Monday, April 20, 2009

News - 04/20/09...

ASIFA-East Presents - The 40th Annual ASIFA-East Animation Festival!

May 3rd, Sunday 6pm

ASIFA-East Presents - The 40th Annual ASIFA-East Animation Festival!

Yes, that’s right - 40 years! This is easily the most anticipated and exciting night of the year. Come help us celebrate - open to all, free admission and reception to follow! Flyer design by Elliot Cowan.

The New School
Tischman Auditorim
66 W. 12th St.
(bet. 5th/6th)

(Thanks asifaeast)

A panel discussion on the State of New York Animation

This Wednesday, ASIFA-East will be presenting a panel discussing on the state of the NY Animation Industry. This promises to be quite the discussion, in light of recent events and industry blog commentary. In the words of our witty Elliot Cowan: “A panel of crack animation experts have been selected to help guide you from the seedy crack den of despair to the palatial mansions of hope and then back into the gutter. Linda Beck will be moderating with a large wooden paddle and a frowny face.” Come for the comraderie, stick around for some words of enlightenment and well-worn wisdom, and afterwards, get thee to the bar.

(Thanks asifaeast)

The new clip from animated sci-fi flick 9 freaks me out!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I've gone on and on about Shane Acker's awesome animated short film 9, so I'll try to keep that to a minimum. Suffice to say that I'm desperate to see the feature version, especially after seeing this clip. Anyone else getting a kind of SECRET OF NIMH vibe from this? I don't mean stylistically, but NIMH scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid and the blow clip from 9 freaked me out right now. Not the wide-eyed 7 year old me, the horror-loving, haunted house attending 28 year old.

I've long been wanting to see a resurgence of family horror. Where are our SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES? This movie feels like what I want, set in an incredibly stylistic sci-fi setting. Here's the clip that premiered over at MTV! Enjoy!

PS There's an HD link just below the video on the MTV page, which should be your preferred viewing anyway, but I hear those in Canada and the UK that have trouble accessing the embed can still view the clip via the HD link on the MTV page!

PPS I'm told the HD link isn't working outside of the US, so you can always hit up YouTube, but it's crappier video.

(Thanks Aint It Cool)

17 Again tops weekend box office

Zac Efron's fantasy comedy 17 Again debuted as the top movie, with an estimated $24.1 million for the three-day April 17 weekend, the Associated Press reported.

Monsters vs. Aliens, meanwhile, held strong at number two, taking in an estimated $12.9 million to raise its domestic haul to $162.7 million.

Jason Statham had a so-so opening for his action sequel Crank: High Voltage, which came in sixth place with $6.5 million, $4 million less than the first weekend for the 2006 original Crank.

Hollywood maintained a record box-office pace with just one weekend to go before the busy summer season arrives May 1 with X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Bonaventura Bringing Lions, Tigers and Bears to Life

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produceLions, Tigers and Bears, based on a comic book, for Paramount Pictures. The film would be live action but would call for considerable CG effects, reports Variety. Here is how the comic book is described:

A child's instinctual need for the comfort of a stuffed animal is rooted in a reality long forgotten by the adult world. The hidden truth is that these companions have been defending children since the dawn of time. Follow young Joey on the adventure of a lifetime as he travels through the Stuffed Animal Kingdom, a journey that puts the fate of all the world's children in his hands and brings him face to face with his destiny.

How many nights have you lain awake wondering if the monsters you imagine inhabiting your closet or lurking beneath your bed are real? How many hours pass in the night while your sleepless mind creates terrifying images of what lies just beyond your field of vision... out there, in the dark? How many minutes have gone by while you wait in fear, dreading the noise you thought you heard? How many seconds have pounded in your heart, as your imagination runs away to conjure the Beasties?

For those of you who ponder those questions lay down your fear, for the denizens of the Stuffed Animal Kingdom are on patrol, marshalling their forces and guarding your dreams.

The film would be live action but would call for considerable CG effects, reports Variety.

 Interviews Michel Gondry on Music Videos, Future Projects has interviewed director Michel Gondry about his newest collection of music videos More Videos: Before & After DVD 1. Gondry discusses the lengthy behind-the-scenes material on the DVD which examines his live-action and animated work on the videos and the inspirations for several of them. He also notes his work on the upcoming Green Hornet live-action movie and the status of an animated collaboration with indie comic book artist Dan Clowes.

TRANSFORMERS 2 Showest footage!!!

Here's a ShoWest scene from TRANSFORMERS 2 that Michael Bay posted up. Has that same goofy sense of humor, but I have to say - I am really prefering the action shots in this film versus the last. The Transformers are in Natural settings where they pop from their backgrounds and really stand out. Also seems to be more full length shots as opposed to fetishistic close ups. Let's hope this is as good as it looks. Me, I can't wait to see!

Minnie Links

Cal Arts is getting a new endowment ... and it doesn't come from the House of Big Round Ears:

Nickelodeon, home to "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Dora the Explorer," is establishing an endowed scholarship program at the California Institute of the Arts' School of Film/Video for students of animation.

"We want to do all that we can to support fledgling talent," said Brown Johnson, Nickelodeon's president of animation ...

Interviews for Fox Networks' new animated entry Sit Down, Shut Up, rolling out April 19th, are now arrowing across the media.

Sit Down, Shut Up revolves around the dysfunctional faculty at a high school in a small fishing town in Florida. The teachers there work hard, too -- work hard at doing anything other than teaching.

"Why did we decide to do it as an animated show?" [said creator Mitch Hurwitz]. "Oh, money. Not that we're worried about the state of broadcast television per se -- we're feeling pretty good about that, actually -- but we saw the original show as being very daft, very broad. There was a character who grew breasts during the course of their pilot episode. And we just thought animation would make the perfect fit."

Former TAG shop steward Kevin Geiger reviews Global Animation:

The global animation industry lies mainly in the U.S., Europe, Japan and South Korea, with China and India rising to prominence. Nevertheless, one may point to almost any country in the world for notable developments in animation within the last decade ...

As a major animation exporter, Japan has a precise industry chain and a mature operating mechanism. Japan’s animation industry ranks highly in the national economy, and the output value of Japanese animation products exceeds that of steel. Anime has a market value of nearly $2.5 billion USD in the United States alone, with global merchandising worth almost $5 billion USD. South Korea is second only to the U.S. and Japan in the output value of its animation industry, which has become one of the six “pillar industries” in South Korea’s national economy ...

To end: The tub-thumping grows steadily as release date approaches:

...Cute, round kid; grumpy old grandpa balloon salesman; a house that floats away while tethered to a ton of balloons? South American jungle adventures? The promise of a heartfelt, odd couple story? Yes, please ...

And we soon find out if Wall Street is right or wrong about Up.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Conn. animation fest hears a "Horton" director

"Horton Hears a Who" director Steve Martino of Blue Sky Studios will be the guest speaker at AniFest '09, the eighth annual WestConn computer animation festival, which runs from Monday, April 20 to Friday, April 24 at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

A leader in the design and direction of computer animation for the past 25 years, Martino will appear at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 22 at the Student Center Theater.

His work spans the explosion of an industry that began with short animated graphics for TV networks and advertisers, and evolved to become the mainstay of animated feature film production.

Most recently, he partnered with Jimmy Hayward to direct the motion picture Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! for 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. The film has garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike for both its innovative animation styling and the care with which the filmmakers brought Dr. Seuss' beloved book to the big screen.

Martino came to Blue Sky Studios in 2002 as the art director on the movie Robots, and has contributed his design support to Ice Age: The Meltdown and the animated short Gone Nutty. Prior to his work in animated feature films, he was a founding partner of Click 3X-LA, and creative director at 7th Level Inc., and MetroLight Studios where he designed and directed animation and visual effects for television, interactive media and features. Highlights of this period included a Prime Time Emmy Award for his direction of ABC's World of Discovery main title, and his collaboration with Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle on a series of Monty Python interactive projects.

Martino got his start in animation when he completed his master's degree at Ohio State's Computer Graphics Research Group and honed his skills as a designer and animator at Cranston/Csuri Productions. His work at this time included some of the first wave of computer animation seen around the world, for events like the Super Bowl on CBS.

AniFest '09 will feature continuous showings of student-produced computer animation short features daily in the Student Center Theater on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White Street in Danbury. Other highlights of the festival will include an "Art of Animation" poster exhibition in the Student Center.

Unfortunately, due to insufficient pre-registration, this year's animation workshops have been cancelled.

Admission is free, and the public is invited. For more information, visit the AniFest '09 Web page at, or contact Center for Graphics Research director Dr. William Joel at or (203) 837-9353.

"Handy Manny" a winner at multi-ethnic awards

Disney Channel's "Handy Manny" took top honors in the Animation category at this year's NAMIC Vision Awards, presented by the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications.

Now in its 15th year, the NAMIC Vision Awards honor creators, networks and industry leaders for their commitment to producing multi-ethnic and culturally-relevant original television programming that reflects the rich diversity of our world's populace.

Also nominated in the Animation category were
The Grave Escape, an episode of Nickelodeon's El Tigre, and Soy Mono: Words, a series of vignettes on MTV TR3S.

In the Children's category, the winner was Nickelodeon's animated
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. Other competitors in the category included Nick cartoon series Go, Diego, Go and Dora The Explorer

Shaun Robinson, weekend co-anchor and correspondent for the entertainment news magazine Access Hollywood, served as host for this year's NAMIC Vision Awards. The awards were presented Friday at a special luncheon ceremony held in conjunction with the NAMIC-Southern California West Coast Creative Summit, which is part of NAMIC's signature conference series focused on the content development aspects of television, film and other digital media formats.

This year's 2009 competition marked the expansion of the awards program, with eligibility extended to national broadcast networks, local affiliates, local origination programs from cable operators, and VOD content produced for digital platforms.

"As the face of America continues to change, NAMIC will continue to support and encourage those entities that remain committed to producing multi-ethnic, original programming," said NAMIC president Kathy Johnson. "By expanding the Vision Awards competition to ensure greater inclusiveness, our goal is to honor the growing number of creators fostering diversity across digital entertainment platforms."

‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Star Hugh Jackman Records ‘Free Comic Book Day’ Message

Free Comic Book Day is the closest thing to a holiday you’re going to find in the comic book world, and with only a few weeks until it happens, one of Hollywood’s biggest supporters of the comic book scene has stepped up to spread the word about FCBD to the masses.

In a special message posted on YouTube by Diamond Comics, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” star Hugh Jackman talked up the looming May 2 celebration of all things comics and encouraged viewers to get themselves — and any kids they know — to head out to their local comic shop for the heaps of free, illiteracy-fighting swag they’ll be able to pick up.

“We all know comic books are fun, but they’re also a really fantastic way to captivate the attention of young readers and set them off on a life-long love of reading,” announced Jackman. “Please help join the fight against illiteracy, and recommend to kids to just go into comic book stores and grab their free comics.”

Between this and his comics-friendly introduction to the Oscars, Jackman is certainly making a name for himself as one of the best there is at what he does — and what he does is bring comics to the masses. Way to go, bub.

The Hobbit Gets Room to Grow

It seems like ages that we've been waiting around for The Hobbit to get its big screen adaptation, and in that time there's been plenty of speculation about how the movie would turn out – especially once we found out that there would actually be two films slated for late 2011 and 2012 releases. But now Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro have spoken to Empire Online about what exactly they plan to do with the Lord of the Rings prequel.

“We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie,” said Jackson. “The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the [LOTR] trilogy.”

Del Toro also added that the films would encompass the White Council and Gandalf's travels. I admit that I've never read The Hobbit, so I'm wondering if two films for one book is a good idea. Do you think it will be too detailed or that the extra time will give the filmmakers space to adapt and play around with the story? Either way, I'm looking forward to another addition to Tolkien-movie lore.

Bill Plympton’s Birthday screening

I know what Bill Plympton wants for his birthday. He wants you to attend his Idiots and Angels VIP Screening and Birthday Party.

On Thursday, April 30 at 6pm, Bill will screen his latest feature Idiots and Angels at the Helen Mills Theatre (136 West 26st St. between 6th + 7th, in Manhattan) — and everyone who attends will recieve a FREE Plympton original drawing. At 8pm, there will be a VIP After Party with wine, desserts “and surprises”.

Proceeds from this evening will contribute to the production the upcoming documentary project, Adventures in Plymptoons! For more information on this event go to

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Powerhouse Harmonica

You know the Raymond Scott tune from a million different cartoons. But I bet you’ve never seen it played like this:

(via BB, thanks Chappell)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

NPR Celebrates SpongeBob's 10th Anniversary

NPR’s “Morning Edition” did a segment Friday, April 17th on the 10th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants. includes the complete broadcast audio as well as video of a cast table read and interviews with Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob), Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy Cheeks) and Roger Bumpass (Squidward Tentacles).

New Images And Video Clips From Upcoming “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode

The World’s Finest has new clips and images from the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Night of the Huntress!"

Cartoon Network has passed along the episode synopsis, video clips, and over thirty new images for the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Night of the Huntress!" To get a closer look at the images, click on the thumbnails below.

Click Here For More Images, Videos & Details!

Cartoon Network has also provided two clips from the episode, which are available to view here at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite. The all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode “Night of the Huntress!”, scheduled to air at 8:30pm (ET) on Friday, May 1st, 2009, is described as follows.

In this episode, Blue Beetle develops a crush on the slightly older and far-more-dangerous femme fatale Huntress, but there is little time for love with Baby Face busting his gang out of prison for a major heist! Watch the crowd closely during the jailbreak sequence to see some of your favorite villains including Pharaoh, Skeleton Keyes, Polecat Perkins and more! This week’s teaser features Solomon Grundy and Black Canary.

Details on the cast and crew can be found at the link above. Further information on the episode is available at our our Batman: The Brave and The Bold</span> subsite. Stay tuned for further episode details and exclusive content.

How ILM came up with the new Enterprise for J.J. Abrams' Trek

Artists at Industrial Light & Magic, who worked with Star Trek director J.J. Abrams to come up with the new design for the iconic starship Enterprise, said that Abrams' directive was simple.

"He wanted a hot-rod type of vehicle, but they also wanted to preserve the Enterprise kind of look," model maker John Goodson said in a presentation at ILM's San Francisco headquarters earlier this month.

"J.J. Abrams kept saying, 'Make it a bigger movie. Make it a bigger shot,'" creative director David Nakabayashi added. "I think that's one thing you see in this film, at least: The stuff I've seen is just everything is big."

Following is an edited version of the designers' talk. Star Trek opens May 8

Goodson: It was really interesting working with J.J. for this ship. They gave us a lot of latitude to kind of play with it. They had some specific ideas of what they wanted. He wanted a hot-rod type of vehicle, but they also wanted to preserve the Enterprise kind of look. They gave ILM a tremendous amount of leeway in terms of the design. ... It's got this sweeping line that's kind of giving it this real hot-rod kind of car feel. It's ILM's job to sort of take this and start to flesh this thing out and make it more real and convey the scale and all those things that you need, so it's just a leaping-off point for us. ...

How updated is the Enterprise?

Roger Guyett, visual effects supervisor:
When I was a kid—when I bought toys or when I built things—I always wanted stuff to move. And one thing that frustrated me about the original Enterprise was that nothing moves on it. It was just a very static thing. ...

I don't know how familiar you are with all of the terminology of the Enterprise, but there is a main hull, which is the big disk. There is a secondary hull, which is a tube, and then you have two engines. And at the front of the bottom sort of cylinder there is this thing called the "collection plate" [aka the navigational deflector, in Trek parlance]. We made ours move, so it actually sort of comes out, and it grows, and you can move it around. We just made the whole thing much more contemporary.

And also when the ship goes into warp—of course, we had to create our version of warp, too, but you'll see the fins actually split apart slightly. So it goes into kind of like a warp mode, and from my perspective, all of those things add a level of interest and ... design to the whole process and make it so much more fun to work on every aspect of the process of the Star Trek world.

When you are on the Enterprise, you got to see a lot of the Enterprise. You can set different moments in the movie and different places— ... the engineering room or corridor or medical bay—so that you feel the enormous extent of the Enterprise. ...

On the original TV show Enterprise, there were some patterns that were on the bottom. There's a rectangle and a circle and a T shape, and there's these big geometric forms, and I always try to sneak them in when I can, and I got to put them on this ship, too. It kind of connects us back to the original TV series a little bit. It's a subtle thing, but it does actually bridge those two ships together. ...

The pattern on the saucer is what we've always referred to as "aztec," which is what it's always been called, and that dates back to Star Trek: The Next Generation, and we wanted to pull that in on this ship and make it very subtle.

One of the things about the [Star Trek: The] Motion Picture Enterprise that was really cool for a practical model is they used the type of paint called "interference paint." This paint has little tiny [mica] prisms in it, and when you look at it from one angle, it would be red, but if you walked across the room to look at it from the other side, it appears green. There's gold and blue. There are a variety of colors you can get from this paint, and they painted the Motion Picture Enterprise with this paint. In the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, they've got, like, 20 minutes of the camera scrolling over the ship looking at all the stuff, and you see these very subtle iridescent effects.

We wanted to put that into this ship [for 2009], so we played around with some of the shaders and created, in the [digital] paint, these colored maps that look like Wonder Bread wrappers almost. Where one map would have red, the other map would have green in exactly the same spot. Where it would be blue on one map, it would be gold on the other map. What this would do, as the model moved through the virtual light, depending on where the light hit it, would affect the color. So we would get that same kind of effect that they had on the practical model in the digital model ...

Even though this technology is all fictitious, we spend a lot of time talking about it and trying to make sense out it so that when you're doing something on the ship, like putting a door in or something like that, it sort of makes sense. We'll spend a lot of time going around and around looking at it and trying to work out what you would expect to see. Even though it's all fictitious, what would you really want to see?

Did something in particular inspire you to create the newest Enterprise?

A lot of it was going back to the older ships and drawing inspiration from those to kind of bridge the gap for continuity, because it's a whole new vision of Star Trek, but at the same time you want to bring some of those older elements into it, because Star Trek's been around for over 40 years now. You just want to preserve some of that look integrated in with the new thing. I think that was the driving thing for me, was just being able to pull the old stuff in with the new and connect them together.

Check out our 5 unique posters for the sci-fi spinoffs we REALLY want to see

Aliens vs. Predator, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Matrix Revolutions. Admit it, we've all had our hearts broken by a string of crappy sequels and spinoffs.

But we have also harbored hope that someone, somewhere would craft a real sequel to our favorite movies, something that raises them to another level while honoring the originals in the telling. These are the sci-fi sequels we'd REALLY like to see, with posters created by artist Chris Kalb, after the jump. (Click on the images for larger versions.)

Aliens: The Colony

What It Is: The Alien franchise returns to the scene of its most successful outings—planetoid LV-426. We see the colonists of Hanley's Hope, including Newt's family, as they fight for survival while elements of the Weyland-Yutani Corp. seek to exploit the xenomorphs in the derelict alien ship for their own ends.

Why We Want It: Depending on your opinion of Alien 3
, it's been either 23 or 17 years since someone's told a compelling story in the universe Ridley Scott created with his 1979 film. The time is ripe for it to be reclaimed from crappy vs. Predator movies and comic books.

Who Could Do It: The key here is to rescue the aliens from the PG-13 action shlockfests in which they've appeared recently, and to make them grotesque and SCARY again. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, whose Let the Right One In
is one of the creepier films of the past year, could really bring across the dread of an isolated colony being eaten from the inside.

Star Trek: Excelsior

What It Is: Being the story of Capt. Hikaru Sulu in his command of the Federation starship U.S.S. Excelsior, and the adventures he found during that tenure. Also, a reminder that there are great characters in Gene Roddenberry's universe other than Kirk and Spock.

Why We Want It: George Takei! Who DOESN'T love George Takei? The veteran actor has shown in his role on Heroes that he still has the chops, and the appearance of Sulu as captain of the Excelsior in Star Trek VI was a great moment that left viewers wanting more.

Who Could Do It: George Takei. All due respect to John Cho, who's playing Sulu in the new Star Trek, but for a starship captain, we can accept no one besides the original. And we'd give Battlestar Galactica mastermind Ronald D. Moore a chance to return to the Star Trek fold, a little older, a little wiser and with the success of BSG to buoy him.

The Matrix 1.0

What It Is: The Animatrix filled in the backstory about the rise of the Machines in the Matrix universe. The Matrix 1.0 would take audiences through the Machines' first attempt to enslave humanity in their own minds, and the Oracle-led conspiracy that led to the initial human resistance and the creation of The One.

Why We Want It: You may feel, as most do, that the Matrix series went off the rails in its second two films, but the first remains a classic that holds up to repeat viewing today. The creation of the Matrix is one of the great unexplored elements of the franchise, with lots of thematic room to portray the Machines' motivations and the initial discovery of certain ... key anomalies.

Who Could Do It: We want a producer on hand who could rein in the visionary Wachowski brothers and remind them that philosophy is good as long as it's leavened with generous helpings of action and wire-fu—someone like Christopher Nolan, who's shown great aptitude at combining thought and action.

Serenity 2: The Alliance Strikes Back

What It Is: The sequel picks up the story after the Alliance's evildoing has been revealed and depicts the Browncoats' final rebellion against the cynical galactic empire, Mal Reynolds' reconciliation with his past and River Tam's war on the system that created her. And we need to see Mal and Inara finally get together.

Why We Want It: Serenity left the door open for a return to the universe populated by such awesome characters as Mal, River, Jayne and Kaylee. A sequel would bring closure and open the 'Verse to more stories about the intrepid crew.

Who Could Do It: We want everyone involved in the original show and movie back for Serenity 2. Joss Whedon must write and direct. Nathan Fillion must star. Adam Baldwin must wear a stupid hat.

Star Wars: Episode VII—Knights of the New Republic

What It Is: Episode VII moves the story of the original trilogy forward, unspooling a new space fantasy about an older Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Leia Organa—and their offspring—as they shape a new order in that galaxy far, far away. Key expanded universe characters such as Mara Jade, Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker join a cast we already know and love, taking on the warlike Yuuzhan Vong.

Why We Want It: Because we've had it with the Clone Wars. Because, despite the fact that a great deal of it is crap, the expanded universe books and comics have set a fairly intriguing path for the franchise's iconic characters and provided an enemy that might actually, you know, pose a threat (seriously, they killed Chewbacca).

Who Could Do It: While it'd be impossible to divorce him from the proceedings completely, George Lucas must be kept as far away from this film as possible; give him an honorary title and something shiny to play with, and instead hire filmmakers who will bring a fresh but respectful perspective to the material. Someone like Peter Jackson has already demonstrated an ability to handle both the logistics of an epic and the expectations of a million fanboys.

(Thanks SCIFI Wire)

1 comment:

Coffee Maker said...

after seeing 17 Again i think that Zac Efron might become the next big icon by which we define "male hotness"