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New Furry TV from Dreamworks

According to an article at Animation Scoop, we (or at least Amazon Prime Video subscribers) have not one but two new TV series from Dreamworks Animation to look forward to. First off are the brand new 2D adventures of none other than Rocky and Bullwinkle, set to premier this May. “The world-famous talking moose and flying squirrel are back in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a serialized comedy about two goofball best friends who routinely find themselves thrust into harrowing situations but end up saving the day time and again… The series is executive produced by Scott Fellows (The Fairly OddParents, Big Time Rush) and Tiffany Ward, daughter of the original series producer Jay Ward, and features Tara Strong (The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans Go!) as the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel, Brad Norman (America’s Most Haunted) as Bullwinkle J. Moose, Ben Diskin (Hey Arnold!) as Boris Badenov, Rachel Butera (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Natasha Fatale, Piotr Michael (Impress Me, MADtv) as Fearless Leader, and Daran Norris (The Fairly OddParents) as the Narrator.” Then, there’s a brand new TV series based on the Kung Fu Panda movies. “Later in 2018, Prime Video will premiere Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, an epic adventure series from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Mitch Watson and Elliott Owen (All Hail King Julien), and Lane Lueras (The Adventures of Puss in Boots). When four panda kids stumble upon a mystical cave beneath Panda Village, accidentally absorbing the chi of ancient and powerful kung fu warriors known as the Four Constellations, they must realize a destiny to save the world from an evil force. Meanwhile, Po finds himself faced with his biggest challenge yet — teaching this ragtag band of kids how to wield their newfound powers.” Much to keep your eyes out for! No previews for Paws of Destiny yet, but the article has a preview video of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

image c. 2018 Dreamworks

Animals of the World — but not North America

You know, it’s getting to be an old saw that the rest of the world gets to see some very cool animation — and much of it furry! — that we never get distributed over here. Oh well, here’s hoping that opportunities arise! Next on the list? The Tales of Tatonka, an animated series for kids that was created by Cyber Group Studios. According to Animation World Network, “The Tales of Tatonka tells the adventurous stories of four wolf cubs who grow together as a family living with nature. Their friend Tatonka, the bison, helps the young wolves explore their wilderness home along with friends Cinksi the lynx, Poum the bear, Wahi the squirrel and Wambli the eagle. Written by Pierre Sissmann and directed by Olivier Lelardoux, The Tales of Tatonka has received multiple awards across the world including a Golden Panda nomination in China and Karusel TV’s Best Kids’ Series in Russia. The series combines an 11-minute animated adventure with a live action segment titled ‘The World of Tatonka,’ depicting animal life in the wild.” So if you’re in China or Russia, look it up!

image c. 2018 Cyber Group Studios

They Get It Over There…

We stumbled across an interesting article about a new series of animated shorts coming to TV in South Africa. “NickToons in association with local animation studio, Sunrise Productions have proudly developed it’s first South African animation for the channel. Munki and Trunk is a dialogue-free 3D animated TV series for kids aged 4 to 7. Munki is a vine-swinging force of nature, hungry for bananas and adventure. Trunk is a big-hearted elephant who loves to nurture and play. These unlikely best friends explore their world together, facing fears and helping friends along the way. It’s the most fun you can have in the jungle.” The show is produced by Tim Keller, and it premiers this month. No word at all if anyone plans to distribute it to other parts of the world, unfortunately.

image c. 2018 Sunrise Productions

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

Light the Lights, Baby

Disney Channel is bringing back a childhood memory for many, and perhaps creating new memories for a new generation. This March they will premier a new Muppet Babies TV series as part of their Disney Junior line-up. (If you didn’t know, back in the 1990’s the original Muppet Babies 2D animated series was so successful that it spawned a flood of imitators, including Disney Babies and Warner Brother Babies, no less.) Interestingly, this will be the first Muppet TV series animated in CGI. (Also interesting: Jenny Slate (Dawn Bellwether from Zootopia) is one of the voice actors.) According to Animation Scoop: “Based on the original Emmy Award-winning series, the all-new CG-animated Muppet Babies chronicles the hilarious playroom antics of the young Kermit the Frog, Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal and brand-new Muppet Baby, Summer Penguin. The series will feature guest appearances by fan-favorite Muppets including: Statler and Waldorf, Bunsen and Beaker, Rowlf the Dog, Rizzo, and Dr. Teeth. Set in the vibrant playroom of an urban brownstone with an expansive backyard, the Muppet Babies have everything they need at their fingertips to lead them on their fantastical adventures.” The article has a lot more information, and a preview clip as well. Look for the new series to debut March 23rd.

image c. 2018 Disney Channel

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

PLOP!

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

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