Pioneering American animator Michael Sporn passed away Saturday after suffering from pancreatic cancer. Sporn produced and directed a number of animated specials and commercials from his New York based studios. Many of his works were known for their underlying social commentary and messages. He was also known for films aimed at educating children rather than just entertaining them.
British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA- the British version of the Academy Awards- has announced their nominees for the 2014 awards, including the animated films under consideration. Three films are nominated for both the animated feature competition and the animated short category. Previously known as Short Animation, the shorts competition has been renamed British Short Animation to play up the UK involvement in the films featured. There has been an ongoing requirement that nominated shorts have substantial British contribution to the production; the feature nominees have no such restriction.
ASIFA-Hollywood has announced the nominations for its 41st annual Annie Awards, the awards that show the best in animation. The Walt Disney Company and GKIDS both have two nominees for Best Animated Feature (if you count Mizayaki’s Kaze Tachinu, which Disney distributes in the US), with single entries from Pixar, Universal and DreamWorks Animation.
With all the talk over the weekend about Frozen, many are missing the little gem of a short that precedes the big, cold monster. While Lauren MacMullan’s Get A Horse! first released last June at the Annecy Film Festival in France, it was not until it was paired before Frozen that it many of us got a shot at seeing it, much less even knowing it existed. And a lot of fun it is- but by the end of the feature, many of people may forget about this wonderful little gem that lead off the movie.
Pixar’s misfortune associated with the ill-fated animated film The Good Dinosaur seem to be continuing. A short two months after announcing that the feature would be held back a year- and only three since changing up the films director- Pixar is laying off 50-60 artists associated with the film at its Emeryville, Calif., headquarters.
The Simpsons is a massively creative show, with years of great parody under it’s belt. Many of their fans wait excitedly each week for the show open, or “Couch Gag”- which varies many scenes for many little surprises. On occasion, the whole open is redone for a massive surprise. Such is the case this week when The Simpsons crew completely rework the open in an homage to Disney classic cartoons, Silly Symphonies cartoon series and Music Land specifically.
It could be the best of films…. or it could be the worst. Disney is revisiting one of their scariest characters in this tale of Maleficent, complete with a new back story that re-writes a lot of what they first showed us in 1959 with Sleeping Beauty. Abandoning the original back story is one reason to be scared; having Angelina Jolie re-create this classic character is another…. but should Maleficent really scare us? We have a peak now to make that judgement.