Animation Updates – Animation Short Films Best Animation Online Portal IContent Media Platform Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:53:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Animation Updates – Animation Short Films 32 32 140865691 Chinese Producer Fantawild Announces New Slate Of 6 Projects Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:53:49 +0000

In the lead-up to MIPCOM, Fantawild Animation, the Chinese animation producer behind the hit Boonie Bears franchise, has announced six new projects, across, film, series, and international brand acquisitions. The announcement was made during the Fantawild Animation Expo in Zhengzhou, China, a three-day event that concluded yesterday.

“Our mission has always been to create and share happiness,” said Daisy Shang, executive president of Fantawild Group and president of Fantawild Animation. “We care about the healthy growth of children and want to craft the best Chinese stories. At the same time, we have been and will continue to be proactive in exploring the international arena as well as licensing and merchandising to further enrich the ‘IP ecology’ of Fantawild.”

Here are the new announcements:

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These French Animators Thought Working With Harvey Weinstein’s Brother Was A Good Idea Sat, 12 Oct 2019 20:06:58 +0000

The French crew, which also includes a sixth member, Vincent Bayoux, who was not named in the press statement, operates through a collective that is appropriately named Illogic. They’ll work with Weinstein’s new company, Watch This Entertainment, on Endangered, based on a book of wildlife photography by Tim Flach. They plan to develop a narrative about endangered animals through their Montpellier, France-based production company Bloom Pictures.

Other people entangled in this mess are actress Tea Leoni, who will produce and provide a voice, and executive Pantea Ghaderi who is running Weinstein’s company. According to Deadline, Ghaderi will “take the title of president of creative development and was integral in bringing on the animation team Illogic to direct Endangered.

Amanda Harrington, vp of communications for Time’s Up organization, gave a statement about Weinstein’s animation project to The Hollywood Reporter:

“There could have been no ‘Harvey Weinstein’ without the complicity of Bob Weinstein, who for years put profits ahead of people’s lives as Harvey terrorized women throughout the industry. Bob Weinstein has no business running anything, let alone launching a new production company while dozens of survivors are still searching for some small measure of justice.”

Vctims of Harvey Weinstein are also not pleased with the news of his brother’s return:

Not only did Bob Weinstein routinely paid off his brother’s accusers, but newly-released documents show that he knew enough to ask Harvey to stop what he was doing. Bob’s defense: he thought his brother, Harvey, was merely “a sex addict engaged in persistent philandering,” and he has denied knowing about the settlements that he made with his brother’s accusers.

Harvey Weinstein will go on trial January 2020 in New York City for charges that include two counts of predatory sexual assault, a criminal sexual act, rape in the first degree, and rape in the third degree. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

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‘The Addams Family’ Opens In The U.S. To Poor Reviews, Decent Box Office Projections Fri, 11 Oct 2019 19:08:06 +0000

But of course, The Addams Family is not an original story. It relocates Charles Addams’s ghoulish characters to the present day, where they are confronted with the new horror that is 21st-century reality tv culture.

The franchise last came to the big screen in the 1990s, with two live-action features. The first opened domestically with $24 million and went on to take $192 million worldwide. The latest adaptation will have to work hard to match that, especially with Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil poised to take much of its audience when it opens next week.

While MGM is handling North American distribution through its United Artists Releasing banner, Universal Pictures has the overseas rights. The film will be rolled out across dozens of territories between late October and early December.

Aside from franchise recognition, The Adams Family stands to benefit from a strong voice cast which includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Snoop Dogg. The directors are Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, who also helmed Sausage Party. Pamela Pettler (Corpse Bride, 9, Monster House) wrote the screenplay, with revisions by Matt Lieberman (Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief, the upcoming Scoob!).

Vernon, Gail Berman, Alex Schwartz, and Alison O’Brien are producing, with Kevin Miserocchi, Andrew Mittman, and Joe Earley executive producing. Animation was handled by Cinesite’s Vancouver studio — formerly Nitrogen Studios, where Sausage Party was made. The film is produced by MGM in association with Bron Creative, which struck a co-financing deal with MGM earlier this year.

