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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

More Furry Movies from Latin America

Ventana Sur, Argentina’s annual film marketing convention, has a division called Animation! — which, no prizes for guessing, covers animated film and TV produced in Argentina and other Latin American countries. Recently Variety had an article about the latest crop of films being pushed this year, and at least two of them are of particular interest to furry fans. Noah’s Ark (perhaps not the most original title…) is being directed by Sérgio Machado (The Violin Teacher). According to the article, “…the musical comedy unspools as both an adventure and political fable turning on two bohemian mice – inspired by celebrated Brazilian composers Vinicius de Moraes and Carlos Jobim – confronted by the flood.” Then there’s Escape to India, produced by Juan José Campanella and directed by Gastón Gorali — the same team that gave us Underdogs, the foosball-come-to-life movie. “Escape to India follows Azadi, a courageous cow who, destined for the slaughterhouse in Patagonia, escapes and begins an epic journey to India, where her mother tells her that cows are venerated.” Again, no word yet on when these films might be released, but they are in the works.

image c. Videofilmes

Grim Grinning Cats

Huevocartoon is an animation studio from Mexico that made a name for itself with the Huevos series of animated films — which were quite profitable north and south of the border. Now they’re taking things in a different direction with their new CGI film Grimalkin. According to an article in Variety, “…the horror comedy narrates how a domestic cat’s love for his family is tested when mischievous creatures invade the house, a foster home run by a loving young couple. Being the only one with the ability to see them, the cat must confront the creatures before they take over the house and its inhabitants.” The film is being directed by storyboard artist Sant Arellano. There’s no word yet on a planned release date — but check under your bed just in case.

image c. 2017 Huevocartoon

Step into the World of Crow

Recently, we learned about a new 3D virtual reality film in the works called Rainbow Crow from Baobab Studios. The idea is to make a short film where the viewer can step into a different world and interact with animal characters as they tell you a story. In this case, it’s a Native American legend about how the crow saved his fellow animals from a harsh winter frost — and in so doing, gained his famously black feathers. Directed by Eric Darnell from Dreamworks (Antz, Madagascar), Rainbow Crow stars the voices of singer John Legend, Diego Luna, Constance Wu, and Randy Edmonds. A short preview film (about 4 minutes of the final 40) made the rounds recently at Tribeca and other film festivals. Road To VR has an article about the production of the film.

image c. 2017 Baobab Studios

Panda Power Protects

More news we picked up at Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic Con. According to Screen Daily: “Stan Lee’s POW Entertainment has licensed its animated alien characters, The Unknowns, to be used in animated feature Panda vs. Aliens, which is currently in production at Canada’s Arcana Studios. Co-produced by China’s Yisang Media and Los Angeles Beijing Studios (LABS), the film is about aliens landing on an animal planet and seeking the power of a panda that they’ve seen through satellite broadcasts of a TV show. Gill Champion and Stan Lee will executive produce the film, which is directed by Arcana Studios founder Sean O’Reilly and is being lined up for release over Chinese New Year 2018.” You heard it here. Sean O’Reilly previously produced and directed Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (which we’ve talked about before) and its sequel.

image c. 2017 Arcana

The Palace Pooch

We got this right from Animation World Network: “Belgium-based studio nWave Pictures has teamed up with French sales company Charades to help sell its upcoming 3D animated feature The Queen’s Corgi… With a budget of more than $20 million, The Queen’s Corgi is being directed by nWave chief Ben Stassen with Vincent Kesteloot. The screenplay is by Rob Sprackling and Johnny Smith. The movie follows the adventure of Rex, the British monarch’s most beloved dog, who loses track of his mistress and stumbles across a fight club with dogs of all kinds confronting each other.” With films like House of Magic, Wild Life, and Son of Bigfoot already in their repertoire, it looks like nWave are trying to be a very furry production company. This new film is due in 2019.

image c. 2017 nWave Pictures

Update on a Goose

We mentioned before about an upcoming animated film called Duck Duck Goose, one of several films being financed the Chinese firm Original Force with the intention of releasing in North America. Well now, according to an article at Cartoon Brew, Duck Duck Goose has a release date — April 20th, 2018 — and a teaser trailer up on YouTube. “Chris Jenkins, a veteran Disney effects animator who more recently shifted to the producing side (Dreamworks’ Home, Sony’s Surf’s Up), makes his feature directorial debut on Duck Duck Goose. Jenkins co-wrote the film with Rob Muir… The film follows the adventures of a ‘high-flying bachelor goose’ named Peng (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) who finds himself in charge of two ducklings (voiced by Zendaya and Lance Lim) that he must take along on a long journey south. Other voices are provided by Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Reggie Watts, Diedrich Bader, Jennifer Grey, Rick Overton, Craig Ferguson, Stephen Fry, and Carl Reiner.” Distribution is being handled by Open Road Films, the same outfit that released The Nut Job and its recent sequel here in the States.

image c. 2017 Original Force

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Bajo El Mar, Bajo El Mar…

From out of nowhere… actually, from out of Spain. The Think Lab is an animation production house in Madrid, and they recently completed their first CGI feature film, Deep, directed by Julio Soto Gurpide. “In 2100, when humanity has abandoned the earth, a colony of extravagant creatures still thrives in the deepest abyss of the ocean. Deep, an adventurous ‘dumbo’ octopus and the last one of his kind lives there with his two unconditional friends: Evo, a nerdy and clumsy angler fish, and Alice, a neurotic deep-sea shrimp. When an accident destroys their home, the guardian of the abyss, The Kraken, will send Deep and his friends on a perilous journey to find a new home. In their mission, they will be joined by Maura – a voracious moray eel – and together they will travel to amazing places like the submerged city of New York, the Titanic, or the Arctic, facing formidable enemies and hilarious situations.” No talk of a release here, but the IMDB page lists all English-speaking actors, and the trailer is in English too.

image c. 2017 The Think Lab

The Mouse That Legislated

Qvisten bill themselves as the largest animation studio in Scandinavia. Among their recent productions is a feature film called HuckyBucky (aka Dyrene i Hakkebakkeskogen), directed by Rasmus A. Sivertsen and based on a book by Thorbjørn Egner. The description on IMDB reads like this: “In the woods there lives a mouse and his friends, and they are always scared of getting eaten by the fox or other predators who can’t get food in a fair way. They have to make some laws so they all can live together in peace.” No word yet on a possible release in North America, but there is a subtitled trailer up on YouTube.

image c. 2017 Qvisten

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