Thursday, January 24, 2008

News - 01/25/08...

Brad Bird Talks Oscar Nominations for "Ratatouille;" Animators Weigh In on Oscars

The Oregonian has spoken with writer/director Brad Bird about the multiple Oscar nominations for Ratatouille, noting that award nominations are the "icing on the icing" of the work itself but also adding that "you don't get too blase about the Oscars." The article also speaks to Portland-area animators Joan Grantz, Will Vinton, Joanna Priestley, and Tom Knott about the Ratatouille vs. Persepolis contest for Best Animated Feature.

Most Effective Product Placement of 2007 is "Guitar Hero" on "South Park"

According to the data reporting firm iTVX, the "Guitar Hero" episode of South Park was the most effective product placement of 2007. iTVX came to this conclusion via their Q-rating calculation, which measures 50 criteria such as whether a character on a show is holding a product while talking about it and if a product logo is clearly shown in a foreground shot.

In Strike News...

January 24, 2008: Simpsons producer Mike Scully has posted his thoughts on the DGA/AMPTP preliminary deal and the appropriate influence it should have on the WGA negotiations. He notes some of the unanswered questions as of yet, such as how Internet downloads will be policed and what the "17-day promotional window" really means.

"Toy Story" Trilogy to Get Full 3-D Treatment in 2009-10

A press release from the Walt Disney Company is stating that the two existing Toy Story movies will be released in digital 3-D versions starting in 2009 in advance of the release of Toy Story 3, which will also be released in 3-D. The first Toy Story movie will be released to theaters in 3-D on October 2, 2009, with the sequel coming on February 12, 2010. Toy Story 3, which is currently underway at Disney/Pixar, will be released to theaters on June 18, 2010. The release states that the technical teams at Pixar will be, "retrieving all of the original digital elements and rebuilding them in 3-D."

Updates on The Flash, The Dark Knight, Transporter 3, Brazilian Job

During The Bank Job press junket today I got some one-on-one time with Producer Charles Roven about some of his upcoming projects including The Dark Knight and The Flash. He wasn't able to give out many details, but I tried to squeeze what I could out of him.

On a possible sequel for Get Smart:

"The movie is essentially finished. I'm just a believe that you gotta do movies one movie at a time. We've got a wonderful movie, we've got a fantastic cast, Peter Segal did a wonderful job directing it. We had some really wonderful contributions from Mel Brooks and I really hope and believe that the movie is going to be widely accepted. I'm hopeful that the movie's gonna work and if the movie works, we'll sit down and have a conversation about what there is to do next."

In regards to Christopher doing only 3 Batman films, with Two Face as the villain for the 3rd movie. I said I know Harvey Dent is in The Dark Knight, but is Two-Face? And would he be the main villain in the third film? (Charles looked at me like he wanted to slit my throat.)

"I just told you about my film making philosophy, Chris Nolan is so much of that, even more than I am. He is such a focused guy that he really only thinks about one thing at a time. Hes editing right now. You know, we're all very sad about what happened, but you know, right now, other than a pause to think about and give honor to Heath, we're gonna go forward and just finish the movie."

In regards to The Flash I'll sum up what he said:

The director is David Dobkin. The writer is Craig Wright. No casting information at all. He would not give an answer if it will be Barry Allen or Wally West as Flash, but he he does know about the first Flash Jay Garrick and said he finds it interesting that there was more than one Flash.

They do have a take in the direction they want to go with it, but wouldn't say what that direction is. The writer hasn't started writing because of the strike. They've done all the research on the first three Flashes and he said he knows everything about them. He laughed and said "Nice Try" when I asked what villain they were thinking of. "You wouldn't want me to tell you this far out." Uh...yes I would!

I asked him about the tone of the film. That Peter Segal is looking to make a sort of light comedy with Shazam, what would the tone be of The Flash?

"It's gonna be straight ahead and do a lot of honor to the source material. We're not going in a comedy direction. It's gonna be straight ahead action movie with a lot of character but it's not gonna necessarily be like The Dark Knight or anything, it's going to be its own thing. At least, that's what we're gonna try to do."

For Jason Statham's upcoming projects, I asked him if he was doing Transporter 3:

"Ya. We're gonna shoot it in Paris. Can't say what the storyline is."

Maybe this time he delivers one-liners at comedy clubs. BA DUM DUM! Thank you very much!

On The Brazilian Job:

"It's not happening. If it does happen, we'll all go 'Jesus, we didn't expect it to.' It's been stagnant for so long that it just feels that it needs some dynamite under it to make it move. I'm very happy to do it, I'd love to work with Mark again. But it's on the back burner."

He also mentioned Crank 2 goes into production in April.

That's all I got! Look for the full interviews soon.

Marvel Cranking out another Comic Book movie

Jason Statham, an ex-pro swimmer, is keen to re familiarize himself with the wet stuff it seems. The big guy is someone Marvel apparently likes for comic-book character 'The Sub-Mariner'.... he's just not convinced he's the right man for the job.

''I don’t know if I’d look right running around in a tight speedo with wings on my ankles", laughs Statham in an interview with IESB, "I’m trying to think of what would be a good comic book character for me to play. You know, there’s talk of them redoing The Crow. That was a good movie with Brandon Lee, although that was years ago. So if that one comes my way, bang!"

Did Statham just say there's talk of them remaking "The Crow"!? F#@k no!

Marvel Comics Get Lost

ABC has worked with Marvel Comics to insert images and references to the hit series Lost in upcoming comic books, including Uncanny X-Men, Incredible Hercules, Thunderbolts and Wolverine Origins, the TV network announced.

For example, a Lost poster, the number 6 and the slogan "Find Yourself" all appear in the latest editions of several Marvel comics that hit newsstands through Jan. 30.

Season four of Lost premieres Jan. 31 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Alba on Sin City 2 and Fantastic Four 3

Soon to be hot mom Jessica Alba talked to Hype! on Wednesday about her upcoming films while promoting her new thriller, The Eye.

CS/SHH!: What can you tell us about your character in "Sin City 2"?

Jessica Alba: I haven't read a script. I don't know anything about it. Robert (Rodriguez) and Frank (Miller) haven't talked to me about it at all.

CS/SHH!: How long until we get "Fantastic Four 3"?

Alba: I have no idea. I know the writers strike and the impending actors strike has kind of put a wrench in everything production wise. That film takes a lot of prep, a good six months of prep and about six months to shoot. With the strike, I think, maybe it's put on hold.

CS/SHH!: Any thought into making "Dark Angel" into a film?

Alba: We've talked about it, I want to work with Jim so I would pretty much do anything he wants to do.

CS/SHH!: In the "Fantastic Four" comics your character becomes a mother. Would you like to see that in the film?

Alba: Little Franklin? Yeah, I think that would be hilarious. He's so powerful, I think that would be a really interesting dynamic - a mother-child dynamic. She's still a superhero but she's super protective and he's wild, he can do anything and has no sense of what's appropriate, that would be really fun.

The Eye opens in theaters on February 1.

Nicholson Warned Ledger About "Joker" Role

Jack Nicholson has hinted he warned tragic Heath Ledger against taking on the role of The Joker in the new Batman film. Ledger, 28 - who was declared dead at 3:30pm at his Manhattan apartment on Tuesday - publicly declared himself exhausted and sleep deprived in November following the grueling shoot for The Dark Knight. He also revealed in an interview with the New York Times he'd resorted to taking sleeping pills - an overdose of which is believed to be the cause of his death - in a desperate bid to catch up on rest. And Nicholson, who famously portrayed the menacing Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 movie Batman, implied to the waiting crowd outside plush London restaurant The Wolesley on Tuesday night he spoke to Ledger about his role in The Dark Knight - and warned him about the pitfalls of taking on such a demanding challenge. When asked by the London crowds for his reaction to Ledger's untimely demise, a defeated Nicholson simply replied, "I told him so." Batman Begins prequel The Dark Knight is due to be released in July.

In Memory of Heath Ledger

We think the changes on these official Warner Bros. The Dark Knight sites speak for themselves:

RIP Heath Ledger.

Marvel Studios and WGA Sign Interim Agreement!

Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, Inc., and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced today that they have reached an interim comprehensive agreement that will put writers immediately back to work on the Marvel Studios development slate. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"We're very excited about our summer releases, 'Iron Man' and 'The Incredible Hulk,' and look forward to resuming work with writers on our future projects including 'Captain America,' 'Thor,' 'Ant-Man,' and 'The Avengers,'" said Marvel Studios Chairman David Maisel.

"Marvel Studios' signing of an interim agreement with the Writers Guild is more good news for our membership," said WGAE President Michael Winship and WGAW President Patric M. Verrone. "Marvel is committed to fairly compensating their writers and now they can move forward with their planned production schedule."

Marvel Studios recently launched its independent live-action film studio to develop, produce, and fully finance Marvel movies, which will include two of this summer's most anticipated releases - Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man will be released by Paramount Pictures on May 2, 2008, and stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow. The Incredible Hulk, which will be released by Universal Pictures on June 13, 2008, is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, and William Hurt.

In cooperation with other studios, Marvel previously produced a long succession of hits, including the "Spider-Man," "X-Men," and "Fantastic Four" franchises, Ghost Rider, and Daredevil.

The WGA recently entered into interim agreements with The Weinstein Company, United Artists, Lionsgate, Worldwide Pants, Spyglass Entertainment, MRC, Jackson Bites, Mandate Films, and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.

Pirate Bunnies

The complete Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy can now be seen in less than two minutes and re-enacted by animator Jennifer Shiman’s bunnies by watching parts 1 and 2 here and part 3 here.

Aeon Flux, Butt-Head Hit UMD

Peter Chung’s anime series Aeon Flux and Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head make their way to the PSP on UMD (Universal Media Disc) via a deal between Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) and MTV Networks. SCEA’s first such collaboration with a major TV content provider, the arrangement also saw volumes of the popular live-action shows Jackass, Wildboyz and Viva La Bam hit retail on UMD this week.

Phil Rosenberg, senior VP of sales and business development for SCEA, says PSP owners are using the hand-held gaming machines as video players more than ever now that the new units offer a video-out port, allowing them to watch UMD discs on standard television sets in adition to the PSP’s built-in screen. “This [deal] demonstrates our commitment to supporting the UMD video format by delivering what consumers want to watch at the right price,” he says. “SCEA will continue to license movie, TV, and other video content, leveraging our sales and marketing strengths, as a strategic focus moving forward."

Aeon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection and the second and third volumes of Beavis & Butt-head: The Mike Judge Collection are now available on UMD for the suggested retail price of $14.99.

"Storm Hawks" nominated for Canadian Indie Award

The animated adventure series "Storm Hawks," which airs on Cartoon Network, has been nominated for the CFTPA Indie Award for Best Children's and Youth Programme or Series.

Produced by Asaph Fipke, Ken Faier and Chuck Johnson, Storm Hawks is released by Nerd Corps Entertainment. Nominations for the Indie Awards were announced Monday by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association.

The awards were created by the CFTPA in order to recognize and honor the outstanding achievements of Canadian independent producers. The awards will be presented at a special reception and ceremony February 20 in Ottawa.

Facing off against Storm Hawks in the category are the live-action The Great Canadian Polar Bear Adventure, produced by Shari Cohen, Robert Cohen and Robin Neinstein; Mystery Hunters, produced by Jonathan Finkelstein, Jason Levy and Stacey Tenenbaum; Generation XXL, produced by Lesley Ann Patten; and Life With Derek, produced by Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Daphne Ballon and Suzanne French.

"There is an incredible number of talented independent producers across Canada, and this is a reality that is not celebrated nearly as often as it ought to be," said CFTPA president and CEO Guy Mayson. "On behalf of the members of the CFTPA and the board of directors, we are proud to showcase such excellence, and we congratulate all the nominees."

The CFTPA is a non-profit trade organization that works on behalf of almost 400 companies engaged in the production and distribution of English-language television programs, feature films and interactive media products in all regions of Canada. For a list of nominees in all categories, visit

"Girl Who Leapt Through Time" Trailer Goes Online has posted a trailer for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time online. The Mamoru Hosoda-directed film, about a high school girl with the power to go backward in time, will get a limited theatrical release in the US in the summer of 2008 before heading to DVD.

