Helping you to discover feature-length (40+ minutes long) fully-animated films from around the world. Selections encompass all animation mediums, film genres, age groups, and maturity levels. Featuring many older, under-appreciated, foreign, independent, underrated, rare, obscure, cult, niche, historic, experimental, overlooked, and forgotten films.

Anonymous asked: Hello, I wonder if you would know a certain movie that I have forgotten the name of but would like to watch again. It is a foreign film revolving around a fair haired boy who is the last of his people, who can fly. It is set in some kind of war and in the end the boy is killed (shot) by some kind of army, while flying in the air holding the love interest. At the end it is shown that he is reunited with his people. It'd be great if you knew, thanks in advance!

My first guess is “The Boy Who Saw The Wind”

The complete film is on YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtaYqnhAZOI

Buena Vista Home Entertainment of Japan released the film on DVD. (Basically, Disney of Japan)

There are South Korean DVD copies of it on eBay for cheap. I cannot tell if they are bootlegged or not. Personally, I would not risk it.

I bought my DVD copy from Amazon.jp in 2012  : http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B00005HTQW/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My total with taxes & shipping came to $18.47 USD. A fine price to pay for knowing it’s not a bootleg!

Is this it? If not, please send me another message and I’ll keep thinking about it!

:^)

PM Me About Finding Movies! Even If You Already Have!!

Greetings Activists,

The Tumblr messaging system is draconian and a nuisance. I apologize if you have requested information about where to find a film and I did not respond. Or, if I told you I’d get you a copy of a film on DVD and then it never arrived at your doorstep. Please inbox me again so I can help you. I remember someone wanted “Heaven And Earth Magic”, someone wanted “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury”, and multiple people want “Foam Bath”. Anything else?

Please PM me again so that I can help you find these films or get you a copy. 90% of the films I post about I own. There’s a few I do not, but like the Holy Grail — I am trying to track them down. (there have been multiple requests for “Eden” — but this film is one of the few treasures I have not been able to locate on a disc.) I have paid thousands of dollars to legally acquire animated films on DVD and Blu-ray from around the world. It has not been easy and has required special favors from distributors, blindly navigating websites in languages I do not speak, and hours upon hours mining the deepest pages of Google search results. I want to help everyone see these films without having to put in the work I do. 

It’s positively dreadful that once I respond to you initially about a film request, your original message is lost, because now I cannot remember who asked for what anymore. Can you imagine responding to a text message or email and then the message you were responding to gets deleted? It’s chaotic. 

Also — I am going to begin updating again this week. I am sorry I have been so terrible at posting this year. School & work take it out of me and I only want to blog when I have the energy to have fun with it. Especially because some of the films I have shortlisted to post about next are so obscure, I’m going to have to rip all the images & video for the posts myself rather than gathering them from YouTube & Google Images. 

Thank you all for your interest in animation and sticking with me despite inconsistent posts — please don’t unfollow, because there’s more great animated feature films to come! (I’m so sad when people unfollow!)

P.S. follow my new handle @animationactivist on Instagram. I am going to begin posting there this week, in addition to Tumblr, and the films there will not always be ones that show up here. Exclusive content! :) 

Salma Hayek’s passion project — Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet

By Kaleem Aftab

"It’s unusual for Cannes to showcase a film that is not finished. But when the actress Salma Hayek is producing and wants to host an evening showcasing animation from a forthcoming adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, exceptions can be made. Published in 1923, The Prophet is a collection of 26 essays written by the Lebanese artist and philosopher on all aspects of life including children, death, eating, and marriage.

The US $12 million animation is being backed by the Doha Film Institute and will likely premiere in Doha later this year.

Cannes Interntional Film Festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux introduced the 47-year-old Hayek as a Mexican star, but she was quick to point out that it was her Lebanese heritage – and deep personal connection to the book – that fueled her desire to make this film.

“Thierry spoke about me being Mexican, but I would also like to speak about me being Lebanese,” said Hayak. “As a Lebanese woman I’ve been looking for a part to play where I could represent Lebanese or Arab women and in my very long career I’ve not been able to find a part playing an Arabic woman and this made me very sad. So when I had the opportunity to do this film, to me it was a way to write a love letter to this part of my heritage.

“A very long time ago, my grandfather, I was very close to my Lebanese grandfather. I’m sorry but I was his favorite, he adored me and we were very close. Unfortunately I lost him at the age of 6, but I used to see this little book at the side of his bed and I remember very well the cover and it was The Prophet. Of course I was not reading at the time, definitely not philosophy, and many years went by and when I was around 18 I found this book again, and to me it was as if my grandfather was teaching me about life through this book. Through this book I learned so much about this man I loved so much and I still do.”

The gathering over the weekend turned out to be one of the most magical evenings of the festival so far – and even featured the global superstar Gérard Depardieu as a surprise guest, reading an excerpt from the book. But the star of the evening was Hayek, who has recruited nine animators from around the world to animate different vignettes for the forthcoming film, bringing on The Lion King director Roger Allers to oversee the project.

Several of the directors were at the event to introduce first-time screenings of their footage.

The first director Hayek introduced was Allers, who has created the overarching animation that ties the whole film together. Describing his first experience of reading the book, he said: “When someone approached and said they are looking to make The Prophet into an animated film, I thought I have to do this, I have no idea of how I would adapt this book, but it did fall to me to provide a framework for these poems so that is what I’ve done. We have got all these animators from around the world, each with their own unique vision and style.”

He showed some footage of the film, which, unusually for modern times, was made in 2D, using hand drawing. It was after the footage ended that Depardieu made his surprise ­appearance.

