OF THE MONTH

Animation Magazine - - Front Page - Tom McLean Ed­i­tor tom@an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net

The R-rated CG com­edy Sausage Party has proved a sur­prise box of­fice hit, but an­i­ma­tors who worked on the film have spo­ken up on­line to say that the pro­duc­tion was no party for them.

In the com­ments sec­tion of a piece on the film posted on Car­toonBrew.com, anony­mous per­sons re­lated that co-di­rec­tor Greg Tier­nan cut costs by de­mand­ing un­paid over­time of the an­i­ma­tors at Ni­tro­gen Stu­dios.

Ni­tro­gen Stu­dios Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ni­cole Stinn re­futed the ac­cu­sa­tions, say­ing the claims are “without merit” and that the pro­duc­tion fol­lowed reg­u­la­tions as well as con­tract obli­ga­tions.

“If you wouldn’t work late for free your work would be as­signed to some­one who would stay late or come in on the week­end. Some artist were even threat­ened with ter­mi­na­tion for not stay­ing late to hit a dead­line,” wrote a com­menter un­der the screen name “Un­cred­ited Su­per­vi­sor.”

Co-pro­ducer An­na­purna Pic­tures re­port­edly stepped in to en­sure bet­ter treat­ment af­ter re­ceiv­ing a pe­ti­tion from the an­i­ma­tion de­part-

Has­bro ac­quired Boul­der Me­dia, a mul­ti­award win­ning an­i­ma­tion com­pany based in Dublin, Ire­land. ... GKIDS has ac­quired distri­bu­tion rights for Miss Hoku­sai, the most-re­cent an­i­mated fea­ture from Ja­panese stu­dio Pro­duc­tion I. G, and is plan­ning an Oct. 14 open­ing in New York and Los An­ge­les fol­lowed by a ter­ri­tory-wide roll­out. ... Ama­zon and PBS Distri­bu­tion have en­tered into a mul­ti­year agree­ment that makes Ama­zon Prime Video the ex­clu­sive pre­mium SVOD home for a broad col­lec­tion of PBS KIDS! se­ries. ... Heather Walker, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and es­tab­lished in­dus­try vet­eran, has pur­chased Yowza! An­i­ma­tion from founder Claude Chi­as­son. ... Switch VFX has grown a new pro­duc­tion com­pany, Switch An­i­ma­tion, to be headed by the for­mer Yowza Dig­i­tal’s co-founder Pete Denomme and based in Toronto. ... Ja­panese film pro­ducer-dis­trib­u­tor Toho is plan­ning the first-ever fea­ture-length an­i­mated Godzilla movie which will come ram­pag­ing into the­aters next year. ... Shout! Fac­tory Films will be bring­ing An­necy Au­di­ence Award-win­ning an­i­mated fea­ture Long Way North to the­aters on Sept. 30. ... Fox TV has or­dered a pi­lot of an­i­mated com­edy Okies of Bel Air, ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by Los An­ge­les Clip­pers star Blake Grif­fin and par­tially in­spired by the sports­man’s own life. The project is un­der­taken by Imag­ine Tele­vi­sion and 20th Cen­tury Fox TV, and writ­ten by writer and co­me­dian Sean O’Con­nor ( The Late Late Show). ... Car­toon Net­work an­nounces that the all-new Blos­som, Bub­bles and But­ter­cup are con­firmed to re­turn in a sec­ond sea­son of the re­vamped The Pow­er­puff Girls. ... Ama­zon Orig­i­nal Kids Se­ries Cre­ative Galaxy will blast off with a sec­ond sea­son on Prime Video on Sept. 16. ... Big Bad Boo Stu­dios has se­cured re­newed agree­ments for its an­i­mated folk­tale se­ries 1001 Nights with Dis­cov­ery Kids Asia and RTP Por­tu­gal. ... Elena of Avalor has been green­lit for a sec­ond sea­son, fol­low­ing its suc­cess­ful pre­miere on Disney Chan­nel and Disney Ju­nior. ... 20th Cen­tury Fox has pushed DreamWorks An­i­ma­tions’ pre­his­toric se­quel The Croods 2 back to an un­spec­i­fied date in 2018. ... Blinky Bill: The Movie opens in U.S. the­aters on Oct. 7 through Shout! Fac­tory Kids. ... TBS has green­lit its first orig­i­nal, an­i­mated prime­time com­edy, Taran­tula. ... Plu­ral­sight an­nounces the ac­qui­si­tion of Adobe-cen­tric video train­ing com­pany Train Sim­ple. ... Disney an­nounced a March 9, 2018, re­lease date for the un­ti­tled se­quel to the Os­car-nom­i­nated fea­ture Wreck-It Ralph. ... A sec­ond sea­son of PBS Kids science se­ries Ready Jet Go! is now in pro­duc­tion at Wind Dancer Films.

