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Top Animation News: Hilda, Critical Role, Michael Jackson and more!

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Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers March 1 to 8, 2019.


1. TAAFI 2019: Hilda and Space Between Stars sweep awards
The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) announced the winners from the TAAFI 2019 Film Festival awards. Netflix’s Hilda: The Bird Parade (created in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony by Mercury Filmworks) took home Best of Fest Grand Prix and Best Kids Short, while Guru Studio’s original IP Space Between Stars (partially animated in Harmony) snagged the Best Canadian Short and Audience Choice honours.

For the full list of TAAFI 2019 award winners, head over to “Animation World Network”.

2. Critical Role animated special breaks Kickstarter records
A 20-minute animated special for Dungeons and Dragons web series Critical Role has broken Kickstarter records. Launched on Monday with a goal of $750,000, its campaign had raised more than $5.8 million from over 42,000 backers by Thursday — becoming the most-funded film/video project and the 15th most-funded campaign ever on the crowdfunding platform. Critical Role is a weekly live-streamed Dungeons and Dragons game with a devoted fan base known as “Critters”, to whom the animated special will be dedicated to.

Get into all the Critical Role Kickstarter details on “CNBC”.

michael-jackson-simpsons-toon-boom
Source: Fox

3. The Simpsons pulls Michael Jackson episode
The animation industry has been impacted by the controversy surrounding Leaving Neverland — HBO’s Michael Jackson documentary that levelled allegations of sexual abuse against the late singer. Jim Brooks, producer of long-running Fox cartoon comedy The Simpsons, has decided to pull the 1991 episode “Stark Raving Dad” from circulation in response. Michael Jackson guest-starred in it as a hulking mental institute patient who thought he was actually the singer.

Dig further into the The Simpsons x Leaving Neverland controversy on “Deadline”.

4. Cartoon Movie Tribute winners announced
One of the European animation industry’s biggest events, Cartoon Movie, wrapped up this week with its annual awards ceremony. Taking home the 2019 Cartoon Tributes honours were Salvador Simó of Spain (European Director of the Year for Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles), Sola Media from Germany (European Distributor of the Year) and Submarine of the Netherlands (European Producer of the Year). The Eurimages Co-Production Development Award winner was Of Unwanted Things and People by David Súkup, Ivana Laučíková, Leon Vidmar and Agata Gorządek, with a €20,000 prize.

Find out more about the Cartoon Movie 2019 award winners on “Animation Magazine”.

annecy-2019-japan-toon-boom
Source: Annecy Festival

5. Japanese animation to be highlighted at Annecy 2019
The Annecy International Animation Film Festival (June 10 to 15) will spotlight Japanese animation for the 2019 edition; the land of the rising sun is the first country to receive the honour twice, having already been highlighted in 1999. This year’s guest of honour is Nippon animator Yôichi Kotabe, who joined Toei Animation in 1959 and has collaborated closely with legendary Studio Ghibli duo Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki. Japan will also be represented in Annecy’s competition jury by Yoshiaki Nishimura and Koji Yamamura, and there will be additional screenings, programming and a special delegation at the event’s market, MIFA.

Venture over to “Animation World Network” for more on Japan at Annecy 2019.

6. Hello Kitty is headed to Hollywood
Japanese cartoon cat Hello Kitty is headed to the big screen after Sanrio, the firm behind the brand, signed a deal with Warner Bros’ New Line Cinema following five years of discussions. The film is currently looking for writers and creative talent, and has no plot yet. In her 45 years of existence, Hello Kitty has generated billions of dollars of revenue in 130 countries across product sales, animated programs and branded properties including a theme park and Japanese bullet train.

Say hello to more Hello Kitty film details on “BBC”.


7. Stream Disney’s entire motion picture library — soon
The House of Mouse’s streaming platform, titled Disney Plus, is launching later in 2019 and will host “the entire Disney motion picture library” according to CEO Bob Iger. This will effectively put an end to the Disney Vault — the company’s practice of making individual titles available on home video for limited periods. Disney’s existing film library, dating back to the 1920s, will be joined by new features within a year of their release.

Stream all the Disney Plus film library details on “Polygon”.

8. Animated Scooby Doo film gets an all-star cast
It’s no mystery that Warner Animation Group’s upcoming untitled Scooby Doo animated feature will have major star power including Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) as Shaggy, Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) as Velma, Tracy Morgan (The Last O.G.) as Captain Caveman and Frank Welker as the eponymous great dane. Directed by Tony Cervone, this will be the first time the Mystery Machine will roll onto the big screen since 2004’s live-action Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. The film’s release is currently set for May 2020.

Investigate the Scooby Doo animated feature voice cast further on “The Hollywood Reporter”.

tito-and-the-birds-FICG-2019
Source: Bits Filmes

9. Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) takes global focus
The latest edition of the Guillermo del Toro-backed Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) is splitting its official selections’ focus between Latin-produced content and work from around the world. Among the international films in competition are Mirai (Japan), Tito and the Birds (Brazil) and Funan (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Cambodia) — the latter two having been created in Toon Boom animation software.

Explore the full FICG competition list on “Variety”.

10. Canada is getting a 24-hour Adult Swim channel
Robot Chicken and Rick and Morty fans above the 49th Parallel should rejoice; Canada will be getting the world’s first 24-hour Adult Swim channel, launching April 1. It will be run by Corus Entertainment (Toon Boom Animation’s parent company) as part of its long-term partnership with Turner. Canada’s 24-hour Adult Swim will mirror its American counterpart in tone, branding and content, including new releases like the upcoming Lazor Wulf from Bento Box Entertainment.

‘Toon’ in to all the 24-hour Adult Swim channel info on “Cartoon Brew”.

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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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