Wednesday, May 5, 2010

News - 05/05/10...

Pepsi Refreshes Dear Anna Olson

A few months back Lineboil interviewed Dean Lennert about his quest to finish his traditionally animated short film, Dear Anna Olson, , which is a story based on a true life experience, about a lonely woman in a nursing home, who reaches out to the world by tying notes to balloons, and letting them go out her window. The film follows a red balloon released by Anna, as it passes on to three other characters, who are experiencing their own form of personal isolation.

They’re following up with this post to show out support for Dean and getting the film finished by letting you all know that, Dear Anna Olson has been accepted as part of the PEPSI REFRESH EVERYTHING Project for a possible $25K grant! When you go to the Refresh Everything link for Dean’s film, you can check out some clips, get info about the film, as well as information on how he plans on using the grant money to finish the film. All you need to do is cast your vote, which you can do ONCE DAILY throughout the month, to show your support.

Voting ends May 31st, so go VOTE, and good luck to Dean!

Holm Helms In A Nut Shell at CalArts

The CalArts final films keep pouring into the web. Here’s Ben Holm’s traditionally-animated 1st year film, titled In A Nut Shell. Quite an impressive start to his career, no?

SD Comic-Con’s Obscene Exhibitor Badge Price Increase

Artwork by Jeff Pidgeon

The San Diego Comic-Con is pushing forward with its misguided agenda of appeasing corporate interests at the expense of alienating the indie comic and animation community. Their latest bone-headed move is to increase the price of additional exhibitor Comic-Con badges to $200 each, up from $75 last year. As anybody who has ever exhibited at Comic-Con can tell you, artists typically don’t earn truckloads of money at the event, and when all the costs of booth rental, travel, and lodging are factored in, the obscene $200 exhibitor badge essentially guarantees that an independent artist will leave the convention empty-handed.

Considering the Comic-Con is a non-profit, it is inexcusable to increase the price of additional exhibitor badges by 266% in one year. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the artistic community is deserting the Comic-Con in record numbers. Even successful independent artists are fed up, like Flight and Amulet creator Kazu Kibuishi, who noted on Twitter today:

“This will likely be our last Comic-Con with a Flight booth. Will continue to attend the show, but as an author, not a booth manager.”

Comic-Con’s strong-arming of the indie comic and animation community only lends credence to the viability of a West Coast Creator-Con, especially one that isn’t operated by the Comic-Con organizers themselves. Personally, I exhibited at the MoCCA festival in New York last month and had a delightful time. It had the kind of low-key artist-oriented vibe that I would hope to experience at a Creator-Con. I also netted as much money at MoCCA as I did when I used to exhibit in San Diego, which is notable because MoCCA’s attendance is roughly 1/75th of Comic-Con’s.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

New Yorker Profiles A Cartoon Schlepper

This week’s New Yorker offers a towering 11,000-plus word profile of self-described “cartoon schlepper” Haim Saban, who made his money composing the music to dozens of Eighties animated TV series before becoming a producer of children’s TV series. Animation buffs will run across many familiar names in this unflattering portrait of billionaire Saban including DiC’s Andy Heyward and Michael Eisner.

The most disturbing passages in the New Yorker piece describe how Saban enlisted former president Bill Clinton’s help to complete his sale of Fox Family Channel to the Walt Disney Company which netted him one-and-a-half billion dollars, and the lengths he went to to avoid paying taxes on the money he earned from the deal (naturally he blames his accountant). Understandably, there’s controversy surrounding the criminal aspects of this story, and Sharon Waxman at The Wrap has a detailed blog post about how Saban and his lawyers have been dealing with the New Yorker. The business of children’s TV entertainment can be dirty and corrupt as this piece makes quite clear, but what is most disheartening, to me at least, is that so many animation artists have to rely on individuals of questionable character like Saban for their financial livelihoods.

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Plant Girl titles

I haven’t posted an opening title sequence in some time. This one is from a short live action fantasy currently making the festival rounds: Plant Girl by the Affolter Brothers.

Animator Nathan Affolter (Ren & Stimpy’s Adult Party Cartoon, Wayside and El Super Beasto) co-runs an independent production company, Affolter Entertainment, with his three brothers in Vancouver, BC. He created this stylish opening title; simple, elegant and effective:

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Headless Studio

Headless Productions is a small independent animation studio founded by Adrian Garcia, Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres (directors/production designer of Nocturna) in Barcelona. These guys are good.

(Thanks, DeK)

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Official Selections for Cartoon Brew TV’s Student Animation Fest

The time has come to announce the selections for Cartoon Brew TV’s Student Animation Festival. When we put out the call for entries for our inaugural online festival, we didn’t really know what to expect. So we were thrilled to receive 122 student films from all corners of the globe including Brazil, Singapore, India, Australia, and all over Europe, the US and Canada. The quality of entries impressed us greatly, and it was no small challenge whittling down our choices to ten films. Thank you sincerely to each and every filmmaker who submitted work. Because of your enthusiasm, we are encouraged to continue building on this idea and turning CBTV’s Student Animation Festival into the premiere online showcase for young animation filmmakers. Here are the ten films that will comprise the first-ever Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival. Screenings will begin on May 17:

Directed by Matthias Hoegg
Year of Production: 2009
School: Royal College of Art
Country: Great Britain

Directed by Krishna Chandran Nair, Manasi Parikh, Nupu Mukherjee, Chewang Lepcha
Year of Production: 2009
School: National Institute of Design
Country: India

Always, Only, Ever
Directed by: Barbara Benas
Year of Production: 2010
School: Columbus College of Art and Design
Country: USA

Pillow Peter
Directed by: Nigel Clark
Year of Production: 2010
School: School of Visual Arts
Country: USA

Slim Pickings Fat Chances
Directed by David de Rooij and Jelle Brunt
Year of Production: 2010
School: Willem de Kooning Academy
Country: The Netherlands

Fuzzy Insides
Directed by Michaela Olsen
Year of Production: 2009
School: Rhode Island School of Design
Country: USA

Tiny Hats
Directed by Penelope Gazin
Year of Production: 2010
School: California Institute of the Arts
Country: USA

Artichoke Hearts
Directed by: Kazimir Iskander
Year of Production: 2010
School:Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Country: USA

Death Buy Lemonade
Directed by Kyu-bum Lee
Year of Production: 2010
School: Sheridan College
Country: Canada

The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar
Directed by Bahij Jaroudi
Year of Production: 2009
School: Kingston University
Country: Great Britain

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

British actress Lynn Redgrave dead at 67

Tall, blue-eyed British actress Lynn Redgrave, part of a famed dynasty of performers, has died at 67.

Speaking on behalf of her children, publicist Rick Miramontez said that she died peacefully Sunday night at her Connecticut home. Children Ben, Pema and Annabel were with her.

"Our beloved mother Lynn Rachel passed away peacefully after a seven-year journey with breast cancer," they said in a statement Monday. "She lived, loved and worked harder than ever before. The endless memories she created as a mother, grandmother, writer, actor and friend will sustain us for the rest of our lives. Our entire family asks for privacy through this difficult time."

Born in London on March 8, 1943, she was the youngest child of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Though never as well-known (for better or worse) as elder sister Vanessa, she was nominated for Oscars for Georgy Girl and Gods and Monsters. She received Tony nominations for her performances in Mrs. Warren's Profession, Shakespeare for My Father and The Constant Wife.

Redgrave provided the voice of the Nanny in Film Roman Productions' 2006 animated series Me, Eloise. She was also Cordelia Thornberry in the 2002 cartoon feature film The Wild Thornberrys Movie, based on the TV series.

In 2000, she was the voice of The Wicked Witch of the East in CineGroupe's Lion Of Oz.

A year ago, her niece Natasha Richardson died from head injuries sustained in a skiing accident. Her death came only a month after the death of Corin, her older brother.

Warner Home Video Re-Issuing "Justice League: The Complete Series" DVD Release

A strong seller in late 2009, Warner Home Video is re-issuing the Justice League: The Complete Series DVD collection.

