“Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention” Available March 13 on DVD & Blu-ray

From Aardman Animations, see beloved British inventor Wallace and his loyal friend Gromit in their return to the television screen as Lionsgate releases the complete Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention six-part series on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in March. The title contains the complete six-part BBC1 TV series, and features Wallace as host introducing viewers to a number of amazing, real-world contraptions. Available for the first time in the U.S., the title is the first new Wallace & Gromit animation since the Academy Award® nominated animated short film, A Matter of Loaf & Death (2009). Timed to the release of Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation’s new stop-motion theatrical film The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention will be available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on March 13, 2012 for the suggested retail price of $14.99 and $14.98, respectively.

The Wallace & Gromit franchise has been going strong for more than 20 years. During this time, two of its short films won Academy Awards® (The Wrong Trousers, short film [animated], 1993 and A Close Shave, short film [animated], 1995), while two others were nominated for Oscars® (A Grand Day Out, short film [animated], 1990 and A Matter of Loaf and Death, short film [animated], 2009).  Wallace & Gromit were also the stars of the theatrical film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.  In the past six years alone, the beloved series and movie has sold more than four million DVDs. The Wallace & Gromit franchise also launched another Aardman Animations creation, Shaun the Sheep.  This character originated in the award-winning short film, A Close Shave, and is a popular television series and Lionsgate DVD star as well.

SYNOPSIS

Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention sees world-renowned inventor Wallace and his faithful sidekick (turned camera dog) Gromit turn their hand to presenting for the very first time, hosting a six-part series from the basement of 62 West Wallaby Street. They take an enthusiastic look at some real life cracking contraptions, from gadgets that help around the home to the mind-boggling world of space travel and much more in between.

EPISODES

  • “Home Sweet Home”
  • “Getting from A to B”
  • “Nature Knows Best”
  • “Reach for the Sky”
  • “Better Safe than Sorry”
  • “Come to Your Senses”

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Your World of Invention – Build six of your own cracking contraptions!
    • Upside-down-o-scope
    • Wind-powered sprinkler
    • Atmospheric Railway
    • Fin Ray Grabber
    • Spy Camera
    • Air Rocket

Marvel Release Details Of Upcoming “Ultimate Spider-Man” Show

New York, NY–February 27, 2012–The most-anticipated new show of 2012 is almost here–Ultimate Spider-Man swings into the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD on April 1, giving fans of all ages a whole new look at the world’s greatest Super Hero…and he’s not alone! Joining Peter Parker on his journey to becoming the Ultimate Spider-Man are Marvel’s most exciting teen Super Heroes. But who are these top secret characters making their Marvel animation debuts?

Every day this week, beginning today at 3pm, swing on by Marvel.com for exclusive official announcements–and new screen grabs–of the Super Heroes joining Ultimate Spider-Man, with exclusive commentary from superstars like Man of Action (Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle), Paul Dini, Brian Bendis, Cort Lane and the Head of Marvel Television himself, Jeph Loeb!

It all begins right here on Marvel.com with an exclusive introduction to the world of Ultimate Spider-Man from Joe Quesada, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer. How was the show developed? Which Marvel artists contributed to the show’s unique look? And how does this series fit into the larger Spider-Man mythos? Joe Q has the answers, exclusively at Marvel.com.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to your friendly neighborhood web browser and check out Marvel.com (insert story link) for the exclusive first look at the surprises in store for fans in Ultimate Spider-Man, premiering April 1 on Disney XD.

“Gag Me With a Toon 4″ Art Exhibit Opens March 17th At Culver City’s WWA Gallery

Get zapped back to the Saturday mornings of your youth this March as WWA gallery hosts the fourth annual Gag Me with a Toon exhibition curated by Steven Daily and Tomi Monstre. Action packed and full of fun, the event will feature over 70 contemporary talents paying homage to, or otherwise dementing the memory of, our beloved Saturday morning cartoons.

The creation of Steven Daily, Gag Me with a Toon began as a nod to the cartoons of the 80s that influenced his and many of his peers artistic styles. Now exceedingly popular, the show has moved to WWA gallery in order to accommodate all the artists eager to participate and its anxiously awaiting fans.

Along with the change in venue, Gag Me with a Toon has also broadened its scope to include shows from the 70s and 90s as well. So no matter when you plunked yourself drooling in front of the old tube there is sure to be a piece that will transport you back to simpler days.

Open to the public, the gallery reception for Gag Me with a Toon is from 7 – 11pm on Saturday, March 17th. The exhibition will run until April 21st, 2012.

You just cannot miss a show packed with this much talent:

AARON MASON, ALEX GARCIA, ASHLEY FISHER, AIMEE KEUSTER, AYA MASUDA, ALEX PARDEE, ARTY PEREZ, BRENT NOLASCO, BRIAN VIVEROS, CAMERON DAVIS, CARLOS RAMOS, CHRIS GLIEBE, CHRIS PRYNOSKI, CRAIG EDMONDS, DAN QUINTANA, DANIEL GALVEZ, ERIK ALOS, DANNI SHINYA LUO, DAVE HILL, DAVE MACDOWELL, DEPH, DESIREE FESSLER, FLORIAN GRAF, GEAR, GRAHAM CURRAN, GUNNAR, GAYLORD, GUSTAVO RIMADA, HEZZA CARLTON, HOLLY PAYNE, HONKEY KONG, JASMINE WORTH, JASON GALLO, JEFFERY PAGE, JESSICA LOPEZ, JHONEN VASQUEZ, JOHNNY VAMPOTNA, JOHNNY CRAP, JON CHASE, JON SCHNEPP, JONATHAN WAYSHAK, JUSTIN BLOOMER, JIM MAHFOOD, JOKA, JR GOLDBERG, JOSEPH REYNA, JUSTIN SCHAEFER, KIETHING, LOLA, LOU PIMENTEL, MAC N ZIE, MATT RITCHIE, MAXX242, MEATS MEIER, MIKE CLEM, MIKE KELLEY, MISAKI SAWADA, MISS MINDY, MUNK ONE, NATHAN HAMILL, ROBERT BOWEN, ROB FAUCETTE, ROMAN DIRGE, SCOTT GORDON, SHANNON PRYNOSKI, STEVEN DAILY, SUZY SPLAB, THE CHUNG, TOM HAUBRICK, TOMI MONSTRE, TRAVIS LOUIE, VINNIE CACCIOTTI, and more.

WWA gallery and the curators are so excited about the opening that we have set up a few places where we post updates and special announcements about the show. Check us out on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter!

New “PAC-MAN 3D” Series Coming to Disney XD in US


NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc., Arad Productions and 41 Entertainment LLC (“41e”), announced today that they have granted the US television rights to Disney XD for the brand new animated action comedy series tentatively entitled PAC-MAN – The Adventure Begins (26 x 22’) in time for a fall 2013 airing.

Based on the iconic brand owned by NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc., the series is created in stereoscopic 3D executive produced by Avi Arad (Spider-Man for Sony Pictures, Iron Man for Paramount, Hulk for Universal and Fantastic Four and X-Men for 20th Century Fox) and Rick Ungar (Biker Mice from Mars for New World, X-Men Evolution for Marvel and Legend of the Dragon for BKN).

Avi Arad adds: “I am very excited about producing PAC-MAN – The Adventure Begins, the 3D animated series, with Rick Ungar. PAC-MAN is one of the world’s greatest icons. He is funny and adventurous and will bring his tone and abilities to this beautifully executed animated series. For more than 30 years, PAC-MAN has been a household name. Having this property on Disney XD is its rightful place to be.”

Mr. Unozawa, Chief Operating Officer at NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc., states: “We are very happy and welcome Disney XD as the home for PAC-MAN – The Adventure Begins in the US. Along with Disney and the rest of our valuable partners, we are confident of the immediate success that this new PAC-MAN venture will generate, and it is sure to transcend generations once again.”

States 41e’s CEO, Allen Bohbot: “We are very pleased to grant these valuable rights to Disney XD. We believe it is the perfect home for this project and welcome them to the growing list of high quality programmers and broadcasters worldwide that will be airing this series.”

A Tribute to African-American Animation Artists

Black Animators

I can’t let Black History Month pass without making mention of the fantastic Facebook gallery called African-American Animators–Past & Present. It’s disheartening to think that for the first fifty years of American animation history, there were no black animation artists. Frank Braxton broke the color barrier in the mid-1950s, and animation (and America as a whole) has changed much since then. Now, we have this wonderful tribute to the diversity and talent of the black animators who work in our industry, many of whom I’m proud to call friends, others who I’ve featured in my ‘zine Animation Blast (Ed Bell, Phil Stapleton, Milton Knight), and even one of my animation teachers (Lenord Robinson).

DreamWorks Animation Reports Fourth Quarter and year-end 2011 Financial Results

GLENDALE, Calif., Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011. In the quarter, the Company reported total revenue of $219.0 million and net income of $24.3 million, or $0.29 per share on a fully diluted basis. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2011, the Company reported total revenue of $706.0 million and net income of $86.8 million, or $1.02 per share on a fully diluted basis.

“DreamWorks Animation’s two feature films in 2011 achieved a high level of commercial and critical success, as Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss In Boots together reached $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office and each received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “After its initial weekend, Puss In Boots is off to an excellent start in its domestic home video release and we are now looking ahead to the next big event for the Company: the theatrical release of Madagascar 3 on June 8, 2012.”

Kung Fu Panda 2, which grossed approximately $665 million in worldwide box office, contributed $49.6 million of revenue in the quarter, driven primarily by its home entertainment performance. The film reached an estimated 5.1 million home entertainment units sold worldwide through the end of the fourth quarter, net of actual and estimated future returns.

Puss In Boots, which has grossed approximately $535 million in worldwide box office to date, contributed $23.8 million of revenue in the quarter, driven primarily by its performance at the worldwide box office as well as merchandising and licensing activities.

Megamind contributed $19.4 million of revenue in the quarter, driven primarily by international pay television. The film reached an estimated 5.0 million home entertainment units sold worldwide through the end of the fourth quarter, net of actual and estimated future returns.

Shrek Forever After and How to Train Your Dragon contributed $8.8 million and $7.7 million of revenue in the quarter, respectively, driven primarily by worldwide home entertainment and international television. Each film reached an estimated 9.7 million home entertainment units sold worldwide through the end of the fourth quarter, net of actual and estimated future returns.

Library and other items contributed approximately $109.7 million of revenue to the quarter, including $72.9 million of revenue attributable to non-film businesses.

Costs of revenue for the quarter equaled $159.4 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses totaled $26.0 million, including approximately $6.0 million of stock-based compensation expense.

The Company’s income tax expense for the fourth quarter was $9.7 million. The Company’s combined effective tax rate – the actual tax rate coupled with the effect of the Company’s tax sharing agreement with a former stockholder – was approximately 28.1% for the fourth quarter. The Company expects its 2012 full-year effective tax rate to be approximately 30.0%.

For the full year 2011, the Company repurchased approximately 0.9 million shares for $25 million. The Company has $125 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.

The Company’s full year 2012 results are expected to be driven primarily by the performance of Madagascar 3, which is scheduled to be released on June 8, 2012. The Company’s first quarter results are expected to be driven primarily by the international box office performance and domestic home video release of Puss In Boots.

Items related to the earnings press release for the fourth quarter of 2011 will be discussed in more detail on the Company’s earnings conference call later today.

Conference Call Information

DreamWorks Animation will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the results on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at 4:30 p.m. (ET). Investors can access the call by dialing (800) 230-1059 in the U.S. and (612) 234-9959 internationally and identifying “DreamWorks Animation Earnings” to the operator. The call will also be available via live webcast at www.dreamworksanimation.com.

A replay of the conference call will be available shortly after the call ends on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. To access the replay, dial (800) 475-6701 in the U.S. and (320) 365-3844 internationally and enter 234240 as the conference ID number. Both the earnings release and archived webcast will be available on the Company’s website at www.dreamworksanimation.com.

“Dr Seuss’ The Lorax” To Open in 269 IMAX 3D Screens Upon Release on March 2nd

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Universal Pictures today announced that the 3D-CG feature Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax will be released in the immersive IMAX® 3D format on Friday, Mar. 2.  The film is directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) and features the voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate and Betty White.  Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax will open in 269 IMAX® digital theatres domestically, simultaneous with the film’s North American wide release.  The animated adventure will also open in seven IMAX® digital theatres internationally, with additional runs debuting over the following weeks.  Additional playdates will be added as pending bookings are confirmed.

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax: An IMAX 3D Experience has been digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology.   With crystal clear images, laser-aligned digital sound and theatre geometry that maximizes field of view, IMAX provides the world’s most immersive movie experience.

Illustrated Children’s Book Series “Tip The Mouse” Coming To Life As Preschool TV Series

Following the international publishing success of “Tip the Mouse” by Italian publisher Giunti, Italian Studio Bozzetto, Studio Campedelli, German m4e AG and RAIfiction will develop and produce a CGI television series.

Höhenkirchen/Munich, 28th Feburary 2012: Following the international success of illustrated children’s book series Topo Tip/Tip the Mouse, publisher Giunti and Italian Studio Bozzetto & Co. have partnered with German media and brand management company m4e AG to develop and produce a preschool TV series (52 x 5-7’ CGI animation). They are joined by co-production partners Studio Campedelli and Italian broadcaster RAI.

Tip the Mouse is a character created by Italian Andrea Dami and the books are published by Giunti Editore S.p.A. The children’s books with the adventures of the little mouse Tip are published all over the world and have already sold more than 4 million copies. The books are most successful in Italy, The Netherlands and Germany, where they are published under the German title Leo Lausemaus by Helmut Lingen Verlag.

The exciting stories of little mouse Tip, who lives with his family in a small house on the edge of the woods, are aiming at children aged 3-7 years. Tip tells about everything that kids are going to encounter and experience in their small world and encourages them to explore even more of their surrounding.

Hans Ulrich Stoef, CEO of m4e AG: “We are very excited to work on such a beautiful project. I fell in love with this character and project from the very beginning and I am totally convinced that we can build a sustainable international preschool brand, when looking at the popularity and success that the books already have.”

Walter Lantz Foundation Gives $540,000 for L.A.’s Loyola Marymount University Animation Lab

LOS ANGELES, February 27, 2012 — Loyola Marymount University will outfit its new Animation Lab with state-of-the-art digital equipment and technology, thanks to a grant of $540,000 from the Walter Lantz Foundation to the university’s School of Film and Television.

The grant is one of the largest gifts by the Foundation to a university animation program, and will allow LMU students to use the same kind of computers, software and equipment that professional animators use in Hollywood.

“Animation has transformed from simple cartoons into a medium, language, and mode of thought that crosses multiple disciplines in the art of filmmaking,” said Stephen G. Ujlaki, dean of the School of Film and Television. “This grant from the Walter Lantz Foundation will help our students bring the traditions of animation into the 21st century and beyond.”

The technology funded by the grant represents a quantum leap beyond the inked and hand-painted cels used by Walter Lantz in the 1940s to produce the cartoons starring such classic characters as Woody Woodpecker, Chilly Willy, Andy Panda, and others.

LMU is the only film school in Los Angeles to provide university-level courses in pre-visualization and virtual cinematography, which is the use of computer-generated worlds and characters to achieve shots and camera angles that would be impossible with traditional moviemaking tools.

The equipment supported by the grant  also includes computers for LMU’s newly created motion capture stage, a 3D scanner, lighting for stop-motion animation, and upgraded and networked computer workstations that will allow students to collaborate with ease.

“We’re proud to be able to support the work of LMU’s School of Film and Television,” said Edward Landry of the Walter Lantz Foundation. “There’s no better tribute to Walter Lantz’s memory than helping to train the next generation of animators.”

Tinman Creative: February 2012

Morghan Fortier and Brett Jubinville are so excited about their upcoming project at their newly established Toronto studio, Tinman Creative, they’ve posted a video showing off their first month of production. They plan to create such a video every month. I don’t know if their mystery project is a commercial, short film or TV production, but it sure looks intriguing with its great character designs and great sense of color.

“Vaesen” by Adrian Dexter

Vaesen is an original story that I wrote and directed. It’s not based on any specific folktale, but I chose a very iconic visual aesthetic, and used folktale conventions that are engrained in many from childhood, so that I could explore a looser narrative. Basically I wanted Rankin-Bass on acid, written by Borges.”

