What are you thankful for?
What are you thankful for?
Opening today in wide release is Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox. We posted a talkback two weeks ago when it opened in NY and LA, but now it’s time for the rest of you to chime in – in the comments section below.
Opening in exclusive release today in New York and Los Angeles is Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. If you’ve seen it, please give us your thoughts in the comments below.
I was at the CTN Expo last weekend and completely forgot to see Planet 51. Am I missing something? If you saw it, I’d love to read your comments below.
One last post and a few more snaps from CTN yesterday:
Peter De Seve signs copies of his new book A Sketchy Past for a huge crowd. NOTE: Stuart Ng has Peter’s new book in stock and available NOW. Amazon won’t have it until March (and Ng’s copies have an exclusive signed illustrated bookplate).
Jerry Beck and Lou Romano
The final day of the CTN event was as exciting as the first two. Everyone I spoke to agreed that this was a successful first effort and all praised Tina Price for creating such an artist friendly evironment. The whole thing felt less like a Comic Con and more like a party for cartoonists and animators – a great way to spend the weekend with old friends or making new contacts. I picked up a lot of sketchbooks, prints and art that I will write about in a separate post later this week.
We’ve posted about Mish Mish cartoons before – but here’s a new one you gotta see. The character was the star of a popular Egyptian cartoon series of the 1930s by the Frenkel Bros. – who apparently were so taken with American cartoons they literally traced animation, character designs and ideas directly from them. This one, National Defense, is a World War II epic presented in two parts. In the musical first half, the animators borrow from Bosko and Buddy, mix belly dancers and dancing hooka’s, and possibly the worst caricatures of Laurel and Hardy, Eddie Cantor and Charlie Chaplin you’ll ever see. The second half takes place on the battlefield and it’s probably the funkiest animated propaganda ever made. The crude animation only adds to the charm. No matter what you think of Mish Mish, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore!
(Thanks, Milton Knight)
This week’s comic strips with references to classic cartoon stars. Above Mark Parisi’s Off The Mark from Thursday (removed by request from the cartoonist), and below Mike Peter’s Mother Goose and Grimm on Friday. If you spot any like these during the week let me know and I’ll save them up for a semi-regular Sunday showcase.
(Thanks, Jed Martinez and Kurtis Findlay)
And on the Second Day, the CTN Expo became Comic Con for animators.
Day 2 at CTN-X was wall-to-wall with attendees, standing room only panels, exhibits, demonstrations, screenings and parties. Andreas Deja drawing in the lobby surrounded by hundreds of students and pro’s; talks by Roger Allers, Bill Kroyer, Peter De Seve, Rob Minkoff and Simon Wells; a screening of The Secret of Kells and a preview of Don Hahn’s Waking Sleeping Beauty; a party hosted by Disney Animation… and that’s not the half of it.
I moderated an interview with Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (photo above: Goldman at left, Don in center and yours truly pointing to screen at right). We only had 45 minutes, but we covered an awful lot of their history and gained new insight as to why and how they left Disney thirty years ago (in 1979). Don and Gary inspired the SRO crowd with their love of, and enthusiasm for, the future of hand drawn character animation.
In an instant, a new major animation event has emerged. The CTN Expo has turned out to be a huge success. If you are reading this in Los Angeles and have a few hours to spare today, I highly recommend dropping by the Burbank Marriott on Hollywood Way between 10am and 7pm. A few of today’s highlights include Charles Solomon interviewing the creators of The Secret of Kells, Yvette Kaplan moderating a panel on comedy writing in animated cartoons, Harald Siepermann discussing character design and Ed Gombert on The World of Appeal. See you there.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today its short-list of the 10 animated short films that will vie for nomination slots for this years Academy Awards. Thirty-seven shorts had originally qualified in this category and were screened last weekend for members of the shorts branch. The short-list includes Nick Park’s latest Wallace and Gromit short, Pixar’s Partly Cloudy and Cordell Barker’s Runaway.
The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company and a link to their website:
The Cat Piano – Eddie White and Ari Gibson, directors (The People’s Republic of Animation). A Cat Writer tells about a fiendish piano made of cats. When the keyboard is struck, spikes go through the cats’s tales, making them “sing”.
French Roast – Fabrice O. Joubert, director (Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films). A man in a French Restaurant loses his wallet. He sits at the table drinking coffee after coffee until a homeless man kindly pays his check. There is a subplot about a bank robber who is really an old lady wearing a mask.
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – Nicky Phelan, director, and Darragh O’Connell, producer (Brown Bag Films) – see clip above! An old lady tells her frightened grand daughter of not being invited to Sleeping Beauty’s christening party.
The Kinematograph – Tomek Baginski, director-producer (Platige Image). The “inventor” of cinema has his own camera made of wood, stereo sound with two Victrolas, and a two-layer color process before the Lumiere brothers experiments, however, his beloved wife dies of consumption and he abandons his apparatus, just as the Lumiere’s breakthrough is being announced in the street by newsboys.
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte) – Javier Recio Gracia, director (Kandor Graphics and Green Moon). The Grim Reaper keeps trying to collect the soul of an old woman. She is brought back to the living numerous times by her well-meaning young doctor. The old woman really wants to die and join her beloved husband however, so she electrocutes herself towards the end of the film.
Logorama – Nicolas Schmerkin, producer (Autour de Minuit). Mo-Cap. Imagine a world made up entirely of advertising characters, such as the Michelin tire guys, Bob’s Big Boy, Esso Oil Drop and an evil Ronald MacDonald who shoots everybody with a machine gun.
