The Looney Tunes are back, and world premiering at the opening ceremony for this year’s Annecy Intl. Animation Festival, in what looks set in all probability to be one of this year’s highest-profile bows at the French animation gathering.
After teasing the series with an in-progress short at last year’s Warners animation showcase, to riotous laughter and applause, Bugs and his gang return in a fully-finished short ahead of Monday night’s opening feature “Playmobil: The Movie.”
In addition to Monday’s world premiere, on Wednesday executive producer Peter Browngardt and supervising director Alex Kirwan will present a behind-the-scenes look at the Warner Bros. Animation project including storyboards, animatics and more fully-finished shorts. According to them, the studio already has more than 20 finished shorts, a number which will grow to 200-plus, or 1,000 total minutes of “Looney Tunes Cartoons.”
Browngardt and Kirwan recently talked with Variety about how the shorts have progressed since last year’s presentation, what to expect at this year’s showcase and shared an as-yet unseen still from one of the now-finished cartoons.
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The cartoon itself feels straight from the ‘30s or ‘40s, apart from its high definition and a few modern buzzwords that organically make their way into the dialogue. It’s a dialogue which, as explained by Browngardt and Kirwan, is only written after animation has started.
According to Kirwan, the writers’ room is in fact an animators’ room, and the cartoons’ jokes, dialogue and storylines come only after the animators have started writing gags. The narrative spins off from situations which the artists create first as visual gags that strike them as humorous.
“I feel like that is what made the classic Looney Tunes so fantastic,” confirmed Browngardt. “It wasn’t screenwriters. They were thinking completely visual all the time. I feel like the best cartoon animation comes from that process.”
In the still we can see one of those gags which will be immediately familiar to any fan of the franchise, as Elmer Fudd chases Bugs, in front of a paint-brushed background, with an large lumber ax, while Bugs skillfully dodges the blows in the lead-up to an inevitable role-reversal.
“Annecy is going to be a blast,” said Browngardt. “This is my fifth year going and it’s one of the coolest places around. It’s beautiful. They love the art, and you see that every day you’re there. It’s just a wonderful thing.”
As excited as Browngardt and Kirwan are, after the success of last year’s sneak peek there can be little doubt that that crowds in Annecy will be just as excited to see what Warner Bros. Animation has got in store.