Animation News Roundup – December ‘18

In December another outstanding award is announced, this time for Jayne Pilling. Sadly Børge Ring, Stephen Hillenburg and Akira Miyazaki passed away. The new Spider-Man film and Ralph Breaks the Internet cause a stir. There a a few things happening which will benefit our animation heritage. Check out the short independent animation films that have won awards recently. As well as a long list of interesting articles which might pique your interest. Thank you to Tsvika Oren and his Animation Center Magazine, for most of this information!




Jayne Pilling will receive the award for Outstanding Contributions To Aanimation Studies at the Animafest Zagreb 2019 (3-8 June). Director of the British Animation Awards until 2018, teacher, advisor, collaborator, and author and editor of books and other publications about animation and similar audiovisual arts – especially Animating the Unconscious: Desire, Sexuality, and Animation (2012), Animation: 2D & Beyond (2001), Stephen e Timothy Quay (1999), A Reader in Animation Studies (1997), Cartoons & the Movies (1997), Women & Animation: A Compendium (1992), That’s Not All Folks: A Primer in Cartoonal Knowledge (1984). Read the whole article here.


Børge Ring  passed away. Jerry Beck has written an obituary which you can read here: The animation community is mourning the passing today of one of its own and most beloved, Børge Ring – a renown Danish comic strip artist, jazz musician and animator. In 1978 he animated a short Oh My Darling, which won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and received an Academy Award nomination – and in 1985 he won the Oscar for Anna and Bella. In 2000, together with his wife, he made the film Run of the Mill, which received the UNICEF Children’s Award.
Borge Ring. 17.2.21 – 27.12.18  www.borgering.com
Excerpts out of commissioned and personal work. Watch them on YouTube here.
Oh my darling. 1978. 7’. Watch it on daily motion here. Oscar nominee.
Anna & Bella. 1985. 7’30”. Watch on YouTube.  Oscar winner.
Run of the Mill. 1999. 8’. Watch it on YouTube.
You can also read a 1986 TV interview here.


Stephen Hillenburg who created Sponge Bob died recently. Here is an interview with him from February 2012. Watch Stephen Hillenburg’s fantastic pre-SpongeBob student animation from 1992.


Scriptwriter, Director Akira Miyazaki Passes Away at 84.Miyazaki wrote the scripts for six films in the long-running Otoko wa Tsurai yo (Being a Man is Tough) film series, and made his directorial debut with the 1971 film Naite Tamaru ka (As if I’d Cry). He wrote scripts for numerous anime. Read the full article here.


Industry News


Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Smashes Box Office Records. [Read the Jennifer Wolfe article here] Walt Disney Animation Studios sequel delivers second-largest Thanksgiving five-day gross of all time: $84.5 million domestic; Overseas (18 markets including China, Russia, and Mexico) $41.5 million. Worldwide total 126 million. The film was directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse causes a stir
Box Office: Sony’s ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ lands the largest three-day animated opening of all-time in the month of December with a $35.4 million domestic bow. Internationally, Spider-Verse earned $21 million from 44 overseas markets, making  $56.4 million worldwide to date. The film will debut in additional 11 markets next weekend, including China and Spain. Sony is already planning both a sequel and a female-led spinoff. Read the full article here.

Here is an article on – How Animators Made ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Look Like a Comic Book Read it here.

The latest amazing addition to the Spider-Man franchise breaks all the rules of traditional animation. Visual effects supervisor Danny Dimian reveals how. Read the article here.

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’: Breaking the Rules of Animation. [Bill Desowitz] Read the article here.  One of the reasons why “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has become an Oscar contender and the most honored animated feature this season is because of its bold, innovative style. In bringing Miles Morales to the big screen, producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller wanted to break the rules of animation by making a moving comic book.


Will Brexit damage the UK VFX Industry?
EU Visa Costs Will Impact Post-Brexit UK Animation & VFX Industries. One in three workers in VFX and one in five workers in animation across the U.K. are from the European Union. Expensive visas with unrealistic minimum salary thresholds will, UK Screen Alliance says, add significantly to operating costs and impact the sector’s competitiveness in the global market. Read the full article here.


