Filmmaker PES, currently nominated for an Oscar for his short Fresh Guacamole, directed this striking title sequence for the Dutch TV series Het Klokhuis (Apple Core). The long-running show, which first aired in 1988, is one of the Netherlands’ oldest youth television shows.
Directed by PES
Production Company: PES Productions
Het Klokhuis (NL) Editors-in-Chief: Loes Wormmeester & Jan Pieter Schaap
Fabrication/Production Studio: SCPS Unlimited
Animation: Dillon Markey
Editor: Joshua Balster
Sound Design: PES
Dallas-based ReelFX is getting serious about feature animation. Last week, they named Aron Warner as the studio’s President of Animation. Warner will oversee the two films that the studio is currently producing: Jorge Gutierrez’s Book of Life, which we wrote about last month, and Turkeys, directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who, Jonah Hex). More details about Warner’s appointment in the company’s press release:
Reel FX, a fully integrated movie studio that develops and produces both animated films and live action movies, announced today that Aron Warner, the Academy Award-winning producer of the animated blockbusters Shrek, Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third, has joined the growing movie studio as President of Animation.
Warner will oversee and expand Reel FX’s animation slate which already includes the day of the dead-themed project Book of Life (Guillermo del Toro producing/Jorge Gutierrez directing), which will be released in theaters by Fox Animation on October 10th, 2014, Turkeys (Jimmy Hayward directing) which will be released in theaters on November 14th, 2014 by Relativity Media and Beasts of Burden (Warner and Andrew Adamson producing).
Warner said: “Reel FX has the talent, technology and track record to create the highest-quality theatrical animated films for reasonable budgets. Our model allows us to take creative risks and has already attracted world-class filmmakers looking to tell unique and daring stories that appeal to audiences across the world. I am honored to be part of the Reel FX team and look forward to continuing to build upon our slate.”
Steve O’ Brien, Chairman and CEO of Reel FX said: “Aron Warner is one of the industry’s most respected and accomplished animation executives and he brings sustained success, years of experience and deep relationships to overseeing our studio’s growing feature film animation division. We are excited to work with him as we continue to build a studio that produces best in class animated movies.”
Warner and Reel FX have been working together on a variety of projects for the past few years. Warner’s team at Reel FX includes a wide range of producers and executives including Jeff Fierson, Head of Development, Brad Booker, Creative Producer of Reel FX’s Book of Life and Scott Mosier Creative Producer of Reel FX’s Turkeys.
Warner joined PDI/DreamWorks in 1997. During the production of Shrek, Warner also served as the Head of PDI/DreamWorks for two years, overseeing all production and operations for all of the computer animation affiliate’s feature film, commercial and visual effects projects. He first joined PDI as a producer on the computer animated comedy Antz. Before PDI, Warner held the post of vice president of production at Twentieth Century Fox, where he supervised production on such films as True Lies, Independence Day, The Ice Storm, The Crucible, Alien Resurrection, Volcano and the number one blockbuster of all time, Titanic.
Character designer Stephen Silver is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. Silver, who is the designer of shows like Kim Possible and Danny Phantom, posted an impassioned YouTube video a few days ago urging young artists not to give their work away for free.
Silver’s message is simple but priceless: if you don’t respect your own creative skills, others won’t either. This has always been a difficult idea for creative people to grasp—myself included—because we enjoy what we do for a living. Most young artists don’t enter the animation field because they want to become rich; they do it because they love the art form. But not everyone shares that idealism. Businesspeople and corporations are in it purely for the money, and they will gladly not pay you what you’re worth if it enhances their bottom line.
Almost every creative person eventually comes around to the concept that Silver is advocating in his video. The sooner you do it in your career, the better off you will be.
Ireland-based Finnish animator Teemu Auersalo created Trolley Boy, a droll fantasy about a supermarket employee transcending the drudgery of daily life. The highlight is Auersalo’s distinctive rough-hewn CGI style which adds visual interest to the story.
The new Philip Glass opera The Perfect American, based on Peter Stephan Jungk’s novel of the same name, debuted on January 22 the Teatro Real in Madrid. The opera, which was inspired by unflattering myths and half-truths about Walt Disney, has received mostly mild reviews in publications like the NY Times and Opera News, though the LA Times was enthusiastic. Spanish daily El Pais reports that crowds have been respectful if not ecstatic: “It won a long applause. It was not rapturous, far from it. But there was not a single boo.”
Don’t fret if you’re unable to make it to Madrid. You can see the opera from the comfort of your own home and make your own judgements about how successfully it portrays Disney’s life and worldview. The opera will be broadcast live on Medici.tv on February 6. It appears to be free, though the site requires registration. The opera will remain viewable for 90 days after its online debut.
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch died yesterday at the age of 88. A caricature of Koch was the star of Jimmy Picker’s 1983 Oscar-winning animated short Sundae in New York. (Koch did not voice the character.)
A cartooned Koch also appeared once on The Critic:
It’s hard to imagine that not so long ago the only way to watch animated shorts from around the world was to attend a screening of Spike and Mike. The touring festival played an important role in promoting and legitimizing independent animation during the Eighties and Nineties, but it has become an anachronism in the age of YouTube, Vimeo and the endless stream of animation content online.
There’s still something to be said for watching great animated shorts on the bigscreen and with an audience. In that spirit, Spike and Mike will be screening a “30th anniversary” program of shorts during the month of February and March at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego—La Jolla (700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037).
The anniversary celebration is a bit late—this is actually the festival’s 36th year of existence—but who’s counting. The shorts that will be screened in the program include:
Pixels by Patrick Jean Bunny by Chris Wedge Creature Comforts by Nick Park Loon by Jan Bitzer For the Birds by Ralph Eggleston Paths of Hate by Damian Nenow The Big Snit by Richard Condie Guard Dog by Bill Plymptom Oktapodi by Julien Bocabeille, François-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Marchand, Quentin Marmier and Emud Mokhberi The Saga of Bjorn by Benjamin J. Kousholt, Daniel D. Christensen, Mads Lundgaard Christensen, Jesper A. Jensen, Jonas K. Doctor, Steffen Lyhne, Pernille Ørum-Nielsen, Frederik Bjerre-Poulsen, and Jonas Georgakakis Grasshoppers by Bruno Bozzetto Animator vs. Animation by Alan Becker The Deep by PES Seed by Johnny Kelly Bambi Meets Godzilla by Marv Newland Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase by Joan Gratz
Of note, on February 9th and 10th, Simpsons director David Silverman will appear at the screenings in La Jolla to sign autographs, and on March 1st and 2nd, Wreck-It Ralph director Rich Moore will attend. Go HERE for showtimes and ticket info.
Last May, it was announced that Guillermo del Toro and animation veteran Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The PJs) would co-direct a stop motion adaptation of Pinocchio for the Jim Henson Company. The film was based on a version of the story illustrated by Gris Grimly.
According to Bleeding Cool, Grimly posted a couple of tweets yesterday that implied the project is stalled:
Short to the point update on Pinocchio for those inquiring: It appears that this is not the right time for such a superior-adventurous flick
— Gris Grimly (@GrisGrimly) January 30, 2013
@thinkbaker There are people like us out there. But they look at numbers. Frankenweenie was a box office failure to them.
— Gris Grimly (@GrisGrimly) January 30, 2013
The tweets have since been deleted so perhaps Grimly’s announcement was premature. The production studio ShadowMachine still lists the project on their homepage. With Henry Selick’s stop-motion film also shut down last year, what other feature film stop-mo projects are still in production? If anyone knows more about what’s happening, do tell.
[UPDATED—Feb. 2, 2013]: Gris Grimly gave an update to Bleeding Cool about his earlier comments on Twitter. He says Pinocchio is still alive though it would appear that no studio has committed to the film yet:
I’m writing to clear up the rumor that has gotten started. It all started with misconstrued information that I passed along through my networks. But it has come to my knowledge that Pinocchio is indeed still kicking with interest from the studios. Although I thought it was going to lay quiet for a little while, I never thought it would be canceled. It’s too good.
Cattle Call (2008) offers a fascinating glimpse into a world that is completely foreign to me. It made a strong impression when I saw it a few years back in Ottawa and I’m delighted to report that it’s every bit as exhilarating to watch again now that it’s been posted online.
Directed by Matt Rankin and Mike Maryniuk, the film uncovers the inherent art within livestock auctioneering, which filmmaker Werner Herzog once described as “the last poetry possible, the poetry of capitalism.”
Filmmakers Rankin and Maryniuk capture the madcap energy of their subject matter by deploying a rapid-fire assortment of techniques, including stop-motion, cut-outs, open-exposures, hole-punching and rubbing Letraset directly on the celluloid. They manage to turn this experimental grabbag into a mightily entertaining film—a testament to their skills as animation filmmakers. Their unconventional approach also shows that the documentary format in animation offers a range of nonliteral and non-narrative possibilities that extends beyond the formal limitations of live-action documentary.
A Gum Boy (Kuchao) by Masaki Okuda is a 2010 student film produced at the Tokyo University of the Arts. The film addresses difficult subject matter—adolescent ostracism—through a creative and non-literal use of animation that marries the fluid grace of a watercolor style with frenzied use of camera and cutting. Okuda’s mastery of film technique, narrative and visual style elevates Gum Boy beyond the average student film, and for that matter, the average professional short film as well.
“It was with much sadness that we informed our teams today of changes to our Games organization, which include the closure of Junction Point Studios. These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities. We’re extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2.”
Spector will no longer be involved with Disney. The Disney Company announced earlier this month that they were developing a new gaming initiative called Disney Infinity.