Here’s another film to look out for.
The winner of the public prize at this year’s Annecy Animation Festival was a stop motion puppet film called Max & Co. Produced by a relatively new studio called cinemagination with puppets constructed by mackinnon and saunders (responsible for the Corpse Bride models), it’s the first feature film by brothers Fred and Sam Guillaume. Currently playing on the festival circuit, Max & Co is now scheduled for a theatrical release in Europe next February. Here’s a link to the trailer.
(Thanks, Russell Peet)
Move over Paris and Britney. I’ve made The New York Post Page Six today.
Nothing scandalous. Just a clever plug for the new coffee table art book, Not Just Cartoons, Nicktoons!. It was my sincere pleasure to interview all the creators of Nicktoon series for this project, and the book turned out to be quite a visual feast. You’ll find it at your local bookshop this week. It’ll be easy to spot – It’s the one with a dust jacket covered in green slime.
I wish this festival were in Los Angeles – or anywhere in the United States. But I’m thankful it’s presented anyplace at all. Located in beautiful Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario Canada, The Waterloo Festival of Animated Cinema is the annual film retrospective dedicated to showcasing the latest unreleased international animated feature films – in an actual movie theatre, the way theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re supposed to be seen.
This year the four day festival runs from November 15-18. Screenings will be held at The Gig Theatre (the Hyland Cinema) in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The festival opens Thursday Nov. 15 with the Canadian premiere of Leslie Iwerks’ The Pixar Story. Other films screening this year include: A-Film’s The Ugly Duckling and Me; Korea’s Aachi and Ssipak; France’s The Killer of Montmartre; Bjork’s Anna and the Moods; the Czech puppet horror film One Night In The City; and the infamous Norwegian CG feature Free Jimmy.
Two films document the development of one of Brazil’s leading animators, Otto Guerra: Wood & Stock: Sex, Oregano and Rock ÃƒÂ«n Roll, and Rocky and Hudson. Anime is represented with Five Centimeters Per Second, and SOS Metro Tokyo Explorers. Other Festival selections and premieres include RH+ and Film Noir.
Last but not least, the Festival will be holding the premiere of Ladd Ehlinger Jr.’s Flatland the Film. Director and animator Ehlinger will present the film in person and take Q&A after the screening – and the festival will be presenting the film and the Q&A session not only to the attending audience, but to the entire world via the Internet.
For more information contact program curator Joseph C. Chen via email wfac-at-wfac.ca or through the festival website.
Mark Webster of Motion Design blog offers a preview of a fascinating film which I hadn’t heard of: a full-length animated documentary about legendary film title designer Pablo Ferro (Dr. Strangelove). The film which is scheduled for release in ’08 is based on interviews with dozens of Ferro’s friends and colleagues including Angelica Huston, Andy Garcia, Beau Bridges, Stan Lee and Norman Lear. Before becoming involved in film titles, Ferro worked in animation at NY studios like Elektra and Academy, as well as co-owning his own commercial studio in the early-60s called Ferro, Mogubgub and Schwartz.
A brand-new online pop culture website, Bridgerack, has posted a really good Conversation With Don Hertzfeldt (Part One of Four starts here). The site is still in beta test, so please bear with any technical glitches if you aren’t using Firefox or a Mac.
Not as exciting as the new Lucky Luke film, but the Argentinean feature, The Ark (el Arca), certainly looks ambitious – and should have the furry fans salivating. Here’s the trailer. Interesting that it is distributed by Buena Vista International (aka Disney). The Ark will screen in Los Angeles, one time only, on Saturday November 17th at 5pm, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. (I’ll be at the Raggedy Ann reunion at the AFI that day myself).
In case you haven’t been following it, the debate over David Michaelis’ Charles Schulz bio rages on. Fresh comments from daughter Amy Schulz Johnson, Peanuts comic book artist Dale Hale and Peanuts animation producer Lee Mendelson add to the conversation. Join the discussion here.
Coming up in November is a series of unique animation programs at the Wexner Center for the Arts, on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. All of them are well worth your time – and take particular note of the one on November 8th.
Tuesday November 6th – The Short Films of the Brothers Quay – 7pm
Thursday November 8th – The Worst Cartoons Ever (with Jerry Beck in person) – 7pm (book signing at 6pm)
Tuesday November 13th – Lillian Schwartz: Selected Works – 7pm
Thursday November 15th – The Best of The Ottawa International Animation Festival – 7pm
Friday November 16th – Experimental Animation since 1933 – 7pm (I highly recommend this show).
If you can get to central Ohio on November 8th, please drop by and say hello. And while you are there don’t forget to check the Ohio State University Cartoon Research Center (and see their current exhibit of rarely seen Milton Caniff art).
Like Schulz’ Peanuts, Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip Calvin and Hobbes was beloved by many and still has a devoted following – despite it’s retirement in 1995. Tim from the Calvin and Hobbes: Magic on Paper website has unearthed a selection of Watterson’s student artwork, from his days at Ohio’s Kenyon College, drawn for the school newspaper and the 1980 yearbook. Considering that new Watterson art is rare, it’s great to see some old stuff that’s new to our eyes.
Starting today, Leslie Iwerks independent documentary The Pixar Story will begin a small Oscar-qualifying run in 14 select cities across the United States.
The film contains never-before-seen footage from the Pixar library, along with exclusive interviews with some of the key players in the Pixar story including John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, George Lucas, Brad Bird, Michael Eisner, Bob Iger, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal and more. Go see it if it’s playing in your area – it’s incredibly informative and very entertaining.
SCREENING SCHEDULE: October 23-25, 2007
Chicago Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Century Centre Cinema
Dallas Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark The Magnolia
Detroit Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Maple Art Theatre
October 30 – November 1, 2007
Washington DC Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark E Street Cinema
New Orleans Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Canal Place Cinema
Denver Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Chez Artiste
Seattle Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Metro Cinemas
November 6-8, 2007
San Diego Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark La Jolla Village Cinemas
Boston Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Kendall Square Cinema
Atlanta Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
Milwaukee Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Downer Theatre
Indianapolis Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Keystone Art Cinema
Minneapolis Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Lagoon Cinema
San Francisco Ã¢â‚¬“ Landmark Lumiere Theatre
IwerksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ award-winning theatrical documentary The Hand Behind the Mouse-The Ub Iwerks Story will be included on the forthcoming Disney Treasures: Oswald The Lucky Rabbit dvd, on sale Dec. 11th.
Hal Adelquist, (pictured above, left of the Mouseketeers) was an assistant director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, production coordinator on The Mickey Mouse Club, and a loyal Disney employee for 23 years. He was given the boot in 1956 and apparently ended up on Skid Row. Don Brockway found this 1977 article about Adelquist from the New York Times which tells some of the sad story.
“The Art and Flair of Mary Blair” show opens this Saturday at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. More than fifty pieces of original Mary Blair art will be on display including her animation concept work, Golden Books, commercial illustration, personal paintings and Disney theme park designs. A preview of some of the pieces on display can be found on the blog of the museum’s curator Andrew Farago.
I like the honest name of this new how-to book: How to Cheat in Flash CS3: The art of design and animation in Adobe Flash CS3. Forget honing your skills and mastering the craft of animation like those classic artists, just cheat your way into thinking you’re an animator by moving some crap around in Flash. Why not, everybody else is doing it.
My friend Bruce Schwartz runs the Comic Book and Sci-Fi Convention at the Shrine Auditorium (near USC) in Los Angeles each month. And he always invites down some great in-person speakers, the famous and the infamous. I want to give a heads up for his November 4th show because it features two of my favorite people – from two completely different ends of the cartooning spectrum.
Actor Marvin Kaplan, the voice of Choo-Choo (pictured above left) from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Top Cat, will be there signing autographs from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Marvin is also known for his role as Irwin in the comedy film It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and has done many cartoon voices throughout his career, such as The Smurfs.
Animator and Playboy magazine cartoonist Dean Yeagle will be signing copies of his books, Mandy’s Shorts, and his new book, Melange: The Art of Dean Yeagle, from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Dean is an amazing artist and his drawings of the ladies define the term “good-girl art” (sample above right).
For more information on the monthly Shrine Auditorium Comic Con, check the website at www.comicbookscifi.com.
Our friend Charles Shopsin has unearthed yet another vintage article about animation in the 1930s from the pages of Modern Mechanix. This one from 1934, What Makes Mickey Mouse Move, is very simplistic and, despite a blurb that mentions “fifty highly trained artists” and photos of animators and technicians at work, the article itself credits Walt with drawing the figures and painting the backgrounds (though no mention is made of Walt providing the voice of Mickey).