Friday, September 5, 2008

News - 09/05/08...

Scrat returns in Ice Age 3 teaser trailer

As with the second Ice Age movie the third Ice Age movie is being introduced to us with a new Scrat short where the hapless yet determined saber-toothed squirrel goes to great lengths to retrieve an acorn with his adventures leading him into the larger story of the feature film. Watch the teaser trailer/short now at Apple Trailers. Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs will premiere in theaters on July 4, 2009.

LA Times on Israeli Animated Film "Waltz With Bashir"

Interviewer Sam Adams talks with director Ari Folman and discusses the inspiration behind the Israeli animated film Waltz with Bashir, the second ever animated feature to be produced in Israel.

Animating Political Messages in 2008

As the U. S. electoral season heats up (and spirals downward), Karl Cohen takes a look here at the past and present of political animation.

Rapper David Banner Developing "Crook'd Sipp" for Cartoon Network

The Post Chronicle reports that rapper David Banner is developing a new series for Cartoon Network. Titled The Crook'd Sipp, the show "follows the fortunes of a white family stuck in the 1800s, while living in present day Mississippi." Banner will play a restaurant owner named Virgil. He is the latest music star developing a show for Cartoon Network, following Andre 3000's Class of 3000 and R&B songwriter Ne Yo's What the Bear in development.

Popeye: Volume 3 Delayed reports that the upcoming Popeye the Sailor - Volume 3: 1941-1943 has been pushed back from its original date of September 30th to a new release date on November 4th.

No word on Warner Brothers on the delay.

Development deal for Heathcliff

Animation World Network reports that Fitzroy Media and cartoonist Peter Gallagher have signed a development deal for the popular feline character Heathcliff. The agreement will allow Fitroy to create animated feature films, direct-to-video releases, location based entertainment products, and more featuring the street-smart cat. The cartoon strip Heathcliff was created in 1973 by George Gately, and is now written and drawn by Gallagher, his nephew.

Guy Pearce wants to roll with Chris Nolan's Batman

Actor Guy Pearce, who became a household name after toplining Chrisopher Nolan's breakout hit 'Memento' told MTV Splash Page he'd love to appear in the next Batman movie, or any other project Nolan would cast him in.

"I'd love to work with Chris again," said Pearce. "There hasn't been any discussion, we'll have to wait and see. I have a lot of reluctance [to playing a superhero or villain], but doing it with someone like Chris Nolan would certainly make it appealing."

Pearce also talked about Heath Ledger's remarkable turn as the Joker in 'The Dark Knight'. Check out the video below for those comments.

All-star directors line up for new 'Heavy Metal' movie

rgbFilter chatted up 'Heavy Metal' publisher Kevin Eastman who dropped numerous scoops about the new animated feature film.

Eastman said that, along with David Fincher, who is an Executive Producer on the film, Zack Snyder, Guillermo Del Toro and Gore Verbinski are all lined up to direct segments of the anthology movie.

They're set to go into production this fall at Sony with Blur studios in Venice handling the animation. The film is due out in August 2010.

Eastman also shed light on the recent news that Paramount had dropped the movie.

"We originally signed a deal with Paramount to develop it January... And it was time for them to make a decision [about going forward with the project] and they were at odds with Fincher over another project, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' [because] they wanted him to reduce the running time... and so they said, 'Until you step up to do what we want you to do with Benjamin, we're not going to greenlight any other of [your] movies.' And David said, 'Fine, fuck you, I'm going to set up [Heavy Metal] somewhere else,' so we jumped over to Sony and set it up there."

Best and Worst of Times

Not to go all Dickensian on you, but there are a few reasons why this is both the best and worst of times in animation. Let's start with the happy side first.

Thumbing through a recent issue of The Hollywood Reporter, I come across this:

Paramount Pictures International took top summer honors with $1.1 billion, projected through August.

The victory is traceable to three May-through-August blockbusters: Steven Spielberg's
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ($466 million), DreamWorks Animation's "Kung Fu Panda" ($383 million) and Marvel-produced "Iron Man" ($214 million) ...

Fifth place went to Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, which signed in with an estimated $490 million with key contributions from two family entries,
"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" ($275 million), and the Pixar-animated "WALL-E," which completed its summer run with $178 million and has about 50% of the foreign market still to go as part of the film's gradual rollout.

Animated features, friends and neighbors, is contributing to two entertainment congloms' bottom lines in a major way this season. In the recent past, News Corp and Time-Warner have seen heavy coin flow into their coffers because of cartoon features they've released. ( Horton Hears a Who, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Happy Feet, Ice Age, etc. and etc.)

This happy phenomenon results in still more animated features being made, which results in a goodly number of folks being employed. And the production occurs stateside because that's the successful formula. Every time a feature goes offshore to be made, anemic box office results. And the one thing few execs -- intent on self-preservation and the retention of their hefty salaries -- want to do is mess with the golden goose.

Maybe it seems dumb and obvious to point this out, but it's been true since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Successful animation begets more animation begets high levels of employment.

Conversely, unsuccessful product ultimately drives employment down. Anybody hear from Turner Feature Animation lately?

