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Top Animation News: Disney-Fox, Disenchantment, XOGenaSYS and more!

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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 22 to 29, 2018.

1. Disney gets approved to buy Fox.

After being outbid by Comcast, Disney came back with a $71.3-billion offer to purchase 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets. The US Department of Justice approved the deal this week, bringing the House of Mouse one step closer to its goal. Both Disney and Comcast see the acquisition of Fox’s assets as a strategic advantage in helping them compete with rapidly rising digital streaming platforms and tech companies like Netflix, Google and Apple.

Dig into the Disney-Fox deal details on “The Los Angeles Times”.

2. The first Disenchantment trailer is here.
It’s been nearly a year since Matt Groening announced his new animated series for Netflix, Disenchantment, and now it’s practically here. Premiering August 17 with 10 episodes, the fantasy-comedy cartoon’s first trailer positions it as the yesteryear counterpart to the future-set Futurama and present-day The Simpsons. The Disenchantment teaser transports audiences to Dreamland, a medieval kingdom where protagonist Princess Bean and her best friends, an elf and a demon, get into (mis)adventures. It also illustrates how Groening’s classic animation style and character designs have been modernized.

Watch the Disenchantment trailer above and read the full article on “The Verge”.

3. Over 150 animation and VFX pros join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
A record 928 artists, filmmakers and executives were invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week — including more than 150 animation and VFX professionals. The organization is best known for presenting the Oscars annually. As part of the Academy’s diversity commitments, 49 percent of the new members are women and 38 percent are people of colour. Of its 17 branches, two are toon-focused: Short Films and Feature Animation with 106 invites, and Visual Effects with 52. Notably among them are leading female creators like Spela Cadez, Japanese masters (including Your Name director Makoto Shinkai) and legendary Swiss filmmaker Georges Schwizgebel.

See all the animation professionals who made the invite list on “Cartoon Brew”.

xogenasys-toon-boom-harmonySource: D’Art Shtajio.

4. Sneak peek of XOGenaSYS, an anime produced in Toon Boom Harmony.
Japanese anime studio D’Art Shtajio released the first image of its upcoming series XOGenaSYS, based on the comic of the same name by Nikolas A. Draper-Ivey and Tre McIntosh. It is being produced using a combination of traditional techniques and Toon Boom Harmony animation software. The XOGenaSYS pilot will launch at Anime Expo 2018 in Los Angeles on July 07, followed by a panel hosted by D’Art Shtajio founder Arthell Isom and creative agency Noir Caesar. (Editor’s note: D’Art Shtajio previously produced Japanese anime The Doll in Toon Boom Harmony — read about it here.)

Head over to “Anime News Network” for more on D’Art Shtajio’s XOGenaSYS.

5. Pride Month: Coco’s Adrian Molina is “all for” an LGBTQ-inclusive animated feature.
Adrian Molina has been at Pixar for 11 years, though he is perhaps best known for his most recent work as a screenwriter and co-director on critical and commercial smash hit, Coco. Based on the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday, it was groundbreaking in its exploration of Latino culture. Now, Molina (a self-identified gay Mexican-American man) is ready for a queer-inclusive animated feature. “It would have to be a compelling story that had universal appeal. There are so many beautiful stories to be told and so many characters to explore. I’m all for it,” he says.  

Explore Adrian Molina’s thoughts on an LGBTQ-inclusive animated feature on “HuffPost”.

6. ‘Toon’ in to Disney TV at Comic-Con International 2018.
Walt Disney Television Animation will be hosting a series of must-see panels with the cast, crew and creators from some of its most popular and upcoming series, many of which are produced in Toon Boom animation software. Among them are Big Hero 6: The Series, Big City Greens and Star vs. The Forces of Evil, all produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony. Disney will be hosting a different panel at Comic-Con International daily between July 19 and 21.

Check out the full Disney TV Comic-Con 2018 program on “Animation Magazine”. 

7. Netflix’s Super Drags faces conservative backlash.
Drag queen cartoons have been one of 2018’s most surprising animation trends, with Lilly’s Singh’s Kickass Drag Queens, RuPaul’s Drag Tots and Netflix’s Super Drags all having been announced recently. The latter is facing backlash from conservative group Christian Film and Television Commission for promoting a “politically correct LGBT agenda”. The petition it started has received nearly 20,000 signatures. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a vocal critic of President Trump and the streaming platform has seen its popularity among Republicans slide (and rise with Democrats) since 2018’s start. Super Drags is produced by Brazil’s Combo Studio in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony.

Strut into the Super Drags controversy on “Business Insider”.

8. The Mountain of SGaana filmmaker talks his incredible Indigenous fable.
Canadian Indigenous filmmaker Christopher Auchter based the story of his short, The Mountain of SGaana, on a traditional Haida legend. While the tale is classic, the tools he used are cutting-edge — namely, Toon Boom Harmony. Auchter says, “I chose a combination of hand-drawn animation with 2D puppets made in Toon Boom. I chose this technique because I feel drawing better connects the artist with the art. A drawn technique feels more raw to me, as opposed to, say, computer-generated (CG) animated film.”

Read Auchter’s full interview and watch The Mountain of SGaana on the “Animation World News”.

9. Irish government plans to double film, television and animation employment.
Ireland has become an international animation destination, with studios like Cartoon Saloon, Boulder Media and Lighthouse Studios drawing major acclaim, attention and artistic talent in recent years. The national government has announced a €200 million initiative to keep the momentum going. The audio-visual action plan aims to double employment in Ireland’s film, television and animation sectors to over 24,000 full-time workers within five years. The government hopes this will attract an additional €1.4 billion to the country.

Investigate Ireland’s animation ambitions on “Irish Examiner”.

10. Voice actors are benefiting hugely from animation boom.
The global explosion in animated content has been driven largely by a demand from digital streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. As a result, voice actors have seen the volume of their work increase massively. For those hoping to get into the biz, it’s not as easy as it looks — or sounds, rather. “On camera, I can make a tiny little eye movement and convey what I’m feeling. You can’t do that in animation. It has to come through solely with your voice. It’s an amazing skill,” says Bobby Moynihan, Saturday Night Live alumni and voice actor on the DuckTales reboot.

Get advice from top voice actors like Hank Azaria, Seth MacFarlane and more on “Toronto Star”.

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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