Friday, October 31, 2008

News - 10/31/08...

Film Roman -- NOT For Sale

The last few weeks, rumors have been rampant that Starz Media was putting Film Roman -- their animation studio -- on the sales block. When I wandered FR's halls, any of number of artists said "The company is definitely selling us" ... "There are four bidders" ... etc.

Today a highly placed Romanian told me:

"Starz took the "For Sale" sign for Film Roman down last week. Execs here plan to do some interesting new things with the studio, and it won't be going to any bidders anytime soon ..."

This is great news, I think. But it points up the fact that all that scuttlebutt I heard? About Starz selling the place?

Apparently true.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

King of the Hill Shuts Down

After an impressive 13-season run, FOX’s animated family comedy King of the Hill is apparently ending its run on the network. Daily Variety reports that the show’s producers will wrap production at the end of the current season. Fans, however, can take the news with a grain of salt since FOX cancelled the series once before, only to pick it back up for two more seasons.

Created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, King of the Hill debuted in 1997 and has become one of the longest-running animated primetime series, second only to FOX’s The Simpsons. The shows are also the longest-running comedies in TV history.

King of the Hill became a hit with Sunday-night viewers by presenting a more realistic depiction of a middle-class family than previously seen in animation. Judge lends his voice to propane salesman and family man Hank Hill, who lives in a Texas suburb with wife Peggy (Kathy Najimy) and son Bobby (Pamela Adlon). Though the show could have easily been made in live-action, its characters manage to come across as being more real than those in most sit-coms starring live actors.

Family Guy and Futurama are proof that animated FOX shows are hard to kill. The former was brought back to life years after its cancellation and is now one of the network’s highest-rated programs. Futurama has returned as a series of direct-to-video features that later air on Comedy Central. There’s a good chance that King of the Hill may also come back in one form or another if DVD sales are brisk enough to demonstrate a demand for more back-alley beers with Hank and the gang.

Nick’s Naked Brothers Get Animated

The Naked Brothers Band on Nickelodeon is getting tooned up for its first-ever animated special. Titled “The Supetastic 6,” the half-hour installment produced by digital entertainment studio Worldwide Biggies will offer ’tween fans a look at their favorite adolescent rockers as they’ve never seen them before on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT). Brothers Nat and Alex Wolff also star in a new hour-long, live-action movie titled Operation Mojo, which debuts on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m.

The Supetastic 6 involves a jazz-playing criminal genius who is jealous of the band's success and threatens to steal the world's hair supply. The Naked Brothers know that the only ones who can stop Global Balding are their superhero alter egos, The Supetastic 6.

“We're excited to premiere The Naked Brothers Band's first animated special, which showcases their humor in a fun, new, fantasy-filled format,” comments Marjorie Cohn, exec VP of development and original programming for Nickelodeon Networks. “This season fans can experience The Naked Brothers Band in a variety of ways with the new movie, animated special and Nat and Alex's upcoming live national tour.”

The Naked Brothers hit the road for their very first music tour, “Nat & Alex Wolff: Fully Clothed & On Tour,” which kicks off at the world-famous Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. on Saturday, Nov. 1. The cross-country campaign will hit multiple cities across the country and feature the brothers performing songs from their first and second albums. Tickets can be purchased at

This season of The Naked Brothers Band follows the fortunes of the band as they make their first motion picture, from shooting to the red carpet premiere. Filled with special guests and all-new music written and performed by Nat Wolff and Alex Wolff, upcoming episodes feature a star-studded celebrity line-up including Whoopi Goldberg, David Attell and Nickelodeon's own Victoria Justice, star of the upcoming television movie Spectacular. Also making appearances are recording artists Natasha Bedingfield, ?uestlove (The Roots), David Desrosiers (Simple Plan), Simon Kirke (Bad Company), Tobin Esperance (Papa Roach) and Leon Thomas.

Eden FX Puts CG Chills in Ghost Whisperer

Hollywood-based visual effects studio Eden FX helped to create the most vfx-laden episode of the hit CBS TV series Ghost Whisperer. For the installment “Ghost in the Machine,” which aired on Oct. 17, the sole visual effects provider created an entire CG virtual world comprised of a major urban exterior environment which included street scenes and a live arcade.

In the episode, series star Jennifer Love Hewitt becomes a digital avatar in a virtual social networking environment to hunt down a predator who is targeting young girls on the web. The CG work was added to live-action footage shot against an enormous green screen measuring 30 feet high by 150 feet long on a soundstage at Universal Studios.

“Eden FX was brilliant in its execution of our avatar world,” says Ghost Whisperer exec producer Ian Sander. “Because the parallel universe Eden digitally created was unrivaled in network television, there has been a great and tremendous amount of buzz about the ‘Ghost in the Machine’ episode—our viewers loved it!” Eden FX co-founders John Gross and Mark Miller made the announcement.

Software used by Eden for this project included Digital Fusion, After Effects and LightWave. The producers referenced other futuristic worlds created for such films as
Blade Runner
and Metropolis.

Episode director Steve Robman explains, “There is a huge amount of green screen work in this episode, and very large physical areas of green screen that we were trying to create. We had to map out, in advance, where the ends of buildings were going to be, and doorways and benches, so that when we shot against the green screen and those things weren’t inside our viewfinder, they would work out correctly when the CG images were transplanted on top of it.”

Ghost Whisperer
is produced by Sander/Moses Prods. in association with ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television. The show airs on Fridays at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Watch a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the “Ghost in the Machine”
episode below.

Fear(s) Grips L.A., Other Cities

Following last week’s opening in New York, the new French animated feature Fear(s) of the Dark (Peur(s) du noir) opens a bit wider today, just in time for Halloween. Distributed by IFC Ent., the critically acclaimed festival favorite debuts in Los Angeles, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif.; Berleky, Calif; Seattle, Wash.; Chicago, Ill.; Washington D.C.; and Cambridge. Mass. The creepy cartoon will roll into other cities over the next two months.

Produced predominantly in black-and-white,
Fear(s) examines childhood terrors as recalled by a diverse group of artists made up of The New Yorker contributors Richard McGuire and Lorenzo Mattotti, Strasbourg-born Blutch (Christian Hinker), American illustrator Charles Burns, and France’s Marie Caillou and Pierre Di Sciullo. Canal Plus art director Etienne Robial served as artistic director on the project.

Fear(s) of the Dark is produced by Valerie Schermann and Christophe Jankovic’s Prima Linea Prods. (U, Alice in the City
). Celluloid Dreams is handling sales. Diaphana Distribution put the pic out in France in February.

Los Angles moviegoers can also check out a special Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of Ed Wood's infamous Plan Nine from Outer Space on Sunday. Fans of the B-movie skewering puppet show can look forward to live appearances by stars Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.

The complete U.S. release schedule for Fear(s) of the Dark:


Berkeley, CA
Shattuck Cinemas, Landmark

Los Angeles, CA
Nuart Theatre, Landmark

San Francisco, CA
Embarcadero Center Cinema, Landmark

Santa Rosa, CA
Lakeside Rialto, ESP

San Diego, CA
Ken Cinema, Landmark

Santa Cruz, CA
Nickelodeon, Independent


Denver, CO
Mayan Theatre, Landmark


Washington, DC
E Street Cinema, Landmark


Atlanta, GA
Midtown Art Cinema, Landmark


Chicago, IL
Century Centre Cinema, Landmark


Indianapolis, IN
Keystone Art Cinema, Landmark


Des Moines, IA
Fleur Cinema


Cambridge, MA
Kendall Square, Landmark


Detroit, MI
Maple Art Theatre, Landmark


Minneapolis, MN
Lagoon Cinema, Landmark


Kansas City, MO
Tivoli Manor Square, PFR

St. Louis, MO
Tivoli Theatre, Landmark


New York, NY
IFC Center, independent


Cleveland, OH
Cedar Lee Theatre, PFR

Columbus, OH
Gateway Theater, Landmark


Philadelphia, PA
Ritz at the Bourse, Landmark


Dallas, TX
The Magnolia, Landmark

Austin, TX
Dobie Theatre, Landmark


Seattle, WA
Egyptian Theatre, Landmark

Atari Brings Back Riddick

It’s likely that we’ll never again see actor Vin Diesel as futuristic anti-hero Richard B. Riddick on the big screen again, but the character is far from dead. Atari announced that it is developing The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, a first-person shooter to debut in the spring of 2009. The title is being produced in conjunction with Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group, Diesel’s Tigon Studios and acclaimed developer Starbreeze Studios for Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and Windows PC.

A re-imagining of the 2004 game
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, Assault on Dark Athena will offer a new, full-length campaign for a whole new audience, and an entirely new chapter in the Riddick saga featuring online multiplayer combat. The game casts the player as Riddick, who must use stealth and brawn to overcome the merciless crew of the predatory Merc-ship Dark Athena, which awaits its prey in the dark reaches of space.

The Riddick character was introduced in the cult-favorite 2000 sci-fi flick
Pitch Black and returned in Universal’s The Chronicles of Riddick, which spawned a 30-minute direct-to-DVD animated movie directed by Peter Chung (Aeon Flux). Diesel reprised the role for the toon, and his also lending his voice to the title character in BET Animation’s upcoming animated series Hannibal the Conqueror

Nolan Says There Are No Superheroes In His Batman Universe

Part three of the LA Times interview with Christopher Nolan is up. In this part of the interview, he talks about how his Batman and Gotham wouldn't work in a Justice League setting and how an Oscar would be icing on the cake for Ledger's performance as The Joker.

Here's a bit from the interview:

GB: Chris, this summer, "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" signaled the true start of the "crossover era" in comic-book films with Marvel Studios putting an emphasis on the fact that their heroes coexist in the same world. DC and Warner Bros. may embrace a similar strategy, especially if the Justice League film project is revived. Does that concern you? Your Gotham doesn't seem suited to that.

I don’t think our Batman, our Gotham, lends itself to that kind of cross-fertilization. It goes back to one of the first things we wrangled with when we first started putting the story together: Is this a world in which comic books already exist? Is this a world in which superheroes already exist? If you think of "Batman Begins" and you think of the philosophy of this character trying to reinvent himself as a symbol, we took the position -- we didn’t address it directly in the film, but we did take the position philosophically -- that superheroes simply don’t exist. If they did, if Bruce knew of Superman or even of comic books, then that’s a completely different decision that he’s making when he puts on a costume in an attempt to become a symbol. It’s a paradox and a conundrum, but what we did is go back to the very original concept and idea of the character. In his first appearances, he invents himself as a totally original creation.

Click HERE to read the rest of the interview.

Year Of The Dragon Remake

In "you have GOT to be kidding" news....

Sam 'The Man' Jackson is set to star in a remake of the 1985 action-classic "The Last Dragon".

Jackson will play Sho'nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, a role played in the original by the late Julius Carry, whose spiel included asking ego-driven questions like "Am I the baddest mofo lowdown around this town?" Each time his gang of thugs answered, "Sho 'nuff!"

The updated plot will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess "the Glow", making them the greatest fighter alive.

"I'm a huge fan of the original and look forward to bringing Sho'Nuff into the 21st century," Jackson said.

More at The Hollywood Reporter.

Wonder Woman Teaser site

An e-mail is going around pointing to this seeming Wonder Woman teaser site with a slowly revealing poster.

nockFORCE Halloween Quickie

The yearly quest to find the ultimate Halloween costume has begun again. The fellas at nockFORCE unveil their version of this search in Quickie #54: Halloween Costumes.

More Milk a Must For Prado

The BC Dairy Foundation created a campaign to promote milk - it’s at Pratt Institute grad Isam Prado then created this little Flash-animated take on the campaign, titled Apples! Apples! We’re not sure this is exactly sanctioned by the BC Dairy gang, and if its not, we think it should be.

Yogi Bear’s Healthy Italian Picnic

Working in the Italian department at Cartoon Network’s London office, Giulia Barbera (what an appropriate name, right?) and Jacopo Lanza have resurrected Yogi Bear, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith. In this series of 6 mini-episodes, the Italian Boomerang network utilizes the Jellystone park gang to promote healthy eating. Federico Parodi handled the background layouts. All six of the Flash-animated shorts are featured in this assembly below, and you may notice that the 4th one has no audio.

Spanish Team Imagines New Pilot

Spain-based Machango Studio has released the 5-minute pilot episode of a new series aimed at teens and adults titled Jonas - The Animated Series. The Flash-animated show follows Jonas, an only child with limited possessions and an abundant imagination. The pilot is titled Jonas and the Bathtub.

Gnomes and Trolls: The Secret Chamber

How could Sweden, a country that is synonymous with tasteful and elegant design, turn out an animated feature that is so decrepit-looking and painful on the eyes? The trailer for Gnome and Trolls: The Secret Chamber is so pitiful that it almost plays like a parody of a children’s animated movie. A sequel called Gnomes and Trolls: The Forest Trial is already in production.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Rocket Jo by Julien Charles

It’s plenty refreshing to see a CG character that is designed with a sense of caricature in both his appearance and physical movement. Rocket Jo is a series of 52 one-minute shorts created by French animator Julien Charles for French TV network France 3. The shorts, produced by Millimages and 2d3d Animations, are slated for premiere in January. Julien explains that the series focuses on a single character, Rocket Jo, who makes his own jetpacks and attempts to fly in each episode. He writes that he’s trying, “to put the focus on storytelling and animation with just with one character, no speaking and a blue gradient for the set.” He has set up a production blog about the show, and one of the episodes can be viewed on this page (click on the “Play” button).

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Walt & El Grupo Website and Review

The documentary Walt & El Grupo, directed by Ted Thomas, son of animator Frank Thomas, now has a website at The film documents the goodwill tour of South America that Walt Disney and select members of his staff took during 1941. The trip was taken at a turbulent time in history, just as America was entering WWII and smack-dab in the middle of the infamous Disney studio strike. It ultimately helped inspire the studio’s Latin America compilation features: Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros.

We’d previously posted a review of the film by Karl Cohen on Cartoon Brew. Yesterday, I ran across a new review by Scott Kirsner of the Cinematech blog. It’s a mixed critique: Kirsner appreciates the film’s “jaunty Latin American soundtrack and its sense of context” but says it ends up “feeling too much like an itinerary-based family slide show.” He adds that “the film suffers from a major personality void,” because none of the eighteen Disney personnel who went on the trip are interviewed in the film (owing to the fact that they’re all deceased). Needless to say, I’m still really looking forward to seeing the film.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Briefly: Top-Earning Dead Celebrities; Animation in Xinjiang; People Marrying 'Toons

* Peanuts creator Charles Schulz landed at #2 on Forbes magazine's "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities" list with earnings of $33 million, partially based on DVD sales of the Peanuts animated specials. Dr. Seuss comes in at #6 with $12 million for Horton Hears a Who in both the original and new editions. [Forbes]

* Xidan University has signed a contract with the Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone to construct a cartoon and animation park in Xinjiang. [English People's Daily Online]

* A Japanese man has launched an on-line petition to allow marriages between people and cartoon characters, which has gathered more than 1,000 signatures within one week. []

"Dinosaur King" Weekends at the Paris Science Museum

The Paris Science Museum will be teaming up with 4Kids Entertainment, Sega, Upper Deck, and France 3 to sponsor Dinosaur King-themed weekends during the half-term school break. The exhibits will include displays of educational material based on the animated series, including a sandpit where kids can excavate fossils for prizes, alongside demos of the video games and screenings of the show.

The Incredible Hulk Smashes the Competition

Universal's The Incredible Hulk debuted at No. 1 on all three charts last week.

The summer theatrical hit bumped the previous week's winner, Paramount's
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, to the No. 2 position on all three charts.

"Hulk" handily took the top spot on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart for the week ending Oct. 26, selling more than four times as many copies as the next-highest-ranked debutante, The Strangers, also from Universal, which bowed at No. 3.

also topped Home Media Magazine's video rental chart for the week ending Oct. 26, though in rental stores it only generated about twice as many transactions as did "Strangers," which also bowed at No. 3.

scored its third win on the Nielsen VideoScan Blu-ray Disc chart.

New ‘Fanboys’ Poster Hits The Web

Cinematical got their hands on an exclusive first look at the new theatrical poster and a whole mess of photos for the upcoming film, “Fanboys,” and from the looks of things, the much-delayed film is dipping into every conceivable geek reservoir it can find.

The film tells the story of a group of, well, fanboys, who prior to the release of “Star Wars: Episode I,” decide to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of the film to show to a friend who’s dying of cancer. While the premise of the film is a bit dated by now (and can you imagine “Episode I” being the last movie you ever see?!), it does promise to have Kristin Bell in a Slave Leia costume, so take that for what it’s worth.

After the jump, check out the poster in full. And maybe it’s just us, but we think it’s implying something about us fanboys skills with the ladies…

Brandon Routh on a Darker Superman caught up with Superman Returns star Brandon Routh, who has a role in Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and asked about the "Dylan Dog" comic book adaptation Dead of Night (Routh says they start filming in mid-January) and possibly making the next "Superman" film darker. Here's a clip on the latter:

I don't know, I don't think the character necessarily has to be darker, I think he is kind of dark in a sense, emotional dark, in Superman Returns, and the movie as a whole was slightly dark, they could have had more prowess in it I suppose, and I think that's one thing that can be done in the sequel, so I don't know how much darker you want to make it necessarily. You make the stakes higher, you make the villain darker, I think that's a way to do it. But I don't think Superman himself needs to be darker. He definitely has to struggle, how does Superman be a part of the world? And does he have to make sacrifices to be a part of that world? To fit in and what purpose does he really play in the world? Those are all kind of dark places to explore. But, I don't think Superman should ever be dark and brooding, that's not is nature. And that's now what people what to see. Like Brainiac or something like that, a situation when the villain is...

You can read the full interview here!

Bert and Harry Piels Commercials

Some of the most influential and popular TV commercials of the 1950s were the Bert and Harry Piels Beer spots created by UPA (and later on animated by Terrytoons). Much of their popularity was due to the great dialogue tracks provided by Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding (aka Bob and Ray) and the appealing animation directed by Gene Deitch. If you’ve been wondering where you could see these, Asifa-Hollywood has just posted a whole slew of the early ones on their Animation Archive blog. Go there now!

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Happy Halloween!

Attack of the Giant Vegetable Monsters by Ken Tucker.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

News - 10/30/08...

Dragonball Clip! Dragonball Clip! Dragonball Clip!

A brand new to me Dragonball clip has surfaced online. And it's a whole 16 seconds long! That's right, get ready for 16 seconds of nothing awesome at all. This should help prepare you for the entire 90 minutes of nothing awesome at all when this "movie" hits theaters.

I think this and the upcoming Street Fighter movie should be released in theaters at the same time, but with no posters and each sporting the title, "Dumb Live Action Fantasy Anime Fighting Film" and see if audiences can tell which one is which.

All Disney? All the Time?

It sometimes feels that way.

Today, because of different commitments, I found myself at Disney Toons, Disney TVA, and the Disney Animation Studio.

At Diz TVA (the Sonora Avenue branch), the last of the My Friends Tigger and Pooh staff is being laid off. The mood: bitterness and wistful resignation, mingled together. (I can hardly fault them. I felt much the same way the times I was slipped the axe.)

By contrast, the still-working Mickey's Clubhouse group are relatively happy. And pleased to be working ...

And Disney Toons upstairs is a tranquil island of soft-light stability. The managers from the North have eliminated the harsh fluorescent glow of industrial tube lighting found downstairs; on the second floor, everybody works by the illumination of floor lights and hanging bubble lamps created by George Nelson (which must be breeding, as there seems to be more and more of them, hanging from the ceiling.)

But today, the first Tinker Bell DVD was released, which explained all the champagne and cork-popping that was going on. Not. A Toons artist looked up at me startled when I mentioned it was the launch date for their first movie.

"Oh yeah, the video comes out today, doesn't it? I'm so busy on the third one I lose track. But we're going to have a little event for it here tomorrow, when they're handing out the disks.

"The plan is to make five
Tinker Bells. On the other side of the building, they're getting new ideas together to be pitched. Word is they want to get going on another franchise, maybe geared toward boys this time, instead of girls ..."

At Disney Animation Studios, I learned a lot about stereo animated features as a tag along to a print interview. One take away: Disey is doing ten stereo features next year, and live-action stereo movies are a lot trickier to make than the animated variety.

Some days you learn more new stuff than others.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

"Batman: The Brave And The Bold" Press Interview, Updated Character Roster

Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network have provided The World's Finest with a press interview, episode information and updated character list for Batman: The Brave and The Bold.

Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network have issued an abbreviated list of characters that will be appearing on Batman: The Brave and The Bold. The list can be seen below.

Batman/Bruce Wayne
The Atom
Black Manta
Black Canary
Blue Beetle
Booster Gold
Bronze Tiger
Calendar Man
Clock King
The Demon
Dr. Fate
The Flash
Gentleman Ghost
Gorilla Grodd
Green Arrow
Green Lantern Corp.
Guy Gardener
Jonah Hex
Justice Society of America
Kite Man
Ocean Master
Plastic Man
Red Tornado
Adam Strange
Zebra Man

Expect Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network to issue a new character listing as the program airs.

Cartoon Network has also released a new press interview with Batman: The Brave and The Bold production staff James Tucker, Andrea Romano, Sam Register. The interview is available here at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold is set to premiere on November 14th, 2008, at 7:30pm (ET) with an episode featuring Green Arrow and the Blue Beetle. Cartoon Network has provided information on the November-airing episodes of Batman: The Brave and The Bold.

The first episode, "The Rise of the Blue Beetle!," is written by Michael Jelenic and directed by Ben Jones. Batman and Blue Beetle team up to save an alien race from Kanjar Ro. This episode will repeat on Saturday, Nov. 15th, 2008, at 11:30am (ET).

After that, the episode "Terror on Dinosaur Island!" is scheduled for Nov. 21st, 2008. Written by Steven Melching and directed by Brandon Vietti, Batman and Plastic Man thwart Gorilla Grodd's plot to devolve humans into primates. This episode will repeat on Saturday, Nov. 22nd, 2008, at 11:30am (ET).

The episode "Evil Under the Sea!" is scheduled for Nov. 28th, 2008. Written by Joseph Kuhr and directed by Michael Chang, Batman aids Aquaman as Ocean Master and Black Manta team up to assassinate him. This episode will repeat on Saturday, Nov. 29th, 2008, at 11:30am (ET).

Update: Pre-Order The Dark Knight on DVD & Blu-ray Disc!

UPDATE: You can also now order the Two-Disc Blu-Ray Limited Edition by using the link below!

It cost $185 million to make, has made $988 million worldwide, and can now be in your hands in exactly two months on December 9! has started taking pre-orders for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Just click the links below to pre-order the version you want!

Blu-ray Disc

Two-Disc Blu-Ray Limited Edition

Two-Disc Special Edition

Widescreen Edition

Full Screen Edition

Part 2 of Quint from Aint It Cool News's interview with Jon Favreau! IRON MAN 2, Stark's alcoholism, Empire Strikes Back and THE AVENGERS!


Quint: Do you think there’s a danger of jumping too digital too early? Because I think one of the things that a lot of at least movie fans kind of grabbed onto was the fact that you blended Stan Winston’s suit with CGI, that the suit had weight to it...

Jon Favreau:
It’s amazing how much of the stuff was replaced. And I think that the attention to detail can never be… you can never bypass that stage. Part of why I want to do it this way is because if we could dial into the action early enough it will give us a lot more time to refine things and a lot more time to integrate it well. But having seen Iron Man flying in the dogfight sequence in daylight, the way ILM delivered it, it really made me… if you get the animation right, and you’re dealing with non-organic characters, it really has hit a level where if you don’t ask too much of the camera and too much of the actual choreography and you keep that within the realm of reality it’s actually very, very difficult to tell.

I found myself giving notes on shots that weren’t digital to the vendors. I know we talked about that last time. What I don’t want to do is tie myself to too much practical stuff that it makes the action not dynamic enough and the difficulty with IRON MAN isn’t he’s not ROBOCOP he doesn’t just walk on the ground. He’s also in the air and you have to find the right animators and tune that in right so that you believe it. But we are going to seek to incorporate elements that are practical in there as well and I think that sleight of hand was what helped sell the reality of IRON MAN.

Quint: Yeah well that’s the trick. If you’re not sure what the effect is, practical or not, if you can’t really tell... You wouldn’t have had people go “Oh, that looks great, that’s a great practical” and be fooled if they hadn’t seen so much actual practical beforehand.

Jon Favreau:
Yeah, so that’s the game. That’s the magic trick. And I think people think there’s a lot more practical in it than there is. And a lot of times…we shot a lot of it practically, we ended up replacing much of it. Because the digital suit actually looked better at times than the real one, and moved more naturally, but you don’t ever want to get to the point where you’re so confident in the digital realm that he begins to move and act in ways he couldn’t in a practical realm, you do want to keep them guessing.

And there are certain moments where you’re just going to cut loose and you just know there’s no other way to do it. You don’t want to be too much of a luddite. I think I was a little too conservative, at times, with the action. I played it too safe. Now I’m confident in my vendors, I’m confident in my level of understanding of CGI and a level of technology.

There are things where it’s extremely convincing and there are areas where I want to try and incorporate practical aspects that normally aren’t. But the stuff in DARK KNIGHT, many of those buildings when he was hang gliding weren’t real. I’m hard pressed to tell. There’s certain things like set extension, that will help us open the movie up and allow us to shoot in various places but I have to complete all the work and be much more ambitious as far as our locations go and open this up.

And I think that there’s a real James Bond quality to Tony Stark that James Bond seems to have left behind and nobody’s doing it. There’s definitely a sense of humor…that the Roger Moore James Bonds or the Sean Connery James Bonds had when I was growing up. There was a tonal swagger to it and there was a sense of really having a window into the way the other half lives, in an over-the-top way. And I think as James Bond, as that series has reinvigorated itself by moving closer to the… almost to the BOURNE IDENTITY approach, it’s leaving behind this really fun world that seems anachronistic for Bond now. But for Tony Stark I say we have to go for it…

Quint: Oh, it’s perfect, and you know if you didn’t have somebody like Downey in the role then I would be a little hesitant. But I mean Downey has that ability, he has that likeability, that comic timing, that sense of humor. He’s just so likeable. Just like the Connery Bond. It’s like people just like liking the guy.

Jon Favreau:
But you also got the sense that the Connery Bond could get his head blown off if he did the wrong thing. So there’s either GOLDFINGER or there’s… CASINO ROYALE. There’s like this middle ground in between where you can have some fun with it and play up a comic book version of Tony Stark. And Downey… you could get away with a lot with Downey because he doesn’t seem like somebody out of the pages of MAXIM magazine, he seems like a guy out of the… tech conference. He’s a different (type) who happens to like to live large but he has a sense of humor about it. And at his heart he’s got certain shortcomings and certain things he’s wrestling with, certain addictions that Tony Stark has and the fun thing is going to be what happens after he says “I am Iron Man,” how has the world changed.

Quint: Well that’s fascinating. That decision right there immediately takes it and gives the movie its own identity and completely takes it out of all the other superhero movies which are still having to deal…the Supermans, the Batmans, Spider-Mans… They still have to cover their identity, I mean I guess you can look at X-MEN a little bit…

Jon Favreau:
A little bit. FANTASTIC FOUR did it in a different way. That was… that made us… we definitely want to do our own version of it. But a lot of our time is spent steering clear of DARK KNIGHT and that franchise. Tonally, casting wise, the way we present the action. Because there’s so many similarities at the core, and now that we were both very successful movies this summer it’s going to be… there’s always going to be the Coke and Pepsi argument going back and forth.

For me I’m very, very happy to be Pepsi. I think Nolan and I seem to have different personalities as filmmakers. He takes filmmaking very seriously and I treat it more like I’m throwing a party. To me the experience I’m building to when I’m making a movie is what’s it going to be like when we show footage at COMIC-CON, what it’s going to be like when I go to the party, when I go to the Cineramadome and pop in and listen to the crowd. That’s, to me, what it’s all about.

And so it’s really like throwing a party in that respect, that you want people to have fun. If they didn’t have fun, if they don’t like it… then I’m disappointed. Because it’s all about that, to me it’s a medium; to me it’s not a work of art. It’s a medium, it’s a means to communicate a feeling, an emotion, an experience to an audience. They’re giving you ten bucks and an hour and a half, and you have to get in there and make them feel like it was a good deal.

Quint: Well, you can have the best of both worlds there. I think that if IRON MAN was just an effects spectacular… then it would be a different thing, but I mean I think why the critics liked it so much and why it was so highly rated on IMDB is because it kind of…it doesn’t come off as a hollow experience.

Jon Favreau:
I don’t think that people want a hollow experience. See when I say you’ve got to… You could write a rock’n’roll song, a pop song, that doesn’t mean that the song has to… The BEATLES were writing pop songs. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t have, they can’t be invested with something that’s important and meaningful and emotional. So, I think that without the emotional aspect and stating some truth and bringing people together on… having some sort of spiritual wrinkle to it that connects with what we all share in common and around the world, I think if you don’t do that you are selling your audience short.

So, when I say that I want to throw a party, I’m not saying I just want to make a popcorn movie that takes your mind off of things then you move on and you forget about it. I want the movie that you enjoy and cheer for and laugh at when you’re there, but you have an emotional experience. Movies deal in emotion, that’s the currency. And if you don’t feel emotionally, some sort of an emotional experience by watching something… and titillation is not an emotional experience. It’s frosting. That’s something you do to up the ante so that you feel the emotion on a deeper level.

And so as I get more experienced with making movies, you’re able to use all of the tools that you have whether it’s CGI, special effects, explosions, comedy, humor, and you use all of those things to hopefully make people feel some of the same emotions that they would in smaller movies, independent films. When all I had was dialogue and humor to use in storytelling… how do you preserve that standard and still make something that would be a great Superbowl commercial.

Quint: Well if you hit that median… I don’t know what tone you’re going for with the next one but I would imagine…I think the kind of the golden standard especially for this kind of movie is EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, where you have something that really kind of ups things, a darker movie, but it’s still fun.

Click here to read along with the next bit in amazing Sound-O-Text!

Jon Favreau: That’s what we talk about. We talk about EMPIRE and we talk about WRATH OF KHAN. And the reason that those two are such great templates in many ways is because there’s very plot in either of them, and it gives you room to explore characters and it allows you to up the ante on character development.

What’s so great about EMPIRE is you don’t feel like Luke Skywalker became a Jedi in STAR WARS and now it’s the adventures of Luke the Jedi. You feel like he is still in transition, he’s still seeking out mentors, he’s learning lessons, he’s delving deeper and deeper into his own emotional core and that is exemplified by the trials of Yoda, learning to master the force, going into the cave, facing his shadow. And it’s very, very Joseph Campbell shadow archetype where you’re dealing with mentors, shape shifters, you have allies and friends, heralds… It really hits all of the primal archetypical milestones of a Joseph Campbell mythic journey.

Quint: So, is Tony Stark’s shadow alcohol?

Jon Favreau:
We’re definitely going to use alcohol, but alcohol isn’t a shadow, I don’t think. I think addiction is something you use to anesthetize yourself when you’re dealing with something deeper. And if you look at twelve step programs, that are probably the most effective way of dealing with an addiction, you’ll see that they spend very little time dealing with the actual thing you’re addicted to: substance. Most of the steps become about dealing with your spiritual health and delving deeper into what’s underneath the addiction.

And I think in that respect it’s very telling as to what… it’s a matter of discovering what Tony Stark’s issues are that he’s dealing with that’s causing him to drink, causing him to womanize, causing him to escape and run in whatever way he does. And that’s what’s compelling especially when you have a guy like Robert, who can really handle this kind of a storyline. Of course you don’t want to overwhelm the film. I want to maintain the tone we had with the first one, for the most part. Nolan has cornered the market on that tone and does it well. It’s not what I do well or what I want to see in IRON MAN.

And so you have to have enough of it to inform the story and I think that EMPIRE STRIKES BACK really walked that line very well. I wouldn’t call it a dark movie but it definitely was for real, it definitely had some emotional resonance to it. It wasn’t just a videogame. So, we try to study who did it right.

And I feel pretty at ease because typically the number two movies are… you sort of the best of both worlds, where you know what you’re doing, you’ve got your team together, and you’ve got your cast, and you have your basic things, and it’s how do you expand out from that? And the audience is ready and accepting, you don’t have to prove yourself to them, they’re coming expecting a good time. And you could really do stuff that you can’t do in the first one, now that the origin story is out of the way. And with the villains and the playfulness and the dialogue we have between us and the fans of the books where you start to pick through forty years of books and try to find villains and storylines that apply to both the Cold War context in which IRON MAN was presented, as well as what could work with the headlines today. What pays homage to the tradition of this storyline and what does not seem ridiculous when it hits film.

So it’s preserving the soul of the experience while having enough reference, so that there are moments where the fans are rewarded for having followed his stories are so long and not frustrated by that. Often times people who are fans of comic books go see the movie and enjoy it less than people who don’t know anything about the heroes because they’re so frustrated by how many leaps and liberties they took with the source material.

In IRON MAN I think the fans actually enjoyed the movie more than the people who didn’t know what was going on and I think that should be it, you should have stuff in the margins for people who have dedicated themselves to following this and were excited when they heard it got made and they’re the first ones in line to see it. You don’t want them to be disappointed, you want them to have an even richer experience. And then have their friends turn to them and say “I don’t understand who’s that guy with the eye patch” you know what I mean? That’s when it becomes fun. When I saw LORD OF THE RINGS I felt good that I had read the book LORD OF THE RINGS. It enriched the experience for me.

Quint: Yeah, you guys did that when you had Nick Fury come in and the shot where you can see Cap’s shield on the workbench…

Jon Favreau:
Yeah, and we named like the pilots’ call sign was Whiplash One and Two. There are little things here and there… and the Ten Rings.

Quint: Yeah, that one I didn’t get until the second viewing.

Jon Favreau:
And if you look at the flag of the Ten Rings, you’ll see that the writing… it looks like it’s Arabic but it’s actually Mongolian writing on the flags.

So, we were really paying attention, of course now it becomes more and more difficult because we’re weaving… it has to culminate in the AVENGERS. Which, although I won’t be directing it, I’ll be involved with it as an executive producer and I would feel really disappointed if what good will we’ve curried from IRON MAN 1 and hopefully 2, is not lived up to in the AVENGERS.

Quint: Yeah because that movie’s got to… you talk about what has to knock it out of the park. THE AVENGERS is one of those movies that’s been kind of a fanboy dream for years. And then you’re coming off the success of IRON MAN and even the HULK and I love the interconnectivity that’s going on now and it just seems to all be building to an AVENGERS movie.

Jon Favreau:
And I’m going to get a little more involved now with what goes on with the other movies. I’m very excited about Kenneth Branagh, I can’t wait to see his take on THOR and we’re really looking at the Cap stuff, very closely.

For one because we put the shield in there and Tony’s legacy… Howard Stark’s legacy somehow is related to… there’s some relationship between Tony’s father and what was going on in World War II, in the Marvel Universe, and S.H.I.E.L.D., so we’re trying to lay some pipe here so that when it all happens it feels somewhat inevitable.

But there are a lot of tonal challenges that are going to take place, more so in the other films I think. THOR has a tremendously… that’s going to be the most difficult one to integrate into this reality. And if it can be properly done, then you get a great version of AVENGERS. If not, AVENGERS is going to seem like ROGER RABBIT with different cartoon characters from different worlds, you have Betty Boop next to Daffy Duck next to Donald Duck you know. (laughs)

And I don’t know that’s the experience it should feel like, it should feel like a unified Marvel Universe. And I know that the Marvel guys are very, very vigilant about that.

Quint: Well, and it’s smart especially they’re involving the creative teams behind these movies and the kind of interconnecting themselves and able to work with each other so that way like you were saying it doesn’t feel like you’re just… where we don’t just see a scene in IRON MAN 2 where we’re going “oh gee, I wonder if that’s supposed to mean…that’s going to pay off later” something that’s more organic.

Jon Favreau:
It’s amazing how much you have to figure it out so that it makes sense it takes a lot of effort to weave all this stuff together. Just making a movie is difficult, let alone trying to service a whole set of films that has to coexist. I think a really good step in that direction is them getting this facility down at Manhattan Beach so that all the films will be working out of the same studio and shooting on the same stages and they’ll be prepping and posting and we’ll all be in that one area so we can bounce back and forth and hopefully they’ll be a generosity of creative input between all of the filmmakers and writers and producers so that we could come up with something that’s much more synergistic than anything that has been seen before. But it’s a tall order.

Quint: It’s a very exciting time for movie fans and for comic fans. And I guess in closing are you going to keep up that transparency that you had with the first one with the fans and the open dialogue with them?

Jon Favreau:
The trick is going to be… I think I’m going to setup a Facebook page for it. So, I will still disseminate information and include them in the process as much as I can. The difficulty becomes… you don’t want to undermine the release of the film.

Quint: Well, you walked that tightrope really well with IRON MAN though.

Jon Favreau:
Yeah, but the hunger, the curiosity factor is much higher now. Since the movie’s come out, just the way my… the things that I would sort of say informally on a little blog with some of the core fans would get picked up in mainstream press and on Hollywood type blogs. You have to be a little more selective in the way you… it can’t be quite so conversational because the way you turn a phrase it ends up leading people to conclusions they shouldn’t be led to or they might be misleading. I never want to lie to my fans.

But I reserve the right to keep certain things out of sight until it’s time to reveal them. I think everybody has snuck into their mom’s closet and seen their Christmas presents before they opened them and then taped them back shut and it’s just not as fun Christmas morning. And I want to make sure that everybody has a good time.

So I want to get enough out there that it keeps people excited and it rewards them for paying attention but I don’t want to blow the experience of the movie. And I think we barely squeaked by, I don’t know if there were any secrets that were not revealed by the time people saw the movie.

And the one big thing was that your site… we really went out of our way to shoot Sam Jackson’s scene. We came in on the weekend, we had a skeleton crew, we snuck him in a limo. There was no paperwork. We did it, whisked him out of there. And like a week later you guys put it up. And the only fun thing that came out of it was all the preview prints and even the premiere print didn’t include the scene.

Quint: Yeah, I know! We were getting emails, people going “You fucking liars, you lied to us!”

Jon Favreau:
(laughs) All is fair in love and war. But I think it made it even more fun when people actually saw the movie. That we even cared enough and that Marvel was even willing to do that. Says that relationship is an important relationship, between the fans and the filmmakers, and I want to… It’s not like I’m going to cloister myself away and not communicate. I’m still going to be the guy… If I go to COMIC CON I better bring something good, you know what I mean? If I say something, it better be something important. And I’ll try and maintain that dialogue.

I’m also dealing with a studio that tends to be very secretive about things. So I think that I’m going to probably be more open than most filmmakers would be, but I definitely don’t want to blow enough stuff… because stuff’s going to come out, between all the sites that there are. Stuff will be figured out on its own. And if we reveal too much stuff and certain things are figured out or spies get pictures of things we won’t have any razzle dazzle left for the actual release of the film, and that’s the only concern.

Other than that I love sharing the stuff, I love talking to the fans, and I will continue to but I just don’t think… while I was doing IRON MAN I was like answering every question about every thing. And now it’s not going to take much for people to figure out what’s going on, but we’ll try to maintain a veil of secrecy and I enjoy everybody who tries to pull that veil away. That’s the game.

Quint: By playing hard to get man, you’re just going to get everybody more excited and there will be a lot more discussions. And that secrecy is something that people like JJ Abrams have been able to really use to their advantage. And even if…

Jon Favreau:
That being said I can’t keep my mouth shut. I always like to get everything buzzing around you know what I mean? Because there’s always buzz from other movies and it’s like “ah let’s get something out there”. I love sending pictures out. To be honest from you I like the feedback, because the feedback does affect things.

There was a shot in the Super Bowl ad that didn’t get there in time for that and the feedback on that gave me the ability to turn around and say “Look see, it’s not just me. They have a very high standard, these people. They don’t just eat what we feed them, we have to satisfy, you have to treat it like a chef, not like a short order cook. They’re not just going to eat what you put in front of them. If they don’t feel respected they will not support this thing. This has to be special. There’s too many movies like this out there. We have to win their approval.”

So I like the dialogue, I learn from the dialogue, I’m tremendously grateful to the fans for turning this thing into a phenomenon. All the mainstream press was saying shitty things under their breath in their articles writing about “Marvel parades out its’ B-list heroes does anybody give a shit?” And because the fans gave a shit and liked what we were doing and I was lucky enough to be making this movie in a time when there was still an appetite and there was a very vocal, viral online community where word would spread one way or the other when you’re doing something good and they like it word gets out there. And the next thing you know there are eight thousand prints on screens and shows selling out till three in the morning and them adding screenings and stuff because of people texting each other, and that all started from Comic-Con, that all started from people liking the first trailer.

And whoever bootlegged that Youtube thing… I know that Paramount chased it down and pulled it down and that’s what they have to do, but as a filmmaker that was probably one of the biggest thrills of the movie, watching that bootlegged video with the crowd reactions in it, and you couldn’t even see the screen barely. It captured that sense of something special was happening, and people were into it. It was just a great, great feeling.

Quint: And in a way that kind of really helped the enthusiasm spread more than seeing a pristine Apple Quicktime of it. There’s something to seeing footage like that when you have people going crazy and blowing out the little speaker on whatever recording device they were using.

Jon Favreau:
Yeah, exactly, on their cell phone. It gave Paramount a lot of enthusiasm, and then they really went out of their way to make sure…they helped me cut together that segment. Josh Greenstein over there worked very hard on that thing. He took it seriously. And I was always pushing for more, more, more footage. I really wanted to… I said we got to really make a splash because we’re the underdog here. Nobody’s expecting this thing to be… this is not the biggest story there. My god we had INDIANA JONES, CLOVERFIELD, there was a lot of big buzz around with other films around ours. And it was that experience that sort of made this movie more of a priority for them and then they really supported it well and marketed it well and put a lot of work into those trailers and commercials and I even liked the new DVD commercials are really fun too. They’re really fine just like how they’re handling this whole thing.

Paramount’s been a class act, and now that Marvel has like a… Marvel’s a much bigger deal at Paramount than it was when we started then. They have more partnerships at the time and now, now we’re very important to each other and that feels good. So I’m really enjoying the experience of IRON MAN 2 so far. And I was very nervous going in with the amount of time we had, but it’s amazing how much progress we’re able to make very quickly because we’ve learned from the mistakes of last time. We’re much more efficient. The basic designs of the suit are there so if anything changes we’re building off of something else. We have our basic cast. And we understand what the basic story is, so it’s a much easier process than the first time around and I hope that is reflected by a movie that’s even more enjoyable experience.

Quint: Cool, man. Alright, well, yeah, I think that’s all I can think of. So…

Jon Favreau:
Well great to talk to you. Come by and visit us!

Notice how he dropped the Cold War era premiere of the character? Is that a hint, you think? Or am I over-analyzing everything like he talked about at the close of the interview?

And how awesome is it that he has his team working with Genndy Tartakovsky plotting out the action sequences for IRON MAN 2!?! I know I'm psyched.

I hope you enjoyed the chat. Many thanks to Jon Favreau for taking an hour of his life to bullshit with me about the upcoming film and his thoughts on the industry at this moment. I think if he’s able to collaborate as closely as he wants on the other Marvel properties we could be in for a very creative and special time in big event filmmaking.

‘The Dark Knight’ Director Christopher Nolan On Batman’s Interrogation

While “The Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan remains undecided about whether or not he’ll return for a third installment of Warner Bros. current “Batman” franchise, one thing he’s absolutely 100% certain of is his favorite scene from this summer’s box office champ.

“To be honest, it’s pretty easy for me,” Nolan said in a recent interview with the L.A. Times “Hero Complex” blog. “The scene that is so important and so central to me is the interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker in the film. When we were writing the script, that was always one of the central set pieces that we wanted to crack.”

As Nolan points out in the interview, he “could actually talk about this scene for hours,” and just about does, getting to the very heart and soul of the scene in which Batman, having had just about all he could stand of the Joker’s brutal nonsense, takes out his frustrations on the psycho-killer — only to realize that while he was getting his knuckles bloody, that his two closest friends, Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent, we’re trapped in separate warehouses filled with explosives, resulting in one of their untimely deaths.

Nolan also points out that the actors involved — Christian Bale and Heath Ledger — were just as eager to film the classic scene as he was, and likewise, added their own unique touches to the brutal exchange.

“Originally, at the end of that scene, once the Joker reveals his information, Christian dropped him and then, almost as an afterthought, he kicked him in the head as he walked out of the room,” said Nolan. “We wound up removing that bit. It seemed a little too petulant for Batman in a way. And really, more than that, what it was is that I liked how Christian played it: When he drops the Joker, he has realized the futility of what he’s done. You see it in his eyes. How do you fight someone who thrives on conflict? It’s a very loose end to be left with.”

Mark Millar on His 8-Hour Superman Epic

Empire Online talked to Mark Millar (Wanted, upcoming Kick-Ass) more about his proposed "Superman" epic. Here are several clips from the article:

Mark has been working closely with a 'big-Hollywood action director' – who he refuses to name at this stage – on a pitch for what he is calling the Magnum Opus of Superman stories. His idea is for an 8-hour saga, split into 3 films to be released a year apart, in a Lord of the Rings fashion.

"I want to start on Krypton, a thousand years ago, and end with Superman alone on Planet Earth, the last being left on the planet, as the yellow sun turns red and starts to supernova, and he loses his powers."

You can read the entire interview here.

Detroit Institute of the Arts spots by Julian Grey

I like the simplicity of these two new line-animation spots for the Detroit Institute of the Arts, which were made to help increase attendance at the museum. The animation is hand-drawn and composited in After Effects. They were directed by Julian Grey of Toronto’s Head Gear Animation. Check out both ads below:

Title: “Son of Hatman” and “Thinker”
Client: Detroit Institute of Arts
Creative Agency: Perich Advertising + Design, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Director: Julian Grey
Production Company: Head Gear Animation, Toronto
Producer: Kathryn Rawson
Animators: Sean Branigan, Julian Grey
Compositor: Nick Fairhead

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Dora Meets the Snow Princess this November

Dora Kicks Off the Winter Season

The most well recognized heroine of preschool multicultural adventures will be making a seasonal crusade against the forces of evil, for the sake of friendship, literacy, and all the rest when an all-new television special of Dora the Explorer airs on Nick Jr. programming in the first full week of November. Entering another season this fall on the heels of revamping the core of its cast of voice-over artists, Dora and her friends will be transitioning audiences into the fall and winter seasons with a television special where the Latina adventurer must save the snow princess from a mean witch.

Engaging a magical, snowy adventure the only way that preschool audiences are familiar with, "Dora Saves the Snow Princess" finds a princess of the winter season locked away in a tower with her precious magic crystal stolen. The perpetrator is a witch, whose possession of the snow crystal may cause the princess' precious forest to melt. Having debuted on home video just recently, "Dora Saves the Snow Princess," which premieres on Monday, November 3rd at 8:00pm (ET), will serve as the Nick Jr. programming block's lead-in to a stream of new episodes later in November.

"Kids admire and love Dora because she is a true heroine -- someone who is brave, bold and kind," Brown Johnson, President of Animation, for Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group, recently commented. "In this epic adventure, preschoolers can embrace their inner hero as they actively participate to help Dora save the snow princess."

In the new Dora the Explorer television special set to air next week, Dora, Boots and the Snowflake Fairy are on a quest to the snowy forest, where the princess resides. Enlisting the help of a variety of characters; such as Paj, an Inuit girl whose dog sled carries the group away from danger; the trio must do everything they can to free the locked up Princesa Sabrina and retrieve her magical snow crystal.

"Dora Saves the Snow Princess," other than spotlighting the new voice acting cast for the animated television series (guided by Caitlin Sanchez, as "Dora"), provides some inertia for Nick Jr.'s multi-platform strategy. Said strategy includes broadband video service available on, a two-minute 'sneak peek' from on Vcast from earlier in the month, and an advanced screening courtesy of Verizon FiOS' Video on Demand. Dora the Explorer, as in-demand and interconnected as ever, continues to move forward for early education audiences.

The Day the Earth Stood Still 5 Minute Trailer

Yahoo! Movies (Au) has added a new 5-min. extended international trailer for the sci-fi classic remake "The Day The Earth Stood Still" starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, and Kathy Bates.

The Day the Earth Stood Still opens December 12th.

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" is 20th Century Fox's contemporary reinvention of its 1951 classic. Keanu Reeves portrays Klaatu, an alien whose arrival on our planet triggers a global upheaval. As governments and scientists race to unravel the mystery behind the visitor's appearance, a woman (Jennifer Connelly) and her young stepson get caught up in his mission – and come to understand the ramifications of his being a self-described "friend to the Earth."

Check out the trailer below.

"Iron Man: Armored Adventures" Preview On Teletoon In November 2008

The Canadian network will be previewing the new Marvel animated series next month.

Teletoon, the Canadian animation station, plans to air a preview of the upcoming Iron Man: Armored Adventures, in November.

A sneak-peek of the new series Iron Man: Armored Adventures airs on the Friday at Four at 4 pm ET/PT on Friday, November 21. When a teenage Tony Stark loses his father and almost his life in a tragic accident he becomes dependent on his own amazing technology for survival.

Teletoon has also been recently named as the exclusive home for Marvel Animation.

The Magistical wins Hollywood Award for animation

Danny Oakley and John M. Cernak's feature film "The Magistical" was honored for Best Animation on Monday night at the 12th Annual Hollywood Awards.

The first feature film from Out of Our Minds Animation Studios, the 3-D The Magistical is a fantasy-based film which emulates the emotion, values and artistry of the Walt Disney animations of the 1940s and 1950s, utilizing today's CGI techniques.

Held in conjunction with the Hollywood Film Festival, the Hollywood Awards ceremony was held before a standing-room-only audience of over 1,100 attendees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Winners of the festival's film competition were announced Sunday night at the Hollywood Discovery Awards Presentation Ceremony at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood.

Animated nominees Horton Hears A Who!, Kung Fu Panda and WALL•E failed to win the Hollywood Movie of the Year Award, losing to Christopher Nolan's live-action The Dark Knight, which was chosen by the public voting online at the Yahoo! Movies website. The voting site received 20 million unique visitors, and over 125,000 votes were cast.

However, special honors went to WALL-E, directed by Andrew Stanton, for animation.

In addition, Variety announced and introduced this year's "10 Actors to Watch" award recipients: Viola Davis, Kat Dennings, Rebecca Hall, Armie Hammer, Taraji Henson, Michael Kelly, Melissa Leo, Chris Pine, Michael Shannon and Mia Wasikowska.

The Screen Actors Guild was also honored on its 75th anniversary.

The festival and awards were presented by Starz Entertainment.

Oscar Deadline Looms

If you happen to be sitting on an Oscar-worthy animated feature, you’re running out of time to get it to the Academy. To qualify in the Animated Feature Film category for the 81st Academy Awards, filmmakers must submit entry forms and supporting materials to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by 5 p.m. (PT) on Monday, November 3.The deadline to submit accompanying film prints is Friday, Nov. 14.

Nominations for the 81st Academy Awards will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009, at 5:30 a.m. (PT) in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The awards ceremony will then be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. The event will be televised live by the ABC Television Network in the U.S., and will be seen live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Complete rules for submission are available at Additional information may be obtained by contacting Wil Goldenberg via phone at (310) 247-3000, ext. 190, by fax at (310) 247-2600, or by e-mail at

Guerilla FX Adds Two to Talent Roster

BoldVisual effects, production, post finishing, design and interactive studio Guerilla FX has expanded its team with the addition of creative director/effects supervisor/director John Bair and exec producer Vivian Connolly. Both Bair and Connolly come to Guerilla from Edgeworx in New York,where they worked as a team. In their new roles, they will be concentrating their energies primarily on feature film effects and titles, medium- and long-format broadcast effects and titles, and broadcast design.

Since joining the Guerilla FX crew, Bair and Connolly have begun creating visual Boldeffects for John Patrick Shanley’s feature, Doubt, and visual effects and titles for the features New York I Love You and The Messenger. They are also working on Earth 2100, a 2-hour ABC primetime special about the state of the planet in the year 2100, for which Guerilla will be producing one-third of the content.

Bair spent the last decade as creative director at Edgeworx, where his credits as animation supervisor include
Prehistoric Megastorms
and The Universe for History Channel, and such NOVA docs as Judgment Day, Marathon Challenge, Saved by the Sun, Monster of the Milky Way, Building on Ground Zero, Newton’s Dark Secrets, Origins and The Elegant Universe. He was design and animation supervisor for The War (Florentine Films/Ken Burns); Boldanimation director on Rx for Survival (PBS); CG animator/supervisor for Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs—Seeing Is Believing (ABC); and creative director for SeeMore’s Playhouse 2006-2008 (APT).

Connolly, a former actress turned television and film producer and children’s story writer, was head of production at Edgeworx. For the last two and a half years, she oversaw all production and worked closely with Bair on projects including Bret Morgan’s animated documentary
Chicago 10 and the TV projects The Real Housewives of NY (Bravo), Prehistoric Megastorms (History), The Universe (History), Judgment Day (NOVA), Fractals: Hunting the Hidden Dimension (NOVA), Marathon Challenge (NOVA), History Detectives (PBS), and Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation
(NBC), among others.

Batman: The Animated Series Comes Complete

Fans of producer Bruce Timm’s 1990s take on the Dark Knight can look forward to next week’s retail debut of Batman: The Complete Animated Series. The 17-disc set from Warner Home Video and DC Comics is a limited-edition collector’s package offering all 109 episodes for a run time exceeding 35 hours.

The Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series won over audiences by taking the comic-book property more seriously than previous cartoon incarnations. The show explores dark themes as Batman and Robin protect the citizens of Gotham City from the evil plots of such classic villains as The Penguin, The Joker, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. This mammoth collection presents all four seasons of the complete series, which ran from fall of 1992 thru fall of 1995 on Fox. Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester provided the voices of Batman and Robin, while Melissa Gilbert, Mark Hamill, Paul Williams, Adrienne Barbeau, John Glover, Richard Moll and Ron Perlman starred as some of the supporting roles in the star-studded toon.

In addition to all four seasons of the series, the disc set will also offer the documentary Shades of the Bat: Batman's Animated Evolution. There will also be eight bonus featurettes, 12 creator commentaries and a 40-page collector's book with artwork from the vault. The release will carry the suggested retail price of $107.92.

Niko is Top Pic at Cinekid

Magma Films’ animated feature film Niko & the Way to the Stars received both the juried Lion award and the Audience Award at children's film fest Cinekid in Amsterdam over the weekend. The CG movie was released on home video in the U.S. on Tuesday under the title The Flight Before Christmas. The win marks the first time a film has picked up both awards at Cinekid. The Lion Award comes with a cash prize of €15,000 to help filmmakers produce new projects.

Directed by Michael Hegner and Kari Juusonen and exec produced by Magma Films' Ralph Christians, Niko & the Way to the Stars tells the story of a young reindeer who dreams of flying and pulling Santa’s seligh on Christmas like his father. Things turn hairy when he discovers that the Big Bad Wolf and his cohorts are planning to replace the reindeer as Santa's elite flying outfit.

The pic is co-produced by Finnish film company Anima Vitae, Ulysses Films in Germany and Afilm in Denmark. Production was supported by the Irish Film Board and the Government of Ireland Section 481 tax incentive. German distributor Telepool has sold the film to more than 100 territories, with The Weinstein Co. handling the English-language rights. Moviegoers in Ireland can catch it in theaters on Nov. 28.

Art Institute, AArmy Cruise The A1A

The Art Institute of California—Los Angeles will host the Animation Army (AArmy) monthly social networking meeting in conjunction with the Animation 21 Lecture Series on Monday, Nov. 3. Guest speakers lined up for the event include Devin Orddoyne and Patrick Miller, creators of the animated web series The A1A.

The A1A follows the misadventures of three young slackers living in a dead-end town, who find themselves the unwitting emissaries to "the other side." Episodes from the current season and selected shorts can be seen at

Miller and Orddoyne began attending Animation Army meetings as two writers with a pilot script in need of an animator, and ended up animating the web series themselves. The now work as freelance animators, and are currently animating a show called The Brangelina Bunch for The duo was recently selected to present The A1A at an expo held by the Jr. Hollywood Radio and Television Society. Featuring up-and-coming internet content creators, the event will give them the opportunity to introduce the series to agencies that have expanded their operations into the realm of cyberspace.

AArmy is an organization founded by veteran animation director Ron Noble and character designer Indy Feige. Open to everyone involved in animation, including designers, writers, storyboard artists, voice actors, producers and directors, the group creates free networking opportunities for independents, students and other artists. For details on joining the AArmy and upcoming events, go to

The Art Institute of California—Los Angeles ( is located at 2900 31st Street in Santa Monica, Calif. For more information about this and other events, contact Bijan Tehrani at (818) 613-4227 or email him.

KATT WILLIAMS Cartoon - "Gangsta Tigers" - (Edited Version)

ClydeTV and Clyde's Comix presents Katt Williams' "Gangsta Tigers" audio from Katt Williams' new stand-up DVD IT'S PIMPIN' PIMPIN' available Nov. 11.

TONIGHT IN NY: Kim Deitch Cartoon Screening

Looking for something to do in NY tonight. Check out “Cartoon Movie Night with Kim Deitch” (son of Gene, creator of Waldo the Cat). The FREE screening is open to the public and takes place at 7 pm at MoCCA (594 Broadway, Suite 401, between Houston & Prince). Here is a description of the event:

Kim Deitch will host a Cartoon Movie Night featuring rarely seen animated cartoons from the 1920s and 1930s hand-picked for the occasion from Deitch’s own personal collection. This period of animation inspired Deitch’s signature character Waldo the Cat and is the subject of his acclaimed graphic novel The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which is featured in the exhibit. As a special Halloween treat, MoCCA will also display for one night only selected specimens from Deitch and spouse Pam Butler’s extensive collection of antique toy cats. The blurring of fact, fiction and autobiography in Deitch’s work is a major focus of Kim Deitch: A Retrospective, and this display will present a rare opportunity to see the historical artifacts that motivate the fictional narrative in Deitch’s graphic novel Alias the Cat.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)