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Commercial: Lion Man (Ikea)

Furry.Today - 2 hours 37 min ago

Me right now. (The whole not moving part)
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Categories: Videos

From China to the World

In-Fur-Nation - Fri 24 Nov 2017 - 02:57

Talk about International! Cloth Cat Animation in Wales and 9 Story Distribution in Canada have teamed up with Magic Mall Entertainment in China to bring Magic Mall’s new animated TV series Luo Bao Bei to the wider world. This is from Cloth Cat’s web site: “The series centres on spirited, fun-loving 7 year old Luo Bao Bei as she explores everyday life with her friends, family and animal companions, having adventures and learning that even though we seem different on the outside, the emotions we all feel make us fundamentally the same. Starting life as a popular cartoon spokesperson and community icon in Beijing, this show is created by Grace Tian.” The head writer for the new series is David Ingham, who is well-known for his work on Shaun the Sheep and The Octonauts.

image c. 2017 Cloth Cat Animation

Categories: News

Commercial: Better Beings

Furry.Today - Fri 24 Nov 2017 - 02:00

So Casper mattresses makes you fuzzier? One could hope.
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Categories: Videos

The Tale of the Irish Rooster

In-Fur-Nation - Thu 23 Nov 2017 - 02:58

Speaking of MIPCOM, as usual the hey-buy-our-TV-series trade show has given us lots of anthropomorphic animation to hope might make its way to our shores. Among them is Brewster the Rooster, created by Salty Dog Pictures and distributed internationally by Monster Entertainment. According to C21 media, “The show… follows the adventures of six-year-old Maggie and her best friend Brewster as they find out the answers to questions only children could think to ask.” Animation magazine has an article from a year ago about this and other interesting projects that Monster has picked up for distribution.

image c. 2017 Monster Entertainment

Categories: News

Trailer: Smallfoot

Furry.Today - Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 12:49

I guess we had to expect somebody would flip the whole bigfoot thing.
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Categories: Videos

Wild Things: Bite Club at the Citadel in San Francisco, November 25.

Dogpatch Press - Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 10:30

NOM. Got your ear! Do you like that? You do? Then bring your ears, paws, or anything else that needs nibbles to Wild Things. It’s the quarterly 18+ play party for furries, petplay, and more. (Share to invite new friends… or your next lunch!)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017 1:00 PM – 6:30 PM SF CITADEL, 181 EDDY ST., SAN FRANCISCO

wruffstuff.com

(Brief break for discussion!) This week, Furry Twitter has been howling with drama. Controversy seemed to come out of nowhere: for colorful animal-people, is it OK to have strictly PG kid-friendly events? Or are fur cons so adult that a tame option amounts to kink-shaming? And are pup hoods a fetishy toy not to wear in public, or is that an insult to the expression of inner identity?

It looked like the drama erupted from just a few negative tweets, but here’s the real reason.  A week before, Anthro Northwest had its first con with some bold surprises – like regulation on adult content. Everything afterward was a reflexive reaction. But was it deserved? There’s so many cons and meets and parties now, having one tame option might just be a narrow part of widespread growth. Like veggies on a buffet, it doesn’t stop you from picking meat if you prefer it. How about having a little of everything?

The drama is one reason why Wild Things is a special happening, and a good sign that nothing is being tamed down. This could be the only openly-advertised, furry-themed adult play party at an established club (a BDSM Dungeon) in the world. Can you imagine the howling if this existed 15 years ago at the height of the MTV/CSI/Vanity Fair inspired Yiff Panic? We’ve come a long way to turning the tables. So swallow that and consider allowing a little room for kid-friendly events. Kinky people can be as mature and responsible as anyone else, on or off leash. (Back to party info!)

Wild Things is it’s own space that strongly encourages (optional) costume like fursuits, murrsuits, petplay gear, or just anything fetishy and fun. Big Bad Wolves may eat you (with consent.) Bring someone tasty along, or just hang out in the lounge with lots of party food. That’s the chill area separate from the play dungeon, designed to be relaxed and welcoming to newcomers. Expect a diverse crowd of overlapping communities that’s LGBT friendly and on the younger energetic side. See you there.

Past parties:

Events coming soon!

Did you know there's multiple #furry parties in the SF Bay Area? Check out @Frolicparty and @partyanimalssj - they'll transform your life.

— SF Wildthings (@WildThingsSF) November 19, 2017

Our next Frolic, we've got a very special guest DJ. Don't miss it, tell all your friends to come! We're gonna be poppin that night! pic.twitter.com/Px4vRvIvqd

— FrolicParty (@FrolicParty) November 12, 2017

Tail noms are the worst kind of noms. pic.twitter.com/fNhXZiY4FO

— That Damn Kangaroo (@renegade_roo) November 20, 2017

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

What I learned from lurking the Furry Raiders chat – guest post by Aristide

Dogpatch Press - Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 10:00

What I learned from lurking the Furry Raiders chat

Hi, I’m Aristide, and I’m a narc. For the past several months, I’ve had a sockpuppet account in the Furry Raiders Telegram, Skype, and Discord groups and periodically leaked screenshots of them to @edgedestroys. I chose Edge in order to protect the credibility of my sockpuppet account, and because I work in a sensitive workplace and worry about being doxxed. Most speculation about the Raiders – that they’re Nazis, they’re Alt-Right, they’re losers – is generally correct. I want to provide a better picture of what we, as a community, are dealing with.

