Monthly Archives: August 2012

Burton’s Frankenweenie opens London Film Festival

Frankenweenie (2012)

Franken­wee­nie (2012)

This year’s BFI Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val fes­ti­val will open Wednes­day, Octo­ber 10 with the Euro­pean pre­miere of Disney’s Franken­wee­nie, directed by acclaimed film­maker Tim Bur­ton, orga­niz­ers announced Thursday.

In part­ner­ship with Amer­i­can Express and Dis­ney, and in a first for the fes­ti­val, the open­ing night screen­ing and red car­pet will go live from Odeon Leices­ter Square to BFI IMAX and 30 screens across the UK. The 56th fes­ti­val will also host The Art of Franken­wee­nie Exhi­bi­tion from Octo­ber 17 to 21.

Franken­wee­nie is a heart­warm­ing tale about a boy and his dog. After unex­pect­edly los­ing his beloved dog Sparky, young Vic­tor har­nesses the power of sci­ence to bring his best friend back to life — with just a few minor adjust­ments. He tries to hide his home-sewn cre­ation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fel­low stu­dents, teach­ers and the entire town all learn that get­ting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

Frankenweenie 3D

Franken­wee­nie 3D

A visu­ally stun­ning black and white, stop-motion ani­mated film in 3D, Franken­wee­nie’s voice cast includes Cather­ine O’Hara, Mar­tin Short, Mar­tin Lan­dau, Char­lie Tahan, Atti­cus Shaf­fer, Robert Capron, Con­chata Fer­rell and Winona Ryder. Dis­ney will release the film in the United King­dom on Octo­ber 17.

Bur­ton, Ryder, Short, O’Hara, Lan­dau, pro­ducer Alli­son Abbate and exec­u­tive pro­ducer Don Hahn are expected to attend the festival.

In a first for the BFI Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val open­ing night, Franken­wee­nie will receive a simul­ta­ne­ous pre­miere in 30 cin­e­mas nation­wide, with audi­ences across the United King­dom able to enjoy footage from the Leices­ter Square red car­pet prior to the screen­ings. This event is part of the festival’s drive to reach a diverse British audi­ence and put the pub­lic at the heart of the festival-going experience.

Franken­wee­nie is the first ani­mated film that Bur­ton has directed for Dis­ney. Bur­ton also pro­duced along with Abbate, with Hahn serv­ing as exec­u­tive pro­ducer. The screen­play is by John August, based on an orig­i­nal idea by Burton.

BFI head of exhi­bi­tion Clare Stew­art com­ments on her first open­ing night choice as fes­ti­val director:

Funny, dark and whim­si­cal, this glo­ri­ously crafted stop-motion 3D ani­ma­tion from Tim Bur­ton — the reign­ing prince of out­siders — play­fully turns the Franken­stein story on its bolted-on head. Franken­wee­nie is a per­fect choice of opener — it’s a film that rev­els in the magic of movies from one of cinema’s great vision­ar­ies. Tim Bur­ton has cho­sen Lon­don as his home city and hun­dreds of tal­ented British crafts­peo­ple have con­tributed to this pro­duc­tion. To host the Euro­pean pre­miere, to present The Art of Franken­wee­nie Exhi­bi­tion and to take our open­ing night out to 30 screens means we are mak­ing the fes­ti­val even more acces­si­ble for film fans across the UK.”

Abbate adds:

I am delighted that Franken­wee­nie, which was pro­duced here in Lon­don at 3 Mills Stu­dios, will be open­ing the 56th BFI Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val. Liv­ing and work­ing in the UK, I’ve been able to col­lab­o­rate with some of the most tal­ented artists in the indus­try, includ­ing the pup­pet design­ers and fab­ri­ca­tors from Manchester-based Mack­in­non & Saun­ders. In the last nine years, I’ve attended the fes­ti­val as both a film­maker and guest, and I know how pas­sion­ate and enthu­si­as­tic the audi­ences are, so I am thrilled to share the film’s Euro­pean pre­miere with them.”

Colin Walsh, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Amer­i­can Express UK, adds:

We’re thrilled to be fur­ther strength­en­ing our part­ner­ship with the BFI and the Fes­ti­val through our sup­port for this year’s open­ing night gala. In addi­tion to Franken­wee­nie being a much-anticipated film, what makes this year’s open­ing night so spe­cial is the oppor­tu­nity for audi­ences across the coun­try to expe­ri­ence the excite­ment of a West End pre­miere. That, cou­pled with the inter­ac­tive exhi­bi­tion giv­ing peo­ple an insight behind the scenes of the film, is sure to make this a fan­tas­tic start to this year’s festival.”

The Art of Franken­wee­nie Exhi­bi­tion is sup­ported by Amer­i­can Express. The exhi­bi­tion runs from Octo­ber 17 to 21 (with a press pre­view and pre­view for Amer­i­can Express card mem­bers Octo­ber 16) and will be free to the pub­lic. For infor­ma­tion on tick­ets, see , start­ing Sep­tem­ber 5.

Hours of metic­u­lous work have gone into the mak­ing of Franken­wee­nie, per­fect­ing the fig­ures and char­ac­ters that bring this amaz­ing story to life. The BFI Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val is pre­sent­ing the exhi­bi­tion in asso­ci­a­tion with Dis­ney and prin­ci­pal part­ner Amer­i­can Express.

The Art of Franken­wee­nie Exhi­bi­tion cap­tures the magic of the film­mak­ing process and gives audi­ences an exclu­sive glimpse into the stop-motion ani­ma­tion process brought to life by vision­ary film­maker Tim Bur­ton. From orig­i­nal sketches drawn by Bur­ton, to exten­sive props, sets and pup­pets, the exhi­bi­tion show­cases the artis­tic detail and vision that has gone into bring­ing this heart­warm­ing tale to the big screen in 2012’s most highly antic­i­pated ani­mated movie. The Art of Franken­wee­nie Exhi­bi­tion delves into the world of a boy who, inspired by sci­ence and the love of his dog, brings his beloved pet back from the dead.

There will be excit­ing work­shop oppor­tu­ni­ties for edu­ca­tion audi­ences to explore the pro­duc­tion of Franken­wee­nie via guided tours of the Exhibit, meet­ing some of the tal­ented peo­ple who made the film and try­ing their hand at the skills required for ani­ma­tion and set design.

The Art of Franken­wee­nie Exhi­bi­tion will take place next door to the BFI South­bank at South­bank Centre’s Fes­ti­val Village.

The 56th BFI Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val in part­ner­ship with Amer­i­can Express runs from Wednes­day, Octo­ber 10 to Sun­day, Octo­ber 21. The full pro­gram for the fes­ti­val will be announced at the press launch Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 5.

Snow White coming to New York Film Festival

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

David Hand’s sem­i­nal “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” and the 2012 Dis­ney short Paper­man will be screened at the 50th New York Film Fes­ti­val as part of the Mas­ter­works sec­tion, orga­niz­ers announced Monday.

Disney’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) is a time­less tale of a princess ban­ished by from the palace and then saved by seven unfor­get­table dwarves.

Noth­ing short of a mile­stone of cin­e­matic his­tory, Snow White was the first ani­mated fea­ture made in the United States. Its $1.4 mil­lion pro­duc­tion forced Walt Dis­ney to mort­gage his house to com­plete it.

Have a reunion with Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Bash­ful and Doc, or intro­duce your kids to them for the very first time at this unmiss­able fam­ily event!

Snow White screens with the 2012 Dis­ney short Paper­man, directed by John Kahrs. It’s an inno­v­a­tive ani­ma­tion about a young New Yorker who relies on heart, imag­i­na­tion, a stack of papers — and a lit­tle luck — to change his des­tiny and win the girl of his dreams.

The addi­tion of the Eli­nor Bunin Munroe Film Cen­ter allows the Fes­ti­val to expand on areas of pro­gram­ming already part of the NYFF — such as the inclu­sion of restored or redis­cov­ered Mas­ter­works in the Fes­ti­val lineup,” the NYFF’s Richard Peña said in a statement.

Gen­eral pub­lic tick­ets for the 50th New York Film Fes­ti­val go on sale Sep­tem­ber 9. There will be a pre-sale tick­et­ing period for Film Soci­ety patrons and mem­bers prior to that date. Join the Film Soci­ety by August 29 to take advan­tage of this pri­or­ity period.

The 50th New York Film Fes­ti­val runs from Sep­tem­ber 28 until Octo­ber 14. For more infor­ma­tion on attend­ing the fes­ti­val, visit

Dick Van Dyke to get SAG Life Achievement Award

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke, who took on the dual role of Bert and Mr. Dawes Senior in the partly ani­mated 1964 Dis­ney musi­cal Mary Pop­pins, will receive SAG-AFTRA’s high­est honor — the SAG Life Achieve­ment Award for career achieve­ment and human­i­tar­ian accomplishment.

The beloved actor, singer, dancer, writer and come­dian will be pre­sented the per­form­ers union’s most pres­ti­gious acco­lade, given annu­ally to an actor who fos­ters the “finest ideals of the act­ing pro­fes­sion,” at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which pre­mieres live on TNT and TBS next Jan­u­ary 27.

Van Dyke voiced the title role in the 1975 car­toon movie Tubby the Tuba, and was Mr. Blooms­berry in the 2006 ani­mated film Curi­ous George. He was Com­mis­sioner Gor­don in the 2005 direct-to-video short Bat­man: New Times.

In TV-movies, he voiced nar­ra­tor Old Jeremy Creek in The Town Santa For­got (1993) and Webb in The Alan Brady Show (2003). He guested on “Scooby-Doo Meets Dick Van Dyke,” a 1973 episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

His voiceover tal­ents were also employed the 2010 short The Care­taker 3D, a trib­ute to the Hol­ly­wood Sign.

Van Dyke appeared in live action on the TV spe­cials Don­ald Duck’s 50th Birth­day (1984) and The Best of Dis­ney: 50 Years of Magic (1991).

In mak­ing Tuesday’s announce­ment, SAG-AFTRA co-president Ken Howard said, “Dick is the con­sum­mate enter­tainer — an enor­mously tal­ented per­former whose work has crossed nearly every major cat­e­gory of enter­tain­ment. From his career-changing Broad­way turn in Bye Bye Birdie and his dead­pan humor in the Emmy-winning Dick Van Dyke Show, to his unfor­get­table per­for­mance as Bert in Mary Pop­pins, he sets a high bar for actors. Stage, big screen, small screen, lit­er­ally every­where he has worked, he has inspired mil­lions of fans and has had a tremen­dously pos­i­tive impact on the indus­try and the world. He is so deserv­ing of this honor and I con­grat­u­late him.”

