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.

Pixar’s WALL-E Finds Place in Robot Hall of Fame



The Robot Hall of Fame inducted WALL•E, the fictional robot of the namesake Pixar movie, during a ceremony Tuesday evening at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.

WALL•E was one of four robots chosen for the first time by a popular vote.

In the Entertainment category, voters chose WALL•E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class), the lovable star of the 2008 Disney/Pixar blockbuster by the same name. In the movie, WALL•E inadvertently embarks on a space journey that ultimately decides the fate of mankind. Other nominees in this category included Rosie the maid from the cartoon series The Jetsons.

“More than any previous class of inductees, this group of robots selected by popular vote represents contemporary robotics — robots at the cutting edge of technology — rather than older robots of strictly historical importance,” said Shirley Saldamarco, Robot Hall of Fame director and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center. “Even our fictional honoree, WALL-E, is from a movie that’s just four years old.”

More than 17,000 people across every continent except Antarctica participated in the online vote in August and September. The 12 nominees on this year’s ballot were chosen by a group of 107 robotics experts, industry leaders and aficionados selected by the Robot Hall of Fame.

The RHOF, created in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University, recognizes excellence in robotics technology. It honors both the fictional robots that inspire innovation and the real robots that embody it. In 2009, it was integrated into Carnegie Science Center’s roboworld exhibit.

Presenters at the ceremony included Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon; John Dulchinos, president and CEO of Adept Technology; Henry Thorne, chief technology officer of 4Moms; and Quasi, the robot character created by Interbots, a spinoff of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center. Heather Knight, a Ph.D. student in CMU’s Robotics Institute, and her stand-up comedian robot, Data, performed during the event.

This year’s induction ceremony was celebrated in conjunction with the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit, a conference of hundreds of robotics industry leaders that is in Pittsburgh this week.

The Robot Hall of Fame induction is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon and its Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and RoboBusiness. The Robotics Institute, the world’s largest robotics research and education organization, is part of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. Information about the RHOF and previous winners is available at

PLATFORM Animation Festival Opens Friday in L.A.

PLATFORM, the internationally acclaimed animation festival, is hosting a three-day event in Los Angeles from Friday to Sunday, October 26 to 28.

In collaboration with CalArts and the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), PLATFORM will showcase exciting and innovative new animated films and talent while also celebrating animation’s heritage through special screenings and informative panel discussions.

Drawing upon some of the freshest perspectives on the world of animation, festival director Irene Kotlarz has discovered a new generation of curators for this year’s festival. Says Kotlarz, “It has been a special pleasure this year to work with a talented group of CalArts animation students who have helped select the program. Their creative thinking perfectly complements the festival’s mission to be a platform for artists, to break boundaries, and to reflect developments in new media. Together we are really excited to bring PLATFORM to Los Angeles with an outstanding range of premieres, exclusive screenings, and special guests.”

CalArts dean of the School of Film/Video Steve Anker is thrilled to have his students partner in crafting the event for Los Angeles. “The PLATFORM Animation Festival makes a great case for the continued vitality of animation as an independent, personal art form. In just one weekend, an astonishing array of programs has been organized that will give L.A. viewers a chance to see dozens of films, ranging from the beginning of cinema to the latest Internet sensations, that together present a wonderful kaleidoscope of animation as a visual art,” says Anker.

Introducing films that have won worldwide acclaim to animation fans in Los Angeles, PLATFORM will screen highlights from the Annecy International Animation Festival. One program will focus on student films, and a second will present films from established artists, offering viewers a wide variety of story-telling and stylistic entertainment.

Embracing the latest platforms for animation, the festival will feature both screenings and panels that focus on how the internet has changed the industry. Showcasing another realm of groundbreaking animation, PLATFORM is honored to present a special preview screening of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Paperman, followed by a panel discussion with the key filmmakers of this short film.

To honor the history of animation and those who have broken boundaries through the years, PLATFORM will share special retrospective screenings of some of the student films from CalArts’ most famous alumni, such as John Lasseter and Craig McCracken. Reaching even further back into animation history, PLATFORM will present an archival screening of the short films by Ladislas Starewitch, the surrealistic stop-motion pioneer. His work in the 1910s to 1950s initiated the genre of fantastical, gothic stop-motion animation whose line of influence can be traced directly to contemporary filmmakers like Tim Burton and Henry Selick.

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

The schedule for the festival is as follows:

Friday, October 26

7:30 p.m.: Ladislas Starewitch. A rare screening of 35mm archival prints of short films by the influential surrealistic stop-motion pioneer played to live music. Polish-born Starewitch lived most of his life in Paris, creating fantastical, sophisticated and entertaining narrative films featuring strange insect and animal characters. The compilation screening will include such titles as L’Epouvantail (The Scarecrow), Amour Noir et Blanc (Love in Black and White), La Reine des Papillons (Queen of the Butterflies) and Les Yeux du Dragon (Eyes of the Dragon).

