Wednesday, June 18, 2008

News - 06/18/08...

Summit Entertainment to distribute Astro Boy movie

Summit Entertainment and Imagi Studios have entered into a global alliance whereby Summit will distribute Imagi's upcoming CG-animated motion picture Astro Boy worldwide except for Imagi's reserved territories of Japan, Hong Kong and China.

Monday's announcement was made jointly by Summit Entertainment co-chairman and CEO Rob Friedman and Imagi Studios CEO Douglas Glen.

"We are pleased to join with Imagi Studios in bringing the exceptional world of Astro Boy to both existing and a new generation of fans alike," said Friedman. "The team at Imagi Studios is capturing the spirit of this popular post-modern franchise by doing great things with the story, characters and animation. Astro Boy promises to be an excellent addition to our existing slate of family films."

"Astro Boy has been one of the world's best-known and most loved superheroes for more than 50 years," said Glen. "We are pleased to partner with Summit to deliver Astro Boy's first CGI feature film to worldwide audiences on a grand scale. Imagi and Summit are a great fit, with high energy, entrepreneurial cultures and a vision of building movie-driven global brands."

Slated for worldwide theatrical release next year, Astro Boy will feature the voices of Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy and Eugene Levy, with Freddie Highmore in the title role. David Bowers is directing Astro Boy from a screenplay written by Timothy Harris, with Maryann Garger producing.

Astro Boy was created by the "god of manga," Japan's Osamu Tezuka, in the early 1950s. The iconic character has since found worldwide popularity as the hero of three acclaimed animated television series spanning the past four decades, besides being one of the top licensed properties for merchandising.

Set in futuristic Metro City, Imagi Studios' Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist to replace the son he has lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving father's expectations, our hero embarks on a journey in search of acceptance, experiencing betrayal and a netherworld of robot gladiators, before he returns to save Metro City and reconcile with the man who had rejected him.

As Summit continues to build its slate of animated films, Astro Boy will follow the August 8 release of the company's 3D animation Fly Me To The Moon.

Astro Boy is the second CG-animated feature film from Imagi Studios, following on the success of its 2007 box office hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT).

Summit's senior vice-president of production, Geoff Shaevitz, will oversee the project for the studio.

More laments for Stan Winston via aintitcoolnews:

Makeup Master (An American Werewolf in London, Coming to America, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Hellboy, Enchanted) Rick Baker:

Such sad news. I arrive in England after flying all of Sunday night, get to my hotel, go to bed, get up and go to work in the morning and find out that Stan Winston is gone.

I can't tell you how sad this makes me.

I just spoke with him a couple of weeks ago. I called to tell him how beautiful I thought his Iron Man was. I heard rumors that he was ill and spoke to him about that. He confirmed the fact that he had cancer but said, "Hey, I am still above ground".

We spoke about when I finished my work on in England about getting together and talking about the good old days.

Stan was bigger than life. The film industry is not going to be the same without Stan.

Stan took make-up effects out of the garage and made it a respectable business.

Stan was the first to make a nice clean beautiful shop for crew to work in. He treated his crew well, with respect and love.

My heart goes out to his family and his crew. I am sorry for their loss, his passing is a loss to us all.

It is hard to imagine the make-up effects industry without Stan. His presence will surely be missed.

I feel like it is the end of an era.

Monster Squad Director Fred Dekker:

Imagine a world where you have no visual knowledge of the Terminator endoskeleton. What if you never saw the Alien Queen from Aliens? Take the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, and remove it from your memory banks. Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands? Gone. Not there. What kind of weird world would that be? My point is, this isn’t just fanboy stuff -- these are some of the most indelible, iconographic images in the history of motion pictures.

But putting that aside (and my belief that A.I. is one of the great achievements in all of genre cinema), my personal favorite Stan story was one night when we were shooting The Monster Squad on the Warners backlot.

In the movie, there’s a tiny, throwaway shot that occurs right after Frankenstein's monster wallops Dracula and sends him flying onto a pointed metal cross. Except there was no walloping… and no "flying” either. It was all in the editing. There was a shot of Frank throwing a backhand -- then we see Drac "impaled". What I had storyboarded to sell it was a small, blink-if-you-miss-it, insert of the body actually hitting the cross. Any other director would have given it to the second unit.

