Tuesday, July 22, 2008

News - 07/22/08...

Animation Block Party 2008

The 2008 Animation Block Party begins on Friday, July 25 and continues until Sunday, July 27. If you're near Brooklyn you can catch three different programs of animated shorts. Friday's program will be screened outdoors at Rooftop Films and the remaining programs, played twice each day, can be seen at the BAMcinematek. Not only do you get to see tons of shorts, the event lives up to its name with beer and live music every night. Party on!

This is all the official program information for Animation Block Party's Fifth Annual Festival. Tickets will be on sale at the doors to each event, but you can also buy them here in advance to ensure a seat. Please check back for updates.


Animation Block Party opens on Friday July 25th at Rooftop Films. The venue is located at the Automotive High School, 50 Bedford Avenue, between North 12th and Lorimer, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In the event of rain, the show is indoors at the same venue. The opening night band for ABP is Plushgun.

ABP Rooftop, Opening Night Program:

ABP Intro (before all shows): David Schlafman and Evan Sussman
Intelligent Life: Michael Langan (1 min)
Kid Show: Tom Deslongchamp (2:45 min)
The Adventures of Tommy T-Bone: David Icely (:45 seconds)
Chef Barry: Chelsea Manifold (1 min)
Lotions Eleven: Matt Lee (2 min)
Burnout: Alex Cormack (1:20 min)
Vincent Security: Ashley Holzwasser (1 min)
I Live In The Woods: Max Winston (3 min)
Taxi Guy: Hubert Chan (2 min)
Roommates: Mike Hollingsworth (2 min)
Zombie Movie: Garrett K. and Taylor Armstrong (1 min)
Bush Vs. Bin Laden: Darren Way (2 min)
PSA for Pedophiles: Luis Cerritos (1 min)
Lupo Dentro: Gabriele Diaferia (5 min)
The Flower Colour Sound Cartoon: Phil Dubrovsky and Dale Hayward (2 min)
Lunch Lady: Steve Stark (1 min)
Feast: Kerpely Adel, JiHyun Ahn (3 min)
Breakfast Outtake: Bob Fox (:30 seconds)
Magnetic Squirrel — Dog Dazed: Patrick Mallek (2 min)
Puke Bug: Jeremie Duval (1:30 min)
Conflict Resolution: All Things Media (1:44 min)
Team Yo Shimbo: Chester Knebel and Will White (1:20 min)
A Letter to Colleen: London Squared (8:30 min)
Cuddle Sticks: Mike Geiger (2:40 min)
Ziptoc: Vera Wing Lui (2 min)
Blindspot: Norah Solorzano (5 min)
BullHorn: Nathan Gooden (5 min)
Meet The American States: Tommy Cannon (2 min)
Sudden Change: Preston Spurlock (2 min)
Tales for Cruel People: Hans Blume, Igor Buharov, Ivan Buharov (6:45 min)
In The Beginning: Choom Lam (3:45 min)
Elephant Girl: David Lobser (5 min)
Year of the Polygon: Tim Dormady, Zane Kozak, Yurie Rocha (2 min)
ABP Outro (after all shows): Adam Ansorge

Opening night animation screenings will be followed by an after party at Matchless, located at 557 Manhattan Avenue at Driggs, also in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The after party will feature free beer courtesy of Radeberger and is only for those with ABP-Rooftop Tickets.


Animation Block Party continues on Saturday July 26th at Bam Cinematek (BAM Rose Cinemas). This venue is located at the Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn NY.

ABP Bam Cinematek, Program One (2pm and 6:50pm)

Perfectland — The Egg Factory: Ben Meinhardt (3 min)
Air: Ajit Menon (1 min)
Trepan Hole: Andy Cahill (6 min)
In Search of the Colors: Will Kim (8 min)
Ideation: Jeremiah Dickey (1 min)
Illuminant: Tobias Stretch (5 min)
5 Tears: Colin V. Barton (3:30 min)
Invisible Croissants: Andy Windak (6 min)
Last Time In Clerkenwell: Alex Budovsky (4 min)
This is J03: Once Were Farmers (3 min)
Intelligent Design: Wojtek Skowron (5 min)
Optech 1: Emma Sterling and Dan Monceaux (3 min)
One Skin: Gudrun Cram-Drach (10 min)
Etymology: Matt Broach (4:20 min)
Escaping is Easy: Sarah Moore (2 min)
Muto: Blu (7 min)
Yeasayer — Wait for the Summer: Mixtape Club (3:30 min)
Procrastination: Johnny Kelly (4:15 min)

