OF THE MONTH
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