Tuesday, March 10, 2009

News - 03/10/09...

Cartoon Movie Wraps With Tributes, Record Attendance

Cartoon Movie wrapped up the first edition in its new locale in Lyon, France, by awarding tributes to the top performers in European animation, and by reporting record attendance from participants, buyers and distributors.

Attendance hit a high of 622, up 21 percent from 510 at last year’s event, which was held the previous ten years at the Babelsberg Studio in Berlin.

The number of distributors was up nearly 20 percent rising from 66 last year to 79. The number of buyers, which includes distributors, also rose more than 20 percent from 144 to 174.

The event also presented tributes to Tomm Moore of Ireland as Best European Director of the Year for The Secret of the Kells; BAC Films of France as Best European Distributor of the Year; and Best European Producer of the year to the trio of Cartoon Saloon (Ireland), Les Armateurs (France) and Vivi Film (Belgium), also for The Secret of Kells.

Henson Co.’s Science Kid Travels the Globe

Sid the Science Kid is coming to TV screens all over the world, with the Jim Henson Co. finalizing broadcast deals across the globe for the animated preschool property.

The deals struck include agreements with France5 in France, RTP in Portugal, Selecta Vision in Spain, Al Jazeera in the Middle East and Noga Communications in Israel, E-Vision in the United Arab Emirates and Botswana Television.

French-Canadian outlet TFO picked up the Francophone rights north of the border, while The American Forces Network will air the show outside the U.S.

Exim Licensing has signed on to handle all licensing and merchandising in Latin America, where the show is broadcast by Discovery Kids Latin America.

currently airs on PBS KIDS in the United States and in Canada on TV Ontario, SCN-Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s Knowledge.

Tytla’s Little Audrey

J.J. Sedelmaier recently had a visit from John Canemaker at his studio in White Plains. J.J. explained:

“We had a chance to go through some of that art I was given years ago from (animator) Jan Svochak. As we’re rummaging through the stuff John says, “Wait! That’s a Tytla sequence!” John saw Tytla’s extreme drawing “X” marks in the upper right hand corner. When you see the way he’s gesturally thrown the anatomy together so effortlessly, it becomes clearer. . . I’d forgotten he worked on Little Audrey…”

Interesting find. These drawings are from a scene in Surf Bored — released well after Tytla left Famous Studios, in 1953. Click thumbnails below to see the drawing closer. Thanks J.J. for sharing these with us.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Koko Walks Again!

Good ol’ J.J. Sedelmaier, inspired by our post last month of an animated Koko the Clown flip book by Bob Jaques, reached into his archives and unearthed another vintage Fleischer promotional flipbook sequence. These were printed on gummed back sheets so you could cut them out and stick’em on the bottom corner of a book. J.J. scanned them frame by frame and made ‘em move:

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Media Blasters Announces New May Titles Including "Voltron Movie"

Three new Media Blasters DVDs are slated for May:

* Dojin Work vol. 3: 5/5/09 - $19.99
* Night Head Genesis vol. 5: 5/12/09 - $21.99
* Voltron: Movie - Fleet of Doom: 5/26/09 - $19.99

Mini Linkage

No, it's not Mickey's girlfriend in bondage, but a few fresher animation news pieces, rolled out for viewing.

Apparently Mr.Spielberg completes his mo-cap direction of Tintin in the next week or so:

Steven Spielberg this week will quietly wrap 32 days of performance-capture lensing on "Tintin," then hand the project to producer Peter Jackson, who will focus on the film's special effects for the next 18 months.

Although the baton-pass is stealthy,
"Tintin" is anything but a low-profile project. And that's just the first of many contradictions inherent with the film, which brings together two of cinema's visionaries ...

And a Japanese animation studio is partnering with the world's largest carmaker:.

Studio Ghibli, the toon house responsible for the Hayao Miyazaki smashes "Spirited Away" and "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea," is collaborating with automaker Toyota to open a new training studio ...

Beginning in April, Ghibli will dispatch 20 new hires to the studio for a two-year course to learn animation techniques while being exposed to robotics and other Toyota technologies. Studio supremo Miyazaki and other veteran Ghibli animators will give lectures ...

A new Disney-type mag called D23 rolls out in the Spring; The Pixar Blog (for there is a blog for everything) has news about a Pixar short that's contained within:

[D23] (Spring 2009) contains a sidebar with the first ever plot details on Pixar's next theatrical short Partly Cloudy, that'll be in theatres attached to Up starting May 29.

The tipster reports that
Partly Cloudy will elaborate on the age-old story of babies being delivered to their mothers by storks. In the short, clouds are essentially baby factories, where babies are made out of 'fluffy white stuff'. Each cloud has a stork assigned to deliver the babies produced.

Partly Cloudy
's protagonist is a cloud named Gus who makes the 'tougher babies' like alligators and porcupines. Peck is Gus' stork who's grown tired of having to deliver all the tough babies and wants to move on to softer ones like kittens and humans. The short's climax is when Gus thinks Peck quit in search of easier deliveries ...

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Bashir Filmmaker Highlights Gaza Situation in Closed Zone

Yoni Goodman, the animation director on the award-winning, Flash-animated feature Waltz With Bashir, has created a new animated short film. Closed Zone is a mixed-media short that uses analogy to comment on the Gaza strip blockade. The film was produced by Gisha, a non-profit that aims to “protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents.” The short has already been seen over 100,000 times on YouTube, thanks to coverage by the Huffington Post and the UK newspaper The Guardian.

In this behind-the-scenes segment below, Goodman and one of the producers discuss how the project came to be.

"Dora the Explorer" Teen Look Previewed, Causes Uproar

Nickelodeon and Mattel have released a teaser silhouette of a revamped Dora the Explorer line of toys that will debut in the fall, which will turn the character into a teenager who has abandoned her shorts and sneakers for longer hair, what seems to be a short skirt, and pointed ballet pumps. In the new line of toys, "the tweenage Dora will live in the big city, attend middle school and have a new wardrobe and accessories."

The silhouette has raised the ire of several parents, including the co-authors of the book Packaging Childhood, who complain that the new look and planned conversion of Dora into a fashion plate isn't true to the character she is as a child.

Rod Gilchrist, Executive Director of Cartoon Art Museum, R.I.P.

The San Francisco Gate is reporting that Rod Gilchrist, executive director of San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum, passed away on February 26, 2009, at the age of 58 due to brain cancer. Gilchrist joined the Cartoon Art Museum about 11 years ago and shepherding the institution through the dot-com boom and bust, which led to ever-rising San Francisco rents in the former and harder economic conditions in the latter, all while continuing the museum's mission to preserve comic and animation artwork. A memorial service will be held on March 20, 2009, at the museum. According to an e-mailed announcement by Andrew Farago, "In lieu of flowers, Rod’s family has suggested that you please send donations in his memory to the Cartoon Art Museum or Portola Family Connections."

Jeff Bennett on Being the Red Hood and the Joker in "Batman: The Brave and the Bold"

Comicon.com's PULSE News has spoken with actor Jeff Bennett about being the Red Hood and the Joker in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Among other topics, Bennett discusses how he passed up the chance to voice the Joker in The Batman, how his unfamiliarity with the character or the animated incarnations by Kevin Michael Richardson or Mark Hamill were unexpected aids to him, how he arrived at the character for the Joker and the Red Hood, and the difference between the two.

CBR Talks with John DiMaggio on Being Aquaman for "Batman: Brave and the Bold"

Comic Book Resources has spoken with actor John DiMaggio about his role as Aquaman on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Among other topics, DiMaggio discusses why he thinks Aquaman is cool, why this particular version of Aquaman is fun, how he reconciles the serious and the silly aspects of his character, and how he deals with the challenge of bringing a hero to life and also making him funny.

DiMaggio can be heard as Aquaman again this Friday, March 13, 2009, in the new episode Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Mystery in Space!" Click here to check out stills and video clips from the episode.

Briefly: "Cingkus Blues" to Nick?; Shreveport Studio Opens; "Class of 3000" on Stage

* Malaysian 2-D cartoon Cingkus Blues has attracted the attention of Nickelodeon, with studio head of Third Rock Creation Sdn Bhd stating that, "We are waiting for the channel to agree to finance the other 12 episodes." [The New Straits Times]

* Children's author William Joyce has set up DigiLou Studios in Shreveport, AL, to begin work on the animated short film "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore." [Shreveport Times]

* Class of 3000 has been revived as a stage show in Atlanta, which is expected to run at the Alliance Theatre through March 29, 2009. [Ledger-Enquirer]

De Line On Green Lantern

Collider's Frosty, always-on-the-ball, got the dirt on "Green Lantern" straight from Producer Donald De Line over the weekend.

First up, De Line (
"Observe and Report", the upcoming "The Jetsons") essentially confirmed that the flick will be more "Iron Man" than "Dark Knight"
- and appropriately so.

''It is absolutely a big action/adventure piece and fantasy obviously as we go out into space with the Green Lantern'', he tells the site. ''And it’s Hal Jordan. It will absolutely have a sense of humor as well, character based humor. So it’s not dark it that regard. ''

The project is moving hurriedly towards the starting line, he adds.

"It is definitely going as much as anything is in the movie business right now. We’re in pre-production. We have Martin Campbell directing it. We have our production designer and costume designer. We’re heading off to Australia to scout next week. It’s on the release calendar. I feel like we’d have to do something really wrong to stop it from happening. But I think we’re absolutely going to keep it on the track.''

Bolt Watch

Well, well, well. The White Doggie appears to be within spitting distance of the $300 million plateau:

"Bolt" ... remains a winner for Disney overseas, grossing $4.2 million for the weekend in 26 territories for a cume of $171.6 million. Pic has yet to open in Japan. "Bolt," which grossed $114 [million] in its domestic run, sports a worldwide cume of $285.6 million.

TIf it hadn't been for those sexy vampires, the feature would be past $300 million now. Happily, the Big Mouse learned from its stateside releasing mistake.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Darker ‘Fantastic Four’ Reboot In The Works?

“The Dark Knight,” “Sin City” and “Watchmen” have made dark comics films all the rage in Hollywood studios. Now, rumors are circulating that 20th Century Fox might be looking to apply that edgier formula to another “Fantastic Four” film.

According to anonymous sources at IESB, the
“Fantastic Four” film franchise could receive a complete overhaul alongside “Daredevil” and “Planet of the Apes,” with the studio opting to take those properties into more serious territories with new directors.

The new franchise reboot would also involve building a new cast from scratch, scrapping the Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis team from
“Fantastic Four” and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” Previous “Fantastic Four” director Tim Story would also be moved aside in favor of someone new.

If Fox takes a similar approach to Jon Favreau’s
“Iron Man,” which integrated current events like the war in Afghanistan with hot-button issues like the military industrial complex, it would be interesting to see what a new director pulls out of the traditionally family friendly “Fantastic Four” universe. The Marvel Comics series has always thrived on science-fiction stories with cosmic implications, though, and science and the space program are both hot headlining issues right now. With that in mind, “Wanted”
co-creator Mark Millar’s “Ultimate Fantastic Four” stories could be prime fodder for such material.

Of course, if all they want is more black, there’s always Sue “Invisible Woman” Storm’s possessed alter ego, “Malice,” known for her vampy attire and blonde mullet. Hardcore “Fantastic Four” fans would probably get a kick out such an addition — or alternatively, the introduction of the Invisible Woman’s short-lived but more-revealing alternate uniform, which was aligned to a far more mature-audience style than its predecessors. But keep in mind, all of this talk of a dark turn for Marvel’s first family is still rumor at this point.

11 Second Club Goes To School of Rock

Ringling-grad Patrick Tuorto animated this short clip for this February’s 11 Second Club contest. Out of 182 submissions, this one took 2nd place. The audio is from School of Rock, featuring the voices of Jack Black and Mike White, who wrote the film. Character design was by Wyatt S. Miles, the manager and art director at Flashpotatoes.

Guitar Poser and Burger Miester from Patrick Tuorto on Vimeo.

Pictoplasma Kicks Off With OReilly Animation

This year’s Pictoplasma Pictopia event is upon us. Events run from the 17th of March to the 22nd, all centered at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures), which was designed by Hugh Stubbins Jr in the 1950s. The Speakers include Saiman Chow, James Jarvis and STUDIOaka’s Marc Craste, and there’s a vast animation line-up including Don Hertzfeldt’s Everything Will Be Ok, Jamie Hewlett’s piece for the BBC Journey To The East and David OReilly’s Please Say Something and Octocat Adventure. Speaking of David OReilly, here’s his Official Opening Animation clip, which is based on a concept he and event co-founder Peter Thaler dreamed up.

When You're Smiling... from David OReilly on Vimeo.

Ring in South Park Season 13

Seven new episodes of South Park kick-off Wednesday night (10:00pm) with The Ring, the first episode of season 13. Comedy Central offered up this teaser clip of the episode, which sees Kenny getting a girlfriend.

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