10 p.m.: Best of World Student Animation. Screening of selections from Annecy 2012 representing a broad spectrum of schools from all over the world. The program will include such award-winning student films as I’m Fine Thanks, directed by Eamonn O’Neill, and The Making of Longbird, directed by Will Anderson.

Saturday, October 27

12 noon: Streaming: A Conversation About Animators on the Web. Panel discussion to help answer the questions that today’s animators today face, considering the bewildering array of options and platforms for getting their work out to an audience: Should they put it out on the Web, and if so, which site? Should they give it away for free, or can they make money? Should they invite comments? Should they hold off and try to get into festivals? Will they miss the boat? Panelists include Jason Sondhi (Vimeo), among others. Moderated by Aaron Simpson (Mondo Media).

2 p.m.: Preview of Disney’s Paperman. Special screening followed by a panel discussion with director John Kahrs, art director Jeff Turley and animation supervisor Patrick Osborne. Applying a technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction in this short film.

4:30 p.m.: Best of World Animation. Screening of selections from Annecy 2012. Films include Michaela Pavlátová’s Grand Prix winner Tram (2012) and experimental artist Stephen Irwin’s Ottawa Grand Prix-winner Moxie (2011). Other award-winning films include Hisko Helsing’s Junkyard (2012), which just won the Nelvana Grand Prize for Best Independent Short Animation at the 2012 Ottawa International Animation Festival, and Oh, Willy (2011) by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels, which has won Best European Animation Short Film at Cartoon D’or and Grand Prix for Shorts at the Holland Animation Film Festival this year.

7: p.m.: PES: A Retrospective. Special presentation. The director and animator of numerous witty short stop-motion films and commercials, PES has a huge following at festivals and on the Internet. PES will screen and discuss a selection of his work. including his renowned The Deep (2011).

Sunday, October 28

12 noon: “Awesome” Cartoon Network. Screening and panel. A selection of shows and creative interstitials that exemplify an influential trend in TV and Internet animation, appearing first in the network’s Powerpuff Girls. Reaching its height with the pioneering Adventure Time, the culture of “awesome” emphasizes a clean and bubbly esthetic, positivity, and distinctive, random humor. The screening will be followed by a panel of Cartoon Network artists, including Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time) and JG Quintel (Regular Show). Introduced by Rob Sorcher, chief content officer at Cartoon Network, and moderated by Animation Magazine editor-in-chief Ramin Zahed.

2:30 p.m.: CalArts: A 40-Year Evolution, Program 1. Screening. A retrospective of CalArts animation, first presented at Annecy 2012. Two screenings of examples from four decades of CalArts’ programs in character and experimental animation, featuring student films by John Lasseter, Henry Selick, Craig McCracken and Steve Hillenburg, as well as more recent graduates, including Miwa Matreyek and Kirsten Lepore.

5 p.m.: Life After College. A distinguished panel that spans several generations of CalArts graduates who have been successful in various fields of the industry as creators of successful TV series, as standout animators on the Web, or as practicing independent artists. As they discuss their paths from graduation to artistic and professional success, the panelists will offer a range of options as role models for aspiring young artists. Panelists include Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls; Craig McCracken, creator of Powerpuff Girls and Wonder Over Yonder; Mike Moon, vice-president of creative at Disney TV Animation; Michael Patterson, experimental film artist, teacher and commercial filmmaker; and Miwa Matreyek, animator, designer and multi-media artist. Moderator: Jerry Beck. With thanks for generous support from Disney Television Animation.

8 p.m.: CalArts: A 40-Year Evolution, Program 2. Screening. A retrospective of CalArts animation, first presented at Annecy 2012.

The 2012 Platform International Festival takes place at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT). REDCAT is located at 631 West Second Street in downtown Los Angeles at the corner of Hope Street, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and in adjacent lots.

Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 for members. Discounts are available for multi-program purchases. Tickets may be purchased by calling (213) 237.2800, at, or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of West Second and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. through Saturday and two hours prior to curtain.

PLATFORM is part of the ongoing Jack H. Skirball “Film at REDCAT” series of screenings and presentations by independent film and video makers from around the world. For more information, visit

Dementia Tale Wins for Animated Short in San Pedro

The Reality Clock

The Reality Clock

Amanda Tasse’s “The Reality Clock,” in which a watchmaker searching for his lost clock loses himself in memory, was named Best Animated Short at this year’s San Pedro International Film Festival (SPIFFest).

The Reality Clock” is an experimental animated portrait of an elderly watchmaker as he struggles to accept the influence of early-stage dementia on his identity and sense of time. Shot in full stereoscopic 3D, using time-lapse photography, pixelation, live action and stop-motion animation, the film immerses the viewer in the internal experience of the character, expressed through metaphors of a clock, house, and morphing landscapes.

After confusing a simple memory evaluation, The Reality Comprehension Clock Test, the character misplaces his favorite pocket watch. As he embarks on a journey for the missing watch, memories overlap with present reality, distorting his sense of time and place. As he grasps for his identity, “Reality Clock” questions who and what the raw essence of a person is when stripped bare of new memories and rational lucidity.

The inspiration for “The Reality Clock” grew out of Tasse’s conversations with elderly patients with dementia when she volunteered for a hospice organization from 2005 to 2007. Realizing that most films portray dementia from the point-of-view of the caregiver, Tasse intended to explore what the experience might feel like for the patient.

She used varying cinematic techniques to emphasize the character’s subjective reality and play with metaphors inherent in the materials — a subtly animated puppet in a dollhouse juxtaposed with stuttering photographic and live-action memories. She decided to create the film in 3D after having read an autobiographical account by an author with early-stage dementia who described some of his hallucinations and memories as having the quality of depth associated with 3D pictures. Tasse intended to experiment with how stereoscopic 3D could be used as an additional art-design element to support immersive experimental and emotional storytelling.

The inaugural San Pedro International Film Festival screened 34 films from around the world, including Switzerland, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the United States — the last being the source for “Reality Clock.”

The inaugural festival ran at the Warner Grand Theatre, Terrace Cinemas and California Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

“The community support and turnout for SPIFFest exceeded our expectations,” said executive director Ziggy Mrkich. “We were extremely proud of the extent and diversity of the program, and are looking forward to an even bigger and better SPIFFest 2013.”

“San Pedro has served as a backdrop for many major film and TV projects, and the community has always been a great partner when it comes to welcoming production to its neighborhoods,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission. “It’s only fitting that San Pedro now has a film festival to call its own.”

Frankenweenie Collects $4.9 Million Overseas



Tim Burton’s comedy-horror animated movie “Frankenweenie” opened in nine overseas countries over the weekend to take in $4.9 million.

Directed, co-produced and co-written by Burton, Disney’s Frankenweenie has made $5.3 million abroad so far. It’s grossed $22 million in the United States and Canada over two weekends.

Meanwhile, Sony Animation’s 3D Hotel Transylvania opened in second place in the United Kingdom, gathering $2.8 million at 704 locations. This past weekend, it drew $13.7 million at 3,669 screens in 24 countries. So far, Hotel Transylvania has grossed $49.3 million abroad.

DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted remains No. 1 in Austria and Germany. In its second weekend in Germany, it took in $4.9 million at 742 locations.

Overall, Madagascar 3 made $10.1 million from 2,530 screens in 32 countries this weekend for a cumulative foreign gross total of $465 million. The movie opens this week in Britain.

The Fox blockbuster Ice Age: Continental Drift grossed $3.3 million at 721 theaters in four countries this weekend, raising the cumuluative foreign gross to $707.4 million.

This week, Universal’s ParaNorman opens in four countries, including Turkey and Uruguay.

[Via The Hollywood Reporter]

Leipzig’s DOK Festival to Show 114 Animated Shorts

DOK Leipzig

DOK Leipzig

This year’s DOK Leipzig, a German festival of documentaries and animation, will have 114 short animated films in its official program, organizers announced Friday.

The selected films were chosen from 2,847 entries submitted from 113 countries.

The number of countries also marks a new high. The 55th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film will also feature numerous special programs, so that a total of 360 films from 62 countries will be shown during the festival from October 29 to November 4.

Festival director Claas Danielsen praised the depth and scope of the festival’s official program.

“This year’s films paint a very exciting and varied picture of a world in transition. In that way, the festival serves as a barometer of fundamental political, social and cultural change,” he said.

The themes of protest, resistance and globalization recur throughout the program. “Told through the stories of
individual human beings, the work of the filmmakers provides an emotional window on how the world is changing,” said Danielsen.

This year, DOK Leipzig will be showing films from five continents.

Among the five competition categories in which the Golden and Silver Doves and many other prizes will be awarded are the International Competition Animated Film and the Young Cinema Competition (formerly Generation DOK).

New this year is an extensive children’s and youth program with contemporary animated and documentary films.