SAG-AFTRA Approves Two New TV Animation Agreements. [Dan Sarto]. The improved terms and conditions negotiated in 2017 for live-action programs produced for subscription-based streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu will apply to animated programs produced for those platforms with some modifications. Read the full article here.


A New Lion King remake
Photoreal verses drawn animation. Disney remakes yet another of its classics as photoreal.  Last week, Disney released the first teaser trailer for The Lion King, a “photorealistic” remake of its beloved 1994 animated film of the same name. More than 224 million people watched the clip in the first 24 hours—the most viewers ever for a Disney movie trailer.


Disney will remake Star Wars
Disney is turning the original Star Wars movies into animated shorts for children (Andrew Liptak). When is it appropriate to introduce your kid to Star Wars? Today, Disney made this question a lot easier to answer by announcing that it will launch a new series of kid-friendly animated shorts called Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures that will re-create classic moments from the film franchise. The first six shorts will launch on November 30th on a new website and YouTube channel dubbed Star Wars Kids. Read the full article here.


Netflix new Roald Dahl series
Netflix will start production in 2019 on the first in a new programming slate of animation programming based on Roald Dahl’s famous books, including series adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFG, and others. Read the full article here.


Animation Archive


Walt Disney’s ‘Lost’ Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Surfaces in Japan.
Neck ‘n’ Neck, a nearly 2 minutes short black-and-white animated film, is one of 26 Oswald shorts made. Only 19 of these have survived. Read the full article here.


Inaugural Miyu Gallery Animation Art Exhibition Opens in Paris. [Dan Sarto]. Selections from Simone Massi’s animation sequences on ‘Samouni Road’ make up first of four annual collections at new European gallery dedicated to artwork from auteur-created films. Read the full article here.


Heritage Holds Record-Breaking $1.96M Animation Auction.
More than 30 bidders pursued Haunted Mansion Stretching Room Disneyland Painting Original Art (Walt Disney, 1969) until it closed at $72,000. The rare, hand-painted image was one of four that greeted guests upon entry into The Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square before the images were replaced at the attraction by prints. The massive (11’ 2” by 3’10”) painting shows the Elderly Widow sitting on her husband’s tombstone, and is hand-signed by Marc Davis. Among other impressive sales were Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Full Cast Stock Production Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969): $24,600 and Winsor McCay Gertie the Dinosaur Animation Drawing Original Art (1914): $24,000. More at Read the full article here.


Animated films preserved by the Library of Congress
Disney’s ‘Cinderella,’ Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park,’ and the independent experimental animated short film ‘Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People’, produced by one of the first black female animators, Ayoka Chenzira, among 25 films that will be preserved by the Library of Congress. “Hair Piece is an insightful and funny short animated film examining the problems that African-American women have with their hair,” the Library of Congress notes in its citation for the experimental animated short film: “Generally considered the first black woman animator, director Ayoka Chenzira was a key figure in the development of African-American filmmakers in the 1980s through her own films and work to expand opportunities for others. Writing in the New York Times, critic Janet Maslin lauded this eccentric yet jubilant film. She notes the narrator ‘tells of everything from the difficulty of keeping a wig on straight to the way in which Vaseline could make a woman’s hair sound like the man in The Fly saying ‘Help me!’” Read the full article here. Full list of added films can be found here.


Museum to host animation historian
MACOMB — The story of the making of the 1970 Christmas classic “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” will be a part of Dickens On the Square this weekend when the Western Illinois Museum hosts an animation historian. Read the full article.




The Misguided Aspiration of VR Animation
Virtual reality shorts are undermining their appeal and artistic value in their submission for Oscar consideration. Read the full article. It’s a really unique medium that has created some truly beautiful films, such as Penrose Studios’ Allumette, Patrick Osborne’s Pearl, and the new short Age of Sail from Oscar-winning director John Kahrs (Disney’s Paperman). But in order to be considered for Oscar recognition many VR shorts are making a flattened version for awards consideration. But doesn’t that defeat the object of them being VR?


New VR feature film
Director Charles Zhang and writer/producer Jonathan Cui break new ground with a feature-length VR film: “Calling”. … Calling tells the story of a middle-aged Chinese real estate tycoon under extreme personal and professional pressures, who is driven to the breaking point by a mysterious stalker who may or may not be a figment of his imagination. Read the full article.


