Wednesday, December 2, 2009

News - 12/02/09...

Don Bluth and the Importance of Knowing Your Animation Heritage

Jeremy Hopkins attended the CTN Expo a couple weeks ago, and he’s posting videos from the event on his website XSheet.net. He currently has a couple vids with Don Bluth and Eric Goldberg, and he tells me that more are forthcoming. Here’s a thought from Bluth about the importance of preserving the technical history of animation:



(Thanks cartoon brew)





Disney Leads Annies Race with 17 Nominations

The nominations for the 37th annual Annie Awards have been announced, with Disney Animation Studios leading the way with a grand total of 17 nods, with eight nominations for The Princess and the Frog and nine for its upcoming ABC TV Special Prep and Landing. Among other studios, DreamWorks Animation received 11 nominations, Laika received 10 for Coraline and Pixar earned nine.

On the television side, Nick lead with 12 nominations, including Best Animated TV Production for Children nominees SpongeBob SquarePants, The Mighty B! and Penguins of Madagascar.

The winners will be announced in a ceremony set for Feb. 6 at Royce Hall at UCLA.

The full list of nominees follows:

PRODUCTION CATEGORIES

Best Animated Feature

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Sony Pictures Animation
Coraline – Laika
Fantastic Mr. Fox – 20th Century Fox
The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Secret of Kells – Cartoon Saloon
Up – Pixar Animation Studios

Best Home Entertainment Production
Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas – Universal Animation Studios
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Green Lantern: First Flight – Warner Bros. Animation
Open Season 2 – Sony Pictures Animation
SpongeBob vs. The Big One – Nickelodeon

Best Animated Short Subject
Pups of Liberty – Picnic Pictures
Robot Chicken: Star Wars 2.5 – ShadowMachine
Santa, The Fascist Years – Plymptoons
The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky – Barley Films
The Story of Walls – Badmash Animation Studios

Best Animated Television Commercial
Goldfish: In The Dark – Blur Studios, Inc.
Idaho Lottery Twiceland – Acme Filmworks, Inc.
Nutty Tales – Blue Sky Studios
Spanish Lottery Deportees – Acme Filmworks, Inc.
The Spooning – Screen Novelties /Acne Media

Best Animated Television Production
Glenn Martin, DDS – Torante, Cuppa Coffee Studios & Rogers Communications
Merry Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation
Prep and Landing – ABC Family/Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Simpsons – Gracie Films

Best Animated Television Production for Children
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Disney Television Animation
SpongeBob SquarePants – Nickelodeon
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack – Cartoon Network Studios
The Mighty B! – Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
The Penguins of Madagascar – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIES

Animated Effects
• Scott Cegielski Monsters vs. Aliens – DreamWorks Animation
• Alexander Feigin 9 – 9 L.L.C.
• Eric Froemling Up – Pixar Animation Studios
• Tom Kluyskens Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Sony Pictures Animation
• James Mansfield The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Television Production
• Mark Donald B.O.B.’s Big Break – DreamWorks Animation
• Mark Mitchell Prep and Landing – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Kevan Shorey Merry Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation
• Tony Smeed Prep and Landing – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Phillip To Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space – DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Feature Production
• Andreas Deja The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Eric Goldberg The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Travis Knight Coraline – Laika
• Daniel Nguyen Up – Pixar Animation Studios
• Bruce Smith The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Television Production
• Bryan Arnett The Mighty B! – Catatonic – Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
• Ben Balistreri Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – Cartoon Network Studios
• Craig Kellman Merry Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation
• Bill Schwab Prep and Landing – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Feature Production
• Daniel Lopez Munoz Up – Pixar Animation Studios
• Shane Prigmore Coraline – Laika
• Shannon Tindle Coraline – Laika

Directing in a Television Production
• Pam Cooke & Jansen Yee American Dad: Brains, Brains & Automobiles – 20th Century Fox/Fuzzy Door/Underdog
• Rob Fendler Popzilla – Animax
• John Infantino, J.G. Quintel The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Candy Casanova – Cartoon Network Studios
• Bret Haaland The Penguins of Madagascar – Launchtime – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation
• Jennifer Oxley The Wonder Pets: Help The Monster – Nickelodeon/Little Airplane Productions

