Voting begins as 2013 Ursa Major Awards ballot released

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.

Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.

As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.

The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.

February 2014 Newsbytes archive

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Contributors this month include crossaffliction, dronon, earthfurst, Fred, GreenReaper, Higgs Raccoon, Kakurady, mwalimu, Patch Packrat, Rakuen Growlithe and RingtailedFox.

Review: 'Night of the Rabbit' for PC and Mac

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A white rabbit in a waistcoat Night of the Rabbit is a third-person point-and-click adventure game, developed by Daedalic Entertainment, released in May 2013 for PC, Mac, and on Steam. If you like adventure games, check it out! If you're not into adventure games, this probably won't be your thing.

What's it about? You play an optimistic young British boy named Jerry Hazelnut, living cozily next to a forest on the outskirts of a modern city. Summer is nearing its end, when suddenly a tall, talking white rabbit shows up, and you get to fulfill one of your dreams - becoming a wizard's apprentice and learning magic. To do this, the rabbit whisks you away to Mousewood, the miniature world of the forest animals. A darkness is slowly growing, but first you need to explore the area, help people out and learn some basic spells.

Animation: 'The Nut Job' is full of crunchy goodness

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'The Nut Job' poster On January 24, my sister Sherry took me in my wheelchair to see The Nut Job at the Pacific Theatres 18-Plex at the Glendale Americana at Brand “shopping community”.

The movie was released on January 17, and for over a week I had been reading reviews on animation-community websites that were uniformly negative. They did not just pan it, they hysterically reviled it. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 12% favorable professional rating:

Hampered by an unlikable central character and source material stretched too thin to cover its brief running time, The Nut Job will provoke an allergic reaction in all but the least demanding moviegoers. (RT critic consensus)

“Anyone who doubts the truth of the bromide that January is the time studios trot out films that would otherwise be unreleasable should take a look at The Nut Job, a CG feature that has all the originality and individuality of a Dixie Cup,” begins Charles Solomon’s review on Animation Scoop. “[…] Numerous, predictable contretemps ensue […] the storytelling is simply inept […] The animation is unimpressive at best. […] The Nut Job was made in Canada and Korea, reportedly in association with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea - probably because sitting through the film makes the 12-hour flying time between Los Angeles and Seoul seem brief.”

Conversely, the box office of The Nut Job has been good – fortunately, or I would have wondered whether the critics were talking about the same feature that I saw.

2013 Ursa Major Awards nominations about to close

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Ursa Major Awards Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips, games, etc., will close on February 28. Voting for the winner will begin on March 15th and will close on April 30. The awards will be presented at CaliFur X on May 30 to June 1, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California.

If you have not nominated yet, you have only a few more days to do so. All titles first published or released during the 2013 calendar year are eligible. The awards are given in eleven categories: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game. The final ballot includes the top five titles nominated in each category.

To nominate (by February 28), and to vote (March 15–April 30), go to ursamajorawards.org. The 2014 Recommended Anthropomorphics List will be posted after March 1.

'Animation Breakdown Roundup!' comes to LA on March 8

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Animation Breakdown Roundup!, a one-day 90+-minute animation festival of 25 brand-new animated experimental shorts, will play on Saturday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m. at The Cinefamily, a.k.a. The Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036; (323) 655-2510. Tickets are $12.

Co-curator Alex MacDonald says to expect something like past compilations such as Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation, The International Tournée of Animation, or The Animation Show. Animation Breakdown Roundup! will feature “over 90 amazing minutes of animation filled with world premieres and exclusives.”

What makes it of interest to us is that half or more of the 25 shorts feature anthropomorphic animals and even Furries, counting the psychedelic duck musicians, the wolfman or werewolf bikers, and indescribable but clearly sentient "things". How many can you find in this 1’07” trailer?

Wide release live action furry movies for 2014

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes In addition to the animated movies with a variety of anthropomorphics, animals and anthropomorphic animals coming out some time this year, there are four major live action releases this year that furries may want to mark on their calendar: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hobbit: There and Back Again and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Dates listed are for North American releases. Furries in other areas of the world may have to wait a bit longer, but all four are big blockbuster type movies counting on worldwide revenue; be patient and they’ll reach you eventually.

Greymuzzle furry artist Ted Sheppard arrested, suspected of uploading child pornography

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Ted Sheppard mugshot Ted Sheppard, an artist from the early days of furry fandom, was arrested last December, suspected of uploading child pornography.

In November last year, following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, that someone in the Tucson (Arizona) area was uploading child pornography, the Tucson Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit started an investigation. This lead to a search warrant being served on Sheppard's address in Tucson, on Wednesday, December 11. The 46-year-old Sheppard was arrested, and booked into the Pima County Jail for ten counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

FoxyPimples break out in India

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FoxyMoron logo The January 23 issue of India’s Animation Xpress reports that the makers of anti-pimple cream Garnier Pure Active have hired the FoxyMoron digital advertising agency in Mumbai and Gurgaon to create a Hindi Facebook and YouTube advertising campaign for it. FoxyMoron has used “layered animation” to create “illustrated comic strips of iconic Bollywood characters” disfigured by pimples. It’s not anthro, but it is truly you-have-to-see-it weird. [Video 1 - 2]

There is nothing anthropomorphic about this except the name of the creative studio. Are we insulted by the name “FoxyMoron”? Have they ever done anything with cartoon foxes in it? (It probably started out as a play on "oxymoron", but still ...)

