Continuing our focus on films this month, we look internationally, as Alain Bielik examines the gorgeous hallucinatory work done by Mac Guff Ligne for the French western BLUEBERRY, Chris Harz sizes up the London vfx scene, where a flurry of big budget American productions have recently migrated; and on Thursday I take a glimpse of the emerging presence of Shanghai SFS Digital Media as a vfx/3D-animated force to be reckoned with in China.
Category: Visual Effects
Caligari announced the release of gameSpace Light (gSL), a special edition of the company's game graphics authoring software. gameSpace Light is designed to introduce independent game developers, students and hobbyists to 3D game content creation using Caligari's trademark first-person-perspective design interface.
BAFTA announced the winners of its Craft Awards on May 16, 2004 at a ceremony hosted by Alistair McGowan at the Dorchester. The TV documentary RESTORATION won the BAFTA for Graphic Design while Framestore took home the Visual Effects BAFTA for its work on SEA MONSTERS A WALKING WITH DINOSAURS TRILOGY.
UGO Networks (www.ugo.com), a leading online magazine for guys, is teaming with a group of Hollywood film producers to create three shorts set at the E3 Expo. The short films -- DREAM GIRL, CREATION and A.D.D. MAN SAVES E3 will take a humorous, irreverent look at the world of videogames and the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Emmy-winning producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses; Dark Light Pictures; Greg McClatchy of Motor Ent.; FilmworksFX and director Stuart Acher participated in the creation of the shorts.
ACM SIGGRAPH announced the content of the Emerging Technologies exhibition for SIGGRAPH 2004, the 31st International Conference on Computer Graphics and Techniques, being held Aug. 8 -12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The SIGGRAPH 2004 Emerging Technologies exhibition will feature 28 interactive installations from research labs, universities, independent artists and industry that explore the theme of enhancing life.
Warner Bros. has snatched up the rights to the fantasy novel series XANTH to be produced by TROY helmer Wolfgang Petersen along with TROY writer David Benioff and Diana Rathbun of Petersen's Radiant Prods, reports VARIETY. Radiant's Samuel Dickerman will exec produce.
A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON is the first book in the series, which chronicles a boy named Bink in the world of Xanth, where all the inhabitants must possess magical powers or face banishment.
Despite previous reports that the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels would be the last amusement park ride turned feature film, The Walt Disney Co. has announced that it plans to turn the Jungle Cruise ride into an adventure flick, reported HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. "It's completely inspired by and relates to the ride and will contain elements of the ride in the story," producer David Hoberman said.
Jan Michelini, an assistant director on THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, unveiled in the U.S. his artwork inspired by the filming of the movie at a celebrity studded reception on May 12, 2004 at Kolibri Gallery. The 24 year-old Italian-born Michelini was affectionately nicknamed "Lightning Boy" by Mel Gibson and producer Steve McEveety when he was struck by bolts of lightning on two separate occasions while filming the "The Crucifixion" and "Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount" scenes.
Mel Gibson's biblical blockbuster, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, will debut on DVD Aug. 31, 2004 (Fox Home Ent., $29.98) in a bare bones single disc edition, presented at the maximum bit rate. So don't expect any nifty bonus features for at least a year, including how Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience handled the numerous digital effects that were supervised by Ted Rae.
As of May 9, THE PASSION has grossed $360M domestically and $222M overseas.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced the winners of the 2004 Editors' Choice Awards, an extension of its annual NAB Awards for Innovation in Media (AIM) program. The winners are Apple's Motion in the Content Creation category, Fast Forward Video's Covert DVR in the Content Management grouping, and VBrick Systems, Inc.'s EtherneTV within the Content Delivery class.
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the North American rights to Zhang Yimou's HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, which is screening out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Yimou's last film the highly anticipated Academy-Award nominated HERO will be released by Miramax in the U.S. August 20, 2004.
Sony Pictures Classics in a statement said, "This is our sixth film from a filmmaker regarded as one of the very best in the world. It is an honor and thrill for us to be working once again both with Zhang Yimou and our good friend, his producer, Bill Kong."
The first-ever elected board of UK Post has been announced, the brand new association representing the film and broadcast post-production and effects industry.
All 10 of the largest companies in the sector as well as 70% of the top 50 companies, including the BBC, ITV and a number of emerging companies have already signed up as members.
Disney announced its plans for the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise at the North American Theatre Owners annual meeting. Production will been on booth the second and third film soon with both film arriving in theaters in 2006 released six months apart. ComingSoon.net has also confirmed that Johnny Depp's wish of Rolling Stones' Keith Richards playing Captain Jack Sparrow's dad in the sequel will come true. Depp has long said that he modeled his performance on the legendary rocker.
Dimension Films have signed on to distribute in the U.S. Gaga Communications and Crystal Sky Group's film adaptation of Namco's popular videogame franchise TEKKEN, reports VARIETY. In addition, Charles Stone (DRUMLINE) has signed on to direct. The film will have a budget around $60 million. Overseeing the production for Dimension are co-presidents Andrew Rona and Brad Weston, as well as Bob Weinstein.
Warner Bros. Pictures has signed Swedish directors Simon Sandquist and Joel Bergvall for the film adaptation of DC Comics' BOOKS OF MAGIC, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. First published as a mini-series in 1990, the comic follows a teenager who studies magic in contemporary London. Neil Gaiman, the author of the original story and the novel, will serve as exec producer.
As part of its current expansion drive, KromA has promoted Adam Fisher to visual effects artist. He had been an assistant artist with the studio for two years. Fisher recently served as lead artist on three music video projects for director Benny Boom, including WHAT IF? from AMERICAN IDOL winner Rubin Studdard. He was also part of a team of artists who performed compositing work for the Britney Spears' TOXIC video and the Busta Rhymes video LIGHT YOUR ASS ON FIRE, both directed by Joseph Kahn, as well as the Exies video MY GODDESS directed by Diane Martel.
Revolution Studios has greenlit HELLBOY II, with original film's writer and director Guillermo del Toro and producers Lawrence Gordon, Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Ent. and Lloyd Levin all returning. HELLBOY creator Mike Mignola is developing the new story with del Toro.
"HELLBOY was a tremendously successful and unique project," said Revolution Studios partner Todd Garner. "It was Guillermo's vision that brought the film to the marketplace, and we are delighted to be working with him again."
VAN HELSING will screen digitally for free, followed by a Q&A with producer/editor Bob Duscay to launch the 2004 Digital Screening Series at the Hollywood Pacific Theater on May 24 at 7:00 pm.
VAN HELSING represents the first in what will be an expanded and improved summer digital screening series. This is the second year the series is being held.
Renowned sound designer and mixer, as well as USC alumnus, Gary Rydstrom will deliver the commencement address at the 2004 USC School of Cinema-Television Commencement Ceremony on May 14, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium. Rydstrom will accept the prestigious Mary Pickford Outstanding Alumnus Award, given in recognition of his innovative and prolific work in film sound.
Explore the art of gaming as it makes its way in art history at E3Expo via an art exhibition and a multimedia, interactive museum called "The History of Video Games."
There are 16 pieces of artwork selected from more than 120 submissions by a jury of interactive entertainment industry art veterans and experts from the traditional art field to be featured in "Into the Pixel," a juried exhibition of computer and videogame art on display at this year's E3Expo.
GameSpot a leading source for information about games, today announced the E3 Hot List, an up-to-the-minute look at the most popular videogames garnering the most interest among males, ages 18-34, for the first day of the show, March 12, 2004.
Participants and attendees at E3 are obviously in the right game as a new survey reveals that computer and videogames are capturing increasing amounts of Americans' leisure time at the expense of television and movies.
The data from the Entertainment Software Assoc. (ESA) annual consumer survey shows 52% of gamers who are spending more time playing games report watching less television and, as a result, 47% go to movies less, and 41% watch movies at home less often.
World-renowned designer, concept artist and futurist Syd Mead will speak and sign the books OBLAGON and SENTURY (his latest) at Gnomon School of Visual Effects on Thursday, May 20 at 7:00 pm.
Kaydara announced that Ubisoft has licensed HumanIK|Middleware, an advanced in-game character animation and rigging library, for its upcoming release of TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL 3 (working title). With HumanIK|Middleware, Ubisoft will be able to easily embed the same award-winning character animation and rigging technology found in MOTIONBUILDER directly into its game engine. Ubisoft is demonstrating SPLINTER CELL 3 using HumanIK|Middleware at E3, May 12-15, 2004, booth #1046.
Just how difficult is it to produce, distribute and market an independent animated feature? J. Paul Peszko provides a few answers with the promising Hoodwinked: The True Story of Red Riding Hood, the first independently produced 3D animated feature from the Philippines that screens at Cannes this weekend as a work-in-progress.