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Top Animation News: Mizchief, OIAF Pitch THIS, Elon Musk 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 18 to 25, 2017.

1. The Weinstein Company gets into ‘Mizchief’.
Harvey Weinstein and co. have officially entered the animation industry with new label Mizchief, launching with the August 25 released of ballerina feature “Leap!”. The famed producer’s son inspired the name and nature of the company and its content. Weinstein is quoted as saying, “Animation is a playful new direction for us and I’m thrilled to expand the TWC repertoire into a whole new category of films for our kids to enjoy and for us to enjoy with them.” Mizchief’s next animated feature will be “The Guardian Brothers”, starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Edward Norton.

Leap into more info on Mizchief on “Deadline”.

2. “Mysticons” is a female-first cartoon for a new generation.

Premiering on August 28, “Mysticons” is a new kind of female-driven action animation — both on-screen and behind the scenes. With a main cast of diverse, empowered women warriors, it offers role models for an socially conscious generation of girls and boys. Toon Boom spoke to series creator Sean Jara and Nelvana animation director Matt Ferguson about the inspiration behind “Mysticons” (produced in Harmony and Storyboard Pro).

Charge into the “Mysticons” action on the Toon Boom blog.

3. Be part of the OIAF with Pitch THIS!
Next month, Canada’s capital will be the centre of the animated universe. Running September 20 to 24, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) has opened submissions for its Pitch THIS! competition. In partnership with Corus Entertainment and Toon Boom, 10 pitches will be selected; participants will be paired with a mentor to develop their concept before it is presented to industry experts and an audience including over 300 potential buyers and financiers. The winner will receive a deal from Nelvana, plus licences and training for Toon Boom Harmony and Storyboard Pro 2D animation software.

Pick up more info on Pitch THIS! on “Kidscreen”.

4. Animation is peak escapism in troubling times.
It seems the worse things get in the world, the better features that are animated, based on superheroes or are live-action adaptations of cartoons do at the box office. Of the highest-grossing films of 2017 thus far, eight out of 10 fall into these three categories, with the two exceptions being “The Fate of the Furious” and “Get Out”. Among the animated features on the list are “Despicable Me 3″, “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “Boss Baby”.

Escape into the full analysis on “The Washington Post”. 

5. This animation was created and shot in VR.

Animation student Nick Ladd produced his action short “Escape” almost entirely in Virtual Reality (VR). Using a combination of drawing software Quill and VR animation program Animivr, he created all of his assets inside virtual 3D space over the course of four days — including frame-by-frame animations of his protagonist. While the technology and medium are relatively new, it allows for surprisingly mature art; animators can literally create 3D structures and scenes in the air in front of them.

Catch VR animation “Escape” above and find the full story on “FastCo”.

6. Youtube unplugs advertisements on violent video games.
It seems Youtube prefers their videos tame instead of video games. The digital content platform has started blocking advertisements on certain violent content. In their algorithm’s crosshairs are video games, particularly those involving heavy gun use — making it nearly impossible for creators to monetize. With dwindling dollars, many are now turning to alternative platforms including Patreon and Twitch.

Read more on “Forbes”.

7. Even Elon Musk is a fan of “Rick and Morty”.
So far as endorsers go, Elon Musk is among the best in the world. The entrepreneur, engineer and all around super-genius recently tweeted that he was a fan of “Rick and Morty”. The Adult Swim series, produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony, is currently airing its third season and has evolved from cult favourite to cultural phenomenon.

Get more on Elon Musk’s endorsement on “Inverse”. 

8. Nick Kroll’s new Netflix series is all about puberty.

The worst time in many people’s lives may become the best new teen toon on Netflix. Creator and comedian Nick Kroll’s (“The League”) upcoming cartoon “Big Mouth” is an adult animated perspective on adolescence that, based on the brand new teasers, will strike a balance between LOL and lewd. Among the all-star cast are frequent Kroll collaborators John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen, Jenny Slate and Jessi Klein.

Watch a teaser above and get into “Big Mouth” on “Variety”.

9. This influential Japanese musician is 10 years old — and animated. 
Meet Hatsune Miku. In Japan, she is both a musical instrument and inspiration. The turquoise-tressed singer is the most recognized animated avatar from Crypton Future Media’s Vocaloid wildly popular singing-synthesizer software, which allows artists to become J-Pop stars from the comfort of their computers. The program was developed by Yamaha and uses technology to generate human-like vocals. Since her debut performance in 2007, Miku has become only of Japan’s biggest musical influences, having even made an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with David Letterman.

Autotune into Miku on “The Japan Times”.

10. New documentary on “Bambi” production designer Tyrus Wong.
Among animators, Tyrus Wong was a legend. The “Bambi” production designer passed away last year at 106 and a new documentary will traces his life from its rural beginnings in China’s Guangdong Province to red carpets of Hollywood. His career included decades as a production illustrator for Warner Bros., doing live-action films like “Rebel Without a Cause”, “The Wild Bunch”, “Sands of Iwo Jima” and “April in Paris”. Catch the new documentary on Friday, September 8, on PBS or stream it the following day online.

Get into the trailer above and see the full story on “Cartoon Brew”.

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!