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International Animation Day, October 28th, 2015

I am so honored to have the writers that I have on It thrills me when Jana Monji takes the lead by asking her peers to weigh in on various film-related topics via e-mail, and the resulting correspondence is always entertaining. It may even introduce you to one of your future favorite films. 

This is what they all discussed about International Animation Day, which just happens to be today. Enjoy!


Someone just told me that October 28th, 2015, is International Animation Day. The Association Internationale du Film d'Animation (ASIFA) chose this date as it commemorates the first public performance of Emile Reynau'd Theatre Optique at the Grevin Museum in Paris (1892).  

So tell me what are your favorite animated features or animated TV shows?

I used to watch Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner with my father when he was alive. Violent and yet I learned about opera.

I'm a big Disney fan so:


"101 Dalmatians" is reservations since I now know about animal hoarders

"Lady and the Tramp"


I'm also a Hayao Miyazaki fan.

"Spirited Away"

"My Neighbor Totoro"

I'm sure there are more, but I'm writing an article about Star Trek: TAS.


The Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog cartoons have always been my favourite of the WB stable, but most Looney Tunes are to die for, especially Frank Tashlin's work.

Huge fan of "The Three Caballeros," "Ernestine and Celestine," like you Jana I love "Fantasia" and "101 Dalmatians," and the work of Stalter Pava, Lorenzo Mattoti, Aardman, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird and Pete Docter. "Iron Giant" is a standout. 


I actually spent this weekend learning about sheep herding and so yes to Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog! I had forgotten all about them.

"Iron Giant" is also a fave and I can just hear the theme song for "The Three Caballeros" in my head!


1. "Persepolis"

2. "Waltz with Bashir"

3. "Rick & Morty"

4. "My Dog Tulip"

In general, I love animation that isn't particularly concerned with realism, and that uses the full expressionist potential of the medium. 


Here's a favorite of mine in anticipation of Halloween.


Few films get more bang for the frame than "Bambi Meets Godzilla." 

And the opening credits dance sequence in "Ted 2" beats all of "Inside Out" any day of the week. (I mean that -- while recognizing that it could attract the makings of a core collection for  a Museum of Hate Mail.) 

Almost any pinscreen film by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker dazzles.

Although Tim Burton's objectionably successful abomination "Alice in Wonderland" set back the cause of literary adaptation and 3D by decades, I love his animated feature "Frankenweenie" to, uh, death. 

On TV, "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and "South Park" may be fashioned from relatively simple animated images but boy do they deliver as irreverent entertainment.

And speaking of basic animation that delivers, Don Hertzfeldt is way up there.

The Bill Plympton sequence where a man fondling a woman's breasts ties them into balloon animal shapes cracks me up.

I get a major kick out of the dialogue-free stop-motion antics of Munk & Lemmy by Latvian animators Janis Cinemanis and Nils Skapans. 

The animated history of invention in "Why Man Creates" is a masterpiece.

Saw "Shaun the Sheep" twice and am ready to see it again. 


"Grave of the Fireflies" - the most powerful animated film ever made. 

Everything by Hayao Miyazaki (especially "The Wind Rises") 

"The Lion King" includes every life message one needs to grow up. 

"The Iron Giant

I adore every "Wallace and Gromit" short and feature film -my favourite is "The Wrong Trousers" 

"Fox and the Hound" is extremely underrated.

"The Triplets of Belleville" is a masterpiece.

And I must add the animated short, "The Snowman".


Ever since I saw it a few years ago, I've had a special place in my heart for "Crater Face."

The premise is similar to "Lava," the Pixar short that premiered before "Inside Out," except "Crater Face" is funnier, weirder, more moving, and with better music.


1- "Finding Nemo"

2- Laff-a-lympics

3- Anything Scooby Doo.


"When the Wind Blows" also based on characters created by Raymond ("The Snowman") Briggs, with voice work by John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft is deeply affecting.


Dozens of titles spring to mind. But since we're celebrating of Animation Day, I think it'd make sense to show you a tiny sample of an animated short I was working on earlier this year (which is very incomplete and will probably not see the light of day).

It's a single shot, but a longer one in terms of length. I've tried to do things here that I wouldn't be able to do in live-action.

I've shown this to no one but those who absolutely had to see it (teachers grading my work-in-progress, fellow students), and it's a nice feeling now sharing this with you. :)


Krishna Shenoi is also one of my favourites. :-)


Greetings, my dear friends, and thanks to Jana for this question.  I incorporate by reference all (almost) of the titles suggested by you, which gives me courage to suggest my own, as I rely on the crowd-sourcing of this most astute and knowledgeable of crowds to list the ones I will inevitably overlook.

I love the "nine old men" Disney classics, especially "Pinocchio," "Peter Pan," "Cinderella," "Fantasia," and "Sleeping Beauty."  I'll add "101 Dalmatians" and "Lady and the Tramp" just below.  I love the new ones, especially "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin."  The storyline of "Lilo and Stich" is not the best but the hand-drawn animation is sublime.  The old Disney shorts are gorgeous, especially "The Band Concert."  The new ones are great, too.  I loved "Get a Horse."  

From Pixar, my favorites are "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles," with "Monsters, Inc." a close runner-up.  The "Toy Story" trilogy are in a class of their own.

Outside of Disney, I love the Hubleys ("Windy Day," "The Hat," "Everybody Rides the Carousel") and "Yellow Submarine," "Megamind," "Despicable Me," "Rio" (Nigel is one of the greatest animated characters of all time), "The Book of Life," and "Robots."   "Surf's Up" was an unexpected delight.  I adore "Waking Life."  

"Coraline" is a masterpiece beyond measure.  "Paranorman" and "Box Trolls" are also superb. LAIKA is very dear to my heart.  And of course I love Aardman, too, especially Wallace and Gromit.  The Norman McLaren did some great work for the Canadian Film Board, including "Pas de Deux."  

And, to be very old school: "Gertie the Dinosaur," munching on that branch.

Even in its mangled release: "The Thief and the Cobbler."  Added bonus: the documentary about it.  And the hope that some day there will be a director's cut.


I too love "Frankenweenie" and have toys for prove it. (It's about a kid's love for his dog, after all).

You reminded me of how I loved the "Fractured Fairytales" that used to be on with Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Besides forgetting Aardman (and Wallace and Gromit) and the Oscar-winning "Creature Comforts" I forgot the 2009 "The Secret of Kells" and the slightly Halloween-themed "Song of the Sea."


I'm jealous of your toys.

If I ran the world, backward initiatives like No Child Left Behind would be replaced with mandatory screenings of Fractured Fairytales.


The first movie I ever saw in a theater was "Sleeping Beauty" and those rose bush thorns scared me more than Maleficent. Beanie and Cecil, Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes (especially "What’s Opera, Doc!") and "Fractured Fairy Tales" (“I have a nose like a casaba melon”) all warped my young impressionable mind. I am also a big fan of Hoppity Goes to Town, Gulliver’s Travels and Fleischer animation in general thanks to matinee showings at my elementary school on weekends. I had a weird fondness for Popeye’s Alice the Goon. I enjoyed "Gay Puree!" with the voices of Judy Garland and Robert Goulet. But "Yellow Submarine" was the true mind blower after being spoonfed Disney most of my life. I had a poster of the Blue Meanies next to my shrine to the Monkees. I was lucky to switch from being a copy desk chief at USA TODAY to a film critic and writer right when "The Little Mermaid" signaled an animation renaissance at Disney and I staked my claim on covering the genre early and often. As for recent efforts, I fell hard for "Coraline," thought "Rango" was terrific and think Pete Docter at Pixar is incapable of doing anything that isn’t pure genius.

Chaz Ebert

Chaz is the CEO of several Ebert enterprises, including the President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and of Ebert Digital LLC, Publisher of, President of Ebert Productions and Chairman of the Board of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and Co-Founder and Producer of Ebertfest, the film festival now in its 24th year.

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