Friday, April 28, 2017

New FT Blog: 'Fairy Tale Footnotes'

It's no secret we can barely get to most of the fairy tale news that happens every day - not even posting daily, but we persist and keep trying because we believe it's important. Occasionally we get frustrated at how behind we've gotten in sharing things our fairy tale newsroom has gotten excited about, but not been able to share, so will post a "round-up", which isn't the same, but helps - a little.

There is an aspect of being Fairy Tale News Hounds (and having a very active 'fairy tale radar') that doesn't get shared on OUABlog much, if at all, though, and that's our Fairy Tale News Hound's personal observations and notes that happen in daily life, reading and research - in other words, OUABlog isn't a personal blog, and there's a lot that's being missed because we put our energy into focusing on news and researching and writing those instead.

So, in an effort to catch more of those fairy tale thoughts, anecdotes and other interesting bits and pieces that happen between news stories, InkGypsy has started a new fairy tale journal-like blog, called Fairy Tale Footnotes. The first post (of a few) is copied above for an introduction.

(Gypsy has notebooks full of these things, and floating post-its that get lost under couches and in between bookshelves, but she's going to make an effort to put all those scribbles in this blog instead.)

To keep the pressure of posting to a minimum, the posts will be random, with no specific schedule - from multiple mini-posts a day to many days in between. Most likely they'll be fast, loose (expect typos!) and be inconsistent in format - some will be more researched while others will, perhaps, be just a line... The purpose is to mark that moment that prickled her fairy tale senses. (And put that note somewhere where she can find it again!)

We're putting it in our blogroll on the right, but if there's enough interest, Gypsy will add a subscribe button.

One thing is certain - it will be all about fairy tales. And if you like that sort of thing, you're welcome to read along. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Disney Schedules Fairy Tale Films & the Future Looks Largely... Untitled? (+ an 'in production' update)

So: according to Slate, the Disney planning calendar has been in overdrive the last couple of days and a bunch of fairy tale films have their release dates set. Do we sound excited? Sort of. Why? Let's take a look at the line up:

2017 is looking kinda blank but we had our big fairy tale film release already, remember? Tale as old as...

  • Nov. 22: Coco (3D) - folklore. not fairy tale but still...

2018 might be promising

  • Aug. 3: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action) - yay?
  • Nov. 2: Mulan (Live Action) (3D) - this will include some folklore at least
  • Dec. 25: Mary Poppins Returns - maybe a little folkloric/fairy tale (we said 'maybe')
2019 looks like a busy year for fairy tales... maybe
  • March 29: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action) - *crossing fingers*
  • July 19: The Lion King (Live Action) (3D) - folklore possibilities (pretty please?)
  • Nov. 8: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action) - great - we think...
  • Nov. 27: Frozen 2 (3D) - right, so probably sort fairy tale.. ish
  • Dec. 20: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action) - er, okay...

2020 has lots of untitled

  • March 13: Untitled Pixar Animation (3D) - possibly, but probably not FT or folklore
  • Nov. 25: Gigantic (3D) - Finally! Confirmation of a fairy tale film! YAY!

2021's line-up gives us no idea

  • March 12: Untitled Disney Live Action - there's still a bunch of fairy tale projects that could slot in here.. hopefully
  • June 18: Untitled Pixar Animation (3D) - probably not fairy tale, but you never know, since it's been a while for them
  • Nov. 24: Untitled Disney Animation (3D) - does mostly CG now count as animation? We guess not, so. ugh, no idea on this one
But lets have another look at the fantasy (therefore fairy tale, folklore or FT-adjacent) projects we know are coming. Those in color have a confirmed release date using their title:


