Komixx Media Group have a new 2D animated TV series called Dog Loves Books, based on the best-selling books for young readers by Louise Yates. “Dog runs a bookshop and he loves books. Whenever he or his best friend Pug have a problem or a question, Dog knows the answer will lie in one of his books. When Dog opens the book and begins to read, he and Pug are swept away into a world of adventure and imagination where anything is possible. Dog and Pug often get completely lost in the books they read… but they are always back in time for tea and biscuits.” The show is slowly making its way into international markets.
Another recent article from Animation Magazine, this time discussing some of their favorite new animated projects they’ve seen shown off at MIPCOM this year. And lo and behold, the majority of them are anthropomorphic! So we’ll be discussing the most interesting ones ourselves for the next few days. First up is Caiman, created by Rebecca Warner-Perry and Sue Tong, and produced by Illuminated Films from the UK. “Meet Caiman, a five-year-old crocodile who loves exploring – and who wouldn’t!?…when the village of Trickle End, a buzzing and bubbling community, is right outside his front door! Caiman lives at home with his Mum, Dad and older sister in a little wooden house, situated right on the edge of the exotic mangroves where the river meets the sea. All his friends and neighbours live, work and play nearby. There’s always someone to have fun with or somebody to lend a helping hand in Trickle End.” Animation has a link to IF’s show-reel, which includes more about Caiman and their other projects.
Earlier this year Animation World Network ran an article about Mattel Creations’ new line-up of 2017 CGI specials and animated series, which they are presenting at MIPCOM. Besides all the expected Barbie tie-ins and Thomas the Tank Engine, there’s a new show called Enchantimals. “At first glance you may think that the Enchantimals are just a regular group of girls. But on closer inspection you’ll see that this unique band live somewhere between human and animal. The Enchantimals are at one with nature, and as keepers of their forest home, they strive to maintain balance, peace and harmony, with unwavering compassion towards all living things. Each Enchantimal gets some much needed help from their very own animal bestie. Like the best of friends, they share an unbreakable bond, as well as extraordinary animal abilities. But why does their forest home need such a special group to help look after it? Because this is no ordinary forest – it’s enchanted!” Thanks for letting us know! We’ll let you know if and when and where Enchantimals gets picked up for broadcast.
Speaking of Gaumont Animation, we couldn’t very well pass up on an animated show called Furry Wheels, now could we? “André is a hyperactive young sloth with oodles of drive. He’s the first of his kind to even leave his tree. And he’s not stopping there; he wants to shake the dust of this town off his feet and see the world, but before everything he must pass his driving test. First stop, Racers School to get his diploma, because any herbivore who wants to survive out there needs to learn to drive, fast! Or else you’ll quickly end up as a leopard’s luncheon meat.” Created by Frédéric Martin, Furry Wheels is distributed in Europe by Disney XD — with an eye on international markets of course. TBI Vision has an interview with Pierre Belaïsch of Gaumont about the show.
image c. 2016 Gaumont Animation
Earlier this year we learned from Variety that “Gaumont Television is joining forces with German pubcaster ZDF to bring Belle et Sébastien, an animated series based on the popular 1960s TV show created by Cécile Aubry. Belle et Sébastien follows the adventures of a 6-year-old motherless boy and his friend, a big white dog, across the wilderness landscapes of the French Alps.” Belle and Sebastien was previously adapted as an anime series in the 1980’s by Toho Animation. Now the latest version from France has visited MIPCOM and they’re looking for international distribution. Animation World Network has a more recent article about Gaumont TV that includes more about this new show.
According to Beyond The Cartoon, Magic Light Pictures have announced they are adapting another popular children’s book for animation: In this case, The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. “Directed by Jeroen Jaspaert (Stick Man), the half-hour animated special follows the tale of a greedy rat who tyrannizes animals along the highway, as he steals their food at every opportunity: Clover from a rabbit, nuts from a squirrel, a leaf from some ants… he even steals his own horse’s hay. However what he really craves are cakes and all things sugary, and it’s his sweet tooth that finally leads him to a sticky outcome.” Magic Light have become known for adapting books by Dondaldson and Scheffler, including popular favorites The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child. The Highway Rat is being animated by Triggerfish in South Africa, and it’s set to premier in the UK on BBC One for Christmas in 2017.
Earlier this year we made mention of animator Diane Obomsawin and her 2014 graphic novel, On Loving Women, which Drawn & Quarterly had recently re-published. In it (through her drawings of anthropomorphic characters) she talked about her own experience and those of her friends, discovering that they were women who loved women, and who wanted to share their experiences with others who felt the same. Well now Diane has turned several of those very personal stories (and those characters) into an animated short film called I Like Girls. And this last September, I Like Girls was awarded the Nelvana Grand Prize for Independent Short at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival, which is one of the largest in North America. Read the article over at Animation World Network to find out more about this and other prize-winning films.
Animation Magazine recently ran an article listing a wide range of animated films coming our way next year. Though it would be difficult to compete with 2016 in terms of anthropomorphic content (no less than 16 films of furry interest!), the article does list several new animated titles that are likely to catch some attention from furry fandom. In order of planned release, they include: Rock Dog, The Nut Job 2, Cars 3, Despicable Me 3 (yes, more Minions…), Emojimove: Express Yourself (yes, yes, yes…), My Little Pony: The Movie, The Star, and Ferdinand. They also make mention of Blazing Samurai, though there are some doubts as to when that movie might be finished, given that the main production company went bankrupt early this year. Interesting, they do not mention Animal Crackers — but we did! Elsewhere in the same issue of Animation is a note that a work print of Spark (the monkey-in-space feature from The Nut Job folks) has been making the rounds at film festivals. Needless to say, we’ll be talking about all of these as they come closer to a theater near you!
Recently the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) announced the nominees for the Annie Awards of 2016, celebrating the best in animation in all media. Perhaps surprising no one, Zootopia topped the list with 11 nominations in 10 categories — including Best Feature Film, Best Writing, Best Directing, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Character Design, Best Voice Acting, Best Effects Animation, Best Storyboarding, and two nominations for Best Character Animation. The Annies being widely acknowledged as “the Oscars of Animation” means that Zootopia is now considered to be a front-runner for the Best Animated Feature Film at the actual Oscars — if not more categories as well. Interestingly, one thing that was a surprise was that Zootopia’s biggest competition at the Annies is not Pixar favorite Finding Dory (which was nominated in only four categories) but Laika’s most recent stop-motion film, Kubo and the Two Strings — which was also nominated in 10 categories. Other films of Furry interest that received nominations include Kung Fu Panda 3, The Red Turtle, The Secret Life of Pets, The Jungle Book, Sing, and Storks. Over in the TV category the anthro-themed nominees included Bojack Horseman, Peg + Cat, Puffin Rock, Tumble Leaf, Elena of Avalor, and long-running favorites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Adventure Time, and Wander of Yonder. Plus many other nominees in many categories, including the avian favorite Piper for Best Short. Read all about it over at the Annie Awards site. The awards will be presented at UCLA on February 4th next year. (And don’t forget — soon it will be time to nominate the Ursa Major Awards too!)