The Nicktoons Film Festival Announces

Screening 8–The "Glad That’s Not Me" Show

The Nicktoons Film Festival continues this Sunday with Screening 7, a selection of seven shorts that will definitely make you feel good about NOT being a cartoon character–way too overwhelming. A co-production of Frederator Studios and Animation Magazine for Nicktoons, The Nicktoons Film Festival airs on the Nicktoons cable channel Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. (EST) and 7:00 p.m. (PST), with a repeat at 1:00 p.m. (EST) and 10:00 p.m. (PST). The films featured in Screening No. 7–The "Glad That’s Not Me" Show are: Gruesomestein’s Monsters: Freddie and the Yeti by Canadian directors Mark Ackland and Riccardo Durante; PGi-13 from Korean visual effects animator Beom Sik Shim; Hero: 108 from Taiwanese game company Gamania Digital Entertainment; Josh W. Eats A Bug from award-winning commercial director Johnnie Semerad; Zoya The Zebra from Russian filmmaker Alexander Geifman; Doggie Door from comedian Ron Yavnieli; and Bottom of the 9th from Mark Nelson, an animator on the popular BIONICLE direct-to-video series from LEGO and Miramax.

The Nicktoons Film Festival:

Screening 8–The "Glad That’s Not Me" Show

Airdate & Time: Dec. 11, 2004, 10:00 p.m. (EST); 7:00 p.m. (PST), Nicktoons

Film #1: Gruesomestein’s Monsters: Freddie and the Yeti (Length: 5:00; Flash)–Filmmakers Mark Ackland and Riccardo Durante both graduated from Canada’s Sheridan College and went on to work with John Kricfalusi on his outrageous series, The Ripping Friends. Together, they created Gruesomestein’s Monsters for Nelvana’s Funpak project–so obviously these guys get along. We get along particularly well with the outlandish sense of humor they show off in this episode of Gruesomestein. In this mishap adventure, Freddie and his Dad head into the deep and snowy woods where they encounter a psychotic ranger hell bent on ridding his forest of the notorious beast. Now what did that nice Yeti ever do to him? (For more info on Mark Ackland and Riccardo Durante or the Funpack shorts e-mail [email protected].)

Film #2: PGi-13 (Length: 3:50; CG with 2D sequences)–According to award-winning filmmaker Beom Sik Shim, the title of his film is an acronym for "Parental Guidance suggested for the protection of children’s imaginations under the age of 13." Born in Korea, Shim majored in fine art at Chung Ang University. In addition to professional work in visual effects, Shim’s painting and video pieces have been on exhibit six times and these fine art references really come through in a strange and wonderful way in PGi-13. Think magical realism but with an Asian bent, add a dash of William Gibson and Dr. Seuss and you have a taste of this peculiarly compelling film. As for those odd teabags? Shim says, "After dinner one evening I became suspicious of the tea I was about to put into a steaming cup of water. What exactly was hidden in that foggy bag? Was it just the ordinary dried leaves of the box’s friendly illustrations? I wondered if it might be something much spookier." (You can find out more about Beom Sik Shim by visiting www.shimbe.com.)

Film #3: Hero: 108 (Length: 5:00; Flash)–This week we’re excited to air work from the stylish development team of Taiwan-based house Gamania Digital Entertainment. A huge firm dedicated to massively multi-player online games, Gamania boasts a small in-house group of renegades dedicated to one task–creating cool characters that move. Led by managing director Pongo Kuo, this team of a dozen artists came up with Hero:108, a story about a topsy-turvy world in which animals have displaced the humans in society. In this introductory piece, based on the ancient Chinese manuscript, The Water Margin, 108 heroes band together to set the world right. Kuo explains that "the heroes each have their own specific and rather zany power," and, of course, we thought that was cool. To be honest though, we really liked the fact that they all ride turtles that run on armored-car tracks. (To find out more about Gamania’s games and animation go to www.gamania.com.)

Film #4: Josh W. Eats A Bug (Length: 1:20; Traditional Animation)–A graduate of Pratt Institute, filmmaker Johnnie Semerad is president and creative director of New York City-based commercial and vfx house Quiet Man. While balancing the needs of clients like HBO, Pepsi and Fox Sports with his life at home, Semerad came up with the character Josh W. "Instead of reading bedtime stories, my daughters Emma and Dara and I make them up together. Actually, Emma and Dara make them up and I just listen." By listening to his young ones and the clever set-ups they created, Semerad started animating their character Josh W. and his hapless and quite lovable life challenges. Josh W. shorts have won several film festival awards. (To find out more about Johnnie Semerad, go to www.quietman.net.)

Film #5: Zoya The Zebra (Length: 3:00, 2D animation)–Filmmaker Alexander Geifman has trained with some of the greatest animators of the world and worked in more exotic countries than most of us will see in a lifetime. He started his career in the animation department of the Kievnauchfilm studio in Kiev and later studied animation at the Pilot School of Animation in Moscow with legendary Russian animator Igor Kovalyov. Geifman worked for many years in Israel as a character animator and director and has served as creative director at Le Toon Filmes in Brazil since 1997. He explains that his vibrant short, Zoya The Zebra, is an homage to Op Art visionary Victor Vasarely. Drawn to the optical patterns of this movement, Geifman plays with all kinds of stripes–zebra stripes, tiger stripes, the stripes of a sailor suit–with rare whimsy. Says Geifman, "The name Zoya is a common Russian girl’s name, but it also comes from the Greek word zoo, which means life." (You can contact Alexander Geifman through his producer Ilana Braia, [email protected])

Film #6: Doggie Door (Length: 4:00; Traditional Animation)–CalArts grad Ron Yavnieli says that his film, Doggie Door, is the answer to a personal challenge. "Zog the dog, the main character in Doggie Door, was actually a minor character in a comic strip I created while I was at CalArts. My friends really encouraged me to make him a main character and try making a classic ‘40s style cartoon like a Bugs Bunny or a Tom & Jerry. I’d tried to make a funny cartoon before but never to my satisfaction." Doggie Door–the story of an overweight pooch and his very small door–is definitely a triumph for the gifted comedian that is Yavnieli. In addition to freelance work in character design and Flash animation, Yavnieli also performs regularly as a puppeteer and an actor. (To find out more about Ron Yavnieli and his sense of humor go to www.ronimation.com.)

Film #7: Bottom of the 9th (Length: 3:30; CG animation created in Alias’ Maya)–Think of the most annoying and embarrassing predicament you can and you’ve got the premise for filmmaker Mark Nelson’s hilarious Bottom of the 9th. Says Nelson, "While taking care of some personal business, I made the startling discovery that I was short on the supplies needed to finish the job. To take my mind off my misery, I decided that my situation would make a good short and I began to think of how I should construct the story. As for me, well … a few coffee filters later I emerged with a film idea and a stronger appreciation for the softer things in life." Okay, we’re assuming that you’re now feeling confused, curious or downright worried. To find out what the "softer things in life" might be, you’ll have to tune in this Sunday. We guarantee you’ll sympathize! Nelson’s credits include Maya animation work for an ESPN video game and the BIONICLE direct-to-video series. (To find out more about Mark Nelson go to www.markjnelson.com.)