Friday, July 17, 2009

News - 07/17/09...

Family Guy breaks Emmy glass ceiling with Best Comedy Series nod

For only the second time in history, an animated TV show has been nominated for a Best Comedy Series Emmy Award alongside the live action counterparts. After being canceled a few years ago before being famously resurrected, Family Guy breaks into the top category this year against 30 Rock, Entourage, Flight Of The Conchords, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, and Weeds.

Due to a rule long complained about by those in the field, animated shows can not compete in both the Best Comedy Series category and the Best Animated Series category. So in order to attempt the jump a show has to forego what might be an easier nomination in the animation category for a longer shot at the overall comedy category. The Simpsons and King of the Hill have tried in the past but failed to make it, meaning their show got recognition in neither category those years. The only other animated program to make the top category was The Flintstones in 1961.

The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sunday, September 20. Other animated nominees follow:

Outstanding Animated Program (for programming less than one hour)
- American Dad
- Robot Chicken
- South Park
- The Simpsons

Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or more)
- Afro Samurai: Resurrection
- Destination Imagination (Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends)

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
- American Masters, Ron Rifkin as Narrator
- Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane as Peter Griffin
- Robot Chicken, Seth Green as Anakin Skywalker/ Bob Goldstein/ Imperial Officer/ Ponda Baba/ Robot Chicken Nerd
- The Simpsons, Hank Azaria as Moe Syzlak
- The Simpsons, Harry Shearer as Kent Brockman/ Lenny/ Mr. Burns/ Smithers
- The Simpsons
, Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson

Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics
- 81st Annual Academy Awards, Song Title: Hugh Jackman Opening Number
- A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All, Song Title: Much Worse Things
- A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa, Song Title: I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus
- Flight Of The Conchords, Song Title: Carol Brown
- Saturday Night Live, Song Title: Motherlover
- The 2008 ESPYS
, Song Title: I Love Sports

Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score)
- 24
- Castle
- Ghost Whisperer
- Legend Of The Seeker
- The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
- The Simpsons

Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Animated Programs
-Disney’s Phineas And Ferb, The Monster Of Phineas-N-Ferbenstein
- SpongeBob SquarePants, Dear Vikings

Outstanding SpecialBold Visual Effects For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special
- Generation Kill
- Into The Storm

Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Series
- Battlestar Galactica
- Fringe
- Ghost Whisperer
- Heroes
- Sanctuary

Clip From L’homme à la Gordini

Orange is as good a color as any, but if it’s the only hue allowed - then I’d expect a revolt. And that’s the topic of Jean-Christophe Lie’s 10-minute, traditionally-animated 2D film L’homme à la Gordini (The Man in the Blue Gordini), about a masked rebel driving a blue Gordini car in revolt of the totalitarian color ban. It was an official selection at Annecy this year, where it picked up the Jean-Luc Xiberras award for a first film, and below you can see a :30 second segment from this Prima Linea Productions short.

Frankel to Direct Septimus Heap

Marley & Me's David Frankel is set to direct the animated fantasy feature Septimus Heap: Magyk for Warner Bros.

Rob Lieber has the job of writing a screenplay that adapts the seven-book series by Angie Sage about a boy and a princess who are switched at birth. The fifth installment in the series, Syren, is due out from HarperCollins this fall.

Karen Rosenfelt is producing through Sunswept Entertainment, with Sage signed on as an executive producer.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Brand Jumps Into I Hop

I Hop, a live-action and animation hybrid film, has scored a release date of March 4, 2011, and has cast comic actor Russell Brand in the role of the Easter Bunny.

The Universal film, produced by Illumination Entertainment, is about a slacker who hits the Easter Bunny with his car and has to take over the injured rabbit’s annual holiday task, according to Variety.

Production on the film is due to start in the fall, with Tim Hill of Alvin and the Chipmunks directing.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Marvel Heroes Get Anime Makeover

Marvel is turning Japanese, teaming up with the acclaimed Madhouse animation studio behind Paprika and Tokyo Godfathers to reinvent the comic book publisher’s classic heroes in an anime style.

A first look at the anime versions of Wolverine and Iron Man — stars of two of four planned Marvel series — will be shown at the Marvel Animation panel, next Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Acclaimed comic book creator and show writer Warren Ellis will present the anime programs and sign autographs afterward in the Marvel booth.

The series are expected to begin airing in Japan on the Animax channel in spring 2010.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Nelvana's owner posts $145 million quarterly loss

The corporate owner of children's animation studio Nelvana Limited reported Wednesday a $145 million net loss for the third quarter.

Toronto-based Corus Entertainment Inc., which also owns specialty cable TV channels and radio stations, blamed a decline in the value of its radio assets caused by falling advertising revenues.

But Corus CEO John Cassaday cited the global expansion of Bakugan Battle Brawlers, an anime series which its Nelvana division co-produces, as one of several "indicators of the underlying strength of Corus' assets."

"We continue to position our company for growth in an improving economy," said Cassaday.

Corus' brands include youth channel YTV and children's channel Treehouse, both of which air numerous animated series.

The third-quarter net loss more than offset earnings of $37.7 million in the same period a year ago. The latest loss -- in the three months ended May 31 -- totaled $1.81 per share, compared to a profit of 45 cents per share last year.

Barring one-time items, Corus reported adjusted earnings of 36 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had, on average, predicted that company would report earnings of 43 cents per share.

In the television division, revenues fell by just 1%, while segment profit dropped by 5%.

Quarterly revenue was $195.4 million, a 6% drop from $207.8 million the previous year.

Shares in the company slipped two per cent, or 28 cents, to close at $13.46 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with a 52-week high of $20.30 and low of $10.69.

To deal with the economic slump, Corus has been cutting costs at its operations. It said that it has laid off about 100 of its 2,000 employees, while management has taken a 5% pay cut and foregone its bonuses.

Although publicly traded, Corus is controlled by the Calgary-based Shaw family, which owns the majority of its shares.

Animation competition launched for history film

History and Aniboom, the world's first virtual animation studio, announced Wednesday a collaboration challenging professional animators to create unique interpretations of 10 readings of historical speeches by celebrity performers.

Animators compete for $35,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to have their animation shown on TV on The History Channel. The audio recordings to be animated are featured in the film The People Speak, airing later this year on History, and can be downloaded from the Aniboom History competition page.

The stars featured in the film include Matt Damon, Marisa Tomei, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Viggo Mortensen and many others. They give voice to the lives and experiences of ordinary Americans who have changed the course of history.

Animators around the world will have the opportunity to submit their animations at Animators will be able to submit as many animations as they like, but may only receive prizes for one animation.

"With this competition, Aniboom and History get to show the full force and growing impact of non-fiction animation and how it resonates with primetime television audiences," said Aniboom founder and president Uri Shinar. "We are excited to give our animators access to such powerful words and entrée to such an incredible media partner. Our virtual studio encompasses creators in 72 countries -- including many talented animators not living under democracy -- who are now able to use their talent to bring new perspective to great words and in the process have their work seen by millions and pitched to a leading network."

"We are pleased to work with Aniboom and the large number of animators and designers who participate in their online community," said Chris Moseley, History's vice-president for marketing. "The People Speak is a film that so wholly demonstrates that history is literally made every day, from the ground up.

"With this initiative, we hope to encapsulate what these important, historical and game changing words mean to people on a visual level. We anticipate very powerful responses. The competition will enable History to bring the expression of democracy to greater heights, on air, online, through words and graphics, making HISTORY an even broader '360' experience."

