January 22.  Viabhav More Films & ARTHA Animation Create Disney Princess Academy 2014 Promo.

The Animation Xpress interview with Vaibhav More includes storyboards and promotional art.  "Mumbai based Vaibhav More Films & ARTHA Animation have collaborated for the very first time to create Disney Princess Academy 2014 Promo. Directed, ideated and scripted by Vaibhav More- Founder of Vaibhav More Films, this 30 seconds promo is an extension of a similar clip that was executed last year by Vaibhav Studios. Aired on leading television channels, Star Plus, Colors, Disney, and Hungama, the promo also managed to reach audiences through theatrical screenings.  Created in a time span of 7 days, this promo is targeted at young girls audience between 4 -12 years. Animation of the promo was handled by Gaurav Malhotra, Lighting & Texturing done by Shriram Prabhu, Modeling was executed by Mamas  and Bharat and Compositing was brought out by Yogesh & Swatantra."

Note the promo's lettering all in English with a soundtrack in Hindi.  The January 22 Animation Xpress also has a story about "Green Gold Stores introduces Trendy Chhota Bheem Socks".  No animation, but color closeups of the multicolor soft cotton socks with Chhota Bheem and his friends for the 3 to 10 age group at 109 at all Green Gold Stores.

January 23.  Garnier's Animated Touch For Pure Active's No Pimple, No Marks Campaign.

The manufacturers of Garnier Pure Active Neem Face Wash anti-pimple face cream have commissioned the FoxyMoron digital advertising agency in Mumbai and Gurgaon to create a Facebook and YouTube advertising campaign for it (in Hindi). FoxyMoron has used "layered animation" to create "illustrated comic strips of iconic Bollywood characters" disfigured by pimples.

"Over 8,00,000 fans were in for a treat when illustrated comic strips of iconic Bollywood characters were released that showcased Brand Ambassador Alia Bhatt as the savior and means of bringing the Garnier Pure Active Neem Face Wash to the rescue of Bollywood's pimple problems.  These have been released in a series of illustrated videos called 'Lights. Camera. Garnier Pure Active.'  So far, the campaign reach has risen by 1500%."

The word "pimples" is in English while the rest of the adv't is in Hindi.  Isn’t there a word in Hindi for pimples?  It looks like comic strips rather than animation to me, but I gather that that’s the point.  See for yourself.

January 24.  Square Enix Releases New Trailer of TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION. 

Crystal Dynamics, a Square Enix studio, today released a new trailer for TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION – coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles on January 28th, 2014.  TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION is the character defining action-adventure where a young and inexperienced Lara Croft transforms into a hardened survivor. This fully re-built version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One features an obsessively detailed Lara and a fully realized lifelike world.

Lara Croft in unprecedented detail:

An all new face and head for Lara, handcrafted exclusively for next-gen!

TRESS FX technology that delivers realistic hair simulation and motion for the new Lara

Increased polygon body density with new sweat, mud and blood materials and effects

A world in constant motion:

Underbrush reacts as Lara passes by, wind whips tree branches and tattered cloth around, rain pierces through searchlight beams as individually lit particles

All texture resolutions have been increased by over 4x for maximum detail
.  In-game characters have been enhanced for added realism

Subsurface scattering technology literally renders the world’s beauty beyond skin deep

Native 1080p gameplay for outstanding visual fidelity

The Definitive Edition of the award-winning action-adventure includes all of the original downloadable content, plus digital versions of the Dark Horse comic, Brady Games mini-art book and the Final Hours developer videos. Customers who pre-order will receive special art book packaging featuring never-before-seen concept art.”

Crystal Dynamics is "an important cornerstone for Square Enix" located in Redwood City, California.  I can’t find any mention of a studio located in India, which leaves this as a mystery as to why it is announced on an Indian animation site.   Animation Xpress' video sample leads to the Tomb Raider website which requires your date of birth to enter.  The video trailer is worth it. 

January 27.  FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn Playstation 4 System Version Releasing April 14 2014

Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX interactive entertainment products in the Americas, today announced that the PlayStation4 computer entertainment system version of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn will be released on April 14, 2014 with official service beginning on the same day.

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn on PlayStation4 system will be available in either a Standard Edition or Collector’s Edition with pre-orders for both starting January 27. Pre-orders for either edition will include two in-game items (Mog Cap & Cait Sith Doll minion) and the ability to participate in Early Access starting on April 11. 

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn PlayStation 4 system Collector’s Edition Includes:

Special box featuring artwork by Yoshitaka Amano

Art Book – The Art of Eorzea: A Realm Reimagined

Special Soundtrack -The Sounds of Eorzea-

Seventh Umbral Era Special Movie Content Disc – The Waning of the Sixth Sun

Art Card Set

Themed Security Token

In-Game Items – Coeurl Mount, Behemoth Barding, Baby Behemoth minion, Helm of Light, Fat Chocobo Mount and Wind-up Moogle minion”

And much more.  There is still no clue as to why a Japanese video game is being promoted in an Indian animation industry newsletter.  But the Final Fantasy XIV video link is as spectacular as that of the 24th to Tomb Raider. 

January 28.  Chhota Bheem, Main Krishna Hoon & Mahabharat nominated for IBN Live Movie Awards - VOTE now!

Chotta beam

IBN Live Movie Awards have announced Chhota Bheem and the Throne of Bali, Mahabharat and Main Krishna Hoon as the nominations in the Category of Best Animated Feature Film Award. The winner will be decided on the basis of public voting, choose your Favorite Animated Movie by Casting Your Vote by Clicking Here

Directed by Rajiv Chilaka, Chhota Bheem and the Throne of Bali that was released in 415 theaters across India grossed over 2 crores in the first four days of its release.

Coming to Mahabharata that was voiced by renowned Bollywood Actors, is created by Pen India and Directed by Amaan Khan whereas Main Krishna Hoon that was Directed by Rajiv S. Ruia was composed with animated character of Lord Krishna."

What; we get to vote in the IBN Live Movie Awards for the three candidates in the Category of Best Animated Feature Film Award?  Chhota Bheem and the Throne of Bali is a fully animated fantasy adventure for children; Mahabharat is a partly “animated Indian mythological drama film" in which "Hindu god Lord Krishna, who appears as an animated character, assisted an orphaned boy named Krishna"; and Main Krishna Hoon is a live-action fantasy with an animated Krishna as a young boy.  The posters for the three movies are shown.

I do not understand enough Hindi to understand the difference between "Mahabharat" and "Mahabharata"; or between Mahabharat as a “partly animated film” with only one character animated, and Main Krisna Hoon as a "live-action film" with one character animated.  2 crores are 20,000,000, and an Indian rupee is currently worth U.S. 1.59¢  (The Indian rupee has fallen so far so fast that on June 30, 2011, the Indian government declared the 25 paise coin, the Indian quarter-rupee, to no longer be legal tender.  Indian vending machines have become mostly useless, and India has become one of those nations where people have to carry large baskets of low-denomination currency to go shopping.) 

January 30.  Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and his Merry Mouse Premiere set for 1 Feb on CN.

Sit back & enjoy loveable duo Tom and Jerry in a brand new movie titled Tom & Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse, which premieres 1st February at 12 noon on Cartoon Network.

The story line of the movie is that he stole from the rich, gave to the poor and desperately needs the help of Tom and Jerry! Now the famous outlaw Robin Hood has been captured by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, and Robin Hood’s true love, the fair maiden Maid Marian, faces grave danger at the hands of greedy Prince John. Can sworn adversaries Tom and Jerry set aside their differences long enough to save the day? With high-flying action, daredevil stunts and rollicking songs, your favourite cartoon Cat-at-Arms Thomas and Merry Mouse Jerry take furry aim at the beloved medieval tale in a new, full-length original movie. It’s all for one and fun for all in Sherwood Forest’s most madcap swashbuckling adventure ever!

Warner Bros. Home Video produced this as a direct-to-DVD 58-minute movie, with other MGM classic cartoon stars like Spike, Droopy and Barney Bear, released in the U.S. on October 2, 2012; so it's not earthshaking news.  But this allows me to put some original promotional art into this column.  Is this February 1 Cartoon Network premiere only for CN of India, or for CN of the U.S. as well?  Just India, I guess; the Feb. 1 schedule for the U.S. lists a noon half-hour Powerpuff Girls special.  And there isn’t any 12 p.m. midnight broadcast.

January 31.  Dhvani Desai’s ‘Chakravyuh’ (Vicious Circle) Nominated for MIFF 2014 in International Competition Category

Founder of Metamorphosis Studio, International and Indian award-winning Animation filmmaker, Dhvani Desai’s 2D animated short on RTI Act 'Chakravyuh' (Vicious Circle) , is nominated for Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in the International Competition Category, which is set from 3-9 Feb.

Produced by Films Division, Chakravyuh has also bagged Award for Best practices in RTI from the DOPT GOVT. OF INDIA NEW DELHI AND YASHADA

In a conversation with AnimationXpress.com, Dhvani takes us through the making of this four minute animated short.

What is Chakravyuh all about & when was it released? 
This film is an effort to eradicate 'Corruption' through usage of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI) by showing real life experiences woven together with colorful visuals and satirical poem.

The Film illustrates the petty struggles of four characters. All unrelated with each other and dispersed in different parts of India. They all have completely different type of problems in their lives but surprisingly have the same solution.

Can you elaborate more on the story line?

I have illustrated four stories from different parts of the country. I was clear that I wanted to narrate as many stories as I could, to create an impact in the minds of the audiences so that they realize that RTI can be used for many issues. The first story is of a young widow and her little boy from Goa who goes from pillar to post to get pension and compensation from her deceased husband’s Govt. office. The second story is of a man from Lucknow who wants an electric meter to be fitted in his house without giving a bribe. Third story is from Bengal about a poor farmer whose land gets encroached by goons. And the last story is about a law abiding man from Kerala who is fed up with the garbage in front of his house. Typical struggles that any common man faces in one’s life.”

There is considerably more information (it is a very long article).  Fortunately, it includes a link to the complete 4-minute film.