Nation’s Largest Hemp Processing Plant Opens in Colorado

Colorado City, a town of fewer than 2,500 in southern Colorado, will soon be home to up to 50 million pounds of hemp, now that a massive hemp-processing facility is open for business.

Paragon Processing opened a 250,000-square-foot hemp-processing facility on Wednesday, August 29. Not only does the company say that the new facility is the largest of its kind in the country, but it could help bring 250 new jobs to Colorado before the end of the year, with a number of them located in Colorado City.

According to Paragon co-president Matt Evans, the facility will produce a variety of hemp extractions through isolation and distillation techniques, and soon will be processing around one million pounds of the plant each month. By the end of the 2019 harvest season, he wants to see that total hit two million pounds.

“With the legalization of the 2018 Farm Bill, the production and interstate transfer of hemp has increased the demand for both hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products, and we aim to propel the industrial hemp manufacturing efforts in order to confidently answer this call,” Evans says in a statement announcing the new facility.

Marijuana Deals Near You

Colorado legalized hemp in 2012, when the state’s voters approved recreational marijuana, but the federal government didn’t come around on hemp until late 2018, when Congress passed the Farm Bill. With a six-year head start on the majority of the nation, Colorado quickly jumped to the top of the list of states farming industrial hemp. However, hemp business groups have continued to call for more testing and processing facilities in the state. Paragon’s operation, located in a former Columbia House Records space and a Kroger distribution center, does both.

Now that more states are focusing on hemp, Colorado lawmakers point to the southern part of this state as a key destination for new hemp farmers and businesses. Rural areas with agricultural experience, such as Pueblo County, have welcomed both the marijuana and hemp industries, using them to help climb out of the steel and housing recessions, with moderate success.

Governor Jared Polis’s administration has pushed for looser regulations on hemp farmers and businesses in order for this state to maintain its top spot in the hemp industry. During a recent speech at a hemp and CBD industry conference, Polis said that hemp farming was part of his rural economic initiative, and that he’d like to raise Colorado’s current 62,000 acres allotted for hemp farming by 20 percent.

Toke of the Town

Arkansas’ First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens Its Doors

Two and a half years after Arkansans voted to legalize medical marijuana, qualifying patients could begin buying the product Saturday morning when the state’s first dispensary opened, though the celebratory mood was dampened by confusion about operating hours and fears the dispensary wouldn’t be able to serve all the patients by closing time.
Marijuana and Medical Marijuana

Toonz Animation Masters Summit Opens, Honoring Anu Sikka & Raman Lal Mistry

Toonz Media Group, celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, opens the 2019 edition of its weekend Animation Masters Summit (AMS) at the TechnoPark Campus in Trivandrum, Kerala in Southern India, with special guests Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai, India. This year’s edition honors two new Masters for their contribution to the world of animation: Anu Sikka, Head of Content, Kids Entertainment Cluster, Nickelodeon India and Viacom 18, and Professor Raman Lal Mistry, Animation Guru and celebrated film designer.

Established as the first ever animation event in India in 1999, the AMS celebrates the “Art of Animation” by bringing together experts and leading figures from the global animation industry to interact with aspiring artists and creative talents, and for masters to showcase their work to animation professionals, entrepreneurs and the media, sharing their knowledge, experiences, insights and inspirations. The theme at this year’s AMS is Connecting Content: Seeing the Big Picture.

In his opening speech Friday in front of 450 industry professionals, Toonz Media Group CEO P. Jayakumar declared, “The Animation Masters Summit is an integral part of Toonz’s legacy and commitment to celebrate the art of animation,” adding, “the importance of working to build engaging experiences to connect with kids.”

Anu Sikka, Head of Content, Kids Entertainment Cluster, Nickelodeon India and Viacom18, received the Jury Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian Animation. Sikka has made a very large impact on all areas of kids’ entertainment, with her untiring passion and professionalism both for the Indian animation industry as well as Indian children across the continent. She laid the foundations for localizing content, creating a wave of interest that sparked both creativity and content creation, greenlighting evergreen content such as Pakdam Pakdai, also known as Rat-A-Tat and produced by Toonz, which is still being produced and broadcast both in India and around the world.

Receiving the Legend of Animation Award, Professor Raman Lal Mistry, Animation Guru and film designer who is credited for creating the logo of the first ever Indian animation channel, Doordarshan, is a legend in the Indian animation industry. With his unique style of drawing, he has inspired artists and talents across India over the decades and has set himself as a pioneer of animation education in India, helping nurture the talent of future generations in industry.

Master sessions over the two days of the AMS include:

  • Christian Schneider, CEO of Gummybear International Inc, and the creator of the YouTube global success song “I’m a Gummy Bear” is talking on the importance of the idea and getting it off the ground.
  • Anu Sikka, Head of Content, Kids Entertainment Cluster, Nickelodeon India and Viacom18, on localizing content to engage and connect with your local audience.
  • Debbie Sterling, Founder and CEO of the successful interactive kids’ games company Goldieblox, on reinventing girlhood and creating a 360-degree view.
  • Uttam Pal Singh, head of leading kids’ channel Discovery Kids India, on connecting the creator and the audience and getting to know kids and keeping them engaged.
  • Peter Dodd, writer, animation artist and director who has worked on Watership Down, Frankenweenie, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, who will discuss what it takes to build a concept into a viable project.
  • Mayur Puri, screenwriter, lyricist, actor and filmmaker — and the trusted ally of Pixar, Disney and Marvel in localizing content for India — on how to localize content without losing the flavor, and how to strike the right chord.
  • Vivek Ram, modelling and visual effects expert who has worked on global hits such as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Incredible Hulk and Alvin and the Chipmunks, on retelling Indian mythology in a contemporary manner.
  • Srinivas Mohan, visual effects supervisor with 25 years’ experience in the film industry, on the role VFX plays in the storytelling and narrative process.

Coinciding with the AMS, Toonz launched the Cocoon Concept Lab, a program to support authentic storytelling and ideas by providing individualized concept development for emerging concept creators and writers with a TV/Digital series idea or screenplay. The winning project out of 74 entries from around the world will be announced at Animation Masters Summit this weekend and will be taken to the international market to develop further under the Toonz banner.

Learn more at

Animation Magazine

News Bytes: ‘King of the Hill’ X ‘Evangelion,’ Rilakkuma’s Onesie, Geoge Lucas Gift Opens Academy Museum to Kids & More

CALL FOR ENTRIES: VIEW Conference 2019
Entries are now open for the next edition, taking place October 21-25 in Turin, Italy. The event offers two competition tracks: The VIEW Award 2019 for short animated films with its €2,000 first prize, and the ItalianMix award for short Italian films. Professionals or students, individuals or groups may submit 2D or 3D animated films of 30 minutes or less created after January 1, 2017. Deadline: September 15, 2019.

’Lion King’ Director Rob Minkoff Talks Chinese Animation
The animation legend addressed the country’s growing impact on the international animation scene while serving as jury president at the Beijing International Film Festival. “The most important thing is to tell a good story with interesting characters, in a way that is fresh and new, different and exciting for the audience … I’ve seen improvements made in the quality of the animation, the production and the filmmaking.”

Inside the Music of Netflix’s ‘Ingress: The Animation’
Already premiered in Japan, the highly anticipated sci-fi anime launches April 30 on the streaming platform, featuring a new musical score by Jacob Yoffee (Free Meek, Andi Mack).

Academy Museum’s Gift from George Lucas Family Foundation Will Allow Kids to Visit for Free
The amount of the donation was not revealed, but museum director Kerry Brougher said it will be used to create an endowment underwriting free admission in perpetuity for visitors ages 17 and younger. The grant was established in honor of former Academy Board VP and Museum Committee Chair, Sid Ganis. The museum will open late this year.

“I could not be more honored and humbled by George’s gift to young movie lovers around the world. Education has always been a primary goal of George’s storytelling. Now through his incredible generosity young people from everywhere can experience and learn about the art and the techniques of filmmaking.” — Sid Ganis.

This makes up for the recent news that George Lucas has confessed that Jar Jar Binks is his favorite Star Wars character. I guess.

Netflix Japan’s Cute Stop-Motion Animation Points Out That Rilakkuma Is Wearing a Kigurumi Onesie
The new spot raises more questions than it answers about “relaxing bear” — the star of a new stop-mo anime series >Rilakkuma and Kaoru, about the daily life of a young professional woman and her lazy, plush-wearing roommate.

’King of the Hill’ Meets ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ in ‘Propane Genesis Evangelion’
Thanks for this, mysterious internet animator @DankGamblor. To quote my girl Peggy: Oh, good Lord.

George Lucas

George Lucas

Animation Magazine

VFX Legion Opens BC Studio

VFX Legion, a full-service Burbank-based visual effects company, has launched a studio in British Columbia, Canada. The new division accesses the province’s substantial tax rebates, and the diverse roster of senior artists needed to efficiently craft the high-quality photo-realistic visual effects that feature films and episodic television shows demand. The Kelowna outpost will be a powerful creative hub offering a next-generation pipeline, bolstering the global reach of the studio founded by Creative Director James David Hattin in 2013.

The company kicks off the new venture with a skilled roster of in-house talent, along with a scalable collective of specialized visual effects artists based beyond commuting distance to its studio. Hattin is currently finalizing the signing of a head of production/senior VFX supervisor to helm the B.C. operation as Legion continues to solidify new relationships with top-tier talent based throughout the whole of the province.

“British Columbia’s dense pool of experienced artists makes it an ideal location for VFX Legion’s first foray into a tax haven. It enables us to take optimum advantage of our infrastructure’s capabilities and bring some of B.C.’s most creative and experienced visual effects artists into our fold,” said Hattin. “The impetus behind the launch of VFX Legion was the need for a new generation of visual effects companies with state-of-the-art capabilities, ensuring that establishing a presence in B.C., or any region offering tax incentives, doesn’t come at the cost of limited access to top-tier talent.”

VFX Legion’s capabilities build on Hattin’s 20-plus years of experience as a tech-savvy lead talent helming visual effects teams for Hollywood’s episodic television shows and blockbuster films. The hands-on creative supervises and collaborates with the company’s LA and B.C.-based artists, as well as its worldwide network of talent, working in real-time as a single unit through every phase of production.

Hattin is also the architect of Legion’s pipeline, which breaks with the traditional visual effects business model, untethering artists from the company’s brick and mortar studios. Its reach and seamless digital connectivity enable Hattin and his LA facility’s veteran management team to guide its select pool of geographically diverse artists with the efficiency of a VFX company that houses its entire team under its roof.

Legion’s team is equipped to deliver a variety of high-quality VFX, from photorealistic environments, set extensions, compositing, look development, lighting, matte painting, and dynamics to cleanups and any other services a project may require.

Shonda Rhimes’ high-profile series Scandal (ABC) entrusted Legion to handle all its visual effects needs for three seasons, through last year’s finale. Currently, How to Get Away with Murder (ABC), Madam Secretary (CBS) and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (CW), are a few of the shows that continue to return to work with the company’s team season after season. Hardcore Henry, Sinister 2, Insidious 3, Asura, 12 Strong and Superfly are among Legion’s feature film credits.

The recent expansion into B.C. enables the company to meet the budgets of a broader range of projects.

“Our LA company is fortunate to be called on by a steady flow of films and episodic television shows,” said VFX Legion’s Head of Production, Nate Smalley. “We’ve also had great meetings with a long list of producers who were wowed by the quality of our work, but ultimately the impact of tax incentives and exchange rates on the bottom line has been a deciding factor. The addition of our B.C. studio positions Legion competitively in the visual effects arena, leveling the playing field.”

“Whether our B.C. studio steps in during the production, editorial or the pre-production phase of a project, Legion provides feature films and TV show with a unique new creative resource,” added Hattin. “Our managers’ shared LA aesthetic and standard and quality guide a talented team of artists committed to enhancing every visual story with VFX that consistently exceed clients’ expectations.”

Further expansion into new regions with tax incentives on offer are on the horizon for VFX Legion, as Hattin is currently assembling a core team of artists in New York in anticipation of launching a division in that state.

Learn more at

Madam Secretary

Madam Secretary

Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow

Animation Magazine

France’s Emile Cohl School Opens Tuition-Free LA Academy

The Emile Cohl Art Academy is forging a foothold for the future of entertainment with its newly created fully-sponsored education program in Los Angeles. In March, the property at 2828 S. Grand Ave. was acquired to house a 13,000 square foot, fully remodeled creative hub where instructors and students can participate in a collaborative, empowering arts education.

The Academy will welcome its inaugural class of future gaming, animation, illustration and visual effects masters in September 2020. The first level of the admissions process will be portfolio submissions, reviewed by a panel of artists, teachers and recruiters. Finalists will be invited to the campus for an onsite evaluation, and thereafter the pool of candidates will be pared down to 40 students who will make up the first class for the highly intensive three-year program.

Much like its groundbreaking counterparts Rice, NYU Medical School, Lebron James’ I Promise School, 42 Silicon Valley and the Curtis Institute of Music offer fully-sponsored education in medicine, arts and engineering, Emile Cohl Art Academy is expanding an equal opportunity for talented individuals to attain a specialized education without the worry of overwhelming debt that accompanies traditional tuition requirements.

In return, graduates are fully prepared to contribute to their area of focus using their talent and ambition as starting points for professional careers that are guided by curated learning techniques, leadership, and teamwork that promotes valuable creativity and skill to dominate their industries.

Emile Cohl Art Academy offers project-based learning with a strong focus on drawing and traditional techniques with two majors: Fine Arts Applied to Animation, and Fine Arts Applied to Gaming. Check out Emile Cohl’s student showcase here. Enrolled students are fully sponsored and will be provided with art supplies at no cost.

Motivated, talented artists are invited to submit their portfolios per the instructions available at

Animation Magazine

News Bytes: Georgia Cano Opens Up About Lawsuit, Machinima Shuts Down, Tom DeLonge Toons Up His Kids’ Book & More

Meet a Guy Who Taught Himself to Animate His Own Sci-Fi Web Series
Denver Jackson, who won last year’s TAC Pitch This! competition with the Telus Storyhive team, has taken the feature concept and hand-crafted a nine-episode webseries titled Esluna: The First Monolith — incredibly, in just nine months.

’Baby Shark’ Videos Have Amassed 5 Billion Views, Becoming No. 1 Education Trend in YouTube History
You’ll never escape. Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.

Toy Sales Reach $ 21.6 Billion in 2018

Tom DeLonge Released Animation for His Latest Children’s Book
The Angels & Airwaves frontman also narrates the 5-minute video inspired by Who Here Knows Who Took My Clothes, animated by Zach Passero based on the book illustrations by Ryan Jones.

“Children’s books are fun because they’re similar to songwriting — they’re short pieces of poetry that rhyme. I thought it would be funny to write a children’s book about a man running around looking for his clothing. I actually started writing this one long before I published my first children’s book, ‘The Lonely Astronaut,’ but I would up losing it,” DeLonge said in a statement.

Machinima Is Shutting Down, with 81 Staffers Laid Off
The multi-channel gamer network, acquired by Warner Bros. in 2016, was folded into WarnerMedia’s Otter Media at the beginning of the year. As announced in the fall, Korean cinema VOD service DramaFever and SuperDeluxe are also for the chop.

Op-Ed: Why I Filed the Wage-Theft Lawsuit Against Major Animation Studios
Georgia Cano, one of the three lead plaintiffs in the Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation class-action suit against Hollywood’s biggest toon shops, publicly addresses her involvement for the first time in this piece for CartoonBrew.

Animation Magazine

Wonderful World of Animation Show Opens May 1 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World has announced that the new nighttime show Wonderful World of Animation will be lighting up the skies over Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting May 1. The spectacle will play out above the soon to be opened new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction.

First announced by Parks Chairman Bob Chapek during D23’s Destination D: Celebrating Mickey Mouse in November, Wonderful World of Animation will be a cinematic nighttime experience featuring state-of-the-art projection technology that will “take guests on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation.”

The premiere will be extra celebratory, as May 1 marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be the first ride-through attraction themed on the iconic mouse couple, styled after Disney Channel’s Emmy-winning Mickey Mouse shorts. The ride will feature a new, original story and theme song as it transports guests inside the wacky world of the cartoons.

This year will see the opening of a number of other exciting attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will let fans meet the racing legend from Cars and learn all about the art of the track from his own experience. Party with Pixar Pals kicks off January 18, a dance party hosted by The Incredibles (and special guest Edna Mode) at Pixar Avenue. Monsters, Inc. stars Mike and Sulley will be greeting guests at Walt Disney Presents.

And of course, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will take the park to another star system with a new land packed with thrills, including Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

[Source: Inside the Magic]

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Animation Magazine

Netflix Opens Wide for More ‘Big Mouth’ with S3 Order

Netflix has renewed the no-holds-barred coming-of-age comedy Big Mouth for a third season of 10 brand new episodes. Yep, the growing pains are far from over!

Big Mouth an edgy half-hour adult animated comedy from real-life best friends Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg about the glorious nightmare that is teenage puberty. Comedian John Mulaney lends his voice to the character of Andrew, while Kroll (who serves as co-creator, executive producer) voices many including best friend Nick. Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen, Jenny Slate and Jessi Klein are among those who lend their voice to the series. Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg and screenwriter-directors Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett are all creators and executive producers on the series. Big Mouth is a Netflix production.

Seasons one and two of Big Mouth are available for streaming now on Netflix.

Animation Magazine

Massachusetts to Consider First Recreational Dispensary; Delaware’s Third Dispensary Opens

BOSTON (AP) — Cannabis regulators may be closer to issuing the first retail license to sell recreational pot in Massachusetts. The Cannabis Control Commission was slated to consider on Monday, July 2, 2018, recommendations from its staff on a retail application submitted by Cultivate Holdings of Leicester. The company currently operates a medical cannabis dispensary […]

FILM.UA Opens International Pre-Sales for ‘Mavka’ at Cannes


As the 71st Canned Film Festival and market kicks off, FILM.UA Group has opened international pre-sales for the highly anticipated Ukrainian animated feature Mavka. The Forest Song, currently in pre-production at Animagrad studio. Representatives will be presenting the project at Riviera stand J13, which will be branded with a huge AR Mavka poster.

“We became aware of the incredible interest to the project even before the beginning of sales. Primarily, it is because of a very strong creative concept and great effort by the producing team at the development stage. The project has greatly benefitted from a series of pitching events, thanks to which people know about Mavka, love it and expect it already. We are very encouraged by the coming sales opening and we believe that our animated film is going to be a great global success. First of all, we will focus on Asian markets, but of course we keep other viewers in mind as well,” said FILM.UA Group Head of Distribution Igor Storchak.

The film’s screenplay is complete and the project has shifted from development into pre-production, with the Animagrad team beginning to actively craft the animatic, 3D character visualizations and major locations, and to perform animation tests. Negotiations on bringing in international celebrities to voice the characters have also begun. The project team will present video and other in-progress content to the participants of the Marche du Film and potential partners – including concept art, 3D characters, turnarounds, and most importantly, the first shots of the finished animation that the viewers will able to enjoy in the cinema in 2020.

“We have written and re-written the script for over two years, polishing it with the best European and American script doctors and in collaboration with the best experts in Ukrainian mythology and literature. At the same time, one of our strongest points is our original and mesmerizing art,” noted Anna Eliseeva, the film’s Creative Producer. “In the past, Mavka. The Forest Song has been selected for Europe’s largest pitching events, and our project’s art has garnered the admiration of the industry’s professionals. We shall dedicate all of 2018 to drawing animatics.”

Mavka will be the second full-length animated feature produced by Animagrad, following The Stolen Princess which has become a box office record-holder for Ukrainian productions. Since its March 7 home country opening, the film has earned $ 1,380,368 nationally and $ 1,381,115 in foreign markets. The Stolen Princess will continue to roll out theatrically across Europe, Latin America and China through the year.

“After the huge success of The Stolen Princess in Ukraine and abroad, we face an even more challenging task – not just to set the bar high for the quality of the final product and the animation level, but also to learn from our mistakes, to improve ourselves and grow. Our first animated film has established Ukraine as a producer of good animation content, and Mavka has to show that we are a strong, stable and competitive producer of category A content,” said Animagrad producer Egor Olesov.

Mavka producer Iryna Kostyuk added: “A year ago, we started active development of the project, and realized that Mavka is a comprehensive, multi-platform brand which is so strong, deep and versatile that the film is only one of its facets in the modern world. So, Mavka, at the stage of writing the script, turned from the cartoon concept into an entire universe. We develop VR and AR applications, books, a 3D-show, clothing and authentic merchandise. We are already working with the experts from leading ethnographic institutions (the Department of Folklore Studies of Taras Shevchenko  National University of Kyiv, Ivan Honchar Museum and the Ukrainian Fashion History Museum), as well as the best Ukrainian book publishers, jewelers and designers. Last year, we also obtained the support of WWF International. In addition to this, side-by-side with the production of the feature-length film, we are starting to create

Mavka. The Forest Song series.

More information at



Animation Magazine

Art in the buff: Paris museum opens up to nudists

PARIS (Reuters) – A Paris museum opened its doors for the first time to nudist visitors on Saturday, granting them special visiting hours to tour an exhibit in a one-off naturist event.

The Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum, in Paris’ plush 16th district, is the city’s first gallery to grant such access, though naturists have recently launched other initiatives in the French capital.

A park in the east of Paris, the Bois de Vincennes, last year trialled the city’s first dedicated nudist zone, and the space recently re-opened ahead of the summer months.

Naturist campaigners said the museum event, with around 160 attendees, was a breakthrough in one of the culture capitals of the world.

“The naturists’ way of life of is to be naked. Culture is part of our daily life, and this is a special opportunity,” said Julien Claude-Penegry, communications director of the Paris Naturists Association, in the Palais de Tokyo’s vast concrete and steel hallways.

“Today, the mentality is changing. Naturists … are pushing past barriers, taboos or mentalities that were obstructive.”

According to the association, which has 88,000 followers in Paris alone, there are 2.6 million naturist practitioners in France.

Next in store is a nudist clubbing night planned for later this year.

Nudist events at museums are not unheard of. A gallery in Vienna invited visitors to take their clothes off for a special viewing in 2013 of an exhibit dedicated to paintings of male nudity, while a museum in Australia has also opened its doors to naked viewers.

Reporting by Michaela Cabrera, Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Stephen Powell

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Michael Phelps Opens Up About Depression Fight

Jan. 19, 2018 — Helping other people with depression has been more rewarding than winning gold medals at the Olympics, says U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps.

The most decorated Olympian of all time spoke Tuesday at The Kennedy Forum in Chicago as part of a national summit on depression, addiction, and other mental health problems, CBS News reported.

Phelps won 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold. But he said at the peak of his Olympic career, he considered suicide. But after several days isolated in his room, he admitted he had a problem and needed help. That led to a transformation and saved his life.

The athlete said he wants to tell people about his battle with depression in the hope that it will encourage others with the disorder to seek help, CBS News reported.

He said there is no feeling like learning he helped someone.

“Those moments and those feelings and those emotions for me are light years better than ever winning an Olympic gold medal. You have the chance to save a life, and that’s way more powerful,” Phelps said, CBS News reported.

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