The People Speak animation competition will be conducted in two stages. The first stage calls for the Aniboom creator community to submit their entries (storyboards, animatics or animations) based on the 10 celebrity recordings from the film The People Speak, airing on History later this year. The second stage will grant five finalists $5,000 to further develop their original creation, as well as leaving the door open to other animators to create and submit their final full version, giving the animator a chance to be a wildcard finalist -- and may have the opportunity to have their work aired on History as a 30-second spot.

The grand prize winner will receive additional on-air promotion, an additional cash prize of $10,000, and a development deal with History.

The People Speak will feature dramatic performances chronicling the history of the United States, including charter documents, letters, diaries and more, from such additional celebrities as Kerry Washington, David Strathairn, Don Cheadle, Jasmine Guy, Q'orianka Kilcher and Michael Ealy, along with musical performances from stars such as Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Allison Moorer and John Legend. It is from these performances that Aniboom's creator community will be deriving their inspiration and transforming the human form of the presentation into an animated version of the same story.

Aniboom's content creation competition with History and The People Speak organization comes off the heels of the current FOX-Aniboom Holiday Animation Challenge, in which Aniboom has partnered with Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century FOX Television in a search of a new signature animated holiday special for TV. Contest entries are available for viewing and commented on now at The winner from up-and-coming animators around the world will be chosen later this year.

SDCC ‘09: Van Eaton’s Book Booth

If you are going to the San Diego Comic Con, don’t miss Booth #501, Van Eaton Galleries. Forget the voluminous amount of vintage animation art they have (which alone is worth the visit) - Van Eaton is the exclusive seller of three brand-new animation history books you should own:

1. Darrell Van Citters’ Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol - which I raved about here.

2. June Foray’s autobiography Did You Grow Up With Me Too?

Legendary voice artist June Foray has compiled a new autobiography with the help of our buddies Mark Evanier and Earl Kress. I’ve seen the book and its loaded with great first hand stories from June, loaded with little known facts about her life and career, and wonderful photos that illustrate June’s most famous (and infamous) roles. Rocky, Natasha, and Witch Hazel are as thoroughly covered as the smallest roles (including Chatty Cathy and her Twilight Zone counterpart, Talky Tina). June’s early work with Disney and on Andy’s Gang and her later involvement with Asifa and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; her friendships with Stan Freberg, Jay Ward, Bill Scott, Saul Bass and others - it’s all here in this wonderfully written volume.

June will be at the Van Eaton booth in person to sign copies from 5 PM to 6 PM on Friday, 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and 1 PM to 2 PM on Sunday. Signed copies will also be available from Van Eaton after the show - advance order accepted now.

3. Mark Arnold’s Created and Produced by Total Television

Arnold’s book on Total Television lays out the full story on the studio behind Underdog, The King and Odie, Tennessee Tuxedo, Go-Go Gophers, Twinkles the Elephant and many other TV characters of the 1960s. Often thought by some to be the work of Jay Ward, Total Television’s output was indeed produced at the same Mexican studio (Gamma Productions) that Ward used. Arnold untangles the history of the studio (which includes Gerneral Mills, Peter Piech and even Terrytoons!), the shows they made, the voice talent they employed, and the licensed merchandise that ensued. A complete episode guide is included. A must for your TV-Cartoon bookshelf.

See you at booth #501.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

The House of Cats

This beautiful little short by Courtland Lomax was made for Swarovski to promote their latest crystal collection. The backgrounds and designs are by Brigette Barrager.

(Thanks, Adam Muto)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

HLJ Reports On Japan's Lifesize Gundam

HobbyLink Japan has a text and photo report on the recently unveiled lifesize electronic Gundam replica. The robotic statue, open to guests until the end of August, was built to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Mobile Suit Gundam television series.

The New Low-Cost Animation Model!

We've talked about this before, but the New York Times provides texture and detail to our bright future:

Mass Animation... [made] a five-minute animated film using the Wikipedia model, with animators from around the world contributing shots, and Facebook users voting on their favorites ...

The completed short,
“Live Music,” has been deemed of high enough quality by Sony Pictures Entertainment to warrant a theatrical run ... The finished film is made up of scenes submitted by 51 people, who received $500 per scene and a film credit for their efforts.

