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Top Animation News: Miyazaki and Ducktales are back, Brexit 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 August 11 to 18, 2017.

1. Studio Ghibli is re-opened for business!

It’s official: the lights are on again at Studio Ghibli. Not that they were ever off — the Japanese production house has been busy doing television work and even a theme park. The gang's all back together though for co-founder Hayao Miyazaki’s new feature film, a full-length version of his latest short “Kemushi no Boro" (or “Boro The Caterpillar”). Training for new Studio Ghibli staff will kick off in October, with production beginning soon after.

See more Studio Ghibli details on “Empire”.

2. The “Ducktales” reboot is here — and it’s amazing.

It hasn’t even been a week since Disney premiered the first episode of its “Ducktales” reboot and people are already quacking their praises. With an all-star cast including David Tennant, Bobby Moynihan, Ben Schwartz and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the bar was set high for the series. Among the revelations from the first episode was a first look at the triplets’ mother, Donald Duck’s sister.

Watch the first episode of the “Ducktales” reboot above or read more on “Decider”.

3. Is Brexit bad for the British animation industry?
According to London-based, BAFTA-winning production house Blue Zoo, the answer is a resounding: “Yes!” The studios says Brexit could lead to a talent brain drain, with animators going to other hubs like Ireland and Canada. It should be noted Blue Zoo, which recently entered into a £30 million deal with China UK Animation Company, has a significant number of expats on its team from continental Europe.

For more on Brexit’s effect on British animation, see “Evening Standard”.AirFrance_VR_ToonBoom.jpgSource: Air France.

4. VR is taking off at Air France.
While certain realities of flying may never change (see: food, tiny seats, crying babies), in-flight entertainment may soon reach new heights. Passengers are now able to watch their favourite 2D and 3D films on Virtual Reality (VR) headsets on Air France business class trips. Designed by SkyLights (a startup the airline recently bought a stake in), the systems will act as a personal theatre fully equipped with noise-cancelling headphones. Trials began August 1 on the Airbus A340s flights between Paris and St. Martin.

Nose-dive into the full Air France VR story on “Condé Nast Traveler”.

5. AI is now producing anime characters.
Researchers have announced Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), a program that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create anime characters either independently or based on criteria like eye and hair colour, other physical features and fashion styling. While it will be a while before AI impacts productions at major anime studios, it is increasingly becoming a possibility.

Keep up with with AI and anime on “".

6. Art Directors Guild adds animated feature award.
The Art Directors Guild’s Excellence in Production Design Awards has added an animated feature category. The new prize is complementary to the January 27 event’s theme: “Production Design in Animation: Celebrating 100 Years of Imagination”. Animated features that are hand-drawn or made with CGI, clay animation and puppet, or motion-capture styles may qualify. Submissions will be open online between October 5 and November 9.

Discover more on the Art Directors Guild awards on “Variety.

7. More Toon Boom animation coming to India.
We are proud to announce Hans Van der Sluys has joined the Toon Boom team as our India sales agent. He has over three decades’ experience in the entertainment industry, including helping to launch studios in North America and India. Hans will work with studios, schools and local governments to bridge the nation’s emerging 2D animation market and burgeoning global demand.

Learn more about Hans’ career and what he’ll be doing in India on the Toon Boom blog.

8. Watch the trailer for Netflix’s “Godzilla” anime.

After making a monster-sized announcement of new anime titles in Tokyo earlier this month, streaming giant Netflix has released the first trailer for its upcoming “Godzilla” animated feature film. Directed by Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita, with a script by Gen Urobuchi, it is set in a dystopian future where the world has been ruled by the titular radioactive lizard for 20,000 years. Production on the “Godzilla” anime was done by Polygon Pictures.

Catch the trailer above (Japanese audio only) and read the full story on “Collider”.

9. “The Nut Job 2” has the worst major opening weekend ever.
This is not the sort of record-breaking weekend studios hope for. “The Nut Job 2”, a CG animated film from distributor Open Road Films, had the worst-ever opening for a film released in 4,000+ theatres, with a weekend box office total of $8.9 million. The former record holder? Last month’s “The Emoji Movie”.

Get the full “Nut Job 2” story on “Cartoon Brew”.

10. Jamaica is growing its animation economy through education.
This past week, 37 animation instructors from 11 institutions across Jamaica completed a six-week course in advanced 2D and 3D animation techniques. Titled “Train the Trainers”, the program’s goal was to improve education so that animators in the country could access the growing global animation market. Attendees were taught by mentors from Canada’s Capilano University and covered topics like: drawing for instructors, character design process, principles of animation and special effects animation.

Take a trip to Jamaica’s animation industry on “Jamaica Observer”.

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!