Animation Awards


POFF shorts (20-28.11.18 Tallinn, Estonia) animation awards: Main prize – “Egg”, 2018. Dir Martina Scarpelli interview: Watch it here.
Special mention: Mermaids and Rhinos by Viktoria Traub, Hungary. Watch it here.
Best student film: “Sounds Good”, 2018. Sander Joon (Estonia).
Full awards list can be found here.

The 2018 British Academy Children’s Awards big winner is Studio AKA’s Hey Duggee, winning 3 awards: Best director (Grant Orchard), best digital and best animation.. Award for Best short – Origins | Adam Tyler, Bob Ayres, Antonio Rebolo – CTVC/TrueTube. Full list of nominees and winners can be found here.

25th Etiuda & Anima festival (Krakow, Poland) awards: Students Grand Prix – BONOBO, dir. Zoel Aeschbacher. Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, Switzerland. Trailer: Watch it here.  Int’l competition Grand Prix – A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts / Briljantsuse Demonstratsioon Neljas Vaatuses, dir. Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak, Estonia. Poland competition Grand Prix – III by Marta Pajek.
Full awards list can be found here. “Muteum” (2017) by Aggie Pak Yee Lee won a Bronze Jabberwocky – third award in Anima competition of Etiuda&Anima; Festival in Poland and Best Graduation film award in PRIMANIMA festival in Hungary. Aggie Pak Yee Lee graduated EKA department of animation master program in 2017. “Muteum” has received many awards from different festivals all over the world.

2018 Emile Awards (EAA): Best feature director – Nora Twomey – “The Breadwinner” which won also best storyboarding, best character animation and best background and character design in a film. TV/broadcast award – 3 X 10 series “The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe” (DK + UK) won best direction, best storyboard, best character animation and best background and character design awards. Student film – Anna Mantzaris (“Enough,” UK). Best direction in short film – Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels (“ This Magnificent Cake!”. Belg. FR. NL). Best commissioned film – Magnus Igland Møller (The Story of Martin Luther. DK). 4’30”. Watch it here.  Full awards list can be found here. Seven Hot Takes From The European Animation Awards. [Alex Dudok de Wit. 11.12.18]. EU animation is not American animation; EU animation is about collaboration; EU animation tilts toward the West; EU animation needs state support; British animation is European; Female directors are gaining recognition; European animation is expanding. Read the full article here.

Nominations Announced for 76th Golden Globe Awards.
Animation features: Pixar’s ‘Incredibles 2,’ Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs,’ Mamoru Hosoda’s ‘Mirai,’ Disney’s ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ and Sony’s ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’. Read the full article here.

LA Animation Festival awards: Best of the Fest – Floreana (USA) Louis Morton. Trailer: Watch it here.  Best Feature – North of Blue (USA) Joanna Priestley. Trailer: Watch it here.  Best Comedy + Best Direction – Animal Behaviour (NFB Canada) Alison Snowden & David Fine. Trailer: Watch it here.  Full awards list can be found here.

46th Annie Awards (2.2.19) nominations for best feature are Early Man (Aardman), Incredibles 2 (Pixar), Isle of Dogs (Fox Searchlight, Indian Oaintbrush, American Empirical); Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony). Best independent feature: Ce Magnifique Gateau! (Beast Anim, Vivement Lundi, Pedri Anim); MFKZ (Ankama/Studio 4⁰C); Mirai (Chizu); Ruben Brandt, Collector (Hungarian Nat. Film Fund) and Tito and the Birds (Bits Prod, Split)
Best short: Grandpa Walrus (Caimans); Lost & Found (Wabi Sabi); Solar Walk (Norlum), Weekends (Past Lives) and Untravel (Film House Baš Čelik, Serbia Co-production: BFilm, Bratislava / Your Dreams Factory, Bratislava). Full list of all nominees can be found here.

