Who ever said being a distributor of animated films was boring work? Here’s an amusing newspaper article from a few months back about Russian animation distributor Films by Jove and the full-fledged sting operation they set up to catch a guy in LA who was pirating their dvds.
Talk about scraping the bottom of the artistic barrel: the Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills is currently hosting an exhibit of “pop surrealist” art inspired by FAMILY GUY. The show, “What The Deuce Are You Staring At!?!”, runs through January 21, 2007. After January, the art goes on a tour of animation galleries including Animation Connection in Toronto, The Linda Jones Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, The Animation Art Gallery in London, The Silver K Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, and Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks. To check out some of the pieces, go HERE.
Feel good this holiday season by participating in FPS MAGAZINE’s annual charity auction which runs through November 29. All proceeds, less eBay and Paypal fees, will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. The auction includes animation-related books, dvds, software and other goodies. Item listings and additional info are at the FPS website.
RIT’s character animators took all but one of the top prizes for student films at the 2D or Not 2D Animation Festival. Tony White originated the idea of giving awards to animation in a film as well as for the film itself, so that good animation could be judged independently of the story.The festival featured screenings of restored prints of ANIMAL FARM, retrospectives of Tony White’s work, a tribute to Halas and Batchelor, and many other surprises. Keynote speaker Roy Disney (pictured above with Steamboat Willie)stated that he wished to “refute that ridiculous statement of Michael Eisner’s that 2D was dead. It is not dead, and the statement is not true.” Mr. Disney presented a wonderful series of Disney short films inlcuding LORENZO and the Salvador Dali-Walt Disney coproduction DESTINO, and generously donated the use of the audiovisual equipment used for the rest of the festival entries. Eric Goldberg’s latest animation for a Buddhist theme park, featuring greedy monkeys, was another high point of the festival.Films in competition were sent from as far afield as Germany and Wales, with East and West Coast animation schools well represented (though Cal Arts and Ringling were surprisingly absent–we’ll get them to participate next year!)”Golden Pencils” were won by RIT seniors Brittney Lee, Joseph Daniels, and Jedidiah Mitchell, with Merit Awards given to graduate student Adam Fisher and sophomore Wesley Storhoff. Some of their prizewinning RIT films from the 2D or not 2D festival are available online.You can view Brittney Lee’s THE MUSICAL GENIUS OF MOZART MCFIDDLE (Winner, Best Animation in a Student Film with Special Merit for Art direction). Merit Award winner THE BALLAD OF THE PURPLE CLAM, is (partly) here: Adam Fisher’s advisor was Tom Gasek (of Aardman, now of RIT). Joe Daniels and Jed Mitchell won the Best Student Film award for THE WAY OF THE MANTIS, tied with A MANO (from VanArts) Even though MANTIS appears to be hand drawn, it is in fact a CGI film that is rendered to look like paintbrush work–the students designed the plug-in for Maya themselves. Merit Award winner Wes Storhoff’s THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM is not online, but it’s hilarious–the young man produced it in Nancy Beiman’s ‘one quarter project’ class, which lasted ten weeks. One of my students, Nathaniel Hubbell, sadly did not enter his film, Pygmalion Dreams, but it’s gorgeous. He also made a strange little film called DINNER (both made under my supervision).All of these students save Adam Fisher were my advisees and most have allowed me to use their preproduction artwork to illustrate sections of my book, which is now available for preorder on amazon.com. A special Golden Pencil Award was also awarded to their teacher. I was certainly not expecting that! The festival was well attended and we hope that it will be even ‘bigger’ next year.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Gittman)
One of the most interesting animation stories of ’06 took place last February when Disney acquired the rights to one of Walt’s earliest creations, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Unlike Universal, who owned the character for decades and did nothing with it, Disney has recognized the potential market for this classic character and is planning a major Oswald push in 2007.
A Disney insider writes to let me know that last week they held an internal launch party for Oswald at Disney Consumer Products in Burbank. The party, which included a live performance by the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, who mixed classic Oswald cartoons with contemporary music, also featured a gallery exhibit displaying some of the upcoming merchandise. Products include vinyl toys, clothing and stationary. From the exhibit: “Oswald will benefit from a more refined retail launch, focusing on the ‘couture’ market…this equates to high-end merchandise from renowned designers, ranging from apparel to accessories.” Disney also just announced an ’07 dvd release of Oswald cartoons. From the looks of the merchandise, it’s nice to see that Disney is staying relatively faithful to the character’s roots and also keeping him black-and-white. And thankfully, no baggy pants or backwards baseball cap…yet.
Our source sent us some video of the RZA at the Oswald party as well as pics of the merchandise. I’ve posted it all below:
Indie filmmaker/stick-figure master/ANIMATION SHOW co-founder Don Hertzfeldt talks extensively about his work in this new AWN interview. Good stuff throughout. I particularly agree with his thoughts on computer animation:
CG models and perfect life drawings leave me cold. All that a realistic, representational drawing of a bicycle tells me is, “bicycle.” There’s so much more mood and psychology to bring to the film if your artwork communicates more than just nouns. It’s why photorealism in animation is usually so boring and pointless. It’s all nouns. Ninety percent of CG animation is all nouns. I can’t feel anything going on behind the image.
The point of this medium is you can do literally anything, you can show us amazing things we’ve never seen before. I want to see animators change the language of cinema! Seriously, we have the means. Push animation deep into the wild new places where the surrealists took their reaction to photography. Rock the damn boat. If you’re going to strip animation of all its subjective power and just show me what things look like in real life you might as well be shooting live action.
Oliver Laric, the filmmaker responsible for the online hit 787 CLIPARTS, has finished a new video project, Aircondition. I’m not sure if it’s exactly animation in the strictest sense of the word but there’s definitely an animated sensibility at work here.
Our friends at Also Design create incredible print design and Flash websites, but they also make animation, like this cute spot for Etsy.com. We’re working with Also on the Cartoon Brew redesign, as well as on our new BrewFilms venture, and they’ve managed to come up with some terrific stuff. We can’t wait to share it with everybody.
Today’s NEW YORK TIMES has an ARTICLE that discusses how animation was used during the 1940s and ’50s to teach valuable medical lessons. The piece barely scratches the surface of the topic but it’s still nice to see Private Snafu and Hugh Harman get mentioned in a contemporary newspaper article.
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(Thanks, Alex Rannie and Joel Schlosberg)
Did you know Charlie Brown’s parents were organ donors? When Charles M. Schulz agreed to using Peanuts characters for MetLife’s brochures, there were unexpected consequences.It’s one of many strange moments in Peanuts history noted for posterity in a new post, 5 Lamest Charlie Brown Cartoons, on the 10 Zen Monkeys blog. There’s five YouTube clips documenting several oddball Peanuts moments from 40 years of Charlie Brown animation. (Snoopy as Flashbeagle; Charlie Brown shilling for Cheerios; et al). Needless to say, these clips (and the commentary by blogger “Destiny”) are a lot funnier than last night’s new Peanuts special, He’s A Bully, Charlie Brown.
The San Francisco Society of Illustrators is letting everyone know about the event PIXAR UNDER THE HOOD: The Making of Cars happening a week from Friday at Morgan Auditoruium.PIXAR UNDER THE HOOD: The Making of Cars (and a few other things)
Friday, December 1, 2006, 7PM
San Francisco, California
Dan Hollis has been working in radio for the past 10 years as both the sales manager for Hackettstown, New Jersey radio station WRNJ and co-hosting a radio program with his colleague, Jeff O’Boyle. The show is called Time Travel and it’s dedicated to pop culture and nostalgia. The show is primarily interviews with celebrities, with the focus on television, film, old time radio, comic books and of course, animated cartoons. Recent guests have included: Paul Winchell, Katie Leigh, Mel Stuart, Noel Blanc, Lee Mendelson, George Carlin, June Foray, Scott Shaw, Micky Dolenz, Marty Krofft, Robert Sherman (Allan’s son), Phil Vischer, Joe Kubert and others. The good news is that Dan has posted many of his previous interviews on a work-in-progress website entitled Time Travel Is Possible. Good stuff.
After old comic books and classic animated cartoons, the number #3 most influential art to aspiring animators has to be on cereal boxes. Especially old cereal boxes from the 1960s. The whole design of the packaging itself was/is inspirational. Just ask Thorsten Hasenkamm or Dan Goodsell or Ridd Sorenson. Their blogs are filled with modern interpretations of old packages (or the actual old boxes themselves).Bob Staake is an incredible commercial artist and children’s book illustrator with an obsession: breakfast cereal. To him, it’s not what the flakes taste like, it’s the box design and the groovy prizes inside. Bob is proposing his own line of cereal, centering his efforts around his iconic product characters. Check out his website for Freebies Cereal.
And what ever happened to the project Von Kreep (of Kreepsville.com) was doing called Cereal Killers. He had asked illustrators and animation artists to do box covers of “scary” cereals. It was supposed to be out this past summer and I don’t know what happened to it, but a lot of the art is online on various artist blogs, like: Rob Lilly, Johnny Yanok, Ben Balistreri, Kevin Schmid, Gabe Swarr, Brandon Scott, Saxton Moore. This stuff is mighty tasty.UPDATE: Bob MacNeil sent me a link to a list of all the Cereal Killer artists and their contributions to the project.
If you watch just one animated short this week, make it POTAPYCH: THE BEAR WHO LOVED VODKA by Darren Price.
Produced as part of Channel 4′s Mesh program, POTAPYCH is a wonderful little short that works on every level. The film’s style is a delight – a combination of cel-shaded CG characters with painted backgrounds – though what impressed me most was the elegant storytelling, which is fast-paced but never rushed. Price manages to tell a great story with heart in under three minutes – something much harder to do than it looks. (Sidenote: After watching the film, be sure to click on the “Learn More About The Bear” link.)
I believe this is Darren Price‘s first personal short, but he’s also the head of 3D at London’s Nexus Productions, where he’s worked with Smith & Foulkes on numerous spots including Coke’s “Video Game”, Honda’s “Grrr”, and Motorola’s “Grand Classics.”
“A girl finds some soap in the woods that turns her into a slut.”
That’s the description I found for this risque Lux Provocateur soap commercial on No Fat Clips and it does a pretty good job of summing things up. The stop-motion spot, which definitely wasn’t commissioned for American TV, is directed by Chel White at Bent Image Labs. Designer Jim Clark recently posted some of the spot’s conceptual work on his blog.
Does that creepy guy on the far right look familiar?Yeah, it’s me. You never know where you’ll end up if you let Evan and Gregg Spiridellis take your picture. But I couldn’t be more honored. Al Yankovic is an old friend and the folks at JibJab are my heroes. So when they asked if they could use my mug in the latest Weird Al music video, “Do I Creep You Out”, how did I know they’d actually use it as a mug shot?The video is hilarious – and I’m a star (for about six seconds). Check it out for laughs!