The nominations for the 34th Annual Japanese Academy Prize (Japan’s Oscar) were announced last week. The awards will be presented on February 18, 2011. In the animation category were the following five feature films:
Director: Keiichi Hara
Production Studio: Sunrise
Karigurashi no Arrietty
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
English Title: The Borrower Arrietty
Production Studio: Studio Ghibli
Believe it or not there was ONE good thing about the recent Yogi Bear movie: the animated end titles by yU+Co, designed by Synderela Peng (Watchmen, Hulk, Bee Movie, etc.). Motionographer has posted the end titles, so you will NEVER have to see the whole film that precedes it.
Design/Animation: yU+Co., Hollywood, CA
Creative Director: Garson Yu
Art Director/Design lead: Synderela Peng
VFX Director/Supervisor: Richard Taylor
Producer: Sarah Coatts
Effects Coordinator: Sean Hoessli
Design Team: Edwin Baker, John Kim, Daryn Wakasa, Etsuko Uji
3D Stereoscopic Compositors: Stevan del George, Mark Velacruz
After Effects: Jill Dadducci, Andres Barajas, Gary Garza, Wayland Vida, Alex Yoon
Animators: Josh Dotson, Eddie Moreno, Noel Belknap, John Dusenberry, Dae In Chung, Ben Lopez, Pota Tseng
Editorial: Jason Sikora, Latoria Ortiz
2011 promises to deliver a brand new slate of American animated features. But how new is it? Our list of sixteen features below reveals an awful lot of familiar faces with continuing adventures for Kung Fu Panda, Shrek’s Puss In Boots, Cars‘ Lightning McQueen, and the casts of Alvin and the Chipmunks and Happy Feet. The Smurfs franchise is dusted off, Winnie the Pooh reappears, and Tintin gets a make-over in mo-cap.
Such reliance on sequels, revivals, spin-offs and specific techniques (all but one film is computer animated) show a greater dependence by producers on traditional major-studio business models. Even Pixar, which once was recognized for its originality, will rely on a sequel (Cars 2) for the second straight year. Expect studios to play it cautious and unoriginal as long as their formulas perform reliably. Animated features may not exactly qualify as an innovative art form in the United States, but they are reliable cash cows for movie studios. This year, six of the top fifteen films at the US box office were animated, which is remarkable considering the tiny percentage of animated features compared to the overall film market.
In 2011, the emigration of live-action directors to animation continues en masse with first timers Gore Verbinski and Steven Spielberg. George Miller and Robert Zemeckis also continue to produce animation. Other notable events to watch: ILM debuts its first CG feature; Illumination (the production company behind Despicable Me) tries for a second box office hit; Aardman restarts its feature ambitions with a new creative/distribution partner.
This is by no means a complete list of animated features slated for release in 2011. Our list focuses on films made by American studios. There will be, of course, dozens of foreign and independent productions, many of which we predict will be more daring in content, style and technique. No one knows how all of this will play out, but two things are for certain: Robert Zemeckis’s films will continue to horrify viewers, and throughout the year Cartoon Brew readers will make their opinions known loud and clear.
LIST OF 2011 FEATURES BY RELEASE DATE
Gnomeo and Juliet
Release Date: February 11, 2011
Director: Kelly Asbury
Production Company: Starz Animation
Label: Touchstone Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney
Release Date: March 4, 2011
Director: Gore Verbinski
Label: Nickelodeon Movies
Production Company: Industrial Light & Magic
… or is it Cool World or Monkey Bone?
Whichever, Toonpur ka Superrhero opens today in India, the UK, Canada… and the United States! The two hour, twenty minute 3-D live-action/CG combo, directed by Kireet Khurana, is playing over the holidays in Manhattan (BIG Cinemas on 59th Street) and in the LA area (NAZ 8 Artesia in Lakewood), as well as San Francisco, Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey. It’s getting a wider American release than The Illusionist! For US theater listings click here (links to PDF file).
Une Vie de Chat, a new hand-drawn animated feature directed by Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, opened in France and Belgium last weekend. The film was produced at Jacques-Rémy Girerd’s Folimage studio, which has also been responsible for the features Mia and the Migoo and Raining Cats and Frogs.
Une Vie de Chat‘s opening weekend earned $552,663 in France, landing the film in 12th place. However, it had a limited release in only 171 theaters. By contrast, Megamind, which also opened in France last weekend, appeared in 695 theaters. Co-production partners on the film include Digit Anima (Belgium), Rhone-Alpes Cinema (France), and Lunanime (Belgium).
The idea sounds promising: “A cat leads a secret double life: he spends his days with Zoe, the daughter of a commissioner, but at night he accompanied a thief on the rooftops of Paris. While the mother of Zoe investigate burglaries at night, another mobster kidnaps the girl.” More details about the film’s story can be found on AnimationInsider.net.
(Thanks, Michel Van)
The motley crew pictured above are (left to right) Henry Selick, Bill Kroyer, Jerry Rees, Brad Bird and John Musker circa 1978. The photo comes from Rees’ new personal website which touts his interesting career, but works for us as a fascinating scrapbook of his many film projects. Rees has also posted his early live-action shorts, co-directed with Tim Burton, including Luau (part 1, embed below, featuring animation artists Joe Ranft, John Musker, Brian McEntee, Sue Kroyer, Ed Gombert and Harry Sabin – among others), and Doctor of Doom (which stars Burton himself — his voice dubbed by Brad Bird!)
He has pages devoted to his feature The Brave Little Toaster, his work on the original Tron, the beloved Disney World film Return to Neverland and Warner Bros. Space Jam. There are all kinds of surprises here; well worth exploring if you are a student of the current generation’s early roots.
Titeuf: The Film will open in French theaters on April 6, 2011. Based on France’s bestselling comic character, the film is directed by Titeuf‘s creator Zep (the pseudonym of Swiss cartoonist Philippe Chappuis). The $15 million euro film is a French-Swiss co-production by Pathé, Moonscoop, France 3 Cinéma and Point Productions. An earlier animated TV series based on the character also appeared in the UK retitled as Tootuff. For the record, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of or seen this character. In other words, it’s unlikely this film will be appearing in the States anytime soon.
Few viewers actually saw Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant when it had its theatrical run in 1999 so theatrical revivals are always welcome. The film has a special one-week engagement beginning today at the Film Forum in Manhattan. Screening times and more details here. It’s a shame that the revival has to be at the Film Forum, which has the rudest patrons and employees of any movie theater I’ve ever been to.
(Thanks, Joel Schlosberg)
Joseph Bennett is an animation artist for J. Walter Thompson by day, working on various commercials for MicroSoft and Zyrtec, and by night he does his own thing. Here’s one of ‘em: Odin’s Afterbirth, part of a trilogy he’s working on. I like his stuff, reminds me of animated mini-comics. Warning: this 3 minute chapter is a bit violent.
No one does Holiday Greetings better than those in animation. Here’s a few I received this year at Cartoon Brew headquarters:
First up, from my friend Andrew Kaiko:
From Hans Bacher:
From Xeth Feinberg:
From John Dilworth:
From my friends at Mukpuddy Animation:
CLICK HERE and drag the glasses over the image.
And finally, from Gene Deitch and his lovely wife Zdenka in Prague:
Insight Editions is giving our readers an incredible Christmas gift: an autographed copy their latest Dreamworks tie-in book, The Art of Megamind by Richard von Busack. The book, and the production art it showcases, is very cool. Sketches, paintings, storyboards and much more from names you should know like Tony Siruno, Craig Kellman, Andy Bialk, Kory Heinzen and Tim Lamb (and many others) fill the pages. Absolutely great stuff. What do you have to do win a free copy? The first five people to correctly answer the following Megamind question in the comments section below will get it (Dreamworks/PDI employees should refrain from answering).
Here’s the Question:
What is the name of Megamind’s TV reporter girlfriend?
The contest is now CLOSED! Winners are listed in the comments section below. Thank you for your participation. To all those who didn’t win… buy the book, it’s one of the best “Art-Ofs” I’ve seen, and makes a great Christmas gift.
P.S. We no longer announce Cartoon Brew Pop Quiz Contests in advance. They will appear occasionally and mysteriously. The reason: we had server overloads the last few times we gave advance notice. So keep reading Cartoon Brew regularly for your chance to win free books and DVDs. You never know.
Though not strictly an animated film, Tron Legacy certainly has its roots in animation and contains some incredible CG visuals. Yay or Nay? Should our readers go see it? Those who’ve screened it should post their reviews below.
Meanwhile, for those of you who need a Tron recap, check out the cardboard version below (originally posted here back in March 2008):
New details have emerged about Henry Selick’s new San Francisco animation studio Cinderbiter Productions. A job recruitment post on CreativeHeads offered the following details:
Cinderbiter is a new stop-motion company whose mandate is to make great, scary films for young ‘uns with a small, tight-knit crew who watch each other’s backs. Joining Henry on Cinderbiter’s first production will be veteran team members Eric Leighton and the celebrated production designer, Lou Romano. That’s right — Lou Romano!
They’re currently hiring a head of story for their first project, titled Shademaker, and if you want to work alongside Lou Romano–that’s right, Lou Romano!–here are the the requirements: