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.
Beverly Hills, CA (September 29, 2011) — The lasting influence of Disney artist Mary Blair will be celebrated through an examination of her concept artwork for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan in the 1950s during Mary Blair’s World of Color: A Centennial Tribute, the latest installment of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Marc Davis Celebration of Animation, on Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Several of today’s top animation talents will discuss Blair’s work as an artist and stylist and will also demonstrate how her work has influenced their own. The panel will be moderated by animation critic and film historian Charles Solomon.
Blair’s unmistakably bold and colorful designs continue to inspire artists in all areas of animation today. Her unique and lasting impact on animation continues to this day, though Blair is best known for her design of Disneyland’s “it’s a small world” attraction, which she worked on with legendary animator Marc Davis, for whom the lecture series is named, and his wife Disney Imagineer Alice Davis.
Panelists for the evening include:
Pete Docter, whose Oscar nominations include Original Screenplay for Toy Story, WALL-E and Up, Animated Feature film for Monsters, Inc. and Animated Short Film for Mike’s New Car, received the 2009 Oscar for Animated Feature Film for Up.
Mike Giaimo, who served as a character designer on The Brave Little Toaster and FernGully: The Last Rainforest, was the art director on Pocahontas and a visual development artist on Home on the Range.
Eric Goldberg, who served as the supervising animator for the Genie in Aladdin, Phil in Hercules and Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh, was the co-director of “Pocahontas” as well as the director of the Rhapsody in Blue and Carnival of the Animals segments of Fantasia/2000.
Susan Goldberg, who served as an assistant animator on Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules, was the art director on the Rhapsody in Blue and Carnival of the Animals sequences in Fantasia/2000.
Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, the lead color key artist on Robots and the lead color designer on Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! was the art director on Toy Story 3.
Following the program, attendees will be able to view a selection of original works by Blair.
The Marc Davis Lecture on Animation was established in 1994 to provide a forum for established film animators and other experts in the craft to share their experiences as well as explore with their colleagues the challenges of creating animation for the screen. The lecture is named in honor of the man who gave life to characters as diverse as Brer Rabbit, the beautiful Cinderella, Alice (of Wonderland fame), Tinkerbell, and the delightfully wicked Maleficent and Cruella De Vil.
Tickets for Mary Blair’s World of Color: A Centennial Tribute will go on sale Monday, October 3. Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. They may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the program when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.
LONDON, UK (September 29, 2011)–Classic Media, a global media company with a portfolio of some of the world’s leading family entertainment brands, today announced its new relationship with Hallmark and the first of the hilarious hoops&yoyo entertainment offerings with the Christmas special:Â hoops&yoyo Ruin Christmas (1×30). Classic Media will be overseeing worldwide distribution (excluding US and Canada DVD). The special will be unveiled to international broadcasters exclusively at the upcoming MIPCOM market.
Join the adventure as these comical characters discover Santa’s secrets by becoming accidental stowaways on his sleigh. Their trip takes an unexpected turn when turbulence jostles them from the sleigh and they fall through a wormhole, ending up back in time with a young Kris Kringle.Â After coming to the realization that they have disrupted Kris’ journey to fulfilling his destiny, the trio races to set things right so the world will have its Santa Claus. Will Christmas ever be the same? Will Santa ever be the same? Only time (and perhaps a little time travel) will tell.
The special, featuring the zany, animated pink kitty and green bunny team, was produced by Hallmark and will premiere on CBS on November 25, 2011.
“As the seasonal market leader, we are committed to bringing time-honored classics to consumers as well as creating new family viewing traditions,” said Chloe van den Berg, Executive Vice President, International, Classic Media. “We are delighted to be working with Hallmark and very much hope this is the first of many hoops&yoyo adventures we’ll see.Â We look forward to unveiling this new special at MIPCOM and introducing it to audiences later this holiday season.”
“With 6 international websites, hoops&yoyo have fans around the globe,” said Jodi Schade, Vice President Music Acquisitions & Hallmark Properties. “We are thrilled to partner with Classic Media to bring our first holiday special to our fans throughout the world!”
LOS ANGELES – September 29 th , 2011 – A Squared Entertainment (A 2 ) and Your Family Entertainment (YFE) are excited to present a series of 26 new episodes of Secret Millionaires Club at the upcoming MIPCOM conference in Cannes, France October 3-6, 2011. The popular animated series, produced by A 2 and Xing Xing Digital animation studio, and sold internationally by YFE, speaks to the global need to educate and enlighten kids about business and finance in a way that is fun and engaging.
The Secret Millionaires Club television series follows a group of kids from around the world as they embark on business adventures under the mentorship of a wise local investor. With high tech tools and common sense, they learn by doing and helping others along the way. Each show offers kids a useful, practical lesson they can takeaway such as the consequences of borrowing money, the value of working together and the importance of perseverance.
‘These shows are not meant to teach kids how to read a balance sheet,’ says Andy Heyward, A 2 Co-President. ‘First and foremost these are fun stories that will engage and entertain kids with exciting business-related adventures. Secret Millionaires Club enriches young minds with simple lessons that will help them be more successful in their own lives later on.’
‘Especially today, it is important that future generations learn about money matters early, in a playful way. The quintessential message of this show is: ‘The best investment you can make is the investment in yourself. The more you learn the more you’ll earn, (Warren Buffett)’ says Stefan PiÃ«ch, CEO of YFE.
To add to the fun, many of the Secret Millionaires Club half hour TV episodes will feature celebrity guest appearances from Jay-Z, Shaquille O’Neal, Serena Williams and more. The first episodes have been sold to The Hub for the U.S. market.
In addition to the 26 30-minute episodes, there are also 26 3-4 minute long Secret Millionaires Club webisodes available, plus an interactive website (www.smckids.com) with additional games and activities that can be customized for any international audience.
Secret Millionaires Club is non-violent, advertiser-friendly and non-gender specific, intended for both girls and boys ages 6-11. Top academics and financial expert Warren Buffett developed the curriculum for the series, while Emmy Award-winning writers brought the stories to life. The series is co-produced by A Squared Entertainment with Xing Xing Digital Corporation of Beijing.
This fall in the U.S., Secret Millionaires Club -themed learning materials will be brought into 100,000 classrooms, adapting the shows’ lessons for an educational setting. There will also be a national competition that will encourage entrepreneurial thinking in kids and provide cash prizes to the winning schools. All of these engaging programs can be adapted for any international market.
The 52 x 11 minute animated comedy series is the story of Jeremiah, Fury and Trafalgar, three best friends and second generation fairytale characters who are determined to be themselves — no matter what their well-known fairytale parents think about it.
“We’re thrilled to have such extraordinary partners on board for this series. I think what has really brought us together is a love for our quirky main characters – there’s definitely a little of Fury, Trafalgar and Jeremiah in all of us!” said Ãnima Estudios’ Executive VP, Jose Carlos Garcia de Letona.
“We are all really enthusiastic to be going into production with Teenage Fairytale Dropouts, a zany comedic series that will undoubtedly have universal and timely appeal. Teenage Fairytale Dropouts is a modern twist on all the favourite fairytale classic stories and characters we have grown up with” said Executive Producer and CEO of SLR Productions, Suzanne Ryan.
“The series has been very well received by broadcasters. There is always a strong market for animated character comedies like Teenage Fairytale Dropouts with recognizable iconic themes. This is a strong collaboration among extremely creative co-production partners and the commitment to quality is apparent” said Bill Schultz, Executive Producer and CEO at Home Plate Entertainment.
Jeremiah maybe the son of The Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk but that doesn’t mean he’s going to follow in his father’s enormous footsteps, stomping villages and eating people. Besides, he still has some growing up to do, literally. Jeremiah may be a tween but he’s still waiting for his “giant” growth spurt.
And Fury, maybe the daughter of the Tooth Fairy but dental remuneration is not in her future – “way too creepy”. Plus, there’s the embarrassing fact that her fairy wings haven’tâ€¦ahâ€¦ sprouted yet. Then there’s Trafalgar, one of Merlin’s many nephews, who actually has potential – if he just didn’t lack so much focus in his hocus pocus.
Together this trio is out to prove that even in the wacky, up-side-down, unexpected world of Fairytale Estates – you can be your own giant, fairy or wizard – as long as you have your friends along for the “souped-up” pumpkin carriage ride of your life.
A high-definition flash-animated series, Teenage Fairytale Dropouts is slated for broadcast release in 2013.
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?
New York, New York — September 28, 2011 — GKIDS, a distributor of award winning animation for both adults and families, and producers Magic Pictures and CinamaNX announced today that GKIDS has acquired US distribution rights to Chico & Rita, the highly acclaimed new animated feature from Academy AwardÂ®-winning director Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque) and renowned illustrator and designer Javier Mariscal.
The film made its world premiere at Telluride Film Festival, was an official selection at Toronto International Film Festival, and has been released to wide acclaim in the UK, France, and Spain. It will be qualifying for the OscarsÂ® in the Best Animated Feature category with a Los Angeles qualifying run December 2011, followed by US theatrical release in early 2012. The film will be released by GKIDS under their new Luma Films banner for adult animation.