Next stepped up Joan C Gratz, who won an Academy Award for her 1992 animated short film Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase. She spoke about her remarkable finger-drawing technique, which from the footage shown, resembles an impressionist painting.

Also showcasing elements were the American animator Bill Plympton, who worked on the death segment, and Paul and Gaetan Brizzi, the French animators who made the 1996 Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Although they did not have footage ready to show the crowd, the twins did reveal several storyboards they created as part of the process.

Liam Neeson, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina and Hayek are providing voices for the film.”

Read more at: http://m.thenational.ae/arts-culture/film-festvals/salma-hayeks-passion-project-kahlil-gibrans-the-prophet

Salma Hayek On Producing ‘Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet’

By Ramin Setoodeh

""I pulled it off through three years of not sleeping."

Growing up in Mexico, Salma Hayek remembered seeing the “The Prophet,” the bestselling book of 26 prose poems by Kahlil Gibran, on her grandfather’s nightstand. “I was very close to him,” Hayek recalled. “And to me, when I see the cover, I cannot think of anyone else but him. There’s a very special meaning for me with the book.”

In 2011, when the project came across her producing desk, Hayek immediately remembered how special the story was to her. She signed on to turn the material, which was first published in 1923, into a 2D-animated movie. After countless conference calls and financing deals, a work-in-progress version of the film will screen tonight, during a festival presentation created for the project.

“Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” which has a budget of $12 million, was a global effort in every way. Hayek recruited nine directors from around the world to animate and tell different vignettes from the book. She convinced “The Lion King” helmer Roger Allers to oversee the project and come up with an overarching narrative — about a young girl who befriends a poet in prison — to connect all the stories.

“I got the money without a script or director from various different places,” Hayek said in an interview with Variety prior to her Cannes premiere. The film was financed by the Doha Film Institute, Participant Media, MyGroup Lebanon, FFA Private Bank, Financiere Pinault and Code Red Prods. Wild Bunch is handling international sales at Cannes. Characters are voiced by Liam Neeson, John Krasinski, Quvenzhane Wallis and Hayek.

“I pulled it off through three years of not sleeping, an ulcer, and I think I lost half my life,” Hayek joked. “It’s not been an easy ride. You know what? I’m patient with myself now.”

Hayek, who produced “Frida” and the U.S. TV series “Ugly Betty,” said she takes on that role when a project deeply connects with her. “I don’t get passionate about something unless I have a vision that nobody else sees clearly.”

It was Hayek’s idea, for example, to allow each director the space to create a unique story without any restrictions. “The more different they are, the better, because it’s a surprise,” Hayek said. “You don’t know where you’re going to go next. There’s such a freedom with the film.”

She thinks “The Prophet” will play to both children and adult audiences — her 6-year-old daughter, Valentina, was touched by an early version of the film. “It’s a right time to make a movie like this,” Hayek said. “It’s extraordinary that there is a Lebanese author who brought religions together, and talked about peace and death in such a beautiful way.”

She’s excited to finally share “The Prophet” with the world, even if it’s not done yet.

“I worked really hard,” Hayek said. “Since I don’t have a distributor, I’m organizing the party, the screening, what’s going to be shown — everything. Even the poster.””

Read more at: http://variety.com/2014/film/news/cannes-salma-hayeks-the-prophet-is-a-passion-project-1201183871/

Salma Hayek sees ‘Prophet’ film as legacy

"CANNES, France — Salma Hayek says she chose to produce her latest film, "The Prophet," with her legacy in mind.

The Mexican filmmaker is a co-producer on the animated feature, a screen adaptation of Lebanese writer Khalil Gibran’s book of the same name. Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, where a section of the film was screened, Hayek talked about why she decided to take on the project.

“I find something that I want to say and I say it in a way and I do it,” she said in an interview Sunday. “I’m not thinking of my legacy normally. But this project I am thinking of my legacy for my child. It’s not how I choose what I produce but in this one in particular, yes.”

The poetry book on which the film is based was originally published in 1923 and has “sold more than 100 million copies around the world,” explains Hayek. “It’s very inviting for everyone, different religions, different ages,” she said.

She decided to make the movie animated because “visually you can do extraordinary things. There’s a lot of freedom to it.” The film is split into different chapters based on poems in the book. “I thought we could make a little story, a main story that within the story you could take journeys into someone’s imagination, and in this case, a little girl,” she said. “And so the film is very audacious because it has nine animators and they all have a completely different style, but it all feels like one film.””

Read more at: http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/people/2014/05/21/salma-hayek-sees-prophet-film-as-legacy

Salma Hayek premieres the first footage from her ambitious animated film ‘The Prophet’

By Drew McWeeny

"CANNES — One of the more unexpected events at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for me happened on Saturday night. I went to what I thought was going to be a screening, but which turned out instead to be a presentation hosted by Salma Hayek for the work-in-progress version of an animated anthology film based on "The Prophet," the internationally acclaimed book of poetry by Kahlil Gibran. Ultimately, we ended up seeing less than half of the film, but Hayek’s enthusiasm and the finished footage that we did get to see made a strong case for not only how much this film means to her personally, but also what a beautifully crafted experience the end result promises to be.

If you’re an animation fan, this is going to be a fascinating collection of voices and techniques from around the world, all in service of this beautiful, profound piece of work that has been punching holes in readers for fifty years now.

After being introduced, Hayek spoke about how she has made many films that have honored her Mexican heritage, but she’s spent her entire career looking for the right project to honor her equally-important Lebanese heritage. Finding a film that spoke to her as an Arabic woman was no simple prospect. Consider how hard it is to find a good script for a woman of any background, and then magnify that difficulty exponentially. When she finally made the connection and saw the potential in “The Prophet,” she set out to make what she considers a love letter to that side of who she is.

The book was a favorite of her grandfather’s when she was very young, and her grandfather was an important figure in her life. She lost him when she was six, and for years, she didn’t think of the book at all. Then at sixteen, she read it cover to cover, and she felt like he was speaking directly to her. She said that she hopes the film will speak to her own daughter, and that it will make a connection between where she came from and what she hopes to leave behind.

The film is a mix of gorgeously rendered 2D conventional animation, experimental techniques, and cutting-edge 3D computer work. The main wrap-around story is directed by Roger Allers, whose “The Lion King” is her favorite animated movie. Allers joined Hayek in front of the crowd to talk about his own experience with “The Prophet,” which he admitted does not immediately suggest a film adaptation.

When he was in college, he met a girl one afternoon, and they had one of those great days where everything clicked and the conversation seemed easy, and they ended up going back to her place. Instead of the punchline you’d expect from that story, what happened was she introduced him to “The Prophet,” and as they read the book together aloud, Allers had a life-changing experience. He suddenly felt connected to the world in a different way, part of something larger, and that feeling has been part of his daily experience ever since. When Hayek reached out to him, he considered it to be the hand of fate, and he signed on immediately, with no clear plan of how to accomplish the adaptation, but with the thrill of knowing how special it could be if they pulled it off.

The first segment that they showed is one of the earliest in the film. In it, we meet Mustafa (voiced by Liam Neeson, who seems to have been created specifically to read words this rich and moving), a poet and a painter who is evidently under some sort of house arrest. The woman who takes care of his house, voiced by Hayek herself, has a daughter named Almitra, who does not speak since the death of her father. Mustafa is obviously fond of the girl, and he’s actually playing a game with her in his office when she accidentally knocks over a cup of coffee onto his work and his lap. Her mother is mortified, but Mustafa tells her not to worry. He’s not upset, and he seems happy with the way the coffee washes across his painting.

As he speaks, the film drifts into the first segment of actual poetry from the book, which addresses the notion of freedom. It is a beautiful, abstract supplement to the words themselves, featuring striking imagery like human shaped bird cages, filled with birds of every hue, or another image of a whole flock of birds, all tied to a tree, who take wing and bring the tree with them. “Your children are not your children,” Mustafa says. “They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you.” He speaks of how we belong only to ourselves, and how a parent’s job is not to control their children, but to support them and to prepare them for the world. One of the most beautiful lines in that poem is “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth,” and the imagery that erupts from that line is both literal and also a way to visually articulate the infinite. “You may house their bodies,” he says, “but not their souls.”

The relationship between Mustafa and Amarita seems to be one of the driving forces of the movie, and the wrap-around material looks like the finest of the hand-animated Disney films in terms of character, performance, and the richly-imagined environments.

At the first break, Hayek brought in a special guest, Gerard Depardieu. I feel like seeing him address a room full of people in French at an event at the Cannes Film Festival may be the single most French thing I will ever do. Didn’t understand a word of it, and there was no translator, but Hayek was positively beaming the entire time. When he was done, she spoke again about how hard it’s been to make the film because of its unconventional nature, and how one of the main struggles has been trying to find a way to make all of these radically different styles blend into something that still feels like one complete film. Based on what we saw, I’d say they’ve accomplished at least that goal.

Joan C. Gratz was introduced next, and it was lovely to finally see this animation legend in person. She said she managed to live her whole life without being exposed to the book, and once she became involved with the film, she very quickly fell in love with it. Her technique involves the use of mixed media, paint and clay on a canvass, and she paints using a single finger, something I find mind-boggling when I see the end result of the work she does. She said it was important to her to use some of the imagery that appeared in various editions of the book over the years, including a very famous image of a hand with an eye in the palm. Her segment deals with work, and the idea that all work is noble, that we make the world better through our efforts, and at least as far as her work is concerned, I would say that is certainly true.

Next up was Bill Plympton, and anyone who knows his work probably thinks of him as a guy with a left-of-center sense of humor and a love for the weird. He came across as incredibly sweet and sincere during this presentation, though, and talked about his animation style, using simple colored pencil on paper, is the way he’s created images since he was a child, and he can’t imagine doing it another way at this point. His segment deals with the way we occupy a specific place on the food chain, specifically eating and drinking. “Since we must kill to eat and rob the young of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst,” Mustafa says, “let it be an act of worship.” I’m not used to seeing something this sweet and even spiritual come from Plympton, but it was a lovely fit for this film. “When you kill a beast, say to him in your heart, ‘By the power that slays you, I too am slain, and I too shall be consumed.” Abstract in that way that Plympton loves, with his images rolling by, sometimes repeating, it just washed over me.

The Brizzi Brothers came out after that segment, a pair of Italian filmmakers who worked for Walt Disney feature animation for a while. I would argue they created one of the best of the segments in “Fantasia 2000,” and for this film, they pulled double duty. They created the segment on death, but they also did over 700 storyboards for the film, helping establish a visual palette and a character style for the movie. We got to watch some of their animatics, just as an example of how much they were a part of the design of the film. Even in this raw form, what we saw was lovely and emotional, and they did such a great job of giving Almitra a sense of life in their work that I feel like this is going to be artistically ravishing from end to end, a reminder of just how broad a thing animation actually is.”


Read more at: http://m.hitfix.com/motion-captured/salma-hayek-premieres-the-first-footage-from-her-ambitious-animated-film-the-prophet

  • UPCOMING ANIMATED FEATURE:


"Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Blood: The Last Vampire) has announced that it is animating Hinako Sugiura’s acclaimed historical manga “Sarusuberi” with Annecy-winning director Keiichi Hara (Summer Days with Coo, Colorful). Production I.G describes the story, which will bear the English-language title Miss Hokusai:

'The time: 1814.

The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo. One of the highest populated cities in the world, teeming with peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and perhaps even supernatural things.

A much accomplished artist of his time and now in his mid-fifties, Tetsuzo can boast clients from all over Japan, and tirelessly works in the garbage-loaded chaos of his house-atelier. He spends his days creating astounding pieces of art, from a giant-size Bodhidharma portrayed on a 180 square meter-wide sheet of paper, to a pair of sparrows painted on a tiny rice grain. Short-tempered, utterly sarcastic, with no passion for sake or money, he would charge a fortune for any job he is not really interested in.

Third of Tetsuzo’s four daughters and born out of his second marriage, outspoken 23-year-old O-Ei has inherited her father’s talent and stubbornness, and very often she would paint instead of him, though uncredited. Her art is so powerful that it sometimes leads to trouble.

"We’re father and daughter; with two brushes and four chopsticks, I guess we can always manage, in a way or another."

Decades later, Europe was going to discover the immense talent of Tetsuzo. He was to become best known by one of his many names: Katsushika Hokusai. He would mesmerize Renoir and van Gogh, Monet and Klimt.

However, very few today are even aware of the woman who assisted him all his life, and greatly contributed to his art while remaining uncredited. This is the  untold story of O-Ei, Master Hokusai’s daughter: a lively portrayal of a free-spirited woman overshadowed by her larger-than-life father, unfolding through the changing seasons.’”

Miss Hokusai
[Japan]

http://productionig.com/contents/works_sp/95_/

nonsensology:

Just a little vent art.
Like everyone else, I am absolutely furious about how the Academy flat out disrespects animation. Here are countless artists and writers presenting you the work of their blood, sweat, and tears, and you don’t even bother to watch all of it and disregard it as 'kid's stuff'. How can you claim to represent motion picture art when you won’t even take one of the greatest innovative film techniques ever seriously.
How dare you.

If you were not aware, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members did not watch all the animated features nominated before voting for “Frozen” as Best Animated Feature of 2013 — because they could not be bothered with what they consider a film medium only for children. http://www.cartoonbrew.com/award-season-focus/definitive-proof-that-academy-voters-are-ignorant-about-animation-96680.htmlAnimation remains hopelessly in the shadow of live-action, and it’s unforgivable. If this blog attempts to prove one thing, it is that animation is not just for kids, but rather there are many feature-length animated films highlighting ontological, political, humanistic, existential, spiritual, philosophical, metaphysical, and sociological themes.If you read the post directly below this one, you will learn how the films that are submitted as potential contenders for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature each year are narrowed down to official nominations for voter consideration. A special committee or committees view all of the films submitted. Based upon their criteria for what counts as an “animated feature” they eliminate any film that does not contain enough animation to contend. The remaining films are rated and the 2 to 5 top-rated submissions become the official nominations. While this special animated feature film committee carefully reviews each submission to narrow down to nominations, once their duty is done, the task of selecting the overall winner is left to the Academy member body at large. After a select, specialized group narrows the submissions… ultimately any member of the Academy decides the yearly Best Animated Feature.
Even though the special committee takes their role of choosing the 2 to 5 nominations seriously, you may still notice a bias. Included in the post directly below this one is the list of every longform animation rver submitted, later nominated, and ultimately selected as the Best Animated Feature during the 13 years the category has been activated thus far.
As you read through the list of films for each year, you may notice that it is mainly the ‘big budget’ features from ‘brand name’ studios that are nominated for voter consideration by the special committee. Every year, animated features from smaller, independent, or foreign studios that may or may not be better than the official nominations (depending upon your tastes) are pushed aside for more recognizable films.

While it would be refreshing for the most prestigious film institution in the United States to treat animation as art and to give it due consideration equal to the attention live-action receives, perhaps this just is not the venue for animation awards worthy of your attention. Perhaps we should simply not care how the academy operates. Film festivals including the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Ottawa International Animation Festival are dedicated to the artform, and their selections for best animated feature each year are more reflective of films that push the boundaries of animation and advance the art.
Though the problem is not isolated to the Acadeny Awards. Since the dawn of this artform, it has struggled to be taken seriously — despite hundreds of animated features made for a mature audience in the last 97 years.
The very first feature-length animation “The Apostle”, which released in Argentina in 1917, was made as a satire of the current president — a political cartoon ala the daily newspaper, but brought to life through motion. It was not made for babysitting toddlers.However, while I do believe the fact voters admitted to either abstaining from voting or automatically electing “Frozen” speaks to a widespread bias and naïveté regarding animation, uninformed voting does not appear exclusive to animated film.
Read this passage from CinemaBlend about choosing “12 Years A Slave” as the Best Feature Film of 2013:"Two Oscar voters privately admitted to the L.A. Times that they voted for McQueen’s movie without even seeing it. They feared that actually watching the movie would be "upsetting," but confessed that they felt "obligated" to vote for the movie because of its "social relevance." (The quotes are from the Times’ piece, and not the words of the anonymous voters.)"
http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Two-Oscar-Voters-Admit-They-Didn-t-Watch-12-Years-Slave-Voted-It-Anyway-41981.html
So it is not just the Best Animated Feature category where voters neglect their duties.
But the difference between voters for these two categories is clear. Those who automatically selected “12 Years A Slave” for best picture did so because they felt the film was socially relevant. Those who automatically selected “Frozen” for best animation did so because they felt watching all 5 films in order to offer an informed vote was a waste of time as the films are for a younger audience.
This is why I am an Animation Activist — to combat the persistent misconception animation is only suitable for children.
Maybe if the Academy voters had actually watched “The Wind Rises” they would have realized how wrong they are about animation being for children. Although “Frozen” was worthy of the award, too, and was one of the more sophisticated Disney animated features to release in some time.
The real rub here is all 5 animated feature nominees were delivered to the voters on DVD for viewing before voting. There was no excuse to ignore this year’s crop of animated features!
"Ernest & Celestine" has been receiving critical acclaim — for its unique animation style and its charming, endearing story.Even if “Despicable Me 2” and “The Croods” are not as refined as the other three nominations, they are above-average films from a technical standpoint. Although, artist Jeff Koons wrote the following about “The Croods”: “The imagination of The Croods lies both in the mastery of animation and the spirit of humanity found within the story. The film emulates our world as it deals with the human condition and a realization that it’s not just about survival but transcendence. It’s human nature to strive for and find a greater purpose in life. As the Croods begin to grasp the power of ideas and analyze their own existence, they move from contemplating the present to the universe and beyond. As their experiences become richer, they begin to understand that there is a human responsibility, not just to one’s self and family, but to one’s community. It’s a beautiful moment of enlightenment as the family [in the film] experiences this growth and evolution. I walked out of the theater feeling that my family and I could feel a greater connection to what it means to be human and to face the challenges that we confront in being part of the ongoing story.”http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/02/10/jeff-koons-writes-love-letter-about-the-croods/

nonsensology:

Just a little vent art.

Like everyone else, I am absolutely furious about how the Academy flat out disrespects animation. Here are countless artists and writers presenting you the work of their blood, sweat, and tears, and you don’t even bother to watch all of it and disregard it as 'kid's stuff'. How can you claim to represent motion picture art when you won’t even take one of the greatest innovative film techniques ever seriously.

How dare you.

If you were not aware, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members did not watch all the animated features nominated before voting for “Frozen” as Best Animated Feature of 2013 — because they could not be bothered with what they consider a film medium only for children.

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/award-season-focus/definitive-proof-that-academy-voters-are-ignorant-about-animation-96680.html

Animation remains hopelessly in the shadow of live-action, and it’s unforgivable. If this blog attempts to prove one thing, it is that animation is not just for kids, but rather there are many feature-length animated films highlighting ontological, political, humanistic, existential, spiritual, philosophical, metaphysical, and sociological themes.

If you read the post directly below this one, you will learn how the films that are submitted as potential contenders for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature each year are narrowed down to official nominations for voter consideration. A special committee or committees view all of the films submitted. Based upon their criteria for what counts as an “animated feature” they eliminate any film that does not contain enough animation to contend. The remaining films are rated and the 2 to 5 top-rated submissions become the official nominations. While this special animated feature film committee carefully reviews each submission to narrow down to nominations, once their duty is done, the task of selecting the overall winner is left to the Academy member body at large. After a select, specialized group narrows the submissions… ultimately any member of the Academy decides the yearly Best Animated Feature.

Even though the special committee takes their role of choosing the 2 to 5 nominations seriously, you may still notice a bias. Included in the post directly below this one is the list of every longform animation rver submitted, later nominated, and ultimately selected as the Best Animated Feature during the 13 years the category has been activated thus far.

As you read through the list of films for each year, you may notice that it is mainly the ‘big budget’ features from ‘brand name’ studios that are nominated for voter consideration by the special committee. Every year, animated features from smaller, independent, or foreign studios that may or may not be better than the official nominations (depending upon your tastes) are pushed aside for more recognizable films.

While it would be refreshing for the most prestigious film institution in the United States to treat animation as art and to give it due consideration equal to the attention live-action receives, perhaps this just is not the venue for animation awards worthy of your attention. Perhaps we should simply not care how the academy operates. Film festivals including the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Ottawa International Animation Festival are dedicated to the artform, and their selections for best animated feature each year are more reflective of films that push the boundaries of animation and advance the art.

Though the problem is not isolated to the Acadeny Awards. Since the dawn of this artform, it has struggled to be taken seriously — despite hundreds of animated features made for a mature audience in the last 97 years.

The very first feature-length animation “The Apostle”, which released in Argentina in 1917, was made as a satire of the current president — a political cartoon ala the daily newspaper, but brought to life through motion. It was not made for babysitting toddlers.

However, while I do believe the fact voters admitted to either abstaining from voting or automatically electing “Frozen” speaks to a widespread bias and 
naïveté regarding animation, uninformed voting does not appear exclusive to animated film.

Read this passage from CinemaBlend about choosing “12 Years A Slave” as the Best Feature Film of 2013:

"Two Oscar voters privately admitted to the L.A. Times that they voted for McQueen’s movie without even seeing it. They feared that actually watching the movie would be "upsetting," but confessed that they felt "obligated" to vote for the movie because of its "social relevance." (The quotes are from the Times’ piece, and not the words of the anonymous voters.)"

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Two-Oscar-Voters-Admit-They-Didn-t-Watch-12-Years-Slave-Voted-It-Anyway-41981.html

So it is not just the Best Animated Feature category where voters neglect their duties.

But the difference between voters for these two categories is clear. Those who automatically selected “12 Years A Slave” for best picture did so because they felt the film was socially relevant. Those who automatically selected “Frozen” for best animation did so because they felt watching all 5 films in order to offer an informed vote was a waste of time as the films are for a younger audience.

This is why I am an Animation Activist — to combat the persistent misconception animation is only suitable for children.

Maybe if the Academy voters had actually watched “The Wind Rises” they would have realized how wrong they are about animation being for children. Although “Frozen” was worthy of the award, too, and was one of the more sophisticated Disney animated features to release in some time.

The real rub here is all 5 animated feature nominees were delivered to the voters on DVD for viewing before voting. There was no excuse to ignore this year’s crop of animated features!

"Ernest & Celestine" has been receiving critical acclaim — for its unique animation style and its charming, endearing story.

Even if “Despicable Me 2” and “The Croods” are not as refined as the other three nominations, they are above-average films from a technical standpoint. 

Although, artist Jeff Koons wrote the following about “The Croods”: “
The imagination of The Croods lies both in the mastery of animation and the spirit of humanity found within the story. The film emulates our world as it deals with the human condition and a realization that it’s not just about survival but transcendence. It’s human nature to strive for and find a greater purpose in life. As the Croods begin to grasp the power of ideas and analyze their own existence, they move from contemplating the present to the universe and beyond. As their experiences become richer, they begin to understand that there is a human responsibility, not just to one’s self and family, but to one’s community. It’s a beautiful moment of enlightenment as the family [in the film] experiences this growth and evolution. I walked out of the theater feeling that my family and I could feel a greater connection to what it means to be human and to face the challenges that we confront in being part of the ongoing story.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/02/10/jeff-koons-writes-love-letter-about-the-croods/

(via sotiris2006)

Best Animated Feature Academy Award





This past Sunday, March 2, Disney’s musical fantasy “Frozen” was bestowed with the honor of Best Animated Feature Film of 2013 at the Academy Awards.

Disney’s Frozen has also crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box-office, becoming only the second animated feature in history to achieve that milestone after fellow Disney/Pixar title “Toy Story 3”. Not adjusting for ticket-price inflation, Frozen is the second-highest-grossing animated feature ever. It could reach number one yet, as the movie has one key foreign market remaining in which to release: Japan.

The animated hit is the 18th film (animated and/or live-action) to ever reach $1 billion worldwide.

In honor of the recent Oscars, I have compiled a list of every animated feature ever submitted, nominated, and selected for the Best Animated Feature Film category.

Every year, more films are submitted than eventually become nominated by a selection committee… and of course, there can only be one winner!

If you want to learn more about the selection process, keep reading… otherwise, scroll down a little and you will find the list of every submission, nomination, and winner for the Academy Awards’ Best Animated Feature category.

The Best Animated Feature category was created in September 2000, by the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which voted December 11, 2001 to present it for the first time in March 2002. Prior to this, the last time a new Academy Award category had been established was in 1981, when the Best Makeup award was created.
 
Prior to this, other landmarks in animation were honored through other categories. At the 68th Academy Awards (1996 film releases) a Special Achievement Award was granted to John Lasseter, “for his inspired leadership of the Pixar ‘Toy Story’ team, resulting in the first feature-length computer-animated film.” At the 64th Academy Awards (1991 film releases), “Beauty and the Beast” competed as one of the five Best Picture nominees. Also, animated films have often been nominated in the categories of Original Score, Original Song, and Sound.

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an animated feature film is defined as a motion picture with a running time of more than 40 minutes, in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique. Motion Capture by itself is not an animation technique. In addition, a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time. At least eight eligible animated features must have been theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year for this category to be activated. Films submitted in the Animated Feature Film category may qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they comply with the rules governing those categories.

All submissions sent to the Academy will be screened by the Animated Feature Film Award Screening Committee(s). After the screenings, the committee(s) will vote by secret ballot to nominate from 2 to 5 motion pictures for this award based on the following: In any year in which 8 to 12 animated features are released in Los Angeles County, either 2 or 3 motion pictures may be nominated. In any year in which 13 to 15 films are released, a maximum of 4 motion pictures may be nominated. In any year in which 16 or more animated features are released, a maximum of 5 motion pictures may be nominated.

The committee(s) will view all motion pictures entered and mark all entries 10, 9, 8, 7 or 6 with the guidelines of 10 (excellent), 8 (good), 7 (fair), or 6 (poor). Those productions receiving an average score of 7.5 or more shall be eligible for nomination.

If only one production receives an average score of 7.5 or more, the Executive Committee may recommend to the Board of Governors that a Special Achievement Award for Animated Feature Film be given to that production.

If no production receives an average score of 7.5 or more, the Executive Committee shall recommend to the Board of Governors that no award be given for Animated Feature Film for the current Awards year.

____________________________________________ 
____________________________________________ 
____________________________________________ 
COMPLETE LIST OF LONGFORM ANIMATIONS SUBMITTED, NOMINATED, AND SELECTED FOR THE BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM CATEGORY AT THE OSCARS: 
____________________________________________
____________________________________________ 
____________________________________________ 

74th Academy Awards (2001 releases)

Submissions:
1. “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”
2. “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius”
3. “Marco Polo: Return to Xanadu”
4. “Monsters, Inc.”
5. “Osmosis Jones”
6. “Shrek”
7. “The Prince of Light”
8. “The Trumpet of the Swan”
9. “Waking Life”

Nominations:
• “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius”
• “Monsters, Inc.”
• “Shrek”

          Winner: “Shrek”


____________________________________________
75th Academy Awards (2002 releases)

Submissions:
1. “Alibaba & the Forty Thieves”
2. “Eden”
3. “Eight Crazy Nights”
4. “Hey Arnold! The Movie”
5. “Ice Age”
6. “Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie”
7. “Lilo & Stitch”
8. “Mutant Aliens”
9. “Return to Never Land”
10. “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”
11. “Spirited Away”
12. “Stuart Little 2”
13. “The Living Forest”
14. “The Powerpuff Girls Movie”
15. “The Princess and the Pea”
16. “The Wild Thornberrys Movie”
17. “Treasure Planet”

Nominations:
• “Ice Age”
• “Lilo & Stitch”
• “Treasure Planet”
• “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”
• “Spirited Away”

          Winner: “Spirited Away”
____________________________________________

76th Academy Awards (2003 releases)

Submissions:
1. “Brother Bear”
2. “Finding Nemo”
3. “Jester Till”
4. “Looney Tunes: Back in Action”
5. “Millennium Actress”
6. “Piglet’s Big Movie”
7. “Pokèmon Heroes”
8. “Rugrats Go Wild!”
9. “The Jungle Book 2”
10. “The Triplets of Belleville”
11. “Tokyo Godfathers”

Nominations:
• “Brother Bear”
• “Finding Nemo”
• “The Triplets of Belleville”

          Winner: “Finding Nemo”
____________________________________________ 

77th Academy Awards (2004 releases)

Submissions:
1. “Clifford’s Really Big Movie”
2. “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence”
3. “Home on the Range”
4. “Shark Tale”
5. “Shrek 2”
6. “Sky Blue”
7. “Teacher’s Pet”
8. “The Incredibles”
9. “The Legend of Buddha”
10. “The Polar Express”
11. “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie”

Nominations:
• “Shark Tale”
• “Shrek 2”
• “The Incredibles”

          Winner: “The Incredibles”
____________________________________________ 

78th Academy Awards (2005 releases)

Submissions:
1. “Chicken Little”
2. “Corpse Bride”
3. “Gulliver’s Travel”
4. “Hoodwinked”
5. “Howl’s Moving Castle”
6. “Madagascar”
7. “Robots”
8. “Steamboy
9. “Valiant”
10. “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”

Nominations:
• “Corpse Bride”
• “Howl’s Moving Castle”
• “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”

          Winner: “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”
____________________________________________ 

79th Academy Awards (2006 releases)

Submissions:
1. “A Scanner Darkly”
2. “Arthur and the Invisibles”
3. “Barnyard”
4. “Cars”
5. “Curious George”
6. “Everyone’s Hero”
7. “Flushed Away”
8. “Happy Feet”
9. “Ice Age: The Meltdown”
10. “Monster House”
11. “Open Season”
12. “Over the Hedge”
13. “Paprika”
14. “Renaissance”
15. “The Ant Bully”
16. “The Wild”

Nominations:
• “Cars”
• “Happy Feet”
• “Monster House”

          Winner: “Happy Feet”
____________________________________________ 

80th Academy Awards (2007 releases)

Submissions:
1. “Alvin and the Chipmunks”
2. “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters”
3. “Bee Movie”
4. “Beowulf”
5. “Meet the Robinsons”
6. “Persepolis”
7. “Ratatouille”
8. “Shrek the Third”
9. “Surf’s Up”
10. “Tekkonkinkreet”
11. “The Simpsons Movie”
12. “TMNT”

Nominations:
• “Persepolis”
• “Ratatouille”
• “Surf’s Up”

          Winner: “Ratatouille”
____________________________________________ 

81st Academy Awards (2008 releases)

Submissions:
1. “$9.99”
2. “Bolt”
3. “Delgo”
4. “Dragon Hunters”
5. “Fly Me to the Moon”
6. “Horton Hears a Who!”
7. “Igor”
8. “Kung Fu Panda”
9. “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa”
10. “Sword of the Stranger”
11. “The Sky Crawlers”
12. “The Tale of Despereaux”
13. “WALL-E”
14. “Waltz with Bashir”

Nominations:
• “Bolt”
• “Kung Fu Panda”
• “WALL-E”

          Winner: “WALL-E”
____________________________________________

82nd Academy Awards (2009 releases)

Submissions:
1. “9”
2. “A Christmas Carol”
3. “A Town Called Panic”
4. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”
5. “Astro Boy”
6. “Battle for Terra”
7. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”
8. “Coraline”
9. “Fantastic Mr. Fox”
10. “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”
11. “Mary and Max”
12. “Monsters vs. Aliens”
13. “Planet 51”
14. “Ponyo”
15. “The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer”
16. “The Missing Lynx”
17. “The Princess and the Frog”
18. “The Secret of Kells”
19. “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”
20. “Up”

Nominations:
• “Coraline”
• “Fantastic Mr. Fox”
• “The Princess and the Frog”
• “The Secret of Kells”
• “Up”

          Winner: “Up”

____________________________________________ 

83rd Academy Awards (2010 releases)

Submissions:
1. “Alpha and Omega”
2. “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
3. “Despicable Me”
4. “How to Train Your Dragon”
5. “Idiots and Angels”
6. “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”
7. “Megamind”
8. “My Dog Tulip”
9. “Shrek Forever After”
10. “Summer Wars”
11. “Tangled”
12. “The Dreams of Jinsha”
13. “The Illusionist”
14. “Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”
15. “Toy Story 3”

Nominations:
• “How to Train Your Dragon”
• “The Illusionist”
• “Toy Story 3”

          Winner: “Toy Story 3”
____________________________________________ 

84th Academy Awards (2011 releases)

Submissions:
1. “A Cat in Paris”
2. “Alois Nebel”
3. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”
4. “Arthur Christmas”
5. “Cars 2”
6. “Chico & Rita”
7. “Gnomeo & Juliet”
8. “Happy Feet Two”
9. “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil”
10. “Kung Fu Panda 2”
11. “Mars Needs Moms”
12. “Puss in Boots”
13. “Rango”
14. “Rio”
15. “The Adventures of Tintin”
16. “The Smurfs”
17. “Winnie the Pooh”
18. “Wrinkles”

Nominations:
• “A Cat in Paris”
• “Chico & Rita”
• “Kung Fu Panda 2”
• “Puss in Boots”
• “Rango”

          Winner: “Rango”

____________________________________________

85th Academy Awards (2012 releases) 

Submissions:
1. “A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman”
2. “Brave”
3. “Delhi Safari”
4. “Frankenweenie”
5. “From Up on Poppy Hill”
6. “Hey Krishna”
7. “Hotel Transylvania”
8. “Ice Age Continental Drift”
9. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
10. “ParaNorman”
11. “Rise of the Guardians”
12. “Secret of the Wings”
13. “The Lorax”
14. “The Mystical Laws”
15. “The Painting”
16. “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
17. “The Rabbi’s Cat”
18. “Walter & Tandoori’s Christmas”
19. “Wreck-It Ralph”
20. “Zambezia”
21. “Zarafa”

Nominations:
• “Brave”
• “Frankenweenie”
• “ParaNorman”
• “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
• “Wreck-It Ralph”

          Winner: “Brave”

____________________________________________

86th Academy Awards (2013 releases)

Submissions:
1. “A Letter to Momo”
2. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”
3. “Despicable Me 2”
4. “Epic”
5. “Ernest & Celestine”
6. “Free Birds“
7. “Frozen”
8. “Khumba”
9. “Monsters University”
10. “O Apóstolo”
11. “Planes”
12. “Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion”
13. “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury”
14. “The Croods”
15. “The Fake”
16. “The Legend of Sarila”
17. “The Smurfs 2”
18. “The Wind Rises”
19. “Turbo”

Nominations:
• “The Croods”
• “Despicable Me 2”
• “Ernest & Celestine”
• “Frozen”
• “The Wind Rises”

          Winner: “Frozen”

"The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow" film poster.

  • UPCOMING ANIMATED FEATURE:


"True love becomes a happy adventure after a momentary encounter between a milk cow and a satellite girl!



Kyungcheon, who wants to be a pianist, is having difficulties with everything in his life: music, love, and studies. One day, he loses his heart and becomes a milk cow.

‘Uribyol Ilho’, first Korean satellite, falls to Earth due to the effects of the explosion of a supernova. With the help of the wizard ‘Merlin’, who was passing through the forest at the time the satellite fell, the satellite transforms into a girl.

Merlin himself has shapeshifted into a roll of toilet paper.



Kyungcheon lives as a man during the day, but becomes a milk cow at night and eats grass. One day, he is attacked by members of a secret agency that chases people who have lost their hearts. Kyungcheon defeats them with the help of Ilho. Kyungcheon finds out that Ilho is actually a satellite, and Ilho finds out that Kyungcheon is a milk cow. They come to know about one another’s secrets and become close.

Ilho decides to help Kyungcheon find his heart. They find Merlin and discover that Kyungcheon has to defeat the ‘man playing the magic flute’, a wizard of darkness, in order to regain his heart, and that the wizard of darkness has joined forces with the secret agency that tries to do away with those who have become “heartless”. Ilho always stands by Kyungcheon’s side to protect Kyungcheon from these enemies. Meanwhile, the secret agency and the wizard of darkness become a bigger threat to them. Kyungcheon and Ilho fight against the agency and dark wizard on their journey towards finding Kyungcheon’s heart.

What is waiting for them in the future?”



The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow

[South Korea]

http://www.nowornever.co.kr/

  • UPCOMING ANIMATED FEATURE:

"The story of the last Seal Child’s journey home. After their mother’s disappearance, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with Granny in the city. When they resolve to return to their home by the sea, their journey becomes a race against time as they are drawn into a world Ben knows only from his mother’s folktales. But this is no bedtime story; these fairy folk have been in our world far too long. It soon becomes clear to Ben that Saoirse is the key to their survival."

Song of the Sea
[Ireland]
http://songoftheseamovie.blogspot.ie/

  • UPCOMING ANIMATED FEATURE:

Rocks In My Pockets is a story of mystery and redemption. The film is based on true events involving the women of my family, including myself, and our battles with madness. It raises questions of how much family genetics determine who we are and if it is possible to outsmart one’s own DNA. The film is packed with visual metaphors, surreal images and my twisted sense of humor. It is an animated tale full of art, women, strange daring stories, Latvian accents, history, nature, adventure and more.”

Says director Signe Baumane of the film, “
I think in surreal images that move and animation is the only medium that can fully express my mind. Some people mistakenly assume that animation is just for children. But animation can be a medium of very sophisticated storytelling. It is able to depict what no one can see — the utmost inner feelings and thoughts. It can deal with abstractions of problems in a way that a camera cannot. It can juxtapose inner worlds with the outside Universe and tie them all into comprehensive narratives. Animation can bring humor and visual metaphor to storytelling. Walt Disney himself proclaimed that, ‘animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive.’”

Rocks in my Pockets
[United States]
http://www.rocksinmypocketsmovie.com/

  • UPCOMING ANIMATED FEATURE:

"Solan, Ludvig, and Reodor Felgen are back.

Christmas is right around the corner and what Ludvig wants more than anything is snow. But when Reodor makes the world’s most powerful snow cannon, and it ends up in the hands of Frimand Pløsen, the editor of the Pinchcliffe Times, whose greatest wish is to set a new snow record, Solan and Ludvig have to take matters into their own hands. Alone. Because Reodor has disappeared and the blizzard outside is growing more powerful by the minute.

Messing with nature can be dangerous.”

Solan And Ludvig: Christmas In Pinchcliffe
[Norway]
http://www.solanogludvig.no/

"And I would like to repeat: I’m prepared at anytime, anywhere, to meet any challenge from any souls." — Rudolph Gore-Slimey in the 1975 Norwegian animated feature film The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix.

Images are of director Ivo Caprino and crew on the exterior set of the film.

The Pinchliffe Grand Prix (1975)


by Ivo Caprino


Approximate Run Time: 88 minutes