Same Losers, New Politics

The general population of the Raiders community is a combination of old-school 4Chan racists, conspiracy theorists, new wave white supremacists, and impressionable but misled minors. Racist memes from a long-forgotten era of /b/ populate the chat in equal measure to WorldNetDaily or YourNewsWire links. Several dozen in the chat subscribe to the Daily Stormer and similar neo-Nazi websites, while a refrain against “fake news” rings against any news source that is not part of the alt-right media ecosystem. Lost in this mix are impressionable minors, 13 to 17 year old kids that found their way to the Raiders one way or another. Some of them joined because they hated SJWs – (the GamerGate to Alt-Right pipeline is well documented) – others were actively recruited by Foxler, Kody, and other de-facto leaders in the Raiders.

The first commenter left the group with a statement at bottom of article.

It comes standard with far-right communities to use fear and in-group pressure to ‘encourage’ their members to stay, instilling a “you’re with us or you’re with them” mindset. Members who left spoke of being blacklisted from their friends that remained in and around the Raiders, others that tried to leave were warned they’d never be re-accepted. These behaviors have transcended three organizers of the Raiders – Foxler, Kody, and Dionysius – and have been adopted by the group at large. Their virtually non-existent moderation has allowed for organized harassment, most notably and consistently against Deo, as well as unfiltered discussions about whether or not the Holocaust is historical fact.

Employing childish rationalizations to protect their egos is common too – any point that goes against the Raiders’ mantra gets branded as leftist fake news, or SJW rabble, preventing any kind of critical self-reflection of individual or group behaviors. This extended to projecting about recent mass-shootings and other tragedies in the United States – two prominent white supremacist Raiders hoped that the Sutherland Springs shooter was a leftist or a Bernie Bro, with no legitimate evidence, solely to justify their biases. This is a variation of the Backfire Effect, where ingrained biases force an individual to irrationally justify their beliefs. This is an example of small-minded thinking the Raiders possess and employ to maintain ideological homogeny.

It’s not about Free Speech

Re-litigating arguments over free speech won’t work on these people. It does not matter that the government isn’t involved, or that private organizations have the right to restrict some forms or speech. The new far-right, in Europe, North America, and elsewhere, seek nothing short of dominion – they seek to legitimize their cause, which they cast as oppression and the defense of whites, as a vehicle of domination over identity and ideology. They seek a community where slurs are used freely, where callousness and animosity are driving vehicles of discourse, where unsourced wingnut conspiracy theories lay equal to well-gathered evidence. It is a prominent example of anti-intellectual populism concentrated in a fringe, and spearheaded by childish brats who can’t fathom the concept of self-reflection. These are not people with respectable ideas.  They deserve to be marginalized and silenced to the greatest reasonable extent.

There exists genuine fear of fully grown adults that are willing to commit their minds to this toxic thinking. Organized attacks against Califur, and the demise of Rocky Mountain Fur Con under well-deserved criticism, are examples of what arises when we fail to organize against the worst parts of our community. We cannot wait for their violent fantasies to reach a boiling point – we’ve seen Charlottesville and Portland – action after harm cannot be the norm. Neither can we ignore the children at risk from these communities: protecting them from sexual exploitation and far-right radicalization is an objective moral duty.

Within our community, we should be approaching these people with genuine concern over their propensity for violence, whether at conventions, meetups, or otherwise. Given the meteoric rise of public shootings in the United States, regardless if you believe it to be a firearms issue or a mental health issue, this must be addressed seriously. Healthy, well-adjusted adults do not behave like this. There is no negotiating with groups like these.

Lord of the Flies

After a few weeks of lurking, I noticed that some of the Raiders that would filter in and out were young teens, welcomed with open arms to a “real, accepting furry community” that did not persecute them like “Twitter SJWs” would. This became a genuine trend after more time passed; there was a disproportionate number of minors in this chat than in a general cross-section of other furry populations. While pornographic and other adult content was banned from these chats, mixing young teens with people like Dionysius, who once said that child pornography “[is] just 1s and 0s on a hard drive”, is cause for concern. Those sexual norms were common in the Raider’s chat – it can be said that the production or possession of child pornography was not seen as a moral crime there, and many would have it legalized if given the chance. Some Raiders did voice incredibly violent opposition to the concept of pedophiles, most of it originating over the folk conception of pedophiles violently raping children, whereas ‘boy love’ (read: molestation and less-violent coercion) was not seen as explicitly pedophilic.

Felix responded that the image is from 2016, when he cut ties with the group out of disagreement with it.

Through individual chats, it became clear that many Raiders condoned or endorsed the idea of ‘boy/girl love’ to varying degrees. Through initial discussions with individual Raiders, these revelations also branched out beyond the Raiders chat to individuals wholly unaffiliated with them who discussed the same explicit material. I will not be releasing details of who was involved in these discussions, nor to what extent these discussions crossed moral or criminal bounds. I have provided evidence of what may or may not be criminal activity to appropriate authorities, and disclosing any evidence implicitly or explicitly may negatively impact an investigation that arises from said evidence. If you or someone you know is aware of any illegal activity, related to the Raiders or otherwise, you can provide the FBI with an anonymous tip.

off and on I've spoken to a 16 year old they brought into their fold to try to coax him out and the shit they've put in his mind is scary

— Soyboy Shounen ????MFF SUN@10:30 (@edgedestroys) October 23, 2017

It started off so innocently enough. The idea of taking all furs in regardless of their background sounds good only in theory. I saw found myself with a lot of sickos

— Tea Collie (@Teawoof_Collie) November 14, 2017

Underage recruiting by Furry Raiders. Newest member on their Facebook is an apparent middle schooler added by Foxler. pic.twitter.com/o5X7p1knPm

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 20, 2017

Thank you to watchers inside Furry Raiders. When Foxler targets underage kids, watchers are tipping parents and it works. 1 less today and members list closed. But they can't avoid it until they stop recruiting. And they have to go to Russian artists now. https://t.co/GANSltkJzc pic.twitter.com/MAGGQn8gHb

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 20, 2017

Our next steps

Blocklists and blacklists are not enough. The furry intelligentsia of Twitter and elsewhere neither deserve nor are beholden to continually push back on the misaligned in our community. More must be done from higher stakeholders that have the ability and prerogative to act to make our community better, while acting within the bounds of the law. We cannot expect to continually uproot, expose, and chase out individual members while the malignant ideology remains to infect and spread anew – change must come from the top. It must be unequivocal.

FurAffinity’s September 4th Terms of Service update is a model to follow. Explicitly banning the glorification of hate groups and banning individuals from engaging in malicious speech stems the ability for Alt-Right and Raider-like groups from self-representation and recruitment (in addition to getting rid of Nazi and white nationalist garbage no self-respecting person wants to see.) Put your fears of historical representation aside – the FurAffinity TOS specifically says ‘promote hate groups and their ideologies’, so historical context can be preserved for appropriate use. Other websites ought to follow this same model and enforce it strictly – ‘content intended solely to disrupt the community’ would aptly describe the Raiders, who exist almost exclusively among themselves to troll mainstream furry for their own entertainment.

Conventions ought to follow the same model, as well as strictly vetting who is able to volunteer and work for cons. DenFur’s staffing policy is a step forward in ensuring that staff are able to help any attendee without fear of biased case management. A more aggressive approach is needed to prevent Raiders and other convention-liabilities from attending if they are likely to cause trouble – public accommodation laws are strict on protected classes, but being a racist nor being a jerk isn’t a protected class. I am not a lawyer, and nothing I say constitutes legal advice in any state, but I would strongly encourage conventions to adopt strong and clear language that bars individuals from attending if they have a history of preaching or advocating for hateful and violent acts.

It is unlikely that we will ever be fully able to rid ourselves of these unwanted individuals from our community. Private telegram chats and discord channels will always exist in the dark, as they should. Marginalizing these groups to the greatest extent under the law should be our goal, so that their art is rarely seen, their voices rarely heard, their ideas rarely considered. We cannot resort to brutish solutions that undermine our own credibility, or worse, our own moral character. There will never be a definitive solution to online hate in our community, but we can minimize their influence to the best of our abilities. There is no greater moral imperative than to safeguard freedoms to live, and freedoms from hate.

Aristide

UPDATE from the first pictured commenter. Sirop posted a followup thread about leaving the Furry Raiders: “I’d like to use my previous experiences to help people… My chance to help make the furry community better, one way or another.”

Check the Altfurry and Furry Raiders tags below for much more on this topic.

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

The Art of Aardman, Foreword by David Sproxton and Peter Lord – Book Review by Fred Patten

Dogpatch Press - Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 09:15

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Art of Aardman: The Makers of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, and More. Foreword by David Sproxton and Peter Lord.
San Francisco, CA, Chronicle Books, August 2017, hardcover $24.95 (128 pages), Kindle $9.99.

Aardman Animations was founded forty years ago in Bristol, England. Since then it has become one of the world’s leading stop-motion animation studios. Most of its popular films have involved anthropomorphic animals, from Gromit, the long-suffering dog in the “Wallace and Gromit” shorts and the Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit feature to the features Chicken Run (chickens), Flushed Away (rats), and Shaun the Sheep the Movie. Even The Pirates! in an Adventure With Scientists! had Mr. Bobo, Charles Darwin’s chimpanzee assistant.

This book does not focus on any of their works in particular. It is rather about the studio’s production techniques. First come the ideas for the plots and characters, then creating the worlds that go with them – the secondary and incidental characters; the backgrounds, and so on; the “Mechanical Marvels” (no Aardman production would be complete without some intricate device, often Rube-Goldbergian or steam-punk, including Wallace’s fanciful inventions; and Aardman’s attention to lighting.

These sections are filled with examples, from preliminary pencil and crayon sketches to complete stop-motion models, taken from the studio’s archives. The popular anthropomorphic characters are shown here, but it is a hit-or-miss affair; they are mixed in with Aardman’s other art. The sketches are identified by artist, primarily Nick Park; others include Sylvia Bennion, Peter de Sève, Johnny Duddle, Norman Garwood, Phil Lewis, Peter Lord, Matt Perry, Michael Salter, Matt Sanders, Christian Schellewald, Richard Starzak, Jo Symanowski, Evgeni Tomov, and more. The finished models and stills from the films are labeled Production still or Puppet.

Image provided by Chronicle Books

Whichever you like, you will find it here. This is a very enjoyable book for the fan of Aardman’s creations to just browse through.

Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.&

Categories: News

Kitties From Italy

In-Fur-Nation - Wed 22 Nov 2017 - 02:58

Another one we learned about from Animation magazine: Italy’s Rainbow Studio (home of Winx Club) has teamed up with Canada’s Bardel Entertainment to bring us 44 Cats, a new animated TV series. (The title is based on a very very popular song in Italy.) Here’s what the creators say: “The series centers on a group of cats who act normally when thy are around people, but act just like humans when they are on their own. Just like children, the little cats see the world of adult humans as confusing and full of strange rules. Highlighting themes of friendship and altruism, 44 Cats is driven by the main characters’ love of helping others.” Currently the show is at MIPCON, searching for distribution in the wider world.

image c. 2017 Rainbow

Categories: News

The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe

Furry.Today - Tue 21 Nov 2017 - 19:30

We have a new Danish cartoon network series! The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe follows young forest prince Ivandoe, whose father (The Mighty Stag) has sent him on a mission to reclaim a magical Golden Feather from the Eagle King. No idea if this will get translated to English but interesting as it is.
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Categories: Videos

Talking Animal Films in South Africa (Part 2)

Dogpatch Press - Tue 21 Nov 2017 - 10:31

Submitted by guest writer Duncan R. Piasecki – don’t miss his article The Forgotten History of the Furry Musical – and see Talking Animal Films In South Africa (Part 1).

