First Look: “The Adventures of Tintin”

Our first glimpse of Spielberg’s (and Jackson’s) mo-cap Tintin movie. They are still afraid to show us their faces – and I’m still not entirely sure why this film had to be motion capture – but it’s looking quite good nonetheless.

UPDATE: The Hi-Def Japanese trailer contains a few different shots

(Thanks, Chris Sobieniak)

Should I Post My Film On-Line?: A Filmmaker’s Perspective

Tiny Inventions

Max Porter of the husband-and-wife animation team Tiny Inventions wrote a fascinating blog post about the pros and cons of immediately distributing their short Something Left, Something Taken on-line last year instead of waiting for the film to complete its festival run:

I read a comment on a popular film blog a while back that asked how filmmakers could afford to give their work away for free. Ru and I always felt the exact opposite. How could we afford not to put our work online? For us it was simple. We reasoned that the sale of our animation could not possibly generate enough money to sustain our life in New York. By putting our work in a place that people could see it, we actually ended up making far more money from opportunities created from the online presence than we had in previous years.

PS: As further proof that times have changed, Something Left, Something Taken is one of two American shorts competing in the shorts category at Annecy next month.

First Look: Fox’s Animated “Napoleon Dynamite”

Fox has released a trailer for their upcoming animated Napoleon Dynamite series based on the 2004 indie live-action comedy of the same name. The show is animated (quite poorly it appears) by Rough Draft Studios. In the cautious post-creator driven era of TV animation, Napoleon Dynamite and Flintstones revivals are as good as it’s going to get on Fox.

San Diego Comic-Con Has Competition: Introducing Trickster!

Trickster

Last year, some Bay Area artists began discussing the idea for an alternative to the overcrowded and rudderless San Diego Comic-Con International. They discussed their ideas on a Facebook page called Creator-Con, and threw around suggestions for what they wanted to see in a counter-festival: a dealers room filled with comics and artist-created products that they’d actually want to buy, in-depth classes and how-tos, and a casual and relaxed environment for catching up with old friends and making new ones. Most importantly, they wanted a place that celebrated creating art instead of the Comic-Con’s shift towards consumerism and its many tentacles including Hollywood, fandom and cosplay.

The idea found plenty of grassroots support, and lead to a new event called TR!CKSTER which will debut throughout the week of Comic-Con (July 19-24, 2011) literally across the street from the San Diego Convention Center. Here’s the map:

Trickster

And here’s the place – the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center:

Trickster

To understand the philosophy behind the event and the reason for its name, I’d suggest starting here. The lofty and admirable ambitions of TR!CKSTER–spearheaded by creators Scott Morse and Ted Mathot–include promoting a stronger bond between creator and audience, while eliminating barriers like convention booths and tables so that everyone can interact and learn from one another.

The three main components of the festival are:

* Symposia, a series of intensive workshops revolving around the theme of storytelling, with the participation of Mike Mignola, Mike Allred, Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, Skottie Young, Jim Mahfood, Scott Morse, Ted Mathot, Derek Thompson, Greg Rucka, Craig Yoe, and others to be announced soon.

* A huge retail area where creators will be selling their wares and doing signings throughout the day. (Unlike Comic-Con, there is no admission fee. The Symposia events cost money, but everything else is FREE.)

* A coffee and cocktail bar, drawing areas with live models, a gallery space, live musical performances and DJs, and film screenings. (Note: Cartoon Brew is a proud sponsor of the inaugural edition and we’re planning some animation screenings. More details to come.)

For more information, visit TricksterTrickster.com or go to Trickster’s Facebook page.

Seth MacFarlane to reboot “The Flintstones”

Nikki Finke is reporting that Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) is going to reboot The Flintstones for both television series and theatrical movies. Apparently this deal was long time in negotiation between 20th Century-Fox (MacFarlane’s home base) and Warner Bros. (who own The Flintstones).

On a related/unrelated matter, the 1966 Adam West Batman series has been held up for years due to legal wrangling between Fox and Warners… perhaps this MacFarlane deal could help untangle that impasse.

(Thanks, Greg Chenoweth)

Fox Announces Two New Animated Series, “Allen Gregory” and “Napoleon Dynamite”

[Editor’s Note: As part of today’s announcement of Fox’s 2011-2012 Primetime Schedule, two new animated series will be joining the network. Actor Jonah Hill’s Allen Gregory and an animated spin-off of the live-action film Napoleon Dynamite. Here’s the information from the press release.]

Allen Gregory (Sundays, 8:30pm EST)

Allen Gregory is a new animated comedy series that tells the story of one of the most pretentious 7-year-olds of our time. When he looks in the mirror, Allen Gregory De Longpre (Jonah Hill, Superbad, Get Him To The Greek) doesn’t see a child. He sees a young man who is intelligent, sophisticated, worldly, artistic and romantic — characteristics he inherited from his doting father, Richard (French Stewart, Private Practice, 3rd Rock From The Sun). The pair share an extraordinary father-son bond — a bond that is sometimes annoyingly interrupted by Richard’s life partner, Jeremy (Nat Faxon, The Cleveland Show, Reno 911!), for whom Allen Gregory has minimal respect, if any at all. They live together in a stunning architectural loft, along with Julie (Joy Osmanski, Grey’s Anatomy), Allen Gregory’s adopted Cambodian sister. Although Allen Gregory has allegedly composed operas, written novels and dated Chloë Sevigny, he’s about to embark on his greatest challenge yet: leaving the safety of his father’s homeschooling and attending elementary school with children his own age. His journey will be a struggle, not only with the other kids at school, but with the faculty as well. Whether it’s the all-out rivalry with Gina Winthrop  (guest voice Leslie Mann, Funny People), his by-the-book second grade teacher; his unique relationship with Judith Gottlieb (guest voice Renée Taylor, How I Met Your Mother), his 68-year-old principal; or his desperate desire to be best friends with Joel Zadak (guest voice Jake Johnson, Get Him to the Greek), the school’s popular stud, Allen Gregory has his work cut out for him. With the help of his trusty friend and assistant, Patrick Vanderweel (Cristina Pucelli, Finley the Fire Engine); and the support of Superintendent Stewart Rossmyre (Will Forte, Saturday Night Live), who believes the De Longpres are a tremendous asset to the school, Allen Gregory won’t have to get his hands too dirty. Allen Gregory is about an outsider. And while he may put on a tough exterior, deep down, all Allen Gregory wants is to fit in. Well, that, and for Julie to run away and never be seen or heard from again. And Jeremy too.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 20th Century Fox Television, Chernin Entertainment

CREATORS: Jonah Hill, Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jonah Hill, Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, David A. Goodman

VOICE CAST: Jonah Hill as Allen Gregory De Longpre, Nat Faxon as Jeremy, French Stewart as Richard, Joy Osmanski as Julie, Cristina Pucelli as Patrick, Will Forte as Superintendent Rossmyre

GUEST VOICE CAST: Leslie Mann as Ms. Winthrop, Jake Johnson as Joel, Renée Taylor as Principal Gottlieb

Napoleon Dynamite (Midseason, Unscheduled)

Based on the hit film, Napoleon Dynamite is an animated series that follows the continuing adventures of America’s most awesome awkward teenager and his quirky family and friends as they struggle to navigate small-town life in rural Idaho. The original cast from the film — Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Jon Gries and Diedrich Bader — will voice their characters in the series, and many new characters will be added along the way. Napoleon Dynamite (Heder) is a 16-year-old boy convinced — for no apparent reason — that he is destined for greatness and blessed with unlimited “sweet abilities.” He spends his days practicing ninja moves, drawing ligers, soul dancing and bragging about his “girlfriend in Oklahoma” whom nobody has ever seen. Napoleon’s brother, Kip (Ruell), is an unemployed 32-year-old who lives at home and believes he would be an amazing catch for any girl who would respond to his online come-ons. The Dynamite brothers live with Grandma (Martin), a crusty woman who can often be found four-wheeling with her lady friends at the local sand dunes. Napoleon’s allies include Pedro (Ramirez), his unflappable best friend who has recently been elected class president; and Deb (Majorino), an incredibly sweet girl who sees the good in Napoleon and dreams of someday being his wife. Napoleon’s Uncle Rico (Gries) lives out of an orange custom van, where he obsesses over his botched high school football career and dreams up ways to become rich and famous. Then there’s Rex Kwon Do (Bader), a self-proclaimed martial-arts master who runs the local dojo. Guest voices in the debut season include Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Legally Blonde), Sam Rockwell (Choke) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords).

PRODUCTION COMPANY: 20th Century Fox Television

CREATORS/EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, Mike Scully

VOICE CAST: Jon Heder as Napoleon Dynamite, Jon Gries as Uncle Rico, Aaron Ruell as Kip, Efren Ramirez as Pedro, Diedrich Bader as Rex, Tina Majorino as Deb, Sandy Martin as Grandma

Universal Studios Singapore Launching New Attraction, “Madagascar: A Crate Adventure”


Universal Studios Singapore, the world-class theme park within Resorts World Sentosa, the first integrated resort destination in Singapore, announced that guests can soon join the famous escapees from the New York Zoo when Madagascar : A Crate Adventure debuts on 16 May. This new theme park attraction is inspired by DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: DWA) Madagascar film series, one of the most successful animated movie franchises of all time.  Among the longest rides in Universal Studios Singapore,  Madagascar: A Crate Adventure is a nine-minute indoor flume ride that takes guests on a river boat adventure with Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo.

The Central Park “Zoosters” join forces with the eccentric leader of the local lemurs, King Julien — and Universal Studios Singapore guests — to help defeat the dreaded Foosa. Aided by the technically-savvy and hilarious Penguins, the heroes and guests together defeat the Foosa at the rim of a bubbling volcanic cauldron. Along the way, they encounter a giant alligator, wild-eyed spiders and more.

Mr. Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation, said: “Madagascar: A Crate Adventure is the primary attraction built within the first-ever theme park zone dedicated exclusively to all things related to and inspired by our Madagascar movie series. We are excited about the way in which it allows people to interact with DreamWorks Animation’s unique characters and worlds in a memorable family experience.”

The Madagascar: A Crate Adventure attraction, the first in the world of its kind based on the Madagascar franchise, was conceptualized by some of the world’s most creative theme park designers at Resorts World Sentosa in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation and Universal Parks & Resorts.

DreamWorks Makes Bird Films, According to the “NY Times”

The New York Times shows how not to make an animation reference in this front page article about the parakeet boom in London:

Individually, any of the rose-ringed parakeets could be the star of a DreamWorks film, electric green with bright pink beaks and the voluble personalities that have long made the tropical species a popular household pet.

Because, you know, DreamWorks has done so many films featuring colorful tropical birds, like How to Train Your Parakeet, Kung Fu Parakeet 2, and MegaParakeet. It’s pretty obvious what film the writer was trying to reference, and for the record, the studio that made the film wasn’t DreamWorks.

Animated Fragments #6

Read THIS if you want to know more about Animated Fragments. Subscribe to our channel on Vimeo to see all the Fragments.

BulbousBoiler by Julio León (Mexico)

transmediale.11 (concept/idea: Büro Achter April; director: Moritz Reichartz) (Germany)

Kasper Rides by Ryan Magnusson(United States)

Tank Girl by Timothy McCourt (UK): “Based on two panels from page 7 of Jamie Hewlett’s the Comic Tank Girl the Odyssey. I animated this using Flash and composited in After Effects.”

The Crocodile and the Deer by Mr. Fogg

Boycott Disney’s “Aladdin”

Boycott Aladdin

The war against terror didn’t end with Osama. Now it’s time to go after the root of Islamic terrorism — Disney’s 1992 feature Aladdin. The Tea Party Youth LA is starting its campaign in Orange County, home of Disneyland and patriotic Americans fighting terror.

The video was created by Sameer Asad Gardezi, a staff writer for TV series like Modern Family, and Outsourced. He created the satirical piece as a response to the fervid anti-Muslim rally (linked above) that took place a few months ago in Yorba Linda, California, which is Gardezi’s hometown.

(via Angry Asian Man)

Vanguard Films And Animation Signs 3 Picture Deal with Screenwriter Ross Venokur

John Williams, CEO of Vanguard Films and Animation, announced today the company has signed a deal with screenwriter and author Ross Venokur (The Eighth Wonder; Game Over) for three animated comedy/family films.

“Our first collaboration was the live-action project Galaxy High School, in partnership with 1492 Films and DreamWorks,” Williams commented.  ”Ross was also a fantastic contributor to crucial drafts of Space Chimps, and he wrote a hilarious CGI/live-action hybrid script for us called The Gnome King.

