Sanjay Patel at the Asian Art Museum

Sanjay Patel

If you’re in San Francisco, you’ll want to head to the Asian Art Museum sometime before April 22 to catch “Deities, Demons and Dudes with ‘Staches: Indian Avatars by Sanjay Patel.” The one-man show by Sanjay Patel, who works by day at Pixar, is an extension of his illustrated book projects that explore Hindu religion and iconography through a contemporary lens–The Little Book of Hindu Deities and Ramayana: Divine Loophole. The photos I’ve seen of the show online–wildly colorful large-scale murals spanning entire walls of the musuem–are sufficiently impressive. If you’ve seen the show in person, share your thoughts about it.

Greece’s Be There! Corfu Animation Festival Set For March 29 April 1, 2012


Be there! Corfu Animation Festival 29 March — 1 April 2012
2nd Edition
SELECTION RESULTS IN FEATURE FILM CATEGORY

Results keep coming up in Be there! Corfu Animation Festival. This year the annual cinema festival takes place from 29 March to 1 April and introduces the much-expected and promising competitive programme of feature-length films.

This new competitive programme will be inaugurated by three award winning films, premiering in Greece during the festival. More specifically, the first film, A Cat In Paris (Un Vie De Chat)(65 min. duration) is a 2010 production directed by Jean Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol. The film narrates the double life of Dino, a cat in Paris. It is this year’s Oscar-nominee animation feature film, also nominated for the French awards César.

The second film George the Hedgehog (Jez Jerzy) (80 min. duration), a Polish production of 2011, directed by Wojciech Wawszczyk, Jakub Tarkowski andTomasz Leśniak is an adult satire on modern morals. The film describes in an unconventional way the life of a bon viveur hedgehog in modern Poland.

Finally, the third film Fat, Bald and Short Man”(Gordo, Calvo y Bajito) (91 min. duration) comes from Colombia. A 2011 film by Carlos Osuna telling the story of a 46-year-old shy accountant, Antonio Fanfan, who after going through several troubles, learns how to appreciate himself.

Panorama is the new official Be there! section, introduced for the first time this year to include films out of competition, such as A Letter, A Story and Dogslife.
A Letter, A Story (47 min. duration) is a 2011 Greek production, written and directed by Aristarchos Pandaniel and scripted by Sofia Mantouvalou. It is an original educational animation series which aims to familiarize children with the letters through metric, humorous stories. Dogslife (66 min. duration) is also a Greek production by Dinos Theodosiou, a Hellenic Film Academy award winner. It is a humorous adventure film satirizing Greek features and habits.

For further information on the results of the short film competitive section of Be there! Corfu Animation Festival please visit the official site: www.betherefest.gr
The organization of Be there! Corfu Animation Festival will be carried out by the event planning agency Great Events, www.greatevents.gr

Venues:
Cine Orpheus – Ionian Academy — Polytechno
Supporter:
French institute of Greece / Institut Français de Grèce
Hospitality Sponsor:
Bella Venezia — Siorra Vittoria
Communication Sponsors:
MEGA CHANNEL — Zippyframes — Dailymotion — Culturenow – Cosmo — Corfuland – PlusCorfu
Antenna Corfu 92,6 — Kyma FM 90,3 — Life Radio 102,9 — New Radio 97,9
Athens News Agency — Macedonian Press Agency

“Team Spirit: F*ck The Beach” by HannesJohannes (NSFW)

After I saw Yellow Submarine in 1968, I thought all animation was going to look like this in the future. No need to take drugs, Team Spirit – Fuck The Beach by Swedish duo Johannes Helgelin and Hannes Elltorp (aka HannesJohannes) is an acid trip unto its own. Be warned: lots of naked people doing “nasty” stuff here – Not Safe For Work.

CREDITS
Video produced by: HannesJohannes
Music by Team Spirit
Story: HannesJohannes
Art & Design: Johannes Helgelin
Animation and Comp: Hannes Elltorp
Animation Assistant: Tobias Petersson

Lou Dobbs Says “The Lorax” and “Arrietty” Indoctrinate Children

Fox Business’s Lou Dobbs claims that President Obama’s “liberal friends in Hollywood” are “targeting a younger demographic using animated movies to sell their agenda to children.” He cites Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty and Illumination Entertainment’s upcoming The Lorax as evidence of this indoctrination. One of Dobbs’s guests claims that these films are creating a generation of Occutoddlers, referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement which these films allegedly promote.

Of course, I wouldn’t put it past Fox that they’d try to stick it to Chris Meledandri, who runs Illumination and is a competitor of Fox in the animation market. After all, Meledandri used to run 20th Century Fox Animation and oversaw the earlier Dr. Seuss animated adaptation, Horton Hears a Who!, which was distributed by Fox.

Trunk Animation Signs Directing Duo Sebas&Clim

Trunk Animation announced that it has signed directing duo Sebas&Clim to its stable of fine art-based directors. The London-based creative duo are Sebastian Baptista and Climent Canal, originally from Uruguay and Spain.

Trunk met the directorial team from working with Trunk’s Barcelona-based directors Lore&Jun. The duo have more than seven years combined experience working in design and motion graphics, both in Barcelona and London. The guys have worked with clients including Pull and Bear and the Guggenheim museum, among others. Most recently, Baptista worked closely with Trunk’s Layla Atkinson on a recent film for online gaming company TWLV.

Sebas&Clim’s work with typography is a joy to behold, as demonstrated by the short film Make it Better, which clearly shows what can be achieved when music, text and inspiration are marshaled by great talent.

“I used to collect figures and maquettes–I like collecting pencil tests now!”: A Conversation with Jamaal Bradley

Jamaal Bradley

DreamWorks animator Jamaal Bradley has been a long-time aficionado of pencil tests, and his website Pencil Test Depot has evolved into the place for collecting and sharing pencil tests. Encompassing animators from the Golden Age of animation through today’s heavyweights Bradley’s website is a valued resource for both aspiring animators and professionals in the field.

The pencil test, though rarely seen by anybody outside of a film’s production, reveal one of the most intimate views into an animator’s thought process. It is the lifeblood of the hand-drawn animation pipeline; it is through the pencil test that an animator evolves a character’s personality and fine-tunes the movement and staging of a performance before it’s passed down the line to the assistant animators.

But in a CG world, what has become of the pencil test and drawing in general? Cartoon Brew spoke with Jamaal Bradley about his site Pencil Test Depot, the role of drawing in CG, as well as his own animation career and work as a teacher. The New Jersey-born artist currently works at DreamWorks Animation’s Glendale studio as a Senior Animator on The Croods. Bradley other credits include Disney’s Tangled and Sony Picture Imageworks’ Open Season and Monster House. Although all of his recent projects have been CG animation, he’s kept his hand-drawn animation skills sharp by relying on it for some of his preliminary scene thumbnails as well as his work as a teacher at iAnimate.

Chris Arrant: PencilTestDepot.com has become a hit in the student animation community. What led you do create Pencil Test Depot, and did you know it would make such a big impact on animation students?

Jamaal Bradley: Pencil Test Depot was around for a while before it went public. I love animation and the beauty of looking at a well crafted pencil test makes me smile externally and internally. It probably sounds corny but that’s what it does for me; like food for the soul.   I had a personal site with pencil tests on it and I had tests I received from friends, stuff I shot myself, and things I was finding on the web. I initially created it for personal growth and didn’t think about maintaining it as a blog. Only one other person had access to it and he convinced me to open it to the public.

” …Jamaal if you make it public and ask for people to donate works, you will surely get more pencil tests and I bet people would appreciate seeing the stuff you have also…”

It made perfect sense and it worked. I am very happy people enjoy the site and support it.   I didn’t think it would be a big hit, I just wanted to see what pencil tests were out there. It has been amazing to have fantastic animators like Glen Keane, Bruce Smith, James Baxter, Kristof Serrand, Sergio Pablos, Sandro Cleuzo, Pedro Daniel Garcia, Rune Bennicke, Mike Surrey, and more showing great support for Pencil Test Depot. I used to collect figures and maquettes. I like collecting pencil tests now!
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David Stainton resigns from Paramount Animation

Well, that didn’t last long.

This morning’s announcement of the resignation (“for personal reasons”) of David Stainton from Paramount Pictures new animation unit has many buzzing. For one, the timing of the announcement. Paramount is sure to win the Animated Feature Oscar this week (the two Dreamworks pix and Rango were distributed by the studio). Makes no sense to disband the unit now. Or is a new, larger animation deal in the works?

Perhaps Paramount will forge a stronger alliance with ILM, or fully acquire Dreamworks Animation? I have no idea, but surely the studio will continue its winning streak of animated features. Perhaps Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Animation will step up to the plate? Why not hire Guillermo del Toro to run things – he’s already doing everything else.

What’s your take?

Afternoon of Remembrance 2012

Once each year at the DeMille Barn in Hollywood, the Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood and Women In Animation present An Afternoon of Remembrance, “a non-denominational celebration of departed friends from our animation community”.

This year the event takes place on Saturday, March 3rd, at 1pm (A reception precedes the memorial at 12 noon). Tributes will be paid to many, including:

Karen Aqua, Jordan Belson, Robert Breer, Vincent Cafarelli, Don Christiansen, Cornelius “Corny” Cole, Del Connell, Ray Dieter, Norm Gottfredson, Steve Jobs, Bill Justice, Earl Kress, Dorse Lanpher, Dwayne McDuffie, Dan Mills, Barney Posner, Hal Silvermintz, Paul Somner and others.

The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. Food and refreshments, 12 noon, Memoriams, 1 pm. The Hollywood Heritage Museum (Lasky-DeMille Barn) is located at 2100 N. Highland Ave. (across from Hollywood Bowl) in Hollywood, California.

David Stainton, Paramount President Of Animation, Resigns

(Los Angeles, CA — Feb 22, 2012) – Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA), announced today that David Stainton, president of Paramount Animation, has resigned for personal reasons.

Adam Goodman, president of the Paramount Motion Picture Group, said: “We are grateful for the time David spent at the studio and we wish him well in his future endeavors.” Goodman will directly oversee the animation development team moving forward.

In 2011, Paramount released Rango, the company’s first fully owned CGI animated property, which grossed more than $240 million worldwide and earned an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature. The studio also helped finance and distribute The Adventures of Tintin, an animated film from director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson, which has grossed $372 million worldwide.

“Bear” by Carlos Lopez Estrada

Director Carlos Lopez Estrada has been working ten months on Bear for Venice, California based 3 Round Burst Productions.

CREDITS
Boy: Garren Stitt
Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada
Producers: Andrea Riveron, Sarah Lawson and Christian Heuer
EP: Edgar Romero for 3RB
Director of Photography: Larkin Seiple
Production Design: Tyler Jensen
Editor: Trevor Durtschi
VFX Supervisor: Diego Dominguez
Sound Design: Matt Schwartz
Original Score: John W. Snyder and Johnathan Snipes

Box Office: A Strong Opening for “The Secret World of Arrietty”

Secret World of Arriety

Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty opened in the US with $6.4 million last weekend, and a total of $8.7 million over the four-day holiday period. The gross tops the previous high for a Ghibli film premiere in the US, Ponyo, which opened with $3.6 million in 2009.

Arrietty was distributed by Disney, whose last hand-drawn animation release was Winnie the Pooh. That film’s opening weekend take was slightly greater–$7.9 million–but it also opened in nearly 900 more theaters than Arrietty (2,405 theaters for Pooh versus 1,522 theaters for Arrietty).

Arrietty may not be a box office smash smash, but it’s a respectable showing for a stateside anime release and proves that there is a market for mid-sized theatrical runs of unconventional animated fare. Before it’s all over, Arrietty will likely end up as the third-highest grossing anime feature of all time in the US, behind only Pokemon: The First Movie and Pokemon: The Movie 2000.

News Around The Net for Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Arriety Rises To #8 With $8.1 Million 4 Days (AnimeNewsNetwork)

Reliance Revives Ninja Hattori Anime Series (Animation Magazine)

Indie Animation Upstart GKIDS Guns For Rango and DreamWorks (Deadline)

Fox Orders Patton Oswalt/Mike Barker Animated Superhero Comedy Working Class Hero (Deadline)

ABC Children’s Restructures & De Jong To Depart (Kidscreen)

Tinman Creative Studios Launches in Toronto

Toronto, Ontario — Morghan Fortier (Gemini Award-Winning Bossy Type) has teamed up with Brett Jubinville, (Infamously Eclectic Cartoon Doodler), to launch their new animation studio, Tinman Creative.

Located in downtown Toronto, Tinman, at its heart, is a boutique studio that expands and contracts according to each individual project’s needs. “It gives us the greatest versatility and flexibility to work on a variety of projects, which is important in an industry where the creative so often drives production,” states Fortier. According to Jubinville, “This dynamic allows us to build our toolkit specifically for each project. Everything from our crew to the software we use is custom-built to support the style of the creative.”

Versatility is the foundation that Tinman has been built upon. Jubinville always has Fortier guessing: “Brett’s work is so diversified; I never know what the designs are going to look like on a new project.”

“I started out doing a lot of small development jobs for companies like Nelvana and Studio B. I never had the luxury of relying on one particular style. However, the one thing I do try and make sure is that all the designs I come up with can be easily integrated into a pipeline,” Jubinville says. “There’s nothing worse than a beautiful design that’s impossible to animate.”

The results have paid off. So far the industry response to the demo reel and portfolio has been greater than Brett and Morghan expected. “Our goal is to bring great designs and characters to life. I think we’re heading in the right direction,” Morghan says.

Brett Jubinville has been in the animation industry for the past 10 years. His credits include Lead Character Designer (The Future is Wild), Animation Director (Dirtgirlworld), Segment Director (Sesame Street) and Technical Director (Ugly Americans).

Morghan Fortier has been in the animation industry for the past 15 years. She has produced numerous television series such as JoJo’s Circus (Playhouse Disney), Celebrity Deathmatch (The Comedy Network), Rick & Steve (LOGO/Teletoon), Dirtgirlworld (CBC/BBC/ABC/PBS) and Ugly Americans (Comedy Central), as well as a variety of commercials and broadcast design projects.

The studio focuses on design and pre-production, and offers full animation production and pipeline development. See more Tinman at www.tinman.tv, and for further information contact Morghan at morghan@tinma[email protected].

Click 3X Hires Ryan Duggan & Mario Casserta

Click 3X‘s creative staff is growing with the additions of Senior Designer/Art Director Ryan Duggan and Senior Flame Artist/VFX Supervisor Mario Caserta.

Ryan Duggan joins Click 3X from Charlex, and has hit the ground running. He recently designed and animated a spot for Nickelodeon and executed design work for Syfy. He has earned industry standout status through his work for Motorola Droid, Bayer, Verizon FiOS, and Clairol Nice n’ Easy.

“The scope and depth of projects at Click 3X really appeals to me,” said Duggan. “The variety will allow me to flex my creative muscles on a daily basis. Creatively, I try to go beyond the client expectations and really push into new realms, so it’s exciting to work alongside talent that is hungry to put in the time to make the piece amazing.”

“When I look for a designer, first and foremost I look for an artist, and Ryan is that and more,” stated Click 3X Managing Director Jason Mayo. “As soon as I met Ryan and looked through his illustrations, it was evident that he had special raw talent. That, coupled with his confidence and his collaborative nature, sold me on him instantly. I couldn’t be more excited to have him join the Click 3X family.”

Mario Caserta’s career spans 12 years in visual effects as a designer and Flame artist for broadcast, commercials and film. Caserta held a staff position at Spontaneous, and freelanced at various NYC studios before joining the Click team. His work – done with a mix of Flame, PFTrack, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator – includes the launch of the Boomerang Network and broadcast design and compositing work for Cartoon Network. Caserta’s Flame work includes the Verizon Test Man campaign; a GEICO campaign; a Nickelodeon Power Rangers promo; and VFX on AT&T spots, including the highly regarded Luke Wilson campaign. He also worked on the American Family Super Bowl spot for the NFL and various beauty spots for Pantene, Garnier, Estée Lauder and L’Oréal.

He freelanced on several projects for Click 3X prior to joining the studio full time. “Click 3X offers tremendous variety, a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and an intimate comfort level between employees and clients,” said Caserta. “That, combined with the caliber of work they produce, was enough to convince me to jump onboard. If I’m not challenging myself, I’m not growing, and I believe that Click 3X is the place where I can challenge myself creatively.” Look for upcoming compositing and color correcting work for Maryland Lottery Monopoly and a new look for the Optimum campaign as Caserta settles in at Click 3X.

“It’s about time Mario joined the team,” noted Mayo. “He’s been our go-to freelance guy for years. He is an elite VFX compositor with an amazing eye for detail and an innate ability for understanding a client’s aesthetic. Our clients are always completely taken care of when working with Mario and frankly that’s good enough for me. He’s a perfect fit for our team.”

British Animation Award Finalists Announced

The British Animation Awards (BAAs) finalists have been announced for both the juried categories and the Children’s Choice awards, determined by kid voters in the UK.

In addition, a national poll was launched yesterday to discover Britain’s favorite animated character ever. Until March 9, the British public can make its picks on the British Animation Awards Facebook page. The winner will be announced at the British Animation Awards at the British Film Institute in London March 15.

Characters on the shortlist include: From TV — Roobarb & Custard, Bagpuss, Wallace and Gromit, Danger Mouse, Penfold, Timmy from Timmy Time, The Snowman, Mr Benn, Paddington, Count Duckula, Morph, Super Ted, Postman Pat, Tiny Clanger, the Soup Dragon, Noggin the Nog, Uncle Nogbad, Lola from Charlie and Lola, and Peppa Pig. From commercials — Aleksandr Orlov the meerkat, and the Cresta Bear, and from online Simon Tofield’s internet hit Simon’s Cat.

For the BAAs, Peppa Pig has two nominations (best preschool series, Children’s Choice) and Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball is also up for two awards in Best Children’s Series and as a Children’s Choice finalist.

Here is the full list of the children’s categories and finalists:

Best Long Form

The Itch of the Golden Nit
Director: Sarah Cox
Produced by Aardman Animations for Tate and CBBC

Maska
Director: Quay Brothers
Produced by the Polish Cultural Institute in London and Se-Ma-For Studios Poland

The Gruffalo’s Child
Director: Johannes Weiland and Uwe Heidshötter
Produced by Magic Light Pictures in association with Studio Soi

Best Preschool Series

Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom: Acorn Day
Directors: Neville Astley and Mark Baker
Produced by Astley Baker Davies Ltd for Channel 5, Nick Jr and eone Entertainment

Octonauts: The Blobfish Brothers
Director: Darragh O’Connell
Produced by Silvergate Media and Brown Bag Films for CBeebies

Peppa Pig: The New House
Director: Joris van Hulzen and Philip Hall
Produced by Astley Baker Davies Ltd for Channel 5, Nick Jr and eone Entertainment

Children’s Choice

Bookaboo: Johnny Vegas
Directors: Lucy Goodman & Ian Emes
Produced by Happy Films for CITV

The Amazing World of Gumball: The Quest
Directors: Mic Graves & Ben Bocquelet
Produced by Cartoon Network, in association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media and Studio Soi for Cartoon Network

Peppa Pig: The New House
Director: Joris van Hulzen and Philip Hall
Produced by Astley Baker Davies Ltd for Channel 5, Nick Jr and eone Entertainment

Best Children’s Series

The Amazing World of Gumball: The Quest
Directors: Mic Graves & Ben Bocquelet
Produced by Cartoon Network, in association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media and Studio Soi for Cartoon Network

Rastamouse: Da Missin’ Masterpiece
Director: Derek Mogford
Produced by The Rastamouse Company for CBeebies

Ask Lara: Oh No! B.O.!
Director: Mercedes Marro
Produced by Red Kite Productions for BBC Scotland

Best Mixed Media Children’s Series

Get Squiggling!: Cat Episode
Directors:  Mike Wyatt, Damian Hook and Adrian Hedley
Produced by Dot to Dot Productions Ltd for CBeebies

Baby Jake: Loves Tummy Sliding
Directors: Alan Shannon & Maddy Darrall
Produced by Darrall Macqueen Ltd for CBeebies

Bookaboo: Johnny Vegas
Directors: Lucy Goodman & Ian Emes
Produced by Happy Films for CITV

“CatDog Season 1, Part 2″ in Stores on March 27, 2012

CATDOG: SEASON 1, PART 2
IN STORES MARCH 27, 2012

The Last 10 Episodes from the First Season of
Nickelodeon’s Hit Animated Series Arrive On DVD From Shout! Factory

LOS ANGELES-February 21, 2012 — The hilarity continues with the outrageous antics of the craziest conjoined twins you’ll ever encounter, made up of the highly cultured Cat and the not-so-cultured Dog! Together, CatDog are the very definition of friendship, fun and even trouble when it comes to their frequent run-ins with their neighbor Winslow and neighborhood street gangs like the notorious Greaser Dogs! This 2-DVD set contains the final 10 episodes of Season 1, for 20 adventures in all. CatDog: Season 1, Part 2 will be released on March 27, 2012, for the suggested retail price of $19.93.

CatDog features an all-star cast including Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants, Rocko’s Modern Life), Jim Cummings (The Super Hero Squad Show, Powerpuff Girls) and Carlos Alazraqui (The Fairly OddParents, Rocko’s Modern Life).

Product details:
Street Date: 03/27/12
SRP: $19.93
Disc #: 2
Running time: +/- 300 minutes
Catalog #: SF 13083
U.S. Rating: TV-Y
Canadian Rating: C8

Toronto Animation Arts Festival International Announces an Evening With Don Hertzfeldt

TORONTO (February 21, 2012) — The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) today announced an evening with cult animator and Academy Award nominee, Don Hertzfeldt, including a screening of his latest film, It’s Such a Beautiful Day on March 5th at The Royal Cinema.

The popularity of Hertzfeldt’s work is unprecedented in independent animation. This film, the third chapter of his Everything Will Be OK trilogy, was recently featured as one of 32 films (of 4,083 submissions) at the Sundance Short Film Program this past January. Hertzfeldt has had more films play in competition at the Sundance Film Festival than any other filmmaker and is the youngest filmmaker to ever receive the San Francisco International Film Festival’s Persistence of Vision Award.

“We are very honoured to have Hertzfeldt make a stop on his North American tour to support TAAFI and share his new film and vision with us,” says Ben McEvoy, Vice-Chair of TAAFI.

The evening will include the screening of the entire animated trilogy, immediately followed by a live on-stage interview and audience chat with Hertzfeldt. Nearly two years in the making and the final chapter in the trilogy, the 23-minute It’s Such A Beautiful Day is Hertzfeldt’s longest and most ambitious piece to-date, blending traditional animation, experimental optical effects, trick photography and new digital hybrids printed out one frame at a time. The film was also captured entirely on an antique 35 mm animation stand, one of the last operating cameras of its kind in North America.

Exclusive to TAAFI newsletter subscribers, tickets for the screening and exclusive after-party with Hertzfeldt are available. Tickets will be made available to the public starting Tuesday, February 21 at www.taafi.com/donhertzfeldt .

Proceeds from Hertzfeldt’s screening will go to support the inaugural Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) scheduled for July 6 — 8, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Programming highlights, workshops and presentations to be announced soon.

Reel FX Enlists Gullermo del Toro As Producer Of CG-Animated Film “Day Of The Dead”

Los Angeles, February 21, 2012 — Reel FX has teamed with Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Puss in Boots, Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth) to produce a groundbreaking, CG-animated film — working title, Day of the Dead. Del Toro will also present the film which is directed by Emmy Award winner Jorge R. Gutierrez (El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera).

The film is being penned by Gutierrez and Emmy Award nominee Doug Langdale. Reel FX will produce alongside Aaron Berger and Carina Schulze of Chatrone, Inc. Day of the Dead is scheduled to be released in fall 2014. The film is an action-packed, fully CG-animated picture, with a “Romeo and Juliet” style love story set against a Mexican “Day of the Dead” backdrop. It represents the first time in almost twenty years — since 1993’s Cronos — that del Toro has collaborated on a feature project set in Mexico. Music is also integral to the story; the film will feature an international roster of A-list recording artists performing new songs as well as re-imagined iconic songs. Reel FX’s Brad Booker brought Day of the Dead to the studio and is the development executive on the project.

“We’re thrilled to have Guillermo on board for Day of the Dead,” said Booker. “As individuals, Guillermo and Jorge share a cultural background and love for Mexican folklore, which brings a palpable authenticity to our project; however, as artists, each brings to the picture a vastly different aesthetic sensibility. Working together for the first time, we feel that they bring a truly unique balance to the style and story of the film.”

Notes del Toro, “I have admired Jorge’s work for a long time. He has a unique aesthetic and sense of humor. Day of the Dead offers a perfect opportunity for his sensibilities to shine. This is a colorful, vibrant, vital fable that utilizes the animation medium in an incredible way. The object of the tale is not only to talk about life but to dazzle us – jolt us- into living to the fullest. To join Reel FX, Cary Granat and Jorge in this adventure is a privilege and a joy.”

In addition to Day of the Dead, Reel FX has secured and is actively developing multiple CG-animated and effects-driven, live-action projects. Projects underway include an animated feature adaptation of the Dark Horse graphic novel, Beasts of Burden, produced by Andrew Adamson (Shrek) and Aron Warner; and Turkeys, the studio’s CG-animated comedy directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!). The studio also recently collaborated on the production of the 3D film Cirque du Soleil’s “Worlds Away,” written and directed by Andrew Adamson, and executive produced by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Cameron (Avatar). Cary Granat and Ed Jones served as producers on the project for Reel FX. Cirque du Soleil’s “Worlds Away” is currently in post-production and set to debut in late 2012 from Paramount Pictures.

Help Animation Veteran Byron Vaughns

Byron Vaughns Home

Byron Vaughns, an animation industry veteran who has directed episodes of Tiny Toons and Animaniacs among countless other roles, is facing some tough times and is asking for financial help from the animation community.

In recent months, he and his wife Betty have experienced countless calamities including a fire that destroyed their home in 2010. Now, Betty has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and is facing quadruple bypass surgery and has lost sight in her left eye due to glaucoma. Unable to find steady industry work (but still actively searching), Vaughns was forced to file for an early retirement so he could pay his wife’s medical bills. The whole sad situation is spelled out on detail on their blog. It would be great if the animation community stepped up to the plate and lent a hand.

(Thanks, Chris Duarte)

2012 Writers Guild Awards Announced

Alexander Payne, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon and Woody Allen took home the big screenplay prizes at the Writers Guild of America awards Sunday for writing The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, respectively. The big winners on the TV side included the writing staff of Modern Family for comedy series and Breaking Bad for drama series.

Homeland won for writing on a new series and The Colbert Report took the award for comedy/variety series. Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega won the documentary screenplay award for Better This World.

The awards ceremony honoring TV, film, videogame, news, radio and new media writing during 2011 took place at the Hollywood Palladium.

The complete list of winners is below.

SCREENPLAY NOMINEESORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
Better This World, Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films

TELEVISION NOMINEESDRAMA SERIES
Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC

COMEDY SERIES
Modern Family, Written by Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Carol Leifer, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC

NEW SERIES
Homeland, Written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime

EPISODIC DRAMA
“Box Cutter” (Breaking Bad), Written by Vince Gilligan; AMC
“The Good Soldier” (Homeland), Written by Henry Bromell; Showtime

EPISODIC COMEDY
“Caught in the Act” (Modern Family), Written by Steven Levitan & Jeffrey Richman; ABC

LONG FORM — ORIGINAL
Cinema Verite, Written by David Seltzer; HBO

LONG FORM — ADAPTED
Too Big to Fail, Written by Peter Gould, Based on the book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin; HBO

ANIMATION
“Homer the Father” (The Simpsons), Written by Joel H. Cohen; Fox

COMEDY / VARIETY — (INCLUDING TALK) SERIES
The Colbert Report, Writers: Michael Brumm, Stephen Colbert, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Dan Guterman, Peter Gwinn, Jay Katsir, Barry Julien, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Meredith Scardino, Scott Sherman, Max Werner; Comedy Central

COMEDY / VARIETY — MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES — SPECIALS
After the Academy Awards, Head Writers: Gary Greenberg, Molly McNearney; Writers: Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, John N. Huss, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jonathan Kimmel, Jacob Lentz, Danny Ricker, Richard G. Rosner; ABC

DAYTIME DRAMA
General Hospital, Written by Meg Bennett, Nathan Fissell, David Goldschmid, Robert Guza, Jr., Karen Harris, Elizabeth Korte, Mary Sue Price, Michele Val Jean, Susan Wald, Tracey Thomson; ABC

CHILDREN’S — EPISODIC & SPECIALS
“Hero of the Shadows” (Supah Ninjas), Written by Leo Chu, Eric S. Garcia; Nickelodeon
“Top Secret America” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser; PBS

DOCUMENTARY — OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS
“Wiki Secrets” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria & Martin Smith; PBS

NEWS — REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT
“Educating Sergeant Pantzke” (Frontline), Written by John Maggio, Martin Smith; PBS

NEWS — ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY
“Doctor Hot Spot” (Frontline), Written by Thomas Jennings; PBS

NEW MEDIA NOMINEESOUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN WRITING ORIGINAL NEW MEDIA
“Episode 1,” “Episode 2,” “Episode 4,” “Episode 5,” “Episode 6” (Aim High), Written by Heath Corson & Richie Keen; cambio.com/aim-high

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN WRITING DERIVATIVE NEW MEDIA
“A New Day,” “Family Matters,” “Neighborly Advice,” “Step Mom,” “Everything Dies” (The Walking Dead), Teleplay by John Esposito, Story by John Esposito and Greg Nicotero; amc.com

VIDEOGAME WRITING
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Written by Amy Hennig; Sony Computer Entertainment

RADIO DOCUMENTARY
2010 Year in Review, Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News

NEWS — REGULARLY SCHEDULED OR BREAKING REPORT
Portraits of a Terrorist: Who is Osama Bin Laden?, Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News

NEWS — ANALYSIS, FEATURE OR COMMENTARY
Justice in a Time of Terror, Written by Andrew Cohen & Rob Mank; CBS Radio News

PROMOTIONAL WRITING AND GRAPHIC ANIMATION NOMINEESON-AIR PROMOTION (RADIO OR TELEVISION)
“Fairytale” (Today Show), Written by Carol M. Sullivan; NBC News

TELEVISION GRAPHIC ANIMATION
“CBS News Animations” (CBS News), Graphic Animation by David Rosen; CBS News