Indie-mation, Reviews

Introducing the Indie Film Series!

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Studios like Disney and DreamWorks get a lot of attention (and deservedly so, for the most part), but there is a whole world of animation outside of the main American studio system. With this series, we aim to introduce dozens of wonderful films that easily deserve a place next to classics like The Lion King or Toy Story.

Starting this Friday, we’ll be featuring a different independent animated film every weekend. Tune in and watch with us as we review and discuss independent animation, from Akira to Balto to 9 and even to the Barbie movies.

Our first film will be featured on Friday – watch it with friends this weekend sometime between the Annie Awards and the Super Bowl (or instead of the Super Bowl?) – and the full Rotoscopers review comes Monday. Each featured indie will work the same, giving you plenty of time to watch the film yourself over the weekend before reading our reviews.

Follow along, watch the featured films, and hopefully we’ll help you expand your animation library. Join us this Friday, February 2nd, as we start the Indie Film series!

Have a favorite indie animated movie? Comment below!

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About Kajsa Rain Forden

Kajsa is a writer from foggy San Francisco, living in sunny LA. She spends most of her time writing, binge-watching animated movies, and working in web design. With a soft spot for stop-motion, her favorite films are Coraline, Castle In The Sky, and The Thief and the Cobbler (Recobbled). You can find her on Twitter, or Pinterest, and most other social media @TheKajsaRain, or at Disneyland.
  • Jordan Briskin

    I look forward to this series.

  • I am excited for this! There is so much animation out there beyond the big American studios, I hope this will open up people to some new films! And that includes me, I can’t wait to discover some hidden gems!

    • Ernesto Chacon

      Exactly, their are so many different Animated films done outside the United States, you even get animated films done in Croatia (“The Elm-Chanted Forest”, “The Magician’s Hat”, “Lapitch the Little Shoemaker”), Finland/Denmark (“Niko and the Way to the Stars/Flight Before Christmas”, “Jungledyret Hugo”), Germany (“The Fearless Four”, “Milionaire Dogs”), Italy (“Lucky and Zorba”), among many others.

      I still recall seeing some of these animated films years ago when they aired on Cartoon Network and Toon Disney (before it was changed into Disney XD) on Television.

  • Ernesto Chacon

    Coolness really looking forward to this series.

    But how are Balto and The Iron Giant considered to be Indie Films? Weren’t they made and distributed by a Major Film Studio (Balto – Universal, The Iron Giant – Warner Bros.) compared to the other films you guys will be reviewing?

    Usually an indie movie is a feature film that is produced outside the major film studio system, in addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment companies.

    • On Balto, it was produced by Amblimation; I personally don’t really count the distributor.
      However, you make a sound point with The Iron Giant. I know it was Brad Bird’s directorial debut; for some reason, I assumed that Warner Bros only distributed it but they were in fact the production company as well. I think we tend to include it with indies due to its general underappreciation.
      Thanks for pointing that out! We’ll have to confer on its position. *huddles with other Roto-writers*

      • Ernesto Chacon

        To be fair though, the vast majority of the Amblimation films (An American Tail 2, We’re Back! and Balto) were distributed by Universal Pictures back in the early 1990’s.

        But, “Tomato Tohmato”

        • Which is why I said I personally don’t count the distributors if they’re just distributing. Because I don’t consider that the same as making the film. The same way Disney distributes Studio Ghibli films but they are NOT Disney films. It’s a bit of a personal preference but still a way to include underappreciated films that may have been distributed/boosted by major studios.

          • Ernesto Chacon

            Very well, but going back on track looking forward to this series on seeing you make reviews on not just the Independent Oscar-worthy animated films internationally but also the animated films that are overlooked and underappreciated.

            Hope to see some of you guys will also be reviewing other foreign animated films that no one is familiar with such as the Croatian animated films (“The Elm-Chanted Forest”, “The Magician’s Hat”, “Lapitch the Little Shoemaker”), The Finnish/Danish animated films (“Niko and the Way to the Stars/Flight Before Christmas”, “Jungledyret Hugo”), The German animated films (“The Fearless Four”), the Italian animated films (“Lucky and Zorba”) among many others in the list.

            I don’t know if these films that were mentioned up above will be reviewed since either you guys have other commitments on reviewing other animated films or some of those titles might not be familiar with the majority of you and it would be hard to do research on those films such as watching the films again or for the first time and making points on each one so I leave it up to the majority of you guys.

            Can’t wait!!

        • Frank Coufal

          Universal owns the rights to them, so I think they co-produced them as well.

    • Rachel Wagner

      We had a wide umbrella. Mostly we were just tired of talking about Disney and Dreamworks and wanted to get the roto-community to expand their palates.

      • Ernesto Chacon

        Don’t forget the Pixar films back in 2015 and the Studio Ghibli films that were reviewed last year. 😉

        Still looking forward to this series and I could expect this to last about 8-12 months compared to the Disney, Pixar, Studio Ghibli and Dreamworks films which either lasted about 1-6 months.

  • Anna Pąs

    With Barbie movies, I think it would be cool if you would review both the first (The Nutcracker) and the latest (Dolphin Magic) movie.

    I would love to see something about “Help! I’m a Fish” and “The Princess and the Goblin”.

    • Rachel Wagner

      We may wait to review Nutcracker until the holidays but we should be doing it. I think Rapunzel is the first we will cover but it is good to hear there is interest. Are those your two favorites?

      • Anna Pąs

        I wouldn’t say they are my favourites, although Nutcracker is pretty close and Dolphin Magic is definitely my favourite in the modern series. Just think it would be cool to go from the first ones to the newest ones and see how much they differ. 🙂 Otherwise it would be probably too long to do all of them, since I think there is around 40 of them.

        Also, “The Secret Door” is generally considered the worst Barbie movie, so it may be interesting to review this one as well.

        But my personal top 3 would be “12 Dancing Princesses”, “Magic of Pegasus” and “Mermaidia”. Mermaidia is the second installment in five-movies series “Fairytopia”, and I always think it’s great idea to watch the whole series ^^.

        • 12 Dancing Princesses is also one of my faves. There are a LOT of Barbie movies, and I know we’ll try to do some from the original set and some from the newer.
          They’ll be mixed in with the indies so they probably won’t be in release order, but we’ll likely do a few of them.

        • Rachel Wagner

          Princess and the Pauper is my favorite. We will definitely do a bunch so it will be fun to read your comments!

    • We’re definitely doing Princess & the Goblin (I grew up with that movie too 😊)!

      • Hannah Wilkes

        I used to watch that movie as a child too! The goblins really scared me when I was little but I would watch it anyway 😂

    • Adding “Help! I’m a Fish” to the list! Thanks!
      There’s so many Barbie movies so we’ll see what happens there.

  • Chelsea Warner

    This sounds cool.

  • Eli Sanza

    I am glad we are getting underappreciated movies onto people’s radars with this series of reviews. I’ve got a lot of things to say about these films!

    • Manuel Orozco

      Can we talk about Pebble and the Penguin

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  • Rachel Wagner

    Make sure you are following Rotoscopers on twitter because we will announce on Mondays the films that will be covered on Friday. This will give you a chance to watch them and participate in the discussion if you want.

  • Frank Coufal

    Does this mean The Brave Little Toaster will be a part of this series?

  • Frank Coufal

    Does this mean The Brave Little Toaster and FernGully: The Last Rainforest will be a part of this series?

    • We do have FernGully on the list (and soon!), and I’ve added Brave Little Toaster to the list! Because we have to do that movie, of course!

      • Rachel Wagner

        I wouldn’t do any Disney films but that’s just me. That’s where I would draw the line

        • TBLT was made at Hyperion Animation (Hyperion Pictures/Hyperion Studios), not Disney itself. Disney bought & invested in the rights, but the film was financed as an independent production, in partnership with the Kushner-Locke Company. Disney animators were involved but it had a separate development – similar to the way Touchstone produced Nightmare Before Christmas, rather than Disney. Hyperion also made Tangerine Bear and The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina.
          I think Brave Little Toaster is separate enough from the Disney canon. It doesn’t feel like a Disney movie. Even the director didn’t consider it a Disney film.

          • Rachel Wagner

            Fair enough. I can see what you mean

  • Manuel Orozco

    I was scared of Little Nemo as a kid but that is one review I will be looking forward to.

  • I hope you’ll talk about the 1990 film The Nutcracker Prince. Not enough people talk about it.

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  • llevronbelac

    It’s Such a Beautiful Day, Mary & Max, The Illusionist, and Consuming Spirits should all be on your list considering just how phenomenal they are

    • I’m adding Mary & Max and Consuming Spirits (which I hadn’t heard of before)! It’s a Beautiful Day is actually coming up real soon on our schedule! Thanks for suggestions!

  • Omg this is gonna be so much fun!! Also love that a Barbie film might be talked about, but idk either way IM SYKED!!!