New On-Line School: Entertainment Arts Academy

The former Senior Art Director of Disney Interactive Armando Soto is partnering with several colleagues in the industry to help usher in the next generation of animators and artists.

Described by Soto as an “attractive alternative to high cost art animation art classes”, EntertainmentArtsAcademy.com is an Internet on-line learning website that aims to stand out with 1-2 high quality entertainment arts classes at a cost of only $20.

“We only have the first few classes up right now but by the end of this month we will have 10 classes on-line and ready to watch,” explained Soto. ” We hope to subtitle into French, Italian, German and Spanish soon. Since you seem to have a passion for art I wanted to let you know we are alive and hope to make big things happen this year.”

For $20, visitors to EntertainmentArtsAcademy.com can take as many classes as they want, a sharp difference from other institutions that offer a sole workshop ranging between $100 to $500.

“I believe that in tough economic times like this with art being canceled in some school programs this might be a great alternative for parents and college students to take advantage of,” Soto explained.

Starz Animation Toronto Opens VFX wing

Toronto, Ont. — February 15, 2011 — Building on its success as Canada’s leading production studio for digital animation, Starz Animation Toronto has recently opened a visual effects and creature animation wing to leverage its strong reputation for quality and reliability into the live action market. Bolstered by a team of VFX leadership and artists who’d found earlier success at the former C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures in Toronto, the Starz Animation Toronto VFX crew, already topping 100, has in short order attracted a trio of high-profile projects, with more in the pipeline, according to Head of Studio David Steinberg.

Leading the company’s upcoming VFX slate:

  • “Camelot,” an Irish-Canadian co-production starring Joseph Fiennes, Eva Green and Jamie Campbell Bower, being produced for the Toronto studio’s parent company Starz Entertainment and Oscar®-winner Graham King’s GK-tv, whose first foray into TV is this epic retelling of the King Arthur legend.  Starz Animation Toronto is delivering all 600 shots for this ambitious project, set to air on Starz starting April 1.
  • Robosapien: Rebooted, a theatrical live-action family film from Avi Arad Productions (Arad’s credits include X-Men, Spider Man, and Iron Man) for which Starz Animation Toronto is animating the title character.
  • Dolphin Tale, a fall 2011 release from Alcon Films and Warner Bros., starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. Starz Animation Toronto has been chosen to provide all the VFX for this stereoscopic film inspired by a true story of a dolphin rescued off the Florida coast.

“We’re already known as the guys who can deliver quality performance animation consistently and affordably, as proven these past few years on films like (Tim Burton’s) 9 and our latest, Gnomeo and Juliet,” Steinberg says. “The opportunity hit us like a two-by-four to bring that same ‘wow factor’ to the great big world of VFX.  We knew we could leverage our pipeline and infrastructure, but the clincher was when we met seasoned supervisors like Bret Culp and Terry Bradley–these guys have 40 years of feature and TV VFX experience between them — and the incredible team of talent they helped us wrangle, who are already producing mind-blowing shots for our clients.”

“It was an easy decision for me and my colleagues to join the Starz team and help develop a new VFX division,” says award-winning Visual Effects Producer/Supervisor Bret Culp, who led VFX for films like Silent Hill and such TV projects as “The Tudors.”  “Right out of the gate, this new unit is one of the strongest I’ve ever worked with, both because of the talent we’ve assembled and the great resources and inspiring environment that a place like Starz Animation provides.”

Its recent expansion into visual effects is but the latest successful undertaking for Starz Animation Toronto. The studio last year built a full stereoscopic 3-D unit to produce the animation for the new Touchstone Pictures and Rocket Pictures release, Gnomeo & Juliet. Its work can also be seen in the award-winning animated feature 9, from Focus Features, and TV holiday special, “Yes, Virginia,” for Macy’s, the Ebeling Group and JWT.


Zoo Atlanta names newborn panda after character in “Kung Fu Panda 2″

ATLANTA, Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Officials at Zoo Atlanta and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) have issued a joint announcement that the only giant panda cub born in the U.S. in 2010 has a name: Po. The name is a tribute to the lead character, Po the panda, in the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film, Kung Fu Panda 2, which will be distributed by Paramount Pictures starting on May 26, 2011. The announcement was made this morning by representatives from Zoo Atlanta and DreamWorks Animation, the official sponsor of the 100 Day Giant Panda Cub Celebration and the naming of Po. Actor Jack Black, who voiced the iconic character of Po the panda in Kung Fu Panda – which grossed over $630 million at the worldwide box office – and who will reprise his role in the upcoming sequel, was present for the naming of the newborn panda cub.

“Today’s announcement is the beginning of an amazing alliance between Zoo Atlanta and DreamWorks Animation. Our organizations share a commitment to giant panda conservation, particularly at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta. “We are proud and honored to share this moment with Jack Black, who has already helped to bring the importance of saving this species to a new generation of conservationists.”

Giant pandas are among the world’s rarest mammals, with fewer than 1,600 believed to remain in the wild. The giant panda program at Zoo Atlanta supports conservation programs at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and in nature reserves in China.

In the Kung Fu Panda films, Po is an unlikely hero challenged by preconceived notions of what a kung fu warrior should be. Following the likeable but clumsy Po and his allies on a series of adventures, the films celebrate the power of self-worth and the ability of an individual to affect positive change.

These themes are equally fitting for the giant panda cub. He is an ambassador for his species, helping to draw attention to the plight of giant pandas in the wild. Born to Lun Lun on November 3, 2010, the 3-month-old now known as Po is already proving to be a great ambassador. Followed by thousands of fans on the world-famous PandaCam presented by EarthCam, the cub is expected to make his public debut in late March or early April. View the PandaCam at www.zooatlanta.org/pandacam.

“The Backwater Gospel”

Backwater Gospel

The Animation Workshop, a school in Viborg, Denmark, has posted this year’s crop of student films onto their Vimeo page. The school has embraced the model of successful French animation schools, like Gobelins and Supinfocom, that encourages students to work in teams. Like those schools, the Workshop’s films exhibit the same strengths (incredible production values and technical craftsmanship) and weaknesses (stories lacking point of view and personal voice).

I haven’t watched all of The Animation Workshop’s graduation films yet (the program is 3-1/2 years hence the mid-year debut of these films), but among the ones I have seen, The Backwater Gospel is a visual standout. The film offers a fresh look that I haven’t seen before, although Luis Cook’s The Pearce Sisters could be considered a stylistic forefather.

The Backwater Gospel filmmakers–there’s eight of them–made a sincere attempt at stylization, not only in how they textured the characters and used flat lighting, but how they fused that together with a restrained style of movement that doesn’t immediately yell out, “I’m CG!” In particular, I love the stylized mouth shapes of the hobo character, which have a nice sculpted look.

Drenched in grim atmosphere, every frame looks like a fully rendered illustration; the effect of seeing the characters move through space so effortlessly appeared jarring at times because my eyes didn’t expect to see illustrations moving like this. Terrific use is also made of Flash, which is seamlessly integrated into the CGI.

Continue reading

Tokyo International Anime Fair Announces 10th Annual Event

Anime Festival marks its 10th Anniversary
Tokyo International Anime Fair 2011
Business Day: March 24 (Thu) – 25 (Fri)
Public Day: March 26 (Sat) – 27 (Sun)
TOKYO BIG SIGHT (East Exhibition Halls No. 1, 2, 3 and others)

The Tokyo International Anime Fair Executive Committee (Chairman: Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo) will host the “Tokyo International Anime Fair 2011” at Tokyo Big Sight from Thursday March 24 to Sunday March 27, 2011. This year’s fair is the tenth in the annual series. This fair is an international exhibition in which anime-related companies and organizations such as animation production companies, TV and film companies, toy and game software companies gather from both Japan and overseas. The fair has been held in spring every year since 2002, and it marks its 10th anniversary this year.

The 2011 fair consists of three main features: “Trade Fair” where visitors can obtain the very latest information, “Competition” which will see the best anime works being selected and presented with awards, and “Events” which offers features such as symposiums, stage events and special exhibitions.

- Highlights of TAF 2011 -

[Trade Fair] Large number of exhibitions by anime-related companies from Japan and overseas!

This year, 161 anime-related companies and organizations will participate at the venue of the Trade Show offering 480 booths (as of February 7, 2011). On Business Days, PR events and business negotiations will be held targeting business visitors, and many business visitors and buyers from inside and outside Japan come to see the fair every year. On Public Days, PR for new animations and booth events will be held for general visitors, so not only domestic and international anime fans but also families can enjoy the fair. Moreover, the fair is also making an effort to foster young creators by offering a “Creators World” that provides business opportunities to support gifted young creators.

[Competition] Which work will win the “Animation of The Year?”

“Tokyo Anime Award” is the 10th competition for anime works. Last year, the theatrical animated film “SUMMER WARS” won the Grand Prix award, “Animation of The Year” There are two categories: “Nomination Entries” for commercial anime aired, screened and sold in Japan over the past year, and “Open Entries” for general entrants including those from overseas, with the aim of seeking out new talent. Those chosen as the best works will be awarded various prizes and an awards ceremony will take place. As an international anime festival, the number of open entries reached 396 works from 19 countries including Japan (304 of them are overseas works). There will also be a ceremony for “Special Contribution Awards” held to honor people contributing to the development of the animation industry.

