The Illusionist, the long-awaited follow-up feature from Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville), will debut next month at the Berlin International Film Festival. This article from Scotland’s The Herald confirms that the hand-drawn film is Scotland’s most expensive film production ever, with a budget “significantly north of Â£10 million.” In US dollars, that works out to a modest $16 million, which would be considered a bargain by most studios. According to the article, the film was made primarily in Edinburgh at ÂChomet’s Django Films, with further work done by ink.digital in Dundee, Scotland and another studio in Paris. Personally, I’ve heard that to get the film done, they farmed out large parts to service studios, including around forty minutes of assistant animation and clean-up to Sunwoo in South Korea.
To take advantage of Scottish film incentives, Chomet transposed the film’s action from Paris to Edinburgh and the Western Isles, which according to one person interviewed by The Herald, isn’t necessarily a bad thing:
Film-maker and critic Mark ÂCousins, who helped Chomet set up his Edinburgh studio, has seen several extracts of the film. “We should be very excited about The Illusionist,” he said. “Even though it wasn’t originally set in Scotland, the end result really is quite Scottish. It has a real feel of the marmalade and bracken colour of Mull in the autumn. The screenplay was one of the best that I’ve seen. This could be a Âclassic of Scottish cinema.”
I’m not going to pretend like I fully understand what’s going on in this short–alienation and dehumanization in modern society is always a safe guess–but there are a lot of interesting visual ideas in this 1968 Japanese short directed by Tatsuo Shimamura. A bio of the prolific Shimamura can be found on AniPages Daily, while this short can be purchased on Volume 10 of Something Weird’s Classic Cartoon Rarities collection.
This spot promoting the BBC’s Winter Olympics coverage is one of the finest examples I’ve seen of an illustrative style applied to computer animation. The atmospheric Inuit-flavored promo was directed by Marc Craste (Jojo in the Stars, Varmints) at Studio AKA. Co-designer was Jon Klassen, who posted a little bit about the design process on his blog.
A bigger and cleaner version of the spot can be viewed here.
Word is spreading today of a top secret Lucasfilm CG animated musical now in preproduction at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. All that is known about it is that Kevin Munroe (TMNT) is directing and David Berenbaum (Elf, The Spiderwick Chronicles) wrote the screenplay, from a story idea by Lucas. And that the film centers around a group of fairy characters.
The image above has nothing to do with this film – I just thought it was cute.
The Chocolate Bar in Encino is hosting an exhibit of personal artwork by Walt Peregoy. The exhibition runs February 1-27. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, February 6, between 7-10pm, with Peregoy in attendance. Peregoy is perhaps best known for his work as a color stylist on 101 Dalmatians and how he brought a strong modern art sensibility to the Disney features. He’s had an extensive animation career beyond that film, and alongside his industry work, he’s been painting and drawing non-stop. Most of his personal work has never been exhibited which is why this upcoming show sounds like such a treat. The Chocolate Bar is located at 17312-A Ventura Boulevard.
My next cartoon show at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theater is on Tuesday February 9th. To commemorate Valentines Day (a few days early), we are presenting an assortment of classic animated shorts on the theme of love. From the sex-starved Pepe LePew, to Avery’s luscious Red Riding Hood, our program features rare 35mm and 16mm Technicolor film prints, projected the way they are supposed to be seen – on the big screen. Suitable for cartoon lovers of all ages, for more information or advance tickets, please click the CineFamily website.
Ralph Bakshi (Fritz The Cat, Wizards, Mighty Mouse) will return to New York in March to present an art show in SoHo. He’ll appear at a reception at the Animazing Gallery, with a new series of paintings in an exhibition entitled The Streets. These are mixed-media construction/paintings inspired by Bakshi’s youth in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
New York’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) will present a lifetime achievement award to Bakshi at the opening reception on Friday, March 19th, from 6-9PM (by invitation.) A public meet and greet reception takes place on Saturday March 20th, 2-5PM. Admission is free and open to the public. The exhibition runs through May 15th. Animazing Gallery is located at 54 Greene Street at Broome in SoHo. For more information visit www.animazing.com.
Reginald Hudlin, BET Networks and Titmouse Cartoons have combined to bring Marvel Comics Black Panther to TV. Eight episodes have been produced and have begun airing last week in Australia (on ABC3). No word on when the series will play in the U.S. – but here’s the good-looking opening credits:
Independent animator and producer Wendy Johnson Carmical has started a production blog dedicated to veteran animator Ken Mundie and his new traditionally animated film (still under production) called The Match.
Mundie, who is now in his eighties, directed the first Fat Albert special, created the titles for The Wild Wild West and produced a controversial Warner Bros. animated short, The Door (1967). Carmical says, “This endeavor to help Ken get his film made is inspired by a love of animation, respect for the pioneers, and regard for a really unique interesting artist.” The Match is “an animated film about an epic tennis match that represents the battle of brute force against the intellect. It will be animated entirely by Ken Mundie. We are hoping to find people interested in painting the finished animation and/or find funding.”
Below is a work-in-progress reel of the first act.
The video above is about The Future, a twelve-minute animated short drawn and voiced entirely by artists who are members of League Treatment Center’s L.A.N.D. (League Artists Natural Design) Gallery in Brooklyn. What makes these artists unique is that they all have developmental disabilities. The film is being directed by NY animation artist M. Wartella (Wonder Showzen, Superjail) and is scheduled for completion this summer. To help complete the project, the organization is currently accepting donations through the fundraising website Kickstarter. The art looks like a lot of fun; can’t wait to see how it turns out!
As part of Cartoon Network’s efforts to reinvent themselves as a cheap knockoff of The Disney Channel, they’ve hired “Weird Al” Yankovic to direct a live-action feature film. According to Weird Al, “Cartoon Network had requested that I develop a show with a much younger protagonist — the actual star of the movie will most likely be teenage.”
I’m a big admirer of Albert Mielgo‘s paintings, and have often thought of scrounging up some dough to buy one of his acrylics, which might be described as a kind of stylized photorealism. I also think it’s great that he shares his skill and singular vision with the animation industry, mostly working on various UK-based projects. Recently though, instead of just designing backgrounds, Alberto deigned and animated four pieces entirely by himself, and the results are out of this world. The cinematic inventiveness and painterly approach to lighting give these pieces a unique feel that I’ve never seen before in animation, and frankly I want to see more of it. The four pieces (three of which I’ve included after the jump) are for a project called Pinkman.TV and were created with Photoshop and AfterEffects.
ASIFA-Hollywood has just announced that actor/director William Shatner will host the 37th Annual Annie Awards on Saturday, February 6, 2010, at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, CA. Very Cool!
Tickets have gone on sale for the event at the Annie Award website. The evening begins with a pre-reception at 5 p.m. followed by the Annie Awards ceremony at 7 p.m. and post award party at 10 p.m. All events will be held at Royce Hall. The Annie Awards ceremony will also be webcast on annieawards.org beginning Tuesday, February 9, 2010.
Comic and animation creator Doug TenNapel (Earthworm Jim, Catscratch) spoke earlier this month at the Art Institute Inland Empire about the topic of “Telling Your Story Through Art.” The 52-minute lecture is below. I haven’t watched it yet, but I know that TenNapel’s unique perspective on things is often very entertaining.