Oscar-Nominee “Head Over Heels” Posted Online

Timothy Reckart’s Head Over Heels was posted online today. Reckart produced the film as a graduation project at the UK’s National Film & Television School.

Head Over Heels is the fourth of this year’s Oscar-nominated animation shorts to appear online along with Fresh Guacamole, Paperman, and Adam and Dog. The only short that hasn’t yet appeared online is Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”.

Saturday in Anaheim: “Steampop!” Art Show

For those in Anaheim tomorrow evening, the Rothick Art Haus (170 S. Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805) is hosting the opening reception of an art show called “Steampop! Pop Culture through Steampunk Goggles.” One of the artists who’ll be showing is veteran Disney animator James Lopez, whose work has been featured on Cartoon Brew in the past. It’s a familiar topic for Lopez, who is currently working on a personal steampunk-themed animated short.

(Homer Simpson piece above by Ryan Batcheller)

“Doomed” By Guillermo Garcia Carsi

Natural selection can be cruel—especially for the outcast creatures of Doomed: A Biological Cartoon, a series pilot by Pocoyo co-creator Guillermo Garcia Carsi. The short was produced through Carsi’s Madrid studio El Senor. Like his earlier series Pocoyo, the world of Doomed finds virtue in restraint. A stark-white backdrop sets the stage for a parade of sparely designed creatures (cube-fish says it all) who move in unexpected fits and spurts (credit belongs to animation director Txesco Montalt for the latter). The sole embellishment is the hyperreal rendering style, which is the perfect touch of whimsy in this fresh approach to CGI.

Laika’s Next Feature Will Be “Boxtrolls”

Laika, the Portland studio that made Coraline and ParaNorman, announced this morning that its third feature will be Boxtrolls. The film, a 3D stop-motion/CGI hybrid, is based on Alan Snow’s fantasy-adventure novel Here Be Monsters. Anthony Stacchi (co-director, Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman) are directing. Focus Features will release Boxtrolls on October 17th, 2014.

Full details in the release:

PORTLAND, February 7th, 2013 – Marking their third project together, LAIKA and Focus Features, the two companies behind the current Academy Award-nominated animated feature ParaNorman, announced today that LAIKA has begun production on The Boxtrolls. The new movie will be released nationwide by Focus on October 17th, 2014. Focus CEO James Schamus and LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.

As on the previous animation collaborations ParaNorman and Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights to The Boxtrolls, and Universal Pictures International will release the movie overseas (with eOne Distribution handling Canada). Coraline (2009) earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). In addition to its Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman (2012) is in the running for the BAFTA Awards’ animated feature prize. ParaNorman has won two Annie Awards (the animation community’s Oscars equivalent) and been cited as best animated feature film by 14 critics’ groups, more than any other 2012 animated feature.

The Boxtrolls is a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow’s bestselling fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters. The Boxtrolls is being directed by Anthony Stacchi (co-director of the hit animated feature Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman), and produced by David Ichioka and Mr. Knight. The voice cast includes Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, Academy Award nominee Toni Collette, Elle Fanning (marking her fourth movie with Focus), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Game of Thrones), Emmy Award nominee Jared Harris (Mad Men), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Nick Frost (of Focus’ upcoming The World’s End), Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock).

The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that’s the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs (voiced by Mr. Hempstead-Wright), since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by villainous pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Mr. Kingsley), who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket to Cheesebridge society, the kindhearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and adventurous rich girl Winnie (Ms. Fanning) to bridge two worlds amidst the winds of change – and cheese.

Mr. Knight said, “The Boxtrolls is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart. It’s Dickens by way of Monty Python. Tony and Graham have crafted a strange and beautiful world replete with fantastical creatures, good-for-nothing reprobates, madcap antics, and rip-roaring feats of derring-do. But at its core, like all LAIKA films, The Boxtrolls is a moving and human story with timelessness and powerful emotional resonance. We’re thrilled to partner with Focus Features and Universal to bring this remarkable story to family audiences around the world.”

Mr. Schamus commented, “Following our successful collaborations on ParaNorman and Coraline, we are delighted to be embarking on a third wondrous adventure with the LAIKA artisans who transform everyday materials into living creatures infused with dimension, humor, and soul. With a wonderfully appealing menagerie of fun characters, and a generous, open heart at its center, The Boxtrolls will be a must-see for family audiences.”

SXSW Announces 2013 Animation Lineup

SXSW has announced the selections for their 2013 film festival, which takes place in Austin, Texas from March 8-16. Ten shorts were selected for the animation category. Several animated projects were also chosen for other categories, including Chris Mars’ In Hanford for the documentary category, and Daniel Garcia and Harry Teitalman’s “Reagan” in the music video category.

Below are the animation selections, which includes the first US screening of the new Pixar short Blue Umbrella:

The Blue Umbrella
Director: Saschka Unseld
It is just another evening commute until the rain starts to fall, and the city comes alive to the sound of dripping rain pipes, whistling awnings and gurgling gutters. And in the midst, two umbrellas — one blue, one not — fall eternally in love.

Cicada Princess
Director: Mauricio Baiocchi
Cicadas spend a long time planning…

The Event
Director: Julia Pott
Love and a severed foot, at the end of the world.

The Gold Sparrow
Director: Daniel Stessen
In a black and white world artists must defend their color.

Kishi Bashi — ”I Am The Antichrist To You”
Director: Kishi Bashi
A surreal stop motion collaboration between avante-pop/violinist Kishi Bashi and acclaimed animator Anthony Scott (Coraline, Paranorman). An abandoned puppy awakes in a post-apocalyptic world with vivid memories of his love and all that he lost.