[Event] Packed with events that kids and families can enjoy
Events that people with children or families can enjoy such as character shows for kids and anime song live performances will be held on Public Days. On Business Days, symposiums and lectures by foreign VIPs and front-line creators and researchers will also be held. Further, we plan to hold a 10th anniversary special planned exhibition.

New ‘Cars 2′ characters & toyline revealed at 2011 Toy Fair

NEW YORK–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Disney revved its engines and kicked off American International Toy Fair today as it unveiled the all new Disney·Pixar Cars 2 toy line of more than 300 toys before a capacity crowd of toy industry insiders and members of D23, Disney’s official fan community. Academy Award®-winning actor Michael Caine, voice of the charming and eloquent new Cars 2 British agent Finn McMissile and actress Emily Mortimer, voice of his spy-in-training Holley Shiftwell, were on hand for a panel discussion and were presented with custom-built toys celebrating their Cars 2 characters. From toys that interact, speak, and climb up walls to new collectable die-cast and buildable play sets, the new Cars line-up is packed with creativity and innovation. The hottest toys at Toy Fair and this year’s most anticipated, new Cars toys unveiled at the event included: Mattel’s Lightning McQueen Alive, The LEGO Group’s Spy Jet Escape, and Spin Master’s Zero Gravity Finn McMissile radio control vehicle. The event culminated with a reception showcasing the hundreds of new toys that will release this May and into the holiday season, plus a sneak peek at the upcoming multi-platform Cars 2: The Video Game and a first look at a life-size Finn McMissile car. Cars 2 hits the track June 24 and will be presented in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢ and in IMAX® 3D in select theaters.

In less than five years since the film’s release in 2006, the Cars franchise has generated global retail sales of more than $8 billion — making it among Disney’s top franchises and quickly establishing itself as a true classic. This momentum will go into high gear as Cars 2 becomes what Disney Consumer Products expects to be its largest licensed film merchandise program ever. The program is anchored by an array of innovative toys featuring the film’s World Grand Prix race and international espionage themes. Cars 2 will also be supported with unprecedented product lines from stationery, apparel and accessories to home décor, books, and food, health and beauty, and an exclusive range from Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.

Returning to the driver’s seat to direct Cars 2, John Lasseter surprised guests via a special videotaped greeting and revealed John Turturro as the voice of new character and Lightning McQueen rival, Francesco Bernoulli. “The idea for Cars 2 began when I was traveling around the world doing publicity for Cars. I found myself looking out at these amazing cities and imagining, ‘what would Mater do?’ I couldn’t help but laugh thinking about Mater lost in the maze of Tokyo streets, driving on the wrong side of the road in England or navigating the gigantic roundabouts in Paris,” Lasseter said. “I’m sure fans and collectors will be as thrilled as I was to see these new adventures come to life in this exciting toy line, which features some of the most amazing technology out there.”

At the event, Disney also revealed two additional new Cars 2 characters: Miles Axlerod, voiced by the talented Eddie Izzard, is a former oil baron who has sold off his fortune, converted himself into an electric vehicle and devoted his life to finding the renewable, clean-burning energy source of the future — he’s also the car behind the World Grand Prix; and Nigel Gearsley, an Aston Martin DB9R racer bearing #9. His cool British refinement makes him an imposing presence on the World Grand Prix courses.

With more than 200 million Cars die-cast vehicles sold worldwide to date, innovation was critical to keep the new Cars toy line fresh. Disney challenged the best in the toy industry including Mattel, The LEGO Group, Spin Master and Hasbro to deliver the next generation of Cars toys. The resulting line includes new innovations such as Lightning McQueen Alive (sneak peek demo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djVlI-pqtVM) which was unveiled at the event and is the first toy of its kind to utilize touch sensors and cutting-edge micro technology to capture the look, sound, moves and animated personality of everyone’s favorite red racer with never-before-seen features in a 1:55 scale car.

“The first Cars film has been a phenomenon because kids love the characters and racing. Cars 2 not only has great racing, but it also has a spy twist that is pure toy bliss,” said Vince Klaseus, senior vice president of Global Toys, Disney Consumer Products. “Cars 2 is our largest toy line yet with more 300 new toys and it offers something for everyone — we have cars that can be dramatically customized in wild and expressive ways, cars that transform and even cars that climb walls.”

Companies behind ‘Bakuman’ come back with new series, ‘Redakai’

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2011 — As a follow-up to the hit entertainment property and cultural phenomenon Bakugan, Spin Master Ltd. will once again bring its all-new boys action property, Redakai: Conquer The Kairu to Cartoon Network. A co-production between Spin Master and global TV production giant Zodiak Kids/Marathon Media, the televised series will debut on the network in the U.S. in the second half of 2011.

A 52 x 26′ animated series, co-produced by Zodiak Kids/Marathon Media (Totally Spies, Rekkit Rabbit, Gormiti) and Spin Master (multi-award-winning boys’ action hit Bakugan Battle Brawlers), Redakai: Conquer the Kairu is an animated kids adventure series starring Ky, a 15-year-old student of ancient martial arts who embarks on an incredible quest to find the Kairu, a primordial alien energy force. Helped by his friends Maya and Boomer, Ky travels the globe looking for the Kairu to protect it from his extraterrestrial teenage opponents, with the hope that one day he will become the greatest Kairu warrior of them all — a Redakai.

With its unrivalled experience as a children’s entertainment company, Spin Master will roll out a highly original and innovative trading card game and line of toys soon after the series’ broadcast debut.

“Spin Master really tapped into what boys love with Bakugan, and we’ve packed even more action, fun, and innovation into Redakai,” says Jennifer Dodge, Executive Producer at Spin Master Entertainment. “Cartoon Network is the premiere destination for such a boys adventure series and we can’t wait to see the impact Redakai is going to have once it finally hits this summer.”

“Partnering with Spin Master on a property of this magnitude has been an incredibly exciting experience for us,” adds Vincent Chalvon Demersay and David Michel of Zodiak Kids (Marathon Media). “With its great quest narrative and a superb animation quality, we wanted to make sure that Redakai would be a compelling adventure series that would stand out on its own.”

This new boys action series targeted at kids aged 6-11 is being unveiled for the first time at the American International Toy Fair in New York, Feb. 13-16.

Cartoon Network Enterprises, the licensing and merchandising arm of the network, will serve as the exclusive licensing agent for Redakai in the U.S. and Canada. Zodiak Kids/Marathon Media holds worldwide television distribution rights to the series and all licensing and merchandising rights, excluding North America.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed Brings Flawed Dogs to DreamWorks Animation

GLENDALE, Calif., Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that Pulitzer prize winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is bringing Flawed Dogs, his previously published picture book and novel, to the big screen for a feature film adaption at the studio. Breathed is best known for creating Bloom County, a 1980s cartoon-comic strip featuring Opus the Penguin. He will serve as executive producer on the project, which DreamWorks Animation’s head of development Alex Schwartz and development executive Damon Ross are overseeing.

Flawed Dogs tells the fabled tale of a dachshund whose dreams are shattered when he is wrongly exiled from his loving human family by a jealous show dog. Landing in the Last Ditch Dog Depository, our hero rallies a comically misfit troop of “flawed” dogs to help him take down his purebred nemesis at the International Dog Show Championship in Rome.

“In Flawed Dogs, we have a dog movie that has edge as well as heart, which will be inspired by the singularly brilliant visual and comedic sensibility of Berkeley Breathed,” said Schwartz. “At DreamWorks Animation we are excited to work with him on what we believe to be a universally appealing story that captures the unique and profound relationship between humans and their dogs.”

“All my stories are sparked by a nugget of truth hiding in plain sight. In this case, it’s that all animals dream… but only dogs dream of us,” added Berkeley Breathed. “I look forward to collaborating with the talented creative team at DreamWorks Animation to bring Flawed Dogs to cinematic life.”

Fonda Snyder of Alchemy Ink, Inc. is representing Berkeley Breathed.

FreemantleMedia and Random House CSE partner to develop 2 new shows

LONDON, 14 February 2011: FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) has signed a development deal to co-produce and distribute two new shows, co-developed by Random House Children’s Screen Entertainment (RHCSE), a joint venture between Random House Children’s Books (RHCB) and Komixx Entertainment, a Komixx Media Group company.

The two shows, based on original RHCB stories, will be jointly produced and financed by RHCSE and FME, with FME taking on worldwide distribution, licensing and home entertainment rights. The initial focus for both properties will be for television broadcast, with scope to develop into additional areas including games and toys. Both properties will appeal to kids across a broad spectrum of demographics.

The chosen titles are Fish Head Steve and The Amazing Adventures of Charlie Small.

Fish Head Steve is based on the Jamie Smart comic strip originally published by David Fickling in the weekly children’s comic, the DFC. Fish Head Steve is a surreal comedy-soap about everyday events in Spumville where, in a flash, the heads of the townsfolk have been mysteriously swapped for household objects and family pets.

The popular series The Amazing Adventures of Charlie Small by Nick Ward features the turbulent and perilous adventures of an intrepid boy Charlie Small as he travels through time and space. A special Charlie Small adventure was published for World Book Day 2010, selling over 115,000 copies. The stories include Professor Jakeman’s wondrous and wacky inventions the ‘Mechanimals’ which appear in the nick-of-time. The Charlie Small series is published by RHCB.

Sander Schwartz, EVP and Head of FME’s Children’s and Family Entertainment Division said: “These two shows promise to entertain kids and families in countries around the world. Both series will feature compelling characters, great original storylines and themes from the books, and stunning visuals. We’re delighted to be working with RHCSE on these projects. With their unsurpassed portfolio of great properties and commitment to the family and kids’ entertainment space, I am confident that we will find many future opportunities for collaboration and mutual endeavour.”

Andrew Cole-Bulgin, Head of film and TV at RHCSE said: “RHCSE aims to create enduring entertainment brands, with original characters that have global appeal. The FME team has an impeccable track record in children’s and family entertainment and represents exactly our entertainment values and qualities. We share the same goals for these shows and with FME’s worldwide presence they will undoubtedly help deliver on our global brand-building aspirations.”

Philippa Dickinson, MD Random House Children’s Books, comments: “We are delighted that compelling storytelling from authors Jamie Smart and Nick Ward, combined with the DFB and DFC editorial expertise, has now created an opportunity for these wonderful characters to reach an even wider audience.  We are also very pleased to be working with FME and RHCSE on these projects.”

Yearbook Drawings of Bob Clampett

Bob Clampett Yearbook

Someone is selling Bob Clampett’s 1930 high school yearbook on eBay. Clampett, one of the best known short cartoon directors of the Golden Age of Hollywood animation, directed dozens of Warner Bros. cartoons including Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid, A Tale of Two Kitties, A Corny Concerto, Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, and The Big Snooze, as well as created Beany & Cecil.

As a member of the yearbook staff, Clampett created numerous drawings for the 1930 volume of The Scroll, the yearbook for Glendale’s Herbert Hoover High School. He would have been sixteen years old at the time. Never being known for his drawing skills, Clampett’s early drawings bear that out and are cruder than the high school artwork I’ve seen for other Golden Age animation artists. His skills and abilities were elsewhere.

We’ve collected his yearbook drawings after the jump.

Continue reading

BAFTA awards “Toy Story 3″ and “The Eagleman Stag”; Randy Newman wins a Grammy

Award Season continues: The British Academy Awards were announced last night in London. Congratulations to Pixar for winning Best Animated Feature – and to Michael Please for The Eagleman Stag winning in Best Animated Short. Complete list of BAFTA winners here.

On a related note: Toy Story 3 also won a Grammy last night for “Best Score, Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media”. Congrats to Randy Newman for this win.

Drawings from the Left

Here’s a shout-out to my friend James “Tim” Walker. Walker is both a long-time veteran of the animation business (currently at Warner Bros. Animation) and one of the champions in preserving the golden age of animation (Pssst, you can see some of his incredible collection online, over at The Animation Guild Blog where it’s posted under the alias “The Mega-Collector“).

A few years ago, Walker was diagnosed with Lateral Parkinsons Disease on his right side. Since then, he’s re-learned to draw using his left hand and he’s just published a sketch book showing his incredible progress over the last three years. Drawings From The Left is a testament to his amazing abilities as a cartoonist and should be an inspiration to all.

The book is now on Amazon, but if you live in LA, Walker is doing a book signing on Friday March 18th at Decor Art Galleries (12149 Ventura Blvd in Studio City, CA). I highly recommend attending the book signing to meet Tim, one of the real “good guys” in this business.

In the Future, We Will All Be Animation Filmmakers

Xtranormal

If you’re a regular reader of the Brew, then you might already be familiar with the companies discussed in today’s Wall Street Journal article about the rise of quickly-made, and in some cases do-it-yourself, digital animation. The companies were Xtranormal, Next Media Animation, and Go! Animate.

The article raises all sorts of fascinating questions. For example:

1.) Xtranormal now charges users an average of $1 to make a cartoon and expects to begin turning a profit by the middle of this year. Could charging people to create short animated films be the future of making money from on-line animation instead of charging people to watch cartoons.

2.) How far are we from the day when artists and studios license their artwork to companies like Xtranormal giving fans an easy-to-use system for creating cartoons based on popular characters. Let’s say you could create your own cartoon using characters from Gnomeo and Juliet. It could happen, and I can’t think of a better way of allowing someone to interact with an animated character that they like.

3.) Multiple examples are provided in the article of development execs and producers who have contacted writers after seeing their work on Xtranormal. How long will it be before an animated series is sold in Hollywood based on the work of a writer discovered on Xtranormal?

4.) Richard Appel, one of the exec producers on The Cleveland Show, said of Xtranormal’s cartoons: “It’s a writer’s medium that’s cleverly found a way to get people to look at their screen and listen to what’s being said.” Is that really any different from shows like South Park or any of Seth MacFarlane’s series? In TV animation, the visual elements of animation have been de-emphasized to the point where they no longer matter (Chuck Jones’s infamous “illustrated radio”), and Xtranormal appears to be only the next step in that evolution. But will there ever be an easy-to-use animation tool that allows the masses to take advantage of animation’s visual possibilities?

2011 SXSW Film Festival announces animated shorts line-up

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival is thrilled to announce features in the Midnighters and SXFantastic sections, as well as the complete short films lineup, which will debut at this year’s Festival, which runs from March 11 — 19, 2011 in Austin, Texas.

A key component of the SXSW Film lineup, the Festival offers two midnight feature programs, each including five titles. The long-standing Midnighters section has hosted the premieres and fostered the careers of such filmmakers as Ti West, Eli Roth, and Scott Glosserman, and is programmed by SXSW Senior Programmer & Conference Manager Jarod Neece. In 2009, SXSW added the SXFantastic sidebar, a series of midnight films programmed by Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the U.S. Last year, the section was home to the world premieres of Gareth Edward’s Monsters and the much buzzed about A Serbian Film.

”Our midnight programs are the bloody, beating heart of SXSW,” said SXSW Film Conference & Festival Producer Janet Pierson. “Since the beginning, midnight films have been an essential ingredient to what makes SXSW so exciting and fun, and this year’s selections are no exception.”

150 short films were selected from 3,089 short film submissions, and will screen as part of twelve overall shorts programs. Short film submissions saw an increase of 29% over 2010. A comprehensive list of the short films lineup is detailed below. For more information on Midnighters and the complete SXSW Film Lineup (features and shorts), visit www.sxsw.com/film. For more information on SXFantastic and Fantastic Fest, visit www.fantasticfest.com/sxfantastic/.

“After months of reviewing a record number of submissions, we’re tremendously happy to share the final program,” said Shorts Programmers Claudette Godfrey and Stephanie Noone, “The short films selected this year delve into the space between families, lovers, strangers and the void within ourselves, examining what those spaces mean, and the length to which we go to fill, cope with, conquer and mend them. We can’t wait for the SXSW audiences to experience them!“

The SXSW Film Festival will open on Friday, March 11, 2011 with Duncan Jones’ Source Code. In addition to nine full days of film screenings, SXSW Film will ultimately feature over 80 sessions of panels and workshops in the Film Conference. For details on the confirmed sessions, selected from proposals submitted via the SXSW PanelPickerâ„¢ interface, visit www.sxsw.com/film/talks. The final panel and conference lineup will be announced on Tuesday, February 15. Visit http://www.sxsw.com/film for more information and updates.

[Editor’s Note: Listed below is the “Animated Shorts” category; for a complete listing of categories, visit SXSW’s website.]

ANIMATED SHORTS
An assortment of stories told using a mix of traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in-between. The winner of our Grand Jury Award in this category is eligible for a 2012 Academy Award nomination for Best Animated short.

The Beaufort Diaries
Director: Alex Petrowsky
When you’re a dying breed in Hollywood, sometimes it’s tough to go with the floe.

BOOBatary
Director: Leah Shore
A secretary types with her boobs.

Denmark
Director: Daniel Fickle
Pily, a lovable crustacean of mixed origin struggles to escape his underwater home when it becomes threatened by pollution.

Dinosaur Ballet
Director: Ross Butter
A short animation, showcasing the grace and poise of our prehistoric forerunners.

The Eagleman Stag
Director: Mikey Please
If you repeat the word ‘fly’ for long enough it sounds like you’re saying ‘life’. This is of no help to Peter. His answers lie in the brain of a beetle.

Get With The Program
Director: Jennifer Drummond Deutrom
The complacent inhabitants of this near-future society devise ways to adapt to the constant demands of the techno dystopia they have created.

Heart
Director: Erick Oh
An exploration of transcendence. This short presents questions through abstract metaphors and symbols, illustrated by the human heart.

A LOST AND FOUND BOX OF HUMAN SENSATION
Directors: Martin Wallner & Stefan Leuchtenberg
When his father dies unexpectedly, a young man seeking to cope with his grief goes on a powerful emotional journey through time and space.

Paths of Hate
Director: Damian Nenow
A short tale about the demons that slumber deep in the human soul and have the power to push people into the abyss of blind hate, fury and rage.

Preferably Blue
Director: Alan Dickson
Not everyone loves Christmas.

Teddy Goldblatt
Director: Rob Munday
In a post-apocalyptic world a lemon called Teddy finds his legs.

Weather Report
Director: Olivia Taussig
A catalogue of nine headlines, illuminating apocalyptic undercurrents. Headlines become ironic expositions, highlighting fantastical variables and animals play.

The Wonder Hospital
Director: Beomsik Shimbe Shim
A surreal journey through a mysterious hospital that alters the perception of physical beauties.

ANIMATED SHORTS
An assortment of stories told using a mix of traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in-between. The winner of our Grand Jury Award in this category is eligible for a 2012 Academy Award nomination for Best Animated short.

The Beaufort Diaries
Director: Alex Petrowsky
When you’re a dying breed in Hollywood, sometimes it’s tough to go with the floe.

BOOBatary
Director: Leah Shore
A secretary types with her boobs.

Denmark
Director: Daniel Fickle
Pily, a lovable crustacean of mixed origin struggles to escape his underwater home when it becomes threatened by pollution.

Dinosaur Ballet
Director: Ross Butter
A short animation, showcasing the grace and poise of our prehistoric forerunners.

The Eagleman Stag
Director: Mikey Please
If you repeat the word ‘fly’ for long enough it sounds like you’re saying ‘life’. This is of no help to Peter. His answers lie in the brain of a beetle.

Get With The Program
Director: Jennifer Drummond Deutrom
The complacent inhabitants of this near-future society devise ways to adapt to the constant demands of the techno dystopia they have created.

Heart
Director: Erick Oh
An exploration of transcendence. This short presents questions through abstract metaphors and symbols, illustrated by the human heart.

A LOST AND FOUND BOX OF HUMAN SENSATION
Directors: Martin Wallner & Stefan Leuchtenberg
When his father dies unexpectedly, a young man seeking to cope with his grief goes on a powerful emotional journey through time and space.

Paths of Hate
Director: Damian Nenow
A short tale about the demons that slumber deep in the human soul and have the power to push people into the abyss of blind hate, fury and rage.

Preferably Blue
Director: Alan Dickson
Not everyone loves Christmas.

Teddy Goldblatt
Director: Rob Munday
In a post-apocalyptic world a lemon called Teddy finds his legs.

Weather Report
Director: Olivia Taussig
A catalogue of nine headlines, illuminating apocalyptic undercurrents. Headlines become ironic expositions, highlighting fantastical variables and animals play.

The Wonder Hospital
Director: Beomsik Shimbe Shim
A surreal journey through a mysterious hospital that alters the perception of physical beauties.

J.J. Sedelmaier to speak at Society of Illustrators

Hollywood may be home to the big animation studios, but there’s no shortage of cartoon creators in New York City, the city that gave birth to animation. Join Joe Strike for “Interview with an Animator,” a multi-part series of live, in-person conversations with some of New York’s best known and most creative animation professionals.

On February 24th, Joe will interview J.J. Sedelmaier, writer/producer/director/designer, Beavis & Butthead (MTV), Harvey Birdman ([adult swim]) Saturday TV Funhouse and The Ambiguously Gay Duo (Saturday Night Live) and many award winning TV commercials.

Joe Strike has written about animation for the Daily News, Newsday, New York Press and is a regular contributor to the entertainment industry website Animation World Network (awn.com). He has taught Mass Communications at St. John’s University in New York City, scripted for the Nickelodeon series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, adapted anime scripts into English and worked on the children’s TV series The Great Space Coaster and Pee-wee’s Playhouse. As Senior Producer of the Sci-Fi Channel’s promotion department, Joe created programming featuring celebrities like Stan Lee, animator Ralph Bakshi and the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Tickets

$15 non-members, $10 members, $7 students

[email protected]

The Society of Illustrators is located at:
128 East 63rd Street
(between Park and Lexington Avenues)
New York, NY 10065

Visit the Society of Illustrators website for more information:

“Gnomeo and Juliet” talkback

Gnomeo and Juliet opens today in theatres across the United States. It’s a Touchstone (aka Disney) release of an Elton John/Starz production, directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2).

Kenneth Turan in the LA Times, calls it “Playful, inventive and endearing”. Stephen Holden in the NY Times was less enthused. He calls it “a discombobulated grab bag of jokes, peopled with characters who have little emotional resonance”.

I’ve seen it, and I say its a very enjoyable little B-film. Had a smile on my face throughout. Cute picture, and better than I thought it would be. But it didn’t need the “Dreamworks dance sequence” at the end – and I don’t think it’ll be up for the Oscar next year.

What did you think? Comments are open below to anyone who has seen it and wants to post their opinion.

“Nanuq” by Jill Jones

Here’s the trailer for an intriguing short film called Nanuq which merges live action with stop motion animation. It’s a re-imagining of an Eskimo myth about a young girl hospitalized in Alaska for surgery who meets an elderly Eskimo man there for the same reason. In the real world (live action), he becomes her guide, while in her dreams and nightmares (stop motion), he is her protector in a stark Arctic landscape.

LA-based Jill Jones directed and Brent Yontz produced, with Marina Cavalli (Robot Chicken) directing the animation.

Anime “Dream Eater Merry” gets U.S. Distribution

HOUSTON, February 13, 2011–Sentai Filmworks today announced its acquisition of DREAM EATER MERRY, the latest hit anime series from animation powerhouse J.C. STAFF (Excel Saga, Azumanga Daioh, Revolutionary Girl Utena,) Based on the hit manga by Ushiki Yoshitaka, directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi (Street Fighter Alpha, Boys Over Flowers,) using scripts and story compositions by Hideki Shirane and character designs by Masahiro Fuji (both Hayate the Combat Butler,) the 12 episode DREAM EATER MERRY series rolls out the unique premise of a boy with the ability to predict dreams who becomes the focus of the ambitions of a unique race of demons who use dreams to access our world!

Sometimes daydreaming can get you into trouble, but what do you do when it’s OTHER people’s dreams that you have to watch out for? For the last 10 years Yumeji Fujiwara’s life has been getting progressively stranger, beginning with suddenly gaining the ability to predict what kind of dreams other people will have! Then his own dreams took a bizarre turn in which he was being pursued by armies of cats! Now, however, the weird-o-meter has just maxed out: Not only has Yumeji learned that the leader of the dream cats needs Yumeji’s body to access the real world, but a beautiful girl suddenly drops on top of him and announces that she’s a Dream Demon who needs to return to HER world! There are a lot of sleepless nights ahead, as Yumeji has to deal with the dream stalking, a dream walking and the little bitty problem of the fabric separating reality and fantasy being torn to shreds in DREAM EATER MERRY!

Anime series “Cat Shit One” posted on YouTube for free viewing

The full CG animation Cat Shit One (run time: 22 min) is available FREE for 2 weeks, starting Midnight, 02.05.2011 on YouTube. IDA, Inc. (International Digital Artists, CEO Junya Okabe) is showing the brand-new CG animation, full-length and uncut, completely free. “If it’s going to happen anyway, then I’m going to do it! This is my passionate response to rampant piracy,” says Producer Okabe. It is limited to the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The free showing is limited to a 2-week period. To watch the full-length episode: Click Here! Recently on February 1st at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, VES Awards (Visual Effects Society), America’s premier VFX technology trade group, nominated ‘Cat Shit One’ along with Pixar’s ‘Day and Night’ for awards. DVD and Blu-ray go on sale on Amazon.com, at the same time as the YouTube release. As a bonus feature, commentaries on the military action scenes by the tactical advisor and interviews with the production staff are also included.

The stereoscopic 3D version of ‘Cat Shit One’ is already completed and available. Contact us for the broadcasting and distribution details of the 3D version. Original comics ‘Cat Shit One’ is written by renowned war manga artist, Motofumi Kobayashi and published by SOFTBANK Creative corp (Japan). The translated version has been sold in the U.S., Spain and Poland.

‘CAT SHIT ONE’ (Full-length episode: 22 minutes)

A group of desert terrorists kidnap civilians. A team of rabbit commandos, Packy and Botasky, from the Carrot Military Service, a private military company, witness a murder of an escaping hostage. Afraid that the rest of the hostages will undergo the same situation, the team demands backup. However, the backup arrival time will be too late for the hostages. ‘Their lives are in our hands!’ Without any other options, the rabbit commandos charge for the enemy line on their own.

Director: Kazuya Sasahara
Producer: Junya Okabe
Original Story: Motofumi Kobayashi
Production: IDA, Inc. / anima, Inc.,
Copyright: (c) 2010 Motofumi Kobayashi/ anima・IDA