butt.

Corner Gas Animated is an inter-provincial co-production of Prairie Pantoons (BC), comprised of Brent Butt and David Storey from 335 Productions; and Moving Mountoons (ON), comprised of Virginia Thompson and Robert de Lint from Vérité Films, in association with Bell Media, Canada Media Fund, Bell Fund, Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit, Film Incentive BC Tax Credit, Digital Animation, Visual Effects and Post Production Tax Credit, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. Animation is produced by Prairie Pantoons, Moving Mountoons and Smiley Guy Studios.

Sarah Fowlie is Director, Original Programming, Comedy, Bell Media. Production Executive for Bell Media is Chris Kelley. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Original Programming, Bell Media. Mike Cosentino is President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Bell Media.

Merchandise, news and event information available at cornergas.com.

Corner Gas Animated

Corner Gas Animated

Corner Gas Animated

Corner Gas Animated

Corner Gas Animated

Corner Gas Animated

Corner Gas Animated

Corner Gas Animated

Animation Magazine

‘Deathstroke’ Animated Series Set for CW Seed

The CW announced during its upfront presentation in New York on Thursday that DC Comics character Deathstroke is getting his own animated series for the network’s CW Seed digital platform. Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons will be produced by Blue Ribbon Content.

Introduced as an archenemy of the Teen Titans in 1980, Deathstroke (a.k.a. Slade Wilson) was a promising U.S. Army recruit drafted into a secret experiment to create super soldiers, who defects and becomes a mercenary/assassin. The series would follow Slade as his family is threatened by the murderous villain Jackal and terrorist organization HIVE.

Deathstroke will reportedly will be similar in format to CW Seed’s previous Vixen and The Ray animated series. It is unclear whether the actor who played Deathstroke in Arrow will reprise the role in animation like colleague Megalyn Echikunworke did for Vixen. Deathstroke is also played by Esai Morales on the DC Universe platform’s live-action Titans.

The character has previously appeared in the Teen Titans animated series (voiced by Ron Perlman), Young Justice (Wentworth Miller) and Beware the Batman (Robin Atkin Downes).

[Source: Hollywood Reporter]

Animation Magazine

Discover Family/Familia US Pick Up Animated 41 Ent. Properties

Discovery Family Channel and Spanish-language network Discovery Familia have acquired Pay TV rights in the U.S. to multiple properties from 41 Entertainment.

Both outlets will broadcast two of 41E’s major animation properties, PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures and Super Monsters; two holiday specials, Santa Pac’s Merry Berry Day and Pac’s Scary Halloween; and three full-length movies based on well-known IPs, Kong – King of the Apes: The Adventure Begins, Tarzan and Jane: Genesis and Tarzan and Jane: Tale of Two Jungles.

Beginning in 2020, Discovery Family Channel and Discovery Familia will also air two of 41E’s new series in production: Superhero Summer Camp and Superhero Pets.

“We are looking forward to adding such fun and entertaining series to our day-time program schedule and our TV everywhere app,” said Rachel J. Falleroni, Director of Programming for Discovery Family Channel. “These great animated series will be rolling-out on Discovery Family in the coming months and we are excited and confident that our viewers will love them.”

“We believe that we have found the perfect home for our content, both existing and in production, with Discovery Family Channel and Discovery Familia,” commented Nancy Koff, VP Sales and Marketing at 41E. “We could not be more thrilled to be growing our relationship with Discovery through our multifaceted partnership on these engaging titles.”

PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures, Action Comedy: Pac and his friends face issues of being a teenager while also protecting PacWorld from a ghostly army led by the evil Betrayus.

Super Monsters, Preschool Comedy: Dual identity monster preschool children descended from famous historical characters learn how to be the best people and monsters possible.

Superhero Summer Camp, Preschool Action Adventure: Kids of legendary superheroes spend their summer learning how to call up and control their superpowers as they transform into mini-versions of their super parents!

Superhero Pets, Preschool Action Adventure: When there’s trouble in town, these furry friends transform into Superhero Pets to save the day with their pet walker Charlie!

Kong – King of the Apes: The Adventure Begins, Action Adventure: Baby Kong is rescued from poachers and grows up to become the only force formidable enough to save humankind.

Tarzan and Jane: Genesis, Action Adventure: Baby Tarzan is rescued from a plane crash and brought to a Shaman who treats Tarzan’s injuries with a mix of native medicines saving Tarzan’s life and giving him supernatural animal powers.

Tarzan and Jane: Tale of Two Jungles, Action Adventure: Tarzan returns from the jungle to a London boarding school where he meets Jane, who aids him in solving crimes and mysteries.

Kong - King of the Apes: The Adventure Begins

Kong – King of the Apes: The Adventure Begins

Super Monsters

Super Monsters

Superhero Summer Camp

Superhero Summer Camp

Pac Man

Pac Man

Animation Magazine

Animated People: Joel Payne Makes Contact with ‘Friendliens’

Digital artist Joel Payne, whose credits span the critically acclaimed video game Heroes of Might and Magic to Steven Spielberg’s Sky Pirates, Disney’s Atlantis: The Video Game, Star Ship Troopers: Roughnecks, Silent Hill: Homecoming and original characters for Growums, tells us about turning his talents toward the original, kid-safe animated series Friendliens. See more of Payne’s work at www.wishpictures.com and www.friendliens.club.

