Italian astronaut to watch World Cup match from space

FILE PHOTO: Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, crew member of the mission to the International Space Station (ISS), waves as he boards prior the launch of Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, July 20, 2019. Dmitri Lovetsky

TOKYO (Reuters) – Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano will be cheering on his team from space when they take on South Africa in their pivotal Rugby World Cup clash.

Parmitano will be watching Friday’s Pool B match from the International Space Station as it orbits some 400 km above the earth.

Italy are looking to upset the Springboks and reach the knockout stages for the first time.

Parmitano, who has been in space since July, had a message for the Italian team.

“You are a team and have to work all together to reach your goal, which is that of winning,” he said in a video posted by the European Space Agency and the Italian Rugby Federation.

It is not the first time Parmitano has broken new ground in space.

In August he became the first person to DJ in space when he played a set from the ISS for a club in Ibiza.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Alison Williams

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Prague opera lovers watch ‘Don Giovanni’ on rooftop – and in bath tubs

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” has been a favorite among opera lovers since it premiered in Prague in 1787 but it is unlikely that any have ever watched it on a rooftop in the Czech capital while submerged in a bath tub, a glass of bubbly in hand – till now.

That’s how Prague cafe owner and culture promoter Ondrej Kobza arranged his performance, delivered by top Czech opera singers, including soloist Adam Plachetka from the Vienna Opera, as the sun set over the historic city center on Thursday night.

The stunt, comprising selected arias rather than the entire opera, was based around an anagram – Don Giovanni turned into the Czech “John do vany” which means “John into the tub”.

“It seemed a daring step for me because this is something very untraditional. But I like new challenges and to try something that has not been here before,” Plachetka said.

Kobza said he thought the future lay in presenting culture in more innovative ways.

“Mozart composed and premiered the opera in Prague, I think he is watching us today,” Kobza said, sitting in a tub on the rooftop of the Lucerna Palace – just off Prague’s central Wenceslas Square – that was built by the grandfather of former Czech president Vaclav Havel.

“I think things like this will be popular – doing quality events but shifting the way they are presented.”

The spectators, who sat in their bath tubs in full evening attire, ended up very wet but were happy with the performance as well as the view from the rooftop, and the air temperature was fortunately around 30 degrees Celsius.

“The water was warm. This was very pleasant, and a great performance by the soloists. This is something I will remember,” Martin Zvonicek said.

“Don Giovanni”, which tells the story of a sexually promiscuous nobleman whose past finally catches up with him, premiered in Prague, then part of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire, on Oct. 29, 1787.

Reporting by Jiri Skacel; Writing by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Gareth Jones

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Watch: Jim Gaffigan Asks the Real Questions in ‘Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?’

Actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan (Star vs. The Forces of Evil, Bob’s Burgers) guest stars in the next episode of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, partaking in a snack-fueled road race smackdown against our favorite mystery solving teen squad and their faithful, fraidy-cat Great Dane. The episode debuts Thursday, August 22 on Boomerang, and we’ve got an exclusive clip to whet your appetite!

In “The Fastest Fast Food Fiend!”, Scooby and Shaggy enter a fast food eating competition sponsored by the Doc Tally restaurant chain and meet their ultimate challenge, chowing down against none other than comedian Jim Gaffigan!

More celebrity star-powered adventures roll out every Thursday through season finale of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? on September 19.

Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?

Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?

Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?

Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?

Animation Magazine

Watch: ‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Exclusive Deleted Scene

With the globally beloved animal stars of The Secret Life of Pets 2 ready to make their DVD, Blu-ray and 4K debut on August 27, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has given us a sneak peek at the special features in store on the release. Check out the deleted scene “Wake Up” form Illumination Ent.’s blockbuster sequel below!

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is out now on Digital.

Don’t forget to enter our online giveaway for a chance to win this furry frolic on disc!

Synopsis: Terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be. The voice cast also features Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first-ever animation role: a farm dog named Rooster.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is helmed by returning director Chris Renaud and co-director Jonathan del Val; produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.

Animation Magazine

Watch: Chris Nee Talks Creator-Driven Culture at Netflix Animation

In a new video released by the streaming mega-platform, award-winning children’s TV creator and writer Chris Nee (Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Little Bill) discusses her new role as executive producer at the rapidly growing Netflix Animation division.

“I’m really trying to write the world as I wish it would be, and I’m always writing about communities,” Nee begins. The Emmy Award winner explains that what appealed to her about joining the studio was its support of her work and vision — and those of all the talented creatives drawn into the Netflix Animation fold.

“One of the things that Netflix has allowed me to do is to go find up-and-coming talents, and make sure that we are bringing new perspectives into the animation landscape,” she adds.

Watch the one-minute clip below:

Animation Magazine

Watch the Final Trailer for ‘Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’!

The final trailer for Netflix’s eagerly awaited prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has arrived, pulsing with magical effects and full of puppet peril for our Gelfling heroes. The new 10 x one-hour series inspired by Jim Henson’s 1982 classic The Dark Crystal premieres August 30, only on Netflix.

Synopsis: The world of Thra is dying. The Crystal of Truth is at the heart of Thra, a source of untold power. But it is damaged, corrupted by the evil Skeksis, and a sickness spreads across the land. When three Gelfling uncover the horrific truth behind the power of the Skeksis, an adventure unfolds as the fires of rebellion are lit and an epic battle for the planet begins.

The voice cast features Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nathalie Emmanuel, Caitriona Balfe, Helena Bonham Carter, Harris Dickinson, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, Theo James, Toby Jones, Shazad Latif, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong, Alicia Vikander, Lena Headey, Hannah John-Kamen,Harvey Fierstein, Mark Hamill, Ralph Ineson, Jason Isaacs, Keegan-Michael Key, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg, Benedict Wong and Awkwafina. Sigourney Weaver voices The Narrator. Aughra is voiced by Donna Kimball.

Louis Leterrier directs and executive produces with Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford.

Animation Magazine

Watch: The Must-See Animation & VFX Trailers Revealed at Comic-Con

OK everyone, take a breath — another Comic-Con International has whirled through San Diego in a frenzy of panels, activations and sneak-peeks at the most exciting film and TV projects heading to screens. Here’s a recap of all the newly released trailers/clips for exciting animation projects and VFX showpieces that will dazzle your eye, tickle your fancy, or just give you something to debate on Twitter for a few hours.

Animation & Puppetry:

Apple & Onion Season 2 First Look
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Sneak Peek
DuckTales Season 2 Sneak Peek
The Fungies First Look

Harley Quinn Season 1 Teaser

Marvel’s Spider-Man Sneak Peek “My Own Worst Enemy”
OK K.O.! Let’s Meet Sonic First Look
The Owl House Intro
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 3 Trailer
Tig N’ Seek First Look

Rick and Morty Season 4: Glootie

Steven Universe: The Movie Official Trailer

Live Action:

21 Bridges Trailer 2
Batwoman “Tattoo” Trailer
Carnival Row Official Trailer

CATS Official Trailer

His Dark Materials Season 1 Trailer
IT Chapter Two Final Trailer
Pennyworth Official Trailer
Snowpiercer Series Official Trailer
Star Trek: Picard Trailer
Terminator: Dark Fate BTS Featurette
Top Gun: Maverick

Watchmen Trailer
Westworld Season 3 Trailer

The Witcher Teaser

Animation Magazine

Watch: Netflix Dates ‘Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling’ Global Launch

Following the news that global streaming giant Netflix had snapped up the highly anticipated Nickelodeon movie, fans around the world can now look forward to reconnecting with Joe Murray’s O-Town gang when Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling premieres on the platform August 9. The movie brings back the classic characters of Nickelodeon animated series Rocko’s Modern Life (1993-1996) in an all-new culture shock adventure.

Synopsis: After being in space for around 20 years, Rocko and his friends attempt to conform to an even more modern life in O-Town, where coffee shops are on every corner, food trucks offer multi-layered tacos, touch-screen O-Phones are being upgraded on a near-constant basis, an instant-print kiosk has replaced Rocko’s old job at Kind-of-a-Lot-O-Comics, and radioactive energy drinks turn their consumers into mutants.

Original series voice actors and newcomers make up the energetic cast: Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Linda Wallem, Steve Little, Joe Murray, Cosmo Segurson, Tom Smith, and Dan Becker

The movie is written by series creator Joe murray with Doug Lawrence and Martin Olson; Murray also directs, with Cosmo Segurson, and exec produces. Lizbeth Velasco is producer. Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling is a Nickelodeon production.

Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

Animation Magazine

Watch: A Legendary Hero Returns in Disney’s ‘Mulan’ in March

Disney has unveiled a new teaser trailer and poster for its upcoming live-action take on Mulan — the incredible story of a fearless young woman whose love for her family and her country sets her on a path to become one of China’s greatest warriors. In theaters March 27, 2020.

Directed by Niki Caro (Whalerider, The Zookeeper’s Wife) from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek, Mulan stars Yifei Liu as Mulan, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan, and Yoson An as Cheng Honghui, with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film is based on the narrative poem The Ballad of Mulan.

Synopsis: When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation… and a proud father.

Mulan

Mulan

Mulan

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Mulan

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Mulan

Mulan

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Mulan

Animation Magazine

Watch: ‘This Is Us’ Star Chris Sullivan Hops to Disney’s ‘Amphibia’

In an upcoming episode of Disney Channel’s new magical animated comedy Amphibiaalready renewed for a second season — star of This Is Us Chris Sullivan pays a visit to the strange swampy land to voice Gunther, a southern tusked frog who lives on the outskirts of Wartwood. In the episode, Sprig’s rare and precious Blue Moon Shell is stolen, so he and Anne investigate to find the thief.

Amphibia chronicles the adventures of teen girl Anne Boonchuy (voiced by Disney Channel alumna Brenda Song) after she is magically transported to a rural marshland full of frog people and meets the excitable young frog Sprig Plantar and his family.

Sullivan’s guest-star episode, “Croak and Punishment,” premieres Monday, July 8 at 10 a.m. on Disney Channel.

Animation Magazine

Watch: HBO Launches ‘Backstories’ with BTS Toons for ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Barry’ & ‘Insecure’

A new short-form series, HBO Backstories, is offering television fans an animated peek behind the scenes of their favorite HBO shows and characters. Each episode features the voices (and stories) of network talent, from star performers and show creators, and each is brought to life by a different, top-notch animation team.

On Thursday, the first three episodes — created in collaboration with Wieden + Kennedy New York. They reveal untold stories from the production of acclaimed series Game of Thrones, Barry and Insecure. The series is available across all HBO network, social channels, HBO.com and as part of HBO’s sponsorship at Tribeca Film Festival.

“The Slap Game” | David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (showrunners of Game of Thrones) detail the time the latter played Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) in ‘The Slap Game.’

Animation by Ivan Dixon and Greg Sharp (Truba Animation)

“Acting Class” | Alec Berg, co-creator of Barry, talks through how he drew inspiration from a wild acting class.

Animation by Christy Karacas and Simon Wilches (Titmouse)

“Insecure” | Actress Yvonne Orji talks through her journey from Miss Nigeria in America to Molly on Insecure.

Animation by Carl Jones and Brian Ash (Six Point Harness)

Animation Magazine

Thieves pinch rifles as Kenyan police watch Champions League football

NAIROBI (Reuters) – The temptation to watch UEFA Champions League quarter-finals football on TV both featuring Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo backfired for some Kenya policemen when thieves raided their unmanned post and made off with weaponry.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night after the officers shut down the Kamorwon police post in a western region of Kenya and went in search of a TV screen.

As they watched two matches – Manchester United against Barcelona and Juventus against Ajax – on TV at a nearby shopping mall, thieves raided the post and escaped with three rifles and ammunition, according to a police report seen by Reuters.

Other officers were “being mobilized to swing into action” to recover the firearms, the report said. It was not immediately known whether the absent-without-leave officers were disciplined.

European football, particularly the English Premier League, is highly popular in Kenya and across the African continent.

Editing by Hereward Holland and Mark Heinrich

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Watch: Exclusive First Trailer for Lupus Films’ Movie ‘Kiki’

One of the highlights of this year’s Cartoon Movie event in France was a special preview of Lupus Film’s upcoming movie Kiki, which centers on the adventures of actress, singer and model Kiki (born Alice Prin) among the Bohemian community of 1920s-era Paris. We had the great opportunity to chat with writer/director Peter Dodd and producer Ruth Fielding of Lupus Films about their intriguing new 2D project.

Animation Magazine: What prompted your interest in Kiki? How did you discover her?

Ruth Fielding: Peter (Dodd) was the animation director on our feature film Ethel & Ernest and he’s animated on all our hand-drawn TV Specials, so he’s one of our long term collaborators. When he brought us Kiki, his passion project, my partner Camilla (Deakin) and I fell in love with her. She’s a strong female character with a compelling story, so we were instantly attracted to her life and to the setting of the film in 1920s’ Paris.

Peter Dodd: It was the photograph by Man Ray. Le Violon d’Ingres. Very enigmatic. I saw it everywhere. In exhibitions and books. But her story is just as interesting. The discovery was a gradual revelation. I had some idea from my time working in Montparnasse in my twenties. She just kept appearing in people’s accounts of the period. Ernest Hemingway wrote his first foreword for her memoirs. She’s largely forgotten now but was a bright light burning at the time.

Why do you think her life story would make a great animated movie?

Ruth: She was living at a very interesting time and she feels like a historical figure who has quite a modern character. Her story really feels like it needs to be told now. And animation can really touch an audience deeply in terms of its emotion.

Peter: I think characters with no limits make compelling subjects for a film. She truly seemed to live and love as if every day was her last. Most of us like the idea but can’t possibly achieve that.

How does showcasing the film at Cartoon Movie help generate interest and funding for a project like this?

Ruth: We showed the film ‘in concept’ at Cartoon Movie as we have yet to write the script and fully develop the film. However, it’s a great place to attract like-minded producers who might help us co-finance the development and it’s great to get an audience’s reaction to the style of the film and the story.

Peter: It’s the place to be, and I’ve spoken to a number of people who have had success there. It’s been fascinating hearing what a potentially broad audience could be reached with the right people involved.

What is the film’s budget and when are you hoping to deliver the project?
Ruth:
We haven’t budgeted the film yet, but it will be under 10 million euros, and I guess the earliest we will deliver will be 2022 with a following wind!

How do you see the animation landscape shaping up in the U.K. in 2019 and beyond?

Ruth: We have a lot of work and talent in the U.K. at the minute, but I hope that Brexit won’t put the brakes on all that. We need free access for talent throughout Europe and need to remain competitive with our European counterparts. We are working with the US studios too so keeping up those contacts and our reputation on the other side of the pond is key to our success in 2019 and beyond.

Peter: I think Ethel and Ernest broke a few barriers. The first feature for a generation here, that wasn’t aimed at children. We’ve got a good reputation here for delivering Hollywood effects, and commercials, and half hour specials. It looks like features may be making a comeback!

You can watch the teaser here:

You can find out more about Lupus Films and the studio’s many award-winning projects (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Ethel & Ernest, The Snowman and the Snowdog, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Anatole’s Island) at Lupusfilms.com

Ruth Fielding and Peter Dodd

Ruth Fielding and Peter Dodd

Kiki at Cartoon Movie 2019

Kiki at Cartoon Movie 2019

Animation Magazine

Does Your Family Eat Out a Lot? Watch Your Blood Pressure