‘Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- the Movie: Mugen Train’ Wins Japan Academy Prize
The 44th Japan Academy Film Prize voters elected to name ufotable’s box-office obliterating anime feature the first ever franchise title to win its award for Animation of the Year. Also nominated were Violet Evergarden: The Movie (Kyoto Animation), Poupelle of Chimney Town (Studio 4°C), Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (Bones) and Stand By Me Doraemon 2 (Shirogumi/Robot Comm./Shin-Ei). Mugen Train will get a NorAm release next month through Aniplex of America and Funimation.
HwaHwa Studio Taps Jon Rosenberg to Rep ‘Meoshi World’
The Korean studio behind the colorful IP has retained publishing industry veteran Jon I. Rosenberg of Jokar Productions to represent the publishing and development rights to the three books for the U.S. and LatAm — the popular entertainment property that draws on the Asian mythology of ghosts and monsters. Since it was first introduced in Korea in 2019, Meoshi World has become a sought after property in Korea and is creating strong interest around the world, with its characters, K-Pop music influence and unique stories.
Meoshi World is about a young girl, Jimin, who moves to Korea from a city in the West, when her grandmother dies, and her mother decides to move back to her original childhood home. It is in her grandmother’s house that Jimin first encounters the ghosts and monsters along with the powerful guardian, celestial cat-being/sometimes gentle kitten, Meoshin. She also befriends a ghost “nerd” neighbor boy, Hoon, who is uncannily obsessed with that mysterious world.
Ann Arbor Film Festival Inaugurates Experimental Animation Award
The $500 award recognizes the piece that most successfully showcased the use of experimental processes, forms and topics. The prize is established by Deanna Morse in memory of Erik Alexander. Morse, VP of ASIFA and recently invited into AMPAS, has produced, directed and animated more than 50 award-winning short film poems about humanity’s connection to the environment. The festival is taking place online March 23-28 (aafilmfest.org).
RTS NI Student Television Awards Nominees
The Royal Television Society Northern Ireland revealed the contenders for the 8th annual awards, supported by Northern Ireland Screen and the Department for Communities. The ceremony will be held online Wednesday, March 24 at 7 p.m. GMT. The Animation nominees are:
- Antisocial Behaviour: Lyndsay Clarke and Phillip Steele, Northern Regional College, Coleraine.
- The Forlorn Piscator: Matthew McGuigan, Ulster University, Belfast.
‘Squared Zebra’ Wins Reed Midem-Backed Award at Suzdal
The 2D animated preschool series produced by SMF Studio in collaboration with Channel One World Television Network was named ‘Animated Series with the Highest International Potential’ at the 26th Open Russian Animated Film Festival. Backed by the leading content market organizer, the prize includes accreditation for MIPJunior (Oct. 9-10) and MIPCOM (Oct. 11-14) in Cannes. Squared Zebra centers on a zebra with unusual coloring who nevertheless makes friends with a cheerful company of different jungle creatures. The show premiered on Karusel in June 2020; ;Cyber Group Studios is producer and distributor of the international version.
Russian Animation Sells at EFM
Speaking of Russian toon successes, the national contingent reports a number of international sales secured for various feature and series projects at the recent European Film Market. (Read more about these titles here.)
- Wizart Animation saw strong interest in The Warrior Princess and The Snow Queen 5 from buyers in Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, France, Portugal, Argentina, and the U.K.
- Riki Group launched international sales for its upcoming CG comedy feature Finnick, catching the eye of distributors in the Baltics, Latin America, France and Spain.
- SMF Studio (Soyuzmultfilm) attracted buyers from Germany, France, Bulgaria, Turkey, Argentina and the U.S. with its projects The Alpine Campaign, The Formula for Water and The Golden Beehive.
- Paravoz Animation Studio struck up negotiations with potential partners in France and the U.K. for its projects Spaceport and Amazing Cafe.
Wow Kidz Action Earns YouTube Diamond Play Button
Following sister channel Wow Kidz, WKA becomes the second channel run by India- and Singapore-based animation powerhouse Cosmos-Maya to earn the accolade, bestowed on channels that surpass 10 million subscribers. The Wow Kidz network of channels now boasts 38 YouTube Creator Awards (25 Silver, 11 Gold and two Diamond). Wow Kidz Action has seen immense growth in just over three years, hitting 30 billion views across its collection of homegrown and internationally acquired titles, including Vir: The Robot Boy, Rollbots, Hotwheels, Robinhood, Gattu The Power Champ and Gormiti.
Sony Talent League by THU Grand Winner Revealed
After 10 weeks of mentorship from the likes of David OReilly, Kim Jung Gi, Phil Lord & Chris Miller and Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the three finalists were narrowed down to one winner: “Togather”, led by Founder & Creative Director Dilruba Tayfun, and members of her team, based in Amsterdam: Assistant Creative Director Ruben de Haas, and UX Designer & Researcher Marie-Claire Springham. Togather is a platform where anyone can make and share their custom digital brushes inspired by real-life objects. (togather.fun)
TV and streaming sales recap:
- Winsing‘s Team S.T.E.A.M.! recently premiered on RTV (Indonesia) and Hong Kong PCCW’s VOD Now TV, soon to launch in Malaysia, Brunei, NorAm, etc. GOGOBUS S4 coming soon to Indonesia; Astro airing S3. New series GG Bond: Undersea Journey debuted in China in February.
- Animaccord inked a deal with German free-to-air KiKa for Masha and the Bear musical season Masha’s Songs and spinoff Masha’s Tales, to air weekdays starting April 12 and April 26. The channel will also air classic Masha in 4K and will premiere new musical spinoff Nursery Rhymes.
- Monster Ent. sold exclusive U.K. free to air rights to The Day Henry Met seasons 3 and 4 (from Wiggleywoo) to ITV for its littleBe pre-k block, to debut this summer. S4 has also been picked up by RAI (Italy) and TFO (Canada), while S1-3 have been renewed by Kids Stream (U.S.), Azoomee (multiple territories) and global kids’ streamer Noggin.
- Moonbug Ent. announced a partnership with POPS Worldwide to bring 150 episodes of global phenom CoComelon to viewers (new eps. get a six month exclusivity window) as well as episodes in English and Vietnamese of Blippi, ARPO, Gecko’s Garage, Go Buster, Little Baby Bum, Toddler Fun Learning and My Magic Pet Morphle.
- Mondo TV presold its new 3D CGI Grisu series to Rai Ragazzi, granting rights for seven years from date of completion for free TV, pay TV, pay per view, VOD and ancillary rights for Italy. the 52 x 11′ series is due in the second half of 2022.
- Beyond Rights acquired international distribution (exc. Italy and Spanish-speaking territories) for Nina & Olga (52 x 7′) from Enanimation and Mondo TV Producciones Canarias in partnership with Rai Ragazzi. The series will premiere on RaiPlay and Rai Yoyo later this year.
- Future Today has launched an omni-platform streaming channel dedicated to Pinkfong / Baby Shark — entirely free, COPPA compliant channel built and managed on FT’s end-to-end suite of cloud-based streaming tools, available now on every major streaming platform.
More headlines that caught our eye:
- Savannah author turns Black, queer coming-of-age story into animated film ‘Pritty’ (Savannah Now)
- ‘The Spine of Night’ is the gory animated fantasy epic of your wildest dreams (Gizmodo)
- Franklin-based ‘VeggieTales’ co-creator pursues new animation project (Williamson Herald)
- MDEC calls for submissions for PRISMA grants worth up to RM50,000 per company in boost for the creative contents industry (Malaysia Digital Economic Corporation)
- International animation experts to speak at Arts University Bournemouth (Arts University Bournemouth)
- American Documentary and Animation Film Festival virtual for 10th annual (Cision)