Slamdance Film Festival Announces 2012 Slate

Slamdance Film Festival announced today the Special Screenings and Short Programs for the 18th Annual Slamdance Film Festival. The Special
Screenings Programs present a variety of acclaimed and visionary films by a diverse group of global filmmakers — from Hollywood iconoclasts to highly anticipated emerging directors. The 2012 Slamdance Film Festival will showcase 8 feature-length films in Special Screenings: 3 Narrative Films and 5 Documentary Films, including 5 World Premieres. The 2012 Shorts Program features 75 shorts, and include Special Screenings, Live Action Competition, Documentary Competition, Animation, $99 Special, Anarchy Shorts, and the world premiere of a special program of new Iranian shorts never seen outside the country, Made In Iran: 7 Short Premieres.

“This year’s Special Screenings in every way represent the maverick spirit of Slamdance, from Jonathan Demme’s documentary Neil Young Journeys, to the premiere of a never before seen Ed Wood television pilot, and the poetic realism of Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden’s Old Dog. If you want to see the truest representation of bold, independent filmmaking, Slamdance is the place to be,” said Peter Baxter, Slamdance President and Co-Founder.

With nearly 5,000 submissions this year, Slamdance is proud to present the best filmmakers who are pushing the boundaries of filmmaking with innovation and unique talent. This year’s festival celebrates Slamdance’s continued commitment to diversity, courage and experimentation of truly independent cinema.

The 2012 Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 20 — 26, 2011 in Park City, Utah, at the Treasure Mountain Inn.

This year’s Slamdance short film competition slate features 32 live action shorts and 13 documentary shorts programmed both in blocks and in front of features, and 10 animated films programmed in a signature animation block.

“We’re thrilled about this year’s short film slate, which represents a dynamic mix of films from across the world. Our focus is on finding the most essential films from among the over 3000 submissions we received, with an eye toward potentially divisive and provocative films that may not have found a showcase elsewhere. If there’s a common thread among these films, it’s a shared boldness of vision on the part of the filmmakers that spans all genres, from comedy to experimental,” said Joel Garber, Co-Captain of the Shorts Programming Committee.

A jury will present awards to short films in competition in the following categories: Narrative, Animation, and Documentary. Competition shorts are also eligible for the Spirit of Slamdance Award.

Out of competition shorts and programs include: $99 Special Short Harold’s Bad Day, a winner of the 2011 Slamdance Short Screenplay Competition, directed by Slamdance alum Jordan Brady. The $99 Special Program presentation is the culmination of an annual tradition in which filmmakers are challenged to make a short film in 99 days with a budget of $99 dollars.

Made In Iran: 7 Short Premieres, an out of competition shorts program, is a world premiere collection of recent Iranian shorts never seen outside the country, curated by Iranian-American filmmaker Ehsan Ghoreishi, featuring the work of emerging talents from across Iran.

Anarchy Shorts is a curated, non-competitive spotlight on unique and provocative filmmakers who have made visionary, experimental, cult, and underground films.

[Editor’s Note: This list has been shorted just to show animated categories. For the full lisit, visit this website.]


Birdboy — Directors/Screenwriters: Alberto Vázquez, Pedro Rivero. (Spain)
A terrible industrial accident changes little Dinky’s life forever.

Follow the Sun!
— Director/Screenwriter: MK12. (USA)
An homage and/or affront to a Great American Tradition: the drive-in intermission snack reel.

Hietsuki Bushi — Director/Screenwriter: Ryo Hirano. (Japan)
A seamless mixture of traditional Japanese song, blip music, universe, and agriculture.

Hollow — Director/Screenwriter: Oliver Franklin Anderson. (USA)
Two young brothers stumble across a disturbing secret in the fleeting light of a Midwestern summer.

The House — Director/Screenwriter: David Buob. (Germany)
A family story in a revolving house.

The Observer — Director/Screenwriter: Abbey Luck. (USA) World Premiere
A disenchanted citizen learns how to free his village from a tyrant king by observing patterns in nature.

Peekaboo — Director/Screenwriter: Cecilia Fletcher. (USA)
A woman must decide between reporting a crime and going on vacation.

Soil — Director/Screenwriter: Meejin Hong. (USA)
As imagery transforms between figures and abstraction, the life cycle of an organism and dualities within human nature are explored.