But I was a newbie, and I had the entire first unit -- a full union crew standing by at 4:00 a.m. while Stan and I stood on a ladder with a Dracula dummy, literally THROWING it onto the cross with the camera three feet away. We’d throw it… and miss. Then try again. Close, but not quite. “This is it,” we’d say. “This is the one”. Then -- Doh! The dummy’s cape fell off.

In retrospect, here was a man who’s done every conceivable kind of screen makeup, from glamour to old-age stippling to werewolf appliances… an Oscar and Emmy winner who would later design and build not just fully articulated, human-sized animatronic robots, but fully articulated, literally dinosaur-sized robots. A virtuoso who worked with the biggest directors, created the biggest FX creatures, and worked on the biggest, most groundbreaking effects movies of all time.

But here’s what I remember: me and Stan, at four in the morning, throwing a dummy onto a spike just like when I was 12 years old in my backyard making 8mm movies with my friends. I’m sure the crew thought we were crazy. But man, the memory was worth it.

There's always been a part of me that stays a little kid at heart. And that night, I saw that part of him, too. He was having a ball – even without gazillion dollar robots...

My second favorite Stan memory is from not that long ago. We had a meeting on a project for which he and the boys would have built me some creatures. He talked about how his creations aren't effects, but actors -- actors giving performances. I loved that idea, and it was great to be back in the sandbox with him, spit-balling like the old days. But the producers and I weren't entirely on the same page. Whether Stan knew this, I don’t know. But after the meeting, he took me aside and quietly encouraged me to stick with my vision, no matter what. Don’t be steamrolled, he said. Don’t compromise. To me that’s Stan Winston in a nutshell: Do it right, or don't do it.

I’ll miss his creations and their "performances”… and I’ll miss that goofy, mischievous smile. I hope you’re in a better place, Stan. Because this one is a little worse without you.

John Rosengrant, who worked with Stan since the first Terminator, and is currently working on Terminator: Salvation:

It's 3am here in New Mexico and I'm supervising Terminator 4 Salvation for Stan and just finished one of the toughest days in my life.It was extra tough not only that I lost my mentor, who taught me this business and great lessons in life, but we had to perform tonight. The old show biz saying" the show must go on" came true and the team and I had to make Stan bring our characters to life, and keep it all together.

I have been blessed to have worked for Stan for the last 25 years ,my first feature with Stan being the first
Terminator.It has been an unbelievable opportunity, an incredible ride. It's a ride, we the team will continue, just as he wanted.Stan never lost his love for this business, always wanted to break that new ground ,give the audience what they had never seen before, and to the highest artistic standards.

As a person Stan was caring and generous. It breaks my heart that he is gone. The out pouring from the fans is very touching.... you all obviously loved him as much as we all did at Stan Winston Studio.We'll miss you Stan.


Josh Cagun - Stan's nephew:

Many of you knew Stan Winston as an incredible artist. I knew him as Uncle Stan.

I was just reading through the various tributes to my uncle on your website, and I was impressed with the sheer number of people that felt compelled to express their grief and condolences. I just wish all of his fans could have had the chance to know him personally. We lost so much more than an astounding make-up artist and CGI Wizard, we lost one of the truly great men of our age.

I've known Stan was really sick for quite some time now, but the last time I saw him he was so full of life and love it seemed impossible that he really was sick. Now it seems impossible that he is gone. It was clear that he was in pain, but he hid it well, I think, so those around him wouldn't worry about him. That's just the kind of man he was.

I had the opportunity to speak with Stan, one on one, several times during my last visit to California, just the two of us cruising around the hills of Malibu in one or another of his fast cars. He drove like a maniac, of course, but if you knew him, you know there was no other option. Honestly, having Stan as an uncle never seemed real. Here was a man who was wildly succesful and famous. He was intimate friends with the whose who of Hollywood. He was lauded as the very best in his industry and he was an academy award winner. Despite all of that, he was one of the most genuine, humble, and sincere people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. During the last conversation I had with Stan, he expressed how thankful and grateful he was for his success. He was truly grateful he had been allowed to make a career doing something that he loved so much. I think we all appreciate the fact that Stan loved his work so much, because he truly was amazing at his craft. He touched lives the world over, giving people nightmares and inspiring them to become artists at the same time.