Directing in a Feature Production
• Wes Anderson Fantastic Mr. Fox – 20th Century Fox
• Pete Docter Up – Pixar Animation Studios
• Christopher Miller, Phil Lord Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Sony Pictures Animation
• Hayao Miyazaki Ponyo – Studio Ghibli
• Henry Selick Coraline – Laika

Music in a Television Production
• Michael Giacchino Prep and Landing – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Kevin Kiner Star Wars: The Clone Wars Weapons Factory – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
• Guy Moon The Fairly OddParents: Wishology - The Big Beginning – Nickelodeon

Music in a Feature Production
• Bruno Coulais Coraline – Laika
• Michael Giacchino Up – Pixar Animation Studios
• Joe Hisaishi Ponyo – Studio Ghibli
• John Powell Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – Blue Sky Studios

Production Design in a Television Production
• Mac George Prep and Landing – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Andy Harkness Prep and Landing – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Janice Kubo Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in a Feature Production
• Christopher Appelhans Coraline – Laika
• Ian Gooding The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Tadahiro Uesugi Coraline – Laika
• Christophe Vacher 9 – 9 L.L.C.

Storyboarding in a Television Production
• Sunil Hall The Mighty B!: Catatonic – Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper
• Brandon Kruse The Fairly OddParents: Fly Boy – Nickelodeon
• Robert Koo Merry Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation
• Joe Mateo Prep and Landing – ABC Family/Walt Disney Animation Studios Kite Productions
• Adam Van Wyk The Spectacular Spider-Man: Final Curtain – Culver Entertainment

Storyboarding in a Feature Production
• Sharon Bridgeman Astro Boy – Imagi Studios
• Chris Butler Coraline – Laika
• Ronnie Del Carmen Up – Pixar Animation Studios
• Tom Owens Monsters vs. Aliens – DreamWorks Animation
• Peter Sohn Up – Pixar Animation Studios

Voice Acting in a Television Production
• Danny Jacobs - Voice of King Julien - Merry Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation
• Nicky Jones - Voice of Chowder - Chowder: The Dinner Theatre’ – Cartoon Network Studios
• Tom Kenny - Voice of SpongeBob - SpongeBob SquarePants – Truth or Square – Nickelodeon
• Dwight Schultz - Voice of Mung Daal - Chowder:The Party Cruise – Cartoon Network Studios
• Willow Smith - Voice of Abby - Merry Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production
• Jen Cody - Voice of Charlotte - The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Dawn French - Voice of Miss Forcible – Coraline – Laika
• Hugh Laurie - Voice of Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. – Monsters vs. Aliens – DreamWorks Animation
• John Leguizamo - Voice of Sid – Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur – Blue Sky Studios
• Jennifer Lewis - Voice of Mama Odie – The Princess and the Frog – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Writing in a Television Production
• Daniel Chun – The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XX – Gracie Films
• Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers-Skelton – Prep and Landing – Walt Disney Animation Studios
• Valentina L. Garza – The Simpsons: Four Great Women and a Manicure – Gracie Films
• Billy Kimball and Ian Maxtone-Graham - The Simpsons: Gone Maggie Gone – Gracie Films
• Billy Lopez – The Wonder Pets – Save the Honey Bears – Nickelodeon Productions/Little Airplane Productions

Writing in a Feature Production
• Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach – Fantastic Mr. Fox – 20th Century Fox
• Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy – Up – Pixar Animation Studios
• Timothy Hyde Harris and David Bowers – Astro Boy – Imagi Studios
• Christopher Miller and Phil Lord – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Sony Pictures Animation

JURIED AWARDS

Winsor McCay Award

• Tim Burton, Bruce Timm, Jeffrey Katzenberg

June Foray Award
• Tom Sito

Ub Iwerks Award
• William T. Reeves

Special Achievement
• Martin Meunier and Brian McLean

Certificate of Merit
• Myles Mikulic, Danny Young and Michael Woodside

For more info, visit www.annieawards.org.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Disney heads back into The Black Hole