Animag: Tell us about your new project Friendliens … how did it all start?
When my twin daughters were born in 2011, I became a single parent having to learn how to take care of two new baby girls and my four-year-old son alone while trying to keep food on the table. I was terrified. … When my daughters were old enough to walk and I had a little room to breathe, I looked around to see if I could find products, shows that would support my plan as a parent, and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have a religious or political agenda hidden in it, or wasn’t making me cringe as a parent.

Friendliens

Friendliens

The hope is to get kids excited about setting goals, having good manners, leaving the planet better than they found it, dealing with bullying, combating childhood obesity and seeing the value in our community leaders … I also wanted to give all control of the network to parents so that they are in complete control of the content. Parents can create their own playlist for each child in there home of subjects specific to the needs of that child and use our chore helper to incentivize kids with rewards that they deem worthy.

We’re creating new 2- to 3-minute long, easy to understand 3D cartoons each month for one low $ 2 fee … And we’re building a rolodex of solutions using best practices to get kids excited about doing things all parents hope for their children. We’re also adding a health and fitness program and getting kids prepared in case of emergencies from fire, floods and earthquakes.

Friendliens

Friendliens

How long have you been working on this project?
I started the project in 2011 when my daughters were born. It’ been a labor of love with my Disney fans support the development of the app by supporting my fine art.

How did you create the characters and the beautiful backgrounds?
I worked in the video game, TV, film and VR ride industry since 1990 as an art director and game designer. I was always a fan of Star Trek and Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and thought it would be easier talking about social issues if I used aliens, since there blood is green and we could talk about subjects without judging them by the color of their skin. I thought it would be interesting if their home world and backstory acted as a cautionary tale and a beacon of optimism after discovering what it means to be a Friendlien. They redeem themselves, and so can we.

Why do you think the idea would make a great animated series?
With most games and shows these days promoting sex, violence and bad behavior, I wanted to create a series that parents could 100% trust. I didn’t want just children to love it, I wanted to make something that parents could get behind. With so many parents handing their phones over to their children when they’re in the grocery store, if they’re going to look at something, why not make it good content that gets them thinking about being friendly?

Tell us a little bit about your background?
I’ve built rides for Disney Imagineering and Steve Spielberg, I’ve art directed some of the first 3D shows on TV, worked on the biggest games in history, and I’ve had a very long career that I walked away from in the video game industry. I’ve held 30 professional occupations in the entertainment industry at the highest levels which has allowed me to be a one man Pixar for the Friendlien project. You could say all of this has prepared me for the most important project of my life.

Friendliens

Friendliens

How did you get started in animation?
I started in the video game industry in 1992 when the 3D revolution was just getting started. I finally got to animate a project called Growums, where I created over 100 episodes over four years by myself. I felt like Walt Disney trying to figure it all out from scratch. That project was featured on the show The View and made national news.

Who are some of your animation inspirations?
Walt Disney is my hero. It’s why I’ve worked with the company since 1995 in different capacities. Walt cared about family entertainment and magic. He had a charm about him and all of the movies he produced when he was alive were always about good conquering evil and we need more stories like that today.

What do you love about working in the animation business?
As an artist, there is something very therapeutic about the idea of waking up each morning and building an impossible world with no limit where the characters you create might inspire a person to pursue their dreams and be a good human being to others. I’d like to think Walt would be proud.

Friendliens

Friendliens

Friendliens

Friendliens

Friendliens

Friendliens

Joel Payne

Joel Payne

Animation Magazine

Cannes Gets Animated

While the general public doesn’t think of the Cannes Film Festival (May 14-25) as the prime spot for premiering animated projects, this auteur-driven event does have its share of programs that showcase animated shorts and features.

Animation Day

To promote the possibilities of animation, Cannes’s Marché du Film has teamed up with the Annecy Int’l Animated Film Festival to present a day of panels and mixers on Sunday, May 19. The program will feature the fourth Annecy Goes to Cannes presentation of five in-progress feature films, complimented by a panel discussion on adult animated film distribution.

“I can only revel in this initiative that enables our two entities to bolster the visibility of animated films at Cannes, and to support this marvelous dynamic experienced by animation feature film. I am very grateful to Jérôme Paillard and the Marché du Film de Cannes for this collaboration that enables diverse professionals to seize the opportunities of an art that is constantly pushing boundaries,” says Mickaël Marin, CEO, CITIA. Among the in-production films to be spotlighted on this special day are:

  • Spain/China. Attending: Ignacio Ferreras (director), Jian-Ping Li (co-director), Manuel Cristobal (producer, Dragoia Media) and Weiwei Song (co-producer, China Film Animation)
  • Archipelago. Attending: Félix Dufour-Laperrière (director) and Nicolas Dufour-Laperrière (producer, Embuscade films)
  • France/Belgium. Attending: Didier and Damien Brunner (producers, Folivari)
  • Bob Spit – We Do Not Like People. Attending: Cesar Cabral (director) and Ivan Melo (producer, Coala Filmes)
  • Yakari. France/Germany/Belgium. Attending: Xavier Giacometti (director) and Maïa Tubiana (producer, Dargaud Media)

(Entry with Marché du Film badge or by registration, first come, first seated.)