SAG-AFTRA co-president Roberta Rear­don said: “With Dick, it’s so much more than the prover­bial ‘triple threat.’ He started his career as a radio announcer, game show host and come­dian, and was a spokesman for Kodak, among numer­ous other roles over his nearly 60-year career. His con­tri­bu­tions to the suc­cess of the busi­ness and to his fel­low per­form­ers is leg­endary, as is his work with a num­ber of the lead­ing ladies of our times, includ­ing Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore — both pre­vi­ous Life Achieve­ment Award recip­i­ents. His infec­tious laugh has warmed audi­ences for decades and is an unfor­get­table facet of his fab­u­lous personality.”

Holder of five Emmys, a Tony Award and a Grammy, Van Dyke at 86 still pos­sesses the zest for life that first pro­pelled him into the lime­light more than a half-century ago with the film clas­sic Mary Pop­pins, the Broad­way and film ver­sions of Bye Bye Birdie, and the sem­i­nal 1960s sit­u­a­tion com­edy The Dick Van Dyke Show.

He was born Richard Wayne Van Dyke in West Plains, Mis­souri on Decem­ber 13, 1925, and raised in Danville, Illi­nois, home­town as well to Don­ald O’Connor, Gene Hack­man and Bobby Short. As a young­ster, he taught him­self music, magic and pan­tomime. By 16, he was appear­ing in school plays, run­ning track, serv­ing as junior class pres­i­dent and work­ing part-time as an announcer on a local radio station.

Enlist­ing in the Air Force at 18, he soon was per­form­ing for the troops and host­ing a radio show called Flight Time. After one year of duty, he was back in Danville, giv­ing adver­tis­ing a try, but it was not a fit. With another Danville local, Phil Erick­son, he hit the road in a record-pantomime act called “The Merry Mutes,” a per­fect show­case for his phys­i­cal com­edy gifts.

While appear­ing in Los Ange­les, he sent for his high school sweet­heart, Mar­jorie Wil­let. The two were mar­ried on Bride and Groom, a net­work radio pro­gram offer­ing gifts and a hon­ey­moon to newlyweds.

After a run host­ing a day­time talk show in Atlanta and a morn­ing show in New Orleans, CBS put him under con­tract. Van Dyke moved to New York where, in 1954, he began host­ing The Morn­ing Show (which fea­tured up-and-coming news­caster Wal­ter Cronkite). Other host­ing jobs pre­ceded his 1957 television-acting debut on an episode of The Phil Sil­vers Show and his Broad­way debut in 1959 with Bert Lahr in the com­edy revue The Boys Against the Girls.

The fol­low­ing year, his career soared when he was cast by director/choreographer Gower Cham­pion oppo­site Chita Rivera in Bye Bye Birdie. His per­for­mance as rock star Con­rad Birdie’s songwriter/manager Albert Peter­son earned Van Dyke a Tony Award and brought him to the atten­tion of Shel­don Leonard and Carl Reiner, who signed him for a pilot oppo­site new­comer Mary Tyler Moore.

The now epony­mous The Dick Van Dyke Show, star­ring Van Dyke and Moore as Rob and Laura Petrie, pre­miered in 1961 and ran for five sea­sons. With a per­fect ensem­ble cast includ­ing Rose Marie and Morey Ams­ter­dam, the wit­tily writ­ten series was a show­case for Van Dyke’s genius for phys­i­cal com­edy, earn­ing him three lead actor Emmy Awards.

The tire­less Van Dyke spent his series’ hia­tus shoot­ing the film ver­sion of Bye Bye Birdie in 1963, fol­lowed by What a Way to Go and Disney’s musi­cal clas­sic Mary Pop­pins. It won five Acad­emy Awards, includ­ing one for star Julie Andrews (SAG’s 2006 Life Achieve­ment Award recip­i­ent), and earned Van Dyke a Golden Globe nom­i­na­tion and, with Andrews, a Grammy.

A run of films fol­lowed, includ­ing Lt. Robin Cru­soe, USN (1966), Divorce Amer­i­can Style and Fitzwilly (both 1967), the musi­cal Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang (1968), Gar­son Kanin’s satire on con­for­mity Some Kind of a Nut (1969) and Nor­man Lear’s anti-smoking Cold Turkey (1970). Van Dyke, who had deliv­ered the eulo­gies for his com­edy idols Stan Lau­rel and Buster Keaton, explored the role of a fic­tional silent movie star in 1969’s The Comic.

He would return to the big screen again in Stan­ley Kramer’s The Run­ner Stum­bles (1978), War­ren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990) and, more recently, the Ben Stiller com­edy Night at the Museum (2006).

After a year of film­ing Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang in Eng­land, Van Dyke moved with his fam­ily to their ranch in Care­free, Ari­zona, where The New Dick Van Dyke Show was pro­duced for CBS for three sea­sons. In 1974, his stun­ning por­trayal of an alco­holic fam­ily man in David Wolper’s ground-breaking ABC Tele­vi­sion movie The Morn­ing After earned Van Dyke an Emmy nom­i­na­tion. A guest-star turn as a homi­ci­dal pho­tog­ra­pher oppo­site Peter Falk’s Columbo followed.

It was back to song, dance and com­edy in NBC’s vari­ety series Van Dyke and Com­pany, earn­ing him a fourth Emmy (this time shared with his fel­low pro­duc­ers), fol­lowed by a national tour in The Music Man, which brought Van Dyke back to Broad­way, and a national tour in Damn Yan­kees. The 1980s brought a run of tele­vi­sion movies, includ­ing the Show­time pro­duc­tion of The Coun­try Girl oppo­site Faye Dun­away, Drop-Out Father oppo­site Mari­ette Hart­ley, Found Money oppo­site Sid Cae­sar, Break­fast with Les and Bess oppo­site Cloris Leach­man for PBS’s Amer­i­can Play­house, and the minis­eries Strong Med­i­cine.