Following the release of Tron: Legacy one year from now, the producer and director team of Sean Bailey and Joseph Kosinski will remain at Disney to steer it toward a remake of the Studio's 1979 space drama The Black Hole. At the time the company's first PG-rated movie and its most expensive film to date, featuring the first glimpses of computer animation on the big screen in its opening title sequence and a record breaking number of visual effects shots, The Black Hole's ending proved to be too ambiguous for most audiences but, like Tron, has become a cult favorite. The remake, which will lean more heavily on science fact, is the first major production greenlit by new Studio chief Rich Ross, who had shelved Bailey's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea previously. There's no word on Vincent and Old Bob, but the robotic menace Maximilian is said to be back, in a film that Disney hopes could launch a new franchise.





Tom Cavanagh joins Yogi Bear

EW.com reports that Tom Cavanagh will play the male lead role in the upcoming live action/animated Yogi Bear. Cavanagh will star as a park ranger who’s the love interest of a documentary filmmaker played by Anna Faris. Also featuring the voice talents of Dan Aykroyd as Yogi and Justin Timberlake as his sidekick Boo-Boo, Yogi Bear is currently set for a 2010 release.





Mullewapp Wins Expotoons Feature Film Prize

Mullewapp – Das gross Kinoabenteuer der Freunde, (The Friends' Big Movie Adventure) a German feature film directed by Tony Loeser won the top prize for a feature film at this year’s Expotoons. The traditionally animated movie is a co-production between MotionWorks, Jugendfilm-Verleih, WDR, 2d3D Animations and Enamation and was a hit in Germany when it was released in the country last July.

The full list of award winners from the global animation event, which wrapped up over the weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is as follows:

Short films
• First place: Lost and Found, directed by Philip Hunt (United Kingdom)
• Second place: El Camino al Cielo (The Way to Heaven), directed by Dalton Grant and Mier Tang (United States)
• Special mention: Dossie Re Bordosa, directed by Cesar Cabral (Brazil)

Graduation Short Films
• First place: Una Oveja en el Techo (A Sheep on the Roof), directed by Remy Schaepman (France)
• Second place: Mobitel Mania, directed by Darko Vidackovic (Croatia)
• Special mention: Un cuadrado pequeno y negro (Little Black Square), directed by Tomasz Siwinski (Poland)

Feature films
• First place: Mullewapp – Das gross Kinoabenteuer der Freunde, directed by Tony Loeser (Germany-Italy-France)
• Second place: Boogie, el acietoso, directed by Gustavo Cova (Argentina)

TV series
• First place: Oggy and the Cockroaches, directed by Olivier Jean-Marie (France)
• Second place: Life’s a Zoo, directed by Alex Gorelick (Canada)
• Special mention: La Antigua China, directed by Federico Badia (Argentina)
• Autodesk Award: Dr. W, directed by Muyi Neira (Spain)

Advertising Productions
• First place: The master of the sopas/Carettila, La Communidad/Reino (Argentina)
• Second place: Pato Capuccino/Tucan Cornun, Reino (Argentina)
• Special mention: Milk Dots Competition “Growth,” Steve Angel and Sean Branigan (Canada)
• Special Mention: Milk Dots Competition “Strength,” Paul Parvulescu, Isaac King, Steve Angel and Julian Grey (Canada)

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Dutch Telescreen Taking Conni Worldwide

Dutch Telescreen has acquired worldwide distribution rights from German production company youngfilms for the animated series Conni.

The series, which runs as either 26 12-minute or 52 six-minute episodes, is based on a well-known German children’s book character that first appeared in 1992.

The deal grants Telescreen exclusive worldwide rights, excluding German-speaking Europe, Spain, Portugal and Latin America.

The series is being produced at youngfilms in Hamburg, in cooperation with producer Dirk Hampel. NFP Animation is the official German co-production partner, based in Wiesbaden and Berlin, Germany. Delivery of the complete production is planned for October 2010.

