Lupin is back!

27 March 2012

With the endless imagination that characterizes Japanese animation do they really, really, really need to do a remake of the classic from the 70s & 80s TV animated series?

Posted yesterday and spreading like a virus the trailer that confirms  that Sayo Yamamoto will be directing Lupin the third’s remake series was uploaded to Youtube. She’s been involved in projects like Samurai Champloo & Evangelion 2.0 (and with the collaboration of Takeshi Koike as character-designer), so I’m sure something not too horrible will come out of her hands.

Actually the rumor started back in2011 when Japanese tv channel NTV confirmed that there was a “TV special” but no series. Thank god this month Todo Cinemas announced a trailer and a few days ago it was confirmed: new series,  Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna (“Lupin the Third – The Woman Called Fujiko Mine”, to start April 4th. Azuuuuuuuka!

Like it or not... but Lupin the III is back
Like it or not... but Lupin the III is back

The 13 episode series will depict Fujiko and the rest of the Lupin III cast during their younger days, and will reportedly capture the “sensuality” present in Monkey Punch’s original manga in its “daring interpretation” of the franchise… not that it wasn’t “sensual” or provocative b4 but….

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Bugs and Heroes

14 February 2012

Funny to see how some people have compared Petar Pasic‘s upcoming “Bugs & heroes” (O bubicama i herojima) with something as unconnected as Joe’s Appartment (sort of the Alvin and the chipmunks of the 90s with less good-looking “pets”), although we have to admit that cockroaches look the same regardless of their origin.

The Serbian director well (locally) known for his commercials is ready to bring new surreal Serbian cinema to our theaters (those left of course) much like Kusturica did in the 90s. We anticipate it will (at least) have a moderate sucess in France, you now how much they love surreal cinema (Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet…).

Bugs and heroes
Bugs and heroes

 The film, which tells us the story of a group of lonely characters (the wannabe superhero, the orphan, the night guard, the nurse…) and a parallel microcosm of insects is still in post-production so don’t expect it before 2013; but in the meanwhile we have this great trailer courtesy of the people at Doktor Fried. Enjoy!

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Space Stallions

6 February 2012

Thundercats’ movie is just around the corner (or should be right?) but here’s an amazing challenger that maybe one day will get not only a big-budgeted movie but their first animated series to start with.

The Animation Workshop (one of the leading Danish animation & “other things” schools) recently published their 2012 bachelor films on their website, and just like the Saga of Biorn last year, The magnificent stallions have gone viral WITH already 100k VIEWS 3 days ago, over 200K yesterday and over 250K views today. Well well, it seems we’re all feeling a bit He-Man and 80s animation nostalgic lately huh?

A great exercise by Thorvaldur S. Gunnarsson, Jonatan Brüsch, Ágúst Kristinsson, Arna Snæbjørnsdottir, Esben J. Jespersen, Touraj Khosravi and Polina Bokhan with those great synths by Friðfinnur Oculus Sigurðsson.

If only X-Ray and Destructo had existed back when I was little… they would have been a great compliment to the Silverhawks, Exosquads, Thundercats and the likes.

they are... the Space Stallions
they are... the Space Stallions

The rest of the movies are also available via TAW website… and also highly recommended.

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Oh Willy…

22 January 2012

Looks like we have a big first candidate for “best animated short” of any 2012 festival.  Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels (from Czar) just uploaded a nicely soft trailer a few days ago on their newest short that is premiering  at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival in France this month.

Emma, Marc and Steven De Beul discussing animation and rigging
Emma, Marc and Steven De Beul discussing animation and rigging (photos from Beast animation blog)

The Franco-Brit-Dutch-Belgian production (a good list of studios were involved… Beast Animation / Vivement Lundi! / Polaris Film Productions / il Luster Films) still has many many festivals to visit this year, and maybe… just maybe, they’ll release it on-line next month so we can all admire that softie woolen stop-motion technique?

Something (with her love for naked men and super-sheep) Emma had already developed for her 2009 movie “Zache Planten” done while @ Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel for which she received an award @ the Anima fest. Oh Willy… don’t make us wait too long.

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Wild Life

13 January 2012

One of those rare free quality streaming opportunities that don’t occur every day: Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby’s latest animated short “Wild Life” (they were nominated for an Academy Award in 1999 for “When the Day Breaks“) is now streaming on the National Film Board of Canda‘s website.

The short (which unfortunately will only be available for a few days) brings the story of a  dapper young remittance man who is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching in the early XXth century. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World…

This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick and the folly of living dangerously out of context. A film which can be downloaded for 4$ on the NFB website and will surely keep collecting many awards during 2012 (already won the 2011 Canadian Film Institute (CFI) Award for Best Canadian Animation and now nominated for next month’s Annie awards).

Still from "Wild Life" by Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby
Still from "Wild Life" by Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby

Our admired crew @ Carton Brew initially had the exclusive on-line debut of the short over a week ago, and now we’re all able to enjoy this inexplicably beautiful survival (errrr…) story. Enjoy!

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Baboon still
4 January 2012

I recently checked on Stephen King’s IT publication date to decide whether Jonas Burgert could have been influenced by such book… or at least the 90s TV series. What about Einar Baldvin’s recently uploaded Baboon? No doubt punching clowns is not a good idea.

Baboon is Einar Baldvin‘s latest experimental film which comes to join his previously great “Catatonic” and “Mood into Blood” CalArts films in another glorious demonstration of dark Baconian animation from the Iceland director.

And besides admiring his love for naked cowboys (just like another twisted UK animator) and reading his  articles on animation history, make sure you also visit his portfolio filled with many other beasts… baboons, cats, seagulls and other despicable creatures.

Cats by Einar Baldvin
Cats by Einar Baldvin

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23 December 2011

I wasn’t aware that the company behind the visual effects of one of Philips’ 2010 “Parallel Lines campaign” (The Gift in particular) was Barcelona-based studio Big Lazy Robot (BLR), a bunch of 3D experts commanded by JJ Palomo (3dblasphemy) and including some talent out of PepeSchoolLand. They’ve been creating some of the most astonishing VFX parts of well-renown campaigns & movies (just see their portfolio) for many years now…

Keloid - BLR poster
Keloid - BLR poster

…and today I woke up with their latest piece… a trailer of their yet-to-be produced (if ever) film K3loid. Set in “a near future” the original idea was conceived about a year ago as a group of mechanical SWAT forces rushing into a clandestine drug lab also operated by robots.

It’s taken them slightly more than a year to get a solid script and great character design. They called Aaron Beck and Greg Broadmore (District 9) for the concept art),  AI expert and theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky, and after 5 months work here’s the final trailer. For now it’s just that… a trailer, but JJ. Palomo says they might give it a chance next year after sending it to production houses in a bit. Who knows, maybe K3loid in 2012 or 2013?

We highly recommend you read Motiongrapher’s interview with J.J. Palomo from last week which includes many stills, concept art and great insights on the production process.  For now enjoy their previous short…

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Short Animated Oscars for 2012

16 November 2011

Ukas! Many directors we know have been craaaazily tweeting about their little babies being shortlisted for the Oscars this year (shortlist prior to the final nominees of course). Some more than others, but as usual, we have our favorites.

(oh wait this is not O’Reilly’s shortlisted E-world is it? Either way, he lost it again and here’s his latest subproduct)

A few of those are already available to stream on-line (go & look), but most of them are on-line restricted as part of their world festival tours conditions etc. This year’s main list jumps to 45 shorts (see the full list here), with the usual big studios and their big elephants (Pixar, Breakthru…), national film associations or schools but also many new exciting & independent ones.

You can see on the Cartoonbrew dedicated page a full list of the shortlisted and links to most of the film dedicated pages (or even a few trailers), and despite the amazing level (each year gets more & more competitive), there are very few that clearly have our heart. The obvious big buzzes of the year… (External World, Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, The Lost Town of Switez…) and some less orthodox bordering what the “Academy” could accept as morally awardable for an Oscar. Either way, the list will be chopped down to 5 nominees and we’ll get to know them next year.

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15 October 2011

“It could be the end of the line for Jackie and Robert, two crotchety old men who have an enduring love of small talk, personal liberty and very good pies”. A great odd couple that could perfectly be the last few lines of a never-made animated film fro  Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau’s famous characters.

All the arms, legs and heads contained in this box for safe keeping - for the Gristle short
All the arms, legs and heads contained in this box for safe keeping - for the Gristle short

A short film written by Jonathan auf der Heide, directed and animated by Tasmanian animator Jamie Clennett which was  made using a combination of traditional 2D and Stop Frame animation.

The puppets are held together using weak magnets which are glued onto the replacement components
The puppets are held together using weak magnets which are glued onto the replacement components

Another amazing example of the great work & effort put into this “replacement animation” technique which always includes a large and meticulous process of cataloging & piece numbering. As for Jamie’s next film…. well, he’s quite busy right now working for some of London & NY’s best musical companies (on the animation side of course), so I guess it won’t be very soon; but you can always enjoy his previous works he’s been recently uploading to his page.

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The Lost Town of Switez

8 October 2011

It is quite discouraging having to wait over a year (sometimes 2, sometimes 5) to watch the animated shorts we like. They have to be screened and included in endless festivals and maybe tour for years & years. And then, once the festival lifecycle is over is up to the director (or other team members) to decide whether they want to upload the short and make it available online or not.

Kamil Polak‘s “The Lost town of Switez” is one of those jewels we saw a couple of months ago at the LIAF and keeps doing its particular world tour…. and a couple of weeks ago it was awarded with NY’s short film festival “Best animation” award.

Originally created in a combination of 3D animation and classic animation painted with oil paints (19th century Slavonic and Middle-age paintings styles) there was a special commission for  large-scale paintings which were then composited into a multiple-plane 3D computer generated (CG) environment using digital animation and compositing techniques.

Very remarkable is also the contribution of Irina Bogdanovich’s music, one of the best new Russian talents.

And as a present here’s one of Kamil’s first animated works….

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24 September 2011

Here’s a rather unusual proposal for an animated graduation film. Steven Briand from ENSAD Paris (Decorative arts school) playing with Ensad’s blue screen room for a mix of a live action and stop motion animation.

A video that Steven should consider submitting to the online dance film fest Idill (although too late for this year’s edition) with a choreography by Clara Henry and Julien  Jourdain de Muizon having an internal fight with the paper monster, Steven made use of a team of more than 15 people to bring the harmony together.

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9 September 2011

Julia Pott’s newest animated short “Belly” isn’t available on-line yet; it’s still doing a world festival tour (we wish her the best of luck). So we thought… why not talk about all her previous animal love stories?

Julia Pott's mammoth
Julia Pott's mammoth

You’re probably recognized those soft animal drawings…. “aggressively cute” creatures who tend to fall in love too easily, too quickly. We got to know her style with those bit Etsy titles a couple of years ago, and she hasn’t stopped receiving advertising proposals ever since.

For someone willing to become a balloon and still addicted to sugar her anthropomorphic animals have become some sort of East-London icon; something she’s apparently going to try and export to New York. Wonder if she’ll still be part of our other favorite local studio… Treat, when she moves out.

The good thing about Julia is that she’s not only an animator! She obviously sells her stuff on Etsy, has her own personal blog on top of her on-line book, a flickr, a vimeo…. and has a loong portfolio of artwork you shouldn’t miss. This way.

Julia Pott's bear for Small Magazine
Julia Pott's gloved bear for Small Magazine
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4 September 2011

The good thing about animation Festivals is the continuous discovery of new talents and their latest works.

Ben GijsemansNicolas Keppens newest piece brings an apparent vicious night game in the streets of Amsterdam… “The mysteries that emerge when the lights go dim and a new world takes over” perfectly capturing the mid- 20th century night atmosphere

The Belgian duo who also happen to be amazing illustrators (you should definitely check their pages) are currently studying at Gent’s KASK school, so if this was their bachelor’s animated film wait for what their preparing…

ink + charcoal + conté, image by Nicolas Keppens

Ben is now on his first Master’s year and his previous films clearly denote a passion for classical styles and surreal subjects. Unfortunately they’re not available on vimeo or youtube but they can all be streamed on his web.

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Robert Proch

29 August 2011

The focus of this year’s LIAF is on Polish animation. That other European country with quite a long history of animated hits which include a vast culture of storytelling, fairytales and a very diverse mix of artistic styles and influences. One of the big exponents of young Polish animation is Robert Proch, who may not be attending this year’s edition like his counterpart Wojtek Wawszczyk but whose most recent works will be present all over.

Nothing can be found on his latest short “Gallery” the story of a pit bull and his owner in a surreal shopping centre but the rest of his previous works are already on-line including his award-winning “Virus”.

Go for it

Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań Robert’s interest go from painting & graffiti to illustration & animation… a multi-shit artist (as Pla would say) who clearly excels in each and every discipline. And given he’s only 24, well… still many years left to win some important awards. Make sure you visit his page.

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London International Animation Festival @ Various

26 August 2011

The largest animation festival in the UK is back!

Another year, another great excuse to discover worldwide animated class across multiple London venues (prices range from 4£ to £10, so no big excuses).

The Invention of Happy Hour by LIAFanimation

For this year the organization have prepared a great selection of screenings & events that for 10 days will invade the  Barbican, the Horse Hospital and the Rio Cinema…

An opening gala @ The Barbican which includes a good mix of the hottest films from competition, some classics, some top new British films and the world premiere of Phil Mulloy’s brand new feature film ‘Dead but not Buried’ (part 2 of ‘The Christies’ trilogy).

A series of workshops that go from masterclasses with top animators & cartoonists to family screenings, discussions, retrospectives and a nicely curated International programme.  In total this year the Festival features 280 films from over 30 countries and you can discover the full program this way.

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Black Dynamite pilot

14 August 2011

The people at AdultSwim are busy trying to come up with new fresh content & keep a successful selection of great (and sometimes too bizarre) series. Their newest idea developed by Titmouse studio comes as an adaptation of Scott Sanders’s Black Dynamite movie.

The pilot just aired last week (and will be available until the 23rd) and just like in the movie and the best 70s classics you’ll get the legend now taking on his childhood mentor and surrogate father: That Frog Kurtis, a Puppet TV educator turned super villain!

Juno Lee & Carl Jones will hopefully continue bringing the rest of the episodes, and by the welcome it’s received (nearly 400K views by now), we’re convinced Adultswim will continue streaming the series; although you’ll have to wait until 2012 as the full series is set to premiere on Cartoon Network’s late night programming block, Adult Swim, next year. You can watch the pilot it here.

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See No Evil

31 July 2011

Hey animated junkies, it’s not all about the Barbican & LIAF ok? SNE special lampoon evening is back for another summery date. Quick reminder then (late one at the same time, sorry) for this next Tuesday’s “See No Evil” evening @ London’s CAMP. The animated evening is back another month this time bringing the Treat Studios collective to talk (a bit) about their newest stuff…

The whole capsule will be taking place @  The City Arts & Music Project 70-74 City Road EC1Y 2BJ, and for free… of corz, with talks starting @ 7:30 right after you buy a drink or two from the friendly people behind the bar. There will be tees & music till late (for a working day) as usual.

(look who got their newest clip psychonimated by Treat.. the Californian Antlers!)

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The Boy In The Bubble

22 July 2011

To be honest I was automatically attracted to this short animated teaser by Alan Rickman’s voice, the rest seemed a trendy-catch game of the eternal Mr Burton and American McGee’s Alice game artworks.

Then I realized Kealan O’Rourke was behind the short, as I’m very fond of Irish animation lately… well… an obligatory mention had to be written.


Rupert is this 10 y.o. boy in a bubble and he’s just fallen hopelessly in love for the first time. When it all goes terribly wrong, he wishes never to experience heartache again. Turning to a book of magic, he invokes a spell to shield him from emotion forever.

And now…. just a matter of time until we find out when and how will it be screened or released.

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