Monthly Archives: September 2012

Winners From The Great White North

Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF)

Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF)

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) came to a close late last night, with closing ceremonies held at the National Arts Centre. This years festival, which ran September 19th-23rd, featured a special jury of children who voted on-appropriately- Best Short Animation Made for Children and the Best Television Animation Made for Children.

This years festival featured sold out workshops, packed screenings, and many high profile networking events for industry professionals. Although attendance figures have not been officially released and finalized, rumors hold that this year’s Festival reached its highest attendance to date. The OIAF brings over 1500 industry pass holders from across Canada and around the world to Ottawa. Total attendance at the events is estimated at 30,000.

This years winners:

Nelvana GRAND PRIZE for Best Independent Short Animation: Junkyard– directed by Hisko Hulsing, Netherlands

GRAND PRIZE for Best Animated Feature: Arrugas (Wrinkles), directed by Ignacio Ferreras, Spain

Walt Disney GRAND PRIZE for Best Student Animation: I Am Tom Moody– directed by Ainslie Henderson, Edinburgh College of Art, UK

GRAND PRIZE for Best Commissioned Animation: Primus “Lee Van Cleef” – by Chris Smith, USA

Best Animation School Showreel: Supinfocom (France)

BEST Narrative Short: A Morning Stroll – by Grant Orchard, STUDIO AKA, USA

BEST Experimental/Abstract Animation: Rivière au Tonnerre – directed by Pierre Hébert, Canada

Adobe Prize for BEST High School Animation: The Bean – by Hae Jin Jung, Gyeonggi Art High School, South Korea

Honourable Mention:

La Soif Du Monde (Thirsty Frog) – by a Collective: 12 Children, Camera-etc, Belgium

BEST Undergraduate Animation: Reizwäsche – by Jelena Walf & Viktor Stickel, Germany

BEST Graduate Animation: Ballpit – directed by Kyle Mowat, Sheridan College, Canada

BEST Promotional Animation: Red Bull ‘Music Academy World Tour‘ – by Pete Candeland, Passion Pictures, UK

BEST Music Video: The First Time I Ran Away – by Joel Trussell, USA

BEST Television Animation for Adults: Portlandia: Zero Rats – by Rob Shaw, USA

BEST Short Animation Made for Children: Beethoven’s Wig, directed by Alex Hawley & Denny Silverthorne, Canada

Honourable Mentions:

Au Coeur de L’Hiver – directed by Isabelle Favez, Switzerland

Why do we Put up with Them? – directed by David Chai, USA

BEST Television Animation Made for Children: Regular Show: Eggscellent – by JC Quintel, Cartoon Network

Honourable Mention:

Adventure Time: Jake vs. Me-Mow – by Pendleton Ward, Cartoon Network, USA

The National Film Board of Canada PUBLIC PRIZE: It’s Such a Beautiful Day – directed by Don Hertzfeldt, USA

Canadian Film Institute Award for BEST Canadian Animation: Nightingales in December, directed by Theodore Ushev, Canada

Honorable Mentions

Ballpit – directed by Kyle Mowat, Sheridan College, Canada

MacPherson – directed by Martine Chartrand, National Film Board of Canada, Canada

BEST Canadian Student Animation Award: Gum – By Noam Sussman, Sheridan College, Canadaa

Honorable Mentions

Ballpit – By Kyle Mowat, Sheridan College, Canada

Tengri – By Alisi Telengut, Concordia University, Canada

ParaNorman Retains First Place in UK; Nemo Finding Fourth



Thanks to a No. 1 finish in its second weekend in the United Kingdom, Laika Entertainment’s ParaNorman made $3 million from 2,200 venues in 39 overseas countries this past weekend.

Distributed abroad by Universal, the animated comedy made $1.9 million at 479 British locations for a cumulative total of $4.7 million in the country over 10 days.

ParaNorman had strong openings in Sweden, Poland and Denmark over the weekend as well. Its total foreign gross has now reached $29.2 million.

Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane’s partly animated comedy-fantasy Ted has grossed a total of $202.8 million internationally, though it’s still to be seen in 12 countries. It’s the third Universal movie so far this year to gross over $200 million abroad.

This past weekend, Ted grossed $9.3 million at 2,800 locations in 43 countries, debuting in Brazil to make $1.3 million at 247 theaters. In its second weekend in Mexico, Ted experienced a 7% increase in grosses, collecting $2.3 million on 465 screens to make $6.2 million over 10 days south of the border. This week, the movie opens in five countries, including South Korea and Hong Kong.

