Los Angeles Film Fest Highlights Toon Content
Animation will play a major role at the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival, set to kick off this Thursday and run through June 28.
In addition to the U.S. premiere of the Hayao Miyazaki film Ponyo, which will close the festival, animation fans will have a chance to see numerous animated short films and music videos. Among them is the critically acclaimed Skhizein, directed by Jérémy Clapin, recent recipient of the Audience Prize and a Jury Special Mention at this year’s Stuttgart Trickfilm Festival. The fill will screen as part of Shorts Program 1, on June 20 at 4:30 p.m. and again June 24 at 9:45 p.m., both at the Majestic Crest theater.
Also part of the festival is a panel discussion on adapting comic book and graphic novels to the big screen, featuring writer Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand) and Barry Levine, president of Radical Comics. The panel will take place June 23 at 7 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Center.
Here is a selection of the animated fare that will be featured at the festival:
· Ponyo (DIRECTOR/WRITER Hayao Miyazaki DIRECTORS - ENGLISH VOICE TALENT John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, Peter Sohn WRITER - ENGLISH VERSION Melissa Mathison PRODUCER Toshio Suzuki PRODUCERS - ENGLISH VERSION Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Steve Alpert CAST Cate Blanchett, Noah Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White) - From Academy Award-winning director and world-renowned Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki comes Ponyo, a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” Featuring the voices of Cate Blanchett, Noah Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson and Frankie Jonas, this is the story of Ponyo, a young over eager goldfish on a quest to become human who is befriended by a young boy named Sosuke.
· Billís Vistors. Directed by Simon Deshon. England
· The Cable Car. Directed by Claudius Gentinetta, Frank Braun.. Switzerland
· Codswallop. Directed by The Brothers McLeod. England
· I Live in the Woods. Directed by Max Winston. USA
· Photograph of Jesus. Directed by Laurie Hill. England
· Rains (Líondée). Directed by David Coquard-Dassault. Canada
· The Royal Nightmare. Directed by Alex Budosky. USA
· Skhizein. Directed by Jérémy Clapin. France
· Stand Up. Directed by Joseph Pierce. England
· Western Spaghetti. Directed by PES. USA
· 21st Century Life: Sam Sparro. Directed by Mariah Garnett
· Her Morning Elegance: Oren Lavie. Directed by Oren Lavie, Yuval & Merav Nathan
· Fortress: Pinback. Directed by Elliot Jokelson
· Grapevine Fires: Death Cab for Cutie. Directed by Walter Robot
· Mykonos: Fleet Foxes. Directed by Sean Pecknold
· Ruler of Everything: Tally Hall. Directed by Sean Donnelly
· Who's Gonna Save my Soul: Gnarls Barkley. Directed by Chris Milk
· Graphic Explosion – Adaptations of comic books and graphic novels have proliferated in recent years, and it’s no all superheroes: Sin City, 300, Wanted, and Persepolis all came from graphic novels. A group of filmmakers, artists, writers, and fans explore Hollywood’s fascination with the medium and the creative challenges of translating them to the screen. Panelists include Zak Penn (Screenwriter, Incredible Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand) and Barry Levine (Publisher, Radical Comics).
For information on tickets and a full schedule of events, visit www.lafilmfest.com.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Coraline, Mary and Max, Slavar Among Annecy’s Top Winners
Stop-motion was the name of the game at the Annecy festival this past weekend as Henry Selick’s acclaimed fantasy Coraline and Adam Elliot’s Sundance favorite Mary and Max tied for the Best Feature Cristal. Tom Moore and Nora Twomey’s beautifully animated Brendan and the Secret of the Kells (Cartoon Saloon) took home the Audience Award in the feature category.
