Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News - 07/16/08...

Jackson in Animated Nutcracker

Throughout last week’s media frenzy surrounding Jesse Jackson “sack attack” on Barack Obama, I sifted through websites and news stations hoping to hear the actual soundbite. Instead I kept hearing Jackson apologize about this mysterious quote. The clip finally surfaced 4 days later on Fox News, and soon after a crafty Flash animator named Layron DeJarnette delivered his take on Jackson’s verbal back stab.

Varmints Trailer

Studio AKA has released the trailer to Varmints, a followup to the 2004 BAFTA-winning short JoJo in the Stars. I’ve always loved the way that Marc Craste, the director of this short, uses CG to create worlds that are poetic and impressionistic.

Here’s a bit more about the film:

Adapted and directed by Marc Craste, Varmints is a 24-minute film based on the award-winning book of the same name by Helen Ward and illustrated by Craste, that tells the story of one small creature’s struggle to preserve a world in danger of being lost forever through recklessness and indifference. A crew of 35 people worked in three countries over a two year period to make the film, and an original score by Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson and sound design by Adrian Rhodes complete the picture.

Varmints will have its London premiere in September this year. It has also been accepted into the Rhode Island International Film Festival (August 5-10) and the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival (August 15-21).

Philip Hunt of Studio AKA also informs me that they’ve launched a new easier-to-navigate website. There’s beautiful commercial work throughout.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Warner Bros. Orbits Capcom’s Lost Planet

Warner Bros. is again taking on the tricky task of adapting a popular video game for the big screen. This time, the studio has signed on to distribute a pic based on the Capcom hit Lost Planet, according to Daily Variety. Capcom is co-financing the movie, which voice actor David Hayter is writing after scripting director Zack Snyder’s and Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the Alan Moore graphic novel Watchmen. He also worked on the scripts for X-Men and X2: X-Men United.

Lost Planet
is a third-person shooter produced by Keiji Inafune, the creator of the Mega Man and Onimusha series. The game takes place on a frigid planet dubbed E.D.N. III, where humans battle the monstrous inhabitants for T-ENG, the powerful energy source they produce. To aid them in their struggle, the human forces have designed mech suits that run on T-ENG.

The game debuted in Japan in late 2006 and hit retail in North America in early 2007. To date, the title has sold more than 2 million copies and is reportedly spawning a sequel. It follows fellow Capcom hits
Resident Evil and Street Fighter to the screen. Capcom is producing a second version of Street Fighter with Hyde Park Ent., and has a live-action Onimusha feature set up at Paramount.

Former Marvel Ent. CEO Avi Arad is producing
Lost Planet, along with Seaside Ent. partners Ari Arad and Steven Paul. The three recently set up a stereoscopic 3-D, live-action version of the anime classic Ghost in the Shell
at DreamWorks with heavy involvement from Steven Spielberg.

Dark Knight Continues to Sell Out

Warner Bros.’
The Dark Knight
continues on its path to bona fide blockbuster status. First, online movie ticket seller reported sold-out screenings of the Batman installment, and now competitor is saying that the highly anticipated film is currently outselling three of its top-10 performers of all time. According to the company, the pic has sold more than three times as many advance tickets as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, more than twice as many as Spider-Man 3 and nearly twice as many as Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at the same point in the sales cycle for each film.

Sales on have sold out more than 150
Dark Knight performances in Los Angeles and New York alone. But fans shouldn’t be discouraged as there are currently more than 1,300 midnight showings available on the site. Competition for those tickets could get fierce since a survey conducted by the site shows that moviegoers in all four age groups polled (24 and under, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-59) expressed intent to see the film during its opening weekend.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
tops's list of the top-10 performing films of all time. Behind it are Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Passion of The Christ, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Matrix Reloaded and Spider-Man 3

Anthem Finds Sanctuary at SCI FI Channel

Vancouver-based Anthem Visual Effects is single-handedly producing all the visual effects for 13 hour-long episodes of a new SCI FI Channel television series titled Sanctuary. Slated to air this fall, the fully Canadian show is being shot almost entirely on green screen with virtual sets, and is one of the first series in North America to exclusively employ the RED digital camera for acquisition.

“Clearly, when a series is shot on green screen, the visual effects play an integral role in everything the viewer sees,” explains Lee Wilson, president and visual effects supervisor at Anthem Visual Effects.
“We want the audience to get caught up in the story and forget all about the visual effects. It’s all about storytelling.”

Sanctuary stars Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1)
as the beautiful and enigmatic Dr. Helen Magnus, who tracks down, studies and protects the strange and often terrifying creatures that secretly populate our world. She is joined in her adventures by her new and somewhat reluctant protégé, Dr. Will Zimmerman, played by Robin Dunne (Dawson’s Creek), and her fearless daughter Ashley, portrayed by Emilie Ullerup (Battlestar Galactica). Tapping also serves as an exec producer.

Spearheaded by some of the creative forces behind
Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, the show began as a web series in 2007 and is making the leap to television via licenses in the U.S., Canada and U.K. The creative team includes exec producer, writer and creator Damian Kindler, and exec producer and director Martin Wood. In addition, Sam Egan (Jeremiah, The Outer Limits) serves as exec producer and writer, along with fellow exec producers John Smith (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis) and Keith Beedie.

Anthem will be completing roughly 400 visual effects shots per episode, creating everything from monsters to furry creatures, sweeping cityscapes and remote locations including the impressive
Sanctuary itself. Anthem partners Lee Wilson, Lisa Sepp-Wilson and Sebastien Bergeron respectively serve as co-producer/ visual effects supervisor, visual effects producer and digital effects supervisor.

is produced in association with SCI FI Channel and is distributed by Tricon Films and Television. For more information about Anthem Visual Effects, go to

Angelus Student Fest Names Semi-Finalists

A total of 75 student films have been picked as semi-finalists in the 2008 Angelus Student Film Festival, which takes place at the Directors Guild of America on Saturday, Sept. 13. According to organizers, the call for entries attracted submissions from nearly two dozen countries. The selected works represent 132 film schools in three categories: live action, animation and documentary.

The Angelus Student Film Festival was initiated in 1996 by Catholic media outlet Family Theater Prods., Hollywood to cultivate, honor and showcase future filmmakers as they explore and create works that respect human dignity. In operation since 1947, Family Theater Prods. has been creating radio, television and cinema programs aimed at entertaining, inspiring and informing families. The organization gave actor James Dean and producer/director George Lucas their first on-screen credits.

This year’s finalists in all categories are expected to be announced by August 1, and the winning films will be screened at the festival. Organizers will give out nearly $50,000 in cash and prizes, including the coveted $10,000 Patrick Peyton Award for Excellence in Filmmaking, one of the highest cash awards for student filmmakers. For more information, head to

2008 Animation Finalists:

Abridged by Arjun Rihan, USC
Animal Instincts by Cameron Edser, Bond University (Australia)
Chicken Cowboy by Stephen Neary, NYU
Crema Suprema by Ellenora Ventura, Sheridan College (Canada)
Edmund by Steve Umbleby, Columbus College of Art and Design
Fossil Fools by Max Groff, Art Center College of Design
Gallery Girl by Andrew Marshel, USC
Plain and Simple by Merrin Marra, Columbia College, Chicago
Sebastian’s Voodoo by Joaquin Baldwin, UCLA
Snapshots by James Mullins, Savannah College of Art and Design
A Sheep on the Roof by Remy Schaepman, Institute of Saint Genevieve (France)
Starsearcher by Adam Brown, Ryerson University (Canada)
Superhero Training Center: Cultural Awareness Day by Yun-Ling Lee, Carnegie Mellon University
Token Hunchback
by Timothy Reckart, Harvard University

EA Has RAGE for id Software

Electronic Arts (EA) today announced that it has signed on to publish the latest video game from id Software, the award-winning development studio behind Wolfenstein, DOOM, QUAKE and Enemy Territory. Built on id’s new id Tech5 game engine, RAGE is an innovative first-person shooter being developed for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 PC and Mac.

RAGE represents a new direction for our games,” says Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software. RAGE is a shooter unlike any other, developed on our cutting edge new technology, and built to the exacting standards id is famous for. We’re excited to have the support of EA Partners to launch RAGE on the world.”

“The RAGE publishing deal is the epitome of EA Partners’ mission: provide the world’s best developers with access to the world’s best publishing resources,” adds David DeMartini, senior VP and general manager of EA Partners. “The team at id Software is one of the best development studios in the world. We’re excited to work with id Software to give RAGE a blockbuster launch on the global stage.”

