All posts by Mr. Clevland

About Mr. Clevland

MrClevland has been a cartoon fan since, well, infancy. He has been writing nearly that long. Opinionated, yes, but backed with a wealth of personal knowledge on the subject. You can give r. C a piece of your mind here.

Producers Guild Announces its Animated Nominations

Producers Guild

Producers Guild

The Producers Guild of America announced Wednesday five nominations for the Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures.

Three of the nominees are products of Disney: Brave (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures), produced by Katherine Sarafian; Frankenweenie (Walt Disney Pictures), produced by Allison Abbate and Tim Burton; and Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures), produced by Clark Spencer.

Rounding out the list are ParaNorman (Focus Features), produced by Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner, and Rise of the Guardians (Paramount Pictures), produced by Nancy Bernstein and Christina Steinberg.

One of the five nominees for the Award for Outstanding Children’s Program, Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb, is a cartoon series. It’s vying in the category with the live-action Good Luck Charlie (Disney Channel), iCarly (Nickelodeon), Sesame Street (PBS) and The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover (HBO).

All 2013 Producers Guild Award winners will be announced January 26 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. This year, the Producers Guild will also present special honors to Bob and Harvey Weinstein (Milestone Award).

In 1990, the Producers Guild held the first-ever Golden Laurel Awards, which were renamed the Producers Guild Awards in 2002. Richard Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck took home the award for Best Produced Motion Picture for Driving Miss Daisy, establishing the Guild’s awards as a bellwether for the Oscars. Last year, the PGA awarded The Artist with its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures, marking the fifth consecutive year that the Producers Guild has presaged the Motion Picture Academy’s choice.

Angry Birds Bigger Than Disney?

Angry Birds

Angry Birds

Mikael Hed, chief executive of Finnish gaming company Rovio, says the company is going ahead with a 2016 feature film based on his company’s famous avians, the Angry Birds. But Hed is not happy just making a feature film, he plans on taking the giant of children’s animation, Disney.

The Rovio chief executive told AFP that the animated 3D film- which will not be released until the summer of 2016- could lead to the company setting up an animated movie studio that would compete with California-based Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“If this goes very well, that is what is going to happen. Certainly we are structuring this in a way so that it’s possible for us to continue to produce more movies after this one,” he said.

Rovio seems to be starting out right… they have brought in John Cohen, producer of computer-animated comedy “Despicable Me” to produce it, and David Maisel, former chairman of Marvel Studios, as an executive producer.

And animated films are not the only front Rovio is taking on the animation giant. The company already has two theme parks, on in Finland and one in Great Britain. They are building a third Angry Birds Land in Asia next year at a site near Shanghai.

Rovio has also partnered with children’s cable network Nickelodeon for a series of Angry Birds specials, including Angry Birds – Wreck The Halls and  Angry Birds Space.

Is that enough to take on Disney? Only time will tell… but it does seem that Rovio is aiming high for a one-trick pony.

 

L.A. Critics Name “Frankenweenie” Best Animation

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie,” directed by Tim Burton, has been named the Best Animation of 2012 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Don Hertzfeldt’s It’s Such a Beautiful Day was declared runner-up in the category.

The 38th Annual LAFCA Awards were announced Sunday.

Amour was named Best Picture of the year. Its star, Emmanuelle Riva, tied for Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook).

Runner-up for Best Picture was The Master. Paul Thomas Anderson was named Best Director, while Best Actor went to Joaquin Phoenix and Best Supporting Actress went to Amy Adams.

The Master also earned Mihai Malaimare Jr. a runner-up nod for Best Cinematography. The movie’s Jack Fisk and David Crank won for Best Production Design. Jonny Greenwood was named runner-up for Best Music Score.

Documentarian Frederick Wiseman received the Career Achievement award.

Founded in 1975, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association is comprised of Los Angeles-based professional film critics working in the Los Angeles print and electronic media.

Plaques of recognition are presented to winners during LAFCA’s annual ceremony, held in mid-January.

N.Y. Film Critics Honor Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie

Walt Disney Studios’ “Frankenweenie,” directed by Tim Burton, was named Monday by the New York Film Critics Circle as Best Animated Film of 2012.

Kathryn Bigelow’s war drama Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was named Best Picture from this year’s vote. The film also won two other awards for Best Director (Bigelow) and Best Cinematographer (Greig Fraser).

Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Lincoln picked up three awards, including Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field), and Best Screenplay (Tony Kushner).

Rachel Weisz was named Best Actress for her performance in The Deep Blue Sea. Matthew McConaughey won Best Supporting Actor for his roles in Bernie and Magic Mike.

The Central Park Five was named Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary), while the award for Best Foreign Film was given to Amour. David France’s How to Survive a Plague was declared the year’s Best First Film.

The NYFCC, which has 35 members, will present its 77th annual awards January 7.

Princess Mononoke Actress Mitsuko Mori Dead at 92

Mitsuko Mori

Mitsuko Mori

Actress Mitsuko Mori, the voice of Hii-sama in the original Japanese version of Hayao Miyazaki’s 1997 film Princess Mononoke, died Saturday at a Tokyo hospital. She was 92.

She died due to heart failure caused by pneumonia.

Mori was nominated for the Award of the Japanese Academy for Best Actress in connection with her leading role as Yuriko Hirosawa (The Authoress) in 2000’s Kawa no nagare no you ni. She received the Order of Culture and the People’s Honor Award.

Mori portrayed the main character in Horoki over 2,000 times. In addiiton, she played the main role in the popular TV drama Jikan desu yo (It’s time).

She was born Mitsu Murakami in Kyoto on May 9, 1923.

Lucille Bliss, 96, Was Cartoon Voice of Crusader Rabbit, Smurfette

Lucille Bliss

Lucille Bliss

Voice actress Lucille Bliss, who portrayed the title character of the first made-for-TV cartoon series, Crusader Rabbit (1949-51), died Thursday night, animator Dave Nimitz said. She was 96.

She had been living in Mesa Verde Residential Care Center in Costa Mesa, California.

Bliss voiced Smurfette, the only female Smurf, from 1981 to 1989 in the Hanna-Barbera series Smurfs, as well as the 1987 TV special ‘Tis the Season to Be Smurfy. Other Smurfette appearances were in the TV-movies The Smurfs Christmas Special and The Smurfs Springtime Special (both 1982), My Smurfy Valentine (1983), and The Smurfic Games (1984).

For Disney, she portrayed stepsister Anastasia in Cinderella (1950), Sunflower and Turnip in Alice in Wonderland (1951), and the Kanine Krunchie Commercial Singer in 101 Dalmatians (1961). Other roles in cartoon films were Mrs. Fitzgibbons in Don Bluth Productions’ The Secret of NIMH (1982) and the Pigeon Lady in Blue Sky’s Robots (2005).

Also at Disney, she narrated “Story of Thumper,” “Story of the White Rabbit” and “Story of Grandpa Bunny,” three stories on the Disney album Peter Cottontail and Other Funny Bunnies.

Her other regular TV series roles included Snoopy in H-B’s The Space Kidettes (1966), Queen Slugga in Ewoks (1986-87), and Ms. Bitters in Invader ZIM (2001).

Over the 1950s, Bliss was heard in several theatrical Warner Bros. and MGM theatrical cartoon shorts. Though uncredited, she was Suzanne in Friz Freleng’s A Kiddies Kitty (1955), the Little Girl and Mama in A Waggily Tale (1958), Jerry’s little mouse friend Tuffy in 1958’s MGM cartoon Robin Hoodwinked, and the Leprechaun in another 1958 MGM release, Droopy Leprechaun.

On TV, she guested as Hugo and Scout in the 1961 The Flintstones episode “The Good Scout,” The Librarian in the 2005 Duck Dodgers episode “All in the Crime Family,” and Yagoda (aka Yugoda) in the 2005 Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes “The Waterbending Master” and “The Siege of the North Pt. 1.”

Bliss portrayed Bamm Bamm Rubble in the 1977 TV-movie A Flintstone Christmas and Dusty in the 1978 TV-movie The Flintstones Little Big League. Other TV-movie and TV special roles included Miss Witch in The Great Bear Scare (1983); and Lickety Page and other characters in the ABC Weekend Specials Cap’n O.G. Readmore’s Jack and the Beanstalk (1985), Cap’n O.G. Readmore Meets Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Cap’n O.G. Readmore’s Puss in Boots and Cap’n O.G. Readmore Meets Red Riding Hood (both 1988).

She was in the voice casts of the two-part 1972 special Oliver and the Artful Dodger, released as an installment of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie; the 1975 TV-movie The Tiny Tree. Bliss was also in the 1979 TV-movie Casper the Friendly Ghost: He Ain’t Scary, He’s Our Brother (aka Casper Saves Halloween).

Bliss portrayed Quinby in the 2007 theatrical cartoon short Up-In-Down Town, and also was heard in the theatrical shorts Hug Me (1981) and Betty Boop’s Hollywood Mystery (1989)

In the 2005 video short Blue Harvest Days (retitled Who Saves the Village?), she voiced Bear Brat.

Born in New York City on March 31, 1916, Bliss moved to San Francisco in the 1950s. There, she hosted ABC affiliate KRON-TV’s The Happy Birthday To You Show, a live local kids’ program, from 1950 to 1957.

For her work in Cinderella, Bliss received the Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1999 Young Artist Awards. At the Annie Awards, she won the Winsor McCay award for lifetime achievement in 2000.

Hotel Transylvania to Open Again With 2015 Sequel

Hotel Transylvania 2

Hotel Transylvania 2

Sony Pictures Animation will release a sequel to sleeper Hotel Transylvania, said an unnamed spokesman for the studio. Set for release in 2015, the movie is tentatively titled Hotel Transylvania 2.

No director is currently attached to the sequel. Genndy Tartakovsky, director of the original film, will be in charge of SPA’s Popeye.

Hotel Transylvania has grossed more than $250 million worldwide so far. It opened to $42.5 million in North America and $50.6 overseas, setting a new record for a September opening.

In the original film, Adam Sandler voiced Dracula, owner of the five-star resort of the movie’s title. Other monsters included Murray the Mummy (Cee Lo Green), Frankenstein’s Monster (Kevin James) and Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade). Dracula’s daughter Mavis was voiced by Selena Gomez.

Vancouver Hosts Major Studio Ghibli Animation Retrospective

Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli

The Cinematheque and the Vancity Theatre, both located in downtown Vancouver, are co-hosting a major retrospective of the films of Studio Ghibli, the world-renowned anime studio founded in Tokyo in 1985 by animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki.

The Cinematheque presentation includes two rare titles —  Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday) and Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves) never released in North America before. All Ghibli films (with the exception of The Ocean Waves) will be presented in new 35mm prints.

Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata, and the Masters of Studio Ghibli runs from December 7 to 9, 12 to 17, 22 to 23 and 26 to 30, as well as January 2 to 3.

Frequently referred to as the Disney of Japan, Studio Ghibli (pronounced “jib-lee” or “gee-buh-lee”) is known for startlingly original animated feature films that combine dazzling visual virtuosity, vivid characterizations and epic storytelling. These include some of the most magical, most beloved animated movies ever made, including Castle in the Sky, My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Ghibli’s warm, intelligent, poetic films, often full of great flights of fancy that borrow from fairytale, folklore and science fiction, are always grounded in a deeply-felt humanism that embraces family and community and believes in essential human goodness (despite considerable evidence of human folly), and in a deep concern for the environment and our relationship with nature. They typically feature strong female protagonists. Ghibli films, it is also worth noting, are still primarily (and lovingly) crafted the traditional way, through the labor-intensive, hand-drawn, frame-by-frame technique of cel animation.

Here’s what’s scheduled:

Kaze No Tani No Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind)
Miyazaki’s debut is considered by many to be his masterwork. There are few films, animated or otherwise, of such sweeping scope and grandeur.

Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Castle in the Sky)
Miyazaki’s first Studio Ghibli feature is this beautiful, exhilarating eco-fantasy adventure of a young boy and girl searching for a long-lost floating island in the sky.

Majo No Takkyûbin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
Kiki is a young witch-in-training; her best friend is Jiji, a chatty, wisecracking black cat in this beautiful, timeless and beloved story of a young girl finding her way in the world.

Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves)
RARE GHIBLI! Rarely seen outside of Japan — never released in North America in any format — this subtle, poignant story of adolescence and teenage isolation is a true discovery.

Tonari No Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)
Miyazaki’s most endearing, most beloved and most iconic film tells the touching tale of two sisters who discover a forest full of spirits and magical creatures next to their new home.

Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
Miyazaki’s epic story of conflict between humans, gods and nature is a landmark of animation and a film of unsurpassed power and beauty with an environmental message.

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
When a shy teenager is cursed by the jealous Witch of the Waste, she seeks refuge with a handsome wizard named Howl in his magical moving castle while they fight to lift the spell.

Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
This Academy Award-winning film was Japan’s biggest box-office hit of all time, and cemented Miyazaki’s reputation as an icon of inspired animation and wondrous, lyrical storytelling.

Mimi O Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart)
A visually stunning wonder about the awakening of creative talent, this is the sole feature directed by Miyazaki’s protégé Yoshifumi Kondô before his sudden death at the age of 47.

Neko No Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns)
Walking home after a dreary day at school, Haru saves a cat from being hit by a speeding truck. Little does she know that she is about to be plunged into into a fantastical feline world…

Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko (The Raccoon War)
The forest home of the deceptively cuddly tanuki — a group of magical raccoon-like creatures — is threatened by the construction of a new suburb. Now, they must fight to save it.

Kurenai No Buta (Porco Rosso)
This tribute to early aviation is set between the World Wars in Fascist Italy, where flying ace Marco — cursed with the head of a pig — and beautiful Fio are catapulted into high-flying conflict.

Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday)
RARE GHIBLI! Never released in North America, this tale of self-discovery may delve deeper into the real emotional experiences of women than any animated film before or since.

Hôhokekyo Tonari No Yamadâkun (My Neighbors the Yamadas)
This delightfully offbeat, rarely-seen gem was the first Ghibli film to be created entirely on computers in order to achieve its soft watercolor look.

All Ghibli films presented at The Cinematheque will screen in the original Japanese-language versions with English subtitles.

All Ghibli films presented at the Vancity Theatre will screen in the English-dubbed versions.

All ages are welcome! The Cinematheque welcomes all ages to this family-friendly presentation of the films of Studio Ghibli. All films in the series are rated G or PG (with the exception of Princess Mononoke and The Ocean Waves, which are 14A — under 14 requires adult accompaniment).

Remember that all The Cinematheque’s Ghibli screenings are in Japanese with English subtitles! Membership is required for those 18 or over.

Pacific Cinémathèque is grateful to Dave Jesteadt and GKIDS (New York) and Tom Charity of Vancity Theatre (Vancouver) for their great assistance in making this presentation possible. Program notes are by (or adapted from) GKIDS, except where otherwise noted.

For links to the individual films and their showtimes, visit www.thecinematheque.ca/castles-in-the-sky-miyazaki-takahata-and-the-masters-of-studio-ghibli.

Scene from Umi Ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves), never released in North America theatrically or on any home viewing format.

Disney Purchasing Lucasfilm Ltd. For $4.05 Billion

Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm

The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction valued at $4.05 billion, the firms announced Tuesday.

Lucasfilm is 100% owned by its chairman and founder, George Lucas.

Lucasfilm has been involved as a producer of the animated series The Clone Wars and Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C3P0, as well as the animated movies Twice Upon A Time (1983) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008). The firm also supported Williams Street’s Robot Chicken: Star Wars specials.

Characters from Star Wars led to the creation of the 1985 Nelvana Limited series Ewoks.

Lucasfilm co-produced the 1992 DiC Entertainment special Defenders Of Dynatron City, not to mention the 1984 Pixar short The Adventures of Andre and Wally B.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on last Friday’s closing price of Disney stock, Disney will pay approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing about 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, including its Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in animation, live-action film production, consumer products, visual effects and audio post-production. Disney will also acquire firm’s substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Robert Iger. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content, including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.

“I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment and consumer products.”

Kennedy, current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Additionally, she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate and maximize the value of this global franchise.

Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The boards of directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.

Gumball Up For Two British Academy Kids’ Awards

British Academy Kids

British Academy Kids

The TV series “The Amazing World of Gumball” has received two nominations for the British Academy Children’s Awards, organizers announced Monday.

Produced by Cartoon Network Europe in association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media and Studio Soi, the Cartoon Network UK show was nominated for Writer and Animation — the same two categories in which it won last year. In addition, the series is shortlisted for the Kids’ Vote in the Television category.

Ben Bocquelet, Mic Graves, Joanna Beresford form the producing team behind The Amazing World of Gumball. Bocquelet, James Lamont and Jon Foster are the nominated writers.

Vying with Gumball in the Animation category are The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers (Pesky Productions/POP), The Gruffalo’s Child (Magic Light Pictures in association with Studio Soi/BBC One) and The Mechanical Musical Marvel (Chris Randall and Julie Boden; Second Home Studios/THSH Birmingham).

In the Pre-School Animation category, the nominees are Peppa Pig (Philip Hall, Joris van Hulzen and Phil Davies; Astley Baker Davies/Five), Rastamouse (Greg Boardman, Eugenio Perez and Derek Mogford; The Rastamouse Company/CBeebies), Timmy Time (Jackie Cockle, Liz Whitaker and David Scanlon; Aardman Animations/CBeebies) and Tree Fu Tom (CBeebies/Fremantle Media/Blue Zoo/CBeebies).

Feature Film nominees include Arthur Christmas (Peter Lord, Sarah Smith and Peter Baynham; Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation/Aardman/Sony Pictures Releasing) and Disney’s partly animated The Muppets (Walt Disney Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK). Arthur Christmas also appears in the BAFTA Kids’ Vote shortlist.

Three of the four hopefuls in the International category are animated series: Kung Fu Panda: Legends Of Awesomeness (DreamWorks Animation/Nickelodeon UK), Phineas and Ferb (Walt Disney Television Animation/Disney XD UK) and SpongeBob SquarePants (MTV Networks International/United Plankton Pictures/Nickelodeon UK).

Animated programs up for the Short Form awards are Compost Corner (Westley Wood, Tim Dann and Tim Collings; CiTV/CiTV), Ooglies (BBC Scotland/CBBC) and Share A Story 2011 (Dave Hickman, Carl Hadley and David Heslop; CiTV Creative/CiTV).

Besides Arthur Christmas, feature films shortlisted for the Kids’ Vote include Ice Age 4: Continental Drift and the partly animated The Smurfs.

Joining The Amazing World of Gumball in the shortlist for the Kids’ Vote in the Television category are the animated series Almost Naked Animals and Phineas and Ferb.

The British Academy Children’s Awards ceremony will take place November 25 at the London Hilton on Park Lane. Children’s BAFTA winner and Blue Peter presenter Barney Harwood will return to host the awards, which celebrate the very best in children’s media, including television, film, video games and online.

The awards are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.