Marcel, King of Tervuren
Director: Tom Schroeder
Greek tragedy enacted by Belgian roosters.

Oh Willy…
Directors: Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels
Forced to return to his naturist roots, Willy bungles his way into noble savagery.

Old Man
Director: Leah Shore
For more than 20 years Charles Manson has refused to communicate directly with the outside world. Until now.

The Places Where We Lived
Director: Bernardo Britto
A man wakes up with a weird feeling. His parents are selling his childhood home.

Shelved Director: James Cunningham
Two loser robots discover they are being replaced … by humans

An Afternoon of Remembrance 2013

Once each year at the DeMille Barn in Hollywood, the Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood and Women In Animation present An Afternoon of Remembrance, “a non-denominational celebration of departed friends from our animation community”.

This year the event takes place on Saturday, March 2nd, at 1pm (A reception precedes the memorial at 12 noon).

The Afternoon of Remembrance is free of charge and is open to all. No RSVPs necessary. Food and refreshments, 12 noon, Memoriams, 1 pm. The Hollywood Heritage Museum (the Lasky-DeMille Barn) is located at 2100 N. Highland Ave. (across from Hollywood Bowl) in Hollywood, California.

Tributes will be paid to many, including:

* Frank Andrina
* Charlotte Armstrong
* Dick Beals
* Iris Beckerman
* Lucille Bliss
* Carmela Blitz
* Dave Borthwick
* Jack Bosson
* Grigor Boyadjiev
* Richard “Kip” Carpenter
* Ernie Chan
* Kristine “Casey” Clayton
* John Coates
* Franco Cristofani
* Tissa David
* Patty Disney
* Jim Duffy
* Jake Eberts
* Ethel Falkenberg
* Ann Gefre
* Jean “Moebius” Giraud
* Karen Greslie
* Dave Hanan
* Jim Hiltz
* Daphne Huntington
* Diane Keener
* Fyodor Khitruk
* Thomas Kinkade
* Peter Kranjcevich
* Joe Kubert
* Bob Lambert
* Ken Landau
* Nancy McCullough
* Rusty Mills
* Sheldon Moldoff
* Conne Morgan
* Mark Nelson
* Margaret Nichols
* Naomi O’Loughlin
* Rod Parkes
* Bretislav Pojar
* Buzz Potamkin
* Al Rio
* Geri Rochon
* Ken Sansom
* Mary Sarbry
* Bruce Schaefer
* Maurice Sendak
* Mel Shaw
* Robert Sherman
* José Silverio
* Marcia Sinclair
* Dan Thompson
* Ken Walker
* Manon Washburn
* Tom Woodington
* Run Wrake
* Uvon Young

BREAKING: Big Layoffs Looming at DreamWorks

Developing story…
Some unfortunate news this morning. An anonymous source at TheLayoff.com wrote about an all-hands meeting at DreamWorks yesterday to announce large-scale layoffs at the studio:

Bill Damaschke called in everyone today February 5th 2013, to announce that DreamWorks will lay off 20-25% of all Company Employees. This includes people from Glendale, India and PDI. Several meetings where arranged to announce the unfortunate news. The term ‘layoffs’ was substituted by ‘transitioning outside the company.’ Most people being let go will be from the show [Me and My Shadow] and Peabody, while people comming out from Turbo will not find many spots available in other productions such as Smekday. Additionally, everyone in production will be called in next week to be announced of his status and re-casting (another term for taking your job away) positions.

Twenty to twenty-five percent of the company’s employees could potentially mean layoffs in the hundreds considering that the studio employs over 2000 people. DreamWorks is currently the largest animation employer in the Los Angeles area; the Animation Guild alone represented over 825 DreamWorks artists as of last month.

The reason that so many people are being let go from Me and My Shadow (as noted in the anonymous comment above) is because the film was removed from the release schedule and pushed back into development, according to this report on Deadline.com. Further, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which was scheduled for 2013 release, has been pushed back to 2014. The only films that DreamWorks will release this year are The Croods and Turbo. The studio’s release slate in 2014 will consist of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Happy Smekday!

If you’d like to submit news about the layoffs confidentially, you can contact me HERE.

And a note to would-be commenters: This is NOT the place to discuss the content of DreamWorks film. Keep the discussion focused on labor, or risk having your comment deleted.

“Brave”, “Life of Pi” and “Game of Thrones” Win Big at VES Awards

The winners of the 11th Annual VES Awards were announced yesterday in Los Angeles. The two most honored films were Brave and Life of Pi, each with four awards, while Game of Thrones was the most-honored TV project, also with four awards.

Presented by the Visual Effects Society, the award recognizes outstanding visual effects work across a broad spectrum of the entertainment industry including film, animation, television, commercials and video games. In addition to the awards below, director Ang Lee was honored with the VES Visionary Award (presented by Dennis Muren) and ILM veteran Richard Edlund with the Lifetime Achievement Award (presented by Harrison Ford).

The following is the complete list of winners of The 11th Annual VES Awards:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
Life of Pi
Donald R. Elliott, Susan Macleod, Guillaume Rocheron, Bill Westenhofer

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
The Impossible
Felix Bergés,Sandra Hermida,Pau Costa Moeller

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Brave
Mark Andrews, Steve May, Katherine Sarafian, Bill Wise

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: Volar Morghulis
Rainer Gombos, Steve Kullback, Sven Martin, Juri Stanossek

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Boardwalk Empire: Episode 308
John Bair, Parker Chehak, Paul Graff, Lesley Robson-Foster

Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Jason Blundell, Barry Whitney, Colin Whitney

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Nike: Biomorph
Rafael Colon, Aladino Debert, David Liu, Nicola Wiseman

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Heather Drummons, Joel Friesch, Brooke Breton, Chris Bailey

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Life of Pi: Richard Parker
Erik De Boer, Sean Comer, Betsy Asher Hall, Kai-Hua Lan

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Brave: Merida
Travis Hathaway, Olivier Soares, Peter Sumanaseni, Brian Tindall

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: Training the Dragons
Irfan Celik, Florian Friedmann, Ingo Schachner, Chris Stenner

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
The Avengers: Midtown Manhattan
Richard Bluff, Barry Williams, David Meny, Andy Proctor

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Brave: The Forest
Tim Best, Steve Pilcher, Inigo Quilez, Andrew Whittock

Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: Pyke
Rene Borst, Thilo Ewers, Adam Figielski, Jonas Stuckenbrock

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Matt Aitken, Victor Huang, Christian Rivers, R. Christopher White

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
ZombiU
Dominique Boidin, Léon Bérelle, Rémi Kozyra, Maxime Luère

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture
The Avengers: Helicarrier
Rene Garcia, Bruce Holcomb, Polly Ing, Aaron Wilson

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Life of Pi: Storm of God
Harry Mukhopadhyay, David Stopford, Mark Williams, Derek Wolfe

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Brave
Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Michael K. O’Brien, Bill Watral

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
Guinness: Cloud
Tom Bussell, Neil Davies

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
Life of Pi: Storm of God
Ryan Clarke, Jose Fernandez, Sean Oharas, Hamish Schumacher

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones, Episode 210: White Walker Army
Falk Boje, Esther Engel, Alexey Kuchinsky, Klaus Wuchta

Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial
Chevy 2012 Silverado
Dominik Bauch, Nicholas Kim, Benjamin Walsh

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
Natalis
Daniel Brkovic, David Kirchner, Jan-Marcel Kuehn, Tom Ferstl

16th Annual NY International Children’s Film Festival

Click the thumbnails above to see images from a few of the new animated feature film premieres at The 16th Annual NY International Children’s Film Festival. The event runs March 1st through the 24th at seven New York locations: Asia Society and Museum, DGA Theater, Elinor Bunim Munroe Film Center, French Institute Alliance Française, IFC Center, Scholastic Theater and the SVA Theatre.

Opening night is the US Premiere of the exquisite hand drawn French feature, Ernest And Celestine; US Premiere’s of Ghibli’s From Up On Poppy Hill, Michel Ocelot’s Kirikou & The Men & The Women, India’s Hey Krishna, Mamoro Hosoda’s Wolf Children, and many others.

This event has become a vital stop for many foreign animated features en route into the US. Tickets to the screenings are now on sale at Gkids.com. Below is the complete press release with all the details.

16th ANNUAL EVENT RUNS MARCH 1-24
OSCAR®-QUALIFYING FOR ANIMATED & LIVE ACTION SHORTS
25,000+ ATTENDEES EXPECTED FOR 100 FILMS

NEW YORK, NY, FEBRUARY 5, 2013 – The critically acclaimed New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival has announced its full slate and jury for the 16th annual edition, which runs March 1-24 at seven Manhattan locations. The nation’s largest festival for kids and teens will present four weeks of ground-breaking and thought-provoking new works for ages 3-18, with 100 new films, opening and closing galas, premieres, six short film programs, filmmaker Q&As, filmmaking workshops, A-list jury, audience voting, and the NYICFF Awards Ceremony. NYICFF is an Oscar®–qualifying festival –recipients of NYICFF’s jury prizes are eligible for Oscar® consideration in the Best Animated and Live Action Short Film categories.

DATES: March 1- March 24

LOCATIONS: Asia Society and Museum, DGA Theater, Elinor Bunim Munroe Film Center, French Institute Alliance Française, IFC Center, Scholastic Theater, SVA Theatre

TICKETS: Tickets for all events are now on sale at www.gkids.com. As in past years, all screenings are expected to sell out, so advance purchase is highly recommended.

NYICFF 2013 JURY:

· John Canemaker – Academy Award®-winning animator

· Geena Davis – Academy Award®-winning actor (The Accidental Tourist, Thelma & Louise)

· Tomm Moore – Academy Award® nominated animator/director (The Secret of Kells)

· Lynne McVeigh – Associate Professor of Children’s Media at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

· Matthew Modine –Award-winning actor (Full Metal Jacket, The Dark Knight Rises)

· Michel Ocelot – Award-winning writer/director/animator (Kirikou & the Sorceress, Tales of the Night)

· Dana Points – Editor-in-Chief, Parents Magazine

· Susan Sarandon – Academy Award®-winning actor (Dead Man Walking, Arbitrage)

· James Schamus – Award-winning writer/producer (Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm)

· Evan Shapiro – President, Participant Television

· Christine Vachon – Award-winning producer (Boys Don’t Cry, Mildred Pierce)

· Gus Van Sant – Academy Award® nominated director (Milk, Good Will Hunting)

· Taika Waititi – Academy Award® nominated writer/director (Two Cars One Night, Boy)

· Jeffrey Wright – Award-winning actor (Basquiat, The Ides of March)

NEW FEATURES (ALPHABETICAL):

· Approved for Adoption – North American Premiere, Belgium/France/Switzerland, Laurent Boileau/Jung Henin. In this fascinating animated autobiography a series of gorgeously animated, sepia-toned vignettes – some humorous and some poetic – trace filmmaker Jung Henin from the day he is adopted from Korea by a Belgian family, through elementary school, and into his teenage years, when his emerging sense of identity begins to create fissures at home and to inflame the latent biases of his adoptive parents. The filmmaker tells his story using his own animation intercut with snippets of super-8 family footage, archival film, and new footage. The result is an animated memoir like no other: clear-eyed and unflinching, humorous and wry, and above all, inspiring in the capacity of the human heart.

In French with English subtitles – Recommended ages 11 to adult .

· The Day of the Crows – East Coast Premiere, Canada/France, Jean-Christophe Dessaint. Raised like an animal since birth and knowing only the ways of the wild, a nameless boy has been forbidden by his father to venture beyond the edge of the forest that is their home. But when his father is injured, the boy goes to a nearby town for help – where he experiences the wonders of human contact and civilized living for the first time. With tips of the hat to the enchanted forest worlds of Hayao Miyazaki and François Truffaut’s The Wild Child, this lushly animated film travels the blurred lines between animal and human, nature and civilization, and the realms of the living and of spirits.

In French with English subtitles – Recommended ages 7 to adult.

· Ernest & Celestine, Opening Night Film – US Premiere, Belgium/France, Renner/Patar/Aubier. NYICFF kicks off the 2013 festival with the extraordinary new film from the producers of Kirikou and the Sorceress, Triplets of Belleville and The Secret of Kells. Fresh from standing ovations at Toronto and Cannes, Ernest & Celestine joyfully leaps across genres and influences to capture the kinetic, limitless possibilities of animation. Deep below snowy, cobblestone streets and tucked away amongst winding tunnels, lives a civilization of hardworking mice, terrified of the bears who live above ground. Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer – and when she nearly ends up as breakfast for grumpy troubadour Ernest, the two form an unlikely bond and are soon living together as outcasts in a winter cottage. Like a gorgeous watercolor painting brought to life, a constantly shifting pastel color palette bursts and drips across the screen, while wonderful storytelling and brilliant comic timing draw up influences as varied as Buster Keaton, Bugs Bunny and the outlaw romanticism of Bonnie and Clyde.

In French with English subtitles – Recommended ages 7 to adult – or all ages for French speaking audiences.

· From Up on Poppy Hill – US Premiere, Japan, Goro Miyazaki. The newest feature from the legendary Studio Ghibli has written by studio founder Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Goro Miyazaki, marking the first feature film collaboration between father and son. The results are stunning – a pure, sincere, nuanced and heartfelt film that signals yet another triumph for the esteemed studio. Set in Yokohama in 1964, the film centers on an innocent romance developing between two high-school kids caught up in the changing times, as the country picks itself up from the devastation of World War 2 and prepares to host the 1964 Olympics. Star-filled voice cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard and Anton Yelchin.

In English – Recommended ages 9 to adult

· Hey Krishna – North American Premiere, India, Vikram Veturi. Packed with iridescent hues, outrageous characters, epic battles and endearingly loopy Bollywood-style musical interludes, Hey Krishna is a vibrantly colorful cartoon retelling of the life of the child Krishna – the naughty prankster with the beautiful blue hue and long eyelashes. A prophesy foretells that the tyrant Kans will be killed by Krishna, the eighth child of his sister Devaki, and so Kans has Devaki imprisoned. But the infant Krishna is spirited away to a nearby village and raised by peasants – and when Kans hears that Krishna has escaped his fate, he sends out demons and monsters to finish the job.

In English – Recommended ages 8 to adult

· Kauwboy – East Coast Premiere, Netherlands, Boudewijn Koole. The Netherlands’ official entry for this year’s Oscars® and winner of the Best First Feature award at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival, Kauwboy is a tender portrait of a boy struggling to come to terms with a family that’s not what it once was. With his country-singer mother absent, Jojo lives alone with his security guard father, a man of few words, who is quick to anger and has seemingly no affection for his 10-year-old son. Left to his own devices, Jojo finds an abandoned baby crow in the woods near their house – and finds solace in caring for this small creature, who is even more alone and vulnerable than he is.

In Dutch with English subtitles – Recommended ages 10 to adult

· Kirikou and the Men and the Women – North American Premiere, France, Michel Ocelot. The pint-sized, quick-footed child hero Kirikou returns in the new feature from world-renowned animator/director/storyteller Michel Ocelot, who NYICFF audiences should be well familiar with from Kirikou and the Sorceress, Azur & Asmar, and Tales of the Night. In this third film in the Kirikou trilogy, Ocelot’s almost impossibly vibrant use of color is everywhere on display – as a collection of short form fables are woven together, mixing traditional storytelling and mythology with bits of humor and wit, and backed by an upbeat musical score from Malian, Togolese and French artists.

In French with English subtitles – Recommended ages 7 to adult – or all ages for French speaking audiences.

· Meet the Small Potatoes – World Premiere, USA, Josh Selig. Like This is Spinal Tap for the pre-school set, this musical mockumentary follows a group of singing spuds from humble beginnings on an Idaho potato farm to their meteoric rise to international pop stardom. Animation features the adorably animated characters placed in live action archival settings (1960’s era Coney Island in particular is a real treat), and true to the rock-doc form, musical numbers are punctuated with interviews with fans, a former manager, and the southern DJ who helped them to early success.

In English – Recommended all ages

· The Painting – World Premiere English-Language Version, France, Jean-François Languionie. This breathlessly beautiful tale has received unanimous critical praise since it made its US premiere at NYICFF 2012 (as French title Le Tableau) and NYICFF is thrilled to present the first screening of the new English-language version. In this wryly-inventive parable, the characters from a painting burst through the canvas and find themselves in the Painter’s studio. The abandoned workspace is strewn with paintings, each containing its own animated world – and in a feast for both the eyes and imagination, they explore first one picture and then another, attempting to discover just what the Painter has in mind for his creations.

In English – Recommended ages 7 to adult

· Pinocchio – North American Premiere, Italy, Enzo D’Alò. Enzo D’Alò’s colorful and musical re-telling of this classic tale hews much closer to both the spirit and plot of Carlo Collodi’s original story than the Disney version, with Pinocchio remaining for most of the picture a rambunctious and easily-distracted little scamp who dances and trips from one strange adventure to the next in a surreal, Alice in Wonderland-like ride.

In English – Recommended ages 5 to 10

· NYICFF EN ESPANOL –¡Rompe Ralph! (Wreck-It Ralph)– Special Event, USA, Rich Moore. Whether Spanish is your native tongue or you just want to experience a great film a new way, NYICFF is pleased to kick off a new festival section for our Hispanic audience members, with the special Spanish language screening of the multi-award winning, Oscar nominated Wreck-It Ralph. The film will be shown in Spanish, with English subtitles, so all can enjoy!

In Spanish with English subtitles – Recommended ages 6 to adult

· GIRLS’ POV – Starry Starry Night – Taiwan, Tom Shu-yu Lin. A day-dreamy seventh-grader whose life seems to be falling apart around her, Mei immerses herself in a fantasy world of her own creation, populated by oversized origami animals and shadowy beasts that tag along with her on what would otherwise be dreary daily excursions. Meanwhile, shuffled from home to home by his mother, troubled newcomer Jay avoids contact with his new schoolmates and becomes an instant target for their derision and taunting. Brought together by their shared loneliness and love of shoplifting, Mei and Jay sneak away to Mei’s grandfather’s isolated cottage in the countryside in an attempt to escape a reality that nonetheless, comes crashing in on them. Screened as part of NYICFF’s Girls’ POV program, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In Mandarin with English subtitles – Recommended ages 9 to adult

· GIRLS’ POV – Strong! – New York Theatrical Premiere, USA, Julie Wyman. “Can you imagine being huge – but graceful and beautiful and just gorgeous?” Tipping the scales at 300 pounds, Olympic weightlifter Cheryl Hawthorn defies conventional notions of female beauty. Yet, whether she is working with her Olympic trainer, cooking at home with her mom in Savannah, or laughing about the difficulty of doing simple things like buying a dress or finding a chair that won’t collapse under her weight – it is precisely her strength and beauty that shine through. In our fitness-obsessed culture, Cheryl’s success makes us rethink how we see the female body and expands our notion of what it means to be powerful, healthy, and beautiful. Screened as part of NYICFF’s Girls’ POV program, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In English – Recommended ages 9 to adult

· Welcome to the Space Show – US Premiere English-Language Version, Japan, Koji Masunari. NYICFF favorite Welcome to the Space Show returns in a brand new English-language version! With an intergalactic cast of thousands, Koji Masunari’s colorfully explosive debut feature sets a new high for visual spectacle and sheer inventiveness of character design – in what has to be one of the most gleefully surreal depictions of alien life forms ever portrayed in cinema.

In English – Recommended ages 7 to adult

· Wolf Children – US Continental Premiere, Japan, Mamoru Hosoda. NYICFF is thrilled to present the brilliant third feature from Mamoru Hosoda, whose Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time have established him as one of the world’s top creative forces in animation. When college student Hana discovers her new beau is part wolf, she accepts him for who he is. Before long she gives birth to two children, Ame and Yuki, rambunctious bundles of joy who transform into wolves when excited and whose little ears are as adorable as their fangs are sharp. When the neighbors begin to notice their wolf-like tendencies, Hana moves to the countryside and into a dilapidated farmhouse, where each child is free to pursue its wolfish and human sides. Brimming with Hosoda’s trademark visual splendor, Wolf Children is his most emotionally resonant film to date, a stunningly animated and heart-felt fable about growing up, growing apart, and the choices faced along the way.

In Japanese with English subtitles – Recommended ages 9 to adult

· Zarafa – France, Remi Benzançon/Jean-Christophe Lie. Inspired by the true story of the first giraffe to visit France, Zarafa is a sumptuously hand-animated and stirring adventure set among sweeping vistas of parched desert, windswept mountains and open skies. Under the cover of night a small boy, Maki, loosens the shackles that bind him and escapes into the desert night. Pursued by slavers across the moon-lit savannah, Maki meets Zarafa, a baby giraffe – and an orphan, just like him – and he vows to protect the giraffe. Wandering alone in the desert, the two are taken under the protection of the Bedouin prince Hassan. Hassan brings them to Alexandria for an audience with the Pasha of Egypt, who promptly orders them to deliver the exotic animal as a gift to King Charles of France.

In French with English subtitles – Recommended ages 7 to adult

SHORT FILM PROGRAMS – Six programs for ages 3 to 18, featuring the best short films from around the world, selected from over 3,000 entries. Jury-selected winners will be eligible for Oscar® consideration in animated and live action short film categories. Full lineup at www.gkids.tv/intheaters
·Shorts For Tots – (Ages 3 to 6)
·Short Films One – (Ages 5 to 10)
·Short Films Two – (Ages 8 to 14)
·Flicker Lounge: For Teens & Adults Only – (Ages 12 to adult)
·Heebie Jeebies: Spooky, Freaky & Bizarre – (Ages 10 to adult)
·Girls’ POV – (Ages 10 to adult)

ABOUT NYICFF:
Established in 1997, NYICFF is an Oscar®-qualifying event and North America’s largest film festival for children and teens. The 2012 edition attracted a sold-out-in-advance audience of 25,000 and generated 100 million media impressions. NYICFF 2013 takes place March 1-24, with 100+ films from around the world, plus gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmaker Q&As, filmmaking workshops, audience voting, and the NYICFF Awards Ceremony. Festival sponsors include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Club Med, Meredith, HBO, and Scholastic, , with funding support by National Endowment for the Arts, NY State Council on the Arts, and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. In addition to the annual March festival, NYICFF presents year-round film programming both in New York and nationally.

Get Your Free, Interactive Making Of “ParaNorman” Book

To support its bid for a Best Animated Feature Oscar, Focus Features has released an interactive “making of” ParaNorman booklet. The online version has clips from the film, video interviews with the artists, slideshows, and music from the soundtrack. There’s also a free downloadable PDF for those who just want the glossy photos.

The book is aimed at Academy voters who are only casually familiar with animation. While it lacks the type of content that might appeal to someone interested in a deeper understanding of the process or the motivations of the filmmakers, it’s nevertheless a well-made piece of film marketing. It also points to the future of ‘making of’ animation books, which I predict will increasingly shift away from paper and into a more digital and interactive form.

Tom Whalen’s “Yellow Submarine” tribute

Artist Tom Whalen has designed a set of four Beatles posters, using their likness and characters from the animated feature Yellow Submarine (1968). We’ve showcased Whalen’s Looney Tunes, Peanuts and Gigantor limited edition tributes before – I’m a big fan.

Dark Hall Mansion is releasing this officially licensed Beatles project, a 4-print interlocking Limited Edition set – John, Paul, George and Ringo – in both “standard” (above) and “psychedelia” (below, click thumbnails to enlarge). There will only be 200 of each edition produced, both editions go one sale precisely at 9:30 AM PST at Dark Hall Mansion’s online Store on February 12th, 2013.

More information can be found on these and other editions available at Dark Hall Mansion.

Complete Press Release below:

Dark Hall Mansion working closely with Live Nation Merchandise, The Beatles’ North American Licensing Agent, and Apple Corps Ltd will release their new Beatles limited edition screen print set of 4 by leading contemporary artist, Tom Whalen, on February 12, 2013. This exclusive 4-print set stunningly showcases The Beatles unmistakable personas amongst the abstracted milieu of ’60s Pop culture and the landmark film that is “Yellow Submarine.” The 4 prints measure 24″ x 30,” each, and were beautifully composed and designed to work individually or as an interlocked whole when displayed.

Tom Whalen’s 4 new Beatles prints make a striking impression, particularly when viewed as a single quadtych, one meant to artistically render and underscore the personalities of The Beatles themselves. Each print will be individually numbered, 24″ x 30″ in size, and exquisitely screen printed. With an extremely limited release of only 200 sets available worldwide for all Beatles fans, it’s an edition for even the most discerning Beatles collector.

There will also be a very select Psychedelia Edition, limited to just 50 sets worldwide with each print individually signed by artist Tom Whalen and printed with shimmering metallic inks that intensely set off the designs and nuances of his highly stylized artwork.

Both Editions go one sale precisely at 9:30 AM PST at Dark Hall Mansion’s online store on February 12, 2013.Pricing will be $200 for the entire 4-print Standard Edition and $300 for the entire 4-print Psychedelia Artist Signed Edition.

The 4-print Beatles sets are a limited edition series created by Dark Hall Mansion. ‘The Beatles’ is a registered trademark of Apple Corps Limited. Yellow Submarine is a trademark of Subafilms Ltd © 1968. Dark Hall Mansion is a labor of love. We are passionate about art, about the work of print and poster artists present and past,here and abroad, we are committed to bringing their skills to the forefront on projects both compelling and exciting, bridging their studios and creations directly with your walls and personal collections.

“Les Poings Sur Les Iles” by Lu Bing

Les Poings Sur Les Iles is a Korean adaptation of a French children’s book illustrated by Violeta Lópiz. There’s no English translation for the short, which is directed by Lu Bing, but the pleasant visuals make it worth a look. In a small-scale production like this, it’s the little touches that make a big difference. For example, the slight sway of the background foliage adds a lot of life to the source illustrations and creates the subtle illusion of depth.

CREDITS
Director: Lu Bing
Animation: Lu Bing, Kang Suhyun, Kim Soyoung, Lee Minhwee
Sound effects: Lee Sungrok
Musics: Lee Taehoon
Voice: Han Gil
Script: Kwon Seulki
Picture book Cordinator: Choun Sanghyun

Henry Selick is Reviving “The Shadow King”; Synopsis and First Artwork Released

Six months after Disney pulled the plug on Henry Selick’s film The Shadow King, Selick wants to revive production on the film. He is shopping the film this week at the European Film Market in Berlin.

In its new incarnation, Selick (director, Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas) has teamed up with Beasts of the Southern Wild producer Josh Penn, and has enlisted K5 International to rep the film’s international rights. This is the official synopsis of the story, which Selick wrote himself:

Hap Dagger, a nine-year-old orphan, hides his fantastically weird hands from a cruel world. But when a Living Shadow Girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come alive, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous Monster who could destroy Hap’s brother and all of New York.

According to a press release from K5, the film has a committed crew that includes director of photography Peter Sorg (Frankenweenie, Coraline), frequent Selick collaborator Eric Leighton (animation director on Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’hoole), production designer Lou Romano (The Incredibles), editor Wyatt Jones (Immortals, Rango, TRON: Legacy, Zodiac), and composer Bruno Coulais (Coraline). Voice cast includes Jaden Betts (voice of Hap) Pamela Adlon (voice of Richard) Brendon Glesson (voice of Darce) Jeffrey Tambor (voice of Cuzzie Bell) and Catherine O’Hara (voice of Miss Fern)

K5 also released the following montage of art from the film:

An Exhibit About Cameraless Animator Julian Antonisz

The Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland, is presenting a retrospective of Polish animator Julian Antonisz (1941-1987), who is best known for his drawn-on-film animation work. The exhibit, “Antonisz: Technology for Me Is a Form of Art,” is on display through March 17.

I’m fascinated to see the hand-crafted equipment that Antonisz used to make his films. Some of the tools can be seen in this documentary:

The exhibit description offers more details about Antonisz’s unique multidisplinary approach to animation filmmaking:

The exhibition is the first such extensive presentation of all the fields of the work of Julian Antoniszczak (Antonisz) – the co-founder of the legendary Animated Film Studio in Krakow, director of experimental animated films, constructor, musician and inventor.

In addition to a presentation of Antonisz’s rich film oeuvre, known to a wider public only to a limited degree, the exhibition also focuses on the no-less interesting issue of the artist’s methods of working.

The entry point for the exhibition is the artist’s archive that contains diaries and “ideabooks” (collections of notes, sketches, “great ideas”, newspaper cut-outs and projects for machines, amassed and categorized over the course of several decades). The selection of notes and sketches shown in Zachęta gives a rare chance to follow the creative process right the way – from the noting of the first idea for a film or machine on a scrap of paper, through the successive stages of its realization.

The non-camera films in which Antonisz continually returns to such themes as transience, the battle with time, illness and also human stupidity, can equally be treated as an intimate account of the artist’s own fears and obsessions. The artist is clearly fascinated by the mechanism of the body and its workings, not just as a motif in the films, but also through its participation in the process of the creation and viewing of the films. He is interested in experimenting not just with film tape, but also with the sensitivity and resilience of the viewer.

Fascinated by kinetic toys and optical machines, Antonisz strove to uncover the very roots of cinema. The idea of a return to hand-crafted work postulated in his Artistic Non-Camera Manifesto was something that the artist realised all aspects of his work.

An important element of the exhibition are the mechanical devices that Antonisz constructed according to ideas of his own for work in the non-camera technique – in other words, in experiments carried out directly on film tape. These unusual machines, “pantographs”, “animographs” and “sonographs” – enclosed in portable cases enabled the artist to carry out individual creative work independent of institutions and bureaucracy. Everything that he did was guided by one over-riding principle: to work as much as possible, as effectively as possible and as quickly as possible.

The machines and objects of everyday use that he designed and created, as well as elements of a curious “interior architecture”, can also be considered as hand-mades in the artist’s own unique style. Showing these at the exhibition evokes the unique atmosphere of the artist’s studio-laboratory, a place in which, as Antoniszczak himself said, technology became a form of art.

The exhibition is accompanied by the first publication to provide a thorough review of the full range of Julian Antoniszczak’s work.

Presidents Day in LA: Looney Tunes Marathon

L.A’s The Cinefamily is hosting a three-day celebration of classic Warner Bros. cartoons (co-presented by The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity) on Presidents Day weekend (February 16-18).

The festivities begin on Saturday afternoon (2/16) with a panel discussion on the work of Chuck Jones (speakers to be announced – but I’m moderating), a big screen 35mm showing of the 1973 TV special A Cricket In Times Square, and the following classic Chuck Jones-directed Looney Tunes shorts in 35mm: What’s Opera, Doc?, One Froggy Evening, Duck Amuck, From A to ZZZZ, Bully for Bugs, Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century, Feed The Kitty, Rabbit Seasoning.

Sunday afternoon (2/17), a double feature of collaborations between Chuck Jones and author Norton Juster: the 1970 feature film The Phantom Tollbooth and the 1965 Academy Award winning MGM short The Dot And The Line: A Romance In Lower Mathematics.

Monday (2/18) we go insane. A six-hour Looney Tunes marathon – all on film, mostly 35mm, many in Technicolor… all my favorite Looney Tunes shorts – and more: rarities, odds n’ ends and ephemera. I’m not mentioning titles in advance (you gotta trust me on this), but I promise: no 1960s DePatie-Frelengs. Rare behind the scenes footage, oddball material including (at some point during the marathon) bridging sequences from The Bugs Bunny Show (1960) and Tang commercials. Good stuff. Prizes for those who spend the entire six hours with us. NOTE: This event kicks off with a potluck lunch; things like bags of chips and drinks are not encouraged — please bring a dish. Impress us!

MONDAY February 18th
POTLUCK LUNCH: noon-1PM
LOONEY TUNES-A-PALOOZA: 1PM-7PM

Click Here and scroll down for more details. See you there!

5-Second Animation Day at Titmouse

5 Second Day is an annual tradition that gives Titmouse animators on both coasts the chance to bring to life whatever strange, beautiful, disturbing and funny ideas they’ve had all year as a short format cartoon. For the first time ever, the studio will be opening up the screening of these masterpieces to friends, neighbors and fans.

The screening is on Friday February 15th in Hollywood, at the Egyptian Theatre, 7:30pm. The program will also include a screening of the unaired Motorcity pilot and a selection of rarities from the studio’s vaults – with a discussion following with Titmouse founder Chris Prynoski.

Tickets are available through the Egyptian Theater.

“Thunderbirds Are Go” Returns in CG

New Zealand’s Weta Workshop (Lord of The Rings) is teaming up with Pukeko Pictures (Jane and The Dragon) to revive Gerry Anderson’s classic marionette series Thunderbirds, according to a report today at Deadline Hollywood.

This time the new series, titled Thunderbirds Are Go, will be made in CG. According to the site:

Twenty-six half hours have been ordered for air on ITV and CITV in the UK in 2015. The new series will be produced using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets while also paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from Anderson’s original.

Two Animated Features from Uruguay: “Anina” and “Selkirk, The Real Robinson Crusoe”

Uruguay, a small South American country of slightly more than 3 million people, managed to complete two animated features last year. Anina, directed by Alfredo Soderguit, is a co-production between Montevideo, Uruguay-based Raindogs Cine and Cali, Colombia-based Antorcha Films. The film was accepted into this year’s Berlin Film Festival, which starts this week.

Selkirk, el verdadero Robinson Crusoe (Selkirk, the Real Robinson Crusoe) is a stop motion feature directed by Walter Tournier. Trailer is below with more information on the official website.

Harvey Kurtzman Retrospective Coming To New York

Book publisher Denis Kitchen forwarded exciting news this morning: “The Art of Harvey Kurtzman”, a comprehensive retrospective of MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman, will open in New York City next month. The show will take place at the Society of Illustrators (128 East 63rd St., NY, NY).

Kurtzman’s influence in the animation sphere is well known, and especially strong in the work of Spumco principals like John Kricfalusi and Bill Wray. Another Spumco vet, Vincent Waller, even directed a short based on Kurtzman’s comic Hey Look!:

Here are details about the show, which opens on March 8th:

The Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators is proud to present “The Art of Harvey Kurtzman,” a diverse exhibition spanning the career of the man who created MAD and who had a broad and profound influence on American popular culture. This eight-week exhibit showcasing over 120 works will be on display March 8th through May 11th in the museum’s two-floor gallery in New York City’s Upper East Side.

Co-curators Monte Beauchamp (founder, editor, and designer of the comic art/illustration anthologies Blab! and Blabworld), and publisher/cartoonist Denis Kitchen (co-author of The Art of Harvey Kurtzman and representative of the estate) have assembled the most comprehensive assemblage of Kurtzman art to date, culled from select private and family collections. Highlights include: Kurtzman life drawings from 1941; rarely-seen late ’40s strips done for the New York Herald-Tribune and well as for Marvel’s Stan Lee; key covers, strips and full stories Kurtzman created for MAD, Frontline Combat, Two-Fisted Tales, Humbug and Help!, sometimes in collaboration with fellow comics geniuses Will Elder and Jack Davis. In addition, “Kurtzmania,” numerous rare artifacts and publications never seen by the public, will be on display.

PES Creates Titles For Dutch TV Show “Het Klokhuis”

Filmmaker PES, currently nominated for an Oscar for his short Fresh Guacamole, directed this striking title sequence for the Dutch TV series Het Klokhuis (Apple Core). The long-running show, which first aired in 1988, is one of the Netherlands’ oldest youth television shows.

Credits
Directed by PES
Production Company: PES Productions
Het Klokhuis (NL) Editors-in-Chief: Loes Wormmeester & Jan Pieter Schaap
Fabrication/Production Studio: SCPS Unlimited
Animation: Dillon Markey
Editor: Joshua Balster
Sound Design: PES

Reel FX Hires “Shrek” Producer Aron Warner As President of Animation

Dallas-based ReelFX is getting serious about feature animation. Last week, they named Aron Warner as the studio’s President of Animation. Warner will oversee the two films that the studio is currently producing: Jorge Gutierrez’s Book of Life, which we wrote about last month, and Turkeys, directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who, Jonah Hex). More details about Warner’s appointment in the company’s press release:

Reel FX, a fully integrated movie studio that develops and produces both animated films and live action movies, announced today that Aron Warner, the Academy Award-winning producer of the animated blockbusters Shrek, Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third, has joined the growing movie studio as President of Animation.

Warner will oversee and expand Reel FX’s animation slate which already includes the day of the dead-themed project Book of Life (Guillermo del Toro producing/Jorge Gutierrez directing), which will be released in theaters by Fox Animation on October 10th, 2014, Turkeys (Jimmy Hayward directing) which will be released in theaters on November 14th, 2014 by Relativity Media and Beasts of Burden (Warner and Andrew Adamson producing).

Warner said: “Reel FX has the talent, technology and track record to create the highest-quality theatrical animated films for reasonable budgets. Our model allows us to take creative risks and has already attracted world-class filmmakers looking to tell unique and daring stories that appeal to audiences across the world. I am honored to be part of the Reel FX team and look forward to continuing to build upon our slate.”

Steve O’ Brien, Chairman and CEO of Reel FX said: “Aron Warner is one of the industry’s most respected and accomplished animation executives and he brings sustained success, years of experience and deep relationships to overseeing our studio’s growing feature film animation division. We are excited to work with him as we continue to build a studio that produces best in class animated movies.”

Warner and Reel FX have been working together on a variety of projects for the past few years. Warner’s team at Reel FX includes a wide range of producers and executives including Jeff Fierson, Head of Development, Brad Booker, Creative Producer of Reel FX’s Book of Life and Scott Mosier Creative Producer of Reel FX’s Turkeys.

Warner joined PDI/DreamWorks in 1997. During the production of Shrek, Warner also served as the Head of PDI/DreamWorks for two years, overseeing all production and operations for all of the computer animation affiliate’s feature film, commercial and visual effects projects. He first joined PDI as a producer on the computer animated comedy Antz. Before PDI, Warner held the post of vice president of production at Twentieth Century Fox, where he supervised production on such films as True Lies, Independence Day, The Ice Storm, The Crucible, Alien Resurrection, Volcano and the number one blockbuster of all time, Titanic.