This is the final incarnation of a long-gestating project. The Addams Family was first announced back in 2010, when Tim Burton was set to direct it as a stop-motion feature for Illumination Entertainment. After that collaboration fell through, Vernon was attached to a cg film in 2017, with Tiernan later joining as co-director.

Reviews so far have been poor — at the time of writing, the film has a 34% positive critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s what the reviews say:

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman was tepid:

The Addams Family is a luscious piece of macabre design. The characters have been computer-drawn so that they’re exceedingly close to the ones in Charles Addams’s original cartoons, and the film is full of keen visual details … [But it] has an overly processed outré harmlessness. It’s so busy treating its famous domesticated ghouls as icons that it forgets to rediscover what’s memorable about them.

Richard Roeper gave two stars out of four in The Chicago Sun-Times:

This time around, [the characters are] mired in a breezy and intermittently funny but not particularly original story that presents some mildly amusing gross-out sight gags in between often wince-inducing, pun-based humor, and the aforementioned heavy-handed message-sending about tolerance and acceptance and learning how to live and let live.

Kate Erbland in Indiewire points out the visual weaknesses in the adaptation of characters into cg:

There are, however, plenty of instances in which The Addams Family relies on unappealing visuals. While the look and feel of the family itself is more in line with the characters that populated Addams’ original comic strips (no sexy Gomez here), the juxtaposition between mostly unflattering character design and the consistently imaginative spaces they get to occupy (from the family mansion itself to its sprawling grounds and even the creepy, Stepford-esque town just empty enough to look foreboding) is jarring. Sure, the Addams family is built to be creepy, but when a bottomless pit offers more visual interest than a family member whose defining characteristic is a large screw through his cranium, something has gone amiss.

NPR’s Danny Hensel criticized the blandness of the film’s visual environment:

But from scene to scene, the film is dominated by blandness — it lacks the texture of the franchises previous live-action adaptations, or even similarly designed animated movies like Corpse Bride. Instead, much of the emotion of the film is lost in the soupy cement of computer animation. You find yourself longing for more moments like the clever one in which Wednesday’s irises shrink into oblivion as she terrifies her brother.

In contrast, Yolanda Machado at The Wrap enjoyed the film:

The surprising element to the animated The Addams Family is that it is a sweet coming-of-age story that tells kids it’s okay to be yourself, even if it means going against your parents’ views … While the script by Todd Lieberman (Sausage Party) is a little too cookie-cutter and a bit simplistic, it works really well for kids. It doesn’t attempt to talk down to them, one of my biggest pet peeves about some family films.

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Pixar Teases Original Production ‘Onward’ With New Trailer And Poster Thu, 10 Oct 2019 18:54:52 +0000

Disney-Pixar released a new trailer today for Onward, set to be the studio’s first original film in over two years when it’s released on March 6, 2020.

Directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae (the same team behind 2013’s Monster University), Onward is inspired by the director’s own relationship with his brother and the fact that they lost their father at a young age. When the project was first announced a couple years ago, Scanlon spoke about how the central theme was rooted around a question he’d always asked: Who was my father? He added:

“In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.”

The voice cast is lead by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland as the elven brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as their mom. Octavia Spencer will voice the Manticore (pictured at top), a helpful Persian creature who will aid the brothers on their journey.

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‘The Bad Guys’ And ‘Spirit Riding Free’ Film Tue, 08 Oct 2019 20:18:51 +0000

Dreamworks Animation, a division of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, within NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation, has announced two new features slated for release in 2021. Here’s what we know about them.

  • One is called The Bad Guys. The director is Pierre Perifel, a longtime Dreamworks animator who co-directed the studio’s recent short film Bilby. The other is currently known as Untitled Spirit Riding Free Film. It is directed by Elaine Bogan, another Dreamworks veteran who previously directed the series Trollhunters: 3 Below and Dragons: Race to the Edge.
  • The Bad Guys is about five notorious crooks who attempt “their most challenging job yet: going good.” It is based on Aaron Blabey’s bestselling illustrated book series of the same name.
  • The script is by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Get Hard) and Hilary Winston (NBC’s Community and ABC’s Happy Endings). The film is produced by Damon Ross (co-producer, Nacho Libre) and Rebecca Huntley (co-producer, Abominable, The Boss Baby). The executive producers are Blabey, Cohen, Patrick Hughes, and Jeff Berg.
  • As its working title suggests, the other film is based on Dreamworks’s Emmy-winning Netflix series Spirit Riding Free. It will continue the adventures of Lucky, a girl who befriends a wild mustang after moving from the city to a small frontier town. The series was based in turn on the 2002 feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
  • The producer is Karen Foster (co-producer, How To Train Your Dragon). Ennio Torresan (head of story, Abominable and The Boss Baby) serves as co-director.
  • Untitled Spirit Riding Free Film will be released on May 14, 2021, and The Bad Guys on September 17, 2021. The films will be distributed by Universal Pictures, which owns Dreamworks. Meanwhile, dark comedy Spooky Jack, which was previously due to come out on September 17, 2021, has been taken off the release schedule.
"Spirit Riding Free."
“Spirit Riding Free.”

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Netflix Launches Trailer For Its First Original Animated Feature: Sergio Pablos’s Hand-Drawn ‘Klaus’ Mon, 07 Oct 2019 19:04:39 +0000

Netflix has released a trailer for its first original animated feature, Klaus, which opens in select U.S. theaters on November 8 and launches on the streaming platform Nov. 15.

Directed by Sergio Pablos, who also developed the original Despicable Me film, Klaus is a rarity for a U.S. producer – a hand-drawn film. Pablos is himself a respected animator who has handled such characters as Tantor in Disney’s Tarzan and Dr. Doppler in Treasure Planet. His goal hasn’t been to simply bring back 2d animation, but to push the craft forward, and Klaus’s distinct look is achieved via an innovative lighting and rendering pipeline that is applied to the drawn animation. We’ll have more coverage about how the film was made in the coming months.

  • Synopsis: When Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) distinguishes himself as the postal academy’s worst student, he is stationed on a frozen island above the Arctic Circle, where the feuding locals hardly exchange words let alone letters. Jesper is about to give up when he finds an ally in local teacher Alva (Rashida Jones), and discovers Klaus (J.K. Simmons), a mysterious carpenter who lives alone in a cabin full of handmade toys. These unlikely friendships return laughter to Smeerensburg, forging a new legacy of generous neighbors, magical lore and stockings hung by the chimney with care.
  • Key credits:
    Produced by Netflix, SPA Studios, and Artesmedia Cine
    Directed by Sergio Pablos
    Music by Alfonso G. Aguilar
    Production designers Szymon Biernacki and Marcin Jakubowski
    Produced by Jinko Gotoh, Marisa Román, Sergio Pablos, Matthew Teevan, Mercedes Gamero, Mikel Lejarza, Gustavo Ferrada
    Original story by Sergio Pablos
    Screenplay by Sergio Pablos, Zach Lewis, and Jim Mahoney
  • Key voices: Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Norm MacDonald, Rashida Jones, Joan Cusack, Will Sasso

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The First’ Gets A New Action-Packed Trailer Wed, 02 Oct 2019 23:12:56 +0000

A new trailer was released yesterday for Lupin III: The First, an entirely cg version of the iconic franchise, set to open December 6 in Japan. The new film revolves around Lupin partnering with a woman named Leticia to acquire the Bresson Diary, a treasure that guarantees great fortune to anyone who can unravel its secrets.

The Lupin III franchise has been evolving for half a century, outgrowing its manga origins to encompass anime films and series, videogames, and even stage musicals — but this is the character’s first appearance in a computer-animated feature. The character Lupin III first appeared in a 1967 manga by Kazuhiko Kato, better known by his pen name Monkey Punch. The comic pitted the world-renowned thief against the tireless Inspector Zenigata in various outlandish scenarios; Lupin was conceived as the grandson of Arsène Lupin, star of Maurice Leblanc’s turn-of-the-20th-century crime capers, although Kato was also influenced by action-adventure stories like Ian Fleming’s creation, James Bond.

The manga was a hit, and the first spin-off anime series, Lupin the Third Part I, was broadcast in 1971. Some anime translations preserve the comic’s dark, raunchy spirit, while others tone it down for family audiences, including Hayao Miyazaki’s feature The Castle of Cagliostro and the episodes he directed for Lupin the Third Part I.

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Walt Disney Animation Studios Emphasizes Diversity In Its New Slate Of Directors Wed, 02 Oct 2019 17:53:06 +0000

  • Filipino-American Josie Trinidad, a Disney artist since 2004 who was head of story on Ralph Breaks the Internet and one of seven people credited with the story for Zootopia.
  • Marc Smith, the director of story on the upcoming Frozen 2 and story lead on Zootopia. He has worked at Disney Animation for 26 years and has contributed as an animator to films like Hercules, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, and Treasure Planet. Here’s a video of Smith drawing Maximus from Tangled:

The announcement was made by Disney Animation’s chief creative officer Jennifer Lee. Since taking over the chief creative officer role from John Lasseter in 2018, she has not spoken at length about her vision for the animation studio, beyond an early statement in which she expressed a hope to “support the incredible talent we have, find new voices, and work together to tell original stories.”

For the announcement of these four new directors, Lee said in a statement:

We aim to have Walt Disney Animation Studios serve as the premiere home for filmmakers interested in telling engaging stories within the limitless animation medium. Carlos and Suzi are two incredible, inventive filmmakers who have both received acclaim for their work. Josie and Marc, master, lead story artists, have been instrumental in shaping such films as Zootopia and Frozen 2. We are so thrilled to have these four talented artists join our 96-year-old studio as directors and help us build the stories of our future — adventures in completely original worlds, stories from around the globe, and the next generation of musicals.

It remains to be seen whether the projects that these filmmakers are developing will move forward into production, but at the very least, the new slate of directors is a nod to diversity and inclusion at the directorial level, something that has previously eluded Disney’s animation department.

In its 82-year history of animated features, the Disney studio has never released a film by a solo woman director. Lee became the first woman to co-direct a feature film with Frozen in 2013. She is also co-directing the upcoming Frozen 2.

Pictured at top, from left: Carlos Lopez Estrada, Josie Trinidad, Suzi Yoonessi, Marc Smith

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‘The Last Fiction’ Set To Become First Iranian Animated Feature To Qualify For Oscars (Exclusive) Tue, 01 Oct 2019 20:49:48 +0000

Based on a chapter of the Shahnameh, Iran’s millennium-old national epic, The Last Fiction tells the story of Kaveh, a blacksmith who leads a revolt to destroy the devil that has appeared in a prince’s soul. The action-packed film is hand-drawn, with plenty of cgi and vfx. The director is Ashkan Rahgozar, who founded Hoorakhsh. The studio is known in its home country for its tv series, music videos, shorts, and video games.

In the nine years we’ve been tracking The Last Fiction, its creators have made clear their ambitions for the film. In 2016, Rahgozar told us that he believes the film will do well internationally because it’s “full of action, drama, and mystery,” and also contains deeper thematic elements that play well across cultures. “The main concept of the film is about humanity,” he said. “This film wants to show how a hero can become a villain and how a villain can be good sometimes. It just depends on the path they choose.”

For more information on the film, head to the official English-language website. Screening times can be found on Arena Cinelounge’s website. According to Rahgozar, The Last Fiction will also roll out across Iran and some European countries starting in mid-October — in some regions, the release will be theatrical, and in others it will be on streaming platforms.

"The Last Fiction."

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Netflix Unveils First U.S. Trailer, English Cast For ‘I Lost My Body’ Mon, 30 Sep 2019 16:06:45 +0000

Netflix has debuted the U.S. trailer for I Lost My Body, Jérémy Clapin’s highly anticipated debut feature (watch it below). The English-language cast has also been unveiled.

The cast is led by Dev Patel, who received an Oscar nomination for Lion, and Alia Shawkat, who has starred in Arrested Development and Search Party. It also features George Wendt, best known for his role as Norm in the sitcom Cheers. Acclaimed indie filmmaker Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess, Support the Girls) served as creative lead of the English dub, under Clapin’s supervision.

Set in 1990s Paris, the unorthodox film centers on Naoufel (Patel), a young man struggling to carve out his own path in life. After his hand is severed in an industrial accident, the film alternates between his backstory — focusing on his infatuation with Gabrielle (Shawkat), a librarian — and the hand’s own escapade, as it comes to life and sets off through the city to find its owner.

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