Tuesday, October 13, 2009

News - 10/13/09...

Joe Murray Plans Animation Video Site

Joe Murray is in the planning stages of a new site called KaBoing TV, which he envisions as “an all cartoon, all animation channel, not only with my content, but bringing in other content providers as well.” Murray, who has a long history in TV animation with series like Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, wrote on his blog about his desire to “make a home for animation that is cool, creator driven, and fair business wise to the people who make the entertainment, as well as being responsible in the advertising we choose to run.”

To date, most of the major online cartoon channels and animation video sharing sites have been started by corporations looking for ways to exploit creators. There hasn’t been any attempt on the part of sites like Aniboom or Channel Frederator to find sustainable and fair models that encourage online animation production. Murray’s track record as an artist responsible for successful shows on both Nick and CN gives him a unique edge as an entrant into the field of online animation distribution. It’ll be interesting to watch what he does.

(Charles Brubaker via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

CTN Expo Update

Last month we told you about the animators expo shaping up for this November in Burbank being organized by former Disney character designer/animator Tina Price. In addition to the folks attending we mentioned in the last post, we have these updates and additions to announce:

• Pixar Art Director Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, Laika Art Director Lou Romano, Sony Art Director Andy Gaskill, and Disney Art Director Dave Goetz discussing the art of Color Scripting. Moderated by LA Times animation critic and author Charles Solomon.

• Pixar comes to CTN-X with Andrew Gordon (Pixar/Spline Doctors), character designers Derek Thompson and Jason Deamer, art director Scott Morse and Pixar recruiter Pam Zissimos who will be participating in Raising the Bar Recruiting, looking for Story Artists.

• Live art demonstrations by Sean Galloway (Got Cheeks?), Marshall Vandruff, Kent Melton, Peter de Sève, Eric Goldberg and Mike Mignola.

• A screening of The Secret of Kells and Banjo the Woodpile Cat on Saturday night. 3-day pass holders admitted first.

• An artist contest sponsored by Corel and Wacom. Artwork is executed on site at CTN-X and judged by top creative talent. Two categories Pro and Non-Pro and the winners of each win a free software package of Painter from Corel and an Intuos 4 tablet.

• Also, Cartoon Brew will be holding a contest for 2 free room nights at the event hotel plus a 3-day pass. Includes all panels and speakers, Raising the Bar Recruiting, Speed Talent Portfolio Reviews and CTN-X@nite schmoozing and connecting.

• Also note: as of Oct 1st the exhibitor floor is sold out. The CTN Expo will be held at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center - located across the street from the Burbank Airport and an Amtrak Station - on Friday November 20th through Sunday, November 22nd.

Early bird tickets are $25 for the exhibit floor only, $50 for a day pass and $125 for a 3-day pass. Early bird deadline is Sept. 30, 2009. Discounted rates are available to students, active military and professional industry organizations. Space is strictly limited at this groundbreaking event. Click here for more information or to register or call (800) 604-2238 and mention the special member discount code (BrewX09) to obtain an extra 10% off any 1-day or 3-day professional/general passport.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

THIS THURSDAY: Peter de Sève in Paris

This Thursday, October 15, Galerie Arludik (12-14 rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris) presents a one-man show of the work of illustrator and character designer Peter de Sève. The opening, from 6:30 to 9:30pm, will feature published and upublished pieces by de Sève, some of which will be available for sale. A preview of the show’s artwork can be found at Peter’s blog here, here, and here.

The event also marks the official launch of Peter’s monograph—A Sketchy Past: The Art of Peter de Sève—for which I wrote the introduction. I haven’t seen the finished product yet, but Peter tells me that it looks gorgeous, and I bet that he’s right.

(Thanks cartoon brew)


Drips of humanoid wax worship the fire that gave them life, and then risk everything to investigate a mysterious object that lands beyond the next horizon. This is a 40 trailer for Mike Dacko’s 5-minute short, Lightheaded, currently playing festivals around the country (though sadly not in Ottawa this week). Dacko is an animator at Disney’s ImageMovers Digital Studio (A Christmas Carol).

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Studio Ghibli's Next Project to Be From New Director

Studio Ghibli's Toshio Suzuki has confirmed that his studio's next project will be from a new director; details are to be announced in December. This comes after an announcement on the official Ghibli blog in July that the studio's next theatrical feature is scheduled to be released in 2010.

Suzuki has also said that Hayao Miyazaki's next film is "proceeding as expected" and may open in four years. It was confirmed last year that other established directors at Ghibli, Isao Takahata and Goro Miyazaki, also have feature films in development; the same year the studio's president Koji Hoshino discussed the possibility of a new director being found either amongst Ghibli's animators or from outside the studio.

