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Brave, Guardians, Ralph each up for 10 Animation Annies

Annie Awards

Annie Awards

Three feature films each have received 10 nominations for the 49th Annual Annie Awards, recognizing the year’s best in the field of animation.

The three are Brave (Pixar Animation Studios), Rise of the Guardians (DreamWorks Animation) and Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Animation Studios). All three are among the eight nominees for Best Animated Feature.

Also up for Best Animated Feature are Frankenweenie (The Walt Disney Studios), Hotel Transylvania (Sony Pictures Animation), ParaNorman (Focus Features), Britain’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Aardman Animations) and France’s The Rabbi’s Cat (GKIDS).

Nominations were announced Monday by the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood.

The Annie Awards cover 30 categories, including Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Special Production, Commercials, Short Subjects and Outstanding Individual Achievements. However, no nominations were made this year for Best Animated Television Commercial.

Other nominations:

Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (Warner Bros. Animation)
Before Orel – Trust – Starburns Industries, Inc.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – Illumination Entertainment
Disney Tron: Uprising – Beck’s Beginning – Disney TV Animation
Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury – DreamWorks Animation
Justice League: Doom – Warner Bros. Animation

Best Animated Short Subject
Brad and Gary – Illumination Entertainment
Bydlo – National Film Board of Canada
Eyes on the Stars – StoryCorps
Goodnight Mr. Foot – Sony Pictures Animation
Kali the Little Vampire – National Film Board of Canada
Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV
Paperman – Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Simpsons – ‘Bill Plympton Couch Gag’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

Best General Audience Animated TV Production For Preschool Children
Bubble Guppies ‘A Tooth on the Looth’ – Nickelodeon Animation
Studios
Chuggington ‘Magnetic Wilson’ – Ludorum
Jake & The Never Land PiratesPeter Pan Returns’ – Disney TV Animation
Doc McStuffins ‘The Right Stuff’ – Disney TV Animation
Justin Time ‘Marcello’s Meatballs’ – Guru Studio
Best Animated Television Production For Children
Adventure Time ‘Princess Cookie’ – Cartoon Network Studios
Dragons: Riders of Berk ‘How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation
LEGO Star Wars ‘The Empire Strikes Out’ – Threshold Animation Studios
Penguins of Madagascar ‘Action Reaction’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
The Amazing World of Gumball ‘The Job’ – Turner Broadcasting System Europe, Ltd.
The Fairly OddParents ‘Farm Pit’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
The Legend of KorraWelcome to Republic City’/’A Leaf in the Wind’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Best General Audience Animated Television Production
Archer
‘Space Race, Part 1’ – Weissman Markovitz Communications for FX
Bob’s BurgersEarsy Rider’ – 20th Century Fox TV
Motorcity ‘Blond Thunder’ – Disney TV Animation
MAD ‘FrankenWinnie/ParaMorgan’ – Warner Bros. Animation
Robot ChickenDC Comics Special’ – Stoopid Buddy Studios
South Park ‘Raising the Bar’ – Central Productions

Animated Video Game
Borderlands 2 – Gearbox Software
Family Guy – Back to the Mutiverse – Heavy Iron Studios
Journey – Sony Computer Entertainment America
Skullgirls – Lab Zero Games

Best Student Film
Can We Be Happy Now – Tahnee Gehm
Defective Detective – Avner Geller & Steve Lewis
Head Over Heels – Timothy Reckart
I Am Tom Moody – Ainslie Henderson
Ladies Knight – Joseph Rothenberg
Origin – Jessica Poon
The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete – Karen Sullivan
Tule Lake – Michelle Ikemoto

Individual Achievement Categories

Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Andrew Nawrot, Joe Gorski, Grant Laker – ‘ParaNorman
Andrew Schneider ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios
Andy Hayes, Carl Hooper, David Lipton – Rise of the Guardians
Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien ‘Brave
Brett Albert – ‘Wreck-It Ralph
Jihyun Yoon – ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation
Joel Aron – ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Jerome Platteaux, John Sigurdson, Ryan Hopkins, Raul Essig, Mark Chataway ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic
Stephen Marshall, Joseph Pepper, Dustin Wicke – Columbia Pictures
‘The Amazing Spider-Man – Sony Pictures Animation
Sue Rowe, Simon Stanley-Clamp, Artemis Oikonomopoulou, Holger Voss, Nikki Makar, Catherine Elvidge ‘John Carter’ – Cinesite
Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar ‘Battleship’ – Industrial Light & Magic

Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
Dan Driscoll ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!
Jennifer Dickie ‘Justin Time: Yodel Odel Day’ – Guru Studio
Keith Kellogg ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
Forrest Savelen ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Shi Zimu ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation
Sihanouk Marinona ‘Before Orel: Trust
Teri Yam ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation
Yan Jiazhuang ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Dan Nguyen ‘Brave
David Pate ‘Rise of the Guardians
Jaime Landes ‘Brave
Phillppe LeBrun ‘Rise of the Guardians
Pierre Perifel ‘Rise of the Guardians
Travis Hathaway ‘Brave
Travis Knight “ParaNorman
Will Becher ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Erik de Boer, Amanda Dague, Matt Brown, Mary Lynn Machado, Aaron Grey ‘Life of Pi – Orangutan’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio
Erik de Boer, Matt Shumway, Brian Wells, Vinayak Pawar, Michael Holzl ‘Life of Pi – Tiger’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio
Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser, Scott Benzu, Steve King, Kiran Bhat ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic
Mike Beaulieu, Roger Vizard, Atushi Sato, Jackie Kochler, Derek Esparza, Richard Smith, Mac Tyrie – Columbia Pictures – The Amazing Spider-Man – Sony Pictures Animation

Character Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
Andy Bialk ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Alvin and the Outcasts’ – DreamWorks Animaton
Andy Suriano ‘DC Nation-Plastic Man: The Many and the Fowl’ – Big Hair Productions, Inc.
Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos, Ryu Ki-Hyun, Kim Il Kwang, Kim Jin Sun ‘The Legend of Korra: Welcome to Republic City’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
“C” Raggio IV ‘Kick Buttowski: Petrified’ – Disney TV Animation
Derrick Wyatt, Chap Yaep, Steven Choi ‘Ben 10: Omniverse: The More Things Change, Pt. 2’ – Cartoon Network Studios
Gordon Hammond ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Dudley Do-Wrong’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Robert Valley ‘Disney Tron: Uprising: The Renegade, Part I’ – Disney TV Animation
Thaddeus Paul Cauldron ‘Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: Secret Mountain Uncle Grandpa’- Cartoon Network Studios

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Bill Schwab, Lorelay Bove, Cory Loftis, Minkyu Lee ‘Wreck-It Ralph
Carlos Grangel ‘Hotel Transylvania
Carter Goodrich ‘Hotel Transylvania
Craig Kellman ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’
Heidi Smith ‘ParaNorman
Yarrow Cheney, Eric Guillon, Colin Stimpson ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment

Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
Howie Parkins ‘Jake & The Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns!’ – Disney TV Animation
John Eng ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation
Mark Cabalero, Seamus Walsh ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Mic Graves ‘The Amazing World of Gumball: The Job’
Michael Chang ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Never Say Xever’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Zack Keller ‘Dick Figures: Kung Fu Winners’ – 6 Point Media

Directing in an Animated Feature Production
Genndy Tartakovsky ‘Hotel Transylvania
Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux ‘The Rabbi’s Cat
Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie ‘Zarafa’ – GKIDS
Rich Moore ‘Wreck-It Ralph
Sam Fell, Chris Butler ‘ParaNorman

Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
Adam Berry ‘Penquins of Madagascar: Private and the Winky Factory’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Alf Clausen ‘The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV
Frederik Wiedmann ‘Green Lantern The Animated Series: Into the Abyss’ – F. Wiedmann, Composer
Guy Moon ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Really Big Mission’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
John Paesano ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: How to Pick Your Dragon’
Michael Rubin ‘Bubble Guppies: Bubble Puppy’s Fin-tastic Fairytale!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Music in an Animated Feature Production
Alexandre Desplat ‘Rise of the Guardians
Bruce Retief ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ – Saltzman Communications
Henry Jackman ‘Wreck-It Ralph
Joel McNeely, Brendan Milburn, Valerie Vigoda ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios
John Powell, Adam Schlesinger, Ester Dean ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift
John Powell, Cinco Paul ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’
Mark Mothersbaugh ‘Hotel Transylvania
Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel ‘Brave

Production Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
Alberto Mielgo ‘Tron: Uprising: The Stranger’ – Disney TV Animation
Ian Worrel ‘Gravity Falls – Tourist Trapped’ – Disney TV Animation
Lynna Blankenship, Sean Coons, Hugh Macdonald, Debbie Peterson, Charles Ragins, Lance Wilder, Darrel Bowen, John Krause, Kevin Moore, Brent M. Bowen, Brice Mallier, Steven Fahey, Dima Malanitchev, Karen Bauer, Eli Balser, Anne Legge – ‘The Simpsons: Moe Goes From Rags to Riches’ – Film Roman
Nick Jennings, Martin Ansolebehere, Sandra Calleros, Ron Russell, Santino Lascano, Derek Hunter, Catherine E. Simmonds –
‘Adventure Time – The Hard Easy’ – Cartoon Network Studios
Peter Martin, Chris Grine, Ira Baker, Ramon Olivera, Scott Brown ‘hoops & yo yo’s Haunted Halloween’ – Hallmark
Scott Brandon James, Lee Keith ‘Justin Time: The Rubbery Dumplings’ – Guru Studio

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Marcello Vignali ‘Hotel Transylvania
Nash Dunnigan, Arden Chen, Jon Townley, Kyle McNaughton ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift
Nelson Lowry, Ross Stewart, Pete Oswald, Ean McNamara, Trevor Dalmer ‘ParaNorman
Norman Garwood, Matt Berry ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Patrick Hanenberger, Max Boas, Jayee Borcar, Woonyoung Jung, Perry Maple, Peter Maynez, Stan Seo, Felix Yoon ‘Rise of the Guardians
Rick Heintzich ‘Frankenweenie
Steve Pilcher ‘Brave

Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
Andy Kelly ‘Doc McStuffins: Righty-On-Lefty’ – Disney TV Animation
Cole Sanchez, Rebecca Sugar ‘Adventure Time: Lady & Peebles’ – Cartoon Network Studios
Doug Lovelace ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man’ – DreamWorks Animation
Holly Forsyth ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ – Disney TV Animation
Irineo Marramba, Ciro Nieli ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman’’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Robert Valley, Kalvin Lee ‘Tron: Uprising: The Reward’ – Disney TV Animation
Ryan Kramer, Paul Linsley, Kenji Ono, Le Tang, Alice Herring, Mike Mullen, Aaron Hammersley ‘Kung Fu Panda: Legends of
Awesomeness: Enter the Dragon’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Tom Herpich, Skyler Page ‘Adventure Time: Goliad’ – Cartoon Network Studios

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Emmanuela Cozzi ‘ParaNorman
Johanne Matte ‘Rise of the Guardians
Leo Matsuda ‘Wreck-It Ralph
Lissa Treiman ‘Wreck-It Ralph
Rob Koo ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wantedd’

Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
James Patrick Stuart as Private ‘Penguins of Madagascar: High Moltage’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Jeff Bennett as Keswick ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Pup Daddy’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Jessica Walter as Malory Archer ‘Archer: Lo Scandolo’ – Weissman Markovitz Communications for FX Network
Kevin Michael Richardson as Willem Viceroy ‘Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Gossip Boy’ – Disney TV Animation
Kristen Schaal as Mabel Pines ‘Gravity Falls: Tourist Trapped’ – Disney TV Animation
Mae Whitman as April O’Neil – ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Sam Witwer as Darth Maul ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
Tom McGrath as Skipper ‘Penguins of Madagascar: The Otter Woman’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Adam Sandler as Dracula ‘Hotel Transylvania
Alan Tudyk as King Candy ‘Wreck-It Ralph
Atticus Shaffer as “E”Gore ‘Frankenweenie
Catherine O’Hara as Weird Girl ‘Frankenweenie
Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Jim Cummings as Budzo ‘Adventures in Zambezia’
Jude Law as Pitch ‘Rise of the Guardians
Kelly MacDonald as Merida ‘Brave

Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
Doug Langdale – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Kung Fu Day Care’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Eric Horsted – Futurama: The Bots and the Bees’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV
Gabe Garza – ‘Penguins of Madagascar: Endangerous Species’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Ian Maxtone-Graham, Billy Kimball ‘The Simpsons: How I Wet Your Mother’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV
Kacey Arnold – ‘Robot and Monster: The Blimp’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Mike Teverbaugh, Linda Teverbaugh – Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation
Stephanie Gillis ‘The Simpsons: A Tree Grows in Springfield’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV
Trey Parker – ‘South Park: Jewpacabra’ – Central Productions

Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Chris Butler – ParaNorman
Gideon Defoe – The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa, Karey Kirkpatrick – From Up on Poppy Hill – GKIDS
John August – Frankenweenie
Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi – Brave
Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee – Wreck-It Ralph

Editorial in an Animated Television Production
Bret Marnell ‘Puss in Boots: Three Diablos’ – DreamWorks Animation
Chris Hink ‘Robot and Monster: Cheer Up Mr. Wheelie’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrik Waeden, Otto Ferraye ‘Kung Fu Panda: ‘Monkey in the Middle’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrik Waeden, Otto Ferraye ‘Kung Fu Panda – Enter the Dragon’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Jason Tucker ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revival’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
Lynn Hobson ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation
Pieter Kaufman ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ – Disney TV Animation
Steffie Lucchesi, Matt Steinauer, May Blaisdell ‘Dan Vs Monster Under The Bed’ – Film Roman

Editorial in an Animated Feature Production
Catherine Apple ‘Hotel Transylvania
Joyce Arrastia ‘Rise of the Guardians
Mark Rosenbaum ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios
Nicholas A. Smith, ACE, Robert Graham Jones, ACE, David Suther ‘Brave
Tim Mertens ‘Wreck-It Ralph

Juried Awards

Winsor McCay Award – Oscar Grillo, Terry Gilliam, Mark Henn
June Foray – Howard Green
Ub Iwerks – Toon Boom Animation Pipeline

The Annie Awards will be presented Saturday, February 2 at UCLA Royce Hall in Los Angeles.

