VES Announces 2019 Special Honorees – Disney, Kubrick & Stan Lee Join Hall of Fame

The Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s global professional honorary society, announced the 2019 inductees into the VES Hall of Fame, the newest Lifetime and Honorary members and this year’s recipient of the VES Founders Award. The names of this year’s VES Fellows will be announced later. The honorees and Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at a special reception in October.

Venerated VES leader Susan Thurmond O’Neal was named recipient of the 2019 VES Founders Award. The Society designated award-winning VFX supervisor Michael Fink, VES with a Lifetime VES Membership and presents FotoKem’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Brodersen, with an Honorary VES Membership. This year’s VES Hall of Fame honorees are Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick and Stan Lee.

“Our VES honorees represent a group of exceptional artists, innovators and professionals who have had a profound impact on the field of visual effects,” said Mike Chambers, VES Board Chair. “We are proud to recognize those who helped shape our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations of VFX practitioners.”

Founders Award Recipient: Susan Thurmond O’Neal, for her sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects and meritorious service to the Society. O’Neal joined the VES in the late 1990s and has served as a member of its global Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. For many years, she served as the Chair for the global Education Committee and currently Chairs the Membership Committee – and she has been instrumental in the work to grow the Society by leading the bi-annual membership review and approval process.

O’Neal is currently a recruiter for BLT Recruiting, Inc and has worked as an Operations Manager at The Mill, Operations Director at Escape Studios in Los Angeles and as an Account Manager at Side Effects Software, Inc. She started her career in visual effects at Digital Domain in 1993, where she worked in finance and operations before turning to production. O’Neal’s credits include T2: 3D – Battle Across Time, Titanic, The Italian Job, West Wing, Deuce Bigalow 2: European Gigolo as well as a host of music videos, commercials and other works.

Lifetime Member: Michael Fink, VES, for meritorious service to the Society and the global industry. Fink began working in film on The China Syndrome. He was hooked, and worked on films such as Star Trek – The Motion Picture and Blade Runner before becoming a Visual Effects Supervisor on War Games (BAFTA Nomination). He has since worked on The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Batman Returns (Academy Award and BAFTA nominations), Braveheart, Mars Attacks!, X-Men, X-Men 2, The Golden Compass (VES Award nomination, BAFTA and Academy Award winner), Avatar, TRON: Legacy, Tree of Life and Life of Pi.

Fink directed the first Coca-Cola Polar Bear spot in 1993, which was one of the earliest widely-seen examples of 3D fur on a CG creature. Fink is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society and a former VES Board Member. He is a member of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and has served on its Executive Committee. He is currently a Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and Chair of the Division of Film and Television Production. He holds the Georges Méliès Endowed Chair in Visual Effects at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Honorary Member: Mike Brodersen, for his exemplary contributions to the entertainment industry and for furthering the interests and values of visual effects practitioners. Brodersen is one of the owners of FotoKem, currently serving as its Chief Strategy Officer. Thanks to Brodersen, FotoKem has been a valuable longtime partner with the VES, including serving as the Los Angeles site for the VES Awards nominations events for many years.

In his 25-year tenure at the company, Brodersen has helped incubate services including film scanning and recording, digital intermediate, digital restoration, software development and file-based dailies. Established in 1963 and one of the last remaining full service film laboratories in the world, FotoKem provides color grading, digital imaging, VFX, graphics, audio, and a variety of other post-production services from dailies through finishing. In recent years, the company has been able to provide post-production, imaging and VFX support services on titles like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Aquaman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dunkirk, Vice, Green Book, Kong: Skull Island, Better Call Saul and Homeland.

VES 2019 Hall of Fame honorees:

Walt Disney (1901-1966) – Walter Elias Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, TV and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced a score of innovations in the field of animation. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 26 Oscars. His creative vision gave rise to the groundbreaking theme park Disneyland and Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios, the origin of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Stanley Kubrick (1928 – 1999) – Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in cinematic history. His filmography includes Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey (Academy Award winner for Best Special Visual Effects), A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. All of Stanley Kubrick’s films from Paths of Glory until the end of his career, except for The Shining, were nominated for Academy Awards or Golden Globe Awards.

