This Week in Animation: Annecy 2017 Gets Underway; Disney, Sony Unveil New Projects

In This Week in Animation News, I’ll take a look at the previous week in the world of animation in order to get you caught up on everything you might have missed. It’s your one-stop shop for news regarding cartoons, anime, and animated web series. We’re talking movies, TV shows, digital shorts, and everything in between!

This week’s biggest news all comes out of Annecy 2017, the massive animation festival going on this week in France. Lots of projects from Disney and Sony Pictures Animation have already been announced alongside awesome independent projects like Brazen, an animated series that explores the lives of 30 bold and rebellious women from all over the world and across time. You should also take the time to read Peter Debruge‘s review of Animal Crackers over at Variety; it’ll give you an idea of the world of animation outside of the States. Expect more from Annecy in the near future.

Image via Blue Dream Studios

In more traditional news, we also have new looks at Adult Swim’s Apollo Gauntlet which will be premiering at Rooster Teeth’s upcoming animation festival, plus Cartoon Network’s OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, and Nickelodeon’s Welcome to the Wayne show off new images and video. There are also new trailers for Shout! Factory’s release of In This Corner of the World and the Kickstarted project, Orient City. Plus, a bunch of character posters for The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.

For the latest animation stories we’ve already covered on the site this week, take a look at the following links. Then, check out a selection of new stories below. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Annecy 2017 Puts Disney Animation on the World Stage

Annecy 2017 got underway this week, bringing the world’s top animation talent together to celebrate the timeless and boundless medium. Variety had an early report out of the festival that announced new projects coming from Disney in order to celebrate Disney Channel France’s 20th anniversary. Surprisingly, the Mouse House doesn’t have a studio branch in Europe, so they partner with independent production houses. In addition to teasing an early look at their new DuckTales series, which you can see at the link above, Disney also confirmed new and returning series.

Here’s a look at what’s coming:

  • PJ Masks will be back for a second season of 52 episodes in 2018; Season 3 is in development with eOne and Frogbox, the animation company TeamTO, and  partner France Television.
  • Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, a fantastic animated action series that has contemporary parallels to Sailor Moon, will see a Season 2 and 3, courtesy of Disney Channel EMEA and TF1. The total count is now 78 half-hour episodes from producers Method Animation and Zag Toon.
  • 101 Dalmatian Street – Inspired by Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel and Walt Disney’s 1961 One Hundred and One Dalmatians, this updated take moves to contemporary London. The pitch from Anttu Harlin and Joonas Utti of Finnish studio Gigglebug Entertainment was developed by Disney’s London-based original animation team along with the award-winning Passion Animation Studios. Written by Maria O’Loughlin and directed by Miklos Weigert, the series, described as “biggest, messiest family comedy you could imagine” follows eldest dalmatian siblings Dylan and Dolly, parents Doug and Delilah, and 97 younger puppies who live at the titular address.
  • Gigantosaurus – Produced by France’s Cyber Group Studios, directed by Olivier Lelardoux and coming to France Televisions and Super RTL, Johnny Duddle’s book adaptation follows four young dino pals obsessed with the biggest and fiercest dinosaur anybody has ever seen, Gigantosaurus. Look for it on Disney Junior worldwide in 2019.
  • Space Chickens in Space – Norwegian twins Tommy and Markus Vad Flaaten (aka “Twintrash”) direct this story about a trio of chickens who are mistakenly enrolled in an elite inter-galactic academy. José C. García de Letona and Rita Street‘s co-creation has Jordan Gaucher onboard as showrunner. Channel 9 Australia and Disney XD EMEA have already signed on for a season of 52 11-minute episodes from co-producers Anima Estudios, Cake, Studio Moshi and Gingerbread, for a 2018 launch.

Sony Animation Goes Big at Annecy 2017

Variety also has the inside scoop on the feature film projects hailing from Sony Pictures Animation. They are all-in, having set five titles for release dates in 2020/2021, four from first-time directors. In contrast, no films are planned at all for 2019. Having brought almost a dozen feature films to screens since Open Season in 2006, Sony Pictures Animation has never had a film earn less than #123 million at the worldwide box office. However, the studio also lacks a billion dollar-earner like competitor Illumination Entertainment’s Minions; the closest they’ve come is 2011’s The Smurfs, topping out at $563 million worldwide.

President Kristine Belson laid out the future of Sony Pictures Animation and its varied cinematic style as follows:

  • Michael Rianda (Gravity Falls) is set to direct “a semi-autobiographical tale about a family road trip during the robot uprising. ‘He has as clear a vision of his movie and the tone as anyone I have ever encountered,’” Belson said.
  • Jon Saunders, of the short-films and commercials realm, will direct a movie set way back in prehistorical times, telling the “story of the greatest love-affair in the history of our planet” about the first-ever friendship bond between a man and a dog. Expect a lot of non-verbal comedy since this is not your typical talking dog tale.
  • Animation veteran Shannon Tindle (Kubo and the Two Strings) brought Sony “an idea for a movie [they] immediately fell in love which is action-packed but also a deeply-emotional comedy about a cocky billionaire superhero who must grow up when he is forced to raise the orphan of his greatest foe.”
  • The previously announced Vivo, “about the magic of music,” follows “a monkey with a thirst for adventure and a deep passion for music who suffers a treacherous passage from Havana to Miami to fulfill his destiny.” Lin-Manuel Miranda has been working on this idea for a while now and has already written 11 songs for it, based on Quiara Alegría Hudes‘ screenplay. Kirk De Micco (The Croods) is set to direct with Lisa Stewart producing. Vivo currently has a December 18, 2020 release date
  • Set up before Belson’s tenure at Sony was “the story of Greece’s most celebrated monster hunter who is transformed into the Gorgon [and] becomes [the tale of] Greece’s most hunted monster. Think Wicked or Maleficent, since the tale will be told from the “villain’s” point of view. Oscar and Golden Globe-winners Pasek & Paul (La La Land) will write the songs.


'Brazen' TV Series to Portray "Bold and Rebellious Women"

Variety has word on a very cool project called Brazen, an animated TV series adaptation of Penelope Bagieu’s feminist graphic novel by the same name. Agat films & Cie and Silex Films will produce the series of 30 three-minute episodes which will explore the lives of 30 women like Nellie Bly, Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker and Naziq al-Abid.

“Through these portraits, we’ll chart the battles and achievements of these women who have gone mostly unnoticed even though they deserve to be hailed as heroes and role models,” said Judith Nora, producer and co-founder of Silex Films with Priscilla Bertin and Elisa Larrière. The project was announced at Annecy.

Iranian filmmaker Sarah Saidan an is onboard to direct the series, which will air on Gaul’s public broadcaster France Televisions. Brazen boasts two books selling 200,000 copies in France before being published in the U.S. in March.

Rooster Teeth Animation Festival to Feature 'Apollo Gauntlet' Premiere

Image via Adult Swim

Rooster Teeth Animation Festival announced that Adult Swim will be premiering the first two episodes of new series Apollo Gauntlet at the event, which takes place during RTX Austin July 7-9 at the Austin Convention Center and kicks off on July 6 with a “FIRST Night” screening at the Paramount Theater. Adult Swim will also screen more than an hour of sneak peeks at new animation during a special screening entitled “Adult Swim Presents” during the Rooster Teeth Animation Festival with an exclusive Q&A with the creators of Apollo Gauntlet and Squidbillies.

Attendees will have two opportunities to catch the first two episodes of Apollo Gauntlet and more great Adult Swim exclusives during Rooster Teeth Animation Festival:

  • On July 6 during “FIRST Night” at the Paramount Theater as part of RTX Austin

  • During the exclusive “Adult Swim Presents” screening at Rooster Teeth Animation Festival

On Earth, Paul Cassidy, is just another cop, but when the evil Dr. Benign transports him to another world, he becomes a new kind of hero. With the help of a magical suit and a set of talking gauntlets, he’s able to fight crime exactly the way he wants…and he’ll do it as APOLLO GAUNTLET! Set in a futuristic medieval society, the quarter-hour animated adventure comedy series is created by Myles Langlois and is produced by MONDO’s animation studio, Six Point Harness, and Mosaic.

Rooster Teeth Animation Festival is in its second year and bigger and better than ever, with panels and exclusive screenings from animators including Frederator, Cyanide and Happiness (Explosm Entertainment), Mondo Media, Mashed, and more, and an exclusive theatrical screening of the Netflix Original series Castlevania at the Paramount Theater on July 7, the day it releases on Netflix.

Image via Rooster Teeth

All RTX Austin ticket holders can access Rooster Teeth Animation Festival. Now in its seventh year, RTX Austin will draw more than 65,000 attendees to the Austin Convention Center July 7-9 to play the newest unreleased video games, see top Internet celebrities in live shows and panels, and experience the best in gaming, animation, and entertainment.

Single day and weekend passes for RTX Austin 2017 are still available at starting at $35.00. Children ages 6 and under get free admittance with a paying adult.

Stay tuned for future announcements on programming, exhibitors and special guests at Rooster Teeth Animation Fest at RTX Austin 2017.  For the latest developments and updates, visit the RTX Austin 2017 website, Facebook & Twitter.

'In This Corner of the World' Trailer

An empowering coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of World War II, In This Corner of the World is a captivating story about the resilience and triumph of the human spirit. Based on the award-winning Japanese manga by Fumiyo Kouno, In ThisCorner of the World is written and directed by Sunao Katabuchi and produced by GENCO and Japanese animation studio MAPPA. Bolstered by emotionally resonant storytelling and exquisite hand-drawn animation, this acclaimed animated feature recently won the coveted Animation of the Year award at this year’s 40th Japan Academy Prize.  The film has been selected to screen in competition this week at Annecy 2017 and will have its North American film festival premiere in competition at LA Film Festival (June 20).


In This Corner of the World will open across U.S. cinemas on August 11, 2017 from Shout! Factory Films & Funimation Films.

'Orient City: Ronin and the Princess' NSFW Trailer

THR has the first look at Orient Citythe new short film from co-directors Ryan Colucci and Zsombor Huszka. Galen Christy‘s High Octane Pictures acquired the film about an opium-addicted ronin protecting a small girl in the title town; they’ll soon be taking it on the festival circuit.

A feature-length adaptation is in the works from the co-directors and production company Spoke Lane. Huszka is the lead animator with Colucci will handling writing duties alongside Dikran Ornekian and Rylend Grant.

Orient City exists as a vertical tangle of rock and skyscrapers united via cable cars and waterways, melding the aesthetics of the Wild West with feudal Japan. The ronin and the girl will help each other to overcome their respective weaknesses. Keep an eye out for this one!

'OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes!' Clip from Creator Ian Jones-Quartey

Check out this EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK at a brand new series from Ian Jones Quartey, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes!

Cartoon Network’s newest original heroes are here and ready for action in OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes. Available via On Demand and the Cartoon Network app, audiences can get a sneak peek at the daring and funny feats of K.O., an endlessly optimistic kid attempting to be the greatest hero ever. The dynamic world of Lakewood Plaza Turbo fuels all the inspiration to help guide K.O. on his journey to level up with his super cool friends Enid and Rad and against his evil foes like Lord Boxman. This exclusive preview features all-new episodes chronicling K.O.’s first week in training.

Created by Ian Jones-Quartey, these original characters are connected across the TV and gaming landscape.The series OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is produced by Cartoon Network Studios and will premiere this August on Cartoon Network while the console game OK K.O.! Let’s Play Heroes, an integrated action brawler with RPG elements, will launch this fall in partnership with Capybara Games.

Image via Cartoon Network

Check out the episode titles and descriptions below:

  • Let’s Be Heroes” – When K.O. tags along with his mom to work, he discovers the convenience store next door is his key to becoming a great hero.
  • Let’s Be Friends” – K.O. wants to become friends with Enid and Rad and get hired at Lakewood Plaza Turbo.
  • You’re Everybody’s Sidekick” – K.O. sets out to prove to Enid that being helpful is rewarding by helping people all around the Lakewood Plaza Turbo.
  • “We Messed Up” – K.O., Rad and Enid accidentally break one of Mr. Gar’s prized possessions!
  • “Jethro’s All Yours” – K.O. gets his first solo mission!
  • “You’re Level 100!”– When K.O. finally gets a Pow Card, he finds out he’s level 100, instantly making him a celebrity and the idol of everyone.

Nickelodeon's 'Welcome to the Wayne' Trailer

A New York City apartment building holds mysteries and adventures behind every door in Nickelodeon’s newest animated series, Welcome to the Wayne, premiering Monday, July 24, at 5:30p.m. (ET/PT). Created and written by Emmy® Award-winning writer and composer Billy Lopez (The Wonder Pets) and executive produced by Emmy Award-winning creative executive Michael Pecoriello (Yu-Gi-Oh!), the 20-episode series follows three kids as they explore their strange and fantastical apartment building, the Wayne, where nothing is what it seems. The series will air at 5:30 p.m. (ET/PT) through Friday, July 28, and fans can catch encore episodes on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

Welcome to the Wayne follows the comedic adventures of three friends, Ansi Molina, Olly Timbers, and Saraline Timbers, as they aim to unlock the secrets of the Wayne. Each new investigation brings them face-to-face with new characters, creatures, and oddities, known as “Wayne Phenomena,” leading them closer to uncovering the truth about the weird things happening in their building.

In the series premiere, “Rise and Shine Sleepyhead,” Ansi, a new resident of the Wayne, must work with siblings Olly and Saraline to stop a rampaging threat deep within their home. Before the full-length series, Welcome to the Wayne was Nickelodeon’s first digital short-form series, which debuted on in 2014.

Image via Nickelodeon

The Welcome to the Wayne voice cast includes: Alanna Ubach (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) as Ansi, the anxious new kid in town; creator and co-executive producer Billy Lopez as Olly Timbers, the adventurous 10-year-old son of a toy maker and a military scientist, and lifelong resident of the Wayne; and Dana Steingold (Avenue Q musical) as Saraline Timbers, Olly’s responsible and more mature little sister.

Additional voice cast members include: Veronica Taylor (Pokémon) as The Spy from Apartment 8-I; Marc Thompson (Pokémon) as Masterson; and Robbie Sublett (The Good Wife) as Flowershirt; Dave Willis (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) as George the Doorman; Dana Snyder (The Thundermans) as Wendell Wasserman; Nikki M. James (BrainDead) as Julia Wiles; Carey Means (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) as Jonah Bishop; Harriett D. Foy (Collateral Beauty) as Clara Rhone; and Charnele Crick (Bocce Ballers) as Goodness.

Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios' 'Buddy Thunderstruck'

This one’s just for fun and fans of Buddy Thunderstruck:

'The Nut Job 2' Character Posters

Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) and the gang are back. We are once again in Oakton where the evil mayor has decided to bulldoze Liberty Park and build a dangerous amusement park in its place. Surly and his ragtag group of animal friends band together to save their home, defeat the mayor, and take back the park.

THE NUT JOB 2 also features the voice talent of Katherine Heigl (The Nut Job), Jackie Chan (Kung Fu Panda 3), Peter Stormare (Penguins of Madagascar), Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man), Isabela Moner (Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life), and Maya Rudolph (The Angry Birds Movie). Look for it August 11th!

Image via Open Road Films

Image via Open Road Films

Image via Open Road Films

Image via Open Road Films

Image via Open Road Films

Image via Open Road Films

Image via Open Road Films

Image via Open Road Films

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