Cli-Fi: Long Way North Gets Lost At Sea

A Conversation With Genndy Tartakovsky About Hotel Transylvania 2, Popeye, Can You Imagine? — and Samurai Jack

The animation community, artists and fans alike, need no introduction to the singular Genndy Tartakovsky.

But the same perhaps cannot be said of Sony, which this week releases the visionary director’s sequel to his highly successful feature film debut, Hotel Transylvania. From the infamous Sony hack that revealed creative interference from Hotel Transylvania 2 writer Robert Smigel and star Adam Sandler (whose execrable Pixels was one of the worst, and most offensive, films of 2015) to the studio’s removal of Tartakovsky from his beloved Popeye reboot, Sony still doesn’t seem to understand that it has a cartoon visionary in its midst.

I spoke with Tartakovsky about why animated feature films, despite perennially appearing in the top five most financially successful movies of the year (any year), are still maddeningly treated like second-class citizens in a cinema industry running short on original ideas.


Torill Kove On Winning A Norwegian Honor, Her Next Film, and Personal Identity

Oscar-winner Torill Kove didn’t really consider animation as a career until her thirties. But that didn’t stop her from recently winning Norway’s top cultural prize for a growing body of impressive work. Nor did moving from Norway to Canada in 1982, where Kove has continued to create compelling, personal animated shorts for the National Film Board of Canada.

From award-winning short films Me and My Moulton, The Danish Poet, and My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts, to her next film set in an “imaginary place that could be anywhere,” the Montreal-based animator is accruing recognition for poignant animated films that make audiences think and feel across geographical boundaries.


Fons Schiedon Reimagines Mozart’s The Magic Flute As A Motion Comic

Can reimagining one of Mozart’s greatest works as a motion graphic novel help increase the timeless allegory’s influence as time marches on?

“Traditional comics are great at leaving things to the imagination; readers fill in blanks, and that’s exciting,” Fons Schiedon, director and designer of The Land of the Magic Flute, told Cartoon Brew via email. “But I think there is a tricky balance when comics and animation come together, because you have to be careful about the expectation you create. You can easily run into a disconnect when you give voice and movement to still characters. It emphasizes stillness rather than enhancing it, so I didn’t want to do that, which is why The Land of the Magic Flute’s sound design and animation are mostly limited to backgrounds and effects, which serve to create atmosphere and life, but leave it to the reader to do the same for the characters.”


Angelina Jolie Pitt Will Exec Produce Cartoon Saloon’s The Breadwinner

Cartoon Saloon, the Irish animation studio behind Oscar-nominated wonders Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells just landed an Oscar winner for its next feature.

Angelina Jolie Pitt and her production company Jolie Pas Productions have partnered with Cartoon Saloon on The Breadwinner, directed by The Secret of Kells co-director Nora Twomey. It is adapted from the 2001 novel of the same name from antiwar activist Deborah Ellis, which is based on her experiences visiting refugee camps in geopolitically volatile Afghanistan during the 1990s. Jolie will executive produce the animated feature about Parvana, a young girl who disguises herself as a boy and struggles to feed her family beneath the Taliban.


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!”