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Top Animation News: MIFA, Rick and Morty, The Dragon Prince and more!

Tags: Storyboard Pro Animation 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 May 24 to 31, 2019.

1. MIFA 2019 will be the biggest yet
MIFA is the International Animation Film Market, which runs alongside the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. This year's upcoming market (June 11 to 14) is expected to break records for attendance and number of exhibitors, with over 700 exhibitors representing 75 countries. New to MIFA in 2019 are the ‘Gap Financing: Meet the Producers’ partner meeting initiative, a Buyer’s Club and ‘Pitching: Territory Focus’, with this year's focus on Japan's animation industry.

Have a sneak peek at what’s going on at MIFA 2019 on “Animation World Network”. (Editor’s note: Toon Boom will be making a huge announcement at the event — stay tooned!)

rick-and-morty-dan-harmon-instagram
Source: Dan Harmon Instagram

2. Rick and Morty season four plot details emerge — sort of
Just a couple weeks after it was announced Rick and Morty season four would premiere in Fall 2019, co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have already let some details slip — namely, that actor Paul Giamatti and Tesla head Elon Musk may be appearing on the show. However, with this pair, it’s often difficult to tell if they are being serious. For instance, on his Instagram, Harmon posted a series of photos of Post-Its seemingly with Rick and Morty season five plot-points like “Jerry gets a pinecone in his butt” and “When-wolf”.

Catch up on the Paul Giamatti and Elon Musk guest appearances on “Inverse”, and the season five plot-lines also on “Inverse”. (Another editor’s note: Rick and Morty is created using Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony.)

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger is starring in his own cartoon
Upcoming 2D animated series Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten is the last project the legendary comic writer worked on and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger. Aimed at preschoolers, the former Terminator and governor of California will play a gym teacher who acquires powers via a comet and becomes Captain Courage. Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten is a co-production of Genius Brands, Lee’s POW! Entertainment and Schwarzenegger’s Oak Productions.

Leap into all the Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten details on “Animation Magazine”.

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Source: Bardel Entertainment

4. Bardel Entertainment used Harmony to create The Dragon Prince’s effects
When Vancouver-based studio Bardel Entertainment was animating Netflix’s CG series The Dragon Prince, being already familiar with the software from working on 2D shows like Rick and Morty, their team turned to Toon Boom Harmony when hand drawing visual effects. “Harmony is great at doing nuanced animation with subtle camera moves and also for wide-sweeping camera moves. We could actually go in and match what was happening on the CG side to the 2D side,” says Johnny Tesoro, 2D supervising animation director at Bardel.

Discover how Bardel Entertainment produced The Dragon Prince’s effects in Harmony on the Toon Boom blog.

ken-duncan-instagram-disney
Source: Ken Duncan Instagram

5. You need to see these photos from Disney in the 90s
Ken Duncan was involved in many of the productions that bolstered Disney’s 90s revival, and shared some never-before-seen behind-the-scenes shots from those glory days on his Instagram account. The animator and Duncan Animation Studio founder posted some pictures of his fellow artists from films like Hercules, Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove and Treasure Planet in the House of Mouse’s studio — elaborating on the person, his relationship with them and where they are now in the caption.

Take a trip down memory lane with Ken Duncan and Disney on “Cartoon Brew”.

6. Why 2D animation still dominates television
From warmth to simplicity to a production process that allows for a high level of control and refinement, there are many reasons why 2D animation is more popular than 3D among television series. For instance, despite the original film being CG, the producers of Disney’s Big Hero 6: The Series (created with Toon Boom software) decided to make the show in 2D for added freedom in creating settings, a style that evokes old-school features and a heightened ability to convey emotions. Talking about the latter, Big Mouth showrunner and executive producer Al Jean says, “If I was doing a new show, I would lean towards 2D just for that reason.”

Toon into all the 2D animation television details on “Variety”.

the-last-kids-on-earth-atomic
Source: Atomic Cartoons

7. Venturing into Ottawa’s animation industry
Amongst those in the industry, Ottawa’s reputation as an animation hub is no secret. Streamer-driven demand for original content has boosted production in the Canadian capital, funneling work into its main studios like Mercury Filmworks, Jam Filled Entertainment, Kratt Brothers and Big Jump Entertainment, with Algonquin College and Herzing College providing trained students; all use and teach Toon Boom software. Whether the boom is new or finally getting the recognition it deserves is up for debate though, "Ottawa has been an incredible talent hub for animation for a really long time,” says Tori Coulthart, head of production at Jam Filled.

Orient yourself with Ottawa’s animation industry more on “Cartoon Brew”.

8. Netflix acquires I Lost My Body after Cannes win
Fresh off its big win at Cannes 2019, the worldwide rights to I Lost My Body (J’ai perdu mon corps) have been acquired by Netflix (excluding China, Benelux, Turkey and France). Jérémy Clapin’s French animated film took home the prestigious Nespresso Grand Prize at the event and follows a severed hand as it attempts to get back to its body. It was produced by Xilam Animation.

Get a firmer grip on the I Lost My Body Netflix details on “The Wrap”.

akira-live-action-release-date
Source: Toho

9. The live-action Akira has gotten a release date
Those excited about Taika Waititi’s live-action Akira can breathe a sigh of relief — it is happening and it will be released on May 21, 2021. This is massive given Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga-turned-anime has been languishing in production limbo for over a decade. “My mom took me to see Akira in the cinema in 1989, or whenever it came out in New Zealand, and it was a huge turning point in my life for what I imagined animation to be and realizing what it could be,” said Waititi.

Find out more about the live-action Akira release date on “Gizmodo”.

10. Toy Story 4 looking to have a $200M opening weekend
Pixar’s Toy Story 4 is not playing around. Judging by ticket pre-sales, it looks like the sequel will break Incredibles 2’s record $182.6M three-day opening weekend for an animated film. Set to hit cinemas on June 21, forecasters are predicting Toy Story 4 could easily hit $200M.

Go to infinity and beyond with the Toy Story 4 opening weekend predictions on “Deadline”.

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: Bardel Entertainment/Netflix

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