So says Danish-American Adrian Dexter, currently working at Important Looking Pirates (ILPVFX) in Stockholm. He recently graduated from The Animation Workshop in Denmark with this Bachelor film project (2012). As you can see, he definitely achieved that “on-acid” Euro-fairy tale feeling.

Call For Entries: Blackrock Animation Film Festival Competition

Details of the second Blackrock Animation Film Festival Competition have been announced.  Festival Director, Fionnghuala Ní Néill and President of the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dr Annie Doona were joined by Blackrock Business Network members to help launch the competition, now in its second year.

At the unveiling of the competition poster, the Festival Director called for entries and announced the deadline — Friday 6th July 2012.  Winning entries will be showcased during Blackrock Animation Film Festival 2012 (12th- 13th October) and prizes will be awarded at an awards ceremony (The BAFFAs).

Announcing the competition details and rules, Festival Director, Fionnghuala Ní Néill said: “We were astounded at the level and quality of entries for our inaugural Festival so we are naturally very excited about this year. We hope that the Blackrock Animation Film Festival 2012 Competition will inspire people to develop and showcase their talents. We are planning a bigger Festival this year with even more screenings, talks and workshops to take place over the two day event.”

Competition entry forms and rules are available on www.iloveblackrock.ie/animation-festival. Festival updates will be announced in the coming months on iloveblackrock.ie, https://www.facebook.com/blackrockanimationfilmfestival and on Twitter, @baffa2012.

British Production Company th1ng Announces NYC Expansion

London and New York — th1ng Corp., the award-winning British production company, is expanding with a New York production office and studio in Soho.  The move follows a number of recent U.S. agency generated projects for the animation, design, live action, and mixed media company.

The office is headed up by Bill Hewes, who joins th1ng from Filmtecknarna. Directors in the Filmtecknarna will now be represented by th1ng in the USA, UK and the Middle East.

th1ng Corp is a group of four companies serving different market needs.  th1ng creates animated commercials, new media, and main title sequences. th2ng is for live action commercials.  Film Club introduces film animation directors to ad agencies, and Flux provides broadcast design. th1ng has been active in the States for three years with major clients including Leo Burnett, Grey and Digitas.

Bill Hewes is a 15 year veteran of the industry with extensive experience in production and post-production. He was responsible for establishing Digital Kitchen in New York, and spent three years as Executive Producer of Filmtecknarna before joining th1ng. He will report to th1ng Corp.’s CEO and founder Dominic Buttimore.

Dominic Buttimore, CEO of th1ng Corp., said: “Opening here with Bill Hewes greatly increases the skills and services available to our growing client base IN THE US.  We are delighted that Bill has brought the talent of Filmtecknarna under our US and London wings.”

Bill Hewes, executive producer of th1ng New York, said: “I am delighted to be heading th1ng’s operation in New York. The business has already made great strides here and I am relishing the opportunity to put th1ng on the map by introducing our directors to clients in advertising, film, television and creative services.”

With the opening of the New York studio, US-based clients and agencies will be able to draw exclusively upon the experience and talent of 60 directors and designers. Exclusive to the roster is Sylvain Chomet, who was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature 2011 for The Illusionist. Sylvain and Dominic have collaborated on commercials for over twenty years, with Sylvain directing exclusively for th1ng since its inception in 2003.

Alongside its directorial and design talent, th1ng Corp. provides production and support staff, full-time editors, creative and compositing teams to realise their advertising, promotional and branding projects.

Academy Award Talkback; RANGO and MORRIS LESSMORE win

UPDATE #1: The Oscar for Best Animated Feature was awarded to RANGO.

Accepting the award, Verbinski said, “Someone asked me if this film was for kids. I don’t know, but it was certainly created by a bunch of grown-ups acting like children.”

Rango

UPDATE #2: The Oscar for Best Animated Short was awarded to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg (Moonbot Studios).

Joyce and Oldenburg seemed genuinely surprised at winning the honor. Joyce told the crowd “Look, we’re just these two swamp rats from Louisiana. We love the movies more than anything… and there are thousands of men and women, from the beginning of cinema, who inspire us. Everything we do everyday is to honor those people and those films. This is incredibly grand.”

In case you forgot, here were the results of Cartoon Brew’s Oscar Survey.
Read Cartoon Brew’s interviews with the five nominees of the Best Animated Short category. Congratulations to the winners and nominees.

Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis (Wild Life)

Enrico Casarosa (La Luna)

Grant Orchard (A Morning Stroll)

Patrick Doyon (Sunday)

Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore)

“Realigning My Thoughts on Jasper Johns” by JK Keller

Realigning The Simpsons

“Realigning My Thoughts on Jasper Johns” is an art project by Baltimore-based JK Keller that digitally reprocesses the animation from The Simpsons episode “Mom and Pop Art” into a glitchy, bright hot mess. Keller explained his process:

I ripped all the frames, then used software to turn the ripped images into vectors. Then I processed the files through Illustrator using the default Alignment & Distribution tools (23 different combinations). The resulting files were then brought back together for the 23 final videos.

With the audio, I used a similar process, making a spectrogram image of the audio from each cut in the episode. Then I applied a variety of processes to the image to mimic the alignment/distribution used. Then took the resulting image and turned it back into audio.

The project is intended to be shown as an installation of a 9 screen grid. Viewers would be able to adjust dials and switches to adjust volumes & video sources to create their own juxtapositions of the 23 videos.

Interested in the incorrect use of default software tools and how they can be used to generate new forms, and the absurdity that results between default digital manipulation and purposeful manual influence.

The results of Keller’s experiment are visually mesmerizing. The introductory video is below followed by the rest of the project on this YouTube playlist.

(via @FezFilms)

Animate Projects To Showcase 3 UK Animated Shorts Online For February & March 2012

Animate Projects is delighted to present new films made by three distinguished UK-based artists online at animateprojects.org through February and March 2012.

We are thrilled to premiere David Blandy’s ANJIN 1600: Episode 1, online now, is an anime-styled animation that reimagines the English navigator William Adam’s journey to, and his time in, Japan as an epic space adventure. The online exhibition coincides with David Blandy: Passage of the Soul currently showing at Phoenix Gallery, Exeter until 17 March. An essay by David Trigg will be posted online soon.

Sean Vicary’s new film Lament uses found objects, animation, poetry and music to explore loss, longing and belonging in the Welsh borderlands. Animate Projects is delighted to present Lament online from 1 March – St David’s Day. An essay by Michael Cousins will accompany the exhibition. Lament is currently showing at Oriel Davies Gallery, Wales until 18 April.

Animate Projects is pleased to present an excerpt from Richard Fenwick’s Exhaustion online from 16 March. Exhaustion chronicles a professional athlete’s journey from rest, to exhaustion and recovery, and is filmed in epic detail and extreme slow motion, with Chris Watson’s recording capturing real-time data both inside and outside the athlete’s body. Tyneside Cinema will be screening Exhaustion followed by a Q&A with Richard Fenwick as part of AV Festival 2012.

DreamWorks Animation Announces Cast for 2013′s “Turbo”

GLENDALE, Calif., Feb. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that Ryan Reynolds will lead an all-star cast including Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson in the Company’s upcoming original film Turbo, which tells the story of an ordinary garden snail with dreams of racing greatness. Turbo is scheduled to come to the big screen on July 19, 2013.

“Ryan Reynolds’ infectious enthusiasm and humor will bring life to the lead role of Turbo and set the tone for this amazing roster of all-star voice talent,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke. “This high-octane journey will take audiences on the race of their lives and completely re-define the traditional notion of moving at a snail’s pace!”

David Soren (Merry Madagascar), a DreamWorks Animation veteran as a story artist, voice actor and director, is set to direct the film based on his own original concept. Soren is co-writing the script with Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) and Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After). Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs. Aliens, Almost Famous) is producing with Susan Rogers serving as co-producer.

Turbo is a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world, just like his hero, 5-time Indianapolis 500 champ, Guy Gagne. His obsession with speed and all things fast has made him an oddity and outsider in the slow and cautious snail community, and a constant embarrassment to his careful older brother, Chet. Turbo desperately wishes he could escape the slow-paced life he’s living. As luck would have it, he gets that chance one fateful day after a freak accident when he suddenly finds himself vested with the power of incredible speed. Turbo embarks on an extraordinary journey to achieve the impossible: racing against the best that IndyCar has to offer. Turbo is the ultimate underdog who achieves the impossible by refusing to let his limitations get in the way of his dreams.

Exploring the Bookshelf of Animation Legend Jules Engel

What kind of books might an animation artist have kept on their bookshelf sixty years ago? They certainly wouldn’t have owned many animation books. In the 1950s, there was no Illusion of Life or Animator’s Survival Kit, and the entire number of books published about animation could be counted on one hand. Inspiration for the classic animation artist lay beyond the world of cartoons and animated film.

I was reminded of this when I found a photo of Jules Engel, a background painter who started at Disney prior to joining the Modernist studio United Productions of America (UPA). The shot below was taken at UPA circa 1954-’55. Engel later made his own independent shorts and created the CalArts Experimental Animation program, which he ran until his death in 2003.

After examining the image (and a similar photo taken from a slightly different angle), I was able to identify many of the books on Engel’s shelf. (Click HERE for a larger view of the image.) Engel’s books span the spectrum of visual arts from photography to painting to dance and theater. His collection confirms much of what we already know about the artists who worked at UPA, and their commitment to exploring the possibilities of the animation medium. Far from working in a vacuum, they were fully aware of the latest trends and ideas in the contemporary art world.

Below is an inventory of the books that are identifiable in the photo of Engel’s bookshelf. I’ve tried to include the covers of the specific editions that Engel owned:

British Circus Life by Lady Eleanor Smith and John Hinde
Jules Engel book

New Theatres for Old by Mordecai Gorelik
Jules Engel book
Continue reading

Cartoon Dump Post-Oscar Show

One night after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences salutes excellence in film, Cartoon Dump is back saluting crappiness in cartoons! Now in our 5th year – join MST3K’s Frank Conniff as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl”, comedian Erica Doering as “Compost Brite”, the infamous J. Elvis Weinstein as “Dumpster Diver Dan” and me, in Hollywood, on Monday February 27th at 8pm. And we are joined this month by special stand-up comedy guest Dana Gould (The Simpsons), Emo Philips returning as Cartoon Musicologist Professor Emo, and comedy/burlesque sensation Kasey Wilson! Fun! Fun! Fun! And Bucky and Pepito! Click here for more info!

Technicolor Animation Group Hires Kristy Scanlan as VP of Business Development

Paris (France) & Hollywood (California) — February 22, 2012 — Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH) today announces the addition of Kristy Scanlan as Vice President, Business Development for Technicolor Digital Productions’ Animation group, reporting to Robert Winthrop, head of Animation.

In this role, Ms. Scanlan will be responsible for growing the company’s animation production services, developing business strategies, and coordinating marketing initiatives.  Among her initial priorities is to oversee the strategic expansion of Technicolor’s animation services business for video game and advertising clients.

“With the wealth of experience and extensive industry relationships she possesses, we are thrilled to welcome Kristy to Technicolor. Along with the recent addition of key advertising and video game clients and the start of production on a second Barbie® DVD feature for Mattel, Kristy will be instrumental to the successful growth of our Animation group,” said Tim Sarnoff, President, Technicolor Digital Productions.

Prior to joining Technicolor, Ms. Scanlan was head of production for Threshold Entertainment, where she produced the computer-generated (“CG”) animated feature-length films, BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn, LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers, Hero Factory: Rise of the Rookies and Hero Factory: Savage Planet. She also recently produced the TV specials, Hero Factory: Ordeal of Fire and LEGO: Atlantis. Ms. Scanlan oversaw creative development of all live-action and animated projects for Threshold.

Previously, she held similar posts for director Steve Miner (Halloween H2O, Dawson’s Creek), as well as producers Bobby Newmyer / Outlaw Productions (The Santa Clause, Training Day) and Gale Anne Hurd / Valhalla Motion Pictures (Terminator, Armageddon).

Ms. Scanlan holds a B.A. degree in Film Studies from Wesleyan University.

RareForm Pictures’ ‘Wallenda’ Enters the Festival Circuit

Launched in 2009 by VW Scheich and Uyen Le, RareForm Pictures is a development and production company based in Los Angeles, CA. RareForm Pictures recently completed Wallenda, a VFX heavy short film that is currently making its way through the 2012 film festival circuit. The world premiere of Wallenda will take place on Friday, March 23, 2012, at the Cleveland International Film Festival (March 22-April 1, 2012) in downtown Cleveland, OH. The Cleveland International Film Festival is an Academy-qualifying festival, and the winners of the Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Short Film awards may qualify to enter the Short Films category of the Academy Awards® for the concurrent season.

The path that RareForm Pictures took to make Wallenda was a long and colorful one, involving over 300 artists and almost two years of post-production. Wallenda, set in 1920’s Germany, tells the story of Karl Wallenda’s first high wire performance as a young man, years before he became the patriarch of The Flying Wallendas, the internationally famous troupe of high wire walkers known for death-defying feats, such as the seven-person pyramid.

Using Red One cameras, the film was shot entirely against a green screen and all of the backgrounds were created in CG. The film has three distinctive environments–a German tavern, a circus tent, and an opera house, which were built in 3D. Due to the ambitious nature of the project, RareForm Pictures pulled together a core team of producers, Uyen K. Le, Kevin Williams, Gresham Lochner, Shawn Hull, Gary Levy and Kat Rogers, to help complete it. The extra time and effort was worth it though, and Team Wallenda is exceptionally proud of the vibrant and unique film that was created.

During the post-production phase of this film, VW (writer/director/producer) realized that he would need many artistic hands to help with the various VFX tasks involved in a film containing over 250 CG shots, tasks such as modeling, roto-ing, keying, lighting, texturing, rigging, matte painting, compositing, and digital animation. In conjunction with the Arts Work Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, RareForm Pictures developed an artist-in-residence program centered around Wallenda and provided continuous educational opportunities and hands-on experience for student and junior artists.

VW recruited students from the following local art schools–Art Institute Santa Monica, Art Institute San Bernardino, Otis School of Design, Art Center of Pasadena, California State University Northridge, Santa Monica College, and Gnomon School of Visual Effects–and matched them with various CG and stereoscopic 3D tasks according to personal preferences and skill levels. With the help of Gresham Lochner and Kevin Williams (VFX post producers), Shawn Hull (Art Director), and other senior artists (Ronnie Cleland, Lead Texture Artist), the junior artists received crucial supervision, mentoring, and feedback in order to hone their skills and find gainful employment as CG artists in the entertainment industry. After their Wallenda experience, many junior artists found work at prominent VFX houses, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sassoon Film Design, Stereo D, 9K9, and West Wing Studios.

This film was an exciting learning experience for all involved. Wallenda taught everyone to push themselves and take risks to accomplish a dream in which we all believed, precisely in the indomitable spirit of Karl Wallenda.

Anime Series “Boogiepop Phantom” Coming To DVD in June

RIGHT STUF’S NOZOMI ENTERTAINMENT Announces
BOOGIEPOP PHANTOM Complete TV Series
Entire 12-episode television series in one DVD set scheduled for June 2012.

GRIMES, Iowa, Feb. 22, 2012 — Anime producer and distributor Right Stuf, Inc. and its Nozomi Entertainment division are pleased to announce the Boogiepop Phantom Complete TV Series DVD set will be available on June 5, 2012.

This new, value-priced DVD collection will include the entire 12-episode Boogiepop Phantom anime TV series in a single keepcase.

“A spooky sepia puzzle” — SciFi Weekly

“There’s something addictive about this moody little show.”
— Chris Beveridge, Fandom Post

“intellectually demanding and artistically impressive” — Animation World Magazine

The Boogiepop Phantom television series features animation by Studio Madhouse (Redline, Death Note, Batman: Gotham Knight), with direction by Takashi Watanabe (Slayers, Shakugan no Shana, Ikki Tousen, Lost Universe) and series concept by Sadayuki Murai (Millennium Actress, Kino’s Journey, Perfect Blue).

Created by Kouhei Kadono, the acclaimed Boogiepop series spans more than 14 light novels, multiple light-novel spin-offs and two manga series, in addition to the animated television series and a live-action prequel movie (which is also available from Right Stuf’s Nozomi Entertainment).

Boogiepop Phantom aired on television in North America on the FUNimation Channel, Comcast’s Anime Selects, Anime Network, ImaginAsian and G4. Several of the novels and both manga are published in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment.

Visit boogiepop.rightstuf.com for more information about Boogiepop Phantom animated television series, plus trailers and desktop wallpapers.