Review: ‘Free Birds’ is a turkey

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Free Birds PosterIn movie geek parlance, a ‘turkey’ is a movie that, well, it isn’t very good.

When Free Birds calls itself “the greatest turkey movie of all time,” it’s more than a little self-deprecating. Yes, the movie is about turkeys, but there’s that double meaning right there. That’s the joke, see. Ha ha.

It opens with a disclaimer reminding the audience that this movie is about talking turkeys; though Free Birds is about an historical event (the first Thanksgiving), it indicates that you should probably not take it too seriously.

Gee, the movie just apologized to me twice before I even got to watch it; that’s not a good sign.

Review: 'Sunset of Lantonne', by Jim Galford

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Sunset of Lantonne This is Book 3 of The Fall of Eldvar. I reviewed Book 1, In Wilder Lands, here in March 2012, and Book 2, Into the Desert Wilds, in November 2012. Those were a two-part subseries, “the wildling story arc”, within the larger saga of The Fall of Eldvar. Galford said on his website that Book 3 would feature new characters, an elf and a human; and no wildlings (furries). Yet Darryl Taylor’s cover for Sunset of Lantonne clearly features Raeln, a seven-foot tall wolf wildling, with Ilarra, his elf “sister” by his side. Did Galford lie?

Not exactly. The main characters in Sunset of Lantonne are Ilarra, the young elf wizard-in-training, and Therec, the older human Turessian necromancer. Raeln is only a supporting character – but you woudn’t guess it from this cover. Or from the first chapter, which plays up Ilarra and Raeln. Galford debuted Sunset of Lantonne at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2013. Featuring a furry on the cover was a good marketing move.

And a justified one, if it will get furry fans to read Sunset of Lantonne. It is an excellent novel; Raeln is a memorable character even if he is not the star; and there are plenty of wildling incidental characters. Read it; you will not be disappointed. Also read Jim Galford’s website, especially if you have not read In Wilder Lands and Into the Desert Wilds yet. It contains a tremendous amount of background information on this series.

Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2013, trade paperback $14.99 (545 pages), Kindle $3.99. Edited by Tricia Kristufek.

Sharon & Stan Sakai fundraising & call for submissions: hardcover to be published by Dark Horse Comics

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'Famous Bunnies', by Morrison As reported a few months ago, Sharon Sakai has been battling illness. The Cartoon Arts Professional Society (CAPS) have been fundraising for Sharon & Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo) to help with medical bills.

Dark Horse will be publishing a hardcover benefit book The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of "Usagi Yojimbo" in association with CAPS. On January 31 the participation of 47 creators was announced with a call for art submissions from industry professionals with a deadline of February 20. The Sakai Project will be released on July 23.

Participating artists include:

January 2014 Newsbytes archive

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Contributors this month include crossaffliction, dronon, Equivamp, Fred, GreenReaper, Higgs Raccoon, mwalimu and RingtailedFox.

Furry gathering held in Ukraine despite unrest

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Politics is far from the agenda when around 20 Ukrainian furs attend local event KharCon, reports Grisli Aklark, editor-in-chief of The Furry Post:

KHARKIV, Ukraine, 28 January -- Amid growing disapproval and violent protests that left 4 dead and hundreds injured in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on the morning of 28 January 2014.

He and his cabinet will continue in their roles until the President and the Parliament can form a new government to lead the eastern-European nation moving forward.

The protests ultimately stem from the decision of Azarov to imprison former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was one of the nation’s most outspoken leaders in the effort to integrate the Ukraine into the European Union.

Some 475 kilometers (300 miles) to the east in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, the situation has been tense but different. Most of Kharkiv’s residents speak Russian and many do not actively support the integration of the Ukraine into the EU, due to already deteriorating ties with Russia.

A small gathering will be occurring this weekend in Kharkiv, but politics are not on the agenda for discussion. KharCon, a small furry convention that meets several times a year, will take place this weekend, from Friday 31 January through Sunday 2 February.

Continue reading at The Furry PostPhotos: KharCon 1, 2, 3.5 x2, 5, 6Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4

Furry convention history project - can you help?

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Anthrocon 2007 Fred Patten says,

I am writing a history of all Furry conventions from the first, in January 1989, to the end of 2010, when there were 42 of them around the world. This is 182 pages; almost 45,000 words. Most fans think that it is already too long, so I have stopped with 2010. There were 43 in 2011, and over 60 today.

Here are some sample entries and illustrations:

Albany AnthroCon 1998 – Here Be Dragons The Omni Albany Hotel, Albany, New York July 3-5, 1998 (Attendance: 600)
GoH: Jeffrey A. Carver (s-f author), Jim Groat (Furry cartoonist); Fandom GoH: Dr. Samuel Conway
Charity: Whiskers, a cat rescue group ($3,092) Chair: Roger Wilbur (Aloyen Youngblood)

The activities of the first AnthroCon were repeated and expanded upon. There were special interest group meetings; panels on such subjects as anthropomorphic-animal advertising mascots and “Cleaning Up Our Past”; a puppet show by Steve Plunkett and a Story Hour by Uncle Kage; and a Saturday-night performance by Purple Nurple Live! The previous year’s Moreau Awards were not repeated; the committee considered them a failure since only about twenty members out of 500 had bothered to attend and vote. The 44-page Program Book had a cover by Jim Groat. The AnthroCon had over forty staff members; Roger Wilbur was the official Chairman (CEO), but most of the convention was coordinated by Jonah E. Safar as Organizational Director. The T-shirt was by Jim Groat. There was general agreement that a larger hotel was needed for next year.

From the Yerf Archive