LA Film Festival gets Animated

The Los Angeles Film Festival begins next week (June 14-24), and there is much of interest for animation fans – including the first U.S. showing of Disney’s new short Paperman (above). First, they’ve got the North American premiere of The King of Pigs, the Korean animated feature about violence and bullying in high school. There are two advance screenings of Pixar’s Brave connected to the festival – the first being the big Hollywood world premiere at the Kodak Dolby Theater. Then, the following day, a second screening downtown that is open to anybody.

Another film–one that hasn’t been on our radar–is An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. It’s an American indie that’s somewhat experimental, but it has a lot of animation in it. The animators include Emory Allen, Hannah J Buck, Sam Corey, Coire Dangerous, Audrey Halgand, Markus Kempken, Leo and Natasha, Jeanne Mailloux, and Timo Prousalis.

There is a good amount of animated shorts and music videos; here’s a link to most of the animated fare in the festival. There are also two Women in Animation panels on Sunday June 17th at 2:30pm (downtown at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE 13). One, Behind The Scenes: Movies Made From Scratch takes a look at the creative process, and is moderated by Kristine Belson, Executive producer of DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon. Panelists include: Michelle Raimo Kouyate, President of Production, Sony Pictures Animation; Jacqui Lopez, Executive Visual Effects Producer, ILM; Karen Rupert Toliver, VP of Production, Twentieth Century Fox Animation; and Katherine Sarafian, producer of Pixar’s Brave.

The other panel, What’s Cooking? A Sneak Peak at Coming Attractions is moderated by Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times film writer, with panelists including Allison Abbate, producer of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie; Michelle Murdocca, producer of Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania; Arianne Sutner, producer of LAIKA’s ParaNorman; and Kristina Reed, producer of Disney Animation’s Paperman.

GKIDS announces deal to distribute Studio Ghibli’s “From Up On Poppy Hill”

#1 GROSSING JAPANESE FILM OF 2011

OSCAR RUN AND US THEATRICAL RELEASE PLANNED

New York, New York — June 6, 2012 — GKIDS, a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences, announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Japan’s renowned Studio Ghibli for North American rights to the studio’s newest release, From Up On Poppy Hill (Kokuriko-zaka kara). GKIDS is handling theatrical, home video, television and VOD rights and will qualify the film for the Academy Awards® in the Best Animated Feature category. Theatrical release is planned for March 2013.

The deal follows on the September 2011 pact between GKIDS and Studio Ghibli for North American theatrical rights to 13 Studio Ghibli titles, including Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award® winning Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in The Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke. The Studio Ghibli retrospective has been touring major North American markets throughout 2012.

The pickup also comes on the heels of a spate of recently announced foreign acquisitions by GKIDS including Zarafa (Pathe, France), The Rabbi’s Cat (TF1, France), A Letter to Momo (Production I.G, Japan), Le Tableau (Rezo, France), Wrinkles (Six Sales, Spain) and Tales of the Night (Studio Canal, France).

From Up On Poppy Hill was the top-grossing Japanese film of 2011, earning over $56 million at the Japanese box office and winning the Japan Academy Prize for Animation in 2012. The film was directed by Goro Miyazaki from a screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki, marking the first feature collaboration between father and son. An English-language version is being produced by Studio Ghibli with Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall executive producing.

Set in Yokohama in 1963, the film centers on a high school couple’s innocent love and the secrets surrounding their births. The story takes place in a Japan that is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the 1964 Olympics — and the mood is one of both optimism and conflict as the new generation struggles to embrace modernity and throw off the shackles of a troubled past. The film’s rich color palette and painterly detail capture the beauty of Yokohama’s harbor and its lush surrounding hillsides, while the 1960’s pop soundtrack evokes nostalgia for an era of innocence and hope.

GKIDS president Eric Beckman, said. “We are thrilled and honored to be continuing our collaboration with Studio Ghibli for the upcoming From Up On Poppy Hill release. Working together to bring the Ghibli retrospective to North American theaters this year has been a wonderfully rewarding experience, both personally and professionally, and the response to the films has been nothing short of amazing. We are looking forward to extending the relationship and bringing yet another Ghibli gem to American audiences.”

Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE)

The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation presents a program of short films as part of the CAKE festival in Chicago. Titled Double Vision: Comics and Animation, this lineup showcases work from artists that cross over from comics to animation and vice versa. Filmmakers Jim Trainor, Jo Dery, Nate Beaty, Amy Lockhart and Marc Bell will be present to introduce the work, and to give insight on the parallel creative processes of comics and animation. Screening lineup:

Nicolas Mahler – Mystery Music
Stefan Gruber – Both Worlds
Peter Larsson – The People and the Whale
Sally Cruikshank – Quasi at the Quackadero
Amy Lockhart - The Collagist
Jo Dery – Chapter 3
Jim Trainor – Harmony
Jesse McManus – Buoy Boy
Trixy Sweetvittles – La Mujer Lagartija
Nate Beaty – Warble and Bleat
Dash Shaw - The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD
David O’Reilly – Please Say Something

Saturday June 16, 1:30 pm
Columbia College Chicago
1104 S. Wabash Ave.
Free and open to the public

Reel FX Commits To Dallas With The Acquistion Of Its Deep Ellum Headquarters

DALLAS, TX — June 6, 2012 – Deep Ellum-based Reel FX Inc. (Dallas | Santa Monica), an award-winning creative studio specializing in animation and visual effects for feature films, commercials and live-venue projects, has secured its footprint in Dallas with the acquisition of 301 N. Crowdus Street.  After seven years in the building, Reel FX acquired the 73,200 square foot property to serve as its corporate headquarters. The studio also currently occupies a 16,000 square foot facility in Santa Monica, California.

Billy Gannon and Gary Collett of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas, Inc. represented Reel FX.

“After an 18-month process assessing several unique opportunities in Frisco, Richardson and Dallas, it became very clear that Reel FX should remain in its current location,” said Gannon in a statement. “Deep Ellum offers the perfect environment for the studio’s culture, provides ample amenities, and is located just steps away from DART’s green line.  To continue to attract and recruit the best talent in the industry, the Deep Ellum location makes perfect sense for this fast growing company.”

The City of Dallas has offered a substantial economic incentive package as part of their business retention program, which played a significant role in Reel FX’s decision to remain in Dallas. The incentive package was approved by the City Council’s Economic Development Committee on June 4, 2012 and recommended to the full Council for final approval on June 27, 2012. The City’s Economic Development Office (Hammond Perot, Chris O’Brien and Karl Zavitkovsky) clearly demonstrated the importance of retaining Reel FX as a corporate tenant in Dallas. The pro-business attitude of Mayor Mike Rawlings was also instrumental in Reel FX’s decision-making process: he helped develop and structure the City’s economic incentive package, and leveraged relationships with other Dallas businesses to further support the overall incentives offered. The City of Dallas’ partnership with Reel FX showcases the willingness of Dallas to remain a “pro-business” environment and retain the top businesses in the city.

“Helping with the expansion of Reel FX’s headquarters and operations is a big win for Dallas,” said Michael S. Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas.  “As a significant employer, who is an award-winning, animation, visual effects, design and entertainment and commercial studio, Reel FX’s commitment to Dallas cements our location as an innovation and creative business hub.  We look forward to supporting their continued success and expansion.”

“We have called Dallas home for almost two decades, and our goal was to remain in Dallas and in Deep Ellum,” said Reel FX Chief Operating Officer Kyle Clark. “We couldn’t be happier to stay in the building we consider an important part of our past, and now, our future.”

Lorenzo Fonda and UVPHACTORY Animate Scissor Sisters

New York, NY — Lorenzo Fonda has teamed up with the New York-based pop rock band Scissor Sisters for their latest video, Baby Come Home. The video is Fonda’s second collaboration with the band; Fonda directed the video for Only Horses, which is also off their latest album, Magic Hour (Polydor UK).

Mixing live-action and animation, the video pushes through a re-imagined beer label trompe l’oeil, complete with vaudeville pop-colored stage theatrics. The labels bring the song’s lyrics to life, ultimately ending with a full-on dance number around a helplessly lovesick rabbit.

Fonda worked with UVPHACTORY to complete the animation for the video. Together the team mixed live action with still frame animation and motion graphics with full VFX to create the shifting sequence of characters played by the band. The team used After Effects to maximize the use of 3D space in the video’s sequence, giving an overall 2.5D feel for depth.

“When we started off working with Lorenzo everything was pretty straight forward,” said UVPHACTORY Principal Damijan Saccio. “But then once we had all of the animators working together it became very collaborative. Valentin (Boschi), our lead animator, really hit it off with Lorenzo and Luca. For the character animation, Danien (Bastelica) did a lot of it frame by frame. For everyone involved it really became a passion project that we are all quite happy with.”

New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures Signs Animation Deal With Beijing Film Academy

Wellington’s Pukeko Pictures today signed an agreement deal with the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy and Grand Entertainment Ltd. (GZ) to establish the “International Animation Technology Joint Research Centre” to actively promote the development of animated projects and open up the expanding international, Chinese and film and television markets.

Formed to promote film and television cultural exchange between China and New Zealand, and develop animation technology in the synergy of enterprise, academia and institutional research, the deal between the three parties will also provide a platform for collaboration in the film and television fields between Chinese entities and international enterprises.

The first collaboration project between Pukeko Pictures, the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy and Grand Entertainment Ltd. (GZ) consists of planned co-productions on the internationally successful animation series, The WotWots, created by Pukeko Pictures at the world-famous Weta Workshop. These plans include special co-produced The WotWots TV episodes that will be unique to the Chinese home market.

“Pukeko Pictures is extremely thrilled to be joining with the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy and Grand Entertainment Ltd. (GZ) as this joint venture will uniquely put us at the forefront of Chinese co-productions globally. This exciting collaboration will see film and television cultural exchanges between China and New Zealand — from technical ‘know-how’, the sharing of international resources and partners and will enable us to capitalize, co-produce and distribute international and Chinese film and television projects. It also extends to furthering the education and training of upcoming talent in the industry through joint academic activities and hosting annual regional industry conferences” said Pukeko Pictures’ Chief Executive, Andrew Smith.

The partnership also sees Grand Entertainment Ltd. (GZ) creating the annual Sir Richard Taylor Award of the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy, which will fund winners and outstanding students to further their studies in animation.

“For China’s film and television industry to grow, innovation is needed, through more collaboration with top-notch international companies in the field. The Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy is very thrilled to be working with Pukeko Pictures and Grand Entertainment in seeking more opportunities for the sharing of resources and know-how, and the exchange of culture and ideas, in the development of the industry.

At the same time, it is our hope to provide more platforms for the nurturing of the future generation of film and television talent in China”, said Prof. Sun Lijun, Dean of the Animation School and Vice-Principal of the Beijing Film Academy.

This tri-party agreement builds on the strong the solid success of The WotWots in the Asian market. The WotWots has multi-platform broadcast in China, including free-to-air, satellite, IPTV, internet, mobile TV, and is growing a significant fan base throughout China.

Rhythm & Hues Populates Universal’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” With Wondrous CG Characters and Effects

R&H-produced work includes Enchanted Forest Creatures, Bridge Troll, Dwarves

LOS ANGELES, June 6, 2012– The work of Rhythm & Hues Studios, the Oscar-winning visual effects and animation studio, is prominently featured in Universal Pictures’ Snow White and the Huntsman, which led the U.S. box office this past weekend with a strong $56.3 million take, the fourth largest opening of 2012 according to Box Office Mojo.

Rhythm & Hues produced several key computer-generated characters and visual effects sequences for the epic action adventure story, including the fairies and assorted flora and fauna of an Enchanted Forest; a gigantic bridge troll; and swirling flocks of inky black magpies and ravens. In addition, the studio used an innovative, cost-effective 2D warping and compositing process to transform eight English actors into Snow White’s dwarves.

Working closely with the film’s director Rupert Sanders and the overall visual effects supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, the Rhythm & Hues team was led by vfx supervisor Todd Shifflett, vfx producer Tim Cunningham and senior animation supervisor Andrew Arnett.  Rhythm & Hues created the majority of the visual effects and animation for the film, with work distributed among a crew of over 300 digital artists in its numerous international facilities.

The company’s CG wizardry has impressed numerous movie reviewers, including Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times: “The dwarves lead them to my favorite realm in the film, an enchanting fairyland, which is a triumph of art direction and CGI.  Mushrooms open their eyes and regard the visitors. Cute forest animals scamper and gambol in tribute to a forest scene in Disney’s 1937 animated film. The fairies themselves are[...] pale-skinned sprites with old, wise faces. The spirit of this forest is embodied by a great white stag with expressive eyes and horns that spread in awesome complexity. This is a wonderful scene,” Ebert concludes.

“Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat” Available on DVD and Blu-ray August 7, 2012

WARNER HOME VIDEO RELEASES THE BELOVED DR. SEUSS ANIMATED TELEVISION CLASSIC THE CAT IN THE HAT IN DELUXE EDITION DVD & BLU-RAYâ„¢ AUGUST 7, 2012

The Animated TV Special is Available in a Fully Re-Mastered Deluxe Edition That Comes With Two Bonus Dr. Seuss Classics

BURBANK, CA (June 6, 2012) — There’s never a dull moment when the delightfully mischievous Cat in the Hat drops in for a visit. Get set for laughs and good times with one of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved characters when Warner Home Video (WHV) brings the original animated TV special Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat to DVD & Blu-rayâ„¢ on August 7, 2012 in a fully re-mastered deluxe edition set. The classic special will be sold in a standard DVD and Blu-rayâ„¢. The Blu-rayâ„¢ will include the standard DVD edition of the film for initial ship orders only. The Blu-rayâ„¢ will retail for $24.98 SRP and the standard DVD will retail for $19.97 SRP.

While their mother is out on a shopping errand, Dick and Sally are stuck indoors on a dull, rainy day, with nothing to do. Their dreary afternoon, however takes an unexpected turn when they’re paid a visit by a charismatic, six-foot tall, hat-wearing cat, who invites himself in to search for his misplaced “moss-covered, three-handled family gredunza.”

Employing the “Calculatus Eliminatus” method, the children help the Cat in the Hat look for his missing keepsake but in the process, leave the house in a mess. Mr. Krinkelbein, the family’s wise pet goldfish, who in effort to look out for the kids’ best interest, protests the Cat in the Hat’s shenanigans and orders him to leave. The Cat in the Hat however, preoccupied with finding his missing “gredunza,” enlists the help of his best friends, Thing One and Thing Two, to help with the search but the pair only manage to bring the house into further disarray.

Unfazed by the chaos that’s slowly unfolding around them, Dick and Sally are captivated by the Cat in the Hat and his madcap, whimsical ways. They pass the afternoon in sheer delight, singing happy songs and engaging playful mayhem with their uninvited guest. Even the cynical Mr. Krinkelbein is won over by the Cat’s infectious charm. Everyone is having way too much fun to notice the house is a complete mess! That’s until Dick and Sally hear their mother coming home. How in the world will they clean up the enormous mess before she walks through the front door?

The deluxe edition of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat includes two additional Dr. Seuss classics Daisy-Head Mayzie and The Hoober-Bloob Highway.

Ray Bradbury, RIP

Ray Bradbury has died at the age of 91 The above painting of Bradbury was created by The Incredibles production designer Lou Romano.

Today would also be a good day to:

Watch Ray Bradbury’s Oscar-nominated animated short Icarus Montgolfier Wright.

Read a funny anecdote from Brad Bird about Ray Bradbury’s work on the animated feature Little Nemo.

See the never-before-published notes from a space-related meeting at Disney with Ray Bradbury and Ward Kimball.

100 Years of Paramount Pictures

Click to enlarge this newly released limited edition Paramount Pictures 100th Anniversary Poster, created by L.A.’s Gallery 1988. Comprised of graphic icons representing the studios biggest films – and I’m happy to report animation is well represented (I mean, all things considered – there’s no Popeye, Betty Boop or Casper but those were shorts and these buttons represent features). Look close and you’ll spot Max Fleischer’s 1939 Gulliver’s Travels, George Pal’s 1953 War of The Worlds; Beavis and Butt-head Do America (1996), South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999) and The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004) also make the cut. Our condolences to Charlie Brown, Tintin, Rugrats and Jimmy Neutron – maybe next time.

Prescription Filled for Second Season of Disney Jr’s “Doc McStuffins”

PRESCRIPTION FILLED FOR SECOND SEASON OF DISNEY JUNIOR’S HIT DOC MCSTUFFINS, 2012 TO-DATE’S #1 CABLE TV SERIES AMONG KIDS 2-5

– Demand to be Met (Stat) for Books, Licensed Toys, Apparel and Sleepwear –

The doctor is in — Doc McStuffins, TV’s newest hit for kids age 2-7, has been ordered for a second season on both Disney Junior, the daily programming block that posted Disney Channel’s best fiscal second quarter ratings ever in the daypart, and the burgeoning 24 hour Disney Junior channel. The channel is available to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and Verizon subscribers and soon, via additional affiliates nationwide. The announcement was made today by Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide.

The animated series about Doc, a little girl who can talk to and heal stuffed animals and toys out of her playhouse clinic, is 2012 to-date’s #1 cable series among Kids 2-5 and the #1 preschool cable TV series among Total Viewers and Women 18-49. Its March premiere is the #1 preschool series launch in cable TV history among Adults 18-49. Doc McStuffins joins Disney Junior’s other hit series Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse which accounted for the Top 3 preschool cable telecasts of the quarter among Women 18-49.

Based on parents feedback and retail demand, Disney will introduce Doc McStuffins books, apparel, party goods and role play toys, dolls and accessories, beginning this summer through early 2013, its quickest to market launch ever for a preschool property. A Doc McStuffins DVD will release on August 21.

Kanter said, “The series is resonating with boys and girls across our demo kids ages 2-7. And we’ve heard that the show, particularly as parents watch with their kids, has opened up a family dialogue about the importance of good health and compassion. Importantly, we are also hearing that the show is helping to take the worry out of going to the doctor that so many young children experience. We are delighted that kids will now be able to extend their love of Doc and her toy friends beyond the screen and encourage their inherent, nurturing play patterns.”

Created and executive-produced by Humanitas Prize and Emmy Award-winning Chris Nee (writer on Little Bill and producer of Deadliest Catch: Crab Fishing in Alaska) and directed by Emmy-winning Norton Virgien (Rugrats), Doc McStuffins is a production of Academy Award nominated Brown Bag Films in association with Disney Channel. The Hollywood Health & Society division of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center serves as the series’ health and medical consultants, advising on basic health issues that are relevant to young kids and families. The series carries a TV-Y parental guideline.

Doc McStuffins airs daily during the Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel and on the 24-hour Disney Junior channel. The series stars Kiara Muhammad as Doc; Loretta Devine as Hallie; Lara Jill Miller as Lambie; Robbie Rist as Stuffy; Jess Harnell as Chilly; Jaden Betts as Donny McStuffins; Kim Brooks as Mom McStuffins; and Gary Anthony Williams as Dad McStuffins. The series’ theme song is performed by the star of Disney Channel’s hit series A.N.T. Farm and Hollywood Records recording artist, China Anne McClain.

“Adventure Time: The Complete First Season” Heads to DVD

Los Angeles, CA — Cartoon Network has announced the DVD release of the entire first season of its Emmy-nominated animated comedy series Adventure Time. That’s all 26 episodes from the show’s first season, plus heaps of bonus features created by Pendleton Ward and the show team, including featurettes, episode commentaries, animatics and more packed into a sweet DVD package. The Adventure Time: The Complete First Season two-disc set will be available on July 10, 2012 for the suggested retail price of $26.95, making it a must-have for the series’ ravenous fans, who can relive all of the original adventures of best buddies Finn and Jake in the magical land of Ooo.

“Since our first DVD release last September, fans have been telling us nonstop that they want to own full season sets of Adventure Time on DVD. Because the show is for everyone, both kids and adults, we’re really happy we can put this out,” said Erik Resnick, vice president of Cartoon Network Enterprises, the home entertainment division of Cartoon Network. “In addition to the great episodes, Pendleton and the show team have created some great bonus features on this set that we’re sure fans will love.”

The highly-anticipated bonus materials in the Adventure Time: The Complete First Season DVD release include: behind the scene featurettes of the crew, the composers and more filmed by creator Pendleton Ward with his very own camera phone; animatics featuring commentary by Ward, Adam Muto, Pat McHale and Derek Drymon for the “Rainy Day Daydream,” “Slumber Party Panic,” “Dungeon” and “The Enchiridion!” episodes; and episode commentary from cast members and special guests including: “Prisoners of Love” with John DiMaggio, Jeremy Shada, Tom Kenny and Ward; “Ricardio the Heart Guy” with George Takei, Hynden Walch, Kenny, Shada and Ward; “Tree Trunks” with Bettie Ward and Polly Lou Livingston; and “Trouble in Lumpy Space” with DiMaggio, Shada, Kenny and Ward.

Joining the Adventure Time: The Complete First Season DVD release at retail are the compilation releases, Adventure Time My Two Favorite People and Adventure Time It Came from the Nightosphere, which are both currently available at retail and offer fans a lower-price point option to add to their DVD libraries.

The popularity of Adventure Time continues to surge as both the show’s ratings and the brand’s consumer products program continue to grow. Throughout its first three seasons, the Adventure Time series has garnered great ratings success with more than 44.3 million kids 6-11 and 35.8 million boys 6-14 tuning in to the series, and making it the #1 show in its timeslot for boys 6-14, according to Nielsen Media Research.  In addition, Adventure Time’s presence at top retailers across the country is continually expanding though the property’s comprehensive line of hard and soft consumer products which includes toys, apparel, accessories, youth electronics, comic books, posters and much more.

Many of Adventure Time’s fans are top tier entertainment and television critics who have bestowed high praise and accolades to the smash hit series. IGN.com hailed the show as “trippy and hilarious” and LA Weekly lauded it as “subversively funny and overwhelmingly cute.” Meanwhile USA Today.com proclaimed “I will never forget the words Adventure Time” and Entertainment Weekly.com named Adventure Time to its list of The 25 Greatest Animated Series Ever. In doing so they raved, “Adventure Time makes me wish I were a kid again, just so I could grow up to be as awesome as the kids who are currently watching Adventure Time will be.”

Cartoon Network will support the release of Adventure Time: The Complete First Season with targeted on-air advertising spots on Cartoon Network, as well as a kid-focused online marketing campaign on Cartoonnetwork.com and other kid and parent targeted websites.

“Annoying Orange” Slices into Prime Time

Boasting more than 1 billion YouTube views to date, Annoying Orange is the Web sensation transformed into a new television series that follows Orange and his buddies as they go on a wide range of adventures — setting out from the fruit stand to parts unknown and everything in between. With jaunts to the Prehistoric Era and even Colonial Times, Orange and the rest of the fruit stand gang are dropped into outrageous adventures and challenged to squeeze their way out of them.

Joining Orange on his escapades are popular produce pals from the Web series including the level-headed Pear, potential paramour Passion Fruit, resident goody goody Apple, the always upbeat Marshmallow and Orange’s nemesis the hulking Grapefruit. The only human to interact with this veritable fruit salad is a brand new character, Nerville (played by YouTube sensation Toby Turner), the proprietor of a fruit cart where Orange and his crew reside. Annoying Orange will feature guest voices by Michael Clarke Duncan, Jeffrey Tambor, Tim Curry, Tony Hawk, Malcolm McDowell, Billy Dee Williams, Leah Remini, Tom Kenny, John DiMaggio, Nick Swordson, Danny Trejo and Felicia Day.

A pioneer in its evolution, Annoying Orange has expanded from viral video to Web series to Cartoon Network prime time. Developed and produced by leading entertainment management and production company The Collective, Dane Boedigheimer (the creator of the Annoying Orange Web series) co-created the television series with Tom Sheppard (Emmy Award-winning writer for Pinky and the Brain). Conrad Vernon (director of Madagascar 3 and Monsters vs. Aliens) serves as executive producer along with Gary Binkow and Dan Weinstein of The Collective.

Annoying Orange premieres on Cartoon Network Monday, June 11 at 8:30 pm ET/PT.

Details Released on Disney’s Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animated Features Event

August 11 and 12, 2012 — Grand Ballroom, Disneyland Hotel

COST $225 per person (Diamond Level, $1,000 per person, is sold out)

Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animated Features is an unprecedented celebration of the art, storytelling, music, voices, imagination, and innovation of Disney’s benchmark films.

From Walt Disney’s groundbreaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph, guests will experience a two-day journey through the art of Disney feature animation — filled with fun, laughter and rarely or never-before-seen artwork, photos and film clips of beloved Disney characters and stories — all the while surrounded by some of the world’s leading animation legends, artists and authorities.

While more announcements are forthcoming, the detail about Destination D below is current as of June 4, 2012.

This promises to be an extraordinary celebration … with additional participants and presentations to be announced in the weeks ahead:

DAY ONE — SATURDAY, AUGUST 11

Walt Disney and the First Golden Age of Disney Animation
Walt and his original team of animators and artists invented an entirely new genre of filmmaking storytelling. Together they created unparalleled bodies of work that continue to delight audiences around the world. Join our panelists who participated first-hand (or witnessed) the remarkable creation of Walt Disney’s feature animated films:

Joe Hale–43-year Disney veteran who contributed his artistic talents to such films as Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Mary Poppins.

Burny Mattinson–Disney Legend and 50-year veteran of Disney animation who contributed his artistic talents to such “Golden Age” favorites as Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and The Jungle Book.

Ted Thomas–Son of legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas and director/writer of the acclaimed documentaries Frank and Ollie and Walt & El Grupo.

Roy E. Disney and the Second Golden Age of Disney Animation
Roundtable discussion of Roy E. Disney’s influence on the “Second Golden Age of Disney Animation”–from The Black Cauldron and The Great Mouse Detective through the modern-day classics of the 1990s. Join our panelists who participated first-hand (or witnessed) Roy E. Disney’s remarkable stewardship of Disney’s contemporary animation renaissance:

Dave Bossert–Author of an upcoming book on Roy E. Disney, and creative director and head of special projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios; artistic coordinator and visual effects supervisor on Fantasia/2000 and associate producer of the short “Destino” among many other accomplishments.

Roy P. Disney–Son of Disney Legend Roy E. Disney, former Disney Imagineer, and first-hand witness to Disney animation’s second “Golden Age.”

Don Hahn–Noted author, Disney animation historian, and producer of some of Disney’s most successful animated films of the second golden age, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Emperor’s New Groove.

The Greatest Disney Animation You Never Saw
Enjoy a “Behind-The-Magic” peek at the art of Disney feature animation. Academy Award®-nominated film producer and author Don Hahn and Creative Director for Walt Disney Animation Studios David Bossert present rarely seen (or never before seen at all) Disney artwork and animation from more than 75 years of Disney animated features.

Animating The Disney Parks

Disney Parks owe a great deal of their creative development and design to the roots of Disney animation. Join current and former Disney Imagineers as they discuss how legendary Disney Imagineers, including Marc Davis, Mary Blair, Claude Coates, Herb Ryman, John Hench, and many others, successfully transferred their skills and talents from the world of Disney feature animation to “animating the Disney Parks.” Join our panelists who personally worked with many of these Disney animation and Imagineering greats:

Tony Baxter–Senior vice president, Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering, whose project credits include Disneyland Paris, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jonesâ„¢ Adventure, and Splash Mountain.

Eddie Sotto–Noted experiential designer, mixed-media producer, conceptualist, and former Disney Imagineer, whose projects included the design of Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Paris, early work on Indiana Jonesâ„¢ Adventure at Disneyland, plus Mission: SPACE at Epcot and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland.

An Evening Concert: Dick Van Dyke & The Vantastix

The fun continues into the night with an unforgettable evening of harmony provided by Dick Van Dyke & The Vantastix. The popular vocal quartet is comprised of legendary television, Broadway and film star Dick Van Dyke and three renowned west coast musicians–Mike Mendyke, Bryan Chadima, and Eric Bradley. Songs from Van Dyke’s varied entertainment career, in addition to many well-known Disney hits and timeless pop standards, will be performed by Van Dyke and The Vantastix in a show rich in humor, pure entertainment, and sing-along favorites. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss!

Exclusive Screening: Walt & El Grupo–The Director’s Cut

Presented exclusively for D23 Members and their guests is the definitive director’s cut (not available on DVD) of the acclaimed 2009 film documentary Walt and El Grupo. Hosted by Director Ted Thomas and Producer Kuniko Okubo, the film chronicles the amazing 10-week trip that Walt Disney and his hand-picked group of artists and filmmaking talent (later known as “El Grupo”) took to South America in 1941 at the behest of the U.S. Government.

DAY TWO — SUNDAY, AUGUST 12

Wacky and Wild Disney Animation
Go on a wacky and irreverent ride through some of the most psychedelic and visually stunning animation ever put on film in this fun and humorous retrospective of Disney feature animation. Along the way you’ll learn of the contributions of such “characters” as Disney Legend Ward Kimball, renowned artist Salvador Dali, and many others. Your hosts through this animation “Wonderland”:

Jerry Beck–Well-known animation historian, with 10 books and numerous articles to his credit. Jerry is an animation producer, and industry consultant to Warner Bros., and has been an executive with Nickelodeon and Disney and is also a popular blogger on the subject of animation.

Eric Goldberg–A veteran director, designer and animator, his Disney credits includes being the supervising animator of Genie in Aladdin, co-director of Pocahontas, animator of Phil in Hercules, followed by Fantasia/2000, which he directed, wrote, and animated two critically acclaimed sequences: “Carnival of the Animals” and “Rhapsody in Blue.” His animation work can also be seen in the Tokyo Disney Seas attraction Magic Lamp Theatre and the recently unveiled Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros at the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot.

Tinker Bell: The Evolution of a Disney Character

Have you ever wondered how a character becomes a “Disney” character? As we take you on a fascinating trip through the decades in a presentation filled with never-before-seen art, photos, and film clips, you’ll see how Tinker Bell developed into one of Disney’s most iconic characters. Your tour guides include:

Mindy Johnson–Author of the upcoming book Tinker Bell: An Evolution–(new for Fall 2013 from Disney Editions).

Margaret Kerry–Live-action reference model for Tinker Bell in Walt Disney’s 1953 animated film classic Peter Pan.

Disney Feature Animation Stars–Drawing With Personality

The Walt Disney Studios is often credited with perfecting “personality animation,” creating from paper and pencil characters that seemingly live and breathe. In this entertaining and educational presentation you’ll discover the secrets behind the creation of some of Disney’s most beloved animated stars, plus you’ll get the chance to design your own Disney animated character under the guidance of a master Disney animator.

Your instructor:
Andreas Deja–30-year Disney animation veteran, whose impressive body of work includes serving as supervising animator on characters in several classic Disney animated features, including Gurgi in The Black Cauldron, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King, Mickey Mouse in Fantasia/2000, Lilo in Lilo & Stitch, Mama Odie in The Princess and the Frog, and Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. He’s also a noted Disney animation historian and authority on the work of legendary Disney animator Milt Kahl.

Hearing Voices: A Salute to Disney Character Voice Artists

Meet the artists behind the voices. We put a spotlight on the many men and women who have supplied some of the most familiar voices ever to grace movies screens. This unique reunion of Disney character voice talent highlights some of the great voices of the past as well. Our roster of Disney character voice talent stars include (to date–more to be confirmed over the next few weeks!):

Dick Jones–Voice of Pinocchio (Pinocchio, 1940)

Kathryn Beaumont–Voice of Alice (Alice in Wonderland, 1951) and Wendy Darling  (Peter Pan, 1953)

Lisa Davis–Voice of Anita (One Hundred and One Dalmatians, 1961)

David Frankham–Voice of Sergeant Tibbs (One Hundred and One Dalmatians, 1961)

Bruce Reitherman–Voice of Mowgli (The Jungle Book, 1967) and Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, 1966)

Chris Sanders–Stitch (Lilo & Stitch, 2002)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Still “The Fairest of Them All”

Walt Disney’s animation masterpiece Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs introduced an entirely new filmmaking genre–the Disney animated feature–and put in motion the creation of an unparalleled library of films that remain unrivaled in their artistic and storytelling achievements. Join us as we salute this groundbreaking film with a rare west coast appearance by 93-years-young Marge Champion, the live-action reference model for the character of Snow White. Also joining the presentation will be Gabriella Calicchio, CEO of The Walt Disney Family Museum, to provide insights on the museum’s upcoming Snow White exhibition and an exciting new D23 opportunity.

An Evening With Disney Legend and Oscar®-Winner Alan Menken

Please “Be Our Guest” as we conclude our celebration with a rare musical concert by Disney Legend Alan Menken. With eight Academy Awards®, Alan Menken has received more Oscars than any living person. He has written songs and scores for some of the world’s most beloved films: Tangled (Oscar nominee), Enchanted (three Oscar nominations) The Little Mermaid (two Oscar wins), Beauty and the Beast (two Oscar wins), Aladdin (two Oscar wins), Pocahontas (two Oscar wins), Hercules (Oscar nominee), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Oscar® nominee), Little Shop of Horrors (Oscar nominee), Home on the Range, and Newsies.

Menken is currently the first songwriter in 13 years to have three new shows running concurrently on Broadway (Sister Act, Newsies, and Leap of Faith). His Broadway successes include The Little Mermaid (Tony Award® nominee), Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, and Sister Act (Tony Award nominee). His other stage productions include King David, Newsies, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Aladdin.

Exclusive Screening: Waking Sleeping Beauty — The Director’s Cut

Presented exclusively for D23 Members and their guests is the definitive director’s cut (not available on DVD) of the acclaimed 2010 film documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. With screening hosted by director Don Hahn, the film chronicles how by the mid-1980s the fabled animation studios of Walt Disney had fallen on hard times. Waking Sleeping Beauty is the true story of how Disney regained its magic with a staggering output of hits–The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and more–over a 10-year period.

D23′s Destination D series has become one of the fan club’s most popular member events. Past “destinations” have celebrated 55 years of Disneyland and 40 years of Walt Disney World Resort. Now it’s time to celebrate the diamond anniversary of one of the most universally beloved and unique film genres–the world of Disney animated features.

“Wreck-It Ralph” First Images

This week we are getting our first look at Disney’s next animated feature, Wreck-It Ralph. USA Today got the exclusive first pics from Rich Moore’s film – and the teaser trailer should be online tomorrow. I’m actually excited about this film, because from all indications it will be a big change from the traditional fairy tales and animal adventures Disney has been producing of late. The film re-teams director Moore (from The Simpsons and Futurama) with writer Jim Reardon (Simpsons, Tiny Toons, Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse… not to mention, Wall-E), bringing a new comic sensibility to the studio. Bring it on!

Lifestyles of Animation Executives: Bill Damaschke

In the mid-1990s, Bill Damaschke was a struggling LA actor who found a job working as a PA on Pocahontas. Today, he is the Chief Creative Officer of DreamWorks Animation. He also owns a classic Modernist home in the Hollywood Hills. The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece about how Damaschke and his partner, John McIlwee, have restored the home. The article comes complete with a quote from Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The architect of the house, John Lautner, also designed the UPA studio in 1949, that sadly was demolished a long time ago. Damaschke and McIlwee purchased the Lautner classic in 2002 from actor Vincent Gallo. They paid $1.3 million for the home, and have spent another $1 million on renovating it. The article doesn’t mention that a few months ago, Damaschke and McIlwee also bought President Gerald Ford’s Rancho Mirage retreat for $1.675 million.

“Chronicle of Oldrich S.” Selected for AFI SilverDocs Fest

Silver Spring, MD — The new short film by Rudolf Smid, The Chronicle of Oldrich S., has been selected for the prestigious American documentary film festival SilverDocs in Silver Spring, Maryland. This is a great honor for the Czech animated documentary, which only started screening at international festivals in February 2012.

SilverDocs Documentary Film Festival is organized by the American Film Institute and the Discovery Channel. It is the largest documentary event of the year in the United States with over 27,000 visitors and industry professionals each year, showcasing more than two hundred new documentaries from around the world, (including films from Central and Eastern Europe). This makes Silverdocs the best festival for the North American premiere of The Chronicle of Oldrich S.

Because of its connection to the Discovery Channel the festival has had guests such as Jonathan Demme, Al Gore, Alex Gibney, and Martin Scorsese. The special guests for this year’s festival will be the American filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.

And don’t forget, The Chronicle of Oldrich S. is a hit on the international festival scene. It was nominated for Silver Eye, Jihlava 2011; selected for the SXSW Film Festival 2012 in Austin, Texas; received the special jury award at the Docudays festival in Kiev; received the IFAF AniFest main prize for short film; selected for the Trickfilm Festival Stuttgart; selected for the DOXA festival Vancouver; and was selected for the DocAviv festival in Tel Aviv, 2012.

In the upcoming months, the film will be screened at the 52nd Krakow Film Festival in Poland, the Huesca Film Festival in Spain and as mentioned above, the SilverDocs festival in June.

The Chronicle of Oldrich S. was produced by Anima and AniFest.

2012 CG Student Award Winners Announced

The winners for the 2012 CG Student Awards have been announced.

The CG Student Awards (formerly Computer Graphics Student Awards) is an annual event which showcases and rewards excellence in computer graphics from students and recent graduates. The Computer Graphics Student Awards started in 2009, lead by Andrew McDonald and Alwyn Hunt, owners of CGCoach.com, and was the first student awards of its kind dedicated to computer graphics students worldwide.

From over 360 entries worldwide, the judging panel has hand-picked the winners for the Student of the Year and Studio Internship categories. The voting process involved judges scoring each entry based on criteria including — creative skills, technical skills, presentation, variety of skills, raw talent and future potential.  In addition to these categories, the 2012 CG Student Awards is pleased to announce the winners of the People’s Choice and School of the Year.

Winner, Student of the Year: Gerard Dunleavy — Belfast, United Kingdom

Runner Up, Student of the Year: Raphael Gaudin — Montpellier, France

Student of the Year Finalists: Danica Parry, Stephan Skorepa, Kevin George, Wendy Pham, Jason Phua, Donald Bradford, Bastien Mortelecque, Rami Ali Al-ashqar

Studio Internships

Studio Internships were up for grabs from some of the world’s leading production companies, including BlueBolt, Double Negative, Framestore, Moving Picture Company, Prime Focus and The Mill.

Canada Internship WINNERS: Woong Park, Leonardo Bonisolli

Europe Internship WINNERS: Gerard Dunleavy, Raphael Gaudin, Edwin Schaap, Bastien Mortelecque, Rami Ali Al-ashqar

People’s Choice

The People’s Choice Award is voted by the public. The people have spoken, and the winner is Victor Gaza. Check here for the complete list of finalists: http://www.cgstudentawards.com/winners/peoples-choice

School of the Year Winner — Vancouver Film School (CAN)

The School of the Year winner is selected using a weighted points scoring system. Each school receives points based on the number of students that are winners, finalists, and highly commended.

To find out about all the winners, visit http://www.cgstudentawards.com/blog/entry/winners-announced-2012-cg-student-awards

Miami International University of Art & Design to Host 2012 MIA Animation Conference, October 20 and 21, 2012

MIAMI, FL — MAY 2, 2012 - The Miami International University of Art & Design will be the site of the 2012 MIA Animation Conference on October 20 and 21, in Miami (FL). The industry conference, now in its third year (formerly called Animiami), focuses on computer animation, gaming, visual effects and motion graphics, film, web design and the visual arts. Programs include world-renowned industry speakers and master classes. In addition, there will be software demonstrations and panel discussions, including several on new technologies. In conjunction with the conference, the MIA Animation Festival will be held on October 20 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque at Historic Hall. The featured films will be the result of a juried selection by industry judges.

Featured speakers include:

Conrad Montgomery, creative executive for the Cartoon network, who is currently working on animated comedies such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Mad while developing new projects for the studio.

Drew Tolman has worked with four major studios (Fox, Disney, Universal and Warner Bros.) in development and production in 2D and 3D animation, and VFX/Live Action. Currently she is post-production supervisor for the Walt Disney Company.

Chris Bailey most recently worked as a consultant to Blue Sky Studios and FOX, where he has had a longstanding relationship as animation supervisor on such FOX hits as Alvin & the Chipmunks (1 & 2), X-Men 2, Eragon, Garfield (1 & 2) and Fat Albert” His animation work includes The Little Mermaid and The Lion King.

Mark Anthony Austin has been the lead in some of the major animation power houses including Industrial Light and Magic, Walt Disney, and Sony Imageworks. Currently head of animation for The Third Floor, Inc., one of the world’s leading previsualization companies, he work alongside many of the industry’s top directors including Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

Leah Hoyer went from being an attorney to animation. After earning an MFA at UCLA’s animation workshop, she began working at Disney Television Animation where, for 15 years, she was director of development for Disney Channel’s Animated Series.

Bill Buckley, animator and artist in the video game industry, has provided story art and animation on popular titles for companies such as THQ, Disney Interactive, Limbic, SCEA, and most recently Activision.

Jay Hathaway, senior 3D character animator for Blizzard Entertainment, has also worked with Film Roman and MSH Entertainment. His experience at Blizzard spans development teams from Diablo II, WarCraft III, WoW and StarCraft II to DotA.

“The MIA Animation Conference has been designed to be a forum for active networking and practical information exchange with a strong commitment and emphasis on education and developing and nourishing new talent,” said Gema Naredo, department chair, Computer Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, and Web Design & Interactive Media, at Miami International University of Art & Design. “The conference focuses on the industry’s real expectations and needs, as well as the competencies required of new professionals. Our goal is to increase the dialogue among students, educational institutions and the animation industry.”

For more information on MIA Animation Conference and Festival including the event schedule, speaker bios, registration and event sponsorship, please go to http://miaanimation.com/.

Miami International University of Art & Design is located at 1501 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 100, Miami, FL 33132. For more information, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/miami or call 800.225.9023.

The Art of Stop Motion: SMNY Exhibit 2012

The purpose of this exhibit is to showcase work created by stop motion artists and animators working in New York City. We’d like to present a range of works involved in all steps of the process of making stop motion films—from initial planning phases, i/e/ storyboards, mock-ups, armatures, to the the puppets, sets and films involved in the final product. Our goal is to offer a behind the scenes look at the various, and often invisible phases of making stop motion, and for the exhibit visitors to come away with a renewed appreciation of the range of skills that go into creating stop motion films.

-Important Dates-
June 9th: Gallery opening event.
June 9th-14th: Gallery exhibition period.

-Featured Artists-
Abbey Luck
Alisa Stern
Brian Haimes
Carl Paolino
David Bell
Diana Schoenbrun
Elliot Lobell
Grant Guilliams
Hayley Morris
Jasa Baka
Jessica Polaniecki
Joe Scarpulla
Kathleen Doyle
Matt Christensen
Michaela Olsen
Sascha Ciezata
Spencer Morin
Zack Williams

-Gallery Events (Tentative)-
June 9th – Opening Night
7:00 – 10:00 PM

June 10th – Figure Drawing ($10)
6:00 – 9:00 PM

June 12th – Artists Film Screening
7:00 – 9:00 PM

June 13th – Figure Drawing ($10)
7:00 – 10:00 PM

June 14th – Last Day of Exhibit

SMNY would like to thank Film Biz Recycling and Brooklyn Fireproof for providing discounted materials and space.

Opening night and the film screening event is free, donations are welcome at the gallery entrance.

Music Video Made With 25,000 Post-It Notes

If You Ever Need Someone, a new stop motion animated music video by Aaron Kaminar, was produced using over 25,000 post-it notes. No pun intended, but stick with it – It really starts doing it’s thing at around 1:20. Says Kaminar:

We spent nearly four months creating this stop motion animation for the debut single off of The Family Bones upcoming record. We used a green screen for the live action elements and utilized a few loops and split screens to make it possible to pull this off without a label or a budget. All of the post its you see are real and were put up by hand.

Check out the behind the scenes video for more info on how it was made. Full credits after the jump.


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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens

Finding Nemo is First Phase of Disney’s New Family Suites Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., May 31, 2012  – The big blue world of Nemo and friends comes to life just in time for the summer vacation season as Disney’s Art of Animation Resort opens its doors today with Finding Nemo, the first phase of the new resort offering at Walt Disney World Resort.

Opening in phases, each of four distinctly designed wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney Pixar films.

Family suite wings will showcase Finding Nemo opening today with 320 suites, Cars opening June 18 with 480 suites, and The Lion King opening Aug. 10 with 320 suites. All the themed areas offer elaborate storytelling both inside and out, from each beloved film depicted. Standard guest rooms will make up The Little Mermaid wing, the final phase set to open Sept. 15 with 864 rooms.

The three-story, value-priced resort tells the story of the animation process in phases from pencil drawings to close ups. It will immediately transport guests into the worlds of favorite Disney characters and animated films beginning at check-in as pixilated patterns and wavy ribbons of bold colors decorate the resort’s exterior. Pencil drawings of Ariel, Lightning McQueen, Nemo and Simba adorn the entryway, and a whimsical chandelier composed of 77 animation storyboards enhances the lively and modern Animation Hall lobby.

“Our goal was to make guests feel like they have been immersed in the artistry and enchantment of Walt Disney and Disney Pixar animated classics,” said Walt Disney Imagineer Frank Paris.

Giant sketchbooks filled with favorite characters seem to come to life as they pave the way to each storyline revealed. Scenic settings, icons—including a brightly-colored coral landscape, a 35-foot-tall model of King Triton, a towering Mufasa and more—immerse guests into the playful world of animation. At the Cars wing, a freshly paved road will lead to the Cozy Cone Motel complete with a Cozy Cone pool and cone-shaped cabanas. It’s a journey through an African landscape in The Lion King complete with an elephant graveyard play area that invites youngsters to seek hakuna matata time. Treasures from the human world fill Ariel’s grotto in an under- the-sea kingdom in Little Mermaid courtyard.

From linens and carpeting to fixtures and furniture, all details of the guestrooms tie to the storyline. In Finding Nemo, there’s coral-shaped chairs and bubble ceiling lights; rusty metallic tiles in the bathroom make guests feel as though they are in the submarine. Zazu takes center stage on the headboards in The Lion King, while Pumbaa and Timon decorate the shower curtain.

Kids of all ages can make a splash at the “Big Blue” pool, the largest resort swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests will feel like they are swimming with Dory and Nemo as underwater speakers periodically pipe in music and messages from film characters. Guests will enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef and East Australian Current with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children’s play area. And the character sketches become three dimensional with some 2,500 sculpted figures decorating the resort’s exterior and interior.

The Pixel Play Arcade, Drop Off pool bar, and Ink and Paint gift shop round out the offerings. Kids will enjoy the daily character artist in the Finding Nemo lobby, and nighttime movies poolside. There are two additional pools under way in the Cars and The Lion King wings as well.

Dining options include a poolside snack bar, pizza delivery and Landscape of Flavors food court. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food court features items such as fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and Mongolian barbecue. Original backgrounds from featured films decorate the walls in the dining area, adding to the attention to detail and sense of immersion.

The whimsical property, situated adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, will open in phases with rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms sleep up to four, with rates as low as $94.

“Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is part of our continued investment in Central Florida and helps keep our region squarely on the map as the world’s premiere family vacation destination,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, US and France. “As more and more families travel and make memories together, they also want to stay together, which has created demand for family suites.”

Those staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are treated to complimentary transportation, Extra Magic Hours and other benefits available to a Disney Resort hotel guest.

For reservations, guests can call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or contact their travel agent.
Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1d581)

“Magnum Farce” Independent Animated Feature Hits Production Milestone

Los Angeles, CA, June 03, 2012 — Magnum Farce is an independently produced spoof of Dirty Harry-style films which boasts Oscar-Nominated “King of Indie Animation” Bill Plympton as advisory producer, and the recent addition of the Annie Award-wining voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, Tom Kenny, to the cast.

Bella Fe FIlms, the sole proprietorship of Producer/Director Ken Mora, aims to fill an overlooked niche in Animation and eventually become “The Pixar of Rated R.”

On June 1st, 2012, Mora wraps recording of voice tracks with Tom Kenny, and commences the nose-to-tail animatic which then goes to Emmy Award-winning sound editor Rick Partlow for Foley. Bella Fe Film’s aggressive goal is to be ready for release in 2013. “As a small fish in a big pond, our distribution strategy has to be as flexible and smart as our production strategy.”

To that end, Bella Fe Films has teamed with Lightrow Pictures, producer of the action-genre film Rules to ensure a base-line distribution through DVD venues Best Buy, Barnes & Nobel, Target, Sears, and Amazon. “Of course, the brass ring is theatrical distribution, but we’re not waiting for the inevitable crack in current distribution models, we’re taking a page from Ray Kurtzweil’s philosophy of anticipating inevitable trends, and pioneering them.”

So how does an Independent Studio hope to go toe-to-toe with Industry juggernauts like DreamWorks, Sony, and Pixar? “That’s the beauty of it,” says Mora “Ours are different niches. While the Majors go after the increasingly over-saturated four-corner animation market, I’m targeting the underserved fans of Animation who watch Robot Chicken, South Park, and are fans of Spike and Mike.”

Mora’s strategy has attracted the participation of some “Name” talent. Among other notable cast are Larry Hankin of Breaking Bad and Seinfeld, as well as Anime, Animation, and Gaming voice-acting veterans Barbara Goodson, Kyle Hebert, and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows star Mike Vaughn. Also on the roster are the voice talents of fellow Indie Animators, Bill Plympton and Jim Lujan.

“The Independent Animation community is highly creative, dynamic, and incredibly self-supporting. The short’s enthusiastic reception from my peers, along with multiple Film Festival awards, has spurred me forward,” says Mora. His tally of awards includes wins for his animated short adaptations of Magnum Farce, as well as the original feature-length screenplay.