More information on
RAGE will be unveiled at QuakeCon 2008. The event will take place in Dallas, Texas from July 31 to Aug. 2. Go to for more information.

Character from Pixar’s Up revealed

Apparently gone unreported (as far as we can tell) since it’s release in November 2007, there is a bit of news about Pixar’s next film, Up, on the Blu-ray version of Ratatouille. In a scene where Remy is running through the walls of a building towards the rooftop he is chased by a dog, who is only seen in silhouette. During the commentary (not available on the DVD), director Brad Bird points out “this is actually a little guest appearance from a character that will appear in the film after the film after Ratatouille… That dog makes an appearance in the film after WALL-E. The commentary is part of a Blu-ray feature Disney calls “Cine-Explore” which overlays pictures on the screen relevant to what is happening in the film at that moment or to what the commentators are discussing at the time. You can see a drawing of this dog mentioned during the commentary by visiting the Up thread at the Animated News & Views Forum.

DreamWorks and Intel team up

CNBC reports that the film studio DreamWorks has teamed up with Intel to create “next generation digital 3D animation”. The alliance was established in order to benefit both partners; DreamWorks hopes to speed up their production processes by putting Intel technology to use, while Intel plans to use Dreamworks to test new technology specifically intended for film and video. However, the downside of creating 3D films is also mentioned in the article; audience members will have to pay several dollars extra than they would for a traditional film. Despite this, both company’s CEO’s are confident that 3D is the way to go, believing that the positive aspects of the technology far outweigh any of the negative ones.

South Carolina funds animated "Appalachian Dreams"

A short feature combining computer animation and live action is one of this year's Production Fund grant recipients announced by the South Carolina Film Commisison.

Appalachian Dreams, to be produced by Clemson University, is about a pair of clogging shoes that come to life and dance on their own. Producer Tim Davis will be working with the Fine Arts Center of Greenville and his Masters Degree students to create the film.

It's one of three projects funded by the film commission. To be produced during the upcoming school year, the films will involve media professionals with students from USC, Clemson and Trident Technical College as crew members, trainees and in journeyman positions. Students and the independent producers will gain knowledge and skills by working with film professionals brought to South Carolina to help produce the projects.

The S.C. Film Production Fund was created to develop collaborative projects in film, video and multimedia between professionals in motion picture and related industries and South Carolina institutions of higher learning.

Furthering the goals of the fund is the South Carolina Film Consortium, a partnership including USC, Clemson University, Trident Technical College and the South Carolina Film Commission. Independent producers and other professionals in motion picture-related industries partner with Consortium members, working with their students to help South Carolina build its knowledge pool and improve the skills of those already involved in the industry.

For more information about the Production Fund, visit

The Black Panther Sneak Peek at Comic-Con

BET Networks and Marvel Animation have announced they will unveil "The Black Panther" at the San Diego Comic-Con next week. The series premieres in the first quarter of 2009.

BET Networks and Marvel Animation are teaming up to produce an animated series based on the legendary superhero,
THE BLACK PANTHER. Casting is already underway for the series that is slated to premiere in the first quarter of 2009. A special sneak preview will premiere at Comic-Con in July during BET's panel on Saturday, July 26. The series will be adapted directly from the first six issues of the Marvel Comic written by Reginald Hudlin (issues #1 - #6 "Who Is The Black Panther").

The partnership between Marvel Animation and BET Networks marks an important milestone in the expansion of the channel's animation division and the realization of a project that has been a labor of love for BET's President, Entertainment, Reginald Hudlin.

"As a lifelong comic book reader, I didn't think anything could top the excitement of writing one of my favorite characters, the Black Panther. I'm so proud I've been able to maintain a successful run of the series over the past three years while keeping my 'day job' of programming a network. But now to have both of my worlds collide, to have a faithful adaptation of my own work as a prime time series on the network -- it's a dream come true. The Black Panther has always been an inspirational character to me, and now I get to share that inspiration with the widest audience he's ever had.

"I'm very excited to be working with Marvel. It's been great working with Joe Quesada and Axel Alonso on the publishing side, and I look forward to a similar experience with Eric Rollman and his team at Marvel Animation.

"I want to give special thanks to Denys Cowan, my SVP of Animation, who is doing a fantastic job of bringing the art of John Romita Jr. to life," says Hudlin.

Eric Rollman, President of Marvel Animation adds,
"The Black Panther is a working example of Marvel's initiative to broaden our fan base by working with new and innovative partners. Reggie and his team can uniquely take material that is near and dear to them and re-imagine it for a whole new audience. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with BET."

The Black Panther animated series is executive produced by Reginald Hudlin, President, Entertainment and Denys Cowan, SVP Animation for BET Networks. Eric Rollman, President of Marvel Animation, and Cort Lane, Director of Animation Development, are the executives on the series for Marvel.

PictureBox to Publish Definitive John K. Book in Late 2009

PictureBox Inc. will be publishing a definitive retrospective of the work of John Kricfalusi in late 2009, according to a
large post on their weblog which also includes some of the artwork that will appear in the volume.

Alan Burnett: Bringing Deadshot to Gotham City

If you want to know how Alan Burnett wound up working on Batman: Gotham Knight, the answer is simple. They asked him.

“We needed a writer for this one particular segment, and they said ‘Do you want to do it?’ My answer was yeah,” he says casually. “I was strictly hired as a writer on this one. I don’t have a producing credit or anything like that, although I did a little story editing on it. The people over me wanted to have a little more connectiveness than there originally was. So I did a little bit of that. As little as I could, honestly, because I wanted the stories to stand on their own.”

Having Burnett as part of the
Gotham Knight team is a nice touch. Many of the other writers were still in their training shoes when he first started working on Batman, which was in 1983 on the Super Friends series. After leaving Hanna-Barbera, he moved on to Warner Brothers and Batman: The Animated Series in 1991, where he’s pretty much been ever since. Among the series and movies he’s written, edited and/or produced in the following 17 years have been Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Superman, Batman Beyond, Return of the Joker, Mystery of the Batwoman and, most recently, the recently finished The Batman series. One could say having him on board was insurance that this treatment of the Caped Crusader would ground the other five writers on the project.

“I thought it was important to keep the integrity of each writer’s words,” Burnett said. “The writers all pretty much had the same voice for Batman, so I had to change very little dialogue – just small fixes to tie up loose ends, and reinforce transitions and connections between the stories. But I did as little editing as I could because I respected what the writers wrote, and I thought it was important that their voice was heard. Just as the artists made their segments their own, so should the writers.”

As for the six different Japanese directors, Burnett is all for it.

“Basically, when I first heard of the project, I thought it was a tremendous idea,” he said.
“I like anime very much. I also loved the idea of doing a series of short Batman stories. Also, I thought it was a great idea to have all these different writers doing Batman stories. I honestly hope this will let us to do more of these.

“From a visual point of view, this is the most stylized Batman that’s come out of Warner Bros. -- what they’ve done is really eye-catching, and it truly expands his world. Their visualization of Gotham City is stunning, and it’s very interesting to see how they’ve envisioned Batman, his environment and his action and movements”

Then there is his own segment, which features the character Deadshot. Usually, when one thinks of DC assassins, the name Slade usually comes to mind, but Burnett thought different.

“I did pick Deadshot,” he said. “They weren’t quite sure what they wanted with the last segment, so I suggested him. One of the reasons is we’ve never been able to do Deadshot on television because he uses guns. Kids television actually frowns on them, you know. He just struck me before Slade. Deadshot is a man of the world. Ultimately, he’s a coward too. He caved in real fast when Batman did get to him, didn’t he? He doesn’t like being banged around.”

He’s also quite pleased with the final production, which was from Japan’s incredible Madhouse studio.

“I think I worked with them before,” said Burnett. “but I don’t know from what. I’m sure I’ve done other things with them in the past. I’ve got to admit, there’s a lot of eye candy in this. For my segment, I think the first Deadshot murder is quite good. The artists added fireworks and balloons and a lot of interesting elements to what ultimately is a cold-blooded murder. “

“I like the short-form for Batman, because it feels almost like a 22-page comic book story. In short form, the stakes are elevated from the beginning, and it gives you a chance to really heighten the action quickly – so you can make your points hard and fast and get out.”

As for the future of superhero animation, Burnett sees it as quite rosy.

“I thought it was something that was just waiting to happen. When the first Batman made bushels and bushels of money, I was honestly not surprised whatsoever. It was such a natural thing. There’s much more time to work on something and more money than the days when I did Super Friends. They are investing in the production.

“I’d love to see what the Japanese would do with Superman. I truly would. Also, just talking off the top of my head, I would love to see something like a buffet with six different Justice League characters outside of Batman and Superman. I would really love to see what the Japanese would do with them.”

In the meantime, Burnett is hard at work on more projects for the DCAU.

“I’m working on stuff I can’t announce,” he said, “but I guess I can say I’m working on a DVD. It’s just about to start going into production soon, so it will happen. I’m also working on some internet material. So they keep me busy around here. The only difference is I’m constantly scrambling between two different places on the Warner Brothers lot.”

Promotional Images From Upcoming "Wonder Woman" Animated Feature

Lauren Montgomery, director of the upcoming direct-to-video Wonder Woman animated feature, reveals the step-by-step process of how the recent art piece for the Wonder Woman animated movie came to be.

Below shows the three different stages for the image, which started out as a sketch and was then completed and released in two separate versions.

Lauren Montgomery further documents the process on her blog. The direct-to-video
Wonder Woman animated feature will hit DVD and Blu-Ray in February 2009. Stay tuned for further updates.

From the Animation Guild Blog...

So ... How Much Do These Movies Cost?

"These movies" being Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E, and Horton Hears a Who*.

The first thing to know: What a studio says a movie costs and what it really costs might be two different things. I know first-hand that companies sometimes put costs incurred by one film onto the production number of another film. (Hard to believe that fine, ethical business executives would do such a thing, but there it is).

Second thing to know: When you look at the alleged costs for this or that film and compare them, there's no way of knowing if you're comparing the same thing. As The Wise Old Production Exec told me moments ago:

Some pictures include advertising and distribution costs in their announced budgets, others don't. Some include costs of A-list talent in the up-front budget, others might not if most of those costs are percentages of gross on the back end. And the costs of studio overhead vary widely ...

By the Wise Old Studio Exec's reckoning, Blue Sky's overhead would be quite a bit less than the overhead for Pixar/Disney. As the WOSE said:

The last studio I worked for, I estimated $120,000 per employee, per year. So figure it out: if the studio is carrying 300 employees, that's $36 million per year. And if a picture takes two years to produce, that's $72 million, assuming the full staff is working on that one picture for all two years.

I don't know exact numbers, but Pixar has a larger staff than Blue Sky Animation.

From the outside, you can never know with total certainty what a picture actually costs. A decade ago, a management person at the late, lamented Warner Bros. Feature Animation studio informed me that
Quest For Camelot ran up a tab that was a whole lot higher than the one Warners admitted to. Execs officially maintained the feature cost $80 million; my source said it was more like $130 million, but much was charged off to "studio overhead."

Then we come to the three box office champions cited above. DreamWorks Animation honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg has said DreamWorks's features cost $150 million for new models, $120-$130 million for sequels because a lot of fixed costs that carry over have already been paid for. But Mr. Katzenberg is likely ballparking, since KFP is officially listed at the $130 million mark.

Wall-E was a film in production for a long time, which might account for its $180 million price tag. As the WOSE informed me:

Eighty percent of a picture's costs are labor, and the longer a film is in work, the more expensive it will be. If you've got lots of people on payroll for years, the picture ends up higher priced ...

Studios have different way to attack costs. One obviously is the size of a crew, another is length of production time. (We won't count "just make it up.") Half a century ago,
Sleeping Beauty was the most expensive animated feature Walt Disney Productions had yet done, costing around $4 million. Two years later, the studio produced 101 Dalmations for half that price, using less than half the artists.

You see? Feature budgets can be brought down.

* For the original back-and-forth on studio costs, go a couple of notches
down the blog.

More from the Animation Guild Blog:

Sinbad and the BIG MacGuffin

Kevin writes:

I mentioned previously that 'Sinbad - Sailor of the Seven Seas' might be my least favorite film among those I worked on. I’ve always been pretty good at separating the work from the product — I loved working on 'Sinbad', and the production was a great experience. I’d been promoted, I was assisting amazing animators (James Baxter and Jakob Jensen), I was getting scenes of my own, the directors and production staff were cool, I was hanging with a great posse of junior animators, the food was free and tasty, life was good all around. But the film? Not so much.

I never really bought into the premise of the film, and ultimately neither did the audience. I could go on at length about some of the story and character failings, but I’ll lay out my thoughts on one major problem. It had the biggest MacGuffin in the history of film. Not just a big MacGuffin, but a MacGuffin that needed to be really important to the story. The first rule of MacGuffins is that they are the thing that the characters care about, but the audience doesn’t.

Alfred Hitchcock is usually credited with coming up with the concept of the MacGuffin . . .

Click the link above for the rest of the post.

Again from the Animation Guild Blog :

Worker Abuse, Part XI

We harvest
this pearl from the forums (via TAG blog's comment thread):

According to David Rand, special effects artists worked for Meteor Studios, a company established by Discovery Communications of Virginia (Discovery) (owners of the Discovery Channel) and Evergreen Films of Pacific Palisades (Evergreen). During October, November and December of 2007, artists worked without pay; some put in 100-hour weeks and stayed loyal to the project with the promise of pay as soon as the accounting glitch was fixed. Most of the artists who applied their talents to the creation of the film have families, and half are American freelance artists like Rand, whose hope for a bright Christmas was extinguished when all artists were laid off without pay in December upon delivery of the film.

Per the story, this small, sad event isn't getting much play in the mainstream press, like almost none.

Not much of a surprise there. Workers being abused isn't news anymore, it happens so often. In our small corner of the forest, we hear of it occuring every six months or so. But here's the skinny. Whenever you hear of a friend that's working without pay (and usually the friend is being harangued by management to "stay loyal" and "take one for the team" until the "payroll problem" is cleared up), scream at them in your loudest and clearest voice:

Put down your mouse! Get the hell OUT of there! You out of your mind?! You don't work for no pay!! That's @#$% NUTS!"

Because guess what? There's nothing and nobody to be loyal to.

The employer has breached the circle of trust, torn it into small shreds and stuffed it down the toilet. People work for money, not a candy gram. When the money is not forthcoming, then laws have been broken, and nobody should aid and abet a lawbreaker. Period. Full stop. End of saga.

We wish Mr. Rand good luck in getting that million dollars he and others are owed. And we applaud his calls for unionization in the VFX world. Fact is, stories like this were rampant all around Hollywood back in the old days, which is a major reason for the rise of organizations like the DGA, the WGA, SAG, the IATSE, and the little ol' Animation Guild.

As a Hollywood old-timer said: "They worked us 'til we dropped. Thank God the unions finally got in."

Fox Told to Gain Weight for Transformers Sequel

Megan Fox told Fox News she had to gain 10 pounds in three weeks for
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen following a dramatic weight loss for her last film, Jennifer's Body. She also talked a bit about Sam and Mikaela's relationship in the sequel:

"I should have toned up for 'Transformers' but I'm really lazy. I had to put on weight," she told Pop Tarts. "I'd lost a lot of weight and got really scrawny, but I was told I had to put on size for 'Transformers' because Michael [Bay, the director] doesn't like skinny girls."

The filming for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" kicked off just last month, and while the 22-year-old was under strict orders not to say too much, it seems like there will be a few disappointed male admirers.

"There are no big love scenes," Fox said. "At this point Shia and I have been dating for two years so we're at the bickering stage, like an old married couple."

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opens in theaters on June 26, 2009.

New Clone Wars one sheets

Two new posters advertising
Star Wars: The Clone Wars have appeared on Latino Review. The film is set to serve as a prequel to an upcoming animated Star Wars television series, and will open in theaters on the 15th of August.

More Glago’s Guest

Over at Animation World Network an interview with Chris Williams can be read about his coming Disney animated short,
Glago’s Guest. “It began as an illustration of Roman soldiers and evolved into an artful 3D-animated short about desolation and discovery in a Siberian outpost in the 1920s, as a lonely soldier named Glago has an extraordinary adventure with mysterious alien orbs.”

Theroux to Script Iron Man Sequel

Marvel Studios' first production and this summer's current top-grosser
Iron Man, has been so successful, grossing over $560 million worldwide, that it was a foregone conclusion that a sequel would happen sooner rather than later. What might be surprising is that according to Variety, they're changing writers for the second movie, going with actor/filmmaker Justin Theroux to pen the sequel, which is planned for a late April release in 2010.

While Marvel Studios negotiates with director Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. to bring them back for the sequel, they've hired Theroux, who some might know from his acting roles in McG's
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and HBO's "Six Feet Under." He also wrote and executive produced Ben Stiller's upcoming war comedy Tropic Thunder (also starring Robert Downey Jr.), and presumably Marvel saw that he could write comedy and action suitable for shellhead's sequel. (Marvel Studios themselves haven't commented on any of the developments on the sequel as of yet.)

Al Roker's Production Company Options "Action News Family"

Editor and Publisher is reporting
that Al Roker's production company has optioned the rights to cartoonist Don Asmussen's new animated cartoon Action News Family. Universal described the series as, "the disaster that ensues when news anchors Chet and Natalie Anchorton use their brood to read the news. It's The Partridge Family meets The O'Reilly Factor." Asmussen will serve as consultant to the show.

Tribute to Frank and Ollie at SIGGRAPH on Aug. 13

A panel discussion and tribute to the life, work and inspiration of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston will take place Wednesday, August 13 at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, Animation Mentor, the leading online character animation school created by animators for animators, announced Tuesday.

Thomas and Johnston are two of Disney's famed Nine Old Men whose historic work includes
Alice in Wonderland, Bambi, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and their acclaimed book on animation, The Illusion of Life.

The discussion and tribute will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (doors close at 10:15 a.m.) at Petree Hall D of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This event includes a conversation about animation with contemporary animation legends from Disney Studios, DreamWorks Animation SKG, and others who were inspired by the masters. The panel will be followed by a short documentary by Emeryville, California-based Animation Mentor of never-before-seen interview footage of these two animation legends.

"We are truly honored to host this tribute for two beloved animators who have been an instrumental part of animation history and have entertained and inspired so many," said Animation Mentor CEO and co-founder Bobby Beck. "We are thrilled to bring such a phenomenal group of talented animators who learned from Frank and Ollie and share a passion for the world of animation. The ability to also share Frank and Ollie's thoughts on animation through rare interview footage will be a special gift that we are proud to give to the world."

Tom Sito, a professional animator and adjunct professor of animation at University of California Los Angeles and University of Southern California, will lead the panel discussion. Panelists include:

* Don Hahn, Disney Studios. Hahn is a two-time Academy Award winner and film producer responsible for producing some of the most successful Walt Disney animated films of the past 20 years, including
Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

* Dave Burgess, DreamWorks Animation SKG. Burgess is currently a senior animator at DreamWorks Animation on
Monsters vs. Aliens (in production); his other work includes Bee Movie, Flushed Away, Over the Hedge, Madagascar, Shrek 2 and The Lion King. Burgess is also a mentor for Animation Mentor.

* Kevin Koch, animation director at Medical Cyberworlds, president of the Animation Guild, and mentor for Animation Mentor. His work includes
Quest for Camelot, Prince of Egypt, Sinbad, Shrek 2, Madagascar, Over the Hedge and Terra.

* Theodore (Ted) Thomas, an independent film director, writer and producer, and National Emmy Award-winner. The son of the late Frank Thomas, he wrote, directed and produced the documentary film
Frank and Ollie. Other films include Where the Toys Come From and Walt & El Grupo.

Frank Thomas (September 5, 1912-September 8, 2004) joined Disney in 1934. He went on to author the animator's bible The Illusion of Life with Ollie Johnston. His work included Mowgli and Baloo (in
The Jungle Book), the wicked Stepmother (in Cinderella), the Queen of Hearts (in Alice In Wonderland) and Captain Hook (in Peter Pan).

Ollie Johnson (October 31, 1912-April 14, 2008), who joined Disney in 1935, first worked on Snow White. His work included Thumper (in
Bambi), Mr. Smee (in Peter Pan), Pinocchio (in Pinocchio), the Stepsisters (in Cinderella), the District Attorney (in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad) and Prince John (in Robin Hood).

Together, Johnson and Thomas also authored the book The Disney Villain, and co-created such characters as Ichabod Crane (in
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad) and Sir Hiss (in Robin Hood).

Animation Mentor welcomes SIGGRAPH 2008 attendees to the tribute. Attendance to tribute requires either Full Conference Access Pass or Computer Animation Festival Pass.

Event attendees are invited to visit Animation Mentor at SIGGRAPH 2008, exhibition booth 1401. To learn more about Animation Mentor events at SIGGRAPH 2008, visit

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