During that same conversation Stan spoke to me for the first and only time of his illness. He told me he had enjoyed his life, maybe a little too much, but the one thing he truly regretted was that his health was failing to the point where he knew he wouldn't be around too much longer. He so very badly wanted to see his grandchildren grow up, to be there with his wife and kids. It was painfully obvious how much Stan loved his family. It always has been. Despite the fame and fortune and the star on the hollywood walk of fame, Stan Winston was a family man first. He loved his family, and they loved him.

These words here do little justice to the great legacy that is Stan Winston, but hopefully the next time you watch a dinosaur smash a car, or see a terminator walking down the street, you will remember a man who loved his work, loved life, and loved his family. He will be missed.

With love,


John Watson, writer/producer/partner in Trilogy:

Hi Harry,

Thank you so much for providing this forum for those who loved Stan to share their feelings and memories.

I am one of the too-few people who had the opportunity to work with Stan as a director. We collaborated on the under-appreciated ‘Adventures of A Gnome Named Gnorm’. For those of you who missed it – most of you? ;) – it’s a gloriously frivolous demonstration of Stan’s wonderful sense of humor and also his extraordinary talent. Gnorm is a beautifully realized character created by Stan and the brilliant folks at his shop. Almost all of these people are still working there, which as Jim pointed out is a testament to the loyalty he generated within his team. Gnorm is an irresistibly endearing creature, quite unlike his more famous and scarier brethren at the studio. His range of movement and the complex animation of his facial features were ground-breaking at the time – mid 80s, and it was a sadness to Stan that Gnorm wasn’t seen and appreciated by a larger audience.

Stan was working in Rome while we were developing the script and one of my fondest memories was breaking the story while exploring the Coliseum together. It was an incongruous environment in which to be imagineering this weird little fantasy film. As most of you know, working with Stan was always fun. His sense of humor was infectious and inspiring. He was rarely without a laugh and a smile even through the inevitable tensions of the production process. Barely a day went by without an excuse for that goofy thing with the glasses or his patented and painful smack to the gonads. He so enjoyed life, and life was always enjoyable in his presence.

The movie fell into that all-too-frequent trap of collapsing studios. Vestron financed the film and promptly went out of business before the film was set for release. At one of our many test screenings, Stan and I were sitting near the back and noticed that one section of the audience was especially enthusiastic and reacted wildly at all the right places. So we waited with extreme curiosity for the lights to come back on, to identify these wonderful Gnormophiles. As they exited past us we realized they were a school group of Downes Syndrome kids. Stan said to me: “See, we finally found our perfect demographic!” Then he cracked up.

Others have talked about Stan’s extraordinary devotion to his own family. I observed that too, as our friendship continued through the years since ‘Gnorm’ and our families became close. He was also extremely generous to my family. My boys have tons of special memories of him and of his warmth and kindness to them. I have two students at USC Film School who got the thrill of their lives when Stan personally gave them a tour of his studio. He was a giver.

The child in Stan was always close to the surface and kids especially responded to him. He made it tough on all of us in his last years with his insistence on us keeping the secret of his illness, but we understood and respected his reasons. I am so grateful for the times we shared and the treasured memories.

John Watson

Next up are two of the most difficult to write, I'm sure. Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis are renowned make-up artists in their own right now, but they started their careers under the guidance of Stan, and I'm sure this was like losing family for them. They wrote us separately, so let's hear from Tom first:

There is a feeling of sadness and loss that grows with each obituary and every posting. Having never expected to see the word "gone" next to Stan Winston's name, the shock of his passing becomes more profound each day.

The lucky ones don't always die first. I was lucky. Stan picked me out of a crowd based on a portfolio that showed more promise than accomplishment and my relationship with John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan (one that continues to this day although the passage of time between visits is far too great). From the very beginning, Stan touched me as an artist and a friend and soon became a father-turned-mentor.

He was an artist, passionate about his craft and his family and sharing his sense of humor. He was generous with credit, presenting us on stage, his crew, to the audience of the Saturn Awards as the artists behind the success of Terminator as he accepted what was to become a long list of awards. He was generous with his experience and knowledge. And he was generous with devotion and camaraderie as he'd stand next to your table at the best restaurant in town, his hands in your salad for a laugh.

