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China

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

The Pearl of Animation

There’s a lengthy article over at Animation World Network about a presentation at this year’s Annecy Festival by Pearl Studios from China. Formerly known as Oriental Dreamworks (they helped to finish the animation on Kung Fu Panda 3), the newly-christened Pearl Studios have struck out on their own with several animated feature films in production — and some of them of note to Furry Fans. First up is Abominable (formerly Everest), a co-production with Dreamworks that’s directed by Jill Culton. According to Pearl, “Abominable stars Everest, a 2,000-pound yeti who is curious and playful.” And who communicates without words, it seems. (Yes, it does sound like a more serious version of Warner Bros’ upcoming yeti film Smallfoot.) Also on board is director Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) who is hard at work on an animated feature about the legendary Monkey King — a subject that he’s visited before in live action fantasy films. And further back in the pipeline are films like Tiger Empress (“… the story of a young tigress who grows from the obedient daughter of a Tiger Mom into a transformational leader when a prophecy convinces her that she’s the only one who can save their kingdom”) and Illumikitty (“… an irreverent comedy about the ultimate cat-astrophe: A feline plot for world domination”). You heard it here first.

image c. 2018 by Mochi

Wish for a Dragon

We found this article over at Variety: “Production is now under way on Wish Dragon, a major animated feature being made in China for Sony’s Columbia Pictures Film Production. The film is a first feature for Base Animation, the new animation studio that is part of Beijing-based VFX firm BaseFX, and for Chinese super star Jackie Chan. Chan’s Sparkle Roll Media is a producer and co-investor, and Chan will voice characters in both the Chinese- and English-language versions of the finished picture. The family-oriented film is being directed by Chris Appelhans (illustrator on Coraline) from his own original screenplay. The modern-day fairy tale picks up the moral challenges that emerge from the encounter between a boy and a dragon who is able to make wishes come true… The U.S. voice cast includes Fresh off the Boat star Constance Wu, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jimmy Wong, and Bobby Lee, alongside Chan.” Base Animation is hoping to have the film ready for release in 2019.

image c. 2018 Base Animation

Meet the Flummels

Getting in on the ground floor regarding a new animated film — We don’t even have any images yet! But, here’s what we got from Variety: “Production is now under way at Cinesite in Montreal on Extinct, an animated feature being directed by David Silverman, the co-director of Pixar hit Monsters Inc. The film is a co-venture between multi-territory distributor China Lion Film, which will finance the picture, and China’s Wink Animation, part of Huayi Brothers Media. The adventure-comedy involves an adorable species of fluffy animals, called flummels. When two flummels are transported into the present day, they learn that their genus has become extinct, and travel back in time to try to save their race. The story is written by written by Joel H Cohen, John Frink, and Rob LaZebnik (The Simpsons).” According to the article, look for it in late 2020.

image c. 2018 China Lion Film

 

Foxy Lady!

Sorry, sorry… too obvious. Thanks to some friends on Facebook, we stumbled across an upcoming fantasy film called Hanson and the Beast — from China, no less. Drama Panda has a preview. The story goes like this: “Yuan Shuai (Feng Shaofeng) is a a man who is drowning in debt. In order to pay up, he goes on blind dates with daughters from wealthy families but ends up falling in love with Bai Xian Chu (Crystal Liu), a fox demon who’s come to the human realm to repay a debt. However, relationships between humans and demons are strictly forbidden. Bai Xian Chu is dragged back to the demon world and Yuan Shuai sets out to rescue her.” So who’s Hanson? We don’t know yet. Written and directed by Xiao Yang, Hanson comes to theaters in China right at the end of December, then everywhere else on January 5th. Check out the trailer on YouTube as well.

image c. 2017 CKF Pictures

Update on a Goose

We mentioned before about an upcoming animated film called Duck Duck Goose, one of several films being financed the Chinese firm Original Force with the intention of releasing in North America. Well now, according to an article at Cartoon Brew, Duck Duck Goose has a release date — April 20th, 2018 — and a teaser trailer up on YouTube. “Chris Jenkins, a veteran Disney effects animator who more recently shifted to the producing side (Dreamworks’ Home, Sony’s Surf’s Up), makes his feature directorial debut on Duck Duck Goose. Jenkins co-wrote the film with Rob Muir… The film follows the adventures of a ‘high-flying bachelor goose’ named Peng (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) who finds himself in charge of two ducklings (voiced by Zendaya and Lance Lim) that he must take along on a long journey south. Other voices are provided by Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Reggie Watts, Diedrich Bader, Jennifer Grey, Rick Overton, Craig Ferguson, Stephen Fry, and Carl Reiner.” Distribution is being handled by Open Road Films, the same outfit that released The Nut Job and its recent sequel here in the States.

image c. 2017 Original Force

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Look! Up in the Sky!

According to an article at Animation Magazine, the Chinese tech company Tencent has agreed to invest heavily in the development of a new CGI series, Super BOOMi, created by Up Studios (also from China). This furry little super hero has already enjoyed widespread exposure in China, and now his creators are looking to expand his reach to international markets. Up Studios are also working on at least two other animated adaptations: Piggy and Tomo Explores The World.

image c. 2016 Up Studios

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The Nine-Colored Deer

Recently we learned of a new Chinese/American co-production for television and the ‘nets called Valt the Wonder Deer. It’s produced by DreamEast Pictures, and late last year they inked a deal with Jetpack Distribution to bring the series out to the world.  Valt is based on the Chinese myth of the nine-colored deer. According to an article at Animation magazine’s web site, “Valt the Wonder Deer follows Valt and his friends as they encounter funny moments, scary trials and plenty of adventure on their journey to obtain the power of the Five Magic Elements and rescue his trapped parents, the Deer King and Queen, from the comically evil overlords of the Land of Metal. The show uses the group’s journey and experiences to demonstrate themes of love, courage, friendship and responsibility to its young viewers.” Some of the American crew of Valt have previously worked on animation as diverse as Beavis & Butt-Head, Skylanders, Ben 10, Kung Fu Panda, and Dragons: Riders of Berk. Furry.Today has more, including the trailer up on Vimeo. [Again, thanks to Changa Lion for this!]

image c. 2017 DreamEast Pictures

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Well Now, That’s Inventive!

Invention Story is a new CGI animated series created by Trad Animation (that’s the name!) from China. Commissioned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the show is intended to spark in young people an interest in science and engineering. “This series of stories take place in a forest surrounding a town called Carrot Town, full of joyful and magic air. The main character is an intelligent, thoughtful, and creative fox, who in each episode makes a new invention. These inventions associate various fields of production in our daily life, which children see, or use everyday, everywhere. In the process of carrying out each invention, our young audience will be thinking and understanding the science, knowledge, and principle behind them, arousing their interest in creating new devises.” That’s what they say. Interestingly, the story editor behind this new series is an American: None other than Jymn Magon, creator of Disney’s Gummi Bears and TaleSpin. The series began with a pilot movie, Agent F.O.X., which is available in English. Currently episodes of Invention Story are posted on YouTube in the original Chinese. No word yet on an English version!

image c. 2016 Trad Animation

image c. 2016 Trad Animation