"Astro Boy" Gets New Director

David Bowers is replacing Colin Brady as director of the upcoming CG-animated Astro Boy, Variety reports. Bowers's previous directorial credit was Flushed Away.

The film, based on the character created by Osamu Tezuka, is slated for a 2009 release.

The Animated Scene: How To Make an Animated Film 101 (version 20.08)

In this month's "The Animated Scene," Joseph Gilland explores the sea change that�s come about in the animation process.

Animation World Magazine

J.J. Sedelmaier Prods. Serves Up SHRM Ad

The Glover Park Group, the ad agency for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), has tapped J. J. Sedelmaier Prods. to produce a new TV campaign promoting the services SHRM provides its members. The first ad in the campaign, titled MOST IMPORTANT ASSET, is currently running on CNN's election coverage and on selected Fox Business Channel programs.

Animation director J. J. Sedelmaier says the script presented to him for the SHRM spot was different from previous collaborations between his studio and Glover Park that had resulted in PSAs for Poison Control and advertising assignments for Pfizer. It stood out from other business-to-business messages by employing a gentle, flowing quality that spoke directly to the human side of human resources.

"The storyboard had a very fluid, gestural style to it," says Sedelmaier. The team at Glover Park also presented him with the work of Italian illustrator Alessandro Gottardo -- also known as Shout -- whose work has appeared in such publications as THE NEW YORK TIMES, ESQUIRE, WIRED and LE MONDE. Shout's illustrations impressed Sedelmaier so much that he immediately set out to contact him.

"The agency was into this iconographic and symbolic look -- we weren't going to have to approach the subject matter literally," the director adds. "Shout's work has a clever, sophisticated charm to it, and I started contacting friends of mine who'd worked with friends of his to see if we could connect."

Shout was similarly familiar with the work of Sedelmaier's studio, and was very interested in collaborating on the project, which has resulted in Shout's first animated work. "My initial idea, when I first saw the boards, was to work with outline, not too many descriptive details and few colors," he says. "In this way I thought it was easier and faster for everybody to work on the animations of my drawings, by essentially keeping the drawings simple."

Sedelmaier says when the initial tests began to take shape, the agency began to explore even more detail in the work. "They had some ideas they were unable to articulate until they saw the images moving," says Sedelmaier. "As we started to do designs and give it a graphic identity, it became clear that they were more flexible in what they saw this campaign representing than we'd originally thought."

Sedelmaier is also pleased with the outcome. "It's sophisticated, gentle and clever," he says of the spot. "We had an opportunity to work with an artist and designer not known for an animation, and translate that into motion. We couldn't have asked for a better combination on a project."

Agency credits for the work go to creative director Susan Armstrong, art director Mark Driscoll, copywriter Michael Vines and producer Annie Onda. For J. J. Sedelmaier Productions, credits go to Sedelmaier, director/designer; Patrice Sedelmaier, exec producer; Andy Friz, animator; "Zero," digital production; Janine Cotter, production assistant.

For more information, visit

El Chavo Premiere Tops Ratings

Spanish-language network Univision's premiere of its first-ever prime-time animated series, EL CHAVO: LA SERIE ANIMADA -- with Flash animation produced by Mexico City-based Anima Estudios -- captured the #1 spot among entertainment programming, excluding sports, among Adults 18-34 for its time period and saw double- and triple-digit audience gains in every other key demo, according to the Nielsen Fast Affiliate ratings.

* Univision captured the #3 spot among Teens 12-17 and Kids 2-11 for the Sunday 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm hour, beating out CBS, NBC and CW.

* Among Adults 18-49, Univision was the #4 ranked network, out-performing NBC and CW.

* For the entire night on Sunday, Univision was the #3 network, beating CBS, NBC and CW with the combination of EL CHAVO and LOS 5 MAGNIFICOS ("The Magnificent 5") among Adults 18-34 (1,000,000) and Kids 2-11 (483,000).

* Locally, EL CHAVO: LA SERIE ANIMADA was the #1 entertainment program, excluding sports, in its time period among key demos in many major markets including Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, New York, Dallas and San Francisco.

Paramount Vantage's Teen Doc Features Animation

Paramount Vantage has acquired worldwide distribution rights, excluding the U.K., to Nanette Burstein's documentary AMERICAN TEEN, which features animation.

AMERICAN TEEN follows the lives of four teenagers in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school. Using cinema verite footage, interviews, and animation, it presents a candid portrait of being a teenager and all that goes with it. Described as a modern day BREAKFAST CLUB, the film chronicles the insecurities, the cliques, the jealousies, the first loves and heartbreaks, and the struggle to make profound decisions about the future.

"This was the most entertaining and uplifting film we saw at Sundance," said Nick Meyer, President of Paramount Vantage. "It's a movie that we believe audiences will embrace worldwide."

Nanette Burstein's NYU thesis film turned into her first feature-length documentary, ON THE ROPES, which won a Special Jury Prize at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, along with the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement and the International Documentary Association's award for best documentary film. It was also nominated for an Academy Award. She co-produced and directed THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE, which premiered at Sundance in 2002 and also screened at Cannes. Burstein's other producing/directing credits include the five-part series SAY IT LOUD: A CELEBRATION OF BLACK MUSIC IN AMERICA for VH1.

AMERICAN TEEN is an A&E Indiefilms Presentation of a Firehouse Films and Quasiworld Ent. production in association with 57th and Irving. Nanette Burstein, Jordan Roberts, Eli Gonda and Chris Huddleston produced. The film was represented by Cinetic Media and CAA and was negotiated by Jeffrey Freedman, EVP, Business Affairs and Operations, on behalf of Paramount Vantage. Amy Israel, EVP, Production and Acquisitions, and Ben Cotner, Director, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, will oversee the project for Paramount Vantage.

Newport Beach Film Festival announces the “Chuck Jones Award”"

“The Newport Beach Film Festival and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity announced today the first ever ‘Chuck Jones Award for Excellence in Animation’ to be presented at the 2008 Festival. Named after the legendary animation director, the inaugural award will be given each year to an individual or group who best exemplifies artistic achievement and innovation in the field of animation. Created to recognize the new generation of animators, the Award will celebrate the legacy of Chuck Jones and the continuing recognition of animation as a significant art form.” The full press release follows:


January 24, 2008


Newport Beach, Calif. – The Newport Beach Film Festival and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity announced today the first ever “Chuck Jones Award for Excellence in Animation” to be presented at the 2008 Festival. Named after the legendary animation director, the inaugural award will be given each year to an individual or group who best exemplifies artistic achievement and innovation in the field of animation. Created to recognize the new generation of animators, the Award will celebrate the legacy of Chuck Jones and the continuing recognition of animation as a significant art form.

Winners of the “Chuck Jones Award for Excellence in Animation” will receive a special animation cel of Chuck Jones’ work, a cash award and recognition at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Filmmakers from around the globe with original animated works, utilizing traditional hand drawn and/or computer generated techniques, created in feature length and short form may submit their films for consideration.

“Chuck Jones lived in Newport Beach as a child and always held it close to his heart. His last 22 years were spent as a resident of Newport Beach/Corona del Mar, and it is with great pleasure and delight that the Jones family and Trustees of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity participate in this wonderful festival,” stated Linda Jones Clough, daughter of Chuck Jones.

The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to foster and encourage creativity, especially in young people, using Jones’ films, drawings and writings as artistic resource and inspiration.

Chuck Jones made more than 300 animated films over the course of his 60-year career. He created or helped create many of Warner Bros. most famous characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the Roadrunner and Coyote. Winner of four Oscars®, Jones received his final golden statue in 1996 for Lifetime Achievement.

The Newport Beach Film Festival runs April 24 – May 1, 2008 and will highlight more than 300 films from around the world, including features, shorts, documentaries, and animation. The Festival is dedicated to bringing Orange County the best in classic and contemporary films.

Filmmakers may download an entry form at or submit through The final deadline for entries is February 2, 2008.

No comments: