Almost exactly a year ago we told you about a VR film in production called Rainbow Crow, based a Native American legend. Well now it seems that project has changed name and changed format. According to Animation Magazine, Crow: The Legend will premiere as a free-to-view animated feature on Facebook and YouTube later this month. “Written and directed by Eric Darnell [Antz, Madagascar] with input from Native American cultural experts and community leaders, the folklore-inspired tale arrives timed to Native American Heritage Month. The film features an all-star voice cast including John Legend as Crow, Oprah Winfrey as The One Who Creates Everything by Thinking, Sarah Eagle Heart (Native Americans in Philanthropy CEO) as Luna; 83-year-old tribal elder and lifelong Native rights crusader Randy Edmonds as the Narrator; Liza Koshy (Hulu’s Freakish) as Owl; Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Moth; Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One) as Turtle; and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off the Boat) as Skunk… Inspired by the classic Native American legend about the origins of the bird, Crow: The Legend respectfully illustrates the sacrifices the bird must make. As the most beautiful animal of the forest, Crow must risk everything to save those around him. With themes of diversity and self-sacrifice for the greater community, Crow demonstrates how one single act of sacrifice can have a profound impact to our world.” You can also check out the official trailer at Animation’s link.
Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf (Иван Царевич и Серый волк / Ivan Tsarevich i Seriy volk / trailer) is a Russian 2D animated children's film that came out in 2011. It's the 7th film produced by Melnitsa Animation Studio, and although it took 12th place that year in Russia's box office, 9 of the top 11 films were all foreign imports, so for a domestic film it did really well! It made back 8 times what it cost to produce, enough to get sequels in 2013 and 2016. I've not watched the studio's other films, but they've definitely got an in-house animation style down to something that works well for them.
A lot of foreign animation companies don't bother exporting their films into the North American market because it's expensive, although Netflix and other streaming services are rapidly changing that. Sometimes it's a case of whether foreign audiences will be able to relate to the content. Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf feels very Russian, culturally. I get the impression it's poking fun at a lot of fairy tales, and I have no idea what they are. Still, it was an ok watch.
CyberConnect2, a Japanese video game development studio best known outside the fandom for the .hack and Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, is recruiting programmers, designers and artists for three new projects in its “Trilogy of Vengeance” as part of its 'Next Plan' strategy.
This trilogy is composed, as its name suggests, of three games themed around vengeance:
- Tokyo Ogre Gate, a high-speed action game about schoolgirls in a historical/fantasy setting.
- Cecile, a gory action game about Gothic Lolita witches trying to kill each other.
- Fuga, an action strategy RPG with the additional themes of “War” and “Animals”.
Fuga will join such games as Solatorobo (Nintendo DS; Flayrah review) and Tail Concerto (PS1) as an instalment in the Little Tail Bronx series, focusing on what happens when children enter the battlefield. Its plot features eleven orphans, crewing a tank with a soul-fueled cannon – fighting the fascist Berman Empire, which attacked their village and imprisoned their parents.
Director Wes Anderson has a lot of cinematic trademarks that make his movies, well, Wes Anderson movies. There's the whole love of more or less symmetrical shots, for instance. A frame from a Wes Anderson movie is often recognizable as such for this reason alone. He's the writer of all his own movies (with occasional co-writers, of course). In tone, his writing features normal to the point of banal dialogue in unusual circumstances. This is reflected in his movie's art direction; for instance, in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, he filmed parts of the movie on an actual boat at sea, and other parts on a flagrantly obvious sound stage. The thing about doing this is that creating a huge stage and filming at sea are both difficult things to do that also don't really complement each other. He creates comedies, but they are often very dark; at one point in The Grand Budapest Hotel, for instance, an innocent woman's severed head is held up, and the primary emotion felt is relief. Under normal circumstances, the standard critique would be his films are tonally inconsistent, but, as even the sets are at war with themselves, this is obviously on purpose.
Also, he is known for violently killing off dogs in his movies. That's a thing he does.
Which brings us to Isle of Dogs. There is literally a plot to kill off every dog in the movie. Turns out, Wes Anderson might actually like dogs, however, because that's the villains plot, not the movie's.
Back in the year 2000, a game broached shelves that became a social phenomenon. Maxis’s The Sims took the doll house that many, stereotypically girls, played with in their youth and put it onto the computer screen. In the shadow of popular “virtual pet” games like tamagotchi it took the idea of the animal pet and made them a bit more human. The result was not only a simulator where you could take your virtual human and help them climb the ladder of success, it was a game where the more creatively sadistic could torture the poor souls in ways that would make Edgar Allen Poe blush.
For those who are not into the whole torture thing, the game is pretty simple and addictive. You give your Sims stuff so that they can become more skilled so that they can acquire more stuff. There is a kind of cyclonic, capitalistic story behind it all, but the game does cut one thing out for the first iteration. The work part. While at home you need to keep your Sim’s bars full to keep them happy. Their sleepiness, hunger, bladder, hygiene, and such all have to be kept in check. However, the grungy and grindy part of the day, the effort done to make the money to improve the ever expanding home life, is cut out.
