Saturday, March 24, 2007

Animation News Roundup

And here we go with the ever-popular end of week animation news roundup, designed for those who care about animation (and have a bunch of time on their hands)...

Variety reports on Tokyo's Anime Awards, and this years big winner:

"The Girl Who Leapt Through Time," Mamoru Hosoda's feature-length toon about a time-traveling teenage girl, scooped the Animation of the Year prize at the Tokyo Anime Awards ceremony at the Tokyo Anime Fair on Thursday.

The pic, which was a surprise hit at the BO in Japan last year, won prizes in a total of six categories, including Best Director, Best Original Story, Best Script, Best Art Direction and Best Character Design.

And Hollywood Reporter columnist Martin A. Grove dishes background on the making of the latest Ninja Turtles Movie, that franchise that just keeps on giving:

The first three "Turtles" films, distributed by New Line Cinema, were live action adventures that got off on the right foot about 17 years ago. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" opened March 30, 1990 to $25.4 million and went on to gross $135.3 million domestically. "Turtles II" arrived March 22, 1991 to $20 million and ended up with $78.7 million domestically. "Turtles III" kicked off March 19, 1993 to $12.4 million and wound up with $42.3 million domestically. By then the films were running out of steam and for the past 14 years the "Turtles" were sidelined theatrically although they lived on as a successful syndicated television cartoon series. Today there are high hopes that Munroe's computer animated "TMNT" will give the movie franchise a new lease on life.

Those guys in turtle suits all those year ago gathered in a diminishing amount of domestic grosses. This weekend, we get to see if CG turtles reinflate turtlemania.

And while we're on the subject of crime-fighting turtles (see also below), there is this interview with TMNT's director Kevin Monroe.

Which is neatly counterbalanced by an interview with Dorothy McKim, the producer of next week's big cgi entry, Meet the Robinsons.

Have a fine weekend. I have hopes of sleeping in beyond 7 a.m. (My wants are modest).

Update: The L.A. TIMES has a profile of the artists/creators of El Tigre, Nickelodeon's hot new show that premiered earlier this month:

This is the tale of "El Tigre," a new animated TV series about Latinos that was actually created by Latinos. It's a story, like so many in Los Angeles, of immigration, ambition, defeat, triumph and, of course, romance.

It starts at the border town of Tijuana, where the show's creators, Jorge R. Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua, met in high school 13 years ago and fell in love, initially against the wishes of her family, who are all doctors.

Gutierrez studied at CalArts on a student visa, graduating in 2000 with a master's in experimental animation. That's when the clock started ticking. If he didn't get a job and a work visa within one year, he'd be forced to go back to Mexico.

"It's the greatest motivator of all time to be told, 'If you don't find a job, we'll deport you,' " says Gutierrez, 32.

So the artist started schlepping from studio to studio with his portfolio, filled with fanciful drawings of colorful characters steeped in his cultural roots...


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