Monthly Archives: March 2012

Full Text Of Glen Keane Resignation Letter

Glen Keane

Glen Keane

As reported earlier, Glen Keane, renown Disney animator of such highly regarded films as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty And The Beast(1991) and Aladdin (1992), announced his resignation from Disney after thirty-eight years with the Mouse House. he announced his resignation to his colleagues at Disney in a letter. Here is the full text of Friday’s letter.

March 23, 2012

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Walt Disney Animation Studio,

After long and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to leave Disney Animation.

I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist it’s siren call to step out and discover them.

Disney has been my artistic home since September 9,1974. I owe so much to those great animators who mentored me—Eric Larson, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston—as well as to the many other wonderful people at Disney whom I have been fortunate to work with in the past nearly 38 years.

Over these four decades I have seen so many changes, but the one thing that remains the same is that we all do this because we love it.

I am humbled and deeply honored to have worked side by side so many artists, producers and directors during my career here at Disney, and I am tremendously proud of the films which together we have created. I will deeply miss working with you.

With my most sincere and heartfelt good wishes for your and Disney’s continued artistic growth and success,


“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.

Glen Keane quits Disney Animation after 38 years

Glen Keane

Glen Keane

Glen Keane, an animator with Walt Disney Animation Studios on such classics as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty And The Beast(1991) and Aladdin (1992), announced Friday that he’s leaving the company after a 38-year gig.

“After an incredible 38-year career as an animator, storyteller, and filmmaking pioneer with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Glen Keane has decided that the time has come to take the next step in his personal exploration of the art of animation,” said a Disney spokesperson. “As much as we are saddened by his departure, we respect his desires and wish him the very best with all his future endeavors.”

Although the studio has been his “artistic home,” Keane said in a letter sent to his co-workers, he had decided after “long and thoughtful consideration” that there are “endless new territories to explore,” so he’s looking elsewhere.

Glen Keane is the son of the late cartoonist Bil Keane, creator of The Family Circus.

He was largely responsible for such characters as Ariel in The Little Mermaid, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, and the title characters in Aladdin, Pocahontas (1995) and Tarzan (1999).

His last Disney project was Tangled (2010), for which he was credited as animation supervisor and directing animator for the character of Rapunzel. According to one insider, Keane has been developing several ideas, but was not attached to any future project at Disney at the time of his departure.

Many in the animation community were shocked that he was leaving the Mouse House. “He’s such a Disney icon and an inspiration to so many people,” remarked one source.

“I owe so much to those great animators who mentored me — Eric Larson, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston — as well as to the many other wonderful people at Disney whom I have been fortunate to work with in the past nearly 38 years,” Keane said in his letter, which was posted on animation site Cartoon Brew. “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.”

“Godfather” actor, magician Tony Giorgio dies, 88

Joseph Anthony "Tony" Giorgio

Joseph Anthony "Tony" Giorgio

Actor and magician Joseph Anthony “Tony” Giorgio, who portrayed Bruno Tattaglia in the classic 1972 movie The Godfather, died February 1 in Van Nuys, California of cardiopulmonary failure. The Sherman Oaks, California resident was 88.

Giorgio provided the voice of the Butcher in the 1982 half-hour special Ziggy’s Gift, which aired on ABC. It won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.

A true Renaissance man, he was a TV actor (The Practice), stage actor (Big Julie in Guys and Dolls, starring Milton Berle), technical advisor on magic and gambling (Mission Impossible, Charlie’s Angels, Sting II, etc.), columnist (“The Giorgio Letters” in Genii), author (Tossing Broads), lecturer (con games and gambling scams), and card and dice hustler.

He produced several DVDs still available, including The Ultimate Work, an extensive training video on the art of hand mucking (holding out) and card manipulation.

Born in Herkimer, New York on September 27, 1923, Giorgio grew up in Schenectady during the Great Depression. He started doing magic tricks at the age of seven, and began his career in show business as a professional “amateur,” performing magic in talent shows for pay. At age 12, he ran away from home to join a circus and performed magic in a sideshow. Over the years, he transitioned from magic to professional hustler and then back to show business, working along the way in a variety of venues, from conventions and fraternal clubs to country clubs, Las Vegas casinos and Hollywood studios.

