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Top Animation News: Comcast-Disney, Annecy, Netflix’s Hilda and more!

Tags: Customer Story Top Animation News Animation Storyboarding Trends Harmony Storyboard Pro News Film Television

Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the world of animation. This edition covers June 08 to 15, 2018.

1. Toon Boom and Nimble Collective announce partnership at Annecy 2018.

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival (June 11 to 16) has dominated the industry’s zeitgeist this week. One of the biggest headlines from the event is Toon Boom’s partnership with Nimble Collective. The latter offers animation production teams an entire cloud-based studio infrastructure via browsers, reducing overhead costs by as much as 75 percent by minimizing the need for infrastructure and hardware. The partnership will make Toon Boom’s digital solutions Storyboard Pro and Harmony more accessible than ever, everywhere.

Browse the Toon Boom-Nimble Collective partnership details on the blog.

2. Netflix’s Hilda gets a premiere date.
Netflix screened two of its much-anticipated animated series, B: The Beginning and Hilda, at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2018 this week. Both are official selections at the event. Netflix also announced a September 21 premiere date for Hilda, which is being animated by Mercury Filmworks in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony. Based on graphic novels by Luke Pearson, the series follows a young girl who travels from her home to a magical forest filled with mysterious and menacing creatures.

Stream the Netflix Hilda details on “Deadline”.

3. Comcast outbids Disney to purchase 21st Century Fox.
In a surprising market twist, media giant Comcast offered to buy 21st Century Fox for $65 billion. This is roughly $13 billion more than Walt Disney Company’s bid of $52.4 billion last December. Both companies must now convince Fox’s shareholders that their respective bids are better, hot on the heels of a US federal judge’s approval of AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner — paving the way for mega mergers like this.

Dig into the Disney deal details on “Cartoon Brew”.

vikingskool-toon-boomSource: Cartoon Saloon.

4. Vikingskool to be produced in Toon Boom software.

Irish studio Cartoon Saloon has announced it will be producing Vikingskool for Disney, and it will be using Toon Boom animation software to do it. The 26-episode children’s cartoon series will debut at the end of 2019 and follows a group of three young vikings-in-training: Erik, Arnie and Ilba. It is also being produced by France’s Samka Productions, with post-production from Norwegian VFX company Storm Films.

Raid all the Vikingskool information on “Animation Magazine”.

5. John Lasseter to depart Disney-Pixar at the end of 2018.
Disney Animation Studio and Pixar’s chief creative officer John Lasseter will leave the companies at the end of this year. Until then, he will remain in a consulting capacity. Lasseter has been on leave since November 2017. “John had a remarkable tenure at Pixar and Disney Animation, reinventing the animation business, taking breathtaking risks, and telling original, high quality stories that will last forever,” said Robert Iger, Walt Disney Co. chairman and chief executive in a statement.

Find out more on John Lasseter’s departure on “Los Angeles Times”.

6. Women in Animation take the spotlight at Annecy 2018.
Inclusivity and diversity took centre stage at the second annual Women in Animation World Summit at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival this week. The event’s organizers committed to the 5050x2020 initiative, which aims to have gender parity in the industry by 2020. Julie Ann Crommett, VP multicultural audience engagement at Walt Disney Studios, launched the summit, noting only women represent just 34 percent of film onscreen speaking roles, 31 percent of leads or co-leads and four percent of directors.

Head over to “The Hollywood Reporter” for more on Women in Animation at Annecy 2018. 

7. Liam Vickers is the next animator to watch.
When watching Liam Vickers’ hilarious pilot, Cliffside, it’s clear this young artist is going to be big. He conceptualized, wrote, directed, animated and starred in the short and produced it in Storyboard Pro and Harmony. The Western-style fantasy pilot is the perfect vehicle for Vicker’s razor-sharp wit, while his use of Toon Boom’s digital solutions exhibited his incredible talent.

Watch Liam Vickers’ Cliffside above and read his full interview on the Toon Boom blog.

8. Rumen Petkov, Dexter’s Laboratory animator, passes away.
Animator Rumen Petkov passed away this week, aged 70. While he may not be a household name, his cartoons certainly are. Among the key titles are 90s and early 2000s kids’ classics like Cartoon Network’s Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory. Bulgarian-born Petkov began animating in his native country in 1969 before coming to the United States. He continued to touch the lives of young people by becoming a professor at California Institute of the Arts in 1998.

Read more about Rumen Petkov’s life and animation career on “Screen Rant”.

incredibles-2-toon-boomSource: Disney/Pixar.

9. How Incredibles 2 supersized its animation.
Pixar’s Incredibles 2 is already projected to break records for pre-sales and opening weekend for an animated film. Even more jaw-dropping for the Brad Bird-directed film is its production quality. The technological advancements in the 14 years between the original and the sequel have made for more detailed faces, backgrounds and action scenes.

Leap into action with Incredibles 2 animation details on “The New York Times”.

10. The French animation gets a boost from international tax rebates.
The je ne sais quoi behind the French animation industry’s continued success may be generous international tax rebates. Animated films and series constitute a third of projects benefiting from the 30 percent rate. In 2017, a record 52 projects (73 percent of which were American) received the international tax rebate — representing an estimated $300.5 million in local expenditure, compared to $198 million in 2016. “France is now renowned for American studios and producers at Dreamworks, Disney and Paramount, among others, for its talented animators and its ability to craft commercially-successful upscale animated content with reasonable budgets,” says Xavier Lardoux, head of films at the CNC National Film Board.

Venture over to “Variety” for more on the French animation industry.


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.

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