Monthly Archives: September 2012

Win Tix for “Persistence of Vision” World Premiere

Persistence Of Vision

Per­sis­tence Of Vision

Want to go to the world pre­miere of “Per­sis­tence of Vision” for free?

The doc­u­men­tary fol­lows the 30-year quest of ani­ma­tor Richard Williams to make his mas­ter­piece, The Thief and the Cob­bler — per­haps the great­est ani­mated film never made.

Spon­sor The Snipe, Vancouver’s news source for movies, music, comics and more, has two pairs of tick­ets to give away to the world pre­miere Thurs­day, Octo­ber 4 at this year’s Van­cou­ver Inter­na­tional Film Festival.

Best known for the ani­mated sequences of Who Framed Roger Rab­bit, Canadian-born British ani­ma­tor Williams saw the film wrested from his con­trol and sav­agely recut.

Kevin Schreck’s doc­u­men­tary pairs unre­leased scenes from Williams’ vir­tu­oso fairy­tale with hor­ror sto­ries of cre­ativ­ity falling prey to commerce.

To enter to win one of two pairs of tick­ets to the Octo­ber 4 pre­miere at 6 p.m. at Granville Cin­e­mas, let the online mag­a­zine know your favorite ani­mated fea­ture or car­toon of all time at www.thesnipenews.com/the-latest/persistence-of-vision-movie-viff/. The draw will be made at 9 a.m. PST on Wednes­day, Octo­ber 3.

Per­sis­tence of Vision is part of the 2012 Van­cou­ver Inter­na­tional Film Festival.

Who’s In At London Animation Festival

London International Animation Festival

Lon­don Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Festival

The largest ani­mated film fes­ti­val in the United King­dom– the Lon­don Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Fes­ti­val– has announced this years pro­gram. Included are over 280 films from thirty coun­tries com­pet­ing in 10 cat­e­gories. Show­cas­ing the best in British and inter­na­tional ani­ma­tion, this years fes­ti­val also includes sev­eral impor­tant pre­mieres, in addi­tion to attendee events and symposiums.

This year’s Lon­don Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Fes­ti­val– or LIAF– is run­ning Octo­ber 25th — Novem­ber 4th. This year the ten day fes­ti­val will open with style, pre­mier­ing ‘For No Good Rea­son’, the brand new fea­ture film explor­ing the con­nec­tion between life and art through the eyes of sem­i­nal British artist, Ralph Stead­man. Fol­low the screen­ing with an onstage dis­cus­sion with the sem­i­nal British artist him­self – Ralph Stead­man, as well as ‘For No Good Rea­son’ Direc­tor Char­lie Paul and Ani­ma­tion Direc­tor Kevin Richards.

On Octo­ber 28th, Czech Repub­lic direc­tor Tomáš Lunák will intro­duce a  screen­ing of his film Alois Nebel. After­ward, he will take part in a Q and A about the film.

Also on tap are a ret­ro­spec­tive of Lithuan­ian Ani­ma­tion and a look at the emerg­ing Japan­ese ani­ma­tion scene, includ­ing a mas­ter­class and screen­ing with short-form auteur ani­ma­tor Koji Yama­mura. Amer­i­can stu­dio Klasky Csupo presents a series of never-before-seen pilot films from some of their tele­vi­sions series.

The fes­ti­val will also be home to a vari­ety of ScreenTalks and Cre­ative Skillset sym­po­siums and spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tions includ­ing a 2-day indus­try event in which top­ics such as The Future of Ani­ma­tion in the UK and The Art of Ani­mated Film Titles will be explored. Tech­nique Focus Work­shops include an in-depth look at Live Action / Ani­ma­tion Hybrid films. There are also sev­eral pro­grams and hands on work­shops espe­cially for chil­dren includ­ing the Make a Spooky Film Work­shop in which BAFTA award-winning Kevin Grif­fiths will guide audi­ences through the var­i­ous stages of ‘cut-out’ ani­ma­tion and the art of adding spooky soundtracks.

Another favorite pro­gram at the LIAF is Fri­day Night Bizarre. On Novem­ber 2 at 9 PM, this ever pop­u­lar, irre­sistible, train-wreck of a pro­gram com­mences — you wanna’ turn away but you know you can’t. Expect meat in all the wrong places, drunk babies, slimy politi­cians, Siamese twins, deranged zom­bies and Yoko Ono!

The fes­ti­val will wrap up with The Best of the Next on Sat­ur­day night, lead­ing into the Best of the Fes­ti­val event on the fol­low­ing Sun­day, show­cas­ing a col­lec­tion of the great­est films from LIAF cho­sen by judg­ing pan­els and audi­ence votes.

Full pro­gram sched­ules and addi­tional infor­ma­tion about the LIAF is avail­able online at www.liaf.org.uk

Bento Animation To Open In Atlanta

Bento Box Entertainment

Cal­i­for­nia based ani­ma­tion stu­dio Bento Box Enter­tain­ment has announced a new branch stu­dio to open in north west Atlanta by the end of the year. Bento Box is the pro­ducer of the Fox series Bobs Burg­ers. The new stu­dio is expected to employee about 100 artists, and up to three hun­dred within 3 years.

The south, and Atlanta in par­tic­u­lar, has seen a boom in TV and Film pro­duc­tion over the last few years. Floyd County Pro­duc­tions, the cre­ator of FX’s “Archer” series, has about 100 employ­ees based in offices near the Virginia-Highland neigh­bor­hood. And Star­gate Stu­dios, a spe­cial effects com­pany, recently expanded to metro Atlanta for work on AMC’s pop­u­lar zom­bie drama “The Walk­ing Dead.”

And, of course, there’s Car­toon Net­work, Turner Broadcasting’s 24-hour ani­ma­tion sta­tion, which is cel­e­brat­ing its 20th birth­day Mon­day. From rather hum­ble begin­nings, the net­work now reaches an audi­ence of more than 360 mil­lion homes worldwide.

Ani­ma­tion stu­dios are increas­ingly drawn to Atlanta for its prox­im­ity to indus­try stal­warts such as Turner Broad­cast­ing and access to a large poten­tial work­force. Bento Box cred­ited the state’s rich tal­ent pool — legions of stu­dents trained at local art schools — as well as a tax break of up to 30 per­cent of a production’s bud­get for film and TV com­pa­nies that spend at least $500,000 on a project.

The com­pany has spent the past three months train­ing its first few dozen employ­ees, is already set to do ani­ma­tion work for two TV series. One is a show called “The Awe­somes,” an orig­i­nal series from “Sat­ur­day Night Live” head writer Seth Mey­ers for the Hulu online net­work. Another, called “Out There,” will be fea­tured on the IFC channel.

Green­berg said the work for these two pro­grams would have oth­er­wise been bid out to Korea, China or another inter­na­tional locale. But he was con­vinced Atlanta is a bet­ter alter­na­tive, thanks in part to its vibrant arts community.

Dracula To Take A Big Bite Out Of BO?

Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Tran­syl­va­nia

Sony Pic­tures Ani­ma­tion is set to take a big bite out of week­end box office with the release of the ani­mated film Hotel Tran­syl­va­nia. Bets are on that the 3D film will slide to an easy vic­tory in the week­end race to sales, with esti­mates rais­ing as high as 35 mil­lion for the film.

Inter­est­ingly enough, one of the other two new releases this week­end is also from Sony, “Looper.” Star­ring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Rian John­son, Looper is expected to come in at sec­ond place at 22 mil­lion. The third film will be a dis­tant third, an expended box office bomb called, “Won’t Back Down.”

With a bud­get of about 100 mil­lion, Hotel Tran­syl­va­nia has had a long and trou­bled past. Var­i­ous direc­tors have included Anthony Stac­chi, David Feiss and Jill Cul­ton, with Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky helm­ing the final ver­sion. In Feb­ru­ary of 2012 Selena Gomez replaced Miley Cyrus as Mavis.

Wel­come to the Hotel Tran­syl­va­nia, Dracula’s lav­ish five-stake resort, where mon­sters and their fam­i­lies can live it up, free from med­dling from the human world. But here’s a little-known fact about Drac­ula: he is not only the Prince of Dark­ness; he is also a dad.

Over­pro­tec­tive of his teenage daugh­ter Mavis, Drac­ula fab­ri­cates tales of elab­o­rate dan­gers to dis­suade her adven­tur­ous spirit. As a haven for Mavis, he opens the Hotel Tran­syl­va­nia, where his daugh­ter and some of the world’s most famous mon­sters — Franken­stein and his bride, the Mummy, the Invis­i­ble Man, a fam­ily of were­wolves, and more — can kick back in safety and peace. For Drac, cater­ing to all of these leg­endary mon­sters is no prob­lem — but his world could come crash­ing down when one ordi­nary guy stum­bles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.

Frank is also known as Franken­stein. Eunice is his in-your-face, over-the-top and larger-than-life Bride. Qua­si­modo, once the hunch­back of Notre Dame, is now a crazy, pas­sion­ate gourmet chef always look­ing for his next piece de resis­tance. Wayne and Wanda are a pair of mar­ried, har­ried were­wolves, par­ents to an ever-increasing lit­ter of pups, who are look­ing for­ward to their fam­ily vaca­tion at the hotel.

Mur­ray, a bois­ter­ous Mummy, was once enter­tainer to the great Pharaohs, and is now the life of the party, and always feel­ing the urge to let loose and sing. Jonathan is a 21-year-old reg­u­lar guy, care­free and full of life, whose world trav­els land him at the Hotel.

Turtle Power Returns Saturday

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Get ready for Tur­tle power to sur­face on Nick­elodeon this Sat­ur­day, Sept. 29, at 11AM (ET/PT) in a spe­cial one-hour tele­vi­sion event in the all-new, CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur­tles series.

The series stars Jason Biggs (Amer­i­can Pie) as “Leonardo,” Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) as “Raphael,” Rob Paulsen (Planet Sheen) as “Donatello” and Greg Cipes (Teen Titans) as “Michelan­gelo.” Addi­tional cast mem­bers round­ing out this iconic hit fran­chise include Mae Whit­man (Par­ent­hood) as “April O’Neil,” Hoon Lee (Royal Pains) as “Mas­ter Splin­ter” and Kevin Michael Richard­son (Pen­guins of Mada­gas­car) as “Shredder.”

In the pre­miere episode, “Rise of the Tur­tles,” Mas­ter Splin­ter allows his teenage sons, the Mutant Ninja Tur­tles, to visit the sur­face for the first time, how­ever they are given strict instruc­tions to remain unseen.  But when they spy a group of thugs attempt­ing to kid­nap a teenage girl (April O’Neil) and her father, the Tur­tles must leap into action. They soon dis­cover that the sur­face world isn’t as sim­ple as it first appears as they find them­selves in the mid­dle of a con­spir­acy involv­ing alien crea­tures, robotic droids, miss­ing sci­en­tists and come face to face with the same glow­ing green muta­gen that mutated them in the first place.

Former Digital Domain Team Seeks to Revive “Tembo”

The Legend Of Tembo

The Leg­end Of Tembo

Despite being “dev­as­tated” by the sud­den clo­sure of Dig­i­tal Domain Media Group’s new Florida stu­dio, director-producers Chuck Williams and Aaron Blaise are bid­ding for the rights to ani­mated fea­ture The Leg­end of Tembo, a film can­celed when Dig­i­tal Domain went belly-up.

A tale of a pachy­derm taken far from his African home to go to war, The Leg­end of Tembo would have gone into pro­duc­tion in another month. But one day, restruc­tur­ing spe­cial­ists at FTI Con­sult­ing told stu­dio employ­ees who had come to work that they had two hours to grab their things and go.

Williams and Blaise each worked in ani­ma­tion for the Walt Dis­ney Com­pany for 20 years. Williams moved back to his home state to get Dig­i­tal Domain devel­op­ing a stu­dio busi­ness. When he came back to his office, his com­puter was gone.

It was like a hur­ri­cane had blown through and every­thing was ripped out. I had pitches and scripts and all kinds of work on there,” Williams said.

Through a spokesman, FTI declined comment.

Williams and Blaise are in talks with Beijing-based Gal­lop­ing Horse, which joined Reliance Medi­a­Works in pur­chas­ing Dig­i­tal Domain’s special-effects busi­ness for $30.2 mil­lion at a hasty bank­ruptcy auc­tion. Already, Gal­lop­ing Horse has paid $5 mil­lion to develop The Leg­end of Tembo. Williams and Blaise hope that the joint ven­ture will help bring back Dig­i­tal Domain’s ani­mated movie business.

The cre­ative team feels that Gal­lop­ing Horse, which bought most of Dig­i­tal Domain, may also pur­chase its stu­dio busi­ness, too.

We want to make our movie,” said Williams. “One-hundred-twenty peo­ple worked on it for two years. Early tests showed it was fab­u­lous — Dis­ney qual­ity, just like we promised.”

Speak­ing last week in bank­ruptcy court last week, Michael Katzen­stein of FTI belit­tled Dig­i­tal Domain’s attempt to pro­duce ani­mated movies as a mis­take, as the firm had done well mak­ing spe­cial effects for such movies as Titanic for years. He stated that Tembo swal­lowed $13 mil­lion of the company’s funds.

