A man gets an opportunity to shine a light on what lies beneath the surface in this 12-minute french dialogue sci-fi short by David Alapont and Luis Briceno, produced by Jérémy Rochigneux (Metronomic). If the new Heavy Metal feature contains material like this I’ll be very happy – but I won’t hold my breath.
In a effort to be less negative, and a bit more postive, I hereby post the following image from the upcoming feature film Sir Billi without editorial comment:
So what do you think? Sir Billi is a new animated feature film starring the voice of Sean Connery. The movie centers on a “retired, skateboarding veterinarian who lives in a remote Scottish village and who spearheads the rescue of an illegal fugitive who also happens to be a beaver.” A complete plot synopsis is posted at Collider.com. Connery is a producer on the film. It’s Scotland’s first full-length animated feature, Sascha Hartmann is directing Sir Billi from a screenplay written by his wife Tessa. The film is scheduled for release later this year. Here’s a video of Connery comparing the film to Ice Age and why he turned down doing voice over for Disney.
Saturday night I attended a reception at the Cella Gallery in North Hollywood, which is currently featuring sets and puppets from Scott Kravitz’ award winning stop-motion short Loom. Kravitz has worked on various commercial stop-mo and CGI projects in L.A., Portland and San Francisco, from Robot Chicken and The P.J’s to the feature length Garfield and Scooby Doo movies. He even had a hand in the excellent closing credits animation in Madagascar 2. He animated the latter half of this outstanding United Airlines commercial (below, directed by Jamie Caliri), which won an Annie Award last year.
Mike Van Eaton comes up with animation odds and ends all the time. I have no purpose in posting these except that I find them fascinating and I know there are at least twelve of you out there who might find these equally interesting. Click the thumbnails below to examine them at large size. The first one (below left) is some sort of Christmas card to Ub Iwerks from his staff (note signatures from Irv Spence, Lou Zukor, Brad Case, Jerry Hathcock and what I assume are ink & paint staff). The next item is the cover (below center) and program interior (below right) for the Schlesinger studio’s Sketch Pad Varieties, written by Chuck Jones and starring several familiar staffers. This was the “second annual revue” – I wonder how many of these they performed? And wouldn’t it be cool to find Jones’ script for this play?
This week, from the top: Bizarro (4/8) by Dan Piaro, Reality Check (4/8) by Dave Whamond, Quigmans (4/6) by Buddy Hickerson, The Argyle Sweater (4/4) by Scott Hilburn, Mother Goose and Grimm (4/8) by Mike Peters, Willy & Ethel (4/6) by Joe Martin; Girls and Sports (4/6) by Justin Borus and Andrew Feinstein.
(Thanks, Jim Lahue, Uncle Wayne, John Hall and Charles Brubaker)
The Animation Guild is reporting the passing of animator Tom Ray.
Ray started at Warner Bros. in 1937 and worked for MGM after WWII in the Hanna-Barbera Tom & Jerry unit. He assisted at John Sutherland’s studio and UPA in the fifties, finally earning animation credit on several Robert McKimson and Chuck Jones cartoons in the late 50s and early 60s. He shared co-director credit on several Chuck Jones films, including episodes of The Bugs Bunny Show, and The Adventures of The Road Runner featurette. His later credits include animation on Pink Panther shorts, Bakshi’s Heavy Traffic and Coonskin, Chuck Jones TV Specials, numerous Filmation and Hanna Barbera series, Tiny Toons and Animaniacs – and directed many episodes of various series including Transformers and Garfield.
This little live action/animation horror film was made in 2001 and has been around the internet for a year or two. I just found it online today, and figure it’s worth a post as I will be heading over to Monsterpalooza this afternoon.
(Thanks, Tim Hodge)
Disney animator Andreas Deja will be signing his new sketchbook and doing a talk next Saturday, April 17, 4pm to 7pm, at the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, California. The gallery will also be exhibiting a large collection of his animal sketches and offering a exclusive limited edition print from the new book, A Different Stripe: Andreas Deja’s Animal Sketchbook. Due to limited space, an RSVP is requested for the one hour discussion (4pm – 5pm) – call (818)788-2357 to reserve a seat. The book signing & art exhibition (5pm – 7pm) is open to all. Books are available at the event and for pre-order, priced at $15.00 each. The Van Eaton Galleries are located at 13613 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills California is running a summer series of Oscar Noir, classic film noir features from the 1940s, each Monday night beginning May 10th. Each film will screen with a chapter of Republic’s epic Adventures of Captain Marvel serial (a brand new, restored 35mm print) and a “film noir” cartoon.
I was asked to help program the cartoons to be shown – and I came up with a slew of suggestions. My recommendations included HOW TO BE A DETECTIVE (Disney — w/Goofy), SHOWDOWN (Fleischer Studios – w/Superman), THE SUPER SNOOPER (Warner Bros. — w/Daffy Duck), DUCK PIMPLES (Disney — w/Doanld Duck), WHO KILLED WHO? (MGM/Tex Avery), ROOTY TOOT TOOT (UPA), BOSTON QUACKIE (Warner Bros. — w/Daffy Duck), DONALD’S CRIME (Disney — w/Donald Duck), THE CUCKOO CLOCK (MGM/Tex Avery), THE GREAT PIGGY BANK ROBBERY (Warner Bros. — w/Daffy Duck), MOTHER HUBBA HUBBA HUBBARD (Columbia/Sony), BAD LUCK BLACKIE (Tex Avery), THE LAST HUNGRY CAT (Warner Bros. — w/Tweety & Sylvester) and GOLDEN YEGGS (Warner Bros. — w/Daffy Duck).
I also strongly suggested they show Columbia’s FLORA with Otto Preminger’s Laura – and the only non-film noir cartoon I picked was the UPA/Mr. Magoo TROUBLE INDEMNITY which I urged they show with Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity.
As for the features themselves, and other information on this series, visit Oscars.org for details. The series pass is only $30. – Highly recommended!
For my Cinefamily animation screening this month we’re going twelve rounds with an all-star championship card that pits Tom vs. Jerry, Popeye vs. Bluto, and Bugs vs The Crusher. I’ve compiled a brutal collection of animation’s “funniest beatings” (as John K. might say); headbanging, eye-bulging cartoon entertainment they don’t show on TV anymore, with rare 35mm and 16mm film prints (including several in Technicolor).
Join us tonight (4/6) at 8pm, in Hollywood, at the CineFamily/Silent Movie Theatre.
And remember the first rule of Cartoon Fight Club — tell everyone about Cartoon Fight Club!
Meet Meline tells the story of a little girl whose curiosity is sparked by a mysterious creature as she plays in her grandparents barn. It was created independently and “without any budget” by Virginie Goyons and Sebastien Laban. For more information on the film, there is a 12-minute making of video with behind-the-scenes footage, shot breakdowns, exclusive interviews, and an informative production blog here.
That’s Dave Fleischer in the center, at the Paramount gates in Hollywood, with his two big stars of 1939, Gulliver and Popeye.
I found this image in my collection and contributed it to my new daily Facebook visit, the Popeye Look-alike Fan Page. It’s an incredible (and hilarious) archive of oddball live action photographs of the Popeye character.
Facebook has become an invaluable resource of pop culture ephemera and animation history, as collectors and fans are scanning their collections and sharing it with the world. I’ve joined in myself whenever I find something of interest to share. For example, I just found this (below) in my research files, the first model sheet for Little Audrey, drawn in 1946 by Bill Tytla! Check it out at larger size on the Harvey Comics facebook page.
While I’m at it, I should once again plug the Cartoon Brew Facebook page, where our readers run the show with additional commentary, films and event announcements.