Thumb Snatchers from the Moon Cocoon — Director/Screenwriter: Bradley Schaffer. (USA)
A short tempered Texas sheriff uses his cowboy logic to recklessly defeat a race of condescending, cocoon dwelling critters.

Venus — Director: Tor Fruergaard, Screenwriter: Sissel D. Thomsen. (Denmark)
An erotic comedy in claymation.

Brentwood Studios Picks Up North American Distribution For “Kong,” “Highlander,” “Zorro: Generation Z” and Other Animated Series

Cyprus based, Emba Media Management International Ltd (EMMI) has appointed Brentwood Studios as its distributor for North America. Brentwood will be looking to exploit the entire library that includes popular properties such as Kong: The Animated Series, Highlander, Zorro: Generation Z, along with 28 additional series or animated films.

“We are thrilled about this partnership with EMMI and bringing this popular library back to the marketplace,” says Bob Starnes, General Manager and Co-Founder of Brentwood Studios. “There is great opportunity, given their deep catalogue of high quality children’s programming and our strengths with retail, licensing, publishing, and digital partners, to reach fans, of all ages, and deliver some exceptional offerings of these major brands in North America.”

“Brentwood Studios is led by a dynamic and experienced team that makes them the ideal partner to manage the library,” says Chris Demetriou, EMMI Executive Director and Shareholder. “Their strong industry relationships in North America will enable us to bring these popular titles to fans across the continent.”

Brentwood Studios will be releasing new rights to titles from EMMI’s 864 episode library and working with current right holders to grow the properties throughout North America. Library titles also include popular series such as Dork Hunters, Kong, Legend of the Dragon, Pocket Dragons, and 65-episodes of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, among others.

Holiday Greetings from Animators #2

Several more outstanding Christmas films from animators far and wide. Some of these are greeting cards, one is a commercial spot, another a segment from a TV show…

First up, from London-based Beakus, this sweet little piece by Matthias Hoegg for client CBeebies, guaranteed to make you feel all warm and tingly…

Vancouver animator Trent Corey, who worked on Sony’s Smurfs movie, sent us this:

For client Kodak/idg, this holiday themed spot directed by Jens Blank and Anna Benner:

Kirsten Lepore (Bottle) did this spot for the Yo Gabba Gabba Christmas Special! (Nick Jr.). Music by Adam Deibert, performed by James Husband:

“Seed” by Ben Richardson and Daniel Bird

Seed is a stop motion short directed by Ben Richardson and Daniel Bird about “an egg and an apple who build competing broadcast towers that vie for the attention of a transistor radio” with a “narrative of animal evolution, competition and reproduction.” Your mileage may vary–I personally found the storytelling obtuse and drawn-out–but it’s an undeniably attractive piece of stop motion with lovely photography and production design.

Daily Christmas Card (#9)

Get ready for a treat! Virgina Mahoney has started building a virtual Fleischer History Museum online at the Fleischer Studios website.

The first exhibit is now open and its dedicated to “Christmas at Fleischer Studios”. Ginny writes:

“Since Christmas was a special holiday for them… a good time to show off their drawing skills, get together, be crazy, and party! This was a nutty group and this exhibit shows it. To visit the exhibit go to our website – – Click on the word ‘Museum’ near the top of the page (under Fleischer Studios) This will take you to our museum site– where you can click to enter our first exhibit ‘Christmas’. This is a ‘preview,’ an early look at our first exhibit. We plan to have an Official Museum Opening sometime in January.”

Ginny has posted 86 Fleischer staff Christmas cards, from the likes of Max and Dave Fleischer, Dick Huemer, Shamus Culhane, Al Eugster, Ted Sears, Dave Tendlar and dozens of others. In addition, she’s uploaded rare footage from the 1935 Fleischer Studio Christmas party, and the entire contents (24 pages) of the 1939, 40 and 41 Flipper Club menus and program books. These rare items contain articles by Pinto Colvig, Tedd Pierce and Dan Gordon, and rare artwork by Grim Natwick, Dave Tendlar, Gordon Sheehan and lots of lettering my the mysterious Fleischer/Famous calligrapher (the cover for the 1939 edition – thumbnail below right – gives a credit “Cover design by Arthur Greenbaum”. Is that the mysterious Fleischer lettering genius?).

All-in-all, this is a must-see; An early Christmas present from the Fleischer family to all of us who appreciate the artists behind the great Paramount cartoons.

