At a casual glance, anybody taking on Disney in a court of law would seem either fabulously wealthy, fabulously nuts, or both. So, I find this news item of particular interest. As reported on the Yahoo Sports blog Big League Stew, Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves are slinging some arrows at Pixar, challenging them over the name of the upcoming animated feature, Brave.
10 Till 6
In late October 2011, for the eleventh race since 1987, a group of solar-powered cars designed by groups from around the world attempted to cross the continent, from Darwin to Adelaide, on solar power alone. Some cars made it; some had to resort to being towed on trailers part of the way by gasoline-powered vehicles. Members of one 70-person-strong team from Cambridge University designed, built and drove a car in the race.
Sometimes, the only way to deal with events so sinister, so beyond comprehension, is to lay them bare with the darkest of humor. Never shying from controversy, the South Park team confronts the Penn State scandal head on as well as from behind.
Noted animation producer / director / technologist / multimedia guru / man of international mystery Christopher Panzner has launched a brand new bi-yearly digital magazine, LHOOQ (pronounced “Look”), a pluridisciplinary (pronounced “double-you tee eff”) look at mindstyle, lifestyle, arts, literature, anything, everything. The first issue includes a great piece spotlighting three well-known Canadian (pronounced “Kun-ay-dee-yan”) animation-type folks, none other than Mike Fallows, Chris Robinson and L. Elliot Taylor.
If you've ever gone down in flames trying to impersonate Mr. Walken, this video is for you. Or if you like zombies.
Now, I love kids just as much as anyone. Well, that's really a lie. I like kids that take out the trash the first time asked and can be trusted around my scotch. Which is to say, there are no kids that I like. However, this short video has me hoping someone who knows their way around a vfx shot had a hand in its making.
The folks at Buzzco Associates have taken on big business and the pervasive economic and political dissatisfaction spilling over on Wall Street with a set of 7 animated shorts. In the time-tested spirit of political humor, where one can only laugh when faced with daunting issues that are anything but funny, each short is based on a traditional nursery rhyme, spinning topical issues together with little childhood ditties we all know and love. The latest film, Itsy Bitsy Spider, was just released last week.
Recently, I had an opportunity to talk to Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, whom many of you know as a driving force behind the Totoro Forest Project and most recently, the Sketchtravel charity art project. An accomplished artist who spends his days applying his formidable skills as an art director at Pixar Animation Studios, Dice gave me an inside look at the unprecedented Sketchtravel sketch book, a historic collection of sketches which is being auctioned off this coming October 17th.
Estonian animation director and educator Ulo Pikkov has accomplished a remarkable feat in producing a most readable book on animation theory. For those who do not know about the technical side of animation Animasophy – Theoretical Writings On The Animated Film is a great place to start. Readers who are already well versed in animation techniques will be reminded about what they already know but don’t always think about.
If you have ever watched an animated film and wondered “How did they do that?” then Tobias Wengert’s ANIMATORS how did they do that? is the book for you. Wengert has transcribed in print his conversations with twelve diverse members of the Stuttgart, Germany animation community who reveal the secret techniques behind the magical images they create.
On IndieWire, Bill Desowitz delves into the 3-D retrofitting of Disney's The Lion King. He talks to those in charge of the work and those who worked on the original classic as well.
For the past 2 years, Bill Plympton has had a team of interns busy restoring Winsor McCay’s last short film, The Flying House. As work has progressed, Matthew Modine came onto the project as a producer and with assistance from business partner Adam Rakoff, has launched an online fundraising effort through Kickstarter.com.
If you weren't at Royce Hall for this year's ASIFA-Hollywood Annie Awards, then you missed something special - Brad Bird's hilarious Winsor McCay Award for Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech video. Even if you were there, it's worth a second look. Possibly a third...
I tried, I really did. I watched every single commercial on this year’s Super Bowl telecast. Unfortunately, I’m terribly spoiled by my DVR. I think I’d give up Diet Coke before I’d give up my DVR. Consequently, my tolerance of the sorry state of commercials is quite low. So my assessment of this year’s crop of spots is not particularly kind. Nor coherent. Nor relevant. I was not impressed. There were, however, a few bright spots.
Without good direction, you end up with drek. Problems with sequence timing or the render pipeline can be solved with relative ease – problems of mismanagement are difficult to overcome and usually spell doom. Animation directors aren’t directing animation, they’re directing a group of people who are working in arguably the most time consuming and exacting of creative mediums. David Levy's new book Directing Animation at its heart strives to teach the reader how to keep an animation production crew happy, productive and on task.
“Think of this book as a Disney History companion filling in some of those nooks and crannies that may only be mentioned in a brief sentence or two, if at all, in other Disney history books. These chapters truly are the forgotten but fascinating Disney stories.” Through the compilation of the wide array of articles that he has written through the years, Korkis presents a work that provides his readers with little known histories and stories about Walt Disney and the empire that he created.
Craig Barron has posted a really nice short film tribute to film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, who this past Saturday received the Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The boundless energy and enthusiasm I brought to Singapore Monday morning has dissipated somewhat now this fine Wednesday evening, done in by the heat, humidity and non-stop pace of our media tour. It’s late and still quite hot, a sticky hot that’s like summer in Texas, without the pickup trucks or shotguns. It will take a bit of time to properly synthesize everything, so my coverage here begins with a pictorial spread of the first couple days.
If you’re looking to spend a couple hours sitting back and having a good time, then get yourself to the theatre this weekend and go see Megamind, DreamWorks’ latest animated feature. When I got to the press screening last Saturday, I put on my 3-D glasses in search of some good old fashioned entertainment and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Frank Gladstone shot me a note about a short animated cg film called Mila being made by former Disney, DreamWorks and Imageworks animator Cinzia Angelini. Hoping to push the boundaries of non-photorealistic rendering to create a painterly aesthetic and character design, Cinzia is also striving to tell a socially relevant story about war’s most tragic collateral damage – the youngest civilians.
I’ve known Gary Schwartz since, well, since he was a much younger zany filmmaker and animation teacher. In the Webster’s Dictionary, under the word “energy,” there is a picture of Gary with his infectious grin, a camera and a tripod. This year at the Ottawa Animation Festival, as he does every year, Gary made an extremely cool stop motion short – in one day! Fa Fha Pha Ottawa!, inspired by the Ottawa festival award designed by sculptor Tick Tock Tom, is his best yet!
Alexander Anderson Jr., who along with Cal frat brother Jay Ward created Rocky & Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right among other cartoon characters, passed away last Friday at age 90. A few words of his impact on my family as well as generations of fans.
As reported on the Republica website, Nepal’s first annual Animation Short Film Festival will be held tomorrow, Friday, October 29 by the Independent Film Society (IFS), in association with Artistic Alliance Nepal (AAN). 18 films from 9 countries will be screened. The event will be held at the Nepal Tourism Board, Exhibition Road. Oxygen tanks must be checked at the door. And in a related story...
From the Taiwanese studio and web broadcaster NMA.tv comes their latest animated news “piece,” Brett Favre's Pecker the Talk of the Town. Pardon my cheap pun. It can’t be avoided – you’ll understand once you watch the video.