Bob Clampett’s Maps of Warner Bros. Cartoons Studios

Bob Clampett Map

Don’t miss these never-before-seen hand-drawn maps by director Bob Clampett illustrating the various Warner Bros. animation facilities (called Leon Schlesinger Productions at the time) and identifying where the artists worked.

It’s a nice complement to this recent photo that turned up on eBay that identifies the various buildings on Disney’s Hyperion lot in the 1930s.

Hyperion legend

“Thursday” by Matthias Hoegg

Matthias Hoegg whose earlier student short August was featured in Cartoon Brew TV’s Student Animation Festival, has followed up with an even more impressive graduation short Thursday. Produced at the Royal College of Art in London, the short was nominated for a BAFTA last year. The slice-of-life love story takes place in an unsentimental near-future where emotion struggles to break through an onslaught of techno-gadgetry.

Patterns, rhythms and color dominate the visual design of the film. Hoegg says in this Motionographer interview that he was inspired primarily by American quilts and Eduardo Paolozzi’s mosaics. Credit also belongs to the sound designer Marian Mentrup, whose rich layer of audio adds a degree of warmth and humanity to the images.

See concept art from the film on Matthias’s website.

CREDITS
Sound Design and Music by Marian Mentrup
“Thursday’s Space Waltz” written and performed by Marian Mentrup
Published by Kobrow Musikverlag
Additional Animation by Aaron Lampert
Additional Modeling by Mattias Bjurström
Foley Artist Günther Röhn
Mixed at Talking Animals Studio Berlin

(Thanks, Fiachra Hackett)

“Heart,” A Music Video That Moves Unlike Any Other

This Japanese music video for group_inou‘s “Heart” by AC部 is pretty incredible. I can’t find any information in English about the directors, but they appear to be a Japanese collective comprised of three artists. If you know more about them, please share.

Some would argue that the video is incredible for all the wrong reasons–trippy, creepy, freaky!–but the unorthodox style works because the directors sell us their vision with complete conviction. In an animation world where everybody strives to make characters move according to established rules and principles, it’s refreshing to see animators betray every convention of the natural world–even if that vision is at odds with the “correct” way of animating. It’s always exhilarating when an animator establishes their own rules of movement and has the ability to execute those ideas with clarity and skill. AC pulls off that feat in “Heart.”

Below is another piece of animation by AC:

(Thanks, David OReilly)

Milt Kahl is Even Grumpier Than You Thought

Milt Kahl

If you read just one thing today, make it this newly released 1976 interview with Disney animator Milt Kahl conducted by Michael Barrier and Milton Gray. Hearing Kahl speak his mind brings the past alive in a way that few history books can, and sheds light on the divisions and rivalries between the golden age Disney animators. When the interview took place, Kahl had recently left the Disney studio after forty-plus years and he doesn’t mince words:

“The way that I feel about it is that my performance in The Rescuers is good. The only thing is that you know that this picture is going to be mediocre. It has a few high spots, but it’s full of bad taste that is, as I like to put it, tempered by bad judgment. That’s kind of a lousy way to put it, but I feel that way. I’m really rather bitter about the set-up, about some of the people who I thought considered that we were working together, and I find that we really weren’t. Here I am, a person at the height of my powers, and I feel there’s not a place for me anymore. I don’t want to be involved; I can’t fight this thing. And there certainly isn’t a place for me anywhere else in this business.”

New “Looney Tunes Show” clips

We are getting a clearer picture of what to expect from Cartoon Network’s new Looney Tunes Show which is now set to premiere May 3rd at 8pm. The channel has set up a new website loaded with images, downloads and many clips. For example, this musical Yosemite Sam video…

And this update of Marvin Martian…

Daffy, Bugs and Sam ghost-bust a house…

And here is an example of the CG Road Runner and Coyote (TV style):

Viz To Debut New Anime Series “Tiger and Bunny” Online Simultaneous to Japanese Debut

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA)VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, invites fans to dive into the crime-fighting action of one of the most anticipated anime series of 2011 with the simulcast premiere of Tiger & Bunny on Saturday, April 2nd. The new series launches on VIZAnime.com, the company’s exclusive web destination for anime, the same day it debuts in Japan! New FREE weekly episodes (subtitled) will be available to stream on VIZAnime beginning at 12:00pm (PST) each Saturday.

Tiger & Bunny (rated TV-14) is directed by Keiichi Sato (director of The Big O), with original character designs by Masakazu Katsura, creator of I”S and Video Girl AI (also released by VIZ Media). Stern Bild is a metropolitan city where superheroes called NEXT help to maintain peace. Sporting sponsor logos on their suits, these heroes work to solve cases and save people’s lives in order to earn Hero Points, while also helping to improve the public image of their corporate sponsors. Their activities are documented and broadcast by the popular show “HERO TV,” in which each superhero strives to become the “King of Heroes” of the year.

One such hero is Wild Tiger (real name Kotetsu T. Kaburagi), a veteran superhero who relies on his years of experience and instincts to fight crime. Though obligated to work for his boss’s best interest, Kotetsu follows his own code of honor and is even willing to cause destruction to public property for the sake of protecting the lives of his fellow citizens. Over time, he has grudgingly earned the nickname “Crusher for Justice.” Now, Kotetsu suddenly finds himself forced to team up with rookie hero Barnaby Brooks Jr.

Tiger & Bunny is the latest series from the famed anime studio, Sunrise, and we’re very excited to make it available to fans in North America exclusively through VIZAnime.com,” says Ken Sasaki, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of VIZ Media. “The inventive story matches a veteran hero who is dealing with all kinds of quirky personal and professional problems with a young partner who is impulsive and unmanageable. When they team up to fight crime, they also usually end up battling each other. Tiger & Bunny is a fun new series that combines plenty action and humor with an exploration of an unlikely friendship, and we invite fans to catch the premiere!”

To view the official trailer and to follow Tiger & Bunny on the official Facebook page, please visit http://www.facebook.com/TigerAndBunny. For more information on Tiger & Bunny and other animated titles from VIZ Media please visit www.VIZAnime.com.

NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival Revives Animated Shorts Program, titled “All You Can Eat”

The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by American Express, the founding sponsor of the Festival, today announced its lineup of 60 short films, 22 of which are world premieres.

Also new this year, the recipient of the TFF Best Narrative Short award will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

The short film program will be presented in eight thematic programs and a wide range of cultural perspectives. Drawn from 2,862 submissions, the program represents 21 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Haiti, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States.

This year’s Festival shorts exemplify a broad spectrum of styles and storytelling, including an animated program and the always-popular New York shorts program. From zombies taking over Manhattan to the humanitarian effort in Haiti, these short films represent a range of genres and subjects. The program features performances by Campbell Scott, Anthony LaPaglia, Jean Reno, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Brendan Gleeson, Colin Quinn, Carmine Famiglietti and Eddie Marsan, and animated shorts featuring the voices of David Duchovny, Joseph Fiennes and Ian McKellan.

Returning TFF directors include Thomas Hefferon, Rider and Shiloh Strong, Barney Elliot, Rick Rodgers, Jay Rosenblatt, Brian Doyle, Scott Nyerges and Ken Jacobs.

“Each of our short film programs promises an entertaining journey, exposing an audience to filmmaking they may not have the opportunity to see otherwise,” said Sharon Badal, TFF head short film programmer. “Whether narrative, documentary, experimental or animation, these short films exhibit extraordinary talent. We’re thrilled to bring films from around the globe to our Festival, and with a large number of world premieres, to share many of them with an audience for the first time.”

The works in the 2011 TFF short film lineup are eligible to compete for combined cash and value-in-kind prizes totaling more than $15,000 for Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and Student Visionary Award.

[Editor's Note: Press release edited to show online the animated category. Go to Tribeca's site for the full press release.]

All You Can Eat (Narrative) Recommended for ages 14 and up

This tasty assortment of animated shorts will leave you hungry for more. A polar bear in Hollywood has trouble going with the “floe” in The Beaufort Diaries. Love isn’t what it’s cracked up to be in Not Over Easy. In Year Zero a sole survivor battles the zombie apocalypse in New York City. A lonely and bitter Easter Bunny hatches a plan to steal the spotlight from Santa in Preferably Blue. Follow the lives of seemingly random characters in Just That Sort of a Day. A man’s journey through grief is revealed in A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation. It’s a ravishing ride through an imaginary animated landscape in Harmonium Mountain.

The Beaufort Diaries, (USA) New York Premiere, directed by Alex Petrowsky, written by T Cooper

Not Over Easy, (Canada), New York Premiere, directed by Jordan Canning, written by Jody Richardson and Jordan Canning

Year Zero, (USA), World Premiere, directed and written by Richard Cunningham III

Preferably Blue, (New Zealand), New York Premiere, directed by Alan Dickson, written by Wayne Ching

Just That Sort of a Day, (India), New York Premiere, directed and written by Abhay Kumar

A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation, (Germany), New York Premiere, directed by Martin Wallner and Stefan Leuchtenberg, written by Martin Wallner

Harmonium Mountain, (USA), New York Premiere, directed by Clifford Ross

San Francisco Gallery Hosts Art Auction for Japan Earthquake Relief with Works from Leading Animation Artists

ONE by Patrick Awa — To Be Auctioned For ONE Event At NEW PEOPLE

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA)New People, the nation’s only entertainment complex dedicated to Japanese popular culture, joins forces with San Francisco-based animation company Maverix Studios to present ONE, a silent auction art benefit to be held on Saturday April 2nd to raise funds and awareness for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. New People’s SUPERFROG Gallery hosts the special event and will open its doors at 12:00 noon for a public viewing of the auction items. A reception party and bidding begins at 7:00pm.

New People and Maverix Studios will donate 100% of the proceeds to the Artists Help Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Fund and Mercy Corps.  New People is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown at 1746 Post St. More information on the auction event is available at: www.newpeopleworld.com.

ONE features an inspired collection of original artworks created by more than 35 celebrated artists from the animation and film industries, including works by artists from Pixar, LucasFilms, Dreamworks, Nickelodeon and many more. Participating artists include Dice Tsusumi, Robert Valley, Ronnie Del Carmen, Enrico Casarosa, Scott Morse, Bill Presing, Steve Purcell, Lou Romano, Cam De Leon, Tooru Terada, Daniel Simon, John Wayshak, Dan Mchale, Patrick Awa, Joey Chou, Ed Bell, Todd Ueminami, Marcos Mateu, Mari Inukai ,Yoriko Ito, Jackie Huang, Soosa Kim, Jamie Baker, Alina Chou, Oren Haskins, Sei Nakashima, Julia Lundman, Le Tang, Mark Sperber, Ted Mathot ,Tom Rubalcava, Derek Thompson, Sho Murase, Sergio Paez, Vaughn Ross, and Nate Stanton. Additional works from also critically acclaimed fine artists such as Miya Ando and Kent Williams will also be offered.

Artists Help Japan is a charity movement initiated by Dice Tsutsumi, art director at Pixar Animation Studios who was also behind 2008 Totoro Forest Project to help preserve Sayama Forest in Japan and currently in work in progress, Sketchtravel Project, to gather the force of communities of artists and creative minds around the world. They believe artists have special roles to contribute to the society.

Ten art communities from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Paris, Toronto and Pittsburgh have signed up to do fund raising events to contribute to this movement and have collected over $60,000 through cash donations.

Artists Help Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Fund is responding to the immediate needs of survivors as well as short-term to long-term recovery projects undertaken by the affected communities.  Artists Help Japan is partnering with Give2Asia and Mercy Corps for the U.S. fund raising drive.  Both NPOs have long-lasting partnerships with local Japanese NPOs that are well regarded in Japan.  It is said that the humanitarian mission in this case in Japan requires good coordination with local organizations and they believe their choices are some of the best choices to send your funds to help most effectively.

