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Disney

Help Make More Furry Animation

Alexander Henderson is head of a team of animators and film-makers with experience working for Disney, Netflix, and Amazon. Their first completed short film is called Breathing Space, which you can find on YouTube — and which just happens to have some anthropomorphic interest in it too! Now they’ve created a Kickstarter campaign to help finance their new film concept. “The Rhino and the Oxpecker is an action-adventure cartoon, featuring the story of Niles, a blind mercenary rhinoceros, and Redford, his neurotic-but-trusty guide bird. With Red acting as the eyes, ears, and brains of the duo, and Niles handling the action, the two work together to survive predators, poachers, and anything else the jungle can throw at them. That is, provided they can survive each other.” They’re trying to reach their current goal before Halloween, so hurry!

image c. 2018 by Alexander Henderson

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

Massive Book of Mouse

We got this from Cartoon Brew too: Taschen, well-known for their collection books of art and photography, will soon be releasing Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: The Ultimate History, an enormous book created to celebrate the mouse’s 90th birthday. “The 480-page book by Daniel Kothenschulte, like the earlier Taschen volume on Disney [animated features], will be extremely heavy, shipping in its own cardboard box with handle. It will retail for $200. The book will include 1,400 images covering all of Mickey’s 122 cartoons, his comic adventures, and the world of Mickey merchandise and memorabilia.” The Cartoon Brew article includes several preview images. Look for the book this November.

image c. 2018 Taschen

Birds of a Feather, Hiding Together

We learned about this through Cartoon Brew, though it’s been turning up in multiple places. It seems that the Disney Company has produced a new animated TV series based on the 1944 Donald Duck feature The Three Caballeros.  But here’s the strange thing: The new series, Legends of the Three Caballeros, is only available through the Disneylife app — and only in the Philippines to boot. From the CB article: “Frank Angones, a co-producer on the new Ducktales, further commented on his Tumblr that the show has been finished for a while, even before the new Ducktales reboot was produced. He added, ‘It feels sort of like an alternate universe rooted more in the old Donald shorts than anything Barks-related – there’s no sign of Scrooge, the nephews, Gyro, Duckburg, lots of humans everywhere, etc., with April, May, and June standing in for the kid protagonists.'” 2019 is the 75th anniversary of the original film, so folks are hoping Disney will be inspired to release this new series in other parts of the world. Would you look at that: For once, we’re not the only ones whining about cool animation we can’t see in this country!

image c. 2018 Disney Interactive

And More Dragons in Your Future

Meanwhile we got this from Moviefone.com: Turns out that we now have details about a new Disney animated film, Dragon Empire, scheduled for release in 2020 (they think). “Paul Briggs — head of story on Big Hero 6 and Frozen — will make his directorial debut… alongside Tangled animator Dean Wellins [as co-director]. Cars and Cars 3 writer Kiel Murray is said to be developing the script, with Moana producer Osnat Shurer back to produce.” Not a lot of details on the plot yet, but we know it involves dragons, a plucky female lead named Jan-Nin, and a male character named Bolin who is “said to be comic relief and a 900-year-old mentor to Jan-Nin.” The article also points out that Dreamworks is busy getting ready for the release of How To Train Your Dragon III in 2019, and we’ve already talked about Wish Dragon, Sony Picture’s dragon fantasy which is also slated for 2019. Looks like there are a lot of dragons flying our way!

image c. 2018 Walt Disney Animation

Nick & Judy, Back in the Day

Many thanks to our friend KeiFox for pointing this one out to us. Here’s what we learned over at the Hollywood Reporter: “Fans of Disney’s animated 2016 hit Zootopia should prepare for a return to the animal metropolis this summer, with Dark Horse Comics releasing a brand-new graphic novel based on the movie as part of its new deal with Disney. Aimed at younger readers, Disney Zootopia: Friends to the Rescue will feature two stories spotlighting young versions of both Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde and taking place before the events of the movie. Judy has to save the day — and her friend Dinah — at the Bunnyburrow County Fair, while Nick has to put his (questionable) talents to good use to give his friend Hedy the best birthday party imaginable. Both stories are written by Jimmy Gownley, with art by Leandro Ricardo da Silva, colors by Wes Dzioba, and lettering from Chris Dickey. The 48-page title will also feature special features and story-related activities.” Look for it on September 12th.

image c. 2018 Dark Horse Publishing

Teenage Girls and Their Friends

Over at Cartoon Brew there’s an article about two new animated TV series coming to The Disney Channel in 2019. They have some interesting things in common: Both feature teenage human females transported to an unearthly other realm, and both have been created by storyboard artists who worked on the wildly-popular series Gravity Falls. One is a bit anthro, and one is very anthro! The former would be Owl House, created by Dana Terrace. “The show follows Luz, a self-assured teenager who accidentally enters a portal to the Demon Realm where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and a tiny warrrior, King. Though she lacks any magical abilities, Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by apprenticing with Eda, and ultimately finds a new family in an unlikely setting.” On the other paw (flipper?) there’s Amphibia, from Matt Braly. “The show tells the story of Anne Boonchuy, a self-centered teenager who is magically transported to the world of Amphibia, a rural marshland populated by frog-people. There she meets a young frog named Sprig, who will become Anne’s first true friend and help transform her into a hero.” Keep your ear-holes open for some more precise debut dates when we get them.

image c. 2018 Disney TV 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

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