Tuesday, December 2, 2008

News - 12/02/08...

Kung Fu Panda Leads Annie Noms

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda kicked its way to the top of the list of nominees for the 36th Annual Annie Awards. The action-comedy snagged a total of 17 nominations, including Best Animated Feature and individual nods for character animation, character design, directing, music, production design, storyboarding, voice acting and writing. Presented by the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, the event will recognize the year's best animated features, television productions, commercials, video games and short subjects. Winners will be announced on Friday, Jan 30 at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Calif.

Also up for Best Animated Feature are Walt Disney Animation Studios'
Bolt (nine nominations), Disney/Pixar’s WALL•E with (eight nominations), Sony Pictures Classics Waltz With Bashir and Sherman Pictures/Lama Films $9.99. Bashir and $9.99 are both from Israeli filmmakers. Ari Folman's Bashir just won the British Independent Film Award for Best Foreign Film and is Israel's Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Tatia Rosenthal's $9.99 will begin a limited U.S. Oscar qualifying run on Dec. 12 through Regent Releasing.

Nickelodeon leads the pack in television with 12 nominations. The networks’
Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Mighty B! are both up for Best Animated Television Production Produced for Children, along with Cartoon Network’s Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Underfist: Halloween Bash, and Warner Bros. Animation’s holiday special A Miser Brothers Christmas. Nominees for the Best Animated Television Production are Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, FOX’s The Simpsons and King of the Hill, and Adult Swim’s Moral Orel and Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II
, both produced by ShadowMachine.

Special juried awards honoring career achievement and exceptional contributions to animation will also be awarded. King of the Hill creator Mike Judge, Pixar’s John Lasseter and Aardman’s Nick Park will receive the Winsor McCay Award for career contributions to the art of animation. The June Foray Award will go to Bill Turner for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation and a Certificate of Merit will be presented to Amir Avini, Mike Fontanelli, Kathy Turner and Alex Vassilev.

More than 1,500 entertainment industry insiders are expected to attend the black-tie ceremony, which will begin at 8 p.m., following a 6 p.m. reception. For information on tickets, advertising and sponsorship opportunities, go to www.annieawards.org.

2008 Annie Award Nominees by Category:


Best Animated Feature

Bolt – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Kung Fu Panda – DreamWorks Animation
$9.99 – Sherman Pictures/Lama Films
Wall•E – Pixar Animation Studios
Waltz With Bashir – Sony Pictures Classics/Bridgit Folman, Les Films D’ici, Razor Films

Best Animated Home Entertainment Production

Batman: Gotham Knight – Warner Bros. Animation
Christmas Is Here Again – Easy To Dream Entertainment
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Justice League: The New Frontier – Warner Bros. Animation
The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning – DisneyToon Studios

Best Animated Short Subject

Glago’s Guest – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Hot Dog – Bill Plympton Studio
Presto – Pixar Animation Studios
Sebastian’s Voodoo – Joaquin Baldwin
Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death – Aardman Animations Ltd.

Best Animated Television Commercial

Giant Monster – Curious Pictures
Long Legs Mr. Hyde – Curious Pictures
Rotofugi: The Collectors – Screen Novelties
Sarah – Z Animation
United Airlines “Heart” – Duck Studios

Best Animated Television Production

King of the Hill – 20th Century Fox TV
Moral Orel – ShadowMachine
Phineas and Ferb – Disney Television Animation
Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II - ShadowMachine
The Simpsons – Gracie Films/Fox TV

Best Animated Television Production Produced for Children

A Miser Brothers Christmas – Warner Bros. Animation
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Nickelodeon
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Destination Imagination” – Cartoon Network Studios
The Mighty B! – Nickelodeon
Underfist: Halloween Bash – Cartoon Network Studios

Best Animated Video Game

Dead Space – Electronic Arts
Kung Fu Panda – Activision
WALL•E – Heavy Iron Studios, a division of THQ, Inc.


Animated Effects

Alen Lai
“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who”
– Blue Sky Studios
Li-Ming Lawrence Lee
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Fangwei Lee
“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” – DreamWorks Animation
Kevin Lee
“Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Enrique Vila
“WALL•E” – Pixar Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production

James Baxter “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Jeff Gabor
“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who”
– Blue Sky Studios
Philippe Le Brun
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Victor Navone
“Wall•E” – Pixar Animation Studios
Dan Wagner
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Television Production or Short Form

Sandro Cleuzo
“Secrets of the Furious Five”
– DreamWorks Animation
Joshua A. Jennings
“Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II” - ShadowMachine
Pierre Perifel
“Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

Valerie Hadida “Igor”
– Exodus Film Group
Sang Jun Lee
“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who” – Blue Sky Studios
Nico Marlet
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation

Character Design in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Bryan Arnett –
Mighty B! “Bat Mitzah Crashers”
– Nickelodeon
Ben Balistreri -
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Mondo Coco” – Cartoon Network Studios
Sean Galloway
“The Spectacular Spider-Man” – Sony Pictures Television
Jorge Gutierrez –
El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera “The Good, The Bad, The Tigre” – Nickelodeon
Nico Marlet
“Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen “The Tale Of Despereaux”
– Universal Pictures
Ari Folman
“Waltz With Bashir” – Sony Pictures Classics/Bridgit Folman, Les Films D’ici, Razor Films
Tatia Rosenthal
“9.99” – Sherman Pictures/ Lama Films
John Stevenson & Mark Osborne
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Andrew Stanton
“WALL•E” – Pixar Animation Studios

Directing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Bob Anderson -
The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror XIX”
– Gracie Films/Fox TV
Joaquim Dos Santos –
Avatar: The Last Airbender “Sozin’s Comet Pt. 3” – Nickelodeon
Craig McCracken, Rob Renzetti -
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Destination Imagination” – Cartoon Network Studios
Chris McKay –
Moral Orel “Passing” – ShadowMachine
Alan Smart - SpongeBob SquarePants “Penny Foolish” – Nickelodeon

Music in an Animated Feature Production

Kevin Manthei –
“Batman: Gotham Knight” – Warner Bros. Animation
John Powell –
“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who”
– Blue Sky Studios
Max Richter –
“Waltz With Bashir” – Sony Pictures Classics/Bridgit Folman, Les Films D’ici, Razor Films
William Ross –
“The Tale Of Despereaux”
– Universal Pictures
Hans Zimmer & John Powell –
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation

Music in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Carl Finch & Brave Combo - Click and Clack’s “As the Wrench Turns”
– CTTV Productions
Henry Jackman, Hans Zimmer & John Powell –
“Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation
Kevin Kiner –
“Star Wars The Clone Wars: Rising Malevolence” – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
Guy Moon –
Back at the Barnyard “Cowman: The Uddered Avenger” – Nickelodeon/Omation
Guy Michelmore –
“Growing Up Creepie: Rockabye Freakie” – Taffy Entertainment LLC

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

Ralph Eggleston
– Pixar Animation Studios
Paul Felix
“Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Tang Heng
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Evgeni Tomov
“The Tale Of Despereaux” – Universal Pictures
Raymond Zibach
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation

Production Design in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Andy Harkness
“Glago’s Guest”
– Walt Disney Animation Studios
Tang Heng
“Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation
Seonna Hong –
The Mighty B! “Bee Patients” – Nickelodeon
Dan Krall –
Chowder “The Heavy Sleeper” – Cartoon Network Studios
Raymond Zibach
“Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Alessandro Carloni –
“Kung Fu Panda”
– DreamWorks Animation
Ronnie Del Carmen
“WALL•E” – Pixar Animation Studios
Joe Mateo
“Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Jen Yuh Nelson –
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Rob Stevenhagen –
“The Tale Of Despereaux” – Universal Pictures

Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Butch Hartman –
Fairly OddParents “Mission: Responsible”
– Nickelodeon
Andy Kelly –
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan “Twirly Whirly Flyers” – Nickelodeon Productions/Nelvana
Andy Schuler –
“Secret of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation
Eddie Trigueros
“The Mighty B! “Name Shame”– Nickelodeon
Chris Williams
“Glago’s Guest” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

Ben Burtt – Voice of WALL•E –
– Pixar Animation Studios
Dustin Hoffman – Voice of Shifu –
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
James Hong – Voice of Mr. Ping –
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Ian McShane – Voice of Tai Lung –
“Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Mark Walton – Voice of Rhino –
“Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Ahmed Best – Voice of Jar Jar Binks – “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II”
- ShadowMachine
Seth MacFarlane – Voice of Peter Griffin –
Family Guy “I Dream of Jesus” – Fox TV Animation/Fuzzy Door Productions
Dwight Schultz – Voice of Mung Daal –
Chowder “Apprentice Games” – Cartoon Network Studios

