A Steady Diet of Ghi­bli

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A— the famed an­i­ma­tion stu­dio’s adap­ta­tion of the novel by beloved au­thor Astrid Lind­gren.

s one of the most-ad­mired an­i­ma­tion stu­dios in the world, Stu­dio Ghi­bli gen­er­ates a lot of world­wide in­ter­est on ev­ery project it re­leases, and the TV se­ries Ronja, The Rob­ber’s Daugh­ter is no ex­cep­tion.

The 26-episode se­rial adapts the 1981 novel by Pippi Long­stock­ing au­thor Astrid Lind­gren, and is di­rected by Goro Miyazaki.

NHK, NHK En­ter­prises and Dwango pro­duced the se­ries in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Stu­dio Ghi­bli and Lind­gren rights-holder com­pany Saltkråkan. Poly­gon Pic­tures an­i­mated the se­ries, which pre­miered in Ja­pan in 2014 and won an In­ter­na­tional Emmy Award for Chil­dren’s An­i­ma­tion.

Rep­re­sent­ing the se­ries world­wide — out­side of Ja­pan and Scan­di­navia — is U.K.-based dis­trib­u­tor Se­ri­ous Lunch, headed up by in­dus­try vet­eran Genevieve Dex­ter.

“The magic syn­ergy of Goro Miyazaki and Astrid Lind­gren is very pow­er­ful sto­ry­telling and Ronja is an ex­cel­lent fe­male role model,” says Dex­ter.

Ronja, The Rob­ber’s Daugh­ter is a com­ing-of-age story about a 10-year-old girl born into a lov­ing band of rob­bers. She dis­cov­ers the for­est is both a beau­ti­ful and fright­en­ing place in­hab­ited by strange crea­tures, and also be­friends the son of her fa­ther’s ri­val, set­ting off drama around her friend­ships and fam­ily loy­al­ties.

“I felt that I should cre­ate for chil­dren the sort of things I used to watch as a child, now that I’m an adult,” says Miyazaki. “With Ronja, The Rob­ber’s Daugh­ter, the great old dame Astrid seems to be telling chil­dren to be­lieve in their own power to grow, all the while telling both chil­dren and adults alike to re­spect each other and to at­tain free­dom in the true sense of the word. Noth­ing will bring me more plea­sure than if I could con­vey those very mes­sages through this adap­ta­tion.”

Dex­ter says Miyazaki’s fa­ther, Stu­dio Ghi­bli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, has long been in­flu­enced by Lind­gren’s work and wanted to adapt Pippi Long­stock­ing to anime. “You can def­i­nitely see Stock­holm when you watch Kiki’s De­liv­ery Ser­vice,” she says.

Ghi­bli ti­tles have strong ap­peal across Europe and be­yond. “I think a lot of the Euro­pean ref­er­ences in Ghi­bli films have made them very ap­proach­able for wider au­di­ences, and Ronja is no ex­cep­tion,” says Dex­ter. “Goro’s bold move into long form se­ries ob­vi­ously marks a brand new de­par­ture.”

Dex­ter says the Emmy win gave the show in­ter­na­tional vis­i­bil­ity, and the show’s se­rial struc­ture makes the chance to sell dig­i­tal rights es­pe­cially ap­peal­ing. “This is par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive to VOD and EST plat­forms, although tra­di­tional broad­cast­ers will, of course, also pick up the se­ries,” she says. “The English ver­sion is be­ing dubbed right now in Lon­don and will pre­miere in the U.S. and U.K. this De­cem­ber. We will make some an­nounce­ments shortly.” [

TLearn the ins and out of the busi­ness from masters Butch Hart­man, Jose F. San Román and Sander Schwartz at the 2016 World An­i­ma­tion and VFX Sum­mit.

here’s no bet­ter way to learn about the ins and outs of the global an­i­ma­tion and vis­ual-ef­fects busi­nesses than from the peo­ple who’ve been out there in­no­vat­ing on the front lines and steer­ing com­pa­nies to new lev­els of suc­cess.

The World An­i­ma­tion and Vis­ual Ef­fects Sum­mit — its fifth edi­tion slated for Oct. 31Nov. 2 at the Cal­i­for­nia Yacht Club in Ma­rina del Rey, Calif. — is putting this premise into prac­tice with a stel­lar lineup of mas­ter classes to com­ple­ment its two-day course of pan­els and net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Mas­ter class ses­sions at pre­vi­ous sum­mits have earned rave re­views from at­ten­dees for pro­vid­ing in-depth dis­cus­sions full of ex­clu­sive in­sights di­rect from the masters of the cre­ative and com­mer­cial sides of the an­i­ma­tion and VFX in­dus­try.

The 2016 sum­mit up­holds that tra­di­tion in an­nounc­ing its mas­ter class pre­sen­ters: Butch Hart­man, cre­ator of such hit se­ries as The Fairly Od­dPar­ents; Jose F. San Román, CEO of Ilion Stu­dios; and vet­eran an­i­ma­tion ex­ec­u­tive Sander Schwartz.

Here are the de­tails on this year’s mas­ter classes: • The Se­crets of Butch Hart­man’s Suc­cess: How to Pitch, De­velop, Pro­duce and Dis­trib­ute An­i­mated Hits that Res­onate with Au­di­ences Around the World. The award-win­ning cre­ator of Nick­elodeon’s hugely pop­u­lar se­ries The Fairly Od­dPar­ents, Danny Phan­tom and T.U.F.F. Puppy will share use­ful se­crets of his craft, and his unique ap­proach to an­i­ma­tion and sto­ry­telling in this one-of-a-kind mas­ter class. With an eye on the fu­ture, Hart­man will dis­cuss the many pos­si­bil­i­ties of app de­vel­op­ment and new ways of cre­at­ing en­ter­tain­ment for YouTube, Vine, Vimeo and other non­lin­ear out­lets. He also will ad­dress find­ing new ways to pitch ideas, ex­plor­ing suc­cess­ful sto­ry­telling meth­ods and us­ing in­no­va­tive and less ex­pen­sive an­i­ma­tion tools to pro­duce your projects. In ad­di­tion, he will of­fer a pro­duc­tion case study of his new Flash-an­i­mated se­ries, Bun­sen Is a Beast, which will de­but on Nick­elodeon in 2017. Don’t miss this fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to meet one of most in­no­va­tive and pro­lific TV an­i­ma­tion masters of our time. • Jose F. San Román: Dis­cov­er­ing a New As­set Class to the Fi­nan­cial Com­mu­nity. Román of­fers in-depth re­view of the fi­nan­cial per­for­mance of an­i­mated fea­tures over the past few years, with par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion paid to an­i­mated tent-pole fea­tures and how they are grab­bing more at­ten­tion than many big live-ac­tion films. An ex­pe­ri­enced in­vest­ment banker, Román also will ex­plore the im­pli­ca­tions for the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try of the box-of­fice suc­cess of an­i­mated fea­tures world­wide. Román joined Spain-based Ilion Stu­dios in 2011 with the goal of es­tab­lish­ing the com­pany as one of the world’s top in­de­pen­dent an­i­mated stu­dios. Ilion pro­duced the 2014 film Mor­tadelo y Filemón and has a deal to pro­duce tent-pole an­i­mated fea­tures in part­ner­ship with Paramount Pic­tures. • Sander Schwartz: Sur­vival of the Fittest: Cre­at­ing In­no­va­tive An­i­ma­tion Con­tent for the Global Mar­ket. This course will pro­vide a deep dive into the cur­rent land­scape of an­i­ma­tion buy­ers in key ter­ri­to­ries around the world and how to col­lab­o­rate with them in the de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of new shows. The struc­ture of co-pro­duc­tions with net­works and other buy­ers of an­i­mated con­tent pro­vides the main fo­cus of the course, although other means of get­ting shows green-lit and fi­nanced will also be con­sid­ered. Of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to many creators and pro­duc­ers is the growth of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the China mar­ket, as that coun­try has be­come more open to co-pro­duc­tions and co­op­er­a­tion with IP own­ers around the world. Look­ing at re­cent de­vel­op­ments im­pact­ing the busi­ness of an­i­ma­tion in China and an­a­lyz­ing how to best en­ter it from an IP owner’s per­spec­tive will be dis­cussed, as will strate­gies for find­ing part­ners for projects that may find au­di­ences both in China and the West as well.

As in pre­vi­ous years, the sum­mit will fea­ture two days of panel dis­cus­sions, net­work­ing meals and cock­tail par­ties, all amid the sea air and ocean breeze of the Cal­i­for­nia Yacht Club in Ma­rina del Rey. Panel top­ics and pan­elists are ex­pected to be an­nounced start­ing Sept. 1; check the next is­sue of An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine or on­line at www.an­i­ma­tion­magazine.com/ sum­mit for up­dates.

The sum­mit again will honor some of the most iconic and suc­cess­ful peo­ple in an­i­ma­tion and vis­ual ef­fects at an Awards Gala. This year’s gala will be held Nov. 1 in the Casa Del Mar Ball­room at the lux­u­ri­ous Shut­ters on the Beach ho­tel, over­look­ing the beach and Santa Mon­ica Bay. Awards re­cip­i­ents will be an­nounced along with a full sched­ule in the next is­sue of An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine and on­line at www.an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net/sum­mit.

The sum­mit ex­pects to sell out, so early pur­chases are en­cour­aged.

Full Sum­mit Access tick­ets, which in­clude the Awards Gala, and sin­gle-day tick­ets are now avail­able at a dis­count through Sept. 30. Sep­a­rate tick­ets for the Awards Gala will be made avail­able de­pend­ing on avail­abil­ity.

See you there! [

El Fes­ti­val will hold only its fifth edi­tion when it con­venes Sept. 6-11 in the re­sort city of Cuer­navaca, about an hour’s drive south of Mex­ico City, but it’s al­ready mak­ing big waves con­nect­ing the global an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try with the bur­geon­ing tal­ent of Mex­ico.

This year’s fes­ti­val, put on by the group Pix­e­latl, is at­tract­ing such big names as Ge­orgina Hayns and Steve Emerson of LAIKA; Shan­non Tin­dle, di­rec­tor of Google’s On Ice; di­rec­tor and pro­ducer LeSean Thomas; Bento Box’s Joel Kuwa­hara; Joan Lofts of Peppa Pig and Humf fame; and ex­ecs from the likes of Car­toon Net­work, CBBC, Sony Pic­tures An­i­ma­tion, Disney and Nick­elodeon.

Events-wise, the fes­ti­val is ex­pand­ing its co-pro­duc­tion fo­rum to in­clude fea­ture films as well as tele­vi­sion, and vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tions of seven stu­dios from Spain and 20 from Que­bec are due to visit.

We caught up with fes­ti­val or­ga­nizer José Iñesta to pre­view this year’s edi­tion of the grow­ing event. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine: Which guests do you think will gen­er­ate the most ex­cite­ment and in­ter­est in the fes­ti­val this year? José Iñesta: The LAIKA team gen­er­ates lots of ex­cite­ment here in the an­i­ma­tion com­mu­nity, which has been his­tor­i­cally stop-mo­tion. Hav­ing Ge­orgina Hayns and Steve Emerson is like a dream come true for these an­i­ma­tors. I’m per­son­ally ex­cited about the pro­duc­ers and SVPs that will be re­view­ing orig­i­nal con­tent de­vel­oped by Mex­i­can stu­dios. An­imag: How have pre­vi­ous win­ners of these events fared in get­ting their work pro­duced and seen? Iñesta: One of the spe­cial men­tions last year al­ready aired on Car­toon Net­work and an­other prop­erty called Vil­lain­ous will screen on Car­toon Net­work in Septem­ber. In fact, (the creators) will show some of their work in the fes­ti­val this year. In ad­di­tion, the win­ners from 2014 and 2015 were op­tioned and an­other three prop­er­ties are un­der de­vel­op­ment. An­imag: What feed­back have you heard from in­ter­na­tional stu­dios and guests about the qual­ity of the Mex­i­can an­i­ma­tion you present at the fes­ti­val? Iñesta: They are amazed! Car­toon Net­work opened an of­fice in Mex­ico to see pitches and over­see pro­duc­tion be­cause of the tal­ent they found at the fes­ti­val. Also, Nick and Dis­cov­ery Kids jumped in with their spe­cial con­tests be­cause they want to pro­duce with lo­cal stu- dios as well. More­over, be­ing able to at­tract Spain and Que­bec stu­dio del­e­ga­tions in or­der to find part­ners to co-pro­duce or out­source ser­vices in Mex­ico shows the world that we have a pas­sion­ate in­dus­try that is in­creas­ing in terms of vol­ume and qual­ity. An­imag: Talk about the comics-an­i­ma­tion con­nec­tion in Mex­ico. Do artists in Mex­ico move freely be­tween comics and an­i­ma­tion? Iñesta: Our fo­cus in the fes­ti­val is orig­i­nal con­tent cre­ation and we know prop­er­ties can come from graphic nov­els, comic books, toys or video games. That’s the rea­son we aim at comics at the event. Our fo­cus is on art and sto­ry­telling. Comics, an­i­ma­tion and video games are es­sen­tial sources of orig­i­nal con­tent that can cross plat­forms fairly sim­ply and in in­ex­pen­sive manners. An­imag: Who at­tends the fes­ti­val? Stu­dents? Pro­fes­sion­als? Fans? How many at­tend? Iñesta: An­imag: What is the most chal­leng­ing part of putting on the fes­ti­val? Iñesta: There are two chal­leng­ing parts. The first one is find­ing the fund­ing, be­cause al­most ev­ery ac­tiv­ity has a spon­sor be­hind it, and the other one is to pro­gram such a large event. Our pro­gram­mer, Chris­tian Ber­mejo, does an amaz­ing job at re­search­ing what are the lo­cal mar­ket needs in terms of what tech­nique or process is lack­ing so that part of the fes­ti­val cov­ers that. In ad­di­tion, the chal­lenge of adding in­ter­est­ing con­fer­ences and pan­els that will reach a wider au­di­ence and make the fes­ti­val sus­tain­able. Full de­tails on El Fes­ti­val can be found on­line at www.elfes­ti­val.mx.

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