Also planned for this day is the essential panel, The A-Z Game Plan to Releasing Adult Animated Films for the Big Screen, which brings together producers, international sellers, distributors and operators to discuss the growing business of mature audience animation. Panelists will deliberate on how to make the best choices from scripting to release, the merits of specialized distributors, and the smart marketing practices that will support a successful cinema release. (Starts at 11:30 a.m.)

Yakari

Yakari

An International Sampler

For the second year in a row, Animation Nights New York is hosting a special program at the festival, offering filmmakers from around the world an opportunity to enjoy the spotlight. ANNY has hand-picked 18 animated shorts for exhibition at the event. Among them: Chad Thompson’s #LastSelfie (U.S.), Sacha Beeley’s Big Toast (U.K.), Nick Niebe’s Graffiti (Italy), Brian K Tarus’ Isolated (Kenya), Lauren Sandercock’s Match (U.K.), Igor Coric’s Passage (Serbia), Carol Freeman’s The Bird & the Whale (Ireland), Sadegh Javadi Nikjeh’s The Fox (Iran), Jie Weng’s The Quintet of the Sun (China), Laura Pop’s Monster (Romania) and Bill Plimpton, Billy Shebar and David C. Roberts’ Trump Bites: Xenophobia (U.S.)

These shorts will be available for viewing on the ANNY channel in the Short Film Corner, from May 20-25, and during a special screening at the Marche on May 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Palais H. Participating filmmakers will also receive access to the First Edition of the Animation Day at Cannes with Annecy. The directors/producers participating in the ANNY Cannes Program represent over 13 countries across four continents. Just like last year, it promises to be one of the toon highlights of the festival.

The Fox

The Fox

Trump Bites: Xenophobia

Trump Bites: Xenophobia

Angry Birds Watching

Remember the good old days of Cannes when Jeffrey Katzenberg used to premiere DreamWorks Animation’s movies with splashy events and star appearances by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, Cate Blanchett and Justin Timberlake? Well, this year, Sony Pictures Animation is hoping to bring back those glitzy spotlights with a special The Angry Birds Movie 2 event on Monday, May 13 on the Carlton Pier. At press time, producer John Cohen was confirmed to attend, but we speculate festival-goers might also get a chance to hang out with director Thurop Van Orman and some of the film’s voice cast—which includes Peter Dinklage, Bill Hader, Leslie Jones, Pete Davidson, Sterling K. Brown, Awkwafina, Jason Sudeikis, Rachel Bloom, Josh Gad, Danny McBride and Niki Minaj.

The Angry Birds Movie 2

The Angry Birds Movie 2

A Surreal Stop-Motion Treat

European animation watchers have been eagerly anticipating the release of Czech studio Maur Film’s new project Of Unwanted Things and People, which won the Eurimages Co-Pro Development Award at Cartoon Movie this year. The stop-motion anthology pic centers on an older man with two young kids who conjures up stories that can take the reader back in time. Directed by David Su?kup, Ivana Lauc?i?kova?, Leon Vidmar Agata Gorza?dek, the surreal pic is based on a book by Arnošt Goldflam and also features two orphans and their strange aunt who turns into a cat when no one is around, a lonely man who learns how to fly and becomes the king of all birds, and an abandoned hut that once was home to fantastic monsters.

Of Unwanted Things and People

Of Unwanted Things and People

A Dog’s Life

Romanian director Anca Damian’s upcoming movie Marona’s Fantastic Tale was one of the winning projects at this year’s Cartoon Movie. This month, the much-anticipated project will be making waves on the Croisette as well. Written by Anghel Damian, the French-Romanian pic follows the adventures of a beautiful half-breed Labrador as she enters the lives of several people throughout her life. Each owner gives her a different name, but the only constant is the unconditional love and unwavering empathy that the pooch offers those around her.

According to Anca Damian, the film was inspired by her own experience of saving a stray dog she found on the street. “The audience encounters a dog prepared to give her all out of love for her masters,” she told Cineuropa. “This theme of empathy lies at the very heart of my film, and as we are telling a contemporary tale. I wish to highlight that the empathy comes more from the dog than from human beings. Thanks to the power of animation, we are going to be able to amplify this by playing on anthropomorphism, and thus question the notion of giving.”

The film, which began production in November of 2017, had a budget of 2.7 million euros (over $ 3 million), and was supported by the Romanian National Film Center. A total of 27 animators worked on the movie, using various 2D and 3D techniques. Brecht Evens was character designer, Gina Thorstensen and Sarah Mazetti were background designers.

A co-production of Aparte Film, Minds Meet and Sacrebleu Productions, the film’s worldwide sales is handled by French company Charades.

Marona

Marona

‘Swallows of Kabul’ Takes Flight

The sole animated movie screening at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section is the haunting 2D-animated feature The Swallows of Kabul, which is based on Yasmina Khadra’s acclaimed 2002 novel. Animated by France’s Les Armateurs (Ernest & Celestine) and Luxembourg’s Studio 532, the movie takes an unflinching look at the lives of two couples living in Afghanistan under the brutal Taliban regime. The project is directed by actress/helmer Zabou Breitman (Beautiful Memories) and Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec (Ernest & Celestine).

“The author writes about people who have to survive in a harsh environment where lives are destroyed and individuals have to make challenging choices in order to survive in a hostile world,” says Breitman. “All the issues and characters are treated with sensitivity, and despite the seemingly hopeless situation, it is still possible to find the strength and courage to move forward.”

Swallows of Kabul

Swallows of Kabul

Critics Find ‘I Lost My Body’

Jérémy Clapin’s feature directorial debut I Lost My Body (J’ai perdu mon corps) will premiere as part of the Cannes Critics Week lineup. Produced by Marc du Pontavice at acclaimed French studio Xilam Animation, the adaptation of Guillaum Laurant’s Happy Hand generated a lot of buzz at Cartoon Movie earlier this spring.

Clapin previously made the Critics’ Week list with his César-nominated short Skhizein (2008), which won the Cannes Discovery Award as well as the Annecy Audience Award, Best French Animation at Clermont-Ferrand, and Best Animated Short honors from Chicago Int’l Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival and Hiroshima Animation Festival. He is also the director of lauded shorts Palmipedarium (2012) and his first film Backbone Tale (2004).

The film centers on the misadventures of a cut-off hand which escapes from a dissection lab with one crucial goal: to get back to its body. As it scrambles through the pitfalls of Paris, it remembers its life with the young man it was once attached to… until they met Gabrielle.

The screenplay is by Jérémy Clapin and Guillaume Laurant. The voice cast is led by Hakim Faris, Victoire Du Bois and Patrick D’Assumçao. I Lost My Body was co-produced by Rhone-Alpes Cinema; Charade is handling international sales, and will also screen at Annecy in June.

I've Lost My Body

I’ve Lost My Body

Animation Magazine

UNICEF Launches Animated #VaccinesWork Campaign

To urge more parents to vaccinate their children, UNICEF is launching a new #VaccinesWork digital, social, outdoor and print campaign. Created by ad agency RPA, the campaign, which features a 60-second animated film, “Dangers,” along with illustrated animations for social media posts and posters, will be released during World Immunization Week, which runs every year from April 24 to 30.

“Dangers” is based on the relatable insight that kids, by their very nature, are little daredevils who are constantly putting themselves in danger. While we can’t prevent all the dangers that kids get themselves into, vaccination can help prevent the dangers that get into our kids. The storybook video format is a perfect fit both for speaking to parents and parents-to-be and for adding a lightheartedness to a collection of dangerous situations. The film was illustrated and animated by LOBO director Mateus de Paula Santos in São Paulo, Brazil, using a combination of 2D and 3D animation.

The static and animated posters that live alongside the film provide another interpretation of kids facing danger. Kids are shown in aspirational roles with clear and logical antagonists. The kids featured in the six posters represent a range of ethnicities to reflect the global nature of the campaign. To build upon this inclusivity, each of the six illustrations were created by a different illustrator to showcase a collection of artistic styles.

“Today, vaccines save more than five lives every minute of every day,” said Robin Nandy, UNICEF’s Chief of Immunization. “We hope that this video can help parents to appreciate the power of vaccines. We want parents to know that vaccines are safe and that they can protect children against many deadly diseases.”

The campaign elements are being translated into many languages, including French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog and Romanian for worldwide distribution. Posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will reach parents across the world.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to help parents, no matter where they live or their circumstances, to understand the benefits of vaccinations. We hope that this captivating new work will prompt parents to keep their kids safe,” said Jason Sperling, SVP/Chief, Creative Development at RPA.

Every year, UNICEF supplies vaccines reaching almost half of the world’s children. In 2018 UNICEF procured over 2.35 billion doses of vaccines.


Animation Magazine

Lil Dicky’s Animated “Earth”: Interview with Co-Director Nigel Tierney

Multi-platform recording artist Lil Dicky (“Ex-Boyfriend”) is striking a musical blow for climate change action with the release of his new song “Earth,” produced by Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat. Unveiled for Earth Day, the tune boasts more than 30 featured collaborators who are reinvented as all kinds of animals, plants and other living things in an accompanying animated music video (which you can catch at the end of this interview). The piece is co-directed by Nigel Tierney of Emmy-winning studio RYOT (Behind the Fence VR), Federico Heller of 3Dar (Uncanny Valley) and Iconic Engine.