Stan Lee (1922 – 2018) – Stan Lee was an American comic book writer, editor, publisher and producer. He became Marvel Comics’ primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics industry. In collaboration with others at Marvel, he co-created numerous popular fictional characters, including superheroes Spider-Man, The X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man. Lee was an inductee into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame and a recipient of NEA’s National Medal of Arts, as well as the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.

Learn more about the VES at

Animation Magazine

Toon Boom Launches Harmony 17, Offers Special Sale

Top animation and storyboarding software company Toom Boom has launched Harmony 17, the latest version of its popular tool for traditional digital animators and production artists. The two-time Emmy-winning company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and is offering a special 25 percent sale on annual licenses for Harmony and Storyboard Pro, from June 11 to August 31st.

“Traditional digital animators will not want to miss Harmony 17,” says Marc-Andre Bouvier, product manager at Toon Boom Animation. “With an improved drawing engine and new features focused on hand-drawn animation —including drawing stabilizers, adjustable pen sensitivity settings and curvilinear perspective guides for large panning backgrounds— artists have more precision and control available to them than ever before.”

Harmony gives students, freelancers and independent artists access to the same production pipeline that major production houses rely on for demanding television productions. Packed with 40 new-and-improved features, including upgrades to the software’s core drawing engine, Harmony 17 can help animators bring their next project to life like never before.

You can try the free 21-day trial at

Customers who chose Toon Boom animation software for the development and creation of their productions include Disney Television Animation, Amazon, Fox Television Animation, Nelvana, Ubisoft, Toei Animation, The SPA Studios, Xilam and Boulder Media. The technology is currently available in Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. For more information, visit

Toom Boom

Toom Boom

Animation Magazine

Animafest Announces Juries, Guests and Must-See Special Programs

The 29th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb kicks off this week, running June 3-8 at the Tuškanac, Kinoteka and Kaptol Boutique Cinema theaters, as well as many other venues across the city. Presenting more than 400 titles from 45 countries, the 2019 festival will also spotlight a central theme program focusing on the connection between animation and visual arts, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the Moon, retrospectives and panoramas dedicated to international and Croatian classics (Suzan Pitt, Nedeljko Dragi? and other big names of the Zagreb School), Portuguese cinema, open-air screenings and Animacycle, virtual reality, exhibitions and workshops and an event for animation professionals (Animafest PRO), as well as a comprehensive program for children and adolescents.

The pre-launch press release was held at the Hungarian Balassi Institute in Zagreb on Friday, where jury members and guests of honor, Croatian films in international and national competitions and details of the open-air and cinema programs were presented by festival artistic director Daniel Šulji?, producers Matea Mili? and Paola Orli?, Nikola Stojadinovi?, Advisor for Film at the City of Zagreb Department of Culture, and filmmakers selected for the Croatian and Student Competitions: Noemi Ribi?, Stella Hartman, Martina Meštrovi? and Tanja Vujasinovi?. An early press event was held in April.

The jury of the Oscar-qualifying Grand Competition – Short Film (46 films) are Boris Labbé, last year’s Animafest Grand Prix winner (La Chute), a versatile artist who is curating the festival exhibition Becoming-animal (ULUPUH Gallery) and hosting a masterclass; Ruth Lingford, the British animation legend whose films will be screened in Animafest’s theme program; Michaela Müller, award-winning Swiss-Croatian director (Airport) and creator of this year’s trailer; Tünde Vollenbroek, Dutch producer, associate of Cartoon Brew, and a board member of the European Animation Award; Chen Xi, currently the most significant Chinese animator and a record-breaking Animafest Grand Competition entrant.

The Grand Competition – Feature Film jury are American producer and Emmy-winning animator Frank Gladstone (Disney, Warner Bros., DreamWorks), the executive producer of ASIFA-Hollywood and the Annie Awards; leading Russian critic and writer specializing in animation Dina Goder; and Dalibor Bari?, one of the most successful and globally acclaimed Croatian directors working along the line between animated and experimental film.

The Student and Croatian Film Competition juries are united and comprise two younger animation explorers, Nikita Diakur and Vasco S (Agouro), opposite Bruno Razum from Croatia. Razum made a name for himself with stop-motion, and Diakur with the use of dynamic computer simulation in Ugly and Fest. Sá, teaming up with David Doutel, captivates with a more classical approach in his last year’s film Augur. Doutel will be a jury member of Animafest’s new VR competition, together with world-renowned producer Marc Bertrand and the founder of the first Croatian VR studio, Legame, Milan Gostimir. Diakur is also holding a masterclass, Bertrand and Uri Kranot are speaking about new media in animation, and Sá and Doutel are presenting, with another celebrity, Regina Pessoa, contemporary Portuguese animation in this year’s national focus.

Šulji? noted many young stars of the animation scene shine among the 240-plus distinguished festival guests this year. They include Tomasz Popakul (Poland), Michael Frei (Switzerland) – also prominent in the video game industry, artistic genius Shunsaku Hayashi (Japan), anime master Saku Sakamoto (Aragne), three-time Grand Competition winner John Morena (U.S.), solo feature film creator Gints Zilbalodis (Away), the artistic director of the film Buñuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles and comic-book artist José Luis Ágreda, Gerta Xhelo from TED-Ed, Nancy Denney-Phelps and Joni Männistö. Many are giving talks or presentations, offering a unique opportunity to meet animation production professionals in person.

Paola Orli? detailed Animafest’s rich line-up of events outside cinemas. Sunday’s Animacycle program is complemented with a play based on Hedgehog’s Home performed by Tvornica lutaka and a screening of Eva Cvijanovi?’s film at Gradec, as well as the films Together and On Youth directed by students of presenting partner Banja Luka Art Academy, and animated music videos from Animafest’s Cinema for the Ear section. Saturday’s open-air screenings include last year’s winners: This Magnificent Cake! by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels, Boris Labbé’s La Chute and Between the Shadows by Alice Guimarães and Mónica Santos. On Monday, Gradec screens the impressive feature The Painting by Jean-François Laguionie, packed with fine art references, followed every day by different programs, like the best new films made by students from Central and Eastern Europe and the section Landscapes and Architecture from this theme program Animation and Fine Arts.

Perhaps the most attractive open-air event will take place on the last day of the festival, Saturday, June 8, when Tuškanac Open Air Cinema screens this year’s special program Take Me to the Moon, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the Moon. The titles include the revived original color version of Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon, Vukoti?’s Cow on the Moon, Wallace & Gromit and the fascinating recent title Solar Walk for all lovers of contemplative science fiction.

Affirming Animafest as a hotspot for audience encounters with artistic virtual reality and making space for the large number of outstanding projects, Animafest 2019 introduced a new competition with seven installations screened daily at the Gri? Tunnel, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Gri? Tunnel and Šira Gallery are also hosting the exhibition #fuckreality by students and teachers of the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna, focusing on immersive, virtual and expanded reality. Finally, every day at 1:30 p.m., the Tunnel is hosting the performance Swarming Tunnel. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing is hosting a workshop on story development for video games, mentored by Emmanuel Corn, the developer of Event [0] and Endless Legend.

On behalf of the City of Zagreb, Nikola Stojadinovi? presented Animafest’s new venue, Kaptol Boutique Cinema.

“The City of Zagreb finds it extremely important to make Animafest better every year and maintain the level of a world festival, the most important in Croatia. Kaptol Boutique Cinema has proven to be an excellent replacement for Europa Cinema, since it also hosts other festivals. I particularly welcome Zagreba?ka banka as a sponsor, and hope this will launch a surge of investments in culture on the part of the banking sector.”

