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Bunny Bound by Magic

Found this thanks to Animation World Network: “Netflix has announced that it will produce the animated feature film, Escape From Hat, from two-time Academy Award-nominated director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda, The Little Prince) together with writer Adam Kline (Artemis Fowl, The Clockwork War)… The screenplay is by Kline and Osborne, based on the book of the same name by Kline [illustrated by Brian Taylorye ed-otter], a new middle-grade novel that will be published by HarperCollins in Winter 2020… Escape From Hat brings light to the ancient mysteries of magic. In a fairy tale where black cats are bad and magic rabbits are good, balance is threatened when one such rabbit is cast into a mysterious realm of danger and shadow. There, our desperate hero rallies an unexpected band of allies and undertakes an impossible quest to escape from inside a magician’s hat – and return to the human boy he dearly loves.” Netflix say they plan to release the film in 2022.

image c. 2018 HarperCollins

The Annie Nominations for 2018

Once again the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) have released  their list of nominees for the 2018 Annie Awards — the Oscars of animation, to many folks. And once again, we’ve had a banner year for animation with Furry content — so there are lots of anthropomorphic movies, TV series, short films, and other goodies among the Annie nominees. By far the furriest film among the nominees for Best Animated Feature is Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs — which is also nominated for Character Animation, Production Design, and Voice Acting (Bryan Cranston as Chief). But nominees Early Man, Ralph Breaks The Internet, and even Spiderman — Into The Spiderverse (yes!) had their own Furry content — and each of them are nominated in several categories too. Among the nominees for Best Independent Feature is Tito & The Birds, while one of the nominees for Best Animated Special Production (limited release) is The Highway Rat. England is well-represented in the Best Character Animation in a Live Action Production category (whew!), with both Paddington 2 and Christopher Robin receiving nominations. In the Best Animated Short category check out Lost & Found by Wabi Sabi Studios, while the brand new Best Virtual Reality category includes Crow: The Legend by Baobab Studios and the game Moss by Polyarc. Over on the television side of things, the category of Best Commercial includes four nominees that are very Furry! The rest of the Television categories include a parade of familiar and new Furry titles, including The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bojack Horseman, DinoTrux, Disney’s Mickey Mouse, Hey Duggee, Hilda, Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Tumble Leaf. Needless to say there are too many cool nominations to list them all here, so head on over to the Annie Awards page and check them out for yourself! The Awards will be presented on February 2nd at UCLA.

image c. 2018 Fox Searchlight Pictures

All the Cute Little Billionaires

Here’s an interesting art and comic project we came across at CTN Expo: Sillycan Vale, created by Lewei Wang. Current there’s a Kickstarter Campaign for the project, that explains it like this… “Sillycan Vale is a town where each animal villager is the personification of a tech company from the real world. The goal of this project is to develop the whole concept into a comic series. The characters & story-lines are inspired by what’s happening between the real tech communities especially in Silicon Valley, California.” Currently the plan is to release the comic in three separate volumes, introducing new characters and development art in each, and then release the actual complete comic in September of 2019. As of this writing they have already exceeded their initial funding goal, so go check them out and see what’s coming next.

image c. 2018 by Lewei Wang

Art, Chocolate, and Sweaters

Another artist we met at CTN Expo: Stacey Sleight from Provo, Utah, who creates under the name of Stillustrated. Besides her original illustrations, animation character designs, and fan art, she has also created an original on-line comic based on the Ursa Major Award-winning game Undertale. According to her web site, “She is also a lover of hot chocolate, comics, and animals in sweaters.”

image c. 2018 by Stacey Sleight

The Baker and the Painter

By now (hopefully!) you’ve heard of Brush: A Fox Tale, the award-winning CGI short film. It tells the story of an artistic fox who is too shy to tell the pretty vixen next door he has a crush on her — but, his paintings have ideas of their own. Well now, meet the creators: Willi Anton and Faustina Arriola, both graduates from the California College of the Arts. Brush was their joint graduation thesis. Over at Willi’s web page you’ll find his demo reel, showing bits from his work on Brush and other projects. Meanwhile at Faustina’s page you’ll find not only her demo reel of 3D and 2D work, but also examples of her illustrations, and even samples of her work as a voice-over artist.

image c. 2018 by Anton / Arriola

Not Moose. Dog. And Squirrel.

Chances are you’ve seen (or at least heard about) Dog and Squirrel, part of Nickelodeon’s Animated Shorts Program. But have you met the creator, Andrea Gerstmann? Over at her web site you can see examples of her other works in character design, background painting, layout, and fine-art painting. Lots of animal stuff to see, plus a few humans thrown in for good measure.

image c. 2018 by Andrea Gerstmann

Bird and Dog

David Wentworth is an artist, illustrator, and storyteller (his words) that we me at CTN Animation Expo. According to his web site, “David has worked for clients like Dreamworks, Sony, and Amazon animation, and is advancing his career as a concept/character artist and comic artist. He creates in a wide range of mediums, both traditional and digital. In addition to animals he enjoys science fiction, writing, history, theatre, biology and languages in his art.” In addition to his illustration, he’s created an on-line comic called Blue & Jay which should be of considerable interest to Furry Fans. He even creates puppets!

image c. 2018 by David Wentworth

Furries from Central America

Here’s something interesting and unusual we came across at the the CTN Animation Expo this year. Fox and Chicken is an original animated film created by Space Rabbit Studios — in El Salvador. “Created by a talented team of local artist, with national and international awards, Fox & Chicken is aiming to be the first silent animated short movie done in El Salvador. The project has already seen some success through many events at a national level.” According to the web site, here’s who it’s about: “Fox & Chicken is the story of two inseparable friends and their many adventures in their quest for magic. Fox is a young wizard apprentice who has a dream of learning all the magic in the world and to discover the secrets of nature to become a master wizard. Chicken is an unconventional character for their species. She’s brave, curious and adventurous, she never doubts on accompanying Fox in his quest. Now we can see their adventures while we learn about nature and discover the hidden magic in all things.” The web site has a lot more about this and their other projects.

image c. 2018 Space Rabbit Studios

He’s Unda Da Sea

Paptercutz brings us a new full-color mini-comic series for young readers: Gillbert the Little Merman, Volume 1 by Art Baltazar (writer and illustrator of Tiny Titans and Captain Action Cat). Here’s the preview over at their web site: “In the deepest part of the ocean, unexplored by man and too deep for humans to swim, lives a little sea creature named Gillbert. Gillbert the Sea Creature is the son of King Nauticus, king of all the oceans. One day, Gillbert will be king. But in the meantime, his playful curiosity takes him away from the kingdom on a journey of discovery.Gillbert meets an amphibious mermaid and follows her into unknown parts of the ocean. Where he meets many unknown and undiscovered species of underwater creatures. He didn’t know these things existed so close to home. Gillbert’s world just got a whole lot bigger!” It’s available at comic book stores in paperback and hardcover editions.

image c. 2018 Papercutz