DWA’s Guardians on Rise Abroad, Collects $40M

Rise Of The Guardians

Rise Of The Guardians

Though it had tepid results in North America, DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians collected $40 million in 56 foreign countries over the weekend.

Distributed by Paramount, Rise of the Guardians was in second place abroad, surpassed only by the live-action Twilight: Breaking Yawn, Part 2, which gathered $48.4 million from 74 countries.

Apparently, the DWA movie will be No. 1 in 20 countries. France was the leader, with $4.7 million, followed by Mexico, where it garnered $3.7 million.

After two weeks, the foreign total for Guardians is $57 million. Worldwide, it’s grossed almost $106 million so far.

In North America, the movie tied with Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln for third place at the box office. Each film made $13.5 million.

Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph was tied for sixth place domestically with Killing Them Softly, directed by and starring Brad Pitt. Each brought in $7 million.

Bah, Humbug: SpongeBob Banned From Xmas Lighting

SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants

Bureaucrats in Wolverhampton, England refused to let SpongeBob Squarepants go on stage for the city’s Christmas lights turn-on ceremony because it was felt that his costume was to large for him to climb five steps to the platform.

Health and safety concerns also stopped him from being lifted onto the back of a float due to the crowd of 2,000 — including many families with young children — that showed up to see the cartoon character. That means SpongeBob couldn’t be carried around town.

Many young fans couldn’t see him Friday night because the children’s character could only be on ground level.

However, the yellow guy was allowed to meet and greet fans in Beatties and Market Square. Health and safety rules meant that he could spend just two 40-minute sessions with fans.

Bringing SpongeBob to the big event cost £1,845 ($3,000 U.S.).

John Williamson, 45, of Wolverhampton said that his nine-year-old daughter Lola was left in tears after she couldn’t see her idol.

Bah, Humbug: SpongeBob Banned From Xmas Lighting

Bah, Humbug: SpongeBob Banned From Xmas Lighting

“It’s ridiculous to ban a children’s character from a Christmas lights switch on,” he fumed. “You would hope the council wouldn’t be such health and safety scrooges and let the kids have a good look at their character.

“Lola had been talking about seeing Spongebob Squarepants for days, but was inconsolable when she couldn’t even get a glimpse of him.”

SpongeBob had been expected to turn the lights on alongside Coronation Street star Sherrie Hewson, but the soap opera star had to press the button by herself.

Wolverhampton City Council leaders called last week’s event a success.

“The Christmas lights switch-on was a great success, with huge crowds turning up to Market Square to enjoy the free event,” said Mark Blackstock, the council’s outdoor events manager. “Unfortunately, the character actor playing SpongeBob Squarepants was unable to climb the stairs on to the stage because of his costume.

“Health and safety considerations meant we were unable to lift him on to the stage using the tailgate of one of our vehicles because of the high numbers of people around the stage.

“This meant that SpongeBob Squarepants was unable to appear on stage during the event. But he did spend an hour and 20 minutes meeting fans both in Market Square and Beatties House of Fraser.

“As the actor could only be permitted to stay in his suit for 40 minutes at a time, again for health and safety reasons, we arranged the two 40-minute meet and greet sessions to enable the public to see him close up.

“During this time, he met as many young fans as possible at both locations, though we of course apologise to anyone who couldn’t see him on stage and was unable to meet him in person.”

Ten-year-old Jessica Drew, a pupil of Woodfield Junior School in Penn, joined her Girl Guide group to watch the lighting ceremony.

“The fireworks were really good and we enjoyed it, but we were disappointed that we didn’t see SpongeBob. We just thought that he hadn’t turned up because we never saw him once. There was no sign of him on stage at all,” she remarked.

Just two years ago, another costumed cartoon character let fans down at the city’s Christmas lights bash. Peppa Pig had to cut down on her meet-and-greets over concerns that she would overheat in her suit. The woman in the suit cut short the visit herself, saying that she had gone over her time limit in the costume.

Beatties staff offered to wear the suit themselves to prevent children and parents from being disappointed children and parents. However, they were told that they couldn’t take on Peppa’s role. At the time, Beatties said the meet-and-greet had lasted longer than expected in spite of health and safety rules.

Animated Edmond Was a Donkey A Winner at Francophone Fest

Edmond Was a Donkey (Edmond Etait un Ãne (French)

Edmond Was a Donkey (Edmond Etait un Ãne (French)

Franck Dion’s animation “Edmond Etait Un Ane” (“Edmund Was a Donkey”) won the prize for best international short film Friday at the 26th Festival international de cinéma francophone en Acadie, held in Moncton, New Bruswick.

Jurors Chris LeBlanc, Émilie Moreault and Nisk Imbeault recognized the National Film Board of Canada release “for (Dion’s) capacity to create an effect of total immersion in in a skillfully conceptualized universe, and for the universality of the theme that can touch on all human marginalities.”

Tied for the “Coup de coeur du public” prize was Phil Comeau’s feature-length documentary Frédéric Back: Grandeur Nature. Back is a Canadian artist and director of short animated films.

Friday’s award ceremony was held during the festival’s evening at the Capitol theater.

Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective Coming to Vancouver

Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli

Between December 14 and January 3, the Vancity Theatre and The Cinematheque — both located in downtown Vancouver — are co-hosting Castles in the Sky: The Masters of Studio Ghibli.

It’s a major retrospective of films from the world-renowned anime studio Studio Ghibli founded in Tokyo in 1985 by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki.

Perfect for transcending the winter greys, these films prove that Studio Ghibli is every bit the equal of any animation studio in the world or in film history.

All Studio Ghibli films presented at the Vancity Theatre will be screened in 35mm in the English-language versions. All films at the Cinematheque will screen in Japanese-language prints with subtitles.

These films are open to all ages. Princess Mononoke is classified 14A; all other titles are rated G or PG. The Vancity Theatre offers a special rate of $7 for youth under 19.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)
“Best Animated Film of All Time”- Time Out Magazine
“Whenever I watch it, I smile, and smile, and smile” – Roger Ebert
Friday, December 14, 6:30 p.m.; Friday, December 21, 5 p.m.; Sunday, December 23, 3:50 p.m.; Monday, December 24, 2 p.m.; Friday, December 28, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1988, 35mm, 86 min., English
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voiced by Dakota and Elle Fanning, Tim Daly
Two little girls and their father move into a beautiful old house in the countryside to be near their mother, who is seriously ill in hospital. Largely left to fend for themselves, Mei and her big sister Satsuki encounter a strange and beautiful world of forest sprites named “Totoros.” Miyazaki’s most beloved film is simply magical and magically simple.

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind)
“A joy to watch.”- New York Times
Saturday, December 15, 3 p.m.; Sunday, December 16, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1984, 35mm, 117 min., English
Directed by Hayao Miyazake
Voice cast includes Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Edward James Olmos, Chris Sarandon
Miyazaki’s first film as writer-director (based on his own successful manga) is an extradinarily rich fantasy film, an eco-allegory set in a feudal, toxic future and a spirited adventure movie. Led by the courageous Princess Nausicaa, the people of the Valley of the Wind are engaged in a perpetual conflict with powerful insects called “ohmu,” guardians of a poisonous (and spreading) jungle.

Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
Enchanted and enchanting… fast and funny; weird and wonderful. Mostly wonderful.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Saturday, December 15, 5:20 p.m.; Monday, December 17, 6:30 p.m.; Thursday, December 20, 5:30 p.m.; Monday, December 31, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2001, 35mm, 125 min., English, Classification: PG
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Michael Chiklis, John Ratzenberger
Chihiro and her parents are en route to a new home when they drive through a mysterious tunnel and enter a deserted town. When her folks start gorging on food and transform into a pair of pigs, Chihiro discovers this place is not quite as empty as she had imagined. This is a place of spirits, gods, monsters and witches.
“Picks up a resonance, weight and complexity that makes it all but Shakespearean…. No other word for it: a masterpiece.” – Tony Rayns, Time Out
“SIX STARS (exception must be made for the exceptional). Spirited Away is a feast of wonderment, a movie classic and a joy that will enrich your existence until you too are spirited away. I don’t expect ever to love a film more.” – Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff)
“You’ll be planning to see Ponyo twice before you’ve finished seeing it once…. It offers up unforgettable images [..] images that use the logic of dreams to make the deepest possible connection to our emotions, and to our souls.”- Kenneth Turan, NPR
Sunday, December 16, 2 p.m.; Wednesday December 19, 6:30 p.m.; Monday, December 24, 3:45 p.m.; Saturday, December 29, 4:15 p.m.
Japan, 2008, 35mm, 101 min., English
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon
Miyazaki’s strange and beguiling fantasy film about a sea spirit – it’s an odd eco fable about the terrible power of the sea, but illustrated with such beauty and imagination it transports us entirely into another world. Rated G, this is suitable for children of all ages.
“Miyazaki knows the secret language of children; he dives deep into the pool of childhood dreams and fears and, through his animagic, takes children down to where they can breathe, and feel, and be free.” – Richard Corliss, Time

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
“Complex, superbly rendered, and wildly eccentric – even by Miyazaki’s own standards.”- J Hoberman, Village Voice
Sunday, December 16, 6:15 p.m.; Tue. December 18, 6:30 p.m.
Japan, 1997, 35mm, 134 min., English, Classification: 14A
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson.
Set during the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) of Japan, Princess Mononoke is the tale of a mystical fight between humans and the Animal Gods of the forest. Aimed at a slightly older audience than most Ghibli fare (it is classified 14A), this epic folk tale shows the influence of Akira Kurosawa (a Miyazaki fan himself) and of John Ford, too. The film was the most successful ever at the Japanese box office (prior to Titanic), and named the film of the year in Japan’s equivalent to the Academy Awards.
“A symphony of action and images, a thrilling epic of warriors and monsters, forest creatures and magical spells, with an underlying allegory about the relationship of man and nature.” – Roger Ebert

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Castle in the Sky)
“Frequently astounding.” – Richard Harrington, Washington Post
Saturday, December 22, 12 noon; Sunday, December 23, 5:45 p.m.
Japan, 1986, 35mm, 124 min., English
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman
An island in the sky? The story of a young boy who sees a girl floating down from the sky. He comes to her aid in her flight from sky pirates, the army and secret agents. An adventure story influenced by Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels, Castle in the Sky is dynamic, imaginative family entertainment with valuable lessons about technology and ignorance.

Kurenai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
“Smooshes fantasy and history into a pastel-pretty yarn as irresistible as his feminism.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
Saturday, December 22, 4:10 p.m.; Sunday, December 23, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1992, 35mm, 94 min., English
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, David Ogden Stiers
Pigs will fly! This cockeyed tribute to Humphrey Bogart and Ernest Hemingway features an anti-fascist flier (who happens to look like a pig) tracking sky pirates over the Adriatic in the 1930s. An exhilarating romp with a melancholy undertow – and amazing flying machines!
“Teems with Miyazaki’s personal passions [..] rendered with the utmost detail and beauty. As stirring as Casablanca, and as sophisticated as Only Angels Have Wings, it’s a sublime chivalric fable.” Nick Bradshaw, Time Out

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
“Astonishing in its visual splendor and delightfully entertaining, this magical family film about a little witch-in-training, from Japan’s celebrated animator Hayao Miyazaki, is not to be missed.” – Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, December 26, 2 p.m.; Wednesday, January 2, 4:15 p.m.; Thursday, January 3, 2 p.m.
Japan, 1989, 35mm, 103 min., English
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Voices: Kirsten Dunst, Debbie Reynolds, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo
In keeping with tradition, 13-year-old witch Kiki dusts off her broom and flies away from home for a year of independence and self-discovery in the big city. Her only companion is her beloved black cat, Jiji.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
“A stunning example of a pure, disorienting dream logic that cinema provides all too rarely.”- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Thursday, December 27, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 29, 2 p.m.
Japan, 2004, 35mm, 119 min., English
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Cast: Voices: Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons
Teenager Sophie is cursed by the Witch of Waste and finds herself trapped in the body of an old woman, and is unable to tell her mother or anyone else what has happened. She finds help of sorts with the wizard Howl, living as a servant in his astonishing walking castle. Sophie is an innocent who must prove her resourcefulness, courage and conviction in a bewildering, alien world.

Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko (The Raccoon War)
“Pompoko is a delightful, often uproariously funny film, at once childishly irreverent and thoughtfully mature. Being a Ghibli work, it is beautifully rendered and technically impeccable, with a great number of memorable set pieces.”- Tom Mes, Midnight Eye
Thursday, December 27, 2:15 p.m.; Sunday, December 30, 3:30 p.m.
Japan, 1994, 35mm, 119 min., English
Directed by Isao Takahata
Voices: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Clancy Brown, JK Simmons
Imagine Watership Down, Studio Ghibli-style. Instead of rabbits, we have raccoons. And not just any raccoons – these critters have magical powers of transformation. As their habitat is stripped and paved by the encroaching humans, the good-natured but rather undisciplined forest creatures embark on a campaign of disruption and distraction.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
“An enchanting, magical fable with a twisted vein of surrealism.” – Neil Smith, BBC
Friday, December 28, 3:45 p.m.; Sunday, December 30, 5:45 p.m.; Monday, December 31, 4:20 p.m.
Japan, 2002, 35mm, 75 min., English
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita
Voices: Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Judy Greer, Elliot Gould, Tim Curry
Schoolgirl Haru bravely saves a cat’s life – and finds herself summoned to the Kingdom of the Cats for her pains, where she is to become the wife of the Cat Prince! When she refuses, she starts sprouting whiskers and furry ears…. What’s a girl to do?

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart)
“A beautiful film.” – David Jenkins, Time Out
Wednesday, Janurary 2, 2 p.m.; Thursday, January 3, 4 p.m.
Japan, 1995, 35mm, 111 min., English
Directed by Yoshifumi Kondo
Voices: Brittany Snow, Cary Elwes, David Gallagher, Courtney Thorne Smith
A lovely change of pace from Studio Ghibli, this is a teenage first-love story, set in a realistically observed modern day Tokyo. Bookish schoolgirl Shizuku meets her soul mate with a little help from a portly cat.

Call the Film Info Line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) for the latest info and listings.

My Little Pony’s Andrea Libman Wins Animation Voice Award

Andrea Libman

Andrea Libman

For her portrayals of Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Toronto-born Vancouver performer Andrea Libman, 28, won the Award for Best Voice at the inaugural UBCP/ACTRA Awards.

Two other voice performers in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic had been nominated in the same category: Trevor Devall (Prince Blueblood) and Tabitha St. Germain (many characters).

Also nominated were Lee Tockar (Doktor Frogg) for League of Super Evil: “Lose Weight” and Sam Vincent (Lester) for Rated A for Awesome: “Lost in Character.”

The UBCP/ACTRA Award for Best Actress went to Camille Sullivan (Sisters & Brothers), while the award for Best Actor was given to Stephen Lobo for Afghan Luke. Also for Sisters & Brothers, Kacey Rohl was named Best Newcomer.

The UBCP/ACTRA Award for Best Stunt was handed out to Phil Mitchell for his work in True Justice: “Urban Warfare.”

Melissa Stubbs received the John Juliani Award of Excellence. The Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award was given to Carol Whiteman.

The UBCP/ACTRA Awards ceremony took place Saturday night at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation studios in Vancouver.

Over 130 performances were submitted to the nominating committee, who used a voting system to determine the final nominees.

The nominating committee included UBCP members Blu Mankuma, Brian Markinson, Carmen Moore, David Mylrea, Garvin Cross, Jay Brazeau, John Cassini, Lauro Chartrand, Melissa Stubbs, Robert Moloney, Sarah-Jane Redmond and Sonja Bennett. Where a member of the committee was also submitted for a nomination, they recused themselves from the voting.

The Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP/ACTRA) is an autonomous branch of ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada.

Guardians Slow to Rise, Opens in Fourth Place

Rise Of The Guardians

Rise Of The Guardians

Such childhood heroes as the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus save the world in Rise of the Guardians, but they didn’t stop the movie from opening in fourth place over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend.

Featuring the voices of Chris Pine and Alec Baldwin, the DreamWorks Animation movie made $32.6 million since opening Wednesday, including $24 million over the weekend itself.

That’s a far cry from the $64 million made by teen vampire sequel The Twilight Saga: Breaking Yawn – Part 2 in its second weekend.

Rise of the Guardians was produced by DWA for about $145 million. Distributor Paramount Pictures had expected it to gross $35 million in its first five days, according to Box Office Mojo.

Based on children’s author William Joyce’s book series The Guardians of Childhood, the film is the last being distributed by Paramount will release for DWA. Next year, DreamWorks Animation movies will be distributed by Fox.

Observing “the great parent reactions we’ve seen” to the film, Anne Globe, Dreamworks’ chief marketing officer, said it was one of the few choices for families through the end of the year. The studio is “hoping for very long legs through the holidays,” she added.

In sixth place was Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, which brought in $23 million. It was in fourth place the previous weekend. So far, Wreck-It Ralph has made $149.5 million domestically.

The North American box office for the Thanksgiving weekend (Wednesday to Sunday) reached $290 million, beating the previous holiday weekend record of $273 million set in 2009, when The Twilight Saga: New Moon was the leader.

Weekend ticket sales in the United States and Canada were compiled by the box office division of Hollywood.com.

Boy With Autism Wins Animation Award For 2nd Time

Young PK Keith of Valley Village, California, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age two, and whose budding interest in animation and film was evident at an early age, received a Best Elementary School Animation award Sunday from International Student Film Festival Hollywood in recognition of his animated short Animal Birthday Party.

Ten-year-old PK, who attends tutoring at Exceptional Minds vocational school for youth with autism, won in the same category in last year’s ISFFH festival, an annual event open to all elementary, junior high and high school students that recognizes young filmmakers from around the world. The short was selected along with more than 65 others for screening at the ISFFH film festival, which took place Saturday and Sunday at Beverly Garland’s Theater in North Hollywood, California.

“Some people don’t know until after graduating from college what they want to do. PK has always wanted to be an animator. Even before he could talk, he’d go through reams and reams of paper, drawing and laying out his storyboards on the floor. This is his thing,” says mom Mollie Burns Keith, who enrolled PK in private tutoring sessions at Exceptional Minds over the summer to develop her son’s skills and prepare him for eventual employment as an animator.

PK originated the Flash animation with tutoring and instruction from Laura Robinson and other instructors at Exceptional Minds, a Sherman Oaks, California vocational school for young adults on the autism spectrum who aspire to become animators and computer artists. Started last year by professionals in the post-production and film industry, and instructed by working animators with the help of experts experienced in autism developmental issues, Exceptional Minds is being lauded as the poster child for what’s next for young adults with ASD, many of whom are underemployed or unemployed, yet who demonstrate an aptitude for computer animation and technology in general.

“PK is one more example of what these young and talented individuals can do given the right tools, the right instruction and the space to do it,” says Yudi Bennett, the director of operations for Exceptional Minds, and the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.

The International Student Film Festival Hollywood is in its 10th year as a venue “where the next generation of filmmakers showcase their work,” placing PK among an elite and esteemed group of young aspiring talent.

At the festival, the Grand Jury Award went to Shaun Seong-young Kim of USC for the animated Hu’s Game. The award for Best Animation was given to fellow USC student Wen Huang for The Seventh Star.

Named Best High School Animation was Snub-nosed Elf, directed by Chi Keung Wong of Hong Kong’s Yung Yau College. It was written by Ngo Yin Ip and Man Ho Wan. Chak Fung Ip, also of Yung Yau College, won Best Junior High School Animation for Make a Difference, written by Ka Yung Cheung and Wing Hang Chan.

Turkeys Ready To Be Served in November 2014

Turkeys

Turkeys

The animated comedy “Turkeys” will be released November 14, 2014, Relativity Media and Reel FX announced Thursday.

Turkeys is helmed by Jimmy Hayward, director of box office hit Horton Hears A Who! and animator on such films as Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. The film is jointly produced and financed by Relativity and Reel FX, and is now set for theatrical release.

The film stars the voice talent of Owen Wilson, who previously voiced Lightning McQueen in Disney-Pixar’s Cars; Woody Harrelson from The Hunger Games; and Dan Fogler, who previously voiced Zeng in Dreamworks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda. Producing are Scott Mosier (Clerks), Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part II), John Strauss (The Santa Claus 2) and David l. Stern (Hotel Transylvania). The screenplay was written by Stern and Strauss, with a rewrite by Mazin. The film will be distributed worldwide by Relativity.

Turkeys is an irreverent, hilarious, adventurous buddy comedy where two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history — and get turkey off the menu for good.

Reel FX is a fully-integrated movie studio that develops and produces both animated films and live-action movies. In addition to Turkeys, Reel FX’s growing animation slate includes Day of the Dead (Guillermo del Toro producing) and Beasts of Burden (Aron Warner and Andrew Adamson producing). Reel FX’s own film slate follows almost 20 years of experience as an award-winning one-stop studio for animated content, including films, special attraction/live venue projects and interactive projects, for companies like DreamWorks Animation, Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Studios.

Michael Hefferon Appointed President of Rainmaker Animation

Rainmaker Entertainment

Rainmaker Entertainment

Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. has appointed feature film and TV executive Michael Hefferon as president and executive producer, Craig Graham, newly appointed chairman and CEO of the Vancouver-based CGI animation production studio, announced.

The appointment of Hefferon reflects Rainmaker’s continuing expansion into both areas of client CGI animation services, as well as original production with entertainment partners worldwide, such as the studio’s partnership with the Weinstein Company on the upcoming feature film Escape From Planet Earth.

Hefferon joins a team of professional animation and creative talent at Rainmaker led by Kim Dent Wilder, senior vice-president of production and operations.

Hefferon brings to his leadership role at Rainmaker an extensive career in the TV and feature film industry, having produced more than 500 half-hours of programming for television and numerous theatrical motion pictures. Hefferon joins Rainmaker Entertainment from Bardel Entertainment, where he served as vice-president of business development and executive producer, and oversaw the Vancouver animation company’s numerous high-profile productions and associations with broadcasters worldwide.

He previously served as managing director of Australian CGI animation company Flying Bark Productions PTY Ltd, and as senior vice-president of production and development for German animation studio BFC Berliner Film Companie Productions GmbH, where he also was co-producer on the animated feature film Happily N’ever After.

Earlier in his career, Hefferon headed up animation co-productions for Gullane Entertainment/HIT Entertainment and served as vice-president of production and development for Toronto-based animation company Catalyst Entertainment. Hefferon also was founder and President of Phoenix Animation, his own studio, which quickly gained a reputation as a high-quality production studio with such credits as FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Thumbelina, A Goofy Movie and All Dogs Go To Heaven 2.

Hefferon will continue to serve as executive producer on his current series projects with Bardel Entertainment.

In addition to Hefferon’s appointment, Bardel Entertainment CEO Delna Bhesania was appointed to Rainmaker’s board of directors.

“We are extremely pleased to announce Michael Hefferon’s appointment to Rainmaker Entertainment. Michael ranks among the top echelon on television and film production and business executives whose extensive experience and impressive track record of success will prove to be of great benefit to our company as we continue our growth as a co-production partner and animation service provider,” said Graham.

“At the same time, we are delighted to welcome Delna Bhesania to Rainmaker’s board. A globally recognized animation executive, we look forward to Delna bringing her wealth of animation experience to our group.”