Animation Scoop – Animated News, Reviews and Commentary

“Our Next 4 Years”: Over 200 Oscar and Emmy Winning Animators Band Together To Create Animated PSAs

Our Ne​xt 4 Years, a new volunteer-run organization comprised of over 200 concerned animation professionals formed in the wake of the election, has released its first animated PSA. This funny and informative spot — ​Share in the Care: Defend the Afforda​ble Care Act (directed by Mike Parker) — illustrates the problems with repealing the Affordable Care Act and sets a deliberate, non-partisan yet entertaining way — the tone for the many PSAs O​ur Next 4 Years is producing.

Future PSAs in production include topics such as immigration, climate change, privacy protection and other constitutional issues. Another Health Care PSA (directed by Tona Wilson) will be released next Thursday, March 2nd. “We’re currently developing PSA’s on Immigration and planning to tackle more: Women’s reproductive rights, Anti-bigotry, Journalism / free press”, says producer Carolyn Bates. “Our Next 4 Years was started by Mike Blum, based on an idea that animator, Ramiro Olmos had proposed. Steering committee members are me, Richard O’Connor, and Mike Penketh.”

FIRST LOOK: Patrick Stump (“Fall Out Boy”) on “Star Vs. The Forces Of Evil”

Disney XD’s hit Star Vs. The Forces of Evil has a surprise up its sleeve in next Monday’s episode – rocker Patrick Stump (“Fall Out Boy”) appears vocally to play a character who comes to the aid with a brand new song.

On the episode “Face The Music”, which premiere’s Monday March 27th at 7pm EST – it’s Star’s Song Day. Star and Marco work with principled songstrel,’Ruberiot’, to create a ballad for the event. Stump guest stars as Ruberiot. Here’s an exclusive first look clip:

ANIME REVIEW: “Amagi Brilliant Park: Complete Collection”

The broadcast series Amagi Brilliant Park boasts an impressive pedigree: Its original creator is Shoji Gatou, who wrote the light novels that served as the basis for the hit comedy-adventure Full Metal Panic!

Former child actor Seiya Kanie (Adam Gibbs) is one of the brightest and best-looking students in his high school. But he’s so arrogant and socially inept, he has no friends. Kanie is shocked when pretty Isuzu Sento (Molly Searcy) appears brandishing an elaborate set of guns. She orders him to accompany her a broken-down amusement park.

Kanie can see at a glance that Amagi Park is a failure. But if its owners can’t attract 500,000 visitors within the next few months, a nasty real estate developer will shut it down. Only a few dozen people come per day, so the prospects are dim. Isuzu informs Kanie he’s been made temporary manager, charged with saving the Park.

TRAILER: Gkids “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”

GKIDS, the distributor of award-winning indie and foreign animation, has announced the release date of Dash Shaw’s first animated feature, My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea. It splashes into theaters on April 14th. Shaw, celebrated author of such graphic novels as New School, Bottomless Belly Button and the recently-released Cosplayers, directs Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, and Susan Sarandon, in a story that combines a dream-like mixed media animation style that incorporates drawings, paintings and collage.

Dash (Jason Schwartzman) and his best friend Assaf (Reggie Watts) are preparing for another year at Tides High School muckraking on behalf of their widely-distributed but little-read school newspaper, edited by their friend Verti (Maya Rudolph). But just when a blossoming relationship between Assaf and Verti threatens to destroy the boys’ friendship, Dash learns of the administration’s cover-up that puts all the students in danger.

INTERVIEW: Butch Hartman on Nick’s “Bunsen Is A Beast”

It might seem “fairly odd” to have a best friend at school who’s not only non-human, but he also goes crazy when he eats beets. But coming from the mind and pen of animator/director/producer Butch Hartman, it’s not unusual at all. I recently spoke with Hartman about his new series, Bunsen is a Beast – his 4th for Nickelodeon – which makes its debut this week, Feb. 21st at 5:30pm.

Jackson Murphy: What have you seen change in TV animation since The Fairly OddParents began 16 years ago?

Butch Hartman: Well, mostly my hairline. No, I’m kidding There were no computers in the studio when I first got here. I think there were a couple of Macs. Remember the old Macs that were all colorful like jelly beans? There were those, but hardly anybody had them – certainly not the artists. And now every artist draws on a tablet of some kind. We don’t draw on paper at all. If we do draw on paper, it’s in our own sketch pad. Very rarely do we draw on paper. So that’s been a huge change.

Animation Restorations Highlight UCLA’s 2017 Festival of Preservation

UCLA Film & Television Archive’s 18th Festival of Preservation kicks off in early March with a showcase of the latest restoration projects from its renown archive. In addition to undiscovered gems from classic Hollywood, rare silents, the films of Laurel & Hardy, 1960s television specials – and much more – the archive is devoting one special night, March 11th, to recent restorations of Paramount animated shorts including several Max Fleischer two-reel Technicolor rarities and a George Pal Puppetoon.

Several of these restorations – including Fleischer’s Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy (1941), A Cartoon Travesty Of The Raven (1942) and Dinah (1933, a Screen Song featuring The Mills Brothers) were restored with funding provided by Asifa Hollywood. A panel discussing the Fleischer studio, its influence and these restorations will precede the screening – which will be held Saturday March 11th, 7:30pm, at the Billy Wilder Theatre in The Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, California.

Who Will Win the Oscar? It Depends on Who You Ask

The Academy Awards are just over a week away and with speculation reaching a fever pitch on who will take home the coveted prizes, the feature animation race is starting to look slightly more competitive than in recent years. Who will win? It depends on who you ask.

Reliability is the byword for the Oscars when it comes to the feature categories, and the best animated feature in particularly. The award has gone to Pixar eight out of the ten times its been nominated and the years it wasn’t nominated were either one when they didn’t release a film at all or, was clearly substandard as Cars 2 made all too obvious.

FIRST LOOK: Cartoon Network’s “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs”

Cartoon Network today announced a new TV series, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will make its series premiere on Monday, March 6 at 5:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The mouth-watering comedy series is based on Sony Pictures Animation’s 2009 animated feature comedy hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its 2013 sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 that were both global hits. The TV series is produced by DHX Media and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Corus Entertainment.

New “Kubo” Featurette Details The Film’s Five Year Journey To The Screen

I’m a fan of all five of the films up for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Academy Awards. There’s no question that Kubo and The Two Strings pushed the medium of stop motion to new levels. This new featurette details the film’s five-year journey to the big screen. “Kubo,” which was an underdog Best Animated Feature winner at last weekend’s BAFTA Awards, is nominated for two Academy Awards – Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects – and is vying to become not only LAIKA’s first-ever Oscar winner but also the first stop-motion animated film in 10 years to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

BOOK REVIEW & INTERVIEW: “The Lego Animation Book”

“Everything is Awesome” about The LEGO Animation Book. This is an in-depth and entertaining manual for becoming a filmmaker (or rather, a “brickmaker”) and bringing LEGO videos to life. Beginners and expert LEGO “Master Builders” (both kids and your average AFOL – Adult Fan of LEGO) will find the content extremely valuable.

Co-authors David Pagano and David Pickett don’t simply have their first names in common. Their middle names are Michael, they were both born in 1985, and they tied for second place in Nicktoons’ 2008 “Built By Me” LEGO Animation Contest. They infuse their upbeat personalities into this all-access guide (five years in the making), along with plenty of expertise on every aspect of LEGO filmmaking: from writing a script and storyboarding techniques, to set design and ultimately shooting and editing your finished product. The Davids have LEGO versions of themselves who offer advice and commentary throughout the book.

ANIME REVIEW: “Wolf’s Rain”

On the “Day of Destruction,” which occurred 200 years before the fantasy-adventure Wolf’s Rain (2003) begins, much of human civilization was destroyed. Wolves supposedly died out at the same time, yet the story centers on four humans who turn into wolves. Like the young father in Hosoda’s Wolf Children, they are wolfmen: not the violent werewolves of Western stories, but the kind of shape-shifters that often appear in Japanese folk tales.

The leader of the hastily assembled and often quarrelsome pack is the charismatic Kiba (Darren Pleavin). The other three follow him sometimes eagerly, sometimes reluctantly: cheerfully naïve Toboe (Mona Marshall); Hige (Joshua Seth) nose; and Tsume (Crispin Freeman), a cynical ex-gang leader whose cold exterior conceals a kind heart.

New GLAS Animation Festival Trailer Is A Visual Knock-Out

The 2nd Annual GLAS Animation Festival in Berkeley California is fast approaching (it’s March 2nd-5th, 2017) and competition selections, curated programs, special guests, and the complete festival schedule will soon be announced. In the meantime, the absolutely dazzling 2017 GLAS Feastival Trailer was released today – and its a visual knock-out. Take a look:

Grindstone Picks Up “El Americano”

Lionsgate’s Grindstone Entertainment Group has acquired North American rights to the Mexican animated feature El Americano, the Movie 3D. Written by Richard Pursel (SpongeBob Squarpants, Ren & Stimpy) and veteran animator Phil Roman (Garfield), the film is voiced by Lisa Kudrow, Cheech Marin, Rico Rodriguez (Manny on Modern Family) and Edward James Olmos (who also executive-produced the film). Directed by Mexico’s Ricardo Arnaiz, along with Mike Kunkle and Raul Garcia, El Americano will be distributed by Lionsgate on DVD/blu-ray – and will be available for digital download via Netflix.




Checklist of Animated Features Slated for U.S. Release for 2017

1. YU-GI-OH! DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS (1/27/16) Screen Vision Media. D: Satoshi Kuwabara.

2. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2/10/17) Warner Bros. D: Chris McCay.

3. ROCK DOG (2/26/17) Summit. D: Ash Brannon.

4. THE BOSS BABY (3/31/17) Dreamworks-20th Century Fox. D: Tom McGrath.

5. SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (4/7/17) Sony. D: Kelly Asbury.


7. SPARK (4/14/17) D: Aaron Woodley

8. ANIMAL CRACKERS (4/21/17) D: Tony Bancroft, Scott Christian Sava.

9. LEAP! (4/21/17) The Weinstein Company. D: Eric Summer, Éric Warin.

10. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS (6/2/17) Dreamworks. D: David Soren.

11. CARS 3 (6/16/17) Disney-Pixar. D: Brian Fee

12. DESPICABLE ME 3 (6/30/17) Universal (Illumination). D: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon.

13. THE GIRL WITH NO HANDS (2017 TBA) GKids. D: Sébastien Laudenbach

14. BLAZING SAMURAI (8/4/17) Open Road. D: Chris Bailey, Mark Koetsier.

15. THE NUT JOB 2 (8/18/17) D: Cal Brunker.

16. THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (9/22/17) Warner Bros. D: Charlie Bean.

17. THE EMOJI MOVIE (8/4/17) Sony. D: Tony Leondis.

18. MY LITTLE PONY THE MOVIE (10/6/17) D: Jayson Thiessen.

19. IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD Shout! Factory. (Release date TBA). D: Sunao Katabuch.

20. THE STAR (11/10/17) Columbia Pictures. D: Timothy Reckart

21. COCO (11/22/17) Disney-Pixar. D: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina.

22. FERDINAND (12/22/17) 20th Century-Fox (Blue Sky). D: Carlos Saldanha.

NOTES: 2017 Limited-release theatricals (movies going Direct-to-Video (DVD, VOD but getting a theatrical billboard) began this year with ONE PIECE FILM: GOLD, directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, on January 10th via Funimation. Studio Ghibli’s 1993 TV movie OCEAN WAVES, directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, got a U.S. theatrical release via Gkids on January 13th. Similarly, the 1993 anime feature SAILOR MOON R THE MOVIE, directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, was also a limited U.S. release by Eleven Arts on the same date, January 13th (in Los Angeles at the Theater in the Ace Hotel). Denmark’s 2010 feature THE TROUBLE WITH TERKEL was given a token theatrical run in several U.S. cities on February 3rd, via Indican Pictures. BUNYAN AND BABE, directed by Tony Bancroft and Jim Rygiel, was given a limited NY/LA theatrical release by Cinedigm on February 3rd.

Click for more information on 2016 animated feature releases – and for further information on all U.S. Animated Feature releases since 1937 Click Here.