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It’s Good To Have A Friend

And more, this time from both Animation Magazine and Variety: “Russia’s animation powerhouse Riki Group has teamed up with New York’s 3 Beep to work on the upcoming CG-animated feature My Friend Finnick. The comedy, which was presented at Cartoon Movie this year, follows the adventures of a ten-year-old American girl who moves with her family to Scotland and befriends a Finn, a magical and mischievous spirit who lives in her new house. When the young girl goes missing. the Finn sets out to rescue her, but in doing so he puts himself in danger. The movie, which is budgeted at $7 million, is in development, and is due to be released in 2020. It is being directed by Riki’s Denis Chernov (Kikoriki movies) and written by Chernov, Tatyana Belova and 3 Beep’s Tim Werenko (Pokemon, The Winx Club, Snow Queen 3).” Fortunately for us, Riki Group has been getting better at securing distribution in North America.

image c. 2018 Riki Group

Not One But Two Dragon Films

We missed the announcements of these animated films last year, but now we’ve found them thanks to Animation Magazine. Both are adaptations of popular children’s literature, and both of them are international co-productions. Dragonkeeper (based on a series of books by Carole Wilkinson) comes to us from China Film Group and Spain’s Dragoia Media.  According to Variety, “Set during the Han Dynasty in a magic, epic and classic China… the first Dragonkeeper installment turns on the adventures of Ping, a slave girl so humble that she thinks she doesn’t deserve a name. Yet she finds the courage to become a true Dragonkeeper, helping the ancient last imperial dragon, Long Danzi, in its quest to transport a dragon egg across China to the coast, the only place it can hatch.” Then there’s Dragon Rider, based on the book by Cornelia Funke (Inkheart) and produced in cooperation between Germany and the UK. (It’s being adapted by Johnny Smith, writer for the original Gnomeo & Juliet.) Again, from Variety: “High-end by European standards, the 3D children’s fantasy adventure turns on Firedrake, a young silver dragon, Sorrel, a mountain brownie, and Ben, a human orphan who search among the highest Himalayas for the Rim of Heaven, which can offer sanctuary for Firedrake’s kin, whose valley is made uninhabitable by a dam.” No word yet on a planned release date for either film.

image c. 2018 Dragoia Media

Little Dino Lost

The June/July issue of Animation Magazine features a huge list of upcoming animated films in production all over the world. Including one from Poland: “Human Ark, one of Poland’s leading animation studios, has launched a new animation test for its new animated feature comedy Diplodocus. The movie is a family comedy inspired by classic 1980s comic books by the cult Polish author Tadeusz Baranowski, which have sold over 2.5 million copies. It tells the epic adventure of a little dinosaur, who has to find his missing parents and discovers that he actually lives inside of a comic book. The project is the second feature-length animated film by Wojtek Wawszczyk (George the Hedgehog), who also wrote the script in collaboration with Mark Palmer (The Penguins of Madagascar, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Kim Possible). Set for completion in 2020, the movie is the biggest 3D CGI production for children ever produced in Poland.” The article in Animation features several illustrations from the film, and Human Ark has also produced a promo clip on Vimeo.

image c. 2018 Human Ark

These Rabbits are Dynamite!

Here’s another project we found out about through Animation World Network: “Fox Family is prepping children’s book The Royal Rabbits of London as a hybrid CG-animation/live-action feature film, Variety reports. Screenwriter Will Davies, whose credits include Flushed Away, Puss and Boots, How to Train Your Dragon, and the forthcoming Abominable, has been hired to write the script. The Royal Rabbits of London is based on the 2016 children’s book written by husband-and-wife team Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore… There’s no word yet on where the animation will be produced. The story introduces the Royal Rabbits of London, who have secretly protected England’s Royal Family for centuries. When a small country rabbit uncovers an devious plot against the royals, he travels to London to warn the protective order.” Not to leave it out: The book was illustrated by Kate Hindley and it’s available at Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2018 Aladdin Publishers

