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Animation: Nine anthropomorphic features coming in 2014

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The Cartoon Brew has a preview roundup of 22 animated features announced as coming in 2014. Fourteen are American or will be released in America; eight are foreign with no current plans to be distributed in America, although this could change.

At least nine of them feature anthropomorphic animals, bugs, Lego blocks. planes, marshmallow soldiers, or other things that we ought to be interested in. (We’re still arguing over whether the dragons in How to Train Your Dragon are anthropomorphic or not.)

Mike Rugnetta talks fan communities at XOXO Festival

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At the 2013 XOXO Festival, Mike Rugnetta of the YouTube/PBS Idea Channel delivered a really interesting talk about the Internet, specifically how it's helped us develop new ways of constructing our self-identities, due to the discovery of new ideas and interacting socially online, amongst other things. He hops from topic to topic very rapidly, and doesn't really get started until about two minutes into the video.

Interestingly - if you jump to the 10:15 mark - he discusses fandoms. Good fandoms have lots of opportunities for interaction, sharing creativity, and finding ways for the fans to relate to one another. In fact, the fans may relate to each other more than they might relate to the original theme that caused them to gather in the first place! What matters is the energy within the fan community, the bonds between fans. (This reminded me of Anthrocon 2007's guest of honor Mark Evanier, who noted that furries seemed to be "fans of each other".)

Mike asks his audience if there's a fandom without canonical media for fans to gather around? A fandom which would instead subsist mainly by the interaction of the fans, without devotion to a specific TV show, movie, or comic book series? Yup! Furry!

"Pseudo-furry" videos raise questions about pop culture and Furry fandom

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What's with music videos and fursuit parties?

Have you noticed a trend of mainstream music videos that some call "pseudo-furry"? It might be a stretch to connect every video that has animal mascot costumes, but their frequency seems like no coincidence. They've been around for years but I seem to notice more and more. Newsbytes posted by GreenReaper and Sonious sparked my notice, and Flayrah's music tag has many more examples. What does this say about marketing? What does "pseudo-furry" imply?

What does the Fox Say?

Anthropomorphic art has been around for much longer than a dedicated fandom for it. Furry fandom didn't spring from an original concept in the 1980's- it's specific inspirations include golden age post-WWII animation, Disney movies and much more. Popular culture and it's gateways are an undeniably important influence. But identifying a trend for pop culture to re-absorb the Furry subculture that it helped spin off could make a good discussion about interplay. Is this happening because Furry is being accepted as a legitimate subculture, beyond a bastard child of the movies, shows, games and comics that furries enjoy?

Video: 'What Does The Fox Say?' animated remix

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We know what the fox says… but why? This animated remix from Twintrash (extended audio) proposes a backstory for the vulpine's curious vocalizations. [tip: Starling]

Animation, music and vocals by Tommy & Markus Vad Flaaten; narration by Aras Afsaji.

Philosophy: Traditional animation vs. CGI animation

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Amid?Amidi?of?the?Cartoon?Brew?uses?this?new?GEICO?commercial?to?ask,?what?is?an?animated?cartoon?and?what?is?reality,?anyway??–?a?meaningful?question?for?anthropomorphic?fans?today.

Video: the Kia hamsters are back, getting 'totally transformed'

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The Kia hamsters, rodent stars of several commercials for the Kia Motors Corporation, are back in an advertisement to promote the 2014 Soul.

The ad, set to Lady Gaga's "Applause", features the three hamsters jogging, swimming, and working out on various pieces of gym equipment. At the end, emphasising the message that the Soul has been "totally transformed" with a "sleeker, sexier and more sophisticated" look, the hamsters are seen radically slimmed down, wowing the public at a red-carpet event.

The campaign was produced by Kia's long-time ad agency David & Goliath, and directed by its Executive Creative Director, Colin Jeffery. The MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, August 25) will feature the commercial; it hits 18,000 movie screens across the U.S. on August 30.

'Brain Divided' animates conflict between id, superego

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The Cartoon Brew website has announced the closing of its fourth annual Student Animation Festival. The Grand Prize winner is “Brain Divided”, a five-minute CGI film directed by Josiah Haworth, Joon Shik Song and Joon Soo Song at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

Can animators anthropomorphize the brain functions known as the id and the superego? Surely, going back to Disney’s Reason and Emotion (1943), probably most famous today for the animators’ caricature of fellow Disney animator Ward Kimball as the caveman Emotion. There is also the 1956 s-f feature Forbidden Planet with its “monsters from the id”, although the id there technically is not anthropomorphized; it’s just shown running amok. It’s not done often, thank Roscoe, or it would get old fast; but Haworth & Co. have done a fine job of it.

Furries at San Francisco Pride 2013

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A historic U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage created intense emotions and record crowds at San Francisco's 2013 Pride celebration. I was informally told the parade drew 1.5 million. Imagine pushing through them in the hot sun with inch thick fur on!

Video by Mallius
For dozens of local furs, the great fun and positive vibes of Pride 2012 were small compared to this year's enthusiastic turnout. If it grows as much in 2014, it'll be awesome to see.

'Calvin and Hobbes' documentary hits cinemas November 15

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Dear Mr. Watterson It's been seventeen and a half years since cartoonist Bill Watterson published the 3150th (and last) strip of Calvin and Hobbes, the comic about a six-year-old boy and his sardonic stuffed tiger.

Since then, film director Joel Allen Schroeder envisaged a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes, and in 2007 began filming interviews with fans. In 2009, Schroeder created a Kickstarter campaign to fund his project, which raised twice its initial goal of $12,000. A subsequent campaign raised $96,000. Now complete, the movie (Dear Mr. Watterson) has been picked up by a distributor and is scheduled to arrive in theatres November 15.

Animation: 'Damn! Bloody eggs! Bloody eggs!' (plus 'Dragon Half')

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The Chicken or the Egg, a 3’21” student film by Christine Kim and Elayne Wu at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Bonus video: The closing credits to Dragon Half; lyrics by Kyoko Matsumiya.

Video: 'Equestria Girls' is 'My Little Pony' minus the ponies

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The inevitable My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic theatrical release is coming June 16…kind of.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, directed by series veteran Jayson Thiessen, begins a limited release June 16 (after a premiere at the L.A. Film Festival on June 15). It is uncertain whether a full release will ever happen. Check the film's website to see if there's a showing near you.

Review: 'Kairos. T.1/3', by Ulysse Malassagne

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KairosKairos, volume 1 of 3, has just been published in France. It was announced here last month with an animated trailer from Studio La Cachette in Paris that had me salivating for the album! (Ankama’s catalogue lists a volume title that does not appear on the volume; “His Kingdom”.)

Now the book is here. Is it worth the hype?
(My thanks again to Lex Nakashima for making this review possible.)

Oh, yeah. This first album is both disappointing and tantalizing, only beginning to show the world in the trailer; its first scene, where the dragons emerge at night to kidnap Anaëlle, does not come before page 23 in the album.

Tome 1 ends with Nills, Koyot (the short, brown, beaky character), and Kuma (the big, green dragon? with short chin whiskers) walking towards the castle. Much is to be revealed in t.2.

Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, April 2013, hardcover €11.90 (64 pages; on Amazon.fr).

'Rio 2' first trailer revealed

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Animation Scoop has the first trailer for Blue Sky StudiosRio 2, out next April. It’s anthro birds, birds, birds!

I just got through reviewing the coffee-table The Art of 'Epic' for Animation World Network. (My review should be posted in the next day or two.) In it, director Chris Wedge says that a major reason for Blue Sky to have made Epic is to evolve the studio away from hard-edged, bright computer graphics like in the Ice Age movies, Robots, and Rio. and develop a softer, more dense look, such as that needed for the realistic forest in Epic. It sure hasn’t taken them long to get back to the brightly-colored Rio!

Video review: 'DreamKeepers Vol. 3' by Dave and Liz Lillie

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See more: DreamKeepers, Dave's Essays, Leon on Youtube - animated intro by Rei Vagan.

Animation: 'The Painting' is coming

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Animation Scoop has the new American trailer and poster for the 2011 French animated feature Le Tableau (The Painting), due for May 24 release.