Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers January 31 to February 7, 2020.
1. Toon Boom showcases 50 artists in 2020 Ambassador Program
We are ready to announce the featured artists for the new Toon Boom Ambassador Program, which highlights 50 creators who advance the craft of animation using Toon Boom Harmony or Toon Boom Storyboard Pro. While the featured artists include a broad range of professional animators, freelancers, educators and hobbyists, what unites them is their exceptional work and creativity.
Explore all 50 of their profiles on the Toon Boom Ambassador Program page.
2. Oscars 2020 animation: Everything to know before Sunday
Awards season comes to an end with the 92nd Academy Awards this weekend, so now is the time to ‘toon’ into the Best Animated Feature nominees. Awards season darling Klaus will be up against How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, I Lost My Body, Missing Link and Toy Story 4. Notably, there are two 2D animated films among the 2020 contenders — a rarity at the Oscars, which are typically dominated by 3D productions.
Catch up on the all the Oscars 2020 Best Animated Feature coverage on Cartoon Brew.
3. Klaus wins Best Animated Feature at the BAFTA Awards
While the holidays ended over a month ago, Sergio Pablos’ Klaus is the gift that keeps on giving for Netflix — following up an Annie Awards win by taking the top prize at the British equivalent of the Oscars, the BAFTA Awards. Presented last Sunday at Royal Albert Hall in London, the 2D film scored the Best Animated Feature honour. Klaus beat out Walt Disney Animation Studios’s Frozen 2, Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4 and Aardman Animation’s A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, positioning it well to win at this weekend’s 92nd Academy Awards.
Gift yourself with more on Klaus at the BAFTAs on Cartoon Brew.
4. Toon Boom Harmony 17.0.2 is here
We have made Toon Boom Harmony a little bit better with our Harmony 17.0.2 release. The latest release includes bug fixes and improvements across drawing, digital animation, effects, importing SWF assets and more. One new feature rigging and compositing artists will appreciate is the Increase Opacity node, which can be used to remove visible seams caused by overlapping elements. The 17.0.2 update is now available to download at account.toonboom.com for artists on Harmony 17.
5. Atomic Cartoons to open LA studio
Vancouver-based Thunderbird Entertainment Group has expanded its kids and family division, Atomic Cartoons, with a Los Angeles studio. Led by chief creative officer Matthew Berkowitz, the new production hub is already working on a project for a major global broadcaster, will house the Atomics Originals team and is focused both on pre- and post-production. Atomic Cartoons now has capacity for a crew of 880 across its three studios in Vancouver, Ottawa and Los Angeles.
Read more about Atomic Cartoons’ Los Angeles studio on Animation Xpress.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 31, 2020
6. Hair Love producer invites teen told to cut his dreads to Oscars 2020
DeAndre Arnold is a Texas high school student who will not be allowed to walk at graduation unless he cuts off his dreads. Gabrielle Union, one of the producers of Oscar-nominated short Hair Love, saw Arnold’s story and decided to show her support by inviting him and his mother to the Academy Awards in a video. The animated film’s director Matthew A. Cherry also appeared in the clip, saying, “DeAndre, you’re such a good kid and we’ve all been so inspired by your story and this is the very least we can do for you for standing up for yourself and for your right to wear your natural hair at school.”
7. Warner Bros. Animation inks overall deal with Wellesley Wild
Family Guy alum Wellesley Wild has signed an exclusive, multi-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Animation. This marks the studio’s first pact with a major producer. Wild will develop, write and produce new animated projects under the deal, and will continue his current role as showrunner and executive producer for the upcoming WBA/Amblin Television series Animaniacs.
Dig into all the Warner Bros. Animation x Wellesley Wild overall deal details on Deadline.
8. WildBrain coming out with LGBTQ+ cartoon, Princess Alexander
Canadian studio WildBrain (formerly DHX Media) has announced it will be producing LGBTQ+ kids’ cartoon Princess Alexander, set for release in 2021. Created by Mike Vogel, the 2D animated series is a fantastical retelling of his own childhood as a cisgender gay man — following the titular Alexander, who has the magical powers of a princess and none of the abilities of a prince. “The more I thought about the issues I struggled with growing up—what my strengths were and where I fit in the world—I wanted to pull from that in a way that people would identify with,” says Vogel.
Venture to the Princess Alexander preview on Kidscreen.
9. NYICFF releases 2020 shorts selection
New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF), the nation’s largest film fest for children and teens, has announced its 2020 shorts selection. This year’s group includes 10 Short Film Collections, screening 83 films from 28 countries, with 53 percent of the filmmakers represented being women. NYICFF 2020 will have a Spotlight on Canada, featuring two films produced using Toon Boom Harmony: The Butterfly Affect and In Passing.
10. Take a trip to Duncanville this month
Fox is continuing to bolster its Animation Domination primetime television slate with investments in new toons like Duncanville from Mike and Julie Scully (The Simpsons), alongside executive producer and Parks and Recreation alum Amy Poehler. Bento Box brought the 2D animated series’ 13-episode first season to life in a Toon Boom pipeline, centred on Duncan, a “spectacularly average 15-year-old boy, his family and friends.” Duncanville hits the airwaves on February 16.
Watch the Duncanville preview above and explore the series further on Animation Magazine.
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: Netflix