WB Animation Reboots

I missed this, bad me.

Peter Girardi joins the studio as senior VP of series and alternative animation ... Girardi will oversee creative and spearhead production for all series while also trying to find nontraditional animated outlets for the WB's programming. He arrives on the lot after being exec creative director of interactive content provider Funny Garbage ...

It's bright day after a long night at Warners Animation. A year ago WBA was a ghost town. I could walk through the building and encounter empty cubicle after empty cubicle. Nothing much was going on.

Today every cubicle is filled, and series and direct-to-video features are in production. Staffers tell me that production will be churning along for a good twelve to fourteen months.

Warners, after a long hibernation, is serious again about animation.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Alex Ross Covers 'Planet Hulk’ Animated Movie

Acclaimed comic artist Alex Ross has painted an original cover for the forthcoming “Planet Hulk” direct-to-DVD animated movie from Marvel and Lionsgate.

Ross’ cover first surfaced at Pop Candy, and depicts Hulk in his “Green Scar” incarnation. The “Planet Hulk” animated film is based on the comic storyline of the same name, which finds the Hulk exiled from Earth and forced to become a gladiator before leading a rebellion against the planet Sakaar's tyrannical emperor.

While the voice cast has not yet been announced, the plot is expected to stay close to comic writer Greg Pak’s original “Planet Hulk” storyline.

“Planet Hulk” will hit stores in February 2010. But if you can’t wait that long, here’s the teaser trailer to tide you over.

Puppets Make Us Think About Norwegian Railways

Aretha Franklin’s legendary song Think is the centerpiece of this recent puppet spot out of Norway. Oslo-based Motion Blur handled production on this ad for Norwegian State Railways, while the puppetry was handled by Scott Brooker (who spent 13 years designing puppets for Spitting Image). McCann was the agency leading the charge.

Art & Animation blog

Chris Dan and Celia have been collecting interviews with animation people like Lou Romano, Victor Navone, Nate Wragg, Armand Serrano, Aurore Damant (that’s her art above), Carlos Grangel and many others over on their Arte y Animacion Blog. New one posted each month. Worth a bookmark.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

A Candy Affair

A nice little Halloween short about a Corn Kernel who has a crush on a cute piece of Candy Corn. This nicely done G-rated cartoon is from L.A. based boutique studio Oddbot Inc., who specializes in doing pre-school animation series. Crystal Stromer directed.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Looney Tunes, Chases, Christmas and Classics on Home Video

It’s a week of cartoon classics and holiday releases for animation on home video.

From the classics side is Looney Tunes: Spotlight Collection, Vol. 7 (Warner Bros., $26.99) and Tom and Jerry’s Greatest Chases, Vol. 3 (Warner Bros., $14.97). Both are collections of classic cartoons that no animator or fan will want to be without.

Also out this week is the anime release Bakugan, Vol. 5 (Warner Bros., $14.97) and the VFX-heavy TV series Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season (Buena Vista, $45.99).

Arriving for the first time on Blu-ray are Ron Howard’s live-action take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Universal, $26.98 DVD/Blu-ray) and South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut (Paramount-Warner Bros., $29.99 Blu-ray).

With the holidays right around the corner, come the releases of Bob the Builder: Building Crew Holiday Collection (HIT, $19.98), Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (Universal, $19.98) and Thomas & Friends: Sodor Friends Holiday Collection (HIT, $19.98).

For those looking for great gifts for animation fans, there’s Futurama Complete Collection (Fox, $199.98), Marvel Animation 6 Film Set (Lionsgate, $49.98) and Noddy Collectors Set (Echo Bridge, $14.99)

Also our this week: Full Metal Panic: Second Raid Collection (FUNimation, $59.98 DVD, $69.99 Blu-ray), Backyardigans: Big Backyard Adventures (Paramount, $39.99), Backyardigans: Robot Repairman (Paramount, $16.99), My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure (Vivendi Entertainment, $14.99), Wow Wow Wubbzy: Wubb Idol (Anchor Bay, $14.99) and Playmobil: The Secret of Pirate Island (Sony, $19.95).

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Moonscoop Co-Production Starts On DaVincibles

Moonscoop is set to begin production on 52 11-minute episodes of a new high-definition Flash-animated children’s comedy series called The DaVincibles.

The series was co-created and will be co-produced by Moonscoop and Italy’s Neo Network. Also co-producing are Rai Fiction, SLR, Telegael and Big Animation. It has been pre-sold to Gulli in France and Seven in Australia, with delivery scheduled for late 2010.

Aimed at children ages 6-11, the series follows the modern-day Da Vinci family as they seek out rare artifacts to sell at Uncle Leo’s Kurios Kat antiques shop. They’re opposed at every stop by The Society of Very Bad Villains.

“We are thrilled to work on the first ever Australian-Italian Animation co production,” says SLR CEO Suzanne Ryan. “The team of production partners and creatives are going to have a lot of fun on this cartoon caper series.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

100-Plus Animated Films Offered at AFM

The American Film Market returns to Santa Monica Nov. 4-11, with more than a hundred animated features available to film buyers.

The schedule for the event includes screenings of 445 films in 27 language, include 73 world premieres. More than 8,000 film buyers and industry professionals from more than 70 nations are expected to attend the event.

Among the animated features set to be screened are Myriad Pictures’ Dino Mom, Films Distribution’s Eleanor’s Secret, First Squad: A Moment of Truth from Golden Network Asia Ltd., Fantastic Films International’s A Fox’s Tale, Icon Entertainment’s Mary and Max and Garfield’s Pet Force in 3-D from SC Films International.

The list of available animated films and screenings can be found at this link (www.thefilmcatalogue.com/catalog/index.php?selBrowseBy=sCategory&sSearchFor=&selSearchBy=AllFields&sFilmType=All&sAction=Scroll&StartAt=628&sFilter=%25&sDatFilter=2009%2F11%2F04&selResultsPerPage=100&sFavEmail=0&selAdvSort=sCategory&selAdvSortDir=asc), with the full, searchable schedule of films available at TheFilmCatalogue.com.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Animation Asia Conference Sets Program, Speakers

The Animation Asia Conference has announced its program, speaker lineup and themes, as the one-day conference in Singapore focuses on “Globalization of Asia’s Soft Power.”

The event, held Nov. 20 in conjunction with the Anime Festival Asia 2009, is a one-day business conference aimed at creating a regional IP ecosystem.

This year’s speakers are focused on the themes of “create, manage and engage,” and will speak on how they have created content with mass appeal and how they have successfully engaged a young audience in the 21st century.

The lineup of speakers includes:

• Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chairman and CEO of the Kadokawa Group Holdings
• Mamoru Hosada, director of anime blockbuster hits Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
• Edmund Shern, founder and CEO of Storm Lion and senior VP at Radical Publishing
• Shiro Sasaki, CEO of Flying Dog Inc. and producer for many anime music blockbusters
• Kotaro Sugiyama, senior VP and head of solution (strategy) and the creative department for Dentsu Inc.
• Danny Choo, CEO of Mirai Inc. and Japan’s top English blogger on Japanese popular culture

The event also will include an Industry Showcase and Business Matching session in which a dozen companies will present their most-recent projects. Japanese animation studios such as Madhouse, Tatsunoko Production, Production IG and Gonzo are among some of the production studios that have confirmed their participation in this session.

Program details and speaker profiles are available at www.afa09.com/aac.html. Ticket prices for the one-day conference are priced at $480 Singapore dollars. Early registration tickets are priced at $432 Singapore dollars for sign-ups before Oct. 20.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Warner Home Video Re-Releasing "Batman: Gotham Knight" In New Holiday Collection

Warner Home Video is repackaging the direct-to-video Batman: Gotham Knight animated feature in a new Blu-ray collection in time for the holidays.

On November 3rd, 2009, Warner Home Video is slated to release the Blu-ray Batman Collection, bringing together the Blu-ray releases for The Dark Knight, Batman Begins and Batman: Gotham Knight into one collection. The new Blu-ray Batman Collection release will feature all three titles housed in a new cardboard slipcase and retail for the suggested price of $49.99. The discs will be identical to the existing releases, meaning no change in technical specs or new bonus content.

The Batman: Gotham Knight animated feature previously premiered on home video, DVD and Blu-ray, in 2008 to coincide with the live-action The Dark Knight theatrical release. Below is the official synopsis for the feature along with images.

Batman: Gotham Knight
Acclaimed screenwriters including David Goyer (Batman Begins), Josh Olson (A History of Violence) and Alan Burnett (Batman: The Animated Series) join forces with revered animation filmmakers on six spellbinding chapters chronicling Batman's transition from novice crimefighter to The Dark Knight. These globe-spanning adventures pit Batman against the fearsome Scarecrow, the freakish Killer Croc and the unerring marksman Deadshot. From some of the world's most visionary animators comes a thrilling depiction of Batman as man, myth and legend.

The Blu-ray Batman Collection release, bringing together the Blu-ray releases for The Dark Knight, Batman Begins and Batman: Gotham Knight into one collection, hits shelves on November 3rd, 2009.

Bryan Singer To Return To The X-MEN Franchise?? We've Heard Of His 'Interest' Before...Now There Are 'Talks'!!

This Bryan Singer infobit pretty much speaks for itself...

"I'm still looking to possibly returning to the 'X-Men' franchise. I've been talking to Fox about it," Singer said at a talk at South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival.

"I love Hugh Jackman. I love the cast," he said, referring to the Australian actor who plays Wolverine.

...says AP HERE.

A spectacular possibility? Not necessarily. But (almost) anyone's better than Ratner...

(Thanks Aint It Cool)

Did Trick 'r Treat deserve to be yanked from theaters?

With a lot of movies, having no expectations can be a good thing: Not knowing what something is, or perhaps more importantly how it is, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised, or even thrilled when it turns out to be great. But even when you have heard from reliable sources that something is good, such news can be an obstacle to true enjoyment, because you're now assuming it will entertain, rather than merely allowing it to do so.

Among horror and science fiction fans, Trick 'r Treat has been discussed for more than two years, and in the months leading up to its DVD release, folks have seen it, celebrated it, sung its praises—all of which should be disregarded. Because as with any worthwhile revelation, the suspense and surprise is at least half of the fun, and at the very least, Michael Dougherty's directorial debut is one treat that deserves not to be spoiled before it's opened.

Truth be told, the saga of Trick 'r Treat's release is epic enough to inspire plenty of expectations, with or without the help of friends, colleagues or even casual viewers. Scheduled for release in October 2007, the film was mysteriously pulled from theaters by distributor Warner Brothers and sat on a shelf for two years while the studio decided what to do with a horror movie in which not all the victims are, well, of consenting age. Meanwhile, the film was also apparently green-lighted at the behest of Superman Returns director Bryan Singer, whom the studio presumably wanted to keep appeased for future installments—at least until the would-be franchise reboot underperformed at the box office.

Ironically, however, it seems like none of the reasons for the film's delay in release reflected the actual quality of Trick 'r Treat itself, which is an effective horror anthology and probably one of the best-directed straight-to-video releases of all time (even if it was never intended to be). The film's stars include Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker and Leslie Bibb, but "stardom" in something like this only means as much as the strength of an overall ensemble, and all of them are game participants in the film's deconstruction and reconception of classic Halloween mythmaking. Meanwhile, there are monsters, slashers and all kinds of other creatures, and each separate story ties effortlessly in to the next one, if only because they're strung together by a tonal rather than narrative throughline; calling this a modern-day Hallows' Eve counterpart to movies like Creepshow or a feature anthology of Tales From the Crypt TV episodes wouldn't be inaccurate.

Unfortunately, I was told how great the movie was before I saw it, by more than one fan, and as a result I think I came away a little bit underwhelmed; as much as I like the movies that clearly inspired it, and in fact enjoyed many of its pitch-black twists and turns, because I'd heard it was nothing short of a contemporary classic I thought it was effective and entertaining, but not quite worthy of the effusive praise it received. As such, I can only recommend it sincerely, but without the mandate that this is in some way a must-see movie. Sure, there are some great, gory surprises, sick jokes and disturbing developments, but is this a truly transgressive chronicle of the current state of horror? Does it need to be? I don't know, but it certainly looks great, thanks to Dougherty's sweeping direction, and achieves that simultaneous sense of unease and excitement that's key to almost all successful scary movies.

Admittedly, if I sound vague it's on purpose, but to reiterate in the most unspecific way possible, I do think Dougherty's movie deserved to be released in theaters, and consequently should be seen by anyone who enjoys movies about monsters, scary myths and the macabre. In short, Trick 'r Treat is not unlike a pillowcase full of sweets on Halloween morning: partaken of patiently, the rewards can be long and lasting, but consumed too eagerly, it can overwhelm your natural appetite—and give you a worse feeling than if you'd enjoyed it in moderation.

Eliza Dushku Says Playing Wonder Woman Would Be A Challenge, But 'I Like A Challenge'

As every guy in Splash Page HQ can attest, Eliza Dushku dropped by the office last week to chat about the current season of "Dollhouse." Naturally, we managed to sneak in a few questions about some of her other comics-friendly endeavors—including her campaign to play Black Widow in "Iron Man 2" that created a lot of buzz earlier this year.

We also asked her about another role her name is always connected with every time there looks ot be some movement forward (or backward) with a potential film: Wonder Woman.

"People always talk about Wonder Woman, and as far as I've ever lived or been conscious of, there's been no project to be up for," Dushku told MTV News. "So that's sort of an ... Internet fantasy. They throw people's names into it all the time and I'm always getting asked."

Asked whether it was more than just an Internet fantasy and a role she'd very much like to play, Dushku responded a bit more cautiously.

"It's not an Eliza fantasy, but it wouldn't disturb me if it became a reality," she laughed.

"At this point, it's been so hyped up it that it would be a challenge," she explained. "But like I said, I'm not one to take the easy road. I like a challenge."

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