Monday, February 2, 2009

News - 02/02/08...

Panda Bests Robot at Annie Awards: "Kung Fu Panda" Takes 10 Awards

Kung Fu Panda dominated the 36th annual Annie Awards, taking home 10 trophies including Best Animated Feature, beating out films like WALL-E, Waltz with Bashir, and Bolt. It also won the Annie in the feature film categories for Animated Effects, Character Animation, Character Design, Directing, Music, Production Design, Storyboarding, Voice Acting (for Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu), and Writing. The property also won as 4 more awards for the "Secrets of the Furious Five" short film anthology and 1 for Best Video Game. Its victories meant that WALL-E went home empty-handed from this year's awards.

In other major categories,
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs took home the award for Best Animated Home Entertainment Production, beating out films like Justice League: The New Frontier and The Little Mermaid II: Ariel's Beginning. The Best Animated Short Subject went to "Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death."

Avatar the Last Airbender
won two awards for Best Animated TV Production for Children and Best Directing for Animated TV or Short Form (for Joaquim Dos Santos and "Sozin's Comet" Part 3), while Adult Swim's Robot Chicken: Star Wars II
won three awards for Best Television Production, Best Voice Acting in a TV Production (for Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks), and Best Writing. United Airlines' "Heart" won Best Animated TV Commercial.

36th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2008)

Winners in bold*


Best Animated Feature

Bolt – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Kung Fu Panda – DreamWorks Animation*
$9.99 – Sherman Pictures/Lama Films
Wall·E – Pixar Animation Studios
Waltz With Bashir – Sony Pictures Classics, Bridgit Folman, Les Films D'ici, Razor Films

Best Animated Home Entertainment Production

Batman: Gotham Knight – Warner Bros. Animation
Christmas Is Here Again – Easy To Dream Entertainment in association with Renegade Animation
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment*
Justice League: The New Frontier – Warner Bros. Animation
The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning – DisneyToon Studios

Best Animated Short Subject

Glago’s Guest – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Hot Dog – Bill Plympton Studio
Presto – Pixar Animation Studios
Sebastian’s Voodoo – Joaquin Baldwin
Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death – Aardman Animations Ltd.*

Best Animated Television Commercial

Giant Monster – Curious Pictures
Long Legs Mr. Hyde – Curious Pictures
Rotofugi: The Collectors – Screen Novelties/RSA Films
Sarah – Z Animation
United Airlines “Heart” – Duck Studios*

Best Animated Television Production

King of the Hill – 20th Century Fox TV
Moral Orel – ShadowMachine
Phineas and Ferb – Disney Television Animation
Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II - ShadowMachine*
The Simpsons – Gracie Films/Fox TV

Best Animated Television Production Produced for Children

A Miser Brothers Christmas – Warner Bros. Animation in association with ABC Family & Cuppa Coffee Studios
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Nickelodeon*
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Destination Imagination” – Cartoon Network Studios
The Mighty B! – Nickelodeon
Underfist: Halloween Bash – Cartoon Network Studios

Best Animated Video Game

Dead Space – Electronic Arts
Kung Fu Panda – Activision*
Wall·E – Heavy Iron Studios, a division of THQ, Inc.


Animated Effects

Alen Lai “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who” – Blue Sky Studios
Li-Ming Lawrence Lee “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*
Fangwei Lee “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” – DreamWorks Animation
Kevin Lee “Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Enrique Vila “Wall·E” – Pixar Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production

James Baxter “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*
Jeff Gabor “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who” – Blue Sky Studios
Philippe Le Brun “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Victor Navone “Wall·E” – Pixar Animation Studios
Dan Wagner “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Television Production or Short Form

Sandro Cleuzo “Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation
Joshua A. Jennings “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II” - ShadowMachine
Pierre Perifel “Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation*

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

Valerie Hadida “Igor” – Exodus Film Group
Sang Jun Lee “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who” – Blue Sky Studios
Nico Marlet “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*

Character Design in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Bryan Arnett – Mighty B! “Bat Mitzah Crashers” – Nickelodeon
Ben Balistreri - Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Mondo Coco” – Cartoon Network Studios
Sean Galloway “The Spectacular Spider-Man” – Sony Pictures Television
Jorge Gutierrez – El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera “The Good, The Bad, The Tigre” – Nickelodeon
Nico Marlet “Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation*

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen “The Tale Of Despereaux” – Universal Pictures
Ari Folman “Waltz With Bashir” – Sony Pictures Classics, Bridgit Folman, Les Films D'ici, Razor Films
Tatia Rosenthal “9.99” – Sherman Pictures/ Lama Films
John Stevenson & Mark Osborne “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*
Andrew Stanton “Wall·E” – Pixar Animation Studios

Directing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Bob Anderson - The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror XIX” – Gracie Films/Fox TV
Joaquim Dos Santos – Avatar: The Last Airbender “Sozin’s Comet Pt. 3” – Nickelodeon*
Craig McCracken, Rob Renzetti - Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Destination Imagination” – Cartoon Network Studios
Chris McKay – Moral Orel “Passing” – ShadowMachine
Alan Smart - SpongeBob SquarePants “Penny Foolish” – Nickelodeon

Music in an Animated Feature Production

Kevin Manthei – “Batman: Gotham Knight” – Warner Bros. Animation
John Powell – “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who” – Blue Sky Studios
Max Richter – “Waltz With Bashir” – Sony Pictures Classics, Bridgit Folman, Les Films D'ici, Razor Films
William Ross – “The Tale Of Despereaux” – Universal Pictures
Hans Zimmer & John Powell – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*

Music in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Carl Finch & Brave Combo - Click and Clack’s “As the Wrench Turns” – CTTV Productions
Henry Jackman, Hans Zimmer & John Powell – “Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation*
Kevin Kiner – “Star Wars The Clone Wars: Rising Malevolence” – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
Guy Moon – Back at the Barnyard “Cowman: The Uddered Avenger” – Nickelodeon/Omation
Guy Michelmore – “Growing Up Creepie: Rockabye Freakie” – Taffy Entertainment LLC

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

Ralph Eggleston “Wall·E” – Pixar Animation Studios
Paul Felix “Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Tang Heng “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*
Evgeni Tomov “The Tale Of Despereaux” – Universal Pictures
Raymond Zibach “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation

Production Design in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Andy Harkness “Glago’s Guest” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Tang Heng “Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation*
Seonna Hong – The Mighty B! “Bee Patients” – Nickelodeon
Dan Krall – Chowder “The Heavy Sleeper” – Cartoon Network Studios
Raymond Zibach “Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Alessandro Carloni – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Ronnie Del Carmen – “Wall·E” – Pixar Animation Studios
Joe Mateo “Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Jen Yuh Nelson – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*
Rob Stevenhagen – “The Tale Of Despereaux” – Universal Pictures

Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Butch Hartman – Fairly OddParents “Mission: Responsible” – Nickelodeon
Andy Kelly – Ni Hao, Kai-Lan “Twirly Whirly Flyers” – Nickelodeon Productions/Nelvana
Andy Schuhler – “Secret of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation
Eddie Trigueros “The Mighty B! “Name Shame”– Nickelodeon
Chris Williams “Glago’s Guest” – Walt Disney Animation Studios*

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

Ben Burtt – Voice of Wall·E – “Wall·E” – Pixar Animation Studios
Dustin Hoffman – Voice of Shifu – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*
James Hong – Voice of Mr. Ping – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Ian McShane – Voice of Tai Lung – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
Mark Walton – Voice of Rhino – “Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Ahmed Best – Voice of Jar Jar Binks – “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II” - ShadowMachine*
Seth MacFarlane – Voice of Peter Griffin – Family Guy “I Dream of Jesus” – Fox TV Animation/Fuzzy Door Productions
Dwight Schultz – Voice of Mung Daal – Chowder “Apprentice Games” – Cartoon Network Studios

Writing in an Animated Feature Production

Jon Aibel & Glenn Berger – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation*

Etan Cohen and Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath – “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” – DreamWorks Animation
Ari Folman – “Waltz With Bashir” – Sony Pictures Classics, Bridgit Folman, Les Films D'ici, Razor Films
Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio – “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who” – Blue Sky Studios

Writing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

Joel H. Cohen – The Simpsons “The Debarted” – Gracie Films/Fox TV
Scott Kreamer – El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera “Mustache Love” – Nickelodeon
Paul McEvoy and Todd Berger – “Secrets of the Furious Five” – DreamWorks Animation
Tom Root, Douglas Goldstein, Hugh Davidson, Mike Fasolo, Seth Green, Dan Milano, Matthew Senreich, Kevin Shinick, Zeb Wells, Breckin Meyer – “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II” – ShadowMachine*
Chris Williams – “Glago’s Guest” – Walt Disney Animation Studios


Winsor McCay recipients - Mike Judge, John Lasseter and Nick Park for career contributions to the art of animation
June Foray award - Bill Turner for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation
Certificate of Merit award - Amir Avni, Mike Fontanelli, Kathy Turner, Alex Vassilev

Here's the Star Trek Super Bowl Spot!

