News Bytes: Another Win for ‘Nuevo Rico,’ LEGO Movie World Sneak Peek, Rugrats Escape Room & More

Los Angeles Latino Int’l Film Festival Awards
LALIFF wrapped its 2021 edition combining in-person and virtual screenings, in addition to the premieres of the films by the fellows of Latinx Inclusion Fellowship sponsored by Netflix and its first-ever Animation Day, organized with LatinX in Animation and featuring an inaugural animated shorts program presented by Cartoon Network Studios’ Cartoon Cartoons. Kristian Mercado’s Nuevo Rico was named the festival’s first Best Animated Short Film jury prize winner (receiving a Toon Boom Storyboard Pro license).

The animation jury comprised Animag 2021 Rising Star Manny Hernandez (exec producer, Cartoon Network’s We Baby Bears), Doreen Spicer-Dannelly (EP & CEO, Spicerack Prod.) and Carlos Zaragoza (production designer, Sony Pictures Animation’s Vivo).

First Look: The LEGO Movie World

Everything is awesome at the latest LEGOLAND California Resort attraction ( The Carlsbad park has reopened after 13 months, and shared an exclusive BTS look at The LEGO Movie World to YourUpdateTV. Highlights of the newly launched zone include:

  • Emmet’s Flying Adventure (flying theater ride) – Join Master Builders on a triple decker flying couch, as cutting-edge technology transports you all over The LEGO Movie Surrounded by a full-dome virtual screen, you’ll feel like you’re flying through a world created completely from LEGO bricks!
  • UniKitty’s Disco Drop (drop tower) – This all-new ride will take you through a rainbow-filled journey based on Unikitty and her many moods. Swoop to the tiptop of Cloud Cuckoo Land, then drop, spin and bounce back down to earth in sync with Unikitty’s wide range of emotions!
  • Benny’s Play-Ship – Benny’s spaceship has landed right in the middle of Bricksburg! Play on this space-themed playground structure and get ready for takeoff!
  • Food & Beverage – Enjoy delicious homemade ramen, rice bowls and salads in the land’s premiere restaurant, Everything Is Ramen! After something sweet? You’re sure to be satisfied by Cloud Cuckoo Crepes. Finally, Benny’s Rocket Fuel offers a selection of drinks and snacks, including ice cream, popcorn, and slushies.

The Escape Game, ViacomCBS Celebrate ‘Rugrats’ 20th with LE Escape Room

The experience, Search for the Losted Toys, is designed to appeal to the now adult fans and use the show’s beloved characters, unique storytelling methods and visual style to create an immersive experience to remind nostalgic players why they fell in love with these babies three decades ago. Rugrats enthusiasts will be able to access the experience both in-person at The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, as well as virtually worldwide from June 18 through January 2, 2022.

Upon entering the game, “growed” up fans of Rugrats will learn Angelica has tricked the babies and hid all their favorite toys, including her beloved Cynthia doll. Players will “baldly go where nobaby’s ever gone before” with Tommy and the gang in a race against the clock to track down their beloved toys and save playtime before Grandpa Lou wakes up from his nap to discover them outside the playpen. Otherwise, they will be scooped up and toyless – maybe forever! (


BIAF2021 Names Ayumu Watanabe Jury President

The director of BIAF2020 Grand Prize winning feature Children of the Sea, who has already been tapped to create the official trailer and poster for the 23rd Bucheon Int’l Animation Festival, will also be leading the Korean toon confab’s esteemed jurors. Watanabe has directed numerous Doraemon theatrical movies, TV series Mysterious Girlfriend X, Space Brothers and After the Rain, and is credited with the original painting of Howl’s Moving Castle. BIAF2021 will be held in-person Oct. 22-26; short film submissions are due by the end of June, feature films by the end of July.

Ayumu Watanabe / Children of the Sea
Ayumu Watanabe / Children of the Sea

WATCH: Cartoon Network Honors Pride Month with ‘Drawn To Expression’

This new installment highlights inspiring LGBTQIA+ kids and families and the ways they express themselves and their individuality through creative outlets such as art, music and cooking. The participants featured in the episode aim to empower those around them by freely expressing who they are and sharing their experiences with others in the hopes of creating a more unified and inclusive community for all. The Drawn to Expression graphics were designed by L.A. based illustrator/designer Caleb Boyles.

WATCH: Marz’s ‘WandaVision’ VFX Reel for Vision

Check out the just-released reel from the VES Award-winning studio’s work on the breakout Marvel series for Disney+! Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ) is a tech company and VFX studio that focuses exclusively on premium TV. Some of their past projects include Watchmen, The Umbrella Academy, Siren, What We Do in the Shadows and The Expanse. (

Phill Lewis Reflects on Directing the ‘One Day at a Time’ Animated Episode Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
“I was coming from an actor’s perspective because I do a recurring voice on American Dad! and I did Special Agent Oso and some other stuff. Normally you have the actor in the booth, the producers and director on the other side of the glass, and you’re able to give notes quickly and effectively, and you can see their faces and they can express things to you. That was comforting as an actor,” says Lewis.

‘Legends of Tomorrow’: Caity Lotz on Directing the Very Animated Episode
“They actually do that a lot with the directors, giving them [an episode] that they think they’d be good at. My first one [‘Mortal Khanbat’] was like, ‘It’s fighting! John Woo…that’ll be great.’ But I don’t know why they were like, ‘Caity for the animation! episode!'” says Lotz, who also plays Sara Lance/White Canary on the show.

Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo Stilton

TV & Streaming:

  • Superights announces new deals for Geronimo Stilton (78 x 26′ / 3 seasons of 26 eps.), produced by Atlantyca and Superprod. Edye, HITN’s digital platform in Neutral Spanish, purchased SVOD rights for U.S. Hispanic and LatAm territories; Knowledge Network in Canada bought Free TV for S1 in addition to S2 and S3 previously acquired, as well as SVOD rights; and RTI, the Ivorian channel, acquired Free TV rights.
  • Boat Rocker Studios announced a further raft of global sales for its preschool hit Dino Ranch, which launched in January on Disney Junior (U.S.) and CBC (Canada). Leading free-to-air kids’ channel Cartoonito (Italy) and HOP (Israel) will launch the series in September; Poland national public service broadcaster TVP will air it on children’s channel TVP ABC starting in 2022; public broadcaster HRT (Croatia) will also launch the show in 2022 in its children’s timeslot Juhuhu and on the Juhuhu FVOD as well as a morning slot on HRT2; SVT (Sweden) has also acquired the show and joins previously announced NRK Norway, DR Denmark and YLE Finland to complete the Nordics (due to launch at end of 2021).
  • Peacock launches on Samsung Smart TVs on Tues., June 8. The app will bring 10s of 1000s of hours of on-demand movies and shows (including soon-to-debut The Boss Baby: Family Business) as well as live news and sports to millions of households across the U.S.
Dino Ranch
Dino Ranch

Event Updates:

  • Fest Anča 2021 will be held online July 1-4, streaming from Žilina to the Festhome platform. Participating films will be available to watch until July 11. “We’d been working hard on the festival all year, and since we wanted to do it just as planned, we opted to go online. We held back as long as we dared and hoped for brighter times, but even with the COVID alert system for cultural events we still couldn’t risk going live,” says Ivana Sujová, Fest Anča’s director.
  • New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival 2022 calls for submissions to the 25th anniversary edition of the Oscar-qualifying festival — North America’s largest such event dedicated to films for children and teens. NYICFF takes place Feb. 25-March 20, 2022. Regular deadline: Oct. 4, 2021.
  • Manchester Animation Festival 2021 calls for entries in its short, immersive, student and commissioned film competitions for the next event (Nov. 14-19, 2021). Submissions are free! Deadline: July 30, 2021.
  • The 2021 GLAS Animation Grant Cycle is increasing the number of grants, with two for $3,000 each and a new $6,000 grant to support the creation of independent shorts, supported by an anonymous donor and GKIDS; all three awardees will also receive a tablet from Wacom. U.S. filmmakers 18+ only. Deadline: August 1, 2021.
  • Brand Licensing Europe 2021 has opened entries for its License This! competition, which is this year introducing a new award category (Inventions & Product Innovation) to its existing two (Character & Animation, Brand & Design) and its expansion to the U.S. market via Licensing Expo Virtual (Nov. 17-19). Deadline: Oct. 11, 2021.


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