Warner Bros. Feature Animation? Fox Animation? (Okay, Blue Sky is the News Corp.'s heir apparent in the long-form 'toon department, but that big studio in Phoenix? Kaput.)

The same thing applies on the television side, but lately not in a pretty way. Last week I received a phone call from a studio saying that one of its bigger television series was being shut down ... and the staff laid off. The specifics of why this show is being terminated after a few successful seasons is a mystery to me, but the overall reality of television production (the one exception being prime time) is obvious to anybody who pays attention: it ain't doing too good. As a recent e-mail from a veteran teevee producer noted:

Network executives have messed up developing hits the last few years, and its hurt the industry. And I'm afraid the bad employment situation is going to continue awhile ...

Since long before I got into the business, it's been axiomatic that animation is almost completely market driven. When a segment of it's profitable, then a flood of companies come into the marketplace to try and spear the brass ring of Big Profits.

And when disaster results, they retreat out of it again, leaving unemployed artists in their wake. It's why Disney had the feature animation market almost completely to itself for sixty years. It's why there were only a few studios in television for decades. Few saw big money in Cartoonland, so few got their passports stamped and came in.

Today, of course, the old cliche of "It's Disney for features, Hanna-Berbera for television," is dead and long buried. But the other cliche that animation only gets made when its profitable, still holds true.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

'Hellboy' coming to TV before returning to theaters?

A Variety article detailing the increasingly busy career of director Guillermo del Toro touches on the future of the 'Hellboy' franchise.

According to the article, Universal has not yet committed to making a third movie with del Toro, but may actually be interested in doing a TV show based on Mike Mignola's character.

'Hellboy II: The Golden Army' underperformed here in the U.S., but has done well overseas.

"I think they’ll decide when the last euro hits the piggybank," del Toro said. "We laid the groundwork to have a magnificent third act. I’d like to return to an action franchise with 60-year-old actor Ron Perlman, because he’ll be scratching at that age when I get to it."

Universal's production prexy Donna Langley told Variety the studio is interested and may work with del Toro to add a TV series and online segments to broaden the following before making the series finale.

Matt Damon to topline Fincher's 'Torso'movie?

An article from Cleveland's Plains Dealer discussing how a lack of tax breaks for the movie version of Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko's fact-based thriller 'Torso' contains a surprising nugget of information: Matt Damon is set to play Elliot Ness in the movie.

'Torso' tells of a chapter from Ness' later career, as safety inspector for the city of Cleveland, when a mysterious serial killer begins leaving dismembered corpses around the town.

In January it was announced that David Fincher ('Zodiac') is attached to direct.

According to the write-up, Paramount aims to film the movie in Cleveland, but is now balking due to the fact that they can get copious tax breaks elsewhere. Production may move north to Michigan, where new tax laws are attracting a huge influx of filmmakers.

Producer Bill Mechanic said, "It all comes down to what's the best place to get our movie shot for the least money. We want to shoot the entire movie, the interior and exterior shots, in Cleveland because that's where the action takes place and so we wouldn't have to relocate the crew. But without incentives, it doesn't look like we can afford it."

A bill introduced by State Rep. Tom Patton, Republican from Strongsville, could facilitate this, but the bill is still wending its way through the legal process.

According to the write-up, the 'Torso' production could add up to $100 million.

Stan Lee Hopes To See A ‘Dr. Strange’ Movie

From Hulk and Iron Man to Ant-Man and Thor, every Marvel character seems headed to the big screen these days. Heck, even Man-Thing had his own film. But who does Marvel legend Stan “The Man” Lee want to see in a feature film?

MTV News recently asked Lee that very same question, and apparently Marvel’s favorite “Sorcerer Supreme,” Doctor Strange, is tops on the veteran creator’s list. The magic-wielding hero was first created by Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1963, and was recently voiced by actor Bryce Johnson in last year’s direct-to-DVD “Doctor Strange” animated feature film.

'The Dark Knight' due on home video December 16th?

Spanish site ZonaDVD is reporting as an official announcement that Warner Home Video has communicated to them that Chris Nolan's 'The Dark Knight' will be released on Blu-ray on December 16 of this year alongside standard and deluxe editions on DVD.

Jenna Dewan talks about 'The Magdalena'

There's no script yet but actress Jenna Dewan tells you everything you need to know about 'The Magdalena' which is headed for the big screen.

Jenna Dewan describes 'The Magdalena''s sexy costume

Actress Jenna Dewan talks about the sexy side of being the ultimate warrior nun, 'The Magdalena'.

Cage, Sony mull 'Ghost Rider 2'

While out promoting 'Bangkok Dangerous' Nic Cage told IGN movies that he's still hopeful to do a 'Ghost Rider 2'.

"Actually we had a meeting with the studio [Columbia Pictures] about a month, maybe three months ago," said Cage. "And we had a nice talk about that character and maybe taking him international... maybe to Europe."

Cage continued, "Go on a motorcycle tour through Europe and he's connected with the Church, if you can believe that. So it sort of has elements to it that are very much in the zeitgeist, like Da Vinci Code and things like that."

10 Ways To Destroy New York

New York, New York: A city so nice they keep destroying it. In science fiction films, that is.

The Big Apple is arguably the city most likely to be devastated by a giant monster or natural disaster in movies, in part because it has such lovely landmarks to devastate.

It wasn't always so, at least not in recent memory. James Sanders, author of Celluloid Skyline, said that the filmed destruction of New York became taboo after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But as sensitivities lessened, New York again became fair game, culminating with this year's Cloverfield.

With a new Escape From New York remake planned, viewers can expect more apocalyptic destruction for this most recognizable of American cities. "What's the point of showing a demolished suburban street?" Sanders said. "You take the most familiar, iconic symbol of civic society in the world, a big city, like New York, and that's where disaster is going to be the most powerful."

Following is a countdown of the top 10 movies in which New York gets the big smackdown. (The list doesn't include films in which the city is already decimated, a la I Am Legend or the Italian Mad Max wannabe 2019: After the Fall of New York: This list includes only movies in which we actually see the city getting blowed up real good.)

10. Ghostbusters (1984). The giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man invades the upper West Side in the climax of this classic comedy caper. Dan Aykroyd spent the whole first day of shooting driving around the city in his customized Ectomobile. The Ghostbuster headquarters was Firehouse Number 8 in Tribeca; all of the college scenes were filmed at Columbia University. Director Ivan Reitman wanted to film the marshmallow man next to the Statue of Liberty, but scrapped the idea when it proved too difficult. Five years later, in the sequel Ghostbusters II, he got his wish: The Statue of Liberty got her own supporting role.

9. Godzilla (1998). Say what you will about Roland Emmerich's odd reboot of the famed Japanese giant-lizard franchise, the city of New York nevertheless plays a major role. Not only does the big iguana get tangled up in the Brooklyn Bridge, it also lays eggs in Madison Square Garden. The Twin Towers are shown in the skyline, and the Fulton Fish Market gets smashed when the creature first pops out of the East River.

8. The Day After Tomorrow (2004). In director Roland Emmerich's love letter to New York, apocalyptic climate change floods then freezes the city, along with most of the northern hemisphere. Jake Gyllenhaal and his pals hole up in the New York Public Library and survive by burning the books inside. The movie's poster depicts the Statue of Liberty's torch poking out of a sheet of ice.

The Day After Tomorrow: New York gets drenched.

7. Meteor (1979). An asteroid named Orpheus heads to Earth, and the Americans (led by Sean Connery) try to convince the Russians (led by Natalie Wood) to combine their nuclear warheads to destroy it or blow it off course. Henry Fonda, Karl Malden and Martin Landau are the famous people who have to deal with New York's getting obliterated by a piece of the rogue meteor, starting with a big rock that lands in Central Park.

6. Armageddon (1998). The World Trade Center and Grand Central Station get smashed by a meteor, the harbinger of the world-destroying asteroid on a collision course with Earth. Flaming pieces of debris also shear off the deco tip of the Chrysler Building, which plummets onto 42nd Street.

5. Independence Day (1996). Unfriendly aliens wipe out a lot of familiar cities before unleashing their full fury on Manhattan on the 2nd of July. It's ominous enough when huge flying saucers hover over the skyscrapers, but when the lasers begin shooting, it's simply chilling. Disaster-meister Emmerich again seems to take great joy in destroying the city, though he inaccurately puts the Empire State Building in the middle of a block, rather than on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. Favorite bit: Harvey Fierstein stuck in traffic as a wall of flame approaches: "Oh crap!"

4. When Worlds Collide (1951). This movie won an Academy Award for its special effects, which include the thorough destruction of New York. A wave of water hits the island and washes over the buildings as screaming Gothamites flee. But New Yorkers are the survivors who head into space to repopulate the human race. Imagine.

When Worlds Collide: New Yorkers see their property values collapse.

3. Cloverfield (2008). Nothing says "I Heart NY" better than bowling the head of the Statue of Liberty down a Manhattan street. Filmed in Blair Witch Project-like cinema verite, producer J.J. Abrams' post-modern monster movie features the pulverization of the Woolworth Building and the filleting of Brooklyn Bridge pedestrians like so much sushi.

2. Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953). A prehistoric reptile, awakened by nuclear radiation, beaches itself on Coney Island and snacks on sunbathers. In the climax, the creature attacks the Cyclone roller coaster for one last ride.

1. King Kong (1933), (1976) and (2005). All three incarnations of the classic giant-monkey movie feature large-scale destruction in Manhattan, culminating in Kong's climb atop a prominent skyscraper.

Merian C. Cooper and Ernie Shoedsack's 1933 black-and-white original featured Kong tossing aside an elevated subway train and scaling the Empire State Building. True New Yorkers know that Kong heads up the building on the southern face, with the Chrysler Building in the background, but falls on the western side.

In John Guillerman's now camp classic 1976 remake, the climactic moment was moved to the then-brand-new World Trade Center. Employees of the Empire State Building objected to the change, and everyone on the 102nd floor wore a gorilla suit in protest.

In Peter Jackson's 2005 remake, the film goes back to the 1930s and the climax again takes place atop the Empire State Building. Jackson's movie made much more use of its New York setting, with some 90,000 buildings created in a computer or on a backlot set to re-create 1933 Manhattan, including Times Square and Central Park, site of the questionable ice-sliding scene. More trivia: the pilot who shoots down the great ape in the final scene is played by special-effects master Rick Baker, who played Kong in a costume in the 1976 version.

Gerard Butler Skeptical of 300 Prequel

At the Toronto press conference for the upcoming Guy Ritchie crime flick RocknRolla, Superhero Hype! asked Gerard Butler if he'd heard anything more about the recent rumors of a prequel or sequel to his blockbuster action movie 300 that have come to light in recent interviews with director Zack Snyder and the producers.

Unfortunately, Butler hasn't heard anything more then we have, and he seemed rather dubious of the film's franchise potential. "I've heard some backroom chatter, but nothing more, so I don't know if it would be a sequel or a prequel. I don't want say anymore than that, because I really don't know. I haven't read anything. I can't see it myself--sequel for me absolutely not, but I just mean the idea generally, I'm really not sure which way they would go with that."

Look for more from Butler from the press conference of RocknRolla, which opens on Wednesday, October 8 in New York, L.A. and Toronto.

International Sales for ER’s George, Casper, Finley

Entertainment Rights (ER) has signed a number of major television distribution deals for core brands in key territories around the globe. George of the Jungle, Casper’s Scare School and Finley the Fire Engine will all be introduced to new audiences across Europe, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.

The new George of the Jungle animated series enjoyed successful launches last year on Nickelodeon in the U.K, Cartoon Network in the U.S., France 3 and France 5 in France, Super RTL in Germany and Disney Channel Latin America. New deals have been struck with Nickelodeon in Spain, TV Globo in Brazil, Cadena Ecuatoriana in Ecuador, MBC in the Middle East, Alter Channel in Greece, TV4 in Sweden, Noga TV in Israel, Modern Times in Greece, Leader Music in Latin America, Mega in Chile and America TV in Peru.

Casper’s Scare School, a co-production with Moonscoop and DQ Ent., is a new series based on the classic Harveytoons kids’ property. The show, which finds Casper and his misfit friends pitted against a scare-hungry gang of ghouls, has generated a raft of new deals including sales to ZDF, KIKA and Cartoon Network in Germany, Cartoon Network in Asia Pacific, TSR in Switzerland, Luis Foes in Portugal, Cartoon Network in Latin America and HVN in Singapore. These deals complement existing pre-sales already secured with key broadcasters TF1 in France and Cartoon Network in the U.K.

The pre-school series Finley the Fire Engine premiered on CBeebies last summer and has found new homes in National Geographic in Latin America, Disney in Australia, ECTV in Ecuador, Telemundo in Puerto Rico, Luis Foes in Portugal and Spacetoon in Indonesia. Set in the vibrant world of Friendlyville, the CG series revolves around a bright red fire engine who, with the help of other loveable, everyday working vehicles, tackles such issues as sibling rivalry, the care of pets, safety during playtime and sports and the importance of physical fitness. The show is produced by RHI. ER acquired international rights in October 2006 and has since sold the series in more than 90 territories.

Presidential Race Likened to Cartoons

There’s nothing novel about comparing American politics to a cartoon, but one late-night TV comedian got big laughs by pointing out that some of our leading politicians are becoming real-life versions of classic cartoon characters. The point was illuminated following Tuesday night’s broadcast of the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

During Wednesday night’s broadcast of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart noted the similarities between two Republican Convention speakers and a pair of iconic animated characters. Republican Senator Fred Thompson, with his puffed-up bravado and folksy Southern Drawl, was likened to boisterous Looney Tunes favorite Foghorn Leghorn, and jowly, slow-speaking former Al Gore running mate Joe Lieberman was compared to Tex Avery’s MGM creation, Droopy Dog.

Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or an independent, you have to admit that there is a striking resemblance in both looks and voices. Leave it to the world of animation to bring some much-needed levity to one of the most heated presidential races in recent memory.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Debuts at MIPCOM

As the hit anime property Yu-Gi-Oh! gets set to enter its tenth season, 4Kids Ent. has announced that this year’s MIPCOM will feature the international premiere of the all-new series Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s. Standing for Five Dragons, 5D’s will headline the company’s roster of children’s programming to be presented at the market next month in Cannes.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s takes place in the new Domino City. Once the playground of legendary duelist Yugi Moto, this sprawling metropolis has since been transformed into a futuristic society where dueling has been kicked into overdrive. Now the winners and losers aren't just separated by skill and strength, but by speed as well. For five special duelists, it's not just about winning or losing anymore—it's about survival. Animated by Studio Gallop and directed by Katsumi Ono, the series debuted on TV Tokyo in April.

The show is being produced in HD by 4Kids Ent. Launched in 2000,Yu-Gi-Oh! has been one of the company’s most high-profile series in the global television market, ranking with such top cartoon shows as Pokémon and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Disney to Bring Ponyo to U.S. in 2009

Reporting on the Venice Film Festival screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s latest animated opus, Time Magazine confirms that Disney will release Ponyo on the Cliff By the Sea in North America sometime in 2009. Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, who last year brought Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis to U.S. auds, are producing the English-language version.

Ponyo centers on a five-year-old boy’s friendship with a “girl-fish” who wants to be human and ventures out of her underwater world. The plot echoes elements from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid fairy tale, as well as traditional Japanese folklore, and 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. The movie debuted in Japan on July 19 and opened to roughly $17 million.

The pic has been a big hit with critics and fans in Venice. No U.S. release date has been announced, though some say we could see begin its limited release it in April.

Vancouver holding first SPARK Animation Festival

Vancouver ACM SIGGRAPH and the Vancity Theatre present the first annual SPARK Animation Festival from Wednesday, September 10 to Sunday, September 14.

The five-day festival at the Vancity Theatre features premiere screenings, as well as panels and presentations from a world-class lineup of directors, animators and filmmakers.

Featured guests include Ed Hooks (Animation Pioneer), Jimmy Hayward (Blue Sky Studios), Paul Topolos (Pixar), Paul Harrod (Bent Image Lab), Markus Manninen (DreamWorks) and Alex Parkinson (DreamWorks).

Limited seating is available at this uniquely intimate opportunity. All sessions are "a la carte" so you can mix and match, but be sure to book your seat early!

Friday, September 12
9 a.m.: Talk: The Making of Kung Fu Panda w. Markus Manninen and Alex Parkinson – DreamWorks
1 p.m.: Panel: Animation in Games
2:45 p.m.: Panel: Directing Animated Features
4:30 p.m.: Panel: Best of the Web

Saturday, September 13
10:30 a.m.: Talk: Paul Topolos (Pixar)
1 p.m.: Talk: Ed Hooks (Acting for Animators)
2:45 p.m.: Talk: Joanna Priestly and Paul Harrod (Bent Image Lab)
4:30 p.m.: Panel: Surviving as an Independent

Sunday, September 14
1 p.m.: Panel: Women in Animation
2:45 p.m.: Panel: Building an Animation Studio

Wednesday, September 10
Kung Fu Panda talk and screening
Sept 10 // 7:30 pm
7:30 p.m.: The Pursuit of Awesomeness with Kung Fu Panda directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
9 p.m.: Intermission
9:30 p.m.: Kung Fu Panda
Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream becomes a reality when, unexpectedly, he must fulfill an ancient prophecy and study the skills with his idols, the Furious Five. Po needs all the wisdom, strength and ability he can muster to protect his people from an evil snow leopard.
Cast: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, David Cross, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Dustin Hoffman, Ian McShane, Michael Duncan, Randall Kim, Dan Fogler
Tickets (including talk and screening) are available through
$25 for general public
$15 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members
$5 for screening-only tickets
(not available in advance - door only)

Thursday, September 11
Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! talk and screening
7:30 p.m.: Making a New Kind of Classic with Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
Steve Martino has been involved with the design and creation of computer animation, from flying logos to feature films, over the past 25 years. Most recently, he partnered with Jimmy Hayward to direct the feature film Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! for 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. Martino came to Blue Sky in 2002 as the art director on the movie Robots and has contributed his design support to Ice Age: The Meltdown and the animated short Gone Nutty. Prior to his work in feature films, Martino was the creative director at Click 3X, 7th Level Inc., and MetroLight Studios, where he designed and directed animation for television, interactive media and film. Highlights of this period included a Primetime Emmy Award for his direction of ABC's World of Discovery main title and the opportunity to collaborate with Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle on a series of Monty Python interactive games. Martino got his start in animation when he completed his master's degree at Ohio State's Computer Graphics Research Group (now ACCAD). He flew his first logo at Cranston/Csuri Productions and honed his design and animation skills on a range of projects from flying maxi-pads to Super Bowl opens for CBS Sports.
9 p.m.: Intermission
9:30 p.m.: Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!
Horton the elephant's friends and neighbors think he has gone crazy when he claims that a tiny community lives on a speck of dust.
Cast: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Jesse McCartney, Isla Fisher, Dan Fogler, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Carol Burnett, Jaime Pressly, Laura Ortiz, Josh Flitter
Tickets (including talk and screening) are available through
$25 for general public
$15 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members
$5 for screening-only tickets (not available in advance - door only)

7:30 p.m. Friday, September 12 and midnight Saturday, September 13
The Pixar Story
The Pixar Story takes audiences behind the scenes of the groundbreaking company that pioneered a new generation of animation and forever changed the face of filmmaking. Using never-before-seen footage from the Pixar library, along with historic archival animation and first hand accounts by animators, studio executives, directors, producers and voice performers, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks tells the riveting story of the Bay Area start-up that revolutionized Hollywood.
In the mid-1980s, an inspired and inspiring trio of innovators combined their gifts in art, science and business to launch a new way to make 3-D animated films and changed the face of filmmaking forever. Ed Catmull, John Lasseter and Steve Jobs overcame years of creative struggle and financial loss to launch an entirely new animation industry. Starting with the first full-length CG film, Toy Story, Pixar has entertained millions of people worldwide, and established an unprecedented and as yet unparalleled record of box-office success. Iwerks takes viewers on a dramatic journey filled with personal sacrifice and fueled by passionate belief in the possibilities of a new medium as Pixar Animation Studios is born.
The Pixar Story features exclusive interviews with some of the key players in the Pixar story, including John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Michael Eisner, Bob Iger, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Tim Allen, Brad Bird and more.
Tickets are available through
$10 for general public/ $8 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members

9:30 p.m. Friday, September 12 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, September 14
Best of SIGGRAPH '08
Come experience the world's best animation and visual effects in a special showcase version of the SIGGRAPH Conference's Computer Animation Festival. This special edit reel of feature work, art, science, broadcast and games is brought to us by Computer Animation Festival chair Jill Smolin.
Oktapodi (Award Winner - Best of Show)
Two octopi collaborate in a comical escape from the grasp of a stubborn restaurant cook. Even after they overcome insurmountable odds to reunite, their fight to stay together is not over. This animation short was created by third-year students at Gobelins, l’école de l’image, Paris.
Our Wonderful Nature (Award Winner - Best Narrative)
This detailed virtual animal documentary reveals the truth behind a fight between two male water shrews in the mating season. The film uses 3D techniques to replicate the look of an actual nature documentary. In reviewing the “natural” behavior of the protagonists, the film applies time stretching, film camera work, and rich sound design to make the viewing experience as exciting as possible. The unique challenge of presenting this world in a believable manner required many custom solutions.
Mauvais Rôle (Award Winner - Jury Award)
Marcel, a kind monster, is fed up with playing the bad guy. When he chooses to slam the film-set door, he knows that he will need to find a new job. His research leads him to various casting sessions, each more eccentric than the last. But appearances are sometimes misleading, and it’s possible that our Marcel will find himself in an unusual situation...
Tickets are available through
$10 for general public/
$8 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members

Midnight Friday, September 12
Allegro non Troppo (dir. Bruno Bozzetto; Italy, 1976)
Allegro non Troppo is a feature film made up by stories in which famous classical musical pieces are visualized by means of a modern, ironical and highly qualified animation. Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Dvorak's Slavonic Dance N.7, Ravel's Bolero, Sibelius' Valse Triste, Vivaldi's Concerto in C-Dur, Stravinsky's The Firebird are the six musical pieces which have inspired stories and animated characters. The stories are presented and connected by a live-action story, in which hilarity results from the same comical mechanisms used in usual cartoons, only in this case applied to human characters and situations. This film, technically structured like Walt Disney's famous Fantasia, is prominent for the original way in which it deals with current social themes and motives, using a modern and up to date style. It's a movie for all audiences, whose themes satisfy adults, whose images fascinate even the very young.
Tickets are available through
$10 for general public/ $8 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members

7 p.m. Saturday, September 13
Worst Cartoons Ever! with Jerry Beck
Some of the most mind-numbing cartoons ever produced! Animation historian Jerry Beck has unearthed the funniest crap-tacular animation originally created for TV in the 1950s and 1960s, when budgets were low and production values were lower. You cheer and jeer the antics of Super President, a one-man weapon of mass destruction; Sir Gee Whiz, a dirty old man from the moon; and Mighty Mr. Titan, the physical fitness superhero.
Jerry Beck is an animation historian, cartoon producer and co-writer of the popular animation blog Cartoon Brew. His 12 books on the subject include The Hanna Barbera Treasury, Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide and The 50 Greatest Cartoons. He is a former studio exec with Nickelodeon and Disney, and is currently a consulting producer for Warner Bros. Animation.
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$10 for general public/ $8 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members

Marv Newland Retrospective
7:30 p.m. Sunday, September 14
Director Marv Newland in attendance
Marv Newland began a career making animated motion pictures in Los Angeles with the creation of the short Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969). He designed and animated television commercials until late 1970 and moved to Toronto. While in Toronto (1970-72), he designed, directed and animated television commercials, IDs for Sesame Street and Educational Television, and segments for longer films. Newland was also one of two designers and storyboard artists on the Cinera Productions animated cartoon Super Joe (1971). He was storyboard designer on an unemployment insurance film at Crawley Films in Ottawa, and created designs and layouts for TV commercials for Phos-Cine Productions in New York.
In late 1972, Newland moved to Vancouver. He spent two years freelancing for local animated film production companies and animation companies in Chicago and Los Angeles. In 1973, Newland created storyboards for the animated television series Barbapapa at Toonder Studios in Holland.
During this session, Newland will recount his life while showing some of his best-known work.
Tickets are available through
$10 for general public/ $8 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members

Idiots and Angels (dir. Bill Plympton; U.S.A., 2008)
9:30 p.m. Sunday, September 14
Introduced by Larry Bafia and Marv Newland
Angel is a selfish, abusive, morally bankrupt man who hangs out at his local bar, berating the other patrons. One day, Angel mysteriously wakes up with a pair of wings on his back. The wings make him do good deeds, contrary to his nature. He desperately tries to rid himself of the good wings, but eventually finds himself fighting those who view the wings as their ticket to fame and fortune.
Tickets are available through
$10 for general public/ $8 for SIGGRAPH and Vancity Theatre PREMIUM members

Brought to you with the financial support of the BC Innovation Council. Special pricing is in effect for this unique event.

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The Vancity Theatre is at 1181 Seymour Street in Vancouver. For more information, visit

Ed Catmull Details Secrets of Pixar's Success at Harvard Business Review

Dr. Ed Catmull, co-founder and president of Pixar Animation Studios, has written a lengthy article for the Harvard Business Review detailing his views on what makes Pixar a successful company. Titled "How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity," the article begins with a meeting between Catmull and the head of a major motion picture studio who claimed that his central problem was not in finding good people, but finding good ideas.

In countering this executive's opinion, Catmull details how his formative years in academia and Lucasfilm led to the founding of Pixar, how the risk-averse nature of executives is antithetical to creativity, and how the difficult production of Toy Story 2 was pivotal to creating the current environment at the company. Finally, Catmull describes the Pixar work environment in detail, explaining the origins and execution of their practices and how they have contributed to the success of the studio's films.

Aaron Eckhart Spills Dark Secret of Two-Face's Fate

Aaron Eckhart has had a good summer. He can take credit for some of The Dark Knight's awesomeness, with his Harvey Dent/Two-Face baddie getting almost as freaky as Heath Ledger's Joker. But $500 million later, we have to ask him: Two-Face could survive that deadly fall at the construction site, right?

"No," Eckhart told E! News at the junket for Towelhead yesterday. "He is dead as a doornail. He ain't comin' back, baby. No."

The fans want him back, and the actor wants to come back, but ultimately director Christopher Nolan is the bad parent.

"I asked Chris that question. He goes, 'You're dead.' Before I could even get the question out of my mouth, 'Hey Chris, am I...' 'You're dead.' "

But death has never been a problem for comic book characters! "I'm not coming back," he said. "Unfortunately, Heath was supposed to go along."

Eckhart knows, too, that there are plenty of Batvillains waiting for spots in the sequels. He's even jealous about one rumor. "I heard Angelina Jolie was going to be Catwoman," he said. "I thought that was a great idea. I'd like to be in that one."

Oh, but sorry. Didn't you hear? You're dead.

Blog thoughts from Comics2Film -

Where is DC going after Dark Knight?

So Warner's pet division DC has earned them some cash. Now what? What DC heroes is Warners going to finally capitalize on?

The most obvious question is what's next for Batman? Weeellll, more of a riddle really. There's this interesting fanart of David Tennant as Riddler.

You maybe have seen these fake movie posters floating around already. Here's his DeviantArt gallery and he has a gallery here at C2F. Unfortunately they've been taken down by DeviantArt with no reason yet. He has them up on his own blog if you want to see. Anyway, as a Doctor Who fan, I thought that was some brilliant casting. Any way it's cast, putting Riddler in makes perfect sense to me. He's a villain who just begs to be hunted and caught. Meanwhile, the set up for the next film is that Batman is officially on the run from the law. My only worry is that they make Riddler into a killer instead of the thief or less lethal criminal he is. Let's not make the Joker clone mistake again. Not all of Batman's villains are lethal.

Speaking of chases, the cat and mouse game between Batman and Catwoman makes sense for this film. Didn't care for the Catwoman fanart, or any of the baseless casting rumors. Yet Catwoman still fits perfectly into where Dark Knight leaves off. Batman's technically a criminal too. Forget all the crap from Batman Returns. Catwoman's a thief, not a psycho. A bit of a thrill junkie, sure, but relatively sane. Batman's code still has him technically at odds with this cat burglar stealing for herself and the trill of the hunt. Hey, that's two themes from Dark Knight she fits into nicely. Batman being hunted by the law and Alfred's questioning if Bruce is partly doing this for the thrill. Plus who doesn't want to hear Caine's witty remarks about Batman's encounters with Catwoman? Ha.

As for casting? I don't know. Who is a strong Audrey Hepburn type? Maybe a new Eartha Kitt. As much as I do like her, I think Jolie is overrated and would take away from the character. Let Nolan and his casting department do their magic again. Meanwhile, the current costume designed by Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke is perfect. Just look at the Adam Hughes art above depicting it.

Of course, there's the rest of the rouges. We still have Joker and Scarecrow. I still wish Two Face was possible. Yes, I said we should be able to reuse Joker. Ledger gave us such a great character, I'd feel so bad if it was left behind. I guess that's an issue for another time. Plus the wonderful suggestion of Kristen Bell as Harley is moot without Mistah J.

Still, there are other lethal villains. There are plenty. Mad Hatter and his creepy wonderland fetish and mind control would be interesting. It also helps show how the costumed madness is spreading. Plus, there's an interesting story where Gordon's daughter is kidnapped in Batman Haunted Knight. I'd love to see Nolan's take on Ventriloquist. Hugo Strange was an interesting suggestion. Calendar Man was another.

The future of Batman films have quite a lot of potential. Now.. what about the rest of the DCU? What ever happened to the man of tomorrow? Where is Superman? In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Warners honcho Jeff Robinov talks about looking to DC for films. In particular he talks about making characters like Superman dark like Dark Knight.

Really? That's Warner's brilliant plan? Make Superman a dark knight too? Ooooh why do the idiots who own these characters not get them in the slightest?

Wasn't Superman Returns dark enough? We had pouty emo Superman moping over Lois the entire damn movie and kinda stalking her. (I totally call dibs on the term Pouty Emo Superman.) Plus Superman gets beaten down and shived like some bitch in an episode of Oz. Then there's the bastard son he can never know. How does the kid discover his wonderful powers? Oh. He murders a guy with a piano to save his mother. Geez. And they want to make Superman darker? That was half the problem with this last film!

Really, who the hell is the moron who let Singer make a Superman movie that, according to Singer himself, was about running into your old girlfriend and pouting over it? If I want to see that crap on screen, I'd film myself drinking alone and crying myself to sleep at night. Er. Anyway. Between that dumb angsty idea and the blatant copy pasta of elements of the old Donner films, Superman Returns failed to relaunch Superman. To cap it all off they painted themselves into a corner with the super brat. I still want to know who the specific moron responsible for that screwed up idea was.

Then there's Wonder Woman. First I should mention that this Rubinov who wants a darker Superman is the same guy who supposedly mouthed off that Warners shouldn't make any more movies with female leads. So maybe it's no wonder that Wonder Woman has gotten nowhere at the studio. Not that Wonder Woman has ever gotten all that great or clear a treatment in the comics themselves. Thankfully, like I said last post, Bruce Timm along with current scribe and lifelong fan Gail Simone have been working on an animated feature for DVD later this year. So at least fans can get that while the boys club at the studio scratches its head on what to do with the amazon princess. Oh and that fan artist Josh has some great designs for a Wonder Woman costume. Plus his casting seems legend.. wait for it.. dary.

Just recently there's this report about development on a Green Lantern film. Those designs have me quite excited that whoever is behind that actually gets Green Lantern for once. My only nitpick is that they seem to be using Jim Lee's design for Kyle instead of a more traditional version of Hal's uniform. Still, I'm glad that's on track.

Now if only they can dump that Supermax crap and give Green Arrow a more fitting movie too. Then eventually you can have the two team up as they classically did. Best of friends, yet also prone to argument from their different political views.

Wow. Not that I think about it, it could work out quite well. I think Denny O'Neil's commentary is still relevant, especially in a post Katerina world. One scene has an old black man go up to Ollie and Hal saying, "I hear how hard you been working for the blue skins, and how you helped out the orange skins, and you done considerable for the purple skins! Only there's skins you never bothered with, the black skins! How come? Answer me, Mr. Green Lantern?" Imagine that in a superhero movie. While Hal's busy thinking about cosmic battles or even stopping a big bank heist in Coast City, Ollie brings him back down to Earth to show the real problems we still have here on terra firma that maybe a simple flick of his ring can't fix. Sure Hal's fighting a cosmic war over there, but what about taking care of his people back home? Do I even need to point out the blatant political commentary and how relevant it still is?

Well, those are the big guns Warners has lined up. If they can fulfill even part of the potential of these characters and get them up on screen, I'd be happy. Aside from these relatively big names, there are plenty of other characters in Warner's IP mine known as DC Comics. I can point out a number of favorites with potential another time.

News via Aint It Cool News...

Say it ain't so! Drew Struzan retiring?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with some sad, sad news. Recently, Don LaFontaine, the voice of movie marketing, passed away. Now movie marketing is losing its face, thankfully not to death.

According to a story at, Drew Struzan is retiring from the business in order to spend more time with his family, on his own paintings and just enjoy life. I can't say I blame the guy, but with him retiring, John Alvin passed away... is there anybody left keeping the artform of movie posters alive?

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Struzan at a dinner at Comic-Con '07 and I found him to be a very humble and nice man. I probably embarrassed myself. I collect movie posters and have his art up on my bedroom wall, specifically his John Carpenter's THE THING one-sheet, which is framed at the foot of my bed next to a framed DAWN OF THE DEAD ('78) poster and a framed THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 poster, all three great examples of poster art.

I do view it as an artform, which is why I'm sad to hear this news.

Hopefully he'll still do some commission work for his friends (Spielberg, Darabont, Lucas, del Toro) and we can still get some of his beautiful work in theater lobbies in the future. Or at least at Comic-Cons. heh I'd still kill for nice print of the Dark Tower poster he did for the opening of THE MIST... This one:

If you want to browse Drew Struzan's work, from BLADE RUNNER, BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE GOONIES, HARRY POTTER, HELLBOY, THE MUPPET MOVIES, INDIANA JONES and STAR WARS and beyond, be sure to click over to his website here! I'll include some of my personal favorites below.

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