Venokur, who has written three novels for children, including The Autobiography of Meatball Finkelstein (Bantam), began his career in television with Carsey-Werner, then moved into screenwriting with features at New Line (All Boxed Up), Warner Brothers (Piddlesticks), Jim Henson Productions (The Grump) and Universal/Jersey Films (The Manny), among others. Venokur has sold pitches to nearly every major studio and has enjoyed considerable success doing studio re-writes, including an early draft of Night at the Museum. His feature The Inner Child is in development at Walden Media; TV credits include live-action The Tick and Kenan and Kel and he is also author of the highly-praised Kenny Scharf-illustrated Haiku! Gesundheit (Simon & Schuster).

“John and I have a great time working together,” Venokur stated.  ”We’ve always clicked creatively, and we have an extremely effective short hand that yields terrific results.  Most importantly, we both believe that our current three films are strong, commercial ideas.”

Venokur has already delivered The Nut Job, his first script under the Vanguard deal. “Just as Kung Fu Panda is a parody of the Samurai/Ninja/Martial Arts movies, and Rango a parody of Westerns,” said Venokur, “The Nut Job is a tongue in cheek parody of heist films with … critters.”

Though details of the remaining two scripts are being kept under wraps, the scripts are both underway and will be delivered shortly, as Vanguard is in advanced distribution talks for all projects.  Additional negotiations for Venokur to produce and/or direct the films will be conducted on a project by project basis.  Venokur is repped by ICM and Jonathan Hung of the Hung Entertainment Group.

PIXAR Releases More Details on “Monsters University”

[Editor’s Note: Disney/PIXAR has released more details on the forthcoming prequel to the 2001 hit film Monsters, Inc. ]

Genre: Comedy/Animation
Rating: TBD
U.S. Release Date: June 21, 2013
Voice Talent: Billy Crystal, John Goodman
Director: Dan Scanlon
Producer: Kori Rae

Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

Screaming with laughter and fun, Monsters University is directed by Dan Scanlon (Cars, Mater and the Ghostlight, Tracy) and produced by Kori Rae (Up, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Notes:

  • Monsters, Inc., originally released on November 2, 2001, was nominated for four Oscars®: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song–“If I Didn’t Have You,” for which it won.
  • Monsters University will hit U.S. theaters nearly 12 years after the Monsters, Inc. theatrical debut.
  • Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles in the prequel as the wise-cracking Mike Wazowski and lovable Sulley.
  • Monsters University features a host of new faces and a few returning favorites from Monsters, Inc.

“Hung” by Vitaliy Strokous, Eusong Lee, Chris and Kyle Baeta-Orick

Character animator Vitaliy Strokous didn’t have any films in the CalArts Producer’s Show last night (which was a great program btw, and I’ll be posting some of the films screened here in the near future), but I was told he is an animator to look out for. So I looked him up online and found this fun little film he made last year with classmates Eusong Lee, Christopher and Kyle Baeta-Orick, produced in 48 hours sometime last semester.

Former Disney Imagineering Exec Runs for Congress

Dan Adler is a former v-p of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering. Now he’s running for Congress in California with kooky and borderline inappropriate ads like the ones above and below. His website features endorsements from people who’ll be familiar to the animation community, including former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, retired Imagineering exec Marty Sklar, and Geraldine Laybourne, who launched Nickelodeon’s original animation programming in the early 1990s. Have any Brew readers ever worked with him?

Comment of the Day: There are good stories about Pixar to tell

Responding to my comment about the difficulty of writing anything interesting about Pixar nowadays, Brew reader Matt said:

It’s hard to look at Pixar as anything but perfect but if you don’t want to continually reiterate the same Pixar praise, you can instead start looking into some of the negatives surrounding the studio. Such as the recent antitrust lawsuit seeking class action status by a former LucasFilm Software engineer accusing Pixar, Lucasfilm, Google, Apple, Intuit, Adobe, and Intel of having “no solicitation” agreements with one another to curb competition for skilled labor and cap employee pay. Time will tell if it’s true or not, just hope they continue making entertaining films.

That’s a fascinating story topic, and it got me thinking about what are some other stories about Pixar that I’d like to read. Here are some suggestions:

* Non-union Pixar is notorious for paying lower wages than the other major CG feature studios. They can get away with this because the prestige of working on a Pixar feature trumps a salary. That’s an excellent position for a company to be in, but history reminds us that it’s not a sustainable approach in the long-term. The parallels between Pixar’s current approach and the Disney studio of the late-Thirties are eerily similar, especially in Pixar’s paternalistic approach to offering incentives to its employees. Take this excerpt from the New Yorker piece about Pixar’s cereal bar: “There was once a new arrival at the company, who thought the bowls provided at the bar were too small, and registered his displeasure in an email. He didn’t last. In Lasseter’s words, ‘If you’re that upset about how big the bowl for your free cereal is, leave.’” In other words, Pixar will give you free cereal as long as you eat it exactly the way they want you to eat it.

* Not entirely Pixar-related, but another story I’d love to read more about is Lasseter’s takeover of the creative side of Disney Feature Animation. Lasseter has ruffled plenty of feathers and pushed some of the top talents out of the studio (Chris Sanders, and perhaps Glen Keane next), but he’s also responsible for retooling Tangled into the studio’s biggest earner since The Lion King. Is Disney becoming more like Pixar? And is that a positive development?

* Of course, there’s also the old standby: the lack of female protagonists in Pixar’s oeuvre. The latest take on the topic is this piece in Persephone Magazine. For the record, Anthony Lane in his New Yorker piece argued that Elastigirl is a “single-handed rebuke to the charge–proved elsewhere–that Pixar has failed to place female heroes at the hub of its stories.”

Your suggestions for good Pixar stories?

Inner City animator wins Gobelins scholarship

Here’s our feel-good story of the day: Dante Buford, 22, who recently completed his B.A. in animation at Loyola Marymount University, was selected by Gobelins to participate in the highly selective character animation workshop in Paris this summer.

According to information provided to us by LMU:

Born in the city of Whittier and raised in Pico Rivera, Buford moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13 and then relocated to Inglewood his senior year of high school. A member of the Crenshaw High School class of 2007, Buford’s first exposure to higher education was attending the LMU Summer Creative Workshop. Each year, a group of talented youth from the Los Angeles inner city are mentored by LMU faculty while creating films. After attending the summer program at LMU, he eagerly applied to the School of Film and Television his senior year at Crenshaw. Upon his acceptance to LMU, he was awarded the Cosgrove Family Endowment Scholarship, which covered his tuition and expenses throughout his four-year undergraduate education.

Buford’s senior project, Interview (image above), is a short animated film about a Mom stressing out over a job interview who is sabotaged by a vindictive woman competing for the same position. This trip marks Buford’s first out of the state of California and first time flying on an airplane.

My sincerest congratulations to Dante Buford, and his classmate Christina “Kiki” Manrique who was also selected to attend the Gobelins workshop, on winning this opportunity. We look forward to posting your films here in the future.

UK’s Channel 4 To Launch New Animated Series To Rival “The Simpons” And “Family Guy”

Happy Families is a brand new, six-part animated sit-com by brothers Jack and Harry Williams (writers of Honest, The Amazing Dermot & Roman’s Empire) commissioned by Comedy Commissioning Editor Nerys Evans.

A British animation with the ambition to rival the great, long-running American animated series, Happy Families is set in the heart of British suburbia where a family much like any other lives – well sort of.

Edgar, a put upon wage slave, works for his self obsessed, borderline-evil Father-In-Law Ken Lavender. Married to houseproud wife Wendy, they are parents to three very different children, freaky weirdo Dusty, amiable idiot Jason and highly strung ‘Emo’ Eve.

The artwork comes via the talented hand of Alex Scarfe, and is animated by LA-based Rough-Draft, the company behind Family Guy, Futurama and The Simpsons Movie.

Voice Cast includes the Bafta-award-winning Kayvan Novak (Facejacker), Simon Greenall (Alan Partridge), Rosie Cavaliero (Jam and Jerusalem), Lucy Montgomery (Bellamy’s People) and Darren Boyd (Whites).

Comedy Commissioning Editor Nerys Evans said: ‘The combination of slick American animation with quintessentially British humour gives Happy Families a really distinctive feel. Not only is the dialogue laugh-out-loud funny, it’s packed with fantastic celebrity cameos and satirical swipes at every turn.’

Writers Jack and Harry said: ‘Channel 4 commissioning an animation on this scale shows just how committed they are to bringing something new to the comedy schedules. We’re delighted to be working with Shane and Nerys on this fun and ambitious project. They’re a rare breed of comedy commissioner – in that they have a sense of humour.’

Happy Families is produced by Squirrelman Productions.