More news from various points on the animation compass.
Everybody is climbing aboard the big semi truck loaded with tentpoles. Pixar has now set Cars 2 for a 2011 release.
John Lasseter just announced to a crowd of journalists assembled at the Kodak Theatre that “Cars 2” has been bumped up to summer 2011, a year ahead of what Disney/Pixar has previously announced in April. He said that animators are currently working around the clock, and that the plot will feature Mater getting his passport as he and Lightning McQueen travel around the world. Suspiciously absent from the description was the character voiced by Paul Newman, who is reportedly in poor health ...
Lasseter also unveiled additional info around the Disney Channel-slated “Cars Toons,” which will feature different tall tales being told by Mater. These cartoon shorts will be appearing on-air, on line and before Disney movies in the next few years.
Lasseter showed the crowd the first of “Mater’s Tall Tales,” which has the character explaining to Lightning that he was once a fire truck. Future installments will feature Mater as an Evil Kneivel-like dardevil, and a matador.
The indie animated feature Terra won the Grand Prize at the Montreal Animated Film festival. I mention it here because the flick was produced in Los Angeles, on Wilshire Boulevard. Frames Per Second offers its take:
... the full-length movie from artist/director Aristomenis Tsirbas is a minor triumph in that the quality of the Maya (character animation), LightWave 3D (modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering) and Modo (additional modeling, bridging) animation is such that it can compete at the box-office with larger studio films. Both design work and animation quality are uneven (humans have a distinct and well designed Pixar style to their faces and a completely flat and formless shape to their body and dress) ...
In these perilous times, evil doers are all around. But it's good to know that one of the devil's storm troopers is ... Mickey Mouse.
"Is Mickey Mouse an agent of Satan?". This is the question being asked today in an editorial in the Middle East Times, commenting on the fatwa issued by a Saudi religious leader, Sheikh Mohammed al-Munajid, according to whom "sharia, or Islamic law, calls for the extermination of all mice. That includes the common house mouse as well as the famous cartoon mouse". "The mouse", the sheikh explained in a television interview reported by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, "is one of Satan's soldiers and is steered by him".
Well, it's widely known that Mickey did at one time practice the black arts, bringing all those brooms to life. So "agent of satan?" Works for me.
Imagi has nailed down distribution for its next animated feature:
Imagi Studios' upcoming CG-animated feature "Astroboy" will be released across North America on Oct 23, 2009, it was announced Tuesday.
Summit Entertainment, which picked up world sales rights to the film in June, has also committed to a 3,000 print wide release across the U.S. ...
The $40 million pic's road to release, however, has not been smooth. Hong Kong- and LA-based Imagi originally set up the film with Warner Bros and The Weinstein Co. handling global rights outside its own 'reserved' territories in Asia. However the two companies pulled out.
In Putinland (that's Russia to you and me) the fight for free and unfettered animation continues:
The television channel "2x2," which airs many popular Western cartoons, such as South Park and The Simpsons, may lose its license following accusations of "extremist" content of some of the series it has been broadcasting. Meanwhile, youths in Moscow and St.Petersburg are staging rallies in support of their favorite channel. In early September, a Moscow prosecutor's office sent an address to court, demanding that the content of South Park be ruled "extremist" and issued a warning to the channel, referring to experts' evaluation of 12 cartoon series aired by the channel as "promoting violence and pornography." The prosecutor's office ruled that South Park "disgraces Christians and Muslims and is offensive to all believers regardless of their religion, can provoke an ethnic conflict and extremist activities and instigate violence between adherents of different religions." A second warning of this kind would lead to revoking the channel's license, which is already set to formally expire in mid-October.
Meanwhile, the channel shrugs off the accusations. "We haven't violated any law," said Maria Telesheva, the channel's spokesperson. "We air adult content after 11pm, but there isn't anything really graphic - there couldn't possibly be anything graphic in an animation film."
Meanwhile, the channel encouraged its viewers to openly express its support, which some did. On Sunday, several hundred youths gathered to voice support for their favorite channel in downtown Moscow and St. Petersburg. On Monday, Moscow police detained one of the organizers of a youth rally in support of the channel near Novoslobodskaya metro station ... On the same day, police dispersed about two thousand youths who showed up for a concert in support of the channel at Moscow's club "Plan B,' ...
Forget about the economic meltdown! Fight for cartoons! Demonstrate for cartoons! Go to jail for cartoons!