In 1963, he was one of the early performers at the Magic Castle, winning Close-up Magician of the Year in the 1990s. He was hired by Playboy Clubs in the 1960s to be their resident gambling expert.

His first appearance in films was as a card dealer in A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966). Besides his role in The Godfather, his most iconic film appearances were as Frank Palancio in Magnum Force and Don Scagnelli in American Me.

Tony Giorgio is survived by his wife of 41 years, Kaye S. Jacobs-Giorgio, and by many nieces and nephews.

Sahara Hare (1955) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

Sahara Hare

Sahara Hare

CotD: The new Looney Tunes theme music begins with “Sahara Hare, a hare of Bugs and Sheik Riff Raff Sam in the desert.

Sahara Hare (1955) – Looney Tunes Theatrical Cartoon Series

While digging a tunnel heading for Miami Beach, Bugs somehow ends up in the Sahara Desert. He trudges through the desert and sees a mirage. He dives in the mirage and takes a bath.

After getting “footy prints” all over the Sahara, he meets up with bedsheeted bandit “Sheik Riff Raff Sam” (played by Yosemite Sam, of course), who rides through the desert on his misguided, humpbacked camel. Sam, with towel-dispensing headdress, runs Bugs down. Bugs is drying his eyes and uses Sam’s headdress as a towel. Sam stops his camel from charging by hitting him over the head, thus giving him another hump. He also tells the animal, “Whoa, mule, whoa, mule!” Sam chases Bugs into a nearby deserted Foreign Legion fortress, battling Bugs in an unsuccessful attempt to get in (Bugs locks him out).

Sam tries to get an elephant to charge the door. Bugs releases a mouse, and the elephant flees. Sam tries to enter by pole vaulting, chiseling out one of the blocks, and trying to approach the fort with stilts (he smacks into a rock wall). Sam makes a giant slingshot using two trees and a rubber band; it throws him into a big tree. He finds a secret (labeled!) entrance and opens one door after the other till the last one, which is connected to explosives. Daffy Duck shows up at the very end.

Come see “Sahara Hare” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Drooler’s Delight (1949) – Woody Woodpecker Theatrical Cartoon Serie

Drooler's Delight

Drooler's Delight

CotD: Ben Hardaway last voiced Woody Woodpecker in “Drooler’s Delight; Grace Stafford would voice the rest of the Woody shorts produced by her husband Walter Lantz.

Drooler’s Delight (1949) – Woody Woodpecker Theatrical Cartoon Series

Woody Woodpecker, suffering from heat and commercials, plans to spend his last quarter to cool off with a “super-duper delight ice cream soda,” the “Drooler’s Delight,” but con man Buzz Buzzard has other ideas. Woody finds that he must outsmart Buzz on his way to the fountain.

Come see “Drooler’s Delight” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Cat in Paris, Gruffalo’s Child premiere in Florida

Une Vie de Chat

Une Vie de Chat

The Oscar-nominated French animated feature “A Cat in Paris” and the British featurette “The Gruffalo’s Child” will both have their southeastern United States premieres at the Florida Film Festival, to be held from April 13 to 22.

Both films can be seen at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at the Garden Theatre and at 12 noon Sunday, April 15 at Regal Winter Park Village A.

The premier showcase in Central Florida for American independent and international film, the 2012 Florida Film Festival will have 168 films representing 31 countries. In a record-breaking year, the festival received more entries (1700+), and is offering more films and world premieres (28) than ever before.

Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, the 65-minute Une Vie De Chat (A Cat in Paris) is presented in French with English subtitles. Folimage, the distinguished animation studio behind Mia Et Le Migou (Mia and the Magoo), now brings us this brilliantly hand-drawn adventure set in the shadow-drenched alleyways of France’s City of Lights.

Dino is a cat that leads a double life. During the day he lives a comfortable pet existence with his owner Zoé, a little girl who refuses to talk, and her mother Jeanne, a police detective. At night he assists Nico, an agile yet honorable burglar, in high-end robberies. One night, Zoé decides to follow Dino on his escapades, and the troubles begin.

Nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Academy Awards, European Film Awards, and Cesar (French Oscars) Awards, this thoroughly charming gem is a true delight and clever homage to classic film noir. Children and parents alike will enjoy the unique visual style, the acrobatic chases from rooftop to rooftop across the Paris skyline, and the amazing Billie Holiday and Django Reinhardt soundtrack. What an experience!

It’s preceded by the 27-minute The Gruffalo’s Child, directed by Johannes Weiland and Uwe Heidschotter. This equally endearing companion film to the 2010 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Short, 2009’s The Gruffalo, features the same all-star cast of voices, including Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson and Robbie Coltrane. An eager young Gruffalo (voiced by Shirley Henderson) ignores her father’s warnings and embarks on a late-night adventure in search of the Big Bad Mouse. She meets Snake, Owl and Fox, but no sign of the fabled Mouse…. Does he really exist?

Showing in competition, Shorts Program 5: Animated Shorts – with a total running time of 89 minutes — will be screened at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at Enzian. Here’s a rundown:

Fresh Guacamole (dir. PES; U.S.A., 2012, 1.5 min.)
World Premiere
New York stop-motion legend PES (Roof Sex, Western Spaghetti, The Deep) is back with this latest take on the culinary arts. Pass the chips!

The Flying House
(dirs. Winsor McCay, Bill Plympton; U.S.A., 1921/2012, 8.5 min.)
Southeast Premiere
Restored, remastered, and now featuring the voice talents of Patricia Clarkson and Matthew Modine, Winsor McCay’s timely and topical classic short film from 1921 has been lovingly brought back to life for a whole new generation by Florida Film Festival favorite Bill Plympton.

(notes on) biology
(dir. Ornana; U.S.A., 2011, 6 min.)
Florida Premiere
An animated account of an organism adapting to its environment. Nothing fights boredom like a superhero elephant!

(dir. Kangmin Kim; U.S.A./South Korea, 2011, 8 min.)
East Coast Premiere
A film about the relationship between a son, a father and a birthmark. Induced by the intense heat of an old Korean bathhouse, a man falls into a dream and relives an important memory.

Another Dress, Another Button
(dir. Lyn Elliot; U.S.A., 2011, 3 min.)
Florida Premiere
Ever wonder what happens to all those spare buttons that come with new clothes?

Miss Devine
(dirs. Mike Rauch, Tim Rauch; U.S.A., 2010, 3.5 min.)
Southeast Premiere
In this StoryCorps animated documentary, cousins recall their Sunday school teacher and neighbor from their childhood growing up in Bradenton, Florida.

(dir. Jonah D. Ansell; U.S.A., 2011, 8 min.)
Featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates, and “inspired by the wit of Shel Silverstein and wisdom of William Shakespeare,” this bittersweet love story in verse features a dead old man who wants to say a last goodbye to his wife.

Flowers for Jupiter
(dir. Chris Mars; U.S.A., 2011, 6 min.)
East Coast Premiere
Blending multiple animation styles and live action, renowned visual artist and former Replacements drummer Chris Mars brings his surreal vision to life in this beautifully creepy and macabre tale of a young girl who has lost a finger in an accident she can barely remember.

Summer Bummer
(dir. Bill Plympton; U.S.A., 2011, 2 min.)
Southeast Premiere
A man with a case of shark paranoia hesitates before diving into a pool. Classic Bill!

Dr. Breakfast
(dir. Stephen Neary; U.S.A., 2011, 7 min.)
Southeast Premiere
A surreal meditation on the quirky but rejuvenating nature of friendship. When a man’s soul bursts out of his eyeball and roams the earth on a destructive path, two wild deer care for his catatonic body.

Tales of Mere Existence: “Random Observations About Sex” & “Sick of This
(dir. Lev Yilmaz; U.S.A., 2011, 6 min.)
World Premiere
Past Florida Film Festival multiple Audience Award-winner Lev from San Francisco returns with two more one-of-a-kind commentaries on sex, relationships, and the state of things: “Random Observations About Sex” and “Sick of This.”

Floyd the Android – “Dim Bulb
(dir. Jonathan Lyons; U.S.A., 2011, 2 min.)
An enterprising robot must change a light bulb in a display at the top of an extremely tall skyscraper.

Reddish Brown, Blueish Green
(dir. Samantha Gurry; U.S.A., 2011, 3 min.)
Southeast Premiere
Inspired by a baby book found on the street in Philadelphia, this unique work uses found objects as a catalyst to explore a family’s destructive journey through childhood.

Bedtime for Timmy
(dirs. Thomas Nicol, Becky Griesheimer; U.S.A., 2010, 3 min.)
Florida Premiere
It’s not easy to get to sleep when you’re convinced there’s a monster in the room.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day
(dir. Don Hertzfeldt; U.S.A., 2012, 23 min.)
Bill finds himself in a hospital struggling with memory problems in this stunningly adventurous conclusion to the two-time Best Animated Short Grand Jury Award-winning trilogy by Enzian/Florida Film Festival veteran Don Hertzfeldt (Everything Will Be OK and I Am So Proud of You).

With a total running time of 91 minutes, International Animated Shorts will be seen at 5:45 Saturday, April 21 at Regal Winter Park Village B and 1 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at Enzian. This is what’s on tap:

Things You’d Better Not Mix Up
(dir. Joost Lieuwma; Netherlands, 2010, 2 min.)
North American Premiere
Sometimes you just have to point out the obvious. Charming beyond all measure, this light-hearted romp offers one chuckle after another.

The Last Norwegian Troll
(dir. Pjotr Sapegin; Norway, 2010, 13 min.)
Southeast Premiere
Humble is the Norwegian landscape in this whimsical tale of a once-young troll who wakes up old and alone in the modern world. Featuring the voice of Max von Sydow.

(dir. Richard Mans; New Zealand, 2011, 5 min.)
East Coast Premiere
The world was once a bleak and desolate place. When a band of imaginative sci-fi creatures arrives, they bear the secret of life and all its beauty.

(dir. Juan Pablo Zaramella; Argentina, 2011, 6.5 min.)
Florida Premiere
A common man has a secret plan to escape the clockwork of his life. When his beautiful and equally inventive co-worker discovers his ploy, she shows him it takes two to tango.

(dir. Blanca Esteve; Spain, 2011, 1.5 min.)
In Spanish with English subtitles
Southeast Premiere
Morphing black and white imagery complements this poem about a special kind of woman.

A Morning Stroll
(dir. Grant Orchard; United Kingdom, 2011, 7 min.)
This nifty little chicken never misses his morning stroll. Winner of the Sundance 2012 Jury Prize in Animated Short Film and nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Bride Can
(dir. Ronak Taher; Australia/Iran, 2011, 7 min.)
East Coast Premiere/Second U.S. Screening
Blunt and artful criticisms on gender oppression and the objectification of women in Iranian society are the subjects of this surreal, Python-esque animated work.

The Maker
(dir. Christopher Kezelos; Australia, 2011, 5 min.)
Florida Premiere
Recognizing your purpose in life can make for a lonesome reality. The puppet and the puppet-maker rely heavily on one another in this harsh, romantic tale.

The Holy Chicken of Life and Music
(dir. Nomint; Greece, 2011, 3 min.)
Southeast Premiere
There is no reason. There is only the chicken.

(dir. Tor Fruergaard; Denmark, 2011, 8 min.)
In Danish with English subtitles
Southeast Premiere
A claymation couple attempts to reignite their sex life by visiting an illicit swingers lounge. Adultery has never looked so adorable.

Prita Noire [Black Doll]
(dir. Sofia Carrillo; Mexico, 2011, 8 min.)
In Spanish with English subtitles
Florida Premiere
Prita’s curiosity pushes her to break the boundaries of her strange and confined existence.

Robots of Brixton
(dir. Kibwe Tavares; United Kingdom, 2011, 5.5 min.)
East Coast Premiere/Second U.S. Screening
Sitting on the brink of a social collapse, the youth of this futuristic city are thrust into chaos when police forces invade, and the strained inner-city populace erupts into violence echoing that of 1981.

The Goat and the Well
(dir. Ben Cady; United Kingdom, 2010, 5 min.)
East Coast Premiere
A determined little goat wreaks havoc on a grouchy old lady fetching water and milk.

The Gloaming
(dir. Nobrain; France, 2010, 14 min.)
East Coast Premiere
A man who wakes up stranded in a desert plain stumbles across an odd puddle. From the moment he molds it into his world, he’s lost control of its fate… and his.

Also at the FFF, Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer Barry Levinson will present Liberty Heights and engage the audience in a live Q&A. Foodies will unite for a one-of-a-kind discussion on books, blogs, TV and film provided by culinary superstars Marcel Vigneron (Syfy Network’s Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen, Bravo’s Top Chef), Chad J. Galiano, Gui Alinat, Jeff Potter and Martha Hall Foose.

The complete schedule of films and events is officially launched and available online at Ticket prices start at $10.

Animations on display this summer at London 2012

London 2012 Festival

London 2012 Festival

Organizers on Friday revealed details on the film program for the London 2012 Festival –- a 12-week United Kingdom-wide cultural celebration from June 21 to September 9 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from Britain.

Simon McKeown’s Motion Disabled Unlimited records Paralympic body shapes and actions and uses 3D software to create large inflatable structures, as well as animations for presentation both on public screens and on smart phones.

Joel Simon’s Macropolis is a short animated film in which a group of soft toys rebels and escapes from a factory to seek a new life among humans in the great outdoors.

Both films will be presented at the Southbank Centre as part of “Unlimited,” a commissioning fund for disabled and deaf artists at the London 2012 Festival.

Children’s BAFTA winner and Guinness World Record-holding film The Itch of the Golden Nit is dreamt up by over 34,000 of children across Britain, brought together by Tate and the creative magic of Aardman Animation, with voiceovers by David Walliams, Vic Reeves, Catherine Tate and Miranda Hart among others, and funded by Legacy Trust UK and BP with support from the British Broadcasting Corporation. The film will be screened during the festival at Picturehouse Cinemas across Britain during a series of summer screenings at special family events.

“The film program for the London 2012 Festival not only showcases the UK’s leading talent, but importantly, when the eyes of the world are on us, gives a platform for young and emerging filmmakers to showcase their work on a world stage,” said festival director Ruth Mackenzie.

Said British Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: “Our brilliant film industry lies at the very heart of the UK’s cultural landscape, and it is fitting that the London 2012 Festival is celebrating our fantastic cinematic achievements with this exciting film program.”

Scent-imental Romeo (1951) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Scent-imental Romeo

Scent-imental Romeo

CotD: Pepé is always the incurable romantic, especially in “Scent-imental Romeo as he chases another poor cat with a white paint stripe down her back.

Scent-imental Romeo (1951) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Pepé chases a cat who has painted a white stripe down her back to fool the zookeeper.

Come see “Scent-imental Romeo” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Scrooge McDuck And Money (1967) – Walt Disney Studios

Scrooge McDuck And Money

Scrooge McDuck And Money

CotD: Other than a brief cameo appearance on the “Mickey Mouse Club” television series, Scrooge McDuck’s first animated appearance was in “Scrooge McDuck And Money .

Scrooge McDuck And Money (1967) – Walt Disney Studios

Huey, Dewey and Louie stop by to see Scrooge McDuck and ask for advice on making their savings grow; he tells them the history of money and the basics of economics. Various segments explain what a billion is, budgeting and how to save.

Come see “Scrooge McDuck And Money” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase