I’ve been meaning to give this unique DVD a plug for sometime. If you’re a filmmaker looking to make perfect ball and socket armatures for stop motion animation, look no further. Larry Larson is an instructor at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit, teaching armature building, maquette scupture and stop motion animation. He’s worked for over 40 years in special effects animation in both feature films and television spots, on projects ranging from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead ll, to low budget flicks like Flesh Gordon ll, as well as numerous local commercials (like this), and providing props and puppets for many other shows. Larson taught Ellen Coons how to build the armatures that were used in her CB Student Fest film Money Bunny Blues which we featured here a few days ago. Larson’s new step-by-step armature making video is a labor or of love – and an important reference for all stop motion filmmakers and aspiring puppet builders.
Another short making its online debut after several years on the festival circuit: Anna Blume, directed by Bulgaria-based Vessela Dantcheva. The film is “visual poetry about the lust of a man chasing a woman; a surreal journey dictated by the mind of the poet.” Actually, I’m not exactly sure what its about, but I can’t take my eyes off it. The film was completed 2009 and had a successful festival record of more that 80 screenings, winning nine awards. Check it out:
A wonderful minimalist fantasy, Jake Wyatt skillfully directed Metro last year at the Brigham Young University Center for Animation. Strong art direction and color design turn its simple story into an beautiful experience. Making the festival rounds and garnering much praise over the past year, it’s now online:
Jiří Barta’s dark, mixed media (combining stop-mo, hand drawn, live action) feature, In The Attic (2009), is headed for a U.S. theatrical release starting September 7th. Hannover House will be releasing an English-adaptation of the film to theaters across the U.S. this fall. It’s an analogy based on the cultural and political contrasts of the Cold War era; the world of the attic is divided into the land of happy toys in the West and the Land of Evil in the East. Here’s a look at the original Czech trailer:
My friend Dan O’Shannon (writer of Redux Riding Hood, Modern Family, The Fan and The Flower) is slowly starting a new website, O’Shannonland, devoted to the many things he loves – including comedy writing, comics (his own) and the City of Cleveland. Knowing Dan, I fully expect to see posts on Fleischer’s Popeye and the Lost In Space robot relatively soon. In the meantime, he has compiled a group of music cues from the classic soundtracks to Grantray-Lawrence’s Spider-Man (1967) TV series. This is the cool-jazzy Ray Ellis music, not the public domain KPM library music that began to show up in the second season. Obscure – but someone had to do it. Thanks Dan. More about the Spider-Man TV music at WFMU’s blog.
If you are in Southern California (or Northern California, the west coast or anywhere west of the Mississippi) you are summoned to what sounds like an incredible evening at the Motion Picture Academy in September. Oscar winning animator and acclaimed animation historian John Canemaker will present an illustrated lecture and screening of the lives and work of independent animators John and Faith Hubley on Friday, September 14th, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in Los Angeles.
Canemaker will host an in-depth, intimate look at the life and work of these two iconoclastic artists, including screenings of Flat Hatting, The Ragtime Bear, Rooty Toot Toot; Storyboard, Inc. TV commercials; Faith Hubley’s Northern Ice Golden Sun; John and Faith Hubley’s Adventures of an *, The Tender Game, The Hole, Windy Day, Voyage to Next, and newly discovered footage of a never-completed animatic by the Hubleys of Edith Sitwell and William Walton’s Facade. Anyone who’s been to any of Canemaker’s lectures know these are not to be missed.
Tickets for An Academy Salute to John and Faith Hubley go on sale later today, Mon. July 30th, online – and you can get yours if you click here. See you there!
This fan-made animated Batman film uses stop motion toys that turn out to be just as emotive as the actors in the live-action feature films – maybe more so. Bravo to filmmakers Derek Kowk and Henri Wong.
This very month in 2007, Cartoon Dump was born. Come celebrate our 5th anniversary with our performance, Monday night, filled with sketches, songs, puppets, and some very funny comedians! And some very awful cartoons.
This month’s guest stars include Jimmy Dore, Emily Maya Mills, Paul Gilmartin and Dylan Brody. Plus, as usual, TV’s Frank Conniff as Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl, Erica Doering as Compost Brite and J. Elvis Weinstein as Dumpster Diver Dan. Showtime is 8pm tonight, July 23rd, at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood (4773 Hollywood Blvd; two blocks west of Vermont), and tickets can be purchased at the door or online here. Join our FaceBook Event page for more information and updates.
Finally, something appropriate to wipe yourself with…
This unusual toilet paper is part of a whole collection of collaborative merchandise between Sanrio and Gene Simmons, tying Hello Kitty and KISS. Other products include Hello Kitty/KISS dolls, T-shirts, tissues, and posters. These items are primarily being sold at KISS concerts worldwide.
I was just cleaning out my bags from the Comic Con last week and found this postcard (both sides, below) for Disney’s forthcoming Craig McCracken series. I’ll bet this was posted on the internet somewhere, or Facebook, but I hadn’t seen it myself till now, so I thought you should see it too. Intriguing images… I can’t wait to see the show!
Three new books popped into my mailbox this week. What were they? Funny you should ask…
I’m a big fan of Chronicle’s Art-Of books for Disney and Pixar’s recent animated features – but this one, based on Laika’s new stop-motion feature, is one of the best yet from the publisher. The Art and Making of ParaNorman is not only loaded with the usual gorgeous pre-production art and character designs – it’s got that in abundance – but it takes you through the entire process of making a modern stop motion feature. Jed Alger’s text goes beyond the usual artist interviews and tells us the whole story – the book is crammed with behind-the-scenes images; illustrating all the puppet parts, the sets and the people behind them. Bravo! This is a wonderful peek behind the curtain for anyone who loves hand-crafted animation – and if stop-mo is your thing, this book is a must-have.
This is an unusual surprise: a newspaper comic strip I never heard of, The Adventures of Buck O’Rue and his Hoss, Reddish written by animation legend Dick Huemer (Scrappy) and Disney animator and comic book artist Paul Murry (Mickey Mouse, Goofy). It lasted about two years and was unsuccessful, but now Huemer’s son Richard, and comic book editor Germund von Wowern have collected all the strips (daily and Sunday) in this beautiful volume, augmented with several articles, prefaces, epilogues and appendiices filled with rare Murry and Huemer art, newspaper clippings, photos, the stories behind the men, their careers and newspaper syndication. The strip itself is an amusing parody of cowboys and western lore – but it’s the “bonus materials” that bookend the strips that make this a must-get. The project as a whole an interesting footnote to the history of Huemer and Murry – and, by extension, to the history of Disney.
Iwao Takamoto’s 2009 autobiography (written with Michael Mallory) was an excellent account of the animator’s career. Now his step-daughter, Leslie E. Stern, has written another account, Living With A Legend, from her point of view and its a nice memoir of a life with Iwao behind the scenes. Her publisher send me an advance copy and I can attest that its a well done tribute. Apparently their will be several versions of the book available at various prices. For anyone, everyone, who grew up with Hanna Barbera, this is a treat.