THIS WEEKEND IN BROOKLYN: Animation Block Party

Animation Block Party

Animation Block Party returns this weekend for its ninth edition. The three-day festival opens tonight with an outdoor screening on the lawn of the Automotive High School (50 Bedford Ave. at North 3th St. Williamsburg Brooklyn). Doors opens at 8pm, live music at 8:30pm, films at 9, and after-party at 11:30pm. Get your tickets HERE. Or visit Animation Block’s website for info on full festival passes and complete screening schedule.

Canterbury AniFest Unveils 2012 Highlights


Canterbury Anifest 2012 is pulling out all the stops to bring the biggest names from the world of animation from the best animation studios at home and abroad. With talks from the creative teams from DreamWorks, Pixar and Aardman Animations, Canterbury Anifest 2012 boast a unique line up of international talent.

With models from Aardman’s latest feature film Pirates and the classic creatures of Ray Harryhausen’s on show, audiences will be able to see cutting edge characters next to legendary classics.  London based studio Double Negative, who animated the fantasy characters in the Harry Potter films, will talk about how they create the monsters in their feature films. The weekend will be rounded off with a unique animation themed Comedy Evening.

Following the success of last year’s festival, Animate & Create Studios have been contracted by Canterbury City Council to produce another weekend of animation for the third year running at Canterbury Christ Church University’s Augustine House.

Festival Director, Dan Richards, is thrilled with how this year is shaping up. “With this year’s Anifest we wanted to produce a festival not just for Canterbury but for a nationally and internationally audience. We’ve spent six months putting together a dream list from the world of animation and feel we’ve achieved an all-star lineup. Anifest 2012 is an opportunity to see characters from Aardman’s Pirates and the classic characters produced by the legendary Ray Harryhausen, as well as hear from the animators behind Toy Story and Madagascar over one weekend in the beautiful city of Canterbury.”

Anifest will again be hosted in Canterbury Christ Church University’s Augustine House, a modern, stylish building and a great venue for a festival celebrating creativity and innovation. Now in its sixth year, the festival will run over two days, incorporating events, workshops, screenings and competitions. It promises to be an exciting weekend, a window into the ever expanding industry that is animation.

Canterbury Anifest
Canterbury Anifest is the South East’s only annual animation festival. It’s a great community event that invites people of all ages to come and experience the magic of animation; allowing them to get involved with something out of the ordinary. With a range of workshops, behind-the-scenes presentations from industry professionals, screenings and family friendly events, Anifest has something for everyone. The festival also caters for specialists and those in the industry, featuring national and international awards and guest speakers from some of the most prestigious animation studios. For more information visit www.canterburyanifest.com

Dan Richards, Festival Director
Dan has been Canterbury Anifest Festival Director for the past three years. He uses his industry links and experience to organise high quality events and professionals from some of the world’s best animation studios. Dan is the Creative Director of Animate & Create Studios, an animation company in Whitstable providing commercial animation production. Animate & Create’s community work provides workshops for young people as well as producing educational animation films. Dan also lectures in animation at Canterbury Christ Church University for the Film, Radio and Television Studies degree course. For more information visit www.animateandcreate.com

Cassidy Curtis, Dreamworks
Cassidy Curtis is DreamWorks’ Supervising Animator for the summer blockbuster Madagascar 3. Cassidy has led the team animating Alex the Lion in the third installment of the Madagascar trilogy. He will be coming to Canterbury to show clips and talk about his work on many of DreamWorks’ best-loved films, such as Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, and the Madagascar series.

Jim Parkyn, Aardman
Working at Aardman Animations since 2000, Jim has an impressive range of credits under his belt; including Creature Comforts, Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit. He has recently finished working on Aardman’s latest exciting Pirates feature film. Jim also runs modeling workshops across the country, getting involved with students and amateurs alike.

Eamonn Butler, Double Negative
After spending ten successful years at Walt Disney Feature Animation, where he worked on a number of productions including Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur and Reign of Fire, Eamonn joined Double Negative in 2006. He now oversees the development of the studio’s Creature Animation Department and has worked on productions such as Hellboy 2 and Paul.

Dan McCoy, Pixar
Dan has worked on numerous animations including Toy Story 2 & 3, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, and many more. He has held various positions within the company ranging from shading supervisor to rendering software engineer, so this is a great opportunity to hear from one of the talents behind so many of Pixar’s classic films.

Ottawa International Animation Festival Announces 2012 Lineup

OTTAWA — The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is pleased to announce the official selection of films that will compete and be screened at this year’s festival running September 19th-23rd.

“This is one of the strongest competitions we’ve had in years,” says Chris Robinson, Artistic Director of the OIAF. “The quality and diversity of films is remarkable.”

Highlights of the 2012 competition include:

  • The Banker (UK) by Phil Mulloy, whose controversial films always generate interest; Mulloy took home the 2011 Grand Prize at last year’s OIAF with Dead But Not Buried and the 2010 OIAF award for Best Animated Feature Film for his film Goodbye Mister Christie
  • Le Tableau (France) by Jean-François Laguionie, A delightful and innovative CG-animated feature-length film that’s received wide acclaim for its aesthetic qualities which pay homage to some of the world’s most famous painters including Picasso and Matisse It’s Such a Beautiful Day (USA), the final installment in Oscar-nominee, Don Hertzfeldt’s Everything Will Be OK trilogy

To view the entire list of selections, visit the OIAF’s selections webpage.

The OIAF is one of the world’s most competitive film festivals. This year, the Festival received a record-setting 2,377 entries, selecting 101 finalists for competition.

OIAF competition includes categories for best feature, narrative, experimental and student films, TV shows, commercials, and music video. There is also a separate competition for films and TV shows made for children. Prizes will be awarded to category winners and a grand prize will be awarded to the winner of each competition: best Short Film, Feature Film, Student, and Commissioned Film.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is one of the world’s leading animation events providing screenings, exhibits, workshops and entertainment since 1976.  OIAF is an annual five-day event bringing art and industry together in a vibrant hub and attracting more than 28,000 artists, producers, students and animation fans from around the world. This year’s Festival runs from September 19th-23rd. For more information, visit the OIAF website at: www.animationfestival.ca.

72 Years Ago Today: Bugs Bunny Was Born

Seventy-two years ago today – on July 27th, 1940 – Bugs Bunny appeared in Tex Avery’s A Wild Hare. The Warner Bros. short is widely considered to be the first definitive Bugs Bunny cartoon, in which the character’s appearance, personality and voice gelled as a whole. It’s also the first time Bugs, voiced by the inimitable Mel Blanc, uttered his famous catchphrase, “What’s up, doc?”

All the major players involved with the production of A Wild Hare are dead except for one individual: 94-year-old Bob Givens. He was the character designer who redesigned the studio’s clumsy-looking rabbit character into the familiar design below. You’ll notice that Givens calls the character “Tex’s Rabbit” because they hadn’t officially christened him Bugs Bunny yet.

Bob can also claim responsibility for redesigning Elmer Fudd into the recognizable character that we know today. He speaks about working on A Wild Hare in this interview conducted by animation historian Steve Worth and animators Will Finn and Mike Fontanelli:

Bob Givens means a lot to me personally because he was the first animation artist that I ever interviewed. Who knows where I’d be today if Bob hadn’t been patient and encouraging of my interest in documenting animation history.

I wish I could remember how I first got in touch with him–it may have been simply by looking him up in the phone book–but when I went to Bob’s modest bungalow home in North Hollywood, I was unaware of just how much of a key figure he’d been throughout the history of Golden Age Hollywood animation. I learned quickly though.

In 2001, a few years after our first interview, I had the honor of interviewing Bob a second time. This time it was onstage at the San Diego Comic-Con International where he was joined by fellow WB veteran Pete Alvarado. It’s doubtful that the event was recorded onto video, but this photographic memory remains:

In the past seventy-two years, we’ve seen countless versions of Bugs Bunny, redesigned, rebooted, updated–some enjoyable and some not so much. But today, let’s take a look back at A Wild Hare and remember the moment when one of the most entertaining cartoon characters was born. And let’s celebrate Bob Givens, the legendary designer of Bugs who is still with us today.

UPA Commercials Discovered

In the six years since the publication of my book Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in 1950s Animation, a lot of new artwork and films from the mid-century era have surfaced. The flow of material isn’t slowing down either. Animation director Michael Sporn recently came into possession of a trove of layouts and model sheets from 1950s United Productions of America (UPA) commercials. He’s generously shared them HERE and HERE.

Among the stash are a few drawings from an Aqua Velva Ice Blue aftershave lotion spot, which can be seen in this newly uncovered collection of UPA commercials:

These commercials are rarer than they might appear. Of the hundreds of commercials that UPA produced during the 1950s, I’ve managed to see just a few dozen over the years. UPA’s advertising work has proven more difficult to track down than some of the other major animated commercial producers of the era like Playhouse Pictures and Ray Patin Productions.

The same user on YouTube also posted this UPA commercial for Tang, which I believe was designed by Roy Morita.

Calabash Goes Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs

CHICAGO, IL — Life is good on Chocolate Island — unless of course you’re Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, the popular brand icon associated with Cocoa Puffs cereal. In the new spot, Chocolate Island, produced by animation experts Calabash Animation, Sonny’s attempt to get away from his Cocoa Puffs obsession leads him to a tropical island, only to find temptation from three chocolate Tiki heads and a volcano over-flowing with chocolate lava.

“For this we wanted to tone Sonny down just a little bit and not have him whip around the screen from the get-go,” Wayne Brejcha, Calabash Creative Director says. “We took a less-is-more approach and focused on showcasing the deliciousness of the chocolate lava and movement of the Tiki statues.”

Marking the first time Calabash has worked on a Cocoa Puffs spot for the US market (they’ve worked previously on Cocoa Puffs spots for the Hispanic market), the new spot was animated in CG, but features a cel animated main Sonny.

Chocolate Island opens with a shot of Sonny relaxing in a hammock near a picture-perfect waterfall in a tropical rainforest. After noting how “on this deserted island I won’t go cookoo for…” suddenly three Tiki statues named Crunchy, Munchy and Chocolatey” start chanting “Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Puffs.” As the Tiki statues tempt him, Sonny begins lose it — first seeing chocolate lava flowing from the volcano and finally pin-balling hilariously between three palm trees screaming his familiar catch-phrase “I’m cookoo for Cocoa Puffs.” The spot ends with Sonny and the Tiki statues enjoying a bowl of Cocoa Puffs.”

For Executive Producer Sean Henry, the most challenging component of the spot was figuring out the movement of the chocolate Tiki heads.

“We experimented quite a bit with their movement and facial expressions,” Henry says, “but the more we played with them, the more we felt they looked better when they moved in rudimentary ways, with simple mouth movements — they are after all made of chocolate.”

New Short Film Inspired By Terry Pratchett To Be Produced By Animation Hub

Set in the “Unseen University” of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, The Duel is a new animated short film being produced by the Animation Hub, a collaboration between staff and students of the Irish School of Animation (ISA) at Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE), staff and students of Trinity College Dublin’s Creative Arts, Technology and Culture (CATC) initiative and the Irish animation studio, Giant Creative.

With this new project, the Animation Hub intends to build on the global success of their first animated short, the multi-award winning, The Last Train.

The aim of the collaboration is to combine the skills and talents of students from both institutions and have them work with Giant Creative to create a high quality animated short, giving the students the chance to experience working on a high-end project in a professional environment.

World-renowned fantasy and science fiction novelist and Adjunct Professor of English at Trinity College Dublin, Sir Terry Pratchett is hands-on engaged with the production, working with Giant Creative on both character and story development. The team is blending fantasy and reality, with notable Irish landmarks set to cameo in the unreal environments of this animated adventure.

Talking about his engagement on the project, Professor Sir Terry Pratchett said “The Duel is something new from something old — Discworld is being borrowed by our students in the Animation Hub to produce a wholly new adventure — where some familiar elements from our world will appear, but not quite as we know them. It’s wonderful to see this type of project supported and made real — and we intend to have a lot of fun while we’re at it.”

Speaking together, the programme leads from BFCE and TCD, Gareth Lee and David Lloyd, said “It’s great to have the next Animation Hub project up and running with the valued support of the Irish Film Board. It’s very exciting to have both Terry Pratchett and Giant Creative involved. The Duel is a very ambitious project that will provide great scope for many of our students across a range of disciplines to gain valuable professional experience.”

Emma Scott, Production Executive with the Irish Film Board, added “The Animation Hub is an exciting partnership of students from two very important and creative institutions. We are delighted to support this initiative which provides students with excellent and very valuable experience working on high-end productions. We look forward to seeing all involved build on the success of last year’s very successful collaboration”.

The Duel is supported through funding from the Irish Film Board, Trinity College Dublin and Ballyfermot College of Further Education and will premier in early 2013, as part of the Tercentenary Celebrations of Trinity College’s Old Library.

The World’s First Fully Integrated 3D Production and Performance Facility Gives Advertisers and Entertainment Content Producers Groundbreaking Access to Cost-Effective and Turn-Key Stereoscopic 3D Productions

Collaboration From Stageside Productions, 3D Pioneers Sabella Dern Entertainment and Video Equipment Rentals Creates Revolutionary Access to Leading-Edge 3D Production at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater

AUSTIN, TX and LOS ANGELES, CA– Jul 18, 2012 - Stageside Productions, ACL Live’s full service, in-house production company, has partnered with Sabella Dern (SD) Entertainment and Video Equipment Rentals (VER) to launch the nation’s first permanent stereoscopic 3D production studio. This revolutionary collaboration will bring stereoscopic 3D acquisition and broadcast technologies to advertisers, sporting events, concerts, sitcoms and more, positioning ACL Live as the transformative backdrop for content-producers looking to showcase brands through this now accessible, cutting-edge 3D technology. The award-winning ACL Live, which recently played host to Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z during the 2012 SXSW Conference, is a 2750 capacity performance and production facility that converts into a 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art sound stage and stereoscopic 3D/2D production facility.

“The bottom line… there is no other permanent facility with the combination of amazing performance space, limitless camera positions, state of the art sound & lighting that we have here at ACL Live,” said Freddy Fletcher, Venue Partner and Executive Producer at Stageside Productions. “Now through this 3D partnership with SD Entertainment and VER, we can share our combined expertise for live events, commercial productions, independent projects, global brand initiatives and everything in between; all with greatly reduced costs for high def 2D and 3D production.”

“3D video content and technology are headed for a revolution across all platforms,” said Jonathan Dern, CEO of SD Entertainment. “Not only are sales of 3D TVs up a monstrous 245 percent, with more than 7 million sold in the first quarter of 2012 alone, but the next generation will be glasses-free 3D. This groundbreaking advancement will also rule the mobile entertainment industry, with smart phones, laptops and tablets all set to feature leading-edge glasses-free display screens and advanced 3D capabilities beginning next year. Putting unparalleled picture quality and 3D into consumers’ hands for the first time… This will absolutely be a game changer for advertisers and content creators around the globe.”

Dern continued, “We are extremely excited to help demystify the emerging field of digital stereoscopic content production for advertisers and content producers, while partnering with them to create striking 3D content with an enormous wow factor.”

“We know that audiences who have seen 3D sports, concerts, and other events want more of their entertainment to be in 3D,” said Wayne Miller of SD Entertainment. “The 3D capability at ACL Live is going to enable producers to feed people’s increasing demand for high quality 3D entertainment on any number of screens. With meaningful new advances in glasses-free 3D, more than 300 million handheld 3D devices are expected by 2015, and with the explosion of dedicated 3D channels across multiple platforms, the scope of distribution is broader than ever. Advertisers and content creators have an enormous opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors. With the preeminence of 3D, audiences are expecting to be engaged, and with the intimate layout of the ACL Live venue, we have the ideal setting to produce content giving audiences the most engaging 3D experience.”

Aaron Latham-James, VER’s Director of 3D, added, “We believe 3D is an important aspect of the production landscape and are proud to be a part of the world’s first turn-key fully integrated live 3D production facility. With VER’s world class 3D technology support, this is going to significantly lower the barrier to cost-effective live multi-camera stereoscopic production to forward-thinking companies who can now utilize ACL Live as the backdrop for any type of 3D production. With our state of the art technology, 3D production expertise and the phenomenal space that is provided by ACL Live, we look forward to working with partners to realize their brands and content in 3D.”

“Austin continues to be at the forefront of innovation, film and music. It’s ranked as one of America’s top cities to visit and do business,” commented Bob Lander, president and CEO of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau. “ACL Live at The Moody Theater is the nation’s first permanent stereoscopic 3D and HD production venue — yet another indication that Austin is on the cutting edge of new technology.”

To book an upcoming 3D Production at ACL Live Contact
Jan Mirkin-Earley
Supervising Producer, Stageside Productions at Austin City Limits Live
T: 512 413 6475
E: [email protected]

Rubicon Group Holding Appoints Ilyssa Goodman Director Of Distribution

LOS ANGELES — (July 25, 2012) — Rubicon Group Holding (RGH) has appointed Ilyssa Goodman to the position of Director of Distribution; it was announced by Randa Ayoubi, CEO.

Based at RGH Entertainment in Los Angeles and reporting to RGH Executive Director North America, David Corbett, Goodman will lead worldwide distribution efforts for the company’s growing roster of content for theatrical, television, DVD and digital platforms.

Initially, Goodman will be seeking US distribution partners for Postman Pat: The Movie, which will be released in cinemas across the UK in May 2013. She will also begin working on distribution opportunities for Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, an animated CG 3-D Stereoscopic feature film now in development with Toonz Entertainment for the 2013 holiday season.

“Ilyssa Goodman joins RGH at a time when the company is well positioned to exploit its growing library of content across many platforms. Her extensive experience in development, marketing and distribution will play a crucial role in achieving our goals for fast growth in the global marketplace,” said Ayoubi.

“Ilyssa is a well-rounded executive with a keen sensibility for creating synergy among the many disciplines involved in producing transmedia entertainment properties,” said Corbett. “We look forward to maximizing the global potential of all of our IPs with her on our team.”

“I am thrilled to be joining a young studio at a time when the distribution landscape is drastically changing and digital distribution is moving to the forefront. Working with the incredibly talented team at RGH under Randa Ayoubi’s dynamic, forward-thinking leadership gives me a tremendous opportunity to help steer RGH to the forefront of the worldwide animation and effects industries,” said Goodman.

Goodman comes to RGH with a twenty-year career in the entertainment industry, most recently serving as marketing consultant and independent producer to Warner Bros., FOX, Universal Home Family Entertainment, ABC Family Channel, E! and Animal Planet/Discovery Networks, among others. Her production credits include: Producer, A Cinderella Story and its two sequels, for Warner Bros. and ABC Family Channel; Co-Creator/Co-Executive Producer, Moolah Beach, for Fox & Family Channel; and Producer, 16-Love, a teen romance which is currently topping the charts on iTunes, for Smash It Hard productions LLC.

Prior to her work as an independent producer and consultant, Goodman was Vice President, Filmed Entertainment, at Bonneville Worldwide Entertainment, where she supervised development, production, acquisitions and sales for the television, motion picture and home entertainment divisions, and executed sales to studios and broadcasters including Disney, Fox and HBO, among others. Goodman also has served in a number of executive level positions in production, finance and development at such entertainment industry leaders as Saskfilm in Canada and Universal Studios. She began her career in the acquisitions department at Miramax Films in New York.

Ilyssa Goodman has earned a number of awards including the Hartland Film Festival’s prestigious Crystal Heart Award, the Marco Island Audience Choice Award and the Breckenridge Film Festival Audience Choice Award.

Irish Film Board Announces Latest Frameworks Awards For Animated Short Films


Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board is pleased to announce that the latest round of successful Frameworks teams have been selected.

This is the 17th year of the Frameworks short film scheme, which is dedicated exclusively to the production of animated films.  The scheme was established to develop new talent and skills in the field of animation and has been extremely successful in encouraging innovative and novel work from Irish animators.

Previous Frameworks success stories include Brown Bag Films’ Give Up Your Aul Sins and Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty which were both nominated for Oscars in the Best Animated Short Film category and Cartoon Saloon’s Old Fangs which was officially selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.  Kealan O’Rourke’s The Boy in the Bubble picked up the Audience Award for Favourite Animation Short at the Palm Springs Shortfest earlier this year.

The successful projects selected for funding this year combine creative exploration with an ability to appeal to a broad audience. This year’s successful projects are:

  • Ledge End of Phil to be written and directed by Paul Morris and produced by Paul Young for Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells)
  • Geist to be written and directed by Alex Sherwood and Sean Mullen and produced by Daniel Spencer for Giant Creative. Giant Creative’s The Last Train was officially selected for the Annecy Film Festival last month.
  • No Postage Required to be written by William Collins, directed by Kealan O’Rourke with Brian Willis producing for Igloo Productions. Kealan and Brian previously worked together on The Boy in the Bubble.
  • The Missing Scarf to be written and directed by Eoin Duffy and produced by Jamie Hogan for Jad Agencies.
  • Un Hinged to be written and directed by Tom Caulfield and produced by Barry O’Donoghue for Studio Okinami.

Frameworks is co-financed by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board, RTÉ, the Arts Council and BAI.  The projects will premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh 2013.

DreamWorks Artwork Is The Subject Of USC Gallery Exhibit

DreamWorks Animation has been in the news plenty lately. They released their first consumer app, acquired a huge library of classic animation properties and released the poster for Me and My Shadow, their first CG/hand-drawn hybrid film. Now, we hear about the studio’s first major exhibit of artwork from its films. The show, “DreamWorlds: Behind the Scenes, Production Art From DreamWorks Animation,” will open next Monday, July 30, at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Gallery (Steven Spielberg Building, 900 West 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA).

The exhibit will feature artwork from the 24 animated features released under the DreamWorks Animation label, as well as a peek at the upcoming Rise of the Guardians. More from the press release:

The exhibition includes more than one hundred digital prints and approximately thirty traditional paintings and drawings on paper; two miniature sets; three character maquettes; two set pieces – an 8′ high Kung Fu Panda “Po” statue and the new Rise of the Guardians standee; and three media stations displaying animation tests, stereo footage, and the Rise of the Guardians trailer. There will also be a contemporary animation work station on display, with demonstrations given by current Hench-DADA students.

The show will be on display through September 7. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM, and Saturday, Aug 11, 9AM-5PM. (Closed Labor Day.)

“The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Monster Rally” Coming to DVD September 4, 2012

The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Monster Rally Available on DVD September 4 from Shout! Factory Kids

Drivers, let’s get rolling! The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Monster Rally will arrive on DVD on September 4, 2012, from Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, Inc. Featuring 10 exhilarating episodes and exciting bonus content, The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Monster Rally is priced at $12.99

Join Tonka Chuck, the little dump truck with huge dreams – not to mention wheels! – and his friends as they steer you through one monster rally of a good time! Take an adventure with Chuck’s friends Handy, Digger, Biggs, Soku, Rowdy and Boomer, through mud-splashing, big-tire fun! No matter what obstacles are in Chuck’s way, he knows that with good friends and a little imagination, he’s always going to cross the finish line a winner.

The Adventures of Chuck & Friends series is currently airing on The Hub TV Network in the U.S. and on Treehouse in Canada .

Episodes:

1. Where There’s A Wheel

2. Hop, Slip & a Jump

3. Buffing Up

4. Daredevil Chuck

5. Chuck Atomic

6. Being Biggs

7. Hide & Seek

8. Attack Of The Soft Chuck

9. Legend Of Big Tire

10. Hard At Work

Bonus Features:

Also includes a special sing-along!

“G.I. Joe: Renegades: The Complete First Season” Now on Blu-Ray

YO JOE! Fans of the popular animated series G.I. Joe: Renegades rejoice! On September 25, 2012, G.I. Joe: Renegades: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Collection debuts on home entertainment shelves from Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios. This highly anticipated 3-disc Blu-ray set collects all 26 adventure-filled episodes and an original behind-the-scenes look at G.I. JOE: RENEGADES bonus feature. Delivering exciting, action-packed storytelling and spectacular animation, this special Blu-ray collection is a must-have for fans and collectors of all ages and has a suggested retail price of $49.97. This Blu-ray collection is now available for preorder at Amazon.com.

Also available to own on the same day is the G.I. Joe: Renegades Season One, Volume Two DVD set, highlighting the second half of exhilarating episodes from the first season.

When a spy mission against Cobra Industries goes awry, a young G.I. JOE team is forced to hit the road as fugitives. Now the group – Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock, Tunnel Rat, Ripcord and Snake Eyes – must use their wits and elite training to prove their innocence to the world before being caught by the authorities, Cobra or another elite military team called the Falcons. But can the G.I. JOE team avoid capture long enough to clear their names and bring real justice to Cobra?

G.I. Joe: Renegades is produced by Hasbro Studios and boasts an incredible voice cast, including Charlie Adler (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Natalia Cigliuti (Saved by the Bell: The New Class), Jason Marsden (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), Johnny Messner (Tears of the Sun) and Kevin Michael Richardson (Transformers Prime), as well as special voice appearances by Clancy Brown (Carnivàle), Michael Emerson (Lost), Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-O) and Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man), among other notables!

Bonus Features: Original behind-the-scenes look at G.I. Joe: Renegades

As excitement builds for this Blu-ray collection, Shout! Factory will announce in-depth bonus feature and additional news in forthcoming months.

Ingenuity Engine Teams Up with Katy Perry for “Wide Awake” Music Video

Los Angeles, CAIngenuity Engine completed extensive work on the 3D music video for “Wide Awake,” which was written for the 3D Katy Perry: Part of Me film which opened on July 5. The video was directed by Tony T. Datis of production company DNA

Ingenuity Engine delivered a wide range of shots in both 2D and 3D for the elaborate fantasy video that takes Perry on a journey through her imagination.  “Wide Awake” begins with Perry completing the video for “California Gurls.” When she gets back to her dressing room, she falls into another world. In that magical place, she meets a younger version of herself, and the two face obstacles together while they make their way through an elaborate 3D labyrinth.

“All of the visuals we created for “Wide Awake” had to start as 3D elements,” explains David Lebensfeld, Ingenuity Engine creative director. “With fast-paced music videos like this, we generally use a lot of 2D elements and spend most of our time in compositing, but for “Wide Awake” all of the smoke, particle effects, and matte paintings had to be created in 3D and rendered for both eyes, which required significantly more work in the same tight schedule.”

Ingenuity Engine delivered over 140 shots in less than three weeks, including matte paintings, set extensions, various smoke, fog, fireworks and sparks effects, as well as CG elements, including a flock of CG butterflies that fly off Perry’s dress.

“To create the flock we modeled several unique butterflies, using reference photography taken on set,” says Lebensfeld. “Then these individual butterflies were rigged and animated with an initial flight cycle, which was augmented in a particle system to give each butterfly its own unique animation and flight path. Hero foreground butterflies were hand animated to facilitate the transition to the next scene and to take advantage of the depth we were working with in 3D.”

Compositing for “Wide Awake” was done in The Foundry’s NUKE and NUKEX, and tracking was completed in Andersson Technologies’ SynthEyes. The CG was created in Autodesk® 3ds Max along with Sitni Sati’s Fume and Thinkbox Software’s Krakatoa.

“We are lucky to have a long history with DNA. Working closely with Tony and the DNA team allowed us to visualize and then execute the look they imagined,” adds Grant Miller, Ingenuity Engine creative director. “Because of the fast-paced nature of the music video industry, speed is essential. We are very proud that we were not only able to deliver this caliber and quantity of work with a very tight post schedule, but in stereo as well. There is talk that “Wide Awake” is going to set the benchmark for 3D music videos, and I think they’re setting that bar really high.”

The video is currently airing worldwide and can be seen at http://www.katyperry.com. Panasonic will showcase the 3D version of “Wide Awake” at consumer electronics trade shows, including IFA in Berlin as well in stores with Panasonic VIERA TVs on display around the world starting this fall.

Katushiro Takagi Named President Of Toei Animation

Tokyo — Veteran Toei Animation executive Katushiro Takagi has been named President, Toei Animation Co., Ltd., effective immediately.  Takagi has been promoted to his new position from Senior Director for the company.

Takagi has been at Toei Animation for more than 30 years and in 2001 he was named Director of Character Licensing Dept. where he helped forge licensing partnerships on behalf of Toei Animation’s major animated brands.  In 2006 he was promoted to Managing Director until his appointment in 2011 to his most recent assignment as Senior Director.

As President of Toei Animation, Takagi will continue to build the studio’s international partnerships and expand the animation leader into new markets with its expansive catalog of renowned animated properties as well as its slate of new programming.

“As we roll-out several new and exciting titles before the end of the year, I look forward to working with our committed team,” said Takagi. “Toei Animation’s tremendous international appeal stems from the hard work and incredible talent of our creators, animators and staff, who every day, bring their passion and imagination together to create decades-lasting brands that speak to a global audience.”

Call For Entries: VIEW Conference

Turin, Italy – VIEW Conference, the premier international event in Italy on Computer Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Digital Cinema, 3D Animation, Gaming and VFX, has announced several new competitions for 2012:

VIEW SOCIAL CONTEST — First Prize: 1500€
VIEW Conference launches a new contest to celebrate the creative power of technology at the service of society. Movies, short films, music videos or advertising using 2D/3D animation and/or VFX focusing on current social themes are eligible for submission.
Deadline: September 15

VIEW AWARD — First Prize: 2000€
World Wide Short Competition Using 2D/3D Animation and VFX; Animated short with 2D/3D animation and VFX /videogames
Deadline: September 15

ITALIANMIX
Inspiring works about Italy or Italian subjects by Italian or foreign filmmakers
Deadline: September 15

GRIMM ANIMATEDFirst Prize: 1500€
In Partnership with the Goethe-Institut Turin, VIEW launches a contest for animated short films to mark the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Children and Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm. Animated short films under five minutes that innovatively explore Grimm’s classics are eligible for submission.
Deadline: August 24

PAPERS, WORKSHOPS and ARTWORK
Deadline: July 31

VIEW Conference will take place in Turin, Italy, October 16-19, 2012. VIEWFest will be held October 19-21, 2012. For more info about the contests and conference, visit the official VIEW Conference website: http://viewconference.it

Let’s All Dig Through Terry Gilliam’s Archive

Imagine that animator/film director Terry Gilliam had a daughter. Imagine that daughter dug through her dad’s archives. Imagine that she started a blog to share all the cool things she found with the rest of the world. Now, stop imagining! Rush over to Holly Gilliam’s fantastic new blog Discovering Dad. Even better, she’s organizing her dad’s work “so it can eventually be put in a book and an exhibition.”

I can’t let this opportunity pass without mentioning that there’s a Czech film and theater poster shop named in honor of Terry Gilliam’s socks. The store, Terry Posters, has an amazing catalog of images online that’ll inspire you for days on end.

(Thanks, Slowtiger)

Digital Domain Hires Sony Pictures Imageworks’ Jim Berney As Head Of Its Florida Studio

Port St. Lucie, FL — Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) has named industry veteran Jim Berney Head of Studio at DDMG in Florida. Berney, an Academy Award nominee who played a leadership role at Sony Pictures Imageworks’ New Mexico studio, will oversee the day-to-day operations of DDMG’s Florida studio, which creates visual effects for feature films, military and medical applications, sports teams and venues, and original animated feature films through Tradition Studios.

“Jim is the ideal leader for our growing Florida studio,” said DDMG CEO and Chairman John Textor. “He has overseen operations at a top visual effects studio and is highly technical. Most importantly, he has been a visual effects supervisor for many years and is recognized among the top talent in our industry. Everything in our studios is about supporting the creative. Jim understands that, and his leadership philosophy reflects that.”

Berney joins DDMG from Sony Pictures Imageworks where he spent 17 years, four of those leading teams at the company’s New Mexico studio where he played a leadership role in day-to-day studio operations. He is a long-time visual effects supervisor credited on more than 20 feature films including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which earned him an Academy Award® nomination, Green Lantern, I Am Legend, The IMAX version of The Polar Express, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions and more. Prior to Imageworks, Berney was a research technical director and software developer at MetroLight. Berney began his career working for DARPA in a software engineering consortium, and he has developed rendering tools, visual effects lighting pipelines, lighting and flocking software and other technologies. He holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo and Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Economics from the University of California, Irvine.

“The opportunity to lead and grow this studio is incredibly exciting,” said Berney. “The emphasis on bringing education and production together, the goal to make this studio a place that people can build their careers — and their lives, around; that’s what drew me here. I’m looking forward to partnering with Digital Domain studios in California and Vancouver on big studio films, with the feature animation teams here, and helping to take the art and technology of this studio into areas beyond entertainment.”

SIGGRAPH Symposium to Feature Carl Rosendahl & John Textor

Chicago, IL — In its second year, the SIGGRAPH Business Symposium provides an intimate, interactive forum for open, frank conversations among leaders and executives in the visual effects, gaming, and media arenas as they explore the present and future of the industry. SIGGRAPH 2012 welcomes visionary leaders and experts from a broad spectrum of the computer graphics industry, including animation, education, motion pictures, gaming, and visual effects, to this year’s Business Symposium in Los Angeles, 5 August 2012.

This full-day event is an exclusive opportunity for attendees to gain high-level, experiential vantage point insight from the producers and executives who have all forged unique paths to their current roles and now design the industry’s direction. The day begins with breakfast and round-table discussions of the day’s agenda. Possible topics include visual-effects production, marketing, international law, education, business development, and other areas related to the industry’s current issues. The morning session provides a foundation for the day — an opportunity to hear from leaders on the global stage what they experience from their particular perspective, followed by featured speakers Carl Rosendahl and John Textor, both visionary leaders who influence the direction of our industry in vastly different manners.

Throughout the day attendees will join in-depth discussion and have ample time to interact with their peers before the afternoon session closes. The Symposium provides a look into newer business models from some of the people and companies defining the future.

Planned participants include:

Featured Speakers
Carl Rosendahl, Founder Pacific Data Images, Venture Capitalist, Co-Director, Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center-Silicon Valley
John Textor, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Digital Domain Media Group

Morning Session: The Business of the Business: The State of the Union in 2011-2012
Will Cohen, Managing Director/Executive Producer for Mill Film and Mill TV
Patrick Davenport, Vice President Creative Operations, Method Studios
Mark Driscoll, President, Executive Producer and Co-Founder, Look Effects Inc.
Hael Kobayashi, Executive Director, Creative Innovation, University of Technology Sydney
Lee Berger, President, Rhythm & Hues’ Film Division and CEO, East Grand Films
Habib Zargarpour, Creative Director, Microsoft Studios

Afternoon Session: Show Me the Money!
Jonathan Garson, Vice President, Worldwide Marketing & Franchise, Pixar Animation Studios
Shannon Blake Gans, Co-Founder and CEO, New Deal Studios
Ondraus Jenkins, Head of Strategy and Corporate Development, Bungie, Inc.
Sara Cardone, Vice President, Global Strategy and Business Development, SDI Media
Sanford Rosenberg, Managing Director, Discus Ventures
Gregg Lukomski, CEO and Founder, Slide Rule, Inc.

Roundtable Discussions
Don McGowan, General Counsel, The Pokémon Company International
Gregg Lukomski, CEO and Founder, SlideRule, Inc.
Shannon Blake Gans, Co-founder and CEO, New Deal Studios
Hael Kobayashi, Executive Director, Creative Innovation, University of Technology Sydney
Jonathan Garson, Vice President, Worldwide Marketing & Franchise, Pixar Animation Studios
Patrick Davenport, Vice President Creative Operations, Method Studios

Moderator for the Day
Don McGowan, General Counsel, The Pokémon Company International

Registration for the SIGGRAPH Business Symposium is now available. Attendance for this event is intended to accommodate approximately 200 people interested in, committed to, defining the industry.

The SIGGRAPH Business Symposium sold out in its inaugural year in 2011. For more details, visit the SIGGRAPH 2012 web site.

ASIFA-SF Announces Winners For Inaugural Spring Festival

San Francisco, CA – ASIFA-SF, the San Francisco chapter of the Association International du Film d’Animation (International Animated Film Association) founded in 1960 in Annecy, France, has announced the winners of the first-ever ASIFA-SF Spring Festival:

Best in Show
Leonard Cohen’s Plato

Commissioned Films

First Place (tie) Leonard Cohen’s The Parable of the Tulleries and David Tart’s The Story of Animation

Funniest Film Award David Tart’s The Story of Animation

Independent Animation

First Place, Joanna Priestly’s Dear Pluto
Second Place, Mark West’s The Tyger
Third Place (tie) Alan Orcutt’s There’s an App for That and Sabrina Wanie’s Hope (music by Nik Phelps)

Excellence in Animation Mark West’s The Tyger

Best Music Video Luke Jaeger’s Carolina Shout

Special Jury Award Karen Lithgow’s It’s all about Perspective (music by Nik Phelps)

Excellence in Humor Jefferson Thomas’ Rathle and Alan Orcutt’s There’s an App for That

Excellence in Experimental Animation Ben Ridgway’s Cellular Circuitry

College students

First Place (tie), Michelle Ikemoto’s Tule Lake (SJSU) and Rebecca Denton’s The Last Goodbye (SFSU)
Second Prize Allison Huffman’s Warden of the Woods (SFSU)
Third Place Bronto House Animation’s The Pod (SJSU)

Excellence in Humor Chris Lam and Eunsoo Jeong’s Couch & Potatoes (SJSU)

Excellence in Animation Michelle Ikemoto’s Tule Lake (SJSU)

Young animators

Excellence in Humor Gwydion Brain’s Build-a-Baby Workshop (BayCat Animation Program)

Merit Awards go to all who entered this category: Perry Chen for Ingrid Pitt, Trevor Cartmill-Endow for Just Say No to Fur, Dani Bowman for Mr. Raindrop, students of Gene Hamm at Alchemia and students of Tim Harrington at BayCat.

Join the Bay Area’s animation community at the ASIFA-SF Awards Party. See the winning films, meet some of the winners, and enjoy the potluck treats. The event is FREE — bring your friends!

Awards Party
Oddball Films
275 Capp Street, third floor
San Francisco, CA 94110

Awards: 6:30pm
Screenings: 8:00pm

Dreamworks Animation Agrees to Acquire Classic Media

Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo?, Lassie, George of the Jungle and Christmas Classics Among Extensive Portfolio of Intellectual Property Sold to DreamWorks Animation for $155 Million

GLENDALE, Calif., July 23, 2012 — DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Classic Media, owner of one of the most extensive portfolios featuring many of the best-known and most-enduring franchises in all of family entertainment, for $155 million in cash from Boomerang Media Holdings I LLC, a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR.

Classic Media’s library of intellectual property, which is focused on family characters and brands, features a vast collection of filmed entertainment with over 450 titles and more than 6,100 episodes of animated and live-action programming. Classic Media owns one of the world’s largest comic book archives and media rights to the titles in the Golden Books library, which have sold over two billion copies worldwide. Their properties have been distributed in over 170 territories around the globe.

With well-established titles such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo?, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, George of the Jungle and Rocky & Bullwinkle, Classic Media’s properties have been a fixture in mainstream entertainment for decades. The Christmas ClassicsFrosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – are the longest-running, highest-rated holiday specials in television history. Classic Media counts among its holdings contemporary bestsellers such as VeggieTales and the beloved Olivia property, as well as hits Postman Pat and Noddy in international markets.

“Classic Media brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation’s franchise business, and we plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “Founders and co-CEOs Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman – seasoned executives with over 20 years of industry experience and a proven track record of success in managing high-quality content – have built an amazing team at Classic Media and are a welcome addition to the DreamWorks Animation family.”

Classic Media has approximately 80 employees and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in the UK and a division, Big Idea Entertainment, in Nashville, TN.

“No company knows the family entertainment business better than DreamWorks Animation and we are excited to join their family in a natural extension of our long-standing relationship that began years ago on Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” said Eric Ellenbogen, co-CEO of Classic Media. “Classic Media brings to the table extensive rights to some of the most beloved family entertainment brands in the world. Our combination with DreamWorks Animation will expand the opportunities for us and for our content and distribution partners around the globe.”

Classic Media’s joint venture with Jay Ward Productions, a legend in animation, manages the rights to the entire Jay Ward animated catalog, which includes Rocky & Bullwinkle and Mr. Peabody & Sherman. DreamWorks Animation’s 3D feature film Mr. Peabody & Sherman is scheduled for release on December 25, 2013.

“For over 75 years, Classic Media’s iconic properties have entertained kids and families around the world with a unique, cross-generational appeal that is also a defining characteristic of DreamWorks Animation’s films,” added Bill Damaschke, Chief Creative Officer at DreamWorks Animation. “We believe their characters and brands will continue to serve as a creative magnet for the industry’s top directors, producers and artists.”

For the 12 months ended February 29, 2012, Classic Media earned net revenue of $82.2 million and operating profit of $19.2 million.

The acquisition of Classic Media will be financed through a combination of cash and borrowings under DreamWorks Animation’s revolving credit facility. The purchase price of $155 million includes amounts required to retire indebtedness.

“As part of DreamWorks Animation’s ongoing diversification strategy, this acquisition combines our hit-driven business with Classic Media’s extensive and sustainable library revenue stream,” added Lew Coleman, DreamWorks Animation’s President and Chief Financial Officer. “We expect the transaction to be accretive to our earnings in the first full year following the completion of the acquisition.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration or termination of the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. DreamWorks Animation expects that the transaction will be completed during the quarter ended September 30, 2012.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. acted as financial advisor and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and O’Melveny & Myers LLP served as legal advisors to DreamWorks Animation in connection with the transaction. Jefferies & Company, Inc. acted as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Classic Media in connection with the transaction.

http://www.classicmedia.tv/

Animation Block Party Starts July 27


The 9th annual Animation Block Party is July 27-­‐29 only in Brooklyn, NY. ABP received just over 500 entries in 2012 and will be screening 94 films at the three-­‐ day summerfest.

ABP 2012 opens Friday, July 27th at Rooftop Films. Doors open at 8pm. The evening will feature live music, followed by an outdoor simulcast screening of world premieres, international cartoons, exceptional student films and fan friendly shorts.

ABP Opening Night at Rooftop Films is at Automotive High School / 50 Bedford Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Screening will be followed by a party at Matchless / 557 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn, with free beer courtesy of Radeberger.

Animation Block Party 2012 continues on July 28th and 29th at BAMcinématek, located at the Peter Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn.

Individual tickets for BAMcinématek events can be purchased at the BAM box-­‐office or online. Attendees can also purchase an ABP Weekend Pass for unlimited access to all ABP events at BAM, including admission to an exclusive Saturday night party.

On Saturday, July 28th — there will be an ABP Animation and Art Trade Show at BAMcinématek. Festival movie tickets must be purchased, but the Saturday ABP Trade Show is 100% free, open to the public and will run from 12pm-­‐8pm.

Trade show attendees will include Sakura color products, Lush Comics, Greenlight Bookstore, By Brooklyn, Maorinette, Green Mountain Energy, Stop Motion in New York (SMNY), Baked In Brooklyn, T33ZE, plus numerous craft-­‐makers and independent vendors.

ABP 2012 at BAMcinématek will feature five individual programs, each screening twice. A special Animation for Kids Program will screen on Saturday and Sunday at noon. The Animation for Kids Program will highlight animated shorts for children.

Saturday, July 28th: Program One / Animation Block Eclectic Mix (2pm & 6:50pm) will feature award-­‐winning independent works, global films, comedic shorts and more. Program Two /Animation Block International Shorts (4:30pm & 9:15pm) will showcase a taste of intercontinental animated shorts of all genres and styles.

The ABP Saturday Night party will take place in the BAMcafé at 30 Lafayette Avenue from 10pm-­‐2am. It will feature comedy, art, food, ping-­‐pong, free Brooklyn Brewery beer, a photo-­‐booth and music from AHS followed by a headline appearance from Making Friendz.

Sunday, July 29th: Program Three / Animation Block Narrative Works (2pm and 6:50pm)will  feature exceptional student films and professional content with a storytelling focus. Program Four / Animation Block Fresh Visions (4:30pm and 9:15pm) will mix global films with New York premieres and local animations.

The closing evening after party will start around 9:30pm at Habana Outpost at 757 Fulton Street, Brooklyn and features free Six Point Ale and delicious Habana corn.

Please bring your movie ticket to Matchless and Habana parties for proof of festival attendance or get a wristband from ABP staff members  before leaving the screening venues. Must have proof of movie ticket purchase to access free beer on Friday and Sunday night.

The festival jury includes Dan Meth, Maija Burnett and Matt Lee. Award categories are Student Film, Best in Show,  Audience Award, Narrative Short, Computer Animation, Minute Movie, Original Design, Music Video, Experimental Animation and Animation for Kids.

ABP 2012 prizes include software from Toon Boom, DigiCel FlipBook, Dragon Stop Motion, art supplies from Sakura, designer bags from Crumpler, T-­‐Shirts and DVDs. The winner of Best Student Films will also receive a copy of Boinx iStopMotion Pro.