I usually don’t take notice of student films here, but I understandably am making an exception for Evan Curtis’ Chief Serenbe, made last year at the Savannah College of Art and Design—especially since it was made in my graduate-level Media Theory class. (He has been in three of my classes and I am on his MFA thesis committee.) Ever since then, it has been making the rounds on the festival circuit and can now be seen online as part of the Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival along with some information on its production; you should also check out Curtis’ website here.
The first half of my Media Theory class involves lectures and discussions on media theory with the major student assignment being a term paper; the second half involves a studio assignment where students are urged to expand in some way on an aspect of their term paper. The topic of Curtis’ paper, “Toy Monger,” was not really surprising, since he is is an avid toy collector, and action figures in particular. And though Chief Serenbe does, like most of his films, uses toys from his collection, its style is very much inspired by Italian Neorealism. The film’s opening shot (see image above) was filmed after the class was over. My contribution to Chief Serenbe was, at best, rather modest as Curtis seemed to know exactly what he was wanted to do. In any case, do take a look and enjoy.
Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas, the book I helped Fred Ladd write about his involvement with anime (as producer and adapter of films/programs for the American market), as well as his view of the post-Astro Boy history of Japanese animation, is now available as a Google eBook. (It can be ordered here.)
The list price is $24.99 versus $35.00 for the original softcover edition, which is still available from MacFarland and various online booksellers). However, Google is currently selling it for $14.74, which is marginally cheaper than the $14.99 Kindle edition. The latter originally sold for $9.99, but the new pricing reflects the increased leverage publishers now have in pricing e-books.
Google eBooks, which officially debuted today, will be available from a variety of sellers, including independent bookstores, so you are not stuck with one vendor as is currently the case with, for instance, Kindle eBooks. I did quickly check the Powell’s Books website and found the book selling for $23.12, but I suspect pricing will vary widely as the market matures.
Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas, Fred Ladd’s personal history of his involvement with producing the American versions of such early Japanese animated TV series as Astro Boy and Gigantor, has now been made available as an Amazon’s Kindle Book for only $9.99, which you can order here. (The original print edition is, of course, still available in its original softcover edition from MacFarland for $35.00.) Unfortunately, as far as I know, neither Fred Ladd or myself will be able to personally autograph your Kindle Edition, but I suppose there are other compensating virtues to getting it via Kindle.