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1. This Week in Manhattan: Animation Nights New York Best of Fest

New York City has a new mini-animation festival, and it's taking place this week.

The post This Week in Manhattan: Animation Nights New York Best of Fest appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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2. ‘I Like Girls,’ ‘Louise en Hiver’ Wins Top Prizes at Ottawa

A surprising short tops Ottawa 2016.

The post ‘I Like Girls,’ ‘Louise en Hiver’ Wins Top Prizes at Ottawa appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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3. Ottawa International Animation Festival Starts Tomorrow

The 40th anniversary of North America's biggest animation festival is here.

The post Ottawa International Animation Festival Starts Tomorrow appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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4. 9 Can’t-Miss Events At Annecy 2016

The annual mega-animation festival is happening in a few weeks, and we're here to help guide you through it.

The post 9 Can’t-Miss Events At Annecy 2016 appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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5. ireland: listowel writers' week 2016

This weekend Pugs of the Frozen North met the blazing heat of the west coast of Ireland for Listowel Writers' Week and The National Children's Literary Festival. The lovely Irish even provided us with a splendid pug named Oscar!



Listowel's gorgeous, my co-author Philip Reeve and I had fun wandering around looking at the beautifully painted shop fronts, bakeries and pubs.



And we even got to meet the wee folk! Here I am, after partaking of the 'Drink Me' bottle, meeting the Queen of Listowel.



I didn't get time to do a lot of drawing (other than on stage) but here's a rough one I did after a couple hours at John B. Keane's pub.




Our first event was to a couple hundred kids for a Pugs of the Frozen North schools event. Here's Philip showing off the yellow trousers he uses to scare off polar bears.


Tweeted by Sarah Webb

We got to see some excellent pug drawings...



The following day, we did another Pugs event, then I did a Dinosaur Police picture book event. And I'm VERY SAD I don't have any photos of Philip being Trevor the T-Rex. He did an excellent job.



I did a little experiment for the drawing part of the event; usually I just teach everyone how to draw a T-Rex, but I got a bit more ambitious and thought I'd start them off making their own T-Rex-themed book.



It was quite a stretch, particularly for the concentration span of the youngest children, but their parents were awesome about pitching in and helping, and I actually had a slightly older crowd than usual for this event, so lots of them tackled the project admirably.



In this one you can see the cover, decorated front endpapers, three pages of story, and a back cover with blurb and price tag.



I was impressed with what the kids did and I hope they go away and finish their books, it'd be fun to see how they do it. I told them that the difference between an aspiring author and an author is that an author finishes creating the books. So if they finish making their book, they will be a genuine authors. Which is true! And to be a published author, all they need is to make more than one copy of the book (with a handy photocopier or printer), and that's being self-published. So perhaps we will get a few self-published authors coming out of that event.


Tweeted by Sarah Webb

One of the fun things about book festivals is catching up with friends I've seen in various events around the country in past years. Here's the most excellent Kim Harte, who is a Book Doctor! You can go into her Book Clinic and she will listen to what you're interested in and recommend books you might like. It was very popular, I don't think she had even time for a loo break for four hours!



Here's Ireland's new Children's Laureate na nÓg, illutrator PJ Lynch. Philip and I got to see an exhibition of his work from the span of his career at St John's Theatre in the centre of town. He did a video interview with me about drawing, so maybe I'll get to post that fairly soon.



More fun guests we ran into: Joanne Harris (whom we'd gotten to know a bit at the Emirates Lit Fest a couple years ago)



And Francesca Simon and Steven Butler, whom we actually see fairly often!



Writer Sarah Webb was in charge of Author Care for the children's book part of the festival, and we couldn't have been cared for better. Sarah's one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, but she also manages to do ten times more than any of us. Here she is with PJ and Alan Nolan (who was very nice in giving us lots of lifts in his car).



It'd been cold in London but Ireland was ROASTING hot. Here's Philip, attempting some extreme sunscreen:



Huge thanks to everyone who helped make the festival run so smoothly!



Here's Liz Dunn, the chair of the festival, who was awesome at making sure we always had good food and drink and introduced us to lots of people.



I wasn't in Ireland very long, but one morning I did manage to get down to the beach at Ballybunnion with Philip right before our event. (Which explains why I'm here in a sea cave in slightly odd beach wear.)



And a few more shots of Philip and me attempting to make the perfect Irish rock album cover.









You can follow Listowel Writers' Week on their Facebook page and Twitter.