Yair Landau, the founder of Mass Animation (and a former digital and animation executive at Sony, where he oversaw production of the movie
“Surf’s Up”), said he hoped “Live Music” was just the tip of this iceberg. His goal is to produce a feature-length film in the same manner, essentially pushing the heavy lifting off on a crowd ...

Using Facebook, Mass Animation invited animation enthusiasts — from total amateurs to professionals working in their spare time — to compete to create individual shots for the short ...

In the end ... about 17,000 downloaded the software application, Mr. Landau said.

You see how freaking great this is? Using the intertubes, thousands of animators get to do shots for free! And then out of those thousands, the winners pick up $500 bucks for their winning segments! And a screen credit!

Enter enough contests and do enough scut work, and you'll earn enough money for a fine, five-day stay at the Holiday Inn of your choice!

Truly awesome.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Disney Doc Gets Limited September Release

Walt & El Grupo, a new documentary film chronicling a ten-day trip Walt Disney and a hand-picked group of artists took in 1941 to South America as part of the United States’ Good Neighbor Policy, will open Sept. 11 with a limited engagement.

The film, made by writer and director Theodore Thomas, will play in New York at the Quad Cinema, in Los Angeles at the Landmark Regent Theater in Westwood, and at the AMC Downtown Disney 12 in Anaheim. The film is set to open in Seattle on Sept. 25, with additional cities and dates to be announced.

A festival favorite, Walt & El Grupo has played at the Rome, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Palm Springs and Seattle film festivals to critical acclaim. Thomas previously directed the 1995 documentary film Frank and Ollie, about famed Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.

The film uses letters and artwork from the trip, remembrances and never-before-seen footage to chronicle the good will trip, which took Disney and his group through Argentina, Brazil and Chile and inspired the classic films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros.

The film will be released by Walt Disney Pictures and is presented by Walt Disney Family Foundation Films, in association with Theodore Thomas Productions.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Loesch to Head Up Hasbro-Discovery Venture

Margaret Loesch, a veteran of the children’s entertainment and animation industries, is the new president and CEO of Hasbro and Discovery’s multiplatform joint venture.

Loesch will head up the venture, which has yet to be named and will debut in Fall 2010 on what is now the Discovery Kids channel. She will oversee all business and creative areas of the rebranded channel and multimedia ventures, reporting to a board of directors split between Hasbro and Discovery representatives.

Her career spans almost forty years in the business and has been involved in the development and programming of such successful shows as Smurfs, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Muppet Babies, Animaniacs, Transformers and Bear in the Big Blue House.

She also launched and expanded the Fox Kids Network, created the U.S. Hallmark Channel, headed up Marvel Productions and co-founded the family media company The Hatchery. She has won four Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, a Vision Award, and the Chair Award from the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers, and Directors.

“The opportunity to work with Hasbro and Discovery – two companies that are synonymous with quality, values and success – is the type of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I could not resist,” said Loesch. “Since I started in the children’s entertainment industry, I have believed there always is a yearning among viewers for high-quality, family-friendly entertainment filled with positive messages and built on strong and engaging brands, characters and stories. With Hasbro’s world-class brands and Discovery’s established distribution strength, we have the tools to address that yearning and create a network and programming that will entertain, inform and truly resonate with viewers.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Wizard Founder Announces Anaheim Comic-Con

Gareb Shamus, CEO of Wizard Entertainment, has announced the first-ever Anaheim Comic-Con will be held April 16-18, 2010, at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The Anaheim show is the latest in a series of comic book convention acquisitions for Shamus, whose Wizard Entertainment operates the Wizard World series of shows. Shamus recently bought or announced new comic book conventions in New York and Toronto, joining Wizard-run shows in Chicago and Philadelphia.

Wizard World had run a Los Angeles show that appeared its first two years at the Long Beach Convention Center before moving to the Los Angeles Convention Center downtown. The 2009 edition of Wizard World L.A. was postponed earlier this year and has not been rescheduled.

“We had an outpouring of requests by fans and partners to return to Southern California, and felt that Anaheim was the best place to come back to,” said Shamus. “There is a real desire here for a comic based pop-culture experience, and I feel privileged to get back in touch with our west coast fans in this way. This will truly be an event for families and people of all ages."

The convention will see Disney’s Kingdom Comics announce new projects to its fan community, according to publisher Ahmet Zappa.

Tickets the for the show are on sale now at:

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

'IRON MAN 2' Black Widow Revealed!

This is probably the most anticipated reveal since Heath Ledger's Joker: This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly will contain the first photos of Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow in 'Iron Man 2'.

The new Marvel movie has the cover with a photo of the actress along with Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke (both in armor). The interior feature contains additional photos including the previously seen Mickey Rourke in his Whiplash armor, as well as a new look at Downey in his Nascar race gear and another of Scarlett in her black leather body suit. It also has a spotlight on the production as part of it's 2nd annual Comic-Con issue. Here's an excerpt:

Entertainment Weekly's July 17 issue cover featuring IRON MAN 2's Scarlett

When Marvel Studios first announced the sequel, no one was sure what the movie would be about. Downey, director Jon Favreau, screenwriter Justin Theroux, and the rest of the creative team struck upon the idea of introducing two very different foes for Stark. On one side is Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a fast-talking weapons manufacturer who fancies himself the next Tony Stark; on the other, Vanko, who, while incarcerated in a Russian prison, creates his own battle-suit, which shoots devastating, whip-like beams. Hammer and Whiplash join forces to take down Downey’s character, Tony Stark. Rourke, for his part, wanted to instill some lightness into the role of the heavy. "I told Favreau, 'I don't want to just play him as a one-dimensional p----,'" he says. "He let me have a cockatoo, who I talk to and get drunk with while I’m making my suit."

Just as the deals were being hammered out, Terrence Howard -- who had played Stark’s best friend -- fell out of the sequel in a public salary dispute. The role was re-cast, with Don Cheadle stepping in. "We had to make some tough deals," says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. "When they got public, you go, 'That sucks. Okay, you want a peek behind the curtain? Here you are!'" Says Cheadle, "Terrence and I couldn’t be more different. We address it head-on in the movie in one exchange. We're not trying to fool people." (Cheadle admits he didn’t know much about Marvel’s superhero before the first movie came out: "I always thought Iron Man was a robot.")

Scarlett Johansson is the Black Widow in IRON MAN 2

Adding more flesh and blood to the new movie, Scarlett Johansson joined the cast as Stark’s mysterious new assistant, Natasha, who has an alter ego of her own, Black Widow. That introduction inevitably sparks romantic tension between Stark and former assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), who’s been promoted to CEO of Stark Industries. "The men want it to be, like, 'Ooh, the girls are fighting over Tony,' but it's not as standard as that," says Paltrow. "There's a weird male catfight fantasy. Downey agrees. He believes what differentiates the franchise from other superhero series can be summarized as follows: "We're horny. Not, like, can't-bring-your-kids horny, but just…horny."

The question remains whether
Iron Man 2 will soar like the first film or show signs of rust when it hits theaters. "People are going to be more critical," says Downey. "That’s their prerogative….In a way, there's no way to win, except to win. Big."

For more on Iron Man, as well as a first look at the hottest movies and TV shows heading to Comic-Con, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday July 17.

Video: Apollo 11's Buzz and Toy Story's Buzz

"Buzz" Aldrin

This week marks a significant event in the history of manned space flight. No, not the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which launched on July 16 and landed on the moon on the 20th.

It's the week a toy version of Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear got carried aboard the space shuttle Endeavor—which launched last night, headed for the international space station—to commemorate the opening of "Toy Story Mania!" at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California.

To mark the occasion, Disney paired real-life Apollo 11 astronaut and newly commissioned Disney shill Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. with his toy counterpart in a "training video," which you can view below. It does not damage the dignity of the second man on the moon too much, and besides, a man's gotta eat, right?

Check out for real Apollo 11 anniversary news and announcements, or follow a We Choose the Moon to relive the mission in real time.

Toy Story 3 opens in theaters June 18, 2010.

Willem Dafoe gets his ass to John Carter of Mars

Willem Dafoe wore green armor as the Green Goblin in Spider-Man, and now he's going full green monty as an alien warlord in John Carter of Mars, WALL-E director Andrew Stanton's first live-action movie.

Dafoe will star alongside Wolverine co-stars Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins in the adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi fantasy series of books, Variety reported.

Here's what the trade paper said:

Dafoe will play the role of Tars Tarkas, a fierce green Martian warrior, who's unusual among his savage race for his ability to love. Tars develops an alliance with John Carter in the first film, which is based on A Princess of Mars.
He fights battles alongside Carter through the entire series of Edgar Rice Burroughs books, so he will be hanging around for sequels.

Kitsch, who appeared all too briefly in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the cane-twirling Gambit, will play the title character in Mars, a damaged Civil War vet who finds himself mysteriously transported to the Red Planet.

Collins, who played Wolverine's ill-fated Kayla Silverfox, will play the Princess of Mars. Stanton wrote the script with Mark Andrews. John Carter of Mars is slated for release sometime in 2012.

Thursday Theater: 'Marvel: Civil War' Fan Trailer

It really is a great time to be a fan of comic book movies. Along with being treated to brilliant films like "Iron Man," "Hellboy" and "The Dark Knight" in theaters, there's no shortage of fan-made movies and trailers around the 'Net that offer a taste of what some of your favorite comics or storylines would look like if they made the jump to the big screen.

We'll be taking a look at some of those fan-made movies, trailers and mash-ups each week here on Splash Page, and get some thoughts from the films' creators about why they made the jump from comic book fan to amateur filmmaker.

So, let's get straight to this week's video: "Marvel: Civil War"

After the jump, check out an interview with the creator of "Marvel: Civil War."

Created by: Kevin (a.k.a. boredsox78)

MTV: How long did i take you to create "Marvel: Civil War"?

KEVIN: "Civil War"
took me about two weeks to complete. I had to watch and re-edit the video several times before I felt it was the best video I could make.

MTV: Why did you choose Marvel's "Civil War" event as the subject of the trailer?

I chose Marvel's "Civil War" because it was the first crossover series I had ever read. After I had seen Marvel's "Iron Man" film, I really got into comics and "Civil War" was really the first one I read. And after a couple of months of editing trailers, I decided that I wanted to create a brawl between the heroes instead of the villains. "Civil War" immediately came to mind and I've been working on it ever since.

MTV: How do you feel about the final product? Any element you wish turned out a little better or anything that turned out better than you expected?

I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of the trailer. My favorite bit, but the part that I think turned out the worst (unfortunately) in "Civil War" was toward the beginning, between Wolverine and Bruce Banner. The masking (taking clips from one movie and placing them in another) didn't work out too well, because the file wouldn't allow me to make certain corrections. Fortunately, it still looked decent in the end.

One of my continuing problems is the volume level of the music, which I really have to work on. I think the masking in other parts of the trailer turned out well, and I was very happy with the results.

MTV: Any plans to make more? What storylines or characters would you like to use down the road?

Funny you should ask that. I'm actually working on my "Civil War Theatrical Trailer B" as we speak. This will probably be my last Civil War campaign until I get clips from "Iron Man 2," "Thor" and "Captain America." I also don't want to keep making films about the same subject matter because it would get boring for me and the people watching it. I would probably stick to the same characters of this trailer, but in the future I will use "Captain America" and "Thor."

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