Anne D. Bernstein reports from New York:
There is a TON of animation-related programming at MOMA this month.There’s a Miyazaki retrospective June 3-30. Thirteen films and one is the North American premiere of HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (on Monday June 6th at 8:30pm).Also, BEFORE MICKEY: EARLY ANIMATION MASTERWORKS FROM GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE on June 1 and June 11. Program includes Domestic Difficulties (Mutt & Jeff, 1916), Felix Gets Revenge (1922), Felix Trips through Toyland (1925), Felix Flirts with Fate (1926), and Felix Kept on Walking (1926) Scaling the Alps (1928), Sky Scrappers (1928). Felix Trifles with Time (1925), the Fleischer Studios’ Trapped (1923), Paul Terry’s Scaling the Alps (1928), and two Oswald the Rabbit cartoons.And Wednesday June 22 at 6:30 there is a program called PIERRE HUYGHE ON ANIMATION. He “leads a public conversation about animation and recent developments in techniques and processes.”
Who is Pierre Huyghe and how does he rate holding court on animation at the Museum of Modern Art? I dunno – but here’s some info.
A few random sketches by legendary animation designer Tom Oreb…
Dreamworks Animation’s MADAGASCAR is heading for a wonderful $40 million dollar plus opening weekend box office gross (ranking either #2 or #3 behind STAR WARS III, depending on its Sunday grosses against THE LONGEST YARD) and deserved success on the big screen. MADAGASCAR is a lot of fun – a pleasant summertime entertainment that is – for me – the best package Dreamworks has put together thus far.While SHREK I & II are funnier films, and have better stories, the character designs (with several exceptions) never appealed to me. ANTZ and SHARK TALE had their pluses and minuses as well. But with MADAGASCAR, Dreamworks really nailed it. It looks great, is packed with visual & verbal wit, and is directed and paced to get the maximum laughs.Oh, and the marketing is really great. Really. I mean, the film is called MADAGASCAR – They could have (and maybe should have) named it THE ZOO CREW (or does DC Comics own that title?) or THE NEW YORK GIANTS (does the NFL own that one?), or something… but they are pushing a film called MADAGASCAR, and have succeeded in selling tickets.With THE CORPSE BRIDE, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, CHICKEN LITTLE and Dreamworks/Aardman’s WALLACE & GROMIT coming, a very good year for animated features is shaping up.
Disney’s newly restored digital version of BAMBI will get the big-screen treatment at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Wednesday June 15th. At 8pm Leonard Maltin will host a tribute to the film, with special guests, original art and the restored film projected in L.A.’s best screening room.And if that isn’t enough, the Academy’s current exhibition Toon In: Animated Movie Posters from the Cudequest Family Collection will be open for viewing in the Academy Galleries after the screening.It’ll be quite a night for cartoon buffs. I’ll be there myself. General admission is $5. For more information visit oscars.org
Here’s a book that’ll put you on the successful and rewarding career path of becoming a corporate
whore licensing artist. DRAW THE LOONEY TUNES: THE WARNER BROS. CHARACTER DESIGN MANUAL is a reprint of “the textbook used by in-house artists to learn the ropes at Warner Bros.” The book includes vellum overlays, landscape four-color foldouts, vintage cartoon stills and step-by-step instruction. The introduction is by WB Consumer Products president Dan Romanelli. Nothing like having the executive responsible for “Gender-Confused Tweety” (see below) introduce a book about properly drawing classic WB characters. I’m ashamed to say it’s from my publisher, Chronicle Books, but hey, nobody’s perfect, right?
June 21 through 23rd at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in New York City is the annual Licensing International Show – the yearly showcase of corporate misunderstanding the basic appeal of beloved classic cartoon characters.This year MGM will continue it’s line of “Baby Pink Panther” with Baby Ant & Aardvark, Baby Inspector Clouseau and… is that Baby Fester?? (The horse from Hoot Kloot? You’ve got to be kidding me…)
First they give the Looney Tunes an extreme makeover as Loonatics, now they are preparing a sex change for Tweety!The latest issue of LICENSE magazine has this article touting Warner Bros. current merchandising push toward women – children and adults.
I tawt I taw…a new Tweety. Warner Bros. Consumer Products has given Tweety a new twang–lengthened eyelashes, a brightened beak, and a floral hair accessory.According to Jordan Sollitto, executive vice president of worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, “Tweety is not a media-dependent property. Tweety has equity among girls ages 4 to 8 and women in their 20s and 30s. Tweety has had continuous performance at the cash register, transcending media exposure. When we spoke with girls and women about Tweety, they weren’t as interested in talking about media or a movie around Tweety. They relate to the character as it relates to merchandise. Tweety’s cuteness, according to our research, was the driving characteristic,” he explains.
Nowhere in the carefully worded article is Tweety refered to as a “he” or a “she” (for the record, Tweety is a male character). A selection of the new female Tweety fashions can be found here. I’m particularly fond of the itty-bitty Tweety String Bikini myself. But how far are they going to go with this?
THE ART OF PIXAR: 100 COLLECTIBLE POSTCARDS will be out in November from Chronicle Books. The postcard set, published in celebration of Pixar’s twentieth anniversary, includes concept art and stills from every Pixar feature and short film to date. Also forthcoming from Chronicle is a coffeetable history of Pixar penned by Mark Cotta Vaz and Leslie Iwerks. Details still to come on the book.
Animation collector Eric Calande has posted his impressive collection of original Looney Tunes cartoon cels, backgrounds and drawings on a new website WARNER ART.COMAmong all the beautiful pencil art, Maurice Noble color layouts and vintage cels is my favorite piece – a background from PRIVATE SNAFU VS. MALERIA MIKE (1944). Thanks for sharing your excellent collection with us, Eric!
Here in Los Angeles, the “art theatres” (the Egyptian Theatre, the Laemmle and Landmark chains), usually precede each film program with one or two commercials. And one of them is usually a visually creative piece for KCRW, a local NPR affiliate. Brew reader Chris Romano has just completed a theatrical spot for KCRW, “TIME BOMB”, which will be running all summer long on the big screen. For a sneak preview, visit Chris’ Toonlets.com website.
I don’t think anybody recorded the Fred Crippen event we did this past weekend at the AFI, but somebody really should have because Fred offered a lot of great insights into his career and craft. Here, however, is visual documentation of the event courtesy of DreamWorks animator Jeremy Bernstein, who filled up his sketchbook with some great impressions of Fred and myself, as well as Jerry Beck and Bob Kurtz. Click on the images for larger versions. Thanks, Jeremy!
And another random page from Jeremy’s sketchbook, with a terrific drawing of animator Sean Szeles on the right…
Kim Possible co-creators Robert Schooley, Mark McCorkle, and director/co-producer Steve Loter will appear at EnigmaCon 2005, this Saturday May 28th, 2005 at the University of California, Los Angeles.UCLA’s Enigma club combines Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Gaming and Real Science to bring a day of movie screenings, panels, vendors and gaming to the UCLA campus to benefit tsunami relief efforts. Other guests include author Harlan Ellison, Babylon 5 writer/producer J. Michael Stracynski, Elfquest artist Wendy Pini, and many, many more from the fields of movies, animation, video game development, comics, etc. Robert Schooley writes:
Mark, Steve and I have only done this once before and that was a month after the show premiered. So we’d like to get the word out to anyone who enjoys the show to stop by and say ‘hello’.As an added bonus the crack squad of Disney lawyers have given their blessing to allow Steve to do some sketches to auction off for the Tsunami charity that this con supports.
For more info, check out http://www.enigmacon.org(Alan Bodner original inspirational art above is © Disney)
I want to thank UNEARTHED FILMS for sending me a copy of their forthcoming dvd of ROCK & RULE.Nelvana’s 1984 cult sci-fi masterpiece has never gotten the attention, or distribution, it deserved. Steve Biro and the guys at Unearthed have done a lavish, first class job preparing this film for dvd. The 2-disc package includes a making of documentary, audio track commentary by director Clive Smith and a production sketch gallery. A second disc is loaded with bonus materials including an alternate version of the film, the great Nelvana TV special The Devil & Daniel Mouse and a behind the scenes making of it, workprint material, the complete script and a 12 page color booklet of interviews (put together by our pal, Emru Townsend of fpsmagazine.com).The film itself never looked this good. Restored from the original negative with a newly remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack. The street date is June 7th. Highly recommended!
From our pal, Oscar Grillo:
Publisher Ediciones de la Flor just published this book. It is profusely illustrated by me (around 50 illustrations) -”Fausto” is a famous poem written in 1866 about two gauchos meeting in the Pampas after one of them saw an opera in the city and believed he had actually seen the devil. It is a comic masterpiece, unfortunately for you, this version is in Spanish but my pictures alone are worth the price.
If you are interested in getting it, it’s now listed on Amazon.com
I agree with this comment on The Avant Garde Retard: “I don’t really care to see the movie itself, but the vinyl figures they’ve created for the movie are fantastic and extremely cute.” More CHICKEN LITTLE toys HERE.