Natalija Mikuli? Smiljani?, director of Zagreba?ka banka’s Identity and Communication Department, shared the bank’s enthusiasm about partnering with Animafest:

“Zagreb has had one of the finest such festivals for almost 50 years, something which should congratulate everyone in the organisational chain on and wish them an even better image year after year. Zagreba?ka banka fosters a culture of social responsibility and strives to stimulate as much cultural activities, events and exhibitions as possible. Currently underway is the sixth edition of the program Moj Zaba Start, which in one of the categories supports projects of culture and science. Zaba welcomes all such projects to collaborate with us via our online application. As this year’s Animafest sponsor, we were really creative and will grab all the opportunities, especially the open air events, to make the audience comfortable with popcorn, blankets, cushions and our activities. We are particularly proud to sponsor the Student Film Competition and present the main award in this category.”

Learn more and purchase tickets at

Animation Magazine

First Look at Nickelodeon’s Hybrid Special ‘SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout’

Nickelodeon has revealed a first look of the upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants one-hour special, “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” featuring for the first time the celebrated voice cast behind SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Squidward and Plankton playing human versions of their animated characters, and guest star David Hasselhoff (Baywatch). The all-new mixed live-action and animated special premieres Friday, July 12, at 7 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

In the episode, Patrick and SpongeBob journey to the surface world, where the duo come across a few familiar faces during lunchtime rush at The Trusty Slab restaurant. Meanwhile, the Bikini Bottom residents set up a surprise birthday party for SpongeBob.

Donning his famous lifeguard attire, Hasselhoff guests as himself in the special, where he runs into a little trouble in an ocean kayak and on the beach. Hasselhoff also notably played himself in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. His return is a special nod to his original performance for fans around the world.

“I experienced the world of SpongeBob first-hand when I appeared in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, which was an amazing experience,” said Hasselhoff. “After making that cameo, kids around the world recognized me from the movie. How awesome to now come back to be part of the 20th anniversary special. I got to interact with Tom Kenny and SpongeBob. It also was a heartwarming tribute to Steve Hillenburg. Happy 20th SpongeBob. Hooray!!”

“Steve Hillenburg gave me the gift of a lifetime when he asked me to voice his porous alter ego, SpongeBob SquarePants,” said Kenny. “He changed my life and all of our lives. To reach the 20-year mark is a huge milestone and we wanted to celebrate by throwing a big party, Bikini Bottom style. SpongeBob only comes up to the surface world on special occasions and this time one stop on his journey is The Trusty Slab restaurant. Stepping on the set and acting alongside my friends and fellow cast members was a true out of body experience. Fans are truly going to love it.”

Additional guest stars in the special include Kel Mitchell (All That), Jack Griffo (The Thundermans) and Daniella Perkins (Knight Squad).

SpongeBob SquarePants launched July 17, 1999, and has reigned as the number-one kids’ animated series on TV for the last 17 years, generating a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and a global fan base. The “Best Year Ever” leads up to the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies theatrical, The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge, coming summer 2020.

Animation Magazine

Special Bag Helps People Get Rid of Unused Opioids

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — After undergoing surgery, many people who are prescribed opioid painkillers have no idea how to dispose of leftover pills so they won’t be misused by others or harm the environment.

Giving special disposal bags to these patients more than doubled the percentage of people who safely disposed of their unused painkillers, according to researchers.

The new study included 208 patients who were prescribed opioids (such as OxyContin) when they left the hospital after surgery.

Of those, 63 received no formal information about disposal of leftover pills (“usual care”); 75 got an educational brochure outlining the importance of proper disposal of pills; and 70 received special disposal bags called Deterra bags.

The bags contain activated charcoal that binds to prescription drugs when water is added, making them unusable. Once in a landfill, the bags break down and prevent the drugs from leaching into the environment.

The bags cost about $ 7 each for individual buyers, but the research team bought them in bulk at a wholesale price for the study.

The researchers then followed up with the patients six weeks after they left the hospital.

The investigators found that about 28 percent of those in the usual care group had disposed of their leftover opioids. The methods of disposal included: throwing the painkillers in the garbage; flushing them down the toilet; or taking them to a law enforcement agency or other approved location.

