RON’S GONE WRONG – Review by Tara McNamara

Ron’s Gone Wrong creatively illuminates how “connected” devices are contributing to a lack of human connection and the unprecedented challenge kids face as they grow up in the social media age. This empathetic animated family film, which Disney absorbed in the 20th Century Fox acquisition, looks at the complications of establishing friendships today, especially if you’re a socially challenged introvert.

Read more

WHERE IS ANNE FRANK (TIFF2021) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Anne Frank’s diary has been told, filmed, and has many documentaries about it. It seems there is nothing more left to be said until you watch Ari Folman’s Where is Anne Frank. This time, it takes a novel approach and revolves around Anne’s imaginary friend, Kitty, who finds herself in Frank’s house in Amsterdam. Getting a physical form, she steals Anne’s diary and begins the journey of her dearest friend, as she, with deep sadness, learns about Anne’s tragic fate.

Read more

FLEE (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Danish writer/director Jonas Power Rasmussen’s documentary Flee about Afghan refugee Amin, his arduous journey getting to Denmark, and how that experience colors his current life, is destined to become a shining example of great indie animation. It may be painful to watch Amin go through the horrors he describes, but it is also an incredibly uplifting, inspiring story that will leave its viewers with a powerful feeling of hope.

Read more

LUCA – Review by Susan Granger

Once upon a time near a beautiful seaside town in the Cinque Terra region of the Italian Riviera, two young mermen – or, as the locals called them, ‘sea monsters’ – spend an unforgettable summer together. Despite cautionary warnings from his parents, teenage Luca is curious about the world that’s above the surface of the sea where he and his family live.

Read more

LUCA – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Luca, the latest under-the-sea Disney-produced animated adventure, might be a few leagues below such House of Mouse ‘toon classics as The Little Mermaid with its show tunes and Finding Nemo with its tale of fatherly love. But this buoyantly engaging Pixar tale directed by Enrico Casarosa, the maker of the Oscar-nominated 2011 short La Luna, provides enough catchy hooks to please most family viewers.

Read more

SPOTLIGHT June 2021: Elaine Bogan, Animation Maven, Director of SPIRIT UNTAMED

This month, Elaine Bogan makes her feature debut directing the animated film, Spirit Untamed. It is the culmination of years working in story development and honing her directing skills in animated television. Her first feature is also the result of a life spent dreaming and reaching for new opportunities.

Read more

THE SPINE OF NIGHT (SXSW 21) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The Spine of Night is an animated feature film, but this is no children’s movie, not by any stretch. Aside from the violence, blood and gore, there’s also genitalia akimbo; boobs, balls and everything in between rendered in lovingly graphic detail in vibrant, intricate color.

Read more

RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – Review by Leslie Combemale

Raya and the Last Dragon is definitely a fun, exciting animated feature, with most entertainment found in the vocal interpretations and endlessly gorgeous visuals, that bring the film to a compelling level, and raise the plot, which, though it offers exciting action, a fresh perspective, and Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess, ultimately fits the ‘Disney Magic’ formula‘ and business as usual.

Read more

Kalia Love Jones on Filmmaking and THE POWER OF HOPE – April Neale interviews

With her first film, The Power of Hope, 14-year-old filmmaker Kalia Love Jones becomes the youngest director to qualify for Academy Award consideration via her animated short’s selection by the Pan African Film and Arts Festival and several other Oscar-qualifying festivals. Love Jones attributes her inspiration specifically to Michele Obama, and she want to inspire others with the hopeful message in her film.

Read more