How­ever, Williams and Blaise con­tend, spe­cial effects makes only a small mar­gin of profit, while ani­mated fea­tures are a real money-maker, with 90% of such films get­ting wide release in the United States turn­ing a profit. They said that spend­ing on The Leg­end of Tembo was par for the indus­try, and that a profit from Dig­i­tal Domain’s new stu­dio couldn’t be expected for years.

Accord­ing to Blaise, a major ani­mated fea­ture is nor­mally bud­geted at $80 mil­lion to $100 mil­lion. A good ani­mated movie takes three or four years to pro­duce, with the money not show­ing up until it’s in movie houses, he said.

Added Williams: “This was a good bet.”

We’re sad about what hap­pened. It’s really hor­rific,” Williams con­tin­ued. “But we’re excited about what could hap­pen now.”

[Via Dow Jones/Wall Street Jour­nal blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2012/09/26/digital-domains-creative-leaders-hit-the-comeback-trail/]

SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D Comes to Life in Spring

SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D

Sponge­Bob SquarePants 4-D

Who lives in a pineap­ple under the sea and may be com­ing soon to a theme park, zoo or aquar­ium near you? Sponge­Bob SquarePants.

Nick­elodeon is team­ing again with attrac­tion pow­er­house SimEx-Iwerks Enter­tain­ment and cre­ative stu­dio Super 78 to bring the smash hit car­toon series to life in Sponge­Bob SquarePants 4-D – The Great Jelly Res­cue. With stun­ning 3-D graph­ics and a dra­matic assort­ment of scents, sounds and phys­i­cal inter­play, the new attrac­tion will offer an immer­sive, one-of-a-kind 4-D expe­ri­ence. Pro­duc­tion of the film is cur­rently under­way, and the expe­ri­ence will debut around the world at select venues next spring.

Fans of all ages will join Sponge­Bob and his trusty pals Patrick and Sandy on a deep-sea adven­ture as they try to pre­vent their arch-enemy, Plank­ton, from har­vest­ing the ocean’s jel­ly­fish for his own evil use. The race is on as Sponge­Bob and gang encounter obsta­cles and mishaps as they try to foil Plankton’s vil­lain­ous plot.

Sponge­Bob is an inter­na­tional super­star and this excit­ing new attrac­tion gives fans the oppor­tu­nity to feel like they are part of his under­sea world,” said Super 78 prin­ci­pal Brent Young. “This expe­ri­ence shares a con­ser­va­tion mes­sage using a charm­ing sto­ry­line and spe­cial effects that engage all the senses. It even adds a fifth dimen­sion of sorts that taps the capri­cious humor Sponge­Bob is famous for.”

This is our third film part­ner­ship with Nick­elodeon,” said Mike Frueh, senior vice-president of film dis­tri­b­u­tion for SimEx-Iwerks. “Based on the suc­cess of the orig­i­nal Sponge­Bob 4-D Expe­ri­ence and most recently, Dora and Diego 4-D Adven­ture, we are delighted to be part­ner­ing with both Nick­elodeon and Super 78 to bring a new Sponge­Bob 4-D expe­ri­ence to the 4-D screen.”

Sponge­Bob SquarePants is an iconic and beloved prop­erty, with a global fan base,” said Ger­ald Raines, vice-president, of Nick­elodeon recre­ation busi­ness devel­op­ment. “This new expe­ri­ence, which inte­grates 3-D tech­nol­ogy and daz­zling in-theater effects, will engage fans the world over with a pos­i­tive and enter­tain­ing message.”

Dan Thompson won Daytime Emmy as Rugrats Director

Rugrats

Rugrats

Ani­ma­tor, direc­tor and pro­ducer Dan Thomp­son, who shared a Day­time Emmy for his work on Rugrats, died August 19.

His age was not imme­di­ately available.

As a direc­tor of Rugrats, he received a Day­time Emmy for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Pro­gram in 1992. He shared a nom­i­na­tion in the same cat­e­gory in 1993.

Thomp­son pro­duced the TV series G.I. Joe (1985–86) and Jem (1987–88), as well as an episode of Swamp Thing (1991).

He directed the series Camp Candy (1990), Swamp Thing, Iron Man (1995–96) and The Incred­i­ble Hulk (1996). As well, he was super­vis­ing direc­tor of the 1983 mini-series G.I. Joe: A Real Amer­i­can Hero and direc­tor of the 1984 mini-series G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra.

He served as ani­ma­tion direc­tor of The Incred­i­ble Hulk (1982–83) and McGee and Me! (1989–90). A key ani­ma­tor for the “Taarna” seg­ment of the 1981 movie Heavy Metal, he ani­mated the 1984 movie Katy, la oruga, along with the TV-movies Clerow Wil­son and the Mir­a­cle of P.S. 14 (1972) and Clerow Wilson’s Great Escape (1974).

In 1984, Thomp­son served as sequence direc­tor for the the­atri­cal movie Galla­vants and the Trans­form­ers TV series.

Tim­ing direc­tor for the 1990 series Tiny Toon Adven­tures and 2000 video Mon­ster Mash, he was an ani­ma­tion and/or sheet timer for the TV series The Wild Thorn­ber­rys (1999), Rocket Power (1999–2002) and As Told by Gin­ger (2003–06), as well as the 2002 TV-movie Inspec­tor Gadget’s Last Case: Claw’s Revenge.

Since 1973, he worked for Krantz, Hanna-Barbera, Mar­vel, Dis­ney, Warner Bros., Graz, Uni­ver­sal, Fun­ny­bone, DIC, Sun­bow, Klasky-Csupo and Nickelodeon.

Thomp­son was also known for his “urban folk” art, mount­ing a very suc­cess­ful show at The Ani­ma­tion Guild’s Gallery 839 in Octo­ber 2010.

Michael Rye, 94, was Cartoondom’s Lone Ranger

Michael Rye

Michael Rye

Voiceover actor Michael Rye, who had the title role in the 1966 For­mat Films car­toon series “The Lone Ranger,” died Sun­day in Los Ange­les after a short ill­ness. He was 94.

Rye was a main­stay in many car­toon series and radio shows.

Born J. Rior­den Bills­bury in Chicago, he voiced Duke Igth­orn and King Gre­gor, Malsinger and Troll the horse on Disney’s “Gummi Bears,” and Green Lantern and Apache Chief on “The All-New Super Friends Hour” and “Chal­lenge of the “Super Friends.”

Rye was Mr. Slaghoople in 1986’s “The Flint­stone Kids.”

He was part of the Hanna-Barbera sta­ble of voice actors, and was heard often in “Scooby-Doo,” “Pound Pup­pies” and many other HB car­toon series.

Dur­ing the Golden Age of radio, Rye acted in about 40 net­work shows dur­ing an aver­age week. He had the lead role on “Jack Arm­strong — The All Amer­i­can Boy.” As well, he was Gary Cur­tis on “Ma Perkins,” Tim Lawrence on “The Guid­ing Light,” and Pem­brook on “Back­stage Wife.”

Michael Rye is sur­vived by his wife, the for­mer Patri­cia Foster.

Dona­tions may be made to the Amer­i­can Can­cer Society.

MacPherson wins twice at Montreal World Film Fest

MacPherson

MacPher­son

MacPher­son,” an ani­mated tale of friend­ship between a white man and a black man in Que­bec, was named both the best short film and best Cana­dian short at the Mon­treal World Film Festival.

Brim­ming with exu­ber­ant, col­or­ful images, this 11-minute film was directed by Mar­tine Char­trand of the National Film Board of Canada.

In Que­bec dur­ing the early 1930s, young poet Félix Leclerc befriended Frank Ran­dolph Macpher­son, a Jamaican chem­i­cal engi­neer and uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate who worked for a pulp and paper com­pany. An invet­er­ate jazz fan, Macpher­son inspired Leclerc, who wrote a song about the log dri­ves and enti­tled it “MacPher­son” in honor of his friend.

In the heart of a win­try nation, a white man and a black man bask in the warmth of a friend­ship buoyed by melodies of jazz, tra­di­tional Que­bec folk tunes, Jamaican mento and a Schu­bert sonata. The mag­i­cal hands of Char­trand, direc­tor of Black Soul, cre­ated an ani­mated film that bursts with a pul­sat­ing hybrid of poetry and music, employ­ing painted glass frames shot with a 35mm cam­era. Some­where between doc­u­men­tary and fic­tion, MacPher­son, based on Leclerc’s famous song, depicts turn­ing points in his­tory and, with great sen­si­tiv­ity and lav­ish imagery, evokes the deep feel­ings shared by the Jamaican engi­neer and one of Leclerc’s sisters.

Orig­i­nal music was pro­vided by Jean-François Dumas, Luzio Alto­belli and Dominic Desrochers. Erik Shoup was the pianist.