The Greatest Cartoons EVER! (Part 2)

Looking for something to do after all the presents have been opened and all the parties are over? On Monday, December 26th at 2 & 7 pm, The Alex Film Society (of which I am a part of) will be presenting the 2nd annual Greatest Cartoons Ever event at The Alex Theatre in Glendale California (216 N. Brand Boulevard).

Each year we select eight great cartoon shorts from the golden age of animation, then project rare 35mm film prints (some of them in original Technicolor; all of the from the studio vaults) on the large Alex Theatre screen. Great characters, great films and an incredible movie-going experience. This year’s program includes:

Duck Amuck (Daffy Duck, 1953, Warner Bros.)
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Mouse (Tom & Jerry, 1947, MGM)
Mother Goose’s Birthday Party (Mighty Mouse, 1950, 20th Century Fox)
Popeye Meets Ali Baba (with Olive Oyl & Bluto, 1937, Paramount)
Gerald McBoing-Boing (1951, UPA, Columbia)
Lonesome Ghosts (Mickey, Donald & Goofy, 1937, Disney)
Woody Woodpecker (1941, Universal)
What’s Opera, Doc? (Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd, 1957, Warner Bros.)

Tickets on sale now online or at the box office. Hope to see you there!

Michael Shelton & Max Harris Join public VFX

Michael Shelton comes on board as Head of 3D after several years at Asylum Visual Effects where he worked as a CG Supervisor and Animation Supervisor. Prior to that, Michael worked at Digital Domain, Captive Audience and Method, among others.

Michael got his start working as a practical FX artist in high school. He loved the tangible, art-driven work, but hated the highly toxic materials. He remembers the day the computer graphics department visited their shop during the making of Godzilla: “They had clean clothes and an air conditioned office. Meanwhile we were out in a tent with 20 other people spraying thinned out toxic glue all day long.” Michael’s experience with practical FX gives him a unique perspective on CG animation today.

Citing John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing as his holy grail of inspiration, Michael says: “To this day I’m still being influenced by ideas born in that movie. When I’m coming up with creature design, their approach always factors into my thinking.”

Recent feature work includes Terminator Salvation through Asylum, the only other FX vendor outside of ILM. And, Tony Scott’s Unstoppable.

Other film work includes Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Species: Awakening and The Passion of the Christ.

Notable commercial work includes the launch of Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, directed by Rupert Sanders. The launch of Verizon ‘Droid’, also directed by Sanders and GMC’s ‘Build’, an entirely digital spot showcasing the construction of the new GMC Sierra pickup truck.

When asked about the benefits of a boutique shop, Michael says: “You have much more ownership over the process. A boutique is naturally more intimate, but as a result of that, it’s much faster to shape a project. Curating talent becomes important. Everyone’s at the top of their game at public, and a lot of us have worked together for years, so it’s easy to hit the ground running.”

Flame artist, Max Harris, joins Venice boutique public VFX after a four year stint at Asylum Visual Effects. In addition to Asylum, Max has worked at Animal Logic, Sony ImageWorks, Blackbox Digital and Editel to name a few.

Max got his start in the visual effects world as a graphics technical asst. and motion control stand operator. He quickly transitioned to running Henry and Flame for features, commercials, episodic, and music videos, before entering the freelance market running both platforms in 1999.

His first major project as a freelance flame artist was Tarsem’s The Cell. Since then Max has gone on to work on many studio features including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Terminator: Salvation, Unstoppable, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Transformers, Mr & Mrs. Smith, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and The Incredible Hulk, among others.

Television work includes HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Glee, Nip/ Tuck, The United States of Tara and The Good Wife.

Commercial work includes spots for Nike, AT&T, T-Mobile, Corona, Kia and Ford.

Max lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles, CA.

“Lion King 1 1/2″ and “Lion King 2″ Coming to Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on March 6, 2012

Synopsis: Hilarity reigns in the motion picture comedy-adventure that takes you waaay back to the beginning before Simba’s tale began…now more fabulous than ever for the first time in a 2-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack!

From their uniquely hysterical perspective, Timon and his windy pal Pumbaa–the greatest unsung heroes of the savanna–reveal where they came from, how they helped Simba save the Serengeti and what really happened behind the scenes of The Lion King’s biggest events.

