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!]
Your humble ed-otter journeyed to UCLA for the 44th annual Annie Awards — the Oscars of animation, presented by ASIFA-Hollywood. As expected (or hoped by many furry fans!), Zootopia dominated the evening in the feature categories, taking home Annies for Storyboarding, Character Design, Writing, Directing, and Best Feature. It was not a sweep, however, and Kubo and the Two Strings was not far behind: It won awards in the feature categories for Editing, Character Animation, and Production Design. Voting for the Best Voice Acting in the feature category resulted in a tie, shared by Auli’i Cravalho for Moana and Jason Bateman for Zootopia. A new category, Best Independent Feature, was won by the subtly anthropomorphic film The Red Turtle. Disney’s film The Jungle Book won an Annie for Character Animation In A Live Action Production (though it’s still controversial if the film counts as that). Best Short was won by Pixar’s popular birdie film Piper, while Best Student Film went to a European short about dinosaurs called Citipati. Over in the TV broadcast categories the most popular winner of furry interest seemed to be Dreamworks’ Trollhunters, which won for Storyboarding, Character Design, and Character Animation. The Best Television Production for Preschool Children went to Tumble Leaf, while the Best TV Production for Children went to to Adventure Time. Visit the Annie Awards web site for a complete list of the nominees and winners. Congratulations to all!
Monica Bruenjes specializes in animation, children’s book illustration, & comics. She is the founder of Subarashii, a creator-owned company designed for providing you with “Splendid artwork for a joyful life.” To that end she has created an on-line comic called Penguin & Peep. “Best friends and polar opposites, Penguin & Peep go on adventures in hopes of having the perfect day together. Penguin loves his home in the zoo, but Peep is always looking for something new.” Also on her web site you’ll find information about Moosebear, a TV series concept which Monica has been trying to pitch. “In the Alaskan woods behind her house, a relocated California girl determined to fit in becomes friends with a magical creature trying to help his no-nonsense neighbors.”
“Lynn Chen is an illustrator / animator / 3D environment artist originally from Szechuan, China. She loves to travel and draw cute creatures. With an Animation major background and the professional experience in video game industry, she combined her illustration with animation to create interactive picture books that make kids laugh.” The first of those books in question would be Woolly and Shaggy, which is currently available as an app. According to the official web site, “Woolly Wolf lives in the forest and get tired of hunting; Shaggy Dog resides in the town and get bored from herding sheep. What would happen if they decide to exchange their lives?” The site includes an introductory animated short which Lynn put up on Vimeo. She also has her own personal web site to display many of her other animation projects and full-color illustrations.
Mengyao Zhang has been working mostly as a layout artist and lighting specialist while he completes his studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Most recently he and his team have been hard at work on his thesis film, Philip — and now they have a Kickstarter campaign up and running to get the film completed. “It tells a dystopian story about Philip who’s trying to free himself from the rules in his world. The story of this film is based on the black and white film Metropolis from 1927. The aesthetic of the film is influenced by German Expressionism and tells a story which is dark in appearance but warm in the heart.” Oh, did we mention that Philip and his world are all cat people?
Ha Huy Hoang is a freelance animator and character designer who signs his work with the name Splendid River. Over at his web site he has many samples of his work, and also a short trailer for Rescue, a 2D animated film he is working to complete. A chubby wolf must discover his inner hero when an evil monster kidnaps the love of his life — a pretty mushroom. Yes. Also for sale at the web site are his books of character design sketches, Toontastic and Animatoon.
Here’s an artist who also puts things quite simply: “Justin Hilden is an animator and illustrator based in Los Angeles. He loves possums and Scandinavian pastries.” Based on the former at least, Justin created an animated short film called Oh Possum, which can be viewed on his web site. There you will also find an extensive essay about his creative process of dreaming up the possum brothers, Switch and Ellsworth, and bringing them to life through animation. You can also see episodes of The Roadents, a series about two gophers on a road trip that Justin created for Bix Pix Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television.