Mercy Corps is a highly regarded non-profit with a high efficiency rating on Charity Navigator and maintains a strong partnership with Peace Winds Japan, a highly regarded local Japanese NPO.

On March 11th, a potent 9.0 earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan near the city of Sendai and was the most powerful earthquake the country ever experienced. The earthquake and tsunami that followed displaced more than 100,000 children from their homes and more than 380,000 people have been evacuated across the country. Many tsunami-affected areas are still cut off from relief and Japan remains on high alert for the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. More than 465 roads, 43 railways and seven bridges have been completely washed away.

Cartoon Network Arabic Imports Animated Game Show “Skatoony”

Skatoony, an animated game show that pits child contestants against cartoon characters, is scheduled to premiere in Arabic on free-to-air channel Cartoon Network Arabic on April 5 across the Mena region.

In conjunction with Blink Studios, Cartoon Network Arabic has adapted the content of a full season of Skatoony in line with its mission to create and deliver local content to the region, a statement said.

Launched in English in 2006, Skatoony, combining live action and animation, will bring together over 35 Arab children from across the region in entertaining playoffs to appear throughout 13 weekly 22-minute episodes of Skatoony.

In every episode, Skatoony brings together three cartoon characters and three Arab children to compete through three fast paced rounds of quizzing, with contestants competing to win a place in the Skatoony quiz champ challenge to win prizes.

The show is hosted by ‘Professor Abu El Uraif’ (Chudd Chudders), ‘El Jagal’ (The Earl) and ‘Ashik Dinar’ (Tony Eagle-Eyes) whose names and dialects have been adapted to cater to an ever growing fan base of Cartoon Network Arabic viewers.

BREW ADVISORY: New CB Biz Editor

Chris ArrantWe are happy to announce that a new member has joined Cartoon Brew’s editorial team. Chris Arrant is the editor of CB Biz where he curates a daily collection of breaking news releases from across the industry. His addition to our editorial team addresses one of the most common requests we receive, which is to offer a broader spectrum of straight industry coverage. His posts can be conveniently accessed via the INDUSTRY HEADLINES box in the right-hand column.

A little more about him: Chris Arrant is a freelance writer specializing in comics, animation and film. In addition to being the editor of CB Biz for CartoonBrew.com, he writes about entertainment for Newsarama.com, MTVGeek.Com, CBR’s Robot 6 blog, iFanboy.com and Marvel’s Marvel Spotlight magazine and website. He is also a published comics writer, writing 2008’s Female Force: Princess Diana and doing stories in anthologies such as Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo, 24seven Vol. 2 and Negative Burn.

Publicists may submit their press releases directly to Chris at the following e-mail: PR [at] cartoonbrew [dot] com

Canada’s CBC Commissions “Monster Math Squad”

DHX Media Ltd (TSX: DHX), a leading independent international producer and distributor of mostly children’s television programming and interactive content is pleased to announce the new CG animated series Monster Math Squad starring loveable monsters who help children develop formative math-related skills. The preschool show has been commissioned by CBC and SRC in Canada and will be produced by DHX Media’s Halifax-based studio, further boosting DHX’s library of standout preschool properties.

“We all know that preschoolers love to learn,” says Kim Wilson, Creative Head for Children’s and Youth Programming at CBC, “so taking a concept like early numeracy and pairing it with a fantastic monster world of fun is a winning combination. DHX has a history of creating wonderful user-focused programs of the highest quality so we are thrilled. “

The Middle East Explained via “Three Little Pigs” and Angry Birds

Russian animator Egor Zhgun mashed up audio from Disney’s Three Little Pigs and an Angry Birds graphic style to create Three Big Pigs, an explanation of the situation in the Middle East. It’s a testament to the iconic quality and staying power of Walt Disney’s filmmaking that, nearly eighty years after the fact, one of his shorts can be successfully remixed in a new context.

Warner Home Video Releases “Happiness Is…Peanuts: Snoopy’s Adventures” DVD

Warner Home Video (WHV) is set to release more endearing escapades of the beloved Beagle, Snoopy with Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢: Snoopy’s Adventures, available in stores June 14, 2011. This release kicks off a new DVD collection from WHV that features themed compilations of favorite Peanuts television programs. Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢: Snoopy’s Adventures pairs TV special Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown with an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show on one disc. The DVD will retail for $14.97 SRP.

Is Snoopy really planning on tying the knot? In the Emmy® Award nominated Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown, everyone in the Peanuts gang pitches in, in an effort to make preparations for Snoopy’s big wedding day.

While acting as Peppermint Patty’s watchdog one night, Snoopy meets the girl of his dreams, Genevieve, a beautiful Poodle. Genevieve and Snoopy begin courting and soon after, he proposes. Snoopy asks his brother Spike to be his “best Beagle,” prompting Spike to embark on a long and arduous journey from Needles, California to participate in the event. Charlie Brown takes Snoopy to a tuxedo shop where he is fitted for proper wedding attire, which includes a cane and swanky top hat. The excitement builds as the big day draws near but Snoopy gets increasingly nervous about leaving his bachelorhood behind. Will wedding bells ring for Snoopy?

Happiness is…Peanutsâ„¢: Snoopy’s Adventures also includes an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, the Daytime Emmy® Award nominated program featuring animated skits based on Peanuts comic strips created by Charles M. Schulz. The episode is comprised of the following three segments:

* Snoopy’s Foot — Snoopy tries to play baseball with his foot in a cast.
* Giant — Snoopy and Woodstock grow a beanstalk and meet up with a giant.
* Rerun — Lucy and Linus’ little brother Rerun, meets a little girl in the supermarket.

“We thought consumers would enjoy having the chance to sample an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, which hasn’t been seen on TV in a while or released on DVD before and so we paired it with a classic Peanuts special for a really fun title that centers on Snoopy as a character,” said Jeff Brown, WHV Executive Vice President and GM of Non-Theatrical Franchise. He added, “Everyone has their favorite Peanuts character and our goal with these new themed releases is to be able to showcase as many beloved characters as we can, starting with Snoopy in Snoopy’s Adventures.”

“Invader Zim” script reading

This’ll be one of the nerdiest things I’ve posted on the Brew, but if you are as big a fan of Invader ZIM as I, you’ll understand. Rikki Simons (voice of “Gir” on ZIM) got together last weekend at InvaderCon in Georgia with Richard Horvitz (ZIM), Andy Berman (Dib), Melissa Fahn (Gaz), and writer Eric Trueheart to do a live script reading of a couple of unproduced episodes. Rikki posted Mopiness of Doom here and I’ve embed Day of da Spookies below. It’s worth viewing just to watch Richard Horvitz scream…

Comedy Central Renews “Futurama” For 26 New Episodes

The future is looking bright for Fry, Leela and Bender! Comedy Central and Twentieth Century Fox Television have announced today the pick-up of 26 new episodes (Seasons “7-A” and “7-B”) of Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s brilliantly subversive animated sci-fi comedy, Futurama. The announcement was made today by Twentieth Century Fox Television Chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden, and David Bernath, Executive Vice President, program strategy and multiplatform programming for Comedy Central. The first installment of 13 new episodes will premiere in the summer of 2012, with the additional 13 new episodes to air the following summer of 2013 on Comedy Central.

Seven years after its last original episode aired on Fox, the sixth season premiere of Futurama last June led Comedy Central to its best Thursday prime ever among young men. The animated sci-fi comedy continued its out-of-this-world winning streak throughout the summer, averaging 2.5 million viewers each week, along with a 1.5 P18-49 rating, a 3.0 M18-34 rating and 3.3 M18-24 rating. In the social media realm, the Futurama Facebook fan base has grown from one million “likes” prior to its return last summer to over 11 million “likes” today, making it one of the top television sites on Facebook.

“Successfully bringing the show back last summer was gratifying enough,” said Bernath. “Now, being able to extend the series for two more years is beyond our expectations! The dedicated fans have spoken and we are excited to bring them ‘Futurama’ for the foreseeable future.”

“We’re very grateful to COMEDY CENTRAL and Twentieth Television for this show of support,” said Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. “Our entire staff will celebrate tonight by going out and getting even drunker.”

“Matt and David created one of the most brilliantly subversive animated comedies ever made in ‘Futurama’ and we consider its continued life on COMEDY CENTRAL to be a huge victory for this studio,” commented TCFTV Chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “This show is a tremendous labor of love for all concerned, from its talented voice cast to the incredible writers and animators who pour so much of themselves into every episode. And its fans are among the most loyal and passionate there are, so we’re especially pleased to be able to promise them many more original episodes to look forward to in the years ahead.”

The show’s entire original voice cast will be returning, including stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John DiMaggio. “It is my great honor to be back with all my friends and colleagues,” said West. “There’s nothing better.”

John DiMaggio commented, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!”

“Futurama” was a staple of Fox’s Sunday night animation block from 1999 to 2003 before ceasing production on original episodes. In June 2006, COMEDY CENTRAL acquired the rights to the existing 72 episodes of the series, which the channel began airing in January 2008 and four recently-produced extended-length “Futurama” adventures: “Bender’s Big Score,” “The Beast with a Billion Backs,” “Bender’s Game” and “Into the Wild Green Yonder,” which enjoyed enormous success both on COMEDY CENTRAL and in DVD release. “Futurama” is only the second series in the history of the medium to go back into production based on the strength of its DVD sales and repeat airings on cable.

“Futurama” focuses on the life of Philip Fry (Billy West), a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999 and wakes up 1,000 years later with a fresh start at life and a “diverse” new group of friends including Leela (Katey Sagal), a tough but lovely one-eyed alien and Bender (John DiMaggio), a robot who possesses human characteristics and flaws. The series aired for five seasons on Fox (1999 to 2003) earning Emmy® nominations each season while winning three times, including “Outstanding Animated Program” in 2002.

“Futurama,” created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen, is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television, with Rough Draft Studios, Inc. contributing the animation.

New York’s SVA Announces 22nd Annual Dusty Film & Animation Festival

The 22nd Annual Dusty Film and Animation Festival kicks off Friday, May 6 and continues through Tuesday, May 10 highlighting over 100 films by students graduating from the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). The program includes screenings of short films, videos and animations, and culminates in an awards ceremony with notables from the film and animation industries. This year’s Screenwriters Night is in collaboration with Susan Batson Studio featuring SVA graduating screenwriters’ selected scenes performed live by professional actors. All festival screenings, the Awards Ceremony and Screenwriters Night will take place at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues). Many events are FREE and open to the general public. For more event information, please visit: www.sva.edu/dusty.

“We are pleased to kick off our Dusty Film and Animation FestiVal May 6,” said Reeves Lehmann, chair of the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at SVA. “We’re proud to celebrate another great year for our filmmakers and animators with a festival that offers audiences the chance to see the works of remarkable new talent. And this year, our 22nd year, promises to be one filled with many colorful, dramatic, funny and remarkable stories-all through the amazing world of film, video and animation!”

Awards are presented to students from the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at the School of Visual Arts who are recognized for outstanding thesis work. The 2011 Dusty Film and Animation Festival and Awards are produced by film producer and SVA faculty member Annie Flocco, with co-producer Meredith Engstrom.

Past Dusty Awards presenters have included SVA alumni, industry notables and award-winners such as Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Phil Donahue, John D. Dilworth, Chris Newman, Stephen Rotter, Nancy Schreiber, James C. Strouse, Danny Aiello, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Combs, Wes Craven, Griffin Dunne, Harvey Keitel, Kevin Kline, David Koepp, Mira Nair, Bill Plympton, John Patrick Shanley, Bryan Singer, Treat Williams and more. The 2011 presenters will be announced in the coming weeks. Screenwriters Night, Saturday, May 7, 2011, is presented in collaboration with Susan Batson Studio. Five-minute scenes by SVA’s screenwriting thesis students are set to be performed live on stage. Screenwriters Night will be directed by Susan Batson, founder of Susan Batson Studio, and produced by film producer and SVA faculty member Annie Flocco. “I am thrilled to be collaborating with Susan Batson on Screenwriters Night this year,” said Flocco. “And excited to see Susan and her actors bring to life the words of our talented screenwriters.”

Susan Batson has been called a “technician of the spirit” by The New Yorker. She has enjoyed the privilege of working with Nicole Kidman, Juliette Binoche, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Sean Combs, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connelly, and countless others. Susan Batson is the author of the book Truth: Personas, Needs, and Flaws In The Art of Building Actors and Creating Characters and has been profiled in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Backstage.

Over its more than two-decade history, the Dustys has introduced many graduates of the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department who have gone on to earn national and international recognition. Alumnus and Los Angeles-based film producer Randall Emmett (BFA 1994 Film and Video) has teamed up with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson to shoot a series of films in West Michigan. Among the accomplishments of last year’s graduates of the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department, Joe Minasi (BFA 2010 Film and Video) and Rob Kolodny (BFA 2010 Film and Video) have been awarded prizes for their thesis films. Minasi’s film In the Key of D was winner of the Best Student Film in the Silk City Flick Festival; Best Picture and Best Cinematography in the NYC Filmmakers Film Festival; as well as Best Picture of the Audience Choice award in the East End Film Festival. Kolodny was also awarded Best Set Design and Best Cinematography in the Manalapan Film Festival for his film Shelter, and his film, Land of Nod was screened at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives. Dot, a short comedy directed and produced by 2010 NYWIFT Next Wave scholarship recipient Bennett Elliott (BFA 2010 Film and Video), kicks off the Garden State Film Festival this year. Also at the same festival, Kyle Mumford (BFA 2010 Film and Video) will have a special sneak screening of his first feature film, His Naked Mind. Alumnus William Wedig’s (BFA 2006 Film and Video) film Forged was named the Best Domestic Feature at the 2010 New York International Latino Film Festival. Another Dusty Film and Animation Award recipient making headlines is Jake Armstrong (BFA 2009 Animation). His animation The Terrible Thing of Alpha 9! was featured on the website Cartoon Brew. Notable alumni of the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at SVA also includes Michael Giacchino (BFA 1990 Film and Video), who won a 2010 Academy Award for his score for Up.

Trailer: “A Morning Stroll” by Grant Orchard

A Morning Stroll

Promising trailer for A Morning Stroll by Grant Orchard, whose brilliant timing and shrewd minimalism have made him a long-time favorite of mine. The short was produced by Studio AKA which also reps Orchard for commercial work. Here’s a bit more about his latest, which will premiere at Annecy in June:

‘When a New Yorker walks past a chicken on his morning stroll, we’re left to wonder which one is the real city slicker…’ Based loosely on a real life event recounted in Paul Auster’s brilliant book True Tales of American Life, Grant Orchard’s A Morning Stroll tells the story of one New Yorker’s early morning encounter with a chicken, an event that plays out over 100 years.

TV Promos by Rodrigo Leme

Rio de Janeiro-based animator Rodrigo Leme directed and animated these spots while working in-house at Globosat TV in Brazil. The top piece promoted the airing of the four Indiana Jones films, while the bottom was a promo for a block of horror films.

CREDITS
“Indiana Jones Rock Song Promo”
Art Direction/Animation: RodrigoLeme
Writer/Lyrics: Alex Mendes
Music: Eduardo Miguens

“Fear Club” Promo”
Art Direction/3D/Animation: RodrigoLeme
Writer: AlexMendes
Sound: Flavio Biniou

“Invitation to the Dance” on Warner Archive DVD

Just released on Warner Archive’s on-demand line of DVDs is Gene Kelly’s ambitious ballet film Invitation to the Dance. The film’s third segment, “Sinbad the Sailor,” is a half-hour combination of live-action and animation, the latter directed by MGM’s team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. The film has never been on DVD before, and if not necessarily a classic, the combination of Kelly, Hanna and Barbera makes for some fun moments.

The delightfully grouchy Ed Benedict, who I interviewed in 2002 for Animation Blast #8, spoke about his involvement in the film and why he disliked it:

“That was a miserable project. I was at home…[Fred] Quimby called and briefly described this project that he wanted me to come over and work on. I got the impression that I would be designing this so I was excited. I was quite enthusiastic about it and felt challenged. I went over and started fumbling around, making scribbles, trying to find a style. But they weren’t the designs that I originally did. I just turned my back away from the whole thing as much as I could. I got Don Driscoll, a friend of mine who worked at Paul Fennell’s, to paint the backgrounds. He had the ability but he wasn’t the painter. Anybody could have painted the backgrounds because they didn’t have anything on them.

Invitation to the Dance was a farce and I was shocked because if you look at a lot of the old MGM musicals, they used Lautrec, Cezanne and a lot of different styles of backgrounds, just great stuff. Gene Kelly is running the show more or less on those type of decisions and he’s over there making the approvals on this stuff. There’s samples coming from the art department on the main lot, others besides myself were handing in ideas, and nothing took place.”

See some of Ed’s development art from the film HERE.

“Dog Skateboard” versus “Dogboarding”

Last month, we posted Dog Skateboard by Nate Milton of The Amigo Unit.

Lo and behold, twenty-six days later there’s the release of the viral hit Dogboarding created by the LA-based duo Daniels (aka Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan).

If the Daniels had somehow built on the idea and turned it into something else, it would be less irritating. But they took a one-note gag, redid the exact same thing using a different technique without adding a single idea of their own, and regurgitated it onto the unsuspecting public. At least that’s how I see it. What’s your take?

UPDATE: Daniel Kwan of the Daniels wrote a lengthy comment that says they came up with the idea of dog-boarding in December 2010 and finished the project last December:

I can 100% understand how crazy this sounds, but this is in fact an insane coincidence that we, the amigo unit and ourselves, as two separate entities came up with the same idea at the same time (the internet-influenced collective consciousness is causing us all to come to similar ideas and conclusions? who knows!). We actually finished this project in Dec, but due to some setbacks and misunderstandings weren’t able to release it until now. So seeing as the amigo unit’s video hadn’t come out until a month ago, it would be pretty impossible for us to have copied them.

I don’t want to have to be a stickler about all of this, but we have documents and emails dating back to early december of last year discussing this project. We even have a treatment that says 2010 on it :p. We shot test footage and did effects test, which we uploaded to vimeo as a private link on Dec 13th. We have meta data on our footage that shows that we shot the entire video on location in LA mid december, and even had a rough cut done by the end of dec that we uploaded a private link up onto vimeo to share with people (and we still have that cut up online, still private, but with the text “3 months ago” on it, as in, this video was uploaded 3 months ago :] ).

You can read Kwan’s entire comment below.

CG Squash and Stretch Just Got a Little Easier

fStretch

To paraphrase Patrick Henry, Give me squash and stretch or give me death. As an outsider to the CG animation production process, I’m struck by how inefficient industry-standard software seems to be in accomplishing basic animation principles like squash and stretch (or squish and squash, as some enlightened animation execs like to call it). From what I’ve read and seen, Matthieu Fiorilli’s fStretch, his Maya plug-in for Windows and Linux which just came out with a 2.0 version, appears to be a decent solution to tedious blend shapes and allows riggers and animators to achieve squash and stretch more intuitively:

Its unique work flow allows one to precisely control effects such as stretch and squash, wrinkles and fat deformations to name a few. At one end, it lets one create cartoony rig with stunning stretch and squash while at the other end, it will allow another to create very realistic fat deformations.

If you have experience with fStretch or just want to talk about CG squash and stretch, share your thoughts in the comments. An fStretch demo vid is below. Go HERE for a detailed ‘making of’ for the fun Albert Einstein facial animation at the beginning of that demo. (Don’t worry, I didn’t know it was supposed to be Einstein either until after I read the making of.) To learn more about the plug-in or download a demo, visit CGAddict.com.