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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CALAMITY, A CHILDHOOD OF MARTHA JANE CANNARY – Review by Leslie Combemale

Animator extraordinaire Rémi Chayé’s Calamity, A Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary won Annecy Festival’s coveted Cristal Best Feature Award at Annecy Festival. Annancy fest’s highest honor. The colorful and arty film broadly imagines the pre-teen adventures of the girl who would grow up to be Calamity Jane, following her on her journey into the West, as she starts out on a wagon train with her father and siblings, gets herself into all sorts of trouble, and discovers herself and a few of her singular talents in the process.

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FEELS GOOD MAN – Review by Diane Carson

Feels Good Man follows Pepe the Frog’s roller coaster fortunes. The title, referring to Pepe’s joy, accurately describes the documentary’s infectious humor, but make no mistake, at this time of appalling internet deceit, Feels Good Man presents an entertaining but sobering warning for anyone who uses the internet.

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SPOTLIGHT August 2020: Karin Fong, Master Title Sequence Designer

You may not know Karin Fong’s name, but you know her work. In fact, you’ve probably seen it multiple times. That’s because Fong is an Emmy-award winning director and designer, and she and her team create the main titles you see at the beginning of some of your favorite tv shows and feature films. you can find her creative mark on the main title sequences for I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Little Fires Everywhere, See, and Counterpart, for which she won a Main Title Design Emmy in 2017.

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