ABP Bam Cinematek, Program Two (4:30pm and 9:15pm)

Perfectland — Harvest Time: Ben Meinhardt (3 min)
Dive: Tyquane Wright (1 min)
Hot Dog: Bill Plympton (5:40 min)
Guy Talk: Rich Gorey (:12 seconds)
Teat Beat of Sex - Episode Nine — Graveyard: Signe Baumane (1:43 min)
Common Scents: Steve Whitehouse (3 min)
Cramer Collection: Jason Doll (2 min)
The Bear: Eva Michon (7 min)
Outside Agitator: Morgan Miller (3:48 min)
Death By Dying: Anton Bogaty (2:12 min)
Ark: Grzegorz Jonkajtys (8 min) presented via the Polish Cultural Institute of New York
Bob and Julia: Jee Hyun Yoo (3 min)
Viola: Shih-Ting Hung (9 min)
Lapsus: Juan Pablo Zaramella (3:30 min)
Flute Babies: Gretta Johnson (4 min)
To Shoot A Rurf: Shane Sheils (9 min)
Einstein's Riddle: Gina Kamentsky (3:30 min)
Bushwacker: Kal Goudey (9 min)

Animation screenings will be followed by an after party at the Cherry Tree at 65 Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn with free Newcastle Brown Ale courtesy of America's Finest News Source, The Onion, Inc.


Animation Block Party closes on Sunday July 27th also at Bam Cinematek.

ABP Bam Cinematek, Program Three (2pm and 6:50pm)

Perfectland — Conveinient Disposal: Ben Meinhardt (3 min)
PK-Granny: Jo Meuris (2 min)
Tickle Me Silly: Miguel Martinez-Joffre (8 min)
Wolverine and Batman: Cliff Galbraith (2 min)
24 Frames: Brad Pattullo (18 min)
Jungle Story: Richard Gorey (:10 seconds)
Edmund: Steven Umbleby (3 min)
Burley: Gareth Cowen and Dave Edwardz (9 min)
A Fly Film: Bryan Brinkman (1:30 min)
I Am Pillowcat: Elaine Lee (5:30 min)
Goobees: Texas A&M Viz Lab (3 min)
Operation Fish: Jeff Riley (10:30 min)
A My Life at 26 — Shortoon: Stephen Leonard (:50 seconds)
Greek Mythology: Tom Kyzivat (8:50 min)
I, Zombie: Danny Curtain (4:30 min)

ABP Bam Cinematek, Program Four (4:30pm and 9:15pm)

Perfectland — As Promised: Ben Meinhardt (3 min)
Fantaisie in Bubblewrap: Arthur Metcalf (4:20 min)
The Friendly Ghost: Rich Gorey (:12 seconds)
The Pearce Sisters: Luis Cook (9:15 min)
Nannyless: Anka Blaszczyk (2:30 min) presented via the Polish Cultural Institute of New York
The Things She Would Tell Me: Miryam Welbourne (2:15 min)
The Border: Maya Lior (3 min)
Germans in the Woods: Rauch Brothers (3 min)
ECT — The Story of Two Women: Laura Piraino (5 min)
For The Love of God: Joe Tucker (11 min)
Maybe*: Sam Chou (2 min)
The Ugly Turkey: David Essman (5 min)
My Little Angel: Flurry (3:15 min)
Tale: Tzanko (2:22 min)
FOT — Champion of the World: Alex Dron (2 min)
The World Is A Steam Engine: Koichi Nakai (1 min)
Mr. Lux: Michael Jantze (4 min)
Orderly Confusion, a documentary: Robert Bohn (4:18 min)
Fresh Fruit: Ed Kelley and Brenden Cicoria (3 min)
Mr. D: Tony Dusko (1:15 min)
Turducken: Steve Stark (3 min)
Whoopi's Eyebrows: Mike Hollingsworth (3 min)
Just In Case
: Joshua Frankel (1 min)

The closing evening Animation screenings will be followed by an after party at Habana Outpost at 757 Fulton Street, Brooklyn NY. The after party will feature outdoor streaming videos from past Animation Block Party's and delicious Habana specials, plus free cold draft beer with ABP-BAM tickets courtesy of Autodesk.


M60 - The 60-minute Film Festival

I'm all for do-it-yourself projects. Self-starters can take part in Montreal's newest film festival, M60. Participants will make a 60-second film, animated or live-action, which must be completed by August 24th, to be screened for 2 days in September.

