A few months ago I posted about my friend, animator James “Tim” Walker who was diagnosed with Lateral Parkinsons Disease on his right side. This past week, our local L.A. CBS channel (KCBS) ran this nice piece on Walker (embed below) about his illness and his sketchbook, Drawings From The Left.
Lest we forget: a tribute to a pioneer.
(Thanks, Matt Enlow and The Birthday Boys)
The winners of the 18th edition of the popular Stuttgart’s Festival of Animated Film (Trickfilm Festival) were announced on Sunday (May 8). David O’Reilly’s The External World took home the Top prize (15,000 euros). The offbeat short about a boy who learns to play the piano was also the top award winner at the Ottawa festival last year. You can check out O’Reilly’s highly original acceptance speech here:
and watch the short in its entirety here:
The best animated feature film award (sponspored by Super RTL) went to Tono Errando Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal’s acclaimed 2D feature Chico & Rita, which has opened in various territories around the world. Here is a list of the festival’s other winners:
Best Graduation Film:
The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Lion by Alois Di Leo (U.K.)
SWR Audience Award:
The Lost Thing by Andrew Ruhemann, Shaun Tan (Australia)
Lena Weiss Award for Humanity:
Der Wechsebalg (Changeling) by Maria Steinmetz (Germany)
Best Music in an Animated Film:
The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger by Bill Plympton (U.S.)
Best Student Film:
Bottle by Kirsten Lepore (U.S.)
Best Children’s Animated Film:
Ente, Tod und Tulpe (Duck, Death and the Tulip) by Matthias Bruhn (Germany)
Animated Commercial Award:
Amnesty International: “Death Penalty” by Pleix (France 2010)
German Animation Screenplay Award:
Die letzte Welt Konradin Kunze
Online Audience Award Trickparade:
MUTO by Blu (Italy)
German Voice Actor Award:
Christoph Maria Herbst
Hahns Charles in Konferenz der Tiere
Crazy Horse Session-48h Animation Jam
Directed by Dane Winn, Constantinos Mavromic Halis (U.K.)
You can find out more about the festival at http://www.itfs.de/
Kecskemet Animation Film Festival presents the latest Hungarian animated films made in the last two years, the Festival of European Animated Feature Films and TV-Specials shows European-made animations.KAFF has two separate competitions parallel.
In 2005 KAFF became a biennial, although previously it had only been held every three years, and in 2011 the most prominent Hungarian and European animation artists will gather for the tenth time between June 15 and June 19 to celebrate Hungarian and European animation films.
In 2009, KAFF officially became the partner festival of Cartoon. So the film that wins the Grand Prix at KAFF automatically competes for the pan-European animation award, the Cartoon d’Or in 2011.
The Oregon Cartoon Institute is pleased to announce it has received its first grants, from Miller Foundation and from Kinsman Foundation. Oregon Cartoon Institute was founded in 2007 by Anne Richardson, who publishes Oregon Movies, A to Z, and film archivist Dennis Nyback. Working together, Oregon Cartoon Institute and Oregon Jewish Museum are creating the first ever public celebration of Mel Blanc as an Oregonian.
The most respected voice artist in the history of animation, Melvin Jerome Blanc grew up in Portland, was educated in Portland, and received his first professional training and work opportunities here in Portland. He conducted two parallel careers here from 1927 to 1935: he was both a musician and a radio performer. He was eight years into a show business career when he moved to Los Angeles, ready to take on Hollywood.
The Mel Blanc Project, a public history/arts education project, is a partnership between Oregon Cartoon Institute, Oregon Jewish Museum, Ethos Music Center, Oregon Historical Society and PSU’s School of Fine and Performing Arts. Oregon Cartoon Institute is fiscally sponsored by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization.
