CINZIA ANGELINI'S 'MILA' GIVES AN ANIMATED VOICE TO CHILDREN OF WAR

10 years in the making, and completed with the help of ‘The Addams Family’ production studio Cinesite, the powerful CG short, about a young girl’s witness to the WWII bombings of Trento, Italy, offers a compelling message about hope and perseverance.

“When I was young, my mother often spoke about her feelings growing up during WWII and, in particular, how she felt as a little girl caught in the middle of the bombing,” remembers Angelini... “So many times, she told me how she could vividly remember the sense of void during those moments. How she couldn’t move or run to shelter until someone would pick her up. That was the story that I wanted to tell with the medium I love, animation, and to bring the spotlight on terrible realities that many kids have to still go through.”...

A COUPLE FACES THE PAIN OF UNSPOKEN GRIEF IN 'IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU'

In Will McCormack and Michael Govier’s animated short, estranged parents of a child killed in a school shooting try to overcome their heartbreak and find each other again; now showing on Netflix.

Grief, while a universal concept, is also a complex emotion, difficult to fully understand and pick apart. There are the commonly known stages of grief - denial, anger, depression and so on - though those can also look different for different people. But in the Oh Good Productions animated short, If Anything Happens I Love You, released Friday on Netflix, creators Will McCormack and Michael Govier tackle the wrenching pain of grief through animation, telling an emotional and relatable story that can hopefully help bring people together...

'TROLLSTOPIA' CELEBRATES COMEDY AND CANDOR WITH REFRESHING 2D ANIMATION

Executive producer Matthew Beans rethinks the entire ‘Trolls’ world, bringing all the tribes together with a new visual style in DreamWorks Animation’s new series, now available on Hulu and Peacock.

With so many Troll tribe worlds coming together in one series, the show required a new creative vision, including putting to good use the scores by platinum-selling songwriter Alana Da Fonesca and Grammy-winning composer Alex Geringas; Beans strove to not just add more fluidity, softness, and depth to the 2D animation, but to highlight the Trolls’ natural knack for mixing humor with sincerity. We recently spoke with Beans about the production challenges and rewards that came with combining five worlds into one, the advantage that 2D animation offered compared to the franchise’s original 3D setting, and the bizarre episodes that, in Beans’ opinion, highlights the best of Trolls...

CHIODO BROS' 'ALIEN XMAS' JOINS THE PANTHEON OF STOP-MOTION HOLIDAY CLASSICS

For Stephen, Edward, and Charles Chiodo, their love of 1960s-style stop-motion animation transformed a children’s book about kleptomaniacal aliens trying to steal Christmas into a heartwarming, cocoa-sipping, and warm blanket-snuggling special, available today on Netflix.

“So many people grew up on them,” says Stephen Chiodo, Alien Xmas writer and director. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town... we grew up on them, and it became the cultural conscience of Christmas.”

Edward Chiodo, one of Alien Xmas’ executive producers, along with other brother Charles Chiodo, added, “Those were our benchmarks and one of the initial things that brought us into the love of stop-motion animation.”...

'THE MIGHTY ONES' GETS DOWN, DIRTY AND COLORFUL WITH NATURE-INSPIRED ANIMATION

For executive producers Sunil Hall and Lynne Naylor, laying face-down in the grass brings the artistic perspective needed to create the adventures of a rock, strawberry, twig, and leaf in the new DreamWorks Animation comedy series.

“Getting hands-on in production for us included our art director Jenny Gase-Baker and her art team literally laying face-down in the grass at the DreamWorks campus and then sketching what they saw down there,” says Sunil Hall, executive producer, along with Lynne Naylor, on DreamWorks Animation’s newest animated comedy, The Mighty Ones, now streaming on Hulu and Peacock. The series stars an enthusiastic rock, a wild strawberry, a wisdom-filled twig, and a laid-back leaf. Regarding the show’s main characters, Hall notes, “My backyard is pretty messy and my kids do a lot of imaginative play out there, so I'm often looking at our yard for story inspiration.”...

BRAD MINNICH EXPLORES NEW ANIMATION TERRITORY WITH ‘THE GOOD LORD BIRD’ AND ‘2150’

The veteran VFX editor and supervisor talks about his two latest projects, Ethan Hawke’s Civil War-era period Showtime series, and a fully animated feature inspired by ‘Love, Death & Robots.’

Cataclysmic climate changes, super-powered emerald energies, and electrifying Pokémon powers have been visual effects editor Brad Minnich’s specialty for over a decade. Since 2008, Minnich has worked on box-office hits such as The Day After Tomorrow, the Twilight Saga, Captain America, Green Lantern, Justice League and Detective Pikachu. But this year, Minnich is expanding his VFX and animation horizons with two new projects: his first historical period production, The Good Lord Bird, and his first fully animated feature, 2150...

GLEN KEANE'S 'OVER THE MOON' ARTFULLY ILLUSTRATES HEALING FROM GRIEF THROUGH PLAY

With vibrant colors, gelatinous creatures and an unreal Lunarian moonscape, Sony Pictures Imageworks helps visualize a young girl’s emotional journey to a whole new world, in Pearl Studios’ new animated musical, now showing on Netflix.

“Dealing with grief, and learning to see things from a different perspective, can be a journey in itself,” says Over the Moon’s FX supervisor Ian Farnsworth. “And it’s important to know that it’s ok to heal through play.” Farnsworth, a father of three, says that while grief is “not usually a subject we think about geared toward children,” it’s one of the reasons, along with the chance to work with Keane, that he was excited about Imageworks taking on the project’s animation...

CREATING A BRIGHTER WORLD FOR COLOR DESIGNERS

Jack Cusumano and Teri Hendrich’s ‘Color is Design’ social media campaign is a key part of their ongoing effort to get color designers paid the same as other jobs in animation design.

“It’s an overlooked role,” adds Daniaelle Simonsen, who worked as a color designer on Gravity Falls, with Cusumano on the Disney animated series DuckTales, and is currently a color supervisor on Shion Takeuchi’s upcoming animated Netflix comedy series, Inside Job. “Color designers are responsible for establishing these nuanced moods and shades, and some of the scenes we color are not just one character, it's entire moments,” she notes. “There's a lot more to it than just filling things in. Not to mention we handle insane volumes of work funneled from the character, prop, and effects teams, with designs that come to us past our deadlines.”...

'TRASH TRUCK': MAX KEANE'S PERSONAL, PRECIOUS AND NOSTALGIC PRESCHOOL SERIES

The show’s creator never understood his son Henry’s love for garbage trucks, until it inspired him to develop a CG animated kids’ series, set to premiere November 10 on Netflix.

“One foggy, cool morning, I was standing outside with my son, Henry – who was about two-years-old at the time - in his pajamas,” remembers Keane. “Down at the end of the road we could see the garbage truck coming with the lights flashing through the fog like some creature coming to visit. It pulled up in front of us, grabbed the trashcan all noisy, dumped it, and slammed it back down. I looked at the big metal lifter arms and all the grimy cables, and suddenly it was like, ‘Wow, I get it now. This thing is amazing.’”

“The driver honked as he left and Henry leaned into my arms and said, ‘Bye trash truck!’” he continues. “I thought, ‘Man, I wish that big, dumb truck knew how much this little boy loved him.’”...

'FAST & FURIOUS: SPY RACERS' SEASON 2 TAKES ITS HIGH-OCTANE ACTION TO RIO

Launching today on Netflix, DreamWorks Animation's new season of the family-friendly animated action adventure heads to South America, bringing the same car-racing thrills as Gary Scott Thompson and Universal's hugely popular live-action movie franchise, without the same level of danger and violence.

“When Universal bought DreamWorks Animation in 2016, they came in with two gigantic properties: Jurassic Park, and Fast & Furious,” says [Tim] Hedrick. “Those were the two prime opportunities to make animated shows, and we came aboard to create a kid-friendly version of the excitement, the action and all the things Fast & Furious is while bringing it to an audience of kids who can't necessarily go see the movies.”

‘STORIES TO OBSESS OVER’: WEBTOON’S LIVE-ACTION COMIC PROMOS

The one-minute, black and white spotsfeature well-known U.S. actors taking on comic character personas, monologuing lines from stories in a promotional tease.

Webtoon’s new promo project, “Stories to Obsess Over,” is spearheaded by Fred & Farid creative director Chelsea Steiger and cinematographer Kevin Phillips, the project’s director. “Stories to Obsess Over” tackles one featured Webtoon series after another, creating a one-minute, black and white teaser for the comic, featuring a well-known U.S. actor who takes on the persona of the comic’s main character and begins monologuing lines from the story.

“It creates an interesting dimension for audiences to interact with,” says Phillips...

SOUTH AFRICA'S CABBLOW STUDIOS BRINGS A CUTE 2D TWIST TO IMPORTANT DIABETES EDUCATION

Kabelo Maaka and Dr. Tshepo P. Maaka’s animated short, ‘3 Teaspoons of Sugar,’ which competed in Annecy 2020, artfully presents needed information about the dangers and difficulties faced by people with disease.

“It’s one of those diseases that people think it's okay to just have, like it's like a handbag that you just carry around,” says Dr. T, a medical practitioner and anesthesiologist of 26 years. “They don’t realize how serious it is and that’s why we need to educate people about diabetes.”

Kabelo adds, “You go on an emotional journey with the characters and we give you the information without overwhelming you. We want our animation to still be a beautiful art form; all that we're doing is giving it a medical theme.”...

'DRAGON'S DOGMA': A STOLEN HEART, VENGEANCE, AND THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS

For producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Netflix’s seven-episode anime adaptation of Capcom’s 2012 video game is much more than just one man’s quest to slay the dragon that killed his family.

“When Netflix producer Taiki Sakurai sent me a proposal about making Dragon's Dogma into an anime, the seven deadly sins concept was so interesting that I approved it straight away, and it went right into production,” says Hiroyuki Kobayashi, a co-producer on the show and co-producer of the Dragon’s Dogma video game. “Even back when we were developing the original game, I'd always wanted to make a television series version. Unfortunately, we never had the chance until now. I'm so glad we've been able to create an anime adaptation on Netflix.”

KIDS ON THEIR OWN AND IN DANGER - WELCOME TO 'JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS'

For producer Scott Kreamer, Steven Spielberg’s iconic franchise has always been about kids, but in the new Netflix and DreamWorks Animation series, this time, they’re all alone with no adults around to save them.

Isla Nublar has more stories to tell and Steven Spielberg is back in the prehistoric saddle, welcoming more young visitors on another big-toothed, big-clawed adventure. But, this time, no adults are coming to the rescue...Though the show is as thrilling and terrifying as ever, one of the producers, Scott Kreamer, hopes that telling the story of Camp Cretaceous through animation--without blood and gore--helps introduce the Jurassic universe to a younger generation of fans. We recently spoke with Kreamer about what it was like to work with Spielberg again after 20 years, the effort that went into keeping this thrilling adventure accurate and fresh, and the fact that this was not the first attempt at making an animated Jurassic Park... 

ANIMATING THE ESSENCE OF NATURE IN AYUMU WATANABE'S 'CHILDREN OF THE SEA'

The director discusses bringing Daisuke Igarashi’s 2006 manga to life in a dazzling, iridescent, and beautifully animated film that captures the complex bonds between all living things.

The cry of a newborn child, the song of a humpback whale and the birth, and death, of a star--all parallel symbols in the Japanese animated film Children of the Sea, brought to life with dazzling, dancing, iridescent animation that beautifully encapsulates one cinematic subject.

“The theme of this film is ‘The mystery and joy of life,’” says Ayumu Watanabe, the film’s director. “And that everything is a part of the universe.”...

FROM FEATURE PREVIS TO AN ANIMATED SITCOM: NINA HELENE HIRTEN TALKS 'DUNCANVILLE'

The editor on FOX’s hit animated comedy discusses her unlikely landing of the coveted job, and how as a wife and working mom she relates to the show’s family-centered humor.

While Duncanville, now renewed for a second season, amplifies the incredible imagination of children anxious to stand out and make their mark on the world, the show also highlights the humorous happenings of family life, from coming-of-age teen drama to sibling rivalries and parental phenomena. We recently spoke with the show’s editor, Nina Helene Hirten, who took a seemingly circuitous route from working as a previs editor at The Third Floor on films like Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Venom and Ant-Man and The Wasp, to editing a primetime animated sitcom. Hirten talked with AWN about her unlikely landing of the Duncanville job, how she relates to the show as a wife and working mom, and the promising future of animation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

THE CATHARSIS OF VOICING DONALD TRUMP IN 'OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT'

For veteran voice actor Jeff Bergman, voicing President Trump on Showtime’s ‘seriously ridiculously political’ animated series helps ease the stress of keeping current with our 24/7 cycle of real news.

For over 30 years, children’s cartoons have been voice actor Jeff Bergman’s bread and butter. Lending his versatile vocals to iconic Warner Bros. characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, as well as Hanna-Barbera favorites like Fred Flintstone and Yogi Bear, has given Bergman a chance, as he puts it, to “prolong my childhood.” But, amidst voicing characters for the recently rebooted Looney Tunes Cartoons, Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! and his first animated feature film Space Jam: A New Legacy, Bergman has also taken the dive into adult animation by taking on Donald Trump in Stephen Colbert’s workplace animated comedy, Our Cartoon President...

‘PROMARE’: HIROYUKI IMAISHI AND HIROMI WAKABAYASHI'S VIVID DEPICTION OF RACISM AND UNITY

The director and producer of the electrifying, high energy anime feature tackle segregation, cruelty, and protest against injustice in a future society forged by the collision of fire and ice.

Promare’s animation is energy itself, but the illustrations speak to much more than just aesthetically enticing action scenes. “This film’s main theme is the ‘fusion of two elements,’” explains Promare producer Hiromi Wakabayashi. “The story has two protagonists with their own goals that collide yet eventually work together. We wanted to illustrate that with visuals rarely seen in Japanese animation.”...

QUIBI'S 'YOUR DAILY HOROSCOPE' DELIVERS ZODIAC WIT IN 2-MINUTE 'BITES'

ATTN:’s Taye Shuayb discusses the rigors of producing and delivering episodes of the adult animated series every weekday while working remotely and safely during the pandemic.

“People love horoscopes because they can provide certainty and validation, especially when our collective realities are so uncertain this year with COVID,” says Taye Shuayb, VP of Production at ATTN:, Quibi’s production partner on the show. “And animation allows us to escape that reality, even for just 90 seconds.”...

GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S 'WIZARDS' BRINGS HIS 'TALES OF ARCADIA' TRILOGY TO A CLOSE

For executive producers Chad Quandt and Aaron Waltke, the third and final series, now available on Netflix, sadly concludes their work on the ambitious science fantasy that began life as a live-action feature project almost a decade ago.

The series has won 5 Annie Awards, 8 Emmy Awards and 3 Kidscreen Awards. For co-executive producers Chad Quandt and Aaron Waltke, working on both Trollhunters and Wizards has been a dream-come-true. “Once we even got wind of this project almost a decade ago, our eyes and hearts just lit up because we already had such a huge respect for Guillermo,” says Quandt of Tales of Arcadia. “And every single movie he’s made and everything he’s crafted were already inspiration points for us. So, getting to work with the master himself was so awesome.”

TONY CERVONE BRINGS 2D CHARM TO 3D 'SCOOB!'

Director of the first fully 3D/CG animated ‘Scooby-Doo’ feature shares his long-time love of Warner Bros. cartoon animation and the timelessness of Mystery Inc.

A lime green van, endless Scooby snacks and phrases like “jinkies,” “zoinks,” and “you meddling kids” have been key ingredients in our Saturday-morning-cartoon rituals for the last five decades. One of the most prolific Saturday morning cartoon stalwarts is Joe Ruby’s and Ken Spears’ Scooby-Doo, which to date has seen 14 animated series with over 400 episodes combined, 43 films including 2 live-action, 27 short films and even a few plays since the show’s birth in 1969. And there are still plenty more animated pooch stories to tell...

‘INTO THE UNKNOWN: MAKING FROZEN 2’ DOCUMENTARY ARRIVES ON DISNEY+

Intimate, six-part series follows the lives of artists who produced the highest grossing animated film of all time.

Over 1,300 hours of footage, shot over 115 days, boiled down into six documentary episodes covering the production of the highest-grossing animated feature of all time. Launching today on Disney+, Into The Unknown: Making Frozen 2 provides a bird’s-eye view of the intense, exacting work, and the people involved, in creating Frozen 2, Disney’s hit Frozen sequel, which set all sorts of records on its way to hauling in more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office after hitting theatres last November...

