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Cartoon Network Studios Announces 'Cartoon Cartoons' Shorts Program

One surprising effect of the streaming boom has been the return to prominence of the animated short. Initiatives like Pixar's Sparkshorts and Disney's Short Circuit, as well as new shorts of Mickey Mouse and Looney Tuneshave found a natural home in the form of streaming services. Now another of animation's biggest names have announced a new artist-driven shorts program with Cartoon Network Studios' Cartoon Cartoons.

Older fans and amateur animation historians will remember that the Cartoon Cartoons name is itself not new, and was the name used for one of the Network's first wave of original animation. Many fans are also aware of CNS's existing shorts initiative, which was used to pilot new shows, leading to series including Summer Camp Island and Infinity Train. The new Cartoon Cartoons will be an evolution of this initiative, "with a mission to innovate the art of animated storytelling, showcase diverse stories, discover new voices and mentor the next generation of animators."

Some of the shorts could potentially spawn new series but this isn't the focus here. The shorts will vary in length and subject matter and will range in target audience from preschoolers to adults. Finished shorts have the potential to be distributed worldwide by WarnerMedia and could end up broadcast on Cartoon Network itself, streaming on HBO Max, or released online and much more. The program will be open to artists and producers of all experience levels from both inside and outside CNS.  

The program will be overseen by the Cartoon Cartoons Creative Council, a rotating group of all-star producers who will provide peer-to-peer mentorship and creative guidance to the artists in the program. The first council members are revealed as:

Pete Browngardt – An Emmy®-nominated producer, Pete currently serves as executive producer and showrunner on the HBO Max series Looney Tunes Cartoons. Prior to that Browngardt was the creator and executive producer of the Emmy® Award-winning series Uncle Grandpa as well as creator of the Annecy and Emmy® Award-winning series Secret Mountain Fort Awesome. Both series were developed as part of the previous CNS shorts program, The Cartoonstitute.

Manny Hernandez – Director, writer, and storyboard artist best known for his work on Cartoon Network’s BAFTA award-winning series We Bare Bears, Manny is currently the Executive Producer of the upcoming spinoff, We Baby Bears. In 2018, he was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Storyboarding in a Television Broadcast Production. Beginning as a caricature artist, Hernandez attended the California Institute of the Arts and later landed a job as a feature storyboard artist at Pixar Animation Studios. He has been credited on several feature films including the Academy Award-winning Inside Out, Monsters University and Coco.

Katie Rice – An accomplished artist who has worked professionally in animation since the age of 19, Katie rose through the ranks inside the character design and storyboard departments of multiple series such as The Mighty B!, Pinky Malinky, El Tigre and the Golden Globe-nominated film The Book of Life. She also created the webcomic Camp Weedonwantcha, which was later developed into an animated short for Nickelodeon. Rice currently serves as a series director on Animaniacs, the highly successful reboot of the iconic family series currently airing on Hulu and is also a co-director on a yet to be announced project for Warner Bros. Animation.

Aminder Dhaliwal – An animator and cartoonist, Aminder has directed, storyboarded and written on multiple series for Sony Pictures Animation, Disney TV Animation, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. She was named one of Variety’s 10 Animators to Watch in 2020 and her first graphic novel, Woman World, was nominated for an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic. Her second graphic novel, Cyclopedia Exotica releases in May 2021.

CNS will also partner with Black Women Animate Studios and autism non-profit Exceptional Minds, as part of the mission of the initiative to encourage diversity and inclusion in the animation industry and attract a wide range of artists from all backgrounds and perspectives and help them share their stories with the world.

"Cartoon Network Studios has a proud legacy of animated shorts" said Sam Register,  president of Warner Brothers Animation and Cartoon Network Studios. " We are building on that legacy today with a program that will champion new and diverse voices, energize creativity and provide resources for artists to share their stories with the world. I am so grateful to the producers serving on our Creative Council and our partner organizations for their commitment to make Cartoon Cartoons a successful and creatively rewarding endeavour."