You can tell the European feature business is in good shape when the annual Cartoon Movie in Lyon, France, is showcasing 59 promising new titles. Of course, these Euro pics are in various stages of production—from development to final finished form—but a quick glance at the 2014 edition’s program proves that there is much more diversity and the bold embrace of offbeat subjects and styles in Europe than in the United States.
In this issue, we will provide you with a quick look at some of this year’s big contenders, which include Jacques-Remy Girerd and Benoit Chieux’s Aunt Hilda!; Esben Toft Jacobsen’s Beyond Beyond; Torill Kove’s Hocus Pocus, Alfie Atkins; Mathias Malzieu and Stephane Berla’s Jack and the Cuckoo- Clock Heart; Alessandro Rak’s The Art of Happiness; Thomas Szabo and Helene Giraud’s Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants; and Rasmus A. Silversten’s Solan & Ludvig’s Christmas. Keep an eye out for more in-depth articles about these eclectic films in the months ahead.
Of course, our cover story this month is DreamWorks Animation’s reboot of the popular Jay Ward TV cartoon Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Our writer Michael Mallory had the chance to chat with the film’s director, Rob Minkoff ( The Lion King, Stuart Little) to find out how the team at the studio brought these beloved toon characters to stereoscopic 3-D and redesigned Ward’s charming universe for today’s modern audiences. Also featured in this mid-winter issue is a look at the new Warner Bros.’ release, The LEGO Movie, which is directed by the killer team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo behind the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie and the cult TV show Clone High.
This is also our final award-season preview issue — that’s why you get a special animation and vfxrelated ballot on Page 26. You can play along at home and see how many of your favorite categories you can predict in advance of the big night. After all, everyone at your Oscar party can come up with the Best Picture shoo-ins, but you will be able to impress them all with your knowledge of the Animated Short category, right? (Check out our interview with Possessions director Shuhei Morita on Page 24.)
Who knew February was a big month of unveiling new animated content on TV? Face it, these days, you can find exciting new shows debuting on the small screen on any given day or month. That’s why we had to make sure we give you the scoop on several new TV offerings, so you can learn all about Cartoon Network’s multimedia launch of Mixels, Nickelodeon’s debut of Breadwinners and Nick Jr.’s premiere of Wallykazam! in this issue.
Finally, on a personal note, I wanted to thank all of you readers and members of the animation and vfx communities for your support throughout the years. As I embark on a new venture, I wanted to let you know what an honor and privilege it has been to cover the work of all you talented men and women of the animation and vfx universes. I am constantly in awe of all your brilliance, creativity and never-ending passion for the art and craft of animation.
I felt truly blessed to be writing about this world for over a decade. I couldn’t have dreamed about a better job or more fascinating subjects to cover. Thank you for being so supportive of Animation Magazine through the years. I’m also thrilled to announce that my talented colleague Thomas J. McLean has come on board as the new editor and our awesome associate editor, Mercedes Milligan, will continue to fight the good fight on behalf of animators worldwide. I also want to thank our president and publisher, Jean Thoren, for giving me the chance to be the editor of this publication, as well as the rest of our talented Animag team — Susanne Rector, Sheri Shelton, Steve Dietrich, Jan Bayouth and Jordan Koch — for their kindness, hard work and constant support.
Stay animated, and remember the words of Pinocchio’s best pal, Jiminy: “It wouldn’t hurt to take your orders from your grasshopper — er, your conscience, if you have one!”