COMPOSER CARL JOHNSON COMES HOME TO 'LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS'

Musician picks up where Carl Stalling left off, returning to Warner Bros. more than 25 years after composing on ‘Animaniacs’ and ‘Pinky and the Brain.’

Deciding the best music to illustrate characters caught in a dynamite explosion, being flushed down the toilet or haunted by a tiny ghost bird takes considerable talent, especially on an 11-minute animated comedy careening forward at the only pace slapstick knows how to run: Road Runner fast. But Looney Tune’s composer Carl Stalling was the master and commander of cartoon scores that flowed effortlessly with a character’s every move. Now, Carl Johnson, known for his work on Skyfall and The Magnificent Seven, is stepping into Stalling’s shoes...

BUGS BUNNY, DAFFY DUCK, AND PORKY PICK RETURN IN HBO MAX'S NEW ‘LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS’

Peter Browngardt and Alex Kirwan are lovingly producing 1,000 minutes of brand-new gag-driven shorts featuring treasured Warner Bros. characters at their slap-sticky best.

The five-time Oscar-winning Looney Tunes cartoon shorts first began airing theatrically in the 1930s, and quickly became one of the most popular animated staples for slapstick humor, back when going to the picture show meant a newsreel, a cartoon, and sometimes two feature films. Looney Tunes, directed by animation legends like Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and Bob Clampett, have been revered for generations as some of the greatest animated films ever made. And while Looney Tunes has laid relatively dormant since Baby Looney Tunes and Duck Dodgers appeared on the scene in the early 2000s, Warner Bros. Animation has finally (and properly) rebooted the beloved cartoon comedy franchise with the brand-new Looney Tunes Cartoons...

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER MIKE RUBINER TALKS 'THE LOUD HOUSE' 100TH EPISODE

With a 2020 Daytime Emmy nomination in tow, as well as two GLAAD Media Award nominations, the hit Nickelodeon show celebrates diverse characters, realistic storylines, and a centennial milestone as it heads into Season 5.

Executive producer Mike Rubiner has been part of The Loud House crew since its earliest days, first as a story editor and writer, eventually becoming EP in 2017. He’s worked on a slew of animated TV series dating back to Welcome Freshman almost 30 years ago; he’s also worked on similar boyhood, coming-of-age cartoons, such as The Walt Disney Company’s Boyster, which follows the everyday adventures of a 12-year-old boy who has to keep his identity as a half-oyster-half-boy a secret from his elementary classmates. We recently spoke with Rubiner about his personal connection to The Loud House, favorite musical specials, the show’s unique approach to tackling teen troubles, and what to look forward to in the fifth season...

KEVIN KOLDE TALKS 'CASTLEVANIA'S UNAPOLOGETIC VIOLENCE AND SEASON 3 FINALE

For the executive producer of Netflix’s hit animated medieval fantasy, great characters are key, but the show’s brutal vampire world wouldn’t be the same without the gore.

Castlevania’s violence is unapologetic, as the story follows a young man named Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), born and raised to slay vampires and underworld creatures, as he joins forces with a magical Speaker named Sypha (Alejandra Reynoso) and a half-breed vampire called Alucard (James Callis) to defeat Dracula, who has released hordes of evil creatures upon earth to avenge his human wife’s murder. Not surprisingly, there are scenes that may shock viewers, especially as large hordes of demons slash human beings like a shredder ripping through paper. But, Kolde believes that unnerving, highly detailed, animated violence is what makes the show so different and successful...

JONAH SCOTT AND THE EXPRESSIVE MULTI-LAYERED CG ANIMATION OF 'BEASTARS'

For the voice acting star of Netflix’s new anime series, the show’s nuanced use of 3D/CG is as big a story as the mature themes of sexuality and mental health.

Netflix’s recently released anime series, Beastars, has received considerable attention from viewers, both anime fans and otherwise, who are either intrigued by the show’s gritty, Zootopia-like vibe, or adamantly opposed to the series due to the highly mature themes of sexuality and self-loathing, tackled through anthropomorphic animals.

 The show’s leading English voice actor, Jonah Scott, says the show “definitely isn’t your mom’s anime” but should still be given a chance, especially by teens and adults who, like Scott, have struggled (or are struggling) with mental health...

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