Director : Mathieu Bétard
Production : WIZZPROD / QUAD . Paris
Producer : Sonlan Tran
Animation : Mathieu Bétard, Jonathan Djob Nkondo, Pierre Ruitz
It’s crazy-time in L.A. as producers scramble to get their Academy-submitted animated feature films qualified by finding screens to show them on. Eric Graf saw Hey Krishna which is playing in Norwalk, CA. Here’s his capsule review:
I’d describe it as a Sunday School movie for Hindus. It’s well done for what it is, and has some interesting moments here and there, but the target audience is obviously devout Hindus who already know what the hell is going on.
Well, except for one thing. It also contains this bizarre musical number that is almost worth the price of admission (if not worth sitting through the other 116 minutes of the movie). It hits at approximately the 51 minute mark, and its like Jessica Rabbit suddenly showing up to do a pole dance in the middle of a Veggie Tales movie. I found it unsubtitled on YouTube (see above), but you might want to wait and see it in context with the subs, so you’ll appreciate what a strange moment this is.
“Putana” is some sort of she-demon who specializes in the mass-slaughter of babies, and this is her introducing herself. None of the characters seen here, other than Putana, have anything whatsoever to do with the rest of the movie … and Putana is only disguised as a hottie anyway, a disguise that also has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.
Apparently this sequence was shoe-horned into the film, as a music video to promote a song by Hindi pop star Sunidhi Chauhan. If this is the high point, I can skip the rest of the flick…
Earlier this year I discovered Germany-based Bernd Müller and his fantastic one-of-a-kind figurines – like this one from Gulliver’s Travels. Apparently his love of all-things Fleischer didn’t end there. Check out Müller’s lastest creation: Koko The Clown.
I don’t think he sells these – but, by God, I want one!!!
(Thanks, Steve Loter)
I’ve been following (and posting here) UK-based Stephen Irwin’s films for several years now. His work is always fresh and surprising – telling unique stories in exciting, stylish ways. His latest film, Moxie, just gone online after months on the festival circuit, is about the final days in the life of a suicidal, pyromanic bear…
Animator Dave Nimitz has informed me that Lucille Bliss passed away on Thursday night (November 8th). Bliss was a pioneering television voice actress who’s vocal career began by voicing TV’s first cartoon character, Crusader Rabbit (1949), and crowned her extensive experience as the memorable “Miss Bitters” on Nickelodeon’s popular Invader Zim.
Other notable roles Bliss voiced included step-sister “Anastasia” in Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950) and playing “Smurfette” in nine seasons of Hanna Barbera’s The Smurfs.
A New York City native, she settled in San Francisco in the 1950s as the hostess of a live local children’s TV show, ABC/KRON-TV’s The Happy Birthday To You Show.
Her vocal career brought her roles in Disney features (Alice In Wonderland, 101 Dalmatians), Hanna Barbera cartoons (The Flintstones, Space Kidettes), Don Bluth’s The Secret of Nimh (1982) and Blue Sky’s Robots (2005). Bliss appeared in several Warner Bros. and MGM theatrical cartoons in the 1950s. She was Suzanne in Friz Freleng’s A Kiddie’s Kitty (1955) and voiced characters in A Waggily Tale (1958). She was Jerry’s companion “Tuffy” in the MGM cartoon Robin Hoodwinked (1958), and played the Leprechaun in MGM’s Droopy Leprechaun (1958).
Needless to say, her unique vocal stylings will be missed. Click here for an extensive interview with Bliss, conducted in 2005 by Television Academy. Below, a gallery of her most famous characters, followed by the first episode of Crusader Rabbit.
After a summer and autumn at film festivals, London-based motion-graphics designer Adam Wells has now put his 9-1/2 minute short online for everyone else to see. Don’t let its deceptively simplistic look scare you, this is a clever little piece of experimental filmmaking. Wells sent us some background:
I work as a motion designer in London for TV and corporate stuff, and did this project after hours at home. It look me about six months in total, working haphazardly. It was completed in March and has been playing at festivals. I found the online vs. festival thing very frustrating, but watching the film with an audience in a cinema is a very gratifying experience. (One particular Cartoon Brew post here was very insightful – thanks!).
I really wanted to try something different with 3d animated storytelling. I feel that 3D is often sidelined, as been a little bit cheaper and less artistic (possibly because of the technical skills required to pull it off) in the festival scene. So I want to try and prove its potential by using what I call mechanical storytelling – as opposed to the cinematography route that so many 3D film makers use. I feel there is no reason why experimental films cannot be fun and entertaining as well.
I couldn’t agree more.
Designers Bill Younker and Larry Gormley have created a series of “information art prints” which they sell on their site, History Shots. Their latest info-graphic (by Gormley, below) chronicles the entire history of feature films from the 1910s until the present day (“2000 films, 20 genres, 100 years“). At the very top is a layer of animated films, for which the criteria for inclusion was that the feature has either “won important awards such as the best picture Academy Award; achieved critical acclaim according to recognized film critics; are considered to be key genre films by experts; and/or attained box office success”.
Screened in over 25 festivals around the world over the past two years, director Mark Sheard just posted his flash animated short, Squirrel Away, online for the rest of us to see. Made at tiny Melbourne-based Smart and Sheard Productions in just under 9 months, the film was produced by Damian Smart and designed by Brock Knowles.
This is no ordinary coloring book. This is one you will really want. Dreamworks animation artists Rachel Tiep-Daniels, Margaret Wuller and Pixar producer Karen Dufilho-Rosen have collected illustrations by sixty-six artists from the animation community (including Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, Raymond Zibach, Christophe Lautrette and Patrick Hanenberger among many others) to create this unique coloring book to raise funds to support kids cared for by orphanages in Ghana West Africa, Tijuana, and Cambodia. Jeffrey Katzenberg wrote the forward.
The Picture Book Project Foundation is having its book launch at CTN on Sunday November 18th at 11am to 1pm. Copies of the book will be donated to the children cared for by the One by One Foundation, Ghana; The Corazon de Vida Foundation (Mexico); and the Takeo Orphanage (Cambodia). Additional info can be found here.
Here is a bit of back story about the non-profit organization (The Picture Book Project Foundation) behind this effort:
Animation artists, Rachel Tiep-Daniels and Margaret Wuller, were touched by their experiences volunteering at orphanages in Ghana and Mexico. They found that the children were immediately captivated with adults who could draw for them. Despite living in extreme poverty, and having limited exposure to forms of entertainment like movies, the children demanded drawings of characters like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Rachel and Margaret realized the far-reaching impact of their industry and were touched by the idea that no matter one’s position in life, drawing brings a smile to children’s faces, inspires them, and has the ability to connect people from around the world. The Picture Book Project Coloring Book, and subsequently, the formation of the Picture Book Project Foundation was inspired by these experiences.
The PBP Foundation gives parents, artists, and art enthusiasts a way to help and inspire children in need. Our mission is to bring continued resources and support to orphaned and disadvantaged children around the world by:
•Providing financial support and supplies to organizations helping children in need so that they may continue providing these children with their basic living necessities;
•Bringing art and animation to the hands of children for their enjoyment and to encourage creativity, motivation and education; and
•Extending the talent and good will of the artist community to communities of children in need.
Click thumbnails below to see a gallery of just some of the images included in the book. These include the cover by Timothy Lamb, and art by Bill Kaufman; Conrad Vernon; Gérald Guerlais; Kirsten Kawamura; Matt Jones; Mike Lee; Peter de Sève; Shane Prigmore; and Willie Real. A complete list of all 66 contributing artists can be found here.
The 2012 CTN Expo in Burbank California is next week – and I’ll be there. Cartoon Brew will have a table on the exhibit floor and that’s here you’ll find me signing books and discussing animation with my friends (perhaps like the gang above, from last year’s CTNX: David Silverman, Craig Bartlett, Bill Plympton, Matt Groening… and me). If I’m not at the booth, I’ll be out and about introducing several panels and screenings… including these (in no particular order):
Meet the Talent Behind the Making of the Hotel Transylvania
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Moderator: Jerry Beck
With: Genndy Tartakovsky | Director
Location City Ballroom
Rise of the Guardian Artist Panel
Time: 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM
MC: Jerry Beck
With: Hamish Grieve, Head of Story
Gabe Hordos, Head of Character Animation
Other Guests TBA
New Talent Spotlight and Showcase – Nacho Rodriguez, Jacob Wyatt, Faye Hsu
11/17/12 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM
Moderators Jerry Beck, Kazu Kabushi, Robh Ruppel
Guests: Nacho Rodriguez, Jacob Wyatt, Faye Hsu
“Bottom of the Ninth” and the Game Plan to Succeed as a Creator
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
MC: Jerry Beck
With: Ryan Woodward
Team Prime: The Artists and Design of Transformers Prime
Time: 4:30 PM – 5:45 PM
Location City Ballroom
MC: Jerry Beck
With: Supervising Director Dave Hartman (Bubba Ho-Tep, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, Jackie Chan Adventures), Art Director Jose Lopez (Green Lantern: First Flight, The Batman, Jackie Chan Adventures), Production Designer Vince Toyama (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, The Boondocks, Godzilla: The Series) and Visual Effects Art Director Christophe Vacher (Enchanted, 9, Treasure Planet).
Panel moderated by Mathias Dougherty, Production Manager (The Mighty B, El Tigre, Invader ZIM).
I’ll be introducing these screenings of Gkids animated Oscar hopefuls:
The Rabbi’s Cat Wed 11/14 7:30PM
The Painting (Le Tableau) – 11/15 7:30pm
From Up On Poppy Hill 11/16 – 7:30 pm
Secret Surprise Screening – 11/17 7:30pm
Zarafa – 11/18 7:30pm
Another panel I plan to sit in on is this one:
Meet John K.’s Virtual Studio
John Kricfalusi is doing a workshop on his “Virtual Studio Model” sponsored by ToonBoom.
Time: 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Location: Sunset A+B
Currently working on his new cartoon sitcom titled Cans Without Labels, John K. will share how he is using the internet to raise the funds to produce his project and find animators all around the world to work with remotely.
There are so many great exhibitors, panels and events associated with CTNX this year. I wouldn’t miss it. A complete list of guest speakers is posted here. More details and information about the event is posted on the CTN website.
It’s been a long time since we posted something from Taiwanese animation madhouse Next Media Animation (NMA) – but this warrants your undivided attention. It’s their take on the $4 billion dollar Disney/Lucasfilm deal – with humanoid Minnie Mouse strippers, Sith-like George Lucas, dancing Buzz Lightyears, Ronald McDonald… I have no idea what it means—but it’s a hoot:
This pilot for a pre-school pitch by Cameron Baity and Benny Zelkowicz (aka Cam and Benny) – about a little girl getting into trouble with her stuffed monster friend, Galoot – is a combination of traditional stop mo, drawn, CG, and even some rock-salt animation for the snow elements. It’s slick, professional and very, very cute.
The pair are Cal Arts graduates who have gone on to professional careers in stop-mo (Baity directs Morel Orel, Zelkowicz animates on Robot Chicken). Together, for a change of pace, they decided to “try to make something sunny and kid friendly”. Whether they sell the series or not, this test piece is a quite a charmer:
This music video, animated by Czech Republic-based artist/designer Jan Šrámek for experimental electro-acoustic performer Pjoni, feels more like an art piece. I mean that in a good way. I like the way it establishes an appropriately somber mood, using mostly straight lines and sharp angles.
Direction: Jan Šrámek, Martin Búřil
Illustration: Jan Šrámek, Veronika Vlková
Animation: Jan Šrámek, Martin Búřil, Martina Chwistková
When was the last time a prime-time TV Christmas Special was really special? I’ve seen this one – and it really is. Nickelodeon’s first full-length stop-motion animated special, It’s A SpongeBob Christmas! will premiere on CBS on Friday Nov. 23th, then begin airing about two weeks later on Nickelodeon, Thursday 12/6 at 8pm ET/PT. Inspired by the classic Rankin/Bass specials of the past, and featuring John Goodman and the voice of Santa Claus, the show was animated by Mark Cabellero and Seamus Walsh at Screen Novelties in Los Angeles. The special is available for purchase on DVD starting today.
Production on the show began in October 2011. Sixty pounds of baking soda, 42 pounds of glitter, 22 pounds of wood chips and 20 boxes of breakfast cereal were used to create the film’s sets. I made a quick visit to Screen Novelties studio a few weeks ago to get a first hand look at some of the props and puppets and talk to the guys. Join me by clicking the video below…
Word has come our way of the passing of a beloved artist, instructor and animation professional, Jack Bosson. Bosson was a practicing fine artist and freelance illustrator for over 35 years and had taught drawing and painting at Cornell University, College of New Rochelle, University of Southern California, Otis College of Art and Design, Gnomon, and Woodbury University. He did background painting briefly at Hanna-Barbera and was hired as a trainer in Feature Animation at Disney in 1995. In 1999, he continued as a training consultant to Disney and taught at various institutions until he was hired to set up an Animation Department at Woodbury University, which he chaired for three years. He retired last spring after eight years at Woodbury, as Professor Emeritus.
Jayden Dowler of Melbourne, Australia-based Oh Yeah Wow directed, designed and co-animated (with Andrew Bowler and Keith Crawford) this bit of techno/break-dancing music video madness. Darcy Prendergast produced.
Wreck-It Ralph was the box office champion this weekend with an estimated $49.1 million U.S. box office gross. This is reportedly the highest opening weekend ever for a Disney animated feature film. According to Box Office Mojo:
The movie’s audience skewed younger (57 percent under the age of 25) and male (55 percent), and they gave it a strong “A” CinemaScore. Considering the positive word-of-mouth and lack of competition over the next few weeks, Wreck-It Ralph could be on its way to as much as $200 million at the domestic box office.
Ralph took in almost double that of it’s nearest competitor – Robert Zemeckis’ Flight, which grossed about $25 million. Sony’s Hotel Transylvania has held on very well, with $4.5 million added this weekend to its total $137 million gross (so far). Frankenweenie is sinking fast, it’s total gross thus far at $33.3 million.
What music do you think of when you see Porky and Daffy running through a factory?
There’s only one answer – and that piece (Powerhouse) was composed by Raymond Scott. This Friday at the Redcat theatre (behind the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown L.A.) in celebration of Scott’s musical career, former Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek and his band (including other Oingo Boingo alums) will perform the composer’s most well known animation-affiliated classics, while composer Ego Plum’s ensemble will re-create Scott’s experimental electronica. In addition, puppeteer Sean Cawelti will stage the first-ever “live interpretations of Scott’s film collaborations with Jim Henson”. Machine-Man: The Musical Mayhem of Raymond Scott starts at 8:30pm on Friday, November 9 at REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater.
Sounds like a great show. In the meantime, here’s a montage of Looney Tunes clips where Carl Stalling or Milt Franklin used Powerhouse on their soundtrack:
Gina Thorstensen and Nacho Rodriquez are very cool. Their Barcelona-based Thorstencoo Productions made this “experi-mellow” music video for Gotye. It was produced over the course of five months and is a mix of flash and hand-painted illustration.
Even cooler than this video – I’m going to be interviewing Nacho Rodriquez in person at CTN Expo on Saturday November 17th. Be there!
Who? Who will win the Oscar this year, at the 85th Academy Awards? Hey Krishna? The Mystical Laws? Walter & Tandoori’s Christmas?
Maybe – or maybe Pixar’s Brave, Sony’s Hotel Transylvania, or Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph will be among the final nominees. Today, the Academy announced the twenty-one features which have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category. Five will be selected for nomination.
Listed in alphabetical order by title (click on highlighted title to see trailer), they are:
“Adventures in Zambezia”
“Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”
“From Up on Poppy Hill”
“Ice Age Continental Drift”
“A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman”
“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
“The Mystical Laws”
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
“The Rabbi’s Cat”
“Rise of the Guardians”
“Secret of the Wings”
“Walter & Tandoori’s Christmas”
Several of the films listed have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying runs. Submitted features must fulfill the theatrical release requirements and comply with all of the category’s other qualifying rules before they can advance in the voting process. The nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10th, 2013, at 8:30am EST/5:30am PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The winners will be announced on Sunday, February 24th, 2013.
Which ones do you think will be nominated?
(Thanks, Janet Hoffman)
After several months of monster/horror animated features, it feels down-right refreshing to see a simply funny new “cartoon” from Disney. Wreck-It Ralph (along with the innovative cg/hand drawn hybrid short Paperman) opens today – and just in time.
I dare say, between Tangled and Ralph, the Disney Feature team has found their footing – and personally I was much more satisfied with this high-concept comedy than I was with Pixar’s most-recent original. Could this be the year Disney’s SoCal home-team beats its upstate sibling? Wreck-It Ralph is executed with as much entertainment and humor, visually and verbally – and a healthy dose of “Disney magic” – as one could expect. It has an obvious appeal to adults, and even more so to kids, which bodes well for its box office results.
I’m not the only one to feel this way. A.O. Scott in The New York Times calls Ralph a big “success”, managing “to be touching as well as silly, thrilling and just a bit exhausting”. Betsy Sharky in The Los Angeles Times says, “the movie’s subversive sensibility and old-school/new-school feel are a total kick”.
“Old-school/new-school” might also describe John Kahrs sublime new short Paperman, which is attached to all showings of Wreck-It Ralph. We’ve been anticipating this short for several months and it plays like icing on the cake. A sumptuous boy-meets-girl story told in an exciting new/retro way – crossing my fingers this begins a transition back to the hand drawn craft of animation, in the classic Disney tradition, at the Disney studio.
So, what about you? If you’ve seen Wreck-It Ralph and/or Paperman, let’s have the discussion. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.