Previously on Dogpatch Press: Part 1 gave a look at some background information on the nature of storytelling in South Africa, and then had a look at the close contest between the first two CGI features made in the country, as well as the contest to come in first and set the mood. I really recommend you go back and read that article before this one, as this will make a lot more sense with that information in mind.

This time, we go into the third and final (to date) CGI film, and then we talk about the localization of international talking animal films, including one that pretty much every one of us crazy animal people loves.

Let’s get right to it, then.

Kumbaya my lord

Here we come to, to date at least, the last of the animated films to be made by this country: Khumba. Triggerfish obviously had more success with Zambezia than I thought, the budget seemed to be a lot bigger suddenly. It looked better, passable by international standards even. It was acted better (Liam frigging Neeson? Aslan, Alfred Kinsey, Master Qui-Gon Jinn? Sign me the hell up). There was more tonal and directional clarity. This would ultimately be both a good and a bad thing.

The story, however, was still pretty iffy. It’s sorta inevitable that movies set in Africa will be compared to The Lion King, this being no exception. A bit unfair, because it wasn’t really like it much, but it was like something else. Let me set the scene for you: a herd of zebra live near a lake of water, but there has been a massive drought. An unusual young’un is born with a socially-frowned-upon deformity (missing half of his stripes). The herd, being superstitious, rejects him and blames him for their troubles. He, therefore, sees no choice but to head out into the great wild, away from the protection of his herd, and solve the issue.

Anyone? If you said that’s basically the same plot as Happy Feet, well, I have respect for you knowing that underrated gem of a film. Yes, it’s basically a knock-off of that, through an African lens. It’s not a 1:1 copy, there are other elements (like a leopard that wants to eat Khumba, because the assumption is that his stripes indicate supernatural power or somesuch). — Trailer time:

Reception was a lot better than the previous films all-around, but still only really mixed or average. A lot more fuss was made about it, too – actual adverts on the television, merchandise, and even several mobile games, the main one of which even went so far as Steam Greenlight and was even actually greenlit… but never released on the platform. Videogame development in this country does actually also happen, but it’s quite rare, and only a handful of titles have ever actually been made, as it’s not always seen as “serious work”, despite the international gaming titles being quite successful generally. That might be a story for another time, though.

So I thought it was… fine? It was better than the other two films by a wide margin, not that the bar was set very high. I happen to really like Happy Feet, so it’s hard for me not to compare the two and see that George Miller’s work was far, far superior. Still, if this was the direction the industry was going in, it’s not something to complain about, though it still needs a lot of work. At least it tried to be clever in a lot of ways that aren’t complete nonsense – for example, half-striped zebras are (or were, rather) a real thing: they were called quagga, and were a subspecies of zebra that went extinct in the late 1800s. Khumba there is something of an inverted one – actually, there’s a recent project to breed zebras that look like Khumba as a way of sort-of reintroducing quagga-lookalikes into the wild.

A stuffed quagga at Naturkunde Museum, Berlin.  Photo from Wikipedia.

As I said before, it’s little details like that that suggest someone actually wanted to put effort in, and that often makes the difference that elevates something from passable to decent, at least to me. It doesn’t always make up for the shortcomings, but it only ever helps.

Yes, it’s also on Blu-Ray and digital platforms to own or watch in many places, you know the deal.

I need to backtrack now: I said that the clarity helped it be a better movie, but there were also issues. That clarity meant that there was an embracing of a local flavour that was a lot fresher, but it no doubt caused problems. For example, I want you to watch this clip quickly:

Did that make any sense to most of you? No? Now this wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t trying to sell the movie overseas, but considering they were, well, there’s a problem: this relies on understanding culture and stereotypes. For starters, you’d have to know that the national rugby team is called the Springboks (which is what these things are), and then understand that these characters represent a stereotype of the type of person who watches and plays the game of rugby (Afrikaaner men, who stereotypically have those sorts of names, speak with that accent and in that manner, and with those slang terms). Plus, you’d have to know a bit about rugby to get the joke about the fact that they’re scrumming (a thing that I don’t even begin to understand about how the game works – it involves crouching down and slamming into the other team to try gain control over the ball – yeah, this game’s just uncivilized, barely-justified violence).

I’m sure there are some people who would get it, but most people outside of the country wouldn’t. Your mileage may vary on how much of a problem that is, but it could be. Then again, I read The Adventures of Asterix despite not being French and not understanding the French history jokes, and enjoy it thoroughly anyway, so perhaps it’s not all-important. Perhaps translation is key there, though, since careful work is done to make sure it still works, and there isn’t really any way to properly convey all of the humour in the above clip without significant alteration, and likely changing the joke entirely. It’s a bit of a problem when you have that problem within one language, nevermind what happens across other languages.

Which raises an interesting point: the film was also released in both Zulu and Afrikaans. The joke above would likely have translated into both because of the cultural stereotyping understood, but that’s getting a bit off the point. So, here’s the exact same trailer as above (but in Afrikaans this time), and part of the above clip (but in Zulu this time), so you have an idea of what that’s like:

There’s something more to be said about this than the logistics of joke translation across cultures and languages though: it was actually the first, last, and only animated film created in this country to date that was available in languages other than English when released at the cinema, which is actually a big deal, and pretty insane to think about, if you go back and look at the statistics above. It was not, however, the only film that would be available as such – the country caught a bit of a bug for translating animated movies.

Local(ization) is lekker

Of course, we don’t just make our own films, we at least still manage to get the good talking animal films as well, often in English as well, despite it being only the fourth-most common language in the country. Not always though.

Also before you ask about the heading of this section: “local is lekker” is one of those dumb propaganda phrases they throw at us all the time. The word “lekker” is an annoying, shallow Afrikaans word that is equivalent to “nice” – both in meaning and general vapidity.

So yeah, Khumba was the one local animated film to do it, but there were a few other odd ones. The not-much-liked 2012 Russian animated film The Snow Queen was, bafflingly enough, released in cinemas here only in Afrikaans. I believe it was mostly done because an Afrikaans TV channel bought the rights cheap, and there is some demand for Afrikaans children’s entertainment – often, Afrikaans parents take their kids to see animated movies, but if they’re young and don’t know English, they get bored easily (to my chagrin when all tensed up over the asylum scene in Zootopia, and there are kids running around the theatre). The sequel followed the pattern again a year ago. The Snow Queen and its various sequels only tangentially furry though – most of the characters are human, but there are furry, uh, troll things (or something that’s sorta maybe kinda supposed to be furry appeal???) that are, from what I can gather, the main focus of the second one, so trailer for that one, and not much more lingering:

Of all random things, Maya the Bee Movie was also released in both Afrikaans and Zulu, and bug furries (if reptiles are scalies, and birds are featheries, what do we officially call those?) are a thing, so there’s probably furry appeal in this too, at least since it’s anthropomorphization. I cannot for the life of me figure out why they decided on this film specifically. Maybe I’m just totally out of touch with what the really youngers like?

While Khumba seems to have started this new trend of having CGI films dubbed into local languages, and could be seen as a modern pioneer of it, it actually somewhat owes a debt to a far older, more famous dub… and yes, I’ve dragged this out until the end because I knew this would be the thing everyone would want to know about. A massively popular film that spawned a whole generation of furries, widely loved by all.

Yes, I’m talking about The Lion King.

Let’s get back on track: the Zulu dub was probably the first ever foreign film to be dubbed into the language, as it happened in 1994 and was mere months after the end of Apartheid, and the Apartheid-era government was not really keen on doing much for certain sectors of the populace. It was also released in cinemas, I think at the time and also definitely when the 3D cinematic re-release happened a few years ago as well.

Actually, we need to talk about something here that most foreigners wouldn’t know. The film has at least two African-language dubs: Swahili (another ethnic group and their language of the same name, located further north in Kenya and surrounds) being the other one. What makes this weird is that, actually, the English version of the film had both languages in it already. I don’t think I need to tell some of you that “hakuna matata” is a Swahili phrase, but what almost nobody knows (due to how incomprehensible it is even to many locals) is that the opening lines of Circle of Life are Zulu. Here’s the whole sequence in full Zulu so you can hear that fact for yourself:

I can’t speak for the inverse, whether the introduction was translated into Swahili, but I can guess probably not, since the phrase hakuna matata was still used untranslated in the Zulu version. Not necessarily a complaint, but one of those weird little things you’d have to be in the know to know, you know?

You’re probably tired of my blabbing about this and want more, so here’s I Just Can’t Wait to be King:

That segues nicely into something you’re probably wondering: how good or direct are the translations? Well, I have no idea about most of it, Zulu went above my head most of my time and my Afrikaans is really weak generally. I can understand snippets of both, but not much. The titles are all basically exactly identical. The Lion King was translated into Zulu as Inkosi ibhubesi, inkosi = king, ibubesi = lion, so literally king lion. Sneeukoningin: sneeu = snow; koning = king; so koningin = female version, or “queen” in other words; so that all makes snow queen. uMaya Inyosi iMovie and Maya die By, for the Zulu: inyosi = bee, the “u-” at the beginning of her name and the “i-” at the beginning of “movie” is a feature of the language that I can’t even begin to explain the reasons for; for the Afrikaans: die = the; by = bee. The snippets I can understand from the various Lion King videos above also denote fairly direct translation: for instance, in Zazu’s rant in the middle of the song I caught the word sebenzi, which means “to work” – so not absolutely the same, but with very similar meaning within the confines of what the language can reasonably express within the timeframe given (“Out of service…” etc). I haven’t seen the others, and I’ve only seen Khumba in English a really long time ago, so that’s as far as I can speak on the matter.

Conclusion

Well that got way longer and way more out of hand than I was expecting it to.

Perhaps I’m spoiled a bit here by my knowledge. I’m a bit unusually cosmopolitan as far as South Africans go (I mean, I’m a furry after all – there’s probably less than 500 of us in the whole country, and I’ve certainly never met another one in person anywhere here), but still, some of this seems inexcusable. We get American and European films down here, everyone should know better than to keep doing this, and yet they do it anyway. It’s unfortunate that some of these films have to represent the abilities of the country as a whole, as I’m sure there are a lot of talented people who could do much better.

If this country had never got any of these things, and the only way to see a Disney film was through some kind of bootlegged VHS copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy from one that someone smuggled in, I could be forgiving, because we wouldn’t know better as a public. Yet, here we are, blatant copying of things, and not in the postmodern way of understanding how to properly play with things and inverting and tweaking them to new ironic ends, oh no, just continuing the “X, but in Africa!” trend and mindset that I feel suffocates all true creative voices in the country.

