Animation historian Ray Pointer has a new video compilation in the works.
I am beginning final Edit Assembly of my new program, THE LEGENDARY LAUGH-O-GRAMS FAIRY TALES. This is a look at the first works done by Walt Disney in his Kansas City period. This is most significant since this December 15th marks the 40th anniversary of Disney’s death. Little attention has been given to this early period in Disney’s career, and it has been due to the efforts of outside non-profit groups such as the Thank you, Walt Disney Foundation of Kansas City, as well as independent researchers and producers such as myself that this important period of the Disney story is being saved.THE LEGENDARY LAUGH-O-GRAMS FAIRY TALES is targeted for a Christmas release to honor the memory and contributions of Walt Disney in this, the Centennial of American Animation, as well as the 40th decade since his death from Lung Cancer.
Ray says the video includes Little Red Riding Hood (1922), The Four Musicians Of Bremen (1922), Puss In Boots (1922), and Cinderella (1922), plus Disney’s first educational film, Tommy Tucker’s Tooth (1922). And a rare interview with Rudy Ising reflecting on his experiences with Walt Disney at the start of his career. More info at Inkwell Images.
Last month the British press made a stink about cigarette smoking in old Tom & Jerry cartoons. Nicole Hollander even made note of it in her syndicated comic strip Sylvia last Tuesday (excerpt below, see the entire strip here). Now Turner Entertainment is planning to cut those smoking scenes out of all their Tom & Jerry TV prints. Never mind that these cartoons weren’t aimed at kids in the first place, and produced in a time when a cigarette, cigar or pipe in your mouth was as common as a cup of Starbucks in your hand today. I’ve never smoked myself and I am very much against against big tobacco – but I believe it is my right to watch cartoon characters smoke if I want to.On Saturday October 28th, at the AFI in Hollywood, Asifa Hollywood is hosting a special showing of SMOKIN’ TOONS. A special blend of cartoons from the 1940s and 50s, hosted by yours truly Jerry Beck, will screen at 3pm. No smoking permited on the AFI campus, but I guarantee your lungs will ache with laughter! Join us!
Roy Disney will be one of the guest speakers at the 2D OR NOT 2D animation event in Everett, Washington, next month. This new animation festival hopes to revive interest in hand drawn animation with a series of screenings and lectures over a three day period. Roy Disney will present a screening of Disney short films from the past 75 years. Animator, author and festival organizer Tony White will screen ENDANGERED SPECIES, his new short film. Animator Nancy Beiman will discuss her new book, Prepare to Board, and show excerpts from films she’s worked on. Cartoonist Tom Wilson will show ZIGGY’S GIFT, and there are screenings of the restored 1955 feature film ANIMAL FARM, DREAM ON SILLY DREAMER and several other surprises. 2D OR NOT 2D Animated Film Festival will be held at the Historic Everett Theatre in Everett, Washington from November 17th thru 19th 2006. Check the website for more details.
Talk about personal vision. Freelance animator/illustrator Mike Owens has been working for over a year on an unusual personal film, a multi-screen, multi-media animated project entitled Parade Of Monkeys.
My goal for this film is to project the animation on multiple screens in a theatrical setting, mixed with live performance, lighting fx and live music.
Sounds cool to me. Check his production blog for art, updates and pencil tests.
Time for another update from animator/sculptor Jason Peltz who sends us the first image (above) of the painted Hornswiggle maquette he is working on. It’s really looking good and I’m delighted that Jason has agreed to create a small number of the them so I can offer several for sale. I have a small waiting list of readers interested in getting one of these limited edition maquettes. If you’d like to be on that list drop me a line at jbeck6540-at-aol.com. The price will be $75. and Jason says he’ll have them ready to ship the week of November 1st. Another update next week.
The latest film from director Michel Ocelot (Kirikou) called Azur et Asmar will open in France next Wednesday, October 25th. Looks like a mix of 2D cut-out style animation and 3D. It’ll certainly be worth checking it out. But as usual, no U.S. release is planned. Here’s the trailer and the synopsis.(Thanks, Sean Dicken)
It’s a shame the latest Scrat short was removed from GoogleVideo yesterday, but today the Blue Sky artists have another treat for us. Check out the Blue Sky Studios Challenge, a new joint artists blog. Artist Jake Parker explains:
Some of us at the studio are actively participating in our own little jam blog. Every week we set a topic and then everyone does their take on it. It’s open to the whole studio so sometimes you get designers, and other times you get production assistants contributing. For the most part it’s Animators, story artists and designers who participate.
The other night I had a chance to screen the 3-D version of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. All things considered, the folks at ILM who converted the film (which was not shot in 3-D in the first place) did a pretty good job. And since it wasn’t designed for 3-D there weren’t many opportunities to have things go deep into the background or pop off the screen, but the effect holds up pretty well throughout the picture. A new introductory countdown piece (featuring a pumpkinhead jack-in-the-box) is the best 3-D gag in the picture. The new Walt Disney Pictures logo looks pretty cool in three dimensions too. This online featurette tries to explain what they did to achieve the new 3-D effects.The original Henry Selick film was always a lot of fun (and let’s not forget Joe Ranft’s important contributions to the story) – and Danny Elfman’s operatic score is one his greatest achievements. A new Special Edition soundtrack album (I snagged a freebie at the screening) contains Danny’s original demo tracks and some great covers by Fionna Apple (Sally’s Song), Marilyn Manson (This Is Halloween) and Fall Out Boy (What’s This?).The new Nightmare opens in theaters this Friday, October 20, along with Pixar’s 3-D short Knick Knack.
Here’s a book I can’t wait to have and hold (and read!). Russell Merritt and J.B. Kaufman have been researching the history of Disney’s Silly Symphonies for a decade. This year, in conjunction with a screening at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival (held last week), the book has finally been published. However, I have no idea how to order a copy or from where. In the meantime, we can whet our appetities by reading Merritt and Kaufman’s film notes for their Pordenone presentation, and this essay they wrote for the on-line Walt Disney Family Museum.
Tower 8 is a growing online narrative that’s told through a series of experimental animations by myself and other directors, centered on the idea that in the future, the earth has undergone major change: its natural resources are near depleted, the oceans have receded and creativity has become a physical force. As of right now we just have the first video up, about a city that has a band as its army that it sends out to defend itself.
It’s a good looking, ambitious piece of work. Danny and his partners, Gavin Brown and Ashtnmike, have also set up a production blog to update its ongoing progress.
Slow day at the Brew. So here’s a lovely animated short, courtesy of YouTube, by the celebrated Czech filmmaker Jiri Trnka. It’s The Merry Circus (1951). Although Trnka is well-known for his puppet films, this piece uses cut-out animation and has a lovely picture-book illustration style to it.It’s split into two parts – part one is below. Part two is here: The Merry Circus – Part 2This and many other great Jiri Trinka films are available on DVD.(Thanks, Firoz Hussain)
Okay, check out this cool music video based on a track by the late hip-hop producer J Dilla. Nothing Like This was produced by Brooklyn based Mixtape Club for Producer/Director Daniel Garcia (sample his incredible work here) for Adult Swim and Stones Throw Records, as part of a mixed media project called Chrome Children. Two other animated videos directed by Garcia will be posted soon on the Adult Swim site. For more information on Chrome Children go here.(Thanks, Delirio & Kaos)