The Independent Film Channel (IFC) premieres its first original animated series tonight, Aug. 19, at 10 p.m. The comedy is part of the cablers all-new Friday night line-up, which also includes the return of Greg the Bunny and the ensemble comedy The Festival.
Writer/director/producer Bob Balaban, who appeared in Christopher Guests improvisational films Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, brings a touch of Guests style to Hopeless Pictures, an animated show about a dysfunctional independent film studio. Fellow Guest favorite Michael McKean voices the role of Mel Wax, the troubled studio head who named the entity after his deceased parents, Hope and Les.
Balaban voices the role of Mels idiot nephew and head of production, while Friends star Lisa Kudrow plays his vengeful soon-to-be ex-wife. Jonathan Katz from the brilliant-but-cancelled animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Psychiatrist, returns to familiar ground as Dr. Stein, Mels inept shrink. Guest stars will include real Hollywood players including directors Nora Ephron, Rob Reiner and Paul Weitz.
The animation for the series is produced by New York-based Worlds Away under the direction of Kim Lee. Lees team relied on 3ds max to deliver the project under a very tight budget.
Hopeless Pictures has been garnering positive reviews and should find an audience among IFCs industry-savvy hipster viewers. The show will air Fridays at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., with encore presentations Tuesdays at 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Greg the Bunny, which got its start on New York public access before being picked up for interstitials on IFC in the late 90s, went on to become a FOX sitcom that ran for one season. Back on IFC, hand puppets Greg and Warren the Ape try to forget their cancelled sitcom by starring in five- to 12-minute film parodies. Created by Dan Milano, Spencer Chinoy and Sean Baker, the show is produced by Moxie Pictures.