Wednesday, July 1, 2009

News - 07/01/09...

Watch ‘The Maxx’ Online At

Any comics fan watching MTV in the mid-1990s knew about “The Maxx.” The 13-episode animated series based on Sam Kieth’s surreal comic aired from April-June in 1995 during MTV’s “Oddities” and presented a nearly word-for-word, panel-for-panel recreation of the first volume of the Image Comics series.

The MTV mothership recently made all of the episodes available to watch online, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make for one heck of a distraction during my workday today. Here’s the introductory episode of series, with the rest of the first season available in the video archive.

Seriously, folks — I’d almost forgotten how cool this series was. Do yourself a favor and watch ‘em all again.

(Ed Note: Having worked on this show, objectively speaking, it was, and still is, muy cool)

Greg Ford animates Tom Gammill’s The Doozies

When I was at Ohio State in Columbus this past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting writer Tom Gammill, who (along with his partner Max Pross) has written some of the funniest episodes of Seinfeld, The Critic, the Simpsons and Futurama. Tom also writes and draws the weekly daily online comic strip The Doozies and started an online series of humorous “How To Draw” videos (several featuring guest cartoonists and celebrity friends). In episode 17, Gammill visits Greg Ford’s studio in New York to watch a work-in-progress of a Doozies animated cartoon. Gammill first met Ford back in 1986 when they co-wrote the Looney Tunes 50th Anniversary Special for NBC. Let’s see how Ford is doing…

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

New Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs poster

A new one-sheet advertising Sony’s Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs has appeared online and can be viewed at Internet Poster Movie Awards. The animated comedy, based on a children’s novel of the same name, is due to hit theaters this September.

VES Honors Pixar’s Catmull

The Visual Effects Society will honor Ed Catmull, president of the Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, with its 2010 George Melies Award.

The honor, presented to people who have “pioneered a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work,” will be bestowed at the VES Awards, set for Feb. 28, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

“Ed Catmull has helped redefine the field of animation over the past three decades,” said VES Executive Director Eric Roth. “Ed has become one of the giants of our industry by pioneering new ways to tell animated stories in a successful studio environment. He has been at the forefront of ensuring that while the animation should always be as eye-popping as possible, the story itself always has to be first class as well.”

Catmull, who co-founded Pixar, played a significant role in creating the hardware and software that inaugurated the age of computer animation. He has earned five Oscars, the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for lifetime contributions in the computer graphics field, and the Ub Iwerks award.

Previous recipients of the George Melies Award include Robert Abel, Phil Tippett and Catmull’s Disney-Pixar colleague John Lasseter.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

The Spine Best of Melbourne Fest

The Spine, an animated short directed by Chris Landreth and co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, has one the Best of Festival Award at the Melbourne International Animation Festival.

Co-produced by Copperheart Animation and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, the win for The Spine marks the second time the festival has bestowed the honor on Landreth, who won in 2005 for his Oscar-winning short Ryan.

Also winning awards were Susan Danta’s The Bronze Mirror, named Best Austrialian Film, and Susan McMinn’s The Last Warhorse, which won for Best Australian Student Film.

Judges awards and audience awards also were handed out in each program to the following films:

Judges Awards
Prog #1 – According To Birds; Linde Faas (Holland)
Prog #2 – Rex The Dog “Bubblelicious”; G. de Crecy (France)
Prog #3 – Around; Ryu Kato (Japan)
Prog #4 – The Employment; Santiago ‘Bou’ Grasso (Argentina)
Prog #5 – This Way Up; Smith & Foulkes (UK)
Prog #6 – The Crumblegiant; John McCloskey (Ireland)
Prog #7 – Digital Panorama – Monsieur Cok; F. Dion, R. van den Boom (France)
Prog #8 – Abstract Panorama – Bildfenster-Fensterbilder; Bert Gottschalk (Germany)
Prog #9 – Long Shorts – Kitchen Dimensions; Priit Tender (Estonia)
Prog #10 – New Croatian Animation – She Who Measures; Velijko Popovic
Late Night Bizarre – Superjail; Aaron Augenblick (USA)
SIGGRAPH #1 – Monsieur Cok; F. Dion, R. van den Boom (France)
SIGGRAPH #2 – Kudan; Taku Kimura (Japan)
Sand Panorama – Hungu; Nicolas Brault (Canada)
Best Of The Next (International) – Urs; Moritz Mayenhofer (Germany)
Kids – Lost And Found; Phil Hunt (UK)
Music Video – Troista “Three Angels”; Yulia Rudtskaya (Belarus)
Installation – Construction 76; Lia (Austria)

Audience Awards
Prog #1 – I Am So Proud Of You; Don Hertzfeldt (USA)
Prog #2 – Rex The Dog “Bubblelicious”; G. de Crecy (France)
Prog #3 – Codswallop; The Brothers McLeod (UK)
Prog #4 – Muto; Blu (Italy)
Prog #5 – This Way Up; Smith & Foulkes (UK)
Prog #6 – The Reason I Collect; Emma Curtis (UK)
Prog #7 – Digital Panorama – Dix/Ten; Bif (France)
Prog #8 – Abstract Panorama – Without You; Tal Rosner (UK)
Prog #9 – Long Shorts – Varmints; Marc Craste (UK)
Prog #10 – New Croatian Animation – She Who Measures; Velijko Popovic
Late Night Bizarre – Fantasie In Bubblewrap, Michael Metcalf (USA)
SIGGRAPH #1 – Harmonix “Rockband”; Pete Candeland (UK)
SIGGRAPH #2 – Outer Planet; Lee Seung Wook (South Korea)
Sand Panorama – Footprints; Franziska Bachmaier (Germany)
Best Of The Next (International) – Trickster; Alexander Pohl (Germany)
Kids – Lost And Found; Phil Hunt (UK)

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

SpongeBob’s Greatest Hits Out July 21

Nickelodeon and Sony Music Entertainment are set to release SpongeBob’s Greatest Hits, a compilation of 17 new and classic tracks celebrating the 10th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants.

The album, which will be available via iTunes and on CD in stores July 14, features new songs “We’ve Got Scurvy” by Pink, a remix of the series theme by Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkey, and “Don’t Be a Jerk (It’s Christmas),” a new track co-written by the voice of SpongeBob, Tom Kenny, and Andy Paley.

The album is only part of the SpongeBob 10th anniversary celebration, which also will include the release of new DVDs this summer, starting with SpongeBob SquarePants: To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants, on July 21, and a special compilation of the first 100 episodes due out Sept. 22.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Lassie Comes to 3D Animation

Lassie, the world’s most famous dog, is barking up the animation tree, with a new series being co-developed by DQ Entertainment, Classic Media, M6/France and ZDF/Germany.

The 3D animated series will be the most recent appearance by the popular canine heroine, who first appeared in Eric Knight’s 1940 novel Lassie Come Home. Lassie went on to star in more than 10 feature films in the 1940s and 1950s, followed by the iconic 1950s TV series that ran for 19 seasons.

“Our association as production and distribution partners with Classic Media after the successful debut of hi-end CGI Casper’s Scare School now gets into another long term artistically and commercially fruitful relationship with the co-development of heart-warming TV series in 3D animation,” says Tapaas Chakravarti, chairman and CEO of DQ Entertainment. “We are happy also that we will draw on the creative and commercial experience of Classic Media, M6 and ZDF Group along with our other French and Irish affiliates for this great co-development, which commercially means beginning of a new era for DQ Entertainment Group.”

The character, who most recently appeared in a 2005 feature film, is used to promote a line of dog food and treats and will appear on a stamp from the United States Postal Service due out in August.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

THQ, Sony Execs Join MTV Games

MTV Games has appointed two industry veterans to executive positoiins.

Scott Guthrie, previously executive VP of publishing for THQ, is now executive VP and general manager of MTV Games.

Also joining the company as senior VP of sales is David Cox, previously senior director of sales and merchandising for Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Guthrie will direct the unit’s publishing strategy and execution, including marketing, sales and distribution of all MTV Games products — including the successful “Rock Band” franchise developed by Harmonix Music Systems, which Viacom’s MTV Networks acquired in 2006. He will be based out of MTV Networks’ New York City headquarters and report directly to President Van Toffler.

Cox will manage sales for the gaming division, and will work to maximize the breadth of catalogue with MTV Games’ distribution partner, Electronic Arts, and leverage long-standing relationships with key retail buyers to build go-to-market strategies and drive revenue. Cox will be based out of San Francisco and report to Guthrie.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Animated Winners at Palm Springs ShortsFest

Philip Hunt’s short film Lost and Found took home the audience favorite animation short award — one of several animated winners — at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and Short Film Market.

The festival, which screened more than 300 shot films, gave out awards in 27 categories as it wrapped up Sunday night.

Other animated winners include Cages, a short from Mexico directed by Juan Jose Medina that won first place in the Best Animated Short honors. Juiced and Jazzed, from Justin Webber, took second place.

In the student category, Chris Perry’s The Incident at Tower 37, won first place in the Best Student Animated Short, with The Incredible Story of My Great Grandmother Olive, directed by Alberto Rodriguez from the United Kingdom, won second place.

The Best of Festival Award went to the Hungarian live-action film, The Dinner (Vacsora), directed by Karchi Perlmann.

The full list of winners follows:

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD - The Dinner (Vacsora) (Hungary), Karchi Perlmann
FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD - Katie Wolfe, This is Her (New Zealand)
PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD – Jonathan's Home (Japan/Singapore), Nathanael Carton

AUDIENCE FAVORITE LIVE ACTION SHORT - Dandelion Dharma (USA), Veronica DiPippo
AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY SHORT - Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics on Trial (USA), Jonathan Joiner, Robert H. Martin

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT UNDER 15 MINUTES: First Place – The Stars Don't Twinkle in Outer Space (UK), Peter Thwaites; Second Place – The Man Inside (Ireland), Rory Bresnihan

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES: First Place – The Taxidermist (UK), Bert & Bertie; Second Place – Love Hate (UK), Dylan Ritson, Blake Ritson

BEST ANIMATED SHORT: First Place – Cages (Mexico), Juan José Medina; Second Place – Juiced and Jazzed (USA), Justin Webber

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: First Place – Irene (Scotland), Lindsay Goodall; Second Place – Naming Pluto (UK), Ginita Jimenez

BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT UNDER 15 MINUTES: First Place – Cigarette Candy (USA), Lauren Wolkstein; Second Place – My Four Inch Precious (USA), Sou Yun Sim

BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES: First Place – The Lunch Box (USA), Lubomir Mihailo Kocka; Second Place – Gloria & Eric (USA), Nicolas Calzada

BEST STUDENT ANIMATED SHORT: First Place – The Incident at Tower 37 (USA), Chris Perry; Second Place – The Incredible Story of My Great Grandmother Olive (UK), Alberto Rodriguez

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY SHORT: First Place – Waiting for Women (Esperando Mujeres) (UK), Estephan Wagner; Second Place – Nutkin's Last Stand (USA), Nicholas Berger

KODAK AWARD FOR BEST STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY: First Place - Alexa Caravia (cinematographer), Rare Fish (Indonesia); Second Place - Nathan Levine-Heaney (cinematographer), My Four Inch Precious (USA)

THE ALEXIS AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING STUDENT FILMMAKER: A Son's War (Czech Republic), Steven Edell; Special Mentions to Brotherhood (USA), Brooke Sebold, and Cigarette Candy (USA), Lauren Wolkstein.


THE CINEMA WITHOUT BORDERS BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM AWARD: Kingsland #1 The Dreamer (UK), directed by Tony Grisoni.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Sporn on Terrytoons

Michael Sporn’s Splog is a daily must-read for anyone interested in animated cartoons, its history and the experiences of a life-long New York independent animator. Today, Michael posts several vintage articles on the old Terrytoons studio based in New Rochelle, NY.

I want to thank Mike for giving me an excuse to post this fun TV commercial from the mid-1950s, below, featuring future Oscar winner Patty Duke playing with a Remco toy Drive-In Movie Theatre — which came complete with Terrytoons:

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Brown, Conroy, And Daly Confirmed For Upcoming "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies"

The World's Finest has received confirmation on the lead roles in the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-video animated feature.

A representative for Warner Bros. Animation has confirmed for The World's Finest that Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, and Tim Daly will be reunited in the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-video animated feature, scheduled to hit Blu-ray and DVD in September 2009. All three actors will be reprising familiar roles.

Kevin Conroy is cast as Batman, Tim Daly as Superman and Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor in the upcoming direct-to-video animated feature based off the initial six-part "Public Enemies" storyline from the Superman/Batman comic book. All three actors have played these respective roles before, most notably in Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series.

An official announcement on the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-video animated feature, scheduled to hit Blu-ray and DVD in September 2009, is expected next week. Stay tuned for further updates.

Press Release For "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" Direct-To-Video Animated Feature

Warner Bros. Animation has issued a press release for the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-video animated feature.

Press Release:

Earth Imperiled, Villainy Reigns, Heroes Hunted - Prepare to Root for the Bad Guys!

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies from Warner Home Video on Sept. 29, 2009

DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie Based on Acclaimed Jeph Loeb/Ed McGuinness Comics;
Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy & Clancy Brown Reprise Original Voices of Superman, Batman & Lex Luthor

The World’s Greatest Super Heroes become America’s most wanted criminals – and are hunted by friends and foes alike – in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the sixth entry in the popular DVD series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies. A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the full-length animated film will be distributed by Warner Home Video on September 29, 2009. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies will be available as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def for $24.98 (SRP) and $29.99 (SRP), respectively, as well as single disc DVD for $19.98 (SRP) and On Demand. Order due date for all versions is August 25, 2009.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is based on the popular Jeph Loeb/Ed McGuinness comic series/graphic novel. Animation legend Bruce Timm (Superman Doomsday, Green Lantern) is executive producer. Michael Goguen (Justice League: The New Frontier) is supervising producer. Sam Liu (The Batman) is directing a script written by Stan Berkowitz (Justice League: The New Frontier).

In the film, United States President Lex Luthor uses the oncoming trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty on the heads of the Man of Steel and his “partner in crime,” Batman. Heroes and villains alike launch a relentless pursuit of Superman and Batman, who must unite – and recruit help – to stave off the action-packed onslaught, stop the asteroid, and uncover Luthor’s devious plot to take command of far more than North America.

The movie reunites the lead voices of Superman, Batman and Lex Luthor from the landmark Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series. Tim Daly (Private Practice), Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) and Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) reprise their roles as Superman, Batman and Lex Luthor, respectively.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies - 2-Disc Special Edition version will have more than three hours of incredible bonus features, including:

-Blackest Night Featurette: Inside the DC Comics Event: Behind-the-scenes of Blackest Night, the epic DC Super Hero event in which the dead shall rise.
-A Test of Minds Featurette: Superman and Batman featurette with Jeph Loeb, giving viewers a fresh and revitalized look at the team-up of Superman and Batman working together despite their often competitive and challenging relationship.
-Dinner with DC: With Special Guest Kevin Conroy Featurette: Reprising his role from Batman: The Animated Series, Kevin Conroy joins the crew for dinner to discuss their creative approach and what the Superman/Batman team-up means. The evening will be hosted by Voice Director Andrea Romano, Producer Bruce Timm and DC’s Gregory Noveck
-Extended Sneak Peak at Next DCU Film
-Digital Copy Download
-Widescreen (1.78:1)
-Two Episodes of Justice League Unlimited hand-picked by animation legend Bruce Timm

The Blu-ray release of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies will have more than three-and-a-half hours of bonus materials, including all the great extras from the 2-disc Special Edition as well as two additional episodes of Justice League Unlimited and two episodes from Justice League, both personally selected by fan-favorite Bruce Timm.

“Warner Premiere is excited to continue this successful partnership with DC Comics, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Video to present feature-length PG-13 animated original films with the filmmaking and celebrity voice starpower of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies,” said Matt Bierman, Senior Vice President Production, Warner Premiere.

“Based on the past success of Superman Doomsday and Batman: Gotham Knight, we know the pairing of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight – pitted against both their DC Super Hero colleagues and the entire rogue’s gallery of DC villains – will offer fans the level of entertainment normally reserved for the big, summer blockbuster films,” said Amit Desai, WHV Vice President of Family, Animation & Partner Brands.

“This is the ultimate film for DC animation lovers featuring not only the cornerstone characters of comic book and Saturday morning heroes, but also returns the seminal voices of those characters – Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy and Clancy Brown – in a story that explores the Superman/Batman dynamic and allows Lex Luthor to shine in ultimate villainy,” said Gregory Noveck, Senior VP Creative Affairs, DC Comics.

Marketing Support
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
will be extensively marketed with a robust national TV, Print, Radio and Online media campaign generating over 500 million impressions! The campaign will also include trailering on WHV titles to garner an additional 10 million impressions. Exciting promotions with Xbox Live, iTunes, Amazon and the Sony Playstation Network will drive strong consumer awareness and demand amongst the core fan base. Additionally, the dedicated Superman/Batman: Public Enemies website will include an enticing sweepstakes offer to drive traffic and viral activity.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies - Single Disc
Street Date: September 29, 2009
Order Due Date: August 25, 2009
Languages: English and Spanish
Audio: Dolby Surround Stereo
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: Estimated 75 min.
Price: $19.98 SRP / No MAP
UPC: 883929069934

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies – 2-Disc Special Edition
Street Date: September 29, 2009
Order Due Date: August 25, 2009
Languages: English and Spanish
Audio: Dolby Surround Stereo
Rating: PG-13
Runtimes: Disc 1 – Estimated 75 min.
Disc 2 – Estimated 180+ minutes
Price: $24.98 SRP / No MAP
UPC: 883929069927

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies – Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def
Street Date: September 29, 2009
Order Due Date: August 25, 2009
Languages: English and Spanish
Audio: Dolby Surround Stereo
Rating: PG-13
Runtimes: Disc 1 – Estimated 75 min.
Disc 2 – Estimated 210+ minutes
Price: $29.99 SRP / No MAP
UPC: 883929070626

DWA's Early Foray Into Television Animation

A commenter asks:

The only false start that I can remember DWA having on television was "Father of the Pride" in 2004 , which was five years ago. What was the other DWA television flop thirteen years ago ? (Or was it a planned tv show that was never produced ?)

Well, pull up some comfy chairs, friends and neighbors, and I'll tell you of DreamWorks Animation first television studio ... located in sun-kissed Encino on fabled Ventura Boulevard a dozen years ago ...

Before there was Madagascar penguins, before there were prides and fathers and 'Vegas magicians, DreamWorks Animation ran its own teevee animation division, located in a glossy mid-Valley office building.

This was in the middle nineties, when the proprietors of of DreamWorks SKG had visions of a television animation empire dancing in their heads, and the horizons for small-screen projects seemed wide. (Mr. Spielberg, after all, had already enjoyed fine success with Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Pinky and the Brain and others. And Jeffrey had been present at the birthing of Disney Television Animation.)

Animation for the small screen was then roaring, and top talent was pulling down good salaries at a variety of L.A. studios. DreamWorks Animation signed a sizable staff to term contractsat high wages and set about to develop new series that would knock the socks off the competition. (I walked through the facility numerous times in those early months, and morale and hopes were high.)

Word was going around that DreamWorks TV Animation was finalizing a deal to supply ABC with all its Saturday morning animated programs ... but then Disney (led by Jeffrey's former compadre Michael Eisner) swooped in and bough the network, and the rumored deal between DreamWorks and the broadcaster never happened.

DreamWorks t.v. division soldiered on, developing other projects. Toonsylvania, a comedy series produced and directed by Bill Kopp and Jeff DeGrandis, was broadcast on Fox, lasted from February to December in 1998, and was then distributed on VHS. (It's never shown up on DVD.)

Also in 1998, DreamWorks' animated mini-series Invasion America ran on the Warner Bros. in prime time. After it aired, one of the artists who worked on it told me.

"Steven Spielberg [one of the show's creators] is really unhappy with the animation and production quality, and didn't think Invasion America looked good at all. He thought the overseas studio did a really poor job" ...

After the two series, the studio in Encino slowly wound down. The staff, which had circulated a petition against one of DreamWorks TV Animation's execs and caused Jefrey Katzenberg to drive over to tamp out fires of discontent, became fatalistic about the division's chances of survival. "We know we're gone as soon as our Personal Service Agreements are up" was a major theme, and by and by the offices in Encino were closed. (The Lakeside building on DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus, originally slated to house the television animation division, today houses feature animation staff.)

It took most of a decade before DreamWorks Animation again got seriously involved in television. Father of the Pride was a primetime misfire, but The Penguins of Madagascar has been a solid Nicktoons hit, with other series from DWA features in the teevee pipeline.

It took awhile, but DreamWorks Animation is now back in the television business. And now you know the rest... of the story.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Big Lazy Robot Behind Animated Nike Spec Ad

Barcelona-based Big Lazy Robot Visual Effects created this spec ad, titled Exploit Yourself, for Nike. Carl Erik Rinsch directed the ad, which took 4 months to produce.

Religion-Focused Student Film Censored

Church attendance has slipped significantly in the US, over half of all Britons claim “no religion,” and in Italy, home to the world’s “religious capital” Rome, only 30 percent of the population attends Mass every Sunday. This appears to be the the topic of a new graduation film from Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. Students Giovanni Braggio, Mario Nucibello, Elena Rotatori, Mattia Simeoni and Daniele Zacchi animated this traditional 2D film, titled Opus Dei, which was subsequently censored by the school and removed from various festivals. Seems par for the course for a school centered in Rome.

Korean Animation is Cause For Alarm

Alarm is Moo-hyun Jang’s second animated short, directed with the MESAI team in Korea. If you’re feeling sleepy, this short is not for you - it’s slow moving, and I suspect it would have the same effect if it were 3 minutes long. Regardless, it’s very well produced.

Saldanha on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

In this clip below, co-director Chris Saldanha discusses Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which hits theaters on Wednesday, July 1st. At 55% on, the film isn’t exactly wowing critics, but I’ll see it just for the Simon Pegg sequences.

Tait and McDonald Play Tuba For PSST!

As you might already know, PSST!3 is a collaborative film project that invites designers, directors, animators and composers to create animated shorts, ala Exquisite Corpse (the first artist hands his section along, which is then picked up by the next artist. I really enjoyed Orion Tait (Buck) and Pete McDonald’s Tuba section in this short titled Tuba Thunderground Soundblind, which plays at the beginning.

Smurfs Movie Adds a Third Dimension

The Smurfs have been making their way to the big screen for a while, but it now looks like they’ll be arriving in 3-D.

Columbia Pictures is planning to release the CG/live-action hybrid, known now as Smurfs 3-D, on Dec. 17, 2010, according to

The film, to be directed by Colin Brady from a script by David Stern and David Weiss, is based on the comic strip characters created by Belgian artist Peyo. The strip inspired countless toys, accessories and a popular 1980s animated TV series.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Penguins, SpongeBob Fuel Nick Ratings

Nickelodeon’s Penguins of Madagascar was the top-rated animated series with kids and total viewers for the second quarter of 2009, followed closely by SpongeBob SquarePants.

The strength of both shows helped make Nick the top total day network for kids and total viewers — continuing a 15-year streak in that category.

Penguins of Madagascar, a spinoff of the DreamWorks Animation feature film series, has averaged more than 24 million total viewer a week since it debuted in March.

SpongeBob, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is the No. 1 animated series year-to-date among kids 2-11 — a status it has held for seven years running.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Ferraiolo Returns to Soup2Nuts

Scholastic Media has announced that Emmy-winning writer, director and producer Jack D. Ferraiolo is returning to its animation studio Soup2Nuts as development executive.

In his new position, Ferraiolo will develop new and existing properties at Soup2Nuts’ studios in Boston and Scholastic’s New York offices.

Ferraiolo’s credits include developing the animated series WordGirl for PBS KIDS, for which he won an Emmy for Best Writing in Animation, as well as Science Court for ABC, Home Movies on Adult Swim and O’Grady on The N children’s network.

"We are delighted to see Jack return to Soup2Nuts," said Deborah Forte, president of Scholastic Media and executive VP of Scholastic Inc. "He is a creative executive whose writing and animation experience will guide Soup2Nuts to event greater success. His sensibility and talent relationships are respected throughout the industry."

Ferraiolo also is an acclaimed author, with his first novel, The Big Splash, earning rave reviews and was nominated for a 2009 Edgar Award as Best Young Adult Novel.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Harvey Award Nominees Announced

The Harvey Awards, named for Mad Magazine pioneer Harvey Kurtzman and honoring achievement in the comic book field, have nominated works in 26 categories.

The nominations and winners are determined solely by people working in the creative aspects of the comic book field. Ballots are available online at and are due Aug. 28.

The winners will be announced Oct. 10 in Baltimore, Md., at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con.

The full list of nominees follows:


• Kyle Baker, NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
• Ed Brubaker, CAPTAIN AMERICA, Marvel Comics
• John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
• Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
• Grant Morrison, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics


• Gabriel Ba, UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics
• Kyle Baker, NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
• Jimmy Gownley, AMELIA RULES, Renaissance Press
• Jason Kruse, WORLD OF QUEST, Yen Press
• Frank Quitely, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics


• Lar deSouza, LEAST I COULD DO,
• John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
• Al Jaffee, TALL TALES, Abrams Books
• Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
• Thom Zahler, LOVE & CAPES, Maerkle Press


• Jimmy Gownley, AMELIA RULES, Renaissance Press
• Rob Leigh, THE SPIRIT, DC Comics
• Doug Sherwood, LOCAL, Oni Press
• John Workman, MARVEL 1985, Marvel Comics
• Thom Zahler, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics


• Rich Faber, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
• Jamie Grant, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics
• Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
• Mark Morales, THOR, Marvel Comics
• Ryan Winn, THE DARKNESS, Image Comics


• Frank Cammuso, OTTO'S ORANGE DAY, Raw Junior, LLC
• Jamie Grant, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics
• Laura Martin, THOR, Marvel Comics
• Wil Quintana, THE MICE TEMPLAR, Image Comics
• Dave Stewart, UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics


• Frank Cho, BUZZBOY: SIDEKICKS RULE!#3, Sky Dog Press
• James Jean, FABLES, Vertigo Comics
• Jay Lynch, MINDSHAFT #23, Mindshaft Publishing
• Ken Rocafort, PILOT SEASON: CORE #1, Top Cow


• ECHO, Abstract Studios


• CAPTAIN AMERICA, Marvel Comics
• DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
• MICE TEMPLAR, Image Comics
• UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics


• DRAW!, edited by Mike Manley, Twomorrows Publishing
• HOW TO MAKE WEBCOMICS, Brad Guigar, Dave Kellett, Scott Kurtz, and Kris Straub, Image Comics
• KIRBY: KING OF COMICS, Mark Evanier, Abrams Books
• WORDLESS BOOKS: THE ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS, edited by David A. Berona, Abrams Books


• BREWSTER ROCKIT: SPACE GUY!, Tim Rickard, Tribune Media Services
• GET FUZZY, Darby Conley, United Features Syndicate
• MUTTS, Patrick McDonnell, King Features Syndicate
• THE NORM, Michael Jantze, Uclick Gocomics
• PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, Stephan Pastis, United Features Syndicate


• COMIC BOOK TATTOO, edited by Rantz Hoseley, Image Comics
• FLIGHT VOLUME 5, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, Villard
• MOME VOLUME 10, edited by Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics Books
• PIXU #1, edited by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Self-Published
• POPGUN VOLUME 2, edited by Joe Keatinge and Mark Andrew Smith, Image Comics


• BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON, Fantagraphics Books
• SKIM, Groundwood Books
• WORLD OF QUEST: VOL. 2, Yen Press


• M, Abrams Books
• NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
• THE MICE TEMPLAR: VOL. 1, Image Comics


• ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #19, Self-Published
• LOVE AND ROCKETS, VOL. 3 #1, Fantagraphics Books
• M, Abrams Books
• NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
• Y: THE LAST MAN #60, Vertigo Comics


• COMPLETE PEANUTS, Fantagraphics Books
• WACKY PACKAGES, Abrams Books


• GUS AND HIS GANG, First Second
• POCKET FULL OF RAIN, Fantagraphics Books
• RED COLORED ELEGY, Drawn and Quarterly
• WITCHBLADE TAKERU MANGA #'s 11 & 12, Top Cow


• BLACK CHERRY BOMBSHELLS, Tony Trovarello and John Zito,
• HIGH MOON, Scott O. Brown,
• LEAST I COULD DO, Lar deSouza and Ryan Sohmer,
• NIGHT OWLS, Bobby & Peter Timony,
• PVP, Scott Kurtz,


• Lar deSouza, LEAST I COULD DO,
• John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
• Al Jaffee, TALL TALES, Abrams Books
• Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
• David Malki, WONDERMARK,


• COMPLETE LOCAL: HARDCOVER EDITION, Ryan Kelly and Brian Wood, Oni Press
• KIRBY: KING OF COMICS, Mark Evanier, Abrams Books
• QUEEN AND COUNTRY: VOLUME 3, Greg Rucka, Mike Norton, Steve Rolston, and Chris Samnee, Oni Press
• TALL TALES, Al Jaffee, Abrams Books


• Matt Cassan, NASCAR: HEROES, Nascar Comics
• Bryan J.L. Glass, THE MICE TEMPLAR, Image Books
• Laura Innes, THE DREAMER, IDW
• Tim Sievert, THAT SALTY AIR, Top Shelf
• Bobby Timony, NIGHT OWLS,

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

8 Animators, Selick Invited to Join Academy

The invitees who accept the Academy’s offer will be welcomed with a special reception to be held in September.

The invited animators are: J.J. Blumenkranz,
 Konstantin Bronzit, 
Kendal Cronkhite, 
Rodolphe Guenoden,
 Byron Howard,
 Kunio Kato,
 Doug Sweetland and Chris Williams.

Selick was invited to join as a director.

Eleven were invited to join the visual effects branch. They are Christopher Bond,
 Matthew Butler,
 Chris Corbould,
 Rob Engle,
 Scott Gordon,
 Hal Hickel,
 Van Ling,
 Shane Mahan, 
Steve Preeg,
 Tim Webber and 
Edson Williams.

The full list of invitees follows:

• Casey Affleck – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Gone Baby Gone
• Emily Blunt – Sunshine Cleaning, The Devil Wears Prada
• Michael Cera – Juno, Superbad
• Viola Davis – Doubt, State of Play
• James Franco – Milk, Spider-Man
• Brendan Gleeson – In Bruges, Mission: Impossible II
• Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married, The Princess Diaries
• Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle & Flow
• Emile Hirsch – Into the Wild, Lords of Dogtown
• Hugh Jackman – X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Prestige
• Melissa Leo – Frozen River, 21 Grams
• Jane Lynch – Role Models, The 40 Year-Old Virgin
• Eddie Marsan – Happy-Go-Lucky, The Illusionist
• James McAvoy – Atonement, The Last King of Scotland
• Seth Rogen – Monsters vs. Aliens, Knocked Up
• Paul Rudd – I Love You, Man, Knocked Up
• Amy Ryan – Changeling, Gone Baby Gone
• Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
• Michelle Williams – Wendy and Lucy, Brokeback Mountain
• Jeffrey Wright – Quantum of Solace, W.

• J.J. Blumenkranz – Monster House, The Polar Express
• Konstantin Bronzit – Lavatory-Lovestory, The Cat and the Fox
• Kendal Cronkhite – Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Antz
• Rodolphe Guenoden – Kung Fu Panda, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
• Byron Howard – Bolt, Lilo & Stitch
• Kunio Kato – La Maison en Petits Cubes
• Doug Sweetland – Presto, The Incredibles
• Chris Williams – Bolt, Chicken Little

Art Directors
• Andrew Ackland-Snow – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Notting Hill

• Matthew D. Loeb
• Redmond Morris

Casting Directors
• John Papsidera – The Dark Knight, Agent Cody Banks
• Bernie Telsey – Sex and the City, Across the Universe

• Russ T. Alsobrook – Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
• Anthony Dod Mantle – Slumdog Millionaire, The Last King of Scotland
• Henner Hofmann – Ave Maria, La Leyenda de una Mascara (The Legend of the Mask)
• Claudio Miranda – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Failure to Launch
• Rodney Taylor – Save Me, Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France
• Mandy Walker – Australia, Shattered Glass

Costume Designers
• Deborah Hopper – Changeling, Million Dollar Baby
• Louise Mingenbach – The Hangover, Superman Returns
• Michael O’Connor – The Duchess, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
• Michael Wilkinson – Watchmen, Babel

• Rachid Bouchareb – Days of Glory, Dust of Life
• Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine
• David Frankel – Marley & Me, The Devil Wears Prada
• Rod Lurie – Nothing but the Truth, The Contender
• Thomas McCarthy – The Visitor, The Station Agent
• Tyler Perry – Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Madea’s Family Reunion
• Henry Selick – Coraline, Monkeybone

• William Gazecki – Crop Circles: Quest for Truth, Waco: The Rules of Engagement
• Rachel Grady – Jesus Camp, The Boys of Baraka
• Rory Kennedy – Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, A Boy’s Life
• Scott Hamilton Kennedy – The Garden, OT: Our Town
• James Marsh – Man on Wire, Wisconsin Death Trip
• Megan Mylan – Smile Pinki, Lost Boys of Sudan
• Doug Pray – Surfwise, Scratch

• Daniel D.A. Battsek
• Steve Beeks
• Graham W. Burke
• Joe Drake
• Erik Feig
• Paul Hanneman
• Donald P. Harris
• Claudia Lewis

Film Editors
• Roger Barton – Speed Racer, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
• Hank Corwin – What Just Happened, The New World
• Chris Dickens – Slumdog Millionaire, Shaun of the Dead
• Elliot Graham – Milk, Superman Returns
• Kathryn Himoff – Appaloosa, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
• Leo Trombetta – Little Children, Northfork
• Brent White – Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
• Pam Wise – Then She Found Me, Transamerica

Live Action Short Films
• Reto Caffi – Auf der Strecke (On the Line), Leos Freunde
• Jochen Alexander Freydank – Spielzeugland (Toyland), Dienst (Duty)
• F. Carter Pilcher – The Dreaming, Bitter

Makeup and Hairstylists
• Howard Berger – Seven Pounds, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
• Mike Elizalde – Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer
• Louis Lazzara – Race to Witch Mountain, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
• Gerald Quist – Tropic Thunder, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

• Jeff Danna – Lakeview Terrace, Fracture
• Andrew Dorfman – Baby Mama, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
• Peter Gabriel – WALL•E, Philadelphia
• Clint Mansell – The Wrestler, The Fountain
• A.R. Rahman – Slumdog Millionaire, Elizabeth: The Golden Age

• Mark Ciardi – The Game Plan, The Rookie
• Christian Colson – Slumdog Millionaire, The Descent
• Gordon Gray – Invincible, Miracle
• Broderick Johnson – One Missed Call, P.S. I Love You
• Cathy Konrad – 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line
• Andrew Kosove – Racing Stripes; Dude, Where’s My Car?
• James Lassiter – Hancock, Lakeview Terrace
• Russell Smith – Juno, The Libertine
• Paula Wagner – Death Race, Elizabethtown

Production Designers
• Donald Graham Burt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac
• Michael Carlin – The Duchess, In Bruges
• Jane Ann Stewart – The Savages, Sideways
• Kevin Thompson – Duplicity, Michael Clayton

Public Relations
• Michael D. Camp
• Marc Cohen
• Megan Colligan
• James C. Gallagher
• David Kaminow
• Sal Ladestro
• Maria Pekurovskaya
• Elizabeth Petit

Set Decorators
• Rebecca Alleway – The Duchess, The Last King of Scotland
• Peter Lando – The Dark Knight, The Invisible
• Barbara Munch-Cameron – Bottle Shock, Rent

Scenic Artists
• Robert Topol – Doubt, The Departed

• Michael Barry – The Reader, Mamma Mia!
• Derek Casari – The Soloist, Beowulf
• Aaron Glascock – Deception; Good Night, and Good Luck
• Ren Klyce – Zodiac, The Fight Club
• Peter F. Kurland – No Country for Old Men, Walk the Line
• Karen Baker Landers – 27 Dresses, The Bourne Ultimatum
• Hamilton Sterling – Fool’s Gold, Scary Movie 4
• Deborah Wallach – Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code
• Kim Waugh – Shade, Monster’s Ball

Visual Effects
• Christopher Bond – Idlewild, Superman Returns
• Matthew Butler – The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Letters from Iwo Jima
• Chris Corbould – The Dark Knight, Casino Royale
• Rob Engle – Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, Beowulf
• Scott Gordon – Nim’s Island, Spider-Man 3
• Hal Hickel – Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
• Van Ling – Milk, Vanilla Sky
• Shane Mahan – Iron Man, War of the Worlds
• Steve Preeg – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
• Tim Webber - The Dark Knight, Children of Men
• Edson Williams – Star Trek (2009), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

• John August – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie’s Angels
• Dustin Lance Black – Milk
• Courtney Hunt – Frozen River
• Howard A. Rodman – Savage Grace, Joe Gould’s Secret

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Kells Takes Big Prize at Edinburgh

The Secret of Kells is the first animated film to win the audience award at the prestigious Edinburgh Film Festival, with producer Paul Young accepting the award this past weekend from Sean Connery.

The film, made by Cartoon Saloon as a Irish-Belgian-French co-production, has been racking up honors all across Europe and is due to make its U.S. premiere in July at the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Also, Empire Film Group has picked up the U.S. distribution rights for the film and will release it in about 10 major cites across the country in the third quarter of 2009.

Paul Young accepting the award from Sean Connery

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

What Cloverfield director Matt Reeves plans for his remake of the vampire indie Let the Right One In

Cloverfield director Matt Reeves takes on the proposed English-language version of the critically acclaimed Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In as his next project, and he spoke with the Los Angeles Times about it.

The original tells the story of a lonely 12-year-old boy who realizes the kind girl who moved in next door is a vampire.

Here's what the Times reported:

"I was just hooked," Reeves recalled recently. "I was so taken with the story, and I had a very personal reaction. It reminded me a lot of my childhood, with the metaphor that the hard times of your pre-adolescent, early adolescent moment, that painful experience is a horror."

Reeves signed on to adapt and direct an American remake of the cult hit, now called Let Me In, the English translation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's original novel. He recently finished a second draft of the script, currently set in Reagan-era Colorado, and is scouting locations, looking to maintain the original story's chilly, snow-swept environs. The film is scheduled for a fall 2010 theatrical release.

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