  • Genie (Aladdin - with Will Smith starring)
  • Cruella (origin story with Emma Stone starring)
  • Maleficent II (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Peter Pan
  • Pinocchio
  • The Little Mermaid (Lin-Manuel Miranda signed on. Universal is still working on an HCA-based version too, though it remains plagued by issues & is currently in limbo)
  • Dumbo (Tim Burton still directing, with Danny DeVito confirmed & Michael Keaton in talks)
  • The Sword in the Stone
  • Mulan - November 2, 2018
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Tink (Tinkerbell - note: Fox is also working on a Tinkerbell movie, possibly more teen/adult oriented)
  • Snow White's Sister Rose Red
  • Prince Charming (Cinderella)
  • A Wrinkle In Time - March 9, 2018
  • Mary Poppins Returns - December 25, 2018
  • Jungle Cruise
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
  • The Jungle Book II
  • Night on Bald Mountain (Fantasia)
  • Lion King (we're hoping for some folklore this time around!) - July 19, 2019
  • Snow White (with La La Land songwriters signed on)
  • Disenchanted (aka Enchanted 2 - taking place 10 years after the first story - Amy Adams, James Marsden, Patrick Dempsey starring)
  • James and the Giant Peach (yes, Disney is redoing Roald Dahl's book as a big live action movie, though they didn't do the animated film. Sam Mendes is directing.)
  • Chernabog/ Night on Bald Mountain (Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless listed as writers)

  • Frozen II - November 27, 2019
  • Coco (Dia  de los Muertos) - November 22, 2017
  • Giants (Jack and the Beanstalk) - November 25, 2020
Note: King of the Elves is still listed as 'in development' for Disney Feature Animation and is based on a Philip K. Dick short story. The working synopsis goes: A Mississippi man becomes the reluctant ruler of a mythical race of elves after he saves them from a deadly troll. The 'crew' number listed remains about the size of an 'in development' crew, so perhaps this is still in the works, though last we heard it had been shelved. But you never know...
All images are by Disney artist, Lisa Keene and were created by her during development for the first Enchanted movie.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

'Colossal' Is A 'Giant Fairy Tale for Grown Ups' We Want To See

Gloria is an ordinary woman who, after losing her job and being kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown. When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.
At first glance this movie appears to be a monster-comedy movie with a lot of laughs, potential for some genuine emotional depth, but little to do with fairy tales. The fact there's a giant creature (known in Japan as a kaiju), connected to a human, might have prickled your folklore senses, and so it should. Giants have been having a quiet but steady presence in movies for the last decade, most recently with The BFG, A Monster Calls and even Pete's Dragon and Monster Trucks. But there is a different fairy tale connection to this movie as well.

The casting of Dan Stevens as the ex-boyfriend (most recently seen on the big screen with horns and a whole lotta CG covering his features) might give you a clue... Yes: it's Beauty and the Beast. It's just not one you've likely seen.. yet. (And it didn't need to be played by Dan Stevens to have that vibe.)

Unlike the Disney live action fairy tale, however, this one is less cinematic-magic-filled and more quirky and down-n-out around the edges, with a lot of tongue in cheek and an edgier lifestyle thrown in, (thanks to the initially unmotivated protagonist and her partying ways) but most specifically it's also less... 'neat'. There is no fairytale ending here, in the usual sense of the notion; note the use of the word 'fairytale' as in dreamy, as opposed to 'fairy tale' to which this bears a much closer tie. The Beast here is manifested fairly obviously, but it's not until the movie unwraps itself a little that you begin to discover what the monster truly is and the real Beast revealed, along with Beauty's role.

Refreshingly, it's not as simple as 'managing one's inner-demon with a sense of humor' plot line, but instead an exploration of more than might be expected. The result might just be one of those cult classics that people can't forget, no matter the crazy premise initially appears. Wonderfully, it doesn't set out to answer ALL the questions either (Where did it come from? Why now? How? Why her?). It just 'is', and accepting that, you can get on with the story. Much like experiencing that wonder element in fairy tales.
Here's the trailer:
(The) how and why (of Gloria's connection to the monster appearing on the other side of the world) bring “Colossal” into the supernatural realm, but the initially affable Oscar’s reaction to Gloria and her newfound superpower turns the fun genre mashup into a dark and scary analogy for very real-world issues.  
“It has so much different kind of meaning for different people,” Levine said. “To some people it is a kaiju film. To other people it’s a romantic comedy or a dramatic comedy. To some people it’s a psychodrama, a science fiction film. I personally look at it as an adult fairy tale.” (Bizjournals)
Oh, and did we mention a woman is carrying this genre movie? There are more than a couple of tropes being twisted here and she might just remind you of some conflicted fairy tale heroines while you watch.

Also worth mentioning: this indie film has proven to be a festival favorite... (see below), and more than a few noted genre movie critics are begging folks to give this off-beat premise a chance - not just because it is a fun genre movie, and flips tropes on their heads, but because it's also well-made overall, well paced and manages to be both an homage and flip of kaiju movies and rom coms, while ultimately being very fresh and original.
This movie is apparently best gone into without spoilers so we will stop discussing this here and (hopefully) at some point in the future, when we've had a chance to view it, (since it doesn't seem to be coming to our local theater and we might have to wait till DVD/streaming release!), we can give a better breakdown. 

In the meantime, for those that have seen it, or don't care about spoilers, or would like to revisit this AFTER seeing the movie, this awesome and VERY SPOILERY discussion by two female film critics, who talk about the unique aspects of this movie (and why they are even more impressed with it than they thought they'd be), is definitely worth bookmarking. And yes - you'll see fairy tale ideas and tropes discussed in this post as well. We wish we could expand on why we feel this is relevant to a contemporary fairy tale discussion but we don't want to spoil the viewing experience. :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

'Frozen 2' Gets Release Date

The Storm Inside by nna

The film finally has a confirmed release date, as announced by actors Josh Gad (who plays the adorable sentient snowman Olaf), Kristen Bell ( who plays Anna, along with the official Disney Animation account, and was the official protagonist of the first movie) and Idina Menzel (the ice-magic-wielding Elsa), each in their unique way, via Twitter.

That date is...

November 27th 2019. 

(And people are already putting it on their calendars.)

There are no details of the plot as yet, only that it's a sequel to the animated hit.

The only casting confirmed on IMDB are Kristen Bell, who plays Anna, and Idina Menzel, who plays Elsa, but since jJosh Gad got to announce it too, we're going to assume he's on board as well.

It is presumed to be a musical, at this stage, especially in the current Hollywood push for more, now that back in vogue, but there's no confirmation on that either.

Interestingly, the response has been more mixed than even we expected to see, but the enthusiasm of fans appears to be outweighing the  'don't care's and 'please no's, so to the theater it goes!

So, not a lot of real fairy tale news in this announcement - only really the heads up that people will, once again, be enthusiastic about 'riffing' on the possibilities of a second story for a Snow Queen.

(We have to wonder if there will be some references to Olaf dealing with climate change...)

Highly Anticipated 'American Gods' Series Debuts April 30

We have been excited about Neil Gaiman's amazing novel, American Gods, coming to the small screen in serial form (how could a movie ever explore this world thoroughly enough), and the tailer certainly has a lot of people excited.

We would be counting down the days ourselves, if it weren't for the #bucketsofblood, because, wow. There are many - gratuitously many - buckets! So take that as a heads-up for watching the trailer, by the way. Nevertheless, there will be lots of mythic and folkloric content for those willing to dive in, albeit being wrapped up very contemporary clothes and language, along with heavy doses of 'weird' (that is, in fact, one of the marketing tools for the show: 'expect 'weird sh*t!').

Here's the show's premise:
American Gods, the show follows Shadow Moon, who is thrown into a war between the gods of the old world versus the new. 
When Shadow Moon is released from prison, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and a storm begins to brew. Little does Shadow know, this storm will change the course of his entire life. Left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife, and suddenly hired as Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard, Shadow finds himself in the center of a world that he struggles to understand. It’s a hidden world where magic is real, where the Old Gods fear both irrelevance and the growing power of the New Gods, like Technology and Media. Mr. Wednesday seeks to build a coalition of Old Gods to defend their existence in this new America, and reclaim some of the influence that they’ve lost. As Shadow travels across the country with Mr. Wednesday, he struggles to accept this new reality, and his place in it.
Here's the trailer (viewer discretion advised):

That should be no surprise to people familiar with the book and most people, including Gaiman himself, are super-excited. Along with perhaps turning down the 'red' on our screens a tad as we decide to put up with the #bucketsofblood for the inevitable good stuff, we will be watching closely for the public response to the series.

This featurette, including an appearance with Neil Gaiman, who Executive Produces the show, makes the series look very intriguing. If you're not up for the trailer, this is a good overview for you (no #bucketsofblood in this one):

One excellent thing to look forward to, is that Gaiman, who always intended to write more of the world than he did for his novel, is seriously looking at creating new stories specifically for the series as well, and he has a specific angle in mind - one we're keen to see explored.
From io9:
There’s plenty of material for more stories set in the world of American Gods. Both the book and the show contain a main, present-day story, but are also peppered with “Coming to America” shorts that explore how gods from other countries immigrated to the United States along with people. At the panel for the show at San Diego Comic-Con last year, Gaiman mentioned that he’d originally intended to do a vignette about Japanese internment during World War II in American Gods. 
“It wasn’t even that it got cut,” explained Gaiman about the story. “It just never got written because I was already at 200,000 words and I was being told by my publisher that the novel couldn’t be more than 150,000 words. So now I was already cutting and the internment story was one I was looking forward to.”The show might act as an impetus for Gaiman writing not only that story, but other ones he has in his mind. 
..The show’s tackling of (Essie Tregowan's) story—which expanded it to fill much of an episode,—has inspired Gaiman to write more stories in the American Gods universe and give them to the show to reinterpret for the small screen. “So Bryan is now going we could do more of these big ones,” continued Gaiman. “And I went, well I wanted to do the internment camp one and that would have been a big story. That would have been a 20-30 page short story. And possibly a little longer, it would have been a novelette in my head. And it would have been a kitsune story and I’m happy to write that story now and I’m happy for Bryan to adapt it.”
Gaiman has a lot to say on 'America's hypocritical relationship with immigrants and diversity' and as such, the series is not only highly anticipated, but suddenly become more relevant in this social climate, than it ever has since being published. The fact that it looks like Gaiman will get to focus on this theme is one of the big draws of the show for us, making it very likely to be put on our list of Recommended Resistance Reads and Viewings. #RRR
America has a very contradictory relationship with immigration. The stories we like to tell are about people coming here with nothing but ambition and becoming important or rich. But America is also obsessed with talking about whether or not immigrants have assimilated, and saying that some groups can’t, so they shouldn’t be allowed in. It’s a specific American truth that Gaiman captured in the book and that the show has run with. 
“You have come from an old country, now stop being that thing,” is how Gaiman summed it up. “I love the fact that Canada has the concept of the mosaic. You have come to Canada from your country, we are a mosaic made up of lots of different countries... The American idea seems much more...melting pot. Become one. We are all one, we are like this. No, we’re not! No one is.”
It’s not being American that Gaiman thinks let him write the book.  
... Gaiman’s outsider perspective mirrors how genre fiction has always managed to present volatile ideas in palatable ways. “That’s what it’s for,” said Gaiman. “It’s the distorting mirror, it’s showing you something at 45 degrees, it’s showing you something that you are familiar with from an angle you have never seen it from, to make you see it for the first time.” 
We couldn't agree with this more.

The network showing the series, Starz, is a 'prime paid' network so a lot of folks aren't going to have the opportunity to jump in at the beginning for the journey, but that won't stop an internet buzz from happening, and we expect the big pop culture websites to be all over the premiere and have lots of interesting things to say.

We love how the latest interview Gaiman has given discussing American Gods finishes:
Even with the distance of talking about gods and supernatural occurrences, people connect with the stories in American Gods in very personal ways. It resonates even more now, somehow. Gaiman knows why.

“Because we’re human and we tell stories and telling our stories and telling stories we were told in our childhood is one of the most important and beautiful things we can do. We have stories, now, that are older than any city. Some of them are older than the countries they are now told in. We can trace the age of stories sometimes by landmarks, by volcanoes, by things mentioned in them. And stories last. And stories matter. And sometimes, at my maddest, I like to think that stories are merely the vehicle that stories use to propagate themselves to make sure they continue.
What a wonderful (and slightly intimidating) way of putting it! Fairy tales are unique as a 'genre' precisely because they behave specifically like living things in the way they spread and adapt, and are one of the biggest reasons they interest us. Myths aren't quite the same but they can behave similarly, and it makes sense that Gaiman's fairy tale influence in telling and retelling myths brings out this quality.
Can you tell we love this creature?
Summary: we're looking forward to seeing what happens with American Gods, both as a series and with regard to social impact. Here's the opening title sequence to give you a taste (no #bucketsofblood in this one, we promise).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Huldufólk: Iceland Residency Exhibition celebrates hidden folk & folklore of the land

"Rain" by Justin Oaksford
There's been a renewed world-wide interest in Iceland's rich mystical heritage and land in the past few years, which is wonderful to see. We get excited about this because the fairy tales and folklore are, at first glance, very different from the wood based fairy tales and folklore most people are familiar with and associate with fairy tales, which brings a greater awareness to different types of tales world wide. Though at first look they might appear very different from the canonical fairy tales, it really doesn't take long to notice that these tales have grown out of the land, traditions and peoples, just like tales from other places have. And just like folk visiting the Black Forest in Germany feel close to and inspired by wonder tales, so too, it seems, that people visiting Iceland cannot help but feel that folkloric vibe, directly off the land itself.
"Near" by Bridget Underwood

"Troll Hill" by Andrew Olson

Light Grey Art Lab's Huldufólk Exhibition is all about unique Icelandic, land-based wonder, which, no surprise, includes folklore and fairy tales. Although not all pieces have clear depictions of folkloric creatures, and many pieces of the exhibition are straight landscapes, it doesn't take too much squinting to see giants, trolls and large land people crouching and brooding over the world in those paintings and sketches either. Do you see a sleeping giant head, with pointy beard, in the landscape below like we do?
"5" by Erin McGuire
The exhibition, which even with just a handful of specifically folklore and fairy tale focused subjects, inspired storytelling, grew out of a special, on location residency. A group of (lucky!) artists traveled to Iceland and toured, bringing their art supplies with them of course, to study the landscape and be inspired by the natural and mystical wonders in person. The exhibition is a collection of work created (or at least started) during the tour.
Huldufólk Exhibition celebrates the hidden folk, trolls, fairies and folklore found in Icelandic culture. The faces in the rocks, hidden pools, smoking earth, and ever-surprising landscape influences some of the characters and mythology inherent in Iceland storytelling. The Huldufólk Exhibition includes artwork by the artists that attended the Light Grey Iceland Residency in 2015. Each artist exhibits a unique collection of prints and originals inspired by their experiences in Iceland.
"To find your way in bad weather" by Kate O'Hara

"Thunder" by Justin Oaksford

"Iceland Proverb: The Hills" by Michelle Schwartzbauer

"Hrafntinna" by Corey Godbey
(who illustrates here how John Bauer's work grew out of the mythical landscapes of his beloved Scandinavian countries)

"To avoid ghosts and evil spirits" by Kate O'Hara

"Hear" by Bridget Underwood

Light Grey Art Lab brings together artists and designers from all sorts of disciplines to learn, educate and exhibit together, with the goal of fostering a 'global creative community'. Artists are welcomed to participate, submit from all over the world for various exhibitions, events and for special residencies, and it's no surprise to see folklore and fairy tale subjects pop up quite often - both as themes for an exhibit or as part of one. We've subscribed to make sure we don't miss out on anything wondrous in the future.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Photography: 'Grimm Compact' by Laura Zalenga

 We've been wanting to share German photographer, Laura Zalenga's fairy tale series, titled Grimm Compact. Created as an homage to tales printed by the Grimms, the photos show a key or iconic active moment from a fairy tale, frozen in the frame and, usually, zoomed in. It's a unique a wonderful way to distill a fairy tale down to a recognizable moment, without words and without much context, and it's one of the best series - whether illustrative or photographic - that we've seen, do this.

(Laura) is convinced that photography is a type of therapy that gives you the ability to heal yourself and others.
"Till today that big Old Brothers Grimm fairy-tale book stands next to my bed. And quite obviously it inspired me. For this specific series I wanted to create an homage.. but there were already so many interpretations out there. I was thinking about what makes these stories unique and one big point is that they are rather simple but still - or because of that work so well, that Disney turned some of them into movies. Whenever we see a girl with a red coat we think of Little Red Riding Hood, whenever we see a single show some point out that it must be Cinderella. So I focused on these one or two elements in every one of these fairy-tales, that one scene that everyone remembers from the story. Actually that is a thought that I like for my photography in genera;l. We see one frame of a story and the rest is up to our minds." (Source)

Do we need to list the fairy tales for you? These are mostly canonical tales so we shouldn't... Enjoy!

You can learn more about Laura's process HERE and see more of her photography HERE.