Wednesday, May 14, 2008

News - 05/14/08...

Thunder, thunder, THUNDER...! has pics of what appears to be the first 3-D Maya created mold for the Thundercats movie. Since they work on this stuff months and months in advance its pretty plausible this is for the flick and wasn't created by some fanboy with too much time on his hands.

Click the link to also see what may be fan artwork of the logo. Or it could be real. Who knows? Not me.

Two New Dark Knight TV Spots!

The first two TV spots for Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight aired during the season finale of "Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites" Sunday night. Opening in conventional theaters and IMAX on July 18, the Christopher Nolan-directed film stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

You can watch the two spots here and here!

WALL•E Clip featuring Andrew Stanton

UpcomingPixar points at a new WALL•E Clip at Yahoo! Movies wherein the director Andrew Stanton discusses the character of WALL-E and the adventure that awaits him.

Jon Favreau aiming for 2D look in mo-cap Neanderthals

Iron Man director Jon Favreau will next write, helm and produce the feature-length motion capture caveman comedy Neanderthals for Sony Pictures Animation, a project which was intially announced back in 2005. Favreau told MTV News back in January that he was hoping to shoot the motion capture part before the potential actors strike next month so he could then “theoretically work on the animated part of it over the next couple of years. Mo-cap is a misleading term because the animation won’t resemble the animation of Polar Express or Monster House. That was very lifelike. This will be comedic and stylized. The animation will appear more like a traditional animated film. The mo-cap will be used simply as a basis for animation and to allow the performers to all be in one space together. Hopefully, it will inherit some of their spontaneity. We haven’t cast it yet, but I like working with people who have a background in improvisation. I don’t want to follow the paradigm of a [traditional] animated film.” Favreau further hinted to Variety that the film was likely to feature squash and stretch. Interestingly enough, Chris Sanders is currently developing another caveman comedy, Crood Awakening, for DreamWorks Animation.

Was Eve Apple inspired?

An article featured on Fortune reveals that the design for the character Eve in Disney/Pixar’s upcoming Wall•E was inspired by the look of such Apple products as the iPod. “I wanted Eve to be high-end technology - no expense spared - and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous,” said director Andrew Stanton. “The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design.” Wall•E hits theaters on June 27th.

Peak Cartoon

From the animation guild blog:

Maybe it is like some critics say. Creativity, like national power, hits a peak and then inevitably declines, never to hit the magical summit again. Roger Moore (the movie and book critic, not the former James Bond) maintains that just such a scenario is now happening at Disney's new animation studio:

... Pixar has ramped up production to the point where they're doing the same thing Disney Feature Animation did before the bottom fell out-- a film a year, whether everything is ready (story-wise, casting, etc.) or not. The implication that Pixar is the gold standard and will always be seems short-sighted. They need Wall-E to hit. Not as badly as Dreamworks needs a blockbuster outside of the Shrek franchise, but they do need big Wall-E numbers ...

Uh, it really isn't because you do one movie a year ... or two ... or five. It's how many good movies you make.

See, I was stumbling around Disney's when they were hitting on all cylinders ... and also when the bottom fell out ... and here's at least some of the reasons everything went south (none having to do with numbers of films):

They started making the same feature, over and over. There's only so many times you can make the Animated Broadway musical before the public starts to lose interest, muttering to itself: "Haven't we seen this already?"

(In the teaching business -- which I was in for a time -- wise older teachers told stupid younger teachers: "Sure you've got a great lesson plan. But you can't go on using it forever. Sooner or later the kids get bored with it and tune out." This also happens with Hollywood films.)

They built empires. When I left Disney in 1986, there were three production people serving an animation staff of 160 artists. By the late 1990s, there were almost as many production managers, production coordinators, production assistants and junior and senior vice-presidents as creatives. At one point there were somewhere around 26 animation vice-presidents, and that was about 25 too many. Because what that bureaucracy did was make lots of bureaucratic work for itself, with the nasty side effect of gumming up the works creatively.