It's The LAND OF THE LOST Super Bowl Spot!! Chaka!! Sleestacks!! Dinos!! Production Values??

The Super Bowl Spot for LAND OF THE LOST is now online, giving us our first substantive look at the film. I really like the time warp's dumping ground - that's pretty cool.

Super Bowl Spot For Disney/Pixar's UP!

You can find it: HERE!!!

FAST & FURIOUS Super Bowl Spot!! Steamy Babes Apparently Making Out!! Car Fu!! Exploding Truck Limbo Dancing On Wheels!!

Much like the longer trailer seen recently (HERE), with a bit of new material if I recall correctly.

The Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Super Bowl Spot!

The Super Bowl spot for director Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has already made its way online and can be watched using either the player below or in High Definition quality here! The highly-anticipated sequel opens in conventional theaters and IMAX on June 26.

The G.I. Joe Super Bowl Spot!

Here's an exclusive early look at the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Super Bowl spot! This is the first footage ever from the Stephen Sommers-directed big screen adaptation and we think you'll feel the same way as us after viewing it - you want to see more!!

From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. Joe team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra organization to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, opening in theaters on August 7, stars Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Byung Hun Lee, Sienna Miller, Rachel Nichols, Ray Park, Said Taghmaoui, Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans and Dennis Quaid.

Watch the Super Bowl spot using the player below or by downloading one of the three High Definition QuickTime files!

480p | 720p | 1080p

Mister Trash Can

Every year, US households and businesses throw out 251 million tons of trash and our second biggest export to China is trash! Good Magazine packages these disturbing facts into a cute animated short called Mister Trash Can that’s guaranteed to make you feel bad about yourself. It’s directed by Garrett Morin, animated by Chad Colby and written by MacKenzie Fegan. The video is below but if you want a higher-res version, head to Good’s website.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

New and Upcoming in Japan


Via Anime News Network
Anime/manga's perennially popular investigator and thief will be meeting up in the upcoming TV anime special Lupin the Third vs Detective Conan, scheduled for March

Director Goro Taniguchi (Code Geass, Planetes, s-CRY-ed), character designer Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy games, Vampire Hunter D, Angel's Egg) and Minoru Nishida (the art director of the Kill Bill Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren) have been attached a new TV special animated incarnation of Osamu Tezuka's Jungle Emperor (Kimba the White Lion) television anime special. The new story will be set in an artificial environment created to preserve nearly extinct species after environmental disasters.

Live Action Updates

Shock Till You Drop reports that Chris Nahon's (Kiss of the Dragon) live action adaptation of Production I.G's Blood: The Last Vampire in UK theaters on June 12th. is now pointing to Pathe's site.

The film will be distributed in North America by Universal Pictures.


MTV's Splash Page reports Will Smith commented on that adaptation of the Oldboy manga be developed with Steven Spielberg.

“It’s the thing that Steven was attracted to,” Smith told MTV News. “We’re working from the comic and we haven’t done anything other than talk about it. So we’ll see what happens, but he’s not going to do anything that would be less than stunning.”

The manga was previously adapted by Park Chan-wook.

Hisayuki Toriumi Passes Away

Hisayuki Toriumi, known for his work at Tatsunoko, including directing Gatchaman, passed away at age 67. Toriumi assisted Mamoru Oshii on his development of the first OVA, Dallos.

The Business

Anime News Network has summarized Keisuke Iwata, the executive in charge of TV Tokyo's AT-X animation channel and its animation division, lecture on anime's road to survival

Speaking at "Anime Business Forum + 2009" event at Digital Hollywood's University of Digital Content in Tokyo, Iwata predicted "the global marketplace for Japanese animation will shrink from 2010 onward."

In Iwata's view, there is no room for growth since Japanese animation has reached the saturation point in the global marketplace. Due to the worldwide recession and illegal net distribution, Iwata concluded that the North American marketplace is battered, the European marketplace is in grave condition, and the Japanese companies cannot rely on the Middle East, Asia, and other regions as potential new marketplaces. He added, "as it stands, we may have to go back to the way it was in the past — back to selling Japanese animation only to the Japanese marketplace." In order to survive in the current adverse climate, TV Tokyo is proceeding with new initiatives that include animation on American video-distribution sites.

Bromwell High screenwriter Sharat Sardana dies, 40

Sharat Sardana, a BAFTA-nominated screenwriter for the British-Canadian cartoon series Bromwell High, died Tuesday, four days after he collapsed with a streptococcal virus. He was 40.

Sardana died in hospital, surrounded by family and friends.

Developed by Decode Entertainment, Bromwell High follows the adventures of three exceptionally naughty schoolgirls, one maverick headmaster, and a bunch of desperate, underpaid teachers. The action takes place within the grounds of the school itself -- a bog standard, underfunded, overcrowded, graffiti-scarred secondary school in South London.

Sardana collapsed at the home of his 82-year-old father Om, for whom he was a caregiver since his mother Raj, one of Britain's first women Indian doctors, died of cancer. She died less than a year before her son and his best friend died of cancer as well.

He was the creator of British comedy series The Kumars At No. 42, sharing BAFTA TV Award nominations in 2002 and 2003 for Best Comedy Programme or Series. The series won for seven seasons until 2006, winning an International Emmy.
In 2002, he shared a BAFTA Film Award nomination for Best Short Film for Inferno.

Sardana first gained success after writing the BBC series Goodness Gracious Me, the first Asian comedy to gain popularity with mainstream Britons. Most of his characters were based on his family members.

Goodness Gracious Me ran for three seasons, leading to two specials and a theatre tour. The show received a BAFTA nomination.

"It is impossible to describe the level of sadness caused by Sharat's sudden death. We are shocked and devastated by this tragic loss," his cousin, Anita Kirpal, told the Daily Mail.

"Many people will miss Sharat. He was a funny, insightful man, a great writer, a true friend and a loving and generous family member," she added.

"By his mid-30s, he seemingly had it all: the Porsche and the loft apartment in Shoreditch. He had even started dating Miss World.

"But when he was with us, his closest friends and family, he would take pleasure in refusing any invitations that we made to him, saying in smug tones: 'No, sorry. I can't stop for a roti tonight, I'd love to, but I'm going out to dinner with Miss World.' It was all in the timing."

Sardana's favorite comedians were Richard Pryor and Woody Allen. He became a comedy fan when at Forest School in Snaresbrook, where he met lifetime writing partner Richard Pinto.

In the early 1990s, he met longtime colleagues Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar, who married in 2005. They worked with Sardana on The Kumars.

For hours, Sardana would spend hours with family and friends in Al's Café Bar in Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, designing sketches for Goodness Gracious Me. They created such characters as Mr. "Everything Comes from India," Bhangraman, the boy who thinks he is cool but can't get to first base with girls, and the snobby Kapoors.

Mrs. "I can do that at home for nothing," the mother who thinks restaurants are a racket, was based on Sardana's mother, who bragged that she could make most dishes starting from one eggplant.

Consistently voted one of the funniest British comedy sketches of all time was the routine about "going for an English," in which Sardana appeared. It spoofed the English habit of getting drunk at the pub and then "going for a curry."

The team found paydirt in 1996, when Radio Four (and later BBC2) commissioned Goodness Gracious Me. Music was provided early on by Nitin Sawhney.

"Sharat was always very witty. He was able to take family jokes and make them work with a wide audience," Kirpal said.

Added childhood friend Paul Kousoulides: "Sharat was genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, and his humor was totally irreverent."

At the time of his death, he was working on a series that he hoped would become the male counterpart of Sex and The City.

Sharat Sardana's funeral is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at the City of London Crematorium.

Disney camera effects man Bob Broughton dead at 91

Robert C. "Bob" Broughton, a camera effects artist for Disney whose Mouse House career began with 1937's Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, died January 19 at a Rochester, Minnesota nursing facility. He was 91.

Named a Disney Legend in 2001, Broughton devoted his skill as a camera effects artist to nearly every Disney motion picture until 1979's The Black Hole. After retiring in 1982, he coordinated the studio's retiree club The Golden Ears for 15 years.

"I had one of the best jobs anyone could have, with a one-of-a-kind organization and incredibly talented people," Broughton once recalled.

As a camera effects artist on both animated and live-action motion pictures, his job was to create spectacular effects in a subtle way. For instance, in Mary Poppins, he helped Dick Van Dyke dance with animated penguins by using Color Traveling Matte Composite Cinematography, an award-winning technology that combined live-action and animated actors.

"If it looked like we doctored up a scene," Broughton recalled, "we were a failure. Our effects weren't supposed to be obvious."

Born in Berkeley, California on September 17, 1917, he attended University of California, Los Angeles, studying chemistry, physics, math, and optics. He joined Disney in 1937, delivering mail to studio offices before stepping into the camera department. There, he shot test camera on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a step in production to check continuous action of animated scenes before photographing the final product.

Broughton quickly graduated to the more technically-advanced multiplane camera, giving depth to animated scenes in such features as Pinocchio by photographing backgrounds painted on glass up to six layers deep.

In 1940, as one of two operators of an advanced camera and crane, Bob transferred to the newly-formed special photographic effects department shooting effects for Fantasia, including the transparent flying ghosts featured in the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence. His technical mind, keen eye and steady hand soon won him a promotion to camera department supervisor.

While in his new position, Broughton branched out into scene planning, developing mechanics for multiplane camera scenes, as well as overseeing optical printing on Disney's first movie to combine live action and animation, Saludos Amigos (1942).

During the Second World War, he left Disney to serve in the United States Army as a camera man in the field photographic branch of the Office of Strategic Services, headed by Hollywood director John Ford. Based in Washington, D.C., he photographed an Oscar-winning film directed by Ford, documenting the Battle of Midway.

After the war, Broughton returned to the Disney studio as assistant to technical wizard Ub Iwerks. By the 1950s, he began contributing effects to live-action motion pictures and working with such celebrities as Julie Andrews, Maureen O'Hara and Dean Jones. He created the visual effect that made Hayley Mills appear as twins in The Parent Trap.

On the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds, he providing the effects of the fluttering, menacing birds when Hitchcock contracted out the special effects work to Disney.

For a time, Broughton even photographed Walt Disney performing lead-ins for the weekly TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

Robert C. Broughton is survived by his son Dan.

Telegraph Profiles John Lasseter: "I Got Rid of Idiot Executives"

The Telegraph spoke with Disney/Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, who was in London earlier this month to promote Bolt in advance of its opening in the United Kingdom. Lasseter speaks freely of his aim to make Disney Animation "a filmmaker's studio" again, saying, "I got rid of idiot executives" who valued making money over making quality films and abandoned hand-drawn animation that they deemed outdated. Lasseter also had some harsh words for the many straight-to-DVD titles which "sucked," adding that, "I'm against making really bad sequels to movies that Walt Disney made at the height of his talent – which we were doing."

As for Bolt, Lasseter insisted that the movie was a production of Walt Disney Animation Studios, not Pixar, and states that the 3-D version is "the best 3D film to date. Its 3D gives it a roundness. It envelops you."

New Wolverine onesheet now live

Fox has released a few new images of Hugh Jackman from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the upcoming prequel film that fills in Logan's backstory. Check out more below.

In Wolverine, Jackman reprises the role of the fierce fighting machine who possesses amazing healing powers, retractable claws and a primal fury.

The movie tells the story of Wolverine's violent and romantic past, as well as his complex relationship with Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe whose appearances in the film series have long been anticipated. Wolverine opens May 1.

A Super Bowl Star Trek trailer we wish we could see ...

While we await J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, the enterprising fans at Sputnik Animation have cobbled together a trailer for the Trek movie we really want to see.

It's on YouTube. (Thanks to Ain't It Cool News for the heads up!) You can watch it after the jump.

See if you can guess where the voice clips came from! We hear Anchor Man, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers ..

Dan Fogler joins Mars Needs Moms! cast

According to ComingSoon, actor Dan Fogler has joined the cast of Mars Needs Moms!, Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming motion capture film. Based on Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed’s novel of the same name, Mars Needs Moms! tells the story of a young boy who must rescue his mother after she is kidnapped by aliens.

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" Episodes Air on TNT

The Hollywood Reporter reports that TNT will air episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The network will start airing back-to-back episodes on February 14, 2009, after NBA All-Star Saturday Night.

After that, the network will air back-to-back episodes in its regular time slot every Wednesday at 10:00 PM.

Lone Ranger producer Arthur A. Jacobs dies

Arthur A. Jacobs, executive producer of the long-forgotten 1966 Format Films cartoon series The Lone Ranger, died Sunday of congestive heart failure after many years of ill health. His age was not immediately available.

Featuring the voices of Michael Rye as The Lone Ranger and Shepard Menken as Tonto, the series ran for 75 seven-minute segments on CBS. It was co-produced by Britain's Halas and Batchelor studio. Herbert Klynn and Jules Engel were the show's other producers.

A veteran film salesman and movie and TV producer, was a former Second World War veteran of the United States Army Air Corps, and served with distinction in the European Theater.

One of his proudest moments during the war was helping to rescue the wounded from the Battle of the Bulge, flying them immediately to hospitals in the United States for treatment. It saved many lives.

He always said, "I miss the peaceful days of WWII" and made everyone laugh, family members said in a Los Angeles Times obituary.

Among the films he produced was the sci-fi horror adventure She Demons (1958), starring Irish McCalla. He worked with his friend Richard E. Cunha on this film, as well as the low-budget scare pic Giant from the Unknown.

As well, he worked with the Wrather Corporation, becoming vice-president in charge of production and distribution. Later, he worked for actors-turned-TV producers Danny Thomas, Sheldon Leonard and Aaron Spelling.

He was not related to Arthur P. Jacobs, producer of the Planet of the Apes series of films, who died in 1973.

Arthur A. Jacobs is survived by his wife since 1950, Paula Ross; son Brian; sister Edith (Sig) Schiff; brother David (Shirley) Jacobs; and brother-in-law Edward (Myrna) Ross. He also had numerous nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Gulliver’s Travels on DVD

Though Max Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels in public domain and widely available on several home video formats, the film has never been digitally restored to its full potential. Unfortunetly, the company with access to the original negative and soundtrack elements is not interested in restoring it and making it available on DVD.

However, a company called KOCH Vision is releasing a “digitally restored, re-mastered and enhanced” edition on both Blu-ray and standard DVD versions on March 10th. According to their press release, the DVD will include:

…the complete 77 minute feature film, two “Gabby” cartoons edited from the film’s outtakes and a Fleischer Studios “Making of a Cartoon” documentary.

KOCH Vision attained the original 35mm film and not only restored and re-mastered the film using a state-of-the-art digital process, but also enhanced the picture to a 16×9 aspect ratio. In addition, the DVD allows for three audio options: the restored original soundtrack, enhanced stereo, and 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. Both bonus cartoons and documentary have also been restored, making the KOCH Vision version of Gulliver’s Travels a must-own for fans of classic animation and children of all ages.

I’ll withhold judgement on whether this release is a good thing or not till I see this dvd myself… but “enhancing” the picture to a wide 16×9 screen ratio, and remixing the track for surround sound, are not my ideas of restoration. To some, this might be a desecration. And the box art, designed to resemble a Disney Platinum Edition, looks like a scam. Someone needs to revive Fleischer’s Gulliver and Mr. Bug, but until the corporation with the ability to do it correctly realizes what they own, this is all we can expect. I applaud KOCH for making an effort. Let’s hope they do justice to this long neglected classic.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Bay Talks "Transformers" Previews

"Transformers" director Michael Bay has talked about tomorrow's Superbowl spot and the soon to be released teaser trailer for the upcoming sequel 'Revenge of the Fallen' on his official blog:

"The Super Bowl spot is coming Sunday in the third Quarter (few minutes into the quarter slot). The spot will be online a few minutes after that.

The full length teaser trailer will only be on 'Friday the 13th'. It will not hit the internet until a week later."

Don't expect much either - "The teaser really only teases stuff - I'm holding so much stuff back from the final trailers because I personally hate going to movies where you have seen it all."

Winter Linkage ...

Three Dee!

... of the extra frosty kind.

Fred Seibert explains Frederator's long cavalcade of teevee shorts:

Random! Cartoons was a series unique to its moment in time. Like with all the others, we relied primarily on artists and animators who wrote their own films. Common to all of the shorts series was my production companion, veteran Larry Huber.

What a Cartoon! was nurtured inside of an existing studio, Hanna-Barbera, and depended on the support of the great staff that had built the company. We made 48 shorts with 40 different creators across the world. Veterans like Bruno Bozzetto and Ralph Bakshi, newcomers, including Genndy Tartakovsky, Craig McCraken and Butch Hartman ...

Disney's other c.g. animated doggie picture is up for ... an award!

Indian film industry has just bagged its first nomination at the prestigious Visual Effects Society (VES) awards, known as the Oscars of the animation and visual effects industry.

India’s first full length animation 3D film,
Roadside Romeo, co-produced by Yash Raj Films and Disney, has been nominated in the ‘Outstanding Animation in an Animated Motion Picture’ category alongside big Hollywood animation films such as Dreamworks’ Kung-Fu Panda and Disney’s WALL-E ...

Probably not the front runner, but if an award helps boost Romeo's grosses, that's a good thing, right?

Connecticut welcomes Blue Sky Animation Studios to the Land of tax breaks.

More than 300 creative Blue Sky staff are beginning to fill 105,000 square feet of leased space of the 605,000-square-foot Greenwich American Center office facility west of Westchester Airport, and the group's innovative and productive capacity, coupled with the state's alluring tax credit for movie makers, could turn this corner of Greenwich into a veritable "Disneyland." ...

Problem is, the good times might be short-lived.

... Whether the state's film industry tax credits will continue remains to be seen. The state faces a budget shortfall of $343 million, and the $6 billion estimated deficit over the next two years has some state senators reassessing the TV/film tax credits to determine their value to the state's unsettled economy.

It's bum how financial disasters wreck beautiful parties.

In the meantime, 3-D marches on ... and on (and it's not just the DreamWorks ad today on Super bowl Sunday.):

DURING the title sequence of “Coraline,” Henry Selick’s latest stop-action animated movie, two hands disembowel a doll and then reassemble it with needle and thread. While not the most warm and fuzzy scene in any cinematic form, what makes it particularly ghoulish is the feeling that you could run your fingers through the doll’s sawdust innards and touch its button eyes.

As the 3-D experience becomes an increasingly regular part of moviegoing, scenes like this one will be impossible to resist for directors eager to play with the technology ...

Time to book a flight to Stuttgart, where a smorgasbord of German animation is getting served up.

As part of this year's Stuttgart Festival, the retrospective with the title "Cheers! 100 Years of German Animation Film" documents the versatility of Animated Film in Germany. The topical range stretches from the first German animated film PROSIT NEUJAHR of 1909 to the works of early avant-gardists of the 1920s and 1930s such as Walter Ruttmann and Hans Richter, featuring current productions like Oscar-winning short films BALANCE (1989) by Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein and QUEST (1996) by Tyron Montgomery and Thomas Stellmach.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Henry Speaks

The next animated feature into the marketplace is Coraline, out next Friday. Director Henry Selick holds forth about the project:

... [T]he tone of it is different than what's been made by Pixar and DreamWorks, certainly. But it's not really so different from the first features that Walt Disney did. Snow White, where a queen wants the heart of a young girl delivered to her in a box. . . .
Pinocchio sees his best friend turned into an animal, and it could happen to him. . . .
Fantasia, Night on Bald Mountain, or even The Sorcerer's Apprentice. . . .

"We have a very long tradition of like Grimm's fairy tales, or cautionary tales, that our tribal elders were telling around the campfire, and saying, 'Don't go out in the woods, you're going to get eaten.' And eventually someone was better at telling those stories than someone else, and they were the tales that lived on. They're cautionary fairy tales, life lessons.

"We're still in tune with that, we just haven't made those sort of animated films in this country since the early Disney, but there is a tradition. We're just reviving that."

When I first met Henry S., he was working at the Mouse House, sharing a room with another future director named Bill Kroyer.

Henry was a passionate guy then, and he seems to be a passionate guy now. Coraline is Portland-based Laika's first animated feature out of the starting blocks, and obviously there's a lot riding on it.

If Mr. Selick's picture makes a splash, then Laika gains credibility and market traction, at least in the near term. And it's always nice to have another player in the animation business, especially during these times of woe.

So here's hoping for some box office skyrockets.

(Coraline's author Neil Gaiman talks about his creation here.)

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

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