Register at the launch party on Thursday, July 24th from 9:oo pm to midnight. The theme will be revealed during the launch. While you're there, enjoy the short sets from several bands, one of which is Ragni (including fps's newest blogger, Brenden Fletcher).

From the Animation Guild Blog:

The NYT on KFP

The New York Times has now weighed in on the angst in China over Kung Fu Panda:

... A few weeks ago, when the movie opened in China, there was already a call for a boycott — on the grounds that foreigners had lifted one of China’s most precious symbols, the panda, and were using it for their own profit.

The boycott never got off the ground, and
“Kung Fu Panda” was an immediate box office hit. In the last few weeks the movie has provoked a deeper discussion, even a degree of soul-searching and critical self-examination of the sort that China, which has an amazing mix of ambition, self-confidence and insecurity, goes through from time to time ...

In a way,
“Kung Fu Panda” is only the latest illustration of a centuries-old tradition whereby Western artists have used China and other Asian countries to produce enduring works of art. You only have to think about Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado” or Puccini’s “Turandot” or, for that matter, the animated feature “Mulan” of a few years ago, to recall the strength and age of this tradition.

Indeed, all of these works illustrate a continuing historical imbalance in cultural cross-fertilization. The West’s use of China as an artistic setting is unmatched by any Chinese use of Europe or America as backdrops for its own cultural productions.

That imbalance is connected to another element in the picture: the animation itself. From Walt Disney on, Americans have long been developing animation as a cinematic form, while China, in this particular area of the arts, has not developed much ...

Let's give the Middle Kingdom a break. China is only thirty years out from the dead hand of Maoism and the Cultural Revolution. Kind of hard for individual artists to flourish in that atmosphere. They're all beaten into conformity with the Party Line (whatever it happens to be that month) or shipped off to a re-education camp until they've seen the light.

China, of course, has ceased being a Communist state. Today it's closer to Franco's Spain than Stalin's Russia. Lots of capitalism, but also plenty of dictatorship of the fascist type, which still makes sensitive, artistic souls unhappy:

“China has first-class directors, first-class playwrights, first-class actors, but it’s a shame that we have censorship by government officials,” one anonymous blogger wrote. “If they don’t like your work, then there’s no way.”

Mr. Lu, the commentator in China Daily, had a telling story in this regard, about a project he undertook to produce an animation for the Olympic Games. “I kept on receiving directions and orders from related parties on what the movie should be like,” he recalled. “We were given very specific rules on how to promote it.

“Under such pressure, my co-workers and I really felt stifled,” he continued. In the end, “the planned animation was never produced.”

Via Aintitcoolnews - Wanna See Some Of Bill Sienkiewicz's Art He Did For DARK KNIGHT?!?!?

Hey folks, Harry here... With Comic Con coming up - I just figured that you'd dig something like this. You see, I've been a fan of Bill Sienkiewicz's artwork ever since he did an astonishing JOKER in my father's convention sketchbook. It's fairly intense. Wildly sardonic - and from that sketch I've followed Bill's work through every title he's touched. And I dream of the day I see Warlock translated to screen. But Bill decided he wanted to share some of his astonishing artwork which was done for the production as well as the promotion of DARK KNIGHT - the move all of you paid to see 3 times this weekend apparently. Now - if you're going to Comic Con - you can check out Bill's originals at Booth #2419! And if you do - you're one lucky bastard, Bill's originals are a thing of exquisite beauty! If you want to see more of Sienkiewicz's work go to BillSienkiewiczArt.Com - Thanks goes to Bill and Sal for Debuting this art on AICN!

Also from aintitcoolnews...

Wanna see Vargas-esque Pin-Up Art of Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter from WATCHMEN???

Hey folks, Harry here... Wow - maybe it's Comic Con coming up - but tonight is Art Night at AICN! Got sent this from James Jean - and it kinda symbolizes how f'ing awesome filmmaking is. You see - here is a created piece of mag-f'ing-nificent art that looks as if it came from a by-gone era! To Dream of a time and place where Vargas painted Sally Jupiter for a Pin-Up! Sigh... What a dream. Here ya go...

Hey Harry,
I wanted to share an illustration I did for the Watchmen movie that made a super-brief appearance in the trailer:

Click Here For The Whole Story!

It's a Vargas-esque portrait of Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter. I worked with the great Alex McDowell on the piece. They told me the piece would play a role in introducing Sally Jupiter in the film -- hopefully it doesn't end up on the cutting room floor!

Thanks for the support!

