Culver City, CA – The 10th anniversary celebration of Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) continues with a five-week series of special screenings featuring SPA’s beloved collection of animated and hybrid films, as well as reunions with filmmakers participating in Q & As following each screening, rare footage/materials from the SPA archives and giveaways. The series, which will culminate with an exclusive screening of the highly-anticipated comedy Hotel Transylvania, in theaters September 28, was announced today by Bob Osher, President of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, and Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, President of Production, Sony Pictures Animation.
Held in conjunction with ASIFA-Hollywood and Animation Magazine, the screenings will commence Wednesday, September 5 with the spotlight on SPA’s 2006 inaugural film, Open Season. Ensuing weekly Thursday presentations on the Sony Pictures Animation campus will feature the Academy Award-nominated Surf’s Up, the blockbuster hit Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, and last summer’s international smash The Smurfs. The series will conclude with a screening of Hotel Transylvania during the Saturday of the film’s opening weekend of release.
Enhancing each film exhibition will be unique offerings of rarely- or never-before-seen footage and materials from SPA’s first decade, and presented in coordination with panel discussions led by directors, producers and key crew members from each individual film. The exclusive weekly events will be moderated by respected animation experts, and the proceedings will be filmed and documented for sharing across the social media channels of Sony Pictures Animation, ASIFA-Hollywood and Animation Magazine.
“Milestones are an essential step for every institution to both celebrate and inspire, and I’m very proud of all that Sony Pictures Animation has accomplished in 10 short years,” Osher said. “I think these screenings and panels will give wonderful perspective as an appreciation of how far we’ve come, what we’ve achieved, and where we can go next.”
“This is an exciting time at Sony Pictures Animation with so much on the horizon, both near and far, but we stand here today because of the wonderful movies and filmmakers who came before us,” said Raimo-Kouyate. “These screenings will properly honor our seminal slate of films, while also giving fans a glimpse toward our bright future.”
“It is truly impressive to see the strides that Sony Pictures Animation has made in its first decade." said ASIFA-Hollywood President Frank Gladstone. “And it is an honor for ASIFA-Hollywood, working with Animation Magazine, to help commemorate that journey with this terrific retrospective film series.” Adds Jean Thoren, President and Publisher of Animation Magazine: "Throughout this past decade, we have been lucky to witness and chronicle the rise and artistic growth of Sony Pictures Animation in the pages of our magazine. Now we are honored to help celebrate the achievements of this innovative studio along with ASIFA-Hollywood and millions of fans worldwide leading to the opening of Hotel Transylvania."
The series’ initial four screenings will be hosted in Sony Pictures Animation’s revered Ray Harryhausen Theater, which will feature intimate exhibitions of SPA artwork in and around its facilities. Tickets for these one-time events will be primarily made available to members of ASIFA-Hollywood and through giveaways via Animation Magazine.
The current slate of films, and filmmaking panel participants (pending professional availability) for the Sony Pictures Animation Special Screening Series, goes as follows:
On September 5, SPA will present Open Season, the first film in the studios’ decade-long history. Amongst the rarities of the evening will be a presentation of the Oscar®-winning short, The Chubbchubbs, along with a panel discussion amongst Michelle Murdocca (producer), Steve Moore (executive producer) and William Haller (character animator).
The Academy Award-nominated feature film Surf’s Up will screen on September 13, followed by a panel discussion by Oscar nominees Ash Brannon (director) and Chris Buck (director), Chris Jenkins (producer) and Rob Bredow (VFX supervisor).
Breakout directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (21 Jump Street) return to their animation roots to present Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs on September 20. The directors will be joined by producer Pam Marsden and VFX Supervisor Rob Bredow for a panel discussion of the film.
SPA’s international animation hybrid sensation, The Smurfs, will screen on September 27. A panel discussion will feature filmmakers and key artists.
The Screening Series will close its summer run with a Saturday, September 29 offering of Hotel Transylvania – during its opening weekend in theaters – at a public venue in order to accommodate ASIFA family members. Three-time Emmy Award winner Director Genndy Tartakovsky and Producer Michelle Murdocca will lead the festivities.
Sony Pictures Animation celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2012 with a robust slate of upcoming films. Following Hotel Transylvania on September 28, 2012, SPA will welcome the July 2013 release of The Smurfs 2, the follow-up to the 2012 global sensation. Cloudy 2: Revenge Of The Leftovers, a sequel to Sony Pictures Animation’s popular animated blockbuster, will reach theatres worldwide in February 2014. Also now in development are the aforementioned Popeye, based on the King Features comic strip “Popeye,” being directed by Tartakovsky with the screenplay by Jay Scherick and David Ronn (The Smurfs). Avi Arad (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Ari Arad (Iron Man) executive producing; Kazorn and the Unicorn, with Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo & Juliet) at the helm and co-directed by Troy Quane. Lloyd Taylor is writing the screenplay. Sam Raimi and Joshua Donen are executive producing; and the hybrid live-action/CG feature Secret Histories, written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein and produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson of the Gotham Group with Greg Little.
In Sony Pictures Animation’s first feature film, the animated action adventure comedy Open Season, the odd are about to get even. Boog (Martin Lawrence), a domesticated grizzly bear with no survival skills, has his perfect world turned upside down when he meets Elliot (Ashton Kutcher), a scrawny, fast-talking mule deer. When Elliot convinces Boog to leave his cushy home in a park ranger’s garage to try a taste of the great outdoors, things quickly spiral out of control. Relocated to the forest with open season only three days away, Boog and Elliot must acclimate in a hurry. They must join forces to unite the woodland creatures and take the forest back! The film is directed by Roger Allers and Jill Culton. The screenplay is by Steve Bencich & Ron J. Friedman and Nat Mauldin. The screen story is by Jill Culton and Anthony Stacchi from an original story by Steve Moore and John Carls. The film is produced by Michelle Murdocca.
Surf’s Up is an animated action-comedy that delves behind the scenes of the high-octane world of competitive surfing. The film profiles teenage Rockhopper penguin Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf), an up-and-coming surfer, as he enters his first pro competition. Followed by a camera crew to document his experiences, Cody leaves his family and home in Shiverpool, Antarctica to travel to Pen Gu Island for the Big Z Memorial Surf Off. Along the way, Cody meets Sheboygan surfer Chicken Joe (Jon Heder), famous surf promoter Reggie Belafonte (James Woods), surf talent scout Mikey Abromowitz (Mario Cantone), and spirited lifeguard Lani Aliikai (Zooey Deschanel), all of whom recognize Cody’s passion for surfing, even if it’s a bit misguided at times. Cody believes that winning will bring him the admiration and respect he desires, but when he unexpectedly comes face-to-face with a washed-up old surfer (Jeff Bridges), Cody begins to find his own way, and discovers that a true winner isn’t always the one who comes in first. Directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck. Screenplay by Don Rhymer and Ash Brannon & Chris Buck & Christopher Jenkins. With a story by Christopher Jenkins and Christian Darren. Produced by Christopher Jenkins.
Flint Lockwood is an eccentric young scientist whose awkward demeanor and half-baked inventions – ratbirds, spray-on shoes, and talking monkeys – have made him an outsider in his hometown of Swallow Falls. All that is about to change with his latest contraption: the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Nano Dynamic Food Replicator (or FLDSNDFR for short), a miraculous machine designed to make sure nobody ever goes hungry again. But when his creation leaves the whole world in a pickle, the forecast goes from sunny to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Based on the best-selling book by Judi and Ron Barrett, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is written for the screen and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (co-executive producers, “How I Met Your Mother”); produced by Pam Marsden (“Dinosaur”). The CG animation will be created by Sony Pictures Imageworks.
The Smurfs arrive on the big screen in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s hybrid live-action and animated family comedy, The Smurfs. When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the Smurfs out of their village, through a magical portal, and into our world, they land in the middle of New York’s Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down. Directed by Raja Gosnell. Produced by Jordan Kerner. Screenplay by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss and Jay Scherick & David Ronn. Story by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss. Based on the characters and works of Peyo.
Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world’s most famous monsters — Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more — to celebrate his daughter Mavis’ 118th birthday. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem — but his world could come crashing down when a human stumbles on the hotel for the first time and takes a shine to Mavis. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Produced by Michelle Murdocca. Screenplay by Peter Baynham and Robert Smigel. Story by Todd Durham and Daniel Hageman & Kevin Hageman.