This essential chapter of The Lion King trilogy features your favorite characters voiced by the original cast (Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Ernie Sabella plus Julie Kavner and Jerry Stiller) and music by Elton John and Tim Rice. You’ll feel the love for every outrageously funny moment.

Cast: Nathan Lane (Broadway’s The Producers) as voice of Timon
Ernie Sabella (The Lion King) as voice of Pumbaa
Julie Kavner (TV’s The Simpsons) as voice of Mom
Jerry Stiller (TV’s The King of Queens) as voice of Uncle Max
Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) as voice of Simba
Robert Guillaume (TV’s Benson) as voice of Rafiki
Moira Kelly (The Lion King) as voice of Nala
Whoopi Goldberg (voice in Snow Buddies) as voice of Shenzi
Cheech Marin (Cars) as voice of Banzai
Jim Cummings (Winnie The Pooh) as voice of Ed

Director: Bradley Raymond
(Tinker Bell and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue)

Bonus Features: Timon & Pumbaa’s Vacation Safari
This new animated bonus feature shows Timon & Pumbaa watching home movies of their animal friends at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

Deleted Scenes
Director Bradley Raymond and Producer George Mendoza explain why these segments did not make the final film.

1. Opening Concept #1
2. Opening Concept #2
3. Old Fearless Buzz
4. Timon talks to Dad
5. Timon, Dad & Mom
6. Intro to “Scurry, Flinch, Sniff”
7. Timon & Pumbaa look for Oasis

Timon: Behind the Legend
Hosted by Peter Graves, this mock-umentary traces Timon’s childhood. There are interviews with Timon’s mom, Uncle Max & Pumbaa, plus snapshots show him growing up.

Before the Beginning: The Making of Lion King 1 1/2
Director Bradley Raymond and Producer George Mendoza walk viewers through the film… from before the beginning. Brad and George are silhouetted against their own film with a remote, just like Timon and Pumbaa.

“Grazing in the Grass”
Music video performed by Raven.

Digital Bonus Features: Timon & Pumbaa’s Vacation Safari
Timon: Behind The Legend

Street Date: March 6, 2012
(Direct Prebook: 1/10/12; Distributor Prebook: 1/24/12)

Rating: G in U.S. and G in Canada
Bonus materials not rated.
Feature Run Time: Approximately 76 minutes
Suggested Retail Prices: 2-Disc Blu-ray (Blu-ray + DVD) = $39.99 U.S./$46.99 Canada
1-Disc DVD = $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada
High Definition Digital = $39.99 U.S./$46.99 Canada
Standard Definition Digital = $29.99 U.S./$35.99

Aspect Ratio: Blu-ray: 1.66: 1/1080p High Definition
DVD: 1.66:1/Widescreen
Sound: Blu-ray: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish, 5.1 Dolby Digital
DVD: 5.1 Dolby Digital English, French andSpanish
Languages: English
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Emmy-Winning VFX Artist Kevin Kutchaver Takes Stage at The DAVE School Graduation on December 21

Orlando, FL, December 20, 2011 –(– Before walking across the stage to receive their diplomas this week, The DAVE School’s newest graduates will gain insights on launching their new careers from VFX industry veteran Kevin Kutchaver.

Kutchaver will be the keynote speaker at the Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, graduation of The DAVE School, one of the most advanced 3D and visual effects training institutions serving the animation and film industries. Located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, recent graduates’ work can be seen in blockbuster movies that include Thor, The Green Lantern and Captain America.

Kutchaver, the Emmy-Winning VFX Artist on ABC’s Lost, teamed up with The DAVE School to produce a three-minute animated short based on legendary comic book illustrator Bernie Wrightson’s popular antihero, Captain Sternn. Sternn made his feature debut in the 1981 animated cult classic, Heavy Metal: The Movie.

“In the movie, Captain Sternn was a tight, contained story in its own little world,” said Kutchaver. “The film, however, never captured the richness of Sternn’s universe.”

Kutchaver approached studio executives with the idea of a CG version of Wrightson’s comic series, Running Out Of Sternn. When the executives asked what it would look like, Kutchaver turned to The DAVE School for assistance.

“Computer animation is traditionally thought of as being too complex and hence too expensive for episodic television,” said Kutchaver. “The studios were concerned about achieving the proper look within their budget. They wanted to see a sample of what it could like. I knew The DAVE School had a reputation for producing award-winning CG work during their Block 4 production class. If anyone could help us win the studios over, I knew it would be The DAVE School.”

“We are very proud to be working with Kevin on this project,” said Steve Warner, Executive Director of The Digital Animation and Visual Effects School. “He is an amazing artist who brings a lot of experience to the table. Having Kevin on-site to guest direct the project has been incredible. The students are extremely fortunate to be working with him on such a high-profile project.”

The graduating Block 4 students provided approximately 32 shots for the film. “The students started from scratch and had a hand in every stage of the production,” said Kutchaver. “They’ve done a great job. Block 4 instructors Jason Pichon and Dan Smith also helped align each student’s individual skills set with the needs of the production. You get the best work out of people when you let them focus on what they do best.”

“Justice League: Doom” World Premiere February 13, 2012 at New York Paley Center

Warner Home Video & MTV Geek Present the World Premiere of Justice League: Doom February 13, 2012 in New York at The Paley Center for Media

Media Invited to Red Carpet Interviews & Screening;
Limited Free Tickets Available to Fans on First Come, First Served Basis

Warner Home Video, MTV Geek and The Paley Center for Media proudly present the World Premiere of Justice League: Doom, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, in New York on February 13, 2012. Filmmakers and members of the voice cast will attend the event for red carpet media interviews and a post-screening panel discussion.

A limited number of free tickets are available for the general public. Fans in the New York City area wishing to receive free tickets to the NY event on Feb. 13 must RSVP via email to [email protected]. Fans should include their first and last name and a valid email address.

Tickets to the event will be distributed on a “first come, first served” basis. MTV Geek will also be giving away special seating for the event.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Media wishing to perform interviews and attend the premiere must RSVP via email to [email protected].

Justice League: Doom finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. The story is inspired by Mark Waid’s much-heralded JLA: Tower of Babel.

The film features the voices of Nathan Fillion (Castle) as Green Lantern, Tim Daly (Private Practice) as Superman, and a grand reunion of actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name and its follow-up, Justice League Unlimited, including Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as Batman, Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Breaking In) as Flash, Susan Eisenberg (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) as Wonder Woman and Carl Lumbly (Alias) as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter. Bumper Robinson (A Different World, Transformers: Animated) joins the cast as Cyborg. The cast features three villainous alumni of the Justice League animated series: Phil Morris (Smallville, Seinfeld) as Vandal Savage, Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) as Star Sapphire, and Alexis Denisof (Angel) as Mirror Master. Also opposing our heroes are Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) as Bane, Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files) as Metallo, and Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate SG-1) as Cheetah. David Kaufman (Danny Phantom) also reprises his Justice League role of Jimmy Olsen.

The filmmaking team includes executive producer by Bruce Timm, director Lauren Montgomery, producer Alan Burnett and dialogue/casting director Andrea Romano. Justice League: Doom is the final DC Universe film script from the late Dwayne McDuffie.

Voice cast members and filmmakers will be announced as confirmed for the event. The Paley Center for Media is located at 25 West 52nd Street, New York, NY.

“Tintin” talkback

Our long national nightmare is almost over. The trailers and billboards for The Adventures of Tintin will start to disappear as the film opens today in the USA – and the manufactured enthusiasm starts to wind down.

This is not “the future of animation”. Mo-cap works for alien creatures, penguins and “apes”. It works for games. It will not replace human beings in narrative stories for motion pictures. I’m sure there are clever and correct uses for motion capture technology – outside of James Cameron (Avatar) and Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), I haven’t seen it yet.

The Adventures of Tintin is a major letdown. Surprisingly, the core problem for me wasn’t the use of mo-cap, but the lack of empathy with the major characters. We are never properly introduced to Tintin, nor why we should care what happens to him. Or why he looks like that. Or has a gun.

The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly published reviews that summed up my feelings exactly. Even better, enjoy this review published in today’s The Detroit News:

Spielberg’s ‘Tintin’ creates animated, nonstop, excruciating headache by Tom Long

A clamorous headache of a movie, it’s hard to say who the intended audience for “The Adventures of Tintin” might be.

Is it 60-year-olds who want to relive fond memories of a childhood hero? It’s hard to imagine today’s youth being taken with a youngster in knee-pants with a funny hair cut that looks plastered on.

Or is this a film for techno-geeks who want to see just how far director Steven Spielberg can push motion-capture animation? To answer that question, he can push it too far. “Tintin” is the sort of nonstop noise parade that quickly becomes exhausting rather than exciting.

You know how Harrison Ford sighed, pulled his gun and just shot a threatening bad guy in the first “Indiana Jones”? You want to do that to Tintin after about half an hour. And he’s the hero.

The plot is a mess, essentially just a set-up for scene after scene after scene after scene of animated stunts that have no real effect. It starts out with someone being murdered, then Tintin (Jamie Bell) gets kidnapped and taken aboard a boat where he teams up with a drunkard captain (Andy Serkis) to find clues to a sunken treasure, battling all the while with a dastardly bad guy (Daniel Craig).

This film offers no context – who is this Tintin guy; why does he dress like that; how come the kid wields guns; who pays for his stylist and why hasn’t that stylist been shot? Without knowing something about or caring about the character it’s hard to invest in the action, especially since it’s animated. It should be character first, then story, then action, but “Tintin” reverses all that to disastrous effect. You’re just plopped into an action-adventure story with a character you know nothing about.

Unless, of course, you’re that 60-year-old reliving fond memories of a childhood hero. In which case, well, have fun. But no one else will.

What did you think? Did you love it? Per our standard “talkback” rules, our comments section is only open to those who have actually seen the film. All other comments will be deleted.

Congratulations Bill Plympton and Sandrine Flament

Indie animation’s most eligible bachelor, Bill Plympton, is tying the knot!

News has reached us that animator Bill Plympton will be getting married to artist Sandrine Flament on Friday.

For those who don’t know, Plympton is essentially New York City’s “king of independent animation”; Flament is a Paris-based illustrator who has worked as an assistant on several of Plympton’s films. My personal best-wishes to both of them. Bill can be congratulated in the Comments below.

th1ng Directs CG TV Commercial for McDonalds Spain

Andy Powell of London-based th1ng, mixed media and animation production company, has directed a new TV commercial for McDonald’s in Spain.

The 20” TV spot, commissioned by agency TBWA Madrid, celebrates McDonald’s 30th anniversary in Spain featuring its latest installation of the classic McDonald’s Monopoly game. The commercial Cake is a 3D simulation of the board game animated into a party theme. Click here to watch:

Set on a giant birthday cake, Mr Monopoly takes the center stage to reveal the many prizes to be won. As the animation unfolds the camera navigates through the game to showcase its key promotions. Ranging from electronic gadgets to travel perks we see them popping up onto the board animated into various effects. Rows of mobile phones, TVs and consoles fall backwards, line up or drop on parachutes all roller-coasting through colourful confetti and fireworks. The ad ends with Mr Monopoly presenting a “spend me” credit card before closing off with an anniversary strapline and a McDonald’s logo.

Andy Powell, who has previously directed commercials for Kellogg’s, Xbox, Airwick, Covonia and Felix, said: “We needed to create a short animated spot with a lot of impact and a celebratory theme. To do this we animated graphics styling its texture with various 3D elements to bring the advert to life together in a dynamic tempo and a suitable voiceover”.

th1ng animated, edited, composited and produced the commercial in-house. The ad airs this week in Spain.


Client: McDonald’s
Agency: TBWA Madrid
Director: Andy Powell
Production Company: th1ng
Post Production: INSERT
Producer: Milana Karaica, Maria Leal
Air Date: Spain, from 12 December

Call For Entries: Los Angeles Animation Festival 2012

The Los Angeles Animation Festival 2012 has issued its call for entries for five competitions in conjunction with its upcoming event to be help March 7-11 at the Regent Showcase Cinema at 614 N. La Brea in West Hollywood. The entry postmark deadline is Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

All winners will be honored at an awards event during the festival.

A major partner in this year’s event is MTV’s Liquid Television, which is sponsoring one of the contests and offering a $5,000 development deal to the winner of the category. (details below)

This year’s categories are Best Short (20 minutes or less), Best Feature (audience award), Best TV episode (11-30 minutes), Best Animated Music Video and Best “Animation on the Edge”.

The Animation on the Edge category is sponsored by MTV’s Liquid Television. This category is looking for animator’s work on the cutting edge of humor, story-telling or technique aimed at a teen or adult audience. The winner receives a $5,000 development deal with MTV’s Liquid Television.