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6. Five Useful Things You Should Bring To The Annecy Animation Festival

On the eve of the world's largest animation festival, here's a few useful items you might consider bringing with you to the festival.

The post Five Useful Things You Should Bring To The Annecy Animation Festival appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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7. Annecy 2016 Review: Rainy, Crowded, Star-Studded, And Unforgettable

Everyone was at Annecy this year, from Guillermo del Toro to the president of France.

The post Annecy 2016 Review: Rainy, Crowded, Star-Studded, And Unforgettable appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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8. Ottawa Animation Selects 118 Animation Projects For Competition

The biggest and oldest animation event in North America has announced the official selections for its short and feature film competitions.

The post Ottawa Animation Selects 118 Animation Projects For Competition appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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9. NYC’s Largest Animation Event is Back: Animation Block Party Starts Today

Get ready, New York City: Animation Block is back for its thirteenth edition!

The post NYC’s Largest Animation Event is Back: Animation Block Party Starts Today appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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10. SXSW 2016: Competition Shorts, ‘Powerpuff Girls’ Premiere Announced

Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are joining the party in Austin next month.

The post SXSW 2016: Competition Shorts, ‘Powerpuff Girls’ Premiere Announced appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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11. David OReilly on Tokyo’s Georama, A Different Kind of Animation Festival

Filmmaker David OReilly reports on his experiences at the one-of-a-kind Georama animation festival in Tokyo.

The post David OReilly on Tokyo’s Georama, A Different Kind of Animation Festival appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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12. Interview: GLAS Animation Festival Director Jeanette Bonds

"Our primary goal is to broaden and redefine the perception of animation in the US."

The post Interview: GLAS Animation Festival Director Jeanette Bonds appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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13. Annecy Announces ‘Zombillenium’ and ‘Samurai Jack’ Previews, Plus John Kricfalusi Masterclass

The world's largest gathering of animation artists reveals more of its 2016 programming line-up.

The post Annecy Announces ‘Zombillenium’ and ‘Samurai Jack’ Previews, Plus John Kricfalusi Masterclass appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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14. Annecy Selects Over 200 Animation Projects From Nearly 2,700 Entries

The festival has announced its 2016 competition selections for short film and TV projects.

The post Annecy Selects Over 200 Animation Projects From Nearly 2,700 Entries appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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15. ‘Feast’ Director Patrick Osborne Will Debut New Short ‘Pearl’ At Tribeca

"Pearl" will be one of the thirteen animated projects screened at Tribeca next month.

The post ‘Feast’ Director Patrick Osborne Will Debut New Short ‘Pearl’ At Tribeca appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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16. oxford lit fest 2016

Even though two of my three publishers are based in Oxford and I go there often for meetings and such, the town has a special magic to it that never really goes away.



This year for Oxford Literary Festival, I got to stay in Exeter College and have breakfast in their dining hall, which was pretty awesome. (Also slightly embarrassing because I didn't have time to get into costume after breakfast, and the few people in there were too polite to ask questions.)



The very first event I went to, I got to sit in the audience to hear Philip Womack interview Philip Reeve and Frances Hardinge.




Here they are, getting papped by festival photographer KT Bruce. (You can see her photos here on Facebook.)



Philip talked about his new Railhead book and Frances, about The Lie Tree, which deservedly has got lots of press lately when it won the overall Costa Award. They're both brilliant books, I recommend them to adults and teenagers alike.



Respect to Philip Womack: moderating an event is much harder to do and takes more time with research than talking about one's own books. I wish I could have heard him talk a bit more about his book The Broken King but at least I managed to nab the bookseller's last copy.



On the way out, I finally met Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers, which beat out Oliver and the Seawigs for the Blue Peter Prize.. and I didn't mind, because it turned out to be very good! (If it had been bad, I would have been FURIOUS!) ;D



I was too caught up in my Pugs of the Frozen North event with Philip to get any good photos of the Story Museum setting, but we had a good crowd and a great time, and I recognised a certain pug hat from World Book Day dressing-up photos I'd seen on Twitter:



The pugs in the back of our book all have names, but Philip and I loved how these girls found the unnamed pugs at the beginning of the books and gave them all their own names!



Here's a little close-up. Pimples, Macaroon and Sticky Tack are all very fine names.



Another girl had started writing a sequel to Pugs of the Frozen North, called Pugs of the Special Spring. We hope she keeps going with it!



Ah, and evidence of another World Book Day Pug costume. Love the pug costumes.



After our event, I changed out of Pugs gear into something a bit more comfortable and ran into James Mayhew back in the Green Room. James does live drawings at concerts with full orchestras backing him, which sounds incredibly daunting, but he pulls it off with panache.



Oo, and it's Cathy Brett, who was waiting for Jo Cotterill to arrive to do their event about Electrigirl, their book that's not quite a comic, not quite a novel, sort of a mix of several things.



My second event was right next to the awe-inspiring Sheldonian Theatre with its mad-looking heads.



And right there at the base of the theatre, it was so great to see people reading my Dinosaur Police book.



Inside the Blackwell's Marquee, I read from Dinosaur Police and then taught everyone how to draw silly T-Rex characters. We got some good ones from people of all ages!



Here's Andrea Reece who organised the children's part of the festival and invited Philip and me. Thank you so much, Andrea!!



We had dinner with Andrea, our fabulous OUP publicist Harriet Bayly, Philip Womack and Seonaid MacLeod (pronounced 'Shona'), who was at the festival bigging up a Reading Ambassadors scheme, promoting reading for pleasure. Besides the great company at Brasserie Blanc, we got to order a Baked Alaska, which we hadn't had since Philip and I first signed our contract for Oliver and the Seawigs. And it was JUST AS TASTY.



Right before I headed back to the station, I stopped by the Eagle & Child pub (where the Inklings used to meet) to see friends Sally Nicholls and her new baby, comics friends Jenni Scott & Richard Buck and their kids, and my amazing OUP designer Jo Cameron. The kids were very excited and sitting is hard in a pub, so we ended up doing lots of drawing, which always suits me just fine!



(You can find out about more of my events over on the events page of my website.)

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17. #sketchbooksocial!

I only took a patchy selection of photos at last night's #SketchbookSocial, part of London Book & Screen Week, but you can check the #SketchbookSocial hashtag to see lots more from other people!









I stopped by Atlantis art supply on the way there and got some big chunky pastels. Always best to use totally unfamiliar materials when you're doing a spot of live drawing, ha ha...



The #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign for people to credit illustrators got a good mention, and Society of Authors has just now posted a plug for it.




Thanks so much to Katherine Woodfine and Claire Shanahan for organising! I hope it happens again! :)



























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18. Annecy Reveals 20 Films in Feature Lineup, ‘Red Turtle’ Is Opening Night Film

The full list of 20 animated features that will be presented at Annecy this spring.

The post Annecy Reveals 20 Films in Feature Lineup, ‘Red Turtle’ Is Opening Night Film appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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19. 35mm Screening of ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ Headed To Animation Block Party (Exclusive)

The Eighties animated film will get a theatrical screening in Brooklyn this summer.

The post 35mm Screening of ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ Headed To Animation Block Party (Exclusive) appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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20. FMX Report #1: This Year Is All About VR

Cartoon Brew reports from Germany's digital art conference FMX.

The post FMX Report #1: This Year Is All About VR appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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21. FMX Report #2: What The VR Future Holds

As quickly as it began, FMX is over for another year. Perhaps more than at previous conferences, speakers were especially confident in discussing the current state of the animation, vfx, and digital content creation industries – including the state of virtual reality. Just as importantly, there was much discussion of the future, especially with the clear arrival of vr and interactive and immersive storytelling. Just what should filmmakers do with this new medium? Luckily, pretty much the world’s top vr filmmakers were there to weigh in.

VR capture tools, techniques for producing content, and headsets for displaying that content seem to be innovated upon almost weekly. We still don’t know quite yet what many of the virtual reality and augmented reality tech companies have in store for us (think: Magic Leap). But there are, of course, already many ways to experience vr and several studios have dived into vr content creation. The question is, how do you make that content compelling?

At FMX, an expert panel of vr and immersive filmmakers hosted by Google Spotlight Stories’ Kim Adams was on hand to discuss their relatively short but intense experiences in the field. One of those panelists was Jan Pinkava of Pixar fame (Geri’s Game, Ratatouille). Now creative director at Spotlight Stories (part of Google ATAP), Pinkava created an early interactive film for mobile devices in 2013 with Windy Day, while ATAP was still part of Motorola.

Pinkava’s film grew out of a mission at ATAP to create something emotional for the smartphone; the group recruited Pinkava, who brought aboard other Pixar veterans like Doug Sweetland and Mark Oftedal. “We wanted to do something with this power, something emotional,” Pinkava told a packed FMX audience. “Coming from Pixar, those films they make are emotional – so we thought, let’s make movies. We sat in a room and said, why don’t we make a movie and give the camera to the audience?”

After overseeing other films crafted in Google’s ongoing Spotlight series, Pinkava has formed his own views about what works in immersive and interactive films, whether they be 360 degree experiences or vr pieces that can be watched with either simple goggles or hard-wired headsets. Pinkava constantly asks, when considering vr proposals, ‘Is this the best way to watch this? Is every way I’m going to watch this a good way? As a director, how can you help that experience for the audience be a good one?’

Two other filmmakers on the panel with experience in Google Spotlight Stories were Tim Ruffle and Jason Fletcher-Bartholomew from Aardman Animations. They collaborated on the 360-degree Special Delivery. Writing Special Delivery required a re-think of the traditional short film script. “In our heads we initially wrote a linear script,” said Fletcher-Bartholomew. “We would write in background gags, but we should have concentrated on the main chase. So getting out of that linear mindset was actually quite hard for a number of weeks. Even our storyboard was very linear, but in end we cut it up on different walls. If anyone looked at it they would have thought we were mad. We went back to cardboard cutouts and moving back to theater-like sets.”

Another challenge faced on this Aardman short, the duo shared, was how to lead the viewer around in the story and not have them get lost in the 360 world. “I found it more like choreographing a play than writing a play,” said Ruffle. “We made sure there were elements of our sets that made particular characters visible. It’s a bit like video game language. People just seem to understand to look in certain directions because something is happening over ‘there.’”

This requirement to consider new ways of choreographing the action in an immersive film was a view also shared by Nexus’ co-founder and executive creative director Chris O’Reilly. Nexus is making a new Google Spotlight Story called Rain or Shine (some clips were shown here at FMX). “Directors come in with filmmaking tools, but they all need re-thinking in vr,” said O’Reilly. “We were thinking about how to control spaces. We talked to games companies. We even talked to architects who have experience in cajoling people through airports.”

Aardman and Nexus’ experience also highlights one important aspect of vr right now: it’s new. Which means everyone is experimenting. Jacquie Barnbrook, a producer with The VR Company, which is in the process of making the much-anticipated The Martian VR experience, says part of the joy and frustration of vr filmmaking right now is just getting through it. “The director of The Martian VR, Robert Stromberg, says we’re building the plane as we’re flying it – we may die,” Barnbrook related. “Shooting in vr is the most weird and awkward experience you can imagine. Things like our cameras are not yet able to sustain shooting for more than six minutes. We were putting cups of ice on the cameras to cool them down!”

For Mirada Studios’ Andy Cochrane, who has worked on everything from a Google Shop VR Tour to The Strain VR, the result of this new wave of interactive filmmaking actually provides the opportunity to serve in multiple roles. “I’m a technical supervisor, a director, a visual effects supervisor. We settled on ‘digital and interactive director’ because it seemed to be descriptive of something.”

And Cochrane suggests that this new vr/interactive storytelling world – which is heavily concentrated right now on the west coast of the U.S – just happens to come at a time when the visual effects industry on that side of the country has been partially decimated by subsidies and other benefits being offered elsewhere. That, says Cochrane, represents an opportunity to visual effects artists who once worked in Los Angeles and are highly suited to technical and artistic aspects of virtual reality. Indeed, effects artists have for years been dealing with stitching plates, making 3D scenes and characters, and solving complex lighting issues, in helping to tell compelling stories.

The future does look bright in vr and immersive and interactive entertainment, even if we don’t quite know just what it ‘is’ yet. Certainly, vr content providers are doing everything they can to, as Jan Pinkava observes, “put tools out there for their collaborators — filmmakers — to make the things they know how to do. The whole purpose is then to make all this available to you, the audience.”

The post FMX Report #2: What The VR Future Holds appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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22. Slamdance 2016 Animation Selections Revealed

Get a preview of all the animated shorts coming to the 22nd edition of Slamdance next month.

The post Slamdance 2016 Animation Selections Revealed appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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23. Festival Review: New Chitose, The World’s Only Airport Animation Festival

Taking place entirely inside an airport terminal, New Chitose Airport International Animation Festival is a particularly refreshing festival that is not to be missed.

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24. GLAS Festival Announces International Jury, Henry Selick, and Installations (Exclusive)

The United States is about to get something that it hasn't had in many years: a world-class international animation festival.

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25. Annecy Animation Fest Announces 12-Part Spotlight on French Animation

The French animation festival will do something that it hasn't done before: honor French animation.

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