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DVD and Video

Look At Th-Th-This!

We got this over at Animation Scoop: “Warner Archives has announced today the September 19th release for Porky Pig 101 – a unique 5-disc DVD set that collects 99 black-and-white Looney Tunes (and two Technicolor Merrie Melodies) starring Warner Bros. first cartoon superstar. The set includes cartoons dating from 1935 (with Porky’s first appearance in Friz Freleng’s I Haven’t Got A Hat) through 1943 (in Frank Tashlin’s Porky Pig’s Feat), presented in original release order. There is audio commentary on key cartoons from animation historians Greg Ford, Michael Barrier, Jerry Beck, and Mark Kausler, among others.” All these years, and still no pants…

image c. 2017 Warner Archives

Loving Like Cats and Dogs

Here’s the Plan is a new 2D animated short film from Chile, written and directed by Fernanda Frick. “A married cat-dog couple of cupcake bakers dream of opening their own bakery. One day their oven breaks and they have to postpone their dream in order to earn money and replace it. Somewhere down the line, they drift apart from their dream and from themselves.” It had its world premier at the Nashville International Film Festival last April, and it’s been making the rounds at animation festivals since then. The official web site has a lot more info.

image c. 2017 herestheplanfilm.com

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Help Restore An Animation Treasure

Once again we have Animation Scoop to thank for this bit of news: David Hale Hand, the son of Disney Legend David Dodd Hand, has a new new Kickstarter campaign up and running to restore his father’s Musical Paintbox series of animated shorts, as well as to update and enhance the Animaland series of shorts (which have previously been released on DVD). If you are not familiar with the elder Hand, check this out: “David Dodd Hand was an Animator and Director, and best known as Supervising Director of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Bambi (1942). He was also Studio Production Supervisor while he was at the Disney Studios from 1930 – 1944… Leaving Disney, he was creator and Managing Director of Gaumont British Animation (GBA), a J. Arthur Rank Studio, where he created the 19 films about which are the focus of this project.” Those 9 Animaland shorts introduced us to new characters like Ginger Nutt (and his girlfriend Hazel), Oswald Ostrich, and Digger the Platypus. Anthropomorphic characters made their presence known in Musical Paintbox too — a series about the quirky British countryside and its many legends. The Kickstarter campaign has only a couple of weeks left (as of this writing), and contributors will receive digital copies of the restored films, so visit soon.

image c. 2017 GB Animation

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A Wolf and Dog Trading Places

“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.

image c. 2016 by Lynn Chen

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Do You Want Philip To Be Free?

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?

image c. 2017 by Mengyao Zhang

Well Now, That’s Inventive!

Invention Story is a new CGI animated series created by Trad Animation (that’s the name!) from China. Commissioned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the show is intended to spark in young people an interest in science and engineering. “This series of stories take place in a forest surrounding a town called Carrot Town, full of joyful and magic air. The main character is an intelligent, thoughtful, and creative fox, who in each episode makes a new invention. These inventions associate various fields of production in our daily life, which children see, or use everyday, everywhere. In the process of carrying out each invention, our young audience will be thinking and understanding the science, knowledge, and principle behind them, arousing their interest in creating new devises.” That’s what they say. Interestingly, the story editor behind this new series is an American: None other than Jymn Magon, creator of Disney’s Gummi Bears and TaleSpin. The series began with a pilot movie, Agent F.O.X., which is available in English. Currently episodes of Invention Story are posted on YouTube in the original Chinese. No word yet on an English version!

image c. 2016 Trad Animation

image c. 2016 Trad Animation

Coming To Rock Your World… Literally!

Ah, the joys of nerdy people playing mix-and-match with their favorite media. Such is the origin of Godzilactus, a new animation project created by the team of Bryce Abood (a writer and musician) and Jeff Fuller (an artist), collectively known as Sick Bird. In essence, the mighty Godzilla discovers the helmet of Galactus while venturing through space… and he returns to Earth in search of the only thing which can fill his ravenous hunger: Hip hop beats!  Unfortunately, the ultimate beat was stolen by a robot known as Ernest Cyborg-Nine, and now Godzilactus will destroy whole cities and even whole planets in his quest to get his beat back! Any of this making any sense? No? Good. It’s all good fun created as a throw-back to the Marvel Comics motion-comics of the late 1960’s, with a lot of other fannish references tossed in. The Sick Bird guys got a lot of help from some animations veterans who worked on shows like SeaLab 2021, Saturday Night Live, and Metalocalypse. Check out the first short over on YouTube, and be prepared for more! The beat has only begun…

image c. 2016 Sick Bird

image c. 2016 Sick Bird

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How Does An Elephant Sneak?

Out-of-nowhere department… and more of a curiosity than a recommendation. There’s a new DVD out this week: A direct-to-video animated film called Elephant Kingdom. Here’s the tag: “When brave elephant Rock (Cary Elwes) sees his wife, Melody (Alexa PenaVega), kidnapped by the powerful human king (Patrick Warburton), the mighty warrior will need some jumbo-sized help from his friends in order to rescue her. Coming to his aid is a quirky, courageous troop of young elephants, including Rally (Carlos PenaVega), and Pugsley (Mikey Bolts), plus the ever-trusty and wacky Wingman (Garrett Clayton) and the kindhearted human queen (Ambyr Childers)”. Interestingly, other than “Grindstone Entertainment” and Lionsgate (who released it) we know next to nothing about who made this. The IMDB entry does not list any director, writers, or other crew; only the English-language voice actors.  It’s available and on the shelves now, but check out the trailer first.

image c. 2016 Lionsgate

image c. 2016 Lionsgate

Two French Kids and Two Magical Creatures

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir is a French animated TV series by Thomas Astruc and ZAG Animation, which premiered in 2015. It tells the story of two high school kids in Paris, Marinette and Adrien, who inherit the powers of Ladybug and Cat Noir — charged with defeating the evil spirits that turn ordinary people into dangerous criminals. Each of them has joined up with a Kwami, a good magical spirit who transforms them into their super-selves for a limited time. The series was dubbed in English and it’s been running on Nickelodeon in North America — as well as released on DVD by Shout! Factory. What’s more, now Action Lab have now produced a new full-color Miraculous comic book series.

image c. 2016 ZAG Animation

image c. 2016 ZAG Animation