Ernest and Celestine- English v French?

ernest-celestine-poster– Feb, 16, 2014- Sara Barton
The Oscar nominated animated film, Ernest and Celestine(2012) opens in theaters February 28, and encores at this years, New York International Children’s Film. The film is being released in both, it’s original French version (with subtitles), as well as in English. The question on parent’s minds, “Which version do I take my child to see?”. Samurai Beat Radio is here to help. Thanks to GKIDS, we’ve had the privilege of viewing both versions. Here’s what we recommend.

The Original- (French with English subtitles):
The original is best recommended for: bi-lingual, fluent to semi-fluent french speakers, just learning French or lovers of French cinema. It’s rare pleasure to watch a French-speaking animated film here in the US. Although, several French animated films have debuted at NYICFF, the last French animated film to grace US theaters was, The Triplets of Belleville in 2003. While the film does have English subtitles, it’s can be distracting from the gorgeous animation, especially for young children.

The English Version
This is best recommended for: non- french speakers, as well as young children, especially those under the age of 7; who might have a hard time with reading subtitles. Yet, you won’t be missing out when you see the English version. GKIDS has done an outstanding job dubbing the film. It features an all-star voice-cast, with: Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy and child actress, Mackenzie Foy. Unlike the English translations of most foreign animated films, the French to English translations is 99.9% accurate. However, Mackenzie Foy’s, English Celestine differs from her French counterpart (voice by:Pauline Brunner) she may loses her adorable french sassy style; it’s a cultural thing that’s very difficult for an American to capture, but nonetheless she still does fantastic job. Celestine remains cute and adorable.

Regardless, both versions of Ernest and Celestine are excellent in their own right. Whether it’s in French or English, your family will enjoy the magical experience that the film has to offer.



Top 5 Reasons to go to NYICFF 2014!

This week tickets went on sale for the New York International Children’s Film Festival 2014. Since 2010, Samurai Beat Radio been bring coverage of NYICFF, including our interview with Tomm Moore, director of the Oscar nominated film, The Secret of Kells.

This year’s festival is extra special and we’re going to give you the Top 5 Reasons,
why you need to attend!

[Drum Roll….Please..Starting with….]

Number # 5- Aunt Hilda!– France

French animation makes an encore splash, as Jacques-Remy Girerd, creator of A Cat in Paris and Mia and the Migoo returns to NYICFF with his latest hand-drawn gem, Aunt Hilda!

Number # 4- Patema Inverted– Japan

The new feature from Time of Eve director Yasuhiro Yoshiura is a perspective-twisting sci-fi adventure about two kids separated by opposite gravities

Number # 3- Laika: Behind the Magic-US

Heads up future animators! This event is for you. Experience the magic of stop-motion through a rare behind-the-scenes presentation from LAIKA studios – creators of the Academy Award®-nominated Coraline and ParaNorman. LAIKA’s Mark Shapiro will give insights into the intricate stop-motion animation process, using footage of time-lapse production, exclusive clips of LAIKA animators at work, and a demonstration using the actual character models from of the movies. Then put your newfound stop-motion knowledge to work during a complete screening of the film Coraline and an exclusive look at the upcoming LAIKA feature The Boxtrolls. After the films there will be an audience Q&A.

Number #2- Oscar-Nominated: Ernest & Celestine– France

Ernest & Celestine kicked off last year’s NYICFF opening ceremony. After it’s nomination for best animated feature film, Ernest & Celestine returns in a new English language version, featuring the voices of: Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, and Jeffrey Wright. The audience will also have to opportunity for a Q&A with the films director, Benjamin Renner.

Last, but not least,

NUMBER #1- Muppets Most Wanted– Special Sneak Preview

NYICFF is thrilled to present a special sneak preview screening of Disney’s, Muppets Most Wanted. That’s right folks, see The Muppets before they hit theaters- need we say more!


SBR catchs a Snitch at New York Comic Con 2012

November 4, 2012- S. Barton

The International Quidditch Association (IQA) made its second year appearance at New York Comic Con (NYCC). It was 3 days of non-stop Quidditch action. Friday and Saturday, the IQA hosted, “How to Play Quidditch 101”. Local Quidditch teams from the Tri-State Area held demo matches; then opened up the field for fans to come and play. Whether you’re a beginner or hardcore player, there was something for everyone. Sunday, was dedicated to Kidditch (Kids Quidditch); training the next generation of Quidditch stars.

Samurai Beat Radio correspondent S. Barton interviewed Dante, The Human Snitch. In J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter, the snitch is a magical golden ball with wings. The seeker must catch it to win a Quidditch match. The founding fathers of modern Quidditch developed an ingenious non-magical solution; the human snitch. The human snitch wears a gold uniform; plus a yellow sock which is filled with a ball, that hangs out of their shorts. The seeker must snag the sock to win the game. The human snitch is just as elusive and mysterious as their magical counter parts; as they hide on & off the field, while showboating for the crowd.

Dante told Samurai Beat Radio about his experiences playing The Human Snitch. He also showed us his lightsaber, which he uses to dazzle spectators. Dante isn’t just a human snitch, but a Jedi Snitch! Quidditch fans: “May the force be with you”.

Filmed by: Megumi Sato-Shelley

Is “Tron: Uprising” Disney Television Animation Comeback?

October, 12, 2012- S.Barton-

It’s been years since Disney Television Animation created a great action animated series.  In fact, their last great action animated series, was Gargoyles which aired in 1994. As of the late 90’s, Disney Television Animation changed gears, producing comedic /pop-culture style cartoon shows, such as: Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, Lilo & Stich: The Series.

Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network, and even Nickelodeon have dominated the action animation genre for more than a decade.  Batman, The Animated Series, produced by Warner Bros. is listed as the second greatest animated series of all time[1]. Cartoon Network, revolutionized the animation industry when it premiered its action/animation block Toonami, and Genndy Tartakovsky’s epic masterpiece, Samurai Jack. In 2005, Nickelodeon broke new ground when it aired, Avatar: the Last Airbender, and its sequel, Avatar: The Legend of Korra.

However, it looks like Disney Television Animation has struck gold.  Last Friday, Disney X.D., premiered its new series, Tron: Uprising, at New York Comic Con 2012. Troy Underwood, and Executive Producer/Director Charlie Bean, screened the two-part episode event, “Scars 1 & 2”


Tron: Uprising has all the components of a great animated action series. Although, it’s described as filler between 1982′s Tron and 2010′s Tron: Legacy; its strong story line along with complex characters gives it the feel of an original animated series.

The animation is highly stylized work of art; a nice blend of CGI and hand-drawn animation. It resonates of a film noir; drenched in black and it’s only colors are the neon lines on character’s suits.

When it comes to action, Tron: Uprising doesn’t hold back. The fight scenes in “Scars 2” are brilliantly choreographed. This is the superb quality that one can expect from Charlie Bean; who worked alongside Genndy Tartakovsky on Samurai Jack.

Tron: Uprising is the action animated series that Disney Television Animation has been looking for. It has the potential to hold its own against Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Tune in October 19, Tron: Uprising is a gem that’s truly worth watching.

 Charlie Bean with die-hard Tron Fans – photo:Brian A.Gonzalez


The Suzan and The NFL

I recently interviewed,  The Suzan at the Japan Society’s , J-cation Sakura event. Their song, “Come, Come” was used in Verzion’s NFL Mobile 2011 commercial; featuring Jets player,  Mark Sanchez.

I asked The Suzan how they felt about the ad? and Mark Sanchez? Surprisingly, The Suzan’s aren’t familiar with football, but they did love the commercial.

Click here to hear the full interview: The Suzan, The Interview, The Concert

The Suzan, The Interview, The Concert!

Listen here

, was in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, DC and New York City’s Upper West Side. Visitors were transported to a cherry blossom-filled haven, including hana-mi a cherry blossom viewing lounge.

Before the concert, I sat down with the band as they conducted their first all English interview. There were lots of laughs; afterwards, Rie, pianist, said she loved the “I ♥ Rice”  Sticker located on my messenger bag.

When The Suzan hit the stage, it was dynamite. They played their hit song, Come, Come; and the audience got a sneak peak of their newest songs.

The Suzan knew how to entertain the crowd, as they tossed giant colorful balloons into the theater.The mood was electrical as the balloons passed from person to person; while the audience danced in their seats. Enjoying the reaction, the band encouraged them to keep dancing. It was non-stop action, as the theater was transformed into a night club.

When the concert was over, the audience begged for an encore. The Suzan played one more song, but that was it. Alas, all good things must come to an end. The Suzan had left the stage, but the memories of this concert will last forever.

photos: Megumi Sato-Shelly

Check out  the I ♥ Rice Stickers and more ^^ [All  proceed go to fund The Pocky Campaign]

Surprise is in the Air at New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival 2012 Award Ceremony

3/27/2012- S. Barton

Co- Director, Eric Beckman’s opening speech at the 2012 New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) Award Ceremony astonished the crowd as be boldly declared  “We want your Money!” Mr. Beckman’s humorous remark was in reference to, Get Tooned 2!, An Adult-Only Claymation Event, in which money will be used to fund NYICFF’s Scholarship Program.

The New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) is in its 15th year, and it’s still full of surprises. Longtime festival judge, Actor Matthew Modine and made a special appearance to present the Special Jury Award. The awards went to the comedies, as films: The Storyteller, and Capturing Santa won in 2 categories; and Extinction of the Sabertooth House Cat won the Audience Award Ages 5-10.

The audience gave a standing ovation as director Susan Koenen won the Audience Award Ages 12-18 for her short-documentary film, I’m a Girl. An amazing documentary about a girl named Joppe, who was born a boy.

The biggest shock came as Japanese’s animated film, A Letter to Momo, upstaged French animated film, Le Tableau, winning the festivals Grand Prize Feature. The film’s producer, Mistshusa Ishikaw accepted the award, happily, saying that it was also a win for Japan, especially after the tsunami/earthquake that hit last year.

The award ceremony was followed by a beautiful reception catered by La Palapa; featuring handmade chocolates from Donna & Company, cupcakes from Tonnie’s Mini’s; and Vita Coco Coconut Water.  There was one last surprise of the evening as co-directors, Eric Beckman and Emily Shaprio presented flowers to NYICFF staff and graciously thanked them for their hard work on the festival.

It was a very close race this year; there were many unexpected twists and turns. We look forward to next year, and as always the magic of the festival continues with weekend screenings at the IFC Center.

The Winners of the  NYICFF 2012 are:

GRAND PRIZE SHORT: Capturing Santa
PARENTS AWARD: The Storyteller
AUDIENCE AWARD, AGES 3-6: The Gruffalo’s Child
AUDIENCE AWARD, AGES 5-10: Extinction of the Sabertooth House Cat
AUDIENCE AWARD, AGES 8-14: Capturing Santa
AUDIENCE AWARD, AGES 12-18: I Am a Girl!