SIGGRAPH Asia Computer Animation Festival awards: Best in show – L’oiseau qui danse. Jean-Marie Marbach (2017. France). 2’12”. Watch it here. Special award – Vermine. Jérémie Becquer. (The Animation Workshop.Denmark). Trailer: Watch it here. Best Student – Reverie. Philip Louis Piaget Rodriguez, The Animation Workshop, DK. 2018. 7’45”. Watch it here.  Website can be found here.

Oscar Shortlist for Animated Short [by Bill Desowitz] Pixar’s “Bao” and DreamWorks’ “Bilby” and “Bird Karma” lead the Academy’s shortlist of 10 for Best Animated Short. They were joined by “Age of Sail,” from Oscar winner John Kahrs (“Paperman”) via his VR Google Spotlight short about being adrift at sea; National Board of Canada’s “Animal Behaviour” (directed by Alison Snowden and David Fine) about hilarious animal issues; Cartoon Saloon’s “Late Afternoon” (directed by Louise Bagnall), which explores dementia; “Lost & Found” (directed by Andrew Goldsmith & Bradley Slabe) about recovering a special friendship; “One Small Step” (directed by Disney alums Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas) about qualifying for the space program; “Pépé le Morse” (directed by Lucrèce Andreae) about a family’s sojourn of mourning; and “Weekends” (directed by Pixar story artist Trevor Jimenez) based on his difficult childhood being shuttled between parents in Toronto. Nominations will be announced 22.1.19; The 91st Oscars will be held 24.2.19. Read the full article here.

15th Animateka Festival, Ljubljiana. (3-9.12.18) awards: Grand Prix – III by Marta Pajek (Animoon, /Poland, 2018, 12:00). Trailer: Watch it here. The film won also the audience award. Young Talent award –  Love Me, Fear Me by Veronica Solomon (Filmuniv. Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, Germany, 2018, 6’06”) Trailer: Watch it here. Animateka 2018 Trailer: Watch it here. Based on the design by Špela Čadež and Zarja Menart, animation by Matej Lavrenčič.
All awards can be found here.

15th London Animation Festival (30.11-9.12.18) Awards: Best of the Festival Award: Egg (Martina Scarpelli. FR, DK); Trailer: Watch it here.  Best British Film Award: Roughhouse (Jonathan Hodgson. UK, FR); Trailer: Watch it here.  Best Sound Design Award: Finity Calling (Senjan Jansen & Bert Aerts) Filmmaker: Jasper Kuipers, NL, BELG; Making of: Watch it here.  Best Abstract Film Award: Max Planck (Jonathan Gillie, UK); Watch it here.  Best Music Video Award: Tall Juan: ‘Parking Attendant’ (Dante Zabella. ARG, GER). Full awards list can be found here.


Articles and Interviews


Charles Solomon’s Animation Year End Review 2018. Read the full article here.

The annual “Animation Show of Shows” provides a welcome reminder that the art form can be used for more than CG studio features. The styles and subjects of the 15 films from six countries in the 20th edition demonstrate that in the right hands, animation can be a vehicle for personal expression as powerful and intimate as drawing, painting or sculpture. Read the full article here.

Another view can be found in – ‘The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows’ Review: A Charming, Safe Collection Read the full article here.


Inside The Artist’s Studio: Luc Chamberland [By Chris Robinson. 23.11.18] Read the full article here.


Tongue & Pencil – a series of interviews with animation, comics and illustration artists about drawing. Watch here. A 1 min intro/teaser can be watched here.


‘Mirai’ Film Review: Coming-of-Age Anime Mixes Time Travel and Emotional Resonance. [30.11.18] Read the full article here.


The Master Stop-Motion Animator, Jiří Barta. [30.11.18] Read the full article here.


Interview: Jodie Mack. [By Jordan Cronk. 7.9.18] Read the full article here. Let Your Light Shine. 2013. Jodie Mack. 60 min. Trailer can be seen here.


Colorist – Sam Gilling: Where should a look begin? [28.1.2017] Read and see at Read the full article here. (Excerpt) … The blue/orange look has got a lot of hate recently, mostly from people who I don’t think understand its origins…


Punto y Raya 2018: where every frame counts. [Ian Francis. 4.12.18] Read the full article here. The seventh itinerant Punto y Raya Abstract Art in Motion festival ran 25-28 October 2018 in Wrocław, Poland. Festival website. (Excerpt) I recently emerged blinking and discombobulated from the seventh edition of Punto y Raya, a biannual celebration of ‘abstract art in motion’ which started life in Spain in 2004 and this year landed in Poland. “It’s going to be… intense” announced co-director Noel Palazzo in her opening speech, as we hunkered down for four days of screenings, performances and installations with nary a scrap of dialogue or conventional narrative to be found…


Hungary – Interview with Anna Ida Orosz [7.12.18] Read the full article here. Anna Ida Orosz is Hungarian film historian focusing primarily on Hungarian animated films. She teaches animation history at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME) in Budapest, and since 2012 she has been working as the animation specialist of the Hungarian Film Archive (MANDA). She is the co-founder and curator of PRIMANIMA World Festival of First Animations Hungary. At this year Animateka she curated the programme Hungary visiting.


The 15-Year-Journey Of ‘Ella, Oscar & Hoo’ From Children’s Book To TV Series. [By Stephane Dreyfus. 7.12.18] Read the full article here. One of the first personal works of Michael Dudok de Wit was Tom Sweep (1992), a pilot for a series about a garbage collector who desperately tries to do his job. But it never came to life. Too expensive to produce.


King Features Celebrates Popeye’s 90th Anniversary with New Digital Series. Originally appearing in 1929, E.C. Segar’s Popeye character first debuted in “The Thimble Theatre” comic strip in the New York Journal-American, which was at that time owned by Hearst Founder William Randolph Hearst. The much-loved character developed alongside his cast of friends before making his film debut in 1933 and television debut in 1960. Read the full article here.


Christiane Cegavske Interview: The Alchemy of Animation. [13.12.18] Christiane Cegavske is a fabricator of self-spun tales, the sole architect of a handmade fantasy world. The award winning director and stop-motion animator is perhaps best known for her feature-length film, Blood Tea and Red String (2006). Her cult status, is due in part to the time it took to complete it—a small matter of 13 years. Certainly, to hear of an artist who operates alone and outside of a conventional timeframe is liberating. Cegavske’s aims seem to be truly independent. Read the full article here.


Interview: Trevor Jimenez on his Annie-nominated Short “Weekends”. [12.12.18] Read the full article here.


Podcast – Making Independent Animated Features. With Joel Benjamin, director of Where It Floods, Nicholas De Fina, director of LeSeurdmin and Dan Ekis, director of Grey Island. Read the full article here.


DreamWorks Animation Short ‘Bilby’ A Testing Ground for New Production Tools [Jennifer Wolfe. 10.12.18] Read the full article here. Directors Pierre Perifel, JP Sans and Liron Topaz delve into the making of their CG-animated short ‘Bilby’ — including the use of the studio’s new Moonray light rendering engine — in a new exclusive video and accompanying Q&A.


J.J. Sedelmaier’s Remarkable Animation Career. [By Heather Taylor. 10.12.18] Read the full article here. Look closely at J.J. Sedelmaier’s company logo. It might take you a moment to recall where you’ve seen it before, but I can assure you that you have seen it before. This logo appeared on a title card at the end of The Ambiguously Gay Duo. These sketches were part of the Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse collection. Sedelmaier and Robert Smigel created and produced the animated skits featuring vocal talent from Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert.


Jan Svankmajer – The ‘Godfather of Animated Cinema’ Makes More Than Just Movies. [Nina Siegal. 20.12.18] Read the full article here. AMSTERDAM — The Czech master of Surrealist cinema, Jan Svankmajer, is revered by animators for his stop-motion movies that are by turns absurd, grotesque, erotic and horrific.


I Love Creating Worlds: Interview with Eva Cvijanović. [Vassilis Kroustallis. 25.6.17] Read the full article here. Eva Cvijanović, director of the awarded stop-motion short, Hedgehog’s Home. The film premiered at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, and soon Montreal-based animation director Eva Cvijanović became a festival darling.



Thank you to Tsvika Oren and his Animation Center Magazine and Karl Cohen for his wonderful Asifa S.F. Monthly.

Also to all the Animation blogs that I have linked to in the news summaries.


Lucy Lee

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