The deal for Chico & Rita was negotiated by Eric Beckman for GKIDS and Andrew Fingret of CinamaNX on behalf of producing partners Magic Light Pictures, CinamaNX, Estudio Mariscal, Isle of Man Films, and Fernando Trueba Producciones Cinematográficas SA.
GKIDS president Eric Beckman said, “Chico& Rita is a stunning, vibrant film, and a testament to the ongoing resurgence of animation as an art-form for adult audiences. This is a passionately sexy love story with a red-hot soundtrack, as well as a shimmering postcard to old Havana and bebop-era New York. With this pickup GKIDS continues to deepen its focus on unique stories and OscarÂ®-caliber animation from some of today’s most creative visionaries.”
Steve Christian, Chairman of CinemaNX said, “We are thrilled that GKIDS/Luma will be releasing Chico & Rita. To have found distribution partners who share our passion for the film is very exciting. We are looking forward to achieving a successful, quality market presence for the film in the US.”
Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment is continuing to ramp up its infrastructure by bringing two crucial hires onto its leadership team. The four-year-old company made several additions earlier this year, and now, Meledandri has announced the hirings of Brooke Breton as a senior production executive and Kit Giordano as Director of Development. Simultaneously, Kristin Wong-Ward has been promoted into the creative executive role.
Breton is currently producing the Despicable Me theme park attraction for Illumination, which is slated to open in 2012 at Universal Studios Orlando, and also has a long history as a producer of prominent live-action and animated motion pictures. She spent several years at Lightstorm Entertainment, where she served as co-producer on James Cameron’s Avatar, among other projects. Prior to that Breton co-produced Sky Captain And The World of Tomorrow for Paramount Pictures, and was also involved in the establishment of DreamWorks Animation where she produced The Road to El Dorado. She also associate produced three Star Trek feature films and spent several years as Senior Vice President of Digital Domain, where she oversaw projects that included True Lies, Interview With The Vampire, Apollo 13, and other major event movies.
Giordano most recently served as Vice President of Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films (Tropic Thunder, Zoolander), and is an associate producer on the action comedy, 30 Minutes Or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg and directed by Ruben Fleischer. She previously served as a book and theater scout for Miramax in New York and a development executive at Gunn Films.
After a stint as Meledandri’s executive assistant, Ward is moving into a new creative executive slot. There, her focus will cross all Illumination activities from feature film development through marketing.
Meledandri commented, “Brooke, Kit and Kristin are superb executives who are a great complement to our current team.”
TORONTO — (September 28, 2011) — Skywriter Media and Entertainment Group have received the green light from TELETOON Canada Inc. to begin production on 26 episodes of Camp Lakebottom, an animated comedy for six to 11 year-olds. The half-hour series is slated for delivery in late fall 2012.
Camp Lakebottom was created by Betsy McGowen and Eric Jacobson, and developed by Skywriter’s Meghan Davies and TELETOON’s Athena Georgaklis, Manager, Original Productions and Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content. Head Writers are Rob Pincombe and Shelley Hoffman (Kid vs. Kat); Directors are Phil Lafrance and Jamie Leclaire (Jimmy Two Shoes); Animation is being done at Jam Filled; Supervising Producer is Steve Hodgins (Max and Ruby). The announcement was made by Skywriter CEO and Executive Producer, Kevin Gillis (Atomic Betty, Jimmy Two Shoes).
“We are very excited to be working with the great team at TELETOON in making Camp Lakebottom, a hilarious must-see hit for kids everywhere,” said Gillis. “This is the summer camp every kid would love to go to — if only!”
“Camp Lakebottom is the only summer camp where you don’t have to make up the late night campfire stories,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content, TELETOON Canada Inc. “We are delighted with how the show has evolved and feel that it will be a great addition to our exciting lineup.”
Targeted for boys and girls, aged six to 11, the series follows the hilarious summer adventures of Lakebottom’s rambunctious young campers and their creep show counselors. Camp Lakebottom will take viewers into the most awesomely horrible summer camp in the world. The cabins are possessed, the staff members are a real creep show â€¦ and the kids are having way too much fun! With outrageous set-ups, plentiful freaks of nature and campers so over-the-top, they have to hang out a sixth story window just to tie their shoes, Camp Lakebottom will be the funniest, most horrifying vacation paradise on TV!
Some of the eminent jury panel includes Lucasfilm – Singapore, Dreamworks – USA, Method Studios – Canada, Prana – India & USA, Prasad EFX – India, R&H – India, Double Negative – U.K, Trine Entertainment – India, Pixion – India, Prime Focus – India, United Nations amongst other industry stalwarts.