Monthly Archives: October 2012

Oh, Pretty Woman Songwriter Bill Dees Dead at 73

William "Bill" Dees

William “Bill” Dees

Singer-songwriter William “Bill” Dees, co-writer with Roy Orbison of such global hits as “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “It’s Over,” died Wednesday night at a nursing facility in Mountain Home, Arkansas. He was 73.

A resident of Forsyth, Missouri, near Branson, the entertainment was diagnosed this summer with an inoperable brain tumor.

Orbison’s rendition of “Oh, Pretty Woman” was heard in the soundtrack of the 2001 Futurama episode “The Cyber House Rules.”

Though best known for his work with Orbison, Dees wrote songs that were recorded by such other famed performers as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Glen Campbell.

Born in Borger, Texas on January 24, 1939, he had lived for the last three decades in the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks.

Funeral services are pending.

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

WALL-E

WALL-E

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kids’ Delhi Safari Hits U.S. Theaters December 7

Delhi Safari

Delhi Safari

Delhi Safari,” directed by Nikhil Advani, will be in theaters across the United States in the top 20 regional markets featured on over 70 screens starting December 7, Applied Art Productions announced Wednesday.

The film features the vocal talents of Hollywood’s favorite stars, including Jane Lynch (Glee), Cary Elwes (Princess Bride), Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), Brad Garrett (Ratatouille, Everybody Loves Raymond), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Carlos Alazraqui (Happy Feet) and Tara Strong (Rugrats, Little Mermaid). Delhi Safari‘s message is the preservation of the environment and the celebration of wildlife.

Delhi Safari is a journey for these animals to stand up for their own rights, the rights to exist in nature and on the planet. They have to go to the humans because they’re in charge. What is really wonderful about it is even with such a huge cast, every part is very funny and unique,” said Lynch, the voice of the female flamingo.

“We’ve got a strong family that deals with crisis together; we’ve got a group of characters that go off on an adventure together with a mission, and a happy ending with fantastic music and great performances,” said Williams. the voice of Begam, Mother Leopard.

In the movie, the tranquility of jungle life is threatened when a real estate developer begins construction on a new subdivision. The unlikely team of a leopard cub named Yuvi; his mother, the leopardess Begam; an unruly monkey, Bajrangi; and a lovable bear named Bagga realize that the only way to stop things before it’s too late is by talking to the humans. This will take a major feat: enlisting the support of the only human-speaking animal, Alex, the Parrot.

Long since “off the reservation,” Alex lives in a high-end neighborhood with all the conveniences of modern life, from air conditioning to a massive flat-screen television, and a master. Surrounded by his comforts, he lives in denial that he is someone’s pet. When he rejecting the pleas of his friends, they resort to kidnapping him and showing him what is becoming of their precious home.

The clock is ticking as the troop set off on a seemingly impossible journey meeting an eclectic array of characters along the way. Arriving in Delhi, they cause absolute commotion and with it, successfully get the attention of the media. Now in the spotlight, they must share their story and get the support of the only ones who can make a difference: humans.

Animation for the 90-minute movie was produced by Krayon Pictures, a 3D animation studio in Pune, India. Directed by Nikhil Advani, the film is an original screenplay by the writing team of Nikhil Advani, Girish Dhamija and Suresh Nair, with additional dialogue by Milap Zaveri. Delhi Safari was produced by Anupama Patil and Kishor Patil and executive produced by Fred deWysocki, Ni***th Takia, Aditya Nath Jha and Namrata Sharma.

A Delhi Safari featurette can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8yHngCe9hc&feature=plcp.

For more information on Delhi Safari, visit www.delhisafarimovie.com/.

NFB Offering Free Animation Films and Workshops

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada is launching the sixth edition of Get Animated!, bringing many of the country’s finest and funniest animated films to communities across Canada in celebration of International Animation Day (Sunday, October 28).

Taking place this year from Friday, October 26 to Saturday, November 10, Get Animated! will bring the magic of animation to over 30 centres, in every province and territory, with screening programs for audiences of all ages, workshops and more. And it’s all absolutely free!

Get Animated! is coming to a location near you, in:

Abbotsford, BC (October 27 and 30)
Calgary (November 2 and 4)
Charlottetown (November 2 and 4)
Edmonton (November 7)
Flin Flon (October 28)
Halifax (October 26 and 27)
Iqaluit (November 8 )
Miramichi, NB (October 28)
Moncton (October 27 and 30)
Montreal (October 27)
New Westminster (November 7 and 8 )
Prince George (November 2 and 4)
Regina (November 2, 3 and 10)
Richmond (November 4)
St. John’s (October 27, 28 and 31)
Saskatoon (October 29, 30 and November 1)
Stephenville, NL (November 4)
Tatamagouche, NS (October 28 )
Toronto (October 27 and November 1)
Vancouver (October 27 and 31)
Victoria (November 7)
Whitehorse (October 28)
Windsor (November 3 and 4)
Winnipeg (October 26 and 27; November 2 to 5)
Yellowknife (October 29)
— and more!

Get Animated! is presented by the NFB in collaboration with local partners across Canada. For a complete and up-to-date schedule of screenings, visit nfb.ca/getanimated.

Get Animated! programs New Releases

The New Releases program features a dazzling selection of the NFB’s most acclaimed international co-productions, created by many of the world’s top animation directors.

Highlights include Georges Schwizgebel’s Genie Award-winning Canada-Switzerland co-production Romance; Franck Dion’s Canada-France co-production Edmond Was a Donkey, winner of a Special Jury Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival; Régina Pessoa’s Kali the Little Vampire, a France-Canada-Portugal-Switzerland co-production, recipient of the Hiroshima Prize at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival; Oscar nominee Paul Driessen’s latest NFB short, the Canada-Netherlands co-production Oedipus; and Polish filmmaker Kamil Polak’s international co-production The Lost Town of Switez, winner of 10 awards.

Family Program

Get Animated! also offers kid-friendly animation fun for all.

The “Not So Scary Stories” program of animated films features Lynn Smith’s The Sound Collector, the quirky tale of a 6-year-old who collects sounds, along with Antoine Lanciaux and Pierre-Luc Granjon’s colorful and charming fairy tale Bonifacio in Summertime – perfect films for children ages 5 and up.

“Friends and Monsters” is ideal for the 10+ crowd, with Catherine Arcand’s Nightmare at School, a humorous look at the unsettling experience of being in a new school; Claude Grosch and Luc Otter’s Rose & Violet, about a very unusual set of twins’ and Paula Gillgannon’s vignette The Big Swing, from the NFB’s renowned Hothouse program for young animators.

Workshops

Hands-on workshops will accompany the Family Program in a number of Canadian cities, giving participants the thrill of being part of an animation film crew while making their own short film.

Workshops in Toronto and Montreal on October 27 will feature puppet animation, with participants invited to bring costumes and story ideas. To register for the Toronto workshop, or for more information, call 1-800-267-7710; for the Montreal workshop, call (514) 283-9000. Both workshops include a half-hour program of animated short films. Workshops are offered in English or French, based on demand. Pre-registration is required for the workshop; screenings are open to everyone. For complete info on these and other Get Animated! workshops, visit nfb.ca/getanimated.

Industry Events

Get Animated! will include free events for animation filmmakers and students — however, these industry events are open to the public, too.

Highlights will include a presentation about the NFB’s Hothouse program by producer Michael Fukushima and industry panels led by Animation Studio executive producer Roddy McManus.

List of industry events:

Panel discussion with Roddy McManus: Carbon Arc cinema (Halifax, October 27, 3 p.m.)
Hothouse presentation with Michael Fukushima: Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver, October 31, 11:30 a.m.)
Panel discussion with Roddy McManus: OCAD University (Toronto, Nov. 1, 6:00 p.m.)
Panel discussion with Roddy McManus: ACAD (Calgary, Nov. 2, 1:00 p.m.)
Industry presentation with Roddy McManus: Université St-Boniface (Winnipeg, Nov. 5, 10 a.m.)
Industry presentation with Roddy McManus: Winnipeg Cinematheque (Winnipeg, Nov. 5, 7 p.m.)

Visit nfb.ca/getanimated for details.

International Animation Day, October 28, is an annual celebration in over 40 countries, initiated by the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA) in 2002. Norman McLaren was the first president of ASIFA, and the NFB is proud to be bringing this global celebration to Canadian communities for the sixth consecutive year.

PLATFORM Animation Festival Opens Friday in L.A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The schedule for the festival is as follows:

Friday, October 26

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

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

Saturday, October 27

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hotel Transylvania Opens in 1st Place in Russia

Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania

There were many guests at “Hotel Transylvania” in Russia over the weekend, where the animated film opened at No. 1 with $5 million from 797 screens.

Overall, the movie collected $14.5 million from 4,510 venues in 38 countries. So far, it’s had a $68.3 million overseas gross.

In the United Kingdom, DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted made just $9.6 million in 519 theatres. This past weekend, the threequel was seen at 2,236 spot in 28 foreign countries for $14.9 million. Distributed overseas by Paramount, Madagascar 3 has made a cumulative $482.9 million overseas.

Frankenweenie brought in $4.1 million from 19 countries during its second overseas weekend for a cumulative foreign total of $11.9 million.

New Walt Disney Bio Pic a Fake

Walt fake poster

Walt fake poster

There is a new poster making the rounds on the Internets featuring Ryan Gosling in a new Ron Howard film called Walt. The poster features Gosling as Walt busy scribbling away in a train car, with Mickey in the clouds outside the window. Looks like a good film, but there is only one problem- it is a fake.

French graphic artist Pascal Witaszek released the poster of a fictional Walt Disney biopic on the web over the weekend. The idea of the film- and the casting- has excited fans of Disney, Howard and Gosling. And the casting makes some sense- Gosling got his start on The New Mickey Mouse Club.

But the film- and the poster- are fake. There is no (as yet!) Walt Disney biography film in the owkrs, by Ron Howard or anyone else.

Oscar Sets Animation Feature Film Deadline

Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

Want to be in the running for best animated film this year? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science- the people behind the Oscars- have set a deadline for when your film needs to be to them…. and the deadline is just around the corner.

You must submit your film and application to the Academy by next week- November 1st to be exact- to be in consideration for the best animated film. The announcement comes on the heels of a more sweeping announcement from the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The SAG awards have set their own deadline of this Thursday (October 25) for nominations for consideration – across all categories – ahead of its own awards ceremony in January.

What do you need to be considered for the Oscar? It must be “a motion picture with a running time of more than 40 minutes, in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique.” Additionally, a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time. Sorry, no motion capture films are eligible. Full rules and submission packets are available here.

The Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held on January 27, 2013.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on January 10. “Family Guy” artist Seth MacFarlane set to host the 2013 awards ceremony, which will air on February 24.

Oh, and just so you know, a maximum of two statuettes will be awarded to winners in this category.

Award-winning “Rabbit” Director Run Wrake Dies, 47

Run Wrake

Run Wrake

British animator and illustrator Run Wrake, whose Rabbit was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Animated Short, died at 5 a.m. Sunday due to cancer. He was 47.

“He had spent a beautiful Saturday with his two children Florence and Joe, his sister Fiona and myself,” his wife Lisa posted on his Facebook page. “We left him at 7 p.m. doing what he loved best — drawing and animating with peg bar and paper. I was with him for his last moments.”

Rabbit (2005) won a host of awards at film festivals across the world, including Best Film at the 2006 British Animation Awards and the McLaren Award for Animation at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Wrake was developing an animated feature, The Way to a Whole New You, with writer Neil Jaworski for BBC Films.

Born John Wrake in Yemen in 1965, he studied graphic design at the Chelsea School of Art and then completed an MA at the Royal College of Art.

As well as making films, he worked on commercials and live visuals for bands including U2 and Oasis, and worked extensively with Howie B, initially on a short film to accompany the release of his album Music for Babies and then on a series of promos. In 2010, he developed visuals for U2’s 360 worldwide tour.

Newest Disney Cartoon Princess Upsetting Hispanics

Sofia The First

Sofia The First

Disney’s newest princess is set to premiere in three short weeks in Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess. Despite Sofia the First being Disney’s first Latino princess- and Disney’s youngest- Sofia has not endeared herself to many activists in the Hispanic population.

Previous Disney princesses has broken important ground with Native American (Pocahontas), Asian (Mulan), and African-American (The Princess and the Frog) role models. Sophia’s mother is Spanish and her birth father from a kingdom inspired by Scandinavia. Thus not wholly Hispanic, Sofia herself was born and raised in Enchancia, a “make-believe ‘melting pot’ kingdom” patterned after the British Isles. Sofia is voiced by Ariel Winter (a Caucasian), and her mother by Sara Ramirez (a Hispanic).

Sofia The First

Sofia The First

Where the problems seem to come from is the character design for Sofia. Hispanic groups question whether a fair-skinned, blue-eyed young princess should be considered an accurate representation of a young girl of Spanish heritage.

“Sofia considers herself a normal Enchancian girl like any other,” said Craig Gerber, co-executive producer of “Sofia the First“. “Her mixed heritage and blended family are a reflection of what many children today experience.”

The series is also criticized by those within the Latino community because Sofia is not getting the same style and depth of promotion as at the introduction of previous princesses of ethnicity. “They’ve done such a good job in the past when they’ve introduced Native American, African-American and Asian princesses,” said Lisa Navarrete, of the National Council of La Raza. “They made a big deal out of it, and there was a lot of fanfare, but now they’re sort of scrambling. It’s unusual because Disney has been very good about Latino diversity.”

“Little girls look to these characters to see themselves represented,” Navarrete continued. “If they don’t see themselves, it makes a difference. It would be nice to see Disney make a full-out push for a Latina princess, whether it’s ‘Sofia the First‘ or not.”

Inez Gonzalez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said Monday that the organization wanted to meet with Disney to discuss “Sofia the First.”

The TV special “Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess” will air November 18 on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, and the full series will begin airing early next year.