In our apocalyptic epoch, sometimes you need an old-school good time grounded in the natural world. Enter The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, from the directors of the wondrous Ernest and Celestine, who I interviewed ahead of their consecutive Academy Awards nod.
Writing about animation provides me the opportunity to probe the minds of brave filmmakers working against stereotype and industry. That struggle found an apotheosis in the surreal fever dream of Birdboy, whose directors I interviewed ahead of their awards season tour.
Earth is inspiring, even in the midst of failure. This is an important lesson I learned after interviewing director Robin Joseph about his stunning animated short, Fox and the Whale, a homemade, hand-drawn cli-fi fable debuting, to Oscar acclaim, in a world on fire.
I’ve been looking forward to interviewing Nora Twomey, especially now that her empowering adaptation of The Breadwinner has arrived, with the aid of Angelina Jolie, to shine a light back on Afghanistan, still in the crosshairs of the longest war in American history.
As the establishment continues to reject toxic industry, the movement to place our attention on issues worth the public’s time is reaching critical mass. And that movement will likely sweep The Breadwinner into awards season.
Some of the most influential animation in history have come from the hearts and minds of Phil LaMarr and Carl Jones, including The Boondocks, Samurai Jack, and more. That was all I needed to pick up the phone.
It may not seem like we need to have a three-day festival in Hollywood celebrating animation as cinema with a capital C. But if that was the case, I would not have spent the weekend with my girls in Hollywood at the Animation Is Film festival, watching stunning animated cinema and interviewing talented directors.
For decades, cooler-headed Canada has helped lead the way in animation innovation and mindful programming. Its rising studio Guru is carrying those goals forward, with the help of Pharrell Williams, in the fantastic new Netflix series, True and the Rainbow Kingdom.
Written by an immigrant Jew hounded by Hitler, and envisioned by a Chinese immigrant dreaming of America, Walt Disney’s Bambi remains an unheeded warning of terror and terraformation, sadly forgotten by a burning world careening into an exponential apocalypse.
This expressive war epic from the assistant director of Kiki’s Delivery Service handles the toughest of topics with art, skill and grace. I spoke with director Sunao Katabuchi for Cartoon Brew.
The fact that Amazon chose to invest a healthy budget in Titmouse and Niko, in search of staying power and cultural relevance, should be a warning shot to the animation business as usual. After all, as Titmouse told me, we’re in a cartoon gold rush.
I’ve spoken a few times with animation auteur, Ralph Bakshi, who pioneered the pathways of underground and overground cartoons for decades. This time, we analyze the live-action/animation merge of Cool World, which like its foundational forebear, Lord of the Rings, created the CGI universe we take for granted today.
An assistant director on Hayao Miyazaki’s sublime, stunning Kiki’s Delivery Service, Sunao Katabuchi has since made his name well-known in anime film and television. But his impressive new film, the award-winning Hiroshima epic, In This Corner of the World, might make him a household name worldwide.
When I first learned that Matthew Rankin was crafting a surreal short about Nikola Tesla, I knew I soon would be picking his fertile brain about free energy, bird love, and why dystopians are marching to the sixth mass extinction.
From director Tomm Moore’s Oscar-nominated masterpieces The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, to director Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner and beyond into the great unknown, the indie studio that was once international animation’s best-kept secret is a secret no longer.
A wordless wonder in the tradition of Chaplin, with an eye to rural labor and love, Aardman’s stop-motion masterpiece is for everyone, everywhere.
Extraordinary Tales brings Poe’s harrowing stories to the screen for newer generations raised on boundless technologies and influences.
It doesn’t take long (at all) for the stubborn and refreshingly frank Tartakovsky to hold forth on his frustrations with the way Hotel Transylvania 2 and Popeye were handled.
“It was created from original drawings by John Lennon and a soundtrack that I also edited together, consisting of snatches of conversation between John and Yoko and song excerpts.”
I interviewed for Eric Power for Cartoon Brew. Hide the kids.
A mellower, more mature effort
Adults and children rarely see the Real World as it is, much less as it should be. If what they see is what makes them who they are, then they should watch Peace On Earth before every new year.