For those of you who have already been inside of John Lasseter’s closet and are wondering what else there could possibly be to learn about the man, rest assured, there’s plenty more. Here’s a detailed article about the winery that John owns with his wife Nancy. In it, you’ll find out how computer animation is like winemaking (besides the fact that both many animators and wine drinkers are lushes), and nerds such as myself will notice that the winery’s mascot is Wally B., a character from Lasseter’s first CG short The Adventures of André and Wally B. You may also be delighted to learn that one of his recent wines, Chemin de Fer, is a tribute to Ollie Johnston.
Join Cartoon Brew this Monday, October 3, for a FREE screening of this year’s selections in Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival. Sure, you can see them all on-line (we’re posting the last one this Monday), but we think the films are even cooler viewed with an audience on a giant HD-format LED screen against the side of a building in midtown Manhattan.
We’re putting on the show in collaboration with the fine film purveyors at the Big Screen Plaza who have been hosting a solid line-up of animation and live-action films all summer long. Most of the films they show are professional productions, and we’re extremely delighted that they’re celebrating the quality of these student productions alongside their other programs.
Screening starts at 7pm and the location is 851 6th Avenue (between 29th and 30th St., behind the Eventi Hotel). If you’re coming from work and hungry, rest assured there’s an indoor cafe where you can grab a bite before or during the screening. And if you see Amid, say hi. (He’s friendly as long as you don’t talk about animation with him.) Here’s the Facebook invite page.
As part of his newish on-line column at Print magazine, J. J. Sedelmaier has written an excellent account about producing a couple of animated commercials with New Yorker cartoonist George Booth. The spots, produced in 1993, came fairly early in Sedelmaier’s animation career–though not before he had animated the first season of Beavis and Butthead–and he writes eloquently about what these pieces meant to his development as an artist:
Working with [George Booth] opened vistas for me and redefined what collaboration should be all about. . . .The advertising agency (Foote Cone & Belding/SF), the designer (that would be George), and the sound designer (the late Tom Pomposello), were a magical combination that one rarely gets to experience when producing commercials. It was this project that was also a right of passage of sorts for me because I was extended a level of respect and a peer level working relationship that I hadn’t really seen yet.
The entire article is packed with pre-production artwork (at incredibly high resolutions, no less) and lots of fun behind-the-scenes stories. Well worth your time.
Hayao Miyazaki, who has been known to often take a negative tone about the animation industry and society in general, recently tweeted that he gets the feeling that the Japanese animation industry is “done for,” and as evidence, cited the emergence of women animators. Here’s what he said in Japanese:
They say it’s over for animation in Japan. When we look for new hires only women respond, and I get the feeling that we’re done for. In our last hurrah we borrow from outside staff (i.e. outsource), but soon we won’t be able to do that forever.
The tweet would seem to indicate that he somehow correlates the end of Japanese animation with women employees, but that may not be the case. Blogger Anne Ishii asked him to clarify and he responded with a five-part tweet, that perhaps made things a little better but also confused the issue further with some tangent about women bus drivers. The ambiguity may partly be due to translation issues and partly because Twitter is an awful forum for having meaningful discussions of any kind.
Considering that Miyazaki is arguably the most successful feature animation director of all time, his comments are worthy of discussion, and I, for one, am curious to hear him explain further what he meant when he said, “I think it would be great to see a female animation director, but as far as Ghibli’s concerned, I can’t think of a single one for us.” To read Miyazaki’s entire commentary, go to the Hooded Utilitarian blog. If you’re familiar with Japanese society and have a different understanding of what he’s saying, please share your thoughts.
Paris-trained mime Lorin Eric Salm answers the age-old question, Are mimes relevant in animation? That’s only second in importance to the question: if a mime falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does anyone care?
Forget that old PAL video tape or the Japanese laser disc. Someone is offering a 16mm IB Technicolor print of Song of The South on eBay. The bidding starts at $1,499.
We rarely plug specific items being sold on eBay, but the 1946 live action and animation feature is one of the few Disney classics never released on DVD. The seller says it’s an original grey track IB print with colors that will never fade. Technicolor prints in this shape are rare of any film, much less one of the most requested Disney titles of all time.
For more information about this 16mm print, click here. I also recommend joining the Song of the South page on Facebook and checking Song of The South.net for the most comprehensive coverage on the film. Oh, and I’m not bidding on the picture, so let me know if you get it.
UPDATE: Brew commenter Egbert Souse writes in our comments that, “Disney is remastering Song of the South from the original negatives in 4K resolution. It’s not in the immediate pipeline for a Snow White or Bambi level restoration, but they’ll have complete digital files by the end of next year.”
Someone on the Chinese video site Sina posted this work-in-progress trailer for The Lorax from Illumination Entertainment, whose earlier films were Despicable Me and Hop. Some shots are incomplete and unfinished, but it’s worth a look:
The Lorax, which is slated to open March 2nd, 2012, is directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda. It’s the second Seuss adapation for Illumination founder Chris Meledandri, who previously produced Horton Hears a Who! while running 20th Century Fox Animation. Danny DeVito voices the Lorax, and Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms and Betty White provide additional voices.