Details on entering and a full description of the categories can be found at

The 2012 Los Angeles Animation Festival will feature screenings of features and short film programs as well as seminars, panels, contest and parties. Look for announcements of the Festival programs and this year’s honoree in the coming weeks.

ASIFA-East Holds Annual Animation Art Auction Tonight at NYC’s School of Visual Arts

On December 20, 2011 ASIFA-East will hold its highly anticipated Animation Art Auction to benefit our upcoming Animation Festival & Awards Ceremony. Stay tuned to the aNYmator for the latest teasers on the hot items in our auction! These make the best one-of-a-kind holi…day gifts!

Latest teasers:

The auction is a chance for the animation community to own a piece of animation history for an affordable price, hence ASIFA-East’s STRICT NO DEALER POLICY! Dealers of animation art will not be admitted and are prohibited from bidding at our event.

Cash or check will be accepted.

All proceeds go towards the production of our Animation Festival this spring, featuring 4 nights of screenings of independent and commissioned films from around the country, and culminating in a rockin’ awards ceremony and reception

School Of Visual Arts
209 East 23rd Street map
(Bet. 2nd & 3rd Ave)
3rd Fl, Amphitheater

Brown Bag Film Begins Work on “The Happy Hugglemonsters” For Disney Junior

Disney EMEA today announced that it has greenlit a brand new CG animated pre-school series, The Happy Hugglemonsters. Set to premiere on Disney Junior from autumn 2012 and air in more than 150 countries worldwide, the series follows the adventures of fun-loving, five-year-old Henry Hugglemonster, the middle child in a happy, wacky close-knit monster family — The Hugglemonsters.

Produced by twice Oscar-nominated animation studio, Brown Bag Films in Dublin, Ireland, The Happy Hugglemonsters is the latest series being developed and produced by Disney’s London based production hub. Led by Beth Gardiner, Vice President, Production, Disney Junior, the Disney team is working with Brown Bag Films to deliver the 52 x 11 minute series – developed from a series of books created by Niamh Sharkey called I’m a Happy Hugglewug and published by Walker Books. The illustration style of the books is retained in the series’ CG animation.

Each 11 minute story transports preschoolers into the world of Henry Hugglemonster as he guides the preschool audience through the ups and downs of being part of a loving, bustling monster family. The series is directed by Emmy Award winning director Norton Virgien (Rugrats, Doc McStuffins), the lead writer is Sascha Paladino (Wonder Pets, Ni-Hao Kai-Lan) and the series is produced by Gillian Higgins (Doc McStuffins, The Octonauts).

Beth Gardiner Vice President, Production & Development, Disney Junior EMEA, comments:

“We are thrilled to welcome The Happy Hugglemonsters to the Disney Junior fold. Seen through our five year old hero Henry Hugglemonster’s eyes, the series delivers comedic and emotional storytelling with a monstery twist that pre-schoolers can really relate to; perfect for Disney Junior.”

Cathal Gaffney, co-founder and CEO of Brown Bag Films said “We are delighted to announce the production of this series, it is great to work with home grown talent like Niamh Sharkey and to bring an original idea like this to a global Disney Junior audience is hugely satisfying for all involved”, “This series will see over 40 additional staff employed full time in Brown Bag Films over the coming 18 months and demonstrates how the creative economy has such an important role to play for Ireland.”

Niamh Sharkey said “I am thrilled to be working with Brown Bag Films to bring my characters to life; the creativity, enthusiasm and care they bring to the project is mind blowing. Making this show for Disney Junior is a dream come true, and to be able to create this show in Ireland is the icing on the cake. I know my monster family is in safe hands!”

“Kool Aid” by Tex Avery

I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid for Tex Avery, for years now. Little did I know Avery actually directed a Kool-Aid TV spot, until I came across one in my collection this past weekend. Credits for such commercials are scarce, so if this isn’t Avery I don’t know what is. Love the politically incorrect native American designs and Thurl Ravenscroft’s narration. “Oh Yeah!”

Live-Action Filmmaker John Woo Launches Animated Web Series, “Seven Brothers”

NEW YORK, Dec 19, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Liquid Comics and Tiger Hill Entertainment today announced the launch of the first four episodes in a 13 episode animated web series from acclaimed filmmaker, John Woo (Mission Impossible 2, Face-Off, Red Cliff). The series is being released exclusively on Machinima (, with new batches of episodes to be distributed every two weeks. The animated series is an adaptation of the graphic novel, Seven Brothers, created by Woo, with writer Garth Ennis and artist Jeevan J. Kang.

“For me, working in comics is quite comfortable – it’s like the ultimate storyboard. The original Seven Brothers graphic novel, and this new animated comic book series, takes the seed of an idea I had about famous Chinese folklore to a whole new level. It creates a modern, global story, and an art form that is unique and yet, clearly, a brother to the film medium,” said creator, John Woo.

“We at Machinima are excited to partner with the Liquid team and world-class action directors like John Woo,” said Allen DeBevoise, Chairman and CEO of Machinima, Inc. “Because of the strong overlap between the worlds of videogaming and comics, Machinima was the natural distribution outlet for this high-octane animated series, and we hope our global audience of over 118 million viewers will enjoy it. We’ll continue to partner with the best creative talent to produce and distribute more and more original content that resonates with the male 18-34 demo.”

Seven Brothers tells the story of how, six hundred years ago, long before history’s great explorers stole the credit for their feats, mighty Chinese treasure fleets set sail to reach every continent. These voyages of discovery left behind an evil legacy and a plot by a powerful Chinese sorcerer to dominate the world. Now, in modern day Los Angeles, an ancient prophecy must be fulfilled and seven men, with nothing in common but their destinies, must face the Son of Hell to save the world.

Seven Brothers is a fusion of mythology and edge that only an icon like John Woo and the brilliant creative team behind Seven Brothers could pull off. It exemplifies how the best mythologies constantly transform and re-invent themselves when filtered through the imaginations of great artists,” commented Liquid Comics Co-Founder, Gotham Chopra.

“We are thrilled to work with John Woo and the teams at Machinima and Tiger Hill to bring this exciting story to audiences worldwide through digital platforms,” added Liquid Comics Co-Founder & CEO, Sharad Devarajan. “For Liquid, the future of comic books is about jumping from the printed page on to the digital screen and John Woo’s Seven Brothers is the perfect project to launch our new line of animated web shows.”

DreamWorks Animation Releases First Poster For “Rise Of The Guardians”

DreamWorks Animation today released the first poster from its Christmas 2012 feature Rise of the Guardians. Based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood books, the feature follows Santa, Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost as they join forces to put a stop to Pitch the Boogeyman before he destroys the world. Set for release on November 21st, 2012, the film is directed by Peter Ramsey and William Joyce.

Dianna Costello Joins Pixeldust Studios As Executive Producer

Bethesda, MD, Dec. 19, 2011 — Pixeldust Studios, a multi-award winning digital animation and visual design studio, has brought Academy Award-nominated producer and business/marketing executive Dianna Costello onboard as its Executive Producer. Ricardo Andrade, President/Executive Creative Director for Pixeldust Studios made the announcement.

The addition of Costello will further extend Pixeldust Studios’ efforts to develop creative and business partnerships in the production of non-fiction entertainment for broadcast and cable TV networks, museums, corporations, government agencies and educational institutions. She will oversee marketing and development efforts and will work to expand Pixeldust’s core business of providing award-winning graphics packages, show opens, animations, and visual effects for a variety of broadcast television and cable network programs, television specials and series.

Mr. Andrade said, “The opportunity for us to work with Dianna is very exciting. In this new position, she’ll be able to combine her creative talents for project development with her many years of experience as a business development and marketing executive, tapping into her extensive film and television industry contacts. She is a major new asset to our company.”

Adds Ms. Costello, “I’m thrilled to be coming onboard with Pixeldust at this stage in their development.  Pixeldust Studios has taken their company to a whole new level, as evidenced by their stunning work on the highly acclaimed NOVA/PBS television series, The Fabric of the Cosmos. Ricardo’s desire to create original product is a logical next step in the evolution of his company. Given his well-respected reputation in the industry, and his large body of work for so many TV networks, the future for Pixeldust is full of exciting possibilities.”

Holiday Greetings from Animators

We are being bombarded with holiday wishes from animators all over the world. We simply can’t post them all, but here’s a sampling of some of our favorites:

First up, from Corrie Francis, an incredible sand animation.

This is the third music video Billy Polard has made using the Nintendo DSi’s Flipnote animation program:

Here’s a holiday story from Richard O’Connor, who runs Ace and Son Moving Picture Co. in New York City:

And finally (for now), from those blokes at Mukpuddy Animation in New Zealand: