“Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United” trailer

It’s not quite the Madhouse anime feature we posted about a few days ago, but you can’t say Marvel Animation Studios isn’t exploiting all opportunities and every style of animation in their forthcoming direct-to-video titles. Case in point: this just-released trailer for their next feature coming out on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download in April 2013: The Uncanny Iron Man and the ever-lovin’ Mo-Cappin’ Hulk.

“The Show” By Rebecca Hayes

The Show by Rebecca Hayes offers a beautifully animated glimpse into the private lives of performers in a traveling circus troupe. Although the film’s genteel slice-of-life approach doesn’t build to much of a climax, its charm grows on the viewer. The student short was completed in 2010 at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), but released online yesterday.

(Thanks, Rubber House)

Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema Announces Feature Film lineup

Every year at this time I find myself jealous of the people in the vicinity of Kitchener-Waterloo in Northern Ontario, Canada. No, not because of the weather, but for The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema. I’m thankful, however, this event is happening anywhere in North America as it’s the only annual festival devoted to “showcasing the latest unreleased international animated feature films”. The festival just announced the first 12 films (several more to be announced shortly) of the 12th edition of the Festival – and it looks like an incredible program with a strong set of productions from Japan and Europe. The films confirmed so far include:

A LETTER TO MOMO • Director: Okiura Hiroyuki (Japan, 2011)

ANIME MIRAI • Directors: Kawamata, Miyashita, Kaiya and Tomonaga (Japan, 2012) A compilation of “four delightful films that point to the future of anime”

ARRUGAS (Wrinkles) • Ignacio Ferreras (Spain, 2011)

ASURA • Director: Sato Keiichi (Japan, 2012)

AZ EMBER TRAGÉDIÁJA • (The Tragedy Of Man) Director Marcell Jankovics (Hungary, 2012)

BABELDOM • Director: Paul Bush (U.K., 2012)

BLOOD-C: THE LAST DARK • Director: Shiotani Naoyoshi (Japan, 2012)

HEART STRING MARIONETTE • Director: M Dot Strange (U.S.A. / Iceland, 2012)

JENSEN & JENSEN • Director: Craig Frank (Denmark, 2011)

MARCO MACACO • Director: Jan Rahbek (Denmark, 2012)

STRANGE FRAME • Director: G.B. Hajim (U.S.A., 2012)

WOLF CHILDREN • Director: Hosoda Mamoru (Japan, 2012)

The 12th Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema runs November 15th to 18th, 2012. All screenings will be held at The Chrysalids Theatre, 137 Ontario Street North in Kitchener. For more information on each film and how to obtain festival passes click here.

First Look: Looney Tunes Platinum Vol. 2

Unabashed Plug: Out next week is Vol. 2 of Warner Home Video’s Blu-ray cartoon collection, Looney Tunes Platinum Collection. I’m a little biased because I helped put together the set which includes fifty Warner Bros. cartoon classics, restored to pristine condition, now in glorious 1080p Blu-ray format – containing such masterpieces as A Wild Hare, Book Revue, You Ought To Be In Pictures, the complete Cecil Turtle trilogy, The Nasty Canasta collection, the Chuck Jones’ Bugs-Daffy-Elmer Hunting trilogy, the complete works of Beaky Buzzard, A. Flea and Tex Avery’s Art Deco classic Page Miss Glory. Not to mention a nifty 28-page color booklet (written by yours truly).

The complete contents are listed here. I just got my advance copy and can’t be more pleased about how it turned out, especially as it restores original titles to several films, and a lost ending gag to the seminal Hardaway-Dalton rabbit-hunting cartoon Hare-um Scare-um (1939). Pre-order it now – and yeah, it’s available on DVD (minus a bonus disc and several bonus features). Highly recommended!

FRIDAY NIGHT IN NYC: Perpetual Motion Retrospective

There are not too many must-attend animation events for animation history buffs in New York, but tonight promises to be one of them. ASIFA-East and the School of Visual Arts will present a retrospective celebration of Perpetual Motion Pictures, one of the major NY commercial animation studios of the 1970s. The event is bittersweet because both of the studio’s founders—Buzz Potamkin and Hal Silvermintz—passed away in the past year.

The event begins at 7PM at the SVA theater (333 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Ave in Manhattan). Admission is FREE!

Tom Warburton (creator, Kids Next Door) will moderate the panel of Perpetual Motion veterans, including Mordi Gerstein (who also worked at UPA-LA), and four other artists who got their starts at Perpetual: Russell Calabrese, Candy Kugel, JJ Sedelmaier and Thomas Schlamme (exec producer, The West Wing, Studio 60). Photos of many of the artists can be viewed on the ASIFA-East website. Other Perpetual veterans, including NY legends like Vinnie Bell, Rose Eng and Doug Crane are also scheduled to be in attendance. In other words, DON’T MISS THIS!

“TRON: Uprising” Art Director Alberto Mielgo Will Exhibit in Downtown L.A.

Next month, GR Works will host a solo exhibition of work by the Spanish-born artist Alberto Mielgo, best known in the U.S. for his art direction on the Disney TV series TRON: Uprising.

The show will take place at GR Works’ GR Space in downtown Los Angeles (114 W. 4th St. Los Angeles, CA 90013). There will be an opening reception on Monday, November 5, from 6-10pm, and the show will run for one week. Titled Albert Mielgo: Solo, it documents the past three years of Mielgo’s output, and will focus on his models and their working process together. “I think it’s fair to talk about them that people know how good they are,” Mielgo said. “How much they mean to me, and why I decided to paint them.”

Mielgo has exhibited his paintings in Spain and the UK. In 2010, Mielgo was a subject of the short film documentary Innocent In A Way (NSFW) by French filmmaker Alexis Wanneroy. Mielgo started his career as an animator on features like Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, El Cid: The Legend and Jester Till. In addition to that, he storyboarded on Corpse Bride, created conceptual art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and drew the backgrounds and provided art direction for the intro of the videogame Beatles Rock Band.

“Sticky” trailer by Jilli Rose

Australian animator Jilli Rose has just started production on an animated short about Lord Howe Island stick insects. It’s called Sticky and here is its beautiful trailer.

Says Rose:

“The film is partly a celebration of the cape-worthy team at the Melbourne zoo who, behind a secret door in the butterfly house, in modest facilities, have quietly, diligently and quite literally saved a species from extinction. It’s partly a love song to evolution, uniqueness, life and the little creatures underfoot. And it’s partly a retelling of the astonishing story of the insects themselves.”

It looks incredible to me. More info on her Facebook page.

“Animating The Subconscious” at LACMA

I will be presenting a fantastic set of surreal cartoons at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art next Friday night. My show, Animating the Subconscious, is part of a series of film programs at the museum, under the umbrella title of The Surreal Screen, all of which prelude an upcoming exhibition there, Drawing Surrealism. My cartoon show will present 35mm vault prints of ten classic cartoons that explore “imagination’s more outlandish perimeters”. The full list is below, but highlights include Disney/Dali’s Destino, Fleischer Studios’ Betty Boop Snow White and Screen Gems cult favorite Willoughby’s Magic Hat (I can’t wait to see that in 35mm on the big screen). Join me on Friday October 19th at 7:30pm, at LACMA on Wilshire for a bunch of great cartoons that will blow your mind. For more information and tickets, click here.

1908/b&w/1 min. | 35mm supplied by Academy Film Archive

1931/b&w/6 min. | Fleischer Studios | 35mm supplied by UCLA Film and Television Archive

1933/b&w/7 min. | Fleischer Studios | 35mm supplied by UCLA Film and Television Archive

1933/color /7 min. | Silly Symphonies (Walt Disney Pictures) | 35mm supplied by Buena Vista

1938/b&w/7 min. | Looney Tunes | 35mm supplied by Warner Bros.

1943/b&w/7 min. | Phantasies (Columbia Pictures) | 35mm supplied by Sony Repertory

1943/color/7 min. | Color Rhapsodies (Columbia Pictures) | 35mm supplied by Sony Repertory

1944/color/8 min. | Looney Tunes | 35mm supplied by British Film Institute

1953/color/7 min. | Looney Tunes | 35mm supplied by Warner Bros.

2003/color/7 min. | Walt Disney Pictures | 35mm supplied by Buena Vista

Marvel Announces Iron Man Feature With Japan’s Madhouse

Marvel announced earlier this week that one of its primary characters, Iron Man, will be starring in an all-new direct-to-video anime feature titled Iron Man: Rise of Technovore. The film, done in partnership with Sony Entertainment Japan, re-teams Marvel with the anime production house MADHOUSE, who previously did a four-part anime project for the publisher titled Marvel Anime.

In addition to Iron Man, the feature will also feature anime renditions of longtime adversary Ezekiel Stane (the primary antagonist in the first Iron Man live action film), along with prominent Marvel heroes such as Black Widow, Hawkeye, the Punisher, Nick Fury and War Machine.

“Marvel is excited to present an all-new Iron Man adventure featuring the high-tech adrenaline he is known for, in the beautifully rendered anime style of our friends at MADHOUSE,” said producer Megan Thomas Bradner. Long-time Marvel TV animation writer Brandon Auman (The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) wrote the script, with Japanese director Hiroshi Hamasaki helming the project.

Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is already in production at MADHOUSE’s Japan studios and is planned for a spring 2013 debut, timed to coincide with the release of the live-action Iron Man 3 on May 3, 2013. Further information about this direct-to-video animated feature is expected at New York Comic Con during the Marvel TV Presents Panel on Saturday, October 13 at 4:15pm in Room 1E13.

Nerd Corps Producing Its First Preschool Series “Kate And Mim-Mim”

Vancouver-based Nerd Corps Entertainment, known for its action-adventure series such as Dragon BoostersStorm Hawks and League of Super Evil, is producing its first animated preschool animated series, a 26×22-minute CG show titled Kate and Mim-Mim. The show is created by the husband-and-wife team Scott and Julie Stewart.

Kate and Mim-Mim is a “character-driven comedy” targeted at kids aged three to six. The show show revolves around a five-year-old named Kate and a plush toy bunny named Mim-Mim, who can grow to ten times her size. Together, the duo travel to imaginary worlds.

Announced at the MIPCOM conference in France, Kate and Mim-Mim has a UK broadcast deal in place with CBeebies and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) will coordinate the worldwide distribution and licensing rights outside of Canada.

Bob Higgins, FME’s Executive Vice President of Kids & Family Entertainment, said, “Nerd Corps are a hugely creative company and we’re thrilled to be a part of this series. Kate and Mim-Mim is the first of what we think will be many fantastic and fun preschool projects from Nerd Corps and we’re looking forward to introducing it to kids around the world.”

EXCLUSIVE CLIP: The Fairest One Of All

Perhaps the best book of animation history and Disney scholarship being published this year, The Fairest One Of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, will go on sale next week. I’ve seen it, I have it, I’ve read it… and I’m urging you to buy it. You will not be disappointed. The publisher produced this exclusive (to Cartoon Brew) promo clip featuring author J.B. Kaufman and Diane Disney Miller (she wrote the foreword) discussing the project. If this doesn’t whet your appetite, you are reading the wrong blog…

Book Trailer: “The Where, The Why, and the How”

Cartoon Brew just launched its first major redesign in five years. We’ve reworked a lot of the site’s elements, but one thing that we didn’t dare touch was our distinctive logo, which was created in 2007 by the fantastic design firm ALSO. They dropped me a line earlier today about their latest project—The Where, the Why and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science. The book, just released by Chronicle Books, combines science and art in a novel way:

A science book like no other, The Where, the Why, and the How turns loose 75 of today’s hottest artists onto life’s vast questions, from how we got here to where we are going. Inside these pages some of the biggest (and smallest) mysteries of the natural world are explained in essays by real working scientists, which are then illustrated by artists given free rein to be as literal or as imaginative as they like. The result is a celebration of the wonder that inspires every new discovery. Featuring work by such contemporary luminaries as Lisa Congdon, Jen Corace, Neil Farber, Susie Ghahremani, Jeremyville, and many more, this is a work of scientific and artistic exploration to pique the interest of both the intellectually and imaginatively curious.

Our friends at ALSO—Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman, and Matt Lamothe—even created this fancy animated trailer to support the book launch:

Platform Animation Festival to honor AKIRA creator Katsuhiro Otomo

Full Press Release:


Los Angeles, CA — PLATFORM, the internationally acclaimed animation festival, will present renowned Japanese artist Katsuhiro Otomo with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, October 27th at 9:30pm. The evening will begin with an exclusive screening of Otomo’s new short film, Combustible, followed by a conversation with animation historian Jerry Beck and then the award ceremony.

“It is an incredibly great honor for PLATFORM to welcome Katsuhiro Otomo to the United States after so many years absence,” said Festival Director Irene Kotlarz. “We are delighted to present him with our first Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of his unique and original contribution to the art of animation. In recognizing an artist whose origins are deeply rooted in manga, PLATFORM continues its polemical mission to break boundaries into other art forms and embrace a concept of animation that represents the widest possible range of influences.”

The PLATFORM International Animation Festival is a three-day event that takes place in Los Angeles October 26-28, 2012. In collaboration with CalArts and the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), PLATFORM will showcase exciting and innovative new animated films and talent while also celebrating animation’s heritage through special screenings and informative panel discussions.

Katsuhiro Otomo is internationally recognized as one of the leading creative forces in modern Japanese anime and manga. Otomo began his career writing and drawing manga in the 1970s, then entered Japan’s animation industry as a character designer in the early 1980s. His epic story Akira was published as manga from 1982-88 and then adapted into a feature film released in 1988, which Otomo also wrote and directed. Akira has become a classic example of science fiction and a game-changing work of anime, inspiring such modern day Hollywood filmmakers as Sam Raimi, Chris Nolan and Andy & Lana Wachowski. In 1987, Otomo made several short films that were included in the compilation features Robot Carnival and Neo-Tokyo (Manie-Manie). He wrote the screenplay adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis (2001), and he has also directed several live-action movies. In 2005, Otomo was awarded the honor of Chevalier, Order of Arts and Letters, by the French Minister of Culture.

Otomo continues to write and draw comics and to direct his own animated features, including Memories (1995), Steamboy (2004), and most recently, Combustible (2012). The story of Combustible takes place in the city of Edo in the 18th Century. Owaka, the daughter of a merchant family, and her childhood friend, Matsukichi. are drawn to each other, but Matsukichi has been disowned by his family, and is working for the city fire brigade. Meanwhile, negotiations begin for the arrangement of Owaka’s marriage. Unable to let go of her thoughts of Matsukichi, Owaka’s mad emotions stir up a massive inferno that razes Edo. By chance encounter, the two meet again amidst the fires. An epic spectacle, Combustible is ignited by the traditional style of Japanese painting as inspiration, and its combination of hand-drawn and 3D CG animation fosters a fresh and original visual expression for the film.

Funded in part with generous support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, PLATFORM is honored to have additional support from its founding sponsor Cartoon Network, as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation and ASIFA-Hollywood.

Ticket & Venue Information:
The 2012 PLATFORM International Festival takes place at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT). REDCAT is located at 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 – in downtown Los Angeles at the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and in adjacent lots.

Tickets for the Otomo evening program are $20 for the general public, $16 for members. Tickets for all other PLATFORM programs are $10 for the general public, $8 for members. Discounts are available for multi-program purchases. Tickets may be purchased by calling 213.237.2800, at www.redcat.org, or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box Office Hours: Tue-Sat | noon–6 pm and two hours prior to curtain.

PLATFORM is part of the ongoing Jack H. Skirball ‘Film at REDCAT’ series of screenings and presentations by independent film and video makers from around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.redcat.org/category/redcat-event-type/film-video

PLATFORM is an internationally acclaimed animation festival founded in 2007 with the support of founding sponsor Cartoon Network. Its first major event was held in Portland, Oregon as a platform for artists, the biggest animation festival in the US, and the first multi-platform animation festival in the world. Funded in part with generous support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, PLATFORM is honored to have additional support from its founding sponsor Cartoon Network, as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation and ASIFA-Hollywood.

REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, presents a dynamic and international mix of innovative visual, performing and media arts year round. Located inside the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles, REDCAT houses a modular theater, 3,000-square-foot gallery space and lounge. Through performances, exhibitions, screenings, and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT continues the tradition of the California Institute of the Arts, its parent organization, by encouraging experimentation, discovery and lively civic discourse.

Otomo to attend LA’s Platform Animation Festival

Anime and manga superstar Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy) will be appearing in person at the PLATFORM International Animation Festival in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 27th at 9:30pm – and I’m happy to announce I will be moderating a Q & A session with him at the event. Festival director Irene Kotlarz will be presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement Award and we will also be screening his new short, Combustible. Please read the complete press release about this event, here.

Otomo’s appearance is his first public one in the U.S. since 1990. Or at least since the last time I’ve seen him. Here are some vintage snapshots (below) of Otomo and I appearing at screenings of AKIRA at New York’s Film Forum (bottom) – and at an Asifa meeting at the New School (top) in 1990. It’ll be fun to see him again. Akira has gone on to become a classic example of science fiction and a game-changing work of anime – inspiring many modern day Hollywood filmmakers such as Sam Raimi, Chris Nolan and the Wachowski siblings.

The PLATFORM International Animation Festival is a three-day event taking place in Los Angeles on October 26th-28th, 2012. In addition to the Otomo appearance and screening, there will be a retrospective of films by stop motion pioneer Ladsislaw Starewicz, A Best of Annecy shorts program, A special screening from PES, a presentation on the making of Disney’s new short Paperman and a CalArts student film retrospective. If you are in L.A. I urge you not miss this event. Seriously – buy tickets NOW.

Click the thumbnails below to see images from Otomo’s new short, Combustible:

Blue Sky to produce Charlie Brown feature

Deadline Hollywood broke the news this morning that 20th Century-Fox and Blue Sky Studios will produce a new feature length movie starring Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. The film is targeted for release on November 25th, 2015, a date that commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip by Charles Schulz (which began Oct. 2nd 1950), and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (which first aired December 9th, 1965). It’ll also be 35 years since the release of the last theatrical Peanuts animated feature, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!), from Paramount in 1980.

Steve Martino (Horton Hears A Who!, Ice Age: Continental Drift) will direct from a screenplay is by Craig Schulz and the writing team of Bryan Schulz & Cornelius Uliano. Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz, who are Schulz’s son and grandson, will produce with Uliano.

Since Schulz death in 2000, I’ve been impressed how well the Schulz family has managed the Peanuts characters and brand. Unlike the Dr. Seuss estate, the Schulz team has produced a wonderful direct-to-video film, a new comic book (from KaBoom) and merchandising that honors Charles Schulz and his legacy. Let us hope that this move into CG territory is handled with the same good taste.

Don Hertzfeldt’s Feature Screening in NYC Through Thursday

Don Hertzfeldt‘s first animated feature It’s Such a Beautiful Day is screening through this Thursday, October 11th, at both the Bijou in Eugene, Oregon and the IFC Center in Manhattan. The 70-minute film is a recut version of the shorts trilogy that Hertzfeldt has created over the past decade—Everything Will Be OK (2006), I Am So Proud of You (2008) and It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012). Despite the post we published few weeks ago, Hertzfeldt tells me that he did not qualify the film for Oscar consideration, which is a shame because it would have been among the more distinguished animated features in contention.

The feature-length It’s Such a Beautiful Day will continue to tour around the U.S. through the holidays. The screening schedule can be found on BitterFilms.com.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day reviews: The Hollywood Reporter, NY Times, Slant Magazine, Village Voice

Pixar Launches A College Website For Monsters University

Those kids at Pixar sure know how to advertise a film. Today they launched an authentic-looking Monsters University college website, more than eight months before the release of the Monsters, Inc. prequel. It’s a lovingly detailed exercise in universe building, complete with a full map of the university campus, a faculty page, and, of course, the chance to buy MU gear.

DreamWorks Artist Sentenced For Hammering Dog To Death

Remember the DreamWorks artist who was accused of shooting a dog and then pounding it to death with a hammer? Last Friday, Young Song, 41, who has done CG surfacing since 2003 at DreamWorks, admitted in court that he went into his neighbor’s yard, beat a German Shepherd that was tethered and muzzled, and then disposed of the body.

Song had initially entered a “not guilty” plea, but on the first day of the trial, jurors were shown surveillance footage that showed him attacking the dog. After the tape was shown, Song changed his plea to “no contest.” The judge sentenced him to one year in county jail, three years of probation, and ordered him to not own any pets or animals for ten years. He will begin serving his sentence next month. More details at the Pasadena Star-News.

(Photo of dog via Shutterstock)

New TOM & JERRY series coming to Cartoon Network

From the Press Release sent out today:

One of the world’s most beloved cartoon duos returns to television in The Tom and Jerry Show, a fresh take on the classic frenemies coming soon to Cartoon Network. Comprised of two 11-minute shorts, each episode will feature Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse plotting against each other—with Tom’s determination matched only by Jerry’s own cleverness in evading capture. But this time the cartoon mayhem will not be limited to only Tom and Jerry’s traditional suburban setting. In The Tom and Jerry Show, the title characters’ nonstop game of cat and mouse will expand to also include more fantastic worlds, from a medieval castle to a mad scientist’s lab.

Preserving the look, core characters and sensibility of the original theatrical shorts, The Tom and Jerry Show shines a brightly colored, high-definition lens on a never-ending battle that has set the standard for cartoon rivalries. After all, with a setup as elementary as a determined cat chasing a resourceful and mischievous mouse, the possibilities (and laughs) are endless!

Sam Register (The Looney Tunes Show, MAD, Teen Titans) serves as executive producer on The Tom and Jerry Show. The series is being produced by Warner Bros. Animation in conjunction with producers Darrell Van Citters and Ashley Postlewaite at Renegade Animation.

“Tom and Jerry are two of the most iconic characters on the planet,” said Sam Register, executive vice president, creative affairs, Warner Bros. Animation. “While it’s important we honor their great legacy, we don’t want to keep them in the archives. We want to introduce them to a new generation of fans. As we have done with The Looney Tunes Show, The Tom and Jerry Show will bring Tom and Jerry into a contemporary environment and tell hilarious stories that kids and adults will love.”

UMIGO – Wild Brain’s New Educational Videos

I wish I could have seen stuff like this when I was in school. Check out this sample of Wild Brain’s new series of animated videos, aimed at kids, which teach math basics. Called UMIGO (“yoU Make It GO”), they were directed by Dave “Pez” Hoffman (The Ricky Gervais Show), with an animation team that includes Jim Smith, Mike Bell, Carey Yost, Miles Thompson, Adam Rosette and Art Director Rae McCarson (Billy and Mandy) among others. A government grant is paying for production (“your tax dollars at work!“) so every aspect of this Flash animation production was done in-house at W!LDBRAIN in Sherman Oaks, CA. Eleven music videos and one eight-minute short were produced. The first three are online now, available on You Tube and iTunes. They’re lively, good looking and I suspect will be very effective in their goal to teach.

Stop-Motion Animation “Butterflies” To Screen In Competition at Spain’s 2012 Sitges Fantastic Film Festival

Butterflies, a new stop-motion animation by Australian director Isabel Peppard, is selected to screen in competition at the 2012 Sitges Fantastic Film Festival in Spain.

Festival programmers have described the film as “A short destined to become an instant stop motion classic.” Butterflies had its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival on August 11, 2012. The invitation to Sitges marks the second major international festival screening for Butterflies since its completion at the end of July 2012.

Butterflies tells the tale of a young artist (Claire, voiced by Rachel Griffiths) who struggles to make a living by selling drawings to passersby. A businessman (Dalton Hearst, voiced by Nicholas Hope) recognizes her talents and offers her a paying job. The prospect seems inviting but the reality threatens to kill her imagination.

Interweaving Claire’s childhood memories with her contemporary life and nightmares, Butterflies is a gothic fairytale presented in Peppard’s predominantly bleak but beautifully ornate handcrafted world.

After attending the world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival Rachel Griffiths expressed her support for the film, “I’m so proud to have been part of such an extraordinarily crafted and wondrous short film. No doubt it will be the first in a substantial career for Isabel Peppard.”

Isabel Peppard says, “Screening at Sitges is an amazing opportunity to present our film amongst the world’s biggest names in horror and fantasy cinema. I feel so honored to screen alongside cinematic heroes of mine like David Cronenberg and Dario Argento at Sitges Fantastic Film Festival.”

Pixar Releases New RenderMan Software

Emeryville, CAPixar Animation Studios simultaneously released RenderMan Pro Server 17.0 and RenderMan Studio 4.0, extensively upgrading its Academy-Award-winning rendering software renowned as the industry standard for the highest quality animation and photorealistic visual effects.

Amongst many powerful feature highlights, RenderMan Pro Server 17.0 includes significant performance gains including object instancing, photon mapping enhancements, and volume-rendering optimizations, all developed for the escalating visual demands of today’s feature films. RenderMan Studio 4.0 features include a new physically plausible shader library allowing Maya users to intuitively focus on the creation of photorealistic imagery, with an emphasis on artist-friendly out-of-the-box workflows. Both new releases are the result of an enormous collaborative effort combining the insight of the world’s premier visual effects studios with Pixar’s unparalleled rendering development expertise. Extensive beta testing has been unanimously positive:

“With its revamped photon mapping and volume rendering, RenderMan Pro Server 17.0 extends our shading framework across the board including awesome volumetrics. Coupled with true instancing, this release seriously extends our arsenal in its ability to handle incredibly complex scenes.” Said Philippe LePrince, Head of Lighting & Rendering at Double Negative, London.

“The new ray-tracing workflow in RenderMan Studio 4.0 helps us achieve photo-realistic results while decreasing setup time dramatically. The new physically plausible shading system makes RenderMan more artist friendly while maintaining the same deep level of customization we all love.” Said Leif Pedersen, Senior Computer Graphics Artist, Telefutura Network. “There are so many positive things to say about this release. I could go on for a while.”

“We learned that object instancing was a key feature of RenderMan Pro Server 17.0 when we were starting a new project that we thought would be an excellent fit for this technique. We’ve worked closely with the responsive development team to achieve a level of visual quality and complexity that would have otherwise been impossible.” Said Daniel Heckenberg, Lead R&D Developer, Animal Logic. “Pixar’s RenderMan is an extraordinary (and growing) toolbox of rendering techniques that we can customize and extend at almost any point. We’re constantly advancing the limits of what we can realize.”

“The new physically plausible shaders are great! They’re easy to use and the results are incredible.” said Tom Painter, Director, Bigman. “For beginners it’s so much easier, but the coolest thing is RenderMan’s hybrid architecture that offers so many advanced workflows such as baking shadows into the static background, and allowing us to reuse expensive FX whenever we want. Pixar has really delivered with RenderMan Studio 4.0.”