Animation World Network has a recent article about two more new animated shows that were presented at MIPCON this year — both of them produced by m4e in Germany. Wissper is “… a CGI animated TV-series aimed at young girls ages 4 to 7. Wissper is a perfectly normal little girl, but she has a very special talent: She is the only girl in the world who can talk to animals! Creatures of all shapes and sizes seem to instinctively know that when they have a problem, Wissper will find the solution. This makes Wissper’s house the first port of call for animals in distress.” The first set of episodes are supposed to premier world-wide before the end of December. And then, there’s Atchoo! Another animated series, this time targeted at slightly older boys and girls. You see, there’s this young boy named Teo, with an unusual attribute: When he gets excited or upset, he sneezes… and instantly turns into an animal. Different each time. “The series offers loads of comedy, gags and funny dialogues, but all the fun is aimed at communicating an important message, that difficulties, fears and diversity are not necessarily all bad, but can engender endurance and originality.” That’s what they said folks! Atchoo! is scheduled to hit the world in 2017.
Recently (October) it was once again time for MIPCOM in France, where dozens of TV production companies seek out international distribution for their new shows. Including lots of animated TV series — including several of furry interest. Among them is Deer Little Forest, which is actually part of a large international marketing campaign aimed at very young kids. (Check out their web site to see what we mean.) Among the many places you’ll find Deer Little Forest is an animated TV series created by King Rollo Films. “Deer Little Forest is a preschool brand created by Henries’ Award-nominated illustrator Jo Rose, currently being developed for licensing, publishing and television. The world of Deer Little Forest stars the irrepressibly enthusiastic Flo and her band of charming, silly, helpful and wise woodland buddies: Bodhi Bear (never shy to lend a helping paw), Rowan the Philosophical Fox (yogi and Japanese gardener), Barley-Crumb Badger (usually unearthing an interesting factoid under a rock), Lockhart Deer (relentlessly toot-tooting his horn and crashing about in glee), and local boy best friend Toby (the city slicker charmer).” You can see a preview of the TV series over on Vimeo. Turns out there’s also a Deer Little Forest app available.
Back in 2011 Kizoic Comics created a tie-in comic book line for Kung Fu Panda, anticipating the release of the Kung Fu Panda 2 animated film that year. Well now in anticipation of next January’s upcoming release of Kung Fu Panda 3, Titan Comics are having a go with their own full-color Kung Fu Panda comic, written by Simon Furman and illustrated by Lee Robinson. “Po has been a busy Kung-Fu Panda! He’s had 2 hit movies, a successful TV show, and there’s another exciting movie on the way! And now he’s set to get even busier in his own brand new comic! Join Po, The Furious Five and Shifu – and all their enemies – for their own comic strip adventures! This issue kicks off a special two-part story: Wake Me Up Before You Po-Po!” Seriously. It’s on the shelves now!
More interesting news from Cartoon Brew: Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, etc etc…!) has signed a two picture deal with Le Vision USA, the American wing of China’s Le Vision Pictures. The first is for a live-action comedy called Silkworms (which we know nothing about, so far). The second, of more interest here, is for an animated adaptation of Chinese author Lu Jiamin’s semi-autobiographical novel Wolf Totem. Earlier this year the book was adapted into a Chinese-language live-action film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud from France. The story tells of “…a Chinese student who is sent to Inner Mongolia to teach shepherds and instead learns about the local wolf population, which is under threat by a government apparatchik”. (Shades of Never Cry Wolf, anyone?) At this point we do not know if Mr. Minkoff will simply be producing the animated version, or if he will direct. Nor have we gotten any word as to a projected release date. Guess we’ll find out!
And the embarrassment of riches for anthropomorphic animal movies that is 2016… continues! Once again Cartoon Brew brings us big news: Illumination (home of the Minions and the upcoming Secret Life of Pets) have announced a new CGI film called Sing, coming to theaters in December of 2016. “Of all the animal kingdom films, Sing might be the quirkiest of the bunch. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri explained during an Annecy keynote earlier this year that conceptually ‘The starting point for the movie was, for me at least, looking at what the role of a producer is’. The producer in Sing will be a koala named Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, who runs a vaudeville-style theater. ‘He creates wonderful entertainment out of nothing’ Meledandri said at Annecy. If a paean to producers sounds like an unusual topic for an animated film, so does the fact that the movie will have over 85 songs in it. Here’s the set-up which allows that to happen: Buster’s theater has fallen on hard times, and he comes up with an idea to save it by staging a singing competition. Eventually, five lead contestants emerge: A mouse (Seth MacFarlane) who croons as smoothly as he cons, a timid teenage elephant (Tori Kelly) with an enormous case of stage fright, an overtaxed mother (Reese Witherspoon) run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets, a young gangster gorilla (Taron Egerton) looking to break free of his family’s felonies, and a punk-rock porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo. Each animal arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. John C. Reilly will also lend a voice as Buster’s black sheep pal Eddie.” Got all that? Whew! We’ll keep you informed as we learn more.
[We are so, so sorry for that one…] Earlier this year you may recall we mentioned an upcoming animated feature called Blazing Samurai. Well now thanks to Cartoon Brew we have a lot more information about it! “Arriving stateside August 4, 2017, from AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment’s Open Road Films, Blazing Samurai stars Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais, George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mel B., Heavenly Joy Jerkins, and Mel Brooks himself as a madcap array of cats and dogs comedically battling for samurai supremacy not in the Wild West but the faraway Japanese East. Co-directed by Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield animation supervisor Chris Bailey and veteran Disney animator Mark Koetsier, Blazing Samurai also features art direction from New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show and Steven Universe’s Kevin Dart. Toronto, Canada-based CG animation and visual effects shop Arc Productions (Gnomeo & Juliet) is the lead animation house.” What’s more, Lion King / Mr. Peabody & Sherman director Rob Minkoff is on board as one of the producers. Quite a lot of big names attached to this project!
The animation community has been a-buzz following the announcement on several sites that Wes Anderson, direction of the Oscar and Ursa Major nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox, is developing another stop-motion animated feature film. About dogs. According to Cartoon Brew, “Details about his new canine cartoon are unavailable at this point. All we know is that it will be stop motion, and like Fantastic Mr. Fox, the production will take place in the UK. The Playlist pointed out the irony that Anderson would choose dogs as subject matter considering his fraught cinematic history with pooches. Dogs have been harmed so frequently in Anderson’s movies that the New Yorker once published a tongue-in-cheek commentary asking, ‘Does Wes Anderson hate dogs?’ Audiences may find out the answer soon.” We’ll have to hope that in this case he treats dogs more like he treated their foxy cousins.
There’s a new animation production partnership starting up in Canada between Corus Entertainment (home of Nelvana Animation) and Bento Box Entertainment (home of Bob’s Burgers and more). From the press release, thanks to Animation World Network: “Canadian-based media and entertainment company Corus Entertainment and Los Angeles animation studio Bento Box Entertainment have announced the creation of Bento Box Canada, an animation production company based in Toronto. The venture follows last year’s announcement of the multi-year, co-development deal between the two companies. As part of the agreement, Bento Box Entertainment and Corus will work side-by-side to develop and produce a slate of original, primetime animated series for Corus networks, to be distributed internationally by Bento Box Entertainment. This fall, production will begin on the first Bento Box Canada series, The Pandas. From creators Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler, The Pandas is an irreverent, animated family comedy full of hard jokes, whimsical wonder, biting satire and just the right amount of heart.” We’ll certainly see when it premiers.
This comes to us straight from ComingSoon.net: “Academy Award and Grammy Award winner Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) has signed on to voice the lead character “Biggz” in the new CGI animated family film Groove Tails. He will also produce the movie with Michael Becker of Imprint Entertainment and AMBI principals Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi (Septembers of Shiraz, In Dubious Battle). The script was written by Johnny Mack (Real Husbands of Hollywood), who will also serve as an executive producer. Groove Tails will be directed by Cameron Hood, who began his career at Warner Bros. studying under animation legend Chuck Jones. Hood soon moved to DreamWorks Animation where he has worked on films like The Prince of Egypt, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Megamind. Hood then segued to Illumination Entertainment, where he added his talents to Despicable Me 2 and the recent worldwide box office hit Minions. Groove Tails is set in the world of competitive street dance competitions… for mice that is. This is a place where cheese is currency and dance is king. The story follows Biggz, as he tries to regain his confidence for dance, pay off his debt to a club, clean up the streets from the alley cats and win the love of a girl. Life is not easy when you are at the bottom of the food chain.” There’s no word yet on a target release date, but we promise you’ll know as soon as we do!