In 1982, Van Dyke earned his fifth Emmy for his vocal per­for­mance as the Father in the CBS Library spe­cial Wrong Way Kid.

Van Dyke’s crime-solving physi­cian, Dr. Mark Sloan, was intro­duced in a 1991 episode of Jake and the Fat Man and became the cen­tral char­ac­ter in three TV-movies before evolv­ing into the CBS series Diag­no­sis: Mur­der. It ran from 1993 to 2001, fol­lowed by two Dr. Sloan tele­vi­sion movies in 2002. Diag­no­sis: Mur­der co-starred Van Dyke’s son Barry as a police detec­tive and, dur­ing its run, pro­vided guest-star oppor­tu­ni­ties for Van Dyke’s daugh­ter Stacy, grand­chil­dren Carey, Shane, Wes and Taryn, and brother Jerry Van Dyke. From 2006 to 2008, the father-son team reunited for a series of four Hall­mark Chan­nel Mur­der 101 movies, cast­ing Barry as a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor oppo­site Dick’s absent-minded but bril­liant crim­i­nol­ogy pro­fes­sor, Dr. Jonathan Maxwell.

In 2003, Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore re-teamed to por­tray lonely seniors in D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama The Gin Game on PBS Hol­ly­wood Presents and, the fol­low­ing year, recre­ated hus­band and wife Rob and Laura Petrie for Carl Reiner’s CBS tele­film The Dick Van Dyke Show Revis­ited. They were notably reunited this past Jan­u­ary, when Van Dyke pre­sented Moore with SAG’s 48th Life Achieve­ment Award on the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Van Dyke, whose 2011 mem­oir My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Busi­ness made the New York Times Best Sell­ers list, admits that his retire­ment plans have yet to work out. In 2006, he returned to Broad­way, receiv­ing stand­ing ova­tions in his Bye Bye Birdie lead­ing lady’s Chita Rivera: The Dancers Life. In addi­tion to his mem­oir, Van Dyke is the author of Faith, Hope and Hilar­ity: The Child’s Eye View of Reli­gion (1970) and Those Funny Kids (1975), a col­lec­tion of class­room humor.

Music, Van Dyke’s spir­i­tual nour­ish­ment, became richer when he teamed 12 years ago with Eric Bradley, Bryan Chadima and Mike Mendyke to form The Van­tastix. Their first major pub­lic appear­ance was at the Soci­ety of Singers Ella Awards hon­or­ing his Mary Pop­pins lead­ing lady, Julie Andrews. They’ve since per­formed the National Anthem at L.A. Lak­ers play­offs, mounted a musi­cal mem­oir at L.A.‘s Gef­fen The­atre, and appeared at the Hol­ly­wood Bowl, Dis­ney Hall and at Ford’s The­atre in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., with the Pres­i­dent and First Lady in the front row, and released an album of children’s songs: Put on A Happy Face.

For nearly 20 years Van Dyke has been tire­lessly com­mit­ted to his vol­un­teer work at The Mid­night Mis­sion, Los Ange­les’ century-old down­town shel­ter for the trou­bled and home­less. He helped raise mil­lions for their new build­ing pro­gram and is there with­out fail every Thanks­giv­ing, Christ­mas, Easter and times in between, offer­ing com­fort and cheer, often with the Van­tastix and mem­bers of his own fam­ily. He is pas­sion­ate about rais­ing funds for music and art pro­grams for pub­lic schools, and has per­formed at count­less fundrais­ers. He became a spokesper­son for the National Reye’s Syn­drome Foun­da­tion in 1967 after los­ing a grand­daugh­ter to that dis­ease and, in 2010, was named the first spokesper­son for the Cell Ther­apy Foundation.

Van Dyke has four chil­dren from his mar­riage to the late Mar­jorie Wil­let Van Dyke — sons Chris­t­ian and Barry, and daugh­ters Stacey and Car­rie Beth — and seven grandchildren.

On Feb­ru­ary 29 this year, he mar­ried makeup artist Arlene Sil­ver (whom he met at the 2006 SAG Awards), whose vocal tal­ents now occa­sion­ally blend with those of Dick and The Van­tastix. They live in Mal­ibu, California.

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.

Stand-up comedienne Phyllis Diller dead at 95

Phyllis Diller from Mad Monster Party

Phyl­lis Diller from Mad Mon­ster Party

Phyl­lis Diller, a pio­neer of female stand-up com­edy, died Mon­day morn­ing at her Los Ange­les home sur­rounded by fam­ily, sources close to the come­di­enne said. She was 95.

She died peace­fully in her sleep and with a smile on her face,” long­time man­ager Mil­ton Suchin told the Asso­ci­ated Press.

Her health had been declin­ing since a recent fall which hurt her wrist and hip, sources told TMZ. She had been liv­ing in home hos­pice care.

She com­bined wild cos­tumes, untamed hair and a rau­cous laugh with self-deprecating mono­logues to cre­ate one of comedy’s most pop­u­lar characters.

Diller was famously car­i­ca­tured as The Monster’s Mate in the 1967 Rankin-Bass stop-motion movie Mad Mon­ster Party. She voiced the Queen in the 1997 Pixar film A Bug’s Life. Among her other car­toon movies were The Nut­cracker Prince (1990, as Mouse­queen), Hap­pily Ever After (1990, as Mother Nature) and Casper’s Scare School (2006, as Aunt Spitzy).