Among those patients who received an educational brochure, 33 percent said they had disposed of leftover pills. People in this group who put their leftover pills in the trash were more likely to say they first mixed the painkillers with unpalatable substances to prevent others from abusing the drugs.

Among those given Deterra bags, 57 percent said they’d disposed of their leftovers, mostly by using the bag. Only one in 10 said they put their unaltered pills in the garbage or toilet, the findings showed.

“We need everyday disposal options that address patients’ needs and break down common barriers for safe disposal,” said study leader Dr. Chad Brummett. He is director of pain research at Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center.

Brummett said some patients may be uneasy about taking unneeded medications to law enforcement offices or take-back drives, and doing so may be inconvenient.

The researchers said the fact that more than 40 percent of patients with disposal bags still had their leftover opioids four to six weeks after surgery highlights the need for continued attention to proper medication disposal.

The findings are outlined in a research letter published online March 27 in JAMA Surgery.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, March 27, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Watch: ‘True and The Rainbow Kingdom’ Valentine’s Special

Guru Studio’s popular Netflix series True and the Rainbow Kingdom is returning on February 1st with a brand new Valentine’s Day special episode, titled True: Happy Hearts Day. You can watch the trailer for the new animated special here: trailer.

The 22-minute special finds True and Bartleby trying to cheer up the Rainbow Kingdom when its loneliest citizen Glum22my Glooma starts to turn things blue! The offering promises to be packed with adventure, big laughs, and a heart-warming message that it’s okay to be different.

On the heels of last summer’s successful launch of Season 2 titles True: Magical Friends & True: Wonderful Wishes, and the recent launch of music video compilation Dance & Sing with True Vol: 2TRUE: Happy Hearts Day is the first release in a lineup of new content which includes all new episodes, seasonal specials, a 44 minute movie and a mix of comedic shorts and musical content rolling out on the service throughout 2019 and 2020.

Animation Magazine

Magic Light Pictures Flies High with ‘Zog’ Special

Over the past decade, we’ve come to expect great things from the discerning animation production team of Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures. Fans of award-winning specials such as Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and The Highway Rat are familiar with the kind of heart-warming, witty and lovingly animated family fare they deliver year after year

This Christmas, they are back with a new half-hour special based on another book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, who also inspired their previous specials.

“Martin Pope and I have produced a number of specials based on Julia and Axel’s books over the years, beginning with The Gruffalo in 2009,” says Michael Rose. “The first time we read Zog, we loved the characters, story and the world and wanted to bring it to screen. Max Lang and Suzanne Lang found a great way to adapt the book, and we then asked Max (who had previously directed both Gruffalo and Room on the Broom for us) and Daniel Snaddon (who co-directed Stick Man) to direct the film.”

Zog features the voices of Sir Lenny Henry (Narrator), Tracey Ullman (Madame Dragon), Hugh Skinner (Zog), Patsy Ferran (Pearl) and Kit Harington (Sir Gadabout). It centers on the friendship between an accident-prone dragon and a young girl who patches up his bruises and grazes. Zog faces a big challenge during his fifth year at Dragon School, when he has to capture a princess.

Finding Their Bliss

Lang and Snaddon were instantly drawn to the book’s characters and humor. “Zog, Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout are all struggling with finding their place in the world,” says Lang. “There’s a big gap between what they and the world wants from them, and who they actually are. This creates a nice conflict and leads to a lot of character driven comedy. The other strong pull for us was the relationship between Pearl and Zog which adds a warmth to the story that we were keen to capture in the animation.”

Rose also praises Donaldson’s clever, character-led stories which take readers on imaginative journeys into extraordinary worlds. “Axel Scheffler’s illustrations bring these characters and worlds to life, creating rich layers of visual detail which amplify Julia’s words and compliment them with additional depth and story,” he adds. “So these books provide a wonderful starting place for dramatic adaptation and bountiful inspiration for animation.”

Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation, who also worked on The Highway Rat and Revolting Rhymes, produced the special’s beautiful CG animation. “They are a fabulous studio and great partners to work with, with a very talented crew, producing superb high-quality CGI,” says Rose. “Voice recordings and all sound and picture post-production were done in London.”

