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But the Cat Came Back

Screen Daily has an article about 10 Lives, a new CGI feature film created by some familiar names. “The film is the second to be produced as part of a joint venture between Chinese animation outfit Original Force and GFM Animation. The first, Duck Duck Goose, will be distributed in China by Wanda Pictures and in the UK by Entertainment Film Distributors… 10 Lives is produced by Penney Finkelman Cox (Shrek) and Adam Zhang, senior vice president of Original Force. The story follows a once scrawny shelter kitten that now leads a pampered life after being adopted. Everything changes when he loses his ninth life. In the afterlife, he escapes and cheats his way into another cycle of nine lives, but he doesn’t realise that each of the nine lives will see him return as a different animal.” As you can see from the article, the film has already set up distribution throughout much of the world — but no word yet about North America. You can just bet, though, that a US or Canada deal is going to hinge on how well Duck Duck Goose does at the box office later this year.

image c. 2018 GFM Animation

Korean Strangeness Comes To America

You may recall that a few years ago Fred Patten wrote an article for about a very, very strange Korean animated film called Satellite Girl and Milk Cow. Here, we’ll let Fred summarize the plot: It’s about “… a pianist (male), transformed into a cow (female) by Merlin the Magician in the form of an anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper, and pursued by a villainous incinerator that wants to incinerate him/her; while a communication satellite falls from space, becomes an Astro Boy-like robot girl, and saves the cow from the incinerator and its secret agents.” Got all that? No? It’s okay, we don’t either. So why bring this up now? Well thanks to Animation World Network we’ve learned that GKIDS has finally picked up the rights for the film, and they will be releasing a subtitled version to theaters and DVD later this summer.

image c. 2018 GKIDS

Again, Rabbits Meet Foxes… Over Eggs

Here’s a European animated film from last year that we missed somehow: Rabbit School — Guardians of the Golden Egg. According to an article at Animation magazine’s site from last March, “Following its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, family animated feature Rabbit School – Guardians of the Golden Egg has had a strong debut in cinemas… Directed by Ute von Münchow‐Pohl, Rabbit School centers on a young urban rabbit named Max who gets stuck in an old-fashioned Easter Rabbit school when it is surrounded by a clan of clever foxes who want to take over the holiday. With the help of cute bunny Emmy and the instruction of the mysterious Madame Hermione, Max learns not only the secret magic of Easter bunnies, but also where he truly belongs.” As you can see from the trailer, the film was dubbed with a British cast for distribution in the UK. No word yet if anyone plans to release it on DVD for North America.

image c. 2018 Akkord Film

The Annie Awards for 2017

Saturday the 3rd at UCLA, the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) handed out the annual Annie Awards for the best in animated films, television, and effects for the year 2017. As everyone expected, the big winner of the evening was Disney/Pixar’s Coco, which took home 11 of the 13 honors that it was nominated for, including Best Feature, Best Directing, and Best Writing. (Not really an anthropomorphic film, but those alebrijes were so cool!) In spite of Coco’s sweep, there was still room for several anthropomorphic items to win awards in several categories. Revolting Rhymes was awarded Best Special Production (the award for medium-length original films). Based on the poems of Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes was created by Magic Light Pictures, which previously brought us The Gruffalo and Highway Rat. Silvergate Media’s series The Octonauts won for Best TV Production for Preschool Children, while We Bare Bears won Best TV Production for Children. Trollhunters won for Best Character Animation in a TV Production, and the feature War for the Planet of the Apes won for Character Animation in a Live Action Production. Cuphead took home the award for Best Game. Meanwhile, the Disney Mickey Mouse TV series had quite a night, taking home Annies for Best Directing, Best Music, and Best Storyboarding. Visit the Annie Awards web site to see the full list. [And remember: The Ursa Major Awards are taking nominations now!]

Image c. 2018 Magic Light Pictures


In the spirit of “How did this sneak up on us?”, it turns out that Condorito now has his own movie — called, appropriately enough, Condorito: The Movie. What, never heard of Condorito? The bird-with-a-beret was created in 1949 by Chilean doctor and political cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger. Since then, the bird has gone on to become practically the Mickey Mouse of Latin America… which is funny, given that he was created to make fun of Walt Disney’s over-sanitized version of Chile in the film Saludos Amigos. The Condorito gag strip (always ending with a lame joke or pun, and lots of characters fainting over backwards with a loud PLOP!) has become so well-known that someone was bound to make an animated movie out of it. And now Pajarraco Films (from Peru!) have brought Condorito to the screen in CGI. (It’s only been released in Spanish with subtitles, so far.) The plot? Condorito would desperately love to date his va-va-voom human girlfriend Yayita, but doing so means he has to get past her disapproving parents. Things get a bit more complicated when invading aliens capture and run off with Yayita’s mama — and who else but Condorito to try and rescue her? Admittedly the critics have not been kind to the film, some complaining that it smooths off the rough edges and adult content of the original strip. Though not very approving either, Lili Loofbourow’s review for The Week has some good background information on the strip. Oh, check out the official trailer too.

image c. 2018 Pajarraco Films

Looking Ahead To 2018

Welcome to the New Year! The helpful folks over at Animation Scoop have published a list of animated feature films scheduled to be released in North America this year — and of course, many of them are of particular note to Furry Fans.  Including things like… Peter Rabbit (coming out on February 9th), The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (February 23rd), Isle of Dogs (March 23rd), Duck Duck Goose (April 20th), Smallfoot (May 11th), Hotel Transylvania 3 (July 13th), The Grinch (November 9th), and Wreck It Ralph 2 (November 21st). They also give a list of films that are expected to come out but that don’t have a solid release date yet, including Monster Family, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad, and The Ark and the Aardvark. They did forget a couple — in fact, first out of the gate is Paddington 2 (coming out on January 12th) which is at least as “animated” as Peter Rabbit. Also there’s Animal Crackers, which has found distribution but for which we still don’t have a solid release date other than “this year”. Look for all of these films through 2018!

image c. 2018 Studio Canal

The Wolf Caught Their Eye

Thanks to Animation World Network we found out about Manivald, a new animated short film by Estonian director Chintis Lundgren. It’s been making quite a stir at international animation festivals. Here’s what they say: “Manivald, in the same vein of Lundgren’s previous work, is both absurdist drama and social satire. The eponymous fox, an academic drowning in various degrees, is unemployed and depends on his controlling mother for his livelihood. Manivald is a character the young and educated may find all too relate-able. The tense mother-son relationship is pushed to a breaking point when both Manivald and his mother fall for handyman Toomas, a handsome wolf with pecs and abs to spare. The ensuing conflict is the final nudge Manivald needs to leave home and start a life of his own.” Next up is a presentation at the Sundance Film Festival.

image c. 2017 by Chintis Lundgren

Foxy Lady!

Sorry, sorry… too obvious. Thanks to some friends on Facebook, we stumbled across an upcoming fantasy film called Hanson and the Beast — from China, no less. Drama Panda has a preview. The story goes like this: “Yuan Shuai (Feng Shaofeng) is a a man who is drowning in debt. In order to pay up, he goes on blind dates with daughters from wealthy families but ends up falling in love with Bai Xian Chu (Crystal Liu), a fox demon who’s come to the human realm to repay a debt. However, relationships between humans and demons are strictly forbidden. Bai Xian Chu is dragged back to the demon world and Yuan Shuai sets out to rescue her.” So who’s Hanson? We don’t know yet. Written and directed by Xiao Yang, Hanson comes to theaters in China right at the end of December, then everywhere else on January 5th. Check out the trailer on YouTube as well.

image c. 2017 CKF Pictures

The Annie Award Nominations for 2017

Recently ASIFA-Hollywood announced the nominees for the 2017 Annie Awards — considered to be the Oscars of animation, and often predictors of other upcoming awards. 2017 was nowhere near as furry as 2016, but there are quite a few furry (and more generally anthropomorphic) items scattered throughout the nominees. Cars III is up for Best Feature, as well as Animated Effects. Despicable Me III is also nominated in those categories, as well as Character Design (everybody still loves the minions…). Big Bad Fox from Europe is nominated in the somewhat-new category of Best Independent Feature, as well as Character Animation and Best Directing. The “Special Production” category has several anthropomorphic nominees including the Imaginary Friend Society series, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (also nominated for Animated Effects and Music) and Pig: The Dam Keeper Poems. Though they’re not up for Best Feature, Ferdinand and The Star are both up for Best Editing, plus Production Design (Ferdinand) and Storyboarding (The Star). The furriest Short Subject nominee is the stop motion film Hedgehog’s Home — unfortunately, in spite of its title, Son of Jaguar is not a furry thing at all. It’s interesting that the entire Animation In A Live Action Feature category is all entries with anthropomorphic interest: Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Kong: Skull Island, Valerean and the City of a Thousand Planets, and War for the Planet of the Apes. Likewise you’ll find a lot of anthropomorphic interest in the Best TV Series for Pre-School Children (Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Octonauts, Peg + Cat, The Stinky & Dirty Show, and Through The Woods) and Best TV Series for Children categories (Buddy Thunderstruck, Lost in Oz, Niko and the Sword of Light, Tangled the Series, and We Bare Bears). Buddy Thunderstruck is also up for Character Design, as is Danger & Eggs and Trollhunters. Of course Trollhunters is making a good show on its own, with nominations for Direction, Storyboarding, and Writing. Over in the Best TV Series for Adults the furriest thing is Bojack Horseman, which is also nominated for Voice Acting and Editing. The Disney Mickey Mouse series is quite popular, as shown by the nominations for Direction, Music, Production Design, Storyboarding, Voice Acting, and Writing! Finally, several shows we know and like are nominated in one category each, including Dragons: Race to the Edge (Best Direction), Tumble Leaf (Best Music), Pickle & Peanut (Best Editing), Amazing World of Gumball (Best Voice Acting), and Dinotrux (Best Editing). Whew!  Got all that? The Annie Awards will be handed out at a gala ceremony on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 at UCLA.

image c. 2017 Netflix