Monthly Archives: April 2011

Cookie Jar kick-starts production of “Mudpit”



Production of the partly animated Cookie Jar Entertainment series Mudpit, set to air on Canada’s Teletoon English and Teletoon French in the fall of 2011, is now underway at downtown Toronto’s CBC Studio 40 with a cast of musically diverse, talented teens.

With over 20 international awards, Canada’s Guru Studio is brought onboard to produce the CGI animation for the series, currently being shot within the 13,000-square-foot “state of the art” studio in Toronto.

“I focus on producing shows that reinvest in Canadian talent and push the envelope with cutting-edge, creative ideas that stimulate the technologically savvy imaginations of our young audiences. I remain committed to that,” says Cookie Jar CEO Michael Hirsh.

Mudpit takes place at the nexus of the social and personal power of music and the appeal of role-playing in a digital world. This CGI animated/live-action series follows four real-world teens and their rock band, Mudpit, as they follow their dreams of fame and fortune.

The series takes place in a gaming café and a fantastic, virtual world known as Musika. Their online avatar rock band personas battle for a coveted record deal, while their real life selves engage in the daily comedy and drama of teenage life.

Hirsh added: “We have partnered with award-winning Canadian based gaming company NDI Media and secured some of the best writers and producers in the entertainment industry for this series. The Mudpit cast members come from across Canada, with a number of the leads credited with industry nominations and previous leading roles in other Canadian and U.S. major productions.”

The Mudpit series was created by Jamie Waese. Waese recently spent two years as head of current programming for Cookie Jar Entertainment, where he oversaw all creative aspects. He is the producer and co-director of Gotta Catch Santa Claus, a one-hour CGI Christmas movie with William Shatner as Santa.

Bruce Kalish is the series executive producer-showrunner. Kalish began his career on the hit ABC comedy series Mork & Mindy, and has since amassed numerous awards and credentials as a writer-producer.

Kalish created, wrote and executive produced Disney XD’s first live-action series, Aaron Stone. He wrote and executive produced Strange Days at Blake Holsey High and the hit series The Fall Guy, and was writer-executive producer on Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson and The Famous Jett Jackson Movie, for which he won a Gemini Award for Best Series.

Leading cast members include Montreal’s own Jesse Rath as band leader Liam/Lamb. Rath’s recurring role on CBC’s 18 To Life recently earned him a nomination for a Gemini for Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series. Carleigh Beverly, who has appeared in Connor Undercover, the ABC drama Rookie Blue and the Lifetime Original Movie Who Is Clark Rockefeller?, backs the crew up as power drummer Geneva/G.

Adding to the Canadian cast is Vas Saranga as Reese/Dodge. Saranga is most well known for his recurring role on Disney XD’s Aaron Stone as Vas and Cartoon Network’s Unnatural History as Broxton Garko.

Rounding out the cast is Daniel Magder as Mikey/Booch, best known as Edwin from Life with Derek. Magder began to learn his craft working with Timothy Hutton. Daniel’s credits also include appearing with Shelley Long in Vanished Without A Trace (NBC), James Garner and Julie Andrews in One Special Night (CBS), and with Jennifer Lopez in Angel Eyes.

The cast personally sing the original songs created for the show and perform all their own voiceovers for their avatar personas.

“Kung Fu Panda 2″ slate of promotions kicks off

Kung Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda 2

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced Monday its kung fu kicking slate of marketing, licensing and promotional partners in support of the studio’s upcoming feature film release Kung Fu Panda 2, which comes to theaters May 26.

In its first-ever movie-themed tofu promotion, House Foods America, America’s leading tofu producer, is bringing Kung Fu Panda 2-branded tofu products to supermarkets across the United States, and has kicked off its campaign with a microsite ( to promote the benefits of tofu.

House Foods is featuring Po and the Furious Five on over eight million packages and 16 different products. Its microsite features a sweepstakes to win a trip for four to China, “tofupedia,” tofu advice from a registered dietician, cooking tips, and a link to Castle Builders digital cookbook for the iPad, which includes themed recipes for the entire family. House Foods is also supporting Kung Fu Panda 2 via in-store, print, online, outdoor billboards and bus wraps in select cities.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is now being promoted across many platforms with one-of-a-kind campaigns powered by television, print, outdoor, online, on-shelf, social media, in-theater promotions as well as unique events and offers,” said Susan Spencer, DreamWorks Animation’s head of promotions and marketing services. “At DreamWorks Animation, we strive to make marketing connections that fit organically with each movie, and we are thrilled to have once again received such momentous support from our partners — including the first-ever movie promotion with House Foods to promote the benefits of tofu, a healthy food item featured throughout the story of Kung Fu Panda 2.”

Other promotional partners featured in DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 campaign:

Leading confectioner Airheads offers two all-new Kung Fu Panda 2-themed flavors of their signature chewy candy inspired by the movie: “Kickin’ Berry” and “Orange Blast,” which are available in four million specially-themed packs. Airheads is also supporting the film with a dedicated TV commercial, in-store signage and online elements, including themed games.

AT&T features Kung Fu Panda 2-themed posters, window clings and in-store signage, and incorporates Po in its 6,000 retail stores.

Best Buy is featuring exclusive “behind the scenes” videos of Kung Fu Panda 2 on its Best Buy ON Network throughout over 1,000 stores and online. Best Buy is also featuring Po through online and in-store advertising.

General Mills is bringing the Kung Fu Panda 2 adventures to breakfast tables everywhere. Throughout the spring, spin fighter toys featuring the movie’s characters can be found inside specially-marked boxes of participating cereals: Cocoa Puffs, Trix , Golden Grahams, Reese’s Puffs, Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Cookie Crisp, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios. General Mills is also offering special Kung Fu Panda 2-themed Fruit Roll-Ups.

Hint Water is showcasing Po on the packaging of its most popular flavor of water, and is providing water for field marketing and publicity events surrounding the theatrical launch of the movie. Hint Water is also promoting Kung Fu Panda 2 through its Web site, social media and in-store signage.

McDonald’s is launching a global Happy Meal program in nearly all of its 117 markets worldwide that invites kids to “Master the Po Panda Challenge” with high- action toys, custom-created animated TV commercials, and restaurant and digital activities.

Sun-Maid is providing 3.5 million packages of 24 oz. canisters and 6-pack raisin SKUs, print, online, social media and on-pack QR barcodes that link to a mobile site featuring additional Kung Fu Panda 2-themed content.

HP is featuring Kung Fu Panda 2-branded products in photo kiosks at retailers across the country. HP created Kung Fu Panda 2 printables, which are available on HP, DreamWorks Animation and partner Web sites, and has added Kung Fu Panda 2 characters and themes to HP Photo Creations, a free software download for personalized photo collages, calendars and albums, which are available online. A Kung Fu Panda 2 3D trailer is also pre-loaded onto the HP ENVY 17 3D. In addition, Intel Corporation is integrating Po into its retail programs in certain territories.

Key merchandise licensees featured in the Company’s Kung Fu Panda 2 campaign:

Jem Sportswear is spearheading the launch of a collection of girls, boys, men’s and women’s apparel inspired by Kung Fu Panda 2. Jem is featuring a collection of fashion tees with novelty treatments and washes and specialty printing techniques.

Hallmark will have a line of Kung Fu Panda 2-themed party goods, greeting cards at various retailers, and a special holiday ornament at its Hallmark Gold Crown stores.

Master toy licensee Mattel has created a full line of new kung fu kickin’ toys in anticipation of Kung Fu Panda 2, which allows kids to reenact key moments and battle scenes from the movie, as well as become their own kung fu master. The toy line includes large-scale, talking action figures, mini collectible figures, an action packed cannon launcher with lights and sounds, a pull-back Po vehicle racer with launching fireworks, a variety of plush, software for their proprietary early learning platforms: iXL and Smart Cycle, and a jumbo kung fu wrestler Po plush that allows kids to train and fight like a kung fu master. Additional role play toys are available exclusively at various retail accounts across the United States. Products are being supported by a national TV campaign.

The Kung Fu Panda 2 publishing program covers a broad spectrum of titles for various age levels and interests, including traditional storybooks from Penguin Books, color and activity books from Dalmatian Press, comic books from Ape Entertainment, and a number of innovative digital book applications, including a storybook from iStoryTime, an interactive cookbook from Castle Builders, and a first of its kind “Art Of” App from Palace Press.

THQ has released the Kung Fu Panda 2 video game on Kinect for Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation3 computer entertainment system, uDraw Wii GameTablet and Nintendo DS in conjunction with the theatrical debut of the movie. Players can find all-new ways to enter the world of Kung Fu Panda 2 in the video game, including the unique ability to use Kinect technology to “become” Po on screen, as they seek to restore the balance of power and save kung fu forever.

VTech is launching new Kung Fu Panda 2 software cartridges that feature Po and the Furious Five for both the V.Reader Interactive E-Book System and the MobiGo Touch Learning System. The cartridges will be available at all major retailers and on

The Chinese Nightingale (1935) – Happy Harmonies Theatrical Cartoon Series

CotD: Though not shown anymore because of racial overtones, Harmon-Ising’s “The Chinese Nightingale” is a classic tale from China ~

The Chinese Nightingale (1935) - Happy Harmonies

The Chinese Nightingale (1935) - Happy Harmonies

The Chinese Nightingale (1935) – Happy Harmonies Theatrical Cartoon Series

A mini-musical, telling in song (through a trio of Chinese girls) the fairy tale of a beautiful nightingale, beloved of the Chinese emperor, who is gladdened by its song. The emperor is moved to play his own song.

One day, the Japanese send a music box with a mechanical bird; the nightingale feels rejected and flies away to raise a family. But soon, the clockwork breaks down, and the emperor dispatches his crow to go look; meanwhile, the emperor grows sicker with the passing months. The nightingale is persuaded to return, at which time the emperor sings “Happy Days are Here Again.”

Watch The Chinese Nightingale at Big Cartoon DataBase

“Despicable Me” producer joins “Foosball” team

"Metegol" (Foosball)

"Metegol" (Foosball)

Spanish animator Sergio Pablos, an executive producer on last year’s Universal Pictures-Illumination Entertainment feature film Despicable Me, is now an animation supervisor on the 3D movie Metegol (Foosball).

Based on a story by late Argentinean writer-illustrator Roberto Fontanarrosa, the movie shows how foosball game figures come to life, helping an underdog to score against a soccer star, thus saving their village.

The director is Argentina’s Juan Jose Campanella (The Secret in Their Eyes). His production company, 100 Bares, is working with Catmandu Branded Entertainment, both based in Buenos Aires. Also involved are Madrid-based production company Plural-Jempsa and Spain’s Antena 3 Films.

Foosball is budgeted at about $9.8 million, and is scheduled for release in 2012.

Campanella is directing and co-writing with Gaston Gorali, Eduardo Sacheri and Axel Kuschevatzky.

Antena 3 Films is the movie production arm of network Antena 3. Spain’s general audiovisual law requires the broadcaster to invest 3% of its annual TV revenues in local film.

[Via Variety]

The Cat Concerto (1947) – Tom and Jerry Cartoon Series

CotD: Oscar-winning cartoon, and great backstory- what came first, Warners’ Rhapsody Rabbit or MGM’s “The Cat Concerto” ~

The Cat Concerto (1947) - Tom and Jerry Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Cat Concerto (1947) - Tom and Jerry Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Cat Concerto (1947) – Tom and Jerry Theatrical Cartoon Series

Tom is an acknowledged master pianist primed to give his greatest performance of Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody. As he prepares and finally settles down, ready to play, Jerry is determined to disrupt Tom’s concert. Jerry pulls on the strings inside the piano, slams the shutter on Tom’s hands, and generally runs amok. Tom fights him with the piano without missing a single note.

Watch The Cat Concerto at Big Cartoon DataBase

“Rio” stays at No. 1 in North America and abroad



In its second weekend in North America and its third overseas, animated family adventure Rio remained the No. 1 movie at the box office in both domestic and foreign receipts.

Starring the voices of Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, Twentieth Century Fox’s talking-bird romance collected $26.8 million in the United States and Canada.

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family opened in a close second place with $25.8 million.

Overseas, Rio was No. 1 for the third weekend in a row. Its $44.2 million gross made the cumulative foreign takings reach $204.7 million. It’s now collected $286 million worldwide.

Rio was screened abroad at 12,987 venues in 67 countries. Directed by Rio de Janeiro native Carlos Saldanha, it stayed at No. 1 in Brazil (making just under $30 million over three weekends), Mexico ($17.6 million in three weekends), France ($9.5 million over two weekends), Spain and Italy.

“It’s nice to have two movies in the top three,” said Bert Livingston, distribution executive for 20th Century Fox, which released both Rio and Water for Elephants, the third-place finisher domestically.

According to box-office tracking company, North American receipts reached $138 million — 39% more than the same weekend last year, when How To Train Your Dragon was the champion with $15.4 million.

Rio dropped just 32% in its second weekend in North America, making a total of $81.3 million domestically.

Universal’s Hop, combining animation and live action, was in fourth place domestically with $12.5 million. It finished third abroad, collecting $10.7 million from 4,400 screens in 53 countries. It opened in third place in Brazil, bringing in $1 million from 296 locations.

So far, the Easter tale has made $47.2 million in foreign theaters.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at United States and Canadian theaters were released by Final figures are slated for release Monday.

[Via Associated Press —…bGsDcmlvc3BlYWtzbG91, The Hollywood Reporter —…ice-rio-takes-181742]

The Absent-Minded Wizard (1970) – Here Comes The Grump Cartoon Episode Guide

CotD: An unusualy show, and one of the first Friz Frelkeng did at Depatie-Freleng “The Absent-Minded Wizard” ~

The Absent-Minded Wizard (1970) - Here Comes The Grump Cartoon Episode Guide

The Absent-Minded Wizard (1970) - Here Comes The Grump Cartoon Episode Guide

The Absent-Minded Wizard (1970) – Here Comes The Grump Cartoon Episode Guide

In this surreal animated saga, we get to know the tale of Princess Dawn, who must find the Whispering Orchid’s cave (and the Crystal Key hidden therein) in order to save her kingdom from the Curse of Gloom, which has been placed by the evil Grump. To aid her, Princess Dawn summons young Terry Dexter, a boy from Earth, and in their flying machine, accompanied by their bizarre pet Bip. They journey through a myriad of strange countries in a fantasy world in their quest for the key. But the Grump (a mix between a demon and a dwarf) is set to spoil their mission, following them close on their trail, atop a bumbling, allergic and stupid Dragon with which he often quarrels. Along the way, the Princess is kidnapped, they meet Mother Goose, Bip finds true love, and Terry is corrupted (only to be turned back to normal later)…

Watch The Absent-Minded Wizard at Big Cartoon DataBase

Alphamin Adds Four Shows



French animation house Alphanim, a division of Gaumount, has announced four new shows in development. Get ready for the following new shows.

Bao Battle- Fifty-two episodes in 13 minutes segments. Ever since Kuro, Hip Hop, and Melka discovered Bao Battle, a breathtaking age-old art whose participants perform unimaginable feats, their lives changed for the better! The only downside is that Bao Battle has been outlawed for years by a malicious tyrant… Thanks to the influence of the mysterious Master Moko, Kuro and his friends will decide to hardly practice and face off against the greatest champions of Bao Battle, who have been practicing their art with the uttermost secrecy. Kuro and his friends have begun a quest to do the impossible: challenge the Eternal Grand Counselor, beat him, and make the Bao Battle legal again!

Hamlet & Joe- Seventy-eight seven minute episodes. When the Grobig Department Store closes its doors for the night, JOE, a stiff-shirt, obsessive compulsive robot gets to work keeping the store in tiptop shape. Everything would be perfect – if it weren’t for the downstairs neighbor, HAMLET. He’s a little piglet who seriously lacks table manners and crashes Joe’s party of robotic precision. In other words, he’s a whole lot of fun! Thrown together by circumstance, the two are a brew of conflicting styles. Whether it’s playing in the sports department while wearing roller blades or turning beds into trampolines, Hamlet makes Joe pop a diode!

Pok & Mok- Seventy-eight eight minute episodes. What do you get when you mix Mok, a boy with a mind that goes a mile-a-minute and his hyper pet animal Pok, a short haired gibbon, together? A zippy series that follows their mis-adventures as their parents, Ernest and Penelope, try to put out the fires. All the while, we learn about the environment and why Pok shouldn’t jump down the drain to see where the water flows, or why Mok shouldn’t spray pesticides on plants to make them grow faster! A 78×8’ comedy that approaches environmental issues from a wacky angle.

Spencer- Fifty-two thirteen minute episodes. Spencer is a comedy series centered around 11 year old Spencer Wright, an ordinary boy who just happens to have something extra-ordinary: a guardian angel! The only catch: this angel doesn’t come with wings. He comes with a guitar case, a magic pick, long hair, and a wild, life’s-a-fun-journey-let’s-rock attitude. Yes, Spencer’s guardian is a rock star; a rock star ghost that is. Some kids have no luck!

This Way Up (2008) – Theatrical Cartoon

CotD: A contender for last year’s Academy Award, “This Way Up” is a fun tale of two undertakers- worth watching! ~

This Way Up (2008) - Theatrical Cartoon

This Way Up (2008) - Theatrical Cartoon

This Way Up (2008) – Theatrical Cartoon

Laying the dead to rest has never been so much trouble. Two undertakers battle a series of misadventures while trying to deliver a coffin to the graveyard.

Watch This Way Up at Big Cartoon DataBase

Russian actor, director Mikhail Kozakov dead at 76

Mikhail Kozakov

Mikhail Kozakov

Russian actor-director Mikhail Kozakov, the voice of the Little Elephant in the 1976-91 Soyuzmultfilm cartoon series 38 Popugaev (38 Parrots), has died after a long illness, the Ekho Moskvy Oleg Basilashvili radio station reported. He was 76.

Neither the date nor place of death was announced.

Also known as Mikhail Kazakov, he had been treated in an Israeli hospital near Tel Aviv after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Media reported in recent weeks that the actor had been transferred to a hospice.

Kozakov narrated Zagadka Sfinksa (The Enigma of the Sphinx), a 1985 Soyuzmultfilm cartoon which was based on ancient Egyptian frescoes. He was in the voice casts of Muk-Skorokhod (Moock the Footman; 1975), based on V. Gauf’s fairy tale “Little Moock,” and Ecran’s A v Etoj Skazke Bylo Tak (And In This Fairy Tale It Was So; 1984).

Born Mikhail Mikhailovich Kozakov in Leningrad on October 10, 1934, he graduated from the Moscow Art Theatre School before studying filmmaking.

He started acting in 1956, starring in Mikhail Romm’s film Murders in the Rue Dante. Later, he had roles in such well-known Soviet films as Nine Days in One Year, The Shot, Amphibian Man and Hello, I’m Your Aunt.

Kozakov’s directorial credits included Pokrovsky Gates, Nameless Star and The Visit.

Also involved in the stage, he created his own theatrical company, “Russian Enterprise Mikhail Kozakov,” in 1996.

Kozakov was awarded the title People’s Artist of the RSFSR in 1980. He received the Medal of Honor last year.

From 1991 to 1996, he lived in Israel with his wife, theatre producer Anna Yampolskaya, with whom he had two children, Mikhail and Zoya. The two became estranged.