In 2010 Russia’s Centre of National Film gave the world Space Dogs, a CGI animated feature that celebrated the memory of Strelka and Belka (the first animals ever to survive a trip rocketing into orbit) by re-imagining them in a science fiction adventure. Now one of the same directors (Inna Evlannikova) has returned to bring us their further adventures in Space Dogs 2, also known as Space Dog: Adventure to the Moon. Epic Pictures has picked up international distribution rights for the film. According to their web site, the plot goes like this: “When the world’s most precious monuments disappear before everyone’s eyes, an unlikely team of two legendary Russian canine astronauts named Belka and Strelka, a heroic American monkey named Bonnie, and Belka’s brave teenage son Pushok jet off to the dark side of the moon to investigate the mystery.” The site also has a link to the trailer. Here’s another Russian film that is slowly making its way around North America in specialty screenings, so look for it. (It’s also available on DVD at least some places, apparently.)
Here’s something for Thanksgiving: More birds! Now it’s Quackers, a new CGI animated film on its way from Russia’s Rome Animation and Film Studio. (Rome or not, it’s from Russia.) “A conflict flares up between local Mandarin Ducks and the Military Mallards who land on the Chinese island, mistaking it for Hawaii. While the fathers fight and argue, Longway, the Emperor’s son, and Erica, the commander’s daughter, meet and become friends. The kids must ally all the ducks to battle their foe, the daunting Ms. Knout, who seeks to destroy the Sun.” Got all that? Directed by Viktor Lakisov and due in 2016, Quackers has its own official web site, as well as a preview video up on Vimeo.
What if… instead of developing atomic bombs, the USA and the Soviet Union had instead put their efforts into developing giant atomic monsters — and flung them at each other? That’s the idea behind World War Kaiju, a new illustrated novel written by Josh Finney and Michael Colbert with full color art by Patrick McEvoy. “What if Doctor Strangelove created Godzilla? World War Kaiju is the story of an alternate history, one in which the atom bomb was never created and the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is the kaiju: Fifty foot tall radioactive beasts spawned from the mysterious KAI-235 isotope. Follow the journey of one journalist as he teams up with a retired CIA operative to uncover the truth about the conspiracy behind the monsters.” World War Kaiju is available now in trade paperback by 01 Publishing. Check out the official web page, and of course the animated preview on YouTube.
Would you believe a full-color funny-animal comic book series coming out of St. Petersburg in Russia? Welcome to the new world, friends! It’s Bo: Plushy Gangsta, heading our way this month (translated into English!) from Action Lab Comics’ Danger Zone imprint. “Are the legends of Bo, the teddy bear gangsta, true? You’re about to find out. When Bo’s girls get nabbed by a rival gang boss, the mysterious and fearsome plushy gangsta is forced into action! It’s Scarface meets Ted in this over-the-top video game style urban epic.” Makes sense, since it was created by video game designers Pavel Balabanov and Vasily Terentiev. Head on over to Action Labs’ Bo web site and check out their new trailer for the series. And trust us: This is not for young readers!
On August 9, Planes hit the movie theaters, while Wings hit the Walmart video bins. Jerry Beck has the story and a trailer on his Animation Scoop website. YouTube has the complete Wings, but in the original Russian.
What is the similarity between them? They both feature anthropomorphized airplanes. What is the difference? Quality. This may seem like an ironic comment considering that most of the reviews of Planes criticize it for its lack of the quality of Pixar’s Cars (despite the Disney label, it was subcontracted to Prana Studios in Mumbai for production), but check out the Wings trailer for yourself. Wings is vastly inferior to Planes. Technically, anyhow. Plotwise? Ehhh…
Does it happen in Russia too? Do some Russian furry fans wear rainbows as often as some in North America? Do they fear Russia's anti-gay oppression in current world news? Would they think twice about costuming in public, or holding meets, if they might be charged with illegally spreading information about "non-traditional sexual behavior"?
Is there a place on the web where international furry fans can easily connect with Russian furs to ask about their opinions and experiences?
The collection focuses on the work of Eastern European artists - Ankor Wolf, Aspeel RaraAvis, Augustine Mayer, Blackwervolk, LexXxy Nickson, NaurEvan, Fox Avril, Neichet, Richard N. Diego, DJ ShadowWolker, Vasory88, Vatarius [Arxas Project], Veemie and Worgen [Pioneer Chris]), but includes Fox Amoore, GreatFox and JayB.
Had enough of French animated films yet? Don't worry, I'll run out of them soon! This week's review is Le chat du rabbin (The Rabbi's Cat), which came out in France in 2011 and only just recently got a North American DVD release. (Trailer). It's based on a comic book series by Joann Sfar.
The film starts in Algiers (North Africa) in the 1930s, with a rabbi, his daughter, and her pet cat. After the cat eats a parrot, he gains the ability to talk, and immediately gets in trouble with the rabbi because the cat's first action (of course) is to deny everything.
As the rabbi tries to keep the cat away from his daughter, the cat tries to get on the rabbi's good side by offering to convert to Judaism - although what he really wants is a bar mitzvah. Still, being a cat, he's an independent thinker and isn't shy about challenging the rabbi's religious teachings.
The sparrow was amongst more than 200 designs submitted by the public over the Internet. Mikhail Butov, the general secretary of the Russian athletics federation, explained why the sparrow was chosen:
The bird shares a lot of qualities with the athletes: It's quick, light and nimble.
Fyodor Khitruk died today. He was the leading Soviet animator from about the 1960s to until the Soviet Union ended in 1991. I met him briefly at the 1989 International Festival of Animation here in Los Angeles. He had brought the leading animators from each of the 15 Soviet republics to L.A. with him. They stood around muttering something like, "What are we doing in America?" "I don't know, but Fyodor said that we had to come."
I remember that he was an extremely imposing personality, probably the most dynamic person at the festival even though he was a dumpy old man. He was the sort of man who dominated a crowd even when he was just standing around doing nothing.
Khitruk was born just before the Russian Revolution, so he lived through the entire Soviet era. His animation tended to be the "arty" style that won awards but lost money because it was too intellectual. The Soviet government subsidized that sort of thing in the name of "we are not profit-oriented capitalists", but when the Soviet Union ended and the new Russian government was profit oriented, Khitruk could not get his films funded any more because they were not commercial. He mostly taught animation at the Moscow Academy since then.
He was not known for anthropomorphic characters, but he made very cute films of three Winnie the Pooh stories in the 1960s and 1970s that are nothing like Disney's, and are good enough to justify his obituary on Flayrah. Here is the second of them.
The Snow Queen, written in 1845 by Hans Christian Andersen, did not have any anthropomorphic characters in it. Hollywood; excuse me, Moscow; has corrected this omission. Not in the 1957 Soyuzmultfilm feature, which was a faithful enough adaptation of Andersen’s tale but with a talking raven, but in the new Wizart Animation 80-minute CGI feature, directed by Maxim Sveshnikov and Vlad Barbe, coming in Russia in December.
The story has been modernized and expanded for today's audiences, with a non-human troll added as a major character (for comedy relief); and Gerda has been given a pet ermine, who is not very anthropomorphic but is smarter than the average ermine. [Animation Magazine]
An entirely new way to experience dynamic and engrossing stories for free. [...] Unique layouts, animations, and visual effects, in regularly-updated episodes.
Essentially, they're creating original animated comic books and graphic novels.
Subject #9 follows a straightforward plot:
The adventure begins when eight young and vastly different prisoners unite to escape from a mysterious secret laboratory. Each one of them has unique abilities that they are yet to master. But first they have to learn team-work, understand the nature and goal of the laboratory experiments and find out who is behind all of it. The answers to these questions lead our heroes towards the grim truth...
Subject #9 combines sci-fi, adventure, and traditional superhero elements with colorful characters and an engrossing plot full of secrets and mysteries. We hope you'll enjoy reading Subject #9 as much as the team enjoyed creating it.
In San Francisco, named for patron saint of animals, pet dogs outnumber children, and wild coyotes live among usPosted by Patch Packrat on Sat 26 May 2012 - 05:13
Does anyone remember this story from a few years ago, about a coyote who wandered into a Quizno's shop, inadvertently starring in one of the best viral sandwich and drink ads ever?
"Roadrunner sandwich please, hold the mayo."
Across the world, wild and feral canines make cities their own.
Isiah Jacobs: Good evening, ma'am, thank you so much for coming on to the show, it's a pleasure to have you here!
Kay Fedewa: Oh anytime, it's an honor.
Isiah Jacobs: So, you are currently in charge of a program called The Domestic Fox. Could you please briefly explain what this program does?
Kay Fedewa: In short, we work with the Russian Institute of Cytology and Genetics, and with people interested in buying foxes from them. We sort out all the import and export documentation, licenses, transport costs, vaccinations, etc. and deliver foxes from the institute to their new owners.
Isiah Jacobs: As I understand it, this institute has been working on domesticating foxes for the past roughly sixty years or so. You do know that it wasn't called Russia back then, right?
Kay Fedewa: Yes and actually after the Soviet Union broke up, the government funding for this experiment disappeared along with it. They've been struggling to keep this going since then.