When Alec and I stepped away from under his shadow, it was the beginning of a career that Stan himself helped to propel. He turned Gale Hurd toward us on Tremors and also stood up for our getting the contracts on Death Becomes Her and Alien3. It is a shadow that continues to touch our lives.

The outpouring of emotion here shows that Stan has touched so many more people than just those of us lucky enough to know him and to work in movies. It feels unreal and as if something has been forever changed - The day the music died.

His name and legacy will live on. God bless you, Stan Winston.

And now, here's Alec to close us out for this update:

Hi Quint and Harry,

Thanks so much for the invitation to share our thoughts on Stan. Tom and I haven't been much of a presence on AICN in the past, in fact I had the chance to shake Harry's hand after a long flight once and my introversion got the better of me. Times like this remind me how short life is, and that we might not get a second chance just to take a moment. For that reason I'm impressed with AICN and the fan reaction to Stan's passing.

This is a surreal time for us friends and fans of Stan. I keep thinking of Citizen Kane as we all reconstruct who Stan was from our own perspectives. All points of view are accurate, even if limited. I was only part of his team for a few short years, but I took away a lifetime of lessons.

I met Stan in '84 through Cameron, with whom I'd worked at Roger Corman's. I was sitting in my tiny room in Mar Vista and Stan himself called. He was all business when he explained that Jim had recommended me. I was all nerves when I told him I had turn turn him down because I had just taken work on Friday The 13th Part IV. The call was brief, but I managed to wrangle an appointment to show my portfolio anyway. I also got the name of the movie. Something called Terminator.

By the time Aliens rolled around I was a fixture at Stan's studio and reveling in the opportunities he generously gave. It was an incredible period that I don't think we fully appreciated. There was Shane Mahan, John Rosengrant, Richard Landon, Shannon Shea, Rick Lazzarini, Tom Woodruff and myself making up the core of Stan's crew, and screwing around like goofy brothers. Invaders From Mars, Aliens, Predator, Pumpkinhead, Leviathan, Monster Squad, Amazing Stories all were done inside of three years.

People assume that what we learned from Stan was "the business". That's partly true, but we also learned "life". Stan was a father figure to all of us young dopes who were too immature or cocky or insecure to really be considered professionals or even adults, but Stan saw something in us he could guide and develop.

Here are some quotes from Stan re: "the business", as near accurate as I can remember:

"You keep taking chances, pushing the envelope. You can only fail."

"Everybody wants to do their best. You just gotta give them the chance."

On no longer being hands on: "I used to work with clay to get results. Now people are my clay."

On the competition: "I love my competitors! They make me do my best. Thank God for Rick Baker!"

One being the best: "Nobody's ever really on top. There's always another movie about to come out to bump you back down, keep you humble!"

"Other people may do better work than me, but nobody has more fun!"

On Oscars: "You can't do it for the awards. They're just bowling trophies."

Written inside every employee Christmas card: "Don't tell the others, but you're my favorite!"

On Tom and I: "The things that make you valuable to me are the same things that will pull you away from me." (I didn't know what he meant at the time.)

When it came to the life lessons, Stan, ever the family man, never held back advice. He was sometimes annoying, usually correct, and always honest. At age 25, I was on the verge of breaking up with my then girlfriend. The relationship was at the tipping point. It was time to either move to the next phase or call it quits. Into this very personal internal debate boldly stepped Stan Winston.

We were invited to a party at he and Karen's beautiful house in the valley. (First time I'd seen a bidet, and squirted it all over the ceiling. Never told him that.) When I introduced him to my girlfriend he started rocking an invisible infant and humming "Rock-A-Bye-Baby". I winced at his lack of subtlety, and he slugged me on the shoulder and said, "Are you crazy? Marry her, you idiot!" We got engaged in London while on
Aliens and this year will be our 22nd anniversary.

My 9 year old daughter, youngest of four, cried yesterday when she found out Stan wouldn't see the get well card she colored for him.

He was the best boss I ever had. In an era of flat salaries, crazy hours and toxic work environments, he urged us to go home at a sensible time ("You're no good to me tomorrow if you're dead on your feet."), paid O.T. and made sure his shop passed OSHA inspections. He'd shrug off our thanks by saying that "happy workers are more productive than unhappy ones." Wisdom, kindness and humility all at once.