“Like a lot of people, I had a vague idea that something bad was happening here on Earth, but I didn’t really realize how insane our climate crisis is and how screwed humanity is about to be,” says Lil Dicky. “It’s full-on crazy! If we don’t get our act together now, and change a lot about our fundamental behavior, Earth will become unlivable alarmingly soon. Why did it take me so long to get wind of this? I feel like everybody on the planet should be talking about this 24/7. But that’s not the case. So I wanted to make the most entertaining and epic piece of content possible, to get everyone aware and talking. Because it’s now or never… Let’s save the Earth! We love the Earth!!!!”

Tierney has been tied to this ambitious project from almost the very beginning. “I was fortunate to meet Dave [Burd], a.k.a. Lil Dicky, around two years ago, and he shared this exciting idea of getting a ton of celebrities to come together on one track to make people like him actually care about climate change. He had an idea that each celebrity would play an animal, and I had pitched him on a whole bunch of different ideas varying from low-budget pop up style 2D animation to live-action shooting of the animals and doing mouth replacement. We ultimately settled on a feature-film-quality short that matched the appeal and caliber of the talent attached,” the director recalls.

“Finding the right home to create this project was the next challenge, but when I joined RYOT I knew this project was the perfect combination of beautiful storytelling, state-of-the-art animation, and making a large scale cultural impact to society; all of which aligned with RYOT’s ethos and culture. Zeda Stone, Head of RYOT, loved it and, well, the rest is about to become history.”

Creating a Celeb-Filled Ecosystem

Lil Dicky and Tierney shared an exacting vision for “Earth”: a stunning visual world set within a “book-of-life,” where compelling characters could make the most of the song’s punchy lyrics.

“The dichotomy of playing with things like a super cute lion cub (played by Halsey) composed against the potential violent imagery of eating a zebra (played by Ariana Grande) or the matter of fact language of Zac Brown’s cow stating that we ‘drink milk from my tits!’ composed against the visuals of a sweet farm environment was the spine of this entire piece,” Tierney explains.

Of course, the vibrant colors and comic moments are meant to carry a very serious message. “Although it was such a treat working on this project we really had a huge responsibility to get this right,” Tierney adds, “and we worked painstakingly with Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation and a team of independent scientists/advocates to insure that this video and the welovetheearth.org website that we created to accompany it were accurate, authentic, and provided everyone the opportunity to make a difference.”

Tierney and the RYOT crew worked closely with the 3Dar team, led by Partner and director Federico Heller, who set up camp at the RYOT offices. The studio also set up a dedicated “control room” for liaising between their own LA artists and those at 3Dar, which is based in Buenos Aires. The whole process was greatly facilitated by producers Michael Brocollo and German Heller, Tierney notes.

One of the big “selling points” of the music video is the jaw-dropping line-up of super star guest performers, who lend their voices to all manner of animals, as well as plants and some of the stranger lifeforms that make up our amazing planet which don’t often appear in warm ‘n’ fuzzy ecology campaigns.

“Dave’s super power is convincing celebrities to take part in things, and this is the utopian form of that. We decided the animals ahead of time; Dave had written them very particularly and when I was working through boarding those gags we would just pitch back and forth on who would work for each,” Tierney explains. “Of course, there were some easy ones — like Snoop Dogg playing the marijuana plant or knowing Lil Jon’s delivery would be killer for the Clam. Most artists were excited by the choices, but there were definitely some requests made. Now, whether we acknowledged those requests, that’s another question.”

It’s hard for Tierney to pick out a favorite among this musical menagerie. “Ed Sheeran’s Koala is just stunning and I really love the delivery of the line,” he begins. “I also love Kevin Hart’s portrayal as Kanye as it is such a fun joke. My five-year-old son, Nigel Jr., is obsessed with Justin Bieber’s baboon, in particular our choice to transition through his anus. Feel free to judge my parenting skills.”

Bringing in some of the unseen elements of our world proved a bigger challenge than a baboon’s butt, however: “We had a particularly difficult time with animating Lil Yachty’s HPV character, as Dave had a particular vision with how this character would look as it was dancing while also existing in the microscopic fluid. This character’s design and animation possibly had the most iterations, and our art directors’ — Ricky Baba and Patrick Moss — search history was ruined when having to research HPV and its movement.”

Race for Change

Between RYOT and 3Dar, close to 200 artists and engineers contributed to the video, as well as the live-action intro, website and additional content. Tierney notes that while the animation team worked on storyboards and concepts for over two years, the production period was a very rapid five months.

“We were literally doing frame paintovers hours before the upload to YouTube,” he reveals. “An impressively challenging thing around production was that we had to create over 60 complicated character assets that had to be rigged and have real fur which 90% of them only having 5-10 seconds of screen time. Pair that with a variety of environments such as oceans, jungles, and global monuments to complement and we ended up with a feature film level production to be squashed into a 7 minute short.

“We really had to be economical and leverage previz in a big way to lock in the exact framing of each character and the joke associated with it as we definitely didn’t have the time to allow for iterations. The only way this was possible was leveraging our brand new state-of-the-art 5G studio at RYOT to work through previz. It is actually the first production out of that pipeline. And we are already seeing the scale of that studio beginning to take place across our entire Verizon Media studio buildout.”

When it comes to the intersection of nature and animation, Tierney says there are two on-screen moments that have stayed with him. The first was the majestic, sweeping intro to Disney’s The Lion King. The second, he says, is Shrek.

“Specifically, the scene where Shrek was running through a field of beautifully rendered grass, I couldn’t help be mesmerized by how the sun interacted with each of the individual blades of grass. I actually said to my mother that day that I will work on Shrek 15 that day,” says the director, who was a teen at the time. “Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait that long and got to work on Shrek Forever After.”

Above all, the mission of “Earth” is to inspire people to make a difference, with the newly launched site WeLoveTheEarth.org serving offering steps that can be taken, like registering to vote for representatives driven to fight climate change, to lowering your carbon footprint, and signing the Global Deal for Nature. In collaboration with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, net profits the song, music video views and merchandise go to aid select, frontline nonprofit groups like Quick Response Fund for Nature, the Shark Conservation Fund, the Solutions Project, the Global Greengrants Fund and the Carbon Cycle Institute.

“We want this to be a global phenomenon and cultural turning point for climate change,” Tierney asserts. “It’s why we enlisted over 30 global superstars with a variety of talent and fans such as Kris Wu, Psy, Bad Bunny, & even basketball athlete Joel Embiid. We want to turn the attention caused by this song for everyone to acknowledge and rally around the serious fact that climate change is real.”

Performer/Character Guide: Justin Bieber (Baboon), Ariana Grande (Zebra), Halsey (Lion Cub), Zac Brown (Cow), Brendon Urie (Pig), Hailee Steinfeld (Common Fungus), Wiz Khalifa (Skunk), Snoop Dogg (Marijuana), Kevin Hart (Kanye West), Adam Levine (Vultures), Shawn Mendes (Rhinos), Charlie Puth (Giraffe), Sia (Kangaroo), Miley Cyrus (Elephant), Lil Jon (Clam), Rita Ora (Wolf), Miguel (Squirrel), Katy Perry (Pony), Lil Yachty (HPV), Ed Sheeran (Koala), Meghan Trainor (India), Joel Embiid (Africa), Tory Lanez (China); John Legend, Bad Bunny, Psy & Kris Wu (We Love the Earth); Backstreet Boys (Credits), Leonardo DiCaprio.


Animation Magazine

An Animated Guide to WonderCon

This weekend, the annual WonderCon comics, gaming and fandom event takes over the Anaheim Convention Center, offering attendees a jam-packed schedule of screenings, signings, sneak peeks, panels and portfolio reviews. Here are some of our recommended picks to make the most of the event.

PANELS

Fri. 5 p.m. Transformers: Cyberverse, Going Cyber A behind-the-scenes look at writing Transformers: Cyberverse Season 1 from Cartoon Network and Hasbro Studios. The conversation will include the Cyberverse writing team: Gavin Hignight, Zac Atkinson, Mae Catt, Dan Salgarolo, story editor Randolph Heard, and Hasbro Studios’ Mikiel Houser and will be moderated by Jack Conway (Comic-Con Film School 101). The team will discuss the creation of Season 1 and give you a peak at what’s to come in Season 2!

Fri. 6 p.m. Writing for Animation Have you ever wanted to write cartoons for a living? If so, you’ll want to listen to a panel of folks who have actually done it and done a lot of it. Come and hear from moderator Mark Evanier (The Garfield Show, Thundarr The Barbarian), John Semper (Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Static Shock), Julien Magnat (The Garfield Show, Ben 10), and others.

Fri. 7 p.m. WORLD PREMIERE Justice League vs. The Fatal Five Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC, and Warner Bros. Animation continue the treasured tradition of Friday night world premieres at WonderCon with the unveiling of the latest DC Universe Movie! Be in the first live audience to see the film, then stay for an enthralling panel led by Elyes Gabel (Scorpion, Game of Thrones) as Thomas Kallor/Star Boy, and Diane Guerrero (Orange Is the New Black, DC Universe’s Doom Patrol) as Jessica Cruz/Green Lantern, alongside a trio of actors reprising their beloved Justice League/Justice League Unlimited roles as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, respectively: Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Killing Joke), Susan Eisenberg (Injustice 2, LEGO DC Super Heroes Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis), and George Newbern (Superman vs. the Elite, Scandal). The panel will also include other cast members and the filmmaking team of producer/director Sam Liu (Reign of the Supermen, Gotham by Gaslight), screenwriters Eric Carrasco (Supergirl, Justice League Action) and Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight), and executive producer Bruce Timm (Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Animated Series).

Fri. 8 p.m. The Robotech Panel Harmony Gold USA presents the latest developments in the Robotech universe, from awesome new products to the live-action film in the works at Sony Pictures with the producers of 300 and the director of Stephen King’s It.

Sat. 10 a.m. Into the Spider-Verse: A New Take on Animation Taking fans by storm, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was unlike anything seen before. From its perfectly balanced soundtrack, to the unique animation style that brought a comic book feel straight to the silver screen, it delighted audiences around the world. Jessica Tseang (comic book historian, AMC’s Secret History of Comics) discusses what made this film stand out from countless other animated movies with Sony Animation Visual Development artists for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Yuhki Demers and Zac Retz, and other special panelists.

Sat. 10 a.m. DreamWorks She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Executive producer Noelle Stevenson, Aimee Carrero (Adora/She-Ra), AJ Michalka (Catra), Karen Fukuhara (Glimmer), Marcus Scribner (Bow), Lauren Ash (Scorpia), and Merit Leighton (Frosta) give attendees a sneak peek of Season 2 of the critically acclaimed Netflix original series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Everyone’s invited . . . even Kyle!

Sat. 11 a.m. A Look inside The Dragon Prince The team behind Netflix Original animated series The Dragon Prince is bringing you an inside look into the magic of the show. Panelists include creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, along with the voice actors of your favorite family of villains: Jason Simpson (Lord Viren), Racquel Belmonte (Claudia), and Jesse Inocalla (Soren). With Seasons 1 and 2 behind them, you’ll get to hear about how they got to where they are now and what’s on the horizon for the future of The Dragon Prince.

Sat. 11:30 a.m. Hasbro and IDW Present: The Transformers Panel Transformers comics are reborn in the all-new Transformers series-and Transformers hall-of-famer John Barber and editor David Mariotte are here to introduce you to this bold new era and to celebrate 35 years of our favorite Cybertronians with surprise panelists from the past, present, and future of Transformers!

Sat. 11:30 a.m. LAIKA Writer/director Chris Butler will share how LAIKA’s 360 stop-motion animation has evolved throughout their history, culminating in their upcoming global adventure film Missing Link, featuring the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakis. Joining Chris Butler are producer and head of production Arianne Sutner, production designer Nelson Lowry, and puppet fabrication supervisor John Craney for an exciting conversation with moderator Alicia Malone.

Sat. 12 p.m. DC Super Hero Girls Video Presentation and Q&A Fresh off their brand-new series on Cartoon Network, the DC Super Hero Girls are coming to WonderCon. Executive producer Lauren Faust (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) and the vocal cast of Kimberly Brooks, Kari Wahlgren, Nicole Sullivan, Grey Griffin, and Myrna Velasco share new footage and answer your questions!

Sat. 1 p.m. Crafting Cartoons and Comics: The Sights and Sounds of Your Favorite TV and Film Characters Learn how animated and comic book films and television shows are adapted, designed, and composed in this behind-the-scenes look at the production and development process for your favorite projects. Part 3 of 3 from Impact24’s “Behind-the-Camera Superblock” panel series. Panelists include animator David Han (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), animation director Anna Hollingsworth (Unikitty!), supervising director Mike Hollingsworth (BoJack Horseman), supervising director Mike Mayfield (Big Mouth), and composers Brian H. Kim (Star vs. the Forces of Evil), Ryan Shore (Star Wars: Forces of Destiny). Moderated by voice actors Vanessa Marshall (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Young Justice) and Chris Villain (content creator).

Sat. 3:30 p.m. Happy Birthday, Batman! Calling all Batfans! You are cordially invited to Batman’s official birthday bash! Join an all-star panel celebrating the Caped Crusader and his many incarnations across film, television, animation, games, and comics. Be there to wish the greatest superhero of all time a happy birthday.

Sat. 4 p.m. Reimagining The Twilight Zone for the Modern Audience When The Twilight Zone debuted in 1959, it became a worldwide phenomenon through its used socially conscious storytelling to explore the human condition and culture of the times. The godfather of sci-fi television, the show explored humanity’s hopes, despairs, prides, and prejudices in metaphoric ways conventional dramas could not. The upcoming reimagining of The Twilight Zone from executive producers Jordan Peele and Simon Kinberg is coming to CBS All Access April 1. Hear from series producers and creative minds behind the series for an exclusive sneak peek and discussion on reintroducing The Twilight Zone to a modern audience.

Sat. 5:30 p.m. Cartoon Voices Once again, moderator Mark Evanier brings together a team of experts in the art of speaking for animated characters, interviews them, and has them demonstrate what they do. The panel this time includes Jon Bailey (Transformers: Combiner Wars, Bumblebee), Phil LaMarr (Futurama, Samurai Jack), Alicyn Packard (Tom & Jerry, Poppy Cat), Rachel Butera (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Jim Meskimen (Avengers Assemble, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and maybe a surprise or two.

Sat. 6:30 p.m. Animation Superstars ASIFA-Hollywood is bringing together some of the brightest talents in animation to discuss the animation industry, tips on how to break into the industry, and challenges and triumphs along the way. Panelists will include Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Rise of the Guardians), Jorge Gutiérrez (Book of Life, El Tigre, upcoming Maya and the Three), Daron Nefcy (Star vs. the Forces of Evil), Jeanette Moreno King (Alien News Desk, Enchantment, Futurama), and Alonso Ramirez Ramos (Disney’s Mickey Mouse Shorts, Steven Universe Movie). The panel will be moderated by ASIFA-Hollywood vice-president Brooke Keesling.

Sun. 10:45 a.m. Remembering Stan Lee Fellow fans remember the life and legacy of the legendary Stan Lee. Starting with the Fantastic Four for Marvel Comics in 1961, Stan (together with fellow co-creators, artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, et al.) brought to life the Hulk, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, and our favorite neighborhood Spider-Man! This panel will celebrate Stan the Man with a collection of fan art and the best of his cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, plus stories of those who knew Stan and his genuine appreciation for his fans.

Sun. 12:30 p.m. Demon Creation to City Extensions: Storytelling Through VFX Cutting-edge VFX have reached a level where anything that can be imagined can be taken from script to screen. From demonic possessions to city extensions, VFX industry leader Crafty Apes works on everything from sci-fi shows to period features. The team behind fan-favorites including Stranger Things, The Orville, Legion, Doctor Strange, Deadpool 2, and Ant-Man and the Wasp will dive into the ways in which visual effects shots were crucial to the storytelling process.

Sun. 1:30 p.m. The Bumpy Road: From Animation Student to Animation Professional Do you have what it takes to break into the field of animation? Every year students graduate with degrees in animation, but only a fraction of them end up landing a job in the business. Competition is fierce, and if you want to get your career started, you have to be prepared and ready to hit the ground running. In this panel discussion, producer Stephen Worth is joined by designer/storyboard artist JoJo Baptista and educator Taber Dunipace to offer tips that lead to success and advice on how to avoid common pitfalls. If you hope to pursue a career in animation, you won’t want to miss it. This panel is brought to you by Animation Resources, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization serving animators, cartoonists, and illustrators.

Sun. 1:45 p.m. WORLD PREMIERE: Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Be the first live audience to witness this tantalizing team-up at the World Premiere and its star-studded post-screening panel. The Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all-star cast is led by Troy Baker (Batman: Arkham Origins, The Last of Us) as the voice of both Batman and the Joker, making Baker the first actor to ever play both roles in the same film. Opposite Baker are the Ninja Turtles themselves: Emmy Award/Golden Globe Award/SAG Award-winner Darren Criss (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Glee) as Raphael, Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) as Michelangelo, Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) as Donatello, and Eric Bauza (Looney Tunes Cartoons, The Woody Woodpecker Show) as Leonardo. Other key members of the voice cast include Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Batgirl, John DiMaggio (Adventure Time, Futurama) as Mr. Freeze, Tara Strong (Batman: The Animated Series, Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!) as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Penguin, Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911!) as Bane, Cas Anvar (The Expanse) as Ra’s al Ghul, Keith Ferguson (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) as Baxter Stockman and Two-Face, Brian George (Seinfeld) as Alfred, Ben Giroux (Hart of Dixie) as Robin, Andrew Kishino (The Lion Guard) as Shredder, and Jim Meskimen (Parks and Recreation) as Commissioner Gordon and Scarecrow. Jake Castorena (The Death of Superman) directs Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from a script by Marly Halpern-Graser (Mad, Batman Unlimited, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo).

Sun. 2 p.m. Archer: 1999 Advanced Screening and Q&A Archer is FXX’s Emmy Award-winning, animated comedy that, in its upcoming 10th season, centers around the spaceship M/V Seamus as Archer, Lana, and the rest of the crew explore deep space and try to outsmart space princes, intergalactic pirates, and vicious bounty hunters. Come see a not-to-be-missed exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming season and the voice cast of H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash, and Lucky Yates, plus executive producers Matt Thompson and Casey Willis as they discuss bringing this animated series from script to screen.

Missing Link

Missing Link

Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron

Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron

Dragon Prince

Dragon Prince

Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Animation Magazine

‘Steven Universe’ Wins First-Ever GLAAD Award for Best Animated Kids Series

Cartoon Network’s Emmy-nominated Steven Universe took home the award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Thursday. The category honors kids and family programming that actively seeks to increase fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community. In July 2018, Steven Universe aired its critically acclaimed “Heart of the Crystal Gems” arc, in which title character Steven officiated a wedding between beloved non-binary characters Ruby and Sapphire.

The award ceremony marks the first GLAAD Media Award win for Steven Universe. The series is also the first program from Cartoon Network’s lineup to win a GLAAD Media Award in any category. The other nominees in this category were Adventure Time (Cartoon Network), Andi Mack (The Disney Channel), Anne with an E (Netflix) and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix). Andi Mack won the inaugural Kids & Family Programming GLAAD award last year.

Steven Universe is created by Emmy and Annie Award-nominated writer and New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Sugar, and produced by Cartoon Network Studios. As part of the series’ two-year global partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, Steven Universe continues to educate young people on body confidence through the series’ themes of inclusion and empowerment.

Steven and the Crystal Gems will return with the highly anticipated Steven Universe The Movie, coming to Cartoon Network this fall. Additionally, two digital albums, Steven Universe: Volume 2 Soundtrack and Steven Universe: Karaoke, will be available on Friday, April 12 for digital download and streaming, with Steven Universe: Season 2 arriving on DVD Tuesday, April 16. Episodes of Steven Universe are available on Cartoon Network, the Cartoon Network app and VOD.

Animation Magazine