Not qualifying for an Academy Award is this new Scrat short from Blue Sky. Directed by Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier, it’s more of an elongated trailer (for the next Ice Age sequel next summer). I predict this will be attached to the forthcoming Alivn and the Chipmunks sequel (Chipwrecked) and may be better than the main feature.
To heck with the Chuck Jones and Tex Avery blogs, and forget about all the Disney sites… Here’s what I wanted and now I got my wish: The Seymour Kneitel blog.
Seymour who? Kneitel was head animator at the Fleischer Studios during its hey day and became a director and partner in Paramount’s Famous Studios after the Fleischer brother’s ouster. His being Max’s son-in-law didn’t hurt. Kneitel was responsible for bringing Casper The Friendly Ghost, Little Audrey, Herman and Katip and Baby Huey to the screen – in addition to stewarding Popeye and Little Lulu cartoons to the Technicolor screen.
The site is now online with its first posts including rare images, behind the scenes info, including a page from Seymour’s original Famous Studios contract with Paramount. Ginny Mahoney, Seymour’s daughter, is moderating the site. Bookmark it.
Animator Mark Kausler has uncovered a rare 1950s “Terrytoons” comic strip, Barker Bill, and has started posting them on his blog. Paul Terry was a comic strip artist well over a hundred years ago, and became an animation pioneer in the early-teens. Apparently as a tie in to selling his old cartoons to television, Terry introduced his Barker Bill as a strip (drawn by animator Bob Kuwahara) in 1954. They appeared in only a few papers and copies of these strips are scarce. Kausler has grabbed them from various sources, including the Google News Archive from the Greensburg Daily Tribune. He’ll be posting them regularly, eight strips at a time, for the time being HERE. For classic cartoon geeks, this is a real find!
“Billy Dare” gets a mysterious note from “Zmekberg” to meet him in the Uncanny Valley. The latest installment of Ruben Bolling’s comic strip, Tom The Dancing Bug, is a parody of Spielberg, Tin-Tin and a statement about the use of Mo-Cap. Boing Boing posted it here and it’s a must read. Hilarious, sad and true!
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?
(Thanks, Paul Mular)
This is lookin’ real good to me… better and better with every trailer:
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!
A Shadow of Blue by Carlos Lascano
Birdboy by Alberto Vasquez (Abrikim Studio)
Chopin’s Drawings by Dorota Kobiela (BreakThru Films) Poland
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.
Who says they don’t use pencils to create animation anymore? Not Australian animator Jonathan “Dropbear” Chong, who just made this fun stop-motion music video for Melbourne indie-folk artist Hudson.
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: