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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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The Horse Didn’t Do It

Recently on Animation Scoop came the announcement of a new feature-length 2-D animation project called Unstable, which is being developed by “the star studded animation team of Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh (Phineas & Ferb), David Freedman (Groove High) and top BBC Comedy Producer, Gareth Edwards (Mitchell & Webb). The three have been looking for the right project to collaborate on since they all worked on the adult animated animated series The Mr. Hell Show (BBC2 and Showtime) back in 2000. ” Unstable tells the story of a police horse who is accused of a crime he did not commit (“un-stable”, get it?), and of the little girl whom he turns to for help. One of the producers describes the film as “Witness meets Oceans 11 bumps into Madagascar“. The film is being brought to the screen by Peafur Productions.

image c. 2014 Peafur Productions

image c. 2014 Peafur Productions

The Ballad of Nessie

And yet more interesting news on Cartoon Brew: The Ballad of Nessie is a brand new, 2-D animated short from Walt Disney Pictures. It’s scheduled to be released in front of the upcoming Winnie the Pooh movie this summer, which you may recall is also in 2-D. The film is directed by Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters, who both worked on How to Hook Up Your Home Theater and Prep and Landing. Several well-known animators worked on Nessie, including Andreas Deja, Mark Henn, Randy Haycock, Dale Baer, and Rubin Aquino. No video sneaks yet, but Cartoon Brew has pictures from the film, including the one you see below.

 

image c. 2011 Walt Disney Pictures

Re-Booting Winnie the Pooh

Evidently picking up on the fact that their attempts to take the world of Winnie the Pooh and make it ‘hip and happening’ (hel-loooo My Friends Tigger and Pooh) didn’t quite achieve the heights they had hoped, the Walt Disney Company is going back to the drawing board — literally — with A.A. Milne’s famous franchise. To that end, Disney has announced that a brand-new 2D feature-length animated film, titled simply Winnie the Pooh, is scheduled for release in July of 2011. And Disney is bringing out the big guns for this project: Among the animators working on the film are Mark Henn (“Princess Tiana”) for Pooh, Andreas Deja (“Scar”) for Tigger, Glen Keane (“The Beast”) for Christopher Robin, and Tony Bancroft (“Pumbaa”) for Eeyore. Burny Mattinson, who was actually an animator on the original 1960’s Winnie the Pooh shorts, will serve as the film’s lead story artist. And here’s an amusing note: The songs for the new film were written by Robert Lopez, who wrote the lyrics for Avenue Q.

Goodbye Roy

Sadder news today from the world of Disney…

Roy E. Disney has died, at the age 0f 79, after a long battle with stomach cancer. The nephew of Walt Disney himself, Roy E. was the son of Walt’s brother Roy O. Disney, who was famous as being the financial brains behind many of Walt’s craziest ideas — like, animated feature films and theme parks. Roy E. spent almost all of his adult life working for his uncle and father’s company, in many different capacities. In the 1950’s and 1960’s he worked as a writer on famous short films in the True Life Adventures series, like The Living Desert and The Vanishing Prairie, as well as the TV series Zorro. (It seems appropriate that, most recently, Roy was involved in the creation of the Disney Earth series of documentaries.) In many circles though, what Roy E. became best known for was his staunch defense of the Disney company’s reputation as an animation powerhouse and pioneer. In the 1980’s, when Roy was a Disney board member and he felt that the animation quality was drifting (The Black Cauldron, anyone?), Roy lead a revolt among the stockholders that lead to the ouster of Disney chairman Ron Miller (who was married to Walt’s daughter Diane). This lead to Michael Eisner taking on the leadership of the Disney company, and soon enough lead to an animation renaissance that would produce such hits as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. Twenty years later, when Pixar was booting Disney’s traditional butt at the box office regularly, Roy again lead a stockholder revolt that lead to Michael Eisner being stripped of many of his powers at the company. Roy was a loud promoter of traditional 2D animation, even when it didn’t always make financial sense. Fantasia 2000 owes a large part of its existence to Roy’s efforts while he was head of Walt Disney Feature Animation. That film may not have broken records at the box office, but many fans of traditional animation celebrated Roy for seeing that it got made and released. At more than one public appearance, Roy was given a standing ovation by adoring animation fans. Your humble ed-otter can attest to being among them. So thank you, Roy. And blessed be.

The Return of 2D Animation…?

Well, maybe not, but there was definitely a loud, collective sigh of relief being breathed over at Walt Disney Animation Studios when their newest 2D animated feature The Princess and the Frog not only did well during its first weekend of full release, but was actually #1 at the box office in North America. Now true, making just over $25 million on your opening weekend is not exactly earth-shattering by Hollywood standards, but it should be pointed out that $25 million broke the record for animated films premiering in December — and the film didn’t even premier on Christmas weekend, when animated films traditionally top, so many are expecting the film to do even better in the next few weekends. The tie-in machine is in full “swing” also, of course: Clips from the film and behind-the-scenes shorts are all over YouTube, and live singing and dancing shows can be found on board the Mark Twain riverboat at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The film even has its own Facebook page, if you’d like to join up and become an “official fan”.