Disney Redesigns The Seven Dwarfs For “7D”

Have you ever wondered what Disney’s Seven Dwarfs would look like if the characters were designed by an artist who had no fundamental understanding of drawing, color theory or appeal? Wonder no more. The designs above, which look more like an animation student’s first pass in a character design class than functional designs for a TV series, will be used in a new Disney TV production called 7D, that will premiere on Disney Junior in 2014.

A bunch of Tiny Toons and Animaniacs alumni are involved: Tom Ruegger exec produces, Alfred Gimeno directs and Sherri Stoner story edits. Fish Hooks creator Noah Z. Jones designed the characters. He’s made it impossible to differentiate between the dwarfs, but I can only assume that turning them into generic icons was a directive from above.

According to Deadline:

Described as a comedic take on the world of Seven Dwarfs in a contemporary storybook world, 7D takes place in Jollywood where Queen Delightful relies on the 7D – Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc – to keep the kingdom in order. Standing in their way are two laughably evil villains, Grim and Hildy Gloom, who plot to take over the kingdom by stealing the magical jewels in the 7D’s mine.

Man, what I wouldn’t give for a couple of solid, well-constructed drawings just about now….

Aah…that’s better.

Disney Begins Production On “Maleficent”

Today Disney announced the official start of production on their live-action Maleficent and released the first image of Angelina Jolie in the title role. The film is helmed by first-time director Robert Stromberg (production designer, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland), produced by Joe Roth, written by Linda Woolverton (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast) and executive produced by Angelina Jolie, Don Hahn, Matt Smith and Palak Patel.

Scheduled for release on March 14, 2014, the film recounts “the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain, Maleficent, from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. The film reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” Next in Disney’s series of unnecessary films that destroy the mystery of cartoon villains: the story of the Queen in Snow White and which supermarket she bought the apple from that was used to poison Snow White.

RKO Executives “Snow White” Lunch Menu (1938)

Not pictured in that Animation Auction catalog we posted about last week is this extra piece that comes with the autographed Snow White storybook. It’s the menu (below, click to enlarge) for the private luncheon of 24 RKO execs at their international distribution convention in Paris, at the Hotel George V on September 6th, 1938.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on Snow White’s Magic Pears or have a taste of Clarabelle Cow’s Creamy-Butter!

July 14th in San Fran: John Canemaker at Disney Museum

Once again we are happy to alert you to an upcoming don’t-miss John Canemaker lecture. In conjunction with the Walt Disney Family Museum’s current exhibition of original drawings by German artist and caricaturist Heinrich Kley, Oscar-winning animation filmmaker, author and historian Canemaker presents an illustrated overview of the varied European aesthetic influences that found their way into Disney feature animated films.

Canemaker will discuss the anthropomorphic art of 19th-century artists Heinrich Kley and J.J. Grandville, as well as the expressionistic silent films of German director F.W. Murnau, and how these sources inspired the visual style of SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and FANTASIA, among other early Disney features. He also spotlights the contributions of European artists who worked at the studio, such as Albert Hurter, Ferdinand Horvath, Gustaf Tenggren, Sylvia Holland, and others.

Heinrich Kley and Company: European Influences On Disney at The Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco. Saturday, July 14th at 3pm. Tickets on sale now.

“Madagascar 3″ Leads Global Box Office Again

For the second week in a row, DreamWorks’ Madagascar 3 remain atop the US box office. It earned $34 million last weekend, pushing its 10-day total to $119 million. It is currently pacing ahead of the first two entries in the Madagascar series. Madagascar 3 has also been the top film overseas for the past two weeks, and has added $157 million from 43 foreign markets. The film’s top market overseas is, of course, DreamWorks-obsessed Russia.

UK To Get World-Class Creative Tax Breaks

The UK’s creative industries will benefit from tax reliefs that are among the most generous in the world, under Government plans announced today.

At Budget 2012, the Government announced that it would introduce tax reliefs, targeted at animation, high-end TV and video games as part of its ambition to make the UK the technology centre of Europe. The reliefs will help support technological innovation and ensure that creative industries continue to contribute to economic growth and British culture.

The UK is a world leader at production in these sectors and the Government is keen to provide the necessary support to maintain this status. Without Government support, there is a risk that underinvestment will lead to valuable productions moving overseas or not happening at all.

These reliefs will build on the success of the existing Film Tax Relief, which has led to £1 billion in extra investment in British cinema, supporting thousands of jobs and supporting skills invaluable to the broader economy.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said:

“I want the UK to remain a world leader in the creative industries, that’s why I am announcing tax reliefs that will be among the most generous available anywhere. High-end TV, animation and video games production are exactly the kind of innovative, high-tech industries at which this country excels, and the Government is determined to support them as part of our efforts to grow this economy.”

The consultation published today invites views from individuals, companies, and representative and professional bodies on the proposed design options. The Government is particularly keen to hear from production companies and those working directly in the production of video games, animation and high-end television.

The consultation closes on 10 September 2012.  The Government will take all responses into account before finalising the policy design for the reliefs and publishing draft legislation for consultation in the autumn.

Adobe Foundation Announces Winners of First Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards

Teens Worldwide Compete in Eight Digital Media Categories

SAN JOSE, Calif.– The Adobe Foundation today announced the winners of the first-ever Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) Aspire Awards. The only global youth competition of its kind, the Aspire Awards showcase digital media created by teens, ages 13-18, who demonstrate creativity and skill using video, print and/or audio to convey perspectives on issues that are significant to them. MTV, Dell and Samsung are collaborating with AYV in recognizing these youth, joining forces as supporting partners of the Aspire Awards. AYV is the Adobe Foundation’s signature global philanthropy initiative, aimed at providing young people with critical technology skills to better communicate their ideas, demonstrate their potential and take action in their communities.

Aspire Awards winners were selected from among 160 projects chosen as semi-finalists. More than 800 submissions were received overall in response to a call for entries from January – April 2012. Entries were accepted in eight categories — animation, documentary, music video, narrative video, poetry/experimental video, audio, graphic design and photography. Judging was conducted by a global panel comprised of teen peers, youth media professionals, educators and media industry experts, including photographer Neil Bennett, spoken-word poet Sarah Kay and director Robert Kenner. Semi-finalists in each category were made eligible for an Audience Choice Award, selected via online voting by the general public.

“The Aspire Awards provides youth with a global venue to showcase their talents,” said Michelle Yates, director of corporate social responsibility, Adobe. “We’re delighted with the overwhelming response to our call for entries and awed by the work, skill and talent that have gone into creating these remarkable submissions. It’s rewarding to see the impact our AYV program has in inspiring youth to create, speak out and gain critical technology skills in the process.”

Winning youth media makers and their sponsoring schools and/or organizations will receive prize packages containing: Adobe software; laptops provided by Dell; HD camcorders donated by Samsung Electronics America, Inc.; Flip Mino HD video cameras; and a donation to their charity of choice. MTV Act, which celebrates young people who take action to make things better, will feature the winners of the Aspire Awards on their website. Winners will also have the opportunity to showcase their projects publicly through art galleries, Digital Arts Magazine, plus partner film festivals and exhibitions worldwide, including the Seattle International Film Festival, the Sarajevo Film Festival and many more.

In addition to featuring the Aspire Awards winners on its website, MTV Act has recognized the student creators of the 20 20 Vision project with the MTV Act Award. The project, an Aspire Awards semi-finalist, is a music video on what families, schools and the community at large can do to support youth’s success in school. It was created in support of the White House initiative to have the most college graduates by 2020. Developed by Fabio Aguilar, Diamante Horton, Richard Kaho, PJ Poloai and Jose Saavedra at the Redwood City Peapod Academy in Redwood City, Calif., the project echoes MTV Act’s vision of recognizing an exceptional media project that leverages music and provides a clear call to action. A representative of the project will travel to MTV studios in New York City, in addition to the team receiving the prize package provided by Adobe, Dell and Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

“While judging the Aspire Awards, I was inspired and moved by all the pieces submitted for the competition,” said Gregg Witkin, educator at Boyton High School in San Jose, Calif., and judge for the Aspire Awards. “As an educator, it is rewarding to see the Aspire Awards provide a global arena for students to exhibit their projects and learn from professionals, expanding a whole new world of possibilities. Through Adobe Youth Voices, the students were able to pair their endless creativity with powerful, professional-grade tools and create compelling digital media projects that speak out on the issues they most care about.”

Following are the winners of the Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards:

  • ANIMATION:
    • Gold Award: Cambio Jovenes — Fermin Martinez, Puerta Joven (Mexico City, Mexico)
    • Silver Award: LOOK — Janice Lee and Anny Liu, Balboa High School (Redwood City, Calif., United States)
    • Audience Choice Award: Change Starts With Oneself — Jeanvier Janga, Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation (Kralendijk, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba)
  • DOCUMENTARY:
    • Gold Award: Hoodforts — Mile End Community Project (London, United Kingdom)
    • Silver Award: Small Dreams — Paola Bacialli, Alexis Barnes, Queenie Chan and Ally Moore; New Technology High School (Napa, Calif., United States)
    • Audience Choice Award: On Moroccan Women’s Condition — Mohssine Azzouzi, Amina Ait cheikh, Hamza Hassnini, Mohamed Kassemi, Ghizlane Mhindat, Hajar Nabachi, Zineb Sebbar, Asma Tahir and Abdelhadi Zaatari; the Dounia Project (Casablanca, Morocco)
  • MUSIC VIDEO:
    • Gold Award: Keep Pushing — Tyler Gil-Contrearas, Roberto Guzman, Diamante Horton, Richard Kaho and PJ Poloai; Redwood City Peapod Academy (Redwood City, Calif., United States)
    • Silver Award: A Trip to Heaven — Mohammed Al Barghothy, Ahmad Kurdi and Zaid Negresh; PBYRC Computer Clubhouse (Amman, Jordan)
    • Audience Choice Award: Stop the Drop — Students of Christel House India (Bangalore, India)
  • NARRATIVE VIDEO:
    • Gold Award: Angel In My Sky — Fabio Aguilar, Edward Flores, Tyler Gil-Contreras, Ruby Gonzalez, Roberto Guzman, Diamante Horton, Richard Kaho, PJ Poloai, Jose Saavedra and Junior Tupou; Redwood City Peapod Academy (Redwood City, Calif., United States)
    • Silver Award: Gone — Jaley Bruursema, Anna Gould, Teagan Letscher, Elyssa Saldana, Avery Weiland; Burley Elementary School (Chicago, Ill., United States)
    • Audience Choice Award: Finding Home — Mair Maher and Justin Santos, Father Henry Carr Secondary School (Etobicoke, Canada)
  • POETRY/EXPERIMENTAL VIDEO:
    • Gold Award: Dream — Chase Bortz, Warren Tech Career and Technical High School (Lakewood, Colo., United States)
    • Silver Award: Awareness — Edward Flores, Redwood City Peapod Academy (Redwood City, Calif., United States)
    • Audience Choice Award: Let It Go — Meralney Bomba, Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation (Kralendijk, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba)
  • AUDIO:
    • Gold Award: Big Feet — Mystique Musicology: Vinny Cavalcanti, Austin Wolfe, Nick Miller, Emme Nelson, Angel Nolazco and Liam Elkington; Spy Hop Productions (Salt Lake City, Utah, United States)
    • Silver Award: Nothing’s Ever Permanent in Foster Care — Michael Jacobson, WNYC Radio Rookies (New York, N.Y., United States)
    • Audience Choice Award: Change K(NOW)LEDGE — Ioane Vaioli, Boys & Girls Club NSMC (South San Francisco, Calif., United States)
  • GRAPHIC DESIGN:
    • Gold Award: I’m a Woman and I’m Proud — Javier Esquit, Asociación Acción por la Paz (Quetzaltenango, Guatemala)
    • Silver Award: Missing — Yisheng Pan, Boston Latin School (Boston, Mass., United States)
    • Audience Choice Award: Alone — Vanessa Pena, Summit High School (Fontana, Calif., United States)
  • PHOTOGRAPHY:
    • Gold Award: Propaganda Posters — Christian Ogando, Urban Arts Partnership (New York, N.Y., United States)
    • Silver Award: Bullied — Sadie Shephard, Hood River Valley High School (Hood River, Ore., United States)
    • Audience Choice Award: Occupy Wall Street: The 99%, Sophie Schwartz, Laurel School (Cleveland, Ohio, United States)

A list of semi-finalist entries can be viewed at http://youthvoices.adobe.com/awards/finalists.

The Problem With Cartoons: They’re All Racist!

Author Stephen Marche has a problem: he wants to share comics and animated cartoons with his son, but everything is racist. He told the world about his predicament in the most recent issue of the New York Times Magazine. He used the words ‘racism’ and ‘racist’ nine times to describe everything from Asterix to Dumbo to Tintin. Amazingly, Babar gets a pass because, Marche explains, “my son won’t be turned into a more effective colonist by stories of elephants riding elevators.”

Marche seems to lack a fundamental understanding of the cartoon medium, an art form whose essence is rooted in caricature and exaggeration. He finds offensive stereotypes everywhere he looks, including Blue Sky’s Ice Age, DreamWorks’ Madagascar and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.:

Sulley and Mike, on the way into the office, happen to pass an orange squidlike grocer with a handlebar mustache who kind of talks-a-like-a-this. Perhaps that kind of stereotype is not as gruesome or upsetting as the one in the original Fantasia, but I had the distinct impression, as my son laughed at the scene, that my Italian immigrant grandfather was turning over in his grave.

Asterix gives Marche the biggest headache. As he reads it to his son, he wonders:

What is [my son] going to ask when I explain that for 400 years, white people took black people from their homes in Africa, carried them across the ocean in chains, beat them to death as they worked to produce sugar and cotton, separated them from their children and felt entitled to do so because of the difference in the color of their skin?

Amazingly, this thoughtfulness comes from a man who admits in the article that he told his son, “I don’t know why the pirates have a gorilla,” when his son asked him about a black character in Asterix.

I can only imagine that Marche would have a coronary if he ever watched this piece of animation:

PS – Go here to read a blistering takedown of Marche’s piece.

Classic Cartoon Character TwitterArt

I’m getting a kick out of this TwitterArt by Gregory Wadsworth, a freelance 3D illustrator in Manhattan. He’s creating a chronological series of tweets commemorating Hollywood cartoon stars – in tweets composed of the maximum of 140 characters.

I’m not sure I understand how he does it, but Greg explains:

“The tweets are composed of a maximum of 140 Unicode box-drawing characters. Box-drawing characters were developed to create tables (frames, or row and column separations) for early text-based computer interfaces, like DOS. To create the imagery, each box-drawing “word” – separated with a space or line-break character – has to be long enough so that it wraps under the previous “word.” Here is a list of articles about “twitter art”.

I’m only representing characters that were created for animation. Adapted characters like Popeye and Bonzo aren’t included. It’s limited to headliners who appeared in four or more cartoons, which excludes characters like Gertie and Goopy Geer. For teams like Tom and Jerry, only one character will be represented. Many early characters, whose images were difficult to obtain, were also left out. Some browsers will display the designs better than others. The series will likely end with 1949.”

Beautiful work! Follow Greg and his tweets, here.

Animation Auction Jaw-Droppers

A Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs storybook autographed by the entire staff of the picture…


An original cel and background, from the first Max Fleischer Color Classic, Poor Cinderella (1934):


The actual camera Walt Disney first used to produce Laugh-O-Grams and Alice Comedies in the 1920s…

These are a scant few of the aesthetically wonderful and historically important items Mike Van Eaton has gathered for his latest animation auction with Profiles In History. The complete catalog is now available online. The auction itself takes place on Sunday July 29th. Van Eaton will have much of this material on display at his booth at the San Diego Comic Con.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images of a few of my personal favorite pieces in this auction: Mary Blair concept paintings for Alice In Wonderland; cels and backgrounds from Tex Avery’s Hollywood Steps Out; producer Fred Quimby’s autograph on a classic Tom & Jerry, Spike & Tyke cel set-up; and Fred Flintstone putting out a cigarette, from the Winston commercial from the show’s first primetime season. Wonderful stuff. Check out the catalog and dream!


“Isle of Spagg” by The Brothers McLeod

Speaking of creator-driven TV shows…

Here’s a half hour pilot by those wonderful, whimsical, BAFTA & Webby Award winning Brothers McLeod. They finished it last year and it’s done a few festivals, now they’ve released it to the rest of the universe. The series focuses on Inger and Herring, a fisherman and mermaid living in amongst a seaside community of Spagg. Says Myles Mcleod:

“Yes, it’s a TV pilot. We started the process back in 2008 when we went down to Cornwall for a week and just came up with characters, location details and story ideas. Then we wrote a bible, script and designed the characters we liked to finished artwork. We basically made it off our own backs — we wanted to show we could make longer form stuff as well as all the shorts we’ve made. We stumped up half the money ourselves and found the rest from the MEDIA fund in Europe. We used professional comedians and actors to do the voices including Richard Ridings (who was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit). We finished the animation last year — most of it was animated by the very talented Tom Evans and Kirsten Thacker, though there were others involved too, not least Robert Brown who did all the beautiful hand drawn moments — like the fire and the sea lapping on the beach. He also prepared the turnarounds (I’ve attached one of the sheets – click to enlarge)”.

Pixar Releases RenderMan Studio 4.0

EMERYVILLE, CA — Pixar Animation Studios announced that RenderMan for Autodesk Maya is to be combined with RenderMan Studio as a single premium software solution at the new price of $1,300 including a fully functional embedded renderer. This major product consolidation sets the stage for the impending release of RenderMan Studio 4.0, which will provide Maya artists and Technical Directors with the latest tools to setup scene data, lighting, and shader assets for film-quality final rendering.

RenderMan Studio 4.0 also introduces the latest rendering technology developed for the forthcoming RenderMan Pro Server 17.0, and showcases significant advancements in ray tracing for multi-bounce global illumination and ray-traced subsurface scattering, including a system of physically plausible shaders directly integrated into Maya and the Slim shader editor. With these new features, artists can maximize today’s high performance multi-core architectures to create photorealistic images with minimal setup within the user interface of Maya. The process of shading and lighting setup has also been dramatically accelerated with new lighting tools, including the robust re-rendering technology used in Cars 2 and Brave as well as progressive ray-traced re-rendering for rapid look development.

With additional new capabilities such as Dynamic Shader Binding, expanded RIB archiving, and a new library of RenderMan materials for Maya, RenderMan Studio 4.0 is the result of the feedback from numerous VFX productions allowing Maya artists to easily create photorealistic images at the highest levels of cinematic quality in a comprehensive solution that can be configured to accommodate any VFX pipeline.

Upgrade Availability

RenderMan Studio 4.0 is compatible with Maya 2013 and earlier versions on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Upgrade pricing from RenderMan Studio 3.0 is available and existing RenderMan for Maya customers can upgrade to RenderMan Studio 4.0 for the same price as previous RenderMan for Maya upgrades. Student pricing is also available. Further details can be found on the new RenderMan website at https://renderman.pixar.com/.

AniMazSpot Announces 2012 Festival Lineup


The AniMazSpot 2012 festival, September 10 – 16, will be a bit different this year, splitting its events between the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale and the modern Woodbury University Theater in Burbank. The Alex will host Magoo at the Alex, two UPA events on Saturday, September 15, then, the final Sunday will be at Woodbury, as will the preceding week night nominations screenings.  The weekday tours of animation studios, archives, and schools will be all around the LA animation community.

Magoo at the Alex, in development for well over a year now, is the main event of this year’s festival, and is already being touted as a must-see for animation enthusiasts.  The afternoon program, “I ❤ UPA,” will feature some premier animation professionals talking about UPA’s influence on them, showing clips of their work and UPAs, and reminiscing about UPA with moderator, animator and historian, Tom Sito.

Magoo at the Oscars is the evening event, screening all fifteen UPA Oscar nominations and winners, plus, five Mister Magoo favorites.  All will be shown in gorgeously restored 35mm prints from Sony Pictures, including UPAs three Oscar winners; Gerald McBoing Boing, When Magoo Flew, and Magoo’s Puddle Jumper, the last two in Cinemascope.

The complete list of shorts to be screened is listed on the AniMazSpot website at www.animazspot.com, as well as the four Sunday events at Woodbury, the three week night nomination screenings and the fifteen Animation Studio, Archives, and School Tours.

AniMazSpot’s fourth and final quarter is open for entries, deadline for submissions is July 16th. All entries are accepted and receive comments from the AniMazSpot international jury panel.  To submit a short visit www.animazspot.com and click on “submit a short.”

Sentai Filmworks Licenses “Children Who Chase Lost Voices”

HOUSTON, June 14, 2012– Sentai Filmworks is extraordinarily proud to announce the forthcoming release of the year’s most eagerly awaited animated feature, Children Who Chase Lost Voices! The latest brainchild of writer/producer/director Makoto Shinkai, the pioneering creator who first turned the Japanese animation industry on its head by producing the hit Voices Of A Distant Star almost single handedly using his own personal computer, Children Who Chase Lost Voices will be Shinkai’s longest and most complex film to date and promises to further continue the director’s evolution as one of the most important emerging talents in the animation industry. Joining Shinkai once again are some of his most trusted collaborators, including composer TENMON, who has created the score to every Shinkai film since the director’s first short, She And Her Cat; animation director/character designer Takayo Nishimura and art director Takumi Tanji, who have both risen up the production chain with Shinkai, having begun as an animator and background artist respectively on The Place Promised In Our Early Days and 5 Centimeters Per Second; and most especially the ground-breaking production company ComixWave Films, which has distributed all of Shinkai’s major works to date.

Strange sounds in the darkness… Unearthly music from an old crystal radio… These are all the warning Asuna Watase has before a simple walk to her clubhouse catapults her into a nightmarish adventure that will take her beneath the Earth to a lost land beyond the realm of legend! Attacked by a strange monstrous creature, rescued by a mysterious stranger and pursued by a relentless enemy, Asuna finds herself enmeshed in a centuries old mystery that will bind her to a strange young defender and lead her inevitably, towards a secret that may hold the key to life itself! From Makoto Shinkai, the critically acclaimed anime wunderkind who’s thrilled audiences around the world with the masterworks Voices Of A Distant Star and The Place Promised In Our Early Days , comes an all new, dark and truly epic journey into a world you’ve never seen before: Children Who Chase Lost Voices!

Children Who Chase Lost Voiceswill begin theatrical release on June 26 — July 3 at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. General release through digital channels will follow with a home video release on DVD & BD later this year.

Fractured Fairy Tales: Opens Saturday July 7th!


Opening Reception: Saturday, July 7 2012 | 7-10pm
On View: July 7 – August 11, 2012

Delight in the whimsical and curious world of classic fairy tales re-imagined by 32 notable Animators as WWA Gallery presents Fractured Fairy Tales. Curated by Sandra Equihua and Drake Brodahl, Fractured Fairy Tales unleashes its’ talking animals and imprisoned princesses to the world Saturday, July 7th 2012.

Amongst the oldest traditions in storytelling, these dark and bite -size cautionary fables were eventually reinvented and brought to life through Animation as enchanting and magical tales: where we are taught that obstacles can be overcome, ugliness turns to beauty, and a nobody can become a hero, in an honest quest towards “happily ever after.” Legendary Animators, such as those who worked for Walt Disney, have stylistically defined most of the characters from these tales that we’ve come to know and love today.

It is therefore fitting that Fractured Fairy Tales has some of today’s top Animation artists reinterpreting these magical worlds. While aesthetic influences can still be seen, each of the artists has brought their own unique style and vision, giving a new twist to these timeless classics.

Open to the public, the gallery reception for Fractured Fairy Tales is from 7 -10PM Saturday, July 7th. The exhibition will run until August 11th, 2012.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS INCLUDE:

Roque Ballesteros Brigette Barriger Lorelay Bove Megan Brain Drake Brodahl Becky Dreistadt Anna Chambers Joey Chou Sandra Equihua Sadie Figueroa Genevive Godbout Helena Garcia Rex Hackelberg Alex Kirwan Dan Krall Amanda Kindregan Leticia Lacey Brittney Lee Deanna Marsigliese Annette Marnat Rhodfe Montijo Leo Matsuda Martin Ontiveros Pete Oswald Jorge Ramirez Israel Sanchez Don Shank Ann Shen Gabe Swarr Becca Stadtlander Joel Trussell Nate Wragg Johnny Yanok

CUP Announces Two Opportunities For Ace Designers To Make An Impact


The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is pleased to announce two new calls for designers to collaborate on creating accessible and innovative visual tools that address critical social justice issues.

CUP’s community education programs provide opportunities for designers and visual artists to put their skills where they can most make a difference. This year, we are seeking four designers (or design teams) to participate in our next four issues of Making Policy Public, our ongoing series of fold-out posters that use graphic design to explore and explain public policy. We are also seeking a small group of designers to be Fellows in our Public Access Design program, a new series of multimedia projects that use design to make complex urban issues accessible to the New Yorkers most affected by them.

Both programs will bring CUP staff together with talented designers and dedicated community organizers and advocates to tackle complex policy issues that directly impact a specific community. Together, the partners will collaborate to break down an issue and create engaging and innovative visual explanations that lead to greater social equity.

CUP’s programs achieve real results, and are recognized for their creative approaches in both the policy and design worlds. Our project topics come directly from community organizations and advocacy groups struggling to communicate these important issues, so there is always a clear audience and a real need for the final product. For example, Vendor Power!, a guide to New York City’s street vending regulations, is being used by thousands of Street Vendor Project organizers and members, as well as distributed by the Midtown Community Court in its vendor education program. Vendor Power! was also featured in the Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Triennial and in publications such as Print, Gourmet, and FastCo Design.

Public Access Design is a new program that provides our advocacy partners with faster response times for smaller projects in a variety of formats. The program focuses on topics that can be addressed in a short time frame and on issues that pertain to New York City and its residents. Project partners will be able to select from four media formats including two kinds of print graphics, interactive digital graphics, and animations.

CUP seeks designers with experience in print, motion graphics, animation, user interface design, and related fields to be Public Access Design Fellows. The first round of Fellows will be selected by an all-star jury in July. Every two months afterwards, community organizations will be able to submit project applications, a jury will select a proposal and a Fellow to partner on it, and CUP will facilitate the collaboration over a three- to four-month period.

Applications are due Friday, June 29th at 5 pm Eastern.

Making Policy Public projects present visual breakdowns of complex policies or systems — the topics are comprehensive and the explanations literally unfold across a format that goes from a pamphlet to a poster. Topics may range from the local to the national. CUP seeks designers with experience in graphic design, illustration, typography, and other aspects of print design. The next round of projects will take place in two groups, starting in late Fall of 2012 and ending in late 2013. Collaborations take place over a six- to eight-month period.

This year’s policy issues and advocacy partners are:
• The Responsible Banking Act with the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)
• The rights of rent-regulated tenants in Chinatown and beyond with CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
• Transit budgeting and how it really works with Transportation Alternatives
• Community participation in the NYC public school system with Teachers Unite

Applications are due Friday, July 6th at 5 pm Eastern.

Designers are invited to apply to one or both programs.

To find out more about these programs, and to download application materials, please visit:
Public Access Design – http://welcometocup.org/newsandevents
Making Policy Public – http://makingpolicypublic.net

“Gravity Falls” Sneak Peek Tonight

A few weeks ago I was invited over to Disney Television Animation and had an advance look at their new series Gravity Falls. And tonight you can have a peek, too. The Disney Channel will air a special preview tonight (6/15) at 9:55pm ET/PT.

The Disney TV group is on a roll. I was impressed with Motorcity and blown away by Tron Upsrising, but closest to my heart is the humor on this show. Creator Alex Hirsch (from Cal Arts, and previously on Flapjack and Fish Hooks) has successfully channeled some kind of mash up of Goosebumps and Jay Ward–leaning more towards Ward–with a very funny, smart, not-necessarily-aimed-at-kids subversiveness in the writing and the direction. While I’ve been down on most new shows these days (Pen Ward’s Adventure Time is clearly an exception in this era), Gravity Falls takes on tried and true kids’ tropes and turns them inside out (sometimes literally). The series itself begins regular airings on Friday, June 29th, at 9:30pm. Check out the sneak peak tonight, and let us know what you think.

So consider this an unabashed plug. Check it out. It’s a good “creator-driven” show. The premise follows a pair of city kids who are sent to spend the summer with their eccentric uncle who runs a tourist trap called The Mystery Shack. The cast includes Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal and Linda Cardellini. Below are a few story board images and a photo of me (click to enlarge) during my recent visit with series creator Alex Hirsch, Disney TV’s Eric Coleman and director Joe Pitt.

VES to Host Career Fairs in LA, NY & London

Los Angeles, CA — The Visual Effects Society (VES), the entertainment industry’s only organization representing the full breadth of visual effects practitioners, will conduct Career Fairs in Los Angeles, New York and London on Saturday, June 16, 2012.

This event allows VES to connect top Visual Effects and Gaming companies such as ILM, Disney Animation, Sony Imageworks, Infinity Ward, and many others with highly qualified visual effects artists and students searching for employment in the visual effects industry. Last year, during the inaugural Career Fair, over 200 artists found employment with the more than two-dozen companies who took part in the event.

Jeffrey A. Okun, VES Chair said, “ This is a terrific opportunity for the VES to connect its members (first and foremost) and other VFX professionals to the jobs out there.  At the same time we have created an environment for education, training and networking that is second to none.”

2012 VES Career Fair & Tech Expo

Los Angeles:
Loew’s Hollywood Hotel
1755 North Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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London:
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Carburton Street
London, W1W 5EE

Theatrical Debut of Groundbreaking Animated Short “Paperman” Slated For November 2, 2012, In Front Of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wreck-It Ralph”

BURBANK, Calif. (June 15, 2012) — Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) announced today that Paperman, a groundbreaking short film combining the best of the computer-generated and hand-drawn animation worlds, will make its theatrical debut in front of Wreck-It Ralph, a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure that hits theaters nationwide on Nov. 2, 2012. The short will play in front of Wreck-It Ralph for most international markets (release dates vary by market). Taking the art of animation in a bold new direction, Paperman is directed by John Kahrs and produced by Kristina Reed.

Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what fate has in store for him.

Kahrs, a veteran animator who joined WDAS in 2007, led an innovative team of 2D and CG artists who used a proprietary program called Meander to create the short. Employing a technique called final line advection, artists were able to add a level of grace and expressiveness never before seen in an animated film.

The world premiere of the short took place on the opening night of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, June 4, 2012. Its U.S. premiere is slated for the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 17, 2012.

Meet India’s Answer to Brave Called “Kiara the Brave”

In the 1990s, you’d have to wait for months after a Disney film’s theatrical release before GoodTimes Entertainment would release their cheap knockoff version. Today, the imitations precede the features that inspired them. Coming to iTunes and Amazon streaming on June 19, Kiara the Brave is produced by the Indian studio Shemaroo Entertainment and distributed by Phase 4 Films. The synopsis is so stupid that it’s not even worth reprinting. Just enjoy the trailer:

Louis Clichy Is Directing An “Asterix” Feature

The image above is the first still from Asterix Et Le Domaine Des Dieux, a new CG feature currently being produced in France. Notably, the director is Louis Clichy, who created shorts like A quoi ça sert l’amour? before animating at Pixar on WALL·E and Up. The production studio, VFX/post house Mikros Image, announced earlier this month that they’ve launched a new studio dedicated to feature animation, and they intend to produce a film every 18-20 months.

Here is some of Clichy’s personal work:

(via Catsuka, h/t Jonezee99)