The vicious international terrorists of COBRA could never stop GI Joe, but he's finally met his match, at least temporarily. This year's GI Joe Fest -- an annual film festival of stop-motion animation starring everyone's favorite military action figure -- that was scheduled for Saturday, September 22 has been canceled. Tragically, financial and legal issues seem to have succeeded where supervillains like Destro failed.
See also: - Q&A: Gio Toninelo, the man behind GI Joe Fest and Pond Patrol, on movies and miniatures - Boys and their toys: Gio Toninelo is living the dream -- and his wife doesn't mind. - Freaky Friday: Zombie Zombie, aliens, GI Joes together at last
"We lost our main sponsors and that kind of bummed me out," explains Gio Toninelo, the festival's creator. "We [also] got a couple movies with copyrighted soundtracks. We're trying to stop doing that and rescore those movies, with the filmmakers' permission, so we don't get in trouble."
Fans of the real American hero and/or stop-motion animation should take heart, though -- Toninelo promises this is only a temporary setback. He plans to bring back the festival next year, possibly as early as next spring. And when it does come back, he promises it will be worth the wait.
"We're doing good. We've got lots of new films, a lot of foreign stuff -- a lot of South American films, a couple of Mexican films," he says. "This time around we actually have a lot of [films from] soldiers. We got a lot of submissions from soldiers that fought in Afghanistan. In their downtime they were shooting stuff in their barracks, which is really cool."
The time off is not going to waste, either. Toninelo has been hard at work with fellow GI Joe enthusiasts Anthony Ilaqua (writer) and Hutt Wigley (animator) to create some original material for the fest, building on the success of his previous collaboration with Ilaqua, "Pastrami on Rye." One of those films, Resort to Ice, is in post-production and another, Max Helms -- described by Toninelo as a "film noir crossed with Indiana Jones kind of thing" -- is in development.
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When the festival returns, Toninelo says he hopes to take it on the road again -- last time around he visited six US cities and two countries -- and may even look to expand the scope to other stop-motion animated films as well. In the meantime, he's still accepting submissions, should you be struck suddenly with an idea for a mashup about the secret dream of one toy soldier to become a My Little Pony jockey that will bring the world of Bronies and Joe fans together at last.