Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers September 6 to 13, 2019.
1. Apple TV Plus details are here
American tech giant Apple announced more details about its upcoming subscription service Apple TV Plus on Tuesday — including its November 1 launch, $5 a month price and a free year-long subscription with the purchase of new devices. Streaming has created a boom in original animated content production and Apple’s upcoming Netflix-style platform is already feeding some of its reported $6 billion into the animation industry. Among its toon roster are series Snoopy in Space and Central Park, and feature film Wolfwalkers from Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon.
Stream all the Apple TV Plus info on CNet.
2. Cartoon Forum 2019: Pitches, productions and prizes
Europe’s animation industry is headed to the 30th edition of Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, France (September 16 to 19) — with 87 new titles being pitched to buyers and producers. The three-day co-production event will bring together over 1,000 professionals from 24 countries this year, with a special focus on projects from Wallonia-Brussels. Additionally, the associated Cartoon Tributes awards will recognize the most positive and influential European broadcaster, investor/distributor and producer of 2019, with France leading the way with four nominees.
3. The Rookies ranks Best Animation Schools in the World 2019
One of the most respected evaluations of institutions teaching creative career skills, The Rookies World School Rankings 2019 is based on the quality and performance of submitted student work. “We feel that traditional school rankings that include peer and employer reviews, faculty-to-student ratio, citations and other data are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools,” Andrew McDonald, co-founder of The Rookies, explains. The awards received 3,458 entries from 89 countries this year — with the top three Best Animation Schools in the World 2019 including the School of Visual Arts in New York (a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence), Think Tank Training Centre in Vancouver and PIXL VISN in Cologne, Germany.
Study the full list of Rookies Best Animation Schools in the World 2019 winners on Animation World Network.
4. Freddie Mercury’s powerful posthumous animated music video
Filmmakers and animators Esteban Bravo and Beth David attracted international attention for their LGBTQ short toon, In a Heartbeat. Their latest project is an animated music for the Freddie Mercury song “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” to mark what would have been the rocker’s 73rd birthday. The film depicts two white blood cells as a gay couple, with one being HIV positive — a powerful statement given that the singer died of an AIDS-related illness in November 1991. In a statement, Bravo and David noted, “The AIDS crisis of the 1980s is a huge part of LGBTQI+ history, and it’s something that we knew needed to be handled with care.”
5. Comedy Central renews South Park through season 26
South Park has been renewed for three more seasons, taking it to a record-breaking 26th season and approximately 327 episodes. The animated show follows four boys —Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny— in a small town in Colorado. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone will continue to write, direct and edit every episode of what is now the longest-running scripted cable series ever.
Come on down to the South Park season 26 details on Variety.
6. Study finds gender parity in UK animation workforce, underrepresentation for visible minorities
The British animation industry has reached gender parity, with 51 percent of workers being women according to a new study by the UK Screen Alliance (in partnership with Animation UK and Access VFX). While this success in gender inclusion should be celebrated, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people still only account for 17 percent of creative artist roles and less than 10 percent of both senior management and senior creative production positions. On a positive note, 81 percent of the animation respondents classed their workplace as highly or mostly inclusive.
Investigate diversity and inclusivity in UK animation further on Kidscreen.
Source: Adult Swim
7. Could Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal be heading to the Oscars?
Legendary creator Genndy Tartakovsky’s upcoming animated series Primal is getting a limited seven-day run at the Downtown Independent LA (September 20 to 26) ahead of its October 7 premiere on Adult Swim, and qualifying it for the Academy Awards. The Warnermedia-owned broadcaster has previously submitted Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters for the Oscars. Tartakovsky collaborated again with Samurai Jack alumni for Primal, including art director Scott Wills and composer Tyler Bates.
Sink your teeth into more Primal Oscars details on Cartoon Brew.
8. Animated The Legend of Hei takes top spot at Chinese box office
Chinese audiences have been coming out for cartoons at the nation’s cinemas. Less than two months after Nezha was released and subsequently became the Middle Kingdom’s highest-earning animated feature ever, The Legend of Hei has taken the top spot at its box office debut. The film is based on the web toon The Legend of Luo Xiaohei, following a supernatural black cat and the human who lives with it.
9. New report details Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese animation industries
The Ibero-American Animation Quirino White Paper was released last week at Pixelatl in Mexico and details the animation industries of Latin America, Spain and Portugal — in total covering and collating information about 23 countries, 867 production houses, 262 training centres, 93 events and 26 associations. The report set out to answer three questions about these markets: “Who are we? How many are we? Who can we co-produce with?”
Find out more about the findings and download The Ibero-American Animation Quirino White Paper on Cartoon Brew.
10. TRAILER: Amazon’s Blade of the Immortal anime
Amazon Prime Video is cutting its way into Netflix’s anime streaming dominance with Blade of the Immortal. The gory story is set to premiere its first two episodes on October 10 and follows Manji, a samurai who is cursed with the inability to die and must kill 1,000 evildoers to regain his mortality. Blade of the Immortal is based on a 1993 Japanese manga and has been adapted many times throughout the years, with this edition being produced by Linden Films.
Take a stab at more Blade of the Immortal details on Polygon.
What Top Animation News were you most excited about this week? Was there something we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!
Banner image source: Apple TV Plus