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Haunted Cartoon Special

haunt_manDisney Television Animation has announced development of an animated television special based on the popular Disneyland ride, “The Haunted Mansion.” While no air date is set, Disney did point to some of the artists involved in the project. Look for book illustrator and horror artist Gris Grimly to art direct the film. Joshua Pruett will produce the project, with Grimly and Scott Peterson executive producing. Pruett and Peterson are also joining forces to write the TV special.

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2013 Annie Award Nominees Announced

Annie Awards Statue

Annie Awards Statue

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.

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Cartoon of the Day: I Yabba-Dabba Do!

I Yabba-Dabba Do!

I Yabba-Dabba Do!

Who is celebrating their twentieth anniversary today? The two stone-age kids that grew up next door to each other- Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm! In 1993, ABC aired I Yabba-Dabba Do!, a special directed by animation giant William Hanna. How tough was it for Fred to give away the bride?

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get married but not before enduring all the antics and confusion that seem to accompany every Flintstones affair.

Sort of the opposite of all those eighties cartoon series in which grown-up characters are shown in their youth. You know, the Muppet Babies, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo or Flintstone Kids….

 

Cartoon of the Day: A Flintstone Family Christmas

A Flintstone Family Christmas

A Flintstone Family Christmas

Time for a little reminder that it’s Christmastime, even in the stone age. Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty all hang out for A Flintstone Family Christmas in this 1993 special.

The older generation Flintstones and Rubbles get involved with Stoney, a “caveless kid from the wrong side of the tar pits”, while awaiting the arrival of the newest members of the clan who were snowed in at O’Harestone Airport.

Combustible Heats up Japan Media Arts Festival

Hi No Yojin (Combustible)

Hi No Yojin (Combustible)

Katsuhiro Ohiro’s short film  Hi No Yôjin (Combustible) has won the Grand Prize in the Animation Division of the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

Set in mid-18th century Edo (the old name for Tokyo), Combustible centers on Owaka, a merchant’s daughter, and her childhood friend Matsuyoshi. Though the two are attracted to each other, Matsuyoshi’s family has disowned him, forcing him to make a living as a fireman. But just as their relationship is starting to bloom, Owaka’s family begins to move forward with plans to find her a husband. Unable to forget Matsuyoshi, in a fit of crazed passion, Owaka causes a huge fire to break out, burning down the town. The two lovers happen to cross paths again in the midst of this blaze.

The backdrop for this spectacle is one of the great fires that frequently occurred in the metropolis of Edo. Using traditional Nihonga (Japanese-style) paintings as a motif for the animated images, the work meticulously recreates the manners, implements, and lifestyle of Tokyoites some 300 years ago. In addition, by combining hand-drawn animation with 3D computer graphics, the creators have sought to develop an innovative form of expression through moving images.

Excellence Awards were given to the animated feature films Asura (George Akiyama and Keiichi Sato; Asura Film Partners), The Life of Budori Gusuko (Gisaburo Sugii; The Movie Committee) and Wolf Children (Mamoru Hosoda; “Wolf Children” Film Partners), as well as the short film The Great Rabbit (Atsushi Wada; Sacrebleu Productions/CaRTe bLaNChe).

New Face Awards were given to the short film Futon (Yoriko Mizushiri), the TV animation Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (Sayo Yamamoto; Monkey Punch/TMS Entertainment Co., Ltd. and the Belgian short Oh Willy… (Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels).

The following were jury selections in the Animation Division. All are from Japan unless otherwise specified:

Feature films: Afterschool Midnighters (Hitoshi Takekiyo), Berserk Golden Age Arc II: The Doldrey War (Toshiyuki Kubooka), Friends Naki on Monster Island (Ryuichi Yagi and Takashi Yamazaki), FUSE -Memoirs of the Hunter Girl (Masayuki Miyaji), Rainbow Fireflies (Konosuke Uda)

Short films: awaiting (Hakhyun Kim; South Korea), crazy for it (Yutaro Kubo), Deposit of Sentiment (Saori Suzuki), Grain Coupon (Xi Chen; China), Harbor Tale (Yuichi Ito), I am alone, walking on the straightroad (Masanori Okamoto), I’m also a bear (Tsuneo Goda), KiyaKiya (Akino Kondoh), Love Games (Yumi Yound; South Korea), My socks (Ikuo Kato), New Tokyo Ondo (Misaki Uwabo), No Rain No Rainbow (Osamu Sakai), Nyosha (Liran Kapel and Yael Dekel; Israel), Possessions (Shuhei Morita), Recruit Rhapsody (Maho Yoshida), Sunset Flower Blooming (Yuanyuan Hu; China), The Sakuramoto broom workshop (Aya Tsugehata), The Sardine Tin (Louise-Marie Colon; Belgium), Yonalure: Moment to Moment (Ayaka Nakata and Yuki Sakitani), 108 prayer beads (Han Han Li; China)

TV animations: Carefree Fairies (gdgd-partners), Kids On the Slope (Shinichiro Watanabe), tsuritama (tsuritama partners)

The Japan Media Arts Festival honors works of excellence in a diverse range of media — from animation and
manga to games and media art. This year, a record number of 3,503 works were submitted for the festival, including 1,502 works from 71 countries and regions around the world. More applications had been submitted for this, the 16th festival, than in any year since its inception in 1997.

The Exhibition of Award-Winning Works will be held from February 13 to 24 at the National Art Center in Tokyo and other venues.

Cartoon of the Day: A Very Merry Cricket

A Very Merry Cricket

A Very Merry Cricket

One of Chuck Jones’ specials from the 1970’s, A Very Merry Cricket featured Les Tremayne as Chester C. Cricket and Harry the Cat and Mel Blanc as Tucker the Mouse. Chuck wrote and directed this sequel.

Harry tells of Chester, a famous cricket who plays the violin to soothe everyone. With all the hustle and bustle about New York around Christmas, it’s become commercialized. Tucker and Harry have to find Chester in order to put the spirit of Christmas back into the citizens.

This TV special was a sequel to “The Cricket in Times Square.”

Cartoon of the Day: Frosty The Snowman

Frosty The Snowman

Frosty The Snowman

What would the holidays be without great Rankin-Bass animated specials like Frosty The Snowman? 43 years young today, Frosty The Snowman is not that horrible sequel Frosty Returns (which was cel animated), but proper stop motion animation and narration by none other than Jimmy Durante.

A discarded silk tophat becomes the focus of a struggle between a washed-up stage magician and a group of schoolchildren after it magically brings a snowman to life. Realizing that newly-living Frosty will melt in spring unless he takes refuge in a colder climate, Frosty and a young girl who he befriends stow away on a freight train headed for the north pole. Little do they know that the magician is following them, and he wants his hat back. This animated short is based on the popular Christmas song of the same name.

June Foray was recorded as the voice of Karen (along with the Teacher), but only her voice as the Teacher remained in the finished cartoon, as she was replaced as Karen by another actress. “To this day, I am unsure of the reason,” Foray recalled.

The story of Frosty the Snowman had earlier been animated in a five-minute, black and white cartoon originally shown on “Garfield Goose and Friends.”

One of the sequels to this cartoon, “Frosty Returns,” was not produced by Rankin/Bass.

Cartoon of the Day: A Wish For Wings That Work

A Wish For Wings That Work

A Wish For Wings That Work

One of the most bizarre- and most fun!- Christmas specials is A Wish For Wings That Work, based on the the Bloom County comic strip by Berkeley Breathed. The special, produced by Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment, has more than it’s share of surprises… including an uncredited voice appearance by…. well, just watch it and see.

Opus the Penguin, among his other problems, always feels inadequate by his being “aerodynamically impaired.” Together with his brain-fried cohort Bill the Cat, he tries doggedly to overcome that weakness, all without success.

Wrestling with an unfulfilled wish to soar through the air like any other self-respecting bird, Opus turns for sympathy to his scroungy pals and his animal “support group”- a lovelorn kiwi, a fashion-minded cockroach, and a cranky piglet who thinks that he’s a rhino.

When that doesn’t help, the plucky penguin decides that there’s only one person who can make his aeronautic dream come true: Father Christmas.

But when Ol’ St. Nick finds himself in hot water on December 24, the fate of Christmas itself suddenly depends on the kind of heroism that only comes in a penguin-sized package!Only on Christmas Eve does Opus learn what worth his natural abilities are.

So, got you interested? Watch it, and see what voice talents you can recognize!

Newest Disney Cartoon Princess Upsetting Hispanics

Sofia The First

Sofia The First

Disney’s newest princess is set to premiere in three short weeks in Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess. Despite Sofia the First being Disney’s first Latino princess- and Disney’s youngest- Sofia has not endeared herself to many activists in the Hispanic population.

Previous Disney princesses has broken important ground with Native American (Pocahontas), Asian (Mulan), and African-American (The Princess and the Frog) role models. Sophia’s mother is Spanish and her birth father from a kingdom inspired by Scandinavia. Thus not wholly Hispanic, Sofia herself was born and raised in Enchancia, a “make-believe ‘melting pot’ kingdom” patterned after the British Isles. Sofia is voiced by Ariel Winter (a Caucasian), and her mother by Sara Ramirez (a Hispanic).

Sofia The First

Sofia The First

Where the problems seem to come from is the character design for Sofia. Hispanic groups question whether a fair-skinned, blue-eyed young princess should be considered an accurate representation of a young girl of Spanish heritage.

“Sofia considers herself a normal Enchancian girl like any other,” said Craig Gerber, co-executive producer of “Sofia the First“. “Her mixed heritage and blended family are a reflection of what many children today experience.”

The series is also criticized by those within the Latino community because Sofia is not getting the same style and depth of promotion as at the introduction of previous princesses of ethnicity. “They’ve done such a good job in the past when they’ve introduced Native American, African-American and Asian princesses,” said Lisa Navarrete, of the National Council of La Raza. “They made a big deal out of it, and there was a lot of fanfare, but now they’re sort of scrambling. It’s unusual because Disney has been very good about Latino diversity.”

“Little girls look to these characters to see themselves represented,” Navarrete continued. “If they don’t see themselves, it makes a difference. It would be nice to see Disney make a full-out push for a Latina princess, whether it’s ‘Sofia the First‘ or not.”

Inez Gonzalez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said Monday that the organization wanted to meet with Disney to discuss “Sofia the First.”

The TV special “Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess” will air November 18 on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, and the full series will begin airing early next year.

Sofia the First Gets A Special Date

Sofia The First

Sofia The First

Disney’s Sofie the First- a series about a child princess- is getting closer to airing, and a special based on the series has a firm air date. The special, titled Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, will hit Disney Channel on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 7 PM, and 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, on Disney Junior.

Sofie the First television the television series will premiere sometime in early 2013. The movie and series will appear in various other countries from mid-2013 on both Disney Channels and Disney Junior channels.

Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess is aimed at kids aged 2-7. Craig Gerber (Pixie Hollow Games) developed the movie and serves as co-executive producer and story editor. Jamie Mitchell (Special Agent Oso) is executive producer and director. Kevin Kliesch (Tangled Ever After) composed the music while John Kavanaugh (Winnie The Pooh: Springtime With Roo) is onboard as songwriter/music director. The show features a voice cast headed by Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Sofia, Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady (Let’s Make a Deal) as Clover and Tim Gunn (Project Runway) as Baileywick.

Set in the storybook world of Enchancia, Sofia is a little girl with a commoner’s background. That is until her mom marries the King, and suddenly, she is royalty. Sofia is whisked off to the castle, where she learns what it means to be a real princess, discovering empowering lessons about kindness, forgiveness, generosity, courage and self-respect. With the help of the three familiar fairies in charge of the Royal Training Academy- Flora, Fauna and Merryweather of Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty“- Sofia learns that looking like a princess isn’t all that hard, but behaving like one must come from the heart.

Disney’s Cinderella makes an appearance in the movie to offer Sofia some words of wisdom as she learns to navigate the life of royalty.

Sophie is Disney’s first child princess. The stories in this series are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to preschool-aged children.

Set in the storybook world of Enchancia, the movie introduces Sofia, an average girl whose life suddenly transforms when her mother marries the king and she becomes a princess, Sofia the First. Disney’s Cinderella makes an appearance in the movie to offer Sofia some words of wisdom as she learns to navigate the life of royalty.