The project was animated in Maya and rendered in Arnold, while the visual effects were simulated in Phoenix and compositing was handled by Nuke. The animation team also used ZBrush and 3D-Coat for some of the modelling and surfacing work. According to the producers, more than a hundred people worked on the special over an 18 month period.

One of the key challenges of the project was that its story takes place over five years, during which the characters grow. “The already large cast of characters had to change and grow from sequence to sequence,” notes Snaddon. “This is a problem in any asset-based medium, but the team at Triggerfish came up with a lot of elegant and creative solutions. Apart from this, the trickiest thing has been managing the overlap with our next project which is really cool, but has a whole different set of challenges.”

Looking back, Rose is pleased with how the project has moved from the page to the small screen. “We set out to make a film for all the family to enjoy,” he notes. “At its heart is the empowering story of a young girl who renounces being a princess to become a doctor and do good in the world.  Hopefully audiences will be inspired, entertained and come away smiling!”

You can watch a trailer for the special here:

Zog premieres on BBC One in the U.K. on Christmas Day. The half-hour special will have an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles in December and will be submitted for consideration in 2019.







Animation Magazine

PBS KIDS Unwraps ‘Let’s Go Luna!’ Special & More Holiday Programming

Young viewers and their families will have plenty of excuses to stay snug on the couch this month, as PBS KIDS offers a festive lineup of holly-jolly holiday programming. One of the delightful gifts for fans to unwrap is a new special for Let’s Go Luna! — created by Joe Murray (Rocko’s Modern Life).

In the hour-long special Luna’s Christmas Around the World, Circo gets stuck at the South Pole on Christmas Eve, and Leo, Andy and Carmen are convinced that Santa will never be able to find them. With the help of their friend Luna, the kids endeavor to save Christmas, learning about holiday traditions from around the world along the way.

Let’s Go Luna! is produced by 9 Story Media Group and its animation studio Brown Bag Films, with Joe Murray Productions.

Returning favorites for holiday ‘18 include Arthur’s Perfect Christmas (Dec. 10, 11, 14 & 21 on PBS KIDS Family Night, 24, 25), Wild Kratt’s A Creature Christmas (Dec. 10, 12, 14, 18 & 21 on PBS KIDS Family Night, 24, 25), The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about Christmas (Dec. 10, 13, 17 & 21 on PBS KIDS Family Night, 24, 25), Peg + Cat + Holidays (Dec. 10, 13, 14, 24, 25) and Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (Dec. 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 25).

Luna's Christmas Around the World

Luna’s Christmas Around the World

Luna's Christmas Around the World

Luna’s Christmas Around the World

Luna's Christmas Around the World

Luna’s Christmas Around the World

Luna's Christmas Around the World

Luna’s Christmas Around the World

Animation Magazine

Utah Lawmakers’ Special Session To Hash Out Marijuana Policy

Utah lawmakers will convene in a special session Dec. 3, 2018, to discuss a medical marijuana “compromise” bill after voters approved a separate measure that faced opposition from the Mormon church, Utah Medical Association and political insiders. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement on Friday. Here’s the letter @GovHerbert sent to the #utleg calling […]

Singer Gary Barlow Joins Jason Manford in ‘Daisy & Ollie’ Christmas Special

Singer-songwriter Gary Barlow (Take That) is joining comedian-presenter Jason Manford in making holiday magic as voice stars on a special, musical episode of hit preschool series Daisy & Ollie, premiering December 1 at 10 a.m. on Cartoonito in the U.K. Barlow stars as an animated version of himself in “What’s So Great about Christmas Anyway?,” singing a song written by Manford and the CHF Entertainment team.

In the special, Daisy’s Daddy (voiced by Manford) — a musician and single father — is asked to write a Christmas single for the world-famous pop star Gary Barlow, who will be performing it at the town concert. Ever-inquisitive friends Daisy (Sarah Hadland) and Ollie (Claire Morgan) are disheartened to discover that Daisy’s Daddy isn’t feeling inspired by the season, so they try to restore his holiday spirit by finding out what makes Christmas so special.

“I was absolutely thrilled when Jason asked me to be part of the Daisy & Ollie Christmas special, especially as a cartoon version of myself,” said Barlow. “It was great fun and a heart-warming show. I can’t wait to watch it with my family during the Christmas period!”

“It has been an exciting few months working with Gary Barlow on the Daisy & Ollie Christmas episode, and it has been an incredible honour to write a song for him to sing in the show,” commented Manford. “Bringing in a huge star like Gary brings that festive touch of sparkle a Christmas episode needs. I can’t wait for the viewers’ reactions when they see Gary in the show, the animators have done an incredible job creating his character — it looks just like him!”

Manford is also executive producer and writes many of the scripts for the show, which is created by Helen Brown and produced by CHF Entertainment.

Daisy & Ollie

Daisy & Ollie

Jason Manford

Jason Manford

Gary Barlow

Gary Barlow

Animation Magazine

Oct. 17: You’re invited to a special event for Michigan’s YES on 1 campaign!

Proposal 1, the Michigan legalization ballot initiative, is up in the polls, but it’s still too close for comfort. The opposition campaign is just a couple of big checks away from being able to launch a large misinformation campaign.

We’re in the final weeks of the election, and we need to make sure the Yes on 1 campaign has the resources it needs to educate voters about the benefits of legalizing marijuana. Next week, I hope you’ll join me in Ann Arbor for a special evening to support this important campaign.

RSVP via phone (517-974-2265) or email ( If you can’t attend, please consider making a contribution directly to the campaign here. And please share the word with other supporters. Let’s win this!

The post Oct. 17: You’re invited to a special event for Michigan’s YES on 1 campaign! appeared first on MPP Blog.

MPP Blog

Bluefin Reveals Special Totoro Plush and Contest

Toy distributor Bluefin has released a new official Totoro plush doll in conjunction with Studio Ghibli’s beloved movie’s 30th Anniversary. The nine-inch plush, which is available at Barnes & Noble is produced by Japanese manufacturer and is now available for purchase at participating Barnes & Noble locations nationwide for $ 30.

Bluefin is also supporting the anniversary with a special online giveaway contest. Ten Totoro themed gift baskets will be awarded. Each contains a whimsical collection of Studio Ghibli officially licensed Totoro products valued at over $ 100.00. The contest runs through November 1st and is open to all to enter at:

Each gift basket prize package contains a Totoro morning lace bracelet, a mini towel, a gift set, a petite puzzle, a plush with suction cups, a leak-proof bowl and a Totoro lunch bag.

Bluefin is the official North American distributor for the most comprehensive catalog of officially licensed Studio Ghibli products. Bluefin retail partner Barnes & Noble is now carrying an expanded variety of newly released collectible products for October that include puzzle bowls, art crystal puzzles, paper theatre character sets, titling figurines, bamboo chopsticks and other products that each feature iconic Studio Ghibli characters.

First released in 1988, My Neighbor Totoro was created by famed director Hayao Miyazaki and released by his Studio Ghibli, which also produced Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo. Totoro’s popularity soon became an international phenomenon and has spawned a vast array of adorable plush characters, toys, collectables and other memorabilia.

Additional information is available at:

Totoro Prize Gift Basket by Bluefin

Totoro Prize Gift Basket by Bluefin

Animation Magazine

Marvel Powers Up Additional ‘Marvel Rising’ Special: ‘Chasing Ghosts’

Following the successful launch of the Marvel Rising: Initiation shorts and the movie Secret Warriors, Marvel Entertainment has announced more adventures for the animated superhero squad, including two new specials: Chasing Ghosts and Heart of Iron. Distribution partners and release dates are TBA.

“We believe girls and boys are going to be so thrilled to see what happens next for The Secret Warriors, and watch new heroes shake up the team,” said Cort Lane, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Animation & Family Entertainment.

