Cartoon Brew has a first look at Tomm Moore’s latest animated feature called Wolfwalkers. Mr. Moore, you may recall, is the Irish animation director responsible for The Book of Kells and Song of the Sea, both of which won praises from furry fans and animation lovers the world over. This new feature sounds even more anthropomorphic: “Wolfwalkers tells the story of 11-year-old Robyn Goodfellow, a young apprentice hunter who comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack of wolves. Her life changes though after she saves a native girl, Mebh, which leads to her discovery of the Wolfwalkers and transforms her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.” The article includes a teaser trailer the creators just recently released.
And no, we’re not talking about Kong of Skull Island either. Cartoon Brew has an article about a new animated film in development called Kensuke’s Kingdom. “Based on the bestselling novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the screen by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Welcome to Sarajevo, The Railway Man), Kensuke’s Kingdom follows the story of a young boy who washes up on a tropical island overseen by a mysterious Japanese soldier named Kensuke, who lives there with a family of orangutans as his companions.” Directed by animation veterans Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry, the film combines a variety of 2D techniques for a rather unique overall look. No word yet on any plans for international distribution, but the Cartoon Brew article includes a proof-of-concept short film the directors have been showing around lately. It gives you a good idea what the film might look like.
From out of nowhere department, largely! Things are still ramping up for this summer’s release of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. According to our friends over at Animation Scoop, “Marvel and Disney XD announced today a 12-episode series of Rocket & Groot animated shorts. The shorts follow Rocket and Groot (from the Guardians Of The Galaxy) as they try to figure out how to get enough credits to buy a new ship after their old one breaks down. A compilation of all the shorts will premiere on Disney XD at 7:00am ET/PT on April 10th. Rocket is voiced by Trevor Devall (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Johnny Test) and Groot is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, The Cleveland Show). Featuring animation by Oscar-nominated Passion Pictures, the shorts are directed by Arnaud Delord and written by Chris ‘Doc’ Wyatt and Kevin Burke.” The Animation Scoop article has a preview.
Here’s what publisher First Second have to say about their new prequel book Animal Crackers — Circus Mayhem: “The wacky, high-action graphic novel companion to Animal Crackers, Scott Christian Sava’s highly-anticipated animated feature film. Buffalo Bob’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Animal Circus is famous for its jump-roping giraffe, tangoing lion, and knife-throwing elephant. But they have to be fakes, right? Owen is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. When he visits the circus he discovers that his uncle and, coincidentally, all of the animals, are missing. It can only be the work of Buffalo Bob’s sideshow rival: Contorto. Owen stumbles upon the one thing that can save the day: Buffalo Bob’s box of animal crackers. But these aren’t any ordinary cookies: One bite and you’re transformed into a circus animal!” Look for it in hardcover later this month, or you can read all about it over on Goodreads.
Thanks to a recent YouTube post about upcoming animated films, we learned of a new feature in production called The Ark and the Aardvark. Here’s the ad blurb: “The story follows an outcast aardvark by the name of Gilbert [voiced by Miles Teller], who becomes the reluctant leader of a ragtag group of misfit animals that need to be led to the mighty ark before the impending flood. Along their journey, they band together to conquer unforeseen obstacles, and ultimately, Gilbert discovers within himself the inner strength and ingenuity to prove that in a world of ‘twos’, he was truly destined to be The One.” Currently in production at Unified Pictures, the film is being directed by John Stevenson — co-director of the original Kung Fu Panda. No word yet on a precise release date (or who is going to distribute it), but it’s supposed to come out this year.
The artist Cielo Pinawin is crafter who chrochets fuzzy character dolls, and she sells them on line as CrochetGiftsbyCielo. She specializes in Pokemon characters, but lately she’s branched out into other anime critters and even the Ninja Turtles. All of her creations are hand-made and customized when you order them. Visit her Etsy Store to see what she’s done so far.
From an article at Animation World Network we’ve learned that Radical Sheep Productions have hooked up with Teletoon in a deal to broadcast their new animated TV series The Bagel and Becky Show in Canada. “The animated series is based on the book Bagel’s Lucky Hat by Dave Cooper (creator of PigGoatBananaCricket). The Bagel and Becky Show is a bugged-out, offbeat comedy for kids 6-11 that follows mismatched siblings Bagel voiced by Kevin McDonald (Kids in the Hall, Phineas and Ferb), and his sister Becky voiced by Nikki Payne (Last Comic Standing, Satisfaction) as they explore their neighborhood of Awkward Hills and stumble into whack-loads of outlandish situations.” No word yet on when it might be distributed to other parts of North America. Also no word as to why the little doggie has a cat for a sister, but we should probably be used to that kind of thing by now…
Recently we learned of a new Chinese/American co-production for television and the ‘nets called Valt the Wonder Deer. It’s produced by DreamEast Pictures, and late last year they inked a deal with Jetpack Distribution to bring the series out to the world. Valt is based on the Chinese myth of the nine-colored deer. According to an article at Animation magazine’s web site, “Valt the Wonder Deer follows Valt and his friends as they encounter funny moments, scary trials and plenty of adventure on their journey to obtain the power of the Five Magic Elements and rescue his trapped parents, the Deer King and Queen, from the comically evil overlords of the Land of Metal. The show uses the group’s journey and experiences to demonstrate themes of love, courage, friendship and responsibility to its young viewers.” Some of the American crew of Valt have previously worked on animation as diverse as Beavis & Butt-Head, Skylanders, Ben 10, Kung Fu Panda, and Dragons: Riders of Berk. Furry.Today has more, including the trailer up on Vimeo. [Again, thanks to Changa Lion for this!]
Netflix has a new stop-motion animated series hitting the digital byways soon. Here’s what the creators say: “From American Greetings Entertainment and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Buddy Thunderstruck is an action-comedy, stop-motion extravaganza that follows the adventures of a semi-truck racing dog named Buddy and his albino ferret mechanic. It all goes down in race-obsessed Greasepit, a place chock full of larger-than-life characters and nitro-burning, gear-slamming, tire-squealing, fish-tailing good times.” In case you didn’t know, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios are the house that animates Robot Chicken, and American Greetings Entertainment are the original creators of the Care Bears — as the trailer says, Yes Really. [Thanks to Changa Lion from Furry.Today for pointing this one out. Visit there to see new trailer!]