DreamWorks Animation has debuted new teasers for Dragons: The Nine Realms, which premieres on Hulu and Peacock streaming services Thursday, December 23. Set 1,300 years after the events of How to Train Your Dragon, dragons are now just a legend to the modern world … or so we think! The six-episode series is led by showrunner/exec producer John Tellegen and features the voices of Jeremy Shada, Ashley Liao, Marcus Scribner, Aimee Garcia, Julia Stiles, Lauren Tom, Keston John, Pavar Snipe, Justina Machado, Angelique Cabral, D’arcy Carden and Carrie Keranen.
Synopsis: When a geological anomaly opens up an immense, miles-deep fissure in the Earth’s surface, scientists from all over the world gather at a new research facility to study the mysterious phenomenon. Soon a group of misfit kids, brought to the site by their parents, uncover the truth about dragons and where they’ve been hiding — a secret they must keep to themselves to protect what they’ve discovered. Watch the other clips here and here, and read more about the show in Animation Magazine‘s feature story here.
Documentary, art-house and global cinema SVOD service OVID.tv is adding a slate of 26 titles to its streaming slate in January, including 10 exclusive streaming premieres. Those in the mood for Oscar-winning animated shorts from the National Film Board of Canada will want to make sure they are signed up before Friday, Jan. 21, when a number of works by some of Canada’s most celebrated animation filmmakers will arrive:
- Bob’s Birthday | David Fine and Alison Snowdon | 1993 | Surprise birthday parties can be risky. Especially when the guest of honour is turning 40! When Margaret plans a celebration for her husband, Bob, she underestimates the sudden impact of middle age on his mood. A witty, offbeat animated portrait of a frustrated dentist wrestling with the fundamental issues of life. Winner: Best Animated Short Film, 1994 Academy Awards.
- Every Child | Eugene Fedorenko | 1979 | This animated short follows an unwanted baby who is passed from house to house until he is taken in and cared for by two homeless men. The film is the Canadian contribution to an hour-long feature film celebrating UNESCO’s Year of the Child (1979). It illustrates one of the 10 principles of the Declaration of Children’s Rights: every child is entitled to a name and a nationality. Winner: Best Animated Short Film, 1979 Academy Awards.
- Neighbors | Norman McLaren | 1952 | McLaren employs the principles normally used to put drawings or puppets into motion to animate live actors. The story is a parable about two people who come to blows over the possession of a flower. Winner: Best Documentary Film, Short Subject, 1952 Academy Awards.
- Special Delivery | Eunice Macauley & John Weldon | 1978 | Ralph’s day gets off to a bad start when he dismisses his wife’s orders to clear the snow from the front walk. When he comes home and finds the mailman dead on his front stairs, Ralph attempts a massive cover-up with disastrous results. One dead mailman leads to a case of mistaken identity, a runaway bride and a very confused coroner. Life starts looking up for Ralph once he decides to stop worrying about it all. Winner: Best Animated Short Film, 1978 Academy Awards.
- Ryan | Chris Landreth | 2004 | Based on the life of Ryan Larkin, a Canadian animator who produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Ryan is living every artist’s worst nightmare — succumbing to addiction, panhandling on the streets to make ends meet. Through computer-generated characters, Landreth interviews his friend to shed light on his downward spiral. Some strong language. Viewer discretion is advised. Winner: Best Animated Short Film, 2004 Academy Awards.
- The Danish Poet | Torill Kove | 2006 | Kasper, a poet whose creative well has run dry, goes on a holiday to Norway to meet the famous writer Sigrid Undset. Kasper attempts to answer some pretty big questions: can we trace the chain of events that leads to our own birth? Is our existence just coincidence? Do little things matter? As Kasper’s quest for inspiration unfolds, it appears that a spell of bad weather, an angry dog, slippery barn planks, a careless postman, hungry goats and other seemingly unrelated factors might play important roles in the big scheme of things after all. Winner: Best Animated Short Film, 2006 Academy Awards.
- The Sand Castle | Co Hoedeman | 1977 | This short animated film features the sandman and the creatures he sculpts out of sand. These lively creatures build a castle and celebrate the completion of their new home, only to be interrupted by an uninvited guest. Cleverly constructed with nuance, the film leaves interpretation open to the viewer. Winner: Best Animated Short Film, 1977 Academy Awards.
Genius Brands International, Inc. in partnership with Spafax Inflight Entertainment,announced it has been selected by JetBlue to feature Kartoon Channel! content as part of its inflight entertainment experience. The partnership is expected to launch in January 2022 and includes a sampling of Genius Brands’ hit content, including:
- Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which has over 75 million views to date in its first season alone
- Rainbow Rangers, which has been broadcast in over 30 countries internationally, including Netflix, HBO MAX, Amazon, Pluto TV
- KC! Pop Quiz, featuring Casey Simpson, star of the hit Nickelodeon series “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn,” and major kid influencer across social media, with over 12 million followers
Italian entertainment powerhouse Rainbow Group has inked an exclusive agreement with the U.K.’s leading free-to-air preschool channel, CBeebies, to broadcast its new CGI animated series Pinocchio and Friends from early 2022. Based on Carlo Collodi’s novel, the 26 x 12′ action-comedy series is produced by Rainbow in collaboration with Rai Ragazzi and Toonz Media Group. Ignio Straffi’s new adaptation of the classic tale ranked as the most watched and top-rated show on Italian channel Rai Yoyo, which premiered the series in November. Pinocchio also made an appearance at the 78th Venice BIennale in September and enjoyed a simultaneous premiere at Lucca (Italy) and ITTV Festival (L.A.) in October.
The story begins in Papa Geppetto’s Shop of Wonders, the home of Pinocchio’s bunch of little heroes always ready to set off and explore the great outdoors! The funny and cheeky puppet is joined on his adventures by Freeda, a pirate doll always ready to board, and grumpy Talking Cricket, appointed by the Fairy with Turquoise Hair to keep an eye on them. Among old and new encounters, modern technology, and surprising twists, Pinocchio will draw the audience on a funny journey to the discovery of everyday little wonders and universal values such as inclusion, friendship and the power of dreams.
Award-winning content creation, distribution and licensing studio One Animation has secured a new deal with Sky Kids (U.K.) for its hit CG-animated series Oddbods, including rights for season three of the long-form series (60 x 8’) and the seasonal special The Festive Menace (1 x 23’). The new content launched on December 17. Previous seasons of Oddbods have been licensed by Turner (now WarnerMedia) as part of an EMEA wide deal, as well as ITV.
Oddbods is a three-time Emmy Award-nominated, non-dialogue comedy featuring seven adorable, highly unique pals. Together, despite their differences, they survive the perils of everyday life, unintentionally turning ordinary situations into unexpected, extraordinary, and always humorous events. The quirky, but totally charming, Oddbods celebrate individuality in a funny, warm, and unexpected way. After all, there’s a little odd in everyone!
MCN Animation series Kiko is taking its show on the road with an animated adventure in Japan’s cherry blossom-bedecked Tohoku Region, introducing tourism through North Japan to Indonesian audiences tuning into free-to-air station MNCTV. Combining CGI and live action, this new adventure is brought to life with the help of MNC Licensing, Creative Minds LLC, Yamagata Broadcasting and Tohoku Inbound Association, and will see Kiko and his friends visit a number of attractions, explore high-tech innovations and taste local delicacies.
Watch the heartwarming new music video for “Dream a Dream” featuring AGT’s Ndlovu Youth Choir release in support of the new YouTube Kids Original holiday special Super Sema “The Day of Dreams”.
Netflix announced additional casting for its live-action epic adventure Avatar: The Last Airbender, based on the beloved animated series from Nickelodeon. The series is currently shooting in Vancouver. Details on the new cast and the characters they will play:
- Elizabeth Yu (she/her; Untitled Ray Romano Film, All My Love) will play Azula, the intensely driven princess of the Fire Nation. A firebending prodigy and relentless perfectionist, she’ll stop at nothing to secure her position as the heir to the throne.
- Maria Zhang (she/her) will play Suki, the intimidating leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, an elite female fighting force dedicated to protecting their community and upholding the ideals of their namesake, Avatar Kyoshi.
- Tamlyn Tomita (she/her; The Good Doctor, Cobra Kai) will play Yukari, Suki’s mother and the fiercely protective mayor of her small village on Kyoshi Island.
- Yvonne Chapman (she/her; Kung Fu, Family Law) will play Avatar Kyoshi, a legendary warrior revered for her bravery, fearsome fighting skills and uncompromising dedication to the cause of justice.
- Casey Camp-Horinek (she/her, Barking Water, Reservation Dogs) will play Gran Gran, Katara and Sokka’s grandmother and the compassionate and wise matriarch of the Southern Water Tribe.
20th Century Studios’ VFX-fueled adventure-comedy Free Guy is heading to Disney+. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi, the movie will be available for all subscribers on February 23, 2022, following its August 13 theatrical release that has grossed over $330 million worldwide to date. Free Guy recently won a People’s Choice Award for The Comedy Movie of 2021 and received a Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Comedy.
In Free Guy, a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game decides to become the hero of his own story…one he rewrites himself. Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way…before it is too late. Directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn and a story by Lieberman.
Disney+ highlights for 2022 also include The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, Eternals, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Moon Knight and The Book of Boba Fett, continuing from its Dec. 29 premiere.