O Rei GastÃ£o (King Gaston) by Rio de Janeiro-based animator Diogo Viegas picked up the best children’s animation award at this year’s Anima Mundi festival. It’s easy to see why: the animation, design and color are undeniably charming. There’s English captions for non-Portuguese speakers, but the visual storytelling is so clear that I found it just as charming (if not moreso) when I didn’t understand the lyrics.
German animation director Hannes Rall, who has previously adapted Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Erlking to animation, is wrapping up another hand-drawn animated adaptation of classic literature. This time, he’s tackling the work of German writer Wilhelm Hauff and his fairy tale The Cold Heart.
The short is set in Germany’s Black Forest during the 19th century: “Peter Munk is a poor but goodhearted young man, desperately wishing to be rich. Tempted by the evil ghost of the woods, he trades his warm heart for a heart of stone. He becomes rich but turns into a merciless and cruel man. Is there still hope for him?”
The 29-minute short channels classic German art influences including the distorted human figures of Expressionist woodcuts and the silhouette animation design of Lotte Reiniger. The film also boasts the color design of animation veteran Hans Bacher, who was the production designer of Disney’s Mulan, among an extensive list of Disney animation credits. Both Rall and Bacher teach at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where they connected for this project.
The short received German production funding from MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg. It will premiere later this year. Rall shared with Cartoon Brew some of Hans Bacher’s color scripts for the film:
DreamWorks released a poster this afternoon for its upcoming hybrid feature Me & My Shadow slated for release in spring 2014. The film, which is about a shadow that takes control of its owner’s actions, will combine CG and hand-drawn animation, the latter which will be used for the shadow animation.
The film’s director is veteran story artist and animator Alessandro Carloni, who served as head of story on How to Train Your Dragon and who is directing for the first time. The original director of the film back when the project was announced in 2010 was Mark Dindal (The Emperor’s New Groove, Cats Don’t Dance), but he appears to no longer be involved. Regular updates about the film can be found on Me and My Shadow‘s official Facebook page.
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, the directors of the Oscar-nominated French animated feature Persepolis, are back with a new fantasy-drama Chicken With Plums. Sony Pictures Classics will release stateside on August 17. The live-action film, with minor bits of animation, is based on a graphic novel by Satrapi.
The film is set in Tehran, Iran, in 1958:
Since his beloved violin was broken, Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, has lost all taste for life. Finding no instrument worthy of replacing it, he decides to confine himself to bed to await death. As he hopes for its arrival, he plunges into deep reveries, with dreams as melancholic as they are joyous, taking him back to his youth and even to a conversation with Azrael, the Angel of Death, who reveals the future of his children. As pieces of the puzzle gradually fit together, the poignant secret of his life comes to light: a wonderful story of love which inspired his genius and his music.
Watch the trailer below:
Ptch is a new iPad/iPhone app that allows users to remix photos, videos, songs and text into 60-second music video-style shorts called Ptches. Sort of like an Instagram for videos (with “styles” instead of filters), Ptch aims to make video editing as intuitive and reflexive for the masses as taking a photograph with a smartphone. The app also allows users to remix ptches made by their friends so that each person can share their own version of an event. The software is available on Apple’s iTunes Store for free, though add-on songs and film “styles” will cost money in the future.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Ptch is headed by Ed Leonard, the Chief Technology Officer of DreamWorks Animation and the former director of R&D at Disney Animation. He convinced DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to launch a new company called DWA Investments. The company, which is funded entirely by its parent DreamWorks Animation, has 15 employees, a third of whom are former DreamWorks staffers who took paycuts (in exchange for stock) to join Ptch.
Sites like Fast Company and BetaBeat have been debating what Ptch means for the future of DreamWorks. For example, does it signal the company’s transition from being a content producer into a technology company? Ptch helmer Ed Leonard hinted at that possibility while speaking with BetaBeat:
“There’s a lot of ambition at DreamWorks, they’re thinking about how to leverage ambition on the film side and how to reinvent themselves as more of a technology company than a movie company and really leverage all that value. If you get close to what Jeffrey is thinking about in terms of the DreamWorks brand â€¦ Jeffrey really believes in the intersection that’s happening between technology and entertainment.”
It’s hard to know what to make of all this just yet, but Leonard’s quote reveals that DreamWorks Animation is evolving in different and unexpected directions.
The best part is when John Lasseter asks the kid if it knows about E tickets, which haven’t been used at Disneyland in thirty years:
A close second is watching Lasseter get whipped around by a tractor:
A few thousand copies of this Croods print drawn by Chris Sanders and painted by Arthur Fong were handed out at Comic-Con last week. The charm and vitality of Sanders’ sinuous line artwork will inevitably be lost in the transition to CGI so enjoy this little taste of what the film could have been. (Click on the image for a bigger version.)
(via The Croods blog)
Brazilian artist Jomário Murta used multiple Microsoft Kinects to generate a sequence of point clouds (a set of points in 3D space) as reference for creating animation. The process is akin to motion capture, but not the same:
This is something like animating over the videos. Just like we usually do as reference for timing and more complex movements. The difference is that I can animate three-dimensionally “inside” the video; the advantage instead of mocap is that the animation process is more free, where I can easily exaggerate the movements and play a lot with the poses without compromising my style of animation.
Murta admits that he is still in a research phase and hasn’t figured out any practical applications for the technique, but that’s to be expected of any exploration of a new technology. The results are promising thus far, and it’ll be interesting to see how he and others build on the process.
Pixar is developing Finding Nemo 2, according to a report on Deadline Hollywood. Andrew Stanton is on board to direct. Stanton, who has experienced success with his animated films including the original Finding Nemo, had a less-than-stellar live-action debut with John Carter, which resulted in a $200 million write-down for the Disney Company earlier this year.
Short but sweet festival opening directed by Guilherme Marcondes for this year’s Anima Mundi Festival, currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro and SÃ£o Paulo. The animation was directed by Luciana Eguti and Paulo Muppet at Birdo.
Directed by Guilherme Marcondes
Animation: Paulo Muppet, Pedro Eboli, Rafael Gallardo
Animation Assistant: Fernando Finamore
Compositing: Guilherme Marcondes, Antonio Linhares, Paulo Muppet
Production Assistant: Flávia Luz
Music: Anvil FX
Sound Engineer: Carlos Lima
Ice Age: Continental Drift, the fourth installment in Blue Sky’s prehistoric series, opened last weekend int the top spot with an estimated $46 million. The opening weekend was modest compared to other CG films in 2012, but that was to be expected since the series is a bigger hit overseas than domestically. The last entry in the Ice Age series–Dawn of the Dinosaurs–earned $886.6 million around the world. To put that into perspective, that’s more than any Pixar film except for Toy Story 3. The new Continental Drift has already banked $339 million around the globe in addition to its U. S. total.
Besides Ice Age, there were three other animated films in the U. S. top ten (or two more, for those who don’t think of Ted as animated). Seth MacFarlane’s part-animated, part-live-action Ted took third place with an estimated $22.1M in its third weekend for a total of $159M. Pixar’s Brave followed in fourth place with $10.7M and a four-week total of $195.6M DreamWorks’ Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted took tenth place in its 6th weekend with an estimated $3.5M and a total of $203.7M.
There are some films that one simply can’t imagine being made in any medium besides animation. Louis Hudson‘s delightfully twisted All Consuming Love (Man In A Cat) is one such film. The short has been playing the festival circuit for the past year, and was finally posted online yesterday. To learn more about it, read this interview with Louis Hudson.
(Thanks, Barbara Benas)