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Top Animation News: Lord-Miller Sony deal, Chris Reccardi and more!

Tags: News Storyboard Pro Harmony News and Opinion Top Animation News

Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers April 26 to May 3, 2019.

1. Phil Lord and Chris Miller swing into massive Sony deal
Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller have inked a five-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television, estimated to be in the nine figures. The agreement will see them develop live-action comedy and drama series, as well as animated shows, through their Lord Miller Productions company. Lord and Miller are coming off nine years at 20th Century Fox, where they are still executive producers on upcoming toons Bless the Harts and Hoops.

Dig into all the Phil Lord and Chris Miller deal details on “Deadline”. 


2. Animation industry vet Chris Reccardi dies at 54
In a piece of heartbreaking news, it was reported that leading LA-based animator Chris Reccardi passed away this week at the age of 54. He suffered a heart attack while surfing and tributes have started pouring in from industry heavyweights on social media. Reccardi had contributed to many of the most culturally influential productions including Ren and Stimpy (layout/writer), Powerpuff Girls (writer), Samurai Jack (writer), The Simpsons (layout), SpongeBob SquarePants (storyboard director), Hotel Transylvania 3 (visual development) as well as his own projects like Meddlen Meddows.

Read more about Chris Reccardi’s career and see the tributes to his life on “Cartoon Brew”.

3. Cannes 2019: Animation takes centerstage 
While the Cannes Film Festival (May 14 to 25) may be best known for its star-studded red carpets and Palme d’Or Award, it’s increasingly becoming an animation hub. For 2019, its programs will include the fourth Annecy Goes to Cannes (a partnership with the Annecy International Animated Film Festival), showcasing five in-progress features as well as a panel discussion on the growing business of adult animated films. Other highlights will include a screening of The Swallows of Kabul and the premiere of I Lost My Body (J’ai perdu mon corps).

Catch up on the Cannes 2019 line-up on “Animation Magazine”.

4. LatinX in Animation gives underrepresented artists access and community
Founded by Magdiela Hermida Duhamel (Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, Uglydolls) in 2018, LatinX in Animation is on a mission to connect underrepresented Latinx professionals in the industry, plus those hoping to get into it. The group already has 495 active members representing DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Netflix, Illumination Entertainment and a selection of educational institutions. “The need for diverse voices is very high and we are very proud to help fill that void,” Duhamel said.

Explore LatinX in Animation’s story and success on “Cartoon Brew”.


5. The Toon Boom blog launches new Showcase Spotlight series
We launched our new Showcase Spotlight this week, which will highlight a different animated project submitted to the Toon Boom Showcase every month. For the inaugural edition, we featured the trailer for the After12 podcast — brought to life by freelance animator and illustrator Gabriel Gómez using Toon Boom Harmony.

Watch the After12 podcast trailer above and read the Showcase Spotlight interview with Gómez on the Toon Boom blog.

6. How Netflix is tackling animation’s gender gap
Tuca & Bertie, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and Hilda (planned in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and animated in Harmony) are just a handful of recent Netflix animated series that feature female characters on-screen and women behind the scenes as well. She-Ra showrunner Noelle Stevenson praised the streaming giant and notes the fundamental, fast changes to representation: “I think that [the animation industry has] changed a lot even in the last three, four years. When I got into the television business six years ago, there was only one show currently airing with a main female character.”

Find out how else Netflix is bridging the animation gender gap on “Decider”.

7. Paloma Baeza to direct Frida Kahlo animated feature 
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s life and work will be getting the 2D animated treatment in a new women-led film by Lupus Films and Universal Content Group. The untitled feature will be directed by Paloma Baeza, who was named an Animator to Watch by “Variety” last year. “With my Mexican heritage, it is particularly meaningful to have this opportunity to explore her deep and complex personality, as well as her relationship with Mexico’s past and its future. Lupus Films have a reputation as a highly respected artisanal animation studio so this project couldn’t be in better hands,” said Baeza.

Venture to “Variety” for more on the Frida Kahlo animated feature. 


8. Profile: Simon Paquette’s transition from television animation to video games
Animator Simon Paquette began his career 15 years ago at Mercury Filmworks in Ottawa, Canada and went on to work on projects for Nickelodeon, Netflix, DisneyXD and more, almost entirely using Toon Boom software. His journey brought him to Toronto, where he reconnected with an old colleague, Ryan Miller, and the two decided to found a video game development company: Reptoid Games. 

Career curious? Discover how and why Simon Paquette made the switch from television animation to video game development on the Toon Boom blog.  

9. Square Enix to create over 100 new jobs in Montreal
Montreal’s animation and video games boom does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. Square Enix Limited announced it would be creating over 100 new game development positions at its facilities in the French-Canadian metropolis: Square Enix Montreal and Eidos-Montreal. Currently, the company has 700 staff in the city — its largest workforce outside Japan.

Head over to “TechRaptor” for more on Square Enix’s Montreal expansion.

10. Is Russia a growing animation superpower?
While Russia’s animation industry has been in disarray since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it seems like the country is making a cartooning comeback. Moscow-based, government-owned studio Parovoz has grown from rapidly from 20 to 300 employees and its shows are exported to 55 countries. Among those destinations is the US, where Netflix purchased its series Leo and Tig.

Take a peek into Russia’s animation industry on “The Japan Times”.

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: Wenn.com

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