Oregon Jewish Museum’s Mel Blanc exhibit That’s Not All, Folks! opens on June 2. Oregon Cartoon Institute’s four part Mel Blanc Lecture Series begins June 8. Tickets are now on sale for the lecture series at Brown Paper Tickets Go to: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/63226
Guest speakers at the Mel Blanc Lecture Series include Gary Lacher, author of Theaters of Portland; Judy Margles, director of Oregon Jewish Museum; Craig Adams, early Portland radio historian; and Robyn Tenenbaum, producer of Live Wire. The first three lectures will be held at Ethos At IFCC, 5340 North Interstate. The final lecture will be held in Lincoln Hall,1620 SW Park Ave, where Mel Blanc himself attended high school.
Starting Tuesday, May 10, and continuing every Tuesday in May, at 7:00 PM, the Mel Blanc Project presents four “admission by donation” film programs at The Secret Society 116 NE Russell. The four evenings of 16mm films, curated by Dennis Nyback from his film archive (located at Marylhurst University), celebrate the life and times of Mel Blanc. Two of those programs, May 10 and May 24, will each feature a rare short film in which Mel Blanc himself appears.
Honky Tonk Prison, a ukulele band, will perform before the May 17 screening of Mel Blanc and the Jazz Age: Portland Jazz Baby, at the Secret Society. Dennis Nyback’s program of Jazz Age 16mm music shorts was inspired by the fact Mel Blanc received his first big break as an entertainer while singing and playing the ukulele with the Multnomah Hotel Orchestra.
Georges MéliÃ¨s’ A Trip to the Moon (1902) will be presented during the Opening evening at the Cannes Film Festival on May 11, 2011. 109 years after its first release, a fully restored color version is once again visible on screen, after being considered lost. In 2010, a restoration project was launched by Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage. Thanks to the advanced digital technologies available today, the fragments of the 13, 375 frames were reassembled and restored one by one.. The film will premiere at the Cannes Festival with an original soundtrack by the French band, AIR.
There’s a new tradition every May in the U.S. – Free Comic Book Day. It was created to help promote new wares by comics publishers as well as an attempt to lure new consumers into local comic book shops.
Free Comic Book Day was last Saturday, but if you visit your comic store this week you can most likely pick up some of the leftover freebies. This year’s batch included several animated tie-ins, including comics based on Kung Fu Panda and Batman: The Brave and The Bold.
The one I was most interested in was the new version of Richie Rich from Ape Entertainment (under their Kidzoic line) and I able to snag one today. This is not your grandfather’s Richie Rich. In fact, the Richie here is pretty unrecognizable to old purist’s like me. The old Richie was the ultimate kid’s wish-fulfillment fantasy – you know, a bowling alley in the basement, a fully stocked soda fountain in the den, tons of comic books to read.
This new Richie retains the old cast: girl friend Gloria, rival Reggie and pet Dollar Dog, along with super-robotic maid Irona and his buff, ass-kicking butler Cadbury. Everyones gotten a makeover to look more like characters in comics today – and that’s okay with me. I’m not sure how kids will relate to their globe-trotting adventures or Richie’s new personality, which is touted as a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones, “with the bank account of Donald Trump” (they might want to change that). But the artwork by Jack Lawrence (covers) and Tina Francisco (interior stories) is somewhat attractive (check out her drawings of Casper, Scrappy, Bosko and Betty Boop here), so more power to them.
If I ever get nostalgic, I still have my old, pulp paper, 12-cent Richie Rich books from the 1960s and 70s. As for these new comics… let’s just say I paid the right price for the first issue.
I’ve been to three student screenings in the past week: the USC and CalArts Experimental showcases in LA, and the School of Visual Arts showcase in Manhattan. Every screening had its usual share of spectacular, average and unwatchable, but this post isn’t about the quality of the films. Rather I wanted to talk about the lengths of the programs.
The USC screening was around 90 minutes with no intermission. This was long but tolerable. The CalArts Experimental program was just over ninety minutes with a fifteen-minute break in between. This was an enjoyable experience. (Even better, I hear the CalArts Character Animation Producer’s Show runs around sixty minutes nowadays. Perfect!).
But then, last night, there was the SVA animation department screening (their computer art department is separate and has a different screening) . This screening was over four hours long and no intermission. To put that into perspective, that’s longer than Gone with the Wind, and believe me, most of these films were no Gone with the Wind. Needless to say, I survived only a fraction of them.
It boggles the mind as to what the school was thinking when they arranged a screening of forty-two shorts. Screening forty-two animated shorts in a row is a bad idea even if they’re not student films. Sadly, it’s also a disservice to the very students that the screening is supposed to be promoting and celebrating. The excessive length guarantees that only a handful of professionals from the animation industry will attend. That’s why the most effective year-end school screenings, especially those that are open to industry professionals and media, are heavily curated affairs that showcase a school’s best efforts. There is a time and place for showing all of the films, and that is typically a more private affair for the students themselves.
SVA dropped the ball in one other big way. Whereas both USC and CalArts rewarded audiences with food after their screenings, SVA sent home the exhausted audience on an empty stomach. Unlike other schools which offer food after every student film screening, SVA hoards its food for a fancy invite-only party that follows an awards ceremony for the entire film department. Thankfully, I had already treated myself to Chipotle in the middle of last night’s screening so it didn’t really matter. But unless they reduce the length of the program to a more sensible running time, I’ll certainly think twice about attending in the future.
Share your experiences of student film screenings in the comments.
Adventure Time – The Next Generation? Maybe. Travelers with short legs, by 23 year old, independent animator Leo Campasso from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has its own pace and sense of style. He mixes 2D, 3D and Flash animation to tell the story of a teen traveller on a strange journey, finding new friends and foes. Campasso’s previous film,Wild Wind, was featured on the Brew two years ago.
They’re mini, they’re mighty and they’re built for math! Nickelodeon is bringing its hit animated preschool series that encourages tots to become strong and mighty to DVD with the debut of Team Umizoomi on June 28, 2011. The new DVD will take viewers on adventures to learn about numbers, patterns, and important early math concepts. The DVD contains four episodes, special features, a Math Mission card for on-the-go math problem solving and the guest voice of platinum-selling Jive recording artist Jordin Sparks. In addition, the DVD includes a one-year free subscription to Parents Magazine. Created by Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment, the Team Umizoomi DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $16.99.
Team Umizoomi features a tiny team of superheroes, Milli, Geo and Bot, who use their mighty math powers to help little kids solve big problems. The series combines action-adventure missions with an interactive math curriculum designed to help kids develop self-confidence in their math abilities and appreciate the many ways in which math shapes their world. The Umi Team is not complete without their Umi Friends (home viewers), who help the team along the way while practicing various math skills. Set to a soundtrack of preschool-friendly pop songs, the series is designed to build upon preschoolers’ conceptual understanding of math as they are exposed to core mathematical concepts like numbers, counting, computations, measurement, patterns and shapes.
Team Umizoomi Episode Synopses
The Rolling Toy Parade – Nick has been picked to lead the Rolling Toy Parade going through Umi City. As he proudly makes his way to the Park, his lion toy tumbles down a hill, breaks apart and is foraged by park animals! Team Umizoomi must decode Mr. Squirrel’s doorbell pattern, search his tree trunk burrow for the missing wheels, embark on a high altitude chase with Mama Hawk and teach the Baby Hawks how to braid a pull string.
The Legend of the Blue Mermaid – Team Umizoomi discovers the statue of the Blue Mermaid (Jordin Sparks) while visiting the beach. According to legend, the mermaid with her sparkly blue scales once lived happily in the water by Umi City. But one day, a scheming squid named Squiddy captured the mermaid so that he could keep her sparkling light all to himself. The team must count, recognize shapes and identify patterns in order to rescue the Blue Mermaid from Squiddy’s secret sand castle. It won’t be an easy task as Squiddy will stop at nothing to keep Team Umizoomi from using their mighty math powers to save the day.
Kite Festival – Today is the Umi City Kite Festival and Jeannie is ready to fly her beautiful dragon kite. Out of nowhere, a strong gust of wind blows the kite out of her hands and scatters its colorful shaped pieces throughout Umi City. Luckily, Geo is a shape expert and the Team is positive they can find all the missing pieces. They rappel down city billboards, build a hot air balloon and search the tops of skyscrapers. Can they get Jeannie’s Dragon kite back together in time for the Festival?
Wild West Toy Train Show – Geo can’t wait to meet his friend Ethan at The Smokey Mountain Toy Train Show and see all the cool trains! As he gets ready to leave the Secret Headquarters, the Umi-Alarm sounds. Ethan’s golden ticket for the show has blown into the exhibit and landed somewhere at the top of Smokey Mountain! Team Umizoomi springs into action and hops a ride on the toy trains to the top of Smokey Mountain. Along the way, they use their math powers to get through Crystal Cave, cross Rumble Bridge, pan for gold and build a new engine with Geo’s super shapes.
Team Umizoomi Fast Facts:
- Street Date: June 28, 2011
- Catalogue: 821784
- DVD SRP: $16.99
- DVD Running Time: 95 Minutes
- Special Features:
- The Blue Mermaid Shapes Under the Sea Game
- Team Umizoomi Videos
- Meet Geo
- Meet Milli
- Meet Bot
This Fall, families will not want to miss the chance to own Mars Needs Moms, the story of a young boy‘s intergalactic adventure to find his Martian-nabbed mother as it arrives into living rooms across the country in a Blu-rayâ„¢ Combo Pack with 3D, DVD, Movie Download and On-Demand August 9, 2011. From Disney and Academy AwardÂ®-winner Robert Zemeckis (Best Director, Forrest Gump, 1994), comes the craziest adventure in the galaxy– complete with out-of this world special effects and jam packed with bonus features, it‘s a thrilling journey that‘s pure fun.
Uniquely packaged with families top of mind, Mars Needs Moms will be available for purchase as a 4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray 3Dâ„¢ + Blu-ray 2D + DVD + Digital Copy) for the suggested retail price of $49.99 US/ $56.99 Canada; a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray 2D + DVD) for $39.99 US/ $46.99 Canada; a 1-Disc DVD for $29.99 US/ $35.99 Canada; a High Definition Movie Download for the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S./45.99 Canada; a Standard Definition Movie Download for the suggested retail price of $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada; and/or On-Demand (for additional information and pricing, please contact your television provider or favorite digital retailer. Bonus features are not offered with On-Demand).
The Disney Blu-ray Combo Packs provide families with an enhanced entertainment experience — offering the flexibility to enjoy the film at home, in the car and on portable devices, in several platforms of choice (i.e., Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray 2D, DVD + Digital Copy) and comes packaged complete with never-before-scene bonus features, including deleted scenes, a special featurette and more. To learn more, fans are invited to visit www.disney.com/marsneedsmoms.
Mars Needs Moms is brought to life by the performances of Seth Green (TV‘s Family Guy) as Milo, Joan Cusack (Toy Story 2 & 3) as Milo‘s Mom, Dan Fogler (Kung Fu Panda, Robot Chicken) as Gribble and Elizabeth Harnois (A Single Man, TV‘s 90210) as Ki and is directed by Simon Wells (The Time Machine, The Prince of Egypt) and produced by Robert Zemeckis (Disney‘s A Christmas Carol, Forrest Gump).
North America’s largest animation event, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is reminding the animation community to get their work in before it’s too late. Entry forms must be submitted online by May 20th, and preview DVDs are due by June 3rd. There is no entry fee.
This year’s event takes place September 21st to 25th and promises to turn Canada’s capital into the center of the animation universe. The Festival showcases the best new animation from around the world in six major categories including Independent Short films, Feature films, New Media, Commissioned films (TV series, commercials, music videos etc), Student films and Work Made for Children.
In addition to the Competition screenings, the 2011, event the Festival pays tribute to the bizarre, funny, angry, scary, and confusing worlds of Gil Alkabetz, Mati KÃ¼tt, and Aaron Augenblick. Honorary president, the NFB’s David Verrall gives us Ten Reasons to Love Animation. John Canemaker takes us through the art of Joe Ranft and Joe Grant, while Jerry Beck invites us to join the Cartoon Fight Club. Plus, the Festival will dig into animation in Hip-Hop Culture and have a look at our relationship with Food. Hungry yet? Additional screenings will be announced in the near future.
For more information about this year’s Festival, as well as the online entry form, visit the OIAF website at www.animationfestival.ca. Questions about submitting a film may be sent to [email protected] or made by telephone at 613-232-8769.
UCLA Film & Television Archive is pleased to partner with Los Angeles Filmforum and New York University’s Orphan Film Symposium to present an eclectic mix of screenings and discussions at the Billy Wilder Theater.
The Orphan Film Project consists of ongoing collaborations among archivists, lab and technology experts, scholars, filmmakers, curators and collectors with a shared passion for saving and screening neglected films from outside the commercial mainstream: home movies, outtakes, news film, sponsored works, silent-era cinema, fragments and experimental films.
Join archivists, film historians, artists, technical experts and scholars as they discuss their efforts in finding, researching and presenting these rare gems.
Single $10 pass admits to all screenings: http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/events/2011-05-13/celebrating-orphan-films.
[Animated TV station ID reel] (TV Graphics Inc, early 1960s) – 2mim – 16mm Demo reel of Mad Men-era, mid-century modern broadcast ephemera by TV Graphics Inc., an advertising company owned by Disney artist Mary Blair’s husband, Lee Blair; featuring the work of Lee’s brother, animator Preston Blair.
[Meadow Gold TV spots] (Mary Blair, TV Graphics, Inc., mid-1950s] 2mim — 16mm Charming commercial animation featuring characters from Blair’s award-winning Little Golden Book, I Can Fly, first published in 1951. From UCLA Film & Television Archive
[Robert Abel Promo Reel; includes 7-Up “bubbles ad”] (ca. 1974) 8 min — 35mm This 35mm promotional reel highlights the work of pioneering visual effects firm Robert Abel & Associates, and includes the iconic, award-winning 7-Up television advertisement “Bubbles.”
[Designed by Saul Bass: The Alcoa Account] Noted as a pioneer of distinctive credit sequences and posters for Hollywood feature films, Saul Bass’ equally intriguing modernist television work is much less well-known. Some of these broadcast works, including title sequences and commercials for the Aluminum Corporation of America, reveal that Bass was not only a student of artist, designer, and theorist GyÃ¶rgy Kepes, but also of filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, the father of montage. Presented by Jan-Christopher Horak, Director, UCLA Film & Television Archive.
+ UFOs (Lillian Schwartz and Ken Knowlton, 1971) and Galaxies (Lillian Schwartz, 1974). “Lillian Schwartz is best known for her pioneering work in the use of computers for what has since become known as computer-generated art and computer-aided art analysis, including graphics, film, video, animation, special effects, Virtual Reality and Multimedia. Her work was recognized for its aesthetic success and was the first in this medium to be acquired by The Museum of Modern Art.”
+ Rain Dance – After Hurricane Katrina floods devastated the New Orleans home of filmmaker Helen Hill and her husband Paul Gailiunas, all that remained of this animated student film was a 16mm work print with no soundtrack. The first of three films she made while an undergraduate at Harvard, RAIN DANCE shows Hill’s fondness for the cut-out animation style of Lotte Reiniger. After her death in 2007, Colorlab and Harvard Film Archive made possible the immediate preservation of nine of her works. At BB Optics, Bill Brand and NYU MIAP students worked with Gailiunas to reconstruct the film and its lost soundtrack.
+ Fast Fax (1997-98) Animator Helen Hill made these witty whimsical micro-interstitials (of 3 to 15 seconds duration) for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s educational TV series Street Sense. Thanks to the research of NYU student Jim Bittl, the original CBC broadcast masters were preserved in 2010 and copies deposited with the Helen Hill Collection, Harvard Film Archive.
The NYU Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Animation Area will present a Spring Animation Showcase of recent student work on Thursday May 12th from 4 to 9 p.m. The event will be held at 721 Broadway (basement area).