Writing in an Animated Feature Production

Jon Aibel & Glenn Berger –
“Kung Fu Panda”
– DreamWorks Animation
Etan Cohen and Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath –
“Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa” – DreamWorks Animation
Ari Folman –
“WaltzItalic With Bashir” – Sony Pictures Classics/Bridgit Folman, Les Films D’ici, Razor Films
Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio –
“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who” – Blue Sky Studios

Writing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Joel H. Cohen –
The Simpsons “The Debarted”
– Gracie Films/Fox TV
Scott Kreamer –
El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera “Mustache Love” – Nickelodeon
Paul McEvoy and Todd Berger –
“Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation
Tom Root, Douglas Goldstein, Hugh Davidson, Mike Fasolo, Seth Green, Dan Milano, Matthew Senreich, Kevin Shinick, Zeb Wells –
“Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II” – ShadowMachine
Chris Williams –
“Glago’s Guest”
– Walt Disney Animation Studios


Winsor McCay recipients - Mike Judge, John Lasseter and Nick Park for career contributions to the art of animation.

June Foray award - Bill Turner for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation.

Certificate of Merit award - Amir Avini, Mike Fontanelli, Kathy Turner, Alex Vassilev.

"Batman: The Animated Series" Soundtrack Release Available For Pre-Order Today

The highly-anticipated soundtrack release for Batman: The Animated Series will be available for pre-order today.

La-La Land Records will have the Batman: The Animated Series - Original Soundtrack CD release available for pre-order today, Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008, beginning at 12pm (PST) / 3pm (ET) at the label's website. This is a limited edition collector's release of 3000 units and will be available only through the La-La Land Records website and other online soundtrack specialty stores as well. Roughly 100 autographed copies of the Batman: The Animated Series soundtrack release will only be available through the La-La Land Records site and are first-come, first-serve while supplies last, though not guaranteed. The release will also include a detailed 20-page booklet. After pre-orders are taken, La-La Land Records will then start to ship out copies of the Batman: The Animated Series - Original Soundtrack CD release on December 16th, 2008.

To reiterate, pre-orders will begin today, December 2nd, 2008, at 12pm (PST) at La-La Land Records.com.

Click here for a complete rundown of the tracklist for the 2-disc CD release, and click here for the cover art.

Depending on the reception to this first release, future Batman: The Animated Series soundtrack releases are very possible.

Waltz with Bashir wins top honor at Tokyo Filmex

Variety reports that Ari Folman’s Cannes competition player Waltz With Bashir won the grand prize at the ninth Tokyo Filmex Festival, which closed Sunday. According to the report, the feature was cited for “inventing a new cinematographic language.” Waltz With Bashir will see a limited release in US theatres starting December 25.

Monsters vs. Aliens character poster

IMPAWARDS shares a new character poster for the Dreamworks’ upcoming animated feature Monsters vs. Aliens. Directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon, Monsters vs. Aliens is slated for a March 27, 2009 release.

Open Season 2 trailer

Movie-List has made available a teaser and a trailer for Sony Pictures’ upcoming direct to dvd sequel Open Season 2 in flash format. As reported earlier, the dvd will hit shelves on January 27, 2008.

Fly Me, Prince Caspian on DVD

The stereoscopic 3-D animated family film Fly Me to the Moon lands on home video shelves today, along with the second film in the vfx-laden Chronicles of Narnia series. The former is available in both 3-D and 2-D versions, and the latter can be had in a three-disc DVD and Blu-ray set loaded with bonus features.

In Fly Me to the Moon, three tween-aged flies decide they want to become part of the space program and hatch a plan to stow away on the 1969 Apollo II mission. Against the wishes of their mothers and with encouragement from a grandfather who missed his shot at becoming the first fly in space, the intrepid insects manage to get into the rocket and embark on an exhilarating and harrowing space adventure. The voice cast features Kelly Rippa, Christopher Lloyd, Nicollette Sheridan and Adrianne Barbeau, as well as real-life Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a special cameo role.

Written by Domonic Paris of Illuminata Picutres and directed by Ben Stassen of nWave Pictures, the $25 million movie was released theatrically in August by Summit Ent. and grossed just over $30 million worldwide. Both the 3-D and 2-D versions retail for $25.99. Stassen and Paris are now working on an animated sea turtle adventure titled Around the World in 50 Years—3D.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian returns viewers to a magical realm brought to the screen with the aid of visual effects shops Weta Digital, The Moving Picture Company, Framestore CFC, Rising Sun Pictures, ScanlineVFX and CIS London. Based on the classic book by C.S. Lewis, the sequel has the young Pevensie siblings return to Narnia a year later, only to find that 1,300 years have passed and the enchanted kingdom has fallen into ruin. With the help of a certain animated lion, they must battle an evil king and return the land’s rightful ruler, Prince Caspian, to the throne. The film is directed by Andrew Adamson, who helmed the first journey to Narnia as well as the blockbuster DreamWorks Animation feature Shrek.

