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Top Animation News: Toon Boom-China MOU, César Award, Disney 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 January 26 to February 02, 2018.

1. Toon Boom signs an MOU with Canadian and Chinese governments.

A delegation from Toon Boom and Corus Entertainment was in Ottawa this week to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the “Canada-China Joint Committee on Culture”. It was hosted by Canada’s Minister of Heritage Mélanie Joly at the Château Laurier hotel, with China’s Minister of Culture Luo Shugang and members of the business community also in attendance. Representing Canada’s animation industry, Toon Boom cemented its role as the bridge between Chinese studios and Western animation productions.

Get the Canada-China Joint Committee on Culture details on the Toon Boom blog.

2. And the César Awards 2018 animation nomination goes to…
The César Awards, more colloquially known as the French Oscars, have announced their nominees. Held in Paris on March 02, the event will celebrate animation features and shorts. As is typical of Europe, there are noticeably more 2D pieces nominated, including The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales in the features category and all entries on the shorts list.

Review all the César Award 2018 nominees on “Animation World News”.

3. “Day of Listening” at Disney while Lasseter’s fate still unsure.
In the wake of allegations against long-time Disney Animation and Pixar CCO John Lasseter, who has been on leave since November, the companies held a joint “Day of Listening” on their Burbank lot for open dialogue about workplace concerns. Many have speculated that the day was to gauge whether or not Lasseter could return, though that appears more and more unlikely.

Read the full report on Disney’s Day of Listening on “The Hollywood Reporter”.

cartoon-network-powerpuffgirls-toon-boom.jpgSource: Cartoon Network.

4. Cartoon Network launching scholarship for CalArts animation students.
Many of Cartoon Network’s best-known series were created by CalArts grads including Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars), Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls) and Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time). Now, the broadcaster is giving back with an annual scholarship totalling $15,000, split between two deserving students. The first recipients are Michelle Lam and Mariana Yovanovich, who will receive the benefits later this year.

Study the Cartoon Network CalArts scholarship on “Variety”.

5. New Toon Boom COE and ATC in Europe.
Toon Boom is proud to announce a new Centre of Excellence (COE) in Italy, Istituto Europeo di Design (IED), and an Authorized Training Centre (ATC) in Spain, CICE: La Escuela Profesional de Nuevas Tecnologías. Both are helping to educate a new generation of 2D animators to meet the needs of the burgeoning European market, continuing its momentum from 2017. IED is offering a Masters in Animation Design, while CICE provides certified professional training that streamlines into Spanish and international production companies.

For more information, visit the Istituto Europeo di Design or CICE, La Escuela Profesional de Nuevas Tecnologías websites.

6. First-ever French animation festival in the US.
France is the biggest producer of European cartoon content and the third-largest exporter of animated film in the world. Yet the Gallic industry has not received the attention it deserves in America — until now. Animation First is a festival with the purpose of promoting French animation, held in New York City from February 02 to 04. It will include animated features, series and shorts, ranging from the classic to contemporary.

Get a preview on Animation First on “Cartoon Brew”.

7. Netflix partners with top Japanese anime studios.
As Toon Boom has previously reported, Netflix is set to create 30 new anime IPs in 2018. This Wednesday, the platform announced it would be co-producing even more titles with Japanese studios Production I.G, Bones and WIT Studio, which will then be available to be streamed in 190 countries. The deal will strengthen Netflix’s anime line-up globally, described as a “win-win-win” scenario for subscribers, creators and the industry as a whole.

Stream the full Netflix anime story on “Comicbook.com".

8. Intuit is doing an animated Super Bowl ad.
Animated advertising is experiencing a renaissance. Intuit, a 35-year-old Silicon Valley software company, is using the medium for its first corporate brand campaign. Best known for its two flagship programs, QuicksBooks and TurboTax, its agency of record Phenomenon created a giant robot to represent the tech titan’s services. “[Animation] allowed us to create a metaphorical world instead of confusing it with the real world and sweat the details of how characters are developed and to tell the emotional arc in an inspiring way,” said Phenomenon chief creative officer Chris Adams.

Watch the Intuit spot above and read the full backstory on “Adweek”.

cartoon-network-cruise-toon-boom.jpgSource: Cartoon Network/CNN.

9. All aboard the Cartoon Network cruise.
Cartoon Network’s animation-themed cruise ship will be setting sail in 2018 from Singapore. The liner will have 800 cabins, with decor, experiences and events inspired by series like Adventure Time, Ben 10 and Powerpuff Girls. Cartoon Network is just the latest brand to ride the cruise wave recently — Disney announced the return of its popular Star Wars and Marvel sea adventures.

Dive into the full Cartoon Network cruise on “CNN”.

10. VR sells at Sundance Film Festival.
It’s no secret that despite the hype, Virtual Reality (VR) has had a hard time finding its footing in the market. Fortunately for its advocates, VR series Spheres, directed by Eliza McNitt, narrated by Jessica Chastain and executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, was purchased for a seven-figure sum at Sundance Film Festival 2018. Soon after, Dogwoof acquired “Zikr: A Sufi Revival” — the first VR documentary ever purchased at the event.

Discover the new (virtual) reality of Sundance Film Festival on “IndieWire”.

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!

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