Animation Magazine - - Editor’s Letter - Ramin Za­hed Ed­i­tor-in-Chief rza­hed@an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net

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!”

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