Wednesday, July 8, 2009

News - 07/08/09...

Project Twenty1 Launch Event & Networking Party

Saturday, August 1, 2009
Time: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Location: North Bowl Lounge & Lanes
Street: 909 N. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA

Teams of filmmakers & animators have 21-Days to create an original short, and they need YOU to help them. Bring business cards, demos CDs, headshots, etc., and get involved!

This is a FREE event, open to the public, All-Ages welcomed.

All completed films will screen at a REAL movie theater! Top films will receive DVD distribution, compete for over $1,000 in prizes from Sony Creative, and get submitted to partner festivals all over the world.

Check out clips from last year’s Launch Event:

Get Connected! Win Hundreds of dollars in door prizes from Dymo! 21+ can enjoy CHEAP drink specials!

RSVP on Evite (for reminder):

Not local? Get on the forum on and support our Teams from all over the world.

This event is proudly sponsored by Project Twenty1 and North Bowl.

(Thanks asifaeast)

The Tom Stathes Cartoon Carnival 7/8/09

Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Time: 8:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Freddy’s Bar and Backroom
Street: 485 Dean St.
City/Town: Prospect Heights, NY

You’re invited to the next installment of the Tom Stathes Cartoon Carnival presented by The Kings County Cinema Society! Come and see some classic cartoon characters you know and some ancient ones you’ve never heard of! The show is presented in 16mm with a projector–no digital aspect whatsoever enabling you to enjoy film as it was originally intended. $5 Donation at the back of Freddy’s Bar

By Subway take the 2, 3 trains to Bergen Street; Freddy’s is right around the corner. Or take practically any train in the city to Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street Stations; Walk East on Flatbush and take a left on Dean.

(Thanks asifaeast)

Classic Peanuts Collection Comes Home

Fans of Charles Schulz and animator Bill Melendez would have to be real blockheads to not pick up the Peanuts 1960s Collection, out this week on DVD.

The two-disc set (Warner Bros., $29.98) includes six classic Peanuts specials from the 1960s. Included are the perennial classics A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, as well as the less well-known titles Charlie Brown’s All-Stars, You’re in Love, Charlie Brown, He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown and It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown.

Also due out this week are a pair of visual-effects-heavy sci-fi films: Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage (Summit Entertainment, $26.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray), and Push, featuring Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans (Summit Entertainment, $26.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray).

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Weta Buys Nuke License

Weta Digital has bought a site license for Nuke, the compositing software application created by The Foundry, and will incorporate it into the company’s in-house pipeline.

The New Zealand-based visual effects house, founded in 1993 to create effects for Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures, has won five Oscars for visual effects and worked on such successful films as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, I, Robot, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Jumper.

The Foundry, based in the United Kingdom, has created such industry standard applications as Nuke and Furnace, and its products are in use at such major visual effects houses as Digital Domain, The Moving Picture Co., Framestore, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

“Our long-standing relationship with The Foundry and our faith in their product development, support and focus on producing a truly useful artist tool set, have given us the confidence to make this investment,” said Paul Ryan, chief technology officer at Weta Digital. “We have a lot of challenges ahead and are looking forward to seeing the difference that Nuke makes to our workflow.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Voice-O-Matic for 3ds Max Gets Upgrade

Montreal-based animation software maker Di-O-Matic has upgraded Voice-O-Matic, its lip-synching plug-in tool for 3ds Max.

The new version of the software, version 3, is set to ship this summer and includes as new features 64-bit support for Autodesk 3ds Max 9, 3ds Max 2008, 3ds Max 2009 and 3ds Max 2010; added compatibility for 3ds Max 2010; improved lip-synch quality; and new presets and settings.

“All of our customers who have used Voice-O-Matic over the years consistently tell us how much they recommend it to anyone who needs to add quality lip-sync to their 3D characters in a quick and easy way,” said Laurent M. Abecassis, president and co-founder of Di-O-Matic. “Voice-O-Matic v3 for 3ds Max will offer 3D artists and studios new features and productivity enhancements that will not only accelerate the process of creating accurate lip sync — it will perpetuate the artist friendly and ‘it just works’ reputation it built over the last six years.”

The software is expected to be available for purchase direct from the Di-O-Matic online store ( or through Di-O-Matic worldwide resellers in summer 2009. Pricing will be $349 for a full commercial version, with floating licensing options and one year premium support.

Upgrade information is listed at:

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Brand to Rep Brit Chicks Worldwide

Brand Champions has been tapped as the worldwide licensing representative for the Target Entertainment musical online property Brit Chicks.

The property is a girls fashion and lifestyle brand set to launch in October with a social networking site where girls ages 7 and up can make friends, chat and share adventures about the Brit Chicks, a girl-group sensation taking the world by storm.

The property will also offer original songs through the Brit Chicks web site and iTunes, with a CD release also planned.

“The licensing program will be fashion-led with apparel and accessories high on the agenda,” Helen Howells, global brand director at Target Entertainment Group. “We are also keen to extend the program in to publishing and gaming.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

One giant leap: Buzz Lightyear as lunar pioneer?

Eleven out of 1,009 people surveyed for a British magazine identified fictional Toy Story astronaut Buzz Lightyear as the first person to land on the Moon.

Another eight people thought jazz great Louis Armstrong was the first. Fewer than 75% gave the correct answer: Neil Armstrong. (Buzz Aldrin -- not Lightyear -- was the second.)

The poll was conducted on behalf of E&T magazine, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Over one-fourth of respondents didn't think that the three Apollo 11 astronauts actually landed on the Moon 40 years ago this month.

"The Apollo moon landing is mankind's most outstanding engineering event, so it's deeply worrying that such a large number of people should think the first moon walk never happened, and that the public's belief in the legitimacy of science and technology seems to be declining over time," said E&T editor in chief Dickon Ross.

Briefly: Shanghai Animation Expo Opens; HP and Cartoon Network Asia Launch Award

* The 5th China International Animation Expo opened in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, July 4, 2009, and will continue to next Monday. [CCTV English]

* Cartoon Network Asia and Hewlett-Packard have jointly launched the Toon Creators Award "for young talent from Australia, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to showcase their creativity through technology." [AWN]

"Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" Comes to Nicktoons Network in October 2009

Marvel Entertainment has announced that the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes series will be debuting on Nicktoons Network alongside Wolverine and the X-Men and Iron Man: Armored Adventures. The show focuses on Marvel's first family of superheroes, and Nicktoons will air episodes that were never broadcast during its original run on Cartoon Network.

The Marvel Animation Age is reporting a debut date in October 2009.

Live Action Jin-Roh Coming? How About More Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex?

Anime News Network reports that Production I.G Vice-President Maki Terashima-Furuta has acknowledged a comment made at Production I.G's Anime Expo convention panel, stating "somebody has the live-action rights, and somebody was planning to make a live-action Jin-Roh, but at the moment, I have no comment."

Written by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell movies, Sky Crawlers), but directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, the anime film is set within Oshii's Kerberos saga, an alternate history of a totalitarian Japan moving from the 1940's to the 21st century, centered around armored anti-riot, anti-revolutionary police.

From the provocative entry in The Japanamerican Devil

Jin Roh n: A brilliant film about what might happen if Japan lost World War II. Actually, Japan did lose World War II. So this film is about what would happen if Japan lost World War II to Japan's friends - the Germans.
It's horrible and beautiful in equal doses. And it makes you think: maybe Japan did lose the war to its friends - the Americans - and they took over everything.

Set in the 1950's, Jin-Roh follows Kerberos Panzer Cops member Kazuki Fuse, who is assigned to be retrained after failing to shoot a bomber known as a Little Red Riding Hood.

The anime was released on DVD and Blu-ray (good luck finding the latter) in North America by Bandai Entertainment and VIZ Media.

Speaking of Production I.G at Anime Expo, according to ANN, the company rep responded to questions about the possibility of more Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime saying they expect the project to happen, but that the director is currently tied up in other projects.

Stand Alone Complex director Kenji Kamiyama has recently been working on "fantapolitical thriller" Eden of The East. An 11 episode anime TV series has completed and two movies are on the way.

The Art of Yo Gabba Gabba!

This Saturday, July 11, in Minneapolis, the Pink Hobo Gallery (507 E. Hennepin Ave.) will host an art show “The Art of Yo Gabba Gabba!” featuring artwork from the Nick Jr. TV series. Among the items on display: never-before-seen original drawings and sketches from the show’s creator and lead designer Parker Jacobs, props used in the show, and original production artwork from the show’s guest artists including King Mini, Mark Mothersbaugh, Option-G, Panda Panther, Megan Brain, Aaron Stewart, Mitch Loidolt, Tim Sievert, Julia Vickerman, and Tanya Haden. The opening is between 5pm and 1am. The show will continue to run after this weekend, but beware that the gallery doesn’t keep normal hours because it’s located in the offices of the production company Puny Entertainment. More details are available on this Facebook invite.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Spongebob documentary

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants (who first appeared on July 17th, 1999), VH1 will premiere Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants, on Tuesday, July 14 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). This is an original SpongeBob TV documentary from producers Creadon O’Malley (Wordplay, I.O.U.S.A).

From the Viacom press release:

Commissioned by Nickelodeon to commemorate the anniversary of the series’ first episode, the documentary chronicles the beloved character’s journey to international pop culture icon status and showcases the series’ impact on everyone from President Barack Obama, kids across the globe and San Quentin inmates who readily sing its catchy theme song. The one-hour documentary, features an opening song from Avril Lavigne and commentary from creator Steve Hillenburg, cast and crew members, industry experts, fanatics and celebrities like LeBron James, Ricky Gervais and Rosario Dawson.

It also features several comments from yours truly - I wonder if I’m considered an “industry expert” or a “fanatic”? Tune in and find out.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

‘Gatchaman’ Teaser Trailer Debuts At Anime Expo

It looks like “Gatchaman” is still on track for its 2010 release date from Imagi Studios. Debuting a new teaser this past weekend at Anime Expo 2009, Imagi gave attendees a first look at footage from the upcoming CGI feature film.

The 45-second teaser doesn’t reveal much about the film’s plot, which is being written by Paul Dini (“Batman: The Animated Series,” “Lost”), but does provide the first image of main villain Galactor, as well as a group shot of the entire Gatchaman team both in and out of costume.

Alongside the images, the trailer sums up the film’s theme with cryptic juxtaposed text, “A world in chaos, an alien evil, a lone warrior is found, eBoldarth’s last hope, five shall rise, ‘Gatchaman.’

Set in the not-too-distant future, “Gatchaman” sees a world on the verge of environmental and technological catastrophe attacked by an evil alien menace. Its only hope is a group of five genetically advanced teenagers in bird-themed uniforms. Naturally, they’ve got special abilities, fighting skills and spaceships to get the job done right.

Airing as “Battle of the Planets,” “G-Force” and “Eagle Riders” in North America over time in North America, “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman” was a huge hit in Japan, being exported in various forms around the world. With its five-person team dynamic, outlandish costumes and over-the-top space drama, many credit it as a predecessor to series such as “Kamen Rider” and North American “Super Sentai” import the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”

It’s still unknown whether or not the lead characters will be called by their Japanese names or by one of their various North American incarnations. But judging by the faithful “Gatchaman” film title, there’s a good chance fans of the original Japanese series will be hearing some familiar names.

Fido Fetches Giant Spot For RWE

Andrés Rosas Hott at Sweden’s Fido directed this new animated spot for the German electric power company RWE. The CG spot, titled Giant, runs nearly 2 minutes in length, and the creative effort was led by the ad agency Jung von Matt. Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge

Columbian animator Oscar Triana has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge. His short Star Wars in a Notebook is up for the Audience Choice Award (vote now), which will be presented at Comic-Con on July 24th. Good luck to each of the finalists!

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Proof’ Co-Creator Confirms Animated Series, Addresses Samuel L. Jackson Rumor

Last week news broke that Image Comics’ “Proof” had been optioned by Kickstart Entertainment with intent to make it an animated series. “Futurama” writer Evan Gore was named as the potential writer for a pilot and comic book film veteran Samuel L. Jackson was rumored to star. However, since the report came from an anonymous source, there was a distinct lack of, well… proof.

Fortunately, “Proof” writer, letterer and co-creator Alex Grecian was willing to not only confirm the news, but also to share some insights into an animated world showcasing supernatural species and sasquatch action.

Grecian said he was flattered when Kickstart Entertainment, known for bringing Mark Millar’s “Wanted” to the big screen, reached out to him after taking a look at he and co-creator Riley Rossmo’s handiwork. Things progressed quickly, with Gore consulting Grecian on the show’s blueprint.

“I’ve read his treatment for the series and talked to [Gore] many times, both by phone and in person, and he’s extremely enthusiastic about ‘Proof,’ Grecian said.

Whether Samuel L. Jackson will be voicing sasquatch “Proof” protagonist John Prufrock is still being ironed out by Kickstart, but Grecian thinks the actor is perfect for the role.

“I haven’t spoken personally to Sam Jackson, but I’m told that 'Proof' is one of his favorite comic book series ever and he’s excited to be involved,” Grecian said.

As far as the show’s proposed style of animation, which some speculated would emulate Rossmo’s jagged style, Grecian said to expect some simplification.

“I haven’t seen any art for the series yet, but I think it would be really hard to animate [Rossmo's] style. [Rossmo's] character designs are perfect and I’m hoping they stick pretty close to those, but I’d look for the actual style of the show to be streamlined a bit.”

Even though the series has only just been optioned, Grecian could be penning episodes if things work out. For now, though, he’s just excited to see how things unfold.

“[Rossmo] and I have put our trust in Kickstart to get everything off the ground the right way and they’re doing a fantastic job of that,” Grecian said.

Warner Home Video Releases Hi-Res Images From "Green Lantern: First Flight" Feature

Warner Home Video has released hi-res versions of previously-seen images from the Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video animated feature.

For a closer look at the newly released hi-res images from the Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video animated feature, click on the thumbnails below.

Both images have been used liberally in publicity for the Green Lantern: First Flight animated feature, appearing in multiple advertisements and promotions for the highly-anticipated upcoming direct-to-video release.

A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Green Lantern: First Flight animated feature will debut Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray disc.

New onesheet poster for Peter Jackson's District 9

Yahoo! Movies has posted a new onesheet for producer Peter Jackson's new District 9, which you can view after the jump.

The movie, which is directed by Neill Blomkamp, takes place in a South African refugee camp for extraterrestrials. It opens Aug. 14; click on the image below for a larger version.

Review: Learn the dueling secrets behind Rings and Star Wars

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy

Reclaiming the Blade is a documentary that poses the question: Why did most sword fights look so fake in old movies—and why are they suddenly getting more realistic? The answer reveals one of the world's best-kept secrets.

This documentary came out in limited release last April in theaters, and the DVD (which is packed with fun and fascinating bonuses) comes out July 7. John Rhys-Davies narrates a story that begins in Hollywood and shows sword fights from silent movies, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, The Princess Bride and Star Wars.

Cary Elwes as the Dread Pirate Roberts and Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

Well-deserved focus centers on Bob Anderson, the longtime fight choreographer who trained Errol Flynn and was the man behind the mask of Darth Vader in the Star Wars fight scenes. Anderson is a Hollywood legend, and at long last he gets his own screen time to talk about his career in the movies.

Viggo Mortensen and Karl Urban tell stories of working with Anderson when they trained for Lord of the Rings. There's plenty of attention given to the design and making of their swords, including a peek inside the WETA Workshop, where a swordsmith talks about his work for the fantasy series and lets the cameras take a close look.

The rest of Reclaiming the Blade delves into the history of swords, revealing why filmmakers have recently been able to make fights look more realistic. Here's the secret: During the Middle Ages, weapons experts wrote books about their sword-fighting techniques. During the past 15 years or so, martial artists all over the world have discovered these ancient books and deciphered them. In other words, we now know how knights really fought, because people are reconstructing the sword techniques they used. Reclaiming the Blade introduces the experts in this field and the work they're doing. There's also a look at sword techniques used in the Society of Creative Anachronism, Asian martial arts and modern-day fencing.

The bonuses on this DVD are gems, including a closer look at weapons made at the WETA Workshop and their makers, as well as Mortensen telling stories about Aragorn and the details as to how the broken shards of Aragorn's ancestor's sword Narsil were re-forged into Anduril. My favorite is the short film about the real school for Jedi knights in New York City where students train with fake lightsabers. Who knew such a thing existed?

(Ed note: One "old school" sword fight not mentioned is one of my favorites - from the 1940 "Mark of Zorro" w/ Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone, for whom fencing was one of his favorite off-camera recreations.)

Didja catch Optimus Prime on Letterman the other night?

The biggest machine in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is not Devastator: It's the PR mechanism, as evidenced by the following clip from The Late Show With David Letterman, which you can view after the jump.

In this clip, Optimus Prime delivers Letterman's trademark "Top Ten" list: in this case, "Things that sound cool when spoken by a giant robot." We don't guarantee it's funny; we just bring you this stuff.

(Thanks to for the heads-up.)

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