He urged us all to buy houses and gave us the jobs to afford them, offered 401ks, had cakes at every employee's birthday and gave Christmas bonuses. We put up a basketball hoop at his house for his son's birthday, his kids helped around the shop, and we'd all laugh as he'd mock grovel at the feet of his mentor, famed Disney makeup artist Bob Schiffer.

All you folks are right. All your impressions of the man and his work are correct. He had his detractors, and in some way they are right too. Nobody's perfect. But no matter what you thought of him, he helped all of us in the practical Creature / Makeup effects industry tremendously. Not just by hiring us, but through his tireless promotion of the art which made his name synonymous with "Creature Effects" and gave the world an appreciation of what we do.

We lesser accomplished artists rose to heights by riding his slipstream. He always said, "You have to fight for everything in this business." Fight he did. No one gained more ground than Stan. Whenever ADI reached an impasse with a studio lawyer, we'd simply ask for the same deal they gave Stan on his last film. At that, you could hear sphincters creak and teeth grind. Favored nations with Stan was favorable indeed.

To moviegoers he gave a pantheon of characters unlike any other since or hence. To the fans of "real" effects, he pushed back against the digital onslaught, even while co-founding Digital Domain. He knew that CG was a means to an end to be utilized as a tool, not to supplant the movie or knock the viewer out of the reality of the story.

I'm only one of many who came through Stan's studio, (sprung from Zeus' head, I guess) so I shouldn't go on too long. I didn't intend to, but hey, it's cathartic. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my limited point of view of my mentor, our mentor.

And damned if he didn't leave us on Father's Day.

Here's one last quote. I once asked him if he was afraid of death:

"Nah. Life is such an adventure, I figure death will be too."

All the best to Stan's wonderful family, his friends, his fans.

We'll miss him.

alec gillis

Lighting technical director Ethan Ormsby dies, 40

Ethan Ormsby, lighting technical director for the DreamWorks feature films Flushed Away (2006) and Bee Movie (2007), died Friday at 40, Jeff Massie, recording secretary of The Animation Guild, announced.

Sometimes credited as Ethan A. Ormsby, he was a digital lighter for DreamWorks' 2006 film Over The Hedge and a digital artist for the 2000 Disney feature movie Dinosaur.

Born in 1967, he was a compositor as well. He worked for Digital Domain and Sony Pictures ImageWorks on live-action feature films.

As a digital compositor, he worked on Apollo 13 and Strange Days (both 1995), What Lies Beneath (2000), I Spy (2002) and Stealth (2005).

Orsmby was a digital artist on the feature films T2 3-D: Battle Across Time and Chain Reaction (both 1996); Evolution (2001); Spider-Man (2002); and The Matrix Reloaded, Bad Boys II, Matchstick Men and Disney's The Haunted Mansion (all 2003).

He was a bonsai compositor for SPI on Cast Away (2000) and technical director for Wes Craven's Cursed (2005).

Ethan Ormsby is survived by Jennifer, his wife since 2005.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 21 at 10800 Westminster Avenue in Los Angeles. For further details, call (818) 508-1854.

Event: Bakshi Party Pictures

Courtesy the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive:

If you weren't there, you missed an amazing party last Saturday night. Ralph Bakshi was in town to attend a book party at Meltdown and all his old friends came out to see him.

Before the party started, Ralph visited with the guys who put together his recent book, Unfiltered... Chris McDonnell and Jon Gibson.

It wasn't really a signing party, but Ralph still made sure everyone who wanted a signature got one.

Ralph greets animator, Steve Gordon with Barry Jackson and Trish Docktor.

Conrad Vernon

Kent Butterworth

Tom Minton and Eddie Fitzgerald

Eddie and Ralph share some memories.

Kali Fontecchio and John Kricfalusi

Tom McGrath and Dave Spafford

Two-Face Clip From The Dark Knight!

If you've been following our latest updates on the viral marketing for The Dark Knight, you know that opened for business earlier today.

Take another look, however! Go to and check out the letters "HA" in "GOTHAM". See 'em moving? Yeah, now mouse over them and you'll notice something else.

Now click on them and a surprise awaits...

Common: No JLA News

Rapper-turned-actor Common told reporters that he has heard nothing about the on-again, off-again proposed Justice League movie, in which he was to play the Green Lantern.