Pixar-Disney’s Brave brought in $5.7 million from 55 countries this weekend. It’s now made $508 million around the world, including $274.4 million overseas.

A 16-week veteran of foreign screens, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted finally opened in New Zealand — at No. 1 — and stayed at the top of the box office in its second weekend in Australia. The threequel grossed $2.6 million from 277 screens for a cumulative total of $8.1 million in the market.

Distributed by Paramount, the DreamWorks Animation movie made $4.6 million at 1,712 venues in 33 countries, grossing a foreign total of $411.9 million since it first screened overseas.

Paramount’s release of Tad, the Lost Explorer stayed at No. 1 in the Spanish box office for the fourth weekend in a row. The latest entry in the the Tadeo Jones animation franchise made $1.6 million at 323 venues over the weekend, contributing to a $13.8 million total in Spain. The movie opened in South Korea this weekend, reaching No. 5.

In domestic box office, End of Watch and House At The End of the Street tied with 13 million each, closely followed by Trouble With The Curve with 12.7 million.The Finding Nemo 3D re-release placed fourth with  9.5 million,  beating out Resident Evil at fifth.

Guardians Unite On A New Poster

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians

After a series of character-centric teaser posters, DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians released a new pre-release poster. Featuring all the major characters from the film, the poster instills a sort of animated Avengers team of super-heroes feel with it’s “Legends Unite” tag line.

The film is directed by Peter Ramsey and co-directed by William Joyce, based on his series of books. The film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won an Oscar for best animated short was based on another of Joyce’s stories.

The film, which does not release until November 21, 2012, will be honored at the 16th Annual Hollywood Film Awards with the Hollywood Animation Award on Oct. 22 at the Beverly Hilton. The Hollywood Animation Award honors the year’s best animated film; previous winner include Ratatouille (2007), Wall-E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Rango (2011). While not all winners go on to win the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, taking the Hollywood Animation Award goes a long way to increasing the chances of a win especially for an unreleased film.

Rise of the Guardians is an epic adventure that tells the story of a group of heroes – each with extraordinary abilities. When an ancient evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world. The world’s five unlikeliest heroes- Jack Frosty, North (aka Santa), Bunnymund (the Easter Bunny), Tooth (the Tooth Fairy) and Sandy (the Sandman)- must band together to stop Pitch (the Boogeyman) from plunging the world into eternal darkness.

Saving Mr. Banks Tells Story Behind Mary Poppins Adaptation

Saving Mr. Banks Tells Story Behind Mary Poppins Adaptation

Saving Mr. Banks

Disney began production Wednesday on “Saving Mr. Banks,” the account of Walt Disney’s 20-year pursuit of the film rights to P.L. Travers’ popular novel Mary Poppins, and the testy partnership that the upbeat filmmaker develops with the uptight author during the partly animated film’s pre-production in 1961.

Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump) will essay the role of the legendary Disney (the first time that the entrepreneur has ever been depicted in a dramatic film) alongside fellow double Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Howard’s End, Sense and Sensibility) in the role of the prickly novelist. Before actually signing away the book’s rights, Travers’ demands for contractual script and character control circumvent not only Disney’s vision for the film adaptation, but also those of the creative team of screenwriter Don DaGradi and sibling composers Richard and Robert Sherman, whose original score and song (“Chim-Chim-Cher-ee”) would go on to win Oscars at the 1965 ceremonies (the film won five awards of its 13 nominations).

When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disney’s desire to bring her beloved character to the motion picture screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresario’s concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past. During her stay in California, Travers reflects back on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only molded her aspirations to write, but one that also inspired the characters in her 1934 book.

None more so than the one person whom she loved and admired more than any other — her caring father, Travers Goff, a tormented banker who, before his untimely death that same year, instills the youngster with both affection and enlightenment (and would be the muse for the story’s patriarch, Mr. Banks, the sole character that the famous nanny comes to aid). While reluctant to grant Disney the film rights, Travers comes to realize that the acclaimed Hollywood storyteller has his own motives for wanting to make the film — which, like the author, hints at the relationship that he shared with his own father in the early 20th Century Midwest.

