The whole world seems to be “list happy,” so how can I resist compiling a list of important happenings in NY Animation for our soon-to-be-departing year. If you notice any milestones missed, feel free to include them in the comments below. Wishing you all a happy, prosperous, and animated 2011!
–Wachtenheim/Marianetti tackled another set of Big Baby cartoons for CN.
–Animation Collective resurfaced in a downsized way with a new series “Jolly Rabbit,” mostly working with an offsite crew, as opposed to their productions of yesteryear which used to fill three Manhattan buildings.
-Brooklyn-based animator Alan Foreman created a virtual animation studio, organizing as an LLC, to tackle a major workload from PBS Kids,’ The Electric Company.
-NY Animation filmmaker/director/producer Ray Kosarin is enlisted to teach the History of Animation class at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Is it too late for me to enroll?
-Titmouse East, a major new studio founded by Chris and Shannon Prynoski, as an offshoot of their L.A. based studio, opens in Tribecca, throws some kick-ass parties, and raises the spirits of Big Apple animation. Early on their agenda? Season II of the Adult Swim series, Super Jail.
–Aaron Augenblick Studios, Inc. is the home of Comedy Central’s “Ugly Americans,” now in second season production.
–World Leaders is animating more shorts starring and based on the popular candy, Raisinetts, supervised by creative director Miguel Martinez-Joffre. Could a Goobers-based cartoon series be far behind?
-Diane Kredensor’s first children’s book, Ollie & Moon, is published with a release date for April next year.
-Sesame Workshop produces one of the cities largest animated projects of the year in Sesame English, employing a good chunk of our workforce, myself included.
–Emily Hubley created animated segments projected between scenes of the new play, Motherhood Outloud, which opened on the Hartford Stage in February.
-Talented locals, Fran Krause, Adam Rosette, Ian-Jones Quartey, and Dan Forgione became the latest to join the migration west, becoming talented locals of a different locale.
-Jen Oxley, parachutes out of Little Airplane (after a wildly successful 5-year residency as its creative director, serves on the Annecy jury, and scores her own preschool pilot for PBS Kids.
-Biljana Labovic ends her long residency as Bill Plympton’s producer and embarks on a series of interesting projects, including a role as producer on Dash (The Bottomless Belly Button) Shaw’s first animated feature, which is being produced out of Brooklyn.
-Dean Lennert lands funding to complete the animation on his long-running short film, Dear Anna Olson.
-Signe Baumane starts a winsome and confessional blog, and launches her first indie animated feature film production.
-Tatia Rosenthal (of the stop-motion feature $9.99 fame), expands her career horizons by writing her first solo live action feature screenplay, which was immediately optioned. She’s writing another script now!
-The Mayor’s Office of TV, Film, and Theatre express interest in helping to encourage the growth and continuity of NYC animation production. Good news, or don’t hold your breath? Place your bets now!
-Art director extradorinaire Mike Lapinski’s first comic book, Feeding Ground, a collaboration with artists Lang and Mangun, is published by Archaia Comics.
–The Rauch Bros., Mike and Tim, release three new remarkable StoryCorp films, which land mentions and articles in such august publications as The New York Times and New York Magazine.
-The Curious Pictures Nick Jr. production Team Umi-Zumi, goes on a planned year-long hiatus, starting at the end of this year, before rezuming with the production of Season Three.
-John Canemaker’s latest book, “Two Guys Named Joe,” cobbles together the life and art stories of Joe Ranft and Joe Grant. Somewhere, someone, gets the idea for the book “Two Guys Named Moe, The Moe Howard story,” or “A Tale of Two Stooges.”
-Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter’s lavish and whimsical short film, “Something Left, Something Taken” will be competing in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
-Debra Solomon’s new short was the half-hour HBO special “Getting Over HIm, in 8 Songs or Less,” a very personal/funny/warm mini-musical memoir. She followed this by creating the title sequence to the TV show “Running Wilde.” On both projects Debra was assisted by ASIFA-East’s own Katie Cropper.
-At the second edition of Midsummer Night Toons, an event founded by filmmaker Matt Lee, Mike Carlo debuts his new short “President of the Universe.” The event showcases work from some of this last decades most impressive (and in-demand) local animation talent, including: Ben Levin, Mike Carlo, Joe Cappabianca, Gary Doodles, and Al Pardo. Along with the longer-running Animation Block Party, this newer event is helping keep the sizzle in NY animation all summer long.
-Call this the year of Plympton! His latest feature “Idiots and Angels” played in select theatres around the country (and the world, including Russia), he wrote his first ever career documenting book (co-written by some fanboy), and his short “The Cow That Wanted to Be a Hamburger” made the short list for an Academy Award nomination.
–Buzzco’s Candy Kugel, debuted a new film “It’s Still Me!”, a guide for people with Aphasia, and was a jury member at this past summer’s Hiroshima International Animation Festival.
-Three (count ’em), three members of ASIFA-East’s executive board of directors have their first babiesâ€“â€“and all are boys. Congrats to all!
-The New York Times reports on the possibility of illegal internships at a New York Animation studio.
-Patrick Smith debuts his long-awaited new short “Masks” to a paying audience at the 92nd Street Y.
-Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) relocates its animation class to NYC for 8 weeks, under the supervision of talented animator/teacher (and soon to be author) Tom Gasek…touring local animation studios, attending ASIFA-East events, and planting lots of good seeds for the future.
-Producer Greg Ford is in production on director/animator Mark Kausler’s new short, a sequel to his 2004 film, “It’s the Cat.” The production, which is one of the few examples of animation finished on cells and shot on film features camera work by Larry Q and Adrian Urquidez.
-Jerry Beck’s latest book, 100 Greatest Looney Tunes, features commentary from such NY animation legends as Greg Ford, Michael Sporn, Linda Simensky, and J.J. Sedelmaier.
–Asterisk Animation, among its many projects this year, does the animation for David Grubin’s documentary “The Buddha,” which aired as a special on PBS.
-Blue Sky employee, Stephen Neary, puts his commute to good use and animates his upcoming short during his daily train ride.
-Indie stalwarts Patrick Smith and Bill Plympton launch a joint blog called “Scribble Junkies” and fill the year with from-the-hip reviews and commentary on their careers, influences, as well as musings on the state of the art form.
-Alan Foreman and Joel Frenzer launch their “Animation Forum” podcast on AWN.com, featuring chat with such animated guests as J.J. Sedelmaier, the Krause Brothers, Signe Baumane, and some joker who has his own blog called Animondays.
–J.J. Sedelmaier’s studio creates the signal film for the Ottawa International Animation Festival, and debuts a different variation of the film for each day of the festival.
-In December 2009, ASIFA-East presented a career-spanning retrospective of local legend John R. Dilworth’s work. Dilly followed that up with two more such events in 2010, one at the 92nd Street Y and one at the continuing “Animators Are God?” series at Brooklyn’s The Obvervatory.
-Not only does he have a possible “Boxhead and Roundhead” feature in the works, animator/filmmaker Elliot Cowan also snagged a series of teaching positions this year, enriching the staff of such schools as NYU, FIT, and UArts.
-Animator Justin Simonich directed his first live action spots, shooting segments for Sesame Street’s “Word on the Street” podcast.
-Cartoonbrew’s Amid Amidi, went into semi-seclusion after this summer, to finish the writing of an upcoming secret animation book.