At any rate, I hope you found that interesting, hearing about a piece of semi-furry culture you probably never knew about. But also, uh, sorry for some of what you just had to see.

FADE TO BLACK — “WHERE ARE THEY NOW?” MONTAGE BEGINS

Triggerfish Story Lab news

Triggerfish is still chugging along and making movies, television, short films and whatnot. They have announced two films currently in production: Seal Team, a talking animal film about the battle for survival between seals and sharks, and Sea Monster, an adventure film set off the coast of a fishing village that we know little to nothing else about. They ran a story development competition in conjunction with Disney, where people pitched ideas, got selected for a very selective exclusive story lab, and the grand prize was an option on the screenplay, but nothing more has been said since that apparently finished.

Duncan MacNeillie has not been heard from since whatever that last thing he did was. Nobody to this day knows why he decided to help adapt the same book three times, and royally screw it up the third time despite supposedly knowing better from the first or even second damn time. All we’ll ever know is: it got worse each time, somehow. He’s probably not missed.

– Duncan R. Piasecki

Categories: News

If You Give A Mouse A TV Show

In-Fur-Nation - Tue 21 Nov 2017 - 02:59

Looks like Amazon has brought us a classic children’s illustrated book series as a new animated TV series for their Amazon Prime service. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (famously written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond in 1985) was adapted for animation by Mercury Filmworks in Canada. Show-Runner Joe Scarborough has quite the animation resume’, having worked on shows like Arthur, Doug, Curious George, Pocoyo, and Martha Speaks. This new series follows a young boy named Oliver and his best friend, an adventurous mouse. Their friends are various other kids whose companion animals include a cat, a pig, and even a moose. Check out the preview video over at YouTube.

image c. 2017 Amazon Prime

Categories: News

Animated Teasers Monday

Furry.Today - Mon 20 Nov 2017 - 20:50

Here are a few teasers for various animated shorts we can hope show up at some point: https://vimeo.com/239976634 https://vimeo.com/242154142 https://vimeo.com/198561383 https://youtu.be/9rq-tErq9Bs https://youtu.be/GPtQiGOpgF4
View Video
Categories: Videos

TigerTails Radio Season 10 Episode 51

TigerTails Radio - Mon 20 Nov 2017 - 17:50
Categories: Podcasts

Talking Animal Films in South Africa (Part 1)

Dogpatch Press - Mon 20 Nov 2017 - 10:15

Submitted by guest writer Duncan R. Piasecki – don’t miss his amazing previous article, The Forgotten History of the Furry Musical.

South Afrifur logo – see a con report.

Of all the things you’d expect a country in Africa to have in common with whatever first-world place you’re reading this in, I bet nowhere on that list was CGI animation studios. But it’s true, for better or for worse, and (un?)luckily for all of us, all the major CGI films produced by this country fall into the talking animal genre. Furry appeal, it’s an international thing!

Preface: important things that will colour how you understand the rest of the article

Before we get too deep into this, some context is important to understand the nature of this country.

First and foremost, you need to understand something of the way that stories are told here. This is mostly about books, but it speaks to the way film and television are made here as well. We like to fool ourselves into thinking we’re cosmopolitan, but we’re really, really not. We’ve fallen a long way since JRR Tolkien moved away from here. Fictive literature here can be mostly divided into two categories: classic and modern. Classics are largely about sociopolitical concerns (most famous is probably Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton – most likely you’d know it from the 1995 film adaptation starring James Earl Jones, if you knew it at all). Modern however… well. Publishers down here tend to want you to write stories with an African bent all the time. In theory, it leads to more Afrocentric storytelling, but in practice, if you go look under general fiction, everything is either just described as “X, but in Africa!” or just a rip-off of whatever the Americans are doing. Not all books, of course, but certainly enough that you wouldn’t even be able to find the local fiction that’s not like this in most stores. For example, a big hit here a few years ago was Spud by John van de Ruit, which is basically “Adrian Mole, but in Africa!“. On the other side of the coin are writers like Wilbur Smith, who writes what look like fairly cheesy adventure/thrillers generally. As a writer myself, who falls under the oft-confusing literary movement of postmodernism, it is beyond frustrating and annoying to see, and there is no way I’d ever be published by anyone down here as a result of these weird stipulations (hooray for self-publishing).

Second, there’s actually a big deal made about local things. Like, it’s pushed on us all the time. We have government-funded branding about promoting locally-produced items. It’s your patriotic duty to support local things, or something. It’s not always a mindset, but it’s something you do see a lot, where people pour money into rubbish just because it’s made by some local hack, rather than a foreign import of better quality or whatever.

Third, you must understand that I… don’t usually have the highest regard or opinion of this country or what it does, having lived here for my whole life to date, so there is a bit of potential bias in my opinions, but I’m trying to approach all of this objectively from an international perspective.

Finally, two languages are mentioned in the article: Afrikaans and Zulu. Afrikaans is a local offshoot of Dutch, with elements of other languages, and is spoken by about 13-14% of the population, and is the country’s third most widely spoken language at a native level. It’s fairly similar to Dutch, bar a few vocabulary differences, and if you can speak one, you can understand a lot of the other, and could communicate with each other. Zulu, on the other hand, is a native African language, the most common in the country, spoken by 22% of the population, mostly by the ethnic group of the same name. They were formed by King Shaka in the early 1800s, and are a very large group across the Southern African region today, with about 11 million people. The language is… really dense and hard to describe, based around a lot of contextual conjugation of words – there are at least 15 rules per each type of conjugation – be it pluralization, diminutization, or whatever, and they’re all based around the letters that start a word off. It’s not an easy language to wrap your head around, and it’s quite busy, as you’ll hear later on. English, on the other hand, is spoken as a first language by less than 10% of the population, and is fourth (second, for those keeping count, is Xhosa, another ethnic group and language, and about 16% spread). The country has 12 official languages, including newly-officialized South African Sign Language.

Well, enough of that. Let’s get to the fuzzy part of the discussion.

Joke of the bushveld

The country has a few classic pieces of literature, most of them of a sociopolitical nature, but undoubtedly one of the books that is most loved by almost everyone here is Jock of the Bushveld, a biographical novel by Sir Percy FitzPatrick, about his travels around the northern part of the country in the 1880s, with his Staffordshire cross dog (bushveld, for those asking, is basically a type of scrubland found in various southern areas on the continent). The book was initially published in 1907, and has never been out of print (though modern editions are slightly abridged, omitting at least one chapter of background information deemed unnecessary by today’s standards). It’s the source of a lot of tourist attractions and whatnot. As you can tell, there are no major anthropomorphic elements per se (i.e. it’s not a talking animal novel), but we’ll get to the connection in a bit. It’s basically an adventure slash dead dog book, so you have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. There isn’t really a cohesive storyline to the book, it’s episodic tales of adventures on hunts and whatnot.

Naturally, something as popular as that, especially since it’s appealing to the children (the stories were originally told by FitzPatrick to his children, who insisted he wrote them down), but that’s getting ahead of ourselves a little. The book was actually adapted twice as a live-action film: once in 1986, considered the better adaptation for being more accurate, and again in 1995, albeit more thematically toned-down and less well-regarded as a result. There was also a musical. But no, none of that is what we’re here to talk about. Ho boy, unfortunately for us, the furry element is where it starts to get bad (furries make everything worse, amirite?).

Back in 2007, director Duncan MacNeillie (unfortunately named, ugh) had a vision: South Africa, despite having a long-running and quite successful film industry (albeit a bloody awful one, if I have to be honest – mostly painful adaptations of even more painful classic local books, or yet another film by Leon Schuster, our equivalent of Adam Sandler – ’nuff said), and having done animation in the past, though never CGI. MacNeillie wanted to change that. So the race was on! He acquired the rights to Jock of the Bushveld, his first choice after he produced the first and also wrote and co-directed the second live-action adaptation. He set about with a small team of twenty-five, and got to adapting the novel as something even more palatable and safe than the last times he did it – a talking animal story along the lines of what the Americans were doing all the time. This would be a serious statement for local talent, and set the standard against which everything else would be measured, he hoped.

It took about three years to produce, and they found themselves going up against a bigger group, Triggerfish Animation, who were also determined to make local CGI animation (we’ll get to them in a bit). MacNeillie wanted to be first, and, by all accounts, it would seem his focus shifted, production rushed forward while the director set about focusing on branding deals and whatnot. Some of the production team felt that this shift in focus had a negative impact. He managed to sell the whole thing to the international markets by getting Western star power (Bryan Adams, Donald Sutherland, Ted Danson, Helen Hunt, one of the Baldwins… Tim frigging Rice penning some songs). Branding flew left and right, and halfway through production there was a decision to release it in 3D as well, which I’m sure had an impact that you’ll discover soon enough.

The people of South Africa waited, seemingly excited at the prospect. The foreigners working on it were too, because they could have an opportunity to have an in on an African first (and I believe Tim Rice was just in because he was related to someone working on the project, and partly because he probably figured it’d be another Lion King, albeit by actual Africans this time).

Well, that excitement lasted until the movie hit in 2011. Without further comment, here’s the trailer:

Yes, it was bloody awful. The local reviews ravaged it, calling it a massive desecration of a classic text that totally missed the point by Disney-ifying it all up, and the 3D was apparently eye-bleeding (and, as I’m sure we can all guess, probably negatively impacted everything else by adding unnecessary production time that took away from time to do other things), but the public still poured money into it… you know, typical lowest common denominator movie stuff.

But I don’t think this trailer captures it well enough. It was bad. I mean bad. Like, I’ve probably seen several hundred animated films, and I watched Foodfight! despite being warned several times not to, and that only marginally beat this as being the worst animated film I’ve watched bad (though I suspect if I ever lose my mind for the 40 minutes required that Ratatoing would beat that). Uncanny valley, unfinished looking, absolutely terrible songs I can’t believe Tim Rice penned, phoned-in performances, a plot that’s barely there (I don’t think I can really tell you what happened in it, honestly – something about gambling and a conflict with a baboon, sorta an “and then” story, if you will), you name it, it had it.

Maybe I’m just being harsh, and nobody knew how to make a movie or animate properly, but a lot of it just feels like a soulless cash and fame grab, especially with the rush to be first and all the marketing deals. You couldn’t move for merchandising for about a month before and after it came out. Everyone had their own cheap tie-in to sell to the kiddies (I cringe every time I go into a DVD shop down here and see that word plastered above the animated film section).

I guess that rushing to be the first really paid off, eh guys? But hey, at least you won the race and came first. Congratulations, it was worth it.

The film later got sold to foreigners as Jock the Hero Dog (because who the hell out there knows what bushveld is, or even how to pronounce it?) where it enjoyed slightly more critical success, but wasn’t exactly a hit from what I can tell. You can buy it on Blu-Ray in the USA though (only DVD here as far as I know)… if you’re brave. Or on iTunes, Google Play and/or Netflix in some regions.

There was also apparently a sequel or something by the same director, called Little Jock’s African Adventures, but I’ve only seen it on DVD, doubt it was ever broadcast anywhere, can’t find out anything about it really (I think we all just want to forget any of this happened), and am not wasting the dollar or two it’d take to buy and find out more. All I can say for sure is: it’s cheap cell-shaded stuff. It’s actually amazing that I can’t find out more than that… though I guess that speaks to the quality.

Literally all I can find about that is this:

The text on the back says this:

The classic book, Jock of the Bushveld, written by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick is the inspiration behind MacNeillie’s follow up to the animated feature. This is Little Jock’s adventures, a children’s story focussing on the puppy and the animals he meets.

Harry, Jock’s sidekick, has magical qualities which get them out of trouble as they venture through the wilds. Martha, the baboon, is set on stealing whatever ideas she can to assist in her mission to rule the world.

But everyone will soon know that our hero, little Jock, is brave, loyal and adventurous.

Are we totally sure this wasn’t all just a money laundering or Ponzi scheme like Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return was?

Victoria Falls (on her face)

Triggerfish was up next, and they were a real genuine bona fide animation studio this time, we promise, and one that didn’t go boom after their first film was done. They lost out being the first by nearly a year, with their first feature Zambezia (or Adventures in Zambezia, as it was called in some places) releasing in 2012.

The story follows Kai, a falcon who decides that he wants to live in the Great Tree- er, I mean, the bird-city of Zambezia, sitting atop Victoria Falls, where he wants to join the guard and protect them against threats and whatnot, and deal with a lizard that kidnapped his father. If that sounds pretty much exactly like Legend of the Guardians, you’re right, though I also found it copied quite liberally from Valiant (holy crap, does anyone else remember that movie?), what with the comic relief character Eezee being pretty much exactly the same as Bugsy. Plus, this came out merely a year after Rio, which would lead to comparisons between the two. It’s like how Surf’s Up was always compared to Happy Feet, because both are about penguins and came out within a year of each other, despite them not really having a lot in common beyond that. Here’s the trailer.

So… my opinion is: it’s absolutely pedestrian, as animated films go, even with people like Leonard Nimoy(!) and Samuel L. Jackson in the cast. Now don’t get me wrong, I can enjoy a stereotypical animated film more than it perhaps should be enjoyed, if it does a damn fine job of being absolutely charming, but I was bored throughout this – the story was just going through the paces, checking all the boxes, and never particularly exciting or interesting. Plus the animation is bad by 2012 standards, which isn’t always a problem for me, but compare the flying scenes of this to, say, the flight in the storm or the flight through the flames in Legend of the Guardians, and you’ll see why it’s a problem, especially since the ripping off is pretty blatant.

Reception all around was mixed-to-negative. What’s interesting to me is that, as a local, I didn’t even notice when it got released. I think almost no fuss was made about it being released, just a few reviews here and there saying it’s not that bad, but no Pixar. Is it possible that people were burned after how bad Jock was? Hard to say, but I think I only heard about it in 2013, when trailers for Khumba were touting “from the makers of Zambezia” (more on that one in a bit). It would seem nobody really cared, but it still made a profit, mostly because the budget is quite low ($20m) and nobody in the country has anywhere near as much money as the big American studios.

There was one actually great thing about it though: the birds themselves. Sure, they weren’t particularly well-animated, but, from what I can tell, all of them are actual, real species of birds found in Africa, and a lot more accurate than other animated films (Zazu, for example, looks nothing like a real red-billed hornbill, but these birds actually look pretty much exactly like their real counterparts). The villains are marabou storks, for example, and it’s actually a clever choice that showed a flash of insight, when you read about how foul they actually are, plus I’m a bit biased against them after having been chased by one at a game reserve once – thing’s damn near as tall as I am.

Look at this ugly thing. THAT is a marabou stork. It’s also about 153cm/60 inches tall. They eat meat too rancid even for vultures, and have the temperament of the crusty old men that they look like. Photo from Wikipedia.

Seeing them, knowing that there would be no other animated film that would have such species, kept me from passing out completely. Details like that show care and interest in putting something good out, I just wish the rest of it had as much passion. Still, that’s why I have great respect for animators and artists specifically on any CGI projects – even if they’re doing something awful, most of them at least try to make visual appeal with what they’ve got.

Again, you can apparently get it on Blu-Ray, iTunes and Google Play in the USA under the Adventures in Zambezia international title, or just watch it on Netflix.

To be continued…

So nice, you’ll come back twice? I hope so. The story’s only half-finished now, and I decided to split this in half for the sake of ease of writing, otherwise you’d have about 5500 words to deal with all at once.

Next time on Dogpatch Press: we go into the third and final (to date) CGI film, and then we talk about the localization of international talking animal films, including one that pretty much every one of us crazy animal people loves.

See you all again soon. – Duncan R. Piasecki

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Categories: News

FursuitTV EndV3.mp4

FursuitTV - Sun 19 Nov 2017 - 17:45
Categories: Podcasts

FursuitTV 095.mp4

FursuitTV - Sun 19 Nov 2017 - 17:45
Categories: Podcasts

FursuitTV 094.mp4

FursuitTV - Sun 19 Nov 2017 - 17:45
Categories: Podcasts

FursuitTV 093.mp4

FursuitTV - Sun 19 Nov 2017 - 17:45
Categories: Podcasts

FursuitTV 092.mp4

FursuitTV - Sun 19 Nov 2017 - 17:45
Categories: Podcasts