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Top Animation News: OIAF 2018, Mary Poppins Returns, Netflix 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 September 14 to 21, 2018.

1. Ottawa International Animation Festival 2018 is next week!
It’s that time of year again: The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) 2018 begins next week, from September 26 to 30. Its adjoining business forum, The Animation Conference (TAC; September 26 to 28) is celebrating its 15th anniversary, with Corner Gas Animated showrunner Brent Butt delivering the keynote address. A delegation from Toon Boom Animation will also be in attendance, hosting events including workshops, the “legendary Toon Boom Boat Cruise” (as described by “Animation Magazine”) and marketing director George Stamatakos will be on the judging panel of the Pitch This! pitching competition.

Get a preview for what else is happening at OIAF and TAC 2018 on the blog.

2. The Animation Is Film Festival lineup is packed with 2D animation. 
Running October 19 to 21, the Animation Is Film Festival has brought together a constellation of stellar animated features for its preliminary competition lineup. Set to descend on the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, among the 11 finalists are Mamoru Hosoda's Mirai, Denis Do’s Funan (winner of the 2018 Cristal Award and produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony) and Gabriel Bitar, Andre Catoto and Gustavo Steinberg’s Tito and the Birds (also produced in Harmony).

Find out more about the Animation Is Film Festival lineup on “The Hollywood Reporter”.

3. Mary Poppins Returns with incredible 2D animated sequences.
The trailer for Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns trailer is a strong sign the film will satisfy those who enjoyed the 1964 original and nurture a new generation of audiences. Partially, this is because the new edition will feature a mixture of live-action and traditional-style 2D animation — much like its predecessor. While Mary Poppins Returns uses digital effects and animation software, the fact that it honours the original’s style will doubtlessly be a hit among old and new fans alike.

Watch the Mary Poppins Returns trailer above and read more on “CNET”.

4. Shion Takeuchi signs Netflix’s first female animation overall deal. 
Netflix has taken a step in the right direction (i.e. representing women in the animation industry) by announcing it has signed Shion Takeuchi, staff writer on Matt Groening’s Disenchantmentfor a multi-year deal to develop exclusive new animated series and other projects. Her background includes Monsters University and Inside Out (Pixar), The Regular Show (Cartoon Network) and cult hit Gravity Falls (Disney XD).

Dig into Netflix’s Shion Takeuchi deal on “Deadline”.

5. SAG-AFTRA deal avoids TV animation strike.
Speaking of animation on streaming platforms, it seems like the voice actors starring in it won’t be going on strike. A tentative deal was reached between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) this week. The former’s members recently voted to approve a strike after the previous agreement expired in June 2017. Points of contention surrounded pay scale wages and residuals for television series produced for subscription streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

Binge the SAG-AFTRA x AMPTP agreement details on “The Wrap”.

6. Adult animated comedy is on the rise.
From BoJack Horseman to Bob’s Burgers to Archer (all produced in Toon Boom animation software), there has been a noticeable uptick in the amount of high-quality, animated comedy in the last decade. With streaming services like Netflix and Apple (see: Central Park) investing in the genre, the trend looks like it’s only just getting started. "You're going to see even more in the next five years, [including] a larger diversity of the kind of things we would call adult animation," says BoJack Horseman creator and showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg.

Investigate the animated comedy industry, trends and key players further on “The Hollywood Reporter”.

human-kind-of-cartuna-toon-boom
Source: Facebook.

7. Facebook Watch launching two adult short-form series.
Cartuna, an animation-focused digital media company, will be premiering two of its adult-targeted short form series on Facebook Watch: Human Kind Of and Liverspots and Astronots. Both 2D animated shows will have 21-episode seasons, with three new episodes per week. Female-driven Human Kind Of launched on September 16 and follows a teenage girl who finds out her absent father was an alien. Liverspots and Astronots centres on Dusty Craters, a decrepit nursing home floating through space that somehow is also the key to saving the universe.

Check out Cartuna’s new Facebook Watch series on “Animation Magazine”.

8. Netflix is making a live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is getting another live-action reboot — this time as a series on Netflix. Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, creators of the original Nickelodeon cartoon, will serve as executive producers and showrunners. Production on the Avatar: The Last Airbender is set to kick-off in 2019.

Read up on the Avatar: The Last Airbender Netflix live-action series on “Polygon”. 

9. This French series hopes to tackle street harassment.
Eve Ceccarelli was sexually harassed by a man in a bar. Instead of internalizing her anger, she decided to use it to fuel her creativity — and developed In Your Face, a series of micro-shorts taking an empowering but humorous look at street harassment. She pitched it at Cartoon Forum 2018 last week to a standing-room-only audience and hopes to produce it in Toon Boom Harmony. Ceccarelli previously worked on the Cristal Award-winning feature film, Funan (produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony).

Press play on the In Your Face trailer above and read more on “Cartoon Brew”.

10. How animation makes mental illness tangible in BoJack Horseman.
On paper, BoJack Horseman is about a narcissistic, washed-up actor who happens to also be an anthropomorphized horse. While the Netflix series (produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro) features a world of sentient animals, it is perhaps the most human show on the air — largely thanks to the way its producers use animation to depict mental health. From BoJack’s struggles with depression and addiction to his mother’s descent into dementia, showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg and production designer Lisa Hanawalt masterfully use the medium to visually represent the unimaginable.

Dive into BoJack Horseman’s animation on “Vanity Fair”.

BONUS: Speed Brawl is now available!
Montreal-based game developer Double Stallion Games launched its latest title, Speed Brawl, on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC this week. The 2D combat racer was produced in Toon Boom Harmony and is set in an alternate-universe Victorian Era where the British Empire conquered the Moon and enslaved its drone-like denizens. To keep bored Earthlings placated, the government pits the planet’s top warriors against the aliens in a game of thrilling bloodsport.

Find out how you can play Speed Brawl now on its website.

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: Disney.

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