All the Best,

James Jean

Anime voice actor Mike Kleinhenz dead at 56

Michael "Mike" Kleinhenz, a voice actor for the English dubs of numerous anime films and TV series, died July 11 of a heart attack. He was 56.

Kleinhenz was a voiceover artist for 25 years. He was the Father in Slayers Return (1996), Fatman in Spriggan (1998), and Takahashi in Parasite Dolls (2002).

Direct-to-video anime roles included Ishikui in Ushio and Tora (1992), the Priest in Sin: The Movie (aka Princess Nine; 2000), Bison in Street Fighter 2, Victory: Volume VIII, Fatal Confrontations (2001), and Lucifer and Matthias in Lady Death (2004).

In TV series, Kleinhenz was Seele in Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995); the Judge in Those Who Hunt Elves (1996); the Doctor in Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 (1998); Meth, Nozomi Takayama and the Regent in Gasaraki (1998); Legrand and Soldats Man in Noir (2001); Jin Majima in Najica: Blitz Tactics (2001); Major Andrey Kalinin in Full Metal Panic! (2002) and Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (2003); Shirow Watari in RahXephon (2002); the Man In His 40s in Kino no tabi (2003); Mr. Hamilton in Kaleido Star (2003); Ricardo Hendrick in Chrono Crusade (2004); and Goro Suzuki in Gantz (2004). He was also in the voice cast of Princess Nine kisaragi joshi kou yakuu-bu (1998).

A Houston resident, Kleinhenz translated anime into English as well. His various voices ranged from his Texas Ford commercial voice to Jamaican and British accents, said Jenny Bosby, president of Pastorini-Bosby Talent in Houston.

"He was very versatile. He was just the consummate professional," Bosby told the Houston Chronicle.

Family and friends said that the 6'4" Kleinhenz, whose voice was used in video games, was a talented guitarist, singer and songwriter as well. He was also a talented athlete.

Kleinhenz played linebacker for the University of Cincinnati, said his sister, Susan Holland of Houston.

"I remember him as being my idol," Holland said. "He was such an athlete. He was the star baseball player. He was the star football player."

He was born in Cincinnati on November 14, 1951 to Leonard and Mary Kleinhenz. In 1969, he graduated from Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey.

In 1977, Kleinhenz moved to Houston to be with his family, which had transferred to the city because of his father's job.

Former University of Cincinnati professor Morleen Rouse, who taught Kleinhenz in her acting class, said that she encouraged hhim to become a professional voiceover artist.

She recalled Kleinhenz performing a monologue as Queen Elizabeth's lover. In the end, Rouse said, she began to laugh -- because he was excellent.

"He was just this big, quiet, handsome football player. He had nothing to say until he literally gave that monologue. And it was so good that I felt terrible for bursting out laughing."

Kleinhenz graduated from college in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in radio and TV, later pursuing a career as a voiceover artist.

According to Houston producer and photographer Mike Duhon, Kleinhenz was one of the most talented voice artists that he ever worked with.

"Mike was a big athletic guy. But when you see him, he was shy," he said.

"He was just a kind, sweet, thoughtful, perceptive, bright, bright guy. He was knowledgeable about a lot of subjects."

Mike Kleinhenz was predeceased by his father and brother Rusty. He is survived by his mother; sons Casey, Mickey, Jamey, Danny and Tim; brothers Steve, Eric, Kevin and Keith; and sisters Susan Holland, Chris Daniels, Mia Leland and Cindy Madi.

A "Celebration of the Life of Mike" was held Thursday at St. Theresa Catholic Church's community center in Houston.

Djimon Hounsou is Thulsa Doom

Djimon Hounsou has partnered with Dynamite Entertainment to star in and produce a big screen feature about immortal sorcerer Thulsa Doom, a central figure in the Conan the Barbarian and Kull comic books, reports Variety.

The character will be featured in his own comic book series, published by Dynamite, an imprint of Dynamic Forces, next year.

He originally appeared in the Robert E. Howard pulp story "Delcardes' Cat," published in the 1930s.

Doom was portrayed by James Earl Jones in 1982's Conan the Barbarian.

The planned film will showcase the origins of the flawed hero and show how his road to hell was paved with good intentions.

Heroes' Claire Gets Bad

Hayden Panettiere, who plays invulnerable cheerleader Claire in NBC's Heroes, told SCI FI Wire that viewers will see a different side of the character in the upcoming third season: an older, badass Future Claire.

"She's very different," Panettiere said in an interview at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on July 20. "It's a very different world [in the future], and it's kind of, as you can imagine, a world gone a little bit awry, and she's a very different person than she was."

