Making its premier at WonderCon this year (in Anaheim, California, of course!) was Termites, a new animated film concept by Matthew G. Hill, Barrett Kime, Tighe Damron, Melanie Makaiwi, and Tom Wentworth. The crew have started up a Kickstarter campaign to finance their project. Simply put: What would happen if a colony of termites in a fancy home got wind (sorry, sorry…) that the house is about to be fumigated? “Through the eyes of young Termite hero, Larkin, we dive into both the fascinating narrative world (4 arms, anybody?), the exquisite landscape of artistic possibility, and the raw emotion of a tragic, yet inspiring story”. The campaign is running on Kickstarter until May 17th.
Michael Vash is a fine artist, illustrator, and former Disney employee with a wicked sense of humor. Mostly (but not exclusively) it’s directed at our canine companions. His first hardcover book is called Doggy Styles: The Poop and the Scoop — An Irreverent Guide to Man’s Best Friend, and it’s available at Amazon right now. Fair warning: These are not illustrations meant for kids! Also, check out Michael’s personal web site for sample pages from the book, as well as more of his illustrations both silly and not.
This year Dreamworks is celebrating 20 years of animation on TV and the big screen. Among the signs of the celebration is The Art of Dreamworks Animation, a new hardcover book edited by Ramin Zahed. It’s available later this month from Abrams Publishing. “Brimming with concept art, preproduction designs, and character sketches, DreamWorks Animation marks the studio’s 20th anniversary and offers unprecedented behind-the-scenes access into its archives. An introduction by DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg provides insider perspective on the studio’s most popular films, as does running commentary from artists and directors on all of DreamWorks’ 30 films to date.” By which they mean films like Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and How to Train Your Dragon. Order it now at Amazon.
Not content to have the (as should be expected) “art of Rio 2“, Blue Sky Studios instead bring us The Art of Rio: Featuring a Carnival of Art from Rio and Rio 2. My, now that’s a title! “From 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age and Horton Hears a Who!, the musical adventure comedy Rio told the story of how rare Blue Macaws Blu and Jewel met and fell in love in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. In Rio 2, the pair journey with their 3 chicks to the amazon jungle in search of their wild roots. With over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, along with interviews with the key animation talent, this book reveals the artistry behind the 2 colorful movies.” It’s put together by Tara Bennett (who’s written and edited several movie tie-in books of the sort), with an introduction by Carlos Saldanha (the director of both films). Look for it at Amazon, where it’s available now in hardcover.
More from the folks at Cartoon Brew: Dreamworks Animation have announced three new CGI animated series they will be producing as part of their mega-distribution-deal with Netflix — and guess what? All three of them are anthropomorphic, in one way or another. King Julian of course follows the adventures of the crazy lemur from the Madagascar movies and the Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Puss in Boots, who needs no introduction; and Veggie Tales in the House, a new iteration of the well-known faith-based animated TV show. All of this follows the 2D animated series Turbo F.A.S.T., which Dreamworks premiered on Netflix last December. The three new series will be available before the end of 2014.
Over at Cartoon Brew they recently put up an article about a new CGI animated feature film conceived and created by Kirby Atkins (who previously worked on Jimmy Newtron: Boy Genius). It’s called Beast of Burden, and it’s currently in production at Huhu Productions in New Zealand. Not to be confused with the Dark Horse comic Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, though: That’s being developed for animation by Reel FX. Mr. Kirby’s project involves an endangered farm-labor animal called a thoriphant — who discovers that there may just be more to their species than anyone has imagined before. To secure financing, the creator and his crew put together a proof-of-concept animated short — you can watch it over on Vimeo. Now, with the backing taken care of, they’re shopping the project around for distribution.
Head out to the movies lately and you’re likely to see the teaser trailer for the new live-action film Paddington — featuring a world-famous little bear in a blue overcoat and a floppy brown hat. For those not familiar with the star of Michael Bond’s beloved series of children’s books (started in 1958), Paddington is a small, human-speaking bear who travels from the wilds of Peru to England — where he hooks up with a nurturing human family, who name him after the train station where they found him. Paddington has appeared in TV series before (both animated and puppetry), but this is his first feature film. It’s produced by David Heyman (who produced all eight Harry Potter films), and written and directed by Paul King, best known for Britain’s The Mighty Boosh (which, you may recall, had its own fair share of furry content). The movie adaptation stars Colin Firth as the voice of the CGI little ursine star. Check out the article at Yahoo Movies to find out more — and see the trailer. The film comes to theaters in North America this December.
Our friends over at Cartoon Brew have a new article up about Cartoon Network’s new series (that’s plural!) they have announced for their upcoming 2014/2015 fall season. And, notably, there are several new series in the group with more than a passing Furry interest. Featured in the article is the new series Over the Garden Wall. “Cartoon Network’s first event mini-series, an animated comedy/fantasy story about two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who are trapped in a mysterious world. In this ten-part mini-series, Wirt and Greg must travel across this strange land until they find their way home, aided by a wise old Woodsman who gives them directions and a bluebird named Beatrice.” Next up is We Bare Bears, “…a comedy about three bear siblings, named Grizzly, Panda and Ice Bear. Each episode follows their awkward attempts at assimilating into human society, whether they’re looking for food, trying to make human friends, or scheming to become internet famous.” In Numb Chucks, “Woodchuck brothers Dilweed and Fungus didn’t always see themselves as mystical Kung Fu saviors until they stumbled upon an infomercial featuring mega legend Woodchuck Morris’ mullet-fueled motivational kung-fu video”. More familiar characters returning to TV include The Tom & Jerry Show (a new series of cartoon shorts from Warner Brothers), Be Cool Scooby Doo, Bugs Bunny returning with “new friends” Bigfoot and Squeaks the squirrel in Wabbit, and Sonic the Hedgehog in Sonic Boom. Check out the article for more detailed information on each of these and others.
Recently on Animation Scoop came the announcement of a new feature-length 2-D animation project called Unstable, which is being developed by “the star studded animation team of Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh (Phineas & Ferb), David Freedman (Groove High) and top BBC Comedy Producer, Gareth Edwards (Mitchell & Webb). The three have been looking for the right project to collaborate on since they all worked on the adult animated animated series The Mr. Hell Show (BBC2 and Showtime) back in 2000. ” Unstable tells the story of a police horse who is accused of a crime he did not commit (“un-stable”, get it?), and of the little girl whom he turns to for help. One of the producers describes the film as “Witness meets Oceans 11 bumps into Madagascar“. The film is being brought to the screen by Peafur Productions.