Tuesday, February 16, 2010

News - 02/16/10...

Out of a Forest by Tobias Gundorff Boesen

Tobias Gundorff Boesen’s Out of a Forest is a stop-motion effort out of Denmark’s The Animation Workshop, the same school responsible for Vegeterrible, which was featured on the site a few days ago. A lot of Out of the Forest was shot on location in forests around Viborg, Denmark, and the presence of prim and proper bunnies in this natural setting lends the film a magical flavor. The film was animated by Katrine Kiilerich, Frederik Villumsen, Christophe Peladan, and Tobias Gundorff Boesen, and the song,” Slow Show,” is by The National.

The Animation Workshop’s students first caught my attention a few years back with John K. Mortensen’s short Fishing with Spinoza (2007). If Out of a Forest and Vegeterrible are an indication, the school’s Bachelor program, which only began seven years ago, is worth watching closely.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Animation Block Party in LA

NYC based Animation Block Party, is coming to Los Angeles this week.

ABP is an annual New York festival dedicated to showcasing the world’s best independent, professional and student animation. The Best of Animation Block Party will be screening at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood on Thursday February 18, 2010 at 7:30pm and 10:00pm.

This program is highly recommended. A complete list of the films being shown is listed here. Filmmakers in attendance at screenings include Mike Hollingsworth, Rebecca Sugar, Max Winston, Turner Lange, Ben Li and Caroline Foley. Both shows will be introduced by ABP founder, Casey Safron. You can buy tickets online at Brown Paper Tickets.com.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

UPDATE: Hand Me Down by Otis Brayboy

My good friend, storyboard artist extraordinaire Otis Brayboy wrote and illustrated his first children's book, 'Hand Me Down,' exploring the relationship between siblings.

'Hand Me Down,' is now available here on lulu.com! Check it out!

UPDATE: Otis has been invited to speak about his career in animation and showcase his new film (currently in production) at the NY Comic Con Oct. 8 - 10. Tickets are available here.

Detailed Cast, Crew List For Upcoming "DC Showcase: The Spectre" Animated Short

The World's Finest has a look at the full cast and primary crew list for the DC Showcase: The Spectre animated short, included on the upcoming Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 home video release for the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated feature.

The complete voice cast rundown and primary crew details for the DC Showcase: The Spectre animated short, as listed in the official credits for the direct-to-video animated feature, are as follows below. DC Showcase: The Spectre is included on the Blu-ray and Two-Disc Special Edition DVD home video releases of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.

Gary Cole as Jim Corrigan/The Spectre
Alyssa Milano as Aimee Brenner
Jeff Bennett as Foster Brenner/Peter McCoy/Flemming
Rob Paulsen as Drew Flynn/Lt. Brice/Deandra
Jon Polito as Police Captain
Executive Producer Sam Register, Bruce Timm
Producer Bobbie Page
Co-Producer Alan Burnett
Editor Margaret Hou
Music by The Track Team (Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn)
Casting and Voice Direction by Jamie Thomason
Written by Steve Niles
Produced and Directed by Jaquim dos Santos
Animation by Moi Animation

Additionally, The World’s Finest has published a review of the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Blu-ray release, available here to view.

The first animated short under the new "DC Showcase" banner, DC Showcase: The Spectre is a featured bonus extra on the upcoming home video release of the highly-anticipated direct-to-video Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated feature. More details on the "DC Showcase" series is available here. A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths debuts February 23rd, 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray disc.

The Foreign Takings

And of course the derby goes on overseas, even more robustly than here in the States.

"Avatar" in its ninth round on the foreign circuit defiantly stared down overseas openings of three big major studio films over the weekend, emerging No. 1 with $59 million drawn from 8,453 screens in 71 markets.

"Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," director Chris Columbus' adaptation of the popular book series by Rick Riordan. Opening round produced $28 million from 5,800 venues in 40 territories with No. 1 market finishes recorded in South Korea, Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Venezuela.

Finishing fourth was Universal's
"The Wolfman," which collected an estimated $21 million from 4,222 situations – for a $4,974 per-screen average – in 37 territories. Domestically on the weekend it premiered No. 3 with a weekend tally of $31.1 million. ...

"The Princess and the Frog" grossed an animated $11.3 million from 3,643 locations in 39 markets, hoisting its overseas cume past the $100 million mark ($109 million) with the prospect of various holiday playtimes ahead in active territories. ...

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" jacked its overseas cume to $207.1 million thanks to a $4.5 million weekend at 3,774 screens in 38 markets. ...

There were various other performers, but the pictures above all have large doses of animation wrapped inside their running times.

This is important because the more animation succeeds, the more animation gets made. And the more it gets made, the more that animators, technical directors, pre-visualization artists and storyboarders have jobs working to make animation happen.

This is a good thing.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Animation In The Middle Kingdom

So here's what China says is happening with the animation biz in China:

There were at least eight domestically-produced animated films last year in China, making it a "blowout" year for China's cartoon films according to critics.

Yin Hong, professor and director of the Center for Film and Television Studies of Tsinghua University, said the production scale of China's cartoon industry has been expanded to more than 140,000 minutes of animation this year, which formed the foundation for many films.

He contributes the growth to the continuous efforts of the government, which set up supporting policies to boost domestic animation industry.

In 2000, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) required local TV stations to get approval from the administration and set quotas for imported cartoons to air on TV.

In 2004, it issued another regulation, stipulating that at least 60 percent of cartoon programs aired in any given quarter had to be domestic.

In September 2006, the SARFT banned all foreign cartoons from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Last February it extended the ban to 9 p.m.

Additionally, the Chinese government has made an annual investment of 200 million yuan in the animation industry since 2006.

Last July, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation jointly issued a favorable taxation policy to support the development of comic and animation industry.

The Chinese animation industry is clearly stifled by the heavy, suffocating hand of its Communist masters.

Just contrast what happens in horrid China to our fair democracy, where every multi-national conglomerate is free to innovate, buy and sell, and grab as much bailout money as our good-hearted Federal Government is willing to give it.

Don't know about you, but give me the clean, brisk air of Free Enterprise any time!

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Independent Exposure

A Worldwide Showcase of International Short Films, Videos, and Digital Works
Curated by Microcinema International and Bill Plympton
Presented by Panasonic Broadcast

Independent Exposure 2010 is the 14th annual showcase for contemporary, progressive, artistic, and culturally relevant short films and videos by some of the most compelling artists and filmmakers from around the globe.

Independent Exposure is seeking narrative, artistic, humorous, dramatic, animation, documentary, experimental, alternative, avant-garde, ambient, music videos, and underground works of all genres, formats, and styles.

For full program information, rules, selection criteria, prizes, and how to submit please visit www.independentexposure.com

(Thanks ASIFA-East)

Neon Genesis Evangelion Film Still Alive

A cheer to the folks at io9 who caught Anime News Network's recent update about the long-awaited live-action adaptation of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. In an interview with the producer of Halo Legends, Joseph Chou, ANN found out that not only is the project still alive but Chou is currently working with a producer and studio who understand the full scope of the project.

According to ANN, "Chou mentioned that there is a lot of paperwork to clear, but 'once that's resolved, I think it would be on the fast track, so we're hoping that it'll start moving even next year.'"

In the interview, Chou also explains why the project dropped off of people's radar to begin with and how difficult it's been marketing it to Hollywood studios. With its high-on-drama elements, as well as religious and psychological underpinnings, Neon Genesis Evangelion is anything but an easy-to-market Transformers, despite the gigantic robots defending the world from destruction.

So anime fans, does this new info give you hope? You can check out the rest of the interview at ANN and fun concept art at io9.

(Thanks Latino Review)

"Planet 51" wins Spain's Goya for animated film

"Planet 51," from Ilion Studios, HandMade Films, Chuck&Lem and Antena 3 Film, won the award for best animated film at Sunday's 24th Goya Awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars.

Distributed by Sony, the computer-generated Planet 51 is the first feature film for Worldwide Biggies, a family entertainment company launched by Albie Hecht. Budgeted at an estimated $60 million, it's also the first animated feature film released by New Line Cinema.

In the film, American astronaut Chuck Baker lands on what's supposed to be barren, rocky planet devoid of life, but gets a big surprise. It seems that Planet 51 is home to little green people who are living in what's basically 1950s Americana -- or should that be 1950s Alieana? Chuck bears a marked resemblance to Planet 51's science-fiction comic book and horror movie characters the "Humaniacs," and hysteria breaks out because the little green men think his appearance marks the beginning of an alien invasion.

The Spanish Academy honored Planet 51 in the category over rivals Animal Channel (Extremadura de Audiovisuales, S.A.); Cher ami (Acció, Digital Dreams, S.L., Euroview, Mes Films Inversions, S.L. and Televisió de Catalunya, S.A.); and Pérez, el ratoncito de tus sueños 2 (Castelao Productions and Patagonik Film Group).

In the category of best animated short, the winner was La Dama Y La Muerte (directed by Javier Recio Gracia), defeating Alma (Rodrigo Blaas), Margarita (Álex Cervantes) and Tachaaan (Carlos del Olmo, Miguel Ángel Bellot and Rafael Cano).

Also nominated for an Oscar for best animated short, La Dama Y La Muerte (The Lady and the Reaper) depicts an elderly woman who is waiting to die in order to rejoin her deceased husband. When she is finally passing away, she is suddenly reborn in an operating room, thus beginning a frantic fight between the Grim Reaper and an arrogant doctor.

For original song, nominee "Stick to the Man," from the soundtrack of Planet 51, lost to "Yo TFragment" by Guille Milkway, from the soundtrack of the live-action Me Too.

"Up" wins honor from American Cinema Editors

Pixar-Disney's "Up" was named best edited animated feature film Sunday at this year's Ace Eddie Awards, presented annually by American Cinema Editors, USA.

During the 60th annual Eddie Awards at the Beverly Hilton, Kevin Nolting was singled out for his work with Up.

Vying for win in the category were Coraline (Christopher Murrie and Ronald Sanders) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (Andrew Weisblum).

The winner for best edited feature film (dramatic) was The Hurt Locker (Bob Murawski and Chris Innis). The Hangover (Debra Neil-Fisher, A.C.E.) won for best edited feature film (comedy or musical).

Santa Barbara fest names "Urs" best cartoon short

"Urs," directed by Moritz Mayerhofer of Germany, received the Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation Short Film on Sunday at the 25th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

In the 10-minute Urs, the title character takes his aging mother on a dangerous journey, carrying her up a mountain to find a better place for both of them.

The Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema, given to a unique independent feature that has been made outside mainstream Hollywood, went to Exam (U.S. premiere), directed by Stuart Hazeldine, and starring Luke Mably, Nathalie Cox.

In it, eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation. Entering a windowless room, an Invigilator gives them eighty minutes to answer one simple question. He outlines three rules they must obey or be disqualified. Tensions rise as the clock steadily descends towards zero, and each candidate must decide how far they are willing to go to secure the ultimate job.

The Best International Film Award went to Letters to Father Jaakob (Postia pappi Jaakobille) from Finland and directed by Klaus Härö.

Leila Sten has spent a large part of her life in a Finnish prison. When her life sentence is pardoned, Leila is left homeless. She goes to live with an old priest, who promises to provide for her in return for her help. Father Jaakob finds solace in the letters he receives daily from burdened souls requesting his prayers, and since he is blind, Leila’s task is to read these letters to him. When the letters stop, Jaakob questions the role that God has chosen for him, and Leila finds herself facing a dilemma.

The Nueva Vision Award for the best Spanish/Latin American film was awarded to The Wind Journeys (U.S. premiere), directed by Ciro Guerra, and starring Marciano Martínez and Yull Núñez. Meanwhile, the Best East Meets West Cinema Award went to South Korea's Mother (Madeo), directed by Joon-ho Bong, about a mother who desperately searches for the killer that framed her son for a horrific murder.

The Best Eastern Bloc Award went to Katalin Varga (U.S. premiere), directed by Peter Strickland. In the beautiful, otherworldly Carpathian Mountains, a woman is traveling with a small boy in a horse and cart, looking to punish those who once abused her. For years, Katalin has been keeping a terrible secret. Hitchhiking with two men, she was brutally raped in the woods. Although she has kept silent about what happened, she has not forgotten, and her son Órban serves as a living reminder. When her village discovers her secret, Katalin's husband rejects her. With nothing to lose, she is free to seek revenge on the perpetrators.

The Best Documentary Film Award went to Enemies of the People, from the United Kingdom/Cambodia, and directed by Rob Lemkin. The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s, yet the killing fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now.

Scooby Doo Gets the Magic Touch

The all new direct-to-video Scooby Doo movie, Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo, will be released to DVD tomorrow. The gang is back in their groovy 1969 clothing, ready to take on a mystery that deals with dark magic. Matthew Lillard, who plays the role of Shaggy from the first two live action Scooby films, replaces Casey Kasem as the voice of Shaggy.

The Storyboard Book + Contest

The Storyboard Book is a new product out of Brooklyn that may prove useful to animation folk. Each Storyboard Book is 32-pages, 3.5″ x 5.5″ and consists of 16:9 square-ruled storyboard panels. More description:

A lightweight, portable, and durable sketchbook for storyboarding, sketching, listmaking, visualization, plans, doodles, and just about anything else. The idea is simple: a frame for the action and space for notes, story, dialog, stage directions, enemies lists, etc. The Storyboard Book is designed to be used as a personal sketchbook, but also sized to be handy for project notes and ideas.

Packs of three are sold for $12 and can be ordered at TheStoryboardBook.com. We’re giving away a 3-pack to two lucky Cartoon Brew readers. Simply write a comment on this post saying “I want a Storyboard Book” by 3pm EST (noon West Coast time), and you’ll be entered in a random drawing. (Fine print: If you’ve won anything from the Brew in the past year you’re not eligible to participate. Giveaway open only to residents of US and Canada.)

(Thanks cartoon brew)

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