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Here Come The Annie Awards!

Presented annually by the Hollywood Chapter of ASIFA (the International Animated Film Society), the Annie Awards are considered by many to the the Oscars of animation — and often enough, a vital clue as to who is likely in the running for Academy Awards from this year. Recently, the nominees for the Annie Awards of 2019 were announced. Surprising no one, Disney dominated in several categories, most especially in Best Feature Film. Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4 were both on that list, along with Missing Link, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and Klaus. Missing Link did surprise many, matching Frozen 2 at 8 overall nominations each. Over in the TV categories, notable furry nominees included Bojack Horseman, Disney Mickey Mouse, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a pleasant surprise: Tuca & Bertie in several categories. Visit the official Annie Awards web site to find out more. The Awards will be presented at a ceremony live from UCLA on January 25th, 2020.

image c. 2019 Netflix

So Who’s In Danger?

Interesting news: Bob Weinstein, brother of the infamous-many-times-over Harvey, is still making movies… and his next project is animated. And furry, according to Animation World Network. “Bob Weinstein… is back on the scene with a new production company, Watch This Entertainment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new boutique production house’s first film is animated: Endangered, a family adventure being co-produced with Téa Leoni, who will also voice the lead character. The film is based on a 2017 book of animal photography by U.K. wildlife photographer Tim Flach. French collective Illogic, a group of six artists known for their work on the 2018 Oscar-nominated short film, Garden Party, will write and direct the film.” That’s all we know so far. Keep your ears up for when we learn more about the plot and the release date!

image c. 2019 Watch This Entertainment

The British Bunnies are Back

Just today the trailers for the upcoming sequel to Peter Rabbit have hit the Internet. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is coming to theaters next April, once again directed by Will Gluck. According to Wikipedia, “The film stars the voice of James Corden as the title character, with Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Daisy Ridley, and David Oyelowo also starring.” Meanwhile The Hollywood Reporter says, “The sequel to 2018’s Peter Rabbit catches up with Thomas, Bea and the rabbits that have become a makeshift family. Despite his best efforts, Peter can’t seem to shake his mischievous tendencies. When adventuring out of the garden, Peter finds himself in a world where his mischief is appreciated. Conflict ensues when his family risks everything to come looking for him, which forces Peter to figure out what kind of bunny he wants to be.” Check out the trailer for yourself.

image c. 2019 Sony Pictures

Many of the Usual Suspects

Thanks to Animation Scoop we found out about The Bad Guys — a new feature film currently in production at Dreamworks Animation, slated for a 2021 release. “After a lifetime of pulling legendary heists, five notorious bad guys — Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula — attempt their most challenging job yet: Going good. Nobody has ever failed so hard at trying to be good as The Bad Guys… Based on the bestselling Scholastic blockbuster book series by Aaron Blabey, which has more than 8.2 million copies in print worldwide, The Bad Guys is directed by Pierre Perifel (director, DWA award-winning short Bilby; animator, the Kung Fu Panda films), making his feature-directing debut, from a script by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Get Hard) and Hilary Winston (NBC’s Community and ABC’s Happy Endings).” Got all that?

image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

New Animation from California

Gas Money Pictures is a new animation production studio in Southern California. Currently they have several nearly-completed 2D projects, plus several more in development. And wouldn’t you know it, several of the things they’re working on happen to be very anthropomorphic. Check out Mr. Wiggles Saves The World: “An all-ages family show about a friendly alien who finds himself trapped in the family dog while trying to literally save the world.” Straightforward enough. There’s also Little Blue, an animated feature film about a family dog, and something called Punk Rock Possum. Their web site has information about all this and more, plus they have a Vimeo page where you can see their works in progress.

image c. 2109 Gas Money Pictures

Little Dog in a Strange, Strange World

Another announcement we found at Animation World Network: “GKIDS, producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature Marona’s Fantastic Tale, by film from director Anca Damian… The film features Marona, a mixed-breed Labrador, who after an accident reflects on her past homes and experiences. Journeying back through her memories she reflects on the deep impressions she has made on her owners’ lives. With Marona’s unfailing love and empathy she had provided lightness and innocence to her families. Marona’s Fantastic Tale is a beautiful and emotional story of an average dog and her extraordinary life.” The picture below doesn’t really do justice to how weird and artistically adventurous this 2D film is. Check out the trailer instead!

image c. 2019 GKIDS

Your Childhood Is Not Safe…

Seriously, are we the last ones to know about this…? If so we’re embarrassed. Following the latest… trend (?), Hollywood is making a big budget, live action adaptation of Hanna-Barbera’s 60’s and 70’s icons The Banana Splits… as a horror movie. No, we are not joking or insane. Check out this from MovieWeb.com: “The upcoming horror thriller centers on a boy named Harley who attends a taping of The Banana Splits TV show with his brother Austin, mother Beth, and father, Mitch. It was supposed to be business as usual for the producer of the series, Rebecca, and a fun-filled birthday for young Harley. But things take an unexpected turn… and fittingly the body count quickly rises. Will Harley and company survive? And if so, what will be left of them?” It seems that a review copy of the film is already making the rounds — and the MPAA have given it an R rating for “horror violence and gore”. Honestly, what can we even say…? (Does it surprise anyone that the Syfy Channel has a hand in this?)

image c. 2019 Hanna-Barbera

He’s Big, He’s White, He’s Lost

Just today we got the first full trailer for Abominable, the new animated feature from Dreamworks and Pearl, their production partners in China. Animation Scoop has the video. “When teenage Yi (Chloe Bennet, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, she and her mischievous friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), name him ‘Everest’ and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. But the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to help Everest get home… Abominable is written and directed by Jill Culton (Open Season, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 2) and co-directed by Todd Wilderman (Trolls, The Croods).” Look for it in theaters September 27th.

image c. 2019 Entertainment Weekly

Too Chicken To Fly?

Animation World Network let us know about a new European animated firm called Ploey. Unlike the usual animated film we whine about, this one seems to have already found US distribution! “When a young flightless plover chick named Ploey gets separated from his family, he must undertake a dangerous journey to a legendary valley in order to save his loved ones from falling prey to an evil falcon… A co-production between the animation division of Iceland’s GunHil‘s and Belgium-based studio Cyborn, Ploey is written by Friðrik Erlingsson and directed by Árni Ásgeirsson. The CG animated feature is set to take wing in the U.S. in April both on DirecTV and in theaters.” The article includes more artwork and clips. Seems like it’ll be flying in soon!

image c. 2019 Cyborn