For more information, visit

Sony Pictures Animation becoming a “Manimal” house



Sony Pictures Animation is turning the short-lived Manimal into a live-action/CG hybrid film, having acquired movie rights to the 1983 NBC series.

Hugely prolific 1980s TV producer Glen A. Larson created the show about a man who could become an animal. Now Larson’s attached as a producer, thinking that a flop TV series can become a hit movie. Sony is looking for writers to develop a script.

In the Manimal series, wealthy Dr. Jonathan Chase, who had a mysterious past, became a black panther to help the police fight crime. Also starring were British actor Simon MacCorkindale and Melody Anderson, who portrayed Dale Arden in the 1980 movie Flash Gordon.

The series was canceled after just eight episodes, having been savaged by critics and ignored by TV viewers when it first aired — opposite the blockbuster Dallas.

Last summer, Sony struck paydirt with another live-action/CG film, The Smurfs, which went on to gross $500 million. A sequel to Smurfs is scheduled for release next summer.

And last month, it was reported the studio is developing a live-action/CG version of yet another ’80s TV series, ALF, with creator Paul Fusco, who also voices the title character.

[Via The Hollywood Reporter]

Oh Willy… Wins Award for European Animated Short

Cartoon d'or

Cartoon d’or

The winner of this year’s Cartoon d’Or for best European animation short film is Oh Willy, by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels.

The award was handed out Thursday at the Cartoon Forum at the Théâtre National de Toulouse in France.

A stop-motion with puppets and sets made of wool, felt and other fabrics, Oh Willy was co-produced by Beast Animation (Belgium), Polaris Film & Finance, Vivement Lundi! (France) and Il Luster Productions (Netherlands).

In the short, Chubby Willy returns to the naturist community where he has spent his youth to visit his dying mother. When she dies shortly after he arrives, Willy is confronted with the choices that he made in his life…

The other nominees were Zing, Edmond Was a Donkey, Tram and Flamingo Pride.

The Cartoon d’Or 2012 jury was composed by directors Alain Gagnol (France), Esben Toft Jacobsen (Denmark) and Giuseppe Lagana (Italy). The award was presented by French director Michel Ocelot (Kirikou).

Cartoon Forum participants also voted for the producer, investor/distributor and broadcaster of the year to honor outstanding contribution to the European animation sector.

Jam Media of Ireland was named producer of the year, while another Irish company, Monster Entertainment, was named investor/distributor of the year. France’s Gulli was voted broadcaster of the year.

The Cartoon Forum is presented by CARTOON, an international non-profit association based in Brussels. CARTOON’s purpose is to support the European animation industry. For more than 20 years, it has received financial support from the MEDIA Programme of the European Union to run its activities.

NFB showcases animated shorts at Vancouver fest

National Film Board of Canada

National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada will showcase four animated shorts at the 31st annual Vancouver International Film Festival, to be held from September 27 to October 12.

The NFB’s Studio D and its founder, Kathleen Shannon (1935-1998) are celebrated in the hand-painted Assembly by Vancouver filmmaker and mixed-media artist Jenn Strom. The now defunct Studio D, which has won more Oscars than any other NFB studio to date, enabled female filmmakers to tackle specifically female subject matter in an environment that had previously not always welcomed such efforts.

Written, directed and edited by Strom, Assembly (4 min. 25 sec.) was produced by Tracey Friesen.

A flatbed editing table is snapped on. A woman’s hands reach in and out of the frame, cutting and editing a reel of film. She splices, scrubs, rewinds and rolls the sound and images. Fragments of animated archival footage flash across the screen: women walking in chains, protesting with placards, speaking at podiums. We hear bursts of words and the percussive whir and click of the Steenbeck — until a “message” is finally revealed. Inspired by Studio D filmmakers and dedicated to Shannon’s memory, Assembly is an experimental short featuring a rhythmic soundscape and paint-on-glass animation.

Three animated gems exploring themes of self-discovery round out the NFB short films screening at VIFF.

Edmond Was a Donkey (15 min. 3 sec.), written, directed and edited by France’s Franck Dion, was produced by Dion and Richard Van Den Boom (Papy3D Productions) and Julie Roy (NFB). This year, it won the Bravo!Fact Award for Best Canadian Short at the Worldwide Short Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

Edmond is not like everybody else. When his co-workers jokingly crown him with a pair of donkey ears, he suddenly discovers his true nature. And while Edmond revels in his new identity, it creates an ever-widening gap between him and others. With great empathy, director Dion tells the touching story of an outsider, illustrating the challenges of being true to yourself in a world filled with conformists. Since he can’t bring himself to be what others expect, Edmond makes the only possible choice.

Halifax, Nova Scotia-based writer-director Andrea Dorfman has a way with words. In Big Mouth (8 min. 16 sec.), she explores the experiences of a bright-minded, quick-witted child, questioning what it means to speak the truth, and coming to understand how our differences make us unique. Dorfman’s whimsical storytelling is all heart.

Hand-drawn puppets dance, skip and cartwheel across the screen as one little girl discovers the complexity of words and that what we say may not be what we mean. Trudy, equal parts truthful and rude, has an unfiltered and deeply curious way of looking at the world. She honestly points out what she sees — be it a big mole or a big belly! The result is an impressive accumulation of disciplinary notes from her teacher. Like Trudy, eventually we all learn how to read, make friends and develop a healthy relationship with the truth. A film for anyone, young or old, who has gotten in trouble for saying too much, Big Mouth is about one of life’s big lessons. It was produced by Annette Clarke.

DWA enters into distribution agreement with Fox

DreamWorks Animation SKG

DreamWorks Animation SKG

DreamWorks Animation announced Monday that the Glendale, California-based company has entered into a new five-year distribution agreement with Twentieth Century Fox.

Under the terms of the agreement, Fox will assume certain marketing and distribution responsibilities in both domestic and international markets for all animated feature films produced by DreamWorks Animation for release from 2013 through 2017.

“Fox has long been an industry leader in both theatrical and home video, thanks in large part to its well-integrated approach to distribution across a wide range of platforms around the globe,” said DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman have built a world-class distribution team, and we are excited to apply their expertise, robust infrastructure and global resources so that DreamWorks Animation’s films can reach their fullest possible potential over the next five years.”

“DreamWorks Animation is a great company that makes terrific films and everyone here feels privileged and honored to have been chosen to distribute their marvelous work throughout the world,” stated Fox Filmed Entertainment CEOs and chairmen Gianopulos and Rothman. “We are particularly excited to add DreamWorks Animation’s films to the strong and growing slate of movies from our outstanding Blue Sky Studios division, which is coming off another global blockbuster with Ice Age: Continental Drift, and has Epic and Rio2 in advanced production. Together we will be a dominant force in animated entertainment for years to come.”

“Starting in 2013, DreamWorks Animation content will be distributed in the more traditional markets under a fee structure that is similar to our existing arrangement with our current distributor,” continued Katzenberg. “However, our new agreement with Fox presents more favorable economics overall for DreamWorks Animation because we are taking advantage of lower costs associated with the emerging digital distribution landscape and managing domestic television distribution in-house.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Fox will receive a distribution fee on worldwide theatrical and home video gross receipts as well as on international television, and on certain digital businesses, including rentals, SVOD and EST. DreamWorks Animation will retain the rights to distribute its product in the domestic television windows without paying a fee to Fox.

“Sid the Science Kid” episode wins Genesis Award

Sid The Science Kid

Sid The Science Kid

Save the Stump!“, an episode of The Jim Henson Company’s partly animated PBS Kids series Sid The Science Kid, won in the Children’s Programming category Saturday at the 26th Genesis Awards, presented by the Humane Society of the United States.

In the episode, Sid and his dad are clearing a space for a basketball court. While surveying the land, Sid sees a stump teeming with little creatures. During a field trip to the Science Center, Sid and his friends learn that there are animal habitats all around us, even in old stumps, and that if one habitat is destroyed, then all of the others (including animals) are affected.

“Save the Stump” was filmed in the desert habitat exhibit and the kelp forest habitat exhibit in Ecosystems Desert and Kelp Forest Zone at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

In the Feature Film category, Twentieth Century Fox’s animated Rio lost to the same studio’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The Genesis Awards recognized Rise as the Outstanding Feature Film of the year for its examination of the ethics of using chimpanzees in medical research.

“Ain’t Nothin’ But Mutton Bustin’,” an episode of The Cleveland Show, had been nominated for the Sid Caesar Comedy Award. However, it lost to The Colbert Report — the winner for the second year in a row — for offering a satirical twist on the whaling issue and a Utah legislator’s proposal to kill feral dogs and cats.

The Genesis Awards were presented at a gala ceremony at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The event will be shown as a one-hour special May 5 on Animal Planet.

“We paid tribute to an amazing array of works that address animal protection concerns, but the real winners of the HSUS’s 26th Genesis Awards are the animals themselves, who rely on these invaluable voices to speak for them,” said Beverly Kaskey, senior director of the HSUS’s Hollywood Outreach program and executive producer of the annual Genesis Awards.

Hosting the show was Carrie Ann Inaba of Dancing with the Stars, who opened the ceremony alongside Uggie, the show-stealing terrier from The Artist.