Alan Horn Named Chairman Of Walt Disney Studios

BURBANK, Calif. — May 31, 2012 — Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced today that Alan Horn has been named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios effective June 11. Horn will oversee worldwide operations for The Walt Disney Studios including production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated films from Disney, Pixar and Marvel, as well as marketing and distribution for DreamWorks Studios films released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. Disney’s music and theatrical divisions will also report to Horn.

Horn has been a prominent figure in the film and television industry overseeing creative executive teams responsible for some of the world’s most successful entertainment properties including the Harry Potter film franchise and the hit television series Seinfeld among others.

“Alan not only has an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience in the business, he has a true appreciation of movie making as both an art and a business,” said Iger. “He’s earned the respect of the industry for driving tremendous, sustained creative and financial success, and is also known and admired for his impeccable taste and integrity. He brings all of this to his new role leading our studio group, and I truly look forward to working with him.”

“I’m incredibly excited about joining The Walt Disney Company, one of the most iconic and beloved entertainment companies in the world,” said Horn. “I love the motion picture business and look forward to making a contribution as part of Bob Iger’s team working closely with the dedicated and talented group at the studio.”

Horn was most recently President and COO of Warner Bros. Entertainment where he had oversight of the Studios’ theatrical and home entertainment operations, including the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Warner Premiere (direct-to-platform production), Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures (live stage) and Warner Home Video. During his 12 year tenure, Warner Bros. Studios was the global box office leader seven times.

Among the numerous critically acclaimed films and box office hits released during his tenure are all eight films in the Harry Potter series, The Dark Knight, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Happy Feet, Sherlock Holmes, The Departed, Batman Begins, Million Dollar Baby, the second and third Matrix films and the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy. Horn is also an executive producer of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Before joining Warner Bros., Horn co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment where he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He oversaw the creation of many critically acclaimed and beloved films including Best Picture Oscar nominees A Few Good Men, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile as well as When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers, In the Line of Fire and the most successful show in television history, Seinfeld. Horn has also served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and was Chairman and CEO of Embassy Communications.

He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute and the Museum of Broadcasting. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute; as a Vice Chairman of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); is a co-founder of the Environmental Media Association (EMA); on the Board of Trustees for the Autry National Center in Los Angeles; and on the board of Harvard-Westlake School.

Horn received his MBA from Harvard Business School and served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force.

UPA’s “The Sailor And The Seagull” (1949)

The complete output of animation produced by UPA may never be definitively collected, as they produced a large quantity of material for the Army and the Navy; commercial, educational and industrial films for various clients; and interstitial bits and pieces – many of which are unaccounted for and some still undocumented.

I’m happy to report that we can cross this one off the “endangered species” list. Earlier this year The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) painstakingly cleaned and digitally restored this rarely seen UPA Navy re-enlistment film from 1949. The restored film made its debut last month at the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) conference in Beijing, China.

The Sailor and the Seagull is a fascinating little film. The lead character, “McGinty”, is a cross between the Navy’s Mr. Hook and UPA’s future character Pete Hothead. He is voiced by John T. Smith. Daws Butler is the Seagull, an classic old-school wise guy. It’s a pretty traditional looking picture until about 3:20 when an Arabian Nights fantasy sequence (predating the Magoo feature by ten years) turns it briefly into a stylized feast of scantily clad ladies and drunken debauchery!

There are no production credits, but I think its safe to assume that the direction is by John Hubley, the girl animation is by Pat Matthews and the music composed by Del Castillo. I welcome educated guesses as to who might have animated what – or any corrections to the above.

(Thanks, Florian Schmidlechner)

Faceware Launches New Professional Product Line

SANTA MONICA, CA — Faceware Technologies, a leading provider of 3D facial animation software for the video game, film, television and commercial industries, announced that it has launched its Faceware Professional Product Line, a low-cost, start-to-finish facial animation tool suite built to capture, analyze and create realistic facial performances 3-10x faster than hand keying that same performance. The Faceware Professional Product Line, which until now has only been in production testing at select studios, includes completely updated versions of the Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS) and Faceware Retargeter, and a brand new product called Faceware Analyzer. This marks the first time Faceware has offered all of its internal technologies for use in studios.

“With shrinking budgets and shorter production timelines, studios are trying to create better quality animations earlier in the production process to save both time and money,” said Ron Ryder, CEO of Faceware Technologies. “By offering all of our technologies as a turnkey suite of hardware and software that can be operated internally, we’re giving studios greater control of their animation timeline and their valuable IP, and enabling them to create better facial performances at the beginning of the production process.”

“This is our first time working with Faceware and we have been very impressed by their products and team,” said a spokesperson from the animation studio, Marza Animation Planet. “Faceware is a boon for our studio through its ability to reduce costs by speeding up the animation process. Integrating both Faceware Retargeter and Faceware Head Mounted Cameras into our production has required little effort and has been a smooth transition for our animation team.”

The Faceware Professional Product Line has its roots in the Company’s extensive knowledge and research in computer vision techniques in facial and gesture recognition, and from the Company’s vast experience in providing facial animation services on groundbreaking projects such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Wolfman, the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption, Halo: Reach and many others.

The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of technologies to handle every step in the facial animation process: video capture, performance analysis, and facial animation creation:

CAPTURE: The Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS) consists of a durable helmet, bracing, camera mount and camera, and works in tandem with MoCap suits to capture data-rich facial video complete with time code. Now in its 5th generation, the HMCS is capable of capturing up to 7 million pixels per second for incredible performance fidelity. It is available for rent or purchase.

ANALYZE: Faceware Analyzer is a new product offering from Faceware Technologies. It allows customers to analyze facial performances captured with the HMCS or other video capturing technology for a small processing fee only. The animator “trains” Faceware Analyzer to learn about the actor’s specific appearance and performance, and the software uses that information to analyze every frame of the video. All tracking is handled on site, so no assets or IP leave the studio. Once the shot is tracked, computer vision algorithms parameterize the data to examine every pixel of facial data in the performance and to create an IMPD file that can then be used in Faceware Retargeter.

CREATE: The updated Faceware Retargeter is a free tool that takes the IMPD file created in Analyzer and transfers the data onto the 3D model. With a newly designed front end and a handful of new features, Faceware Retargeter creates a more complete blocking of the animation and gives animators more time to polish the  performance with realistic facial movements. The Retargeter can be used on any type of facial rig, and plugs into many different software packages (Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, MotionBuilder), letting the animator work in a familiar environment and workflow.

Faceware Analyzer and Retargeter are free to evaluate and can be downloaded directly from Faceware’s website, Both come with a free IMPD Performance Library and Rig Library, to help users get up to speed faster. The Faceware HMCS is available for rent or purchase. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Nick picks up “Quick Quack Duck”

We don’t cover pre-school here as much as we should, but I’m particularly proud to post today’s announcement by Nickelodeon concerning the pick-up of 52 episodes of Quick Quack Duck. Co-created by my girlfriend Yvette Kaplan (Beavis and Butt-head Do America) and Gili Dolev (The Happy Duckling), the show has been several years in development and is about to commence production in Israel. As you can see by the pilot clip above, the series is set in a ‘pop-up book’ world and has a unique paper sculpture look, courtesy of art director Erez Gavish. The show won’t debut for over a year, but I already know it’s going to be a winner. Congratulations Yvette, Gili, Erez and producer Ronen Shani! You did it!

Ancient Culture Meets Animation At Annecy With World Premiere Of “Wolf Dog Tales” On June 4, 2012

New York, NY (May 30, 2012) — Wolf Dog Tales, an animated short film based on ancient beliefs of animal wisdoms, will be having its world premiere on June 4th at this year’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Wolf Dog Tales is director Bernadine Santistevan’s first animated film.

The film’s story borrows from Bernadine’s own experience as part of a community of Spaniards living among the Pueblo and Navajo Indians of New Mexico for hundreds of years–a community that continues to practice traditions dating back to the time of Cervantes.

To create Wolf Dog Tales, Bernadine teamed up with Igor, an Emmy winning animator/designer based in New York City and classically trained at Zagreg Film school of animation. A recent example of Igor’s cutting edge animation projects is Stickman, which he developed for the internationally acclaimed techno-illusionist, Marco Tempest. Stickman has been presented at numerous venues across the world, including TED Global and the World Economic Forum at Davos.

Not only are the messages in Wolf Dog Tales based on ancient beliefs, so is the animation. An original technique called ‘Faux Sand Painting Animationâ„¢’ was created for this film inspired by Navajo sand paintings–an ancient religious art form. Details of this technique can be found on the film’s website, In addition, the film’s design features indigenous symbols believed to date back thousands of years.

Asked what’s next, Bernadine said, “Igor and I just completed a series of children’s books based on Wolf Dog Tales, and I’m in the middle of finishing a live-action feature film called Wolf Dog.”

Bernadine added, “Making this film, I learned what it means to create art. I’m hoping that everyone who watches Wolf Dog Tales will feel this magic.”

Wolf Dog Tales will be having its U.S. premiere at the Brooklyn Film Festival on June 5th. You can follow the film on Twitter at!/wolfdogtales or on Facebook at

Curtis Lelash Named Vice President, Comedy Animation for Cartoon Network

Curtis Lelash has been promoted to vice president of comedy animation for Cartoon Network, it was announced today by Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. In his expanded role, Lelash will oversee the development of Cartoon Network’s animated comedy series, which have helped drive the network to its current standing as the #1 network among boys 6-11 and 9-14. Creatively responsible for projects from pilot development through series production, he also will continue to oversee the studio’s shorts development program as a means to discover new series and to cultivate new talent. Lelash is based in Burbank, CA, and reports directly to Sorcher.

“Curtis has played a key and growing role inside our comedy animation group,” said Sorcher. “His promotion comes on the heels of record ratings success and popular culture relevance for our comedies, and we look forward to a new wave of animation under his leadership.”

Lelash currently is an executive producer of Cartoon Network’s #1-ranking and Prime Time Emmy Award-nominated animated comedies Adventure Time and Regular Show, both of which are produced at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, CA. He also supervises additional hit original comedies produced at outside studios for Cartoon Network, including Warner Bros. Animation’s MAD and The Looney Tunes Show.

Previously, as director of comedy animation, Lelash served as executive in charge of production of series such as The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and Class of 3000. Lelash joined Cartoon Network’s original series department as manager, comedy animation in 2005. Three years later, he relocated from Atlanta to Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank as director of new and current series. Prior to this, Lelash worked in development at DreamWorks Animation on theatrical projects including How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda.

Lelash graduated from the New York University with a bachelor of arts in English — Dramatic Literature.

Toronto Animation Fest Unveils 2012 Lineup

Toronto, ON — Tickets for the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI), celebrating the best of animation arts from around the world, go on sale June 1, 2012. Widely supported by the Toronto animation industry, the three-day festival features screenings of shorts and full-length features, plus intimate and exclusive workshops and master classes. The exciting new festival that showcases the local and international animation industry comes to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, July 6-8, 2012.

For complete programming information, go to:

Festival highlights include talks and lessons from trailblazing cartoonist John Kricfalusi, creator of The Ren and Stimpy Show, on July 7, at 9:00 a.m. Festival goers will also get the exciting opportunity to sit in on a live cartoon script read featuring Sean Cullen.

Other highlights include a showcase and presentation from the world’s largest online archive of animation and visual effects, Stash Magazine, a special screening and workshop for kids at the National Film Board of Canada’s Mediatheque, plus over a 100 local and international short films.

TAAFI offers a collection of some of the finest work in animation, for audiences of all ages. With over 50 successful studios, 10 schools of animation arts and a passionate community of enthusiasts, independent artists and professionals, Toronto is the picture-perfect location to play host to what is sure to become one of North America’s leading animation festivals.

TICKET DETAILS: All advance tickets are available for purchase by phone or online through the TAAFI website starting June 1st:

Festival Pass: $99
Includes Admission to all gala and regular screenings and The Nelvana Bouncing Ball TAAFI Party at Corus Quay

Screenings: $15 (Kids screening prices are $5 for children ages 3-13; free for children under 3)

Workshops: Range from $15-90

Pitch-a-Palooza: $90
Includes admission to Pitch Lab and Monkeyworks

The Nelvana Bouncing Ball TAAFI Party at Corus Quay: $15 in advance/$20 at the door

Gala Screenings: $20

Other TAAFI highlights include:

Animated Shorts:
Shorts 1 — Straight Up Toons — Top notch animation and classic cartoons

Shorts 2 — The Reflecting Pool — Artistic masterpieces set to an introspective frequency

Shorts 3 — Stylin’ — Innovative ideas and original techniques

Shorts 4 — Good N’ Weirdy — Pure, chaotic enjoyment

Student Shorts — S’cool — A collection of Canadian and international student works

Feature Films:
North American Premier of Ronal the Barbarian in 3D (Denmark, 2011) — Produced by Einstein Film

Rosto: So Far, So Evil — A program compiling the best of Dutch artist and filmmaker Rosto’s work

Kaj Pindal: A collection of his most popular films, including I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, followed by a Q&A with the living legend

LeapFrog Partners With Zinkia Entertainment to Feature POCOYO on LeapFrog’s Award Winning LeapPad

POCOYO episodes will be available for download in the LeapFrog App Center in English and Spanish

EMERYVILLE, Calif., May 30, 2012 — LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., the leader in educational entertainment, and Zinkia Entertainment (Zinkia), brand creator and producer of the hit global multiplatform brand POCOYO, today announced a partnership to bring content from the award-winning animated children’s series POCOYO to the LeapPad(TM) — the #1 learning tablet for kids.* The agreement was negotiated by Evolution, the North American licensing agent for POCOYO. The content will be available this summer through the LeapFrog App Center.

The LeapFrog and Zinkia brands are popular among both kids and parents. The beloved POCOYO character brings curiosity to children around the world and inspires them to explore, discover and learn. LeapFrog’s award-winning multimedia platforms paired with familiar characters and popular television episodes will bring engaging entertainment to children. LeapFrog will make episodes from the first two seasons of the POCOYO television series and the special, POCOYO and the Space Circus, available in English and for the first time Spanish, through the LeapFrog App Center.

“We are excited to partner with the endearing children’s property POCOYO to provide more fun and engaging learning experiences, furthering our mission to help children reach their potential,” said Jill Waller, vice president of multimedia learning at LeapFrog. “POCOYO is a wonderful complement to our existing educational entertainment offerings and we think our consumers will be delighted to find his exciting adventures in our growing App Center.”

“LeapFrog and POCOYO are an ideal match,” said Maria Doolan, managing director of brand and business development for Zinkia Entertainment, POCOYO creator. “Evolution is seeking out the types of products and services that feel like organic extensions of the POCOYO brand and LeapFrog is definitely a grand slam.”

“LeapFrog’s multimedia learning platforms are an ideal vehicle for delivering POCOYO episodes to young fans on the go,” said Travis J. Rutherford, president licensing & retail, Evolution. “Utilizing the LeapFrog App Center, parents can be assured that their children are safe while also learning through laughter with POCOYO.”

Availability: POCOYO episodes will be available for purchase in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and France (MSRP $5 – $10, for children 18 months and up starting summer 2012 in both English and Spanish language. The LeapFrog App Center can be accessed through the LeapFrog Connect Application for LeapPad and Leapster Explorer(TM) platforms. LeapPad (MSRP $99.99, for children ages 4-9) and Leapster Explorer (MSRP $59.99, for children ages 4-9) are currently available at major retail locations and at .

One Show Entertainment 2012 Announces Finalists

The advertising elite meet Hollywood’s entertainment crowd on June 13th when winners of the year’s best in branded entertainment are revealed

Supersize Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold filmmaker Morgan Spurlock to host awards ceremony at Santa Monica’s new Museum of Flying

NEW YORK (May 30, 2012) – After weeks of intense judging by some of the best creative minds in advertising and entertainment–lead by Jury Chair Chris Bruss, vice president of branded entertainment at Funny or DieThe One Club has announced the finalists of its 4th annual One Show Entertainment. The prestigious Gold, Silver and Bronze Pencil awards will be revealed June 13, 2012, when the advertising and the Hollywood entertainment communities gather for the awards presentation hosted by Supersize Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold filmmaker Morgan Spurlock at the new Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, CA.

Conceived and produced by The One Club, One Show Entertainment is the first and only awards competition dedicated to honoring the agencies, production companies, network/cable TV channels, film studios and clients creating and producing branded entertainment. Since its launch in 2008, the awards competition has grown in industry popularity, this year more than doubling submissions, with entries received from 35 countries across the globe.

Top One Show Entertainment finalists by country ranking are:

USA – 112
Australia – 15
Canada – 8
UK – 8
Germany – 6

“Today’s consumers are actively seeking out compelling and engaging branded entertainment,” said Kevin Swanepoel, president and interim CEO at The One Club. “It makes perfect business sense that advertising agencies have adopted this new strategy and expanded their offerings, joining forces with media and entertainment companies to create and distribute more branded entertainment across devices, from TV and motion picture screens to mobile phones.”

A complete list of all One Show Entertainment finalists can be found at, along with jury member bios and headshots.

The One Show Entertainment competition features a broad range of categories including television, film, motion graphics, music, gaming, branded applications, online branded entertainment, events and installations, and innovation in branded content. Three exciting new categories were added to this year’s competition: best brand channel, promos and title sequences.

This is one show you don’t want to miss. Join hundreds of advertising and entertainment professionals for an evening of cocktails, dinner and awards. Purchase your tickets today at

The One Show Entertainment awards ceremony is sponsored by Variety.

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Crunchyroll Announces Major Update To Windows Phone App

The leader in streaming Anime and Asian content opens Windows Phone App to all viewers

San Francisco, Calif. (May 30, 2012) — Crunchyroll, Inc., the leading Anime streaming service, has released a major update of the Crunchyroll application on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Previously only available to premium users, the latest version of the application adds free ad-supported streaming of all shows to the already existing features for premium users. More information can be found at

Now, all Crunchyroll viewers throughout most of the world can stream the latest Anime titles on their mobile devices running Windows Phone 7.5 such as the HTC 7 series, the HTC Titan, the Nokia Lumia Series, and the Samsung Omnia W. Spanish viewers can also use the application in Spanish and watch titles with Spanish subtitles.

The updated application can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Marketplace ( worldwide except in China and the Middle East. Like on the site itself, viewers can enjoy Crunchyroll’s library of anime for free, supported by ads. Viewers can also upgrade to a premium membership and enjoy over 30 simulcast titles with subtitles including Naruto Shippuden, Hunter X Hunter, Kids On The Slope, Medaka Box, and Space Brothers immediately following Japanese broadcast, as well as their favorite catalog shows with no ads.

Episodes can also be accessed from, the free iPad and iPhone application, the Android application, Google TV, Roku, Boxee, Vizio VIA, WD TV Live and additional set-top channels, and affiliate partners.

Crunchyroll premium members will have access to the largest anime selection, same-day access for simulcasted titles, no advertisements and can be viewed in 480p-to-1080p quality on selected titles. More information about the Crunchyroll membership plan can be found at:

Dick Beals (1927-2012)

Animation voice actor Richard Beals (aka Dick Beals) passed away this week at age 85. Nobody has a better obit online than Mark Evanier, but I couldn’t let him pass without a remembrance here on the Brew. Beals had essentially one voice – that of a cheerfully optimistic little boy – but it was used often and well by just about everyone in Hollywood. Most famously, Beals voiced Ralph Phillips in Chuck Jones’ theatrical cartoons (above) and was Speedy Alka-Seltzer in numerous TV commercials (below).

In addition, Beals was Davey in Davey and Goliath, Buzz Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and Birdboy on the Birdman series. Hanna Barbera used him to re-dub live action boy actors in (or more likely, they pre-recorded the tracks for) Gene Kelly’s Jack And The Banstalk and in commercials like this:

Beals had a long career on radio and on early live television before settling into voice-over roles. Perhaps my favorite was this one – in support of Gary Owens as two members of the American Eagle Squadron, as both Dan and Yank on Roger Ramjet (below). There is no better way to pay tribute to Beals today than to rewatch and listen to his work – and to thank him for all the memories. Rest in peace.

(Thanks, Derek Tague)

DQ Entertainment International: Disney XD Acquires ‘The Jungle Book’ for USA

HYDERABAD, India, May 30, 2012 — DQE, the global entertainment company, announced today that Disney XD has acquired the 3D HD animated series The Jungle Book, to premiere on 11 June 2012 on the cable and satellite channel available in over 78 million U.S. households.

Jungle Book - 26 x 22″ 3D HD has generated tremendous interest world-wide including Europe for broadcasting and home entertainment including Licensing which DQE is working in collaboration with co-producers Moon Scoop France, ZDF Group Germany and TF1 France.

SMC Entertainment, a division of Sun-Mate, has the television, home video, licensing and merchandising rights in North America for The Jungle Book based on an earlier agreement with DQE.

Rudyard Kipling’s most loved characters come to life in The Jungle Book 26 x 22″ TV series for ages 6 to 9. It narrates stories of the man cub Mowgli who was raised in the Indian jungles by a pack of wolves since he was born. Drama, excitement and adventure mixed with a high element of comedy tells the tales of Mowgli, his beloved mentor, Baloo, the wise bear, Bagheera, his panther buddy and the lazy rock python Kaa.

Together they take on the evil Shere Khan who is out to get Mowgli. His adventures open out in the lush tropical forest of Seeonee amidst splendid Indian royal forts, temples, waterfalls, the Waigunga river and many other picturesque locales. Throughout the series other characters from Kipling’s jungle stories add drama, comedy and action to top quality animation and story-telling.

Tapaas Chakravarti, Chairman & CEO of DQE Group, commented: “We are honoured that The Jungle Book will soon be on Disney channels in USA. Mowgli and his friends have found their rightful home and we are confident that they will continue to enthrall audiences in their new CGI avatars.”

Call For Entries: The KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival Prolongs Its Competitions For Animated Shorts

Calling all animators from all over the globe! The KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival is eager to gather the latest harvest of short animated films for its competitions, so send in those puppies!

Besides its regular competition categories of shorts, student films and commissioned films, KLIK! now presents the brand new KLIK! Special Award. This competition will focus on a different aspect of animation during every edition, the first focus being on the stereoscopic animated short. While the amount of stereoscopic feature-length films in the cinemas is fairly abundant, independent stereoscopic shorts are rarely shown in cinemas. So send in that eye-candy and show the world what can be done in stereoscopic cinema other than throwing random stuff in the viewer’s face!

There are honours and prizes to be won in all categories. Films sent in for the previously mentioned competitions will also automatically compete for the Political Animation Award, the Amsterdam Audience Award, the Young Amsterdam Audience Award and the Mopti Audience Award.

KLIK! doesn’t charge entry fees. Films are eligible when the submitted film does not exceed 25 minutes and was finished after January 1st, 2010.

Deadline: July 1, 2012
Submit your film at:

The 5th edition of the KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival will take place from the 7th until the 11th of November in its spectacular new location: the EYE Film Institute! The finest animated films will be served up, along with the most eloquent masterclasses, theme programs on violence in animation, a plethora of special guests for all your Q&A needs, parties that will become legendary, music to soothe your ears, special stereoscopic animation, a lot of pleasant surprises and much, much more.

“Brave” Books

Less than one month to go before the release of the next Pixar “original” and the publicity is certainly heating up. Billboards are up all over Los Angeles and tie-in merchandise is hitting the stores. Two traditional indicators of the film’s quality have now shown up on my desk – and the good news is they do not disappoint. Chronicle’s The Art of Brave, written by Dreamworks’ story artist Jenny Lerew, is as usual a visual feast. I’ve become a real fan of these Art-Of books – even more so as the digital age threatens to do away with print. The artwork preserved here, perfectly printed on sumptuous glossy paper, is glorious to behold. The book presents hand drawn pre-vis by such notable talents as Tony Fucile, Matt Nolte, Peter Sohn, Steve Pilcher, Carter Goodrich and others – as well as Brenda Chapman (who contributes a Foreword, along with a separate one by co-director Mark Andrews). No controversies here – this is gorgeous stuff. Plentiful story sketch and color keys, sculpts and character designs. I can spend 20 minutes on each page. If the movie is half as good the art in here, it’ll be another classic.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Brave Little Golden Book is out. I bought one today at Ralph’s supermarket. For $3.99. Long time readers know I love the Pixar Little Golden Books, as they are executed in the lush, classic tradition of the series – which dates back to the 1940s. They usually choose one of the best artists – either from Pixar itself, or the Disney Publishing pool of talent – and this time Disney’s Lori Tyminski got the opportunity to show off her delightful style on this material. Bright and lively – and oh so appealing. Highly recommended! Now bring on the movie – I’m ready to see it all in action.

Behind the Scenes: Mt. Franklin Bottled Water

First, director Simon Robson of Australia’s Engine recently created this beautiful “relief collage” styled spot for Mt. Franklin Bottled Water (below):

Afterward, the team decided to make a fun little “Making Of” film to go with it. Incorporating a combination of Photoshop, After Effects, Maya and a little bit of live action, the crew worked on it in-house in their down time, taking a total of 4 weeks to put it together. I like it better than the commercial that inspired it.

(Thanks, Nick Petley)

Sony Pictures Media Arts Program: 10 Years Of Arts+Media Education for Youth

Student Steven Curtiss learns about and experiments with different forms of animation including clay sculpture stop-motion animation as part of SPMAP. Photo by Scott Groller, provided by CalArts.

Sony Pictures Media Arts Program Celebrates 10 Years of Providing Arts and Media Education to Underserved Youth in Los Angeles

California Institute of the Arts Community Arts Partnership, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and Sony Pictures Entertainment Honor Students at Anniversary Event

Valencia, CA, May 29—For the past 10 years, the Sony Pictures Media Arts Program (SPMAP)–a public-private educational partnership between the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Community Arts Partnership (CAP), the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)–has provided the only free animation program for kids in Los Angeles and brought artistic and technical training to young people in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.

On Saturday, June 16 at 11:00 a.m. these partners will celebrate the 10th anniversary of SPMAP, as well as recognizing the 10th anniversary of Sony Pictures Animation and the 20th anniversary of Sony Pictures Imageworks, with a celebratory event on the Sony Pictures Digital Productions campus in Culver City.

“As hosts of the 10th anniversary of the Sony Pictures Media Arts Program, we celebrate the talents of hundreds of young people, many of whom will grow up to be the artists and animators of the future,” said Bob Osher, President of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.

Through SPMAP, middle school students receive instruction in drawing, animation, and media arts at five community centers that are owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles. These centers are the Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington, Center for the Arts Eagle Rock in Eagle Rock, San Fernando Gardens Community Service Center in Pacoima, William Reagh Los Angeles Photography Center near MacArthur Park, and the Watts Towers Arts Center in Watts.

“SPMAP is a model public-private partnership, and CAP is proud to work in collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment and the DCA to bring this after-school program to hundreds of students in five diverse neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles,” said Glenna Avila, Wallis Annenberg Director of the CAP program. “We are thrilled to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of this program, which is training hundreds of youth in animation and media arts, as well as training CalArts students as instructors and as contributing community citizens.”

Janice Pober, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Social Responsibility, Sony Pictures Entertainment added, “At Sony Pictures, we thrive on creative inspiration, so it’s vital to our success to nurture up-and-coming artistic talent. We’re so proud to have joined these great partners 10 years ago to establish the Sony Pictures Media Arts Program, because by working together we are able to provide today’s youth with incredible opportunities to grow creatively.”

Of the City of Los Angeles’ role on the partnership, Leslie Thomas, DCA Community Arts Division Director said, “Ten years ago, DCA responded to Mayor Riordan’s mandate to assist the entertainment industry with preparing young people for jobs in animation and new media by working with Sony Pictures and CalArts to create the Sony Pictures Media Arts Program. I am so proud of the 10 years of success we’ve experienced since then, giving so many talented and deserving students the necessary arts education foundation and skill set to help them pursue their career dreams.”

For the celebration, SPMAP students, their families and special guests will attend a screening of the animated short films produced by the students in the program. They also will be treated to a party and arts and animation activities in the Sony Pictures Digital Production facilities.

“Close relationships with strong partners have been the cornerstone of our success for the 20 years of Sony Pictures Imageworks and 10 years of Sony Pictures Animation, anniversaries we are proud to share with this program as we welcome students, parents, and teachers to our campus,” said Osher.

The SPMAP curriculum, designed by CAP/SPMAP faculty, focuses on the development of each participant’s skills in the areas of composition, rendering, painting, ideas and concepts of design, exploration of personal style, animation and computer competency and usage.

Combining creative and technical training, the one-of-a-kind SPMAP program opens pathways to college and careers in media and the arts and creates a national model for arts education partnerships. Approximately 300 students a year go through this innovative after-school program, with many later attending CalArts and other institutions of higher learning.

Pitch THIS!” Returns to TAC in 2012

OTTAWA (May 28, 2012)TAC, the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s (OIAF) industry event, is pleased to announce the return of its Pitch THIS! program, presented by 9 Story Entertainment.

Pitch THIS! allows content creators the opportunity to pitch their project ideas to a panel of international broadcasters. Following the five-minute pitches, panel members will share their insight and provide valuable feedback to the presenters.

The panelists will assess each pitch based on their creative, innovative and financial merits as well as their marketability and overall appeal.

Animators are encouraged to submit their ideas. To qualify for the program, proposals from animators must include the following:
• Project synopsis, including target audience, technique, format, rough budget (1-2 pages)
• One episode synopsis
• Bio of key executives
• Short paragraph indicating your current stage of development and any additional information (i.e. interactive components, merchandise, etc.)
• Concept art (2 or 3 images)
TAC will be accepting proposals by email ( [email protected] ) until August 1st, 2012.

“I found the Pitch THIS event to be a very valuable learning experience,” says Mike Geiger, who pitched his show, Winston Stienburger and Sir Dudley Ding Dong, to the panel in 2010. “From working on the presentation itself to the feedback from the panel, my participation in the event turned out to be a very beneficial and rewarding one. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to spread their ideas to a broader audience”

Running September 19th and 20th, the first two days of the OIAF, TAC is a specialized industry forum designed for professionals in animation content creation, development, production, distribution and marketing.

Held at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in downtown Ottawa, TAC brings together 300 key professionals for two days of panels, seminars and keynote addresses.
Networking events are also a strong component of TAC, offering many opportunities for delegates to relax, share ideas, get to know each other and speak more intimately about potential projects and developments.

For complete information about TAC and the Ottawa International Animation Festival, visit

Animation Mentor Presents “Breaking Down The Animated Shot: Live & Uncut”

School Partners with Autodesk, Inc. to Host All-Day Animation Workshop with Animators from Pixar Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, and Tippett Studio

Emeryville, Calif., May 29, 2012 — Animation Mentor, the state-of-the-art online animation school founded by animators for animators, announced today that it has partnered with Autodesk, Inc. to host an all-day animation workshop – highlighted by advanced breakdowns of animated feature film shots – with:

Pixar Animation Studios: Victor Navone, Animator

DreamWorks Animation: Peer Lemmers, Animator | Robyne Powell, Animator | Sean Sexton, Animator

Tippett Studio: Will Groebe, Animation Supervisor | Chris Mullins, Animator

Autodesk, Inc.: Marcel de Jong, Concept Designer/Sr. Solution Engineer

These esteemed industry professionals will be featured in the live event – Breaking Down the Animated Shot: Live & Uncut – at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, Calif. on Saturday, June 30, 2012,  from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Workshop Summary – Animated Feature Film Shot Breakdowns

The professional animators will provide advanced breakdowns of their animated feature film shots – vital insights that are invaluable to beginning and skilled animators. These presentations will combine in-depth demonstrations with detailed descriptions of the challenges, solutions, and overall results. Specific topics include planning, staging, blocking, and reference. The professional animators will also present behind-the-scenes studio feedback and director notes from current and past animated features, including Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Puss in Boots, How to Train Your Dragon, Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon, Toy Story 3, and Monsters vs. Aliens.

“From day one, we asked ourselves: ‘If we were to start over again, how would we want to learn?’” says Bobby Beck, Animation Mentor’s CEO and cofounder. “We wanted to learn from the same people who are creating the animation we love! So it’s amazing for us to gather our peers and to have them share their knowledge and passion for animation! We can’t wait to break it down!”

Workshop Details

For complete information on Breaking Down the Animated Shot: Live & Uncut, including speaker bios and a working Maya® demonstration from Marcel de Jong of Autodesk, please visit

New York Anime Festival Folds Into New York Comic Con

Anime Content To Remain Vital Part Of NYCC Programming

Feature Anime Guests To Be Announced Soon

Norwalk, CT, May 29, 2012: Officials at New York Comic Con (NYCC) have today announced that the New York Anime Festival (NYAF) will become an integral part of the massive pop culture convention rather than continue to operate as a separate co-located event. NYAF was launched in December 2007 as a stand-alone festival delivering quality content and entertainment to anime fans and professionals in New York City. NYCC organizers note that while NYAF will no longer be staged as a separate entity, their mission to serve the anime community will be a priority and will remain consistent with past standards of excellence. Since its inception, NYAF has presented the latest and the best in anime, manga, Japanese cinema, music and games and this programming will be a vital part of NYCC planning moving forward. New York Comic Con provides something for attendees across diverse fandoms, and in this new configuration, the anime fan will play a central role — as opposed to a separate role — in defining convention activity by being part of the NYCC pop culture community.

New York Comic Con, which attracted over 100,000 visitors in 2011, will take place October 11 — 14, 2012 at the Javits Center in New York City. Last year’s edition of NYCC sold out and this year’s show is also expected to sell out. Fans of this year’s convention are encouraged to purchase 4-Day tickets which are already on sale via the show’s website,

“This move has nothing to do with our loyalty or commitment to the anime community and everything to do with the growth and identity of New York Comic Con as a leading pop culture event,” notes Lance Fensterman, Group Vice President of ReedPOP and Show Manager of NYCC. “NYCC embraces all elements of the pop culture world, including anime, and we have evolved to a point where the existence of NYAF outside our universe is almost a contradiction. We will be better able to serve the anime community from within the NYCC infra-structure rather than have a show which is separate and which will always be dwarfed by everything that New York Comic Con represents and is. We will present the very best anime programming at NYCC, and we look forward to providing for the anime community in a manner that does service to the legacy of NYAF.”

NYCC’s commitment to booking top Japanese entertainment guests has been evident through the years and this commitment will remain as NYCC develops its list of celebrity appearances for 2012 and beyond. In the past, NYCC/NYAF has played host to Japanese guests including T.M. Revolution, Takashi Miike, Junko Takeuchi, Makoto Shinkai, Dai Sato, Minori Chihara, Yoshiki, VAMPS, Puffy AmiYumi and Boom Boom Satellites. These are the type of guests that NYCC will continue to showcase as part of its anime programming. In addition, NYCC programmers will continue to feature anime and manga panels with publishers and creators and screenings of classic and contemporary anime titles. The show will also continue to feature exhibitors across the anime and manga space, with publishers already signed up for NYCC 2012 including FUNimation Entertainment and Vertical, Inc.

Again, organizers note that NYAF’s spirit and activities will blend into NYCC. Guests, exhibitors, screenings and panels will remain largely as is, and additional NYAF events will change within this transition. NYAF’s traditional Saturday Masquerade will turn into daily, evening costume contests, the show will feature one live-events stage with both comic and anime content instead of separate comic and anime stages and the Anime Artist Alley will fold into NYCC’s overall Artist Alley. Speakers interested in presenting an anime-themed panel should submit their information into NYCC’s online submission tool and artists looking to set up with anime-inspired art should apply to NYCC’s Artist Alley now.

Panel submission information is located here (…nd-Screenings/) and Artist Alley applications can be found online at this link (…-Request-Form/).

Other information about New York Comic Con, as well as news about ReedPOP, which organizes a range of pop culture events, is available at Lance Fensterman’s blog, Both comic and anime exhibitors interested in participating in the show are encouraged to contact NYCC’s Larry Settembrini as soon as possible at [email protected].

COMEDY CENTRAL® Hires Brooke Posch As Vice President, Original Programming And Development, East Coast

MTV Development Exec Assumes Post at COMEDY CENTRAL in New York

NEW YORK, May 29, 2012 – COMEDY CENTRAL has named Brooke Posch Vice President, Original Programming and Development, East Coast, it was announced by Kent Alterman, Head of Original Programming and Development, to whom she will report.  In this role, Posch will oversee development and production of all east coast-based COMEDY CENTRAL original pilots and series.

Posch comes to COMEDY CENTRAL from MTV where she has served as Vice President, Comedy and Animation since 2009, overseeing development for studio, game, unscripted and animated pilots including The Substitute, Epic Fail, and the award-winning documentary series World of Jenks.  She also developed a late-night talk show with comedians Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer as well as a half-hour Latina comedy with Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions.  Prior to MTV, Posch was with Crossroads Television as its Director of Development/Executive Producer, developing projects for Nickelodeon, IFC, MTV, VH1 and Bravo.

“Brooke has established a fantastic reputation in the comedy community for great taste, impeccable creative instincts, and superior collaborative skills,” said Alterman.  “She will undoubtedly make me appear to be smarter than I am.  I thank her in advance and look forward to meeting her.”

Before her shift to the development side of the business, Posch worked as a writer and producer on a variety of projects including indie comedy May the Best Man Win, which starred Rob Hueble, Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz and Chris Gemberling; Steven’s Untitled Rock Show (Fuse); Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC); NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly; and McEnroe (CNBC).  Posch began her career in entertainment working for the legendary Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live.

New Investigation Into The Police Shooting Death Of Animator Paul Boyd

A new video has surfaced that shows the Vancouver police department shooting Paul Boyd to death. Boyd was a director on Ed Edd n Eddy and animated the show’s opening titles.

We reported the story back in 2007. The Vancouver police claimed that Boyd, who suffered from mental illness, was assaulting them with a deadly weapon. He was shot eight times by policeman Lee Chipperfield, who was never held accountable for the shooting.

Witnesses of the shooting contradicted the police reports; one witness said that Boyd was on his knees and compared the shooting to an execution. The Globe and Mail reports that the video supports eyewitness accounts and shows an unarmed Boyd crawling toward police officers. It has prompted the Vancouver police department to ask an independent investigative body in Alberta, Canada to review the case again.