In 2008, she starred along­side Deb­bie Reynolds as the voice of Pelops (the Don­key) in Chi­nese stu­dio San­toon Pro­duc­tions’ ani­mated fea­ture film Light of Olympia.

As well, she voiced the Sugar Plum Fairy in the direct-to-video The Nut­ti­est Nut­cracker (1999).

She was heard as her­self in the 1970 TV spe­cial The Mad, Mad, Mad Come­di­ans and as the White Queen in the 1987 spe­cial Alice Through the Look­ing Glass.

Diller guested as her­self in “A Good Medium is Rare,” a 1972 episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

She voiced her­self in the Robot Chicken episodes “Oper­a­tion: Rich in Spirit” and “Easter Bas­ket,” Mrs. Claus in “Easter Bas­ket” and “Robot Chicken Christ­mas Spe­cial,” Hooker in “Easter Bas­ket,” and Mrs. Dorsey in “Oper­a­tion: Rich in Spirit.”

In Fam­ily Guy, she guested as Peter’s mother, Thelma Grif­fin, in the episodes “Mother Tucker” (2006), “Peter’s Two Dads” (2007) and “Padre de Familia” (2007). The Adven­tures of Jimmy Neu­tron: Boy Genius cast her as Grandma Neu­tron in 2002’s “Granny Baby” and 2004’s “Mater­notron Knows Best”/“Send In the Clones.”

Other voice roles were in Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (1973; as Detec­tive Phyl­lis Dex­ter in “The Lady Detec­tive”), Cap­tain Planet and the Plan­e­teers (1990; Dr. Jane Goodair in “Smog Hog”), Cow and Chicken (1997; Red’s Mom in “Pro­fes­sor Long­horn Steer”), Hey Arnold! (1996; Aunt Mitzi in “Grandpa’s Sis­ter”), The Pow­er­puff Girls (1998; Mask Scara in “A Made Up Story”), Ani­ma­ni­acs (1998; Suzie Squir­rel in “The Sun­shine Squir­rels”), The Wild Thorn­ber­rys (1999; Sam in “Two’s Com­pany”), and King of the Hill (1999; Lil­lian in “Escape From Party Island”).

In live action, she hosted “Spooks and Magic,” a 1972 episode of Disney’s The Mouse Fac­tory, and appeared in the 1989 TV spe­cial A Yabba-Dabba-Doo Cel­e­bra­tion!: 50 Years of Hanna-Barbera.

Diller was fit­ted with a pace­maker after suf­fer­ing a 1999 heart attack.

Phyl­lis Ada Dri­ver was born in Lima, Ohio on July 17, 1917. She began her career in 1952. A 1955 club book­ing sky­rock­eted her to suc­cess: sched­uled for two weeks, she stayed 89.

Diller made her tele­vi­sion debut in 1958 as a con­tes­tant on Grou­cho Marx’s game show You Bet Your Life. After mov­ing to Web­ster Groves, Mis­souri in 1961, Diller honed her act in St. Louis clubs such as Gaslight Square’s Crys­tal Palace.

She became famous with her 1960s TV spe­cials along­side Bob Hope. Later that decade, she starred in The Phyl­lis Diller Show, as well as a vari­ety show called The Beau­ti­ful Phyl­lis Diller Show. In addi­tion, she was also a reg­u­lar on Laugh In.

After well-publicized plas­tic surgery, Diller posed for Play­boy. How­ever, the pho­tos remained unpublished.

Diller told a filthy joke in the 2005 movie The Aris­to­crats.

She “broke the way for every woman come­dian,” Joan Rivers said dur­ing a recent appear­ance on Watch What Hap­pens Live.

In addi­tion to her tele­vi­sion, film and stage work, Diller made five records, wrote four best-selling books, and per­formed on piano with over 100 sym­phony orchestras.

Her two mar­riages — to Sher­wood Ander­son Diller from 1939 to 1965 and actor-singer Warde Dono­van from 1965 to 1975 — ended in divorce. She con­stantly men­tioned her fic­tional hus­band “Fang” in her stand-up act. Her part­ner, lawyer Rob Hast­ings, died in 1996.

Phyl­lis Din­ner was pre­de­ceased by two sons and a daugh­ter. She is sur­vived by daugh­ters Sally and Suzanne, four grand­chil­dren and a great-granddaughter.

Plans for ser­vices are pending.

Mickey Mouse Comes To A Stop

Mickey Mouse Comes To A Stop

Mickey Mouse Comes To A Stop

Upset with Dis­ney for their con­tin­ued lob­by­ing efforts to secure copy­right exten­sions for Mickey Mouse and other early char­ac­ters, Los Ange­les street artist Den­mark has taken to the streets. Den­mark has mod­i­fied numer­ous stop signs in the Bur­bank area to resem­ble the clas­sic Mickey Mouse pro­file, and includ­ing a mes­sage read­ing, “Copy­right Exten­sion needs to stop”.

Tar­get­ing an area in Bur­bank Cal­i­formia near the Dis­ney Stu­dios, Den­marks says he was inten­tion­ally hop­ing the execs from Dis­ney would notice them on their way to and from the stu­dio offices. Despite the pub­lic protest, it is pre­sumed that even after this protest, Dis­ney will not be chang­ing their plans on the acquir­ing of Copy­right Extensions.

I recently did an instal­la­tion in and around Los Ange­les protest­ing Copy­right Exten­sion,” Den­mark told street art blog Wooster Col­lec­tive, “which is Disney’s very effec­tive lob­by­ing to keep Mickey Mouse, and works cre­ated there­after, out of the pub­lic domain.”

Because of Disney’s pre­vi­ous lob­by­ing on this issue, copy­right terms have gone from 28 years to at least 95 years. Dis­ney is begin­ning a new push to extent copy­right terms even longer. Many, includ­ing Den­mark, argue that 95 years is enough to milk their char­ac­ters, and it is time for the early Dis­ney (and other films) to finally hit the pub­lic domain. Fur­ther, they con­tend that films falling into pub­lic domain has actu­ally saved them from extinction.

How do you feel about this? is a cen­tury enough time to profit from your work.… or do you feel if you cre­ated it, you should con­trol that prop­erty for longer?

ParaNorman not Expendable, makes $14 million



Laika Entertainment’s “Para­Nor­man,” an ani­mated com­edy thriller star­ring a small-town boy who bat­tles zom­bies, opened at third place in the North Amer­i­can box office this week­end with $14 million.

Dis­trib­uted by Focus Fea­tures and Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures Inter­na­tional, Para­Nor­man made another $2 mil­lion overseas.

The 3D puppet-animated film fared con­sid­er­ably behind the live-action The Expend­ables 2, which opened at $28.8 mil­lion (and another $17.3 mil­lion abroad), and The Bourne Legacy, which gar­nered $17 mil­lion (plus $18.2 mil­lion over­seas) in its sec­ond weekend.

Various 3D printed Norman faces

Var­i­ous 3D printed Nor­man faces

Para­Nor­man has the inter­est­ing dis­tinc­tion of being the first 3D stop motion ani­mated film that is also com­puter gen­er­ated. Twenty seven major char­ac­ters had their faces “built” in a com­puter. Through com­puter mod­el­ing, it was easy to manip­u­late the char­ac­ters faces for expres­sions and speak­ing. Once cre­ated, each pose was then out­puted to a 3D printer. The 3D print­ers build up each character’s face by deposit­ing hun­dreds of lay­ers of fine white plaster-vinyl pow­der, which is then sprayed with ink. Over 31,000 parts were cre­ated this way… each thirty sec­onds would require almost 300 faces per character.

In inter­na­tional the­aters for films dis­trib­uted over­seas by Hol­ly­wood stu­dios, Pixar’s Brave was in fifth place with $14.4 mil­lion, accord­ing to Ren­trak. Ice Age: Con­ti­nen­tal Drift was at No. 7 with $10.1 million.

Fox’s Ice Age: Con­ti­nen­tal Drift has made $150.1 mil­lion domes­ti­cally since it opened July 13.

Over­all, domes­tic rev­enues reached $139 mil­lion, up 12% from the same week­end last year, when The Help topped the box office with $20 mil­lion, track­ing com­pany said. Busi­ness had been down the pre­vi­ous three week­ends this summer.

Accord­ing to, rev­enues have reached $3.9 bil­lion since the first week­end of May down 5% from the same period last sum­mer, when the sea­son closed with an all-time high of $4.4 billion.

We’re wind­ing down the sum­mer, and we’re in the dog days of August. They’re called that for a rea­son, because we’re expe­ri­enc­ing the typ­i­cal sum­mer slow­down, only it seems worse this year,” ana­lyst Paul Der­garabe­dian said.

Esti­mated ticket sales for Fri­day through Sun­day at United States and Cana­dian the­aters were released by Final domes­tic fig­ures are sched­uled for release Monday.

Bobby Hill ID proves good for a drink or six

"Bobby Hill" ID

Bobby Hill” ID

You’d think that a car­toon pic­ture of Bobby Hill (of King of the Hill fame) on an ID card would raise booze salesmen’s eyebrows.

But in an under­cover oper­a­tion, a teenager used it suc­cess­fully to buy alco­hol six times in England’s Not­ting­hamshire county. More­over, the age given on the card was 17 — under legal drink­ing age in Britain.

Over half of the 22 stores checked by the county coun­cil trad­ing stan­dards oper­a­tion either sold the teenager alco­hol with­out ask­ing for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion at all, or accepted the Bobby Hill ID. Six stores checked his fake ID card, but still sold him the alco­hol. Another seven stores didn’t ask for identification.

We take the sale of age-restricted prod­ucts to chil­dren very seri­ously,” said Mick Mur­phy, the chair­man of the council’s com­mu­nity safety com­mit­tee. “Although the vol­un­teer was 18, we would strongly rec­om­mend that retail­ers always ask pur­chasers of goods such as alco­hol and cig­a­rettes for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion if they look under 25.

It is dis­ap­point­ing that around a quar­ter of the shops tested did not prop­erly check the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion that they asked for before accept­ing it. We are warn­ing shops that we are con­sid­er­ing using a child with fake ID fol­low­ing the results of this exer­cise,” Mur­phy added.

The coun­cil said that it would advise all the retail­ers who incor­rectly served the vol­un­teer, encour­ag­ing them to adopt a “Chal­lenge 25″ pol­icy when sell­ing prod­ucts that require a min­i­mum age.

Under “Chal­lenge 25,” any­one who is older than 18 but looks younger than 25 is encour­aged to carry accept­able ID, such as a card bear­ing the PASS holo­gram, a dri­ving license with a photo or a passport.

The Last Belle wins top animation award in R.I.

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Rhode Island Inter­na­tional Film Festival

The Last Belle,” by Neil Boyle of the United King­dom, won the Grand award in Ani­ma­tion at FLICKERS: Rhode Island Inter­na­tional Film Festival.

In the 20-minute 2011 film, two char­ac­ters jour­ney towards a blind date: Wally, who suf­fers a night­mar­ish drunken trip through Lon­don as he races against the clock to the ren­dezvous; and Rosie, who waits in a bar dream­ing of how won­der­ful her date is going to be…if he ever turns up. The film had its New Eng­land pre­miere at the fest.

RIIFF announced the award win­ners Sun­day from its 16th annual awards cer­e­mony held at The Vets in down­town Providence.

Held from August 7 to 12, the fes­ti­val had another record-breaking year in atten­dance for ticket buy­ers and filmmakers.

Two films tied for First in the Ani­ma­tion cat­e­gory: Nuru (dir. Micheal Pal­maers; Bel­gium, 2011) and Zing (dir. Kyra Buschor; Ger­many, 2012).

The 14-minute Nuru is set in an aban­doned zoo. The zoo itself is inspired by the Antwerp Zoo in the 19th cen­tury and is cov­ered in a mys­te­ri­ous envi­ron­ment remind­ing of the Rene Magritte paint­ing The Empire of Light. Under a radi­at­ing sunny sky, the land­scape is cov­ered in dark­ness. The oppor­tunis­tic direc­tor of the aban­doned zoo instructs a doc­tor to do some med­ical exper­i­ments on a gorilla, one of the few ani­mals left in the zoo. If the exper­i­ment turns out well, the zoo could again become the great attrac­tion it once was.

In Zing, day in, day out, Mr. Grimm is busy with his job as the Reaper, har­vest­ing people’s lives. One day, his monot­o­nous exis­tence is inter­rupted by the door­bell. It’s a lit­tle girl. She wants her cat back. Lit­tle does she know that she’s the next life on Mr. Grimm’s list.

Frac­tion (dir. Alain Delan­noy; Canada, 2012) won the Grand award in the Best Exper­i­men­tal cat­e­gory. With­out spo­ken lan­guage, this nine-minute ani­mated film fol­lows the story of an elderly artist who, caught in a bat­tle of time, strug­gles to com­plete his body of work. Thou­sands of hand­crafted draw­ings were cre­ated to com­pose and ulti­mately com­plete this inde­pen­dent short film, which was pro­duced over a span of four years.

The RIIFF Youth Jury Award for Best Ani­mated went to Ris­ing Hope (dir. Milen Vitanov; Ger­many, 2012). All know the way, but few actu­ally walk it — Ris­ing Hope, once the fastest horse in the world, dares to be one of the few.

Two hun­dred fea­ture length, doc­u­men­tary and short films — from 51 coun­tries, and 32 states in the United States — were screened over a six-day period at loca­tions through­out Rhode Island. Films were selected from a record entry base of 4,717 sub­mis­sions. The fes­ti­val pre­sented 28 world pre­mieres and 26 North American/United States premieres.

It’s sim­ply been an incred­i­ble year for us,” said George T. Mar­shall, RIIFF’s exec­u­tive direc­tor. “Thanks to the amaz­ing part­ner­ship we forged with Steven Fein­berg and the Rhode Island Film & Tele­vi­sion Office and spon­sor­ships with the Prov­i­dence Jour­nal, Cox Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and the City of Prov­i­dence, film­mak­ers from across the globe were able to expe­ri­ence true Rhode Island hos­pi­tal­ity. We had a spec­tac­u­lar lineup of provoca­tive and engag­ing new films and a ban­ner year for the Flick­ers’ Forums.

This year, the fes­ti­val reg­is­tered more than 150 film­mak­ers from across the globe, includ­ing Green­land, Italy, Canada, France, Bel­gium, Den­mark and Nor­way. All in all, we achieved every­thing we set out to accom­plish with this year’s fes­ti­val and more.”

RIIFF is one of only 75 film fes­ti­vals world­wide that is accred­ited by the Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences. William Joyce’s The Fan­tas­tic Fly­ing Books of Mr. Mor­ris Less­more pre­miered at RIIFF in 2011, and went on to win an Acad­emy Award for best ani­mated short.

China’s “Monkey King” in 3D at Vancouver festival

Vancouver International Film Festival

Van­cou­ver Inter­na­tional Film Festival

At this year’s Van­cou­ver Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, China’s The Mon­key King gets an eye-popping 3D restora­tion on its 50th anniver­sary; A Liar’s Auto­bi­og­ra­phy (also in 3D) cel­e­brates Gra­ham Chapman’s inim­itable work with Monty Python; and Per­sis­tence of Vision tells the story of what could have been the great­est ani­mated fea­ture of all time, The Thief and the Cob­bler.

There’s plenty for the kids, but there’s also a tremen­dous seri­ous­ness of pur­pose and heart­felt artistry to the selec­tion of ani­mated fea­tures and shorts in this year’s fes­ti­val, tak­ing place from Sep­tem­ber 27 to Octo­ber 12.

Comic book super­heroes may rule the mul­ti­plex, but in the wide world of cin­ema, more rar­efied and grown-up tastes are being well served! More and more, the use of ani­ma­tion sequences and devices enhance “photo-based” movies, and while graphic nov­els break new artis­tic ground, along comes Car­toon Col­lege to intro­duce us to the great ani­ma­tors of the printed page.

Among the car­toon selec­tions at the Van­cou­ver Inter­na­tional Film Festival:

The Mon­key King — Uproar in Heaven 3D (Da nao tian gong)
China; dirs. Su Da and Chen Zhi­hong
A grand spec­ta­cle, Su Da and Chen Zhihong’s 50th anniver­sary 3D restora­tion of China’s most lauded ani­mated fea­ture is truly a spe­cial event. Based on the the Ming Dynasty clas­sic Jour­ney to the West, it chron­i­cles the adven­tures of the mag­i­cal Mon­key King, a mis­chie­vous char­ac­ter who cre­ates havoc in the palace of Heaven by refus­ing to kow­tow to the Celes­tial Jade Emperor.… Bring the kids! Clas­si­fi­ca­tion: TBA.

A Liar’s Auto­bi­og­ra­phy: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Gra­ham Chap­man
United King­dom; dirs. Bill Jones, Jeff Simp­son and Ben Tim­lett
Ready for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent? In the spirit of Gra­ham Chapman’s five-author, highly fic­tion­al­ized auto­bi­og­ra­phy, this car­ni­va­lesque 3D adaptation/animation enlists three direc­tors (Bill Jones, Ben Tim­lett and Jeff Simp­son), 15 ani­ma­tion stu­dios (each using dif­fer­ent tech­niques) and the remain­ing Monty Python mem­bers (minus Eric Idle) to pay irrev­er­ent trib­ute to “the dead one.”

Ernest et Céles­tine
France/Belgium/Luxembourg; dirs. Ben­jamin Ren­ner, Vin­cent Patar and Stéphane Aubier
Like-minded Ernest, a busk­ing bear, and Céles­tine, a boho mouse, forge an inter­species friend­ship and instantly become a cause célèbre. Team­ing with Ben­jamin Ren­ner, A Town Called Panic’s Vin­cent Patar and Stéphane Aubier curb their anar­chic ten­den­cies and del­i­cately craft “a cau­tion­ary fable where friend­ship tries to stand the test of big­otry and intol­er­ance.” — Hol­ly­wood Reporter. To be clas­si­fied so all ages can attend!

McDull: The Pork of Music
North Amer­i­can Pre­miere
Hong Kong; dir. Brian Tse
Hong Kong’s fun­ni­est and most sub­ver­sively pop­u­lar avatar, the car­toon piglet McDull, is back in an ani­mated musi­cal by Brian Tse and Alice Mak. Mix­ing hilar­i­ous, weird and deli­ciously pro­fane humor with ultra-sharp social cri­tique, McDull & Com­pany sing about HK’s unique­ness with a poignant charm all their own.

Con­sum­ing Spir­its
U.S.A.; dir. Chris Sul­li­van
In this spi­ral­ing ani­mated tale, the darkly humor­ous, seem­ingly ran­dom mis­ad­ven­tures of three Rust Belt grotesques coa­lesce into a sin­gle affect­ing nar­ra­tive. “Shot frame-by-frame using mod­els, multi-plane paper cutouts and tra­di­tional pencil-drawn car­toons… this labor of love from do-it-all ani­ma­tor Chris Sul­li­van has the same rough-edged, can­tan­ker­ous charms as the char­ac­ters that pop­u­late it.” — Vari­ety

Car­toon Col­lege
World Pre­miere
U.S.A.; dirs. Josh Mel­rod and Tara Wray
This bit­ter­sweetly charm­ing doc­u­men­tary intro­duces us to some of the world’s great­est graphic nov­el­ists, and the extra­or­di­nary col­lege in White River Junc­tion, Ver­mont, where the comic artists of tomor­row get inspired and get to work! Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Art Spiegel­man, Françoise Mouly and Scott McCloud are among the many artists to take us into their imag­i­na­tive inner lives and craft. The fab­u­lous sound­track includes an orig­i­nal score by Jason Zumpano.

Per­sis­tence of Vision
World Pre­miere
U.S.A./United Kingdom/Canada; dir. Kevin Schreck
Stu­pen­dous! After toil­ing on his mas­ter­piece The Thief and the Cob­bler for 28 years, top British ani­ma­tor Richard Williams — famous for Who Framed Roger Rab­bit — saw it wrested from his con­trol and sav­agely recut. Pair­ing unre­leased scenes from Williams’ vir­tu­oso fairy tale with hor­ror sto­ries of cre­ativ­ity falling prey to com­merce, Kevin Schreck takes us inside “the great­est ani­mated film never made.”

Wrin­kles (Arru­gas)
Spain; dir Igna­cio Fer­reras
By turns mov­ing and funny, Igna­cio Fer­reras’ ani­mated tale of two elderly men who become friends at a care facil­ity for the aged “has heart and humor.… Wrin­kles ranks as an extra­or­di­nar­ily involv­ing and poignant film… likely to inspire laugh­ter and deep sym­pa­thy for the char­ac­ters, if not tears, in equal mea­sure.” — SBS Film.
Win­ner, Goya Awards, Best Ani­mated Film, Best Adapted Screen­play, 2012.

Sneak pre­view guides of the Van­cou­ver Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val hit the street Sep­tem­ber 1, while the VIFF Advance Box Office opens Sep­tem­ber 10. The Offi­cial Pro­gram Cat­a­logue is on sale Sep­tem­ber 15.

Watch for the fab­u­lous Hayao Miyazaki series com­ing to the PCP and Vancity The­atre in late fall!

Van­cou­ver Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val film info is avail­able at (604) 683-FILM (3456). The VIFF office is at (604) 685‑0260.