UPDATE: Universal Pictures has had the trailer removed from the original host site in China. We look forward to the finished version and will post that when it appears online.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has two different programs – one on each coast – worthy of your attention and attendence:
On Monday October 10th An Academy Salute to John Hubley. It will be hosted by Oscar winning animator, educator and author John Canemaker and co-curated by filmmaker Emily Hubley. The program will include rarely seen films and an illustrated look at his life and his art by Canemaker, Hubley and animator Michael Sporn. Tickets are $5 for general admission ($3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID). It will sell-out. Order your Tickets Online NOW!
Monday, October 10, 7 p.m.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Academy Theater at Lighthouse International
111 East 59th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues), New York City
On Thursday October 20th, the 17th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation will present Mary Blair’s World of Color; A Centennial Tribute. This panel will feature Pixar director Pete Docter, Disney animator Eric Goldberg, art director Susan Goldberg, Pixar color key artist Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi and character designer Michael Giaimo in a discussion moderated by animation historian Charles Solomon.
Tickets are $5 for general admission ($3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID) and will go on sale starting October 3rd online, by mail, and in person at the Academy Box Office. This too will sell-out. Be there!
Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m.
at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills
Here’s a delicious piece of eye-candy by artist John Loter to promote his latest merchandising brand, Good Girl, Bad Girl.
Loter’s company, Loter, Inc., does freelance merchandising artwork and design for various studios, particularly Disney. For the past several years the Loters have been selling their own original characters on merchandise at Comic-Con and other events.
About the GGBG piece above, Loter writes:
“The project started with an original song from Joel J Dahl of the band De Novo Dahl (currently By Lightning). We sent him our GGBG book and before we knew it, Joel had a song that we loved and became a huge inspiration for me.
“I drew the boards, with advice from my brother, animation director Steve Loter. Pascal Campion did us the huge favor of assembling our animatic. We had been discussing this project with our friends at Ghostbot and even though the production time was very tight, they agreed to animate it for us. I drew all character key poses (thanks Dancin’ Bob McKnight!). Kevin Martonick was a blessing, creating the Flash assets from my drawings.”
I’m a sucker for ANY Popeye anything, especially if animated to Jack Mercer’s voice. Here’s one of his later TV spots, his voice so identified with the sailor, the character hardly appears (though its a clever way to save money for animation). Note the comic strip “Brutus” twisting Popeye into a knot at the end:
The Ottawa International Animation Festival concluded last night with its award ceremony honoring some of best animation of the year.
Stephen Irwin‘s Moxie (trailer above) won the Grand Prize for Independent Short. Phil Mulloy‘s controversial Buried But Not Dead won the big prize for Best Animated Feature (see my opinion of it below).
Other awards of note include: Best Student Grand Prize to Jason Carpenter’s The Renter; Best Commissioned Film to Intel The Chase; Best Animation School Showreel to Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; and Best Graduate Animation to Eamonn O’Neill’s I’m Fine Thanks (see trailer below). Click here for the full list of winners.
Festival highlights for me were the tributes to Aaron Augenblick, Pen Ward and Thurop Van Orman, which were both highly entertaining and somewhat educational (hat tip to Pen for showing Rebecca Sugar’s Singles off of Cartoon Brew TV); John Canemaker’s incredible heart-felt tribute/talk for Joe Grant and Joe Ranft; Pixar’s Enrico Casarosa screening and discussing (in wonderful detail) his new short La Luna (which will be released with Brave next year); Disney’s screening of both The Ballad of Nessie and Winnie The Pooh with animator Mark Henn and Pooh directors Steve Anderson and Don Hall on hand to answer all questions; and Brandon Oldenburg’s whimsical presentation on the making of The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lesmore.
I watched all four feature films in competition: Chico and Rita is a beautiful film, grown up film based around the world of jazz of the 40s and 50s. Not exactly sure what technique is used here, but if its rotoscope, its one of the best uses of the form I’ve ever seen.
Mati Kutt’s Taevalaul (Sky Song) is an amazing non-narrative sci-fi/fantasy stop motion film (45 minutes) in the Brothers Quay tradition. Hilarious in parts, thought provoking throughout. Might be my favorite film of the week.
Colorful by Keiichi Hara presents important themes – like suicide, teen prostitution, reincarnation, bullying and dysfunctional families – in his compelling anime feature. I liked the film and its story, but it is told at a snail’s pace (126 mins!), and despite a fantasy premise concerning an angel there is nothing in this film that couldn’t have been said perhaps better in live action.
Dead But Not Buried I hated. I actually admire the shorts of Phil Mulloy, but this feature is a continuation of his previous Mr. Christie film. Talking heads in silhouette may be fine for 12 minutes on Adult Swim, but 80 minutes (twice) is too much to take.
As for the rest of the fest, I had a blast. Met many Brew readers, saw many old friends. I screened a bunch of violent cartoons at several venues and did a CBC radio show on Saturday morning to promote the screenings. You can listen to it here:
At the picnic Friday afternoon (above), left to right: Yvette Kaplan, me, Tom Knott, Steve Stanchfield, Mark Mayerson.
And finally, a strange taste of Chris Robinson’s late-night festival programming: a mock panel discussing the history of animation held on Thursday night, featured this piece (below) written and animated by Morgan Miller (“Teela“) and Josh Kleefeld. Here, they discuss the history of animated short films and the Ottawa Animation Festival’s role in fostering the medium.
French animator Caroline Attia lends her incredible style and color design to American songwriter Jim Bianco’s song about a bored secretary with a wild imagination.