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One Handy Wise Panda

Animation World Network recently had an article about some new animated series coming to Apple TV+ later this year — and at least one of them is something that furry fans might notice. “Based on the Scholastic book series Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth, Stillwater centers on siblings Karl, Addy, and Michael, who are typical kids with typical kid challenges – meaning that sometimes even the smallest things can feel insurmountable. Fortunately for these three, they have Stillwater, a wise panda, as their next-door neighbor. Through his example, stories and gentle humor, Stillwater gives the children a deeper understanding of their feelings as well as tools that help them face their own day-to-day challenges. Stillwater also brings newfound fun and adventure for the three, opening their eyes to the quiet wonders of the world around them, and guiding them to their place within it.” Stillwater is set to premiere on December 4th.

image c. 2020 Gaumont and Scholastic

Cold Reception

Arctic Dogs (2019) didn’t exactly blow up the box office or impress the critics much. (Ye EdOtter is still trying to figure out how the planned action-adventure film Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad morphed into this silly comedy…) Apparently though, Arctic Dogs has been very popular on Netflix — enough so that a spin-off series of animated shorts called Arctic Friends has been created. According to Animation Magazine: “Arctic Friends follows the exciting adventures of Swifty, the arctic fox who has finally achieved his dream job: Be the best delivery dog at Arctic Blast Delivery Service. With the help of his best friend PB the polar bear, Jade the red fox, and the ABDS team, this crew is ready to deliver at any cost! Constantly thwarted by the nefarious mastermind Otto Van Walrus and his mischievous puffins, Swifty must outsmart these villains to ensure that all packages are delivered to their rightful recipients.” The series recently premiered on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.

image c. 2020 Iervolino Entertainment

Birds and Bubbles Go Boom

They’re still a thing, and they just keep getting stranger. This we got from Animation World Network: “Rovio Entertainment has released the first season of Angry Birds Bubble Trouble, a bite-sized 3D-animated series where the young Angry Birds flock – Red, Bomb, Chuck, Stella and Silver – let their imaginations ‘go wild’ in their bubble garden. They play games and solve problems together, while getting into all kinds of trouble.” The first season of 1-minute animated shorts is up now on Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. The AWN article includes an introductory video, which shows just how odd this series can be!

image c. 2020 Rovio Entertainment

The Zoo Crew When They Were New

More out-of-nowhere projects we’ve learned about — in this case from Dreamworks. It’s Madagascar: A Little Wild, a new animated series coming to Hulu and Peacock on September 7th. Everyone’s favorite zoo animal quartet return for new adventures… as youngsters. Animation Scoop had this to say: “Filled with original music and dance worthy songs, the lovable foursome Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo steal the show in Madagascar: A Little Wild. Capturing the iconic personalities of the four dynamos, Madagascar: A Little Wild showcases the team as kids residing in their rescue habitat at the Central Park Zoo. They might be small, but like everybody who lands in New York City, these little guys have big dreams.” There’s more information and a trailer at Animation Scoop too.

image c. 2020 Dreamworks Animation

Spikey and the Squirrel

Talk about coming out of nowhere — and here it is! Animation Magazine let us know about a new animated film called Latte & The Magic Waterstone. Created in Germany and Belgium, it just premiered on Netflix in North America. “Directed by Regina Welker and Nina Wels, the children’s film is based on a book by Sebastian Lybeck and follows the adventures of a hedgehog named Latte and her anxious squirrel friend Tjum, who set out to reclaim a magic stone stolen by the bear king.” Animation has an interview with the directors, and the official trailer.

image c. 2020 Dreamin’ Dolphin Film

Finally Cracking

After bouncing around and looking for distribution for literally years, we finally have a release date for the new CGI animated feature Animal Crackers, directed by Scott Christian Sava and animation veteran Tony Bancroft (Mulan). The film is being released this Friday, July 24th on Netflix (of course!). Animation Scoop has an extensive interview with the directors about their efforts to get the film made, and out to the world. We’ll say this at least: The new trailer looks better than what we’ve seen before. See what you think this Friday.

image c. 2020 Netflix

 

Bringing Out The Beast In Sports

You knew we were gonna use that reference for this, right? Here’s what we found at Animation World Network: “Xilam Animation has reached distribution deals with Nickelodeon for the CGI animated series Athleticus… Targeting family audiences, Athleticus is produced by Xilam’s recently acquired CGI-studio Cube Creative and features wild animals taking part in competitive sports, ranging from table tennis to high bar, bobsleigh to curling. How successful the animals are at each of the sports entirely depends on their personality and anatomies resulting in very comical, and often poetic, results. The series is created and directed by the award-winning Nicolas Deveaux.” While the distribution deal does not include much of North America (typical!), many of the Athleticus shorts have made their way to YouTube, and there’s a sampler commercial there as well.

image c. 2020 Xilam Animation

Turtles Back In Action

Seems as if we’re never far away from a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles project. We just found this article: “Deadline has learned that Nickelodeon is rebooting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the big screen with Point Grey Pictures’ Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver producing, and Jeff Rowe (Gravity Falls, Connected) directing. Brendan O’Brien (Neighbors: Sorority Rising, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) will write the screenplay. Paramount will be handling global distribution on the film.” This would be the first time since Imagi Pictures’ TMNT from 2007 that we’d have a fully CGI Ninja Turtles feature film as opposed to the recent CGI/live-action hybrids.

image c. 2020 Imagi Studios

Roaring Out Of South Africa

According to the Wikipedia page, Jungle Beat is a CGI animated TV series out of South Africa, featuring the dialogue-free adventures and antics of various African animals. Later, the series was expanded into the adventures of Munki and Trunk. (No prizes for guessing what species they are…) Well now this year Munki and Trunk are on their way in their own feature film as Sunrise Productions presents Jungle Beat: The Movie. “One morning, the animals of the jungle wake up to discover that they can speak. They’re even more amazed when they learn the reason why: There’s an alien in the jungle! Little Fneep has come to conquer the planet and has brought some crazy tech with him, including a translation device that lets them talk for the first time. Unfortunately for the intergalactic Scaldronian empire, but fortunately for the jungle, Fneep is a terrible conqueror: He’s homesick, he’s crashed his ship, and he’s no match for the antics of Munki, Trunk, and the gang.” Keep your eyes open: The producers are planning a world-wide on-line release party at the end of this month.

image c. 2020 Sunrise Productions