Tuesday, March 4, 2008

News - 03/04/08...

Multichannel News on Disney/Nick Rivalry in Cable; Potential for Rise in TV Animation

The Multichannel News website has posted an article detailing the rivalry between the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon for ratings and mindshare in the youth television market. The article provides plenty of information about the current rivalries between the two companies, especially in the live-action tween market battle between Nick's iCarly and The Naked Brothers Band and Disney's High School Musical and Hannah Montana. However the article also foreshadows a coming battle in television animation, noting that Disney just wooed away Nick veteran Eric Coleman to be their new SVP for Walt Disney Television Animation, and that Nick has plans for "a nearly 50% increase in animation production this year."

'Dark Oz' comic set for trilogy

Hip Hop artist and film producer Pras Michel is set to produce and act in a trilogy of movies based on the Caliber/Arrow comics title 'Dark Oz', according to today's Variety.

The comic presented a dark retelling of L. Frank Baum's original novels, re-casting the conflict in OZ as a "gothic and more macabre" war story. Created by writers Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr with art by Bill Bryan, It was originally published as 'Oz' by Caliber Comics in 1994. In 1997 it moved to Arrow Comics and was retitled 'Dark Oz'. It appears that the books will be republished again by Transfuzion, the new start up by Caliber chief Gary Reed.

The live-action film is said to be ready for production later this year, with Michel appearing as the Scarecrow in the movie.

Condon Creates For College Recruiting

Jason Condon created this TV spot for Holland College, and then wound up staring in it too - or at least his back did. Condon was brought in by Moses Media, and then Condon teamed up with Troy Little who created the background art. The animated elements were created in Flash, but eventually the spot was re-built using some 3D artwork.

Condon’s UPA Homage For Dyadem

Jason Condon’s TV spot for Holland College, was animated in a style reminiscent of an 80s cartoon - ala He-Man. Condon’s style-bank must be rich, as he effortlessly pulled off this 60s UPA homage for Dyadem. It was animated in one week using Flash 8.

SuperNews Predicts the Democratic Apocalypse

A new SuperNews episode premiered Thursday, and it stars Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a showdown of biblical proportions. In The Democratic Messiah? Josh Faure-Brac compares the Democratic Party’s recent fate to the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the desert. And who appears to save them? Obama…. and Hillary. Who will be the true savior?

Award-Winning Coca-Cola Commercial To Screen In UK

The multi award-winning Coca-Cola "Videogame" commercial directed by Nexus Productions' Smith & Foulkes is making its UK TV debut Monday.

"Videogame" puts a striking new slant on the violent world of computer games.

The fully computer-animated commercial, which will run for six weeks, was created in HD for Wieden & Kennedy (Portland) and first played during the 2006 Super Bowl.

It has since run in a number of other global markets, although never before in the U.K.

The timing coincides with the global launch of GRAND THEFT AUTO IV on April 29.

The commercial follows Ray, a menacing computer-game tough guy.

After a swig of Coca Cola, he embarks on a rampage -- not of expected violence and destruction -- but of love, kindness, song and dance.

While the landscape in the commercial resembles the urban landscape of current computer games, the characters have a much wider range of emotion and expression.

Smith & Foulkes worked with a choreographer and filmed dancers who interpreted the moves for individual characters in the grand finale -- an old school 'show'-inspired chorus of singing and dancing.

Smith & Foulkes said, "The script was a great opportunity to have a laugh at the expense of violent computer games. We asked ourselves the question, 'What would happen if every street punk, gun-toting hood, tough-guy cop and every perpetually terrorized innocent bystander all got together for a good sing-a-long?'"

Cool Item From John Carpenter's THE THING Up For Sale!!

If you're a big fan of John Carpenter's THE THING, like I am, then THIS ...might be of interest to you!

The CW Picks Up Smallville for Season 8

ComingSoon.net reports that The CW has picked up "Smallville" for another season:

Also renewed were the long-running Thursday night team of "Smallville," which will begin its eighth season, and "Supernatural," which will begin its fourth season.

For more shows picked up, hit the link above.

Graphiti Offers Pro Toon Training in India

With so much animation being created in India these days, Graphiti School of Animation has launched a one-year professional training course to help meet the demand for qualified and talented artists. Headed by Indian animation legend Ram Mohan, the program joins a number of courses for both beginners and working pros, with an emphasis on understanding film production using animation technology.

The new course is dubbed G-CAT Pro, which stands for Graphiti Certificate of Animation – Professional. Now open for admissions, the 10-month intensive curriculum includes a production phase, where students make a film of their own. Throughout the course, they will interact with Indian and international industry professionals from studios, broadcast outlets and other media channels.

To be eligible for the course, a student should have cleared HSC or equivalent exams and taken part in an aptitude counseling session. For more information, go to www.graphitimultimedia.com/Animation_School/Index.htm. To see student work from the school, go to www.youtube.com/graphitischool.

"Madame Tutli-Putli" wins at Canada's Genie Awards

The Oscar-nominated "Madame Tutli-Putli," the debut effort of Quebec animators Maciek Szczerbowski and Chris Lavis, was named best animated short Monday night at the Genie Awards.

The annual awards honor the best of Canadian cinema and are Canada's equivalent of the Oscars.

In the stop-action Madame Tutli-Putli, the title character boards the night train. As day descends into dark, she finds herself alone, caught up in a desperate metaphysical adventure. Adrift between real and imagined worlds, Madame Tutli-Putli is drawn into an undertow of mystery and suspense.

Madame Tutli-Putli defeated challengers Here and There, by Diane Obomsawin and Marc Bertrand, and Jeu, by Georges Schwizgebel, Michèle Bélanger and Marcel Jean.

The two big winners of the awards evening in Toronto were Away from Her and Eastern Promises, which each won seven Genies.

Away From Her, Sarah Polley's poetic film about Alzheimer's disease and enduring love, won for Best Motion Picture and three of four acting categories; it also received the Claude Jutra Award (announced previously) recognizing the effort of a first-time filmmaker. David Cronenberg's Russian mob thriller Eastern Promises' awards included Original Screenplay and Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Armin Mueller-Stahl).

For Away From Her, Polley won best director. Newfoundland-born actor Gordon Pinsent was named best actor. Julie Christie was named best actress, while the Genie for supporting actress went to Kristen Thomson.

Star Wars Tops Wire Poll

SCI FI Wire readers have spoken, and the Force is with them: Readers picked Star Wars: Episode IV---A New Hope as the top SF movie of all time.

Following a close second was Ridley Scott's 1982 dystopian SF noir movie Blade Runner.

The results were tabulated from hundreds of e-mails readers sent with their picks for the top 10 SF movies of all time, drawn from the American Film Institute's list of the 50 best SF movies.

The original Star Wars movie drew 7.8 percent of the total votes for top pick. Blade Runner received 7.5 percent.

The rest of SCI FI Wire's top 10 SF movies, in descending order: The Matrix, Alien, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet and the original Planet of the Apes.

Empire Is Wire's Most Neglected

SCI FI Wire readers overwhelmingly selected Star Wars: Episode V--The Empire Strikes Back as the movie most neglected for being left off the American Film Institute's list of the 50 best SF movies of all time.

Some 24 percent of the responses for the top 10 most neglected movies went to Empire out of the hundreds of e-mails sent by SCI FI Wire readers.

The SF movie that received the second-highest percentage of votes was James Cameron's Aliens, with 18 percent of the vote.

And Joss Whedon's cult favorite Serenity came in a close third, with 17 percent of the votes.

Overall, readers nominated more than 60 SF movies that should have been included on the AFI's list, but most received only a single vote. Among those that received more than one vote, the top 10 most neglected films were these: Empire, Aliens, Serenity, Terminator, Gattaca, The Fifth Element, The Road Warrior, Metropolis, Stargate and Armageddon.

SCI FI Readers also picked their top 10 favorite films from the AFI's list.

The AFI will pick its 10 best SF movies of all time for a TV special that will air on CBS in June.

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