Warner Home Video is slated to reissue the Justice League: The Complete Series DVD collection on Tuesday, May 25th, 2010. When asked why this title is being reissued, the representative for Warner Home Video could not confirm any specific reason. High demand resulting in a new re-issuing of the collection was cited a possible reason, though it could not be verified.

The Justice League: The Complete Series was originally released in November 2009, repacking previous Justice League multi-disc releases into one single collection.

New G.I. Joe Series Cast and Show Details Revealed and ForcesofGeek have reports from the recent JoeCon convention where it was officially announced that the title for the new series is G.I. Joe Renegades.

Of note from these reports is that the first season will include:

- A 2-part pilot with a total of 26 episodes.
- Episodes 7-8 will focus on Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.
- The animation is traditional 2D, hand-drawn style "with extensive focus on light and shadow [and the] backgrounds appear to have a watercolor look."

It was also announced that the series is a relaunch with a "Year One" approach and "no continuity with prior classic series, Resolute or the film series."

Elsewhere, Voice Actors in the News has news via Michael Bell (G.I. Joe, Transformers) on the voice cast:

Just did a guest spot on the new GI Joe animated series. Played Duke's dad. Duke being the ever talented Jason Marsden who incidentally, I directed in the Fox animated " Peter Pan" series way back when he was a mere teen. B J Ward played Duke's mom. What a kick to be back in the saddle again with old friends.

Bell adds that the new show seems to him to be "very intelligent and well directed by Ginny McSwain, [with] lots of fine young talent."

As for him being cast in any roles on the new Transformers series, he says, “So far no bites.”

Hugo Weaving Confirmed As Red Skull In 'Captain America' Movie

Marvel Studios has confirmed that Hugo Weaving will play The Red Skull in "The First Avenger: Captain America," Joe Johnston's live-action movie based on Marvel's superhero soldier.

Weaving will star opposite Chris Evans, who was cast as Steve Rogers in March, ending a long search for the film's lead actor. British actress Hayley Atwell will play the female lead, Peggy Carter, and Sebastian Stan will reportedly play Bucky, Cap's sidekick. Weaving's involvement was first rumored a few months ago, and it's reported that the character of Red Skull will be updated for the 2011 film.

In Marvel's comic book universe, Red Skull originally rose through the ranks of The Third Reich as American industrialist Johann Schmidt, who was secretly a Nazi spy and saboteur. He made his first appearance in "Captain America Comics" #1 in 1941.

Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (and possibly being re-written by Joss Whedon), "Captain America" will cover the early days of the Marvel hero, including his decision to subject his body to an experimental "Super Soldier Serum" that gave him the peak of human abilities.

The casting reunites Weaving with Johnston, who directed the actor in his most recent film, "The Wolfman."

'Kick-Ass 2' To Begin Production In 2011?

The comics world was buzzing today with the news of "Kick-Ass" and "Wanted" co-creator Mark Millar's plans to launch a new U.K. comics magazine titled "CLiNT" that will feature original comics and comics-related content.

Not only did Millar promise to kick off the sequel to his "Kick-Ass" comic in the first issue of CLiNT, but there was also mention of a film sequel, too.

According to the official statement, "'Kick-Ass 2: Balls To The Wall' has been scheduled for production in 2011 for a 2012 cinema release, but fans of the first movie can find out what happens two years in advance by picking up CLiNT."

Along with the "Kick-Ass" comic sequel, British television host Jonathan Ross and stand-up comedian Frankie Boyle will also contribute original content to the magazine, which will have its first issue hit shelves September 2 in the U.K.

Over on Bleeding Cool (which broke the news about the project well ahead of today's announcement), there's some speculation regarding other contributors (including former "Doctor Who" lead writer Russell T. Davies) who might factor into upcoming CLiNT features.

"This isn’t aimed at comic stores (though I’m delighted if comic stores want to stock), but instead aimed at the huge potential of a UK mass market, the like of which hasn’t really been reached in a generation," wrote Millar on his website. "It’s going to be a massive venture and one aimed almost entirely at the UK. If people in the US want a copy that’s great, but this is being put together with casual British readers in mind, a combination of comic-books, interviews and features for 16-30 year old men."

'Iron Man 2' Actress Scarlett Johansson Explains Why She's 'An Honorary Fanboy' Now

One has to wonder whether "Iron Man 2" actress Scarlett Johansson can ever get away from comic books these days. Along with playing Black Widow in Jon Favreau's much-anticipated sequel to 2008's "Iron Man" (and possibly again in "The Avengers"), she's also married to "Green Lantern" and "Deadpool" star Ryan Reynolds.

So, one would also imagine there are stacks of comics to rival any collector's horde piled around their house these days, right?

"There are a lot of comic books in the house," Johansson told MTV News. "More so than I've ever had in my life. If you came over, you'd probably think that we were total fanboys, but it's all for the purpose of research."

Even so, Johansson admitted that she feels like she's part of the club these days now that she's played a Marvel superhero.

"I'm sort of an honorary fanboy, I suppose, now that I've donned that suit and those bracelets and all of that stuff," she said. "You do get into the origin story and it's very complicated and really interesting."

"I actually love to read comics, I've just never been a reader of the Marvel universe, so this is a whole new bag of tricks for me," she added.

X-Men: First Class gets director, 2011 release

The X-Men from X2

After rumors that Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn would and wouldn't be directing the X-Men prequel movie First Class, news broke today that it's a done deal and that the movie will open June 3, 2011.

Fox made the official announcement, which was quickly picked up by The Hollywood Reporter, Production Weekly and Deadline NY (which had earlier reported that Vaughn wouldn't be directing).

Below is the official announcement. Are you psyched?

Twentieth Century Fox will release film on June 3, 2011

LOS ANGELES (May 4, 2010) __ "Kick-Ass" director Matthew Vaughn will helm X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, a new chapter in Twentieth Century Fox's blockbuster series of films based on the Marvel Comics.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS begins production this summer for a June 3, 2011 release. Bryan Singer, who conceived the story for FIRST CLASS and directed the original "X-Men" and its sequel "X2," is producing along with Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.

"I've been a fan of Matthew's since LAYER CAKE," said Singer. "He has a deft hand with multiple characters and storylines, and a great love of the X-Men universe. I feel the combination of this story and his vision will make for an exciting and original X-Men film."

Added Twentieth Century Fox president of production, Emma Watts: "X-Men: First Class presents an exciting opportunity to further explore the history and relationships of these beloved characters. Matthew's combination of talent, verve and vision is perfectly suited to the task."

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.

Gwyneth Paltrow Ponders 'Iron Man 3,' Isn't Sure About 'The Avengers'

There's no shortage of action in director Jon Favreau's "Iron Man 2" thanks to a wide variety of bad-ass characters such as Black Widow, Whiplash, War Machine and, of course, Tony Stark himself. But one character that won't get too heavily involved in the action is Pepper Potts, the longtime confidant and love interest to Tony Stark as played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Pepper isn't always on the side lines, of course — she had quite the action-heavy role as the armor-wearing Rescue in the pages of Matt Fraction's recent "Invincible Iron Man" comic books. While Paltrow didn't get to tap into that side of the character for the upcoming sequel, she's hopeful that Pepper could see more action in a potential third "Iron Man."

"Maybe for the third one, if they do a third one," Paltrow told MTV News about the possibility of seeing more action. "They'd have to mix it up a little, you know what I mean? I don't want to just keep sitting there with a head piece."

At the moment, Paltrow isn't entirely sure that "Iron Man 3" is even in the cards — but if the international box office is any indication, fans around the globe are already devoting their hard earned dollars to the "Iron Man" franchise. Assuming that "Iron Man 3" gets the green light, Paltrow said that she would be interested in speaking with the creative minds at Marvel Studios about where to take Pepper, particularly in her relationship with Tony.

"We haven't really talked about that yet," said Paltrow. "If a third part became real, I would probably start to talk about it more."

One project that Paltrow can probably cross off the list is "The Avengers," as the actress was skeptical about what her character could even do in such a film.

"I don't know what she would do," she laughed. "Like, dry-clean [Tony's] s--t?"

'Lost' Star Daniel Dae Kim Wants To Play Namor In A Marvel Movie

Even though "Lost" will be ending in a few short weeks, Daniel Dae Kim would like to stay in the water as Namor the Sub Mariner — Marvel's first mutant.

“Living in Hawaii, I’m always in the water," explained Kim during an interview with UGO, "And I think Sub-Mariner looks Asian. So I feel like if there’s any one I could play, it would be him. I’ve met with Marvel about a few other things, but if and when it becomes appropriate — sure, if they’d have me.”

Prior to starring on "Lost," Kim appeared in an impressive array of genre TV series including "Crusade," "Angel," "Star Trek: Enterprise," "Charmed" and "24." Kim has also voiced Metron of the New Gods in the "Justice League Unlimited" animated series. His next role will be as Detective Chin Ho Kelly in a potential revival of "Hawaii Five-O."

Namor was created back in 1939 by Bill Everett and is one of Marvel's earliest superhero characters.

Back in 2006, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" director Jonathan Mostow signed on to write and direct a "Namor" feature film. Last year, Mostow told MTV News that the project was still in the works.

"These characters have been around forever and to really do justice to them and make the right movie, you have to get the script right," said Mostow. "So we're still working on that and we'll see. With everything Marvel, we like to keep it in a shroud of secrecy."

Vin Diesel has also previously expressed his interest in appearing as Namor in a potential feature film.

Tony Stark's Father Will Have A Role In 'Captain America,' Says Jon Favreau

At the risk of jumping too far ahead in the Marvel movie universe, the knowledge that Tony Stark's father will play a role in "Iron Man 2" had us thinking about the character's potential role in another movie, the World War II-based "The First Avenger: Captain America." When we had the chance to catch up with "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau, we had to ask, will Tony's dad make a cameo (or more) when Captain America arrives in theaters?

"Yeah, because he was around then," confirmed Favreau.

"['Captain America'] is World War II," he explained. "It wouldn't be that same actor, probably, because he would be much younger."

Elaborating on the elder Stark's role, Favreau said the industrialist willplay a role not unlike another famous businessman from the real world.

"[Howard Stark] was starting out during that time, and [he] was involved with the war effort, much like Howard Hughes," said the filmmaker.

Way back in September 2008, we speculated that Howard Stark could play a much bigger role in Captain America's big-screen debut than just a cameo, and while many rumors have been debunked since that time, things still look good for Tony's dad to be a major player in the story of soldier-turned-superhero Steve Rogers.

Critics slammed Nightmare, but a sequel is in the works

The critics hated, hated, hated A Nightmare on Elm Street, ripping into the new movie so badly that it currently comes it at only 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer. But if you think that alone is enough to crush plans for a sequel, think again.

Because Freddy Kreuger was the king of the April 30 weekend, with an estimated domestic gross of $32.2 million, and box office like that trumps any critic.

But it's not just the gross that tells us a sequel is likely. We've got the word straight from the mouth—make that the twitter feed—of Platinum Dunes producer Brad Fuller, spotted by the sharp eyes over at Dark Horizons. When asked by a fan (above) about a sequel, Fuller replied (below) that one is "already in the works."

Will that reply guarantee a sequel? We'll have to wait to see what happens during the film's second weekend. If Freddy kills again ... he could be back.

What's your take on all this? Do you side with the critics? Or with the opening weekend audience?

What's up with J.J. Abrams' Iron Man 2 mystery trailer?

When theater owners receive their copies of Iron Man 2 this week, one of the film cans will come with a special electronic lock that cannot be opened until Thursday afternoon. Contained within that can will be the first and last reels of the movie, as well as all the trailers that will show in front of it. And one of those trailers, according to Hitfix, is for a secret movie from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company.

The film—which has yet to be shot—will apparently not be directed by Abrams himself, although he was reportedly behind the camera for the trailer. It is also not likely that this is his collaboration with Steven Spielberg, news of which broke last week. So what is it? Well, right now it is going under the title Super 8, and Hitfix is hearing rumors that it could possibly be a sequel—or at least related somehow—to Cloverfield.

As you might recall, an untitled trailer for that Abrams-produced monster movie was launched in front of Transformers in the summer of 2007, kicking off an innovative viral marketing campaign that kept the web buzzing and the hype building for months leading up to its January 2008 release. Whatever you thought of the final product, the run-up to Cloverfield's release was full of the kind of speculation and excitement that comes along all too rarely these days for movies. The flick ended up being a relatively modest hit, but despite on-and-off talk about a sequel, Bad Robot has never officially confirmed one.

Just to add to the mystery, Pajiba reported last November that Bad Robot was secretly developing a movie called 500 Rads (a rad is an "absorbed radiation dose"). The site was told that the movie was in the vein of Cloverfield and 28 Days Later, with a budget in the range of $25 million and a script already being written from an "extensive" Abrams outline.

Could the trailer debuting this weekend be for that movie? Is Super 8 really 500 Rads? No one knows for sure, which is exactly how Abrams wants it. He genuinely relishes bringing the mystery back to the moviegoing experience, and just as with Cloverfield, no matter how the finished movie turns out, you can be assured that he will make the buildup to it as much fun as possible.

So while you have to stay until the end of Iron Man 2 for that film's bonus scene, now it's also imperative to get there early, too!

Spierig Bros. Ready To Harness 'Power Of The Dark Crystal' In 3D

It's funny that a project which looked to be pretty dead ends up resurrected by a pair of brothers already familiar with the undead. Indie filmmakers Peter and Michael Spierig, who made their debut with the self financed indie Undead and broke into the mainstream with their underrated vampire epic Daybreakers earlier this year, are set to helm the long awaited sequel to The Dark Crystal. In a joint announcement by Omnilab Media's Christopher Mapp and The Jim Henson Company's Lisa Henson, Australian based Omnilab Media is teaming up with The Jim Henson Company to bring the fantasy sequel Power of the Dark Crystal. Another surprise it that the sequel will be shot and presented on the big screen in stereoscopic 3D.

The Spierig's will direct a screenplay written by frequent Baz Luhrman collaborator Craig Pearce, based on a story by Annette Duffy and David Odell. Once again traditional puppetry and live action will be incorporated with visual effects and designs by Brian Froud who will once again serve as conceptual designer.

Michael Spierig said, "We feel a tremendous amount of responsibility in telling this story with the same meticulous care that Jim Henson and Frank Oz gave the 1982 original." Added Peter Spierig, "This is a chance to take the world of puppetry into the modern age by using modern techniques (like motion capture CGI) and the tried and true methods (like puppetry and animatronics) to create a one hundred percent real world that is unique to The Dark Crystal."

Set hundreds of years after the events of the first movie when the world has once again fallen into darkness,
Power of the Dark Crystal follows the adventures of a mysterious girl made of fire who, together with a Gelfling outcast, steals a shard of the legendary Crystal in an attempt to reignite the dying sun that exists at the center of the planet.

I'm sure fan reaction to this announcment will range from excitement to theories that the late Jim Henson is spinning in his grave. This is a project I've been waiting for God knows how long. Every since I saw a conceptual design of old Kira, I've been excited for this sequel, yet we've heard little news until now. With word of the Spierig Brothers taking the helm, its now apparent that Genndy Tartakovsky is no longer director. Does this mean his animation studio The Orphanage will not longer provide the visual f/x since it was to be their debut feature? Fans of Star Wars: Clone Wars know that Tartakovsky has an incredible visual sense, but so do the Spierig Brothers, who do much of their visual effects themselves.I am a little surprised that the Spierigs have chosen a fantasy project since they love horror so much and talk about nothing but on the upcoming blu-ray audio commentary for Daybreakers, which I'll be reviewing soon. On the other hand, Power of the Dark Crystal is the perfect opportunity for them to show their talent can transcend genres and they up to the task of handling the pressure of an epic production. As long as they bring back FizzGig (which if you think about it was basically just the head and feet of Chewbacca) I'm there.

(Thanks Latino Review)

No comments: