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Dylan Hayes

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Oh Willy… is a short film about a porky guy who goes to care for his sick mother who lives in a nudist colony. It’s directed by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels, and debuts later this month at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. I enjoyed the cozy-looking knitted animation of Emma’s earlier film, Soft Plants, and I’m really looking forward to checking this one out, too.

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A long-lost version of The Hobbit by animation legend Gene Deitch has resurfaced online in the past few days. Why did Gene produce this 12-minute “animatic” version instead of the feature-length version he’d originally planned with Jiří Trnka? Why did he have just one month to produce it? Why has nobody ever seen it? The crazy circumstances that led to the production are revealed in this piece that Gene wrote on his website. In short, the film was a financial ploy by Deitch’s producer William L. Snyder to earn himself a nice chunk of change. Deitch writes:

The Tolkien estate had now been offered a fabulous sum for the rights, and [William] Snyder’s rights would expire in one month. They were already rubbing their hands together. But Snyder played his ace: to fulfill just the letter of the contract – to deliver a “full-color film” of THE HOBBIT by June 30th. All he had to do was to order me to destroy my own screenplay – all my previous year’s work, and hoke up a super-condensed scenario on the order of a movie preview, (but still tell the entire basic story from beginning to end), and all within 12 minutes running time – one 35mm reel of film. Cheap. I had to get the artwork done, record voice and music, shoot it, edit it, and get it to a New York projection room on or before June 30th, 1966! I should have told him to shove it, but I was basically his slave at the time. It suddenly became an insane challenge.

The rest of the story can be read on Gene’s website. And just for the record, the delightful illustrations in the film were created by Czech illustrator Adolf Born.

(Thanks, Stephen Persing, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)

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I’ve often praised Alberto Mielgo’s background paintings on the Brew. He’s the art director on Disney’s upcoming Tron TV series, which is largely the reason I’m excited about that show. It shouldn’t be surprising that an artist of his caliber wouldn’t restrict his skills to the animation world. This short documentary directed by Alexis Wanneroy (who also happens to be an animator at DreamWorks) takes a look at the creation of one of Mielgo’s recent paintings, in which porn actress Belladonna modeled for him. If you can’t tell by the video thumbnail, it’s probably NSFW, but it’s also a fascinating look at the artistic process of one of the most original artists working in animation today.

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This smartly crafted book trailer for Patrick Ness’s YA novel A Monster Calls actually makes me want to read the book. The After Effects animation was done by Eric Guémise based on artwork by Jim Kay.

(via Super Punch)

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Two animated features opened quietly in Los Angeles this weekend. Both are well worth seeing in a theater and deserve our support. Both are hand drawn films – one from France, one from Japan – both offering a diversity of style, storytelling and substance not seen in the standard American studio product.

A Cat In Paris opened its Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles this weekend at the AMC Burbank Town Center 8 (201 E Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA), with shows daily at 4pm and 7:30pm. The film made its international premiere at 2011 Berlinale and has been nominated for a European Film Award in the Best Animated Feature category. It has garnered raves on the US and international festival circuit including appearances at San Francisco Int’l Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, London International Film Festival, and Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Redline opened in limited release in Los Angeles this weekend at the Downtown Independent (The film opens in NYC on January 6th before hitting blu-ray & dvd on January 17). The screenings will alternate between dubbed English and original Japanese (with sub-titles). It’s one of the best anime features I’ve seen in a while – wildly imaginative and occasionally surreal – Speed Racer on acid would sum it up quite nicely. Advance tickets can be purchased here.

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Serbian animation outfit GlossyRey came up with Be a Vegetarian, which if not particularly effective at making its case for vegetarianism is at least cute. Pre-production artwork from this brief After Effects piece is posted on their website.

CREDITS
Production Company: GlossyRey Animation and Design
Story: Nemanja Zivkovic
Art Direction: Stanko Stupar
Art Direction: Nemanja Zivkovic
Animation: Stanko Stupar
Rigging: Nemanja Zivkovic
Music and Sound Design: Rajko Stupar
Special Thanks to: Marko Bugarski and Nemanja Saric

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This new animated feature from South Korea, The King Of Pigs, tackles adult themes and examines on the social impact of high school bullying. The film opened earlier this month in Korea; director Yeun Sang-ho discusses his inspirations with The Korea Herald.

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Junaid Chundrigar made Sheeped Away in 7 months at the Utrecht School of the Arts, in the Netherlands. It’s the tale of a farmer who just wants to keep his beloved sheep safe from a giant UFO, without waking his judgemental wife. Chundrigar also posted a quickie making of reel here.

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Swimsong

Stylish 1982 British public service announcement directed by Richard Taylor. There’s some ‘making of’ details posted on the excellent British animation blog Lost Continent.

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