The Shape of Water (trailer) is a 2017 fantasy-drama film from director Guillermo del Toro, based on an idea he'd had since childhood. Essentially he wanted to make a happier version of the 1954 horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon, with the humanoid fish monster and the female lead falling in love.
And that's exactly what happens in The Shape of Water! It takes place in 1962, starring a mute woman named Elisa who's part of the cleaning staff at an American government research facility. In one of the labs, she learns of "the asset", an intelligent humanoid amphibian creature who's being tortured. Falling in love with him, she wants to set him free with the help of a small group of collaborators.
Two furry Youtubers, 2 the Ranting Gryphon and Tantroo McNally, find themselves in a poignant brouhaha. It all started in mid-February when an infamous furry comedian made a statement on hate crime statistics, and would lead to a long winded discussion of righteous condemnation that left audiences in awe at how two angry old men could find literally nothing better to do with their time.
The Southern Poverty Law Center tallied 1064 incidents of hate crime in 2017, relatively few ending in death.
3500 people on average are killed every year in swimming pools. Swimming pools are a larger threat than racists. Why aren't you going after them? https://t.co/zgw2WDbB5a
Robert Downey Jr. took the still unusual step of announcing the cast of his upcoming movie, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle via his personal Twitter account. Downey Jr. will play the titular character, Doctor Dolittle, a children's book character created by Hugh Lofting who has the ability to talk with the animals. The character has been played in previous film adaptations by Rex Harrison and Eddie Murphy.
Similar to Craiglist's decision to shut down its personal ads section, Dallas-Fort Worth-hosted furry dating service Pounced.org is down, pending interpretation of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which passed the U.S. Senate Wednesday.
FOSTA is intended to assist victims of sex trafficking, by allowing them to sue websites that facilitated their abuse. This gives previously undue liability to the platform for actions and content of third-party users; so Pounced.org is shutting down as a preventive measure while Kelar, the site's founder, seeks legal counsel.
The website, launched 15 years ago this month, hosted more than 13,000 ads from furries seeking friends, dates, or casual encounters within the fandom. Visitors are now directed to criticism of the bill from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization.
Update 03/26/18: The message on Pounced.org has been updated. Users can now read a much more in-depth explanation of the motivation for the shut-down, and concerns over the meaning of the bill:
R.C. Fox (Carl Kirkwood), a fursuiter who was charged for criminal possession of child pornography back in October 2017, committed suicide last week. The news started to spread after posts on Twitter linked him with a news story from the Pennsylvania-based Times Online.
The article described that a body had been found in a vehicle parked on the side of the road in an unpopulated area, that hazardous chemicals had been released within the confines of the car, and that a hazmat team had been dispatched.
This happened before he could be convicted of the charges against him. Carl had plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. However, a source who knew him indicated that he'd regretted this decision:
He already plead guilty [...]. And then, his lawyer found evidence that none of the child-porn rated content was his (network hacking). But in order to appeal, he needed $25,000 and he didn’t have it. He was going to prison until he came up with the money to prove innocence and he just couldn’t bear to do it.
If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.
I am probably not wrong in my belief that many furs have little idea of how the fandom got started. The furry fandom is based around the appreciation of, and I'll simplify here, anthropomorphic characters. Furs find their way here through that appreciation and are able to join in immediately. This is not a bad thing but it is sad that many of us are unaware of our shared history. As we learned above, if we don't know where we come from then we are lost.
It's not that there has been no attempt to describe the origins of the furry fandom; aside from the crowdsourced wikis (e.g. WikiFur), we had Fred Patten's Retrospective: An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom, 1966–1996 and Perri Rhoades' The Furry History Project. The first is not necessarily in the most easy to use form and both of the latter entries are chronological lists of major influences. Joe Strike's book departs from this format employing a mix of personal anecdotes, extensive research and several interviews with prominent furs to build a far more flowing, narrative history of the furry fandom.
The 2017 Ursa Major Awards vote has been opened! Send them your e-mail address, and you can vote for any of the nominations in 12 categories. Voting closes on Saturday, March 31. Please pass on this annoucement if you're on a furry message forum or social media site!
This year's nominees are...
What the Fox?!, my newest anthology, will be published soon by Thurston Howl Publications. It can be pre-ordered, and after March 3, 2018 it should be available for purchasing directly from their online catalogue.
Bringing together twenty-one original short stories and two reprints, this 291-page collection is about anthropomorphic animals in funny situations. It's designed to appeal to both science-fiction and fantasy fans, as well as fans of humor in fantasy.
Everything from a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal worker turned into a were-chihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, to a dog movie screenwriter – and much more! All these stories are for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus you get each author's favorite animal joke, and a recommended-reading list.