News Bytes: VIEW Oscars Panel, ‘Strays’ 2D Segment, New ‘NARAKA’ Short, Arnesen Joins Two Daughters & More

VIEW Conference will present a free virtual panel with the directors and producers behind this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Feature. Scheduled for Weds., March 1 at 9 a.m. PST and moderated by Animation Magazine editor-in-chief Ramin Zahed, the discussion features:

  • Guillermo del Toro and Mark GustafsonGuillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
  • Domee ShiTurning Red
  • Joel CrawfordPuss in Boots: The Last Wish
  • Chris WilliamsThe Sea Beast
  • Dean Fleischer CampMarcel the Shell with Shoes On

“What an incredible line-up of nominees we have for this year’s Oscar for Best Animated Feature,” says Conference Director Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez. “I am proud that VIEW Conference is bringing together the filmmakers for a free virtual discussion, to share their passion and creative energy with a worldwide audience. I urge everyone with an interest in animation to register for the event now — you won’t want to miss it!”


Strays animated sequence
Strays animated sequence

Universal Pictures today unleashed the red band trailer for its live-action, R-rated cur comedy Strays. While the digitally augmented talking dogs voiced by Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher and Randall Park are the stars of the spot, the preview did include a a snippet from a mycologically enhanced segment in which Fisher’s Aussie Shepherd character Maggie is hallucinated in 2D, while Park’s Great Dane Hunter is transformed into a sock puppet.

Directed by Josh Greenbaum (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar) and written by Dan Perrault (American Vandal), Strays centers on an ill treated Border Terrier (Ferrell) abandoned by his dirtbag human (Will Forte) who teams up with a pack of independent strays to get revenge. In theaters this summer.


Final Frontier Entertainment announced the creation of another animated short for Netease’s martial-arts-driven battle royale game, NARAKA: BLADEPOINT. The latest 2D film serves as a launch piece for the game’s new Chapter, Showdown – Gelid Yushan, and a new PvE game system. Animated in Le Cube’s signature dynamic style with fluid transitions, the action is reminiscent of anime, but choreographed with the moves and sequences distinct to Wuxia-style sword-craft.

The film centers on fan favorite heroine, Viper Ning, as she faces off against the demonic Mother of Kunlun, in an enormous and cavernous temple. Ning seems destined for defeat before lifelong rival blade master, Justina Gu, emerges to fight by her side, the ensuing battle intercut with flashbacks to the protagonist’s complex past.

“To reflect the magnitude of this epic face off, I wanted there to be a palpable feeling of tension, that builds and intensifies until the final climax. There needed to be an oppressive atmosphere of terror, and the constant inescapable feeling of Ning’s struggle against a formidable opponent,” said director Ralph Karam.

“In terms of technique, we found a smart way to paint the background over a 3D structure and later animate it as a 2D asset. That helped us a lot to speed up the design process. Our experience producing the first film helped us to maintain aesthetic coherence this time round, especially with the fine ink and texture work, which ultimately gives the project its unique personality.”


Finn Arnesen
Finn Arnesen

Award-winning animation producer and IP company Two Daughters Entertainment announced the appointment of Finn Arnesen as Chief Operating Officer. In this new position, Arnesen is charged with executing the creative and commercial strategy to accelerate growth across the expanding portfolio of IP and increasing revenue across all lines of business. Arnesen will report to CEO and company founder James Reatchlous.

With a career spanning 25+ years, Arnesen spent 10 years at US toy giant Hasbro as Senior VP of Global Distribution and Development, Hasbro Studios, where he oversaw the global expansion of entertainment properties including My Little Pony and Transformers. He also spent 16 years at Cartoon Network developing and launching original IP including The Amazing World of Gumball and mixed-media game show Skatoony, co-productions The Cramp Twins and Robotboy, and launching channels in Europe and internationally.

The studio’s animated property Moley is scaling up internationally, with the series so far available in over 140 countries in 30 languages on Boomerang (Warner Bros. Discovery) and free-to-air channel POP (U.K.), with expansion into the U.S. and licensed product partnerships to be announced. Two Daughters Entertainment is also developing three new properties which will begin to roll out over the coming year.

“I am delighted to join Two Daughters at this time of expansion and to work with James to build on the success he has had thus far with Moley, and the amazing story behind its creation,” said Arnesen. “The company has solid investment and a dynamic business model, so I am looking forward to playing my part in growing this business and bringing engaging and entertaining IP to global kids and family audiences.”



The Pinkfong Company‘s latest 3D animated hit series Sealookstarring a gang of wacky, lovable and adventurous arctic seals, has reached an impressive YouTube milestone: As of February 6, the dialog-free series produced in partnership with Million Volt (founded by the creators of Larva) has reached 100,000 subscribers, 10 million total views and 250,000 hours of viewing within two months of its launch on the platform.

Sealook has found particular success with Gen Z and Millennial viewers on YouTube, with the 25-34 demo accounting for 40% of its audience and 18-24 making up 22%. The show’s top markets are the U.S., U.K., South Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. The playful slapstick comedy has gone on to attract more than 160,000 followers and 2.3 million views on TikTok as of Feb. 6.

Sealook follows a group of seals with different looks and personalities on comedic adventures through a peaceful, cold land covered by ice. Centering on the tagged seals observed in a wildlife sanctuary, each episode spotlights different seals navigating life’s strange and silly challenges in fun and heartwarming ways. New episodes debut every Thursday and Saturday on YouTube.


ALIBI Music, a leading provider of music and sound effects for the film, television, videogame, advertising and streaming industries, has released three new albums for use in anime series/films, games and game trailers. Each offers expertly structured tracks for syncing, as well as numerous stems and alt versions that offer editors maximum versatility.

“With a growing number of series and games released each year, the need for quality music has never been greater,” said Kent Carter, ALIBI’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, who is also an avid gamer and composer. “From our perspective, it’s about providing content/game creators and their marketing teams with the tools they need to create immersive and engaging experiences for players. Whether you’re looking for high-energy action tracks or dramatic, emotional music, these albums have it covered.”


  • Anime Action (11 tracks, 457 audio files, Listen)
    This vibrant, energetic collection of rock tracks takes inspiration from some of the most iconic and beloved anime intro themes. Leaping effortlessly between rock, metal and jazz fusion, you’ll find everything from shredding guitar solos and crushing metal riffs to poppy choruses, glitched-out breakbeats and big-band horns, creating an eclectic and instantly recognizable sound. Three of the tracks also include full Japanese-language vocals.
  • Dark Heroic Drama 3 (13 tracks, 601 audio files, Listen)
    An expansion of ALIBI’s masterfully crafted series of brooding, epic trailer albums, this album focuses on bombastic heroic brass and horns driven by tense staccato strings and underpinned by thunderous taikos and cinematic drums. These cues also include ultra-modern hybrid synths and sound design, with ethereal intros building into a suspenseful climax.
  • Cinematic Hybrid 2 (11 tracks, 533 audio files, Listen) This triumphant, epic and soaring collection of rousing modern trailer tracks is the next iteration of another successful ALIBI album. Combining traditional trailer orchestration such as staccato strings and ripping brass with razor sharp signature synth sounds and bass pulses, each song sets a scene with mysterious ambience before ramping up the tension with ticking and pulsing before exploding into anthemic heroic finales.

Recent projects utilizing ALIBI Music include the trailers for high-profile video games such as Forspoken (Accolades), Call of Duty (Vanguard), Summoners War Chronicles, Gotham Knights (Nightwing), The Elder Scrolls Online (High Isle) and Godfall (Faire & Darkness).



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