Tuesday, April 6, 2010

News - 04/06/10...

Bakshi and Jackson’s Rings Come to Blu-ray

April 6 is a day of celebration for the denizens of Middle Earth.

A remastered deluxe edition of Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings arrives this week on DVD and Blu-ray (Warner Bros., $19.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo pack).

The deluxe edition of the film, originally released in 1978 and adapting the first half of J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic novel, features a new, 30-minute interview with Bakshi about the making of the film. The combo pack release includes a digital copy of the movie.

Here are a couple of clips from the release.

Also out this week is the first Blu-ray edition of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Box Set (Warner Bros., $99.98). The box set includes the original theatrical cuts of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, as well as seven hours of bonus features and digital copies of all three movies on nine discs.

Other animated releases this week include Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Season 2, Part 1 (Bandai, $39.98 DVD, $44.98 special edition DVD), Naruto Shippuden, Vol. 8 (VIZ Media, $24.92) and My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Duper Super Sleuths (Disney, $26.99).

A number of popular VFX-heavy films are getting new releases in Blu-ray/DVD combo packs, including Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of The Planet of the Apes (Fox, $19.99), Robocop (MGM, $19.99) and Terminator (MGM, $19.99). Also new to Blu-ray this week is Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series (Universal, $299.99) and Battlestar Galactica: Season 2 (Universal, $89.98).

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

SpongeBob Makes Last Stand for Earth Day

Nickelodeon is going green April 22 to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day, planning a day of environmentally-conscious programming anchored by the broadcast premiere of the half-hour special SpongeBob’s Last Stand.

The special, in which SpongeBob and Patrick organize the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom to stop a new superhighway from destroying Jellyfish Fields, airs April 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

It culminates a day of green programming that begins at 9 a.m. ET/PT and includes new episodes of Team Umizoomi, The Fresh Beat Band, Go, Diego, Go!, Ni Hao Kai-lan and The Backyardigans, as well as encores of iCarly, True Jackson, VP and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Nick’s Earth Day celebrations begin with the airing of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: Your Thirsty World April 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

FUNimation Nabs Chobits, Eden of the East

Anime importer FUNimation has acquired North American rights to the classic series Chobits and Eden of the East.

The Texas-based company plans to release Chobits on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011. Based on the popular manga by CLAMP, the 26-episode series is directed by Morio Asaka and licensed by Kodansha.

The deal with Fuji Creatvie for East of Eden covers three anime movies, The King of Eden, Paradise Lost and Air Communication. The movies continue the storyline begun in the Eden of the East TV series and are written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama.

The movies will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Toon Boom Releases Animate 2

Toon Boom has announced the release of Animate 2, designed to give Flash users more power and flexibility in creating animation.

The new version enhances Animate’s tailor-made approach to Flash animation that makes the process more straight-forward and efficient.

Animate 2 delivers the following key benefits:

• All-In-One
o Superior drawing tools with brushes
o Convenient text capability
o Added TWAIN support for scanning
o Advanced animation tools
o Smart combination of pegs and symbols
o Easy access to the top 15 FX
o Flexible export options as image sequence, SWF, FLV and MOV

• True space
o Integrated real-time camera
o Impressive depth movement on Z-axis
o Powerful motion path settings
o Efficient ease and velocity settings

• Smart Puppet
o Smooth character motion using forward and inverse kinematics
o Sophisticated morphing
o Flexible rigging and hierarchy options
o Reusable library structure
o Automated lip-sync

• Color Tune
o Fast coloring using palettes
o Fine-tune color ambiance using cloning
o Well-established paint tools
o Smart color effects with invisible lines
o Advanced textures and gradient painting

Animate 2 is available through April 14 at a special launch prices of $600. It is regularly priced at $700.

More information and specs about Toon Boom Animate 2 can be found online at www.toonboom.com/animate.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Oscar-Nominated Shorts Gross $1 Million

Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures’ theatrical release of the Oscar-nominated animated and live-action short films of 2010 has grossed more than $1 million at the box office.

The release, which the companies have put together each of the last five years, was intended to get these traditionally rarely seen short films to a wider audience.

“The short film has gone from the occasional feature film accessory, to the main theatrical event,” said Carter Pilcher, chief executive of Shorts International. “Audiences for the Oscar nominated shorts jumped by 52 percent in the short space of a year and more than 1,000 percent in five years … and this is just the beginning. For the first time ever these films are also currently available on cable systems through Movies On Demand.”

The program is entering its seventh weekend in selected cinemas across the United States.

A list of theaters playing the Oscar-nominated shorts program can be found online at www.shortshd.com/theoscarshorts.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Second Trailer for Animated Short The Mouse That Soared

I been doing some backtracking to past reports and discovered a second trailer for Kyle Bell's The Mouse That Soared has already been uploaded. Its a CG animated short produced by some of the crew from Laika Entertainment. Unlike the previous trailer, we actually get to meet the bird parents whom adopted the abandoned mouse and see them teach him how to fly with a not so successful result.

Step right up and behold the harrowing and hair-raising aerial adventures of a flying circus mouse! Witness the rise of our orphan foundling as he learns valuable lessons in life and flight from two well-intentioned adoptive songbirds! Fasten your safety belts as our little faux-feathered hero reflects on his unlikely beginnings on his flight path to becoming a coveted circus sensation! Come one, come all to this high-flying tale of overcoming adversity and beating near-impossible odds!

Check out the official site to view some concept art. You'll find the second trailer embedded below.

(Thanks Twitch)

Watch Animated Short Meet Meline

Well, my day has been made! Sebastien Laban & Virginie Goyons' Meet Meline is an independent animated short that I been following closely since the beginning and now its finally available online in its entirely. As mention before, it tells the story of a little girl "whose curiosity is sparked by a mysterious creature as she plays in her grandparents barn". The musical score, character animation and lighting, all comes together wonderfully. Its simply a beautiful and heartwarming piece of work that shouldn't be missed by anyone who loves animation.

You'll find the full animated short embedded below.

(Thanks Twitch)

Giant Robot Gaiking Rises Again!

2 weeks ago at the 2010 Tokyo Animation Fair, Toei Animation has announced plans to reboot Gaiking into a CG/live action film. For those unaware, Gaiking is a "Super Robot" mecha anime series from the 70's and in the US, it was part of Mattel's Shogun Warriors import toy line and Force Five anthology cartoon series. AICN managed to get their hands on the teaser trailer and break the news on how the project was originally planned as a short film for David Fincher's Heavy Metal project and that multiple characters from the Shogun Warriors universe may have an appearance but the exact details won't be reveal until this year's Comic-con in July.

The creative team behind the project is Jules Urbach, the producer and the CEO of LightStage, the visual effects company that provide photo-real characters and digital assets for use in film with credits including Avatar, Spiderman II & III, Superman Returns, King Kong, Hancock and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Matthew Gratzner, a visual effects supervisor and co-founder of New Deal Studios with credits in Shutter Island, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Iron Man, will make his directorial debut.

Its aiming for a 2012 release. You'll find the teaser trailer embedded below.

(Thanks Twitch)

Titans Triumphs, But 3D Conversions Still Clash

Clash Of The Titans$61.4m opening weekend seemed to validate Warner Brothers’ decision to covert the film to the 3D process after the production had wrapped, says The Hollywood Reporter. But the quality of the conversion has been a sore point in reviews for the film and, in another article, THR reports that others in tinsel town are suggesting the rush to convert doesn’t always lead to satisfactory results, sparking what looks like it might be an interesting debate: to design and film in 3D, or create the D after the fact?

Industry Lessons I Have Learned

Time for another dose of ILIHL (1976 to now.) ...

There's a bunch of different routes into the animation biz, almost as many ways as there are people.

* You can come in as an intern/trainee ... and they'll pay you not much.
* You can come in as a big shot (or medium shot) from a related business ... and they'll pay you more.
* The entry door is bigger when the industry is roaring, but even when it's not, there's still a semi-open entrance ... and it will be bigger than a mouse hole if you have the right skill set.

It's important to play well with others.

* Artists come to me from time to time with the complaint: "My boss in unreasonable and wrong. What can I do?"
I tell them:
"You've got a decision to make. Do you want to stick to your principles, tell them off and be right? Or do you want to be employed? Because from what you tell me, it's gonna be tough to be both."
* A wise old animation artist told me long ago:
"Be nice to your co-workers on the way up, because at some point during your career they're going to be the person who's in a position to hire you ..."
* It's useful to start each workday like you're in a popularity contest ... because in one respect or another, you are. (You're always playing the political game ... whether you want to or not. The only question is: Are you playing the game well? Or badly?)
* When you're wrong, apologize. It won't kill you. (And the apologizee will appreciate it.)
* Build a network of allies and mentors. One or more of them will help you to your next job.
* Don't whine; don't argue. Otherwise you'll acquire a reputation of being a pain in the backside.

To the extent possible, do NOT live paycheck to paycheck.

* Put away 10% (or more) of what you earn. Always live below your means.
* Assume you're going to be unemployed at some point, because you will be.
* If and when you start pulling down the Big Bucks, don't make the mistake of thinking: "This is the way it was meant to be, and this is the way it will be forever." Because it won't.
* Focus on building a retirement next egg -- 401(k), SEP IRA, Roth IRA, etc. -- at the earliest opportunity. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be financially independent.

The more arrows (skills) you have in your quiver, the more employable you will be over time.

* Grab every opportunity to acquire more training. (Classes, grad school, after-work training.)
* Ask somebody with more chops than you to give you pointers.
* Offer to help newbies. (Most of them will remember and think kindly of you when they're in charge of your department.)

What I wished I'd done at the start of my checkered career:

* Been less of an argumentative a-hole.

* Practiced the Golden Rule more (Not "He who has the gold, makes the rules," but the "Do unto others ..." version.)

* Said "Sure, I'll be happy to do that," more often.*

(* Note: In some ways this job of biz rep has been perfect for me, because you have to be an argumentative a-hole from time to time to do it semi-effectively. On the other hand, being endlessly unpleasant never carries you all that far ...)

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Star Wars: Clone Wars to reveal Boba Fett's mysteries

An upcoming series of Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes promises to fill in the backstory of the young Boba Fett, the bounty hunter introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, the show's creators told us at WonderCon. (Spoilers ahead!)

"I wanted to ask the question: How does he become that guy?" supervising director Dave Filoni said in an exclusive interview in San Francisco over the weekend. "Much like George [Lucas] did with Darth Vader, but Boba's path is already set kind of in a much more direct way than young Anakin, because he saw his father die firsthand at that very early age [in Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones]. How did that affect him? How does that raise questions about the clones that are around him, because they look like his dad? He's a clone, but does he feel like a clone?"

Attack of the Clones explained that Boba was a clone of Jango Fett, with aging slowed down to appear as his son. Now the animated series shows how female bounty hunter Aurra Sing became an important figure in Boba's adolescence. "How does Aurra come in, and what is she doing mentoring him, and what is she asking of this kid?" Filoni said. "Why does she want to work with the kid? Does she see something of herself in him? These are all things that we discussed when we were building to the characters to put into the story."

To voice the animated form of Boba Fett, Filoni got Daniel Logan, the young actor who played Boba in Attack of the Clones. Logan's a little older now, but he's still young Boba. "It was kind of like putting on a pair of boots that you haven't put on for a long time, and trying to fit an 8-inch foot into an 7-inch boot is kind of different," Logan said. "My voice got a little bit [deeper]. I started getting hair on my chest and all the rest of my body, and something happened."

Filoni said Logan's voice still preserves the qualities he needed to portray young Boba Fett. "The voice worked well, though, I think," Filoni said. "When you listen to Daniel as young Boba, it's still young Boba. I think that's the cool thing. Boba Fett iconically is the helmet. We know the helmet. We don't know the guy underneath. So Boba Fett in the prequel era is Daniel. He is that boy. I think that's why it was so important to get him back. If you had somebody else do it, it would just look like him. This time, I think, it really just feels like him, because Daniel's portraying the character."

As bounty hunter Aurra Sing, voice actress Jaime King got to play a vital role in the creation of a Star Wars legend. "Just imagine a very intense bounty hunter like Aurra Sing mentoring Boba Fett as a dark, motherly figure," King said. "That's where it gets really interesting. It's kind of like Mommy Dearest. I grew up with movies like that. Then, all of a sudden, I come across Aurra Sing, who has this dark, motherly quality about her. You get to see that it's really not about taking care of someone at all. It's really just about taking care of herself. It's very fun as an actor to explore those kind of weird things that I don't necessarily relate to but in a way I can explore and understand just through delving into the character. She has very clear intentions on what it is that she wants, and it's not bound by emotions, and it's not bound by things that most females get bound by. It's just really about money, and it's about power. She'll basically do anything to get that. It's fun to be able to play a character like that, that's so single-minded but so manipulative in achieving her desires."

Dave Filoni (from left), Jaime King and Daniel Logan at WonderCon

Mommy issues were the way to go with Boba. He had a father figure in Jango Fett, and he's surrounded by male clones. "I mean, he's a clone, so that sets Boba in a different light," Filoni said. "He's one of millions of kids who look just like him, but in his mind, he's his father's only son. He's the one that's special. He's the one that grows differently. In that way, too, with Aurra, she takes him on. Why? Was she a friend of Jango's? What's in it for her? We ask that. It was important that she be somewhat motherly to him, but also she is an adult and she has her own motives. I think she sees a bit of herself in Boba when she was young, when she was kind of on her own, abandoned."

Filoni doesn't answer all the questions. He still wants to keep Boba Fett a little mysterious, like Clint Eastwood in his Man With No Name westerns. "I think it still maintains the mystery of the Man With No Name that Boba Fett's very much based on, because there aren't really definitive answers, I think," Filoni said. "Boba Fett in Empire seems different to me. Even as a kid, I thought Boba's a villain, because he's taking down Han Solo with Vader, but he's paid. He probably needs the money. Jango Fett has a famous line: 'I'm just an ordinary man trying to make his way in the galaxy.' You kind of get that Jango feels that justifies what he's trying to do, trying to make a means to an end, trying to pay the bills. He's that guy. How did Aurra influence Boba for good or for bad to become the Man With No Name, with kind of his own sense of justice, his own sense of law at a time when the Empire is the law? Those are some interesting questions."

Boba Fett first appears in the April 23 episode of The Clone Wars, then again in a two-part season finale on April 30 on Cartoon Network.

Great Reviews Illuminate Secret of Kells

The wonderful, traditionally-animated feature The Secret of Kells is playing in multiple cities across the US, including Los Angeles (at the Landmark on Pico). If you’re not already excited to see this Oscar-nominated feature, this review from Kenneth Turan should entice your clicking finger to go buy tickets.

Alchemy and Lunch Do Their Business For Scoop Away

The Toronto-based production companies Alchemy and Lunch produced this series of stop-motion spots for Scoop Away cat litter. Eric Makila and Jamie Webster direced, and DDB San Francisco was the ad agency leading the creative. Here’s one titled Beach.

PantoGraph Drops Another Google Spot

The Google/PantoGraph collaboration continues. Here’s a new spot from the Japanese stop-motion studio for Chrome, the rapidly-rising browser. There’s stills from the production over at Facebook.

Lucasfilm sitcom to deliver DELIBERATE Star Wars laughs

Some viewers laughed their way through parts of Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith. (Maybe you were even one of them.) That wasn't what George Lucas intended. Now, however, now Lucas wants you to laugh, at least according to today's Variety.

In an announcement that has us thinking, "Wasn't April 1st last week?", Lucasfilm Animation says that it's developing a new animated Star Wars TV series on top of The Clone Wars, currently in its second season on the Cartoon Network ... only this one's going to be a comedy.

The Daily Show's Brendan Hay will be one of the writers, and Seth Green and Matthew Seinreich, creators and executive producers of Robot Chicken, will have "creative involvement." Daytime Emmy and Gemini Award winner Jennifer Hill (The Backyardians) will produce, with Todd Grimes (Back at the Barnyard) directing.

There's no start date or network for the comedy series yet, so we have no idea when we'll be able to start laughing at Star Wars. But will you be ready?

Machinima Moves to the Next Level

One of the most fascinating aspects of animation is how the field continues to grow and mutate in so many different directions. While we’re seeing the applications of animation in the 3-D realm in spectacular studio features such as How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 this year, amateur animators continue to experiment with video-game based technologies such as machinima, a popular hybrid of filmmaking within a real-time 3D virtual environment. Since machinima can be shot live or scripted in real-time, it’s much faster to produce than traditional CG animation and can be about 30 to 40 % cheaper than the key frame process.

According to Allen Debevoise, chairman and CEO of Machinima.com, a site that was created by a group of machinima producers and distributors in 1997, his online hub generates up to 96 million views each month. “We recently launched a new channel which focuses on multi-player game material and that’s growing as well,” says Debevoise. “We think it provides a real opportunity to engage the animation community and offer a chance to create brands, stories and characters that would resonate with audiences out there. Character animators who are skilled at Maya and other similar tools can use machinima better. They are a great creative force to move the genre to the next level.”

Half Life: Escape from City 17

As Debevoise explains, there are some spectacular work done with titles such as Modern Warfare that are being generated in real time using only $200 worth of hardware. He also refers to James Cameron’s Avatar as an example of how machinima techniques are used in shooting the performances. “The part I enjoyed the most was when Avatar explored the world of Pandora—that whole set-up looked like a film made in the virtual world. Obviously that is high-end and very expensive—but it is the future of the way real-time animation can be used effectively.”

The recent short Half Life: Escape from City 17, made by Toronto-based David and Ian Purchase, is the perfect example of how machinima can help jumpstart artists’ careers. The Purchase Brothers used Half-Life assets in a third-party 3D package to come up with the right look for their District 9ish, sci-fi film.

David and Ian Purchase

“We wanted to re-create the same visual style of Half-Life but with the end result being photorealistic with proper physically accurate lighting and reflections,” says David Purchase. “Since we were rendering out of engine maintaining the same visual style was one of the difficulties we faced. A benefit to extracting the assets was that we only had to do a bit of modeling. On the other hand, we had to hand-animate the models because we couldn't utilize the in game AI or the respective animations which became tricky when trying to match the same movements of the different creatures."

Since its release in early February, the short, which was made for less than $500, has generated over 3.5 million views on YouTube. Meanwhile, it looks like the Purchase Brothers will have to leave their gaming tools aside for a while as they were snapped to direct a hush-hush feature movie on the strength of their Half-Life short and a cool TV spot they delivered for Coke last year.

Half Life: Escape from City 17

Debevoise believes that this kind of DIY filmmaking will continue to resonate with fans in 2010 and beyond. “Thanks to these readily aware technologies, there is a wide range of ways to express yourself creatively,” he says. “With machinima, you don’t have to recreate the entire world. If you like the assets of Modern Planet or Assassin’s Creed--it’s cost-effective to use them and they allow you to express your ideas. You don’t have to recreate Venice or Afghanistan. It’s already there for you. The message of the Web is to keep working on these projects and to get them to look better organically. I am confident that from this world, the John Lasseter of machinima will also emerge”

For more info, visit www.machinima.com or to view a clip click here:

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Tremblay Bros. to Animate Logan’s Wildlife Quest

Gator Group has teamed up with Tremblay Bros. Studios to produce a CG animated series based on the popular brand Logan’s Wildlife Quest.

The series will be targeted at children ages 4-7 and will consist of 52 11-minute episodes scheduled to begin airing in 2011.

Gator Group will oversee the content development, brand management and licensing, while Tremblay Bros. will handle the production and distribution of the show.

Tremblay Bros. Studios, which has offices in Montreal and Los Angeles, has 20 years of experience in multimedia and animation. It has worked with Hollywood studios on such series as Loonatics Unleashed, Edward, Mega Babies, Swat-Kats and the upcoming Life on the Block.

“Working with Tremblay Bros. Studios, Gator Group is thrilled to bring Logan’s Wildlife Quest to life in a beautifully animated television series that will engage and entertain children, teaching them about the planet Earth and the amazing variety of species that inhabit it,” said Joe Kavanagh from Gator Group.

“We’re looking forward to taking this eco-conscious brand to the next level, populating the animated series with cool endangered species characters, awesome environmentally-friendly gear, and captivating storylines,” said Christian Tremblay.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

NY Animation News...

April 15
ASIFA-East, Women in Animation and Women in Children’s Media present - ONE HUB PLUS - Animation in New York

We're back in NYC! This event is co-hosted by Lisa Goldman of Women in Animation, David Levy of ASIFA-East, and Sarah Wallendjack of Women in Children’s Media.
No need to register or RSVP - Just show up!

April 21
ASIFA-East Presents - Winning Selections from the 1st Annual Animazing Spotlight Festival

The first annual AniMazing Spotlight animated shorts festival was presented November 7-8 at the legendary Egyptian theater in Hollywood. ASIFA International has made special arrangement with AniMazing Spotlight to make its program of 14 award winning films available to ASIFA members in all international chapters. ASIFA-East is delighted to present this program to its members.Our thanks to ASIFA International and festival organizer Tee Bosustow for this special program.

From the Animationisti:

Our pal Alan Foreman is podcasting.
Listen to his love here: http://www.awn.com/blogs/ffaf/frenzer-foreman-animation-forum-podcast

Animation Therapy
Are you working on a film project and feel like you need to share your progress on a regular basis with others to keep focused and motivated? This group might be just for you! Simple premise: Show what you are working on. Talk about what you will do next week. Get and give feedback on what you see. Every Fridays at 8PM. If interested, contact Tarik Cherkaoui: chertar@gmail.com

Visit http://asifaeast.com/ and http://asifaeast.com/ExposureSheet/ for details about all events.

to April
Sunshine Cinema presents - Waking Sleeping Beauty
Waking Sleeping Beauty
is no fairytale. It is a story of clashing egos, out of control budgets, escalating tensions... and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history. Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider, key players at Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation department during the mid-1980s, offer a behind-the-magic glimpse of the turbulent times the Animation Studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next ten years.

April 7
Graphic Artists Guild of NY presents - The Creativity and Business of Cartooning
The Graphic Artists Guild Presents An Epic Panel Discussion Starring Cult Classic Master Cartoonists
Becky Cloonan American comic book creator known for her manga-influenced artwork (East Coast Rising, American Virgin, Demo)
Al Jaffee Award-winning American cartoonist (Mad Magazine Contributor and Fold-In Inventor)
Mark Alan Stamaty American cartoonist and children's book writer and illustrator (Washingtoon, Too Many Time Machines, Who Needs Donuts)
Christopher Irving (Comic Book Journalist, writer, historian)
Seth Kushner (Cartoonist Biographer/Celebrity Photographer)

(Note - who is everyone except for Al Jaffee??)

Till April 8
Sunshing Cinema presents - Waking Sleeping Beauty
Waking Sleeping Beauty
is no fairytale. It is a story of clashing egos, out of control budgets, escalating tensions... and one of the most extraordinary creative periods in animation history. Director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider, key players at Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation department during the mid-1980s, offer a behind-the-magic glimpse of the turbulent times the Animation Studio was going through and the staggering output of hits that followed over the next ten years.Producer Peter Schneider will appear In Person for Q&As at some shows.

Till April 8
IFC Centre Presents - The Secret of Kells

Back by popular demand! – Academy Award nominee, Best Animated Film.The new animated masterpiece from the producers of Kirikou and the Sorceress and The Triplets of Belleville, THE SECRET OF KELLS film blends fantasy and mythology to create a richly detailed and striking visual landscape, folding traditionally Celtic influences into a riot of color and detail that dazzle the eyes. Hailed by international critics as one of the most beautiful films of the year and winner of the audience award at the prestigious Annecy Animation Festival, THE SECRET OF KELLS has also been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film

Till April 8
IFC Centre Presents - 2010 Academy Award-Nominated Animated Short Films

That’s right!You can see the five most average short films in Oscar history presented at the same time!
Includes Oscar winning snorefest, Logorama!

April 10
Film Society of Lincoln Centre presents - Chopin: Experimental Films

A selection of Chopin--nspired works to dazzle the eye and ear, including "the jewel of Polish experimental cinema" Color Studies of Chopin, a phantasmagoric music video by Oscar-winner Zbigniew Rybczynski, interpretations by Polish jazz masters, animation, and more.

April 10 - 11
Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Presents - MoCCA Art Festival 2010

The MoCCA Festival offers a unique venue to experience comics, mini-comics, web comics, graphic novels, animation, posters, prints, original artwork, and more. Each year, the Festival invites dozens of established and emerging creators, scholars, and other experts to participate in two days of lecture/discussion panels on a variety of comics and cartoon topics. For 2010, the panels and programs are being organized by Brian Heater (The Daily Crosshatch) and Jeff Newelt (Pekar Project, SMITH, Heeb, Royal Flush).

April 12
Woodstock Film Festival and IFC Centre present - Battle of the Sexes: Animated!

Screening will be followed by an exclusive Q&A with select animators and programmers.Famed animators and Woodstock Film Festival Animation Programmers Bill Plympton and Signe Baumane will square off toe-to-toe by showing the funniest, sexiest animated cartoons in a 5-round match to discover which gender makes the hottest cartoons!And get this - the audience gets to decide the winner! Yes! The paying public will end this age - old controversy, once and for all declaring the winner!

April 16 - 25
MICA & The Alliance Française De Washington presents - Festival Imagé

Maryland Institute College of Art's illustration and animation departments inaugurate their partnership with The Alliance Française de Washington through Festival Imagé, the first festival in the United States to promote a new generation of French artists working in comics and animated films.From Friday, April 16 to Sunday, April 25, animated film screenings, author-led workshops and discussions will stress the similarities and differences, which exist in bande dessinée (sequential art) and animated film, between both sides of the Atlantic.

Apr 17
The Jacob Burns Film Centre Presents - Grave of the Fireflies

Two children lose their parents to war and must survive famine and other hardships on their own, with no help from the callously indifferent people around them. Loosely based on a true story, this is a somber, profoundly human story with an impact akin to that of Schindler’s List.

Apr 17
Symphony Space presents - The Gustafer Yellowgold Show.

Created by singer/songwriter Morgan Taylor, minimally animated illustrations of Gustafer Yellowgold and his friends are accompanied by Taylor's catchy original story-songs for a truly remarkable and memorable multimedia experience.

April 22
Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art presents - The Brothers' Keeper: An Evening with Jackson Publick and The Venture Bros.

Animation journalist Joe Strike sits down with Jackson Publick III, creator of Cartoon Network’s hit [adult swim] series The Venture Bros. for the first in a series of "Interview with an Animator" conversations. After screening scenes from the show, Joe and Jackson discuss Venture’s creation and evolution, Jackson’s career, and his perspective on alternative/adult animationFollowed by an audience Q&A session!

April 29
Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art presents - Puppet Masters of the Macabre: A Night of Spooky Stop-motion Animation.

Presented by MoCCA and Small and Creepy Films, hosted by Aurelio Voltaire.

May 11
Adult Swim presents - Aqua Team Hunger Force Live!

Master Shake! Meatwad! Carl! All of your favorite stars from AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE Except for Frylock! He wanted too much money! And no Err, either! He moved recently! But still! 2/3 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force! Dave Willis and Dana Snyder! Live! Do you like to party? They will join you! Do you want them to hang out all weekend? They brought a sleeping bag!Dave Willis and Dana Snyder Live Performing Music Reading from scripts! Amazing unseen videos that may never be shown again! But probably will! Clips from upcoming episodes of ATHF and Squidbillies! Giving out free junk Plus the show us your meatwad competiton! Recording voicemail messages! Helping you with your WOMEN's And Gender Studies Paper! Lecturing on the world of entertainment and internet media! Answering questions with Completely Unrelated Responses! Occasionally talking down to you! Don't get left out!

May 12
Brooklyn Academy of Music presents - Electric Picture Show

Drawing from the diverse talent found in Brooklyn, this program features a variety of animated short films and music videos. From hand painted love stories, to kids on fantastical digital journeys and one very trippy mixed media Animal Collective video, Electric Picture Show takes a look at the animated output of Brooklyn

(Thanks ASIFA East)

Chris Evans Doesn't Think Captain America Will Be 'The Boss' In 'Avengers'

As the new face of Marvel's star-spangled superhero Captain America, Chris Evans is likely to play a major role in not only "The First Avenger: Captain America," but also in the 2012 superhero team-up film "The Avengers." Comic book fans know soldier-turned-superhero Steve Rogers as the character who unites many of Marvel's most prominent heroes against a threat too great for them to tackle individually — but does Evans know that?

MTV News caught up with the actor, who also plays Jensen in director Sylvain White's upcoming adaptation of the action series "The Losers," during this weekend's WonderCon to find out if he's intimidated by the prospect of giving orders to "Iron Man" star Robert Downey Jr. when it comes time for "The Avengers."

"I don't know if they're going to make him the boss," Evans said of Cap's role in "The Avengers."

"His character... He's a good guy," he added.

Presented with the notion of his character leading Marvel's team of superheroes that includes Iron Man and Thor (among others), Evans seemed a bit uncertain that Cap will be the boss when Earth's Mightiest Heroes take the screen.

"Does he [run the show]?" asked Evans. "I don't think anybody tells Downey what to do, and that's what makes [him] Downey."

Finally, Evans added that he hasn't tried on the costume or shield yet, but he's looking forward to donning Cap's red, white and blue uniform.

Two New Iron Man 2 TV Spots

The battle continues — however, instead of waging a war against an evil Russian with tattoos and electric whips or drug-dealing thugs, Iron Man and Kick-Ass, two comic book heroes soon to be appearing on the big screen, are battling each other for your box office dollars. Even though Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass debuts three weeks before Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2, the two movies seem to be locked in a back-and-forth promotional slug-fest, with the latest hit coming from the Iron Man 2 camp in the form of two new TV spots, originally posted online by TheMovieBox.

All last week, Paramount and Marvel Studios unleashed Iron Man 2 materials, from the launch of the official movie web-site and Stark Expo 2010 viral site, to a plethora of posters, stills and other images. So as not to be outshined, Lionsgate released two TV spots and two extended clips from Kick-Ass. Parmount and Marvel responded with a new extended clip from Iron Man 2 and then Lionsgate quickly countered with another new Kick-Ass clip. Now, Iron Man 2 has once again taken the upper hand with the release of these two new action-packed TV spots. Your move, Kick-Ass!

Marvel Taps Sollett For `Runaways'

EXCLUSIVE: Though all the focus has been on casting of The First Avenger: Captain America, Marvel Studios is also gearing up another priority property, The Runaways. Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist director Peter Sollett is negotiating to direct the youth oriented film that is being called The Breakfast Club with superheroes. The film will be distributed under Marvel's pre-Disney deal with Paramount Pictures. WME reps Sollett.

According to the Marvel Universe website, the teens who became the Runaways found that some family secrets are bigger than others when they witnessed their parents, part of a cabal known as the Pride, murdering a young girl during a secret sacrificial ritual. Running away from their homes, the group banded together and began a journey of discovery, both of their parents' origins and of their own inherited powers.

(Thanks Deadline.com)

Superman: Christopher Reeve Returns

Fantastic computer generated tribute to the real Superman, Chris Reeve.

I came across this tribute made by Francesco who used programs like Photoshop and Premiere 6 to make a computer generated image of the true Superman, Christopher Reeve. Check it out.

(Thanks comic book movie)

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