Now that the in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed film has ar­rived in the U.S. through Net­flix, au­di­ences can see first hand why this be­hind-the-scenes book is a musthave for your an­i­ma­tion li­brary. Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the charm­ing sim­plic­ity of the orig­i­nal il­lus­tra­tions for An­toine de Sain-Ex­upéry’s clas­sic novella, Kung Fu Panda di­rec­tor Mark Os­borne’s fea­ture length adap­tion com­bined CG artistry with metic­u­lously crafted stop mo­tion to recre­ate and ex­pand the Lit­tle Prince’s uni­verse.

In this 160-pager, for­mer An­imag ed­i­tor Za­hed, a 15-year vet­eran of an­i­ma­tion jour­nal­ism, gives fas­ci­nat­ing in­sights into the pro­duc­tion’s cre­ative process. Packed with never-be­fore-seen art­work, de­sign con­cepts and fun facts — did you know that more than 40 per­cent of the an­i­ma­tors were women? — the book also fea­tures an in­tro­duc­tion by Os­borne and a fore­word penned by Jeff Bridges, who voices The Avi­a­tor in the Ce­sar-win­ning film.

8En­joy Euro indies at Anim’est in Bucharest (7-16) or head to Bournemouth for VFX, games and CG at BFX (8-16). [ani­mest.ro | bfxfes­ti­val. com] Int’l An­i­ma­tion Fes­ti­val (21-25) [sparkfx.ca | viewfest.it | mi­aan­i­ma­tion.com | biaf.or.kr] brings a new CG gi­ant (voiced by Liam Nee­son) to the­aters.

FQual­ity and cre­ativ­ity are the keys to longevity — and global pop­u­lar­ity — for Aard­man An­i­ma­tions on its 40th an­niver­sary. By Tom McLean.

ew stu­dios are as beloved as Aard­man An­i­ma­tions, the Bris­tol, U.K.-based maker of such world­wide fa­vorites as Wal­lace and Gromit, Chicken Run and last year’s smash hit preschool fea­ture Shaun the Sheep Movie.

Founded by David Sprox­ton and Peter Lord when they were friends in high school, it’s now been 40 years since the duo struck out and made its first pro­fes­sional an­i­mated project. Since then, some of the most de­light­ful and am­bi­tious stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion ever made for any plat­form — from shorts and TV se­ries to com­mer­cials, dig­i­tal con­tent and fea­ture films — has come out of Aard­man, and they have the awards to prove it.

To cel­e­brate this mile­stone, the Aard­man Peter Lord co-founders were in­ter­viewed at the An­necy fes­ti­val to talk about the ori­gins of the stu­dio and where it’s go­ing.

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine: What would you say were the key mo­ments in Aard­man’s his­tory?

Peter Lord: I try not to yak on about how it used to be, but there’s some im­por­tant things. The very fact that we started in Bri­tish TV by sell­ing some­thing to the BBC when were still at high school, the fact that we then got into clay an­i­ma­tion, which is a small choice but re­ally cru­cial, be­cause it changed our sta­tus com­pletely and changed our di­rec­tion com­pletely. Then how we made films for chil­dren and films for adults and built up slowly, which I think is im­por­tant. And then the fact that we one day em- Nick Park ployed a ner­vous young gen­tle­man named Nick Park, who proved to be pretty im­por­tant to us as well. And once he joined the com­pany, that led on in due course to mak­ing fea­ture films. Whether we would have done that without him, I can’t tell you, but that’s the way it went.

David Sprox­ton: (The fea­tures) kind of spun out of the Wal­lace and Gromit half hours. That helped build our cred­i­bil­ity and, of course, win­ning some Os­cars al­ways helps.

An­imag: Fea­tures make sense on the busi­ness end. How about the cre­ative side?

Sprox­ton: We try to make films that have stay­ing power, which will sort of stand the test of time. Which I think the Wal­lace and Gromit films and I David Sprox­ton

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