The cosmopolitan nature of modern animation has been underlined once again with the results of the ‘Best Family Film’ Award at the Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF) 2014 in Canada on Saturday. The winner was not made in North America, or the UK, or Europe, but in one of the new animation powerhouses - East Asia.
‘Ribbit’ – a 3D animation comedy / adventure story carried off the gong for ‘Best Family Film’ at the festival, giving indication that the usual suspects in the world of 3D animation are starting to be challenged by animators from the so-called developing economies.
This can only be good news for fans of 3D animation. While the 3D animation industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, to the point where it is one of the most dominant in the entire world of cinema, more frontiers opening up for the technique could lead to some exciting films going forward.
This Malaysian production also had a distinctly international feel given the voice talent and movie personnel that worked on it. ’Ribbit’ was directed and written by Chuck Powers, and featured well-known western actors such as Sean Astin (‘Lord of the Rings’), Tim Curry (‘The Hunt for Red October’), Russell Peters (stand-up comedian), and Cherami Leigh (‘Fast Food Nation’).
Demonstrating the pull of Hollywood over even the 3D animation industry was the fact that the movie was recorded in Los Angeles, California. Once the shooting was completed, the post-production work was entirely completed in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, while further work was also carried out by animation studies based in the Indian city of Mumbai.
Truly, modern 3D animation productions exploit a wide variety of different techniques and locales. Where the United States was once completely dominant in the 3D animation industry, it looks likely that the nation will have many competitors in the coming years.
The release of ‘Ribbit’ should see it achieving mainstream success; indeed, it will be interesting to see whether the movie can perform as well as releases from some of the world’s most established animation studios. ‘Ribbit’ will be released in a number of major territories including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, South America and the Middle East, with the releases staggered and beginning on September 4 this year.
The rise and rise of 3D animation seemingly knows no bounds, with the techniques able to produce movies that please adults and children alike. The critical acclaim of ‘Ribbit’ shows that this appeal is spreading further still.