Search form

Live Music to Debut with Planet 51

Press Release from Intel

Mass Animation, Sony Pictures and Intel Corporation today announced that the ground-breaking animated short film "Live Music," a worldwide collaboration by animators using a unique application built on the Facebook Platform, will be attached to TriStar Pictures' animated feature "Planet 51," scheduled for a Nov. 20 wide theatrical release in North America.

"Live Music" is directed by Yair Landau, former president of Sony Pictures Digital, and produced by Landau and Jacquie Barnbrook (producer of the Oscar-winning short, "The Chubb Chubbs"). It is the first production from Mass Animation, an effort sponsored by Intel Corporation that brings together the worlds of computer graphics, Hollywood and Facebook.

The 5-minute computer-generated animated short is inspired by Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and early CGI films. Set in a musical instrument store, the story follows Riff, a rock 'n' roll guitar, who, as Landau describes it, "falls in love to the wrong song but ends up with Vanessa, the classical violin of his dreams." The story is conveyed through the universal language of music, allowing the expressions and actions of the characters to be instantly relatable globally. The instruments are brought to life through original compositions and familiar rock tunes played principally by legendary guitarist Steve Vai as Riff and acclaimed violinist Ann Marie Calhoun as Vanessa.

Announced last year at SIGGRAPH, Mass Animation invited artists around the world to animate individual shots from "Live Music." The collaboration phase ran from Nov. 17 through Jan. 30, giving animators, regardless of experience, about 2 months to submit work that was voted on by the Facebook community at

An international jury of animation experts selected the shots to be considered for the film. As director, Landau had the final say as to which submissions made the final cut. Animators whose work made it into the finished product received on-screen credit and cash compensation. In addition, animators whose creation was rated best by the community on a weekly basis received cash prizes from Dell and Intel.

TriStar Pictures' "Planet 51" is a galactic-sized animated alien adventure comedy revolving around American astronaut Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker, who lands on Planet 51 thinking he's the first person to step foot on it. To his surprise, he finds that this planet is inhabited by little green people who are happily living in a white picket fence world reminiscent of a cheerfully innocent 1950s America, and whose only fear is that it will be overrun by alien invaders ... like Chuck! With the help of his robot companion "Rover" and his new friend Lem, Chuck must navigate his way through the dazzling, but bewildering, landscape of Planet 51 in order to escape becoming a permanent part of the Planet 51 Alien Invaders Space Museum. The film, which features the voices of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott and John Cleese, is directed by Jorge Blanco, written by Joe Stillman and Etan Cohen, and produced by Ignacio Perez Dolcet.

Along with Intel and thousands of participants in the project, Mass Animation's partners in making "Live Music" include Dell, Autodesk and Reel FX Entertainment.