(A storyboard artist once told me: I've got to go to the scheduling person to get on the master calendar for a meeting with the director. They send me an e-mail giving me the time and date." My face fell atop the floor.)

Management started second and third-guessing every decision. Disney veeps would greenlight a picture, change their mind, restart a picture. They would hire a director, then fire him. They would hire two directors. Some features were in work six or seven years, reworked dozens of times. (Home on the Range is a vivid example of this "do and redo" mentality.)

I could go on, but you get the idea. When a place becomes top-heavy with paper pushers who don't add any creative oomph to the enterprise, but lots of red tape that slows the business of making pictures to an ineffective crawl, it is well and truly over.

But "doing one picture a year"? That really isn't the issue.

And it isn't for Pixar. The dangers for the boys and girls at the Emeryville studio aren't the numbers of productions, but rather: Can they avoid repeating shtick? Will they wade clear bureaucratic quicksand? Will the creative juices keep flowing?

Nobody hits a home run everytime they step to the plate, and Pixar won't either. The public is often fickle and always changeable. But accelerating production to one picture a year won't kill the Golden Desk Lamp.

Those other things will.

"Star Wars: Clone Wars" Streaming Video Trailer Available On-Line

Blog@Newsarama has posted a streaming video trailer for Star Wars: Clone Wars, the new computer-generated animated movie that will debut as a movie on August 15, 2008, and then debut as a series on Cartoon Network.

Thor Your Eyes Only

Are Marvel trying to one up themselves by casting an even bigger name than Robert Downey Jr ("Iron Man") for their next super-jaunt?

Sounds like it.

According to Latino Review, Brad Pitt is the favorite to play the Thunder God "Thor" in the upcoming superhero flick of the same name.

Look, I don't mind this, and I don't doubt Pitt could do it (he's a damn good actor), but they might just want to go a tad bit younger for this one. Pitt circa 1990, with that clean skin and long mane of hair, could've done it - but the Pitt of 2008? I don't know (maybe I need to watch "Troy" again?). Still, I don't doubt the authencity of the rumour - after all, Downey Jr played Iron Man, and Edward Norton's playing the Hulk; they're obviously going for big guns.

Transformers 2 Coming in 3-D?

The "2008 ShoWest Edition" of the Dolby newsletter (in PDF format) has a list of upcoming 3-D releases and includes Transformers 2 (as well as Steven Spielberg's Tintin). We're hearing that, although it's on the list, the sequel is not a lock yet for a 3-D release. A final decision will be made based on the availability of Digital 3-D and IMAX 3-D screens. The big problem facing the Transformers sequel is that Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs comes out just five days later and would rule out a majority of the Digital 3-D screens.

In related news, director Michael Bay has confirmed on his message board that he has cast Aussie actress Isabel Lucas for the role of "Alice" in the sequel.

Sylvain Chomet bringing The Illusionist to Cannes

Pathe will unveil footage from Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville)’s new animated feature film The Illusionist at the Marche du Film in Cannes this week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Chomet, who wrote the movie based on previously unproduced material by Jacques Tati, has been working on it since June 2006. The 2D/CGI blend The Illusionist “details the story of a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars. Forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties and bars, he meets a young fan who changes his life forever.” Pathe plans to release the $22 million budgeted film in France and the U.K. next year with Pathe International handling worldwide sales.

Flapjack sneak peak

A sneak peak of Cartoon Network’s upcoming animated series Flapjack can be viewed here. The video, which is approximately six minutes long, is part of an episode titled That’s A Wrap. Flapjack will premiere on Cartoon Network on June 5th at 8:30 PM.

Electric Company Returns

The immortal words “Hey you guys!” will be shouted once again as Sesame Workshop throws the switch on an all-new version of classic kids’ show The Electric Company. Production begins today, May 13th, on the streets of New York City and in a studio in Newark, New Jersey. Featuring narrative storylines music videos, sketch comedy, animation and short films, the entertaining and educational show for kids 6-9 receives funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Department of Education.

The new version of The Electric Company is a multi-media, multi-platform literacy campaign aimed at reducing the literacy gap between low- and middle-income families and promoting the notion that reading is cool. The show’s cast is a group of do-gooders who keep the neighborhood safe with their literacy super powers, and solve problems created by a group called “The Pranksters.”

“The literacy crisis today is as pervasive and alarming as it was in 1971 when we created the first version of The Electric Company,” says Scott Cameron, director of education and research for Sesame Workshop. “We know that if struggling readers don’t get the literacy help they need by the end of second grade, they are in danger of never catching up.”

Tony Award-nominated writer Willie Reale (A Year With Frog and Toad) leads The Electric Company writing team and has brought in other scribes including the Cox Brothers (Blades of Glory) and Jerome Hairston (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) to create 26 half-hour episodes.

Weekly installments of The Electric Company are slated to air nationally starting in January of 2009 on PBS KIDS, and will be supplemented with an interactive online environment and community-based outreach activities taking place in 20 cities across the country. The multi-platform efforts will focus initially on TV, outreach and broadband, but will extend over time to include books and other print materials, portable media and handheld and console video games.

Playhouse Disney Teaches Alligator Manners

The June 21 premiere of a new animated short-form series titled Can You Teach My Alligator Manners? will kick off “Super Duper Summer Saturdays” on Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel’s preschool block. Kids can catch the debut installment at 9:55 a.m. (ET/PT) and stay tuned for new outdoor-themed episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Bunnytown and Little Einsteins.

In Can You Teach My Alligator Manners? a boy named Mikey encourages viewers to help him teach his best friend, an alligator named Al, how to behave. In the premiere episode, the pals go to the playground and Al must learn how to have fun with their friend Kerri by taking turns and asking nicely to borrow toys. New episodes will premiere every Saturday throughout the summer, along with new episodes of favorite Playhouse Disney series including My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Handy Manny, Bunnytown and Little Einsteins.

Playhouse Disney is a daily programming block seen on Disney Channel in the U.S. and on ten Playhouse Disney channels around the world. Guided by an established curriculum, the block supports multiple areas of child development including physical, emotional, social and cognitive, as well as moral and ethical development through carefully constructed themes, storylines and endearing characters.

Drawn Together Leads Disc Charge

Comedy Central Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment today releases Drawn Together Season Three: Uncensored on DVD. Featuring an extended version of each episode, the two-disc set is available at retailers nationwide, and at Other animated TV favorites arriving on home video include Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Bob the Builder and Garfield and Friends.

Created, written and exec produced by Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser, Drawn Together is an animated spoof of reality television that finds eight cartoon characters from various genres forced to live together under one roof. Comedy Central’s first original animated series, the show is drawn traditionally in 2D with digital ink and paint.

In the third season, Captain Hero tortures his 12-year-old self, Ling-Ling gets put into foster care and Toot finally gets worshipped as the cow she is. Bonus materials will include karaoke sing-along songs, classic network promos and audio commentary. Fans of the series can pick it up for $26.98 or less.

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers—The Collection: Volume 1 from Koch Vision is a four-disc set offering a re-mastered return the first 32 episodes of the animated series from 1986. In addition to presenting the installments in chronological order for the first time on home video, the release includes a never-before-seen pilot/demo reel, an interview with series creator Robert Mandell, commentary by Mandell and special guests, original music tracks, a new “No Guts, No Glory” music video, a slideshow of the vintage talking storybook Tortuna the Outlaw Planet and a 32-page collectible booklet featuring character profiles and illustrations. $39.98. Extras:

Bob the Builder: The Three Musketruck features five new animated preschool adventures that have Bob and his Can-Do Crew spending time in Sunflower Valley with Scottish dairy farmer Meg MacDonald, her assistant Piper and their dairy truck Dodger. The Fox Home Entertainment release lists for $14.98 and includes the bonus featurette Meet New Members of the Can-Do Crew.

Garfield and Friends: A Cat and His Nerd offers 15 episodes of the cartoon series hand picked by Garfield creator Jim Davis.The single-disc release form Fox carries a suggested retail price of $14.98. Be sure and enter our contest to win an original 8x10 cel from the series signed by Davis himself.

Superhero fans will also want to pick up Marvel Heroes Collection, a boxed set including the live-action features X-Men, X2: X-Men United Special Edition, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, Elektra, Daredevil, Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Also included is the first volume of episodes of Taffy Ent.’s animated series Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes. The set from Fox Home Entertainment lists for $69.98 and comes with an exclusive Marvel flipbook and the CD ROM comic The Origin of the Silver Surfer.

Toon Zone Picks the Top 5 Iconic Cars of Animation

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

To commemorate the double-header of the new Speed Racer cartoon on the Nicktoons network and the live-action movie by the Wachowski brothers, the staff of Toon Zone News has put together our list of the top iconic animated cars. We've limited our to 5 in honor of Speed Racer's Mach 5, naming these particular automobiles because of their overwhelming popularity, their stature within the collected works of animation, or just because we think they're really, really cool. In no particular order:

The Mach 5
(Speed Racer (1967))

The show may seem dated and badly animated today, and an anime importing company would be tarred and feathered for importing a show using a staff that didn't speak Japanese and changed the names of all the characters. However, placed in its proper context, Speed Racer was a real bombshell of a show when it debuted in 1967. At the time, Hanna-Barbera had barely begun airing action-oriented cartoons with Space Ghost and Birdman (technically, Jonny Quest started that trend, but it premiered in 1964 in prime-time and had been off the air since 1965). Speed Racer shared those shows' emphasis on action, but added on-going storyline elements that made it stand out even more from the sitcoms that dominated cartoons at the time. It's no wonder that the show grabbed the attention of an entire generation of kids, many of whom still speak of the show in reverent tones as adults.

Much of that generation's love can be directly attributed to the wonderful Mach 5, the set of wheels that made Speed Racer go go go. The Mach 5 is a testament to the power that cars have over young kids, and especially boys. The true appeal of Speed Racer may not have been in the show itself, but in what the show represented: fast cars and adventure. Kids Love Cars, and the Mach 5 and its magical buttons was COOL, even if you knew deep down that the cartoon was fairly ridiculous. The Mach 5 was the key that started up the engines of imagination in the minds of an entire generation of children, and if two of those children are lucky, they'll be able to restart those engines in today's youth through the live-action movie adaptation.

Over and above these two points, Speed Racer is also notable for being the first real anime hit on American shores. Even more than Astro Boy or Gigantor, the Mach 5 led the vanguard of the anime invasion before anybody even knew what "anime" was. It blazed a trail that was followed by the Space Battleship Yamato, the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, both sets of Voltron Forces, the Card Captor Sakura, the myriad monsters of Pokémon, and the numerous ninjas of Naruto. In fact, as detailed in's excellent series of Speed Racer history articles, the show was one of the first Japanese cartoons made with the explicit aim of selling it to America to defray production costs -- an idea that STILL doesn't seem to be taken seriously among many Japanese anime producers. No matter how you slice it, every anime watcher or anime fan today owes a debt of gratitude to Speed Racer and the Mach 5 for getting the party started.

The Flintmobile
(The Flintstones)

There were two major wells from which The Flintstones drew its humor. The first was the obvious Honeymooners parallels of two husbands with a propensity for hair-brained schemes, married to two far more sensible wives. The second was the clever parallel technology that defined the "Modern Stone Age Family." This parallel technology was neatly summed up in the foot-powered, stone-wheeled Flintmobile -- a marvelously silly idea that could let cavemen drive a car.

Never mind that the Flintmobile seems to achieve near-perpetual motion, since one initial push-off is all that's needed to drive all the way across town. Forget the fact that stone wheels are a guarantee for a bumpy, deeply uncomfortable ride, and braking with your feet seems like a very, very bad idea. It was still a clever solution to let Hanna-Barbera eat their cake and have it too, making the show both Stone Age and contemporary at the same time. It didn't hurt that the Flintmobile was backed up by some great sound effects, from the flapping of feet pushing off the car to the squeaky rumble of stone wheels on pavement.

The Batmobile
(Various Shows)

Batman has been an icon of cartoons for decades, and even though he's powerfully defined as an individual, every version ends up using the same elements sooner or later: the Bat Signal, the Boy Wonder, and the Car. From the long fins and open canopies on the Filmation and Superfriends versions to the impossibly elongated version on Batman the Animated Series to the
powerful, compact muscle car that debuted with The Batman, every animated version of the Bat has gotten his Batmobile. No matter which version you're talking about, the gadget-laden, fast-driving, flame-spouting Batmobile is perhaps the only other cartoon car that can seriously challenge the Mach 5 in seizing kids' imagination for high-speed cartoon action.

Plus, every single animated version of the Batmobile looks like a sweet, sweet ride that totally kicks butt. The most serious Batmobile fans on Earth at the History of the Batmobile website would assuredly agree.

The Jetsons' Jetcar
(The Jetsons)

For decades, when people have wanted to sum up "the future" in a single iconic image, they'll talk about flying cars, and there's no more iconic flying car in animation than The Jetsons' Jetcar. If The Flintstones gave us modern life through a Stone Age filter, The Jetsons did the same thing by going in the opposite direction in the timestream. On top of that, who wouldn't want to blow off the pain of finding a parking spot by turning your car into a briefcase, just as George does in the opening credits? Sure, it obviously violates the Law of Conservation of Mass, but the car designers of The Jetsons never studied law.

Never mind that all anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that flying cars are an incredibly bad idea, since most people can't drive in only two dimensions. When we dream of the future, we still dream of our flying cars, and The Jetsons probably has more than a little to do with that.

Optimus Prime
(The Transformers)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
-- The Declaration of Independence

"Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."
-- Optimus Prime

Transformers is and always has been a glorified, extended toy commercial. However, despite his all-too-commercial origins, the heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime has always had a lot of things going for him. The first is the name. He was the first Autobot with 2 names instead of just one, and it's a terrific name. The first half evokes "optimism" and "optimized," while "prime" not-so-subtly emphasizes his stature among the Autobots and his unquestioned leadership. The second thing Optimus Prime has going for him is his voice actor, the inimitable Peter Cullen, who gives the giant robot far more weight, gravitas, and nobility than one would believe necessary or possible for a character in a toy advertisement.

However, Optimus Prime's greatest asset is motivation, succinctly summed up in that one line quoted above from last year's live-action movie. Throughout every one of his many animated incarnations, Prime fights the good fight because he truly believes that Freedom is not simply an abstract concept, but an almost sacred birthright worth fighting for to his dying breath and beyond. The enduring nature of this particular toy commercial when so many others from the same time period have faltered or burned themselves out is, I think, partially a reflection of how deeply Prime resonates with his fans, and Prime's unwavering dedication to Freedom must be part of the reason why. I'm a big believer in finding wisdom through pop culture, so it doesn't matter to me very much if someone learns to value Freedom and the importance of fighting for it through the words of the American Founding Fathers or through a giant talking robot who changes into a semi. If the lesson is learned, the vehicle for that lesson is relatively unimportant.

The Runners-Up

Any "top picks" list is subject to debate, and this one was no exception. However, there were enough other vehicles considered to warrant a runner-up list, if anything to explain why one vehicle or another wasn't included on the above list. In no particular order, some of the runners-up are:

Lightning McQueen

Pixar's Lightning McQueen seems to be the latest cartoon car that's taken up permanent residence in the mental mindscape of an entire generation of kids, sitting right next to the Mach 5 and the Batmobile. Pixar has had an unquestionable streak of great films, but only two have become bona fide, long-term merchandising phenomena: Toy Story and Cars. It's all the more remarkable considering the fair-to-middling reviews and ticket sales Cars managed in comparison to other Pixar films. Unfortunately, Lightning just hasn't been around long enough to declare him an icon yet, but check back in 10 years or so.

The Mystery Machine

This van may be as iconic as the Flintmobile or the Jetcar, and it might be as important to the Scooby Gang as those other cars are to their casts. However, in the end, the Mystery Machine is just a car and isn't much beyond basic (if, like, totally groovy) transporation for Scooby and his friends. On top of that, including it would make the top 5 list way too Hanna-Barbera heavy.

Turbo Teen
(Turbo Teen)

The mostly forgotten star of his own short-lived Saturday morning cartoon show was a teenager who turned into a car. Don't ask -- it doesn't make any sense to us either. If anybody remembers him at all today, it's mostly to point and laugh at how ridiculous the show was, as seen in his quick cameo appearance on Robot Chicken. However, he nearly made the list just for being so weird and out there.

IGPX Racers

If you've got a need for speed, then IGPX will scratch that itch just fine. If Speed Racer defined cartoon speed for the 1960's, then IGPX defines speed for the 21st century. The races between the teams are fast and furious, packing a real adrenaline-fueled wallop. Unfortunately, they don't make the final 5 because, like Lightning McQueen, they just haven't been around long enough to declare them true icons yet.

Whatever Arsene Lupin III is Driving
(Lupin III Series)

He's a gentleman thief, chasing the latest score and getting chased by the relentless Inspector Zenigata. So of course, Lupin ends up doing more than his share of getaway driving, whereupon he demonstrates his superpower to make cars completely defy all known laws of physics. Plus, he's driven a pink Hitler-mobile, and that takes some special kind of guts. However, the fact that he doesn't drive just one car makes Lupin a lot of fun, but fundamentally not iconic. Some great animated driving for sure, though.

Few humans and some live action in Wall•E, says Kathy Najimy

Asked by Movieweb about her role in the upcoming Pixar movie while promoting King of the Hill, the talented actress revealed that “I play a character named Mary and I actually haven’t seen the movie. I’m seeing it on the 20th. I was so honored to do it. When my agent called and said Pixar, I said yes right away. I know there are not a lot of characters. I think there are 5 human characters. It’s a combination and a little tiny bit of live-action. It’s really, very ahead of its time. I can’t wait.”

Disney finds its Frog prince

Variety quietly confirmed last week that
actor Bruno Campos had been cast as the titular amphibian character in Disney’s traditionally animated feature The Princess and the Frog. Anika Noni Rose will be his princess and Keith David will voice the film’s villain, Dr. Facilier.

Simpsons fan nominated for Britain's Turner Prize

An artist who includes characters from "The Simpsons" and "Felix the Cat" in his work was one of four people nominated Tuesday for this year's notorious Turner Prize, handed out annually by the Tate Britain for contemporary art.

Mark Leckey's solo exhibition
Industrial Light & Magic includes such cartoon images as Marge Simpson walking out of a movie theater.

Leckey is the sole male finalist for this year's prize of £25,000 ($49,000 U.S.), to be presented December 1 after a major exhibit at the Tate Britain in London.

The Turner Prize is given to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or presentation of their work in the 12 months before May 6. Starting on October 7, each shortlisted artist will showcase their work at the Tate Britain in London before the winner is announced.

Born in Birkenhead, England, Leckey, 43, lives and works in London. He makes films and admits that he's
"slightly obsessed with Felix the Cat."

Leckey employs "found" images. These also include pictures taken from The Simpsons, clips from The Titanic movie, and shots from Disney cartoons. One of his previous exhibitions was called "Septic Tank."

Leckey has delivered a lecture wearing a mask from The Simpsons. It's his way -- so he says -- of pointing out how famous screen images seem to inhabit our physical world.

According to British bookmaker William Hill, Leckey's the current odds-on (5/4) favorite to win. A £300 bet was laid on him within hours of the nominations, spokesman Rupert Adams said.

Not one painter made the shortlist for this year's award. Instead, those nominated for the 2008 Turner Prize work in of sculpture, video or art installations. Each has six months to select work for the Tate exhibit.

Among the other nominees is Cathy Wilkes of Glasgow, whose oeuvre includes a shop mannequins sitting on the toilet with leftover bits of dried porridge at their feet. She says it's a reflection of how the world sees women.

"The general public look to the Turner Prize to introduce them to what is new," said Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain and chairman of the Turner Prize judges.
"It is not about giving good service medals to artists who have been around for a long time; it is about spotting emerging trends that are especially interesting," he told BBC News.

The Turner Prize was set up in 1984. For more information,

Turner Prize nominee Mark Leckey's Felix Gets Broadcasted (2007).

Star Wars Weekends to Sneak Clone Wars

Lucasfilm has announced that "Star Wars Weekends" at Disney's Hollywood Studios will give a sneak peek at Star Wars: The Clone Wars, coming to theaters on August 15:

The Star Wars adventures continue on Aug. 15 with the theatrical release of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS from Lucasfilm Animation, and this year’s Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort will offer fans an exciting, in-depth look at the making of this big-screen animated epic.

Among the features at this year’s Star Wars Weekends, which run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from June 6 to June 29, 2008, will be “Behind the Force – Experience THE CLONE WARS,” an exploration of the creation of this groundbreaking Star Wars feature film. During “Experience THE CLONE WARS,” fans will get a chance to meet a representative of Lucasfilm Ltd. and, at the culmination of the presentation, see an exclusive clip of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS that can be seen only at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends.

The Clone Wars is Star Wars as you’ve never seen it before, so it makes sense that we’re offering fans at Star Wars Weekends something completely unique – an early glimpse at a Star Wars movie,” said Kayleen Walters, director of marketing for Lucasfilm Ltd. “We’re working with Disney to create an event no Star Wars fan will want to miss.”

In addition to the excitement surrounding Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars will feature celebrities from the classic, live-action movies, who will be on hand each weekend for photos, Q&A, autograph sessions and Hollywood-style motorcades. All four weekends, Star Wars actor Warwick Davis (who portrayed "Wicket” the Ewok) will serve as celebrity emcee and host of the event.

Among the scheduled celebrities and special guests at this year’s Star Wars Weekends are Dave Filoni, director of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS; and MatthewWood, who performs voices in the movie and the CLONE WARS TV series debuting this fall.

A weekend-by-weekend lineup of celebrities scheduled to appear includes (subject to change):
• June 6-8: Jeremy Bulloch ("Boba Fett") and Daniel Logan (young "Boba Fett")
• June 13-15: Peter Mayhew ("Chewbacca") and David Prowse ("Darth Vader")
• June 20-22: Amy Allen ("Aayla Secura") and Matthew Wood ("General Grievous" and voice artist in THE CLONE WARS)
• June 27-29: Dave Filoni (director of the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

In addition, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will offer a host of surprises throughout the four weekends, promising to bring an unprecedented level of “sneak preview” excitement and fun to the popular Star Wars Weekends.

Other activities included in the fan-fest fun: the “Padawan Mind Challenge,” allowing kids under 12 to test their wits before the Jedi Council; “Legends of the Force,” The Clone Wars at Star Wars Weekends / 3-3-3 a motorcade featuring favorite Star Wars celebrities; and "Jedi Training Academy," where young Jedi-wannabes can learn lightsaber battle techniques and test their
newfound skills against Darth Vader or Darth Maul.

The Star Wars Weekends fun is included with regular admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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