In the short films’ race, Slavar, Hanna Heilborn and David Aronowitsch’s poignant project about young Sudanese slaves won the Annecy Cristal and the Unicef prizes. David O’Reilly’s haunting Please Say Something received the Special Distinction prize, while Jean-Christophe Lie’s L’homme a la Gordini (Man in the Blue Goridini) was the recipient of the Junior Jury prize and the Jean-Lux Xiberras prize for a First Film. New York animator PES’ latest project Western Spaghetti won the Audience Award, while Canadian animator Cordell Barker’s Runaway received the Jury’s Special Award. Santiago Grasso’s El Emploi (The Employment) took home the FIPRESCI award, and Michal Socha’s Chick nabbed the Secam Prize for Best Music.
Alexey Alexeev’s crowd-pleasing series Log Jam (produced by Andras Erkel and Studio Baestarts) was the winner of the Cristal for Best TV series. TV-Loonland’s Pat and Stan (directed by Pierre Coffin and Marco Allard) was also honored with the Special Award for a TV series, and Philip Hunt’s charming Lost and Found (Studio aka) was the winner of the Best TV Special prize.
To find out more about this year’s award-winners, visit www.annecy.org.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Brennan to Succeed England at ILM
Chrissie England is exiting her role as president of Industrial Light and Magic, with plans to hand over the job in February to Lynwen Brennan.
Brennan, currently ILM’s executive in charge of production, will take on the role of president and general manager of the visual effects facility. She has been with the company since 1999, when she joined the company as a technical area lead for the computer graphics department. She was appointed to her current post in 2006.
England will continue to work with ILM as a part-time adviser focusing on general business and production strategies.
Both women will work closely together during the transition.
ILM also announced the promotions of Gretchen Libby to executive in charge of marketing and global production, and Janet Lewin to executive in charge of production operations.
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
Pitch Party ’09: It’s Time to Vote!
It’s time to make your vote count again! Animation Magazine’s 8th Annual Pitch Party is officially on, and you can now click here: www.animationmagazine.net/pitch_party_09_vote.html to check out all of this year’s entries and vote for your favorites. All pitches are presented as 1/6th-page advertisements that offer new ideas for animated shows that that could get picked up for development. Results of the contest will be announced along with the picks of our distinguished panel of industry judges and AniMag staffers in the August issue of Animation Magazine (which has a big bonus distribution at Comic-Con in San Diego).
The Pitch Party offers independent artists an opportunity to advertise their animated properties for a greatly reduced rate in the pages of Animation Magazine, which is read all over the world. Each of our esteemed judges then review all entries and collectively select one winner for the opportunity to pitch their idea to the participating execs of their choice. This year’s awesome judges are:
• Marci Proietto, SVP of Animation Production and Development, Twentieth Century Fox Television
• Eric Coleman, Senior VP, Original Series, Walt Disney Television Animation
• Erik Koland, Head of Content Acquisition and Programming, Vuze
• Marc Buhaj, Senior VP of Progamming, Disney Channel and Jetix Europe, Middle East and Africa
• Curtis Lelash, Director, Comedy Animation, Cartoon Network
• Kim Manning, Director of Programming and Acquisitions for Adult Swim
• Tina Santomauro, Acquisitions Manager, Atom.com
• Eric Homan, VP of Development, Frederator
• Melissa Wolfe, Director of Development, Cookie Jar Entertainment
• Natalie Altmann, Head of Children’s Programming, M6, France
The winners of this year’s event will get to pitch their project to the judge of their choice in person! In addition, second or third place winners, staff picks and online voters favorite will get coverage in our August edition. Additional prizes include a copy of the software suite Toon Boom Animate (a value of $999.99), a selection of animation books from The Animated Cartoon Factory, copies of Chronicle Books’ The Art of Up by Tim Hauser, and a copy of the 2D software title Digicel Flipbook Studio (for Mac or PC).
As an online voter, you can also help someone get noticed by the animation community and possibly get their big break. You only have one week to get your votes in, so get started. Voting ends Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m P.S.T. Please note that we monitor our ONLINE READERS' POLL carefully. No reader can vote more than ONCE! The results of the online poll will be announced on June 29.
Have fun picking your absolute favorite toon pitches of 2009!
(Thanks Animation Magazine)
FUNimation anime writer Spencer Prokop dies at 51
Actor and comedian Spencer Prokop, an award-winning writer who especially treasured his work for FUNimation, died peacefully at home June 7 following a two-year battle with a rare type of pancreatic cancer. He was 51.
Prokop crafted English-language scripts for Japanese anime series. He contributed to several FUNimation projects, including One Piece, Trinity Blood, Beck and Darker Than Black.
Other anime series for which he wrote included Child's Toy, School Rumble, Trinity Blood, SoltyRei, Mushishi, Tsubasa Chronicle, School Rumble: Second Semester and XXXHOLiC.
Born in Milwaukee on August 1, 1957, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point in 1978 and went on to a career as a professional actor, performing at the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
Prokop moved to Dallas in 1980 to attend Trinity University's graduate study program at Dallas Theatre Center. A gifted performer, he played numerous theatrical roles, including Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady at Granbury Opera House, multiple roles in All in the Timing at Circle Theatre, Robert Law in Boy Meets Girl at Addison Centre Theatre, and Orgon in Tartuffe at Pegasus Theatre. As a Meadows Foundation Guest Artist, he performed the role of Creon in Antigone at West Texas A&M University.
He was selected in 1990 to study at the Royal National Theater in London. In 1997, Prokop received a Dallas Theater Critics' Forum award for his role as Bernard Nightingale in Arcadia at Theatre Three. He may best be remembered by area theatergoers as Lt. Foster in a number of the popular Black and White productions at Pegasus Theatre.
He was a founding member of Lone Star Comedy, appearing with and serving as an instructor for that improvisational and sketch comedy group for several years. Represented for 20 years by the Mary Collins Agency, Prokop was extremely active in print, voiceover and commercial projects. His work may still be seen in many films and television shows, such as Robocop (as the nervous gas station attendant), Necessary Roughness, and several episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger.
He created corporate scripts, Internet and broadcast pieces, and entertainment projects.
A longtime member of Maria Kannon Zen Center, Prokop found great peace and comfort in his Zen meditation practice. Spencer was married to Patty Lewis in 1988. Despite his many other accolades, his proudest accomplishment was their son Chase.
In addition to his wife and son, Spencer Prokop is survived by mother Mary Ann Link; father Harry Gene Prokop; brothers Jeff and Andy Prokop and sister Kim Hagmann; sisters-in-law Janet and Ina Prokop; nieces Hayley Hagmann, Jordan Prokop, Amber Leone and Erica Mittelstrass; nephews Eric Hagmann and Jacob Prokop; and great-nephew Domanik Maresch.
A private inurnment service will take place at Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery. A public celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, June 22 at Theatre Three in Dallas, with reception following. The family requests no flowers or plants.
Memorial tributes may be sent to either The Nature Conservancy (one of Prokop's favorite causes) or Lakewood Montessori School.
Five animated shows up for Teen Choice Awards
"American Dad," "Family Guy," "The Simpsons," "South Park" and "SpongeBob SquarePants" are the nominees for the 2009 Teen Choice Awards in the category of Animated Show.
The Jonas Brothers will host the awards ceremony, scheduled to air live August 10 on American television. Youthful fans are invited to vote online for their favorites.
Leading this year's nominations is romantic vampire flick Twilight, up for a whopping 12 awards. These include Choice Movie: Romance and Choice Movie: Drama. Stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are nominated for Choice Movie Actor and Actress in a Drama.
Meanwhile, High School Musical 3: Senior Year has 10 nominations in such categories as Choice Movie: Music/Dance. Its stars, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, are up for Choice Movie Actor and Actress in a Music/Dance film.
Another Cartoon Network update
According to an article posted today in the trade publication Broadcasting and Cable, Cartoon Network will start advertising its new CN Real (live action) block with a marketing blitz, which will include a Facebook page and a “fanzine”. The article states:
“Cartoon is also relying on decidedly old-school technology in an attempt to lure viewers to the new lineup: a fanzine. The network is printing eight million copies of the fanzine, which will blend pop culture tips with promotional messaging related to the new shows. The publication will be distributed at movie theaters, Six Flags amusement parks, the Essence Music Festival, Cartoon Network live tours and other events.”
Wait a minute… “a fanzine?” Eight million copies? Any publication printing eight million copies, being bankrolled by a major corporation, and distributed in movie theatres and amusement parks isn’t exactly a fanzine. But then again, Cartoon Network isn’t exactly a Cartoon Network anymore…
P.S. While I was searching Facebook yesterday, I found this Boycott Cartoon Network’s “CN Real” Block page. Thought you should know.
NY Times on the Slow Gestation of "$9.99"
The New York Times has taken a look at the making of $9.99, the stop-motion animated movie that is the first co-production between Israel and Australia that is opening this Friday, June 19, 2009. The movie is directed by Tatia Rosenthal, and adapts several of the short stories of Israeli writer Etgar Keret with Anthony LaPaglia and Geoffrey Rush providing voices. The article follows Rosenthal's journey from a high school trip to New York City from Tel Aviv all the way to being a stop-motion animation director.
Briefly: Taiwan Animation @ Annecy; Yao Ming Voices Toon
* Ma Kuang-pei's "The Soliloquist" has received the Special Distinction Award in the Graduation Films category at the 2009 Annecy International Animation Film Festival -- the first Taiwanese animated movie to receive an award at the competition. [Taiwan Today]
* NBA star Yao Ming provides the voice for a character named "Old Daddy" in the Chinese movie Malan Flower, which opens in China on June 19. All his income for the movie will go to the Shanghai Special-Care Foundation. [CCTV.com]
Live-Action AKIRA is Dead
Fans may breath a sigh of relief over the news that the unnecssary live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo ground-breaking anime 'Akira' is "dead as a doornail."
That proclamation comes from unnamed sources cited in a report on Bloody Disgusting.
Leonardo DiCaprio was set to produce the film and it's always possible that he or another producer could revive the project.
See what a real-life warp-driven starship might look like
Think a Star Trek-like warp-drive starship is pure science fiction?
Discovery.com has asked a physicist how a real one would work and what it would look like. You can see it after the jump.
Dr. Richard Obousy shared his concept for a futuristic, yet scientifically accurate, warpship design with the site.
The physics behind the warpship is purely theoretical: "Dark energy" needs to be understood and harnessed, plus vast amounts of energy needs to be generated, meaning the warpship is a technology that could only be conceived in the far future.
That said, Obousy's warpship design uses our current knowledge of spacetime and superstring theory to arrive at this futuristic concept.
The physics behind the warp drive is, as you'd expect, complex. But it is hoped that in the future mankind will learn how to harness "dark energy," an energy that is theorized to permeate the entire universe. Cosmologists are particularly interested in dark energy as it is most commonly associated with the observed expansion of the universe.
According to Obousy, the extra dimensions predicted by superstring theory could be shrunk and expanded by a warp drive through manipulation of local dark energy. At the front of the warpship spacetime would be compressed, and it would expand behind.
The shape of the warpship was chosen to optimize the manipulation of surrounding dark energy, creating a spacetime bubble. How exactly the bubble would be created is still a mystery. But once the bubble gets created, spacetime at the front of the warpship would be compressed, and behind, it would expand. Inside the bubble, spacetime remains unchanged; therefore the warpship floats in the center of stationary space while the bubble moves through spacetime.
The bubble itself, containing the warpship, "drives the spacecraft forwards at arbitrarily high speeds," Obousy told the site. This means the warpship can travel faster than the speed of light.
To initiate the warp drive, however, vast amounts of energy would be required. Also, there will be some practical issues to overcome, such as preventing the creation of artificial black holes, as well as catastrophic warp bubble collapse when the power is switched off. I'm sure Mr. Scott could figure something out, though.