Big Dino, Little Dinos

Here’s a new TV series we found out about through Animation magazine: Gigantosaurus, produced by Cyber Group Studios. “Growing up in the Cretaceous is no mean feat for kids! New volcanoes popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses, meteor showers, enormous triceratopses and… the big bad Gigantosaurus, as the kids would say. Gigantosaurus isn’t actually very well-known but the mere mention of his name is enough to conjure up a range of (conflicting) emotions in our four young (dinosaur) friends: Fear (Bill), fascination (Rocky), laughter (Tiny), and scientific interest (Mazu). In short, Gigantosaurus represents four different ways of finding out more about the world when you’re between 4 and 6 years old.” According to their web site it’s all “based on a book written by the multi-awarded children novelist Jonny Duddle”. Gigantosaurus has already been sold to Disney Junior for worldwide distribution, and it’s in production now. And as you can see from their site, Cyber Group Studios have several other shows of furry fan interest in production as well.

image c. 2018 Cyber Group Studios

Fabulous Werewolf

We haven’t heard of Flying Bark Productions before, but according to Animation World Network it sounds like we should start paying attention to them! The studio is hard at work on a CGI feature film called 100% Wolf, which they plan to follow with a TV series of the same name immediately after.  The plot? “Lovers of surreal, laugh-out-loud animation should enjoy this comedy series about Freddy Lupin, an 11-year-old boy set to turn into a werewolf, just like everyone else in his family. But things don’t go as planned when Freddy turns into an adorable poodle instead.” Got that? Interesting thing is the feature and series are based on a popular Australian children’s novel by Jayne Lyons. No word yet on distribution, but the film and series are scheduled to be complete in 2019.

image c. 2018 Flying Bark Productions

What’s the Price of Admission?

For a while we’ve been hearing about a new animated film called Wonder Park. Well now Paramount Pictures have released the first teaser trailer, and Animation Scoop has more information. What’s it about? “One magical day, June is running through the woods to find her way home where she discovers an old rollercoaster car and climbs inside. She suddenly finds herself in Wonderland, an amusement park she had created in her mind and put aside. All of her rides and characters are brought to life but are falling into disarray without her. Now, with the help of her fun and lovable park characters, June will have to put the wonder back in Wonderland before it is lost forever.”  Ooo… The voice cast includes Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, and Kenan Thompson. Directed by Dylan Brown, Wonder Park is set to be released in March of 2019.

image c. 2018 Paramount Pictures

Cat and Kitty

More new and interesting stuff coming out of China. (By the way, did you miss Duck Duck Goose back in April? So did we.) Animation World Network has an article about the latest animated feature from Light Chaser Animation (home of the critically-acclaimed Little Door Gods). The new film is called Cats & Peachtopia, and once again it was written and directed by company founder Gary Wang. It goes like this:  “Cats & Peachtopia tells the story of father and son cats, Blanket and Cape, living a carefree life in a tower block in the southwestern Chinese megacity of Chongqing. Curious about the outside world and longing for his deceased mother, Cape sets off in search of the cat heaven Peachtopia. Blanket goes after his son and adventures ensue.” The article goes into more detail, as well as discussing the financial difficulties faced by an animation company that produces films primarily (though not exclusively) for the Chinese market. No word yet if Cats & Peachtopia will reach North America anytime soon (DVD or otherwise), but the film did show at this year’s Annecy animation festival.

image c. 2018 Light Chaser Animation

Knowledge is Power. Literally!

Thanks to Furry.Today we found out about DIY, an on-line animation series from Encyclopedia Pictura where kids can learn (from a variety of anthro characters) how to do and make new things — and actually earn points for doing so. Now there’s an article at Cartoon Brew about how directors Sean Hellfritsch,  Isaiah Saxon, and Daren Rabinovitch came up with the idea and developed it into a series. Recently Cartoon Network has started airing the collected shorts as a pilot program called DIY: Volume 1.

image c. 2018 Encyclopedia Pictura