A Matter of Loaf and Death – Nick Park, director (Aardman Animations Ltd.) Wallace, the baker, meets his dream girl, the Lite Dough Girl, who has put on a bit of weight since her days as an advertising model for flour. She has killed twelve baker husbands and wants to make Wallace the 13th. Of course Gromit sees through her flirtatious act and manages to stop her from killing Wallace. Gromit has a romance with the Dough Girl’s French Poodle into the bargain.
Partly Cloudy – Peter Sohn, director (Pixar Animation Studios). Clouds make the babies out of bits of water vapor and give the infants to embattled storks who deliver the kids to their parents. One cloud gets stuck with making the “prickly” critters, such as crocks, porcupines, sharks, etc.
Runaway – Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada). A passenger train has a hard time scaling a mountain and runs out of coal, the passengers throw all their clothes in the firebox and half the passenger cars to get steam up.
Variete – Roelof van den Bergh, director (il Luster Productions). A man juggles plates on poles with the various elements of his life on top of the plates, such as girlfriend, school teacher, best buds, parents, wife, children, etc. Eventually he can’t sustain the numerous spinning plates and all collapse, clearing the way for the next generation.
First a few quick snaps:
Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells) and Donnachada Daly
Lou Romano (center) gives a young artist some advice.
Craig McCracken (right) and his wife Lauren Faust (left) look over some of their notes.
For a Friday afternoon of an inaugural event it was pretty spectacular. This was supposed to be the “slow day”, but the first day of the CTN-Expo in Burbank was a overwhelming success due to the large amount of attendees and the incredible array of artist exhibitors. In addition to the large exhibitor room, there are two rooms of informative panels which are seemingly filled at all times. An interview with Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and a seminar on Crafting the Pitch were particularly popular. The day concluded with a VIP Party which ran from 6pm to midnight.
Day two starts today at 10am. If you want to be in the industry, want to be inspired by other artists, or simply want to hang out with a who’s who of current cartoon making, check out the CTN-Expo today or tomorrow. If you were there yesterday (or today) let us know what you think of the Expo in the Comments section below.
Every year, the BBC airs a Children In Need charity fundraiser. This year they produced a stop motion music video which, especially for cartoon buffs in the UK, is a pretty big deal. It collects around 120 characters (approximately) from British children’s shows from the last 30 (or more) years. It features classics like Paddington Bear, the Wombles, Roobarb and Custard, Peppa Pig, Bagpuss and Muffin the Mule, along with newer characters like Fifi and the Flowertots, Pingu, Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and many more (including a few cameo appearances from US superstars Scooby-Doo and Spongebob Squarepants).
It took many different companies (many of them rivals) coming together to make this piece. Chapman Entertainment produced and Tim Harper directed.
I got into a discussion with a friend last week about the horrible theatrical cartoons of the 1960s. I call them “drive-in cartoons” because I see no use for them except to be filler at drive-in theaters, allowing time for kids to get concessions or for teenagers to make-out before the main feature. Almost all 1960s Walter Lantz cartoons, Terrytoons and later Warner Bros. cartoons (the Larriva Road Runner and Daffy-Speedy crap) fall into this definition. Most would include the Paramount cartoons into this club. I don’t, but here’s one that’s pretty bad – and a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
Two By Two has the distinction of being the cartoon that got Howard Post fired from his position as head of the Paramount Cartoon Studio. It wasn’t the abysmal quality of the film, the awful character designs or the lame jokes. It was the fact that he was spoofing a story from the bible; it offended someone (A Paramount exec? An exhibitor?) and got him canned. Personally, I’m offended that the highly creative Post – whom I am a huge fan of – conceived such a poor rip-off of Daffy Duck (aka “Quacky Whack”). At one point, Quacky impersonates God… perhaps this what ticked off the Paramount brass? Shamus Culhane (Post’s successor) says in his book that Paramount was pressuring him to create a “Bugs Bunny” type cartoon. Perhaps Post was simply trying to give his bosses what they wanted… unfortunately, he failed quite miserably. Here… you be the judge:
I just found out that as part of its monthly Monday Nights With Oscar film series in New York, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present eight 35mm UPA shorts, including Academy Award winners Gerald McBoing Boing (1950) and Mister Magoo’s Puddle Jumper (1956), in a program selected and hosted by Oscar-winning animator and animation historian John Canemaker.
The screening will take place on Monday, December 14, at 7:00 pm (EST). Location is the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International (111 E. 59th Street, NYC). Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students w/ID. Advanced tickets must be purchased online or at the theater box office on the night of the event (pending availability). New Yorkers, check this out.
A new museum of animation, cartoon and comic art has opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s called ToonSeum and it just had its grand opening last weekend. Reportedly it’s not a huge space, but is nicely done. Their first exhibit focuses on animation art:
“Enchanted Drawings: A Century of Animation.” The exhibit will feature original art from Gertie the Dinosaur to Spongebob and more. On display will be rare artifacts, including an original Disney animation director’s desk from the early Hyperion studio.
It’s quite an achievement to establish a cartoon museum in such a sports oriented city — I wish it luck. The ToonSeum is located on the first floor of the Bruno Building at 945 Liberty Avenue. The Enchanted Drawings exhibit runs through Jan. 3, 2010.
(Thanks, Rebecca Yasick)