Colin Farrell (Minority Report, Total Recall) co-stars as Travers’ doting dad, Goff, along with British actress Ruth Wilson (the forthcoming films The Lone Ranger and Anna Karenina) as his long-suffering wife Margaret; Oscar and Emmy nominee Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Hilary and Jackie, The Rookie) as Margaret’s sister, Aunt Ellie (who inspired the title character of Travers’ novel); and a screen newcomer: 11-year-old Aussie native Annie Buckley as the young, blossoming writer, nicknamed “Ginty” in the flashback sequences.

The cast also includes Emmy winner Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, The Cabin in the Woods) as screenwriter Don DaGradi; Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom) and B.J. Novak (NBC’s The Office, Inglourious Basterds) as the songwriting Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert, respectively); Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man, HBO’s John Adams) as Ralph, the kindly limousine driver who escorts Travers during her two-week stay in Hollywood; and multi-Emmy winner Kathy Baker (Picket Fences, Edward Scissorhands) as Tommie, one of Disney’s trusted studio associates.

Saving Mr. Banks will be directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Rookie) based on a screenplay by Kelly Marcel (creator of FOX-TV’s Terra Nova), from a story by Sue Smith (Brides of Christ, Bastard Boys) and Kelly Marcel. The film is being produced by Alison Owen of Ruby Films (the Oscar-nominated Elizabeth, HBO’s Emmy-winning Temple Grandin), Ian Collie of Essential Media (the Aussie TV documentary The Shadow of Mary Poppins, DirecTV’s Rake) and longtime Hancock collaborator Philip Steuer (The Rookie, The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy). The film’s executive producers are Ruby Films’ Paul Trijbits (Lay the Favorite, Jane Eyre), Hopscotch Features’ Andrew Mason (The Matrix trilogy, Dark City) and Troy Lum (Mao’s Last Dancer, I, Frankenstein), and BBC Films’ Christine Langan (Oscar nominee for The Queen, We Need to Talk About Kevin).

Hancock’s filmmaking team includes a trio of artists with whom he worked on his 2009 Best Picture Oscar nominee, The Blind Side: two-time Oscar nominated production designer Michael Corenblith (How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Apollo 13), Emmy-winning costume designer Daniel Orlandi (HBO’s Game Change, Frost/Nixon) and film editor Mark Livolsi, A.C.E. (Wedding Crashers, The Devil Wears Prada). Hancock also reunites with Academy Award-nominated cinematographer John Schwartzman (Seabiscuit, Pearl Harbor), with whom he first worked on his inspiring 2002 sports drama The Rookie.

Saving Mr. Banks will film entirely in the Los Angeles area, with key locations to include Disneyland in Anaheim and the Disney Studios in Burbank. Filming will conclude around Thanksgiving this year, with no specific 2013 release date yet set.

Sofia the First Gets A Special Date

Sofia The First

Sofia The First

Disney’s Sofie the First- a series about a child princess- is getting closer to airing, and a special based on the series has a firm air date. The special, titled Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, will hit Disney Channel on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 7 PM, and 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, on Disney Junior.

Sofie the First television the television series will premiere sometime in early 2013. The movie and series will appear in various other countries from mid-2013 on both Disney Channels and Disney Junior channels.

Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess is aimed at kids aged 2-7. Craig Gerber (Pixie Hollow Games) developed the movie and serves as co-executive producer and story editor. Jamie Mitchell (Special Agent Oso) is executive producer and director. Kevin Kliesch (Tangled Ever After) composed the music while John Kavanaugh (Winnie The Pooh: Springtime With Roo) is onboard as songwriter/music director. The show features a voice cast headed by Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Sofia, Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady (Let’s Make a Deal) as Clover and Tim Gunn (Project Runway) as Baileywick.

Set in the storybook world of Enchancia, Sofia is a little girl with a commoner’s background. That is until her mom marries the King, and suddenly, she is royalty. Sofia is whisked off to the castle, where she learns what it means to be a real princess, discovering empowering lessons about kindness, forgiveness, generosity, courage and self-respect. With the help of the three familiar fairies in charge of the Royal Training Academy- Flora, Fauna and Merryweather of Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty“- Sofia learns that looking like a princess isn’t all that hard, but behaving like one must come from the heart.

Disney’s Cinderella makes an appearance in the movie to offer Sofia some words of wisdom as she learns to navigate the life of royalty.

Sophie is Disney’s first child princess. The stories in this series are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to preschool-aged children.

Set in the storybook world of Enchancia, the movie introduces Sofia, an average girl whose life suddenly transforms when her mother marries the king and she becomes a princess, Sofia the First. Disney’s Cinderella makes an appearance in the movie to offer Sofia some words of wisdom as she learns to navigate the life of royalty.

Looney Tunes Movie Back In Action

Looney Tunes Movie Back In Action

Looney Tunes Movie Back In Action

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam look to be back in action, or at least headed back to the big screen. Warner Bros. has announced that they plan to reboot the classic cartoon short characters into an as-yet untitled new hybrid live-action/CG film.

Former Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate is already on board as writer for the new flick. Jeffrey Clifford, Harry Potter producer David Heyman and Dark Shadows writers David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith are slated to produce the film.

No casting has yet been announced.

The classic Warner Bros. Looney Tunes (and Merrie Melodies) characters appeared in shorts from the studio from 1930 through 1968. During their initial theatrical run, the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series became the most popular of all theatrical series, exceeding even Disney in audience draw. Various revivals of the shorts have occurred since, including some well regarded CGI shorts over the last few years.

The characters have also made their way into two previous live-action/CG films, Space Jamwhich featured Michael Jordan, and the Brendan Fraser/Jenna Elfman film Looney Tunes: Back In Action.

Space Jam grossed $90 million domestically and $230 million worldwide, while the second film only made only $20 million domestically and $68 million worldwide.

Guild Members to Discuss TV Animation Development

The Animation Guild, Local 839

The Animation Guild, Local 839

The State Of TV Animation Development” will be the subject of a panel discussion at the general membership meeting of The Animation Guild on Tuesday, September 25.

“Development”: that enigmatic place where all television shows get their start. What’s happening in TV animation development today? How does it work, and what are they currently excited about? What are they looking for, and what makes a great pitch?

The panel will be hosted by TAG executive board member Karen Carnegie Johnson. Panelists will include Jenna Boyd (senior vice-president of animation development, Nickelodeon), Jonathan Davis (executive vice-president of comedy development and animation, Fox Animation), Eric Homan (vice-president, development, Frederator) and Michael McGahey (vice-president, development, Disney Television Animation).

Membership meetings offer TAG members an opportunity to reconnect with the Guild, interact with the Executive Board, raise concerns and hear about the state of the industry. While not mandatory, attendance and participation are key factors in keeping TAG abreast of matters in the workplace.

The membership decides how and when the union can act. Participation on your part is the foundation to the strength our contract and policies hold. Come and be a part of the process of keeping TAG’s leverage focused and strong.

Pizza and refreshments are available at 6:30 p.m. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Membership meetings are held in the meeting hall of The Animation Guild. It’s located at 1105 North Hollywood Way in Burbank, California, between Magnolia and Chandler.

Cinema Audio Society Adds Category for Animation

Cinema Audio Society

Cinema Audio Society

The Cinema Audio Society has announced the addition of a new category for Outstanding Sound Mixing for an Animated Motion Picture, as well as changes to eligibility rules for sound mixers.

“We are thrilled to announce that we are adding a new category for Outstanding Sound Mixing for an Animated Motion Picture. Animation is a vibrant and vital genre that spans stories for all ages and lives on for generations. The sound mixing being done in animation deserves to be recognized and honored,” said CAS president David E. Fluhr in making the announcement.

The CAS will also separate the Television Series category into two categories: Outstanding Sound Mixing for Television Series – Half Hour and Outstanding Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour. There will no longer be a DVD Original Programming category.

The CAS also announced that in addition to the Production Mixer, Re-Recording Mixers and Scoring Mixer the ADR and Foley mixers in both Motion Picture categories and in both the Television Movies and Mini-Series and Television Series – One Hour categories will now be included in the nominations and awards. Fluhr commented, “ADR and Foley is an integral part of the overall sound mix of a project and we are proud that these mixers will now get the recognition they so richly deserve.”

Awards for Outstanding Sound Mixing in these six categories will be presented in a sealed envelope ceremony at the 49th CAS Awards Dinner on Saturday, February 16 in the Crystal Ballroom of the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

As previously announced the CAS Career Achievement Award will be presented to production sound mixer Chris Newman.

Complete rules and regulations, as well as the promotional regulations for the CAS, can be found on the CAS Web site at

Lilo and Stitch Has a Glitch as Disney Shows Sex Film

Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch

The man and woman having sex on a Disney Channel sure weren’t Lilo or Stitch.

“The kids wanted to see Lilo and Stitch,” said Fairview, North Carolina resident Georgie Brown. She has a five-year-old son, a three-year-old daughter, and a son who is almost two.

She’d recorded the movie from 12:30 to 2 p.m. September 7 on one of Dish Network’s Disney Channel outlets.

Three mornings afterward, she turned on the recording for her kids to watch while worked in a room nearby.

Around a minute into the recording, Brown said, an alert box appeared, stating that “part of the recorded event has been lost due to signal loss.”

Then the picture pixilated. Afterward came video of a man and woman having sex.

The offending material continued for another six minutes before another message about a signal loss appeared on the screen and the Disney movie returned, she said.

Brown said that she was working in her kitchen when she realized the sounds issuing from the tube weren’t the sounds of Disney.

“I just heard things that probably shouldn’t be on Lilo or Stitch,” she said. “My first thought was the children have changed the channel.”

But they hadn’t, and the six minutes of porn was recorded within the movie, Brown said.

“If you can imagine Maggie Simpson sitting on a sofa watching porn, that was him just sitting there sucking his pacifier kind of clueless,” Brown said about her youngest child.

“My five-year-old grabbed his ears and ran out of the room screaming, ‘I didn’t do it,’ and the three-year-old was sitting there crying.”

The video was so explicit that neither the Disney Channel nor FOX Carolina, which reported the story, are allowed to air it.

An information page from the movie that Brown recorded made it clear that it was 2002’s “Lilo and Stitch,” and that it was rated PG.

“I’ve been in the TV industry for 15 years, and I’ve never once seen that,” said David Guttey, a contractor for Dish Network, who examined Brown’s receiver. “It kind of had me astonished.”

He doesn’t blame Brown for the sudden appearance of the sexually explicit video. “If they would have stopped one and started another, it would have set up another recording, and it wouldn’t have just followed on through.”

According to Guttey, it’s possible that anyone who saw the program September 7 saw the six-minutes of porn, too.

Brown’s still waiting for answers from Dish Network. In the meantime, she’s explain the facts of life to her children.

“When I told [them] you guys were coming and to talk about the television, they mimicked the action and sound back to me, and they’re only three and five,” said Brown, who called Dish Network to report the incident.

“We have technology in place to help ensure we deliver the content that subscribers want to watch. We are working with various partners and our customers to better understand what occurred,” the network said in a statement.

Disney has not returned calls from FOX Carolina seeking a statement.

[Via Fox Carolina —]

Persistence of Vision World Premiere in Vancouver


Persistence Of Vision

Persistence Of Vision

Persistence of Vision, a documentary film about acclaimed Canadian animator Richard Williams, will premiere to the world at this years Vancouver International Film Festival. The  83 minute film will show Thursday, October 4th, 6:00 PM @ the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas Theatre #4. The showing will be followed by a Q&A with director/producer Kevin Schreck plus a special guest animator.

First conceived in September 2007, Persistence of Vision began in development as director/producer Kevin Schreck’s senior project at Bard College in August 2009. Filming began in earnest a year later in August 2010, with editing finished about march of 2012.

To pay for such a complex and in-depth film, Schreck “crowd-sourced” his funding through creative project funding website Kickstarter. After posting his project on the site, the general public pledged over eight thousand dollars toward the completion of the film- some even earning producer credits in the film for their larger contributions.

Persistence Of Vision

Persistence Of Vision

Persistence of Visionis a documentary look at Richard Williams and his thirty year attempt to make the animated film The Thief And The Cobbler. It was to be the greatest animated film of all time. Not just an eye-opener, but a game-changer. Richard Williams demanded nothing less, investing nearly three decades into his movie masterpiece.

Still best known today for the animated portions of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Canadian producer-director came to the UK in the 1950s and won accolades for his short films. He formed a production company and reaped the boom in animated commercials and movie credit sequences. But from as early as 1964 he ploughed most of the profits right back into his pet project, a feature inspired by the Arabian Nights and provisionally known as Mullah Nasruddin.

He assembled a team of inspired young artists—and brought in the best Hollywood craftsmen to teach them—and devised what would be the most elaborate, kaleidoscopic, mind-boggling visual sequences ever committed to celluloid. Years passed. Potential financiers came and went. Work continued. But it was only after Roger Rabbit that Williams had a studio budget to corroborate the munificence of his imagination. After 25 years and as many million dollars in the making his labor of love finally saw the light of day…

Kevin Schreck’s documentary is essential viewing on three counts: it showcases Williams’ dazzling, often unprecedented visuals; it reveals how these staggering effects were created; and it’s a heartbreaking portrait of artistic obsession running smack into the business of show…