"I don't know what happening with Justice League, to be honest," Common said during interviews on June 16 in Beverly Hills, Calif., to promote his upcoming SF action movie Wanted. "I don't know if they are doing the film. If they do do it, I would love to be a part of it. ... It seems like a really good project to be a part of. I haven't heard anything."

Justice League was set to begin production in Australia under director George Miller, but was delayed by last year's writers' strike and a decision to pull production out of Oz when the film failed to win tax incentives. Several actors were at one time connected with the film, but the ongoing delays have thrown into question whether any of them will remain. Common was at one point linked to the role of John Stewart/Green Lantern.

"I love Green Lantern, man," Common said. "Anybody that, like, his superpowers is his mind. ... He can create things with his mind as long as he has the ring, that's, like, ... me (laughs).

Bekmambetov Upends Martial Films

Timur Bekmambetov, the Kazakh-born Russian director (Wanted), told reporters that he is working on a new original project that will reinvent the martial-arts film.

"I have a project, I hope it will happen. Soon," Bekmambetov said in a group interview on June 16 in Beverly Hills, Calif., while promoting Wanted. "It depends [on if] the original audience will like my movie Wanted. ... I cannot tell a lot, because it's kind of secret, but there will be a movie with a new type of martial arts."

Bekmambetov gained notice for his Russian-language supernatural action films Night Watch and Day Watch and is looking to the upcoming release of his first English-language movie, the SF action thriller Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy.

Looking ahead, Bekmambetov said that he envisions an as-yet-untitled movie that will take martial arts to a new level. "We know ... throws. We know punches. We know Star Wars [lightsabers]," he said. "And it'll be another way of martial arts."

One movie that Bekmambetov won't be directing is Twilight Watch (otherwise known as Dusk Watch), the third chapter in the Night Watch trilogy. "You already saw this movie," he said. "It's called Wanted. ... For now, I don't see how I can make another movie [that's the] same. Because it's very consistent with this Night Watch and Day Watch. ... There's a continuity of creative ideas and everything. And for me it became Dusk Watch." Wanted, based on a comic series by Mark Millar, opens June 27.

W!LDBRAIN Expands Executive Potential

Two New on Top at W!LDBRAIN

W!LDBRAIN, an entertainment content developer, recently announced their plans to add two leading ladies to the companies ranks, to help push the New York-based animation and content production company to the next level. Aiming to expand its presence for online and television audiences through branded titles and commercial work, W!LDBRAIN has chosen to build on its current foundation with a strong set of benchmarks in place.

Best recognized for its hit, interactive preschool television property Yo Gabba Gabba! which currently airs on Nick Jr. and NOGGIN, the W!LDBRAIN entertainment group has announced the appointment of Erin Webb Dippold to the newly created position of Director of Licensing. The company has also announced the hiring of Jacq Nichols as their new Director of Business Development.

Erin Webb Dippold will be responsible for expanding W!LDBRAIN's licensing endeavors for its established properties (such as Yo Gabba Gabba!). In her position as Director of Licensing, she will additionally be charged with maintaining the company's consumer products business for new entertainment properties.

Dippold has previously served the licensing profession through stints at Ripe Ideas, The New York Botanical Garden, and 4Kids Entertainment, where she served as the Director of Marketing and Licensing. While at 4Kids Ent., she helped manage brands such as Cabbage Patch Kids and Winx Club. Dippold will report directly to Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Polis.

Jacq Nichols joined W!LDBRAIN as the Director of Business Development this past May, where she is now responsible for supervising the company's sales and marketing efforts in commercial and short film production. Nichols is currently working out of the Manhattan offices of Kidrobot, a subsidiary of W!LDBRAIN. She will report to Andrea Mansour, Vice President and Executive Producer. Prior to this position, Jacq Nichols served at Rhino Post, where she similarly served as Director of Business Development, managing client relationships.

on W!LDBRAIN: Founded in 1994, W!LDBRAIN ( is an award-winning entertainment company that develops and produces content across the web, television, and other sectors as well. Powered by its pool of talented animators and directors known for blending traditional animation methods with state-of-the-art computer graphics, the studio and its creative team pride themselves in their consistency.

'Life is Cool' in Korean Theaters

Cool Animation in Korea Film

"A goofy playboy, a reckless Romeo and a hopeless romantic," these are the three guys at the center of the recent South Korea film release Geunyeo-neun yeppeotta (which translates rather directly to "She Was Beautiful"). Marketed in English as Life is Cool, the feature film release is reportedly the first Korean theatrical presentation that makes use of rotoscoping animation techniques. With the Korean animation industry eager for a stepping stone into the world market, the introduction of Life is Cool provides industry observers with something rather interesting with which to pitch international audiences.

Directed by Choe Ik-hwan, Life is Cool is the story of three good friends who all happen to fall in love with the same girl (as played by Park Ye-jin). Without a doubt a friendly tale that many moviegoers are familiar with, this Korean live-action/animated film incorporates the next intriguing evolutions of the animated medium into the good-natured storytelling of a comedic love story.

The three leads -- Kim Su-ro, Kang Seo-jin, Kim Jin-su -- draw the audience into a wild array of boyish obstacles as the three engage in friendly competition for the girl that none of them, apparently, can live without.

One of them is a womanizing doctorate student in desperate search for the perfect wife, another is a big guy with an equally big heart who busies himself with the life similar to that of a veteran housewife while dreaming about his perfect woman, while yet another is a gentlemanly teacher, who "violently refuses to forget his first love," as the director notes. A comedy through and through, Choe Ik-hwan's Life is Cool hopes to blend the hopeless and the hopeful, merging the physical comedy of its prime trio with the ambition of rotoscoped filmmaking.

Rotoscoping is often simplified as live-action that is traced over by animators. Life is Cool, as such, went through only a scant one month of actual on-site filming, while later enduring two years of animation production, under the hands of 140 artists. As one of the three young men becomes infatuated with the ex of another, who also happens to be the object of affection of a third; it is with the guidance of animation that Life is Cool fully invests itself into the at times humorous and at other times contemplative realms of the male psyche.

Described as a fresh, sharp and enjoyable romp whose adult humor does well to benefit from animation, Life is Cool, with the foundation of being a live-action film, has the potential to serve as a unique gateway title for future festivalgoers and cartoon fans into the world of Korean animated filmmaking. Whether checking out the invented background artwork or hidden cameos (such as that of Jennifer Aniston) that rotoscoping allows, or simply pondering whether romance truly helps a man mature in his adulthood, Life is Cool certainly represents an interesting new chapter in Korean animation.

(Sources: The Korea Times, The Korea Film Council,

Pixar does it again! A first rave review of Presto

Coming Soon! had the chance to see Pixar’s new short and their verdict is now online: “without a doubt that it’s one of Pixar’s best. It’s definitely a treat before the main feature even starts.”

The magic behind Toy Story Mania

AWN recently sat down with Pixar’s Roger Gould and Walt Disney Imagineering’s Sue Bryan to discuss the making of the much talked about new Disney ride, Toy Story Mania. The L.A. Times also takes a look at the new attraction.

More Wall•E goodness

The Pixar Blog posted more quotes with writer/director Andrew Stanton, new movie stills, and the first production photos.

"Silverhawks" Coming to DVD reports that the long awaited Silverhawks are officially coming to DVD in Silverhawks: Season 1-Volume 1.

The toon features a group of heroes who are partly metal, and partly real. There's Quicksilver, the leader of the group. The Steel twins Steelheart & Steelwill. Bluegrass, the guitar playing pilot of their ship, the Mirage. And the super genius Copper Kid as they protect the galaxy under the command of Commander Stargazer to stop Mon-Star and his intergalactic mob.

Silverhawks was produced by Rankin/Bass productions and Lorimar-Telepictures, the same production company behind the ThunderCats. The toon aired for one season in 1986 in syndication. The toon features the voices of ThunderCats voice actors Peter Newman (Tygra and Monkian) as Quicksilver, Mumbo Jumbo, and Timestopper. Larry Kenney (Lion-O, and Jackalman) as Bluegrass, and Poker-Face. Robert McFadden (Snarf, and Slithe) as Yes-Man, Hardware, Steelwill, and Commander Stargazer. Doug Preis (Alluro) as Windhammer, and Mo-Lec-U-Lar. And Earl Hammond (Mumm-Ra) as Mon-Star. Other voices include Maggie Wheeler as Steelheart and Melodia, and Adolph Caesar as Hotwing and Seymour the Space Cabbie.

Silverhawks: Season One-Volume 1 will be in stores on October 14th.

Warner Offers Disc Swap for "Popeye: Volume 2" reports that Warner offers a disc swap for Popeye The Sailor Volume 2: 1938-1940 because the two shorts on the first disc have an alternate credits sequence. A toll free number is offered for replacement of disc 1.

Check the report here.

Review of The Jungle Book 2: Special Edition DVD

Ultimate Disney took a look for us at the sequel’s new DVD edition: “Unsurprisingly, the name Special Edition is anything but in this case. All Disney has done is changed the packaging and sneak peeks, and added a game. It’s doubtful anyone eager to own this sequel has waited up until this point to purchase it, so this re-release tactic only really works for those who’ve never seen it and those anxious to rack up more Disney Movie Rewards points.”

Details on Coraline video games

D3Publisher will release the video games based on Focus Features and Laika’s stop-motion feature film Coraline, credited as the first to be originally filmed in 3-D. Directed by Henry Selick, Coraline follows a young girl (Dakota Fanning) who walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life — only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents (including Other Mother [Teri Hatcher]) try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home — and save her family. “The alternative-reality based plot of CORALINE translates exceptionally well to an interactive gaming adventure,” said Yoji Takenaka, exec VP and COO, North America and Europe, D3P. “We are enjoying working closely with the filmmakers and the team at Universal and Focus Features to authentically portray the film’s unique cast of characters and allow players of all ages to experience not only key environments and moments from the movie, but also elements that go beyond the feature film.” Coraline will be released nationwide on February 6, 2009.

Monsters vs. Aliens toy licensee announced

While Hasbro is the master toy licensee on DreamWorks’ latest hit Kung Fu Panda, the studio will have to settle for a smaller partner on its first stereoscopic 3D film next March. ToyQuest’s line for Monsters vs. Aliens will include action figures, non-electronic table top games, vehicles, playsets, role-play products, plush, youth electronics, seasonal toys, activity sets and rack toys. Anticipation on the film is high so hopefully this lower profile partnership is not a bad omen for the film.

New Wanted Clip!

Empire Online has debuted a new clip from Universal Pictures' Wanted, coming to theaters on June 27. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the action-thriller stars James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Common and Angelina Jolie. The movie, based on Mark Millar's explosive graphic novel series, tells the tale of one apathetic nobody's transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice.

Check out the violent new clip here!

Fourth Hellboy II TV Spot Online

The official production site for Hellboy II: The Golden Army has updated with a fourth TV spot for the July 11 release titled 'GDT'. Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, the sequel stars Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Seth MacFarlane, Anna Walton, Brian Steele, Roy Dotrice and John Hurt.

You can watch the TV spot here!

Junk Food Ad Ban Makes UK Animation Studios Shed Employees

UK animation production house Cosgrove Hall has stated that it will be downsizing eight of its 35 employees and adjusting its business strategy, claiming that existing difficulties in the market have been exacerbated by a junk food ad ban that came into full force in January. Managing Director Anthony Utley stated that, "We are really struggling to keep our heads above the water," and that the increase in channels has led to a decrease in funding per channel, causing many channels to simply acquire programming rather than fund production for new content in the UK.

Cosgrove Hall has been in business for 32 years, producing cartoons such as Noddy, Chorlton and the Wheelies, and Danger Mouse.

AFI’s top 10 animated films

AFI’s top 10 of animation was revealed tonight, with quotes-sadly limited to voice talent and random celebrities but still enjoyable-by Isabella Rossellini, Vanessa Williams, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberg, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Cameron Crowe and more. Like all lists the ranking is highly questionable but still more credible than most.

#10. Finding Nemo (2003)
#9. Cinderella (1950)
#8. Shrek (2001)
#7. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
#6. Toy Story (1995)
#5. Fantasia (1940)
#4. The Lion King (1994)
#3. Bambi (1942)
#2. Pinocchio (1940)
#1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Presto clip

A clip from Pixar’s upcoming short film Presto can be seen below. Presto, which will be playing alongside Wall•E starting June 27th, follows the antics of a magician and his rabbit. The short was helmed by first-time director Doug Sweetland, and is an ode to slapstick cartoons such as Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes.

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