Cli-Fi: Long Way North Gets Lost At Sea

Moth Collective’s Forest 500 Animates The Reality of Rainforest Destruction

Can an earnest but alarming cartoon help stop the 500 companies, investors and governments deforesting the Earth to crisis?

Yes or no, Moth Collective plans on giving it a shot with Forest 500, its animated short created for the Global Canopy Programme’s initiative of the same name, which has become Earth’s first rainforest rating agency.


An Animated Leap of Faith: An Interview With The Prophet Director Roger Allers

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, a GKIDS release, is one of 2015’s most compelling films, but it also happens to be one of the historical highlights of anthology animation.

With supervising animation director and screenwriter Roger Allers, director of The Little Matchgirl and co-director of The Lion King, at the helm, The Prophet’s poetic, powerful sequences were produced across the gender spectrum by different artists, studios and directors — including Song of the Sea’s Tomm Moore, Sita Sings the Blues’ Nina Paley, and Cheatin”s Bill Plympton. But instead of being a cross-continental logistical tangle, Allers explained that the ambitious project, co-produced by Salma Hayek, was actually an animated treat.

“I was so fortunate in the talent assembled for The Prophet,” Allers recently told me via email, while spreading the film’s word abroad. “I felt like the kid with the box with two layers of different chocolates!”


Director Steve Martino Reboots Charlie Brown With The Peanuts Movie

With decades of cultural influence and capital beneath its hand-drawn belt, and the 50th anniversary of television’s foundational A Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon knocking at the door, Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts comic strip has nothing left to prove.

But this is not the case with Martino’s deft mixture of Schulz’s comic strips — whose 2D lines were literally extrapolated into 3D models manipulated by a team of animators — and the Bill Melendez-directed animated projects like A Charlie Brown Christmas and You’re in Love, Charlie Brown, which are heavily quoted in Blue Sky’s full-length revival. I spoke with the pleasantly surprised Martino by phone about The Peanuts Movie’s pressurized production, merging the worlds of 2D and 3D animation, and why a Charlie Brown who is actually noticed and praised by the Little Red-Haired Girl who has captivated him isn’t much of a stretch for Schulz old-schoolers and new adopters.


‘We Nailed It:’ An Interview With Shaun the Sheep Movie‘s Richard Starzak and Paul Kewley

Despite comparison to the cinema of Chaplin, Aardman Animations’ Shaun the Sheep Movie bowed stateside this summer to criticism of its comparatively light box-office haul and even its old-school stop-motion technique.

But with a $100 million worldwide return on a slender $25 million budget, an Oscar campaign on the docket, and a sequel quite well underway, few are knocking Shaun the Sheep Movie now. They’re probably taking notes on how to make an all-ages masterpiece stripped of cynicism, with much less money than well-endowed CG competitors.

“I think people have an expectation, and a misunderstanding, that for an animated film to be a success, it has to make a billion dollars,” Shaun the Sheep producer Paul Kewley (top photo, left) told Cartoon Brew by phone, in a mind-meld with Richard Starzak (above right), who directed the film with Mark Burton. “And I would argue, categorically, no. We’ve proven that.”


Rebooting Danger Mouse For A New Generation: Interview with Directors Robert Cullen and Paul O’Flanagan

Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall’s surreal ’80s spy-fi cartoon Danger Mouse is rolling out a sleeker post-millennial reboot across the pond. But will its new iteration, produced by Ireland’s Boulder Animation, soar in the U.S.?

“Although Cosgrove isn’t directly involved in the Danger Mouse reboot, we met both Brian — and Brian Trueman, the original series’ main writer — on separate occasions,” current Danger Mouse animation director Paul O’Flanagan told Cartoon Brew. “We showed them what we were doing with the new show, and they were both very enthusiastic, supportive and wished us all the best.”


I Love Animators, I Just Want Them to Wake Up: A Birthday Interview With Ralph Bakshi

Legendary animation outsider Ralph Bakshi celebrated his 77th birthday yesterday with a defiant cartoon comeback called Last Days of Coney Island.

“I did 98 percent of all of the animation, and all of the backgrounds and in-betweens, which was hard for a 77-year-old guy,” Bakshi told me of his transgressive comeback. “At my age, I wouldn’t release it if I thought it didn’t work.”