“With Telescreen as our distribution partner for Conni, we have great confidence in the professional international positioning of the property,” says Henning Windelband, managing director at youngfilms. “The popularity of the character grew with its readers, and I am convinced Conni’s fame will continue to grow with the addition of the TV series and its viewers.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Terminator, Night at the Museum Lead Video Charge

Summer blockbusters continue to heat up the holiday season, with the arrival on DVD and Blu-ray of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Terminator Salvation.

Starring Ben Stiller, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Fox, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray) includes commentaries, behind the scenes features, deleted scenes and an alternate ending.

The fourth film it the popular sci-fi series, Terminator Salvation (Warner Bros., $28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray) features on the Blu-ray edition both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut of the movie.

Also out this week is Ben 10: Alien Swarm (Warner Bros., $19.97 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray), a live-action TV movie adapting the popular Cartoon Network series.

Anime fans will be on the prowl for Hunter X Hunter: Collection 4 (VIZ, $49.99), Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Season 1, Part 3 (Bandai, $39.98 DVD, $44.98 limited edition DVD), My-Otome Anime Legends (Bandai, $49.90) and Naruto Shippuden, Vol. 4 (VIZ, $24.92).

The moppet set will be kept busy by the release of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo-Choo Express (Disney, $26.99), Handy Manny: Manny’s Motorcycle Adventure (Disney, $26.99) and Sid the Science Kid: Energize Me (NCircle, $12.99).

And for comics and documentary fans, there’s The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, Bone and the Changing Face of Comics (Victor Multimedia, $19.99 DVD).

(Thanks Animation Magazine)






Gabriella Ferri Wins i Castelli Animati

The feature film Life Without Gabriella Ferri won the grand prize at the 14th edition of the i Castelli Animati festival, which concluded Nov. 29 in Rome.

The full list of the festival’s award winners follows:

Grand Prize
Life Without Gabriella Ferri, directed by Priit and Olga Parn (Estonia)

Special Jury Prize
Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, directed by Nick Park (United Kingdom)

Best First Film
Alma, directed by Rodrigo Blaas (Spain)

Best European Film
Les Escargot de Joseph, directed by Sophie Roze (France)

Best Italian Film
Il re dell’isola, directed by Raimondo Della Calce (Italy)

Best Non-Narrative Film
Videogioco, directed by Donato Sansone (Italy)

Special Mentions
Ink, directed by Justine Wallace (Australia)
Leonardo, directed by Jim Capobianco (United States)
Birth, directed by Signe Baumane (United States-France)

Audience Prize
Il re dell’isola, directed by Raimondo Della Calce (Italy)

Fabrizio Bellocchio Prize For Social Content
Piercing 1, directed by Liu Jian (China)

Fabrizio Bellocchio Special Prize
Recordare, directed by Leonardo Carrano and Alessandro Pierattini (Italy)

Italian Schools Of Animation Competition

Grand Prize

Sbam, Enrica Casentini, Filippo Foglietti, Lorenzo Latrofa, Antonella Principe, Fabio Santomauro, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Animazione

Special Jury Prize
La reliquia rivoltosa, directed by Giovanna Lo Palco, Pamela Poltronieri, Giulia Rivolta, Francesco Tagliavia, Stefano Tambellini (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Animazione)

Special Mention
I due re e i due labirinti, directed by Mike Bacchin, Federico Gaggero, Elisa Groli, Sebastiano Le Noel, Elisa Pelizzoni, Valentina Picili (Istituto Europeo di Design di Milano)

Fabrizio Bellocchio Prize
I due re e i due labirinti

I Castelli Animati - Repubblica XL Web Competition

Grand Prize
Agasogo Teliverek New Generation, Andrea Falbo

Audience Prize
Agasogo Teliverek New Generation, Andrea Falbo

Musicanimata Competition

Grand Prize
• Joint winners: Lady, Marco Pavone; Porpora, Tommaso Cerasuolo

Special Mention
Skate, Sonia Cucculelli

Virus Prize, assigned by the satirical column in L’Unita
The Lady and the Reaper, Javier Recio Gracia, Spain

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Desai Joins HIT as COO

Sangeeta Desai has joined HIT Entertainment as the entertainment provider’s new chief operating officer.

In her new job, Desai will oversee business development, global brand management, consumer products, live events, marketing, communications and creative resources. She will be based in London.

Desai comes to HIT, makers of such popular animated fare as Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder, from Apax Partners, a private equity firm in which she was a partner. She worked in that capacity with HIT on a number of initiatives dating back to the arrival at HIT of CEO Jeff Dunn in March 2008.

“Sangeeta is one of the brightest people I have ever worked with,” said Dunn. “She has a keen understanding of the HIT business and I am delighted that she has chosen to join us full time. As the children’s entertainment business shifts and changes, it is clear that Sangeeta will be a formidable asset to our company, enhancing our day to day operations and profitability and strategically positioning us for growth in the years ahead.”

Prior to joining Apax, Desai was in the U.K. advisory group of Goldman Sachs where she advised clients on M&A and corporate finance. Her earlier experience was with JPMorgan where she worked in investment banking and equity research.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





3 CA boys arrested in "Kick a Ginger Day" attacks

Three boys have been arrested in connection with attacks directed against red-haired students at a Southern California school that were allegedly inspired by a South Park episode.

Two 12-year-olds were arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor battery ("battery on school property"), while a 13-year-old was booked for "threatening to inflict injury by means of electronic communication -- commonly known as cyberbullying," Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Monday. That offense is also a misdemeanor.

The three were "detained and booked" last week, and were released to the custody of their parents, Whitmore said. Their names were withheld.

All three are students at A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas, where the November 20 attacks occurred, Whitmore said. Their first appearance is pending at Sylmar Juvenile Hall, he added.

Eight boys are suspected in the attacks on seven students at the school, which took place after a Facebook message promoted "Kick a Ginger Day" at the junior high. No one was seriously hurt in the assaults.

Authorities believe that shoves and kicks were spurred on by the Internet spoof, which referred to a 2005 South Park episode satirizing racial prejudice. The term "ginger" comes from the episode, which never referred to "Kick A Ginger Day."

A message left for the school superintendent was not immediately returned.

Meanwhile, school officials planned to release Monday their findings on the attacks.

A 12-year-old boy in the seventh grade, was the first reported victim, said Lt. Scott Chew of the Malibu-Lost Hills Station. At least five students were victimized, Sgt. Fray Lupian added.

Sixth-grade pupil Hannah Krieger said that she was surprised when other students kicked her in the legs from behind: "I was actually kind of scared... because I've heard (people) have been kicked many, many times."

Hannah's mother, Susan Krieger, said she was upset about the attack. "I haven't been able to really talk to anyone, but, obviously, as a parent, you're saddened and scared and disgusted, really," she told ABC7.

"Kick A Ginger Day" began last year when some young people spread Internet messages urging people to beat up redheads.





Alligator Planet animates 2 Oscar-shortlisted docs

San Francisco-based animation producer Alligator Planet has contributed animated sequences in two of this year's contenders for the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers and Under Our Skin are two of the 15 films selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for further consideration as one of five possible Oscar nominees in this category.

Alligator Planet's Eli Noyes worked with producer-directors Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith at Kovno Communications to bring to life key moments in The Most Dangerous Man in America, the story of Daniel Ellsberg's acquisition and distribution of the documents known as the Pentagon Papers. The sequences were visualizations of several of Ellsberg's activities in 1971, when he copied and delivered the top-secret documents to Ben Bagdikian, then an editor of the Washington Post.

The animated sequences illustrate parts of the Pentagon Papers story that could not have been covered with archival footage or re-enactment. They also happened to be moments in the film that, in hindsight, were humorous, and needed a light touch.

"Our story is a political thriller, very tense and political," says Goldsmith. "The two scenes we gave Alligator Planet had some humor in them. Eli's work heightened that humor without trivializing it. His animation was sparse and spare, and at the same time clever and pointed. Audiences, without exception, love it."