Bonus features include audio commentary by Adamson, a blooper reel, deleted scenes and the featurettes Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns, Sets of Narnia: A Classic Comes to Life, Big Movie Comes to a Small Town, Previsualizing Narnia, Talking Animals and Walking Trees: the Magical World of Narnia, Secrets of the Duel, Becoming Trumpkin and Warwick Davis: The Man behind Nikabrik. The three-disc collector’s edition lists for $39.99 on DVD and $40.99 on Blu-ray. A single-disc edition is also available for the suggested retail price of $29.99 on DVD and $35.99 on Blu-ray. The third film in the series, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is slated to hit theaters in the summer of 2010.

Yogi, Flintstone Movies, Dr. Katz on Disc

Animated TV favorites are packaged to own for the first time on DVD with today’s release of the classic 1960s Hanna-Barbera feature films Hey There, It's Yogi Bear and The Man Called Flintstone, both newly re-mastered and retailing for $19.98 apiece. Also available is The Best of Dr. Kat: Professional Therapist, a compilation of episodes from the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Comedy Central series from comedian Jonathan Katz.

Tired of Yogi’s “pic-a-nic” basket stealing shenanigans, Jellystone National Park's Ranger Smith ships Yogi off to the San Diego Zoo in the theatrically released comic adventure Hey There, It's Yogi Bear. Yogi manages to outwit Ranger Smith by having another bear crated off in his place, but the Jellystone watchdog isn’t the only one fooled. Believing her love has been sent away, Yogi's girlfriend, Cindy, goes looking for him and is captured by a circus owner who forces her to perform a perilous high-wire act. Yogi and pal Boo Boo then set out on a cross-country mission to rescue her. The pic features the voices of Daws Butler and Don Messick.

The Man Called Flintstone marked the theatrical debut of the modern Stone-Age family. The adventure begins when Fred is recruited by a secret organization to take the place of Rock Slag, an injured agent who happens to be Fred's exact double. His mission is to travel to Eurock to find the villainous Green Goose and thwart his bid for world domination. Unable to tell his family or friends about the cloak-and-dagger plan, Fred takes Wilma, Barney and Betty along on a vacation in intrigue. Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl and Gerry Johnson lend their voices to this feature-length adventure.

The Best of Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist includes episodes featuring the voices of leading comedians Dave Chappelle, Conan O’Brien, Sarah Silverman, Denis Leary, Janeane Garofalo and Ray Romano. When he’s not dealing with neurotic comics, Dr. Katz puts up with the antics of his deadbeat son, Ben, and his sarcastic secretary, Laura. The paramount release carries a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Unaired Life’s a Zoo Footage Online

Fans of Cuppa Coffee Studios’ stop-motion adult comedy series, Life's a Zoo, can log onto the Canadian show’s website and check out some never-before-seen footage from the show. Aimed at viewers 18 and over, the twisted take on reality television has its own web channel that allows the producers to post additional content, including live video feeds and downloadable music from the show.

Budgeted at $6 million, Life’s a Zoo has seven animal contestants fighting it out for 15 minutes of fame o the wildest reality show ever. The new online footage features Ray the monkey singing a sexually explicit song about being dumped by his drug addict Panda girlfriend. Watch it at www.lifesazoo.tv/movies/raysong.html.

Battlestar Prequel Flies at SCI FI

SCI FI Channel is finally moving forward with the Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica. According to Daily Variety, the show will star Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson and Polly Walker in a more down-to-earth science-fiction drama that will depict life before the rise of the Cylons. A two-hour pilot has already been produced and fans can anticipate an early 2010 debut.

Produced by Universal Cable Prods., Caprica will take place 50 years earlier as two rival families on the title planet Caprica deal with daily life in the shadow of frightening advances in artificial intelligence technology. Exec producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, who were showrunners on Galactica, are hoping the family storylines will draw a broader audience than the aforementioned space opera that frequently featured spaceship battles. Remi Aubuchon (24) co-wrote the pilot with Moore and will also serve as an exec producer.

The Emmy-winning Battlestar Galactica will end its run after the fourth season. The final 10 episodes will begin airing on March 20, but devotees can look forward to the two-hour movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan in early summer.

Bashir Waltzes Off with BIFA Award

The animated documentary Waltz with Bashir from Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman was among he winners at the 11th annual British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs). The critically acclaimed doc was named Best Foreign Film during a ceremony held Sunday at Old Billingsgate Market in London.

Waltz with Bashir documents Folman’s quest to recover memories and discover the truth about an Israeli army mission he participated in during the first Lebanon War of the early 1980s. Long-forgotten images begin to resurface as the director interviews old friends and comrades around the world regarding the events. The film was co-produced by Bridgit Folman Films Gang and ITVS.

Folman’s previous efforts include the graduate film Comfortably Numb, the 1996 feature Saint Clara and the TV series Saturdays and Holidays, Chapter of the Week and In Therapy, the Israeli series that served as the model for HBO’s Gabriel Byrne vehicle in the U.S.

Bashir has been submitted as Israel’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, and is also eligible for Best Animated Feature. The pic has already won the Audience Award at the Warsaw Int’l Film Festival and took top honors at the Israeli Film Academy Awards.

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at the British Independent Film Awards, taking Best British Independent Film and securing Best Director for Boyle. Young actor Dev Patel was also named Most Promising Newcomer for his role in the film. To see a complete list of winners, go to www.bifa.org.uk/news/winners-announced-11th-british-independent-film-awards.

Harryhausen Pit Gets Comic Deal

Ray Harryhausen Presents: The Pit and the Pendulum, a stop-motion short film produced by Hand Made Heroes Film & Television, will become a comic book through a publishing deal with Bluewater Prods. Bluewater puts out a series of comics under the "Ray Harryhausen Presents" banner, mostly based on classic films the master animator has contributed to. The Pit comic is slated to hit retail in February.

When Bluewater President Darren G. Davis and director Marc Lougee of Hand Made Heroes discovered they were both producing Ray Harryhausen Presents projects independently, they immediately inked a deal to further develop film and comic-book cross-over properties.

“Seeing the film published as a comic thru a brilliant publisher like Bluewater is the realization of another dream of mine,” says Lougee, “What started as a labor of love, and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a film with Ray Harryhausen at the helm, has just continued to expand and reach further than I’d imagined.”

Based on the classic horror tale by Edgar Allan Poe, The Pit and the Pendulum revolves around a victim of the Spanish Inquisition who is left alone in a dungeon to suffer a fate worse than death as his captors employ fiendish machinations in their efforts to unhinge him. The comic book will feature images taken directly from the award-winning animated film, along with Poe’s original text.

The animated short premiered as part of Aint It Cool News’ BNAT (Butt-Numb-A-Thon) Festival, and has since screened in more than 200 film festivals and comic conventions around the world. In addition, more than 100,000 visitors logged into the film’s website (www.thepitandthependulumshortfilm.com) within two days of the premier in Austin, Texas. The Pit and the Pendulum DVD is available online at www.thepitandthependulumdvd.comAbout.

Bill Wray Solo Show in Bakersfield

Background-painter-turned-fine artist Bill Wray (Ren & Stimpy, Samurai Jack, The Mighty B) is the subject of a one-man show opening at the Bakersfield Museum of Fine Art on Thursday, December 11. The show, titled CA-99, will continue through February 2009. It’s also worth noting that on the same day, the Bakersfield museum will debut an intriguing exhibit called Harlem Renaissance that will focus on African-American artists of the 1920 and 1930s.

The day after the opening, December 12, Bill will be conducting a day-long plein air painting workshop in Bakersfield. Tuition is $80. For additional information about the class, visit the Bakersfield Museum website.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Too Art For TV 3

(Artists, clockwise from upper left: Zartosht Soltani, kaNO, Chris George, Patrick Smith, Todd K. Lown, Liz Artinian)

The 3rd annual edition of Too Art for TV opens this Friday, December 5, from 6-9pm at the Erebuni Gallery in Brooklyn (158 Roebling St. Williamsburg, NY) followed by an after-party at the Trophy Bar. The show is described as:

An annual exhibition designed to promote and encourage the fine arts in the animation industry. We believe that artists in the animation industry have extraordinary artistic skills and a unique perspective on pop culture at large. We hope to continue to provide a reliable home for animation’s creative minds otherwise “owned” by networks and studios.

Too Art for TV was founded by Liz Artinian, the color supervisor on The Venture Bros.. This year’s show, the largest ever, will feature the work of thirty-six artists. It runs through December 15. For more details including a list of exhibiting artists, visit the show’s website.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

NY Times on Indie Animators Bill Plympton, Signe Baumane, and Don Hertzfeldt

The New York Times has taken a look at animation outside the mainstream, focusing specifically on the works of Bill Plympton, Signe Baumane, and Don Hertzfeldt. All 3 eschew the funny animal CGI stereotype that drives Disney and DreamWorks Animation, usually in favor of hand-drawn animation and more mature subject matter. The Times describes the market situation for more serious animation as "comparable to that of California wine, pre-1976," despite the critical successes of movies such as Persepolis, The Triplets of Belleville, and Waltz with Bashir.

NY Times Looks at "The Cleveland Show"

The New York Times has taken a look at The Cleveland Show, the upcoming animated spinoff from Family Guy which will premiere next fall, and was previewed for the audience of the "Family Guy Sings!" show last Monday night. The article examines the history of the show and creator Seth McFarlane's career arc that went from being creator of a canceled show to the highest-paid writer currently working on television.'

WALL*E Tops Home Video

WALL*E was the top seller and second-most-rented home video title, topping the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart and scoring a strong second-place finish on Home Media Magazine's rental chart for the week ending Nov. 23, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

WALL*E also was the week's top Blu-ray disc seller.

The previous week's top seller, Paramount/DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda, slipped to third place on the overall home-video sales chart, and the previous week's top renter, Universal Studios' Hellboy II: The Golden Army, fell to fourth place, with a 37 percent drop in rental demand.

Aaron McGruder Announces "Boondocks Bootleg"

To help fill the gap between seasons of the animated series, Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder has announced BoondocksBootleg, the "Offiical Unofficial YouTube channel of Aaron McGruder" that will contain online video sketches starring characters like Granddad Witherspoon, Uncle Ruckus, and Carl "Thugnificent" Jones.

Newsarama Interviews Craig McCracken on "Foster's" and the Cartoonstitute

Newsarama's Animated Shorts has interviewed Craig McCracken, creator of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, about the new 1-hour episode "Destination: Imagination" which premiered on November 27, 2008. McCracken talks about some of the influences of the show, the role his wife Lauren Faust plays in the production of the show, and how his work at Cartoon Networks' Cartoonstitute is going.

Endemol and Teshkeel Media to Produce Islamic-Themed Superhero 'Toon "The 99"

Teshkeel Media and Endemol UK are teaming up to produce the animated adventures of The 99, based on the comic book series of the same name from Teshkeel. The series focuses on a superhero team whose members derive their powers as an embodiment of one of the 99 virtues of Allah. Production will be done in India and the UK, with Endemol International having worldwide TV, online, mobile, and DVD distribution rights.

"Variety" on Israeli Animation in "Waltz with Bashir" and "$9.99"

Variety has noted the two Israeli animated movies set to be released in U.S. movie theaters soon: the documentary Waltz with Bashir and $9.99, based on the short stories of Etgar Keret. The stop-motion movie $9.99 is a "surreal, multi-stranded musing on the meaning of life featuring disparate characters including a disgruntled guardian angel," and Keret finally consented to the adaptation of his work because he felt that live-action movies wouldn't do them justice. It will be handled by Regent Releasing, with its theatrical run starting on December 12, 2008.

Waltz with Bashir follows the deployment of director Ari Folman during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and has been receiving critical acclaim and attention since its premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It will be handled by Sony Pictures Classics, with a release date of December 25, 2008.

George Miller No Longer Directing ‘Justice League’ Movie

The saga of the live-action “Justice League” movie seems to have hit yet another snag, as Australian filmmaker George Miller now appears to have severed any ties with the on-again, off-again project. According to Dark Horizons, Miller told a Sydney morning show earlier today that he is no longer involved in “Justice League” in any capacity.

Back in September, we heard from the film’s Batman actor, Armie Hammer, just a few weeks after news surfaced that Australian actress/model Megan Gale was cast as Wonder Woman. However, now it seems that casting might have played a role in the film’s troubles, as Miller reportedly told the show’s audience that if the film was ever going to be made, it would likely be recast because “the studios seem to want bigger stars in their superhero movies now.”

On a side note, the “Mad Max” director added that he would like to work with Mel Gibson again at some point — which could mean our hopes for a Martian Manhunter played by Gibson could be inching ever closer to becoming reality.

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