Voice stars Dove Cameron (Descendants 3) and BooBoo Stewart (Descendants 3) return in Marvel Rising: Chasing Ghosts, a brand-new 22-minute special that follows Ghost-Spider teaming-up with the Secret Warriors to bring down the villains Sheath and Exile for good. The actors portray Ghost-Spider and Exile, respectively.

“I am so excited to return to the world of Marvel Rising as Ghost-Spider!” said Cameron. “It’s so rewarding to be part of a project that resonates with girls, and speaks to topics and subject matters we can all relate to.”

The voice cast also welcomes back Tyler Posey as Inferno, Chloe Bennet as Quake, Cierra Ramirez as America Chavez, Milana Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl, Kathreen Khavari as Ms. Marvel, Kamil McFadden as Patriot, Skai Jackson as Gloria Grant, Dee Bradley Baker as Lockjaw/Tippy-Toe, Steven Weber as Captain Stacy, Tara Strong as Mary Jane Watson, and Amanda C. Miller as Sheath.

Chasing Ghosts is executive produced by Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Cort Lane, and Eric Radomski; co-executive produced by Stan Lee, Sana Amanat, and Marsha Griffin. The special was written by Mairghread Scott. Alfred Gimeno served as supervising animation producer and director.

Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron will introduce Riri Williams (a.k.a. Ironheart) to the Marvel Rising universe, voiced by Sofia Wylie (Andi Mack). In this 44-minute special, we find Riri Williams adjusting to college life and feeling socially isolated because she is younger than the other students. After Hala the Accuser destroys the school’s engineering lab and kidnaps Riri’s best friend, Riri finds inspiration in her hero Iron Man and hatches a plan to defeat Hala and save the day.

“I feel so honored to be a part of the Marvel family, but more importantly I’m excited to join a cast of diverse, strong intelligent women!” said Wylie. “I can’t wait for fans to see my character and to see a little of themselves in this powerful young woman.”

Wylie is joined on the cast list by featured voicers Ming-Na Wen as Hala, Kim Raver as Captain Marvel, Dove Cameron as Ghost-Spider, Tyler Posey as Inferno, Chloe Bennet as Quake, Cierra Ramirez as America Chavez, Milana Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl, Kathreen Khavari as Ms. Marvel, Kamil McFadden as Patriot, Dee Bradley Baker as Lockjaw/Tippy-Toe, Mick Wingert as Iron Man, and Melanie Minichino as A.M.I.

Heart of Iron is executive produced by Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Cort Lane, and Eric Radomski; co-executive produced by Stan Lee, Sana Amanat, and Marsha Griffin. The special was written by Margaret Dunlap. Alfred Gimeno served as supervising director and the special was directed by Sol Choi.

Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron

Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron

Dove Cameron

Dove Cameron

Sofia Wylie

Sofia Wylie

Animation Magazine

Clip: Adult Swim’s ‘Harvey Birdman’ Special Goes to Washington!

He’s dealt with conniving crooks, devious frame-ups and utter incompetence — but is Harvey Birdman prepared for the White House? Fans will get to find out when the recycled Hanna-Barbera character makes his long-awaited return to TV in the new half-hour special Harvey Birdman, Attorney General — premiering Sunday, October 14 at midnight ET/PT.

Harvey Birdman, Attorney General centers around newly elected, megalomaniac billionaire-turned-President of the United States, Phil Ken Sebben (voiced by Stephen Colbert), who appoints Harvey Birdman (Gary Cole) as the Attorney General and tasks him with … getting himself impeached!

In addition to Cole and Colbert, voice actors reprising their roles from the series are John Michael Higgins as Mentok the Mindtaker, Paget Brewster as Birdgirl, Chris Edgerly as Peter Potamus, Peter MacNicol as X the Eliminator and Phil LaMarr as Black Vulcan.

Original series creators and executive producers Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter also return for the special, with Richard Ferguson-Hull and Evan Adler also serving as exec producers.

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law aired for four seasons on Adult Swim from 2000-2007. In conjunction with the special’s premiere, the past three seasons of are now available to own on iTunes, Google, Amazon, PlayStation and Xbox. Fans can also catch previous episodes at

Animation Magazine