Sunday, November 30, 2008

From the internets...

  • Nelvana content goes online. Just not in Canada.
  • The Future is Wild, from Nelvana and Singapore co-producer Singapore Technologies Electronics. Kids who travel to the future to see how things turn out. Apparently it's based on a prime-time Animal Planet documentary and helmed by Emmy Award-winning director Mike Fallows. I don't know Mike, and he's probably done good work, but from the images I saw, this show looks terrible. Ugly designs, terrible colour-styling, sorry, please prove me wrong.
  • The holidays are almost upon us, and that means cartoons. Christmas specials can be easy to miss, so here are some listings. The big ones are covered: Rudolph, Charlie Brown and the Grinch. There's something interesting form Cuppa Coffee, "A Miser Brothers Christmas", in the Rankin Bass tradition. I know my daughter is looking for the Shrek special, and I can't find any listing for J. Otto Seibold's "Olive the Other Reindeer".
    But I'll keep looking. I've given up hope that we'll ever see Nelvana's "Cosmic Christmas" ever again though. Teletoon Retro should chase that sucker down.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dave Cooper + Nick Cross = Sweet animated goodness

Nick has posted this shot from a music video he is animating for the band Danko Jones.
It's a collaboration between Mr Cross and illustrator/painter/appreciator of pillowy women: Dave Cooper. This is my inner fan's dream pairing. I'm so sporting fanwood over this. Anyone not familiar with these two fellas, please go educate yourselves.
Nick Cross
Dave Cooper
There's also a link to a review on AWN of Nick's last film, the Waif of Persephone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

From the internets...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From the internets...

  • Nat Abraham moves up to Head of Distribution at Breakthrough Films
  • Janet Heatherington interviews Jay Stephens on his new series for Cartoon Network, the Secret Saturdays.
  • More on Breakthrough, with a look at My Big Friend.
  • Animation Insider gives a look at what's going down at Nerd Corps in Vancouver.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Emru Townsend, visitation

Just got the details for those of you able to get to Montreal and interested in paying respect to the passing of Emru Townsend:

There is no funeral at Emru's request. Instead, there will be two days of visitation.

The general public is welcome to join friends and family in recognizing a life well-lived.

Rideau Gardens
4275, boul. des Sources,
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC
H9B 2A6
Telephone: (514) 685-3344
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 657-5678

Saturday November 15
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Sunday November 16
2:00 pm to 8:00 pm

In lieu of flowers, please learn more about how to get registered to be a bone marrow and stem cell donor. If you are eligible, consider registration, and if you are not, tell someone why it is important and how easy it is to register.

Feel free to find me whether you know me or not, and ask me any questions you may have about registering as a potential donor. You can also message me later on Facebook or via Heal Emru website.

Donations can be made to:
African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust
National Marrow Donor Program

You can also visit the Heal Emru Facebook page and join one or more of the Causes listed there. Donations are optional.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If I were in Kitchener this wekend, I'd be here:

The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema is the only film festival in the world dedicated to the artistry of the animated feature film.

From the latest Japanese anime blockbuster to the smallest indie production... from 3D CG to silhouettes... the Festival brings the best full-length animated feature films from around the world to North America.

See your favourite films the way they were meant to be seen: with an appreciative audience, on the silver screen!

I'm reposting this for anyone who's looking for some cool films to watch. The event starts tonight! I'm also looking for any attendees who want to do some coverage or post some pics. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goodbye Emru Townsend, 1969-2008

From Tamu Townsend:

Emru took his last breath just before 10 pm tonight. He died peacefully surrounded by his family. He taught me how to live. He taught me how you are supposed to die. Emru's name means RESPECT. Emru, the person, also means compassion, learning, teaching, sharing, love, integrity, honesty, and inspiration. He taught a lot of people a lot of things, but he spent 2008 teaching people how to reach out to one another in a whole new way. If you carry some of this forward, it will be a year even better spent. Thank you for being part of his journey. Tamu

I mentioned Emru and his battle with Leukemia here a few weeks ago. He will be greatly missed.
Emru was a tremendous friend to the animation community. Read his story please.

Reactions to the news are popping up. I'm going to go ahead and post a few as I tumble to them.
Chris Robinson:

Animation lost a pal late last night…and more than that the world lost another good person. And I don’t mean that in a glib, he’s dead so let’s say only nice things sorta way. Emru Townsend was truly a good person. He was compassionate, sharing and positive to the point of making me uncomfortable (hey, that’s just me. It’s easier to be cynical). We weren’t buddies, pals, chums, bros, but we did know each other for about 12 years. I am forever grateful to Emru for being the first person to publish my writing on animation. It was in his beloved magazine Fps. I submitted a piece just for the heck of it and was quite pleased when Emru accepted it. It gave me confidence as a writer and told me that, hey, maybe this is a path I want to explore. So, selfishly, I thank you for that Emru.

What’s with animation losing good young people lately? Helen Hill. Wendy Jackson Hall. Emru Townsend. I guess the gods above, below and beyond don’t like the toons. Assholes. It’s not fair. It sucks.

Meantime… I send all things good to Emru’s family…and especially to Vicky, Max and Tamu.

From the PWAC website:

Some of you knew Emru, while others, like me, never had a chance to meet him, but we all mourn his loss as a fellow writer, former PWAC member and an altogether great human being. He certainly inspired me throughout his courageous struggle to beat leukemia. Although it ultimately got the better of him, he educated me and many others about stem cell donation and how each of us have the potential to save a life of the many others out there still suffering with this disease. We should all appreciate our health while we have it.

Madeline Ashby:

It doesn’t feel real, yet.

Emru Townsend has died.

In many ways, Emru helped initiate me into Canadian life. He asked me to be a contributor to Frames Per Second Magazine, and gave me the opportunity to get to know Canada through the Toronto International Film Festival. (I later volunteered for the same organization.) On his errand, I visited the offices of the NFB, and saw the same Norman MacLaren shorts that many Canadian children see at school. He inadvertently exposed me to a slice of Canadian culture.

Of course, he did even more for a huge amount of people. He and his sister brought the need for minority registrants to the OneMatch bone marrow and stem cell registry home to Canadians in the arts and technology sector, especially residents of Montreal. He helped explain anime fandom. He gave a lot of people their start at FPS. He was a writer, a husband, and father.

And now he’s gone.

An amazing post by Mark Mayerson, too long to quote, but well worth the read.
Harry McCracken
Didier Ghez
Cartoon Brew

It's wonderful to read through through the comments people are making. Emru obviously touched so many lives, more than he knew, I'm certain. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing him personally and I think I may be adding that to my list of regrets. Emru's life, and death, are an example.

Monday, November 10, 2008

If I were in Toronto tonight, I would have been here:

Marc Bell! Marc Bell! Marc Bell!

Cartoon illustration, not animation. But for pete's sake, it's Marc Bell.
Paul Bright Gallery, 1265 Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario.
Marc Bell, did I mention it's Marc Bell?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

From the internets...

  • Looks like I missed it, but Jay Stephens' new series, the Secret Saturdays premiered on Teletoon this weekend. I'm a long-time fan of Jay's work, from his original Atomic City Tales comic book. He's a master storyteller and I'm really glad to see something coming out that's so true to his work.
  • Get Animated coverage in Calgary, including some words form Vancouver animator Jody Kramer.
  • I like the sound of Teletoon On Demand, but sadly a huge chunk of the programming leaves me limp.
  • I had no idea that Studio B did the new Peanuts shorts. Cool.
  • I also had no idea Dave Coulier is Canadian (according to Animation Magazine, reporting on Coulier taking on the vocal chores for Rick Moranis on Bob & Doug)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Animation Unleashed book launch

Sadly, I could not attend. But I did manage to enlist the always charming Mr Barry Sanders to take some snaps and share his thoughts on the evening. Take it away Barry:
As you know Tuesday Nov 4th was a very important day in history. Author Ellen Besen and Illustrator Bryce Hallet celebrated the release of their book “Animation Unleashed” with a lecture. Oh, and the U.S. elected a new president or something like that. The talk was held in Toronto’s avant garde Gladstone Hotel Ballroom and hosted by the Page’s This is Not a Reading Series and the Toronto Animated Image Society. In an interesting move Ellen screened Norman McLaren’s short “A Chairy Tale” and then proceeded to analyze it while the book’s illustrator Bryce underlined her points by drawing on a computer tablet projected onto a screen. It was a method that sometimes distracted but more often worked in concert and enriched the evening with a lot of humour. Ellen and Bryce are both veterans of the Toronto animation scene. And if you want to know more about the actual book you can check out a review here.

More pictures can be found here. Including attendee Rick Green! (Google him if the name don't ring a bell).
Bryce got back to me last night as well:
Hey Michael,
Yeah it went very well I was really happy with the turn out. Chris Reed who organises TINARS did a great job getting all this together.
There was a pretty decent sized crowd, I think a full room or at least it looked like it from the stage, despite the elections competing with us. We kept the crowd updated on the results later in the night though. ha ha
But yeah it went very well. Marc Glassman, owner of Pages books introduced Ellen. We screened "A Chairy Tale" and Ellen did a great lecture deconstructing the film afterwards while I drew on a Cintiq hooked up to a projector to help illustrate her points.

It was fun to be sort of improvising as we went a long and just playing off each other. We got quite a few laughs and doing the live drawings while she talked i think added another level of interest and really helped get the ideas across...and just some silliness too as I can't help myself. ha ha

As a friend of Ellen's put it we were literally doing "sketch comedy". heh heh

The whole presentation with her talking and me drawing made it very dynamic. The people there seemed to really enjoy it and they were very engaged and interactive with us as well which was great.

Mostly our presentation was about how anything can be a character and good and bad choices in animation. It also sort of seguewayed in to various other topics of visual storytelling and animation with all the back and forth between Ellen and the audience.
Afterwards we took questions from the audience and signed many books.

We also had a big 3d cake version of our little square character from the book created for us by the bakery Half-Baked Ideas . For some reason we weren't aloud to eat it at the Gladstone so we're gonna have a little party Friday to eat the poor little cake man. ha ha ha

Overall it was just a lot of fun, a great turn out. I would totally love to do more presentations like that. Plus seeing people buying the book and being told how much they really enjoyed the whole thing doesn't hurt the ego either!

Thanks a lot for mentioning it in the blog too!
I saw you had posted a reminder the day of the event as well. It's very appreciated!


Sounds like I really missed out on this one. Good luck to Bryce and Ellen.
Everybody: Go buy this book.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If I Were In Toronto, I'd Be Here Tonight:

This is Not a Reading Series Presents:

Animation Unleashed: 100 Principles Every Animator, Comic Book Writer, Video Artist and Game Developer Should Know
By Ellen Besen Illustrated by Bryce Hallett

Animation is a powerful tool for communication, both traditional and experimental. At the launch of Animation Unleashed (Michael Wiese Productions), veteran animator/theorist Ellen Besen will analyze clips from a variety of films to illustrate this discussion of exactly how animation communicates. With a special appearance by animator/illustrator Bryce Hallett, courtesy of Frog Feet Productions.
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St W, Toronto
Tues, Nov 4- 7:30pm (doors 7pm) Free


I know I posted this before, but I figured a bump wouldn't be a bad idea.

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