Despite the implication on Flayrah, Los Angeles is not the only city to have festivals of animation with anthropomorphic stars. On February 28th through March 24th, the 16th Annual New York International Children’s Film Festival will play at seven different locations in NYC. The Festival will screen 100 different films (some live-action), and is expected to draw an attendance of 25,000+. It will present many of the films in the U.S. for the first time, to qualify them for 2013 Oscars.
Among the films are several that have been covered on Flayrah, including the Belgian Ernest & Celestine, about a mouse and a bear who become friends (French with English subtitles; Feb. 28 at Tribeca Cinemas); The Wolf Children (Ame & Yuki, the Wolf Children), about a college student who marries a werewolf who dies, and must raise their two werewolf toddlers alone (Japanese with English subtitles; March 3 at the Asia Society and 16 at SVA); The Day of the Crows, mostly about a feral child raised in the forest, but with some fantasy scenes of anthropomorphic animal-headed forest spirits (French with English subtitles; March 10 at FIAF); Welcome to the Space Show “with an intergalactic cast of thousands” (premiere of the English dub; March 9 at SVA), and Meet the Small Potatoes, for pre-schoolers about a musical group of animated potatoes who rise from small-town beginnings to international rock stardom (March 16 at the IFC Center and March 24 at the DGA Theater).
On Presidents’ Day weekend in Los Angeles, February 16 – 18, The Cinefamily and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity will present a three-day Chuck Jones Centennial Celebration, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth (which was on September 21, 1912 actually, but what’s a few months among friends?), at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036; (323) 655-2510. The program begins at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and at noon on Monday.
The Annie Awards are often referred to as The Oscars of Animation. Presented each year by ASIFA-Hollywood (a division of the International Animated Film Society), the Annies celebrate the best in animated films and television as voted on by members of the animation industry from around the world. Needless to say, every year several anthropomorphic works are represented among the nominees — and sometimes even among the winners! On Saturday, February 2nd the Annie Awards for 2012 were presented at a gala ceremony at Royce Hall on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Unlike in previous years, this year’s ceremony didn’t really have a “host”: Each presenter basically introduced the next presenter. In the feature film category the night largely belonged to Disney Animation’s film Wreck It Ralph, which won for Music, Writing, Voice Acting (for Alan Tudyk as King Candy), Directing (Rich Moore), and of course Best Animated Feature. Disney/Pixar’s Brave was also represented, bringing home wins for Feature Editing and Feature Production Design. Dreamworks’ Rise of the Guardians also took home awards in two technical categories, Feature Storyboarding and Effects Animation. Over in the TV categories, the biggest winner of the night was Dreamworks’ Dragons: Riders of Berk. In addition to a win for Best TV Production for Children, Dragons won for Storyboarding, Music, and Directing. Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness won in a single category, TV Editing.
In 1990 Tatsunoko Studios of Japan released the “science-fiction historical gag battle anime” known as Kyattou Ninden Teyandee. It was fan-subbed in the U.S. as Ninja Pizza Cats, and eventually Saban Entertainment released it to television in a dubbed version called Samurai Pizza Cats. For many years, the rights to the show have been up in the air, but now Discotek Media have announced they will soon be releasing the entire series to DVD. According the review at Anime News Network, the series “revolves arouund Nyankii, a secret ninja team that protects the robotic animal inhabitants of Edoropolis (Little Tokyo) from the evil ninja organization Karakara.” That hardly begins to describe just how crazy this thing is. Discotek will be releasing two different DVD box sets: A 52-episode dubbed version and a 54-episode subtitled version.
From January 18 to 25, the GKids (Guerrilla Kids International Distribution Syndicate) distributor gave the 98-minute French animated feature The Rabbi’s Cat (Le Chat du Rabbin), directed by Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux, produced by Autochenille Production (a studio set up in 2007 by Sfar and Delesvaux to make this movie), and based on Sfar’s French five-volume graphic novel of the same name (volumes 1, 2, and 5 of it, to be exact), a one-week American limited “general” distribution, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego on the West Coast. It will have an East Coast release in mid-March.
The original French release, on June 1, 2011, won the Annecy Crystal for Best Feature at the 2011 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and the 2012 César Award (“the French Oscar”) for Best Animated Film. It had a one-week release in one theater in America on December 7-13 to qualify for 2012 American film awards, and was nominated for the Annie in two categories, Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production.
On January 20, my sister and I went to the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino to see The Rabbi's Cat, in French with English subtitles. It was playing for a week, and has gotten a mixed but generally favorable illustrated review in LA Weekly, January 18-24, 2013, the major citywide free alternative newspaper. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 93%.
Cartoon Brew has a new 3’04” trailer for Disney’s forthcoming video game, Disney Infinity, coming in Summer 2013, that apparently has every Disney and Pixar character in it that are not already in the other Disney “team” video games such as the core funny animal stars and the Princesses. Anthropomorphic characters? Plenty of 'em!
Last November, Cartoon Brew brought us a phony trailer for a live-action Pac-Man theatrical feature. Today, it’s “Goodnight, Sweet Pak-Man”, a 3’10” revisioning by animator Chris Weller of Pac-Man as a modern, mega-gritty video game.
I broke the game down to its basics: You’re a mouth, stuck in a never-ending maze, trying to eat all the food while evading death at every turn. Every 3 levels there is an animated ‘cinema scene’ of Pac-Man meeting a Ms. Pac-Man. They fall in love and every 3 levels produce another Pac-Man Jr. So the game is analogous to the very primal basics of life: Eating, procreating, and trying not to die.
The Oscar nominees have been announced, and it is a weird year. It was so weird, most Oscar pundits had a better idea of what would win Best Original Song than Best Picture. Now that the nominees are out, it looks like Best Picture is finally clear, but most pundits (this one included) have a better lock on Best Foreign Language Film than Best Animated Feature. So much for “we’ll know come November.”
Did you know that Thor’s magic hammer has a name, Crusher, and is anthropomorphic?
I don’t recall that Marvel Comics ever taught us that. You can see for yourself on the 15th when the (bad) Icelandic 2011 CGI 3-D feature Thor: Legends of Valhalla, directed by Óskar Jónasson, is released in America Direct to Video. Or watch this 1’37” trailer.
Actually, Crusher is an accurate translation of Mjölnir, the mythological hammer's name.
The ALAA’s 2012 Anthropomorphic Recommended List will close on January 15, 2013, to allow for last-minute recommendations of last-week-of-2012 releases. The 2012 Ursa Major Awards nominations will open on January 17, the first day of Further Confusion 2013.
Go to the Ursa Major Awards website on January 17 to register for an online nomination form. You may cast up to five nominations in each of eleven categories: Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Dramatic Short Work or Series, Best Novel, Best Short Fiction, Best Other Literary Work, Best Graphic Story, Best Comic Strip, Best Magazine, Best Published Illustration, Best Website, and Best Game. If you do not have five nominees in any category, you may nominate less. To be eligible, a work must have been released during the calendar year 2012; must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical; and must receive more than one nomination.
If you cannot think of anything to nominate, you may refer to the 2012 Recommended List. That has at least five titles in each category, recommended by Furry fans. Remember, 2012 Recommendations are not nominations for the awards. Nominations of a work are separate. You may nominate a work that has not been recommended if it meets the eligibility criteria.
Animation Xpress #415, January 7, 2013, has the first trailer for Indian studio Green Gold Pictures’ second Chhota Bheem animated CGI children's feature, Chhota Bheem and the Throne of Bali, following the smash success (in India, in Hindi) of last year’s Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan. As before, the movie is not really anthropomorphic, but it does have Bheem’s talking monkey friend Jaggu (“Jaggu is surprisingly kickass”), and the trailer shows lots of evil Rangda’s anthropomorphized monsters. Out May 3, 2013 in India, in Hindi.
Jerry Beck at the Cartoon Brew has posted this gallery of sixteen World War II-related funny animal comic book covers.
This goes nicely with my retrospective, “Talking Animals in World War II Propaganda”, published here last January 5th.
It’s only 34 seconds, but the WSJ (via Cartoon Brew) has a preview of The Blue Umbrella, Pixar’s CGI short film (directed by Saschka Unseld) that will accompany Monsters University on June 21st. It features two anthropomorphized umbrellas, one blue, one red, who fall in love.
The Cartoon Brew has a preview list of animated features due out in 2013; at least those announced so far – some with trailers.
The Cartoon Brew has posted a new animated music video, “I Have Your Heart”, about a forbidden romance between a human girl and an anthropomorphic cat-man lover.
The 4’25” video is apparently not produced by an animation studio, but by three people; New York cartoonist/paper cutout artist Molly Crabapple, music composer Kim Boekbinder, and Melbourne stop-motion animator Jim Batt (and a small staff); it raised $17,280 on Kickstarter.