Noyes adds, "My combined experience in documentaries and animation was an asset when it came to designing and directing sequences for these films. There are many ways animation can help documentary filmmakers tell their stories. In the case of The Most Dangerous Man, I worked to find a way to represent characters in the film without making them too 'cartoony,' or representational. Since much of what took place was clandestine, I referenced film noir lighting to contribute to the suspense."

Under Our Skin, another shortlisted film, brings attention to the spread of Lyme Disease in the United States and around the world. Noyes, with artist Catherine Margerin, animated a number of sequences for the film.

"Eli understood the fine line we needed to walk to balance science and whimsy in animation," says Andy Abrahams Wilson, the film's director. "You lean too far in one direction and the film loses credibility or appeal. Eli and his team found the perfect balance, communicating complex information in a visually interesting and accessible way."

Noyes adds, "With Under Our Skin, we had multiple tasks, from representing spirochetes in the bloodstream to what I call 'Op Ed' animation, where we visualized the political and economic issues at play in the medical profession's response to Lyme disease and its treatment. Again, the art direction and animation needed to be respectful, yet beautiful to watch, in keeping with the care and detail Andy has put into his film."

Alligator Planet, a full-service animation production entity, was created in 2003 by award-winning animation director Noyes, producer Ralph Guggenheim. and chief financial and chief operating officer Alan Buder.

Academy Awards nominations will be announced Tuesday, February 2.





Fox Keeps Cartooning Up

NBC doesn't do it. CBS doesn't do it. ABC doesn't do it (even though it's owned by Diz Co.)

But the Fox Network just can't get themselves enough of that prime-time animation ...

Fox is flipping "Bob's Burgers," handing a 13-episode order to an animated comedy series from "Home Movies" co-creator Loren Bouchard.

The project is set at a seaside East Coast town and centers on Bob, a creative grill man who runs a struggling burger joint with his tightly wound wife and their three unhelpful kids. ...


Rupert and Co. have apparently stumbled on a magical elixer that allows them to be successful with cartoons in the evening hours. They own the Sunday night block, and sell lots of DVDs into the bargain.

No wonder they keep developing animated shows. They've made a whole lot of money from the enterprise, so why not go right on doing it?

They just have to make sure they don't overwork the "off-kilter husband with eccentric wife and mega eccentric kids" angle.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)





Ruffle and Aardman Boot Up FlipNote Studio

Director Tim Ruffle, who is represented by Aardman Animations, helmed a whole series of animated viral spots for Nintendo Europe. They’re promoting Flipnote Studio, which lets Nintendo DSi users create short films. The agency on the gig was 77PR.







Lowne Builds Snowman for Africa

London-based animator James Lowne brought this UNICEF ad to life for Gucci’s Schools for Africa campaign. The animation, which is titled Snowman in Africa utilizes illustrations by Michael Roberts.







Disney does Disney



My friend and talented animator Jim Richardson sent me this awesome compilation of recycled Disney animation.

I remember as a kid seeing the same elephant actions from Jungle Book used elsewhere and the same actions used for Mowgli, (Jungle Book), Christopher Robin, (Winnie the Pooh), and Wart, (Sword in the Stone), but I didn't know it went soooo far!

(Thanks Joel Brinkerhoff)





Disney Reuse Cont.


Following the delightful video of the Disney's reused actions in the last posting, I found the scenes I personally remember being recycled.

Now I know this was done partly for economic reasons but it can't have saved that much considering the action had to be redrawn to different character designs. But the timing was there and the action proved entertaining so I guess it did save time in concept and direction. Need a dance sequence here? Go to the vaults!

(Thanks Joel Brinkerhoff)





Stephen King says he's working on a sequel to The Shining












News of this broke over Thanksgiving, so apologies if you've already seen it, but we thought we'd share it anyway: Horrormeister Stephen King has been talking about writing a sequel to The Shining, which he says might be called Doctor Sleep.

Here's how the Filmofilia Web site reported it:

The second novel would center on Danny Torrance, the young boy from the original story with the gift of being able to communicate clairvoyantly with ghosts, and who is now an appropriately aged 40-year-old. All these years after being tormented by the spiritual inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel and his father's alcoholism/homicidal rage, Danny is now working at a hospice using his supernatural powers for palliative purposes. King even offered a tentative title: "Doctor Sleep."

King talked about the possible book at a Toronto appearance to promote his new book, Under the Dome.

The Shining, which was released in 1977, was famously adapted into a Stanley Kubrick film in 1980, starring Jack Nicholson, Danny Lloyd and Shelley Duvall. King himself later adapted the book in 1997 as a more faithful but vastly inferior TV miniseries (in our opinion).

We're eager to go back to the characters and story, but only if there's an elevator full of blood, creepy twins and an ax-wielding maniac. That seems unlikely.

Are you up for a sequel to The Shining?





Jeremy Renner Clarifies Hawkeye, 'Thor' And 'Avengers' Movie Rumors

Actor Jeremy Renner set the online world buzzing this week by mentioning the possibility that he might play Hawkeye, the Avengers' marksman, in both the "Thor" and "Avengers" movies.

When we caught up with Renner on the red carpet for the Independent Film Gotham Awards (where his recent film "The Hurt Locker" received awards for Best Ensemble Performance and Best Feature), the actor offered some clarification of his previous comments regarding Hawkeye, "Thor" and "Avengers" — and why the character of Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, appealed to him.



"The Marvel guys are really smart. They're reall cool," Renner told MTV News. "My buddy Zak Penn is writing 'Avengers,' but that's not for years away. The only reason this even came up is because they're thinking about a little cameo of [Clint] as Hawkeye in there. It's the only reason why I talked to those guys about it."

Of course, we'll forgive Renner's mistake regarding Hawkeye's name sans mask (he referred to the character as "Clive"), since he was so open to discussing the role the character might play in the Marvel movies.

"They thought it was a pretty good idea," he explained of the potential cameo. "They're not sure if they're going to put [Clint] into 'Thor' at all, so it might be later on. It's two years away. They still have to do 'Captain America,' they still have to do 'Thor' ... and 'Iron Man 2' and all those things. But I'd be honored. I think it would be fun."

As for his familiarity with the character, Renner confessed that he wasn't savvy to much of the Marvel universe — but he liked the idea of a non-superhero in the superhero team-up film.

"I liked it because he wasn't a superhero," said Renner. "He's not a guy in tights doing his thing, he's actually just a regular dude with a highly trained set of skills. I think I can actually connect to that. Not just flying around with a codpiece on or something."

Asked whether we should expect to see him in "Thor" and/or "Avengers," Renner simply offered "maybe, maybe, maybe..."

"We'll see if Marvel will have me," he said. "The role is there. We'll see if it works out."





Scarlett Johansson on Filming Iron Man 2

In an article at WebMD talking about her charity work, Scarlett Johansson was asked about playing Black Widow in Iron Man 2.

"It was a whole new world for me, but I built a lot of strength, that's for sure. Working on the wires and being suspended in the air, you throw one wrong kick or punch and, yeah, you're out of whack," she said. "But once you're working with the stunt crew and they're going through the craziest stuff, you feel bad about complaining that your knee has been blue for three months. The guys doing the stunts in those Iron Man suits, they can't move in it and can't take it off. I'd say, 'Have you peed today?' and they're like, 'No, we can't move, we can't take it off, we can't drink any water.'"

The article adds that Johansson has signed to play Black Widow again in The Avengers, but that has yet to be officially confirmed.

Iron Man 2 opens in theaters on May 7.





Peter Jackson clarifies Hobbit schedule and what he'll do














Peter Jackson, who is producing The Hobbit, confirmed to us that he and his partners will deliver a second version of the script by the end of the year, with production slated to begin sometime in 2010. The first of two envisioned films will come out "by the end of 2011," he added.

"We're still working on the script, and of course it's going to be directed by Guillermo [del Toro]," Jackson said in an exclusive interview with SCI FI Wire. "That's going really well, and in fact we've already delivered the first script to the studio, and they really liked it, so now we're working hard on the second script, and that's going to keep us pretty busy until the end of this year."

Jackson tapped del Toro, of Pan's Labyrinth fame, to direct the two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings prequel, which Jackson is producing and co-writing along with his partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens for a New Line/Warner release. The budget is projected to be at least $250 million for the films, but Jackson says "it's too early" to comment on that.

"There's no budget yet, and no cast, but we plan to start shooting next year, with the first one coming out by the end of 2011, hopefully," Jackson said. "And while Guillermo's making The Hobbit, I'm not quite sure what I'll be working on, as I want to make completely sure that I'm doing what I need to do for The Hobbit, and that I'll be there to help Guillermo."

Jackson is well known as being a very hands-on filmmaker. So just how involved will he be during The Hobbit's shoot next year? "Well, I'm not intending to be on the set every day looking over his shoulder," he said with a laugh. "It's Guillermo's movie, and he'll be filming it, not me. The reason he's directing it is because I'm a big fan of his movies, and I know he'll do a fantastic job. I know he's the right guy for the project, and I love his amazing sense of visual and imagery. So I won't be interfering with his approach."

Del Toro is also collaborating with Jackson and his team on writing The Hobbit. "We're all on the same page [about the project], and it all starts with a good script," Jackson said. "We're big believers in structured screenplays, and the thing with our screenwriting partnership, with Fran and Philippa, is that we don't have a traditional screenplay deal with the studio. We don't have two drafts and a bunch of revisions. We refuse to put that into our contracts, as we continually rewrite and refine the scripts as we go."

If the Hobbit shoot goes smoothly, Jackson revealed, "I'm actually hoping to direct something myself at the same time. I've got a couple of smaller projects I'm considering, but I can't really talk about them yet, as I haven't even announced them to anyone yet."

Jackson's The Lovely Bones opens Jan. 15, 2010.





Brilliant video montage: NY destroyed by monsters, aliens, nature









New York, New York, is a city so nice they named it twice, and so memorable that Hollywood sci-fi filmmakers can't resist destroying it over and over and over again, as you can see in this awesome video from Goodie Bag.

The montage, set to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," features destruction by aliens, giant creatures, a big gorilla, solar flares, massive floods, freezing and a subway-eating monster.

Can you pick out all the movies in the clip? (Don't watch the credits: That's cheating.)

(Thanks to The Huffington Post for the heads-up.)







Iron Man 2's Scarlett is very flexible (new pics)












Paramount released a bunch of new images from Iron Man 2 to go with the new poster we revealed yesterday; click on the images below for larger versions.

We've got two new looks at Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, a new look at Mickey Rourke's Ivan Vanko and a nice one of Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow.

Iron Man 2 opens May 7, 2010.








Harlan Ellison wants J.J. Abrams to hire him for Trek 2!










The City on the Edge of Forever

Irascible, litigious SF author Harlan Ellison, who wrote one of the most beloved Star Trek episodes of all time, has let it be known he's eager to work with Trek rebooter J.J. Abrams on the upcoming sequel film.

Writing on his Web bulletin board, Ellison was effusive in his praise of Abrams (not so much Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) and made plain his availability to provide services:










Harlan Ellison

"Yes, I would likely try to steer him toward the original film idea I was asked to pitch, by the late Gene Roddenberry and a production exec whose name I have blissfully flensed from memory (but he had been, if I recall, a hairdresser or clothing designer or ex-boyfriend of someone or other, and he kept trying to press me to include the Mayan Calendar). ...

"If the very smart Abrams didn't want to go that way, I would be wide-open to rethinking such a film from the git-go."

Ellison, of course, wrote the original series episode "City on the Edge of Forever," which featured the time-travel portal the Guardian of Forever, once rumored to be part of Abrams' first Trek movie (it wasn't).

As much as we love "Unca Harlan"—"I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" still chills us, and Ellison once personally chewed us a new one on the telephone—if we were Abrams, we'd run as fast as we could the other way. Who needs to begin a relationship with a guy who would just as soon sue you for 20 years as kiss you on the cheek?

But that's just us. Maybe J.J. is more accommodating.

Do you think Abrams should hire Harlan to come up with the next Trek?

1 comment:

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