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Top Animation News: Solar Opposites, Alex Hirsch, Emmy wins 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 24 to 31, 2018.

1. Hulu signs deal with Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland.
The war of animation between streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu just got out of this world. The latter platform signed a deal with Rick and Morty co-creator and executive producer (EP) Justin Roiland and fellow EP Mike McMahon to develop a new series, Solar Opposites. The adult animated comedy will follow an alien family forced to settle in middle America, with two seasons and 16 episodes to be created. (Note: Rick and Morty is produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony.)

Blast off into the Solar Opposites details on “Deadline”.

2. Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch signs multiyear Netflix deal.
Speaking of the cartoon streaming war, Netflix signed Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch in a multiyear deal that will see him develop new series and features for the platform. This comes hot on the heels of Matt Groening’s Disenchantment release, cementing the tech giant’s commitment to adult animation. "Alex is an imaginative storyteller with new ideas who’s quickly developed a reputation as a fresh new voice in animation,” said Cindy Holland, VP of original programming at Netflix.

Fall into more Alex Hirsch x Netflix deal details on “The Hollywood Reporter”.

steven-universe-emmy-toon-boom
Source: Animation Magazine / Cartoon Network.

3. Juried animation Emmy winners announced.
Ahead of the 70th Emmy Awards, the Television Academy announced its juried award winners in the animation and motion design categories. Honours include ‘Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation’ and ‘Outstanding Motion Design’. Among the winning productions were The Simpsons and Steven Universe, both created in Toon Boom animation software. The awards will be presented at the 2018 Creative Arts Awards ceremonies on September 8 and 9.

To see the full list of juried animation Emmy winners, head over to “Animation Magazine”.

4. Toon Boom Harmony recognized for its 3D capabilities.
Leading industry publication “Cartoon Brew” gave Toon Boom Harmony top billing in a round-up of 2D animation software with 3D capabilities, highlighting the digital solution’s z depth functionality (multiplane cameras). George Stamatakos, director of marketing at Toon Boom Animation, is quoted as saying, “Harmony and its predecessors have always had the third dimension, the z axis, on which the camera can be moved along and drawing layers can be placed at different depth.”

Read the full article about Toon Boom Harmony and 3D animation on “Cartoon Brew”.

5. Beep beep! A Wile E. Coyote film is on the way.
Beloved —and bruised— Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote will be getting his own animated film from Warner Bros.. Titled Coyote Vs. Acme, the comedic feature will be produced by Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) with sibling scribes Jon and Josh Silberman (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) writing the script.

Get crushed under all the Coyote Vs. Acme details on “Rolling Stone”.

6. Ottawa International Animation Festival’s TAC turns 15.
Running September 26 to 28, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) 2018 will be celebrating the 15th edition of The Animation Conference (TAC). TAC runs concurrently with OIAF and fosters opportunities for producers and creatives through talks, networking and pitching programs; Brent Butt (Corner Gas Animated) is giving this year’s keynote address. Pitch This! is the event’s trademark opportunity for emerging talent, connecting them to established leaders ahead of an exclusive opportunity to present to broadcasters and a 300-strong audience. Prizes include $5,000 to develop their IP, Toon Boom animation software licences and training, and legal services from Edwards PC, Creative Law.

Investigate all the OIAF, TAC and Pitch This! details on “Animation World Network”.

vanity-fair-best-animated-series
Source: Vanity Fair.

7. Debate: The 30 best animated series since The Simpsons.
“Vanity Fair” has released a comprehensive list of the best animated series —both for children and adults— that have been released since The Simpsons came on the air nearly 30 years ago. They range from classics (Spongebob Squarepants) to cult hits (Clone High) to contemporary favourites (Bobs Burgers — produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony). Noticeably absent: Series by Seth MacFarlane like Family Guy and American Dad.

See if you agree with the list on “Vanity Fair”.

8. CalArts partners with UN to combat gender inequality.
Leading animation school CalArts has partnered with the United Nations (UN) on its HeForShe initiative, with the former producing 13 films addressing the issue of gender inequality. These will debut at the UN Women’s HeForShe Impact Summit on September 26 in New York City. “Animation is ideal for promoting gender equality because the medium makes it possible to visualize a world beyond our current reality and to communicate ideas on screens large or small,” said Pia Borg, CalArts experimental animation program teacher.

Learn all about the CalArts x UN HeForShe collaboration on “Variety”.

9.Big Mouth gets a season two trailer and release date.
Netflix adult animated comedy (about adolescence) Big Mouth was notably on the above “Vanity Fair” list. The streaming giant has also just released a trailer and premiere date for the series’ sophomore season; get ready to binge-watch Nick Kroll’s pubescent punchlines on October 5.

Watch the Big Mouth season two trailer above and get more details on “Polygon”.

10. Are video games the next Olympic sports?
Given that the eSports industry is projected to be worth nearly $1 billion this year, it should come as no surprise that competitive video games are being considered for upcoming Olympic events. They are already set to be an exhibition sport at this week’s Asian Games and will be upgraded to a medal event at the next edition in 2022. While the International Olympics Committee has said it will consider including eSports, there is significant hesitation around video games’ violence levels — particularly in the face of recent shootings at a Florida tournament.

Plug into eSports at the Olympics on “The New York 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: Cartoon Brew / Justin Roiland’s Twitter.

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