Panettiere added: "One of the cool things I think about this season is I get to play kind of two different characters for a second, because we pop back and forth a little bit from the present to the future."

Heroes will pick up from the second-season cliffhanger, with Future Claire about to shoot one of her fellow heroes, and Claire remains a central character throughout, said Panettiere, who added that the production is working on its eighth installment of the season, whose subtitle is "Villains."

"There are some things that I think are going on with her character and things that are going to happen, things that are a really big part of the story, but things that I'm not sure yet," Panettiere said. "They won't tell me quite yet how it's going to manifest and how it's going to play out. But I think Claire plays a very important role in what happens, and in that way she can be worse than all of them."

Panettiere added: "I think what we all missed about the second season was that we didn't really get a chance to all work with each other. So we're all crossing paths this season. ... I mean, it is so hyped, and it is so action-packed and leaves you wonderful cliffhangers. It's a really tremendous season, it really is." Heroes comes back Sept.22 with a one-hour special, followed by the two-hour season premiere.

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to reawaken

According to The Orange County Register the iconic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA, will reopen its walkthrough attraction, originally opened in 1957 but closed in 2001, to coincide closely with the October 7th release to 2-Disc Platinum DVD and Blu-Ray of Disney’s 1959 animated masterpiece Sleeping Beauty. Be sure to check out the article’s photo slide show.

CN Scores 'Ben 10: Alien Force' NBA Partnership

NBA Deals with CN on Apparel

For nearly a quarter-century, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Turner Broadcasting together have to bring millions of viewers the exciting, fast-paced thrills of professional athletics. Already with a partnership in place, Turner's Cartoon Network Enterprises--the brand management and licensing arm of Cartoon Network--will be expanding their current interests with the NBA to promote healthy kid activities, new network apparel, sports, and Cartoon Network's original animated television series Ben 10: Alien Force.

The NBA and Cartoon Network Enterprises have entered a co-branding deal regarding the relatively new series about teenage Tennyson and friends. Lining up new apparel deals that will bridge kid interests in professional athletics and television animation, the agreement kicks off at next year's NBA All-Star Game (Phoenix, AZ), with the anticipated debut of new product distribution supported by the official NBA Store and its related retailers.

"It is a privilege to partner with the NBA on our first co-branding project," Christina Miller, Vice President of Consumer Products for CN Enterprises, commented to one source. "With this partnership, we are able to fuse the popularity of the NBA with the power of Ben 10 to create a synergy between two fan favorites and offer even more ways experience both brands."

According to Cartoon Network, the NBA has agreed to help produce and promote a series of t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies that are designed with various integrations of Ben 10: Alien Force characters and NBA league and team logo designs. Now, fans of the cartoon can proudly exhibit their favorite pro basketball team and proclaim their interest in kicking alien butt at the same time. Online stores such as NBAstore.com and CartoonNetworkShop.com are on tap to carry the items, in addition to brick and mortar locations. The apparel line will be included in the Cartoon Network's Kids Zone festivities at NBA All-Star Jam Session next year.

"The NBA is always looking for unique ways to connect with our fans," Lisa Piken, Senior Director Apparel and Accessories, NBA Global Merchandising Group, stated. "Partnering with the Cartoon Network and Turner on this program for youth apparel reaches our young fans in a fun way and also provides us with an opportunity to reach new fans with a character they love in Ben 10: Alien Force."

Turner and the National Basketball Association are planning even more expansions for this line of apparel set to launch in 2009. The clothing line's promotion may indeed bounce off of the kids' cable network animated series, whose undeniable popularity has boosted its fortune well into the future since its debut this past April.

FIRST LOOK: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

Watch the debut 'MUA 2' trailer now!

It's official! "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Fusion" is on the way to PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and Wii, and you can watch the first trailer right here!

Looking for details? Characters? Storyline? Gameplay? Release Date? Sorry, friends, that'll all have to wait! Enjoy the teaser trailer and keep checking Marvel.com over the coming months for more "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Fusion" news and goodies!

Only Yesterday amongst top movies not available in US

Turner Classic Movies have come up with their list of “Top movies not currently available on dvd in the United States”, wherein Studio Ghibli’s film Only Yesterday features at no 14. The list which is the result of TCM’s ongoing poll of the most requested classic movies not currently on dvd, is used to encourage studios to release their most requested films not currently available in any format on dvd. Directed by Isao Takahata, Only Yesterday tells the story of a single woman Taeko, who, on a countryside vacation, starts re-evaluating her life, as memories from her childhood unfold. Only Yesterday, which was a surprise box-office success in Japan in 1991, remains the only film of the Disney-Tokuma Deal that has not seen a dvd release in US. There have been speculations over the years that the dvd release of Only Yesterday has been shelved indefinitely due to the mature content of the film which, Disney officials felt, was incompatible with their family-friendly image. In an old Nausicaa.net interview, Cindy and Don Hewitt, the duo behind the English adaptations of Ghibli films, had confirmed that Only Yesterday was not scheduled to be dubbed or released. Nevertheless, there have been many petitions and campaigns over the years to release the film in US.

Only Yesterday was released in UK and Australia in 2006 and has been available as a subtitled-only dvd, featuring a “Making-of” and “Complete Storyboards” as extra features.

Artist sues Kung Fu Panda creators

SlashFilm reports about a lawsuit filed by a Chinese artist Zhao Bandi against Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures for the offensive grotesqueries depicted in Kung Fu Panda. Zhao demanded a public apology but no monetary compensation in the lawsuit which has been accepted and allowed to proceed by Beijing Chaoyang District People’s Court.

Family Guy on the big screen

A video featuring Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane can be viewed on TV Week. In the interview, MacFarlane reveals spoilers about upcoming Family Guy episodes, as well as plans to bring the stars of the animated sitcom to the big screen. Family Guy spin-off Cleveland is also mentioned, bringing up the topic of how MacFarlane manages to oversee three different programs.

'Batman: TAS', 'Batman Beyond' and 'The Batman' now online

Can't get enough of Batman after taking in 'The Dark Knight'? Tune your browser to Joost.com. They've posted a a wide selection of bat-toons, including episodes of 'Batman: The Animated Series', 'Batman Beyond' and 'The Batman' for your viewing pleasure.

Mark Millar Talks More Superman

Den of Greek tells us they interviewed Mark Millar and asked more questions about his proposed "Superman" revamp that they will pitch to Warner Bros. Pictures if Bryan Singer wouldn't do a Superman Returns follow-up:

We've just done a new interview with Mark Millar and asked him all about Superman. the link is here:

Among the things he says:

* Everything he's done is building up to a Superman film
* His position regarding Bryan Singer
* How reverent he'd be to the Donner version

Hope it's of interest!

You can check out the interview here.

How To Make A Looney Tune, 1956

To answer the many inquires they received at the time, Warner Bros. produced a three page pamphlet, in comic strip style, to explain the production of animation cartoons. Clearly the work of a lower level assistant artist, the artwork isn’t so good, but the information in this 1956 handout is essentially accurate.

Click the thumbnails below to see the pages full size. According to this piece, Fifteen months and fifteen thousand drawings are required to create a Warner Bros. cartoon. Note the caricature of Eddie Selzer (the producer) in panel #1 and Beaky Buzzard in panel #7. Adding fuel to the ongoing script versus storyboard controversy, Bugs is shown typing a story in panel #2, while Daffy is sketching the storyboard in panel #3.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Turbo Dogs Get Their Day on qubo

Turbo Dogs, a new CG-animated action-comedy series from Scholastic, has been scheduled to debut on Oct. 3 on multilingual and multimedia programming platform qubo (www.qubo.com). In each episode, canine heroes Dash, Mags, GT, Strut, Stinkbert and Clutch will take kids on a high-speed racing adventure with an emphasis on friendship and teamwork. Turbo Dogs will air on the CBC in Canada.

Co-produced by CCI Ent., and animated by Huhu Studios, Turbo Dogs is based on the Racer Dogs book by Bob Kolar. The action is set in the town of Racerville, where a wacky, canine-based community shares a passion for motor sports. The series will aim to expose kids to the concepts of direction, distance and time, while reinforcing the importance of cooperation and fair play.

“Huhu Studios is thrilled to be part of the team delivering Turbo Dogs to audiences in North America,” says Trevor Yaxley of Huhu Studios. “Our animators and production teams have relished working with this fun bunch of characters. To see animators laughing at story elements during the early parts of production is rare, but it's certainly not uncommon to hear animators chuckling to themselves as they work on this show!"

Formed in 2006 by Scholastic, ION Media Networks, NBC Universal, Corus Ent. and Entertainment Rights Group companies (Entertainment Rights, Classic Media and Big Idea), qubo’s multi-platform offerings can be found on NBC on Saturday mornings, ION TV network Fridays afternoons and Telemundo weekend mornings, as well as on qubo’s 24/7 digital broadcast channel and website, www.qubo.com. The qubo Channel is broadcast in both English and Spanish, and is available in all markets served by an ION Television station, as well as via Verizon’s FIOS TV, AT&T’s U-Verse, Mediacom and Comcast.

Futurikon Flexes with Captain Biceps

French animation house Futurikon tells us that it is launching a new animated series titled Captain Biceps at this year’s MIPCOM, taking place in October in Cannes, France. The show is based on the sucessful comic-book series of the same name. Created by Zep and Tebo (Tootuff), the four-volume comic series has sold more than 300,000 copies to date.

Captain Biceps (78x8) is as an action-comedy animation series that follows the adventures of a hero who is anything but ordinary. Aided by his faithful sidekick, Genius Boy, Captain Biceps keeps the world safe from the terrible threats of a hoard of Super Bad Guys. The only thing the muscle-bound do-gooder is afraid of is his own mother. Aimed at kids 6-12, the Futurikon production is being co-produced by France 3 and TPS. One episode will be screening for potential buyers at MIPCOM Jr.

Based in Angoulême, Futurikon’s credits include the animated series Fly Tales, Malo Korrigan and the Space Tracers, Kaput & Zösky and Flatmania. The company also teamed with Luximation on a CG feature film based on the TV series Dragon Hunters. The pic debuted at Cartoon Movie in March. For more information on Futurikon, go to www.futurikon.fr.

Jimi Hendrix Makes Video Game Debut

Wannabe guitar gods will soon get to live out one of their greatest fantasies—being Jimi Hendrix. The late rock legend will appear in a video game for the first time when Activision Publishing releases Guitar Hero World Tour. One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Hendrix will be featured as a playable character in the game, which will also include original recordings of the songs “Purple Haze” (recorded in 1969 at the San Diego Sports Arena) and “The Wind Cries Mary.” Additional songs from the artist will follow as downloadable content.

Guitar Hero games have become the virtual rock stage for the industry’s most beloved artists, and Guitar Hero World Tour continues that tradition by honoring the great Jimi Hendrix and celebrating some of his greatest work,” comments Tim Riley, VP of music affairs for Activision Blizzard. “His presence in the game will serve to satisfy multiple generations of his fans and Guitar Hero devotees, as well as create new fans by reintroducing his genre-defining guitar style through the unique Guitar Hero experience.”

Guitar Hero World Tour is being developed by Neversoft Ent. for Xbox 360 and PlayStation3. The Wii version is being developed by Vicarious Visions, and the PlayStation2 title is being developed by Budcat. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB. For more information, go to www.guitarhero.com.

Miyazaki’s Ponyo Swimming with Raves

While audiences in many territories flocked to see Chris Nolan’s Batman epic this past weekend, family moviegoers in Japan lined up to experience, the latest 2D-animated feature by Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki. According to Variety, the film’s distributor Toho reported the film brought in 83% of the 2001 hit Spirited Away, which holds the B.O. record for the Japanese market with $284 million. However, the film only took in about $9.3 million on Friday and Saturday—which means its maximum take for the weekend would be around $17.5 million.

Ponyo, which was released on 481 screens on Friday in Japan, centers on a five-year-old boy’s friendship with a “girl-fish” with human face who wants to be human and ventures out of her underwater world. The boy’s character is based on Miyazaki’s own son Goro. Miyazaki, was reportedly directly involved in many aspects of the animation himself, preferring to draw the sea and waves himself. With a plot that echoes Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved The Little Mermaid fairy tale as well as a traditional Japanese folk tale, the movie received positive reviews from critics.

“Miyazaki revisits themes from other, more adult-focused films, such as humanity's destruction of the natural world, and nature's revenge on its human tormentors,” wrote Mark Schilling in Japan Times. “Also, the animation is Miyazaki's familiar mix of the realistic and fantastic, with extinct sea creatures swimming contentedly alongside their contemporary—and accurately rendered—descendants. In other words, there is still plenty to engage the mind and eye, as well as keep the small army of Miyazaki explicators busy.”

Ponyo found itself swimming fin to fin with the 11th Pokemon feature, titled Diamond & Pearl the Movie: Giratina and the Sky's Bouquet: Shaymin which opened on the same day in Japan. Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, Shaymin took in a respectable $7.3 million.

Disney hasn’t announced specific plans to release the latest Miyazaki masterpiece Stateside, but Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy (Persepolis) are listed as the film’s U.S. producers. Given the excellent nature of the relationship between Miyazaki and Disney’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, chances are we won’t have to wait too long to see this latest offering from the 67-year-old anime master.

To see a trailer for Ponyo, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpQ2NCSMHWY

Porky, Tony the Tiger kick off voiceover gathering

Bob Bergen, the current voice of Porky Pig and Tweety; Lee Marshall, the voice of Tony the Tiger; the Famous Radio Ranch's Dick Orkin and Christine Coyle; Randy Thomas, the voice of the Academy Awards and the Tony Awards; plus Pat Fraley, creator of over 4,000 characters, and many more celebrity voices will grace the stage of the second annual VoiceOver International Creative Experience (VOICE 2008) to be held August 7 to 11 at the Hyatt Regency, Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

AFTRA has signed on as this year's premiere sponsor, VOICE founders James Alburger and Penny Abshire announced Monday.

"Attendees of VOICE 2008 will be treated to a lineup of 24 top voiceover professionals offering VO teaching strategies to all levels," said Alburger. "VOICE 2008 is intended to help voice talent at all levels of experience!" Abshire added.

Experts in the categories of animation, audio books commercials, dialects, games, trailers, narration, new media, marketing and more will be plugged into three experience level categories: Just Starting, Already Working and Working Pro.

VOICE 2008 festivities convene with a Red Carpet Networking Get-Together from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, August 7. Sessions are Friday, August 8 through Monday, August 11. Seven countries are represented.

For more information and to register, visit www.voice-international.com.

"Simpsons" teachers viewed as valuable role models

The cartoon depictions of educators in "The Simpsons" could serve as professional development tools for real teachers.

That's what two academics argue in a paper, "Images of the Teacher in The Simpsons: Subversive, Superficial, or Sentimental?" It was presented at the conference "The Teacher: Image, Icon, Identity" in Glasgow, Scotland.

"Given the often central role that the figure of the teacher plays in The Simpsons, there is a… rich vein that could be mined for the purposes of teacher education, whether through initial training or continuing professional development," says Gavin Morrison, curator of the University Galleries at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and co-author Alan Britton of the University of Glasgow.

In the animated series, famous for its subversive and satirical subject matter, school plays a central role for its 10-year-old protagonist, Bart Simpson.

School functions as an "authoritative foil to free-spirited youth," say TCU's Morrison and Glasgow's Britton. "The show's critique and satire often plays out within the context of education involving Bart and Lisa's school and its roster of (usually) dysfunctional teacher and auxiliary employees."

Morrison and Britton argue that educators in The Simpsons provide "sources of reflection on professional knowledge, purpose and identity."

"By examining the extreme caricatures (in the show), perhaps teachers at the outset or throughout their careers might consider aspects of their practice that are at the mild end of the spectrum of behavior and character found in The Simpsons," says Morrison.

The characters roaming the halls of Springfield Elementary include:

• Principal Seymour Skinner -- "A stern authoritative figure wracked with a dark history. He is haunted by his experiences as a Vietnam veteran," says Morrison. But "his apparently stern demeanor is ridiculed by the juxtaposition of his domestic arrangements. He lives with his mother who continues to exert a strong, often Freudian control over him." Despite his harshness, Skinner sporadically shows elements of warmth, likeability and commitment to education.

• Edna Krabappel -- Bart's teacher. She's the world-weary single woman whose motivation for teaching ceased long ago. Her classroom is "a perpetual conflict zone… where inappropriate details of her personal life are permitted to become widely known, usually through the good offices of Bart Simpson." Krabappel struggles with thoughts of what could have been, inappropriate sexual trysts, and the demanding task of educating the uneducable. Ultimately, Krabappel explores the teacher as a pressurized, reactive classroom "firefighter."

• Miss Hoover -- Lisa's instructor and Krabappel's professional foil. She's a softie, "notable for excessive use of smiley-face stickers" and pent-up under-the-surface aggression. Hoover deals with Lisa's alternating curiously intellectual queries and cynical flip-outs. As a response to the pressures of teaching, Hoover has become a hypochondriac, which allows her to be absent from school.

• Groundskeeper Willie -- Though not a teacher, Willie plays an important role. Morrison says that he's "a caricature of the worst excesses of a school janitor. He provides a regular and reliably aggressive foil to both Bart and Principal Skinner, with whom he has a tempestuous working relationship."

Though the cartoon falls within the genre of comedy, Morrison and Britton argue that teacher portrayals in The Simpsons take on educational and social policy issues.

"The representations of teachers and the school environment in The Simpsons may occasionally appear superficial and primarily 'played for laughs.' However, this often masks a serious satirical and subversive intent, driven by intellectual imperatives," says Morrison.

No comments: