This’ll be slightly off-topic. I’m plugging my whereabouts the next five days. Tomorrow night I will be in two places at once. First I’ll be showing 16mm films, as I do each month, at the Steve Allen Theatre (at 4773 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Feliz) at 8pm, preceeding a concert by Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys. Then I’ll scoot over to the Egyptian Theatre (on Hollywood Blvd. near Highland) to catch the start of CINECON 41. As you may know, CINECON is the polar opposite of the San Diego Comic Con. This movie convention actually seems to get less attendence each year! The convention is based in the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel (located at 1755 North Highland Avenue) and runs through Monday September 5th. Cinecon is the oldest of the movie related fan festivals and Cinecon 41 offers an outstanding program of unusual classic movies, archive prints, recent film restorations and celebrity guests. Chapters from THE IRON CLAW (1941), Universal B-musicals with Shemp (this year, 1944′s “Moonlight and Cactus”), rare shorts and cartoons (Scrappy’s THE BEER PARADE will be screened Saturday morning at 10:15am) – and much, much more – are run all weekend from 9am to midnight, each day at the Egyptian. Here’s the complete schedule.For more information, please check their web site at www.cinecon.org
Just when you thought King Features couldn’t sink any lower – they do this.(Link to Mark Evanier’s News From ME)
Who says traditional animation is dead?Not Nelson Shin – the Walt Disney of Korea. His epic labor-of-love, EMPRESS CHUNG, has finally opened in North & South Korea. Nice article on Shin and Korean animation in today’s New York Times.The film will be screened at the Ottawa festival next month.(Thanks Michael Sporn)
The current owners of National Lampoon have partnered with Art Clokey Productions to recraft the original Gumby TV series into an “edgy, irreverent” reinvention, called Gumby: The Lost Tapes. Lampoon will create and produce all-new dialog (and in some cases music) tracks. The “new” versions will appear on the National Lampoon Network, the largest college dorm television network reaching nearly 5 million college students on 600 campuses nationwide. National Lampoon will also be issuing the “new” episodes for sale on DVD. Full press release here.
It was a very tough decision – but the Brewmasters have spoken!The winning entries came from Rex Hackelberg (above – click on image to see his full comic strip entry) – and Lars Edwards, whose spot-on rendition of “The Animation Pimp” won us over. These two boys will be waltzing around the Ottawa festival like big shots because they will get in free. Congratulations, Winners!And a sincere Thank you to all our readers for entering our little contest. See you at the Ottawa International Animation Festival from September 21-25!
Our friend Harald Siepermann, a mighty talented character designer who lives in Germany, has started his own blog HERE. Just a few of the films that Siepermann has contributed character designs to: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, BALTO, MULAN, TARZAN, THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE and BROTHER BEAR. Harald does a lot more than design feature animation though; he’s also one of the individuals responsible for creating Alfred J. Kwak, a popular European cartoon character who has appeared in comic books, an animated TV series and was named the UNICEF ambassador for children’s rights in 2003. Besides posting his own work, Harald also promises to show “sketches and things that inspire me and that I admire.”
I was saddened to hear that Ruben Apodaca passed away last month at age 73. I didn’t know him well, but met him a few times to work on a short article about his personal photos (published in ANIMATION BLAST #6). He always struck me as being a very friendly individual, with a lot of enthusiasm for animation. Ruben started in animation at Disney in 1956, and went on to work at all the major studios during the ’60s and ’70s including UPA, Format, Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera and Filmation. He also spent many years as an animation instructor at numerous Los Angeles area colleges. His full obituary can be read HERE.
Mike Mattesi is opening a new art school in Pasadena, ENTERTAINMENT ART ACADEMY.Stephen Silver will be there doing a lecture on Charater Design (Sept. 25), Tony Bancroft will discuss Animated Performance (Nov. 20th), Glen Murakami will be Interpreting Superheroes, and my ol’ buddy Jim Wheelock will look at Architecture as Narrative (Oct. 9th). Rik Maki (of Digital or Not) will teaching a 13 week class on Character Design. For more information visit www.enterartacad.com
I don’t know about you, but I just booked a hotel room for July 20-23 in downtown San Diego. Eleven months in advance.
San Diego Comic Con
A couple days ago, I mentioned a couple new bloggers who work in the London animation scene: Gerben Steenks and Stephane Kardos. Now, two more cartoonists from London have started blogs: Matt Jones and Matt Cruickshank. All four of these guys produce excellent work and I’ll be checking them out regularly. Here’s the links:
We will be having a contest the week of September 12th relating to Tim Burton’s CORPSE BRIDE. Warner Bros. will be giving us prizes and we will hand them out to the first readers who answer our simple trivia questions that week.In the meantime, Ron Barbagallo has, on his website, posted a great behind the scenes interview with Graham G. Maiden (Mars Attacks and Chicken Run), Head of the Puppet Department at the London studio set up exclusively to produce Corpse Bride. The interview includes art and images from the film’s production that illustrate the process behind the craft of puppet making. Click here to read it.
My expectations were so low for VALIANT, that I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the film at an Asifa-Hollywood screening last night. I also noted the audience laughed often throughout the film.I was expecting a disaster, but the story was solid (cliched, but solid), the animation was well done and the characters were funny. It played like a B-Film – a 1940s B-film, and that’s not a bad thing.It’s worth seeing.
John Canemaker’s Winsor McCay – His Life and Art, his 1987 biography of the great newspaper cartoonist and pioneer animator, will be published again in October by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. in a revised and expanded edition. The original tome, long out-of-print, is one of the most valuable – and entertaining – animation histories on my bookshelf. This new edition has me salivating.The revised edition is now 272 pages – 48 more pages than the old edition – and filled with never-before published photos, artwork and research. New material includes:
Never-before published pages from McCay’s private animation production notebook revealing the filmmaker’s ideas for timing and visualizations in “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914), “Lusitania,” and “Flip’s Circus” (c. 1921).Rare concept art by McCay for a second film starring Gertie the Dinosaur.New documentation of McCay’s early career, including the Wonderland and Eden Musee in Detroit, where he sold his first cartoons. McCay’s professional relationship and longtime personal friendship with cartoonist Apthorp “Ap” Adams, one of his two assistants on the monumental animated epic “The Sinking of the Lusitania” (1918). Full-page reproduction of a 1907 New York Herald showcasing eight top comic strip cartoonists and illustratorm including McCay, and their art. A complete Winsor McCay Chronology, and extensive additions to the Notes and Bibliography sections. Many rarely seen photos and drawings from private collections. A new cover, book design and page layout.
The book retails for $40.00, but I recommend you pre-order it on Amazon.com for $29.70.
Wanna see what Renegade Animation does when it isn’t working on PUFFY AMI YUMI?This spot for Cocoa Puffs combines cel animation and flash. Darrell Van Citters directs, Mike Giamo and Frank Montagna designed it and Scott O’Brien, Bert Klein and Will Finn, animated. Beautifully done. Now if only General Mills would rehire Chuck McCann to voice Sonny and Gramps, I’d be really happy.