The Hollywood Reporter is reporting about Universal Pictures new plans to revive Walter Lantz’ classic cartoon star Woody Woodpecker in a CG feature film.
Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop and The Lorax) is now developing the film with Blades of Glory co-writers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, who are planning to “modernize the character for contemporary audiences”. Altschuler and Krinsky were exec producers and writers on Fox’s King of Hill and currently on MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head.
Reviving classic cartoon characters is a hit-or-miss proposition. Alvin and the Chipmunks and Yogi Bear were huge commercial successes, but aesthetic disasters. Can Woody work in the 21st Century?
Hot on the heels of this week’s CTN Expo, animators and animation fans will be treated to the L.A. based Animation Breakdown festival at The Cinefamily (in Hollywood). Cartoon Brew and Animation Block Party are co-presenting this 6 day festival that celebrates the greatest in international animation, old and new, shorts and features.
Highlights include an advance screening of Pixar’s new short La Luna (with director Enrico Casarosa in person), new films by the Brothers Quay and Spike Jonze; live in-person appearances from animator Don Hertfzeldt, comics and cartoon creator Brad Neely (China IL), a cast & crew reunion of Cartoon Network’s Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and Frank Zappa’s legendary go-to claymation freakster, Bruce Bickford. An extensive 35mm retrospective of Polish animation is planned, with prints being flown in from Europe; and Cartoon Network will present world-premeire of Pen Ward and Thomas Herpich’s short Thank You.
Other events include:
- Rare 35mm restorations of Disney’s Laugh-O-Grams, Walt Disney’s long-lost silent era shorts, presented by Brewmaster Jerry Beck.
- Don Hertzfeldt in person for the LA premiere of his new film It’s Such A Beautiful Day
- Space Ghost: Coast to Coast cast & crew reunion and panel, C. Martin Croker and Andy Merrill in person.
- Pixar’s La Luna with director Enrico Casarosa in person for an advance screening and behind the scenes presentation.
All this and more (to be announced). For information and tickets (seating is limited) visit cinefamily.org.
Here’s the list of qualified shorts, screened this past weekend for members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with links to all the films were you can find additional info, see the trailer or watch the whole film itself.
Members of the Short Film and Feature Animation branch will soon vote, creating a shortlist of ten films from this 45. A second round of voting, also restricted to members of the Short Films and Feature Animation branches, will narrow it down to the five nominees for Best Animated Short Film Oscar. The final vote, which determines the winner, is open to all Academy members provided that they have watched every nominated short. It’s a wide open field this year with a variety of techniques and themes; four major studio shorts (from Pixar, Warners, Sony, Disney) up against some of the best talents from around the world, along with student films and independent fare. Can’t wait to see who makes it to the shortlist. Good luck to all!
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about seeing an original Pixar film again. Just like old times – no more Cars, no more Mater, no more Toys. The It’s Art blog has scored these new pix from Brave (click here to see them in hi-def) and they look refreshing. I don’t intend to post everything they release from the film, but these images certainly bode well for the studio – and us.
My buddy Oscar Grillo will be attending the CTN Expo this weekend. That alone will be worth the the trip from anywhere. Oscar is one of the most incredible artists and animators you’ll ever meet – and this is one of his rare appearances in the US. Learn from the master – he’ll be speaking on stage one-on-one with Eric Goldberg on Sunday (at 1pm) and doing demonstrations, signings and other workshops all through the weekend.
Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Ralph McQuarrie, Andrea Deja, Ron Clements, John Musker, Nancy Beiman, Tony White, William Stout, Stephen Silver, Bill Plympton, Florian Satzinger, Louie Del Carmen, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers are among the dozens of incredible guests who will explain it all. With over 150 planned sessions, a sold-out exhibit floor, book signings, gallery shows, live demonstrations, sneak peak screenings, networking… and, of course, The Cartoon Brew Over-Flow Lounge (stop by and have a drink!). You’ll probably find me there.
If you haven’t already, Register Now (save a few bucks by using the Cartoon Brew discount code: CBREWX11). For even more info on the CTN Expo, click here.
For the past year Jesus Orellana’s epic sci-fi short Rosa has been winning awards at festivals and attracting attention in Hollywood (it’s already in development to be a live-action feature). The short was created by Barcelona-based Orellana with “no budget” and took a twelve months to produce. What’s all the fuss about? It’s now online:
Cartoon Network ran a preview of Warner Bros. Animation’s DC Nation programming block last night during its debut of Bruce Timm’s CG Green Lantern: The Animated Series. The Superhero Shows blog has some great frame grabs and video preview which show the range of styles for the interstitial material. Here’s a sample of the Aardman spots, which play like a super-hero version of Creature Comforts:
While we await their CG Arthur Christmas and their clay-mated Pirates feature, Aardman tempts us with this superbly crafted short from director Peter Peake. Produced by Aardman’s commercials division during downtime between jobs; here’s sneak peek of the designs and a brief interview with Peake at 3D Artist Online.
Okay, I’m stumped. I get mail like this all the time and I try to be helpful. But this one just sounds so strange, I want to know what it is myself. It all started a few days ago when I got this email from animator Christy Karacas (Superjail):
I’m writing to you because there was a cartoon I remember seeing at the public library as a kid and have no idea what it is but really want to see it again. I remember a line drawing of a pair of legs, a giant eyeball (maybe a spider?) running around a castle. It was hand drawn. I know this sounds weird but thought you were the one to ask… I remember thinking this was really awesome-i feel like you might know it. thanks either way.
I requested more information. Was it a short or a feature? Anime or Saturday morning cartoon? Christy responded:
No it was a short film… I wish I could remember more about it. I’m so curious what it is… Not sure, but had a hunch it might be European. I saw it at my public library as a double feature with The Red Balloon as a kid…but…yeah, I dont really remember much more. I THINK there was no talking but not sure… I could draw how I remember the characters if you want?
These are SUPER QUICK SKETCHES (Ugh, the talkback will be about how shitty they are… hahhaah!), but I remember them running around a castle… up stairs I believe… and I think the eyeball was a spider. I can’t remmeber if it bounced around or changed size… maybe i am crazy and i should just do a ‘remake’ from my memory… a mash-up of sorts… create the animation from my childhood as best as I remember it because I can’t find it? hahaha. Amid-if you see or read these let me know if you know what I’m talking about…
If this rings a bell with you… please let us know in the comments below!
UPDATE: Our readers identified the mystery film. Find out what it is and link to it, in our comments section.
Entertainment reporter Patrick Goldstein has some harsh words about Pixar’s Oscar chances in today’s LA Times:
“There’s no guarantee that “Cars 2” will even end up being a nominee with such a crowded field… In fact, the reviews for “Cars 2” were abysmal, with the film earning a lowly 38% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Just how lowly is a 38% rating? Put it this way: “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family” and “Cowboys & Aliens” got higher Rotten Tomatoes scores. It didn’t stop lots of people from seeing the film, but it is bad news for Pixar’s chances of winning the Oscar for animated feature, a category Pixar has won four times in a row and six out of the last eight.”
No doubt Pixar’s had the lock on the top awards the past few years, but Goldstein poses some intriguing questions. Will Cars 2 be nominated? Do any of the foreign or independent films have a chance? What feature is the realistic front runner for animation’s best of year?
Keane began his professional career after serving in World War II, first as staff cartoonist for the Philadelphia Bulletin, then broke into syndication with a panel called Channel Chuckles. His Family Circus strip began in 1960. It spawned three animated TV specials.
In tribute, here’s the 1979 Family Circus Christmas, directed by Al Kouzel, with animators including Fred Crippen, Marty Taras, Willis Pyle and his son–future Disney animator–Glen Keane.
UPDATE: It seems like an appropriate time to post this never-before-published questionnaire that Bil Keane filled out in 1995:
Here is a much better re-use for old cartoons… Steve Stanchfield’s entry in the Erasure Video Competition featuring synched clips from Van Beuren cartoons (and a few others) to the new song from Erasure titled Be With You.
The most ‘like’ votes on Steve’s YouTube page wins the piece a place on the official Erasure DVD… apparently this bunch of Van Beuren clips are getting the second-most votes so far! The contest ends mid-day tomorrow, so place your vote for classic cartoons.
Steve also says that the first person who can name all the cartoons featured in the video will win a free Thunderbean DVD (There’s clips from 29 or 30 cartoons!)
Film bootleggers have enjoyed distributing worn copies this Paramount Christmas cartoon for years, as the film fell into the public domain back in the 1970s. Apparently one enterprising entrepreneur decided to “colorize” the already in-color cartoon (original version above) and distribute it as if it were new. The characters were redrawn (or traced) badly, removing all their original appeal and charm. The colors were brightened and “airbrushed”; some shots are slightly restaged, with the whole film lightly re-edited – and all the racial stereotypes left intact! This copy (below), uploaded to You Tube, has a French track, though most of the songs are left in English.
Who did this and when? Anyone got the story on this “restoration”?
Santa’s Surprise (1947) is notable as the first “Little Audrey” cartoon; the character would replace Little Lulu at Paramount and would go on to become a popular Harvey comic book.
Oh, and whoever did this didn’t stop here. There’s a clip from another Paramount PD cartoon, Bill Tytla’s Hector’s Hectic Life (1948), on You Tube.
Created at the UCLA Animation Workshop in 2010 by Joaquin Baldwin, this sensitive little silhouette film was inspired by the drive back from a trip to Palm Springs. Says Baldwin:
A friend said that it must take them forever to plant and grow so many windmills. I wrote down the title The Windmill Farmer for an idea to explore later, and about a year later I started developing it into a character and story. This film took 4 months to complete from the first boards until the final mix.
This has been on You Tube for several years – and it’s what most people who don’t watch anime think anime is. Not Safe For Work (or perhaps anyone under 16), it’s a compilation of the most violent scenes in Japanese animation set to the song Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat? by Herman’s Hermits. This is pretty sick, and I’m not sure why I’m posting it myself – except that I really like Herman’s Hermits.
As reported yesterday on CB Biz, 18 films have qualified as eligible to be nominated for Best Animated Film at the 2011 Academy Awards. Here’s a run down of the titles – linked to their trailers on Cartoon Brew and to reader talkback posts (for those that opened in wide in the US). Which do you think will be nominated? Which one has the best chance of winning?
I previously posted about attending the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony for John Lasseter earlier this week. The highlight of the event was 85-year old Don Rickles saying a few words about honoree Lasseter (If you look close at the image above you may spot me in the crowd). Rickles was in fine form as he cut down Lasseter (and his wardrobe), his wife (and her hat), Tom Hanks and Tim Allen (who weren’t there), as well as Walt Disney himself. Luckily someone recorded his bit and posted it on You Tube, because I don’t think this will be presented intact as bonus content on some future DVD – its a bit un-PC, but totally hilarious!
Note, in the background, actors Owen Wilson (in the suit and tie) and Emily Mortimer (in green top), and on stage behind Lasseter is Cheech Marin, Bonnie Hunt, Patton Oswalt and Randy Newman.
This has been making the rounds for a year, but I just caught up with it today. Being a nut for the 1966 Batman TV series (and a fan of the recent Chris Nolan movies) I just had to post it here on the Brew. Tip of the Bat-cowl to Ohio-based animator David Rose for a job well done.
We all remember Ren and Stimpy, but where is the love for Disney’s The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show?
The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood will remedy this situation when it holds Kopptoberfest: A Tribute To Bill Kopp on Saturday night November 12th. It’s a fund raiser for the Cinematheque, with Kopp in person and numerous clips from his work including episodes of Eek! The Cat, Toonsylvania, his violent retelling of the Three Little Pigs from Tales From The Crypt, Roger Rabbit in Roller Coaster Rabbit, as well as scenes from his live action features and Oscar-winning student films. Prior to the screening, hand-painted animation cells will be sold, with all proceeds going to the American Cinematheque.
Voice actors Brad Garrett, Tom Kenny, Jess Harnell, animator Jeff DeGrandis and producer Margaret Loesch will join Kopp on stage in a panel discussion. It’s FREE admission (with suggested donation of $10.) and starts at 7:30pm at The Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, CA. For more information, click here. For a refresher on Shookums and Meat, see video below:
These screen shots were taken with my iPhone off my cathode-ray tube television set. The images are from the new Looney Tunes Blu-Ray disc set, the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 1, which I just got my hands on. Don’t judge this set on my blurry shots above. I actually ran out and bought a $79 blu-ray player and hooked it up to my old TV set so I could start watching all the blu-ray discs I’ve been accumulating – even if it’s NOT the correct way to watch them.
That said, the cartoons on this collection look incredibly good. Obviously I’m a bit biased as (#1) I love Warner Bros. cartoons and (#2) consulted on the set and wrote the liner notes. We’ve previously posted about the contents of this collection (official press release here), but seeing and holding the actual packaging in my hands is pretty incredible. It’s almost worth the price of the whole set just for the restoration of the (previously lost, now found) 1955 Chuck Jones Air Force re-enlistment film, A Hitch In Time. It’s got incredible animation and layouts by Ernie Nordli that go beyond what they were doing in the regular Looney Tunes of the time.
I’m not a regular blu-ray collector, but here’s what I appreciate about this technology – and this is something I tell my film collector friends: Blu-Ray the equivalent of the studios selling you a mint 35mm print. As someone who grew up during a time before VHS, when the only thing the studios would sell from their cartoon libraries were cut-down 8mm black and white (of color) cartoons, Blu-ray discs clearly are the gold standard for home video. With proper projection or a huge HD flat screen (two things I still don’t have), watching Looney Tunes at home will never be the same.
So consider this an unabashed plug: Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 1 goes on sale next Tuesday and is highly recommended – whether you have a blu-ray player or not.
Pixar/Disney’s John Lasseter received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame yesterday – in front of the El Capitan Theatre – surrounded Pixar voice talent including Bonnie Hunt, Owen Wilson, Brad Paisley, Emily Mortimer, John Ratzenberger, Patton Oswalt, Don Rickles, Randy Newman and Cheech Marin. However, those photos you can see anywhere online. Here on Cartoon Brew we congratulate him with this photo snapped on my iPhone (above) with Lasseter surrounded by Pixar colleagues (including Ed Catmull, Pete Doctor, Bob Peterson and Pixar GM Jim Morris). And instead of the glossy promo video piece prepared by Disney (to essentially plug Cars 2 on DVD), we’ll embed this fan video below showing how his star was made…
The low-brow La Luz de Jesus Gallery in L.A. is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the largest art exhibition in its history – including this piece above by artist José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros. The current show, La Luz de Jesus 25, features more than 120 artists including Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup, Al Farrow, Chris Mars, Elizabeth McGrath, Mark Mothersbaugh, The Pizz, Mark Ryden, Shag, Peter Shire, Mark Todd and Eric White. The exhibition opens on November 4th and will remain on view through November 28th. The gallery is located at 4633 Hollywood Blvd. (near Hillhurst).