Tag Archives: Premier

The Croods Coming Out of Cave at Berlin Festival

The Croods

The Croods

Dream­Works Animation’s pre­his­toric comedy-adventure movie The Croods will have its world pre­miere at the 63rd Berlin Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, it was revealed Thursday.

Directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon), and with the voices of Nico­las Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, the 3D movie will be screened out of competition.

Also known as the Berli­nale, the fes­ti­val runs from Feb­ru­ary 7 to 17 next year. The Croods is sched­uled for gen­eral release March 22. Co-produced by Nick­elodeon Movies and Para­mount Pic­tures along with DWA, it will be dis­trib­uted by 20th Cen­tury Fox.

The Croods takes us back to a pre­vi­ously undis­cov­ered era in the his­tory of our planet known as the Crooda­ceous, when nature was still a work-in-progress… full of never-before-seen crea­tures and landscapes.

An old school cave­man must lead his fam­ily across a volatile pre­his­toric land­scape in search of a new home. The out­sized flora and fauna are chal­lenge enough, but the real com­pli­ca­tion arises when the fam­ily is joined by an alarm­ingly mod­ern cave­man whose search for “tomor­row” is at odds with our hero’s reliance on the tra­di­tions of yes­ter­day. The imag­i­na­tive and resource­ful new­comer helps the Croods nav­i­gate their way through the fan­tas­tic world beyond their cave.

This marks Sanders’ first work as a solo direc­tor for Dream­Works Ani­ma­tion. He had amassed a list of ani­ma­tion film cred­its for rival Disney.

Dream­Works first announced the movie — then titled Crood Awak­en­ing — in 2005 with British stu­dio Aard­man Ani­ma­tions, which had a five-picture agree­ment with Dream­Works at the time. Three films were made together. Finan­cial results proved dis­ap­point­ing, so Dream­Works and Aard­man parted ways in late Jan­u­ary 2007.

Turkeys Ready To Be Served in November 2014



The ani­mated com­edy “Turkeys” will be released Novem­ber 14, 2014, Rel­a­tiv­ity Media and Reel FX announced Thursday.

Turkeys is helmed by Jimmy Hay­ward, direc­tor of box office hit Hor­ton Hears A Who! and ani­ma­tor on such films as Disney/Pixar’s Find­ing Nemo and Mon­sters Inc. The film is jointly pro­duced and financed by Rel­a­tiv­ity and Reel FX, and is now set for the­atri­cal release.

The film stars the voice tal­ent of Owen Wil­son, who pre­vi­ously voiced Light­ning McQueen in Disney-Pixar’s Cars; Woody Har­rel­son from The Hunger Games; and Dan Fogler, who pre­vi­ously voiced Zeng in Dream­works Animation’s Kung Fu Panda. Pro­duc­ing are Scott Mosier (Clerks), Craig Mazin (The Hang­over Part II), John Strauss (The Santa Claus 2) and David l. Stern (Hotel Tran­syl­va­nia). The screen­play was writ­ten by Stern and Strauss, with a rewrite by Mazin. The film will be dis­trib­uted world­wide by Relativity.

Turkeys is an irrev­er­ent, hilar­i­ous, adven­tur­ous buddy com­edy where two turkeys from oppo­site sides of the tracks must put aside their dif­fer­ences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of his­tory — and get turkey off the menu for good.

Reel FX is a fully-integrated movie stu­dio that devel­ops and pro­duces both ani­mated films and live-action movies. In addi­tion to Turkeys, Reel FX’s grow­ing ani­ma­tion slate includes Day of the Dead (Guillermo del Toro pro­duc­ing) and Beasts of Bur­den (Aron Warner and Andrew Adam­son pro­duc­ing). Reel FX’s own film slate fol­lows almost 20 years of expe­ri­ence as an award-winning one-stop stu­dio for ani­mated con­tent, includ­ing films, spe­cial attraction/live venue projects and inter­ac­tive projects, for com­pa­nies like Dream­Works Ani­ma­tion, Fox, Warner Bros. and Uni­ver­sal Studios.

Creators of Chicken Run Release A Pig’s Tail

A Pig's Tail

A Pig’s Tail

The Humane Soci­ety of the United States has teamed up with Acad­emy Award-winning film com­pany Aard­man Ani­ma­tions to pro­duce a four-minute ani­mated children’s film titled “A Pig’s Tale” expos­ing prob­lems with fac­tory farm­ing from the per­spec­tive of a piglet named Ginger.

The film’s release coin­cides with Food Day, a national move­ment for healthy, sus­tain­able food.

Aard­man Ani­ma­tions, cre­ators of Chicken Run, Wal­lace and Gromit and other beloved ani­mated fea­ture films, pro­duced the short film A Pig’s Tale under a grant from the Steven C. Leuthold Fam­ily Foundation.

The Humane Soci­ety of the United States is thrilled to cel­e­brate Food Day with the release of this endear­ing and edu­ca­tional short film,” said Joe Maxwell, vice-president of out­reach and engage­ment at The HSUS. “We hope A Pig’s Tail will launch a con­ver­sa­tion about how food gets to the table and help end inhu­mane prac­tices in the pork industry.”

Added Aard­man Ani­ma­tions direc­tor Sarah Cox: “I was very proud to direct this film for The Humane Soci­ety of the United States because it is about an issue I pas­sion­ately believe in. It is so impor­tant that chil­dren under­stand where their food really comes from, par­tic­u­larly the con­nec­tion between meat prod­ucts and the treat­ment of the ani­mals that they are made from. I wanted the cam­paign to be pos­i­tive and opti­mistic, so I cre­ated a strong and lik­able lead char­ac­ter — a lit­tle piglet called Gin­ger — and gave the story a happy end­ing because that is ulti­mately what we are try­ing to achieve.”

The film fea­tures voices from actress Cather­ine Taber and voice actor James Arnold Tay­lor of the ani­mated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Orig­i­nal music was pro­duced by singer and song­writer Steven Delopoulos.

The film, intended for chil­dren ages 7 to 10 and acces­si­ble to all audi­ences, fol­lows Gin­ger and her mother as they expe­ri­ence life on a typ­i­cal indus­trial fac­tory farm. After Gin­ger is taken from her mother, she is deter­mined to escape. The film fol­lows her jour­ney, and the evo­lu­tion of a farmer who opens his eyes to a more humane and sus­tain­able way of farming.

The film cen­ters on indus­trial pig farm­ing, where most breed­ing pigs are con­fined day and night dur­ing their four-month preg­nancy in ges­ta­tion crates, cages roughly the same size as the ani­mals’ bod­ies, pre­vent­ing them from even turn­ing around. The pigs are then placed into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a ges­ta­tion crate. This hap­pens preg­nancy after preg­nancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of vir­tual immobilization.

Recently, such lead­ing food com­pa­nies as McDon­alds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Cracker Bar­rel, Oscar Mayer, Costco, ConA­gra and Kroger have agreed to elim­i­nate ges­ta­tion crates from their pork sup­ply chains. This cor­po­rate shift away from crates comes on the heels of nine Amer­i­can state laws ban­ning the crates.

A Pig’s Tail is avail­able online.

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…

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 bfi.org.uk/lff , 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.

Nickelodeon’s Robot & Monster Premieres Today

Robot & Monster

Robot & Monster

Nickelodeon’s brand-new CG-animated buddy com­edy, Robot and Mon­ster, pre­mieres on Sat­ur­day, August 4 at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT). The series fol­lows the friend­ship and adven­tures of the most unlikely best-friend duo, Robot, a mechan­i­cal and self-proclaimed genius, and Mon­ster, a happy-go-lucky organic. These pals live in a strange world where robots and mon­sters, also known as mechan­i­cals and organ­ics, live side-by-side and every­body is united by a love for bacon.

Together, the relent­lessly ambi­tious Robot and patho­log­i­cally con­tent Mon­ster form an unlikely friend­ship. Forged in the fires of child­hood, they are now insep­a­ra­ble as they try to find their way in the world.

In the pre­miere episode, “Monster’s Great Escape,” Mon­ster is shocked to dis­cover that Robot had played a prac­ti­cal joke on him dur­ing their youth. So, Mon­ster decides to get even by pulling an elab­o­rate prank on Robot. How­ever, prac­ti­cal jokes don’t come nat­u­rally to Mon­ster and the joke he pulls ends up being on him­self. Next in “Game Boys,” Mon­ster helps Robot achieve his life-long dream of play­ing in a Pole-O game, a com­bi­na­tion between rugby and caber toss­ing. This could very well be the high­light of Robot’s life… assum­ing he survives.

Robot & Mon­ster is writ­ten by Joshua Sternin and Jef­frey Ven­ti­m­ilia, real life best friends and com­edy vet­er­ans who have writ­ten for such hits as Rio, The Simp­sons, That 70’s Show and Sur­viv­ing Christ­mas. David Pressler cre­ated the char­ac­ters Robot and Mon­ster. He is the artist and char­ac­ter designer who has used sculp­ture and illus­tra­tion to fuse two of his pri­mary pas­sions, fine art and entertainment.

Brave To Open June 18 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre



Disney-Pixar’s “Brave” extends its pio­neer­ing spirit to its world pre­miere on June 18, mark­ing the grand open­ing of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

The red-carpet event is a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion for Film Independent’s 2012 Los Ange­les Film Festival.

Pre­mier­ing in Dolby 3D, a state-of-the-art imag­ing solu­tion pro­vid­ing audi­ences with a supe­rior 3D expe­ri­ence, Brave is an epic tale set in the mys­ti­cal Scot­tish High­lands where the film’s head­strong pro­tag­o­nist, Merida, is forced to dis­cover the mean­ing of true brav­ery. The film hits the­atres across North Amer­ica on June 22.

With a spir­ited hero­ine and enchant­ing set­ting in the ancient Scot­tish High­lands, Brave rep­re­sents some excit­ing firsts for Pixar,” said Ricky Strauss, pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing at the Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios. “We are proud that the world pre­miere of Brave will serve as the inau­gural pre­miere at the new Dolby The­atre as part of the LA Film Fes­ti­val, a fit­ting way to launch Merida’s extra­or­di­nary adventure.”

Accord­ing to Ramzi Haidamus, exec­u­tive vice-president of sales and mar­ket­ing at Dolby Lab­o­ra­to­ries, the 180,000-square-foot, 3,400-seat Dolby The­atre will be a world stage for enter­tain­ment and a top venue to host world pre­mieres and launch events.

The world pre­miere of Disney-Pixar’s Brave in con­junc­tion with the LA Film Fes­ti­val is per­fect for kick­ing off the next era for Dolby,” said Haidamus. “We are com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing the best enter­tain­ment expe­ri­ences, and now with the grand open­ing of the Dolby The­atre, we are hon­ored to host the best as well. This is the first of many exclu­sive and excit­ing events — from movie pre­mieres to awards cer­e­monies — in which Dolby and our tech­nolo­gies will play a fea­tured role.”

Cel­e­brat­ing 18 years, the Los Ange­les Film Fes­ti­val will make the spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion avail­able to fes­ti­val atten­dees with plat­inum all-access or gold passes. An addi­tional gala screen­ing of the film will be held the next day at Regal Cin­e­mas at L.A. LIVE for pass and ticket holders.

We are thrilled to present the world pre­miere of Brave, a beau­ti­ful adven­ture story, to our LA Film Fest audi­ence,” said fes­ti­val direc­tor Stephanie Allain. “As Disney-Pixar’s first film with a female pro­tag­o­nist, it fits per­fectly with our cel­e­bra­tion of Women in Ani­ma­tion pro­gram­ming we’ll be hold­ing dur­ing the Festival.”

The Brave world pre­miere is spon­sored by VisitScotland.

Nick To Debut Skateboard Series April 27

Wild Grinders

Wild Grinders

Pro­fes­sional skate­boarder and entre­pre­neur Rob Dyrdek (star of MTV’s Rob & Big, Fan­tasy Fac­tory and Ridicu­lous­ness) brings a car­toon com­edy, set against the excit­ing back­drop of the sport of skate­board­ing, to Nick­toons with the new series, Wild Grinders, pre­mier­ing Fri­day, April 27, at 7:00 p.m.

Inspired by Dyrdek’s real-life expe­ri­ences, each orig­i­nal half-hour episode fol­lows the adven­tures of a group of friends bonded by their love of skate­board­ing. The 26-episode series, cre­ated and exec­u­tive pro­duced by Dyrdek, is pro­duced in part­ner­ship with Home Plate Enter­tain­ment and Dyrdek’s Four Down Pro­duc­tions. Agogo Cor­po­ra­tion, Moon­scoop, Tel­egael and Coper­ni­cus Stu­dios are also co-producers on the HD pro­duc­tion. Fol­low­ing the pre­miere, Wild Grinders will air reg­u­larly on Fri­days at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on Nicktoons.

Part­ner­ing with Rob Dyrdek on his pas­sion project has allowed Nick­toons to show view­ers an enter­tain­ing new branch of Rob’s increas­ingly pop­u­lar brand,” says Keith Dawkins, SVP/General Manger Nick­toons & Teen­Nick. “Rob’s estab­lished fan base and new view­ers will enjoy watch­ing the antics of Lil Rob in this new series fea­tur­ing authen­tic char­ac­ters in fun and extreme sit­u­a­tions. Wild Grinders illus­trates the increas­ingly pop­u­lar sport of skate­board­ing and the cul­ture that sur­rounds it.”

Wild Grinders becom­ing an ani­mated series and air­ing on Nick­toons is another one of my boy­hood dreams come true. I came up with the name when I was eleven years old, when I needed a name for my first skate crew – who knew it would turn into such a mega brand. The jour­ney we took to get to this point has been noth­ing but WILD,” says Rob Dyrdek, cre­ator and exec­u­tive pro­ducer of Wild Grinders. “This series has every­thing, com­edy, action and skate­board­ing. It is some­thing I am very proud of and def­i­nitely will be a series kids will love for years.”

Wild Grinders is a kickin’ ani­mated com­edy about Lil Rob, a quick-thinking skater kid. The series also fea­tures Lil Rob’s talk­ing right-hand dog Meaty (inspired by his own bull-dog of the same name), his best friend Gog­gles, and their mid­dle school skate crew. The series fol­lows the friends, known as Wild Grinders, on their escapades around their home­town of Sprawl City and at their beloved skate spot, The Lot. This smart, witty and tal­ented posse from diverse back­grounds skate in and out of dilem­mas, under­take new chal­lenges and expe­ri­ence adven­tures together. From an under­sea skat­ing quest (inspired by Dyrdek’s real life dive with sharks) to star­ring in a zany real­ity show, each episode of Wild Grinders is infused with fun and friendship.

The Wild Grinders cast includes: Rob Dyrdek as the voice of Lil Rob and Gene; Chelsea Chanel Dud­ley, the rap­ping recep­tion­ist from the Fan­tasy Fac­tory, as the voice of FLIPZ; Ster­ling Brim, Rob’s co-host on MTV’s Ridicu­lous­ness, as the voice of Meaty; Kel Mitchell, Nickelodeon’s Kenan & Kel, as the voice of Jay Jay; and come­dian Erin Fitzger­ald, Ed, Edd & Eddy, Mon­ster High, as the voice of Stub­ford, the self pro­claimed neme­sis of Lil Rob.

In the pre­miere episode, “Decon­structed,” the Wild Grinders must fig­ure out a way to save their beloved vacant lot skate spot from Track Huck­er­ster­ball, the meglo-maniacal, greedy local busi­ness man, who plans to use the land to build a theme park. Then in “Close-Up,” hot­shot TV Net­work head hon­cho Chip Flig­ging­ton is look­ing for a new real­ity star. When Lil Rob catches his eye, Chip casts him and the Grinders in a series of ter­ri­ble real­ity shows.

The Wild Grinders series will be dis­trib­uted inter­na­tion­ally by Moon­scoop, who also serves as the con­sumer prod­ucts provider/supplier.

Cat in Paris, Gruffalo’s Child premiere in Florida

Une Vie de Chat

Une Vie de Chat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connery’s animated “Sir Billi” premieres in Sonoma

Sir Billi

Sir Billi

Sir Billi,” the first full-length ani­mated fea­ture to be pro­duced entirely in Scot­land, will get its first inter­na­tional screen­ing April 13 at the 15th annual Sonoma Inter­na­tional Film Festival.

We are thrilled to host the U.S. pre­miere of Sir Billi, fea­tur­ing the pow­er­fully dynamic voice of Sir Sean Con­nery. Tessa and Sascha Hart­mann have pro­duced a highly enter­tain­ing, family-oriented film that siz­zles with fun, non-stop action and an awe­some title track sung by Dame Shirley Bassey, which was com­posed by Sascha. Bring on the Scots!” said fes­ti­val direc­tor Kevin McNeely.

The Hart­manns, the husband-and-wife duo who pro­duced Sir Billi, will arrive in the United States for the film’s premiere.

We chose the Sonoma Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val because it’s a fes­ti­val with a dif­fer­ence, where the per­sonal approach by the orga­niz­ers gives one a feel­ing of pas­sion and con­sid­er­a­tion, where every inde­pen­dent film they select is impor­tant,” said Tessa Hartmann.

Screened in the festival’s mar­quee the­atre — the 1930s Renaissance-style Sebas­tiani The­atre — the film will screen at 5 p.m. April 13. Fes­ti­val passes are avail­able now, and indi­vid­ual film tick­ets will be avail­able for pur­chase after April 2. Tick­ets and passes can be pur­chased by vis­it­ing SonomaFilmFest.org or call­ing the box office at (707) 206‑4484.

Sascha Hart­mann directed Sir Billi from a screen­play writ­ten by his wife, based on an orig­i­nal story they devel­oped together. John Fraser is pro­ducer, with Con­nery serv­ing as exec­u­tive producer.

Ours could be per­ceived as a ‘David and Goliath’ adven­ture in mar­ket terms but where else is one to start if ven­tur­ing into ani­ma­tion? Shoot for the top with the tal­ent and sim­ply deliver some­thing that the audi­ence responds to. We are the epit­ome of the under­dog! The under­dog that with firm resolve, per­sis­tence and tenac­ity cre­ated some­thing that is close to being called mirac­u­lous — a fin­ished film,’ said Sascha Hartmann.

Expanded to a fea­ture length CGI film from a 2006 short con­cept, this is a roller-coaster adven­ture about the race to save the last beaver in Scot­land, led by Sir Billi and voiced by Acad­emy Award win­ner Con­nery. Sir Billi is a vet by pro­fes­sion, skate­boarder by pas­sion and grand­fa­ther by love. He is joined by Tony Award win­ner Alan Cum­ming (The Good Wife), who voices Gor­don, a goat and Sir Billi’s confidante.

Con­nery has been heav­ily involved in the mak­ing of the film since its incep­tion and eagerly agreed to take on the lead role of Sir Billi after being con­tacted by the husband-and wife-producing team.

I’m excited to be a part of this incred­i­ble film and Scotland’s first ani­mated fea­ture,” said Con­nery. “Sir Billi is truly a first-class film, with an excep­tional cast, and is sure to delight audi­ences of all ages. There’s an incred­i­ble amount of work that goes into ani­mated pro­duc­tions, and I am delighted that Sascha and his team have com­pleted what has been a labor of love. I am thrilled with the final cut!”

Acad­emy Award-nominated Scot­tish com­poser Patrick Doyle (Harry Pot­ter and the Gob­let of Fire, Sense and Sen­si­bil­ity”, cre­ated the film’s music score and also lends his voice as a key char­ac­ter in the film.

Sir Billi’s endear­ing multi-generational fam­ily story and cliff-hanger action spikes in the sto­ry­line pro­vided me with just the right ele­ments to com­pose a score I’m proud to say is among my best work to date,” said Doyle. “My goal was to shine a light on the soul of this col­or­ful cast of love­ble char­ac­ters through the power of music.”

Being a part of Sir Billi meant so much because ani­ma­tion has always been a fas­ci­na­tion of mine espe­cially because I am from Scot­land and know all of the areas where the film is based,” said Doyle. “The fresh look of Sir Billi and its orig­i­nal sto­ry­line gave me all the inspi­ra­tion needed to cre­ate some of the best com­po­si­tion work I feel I’ve done.”

British singing leg­end Bassey also joined the project to per­form the title track “Guardian of the High­lands,” mark­ing the first time that Con­nery and Bassey have worked together since the 1971 James Bond film Dia­monds Are For­ever. Bassey was also seen last sum­mer on the red car­pet at the Scot­tish Fash­ion Awards escorted by the film’s direc­tor, Sascha Hart­mann. She was wear­ing a cou­ture gown in the Sir Billi tar­tan, which was designed by Scots designer Graeme Black.

Scotland’s first full-length ani­mated fea­ture also show­cases the voice act­ing tal­ents of Miriam Mar­golyes (Harry Pot­ter, Romeo & Juliet), Alex Nor­ton (Pirates of the Caribbean, Tag­gart), Ford Kier­nan (Chewin’ the Fat, The Last Great Wilder­ness), Bar­bara Raf­ferty (The Wicker Man, River City), Greg Hemphill (Still Game, Chewin the Fat), Kieron Elliot (How to Train Your Dragon), Ruby Wax, John Ama­bile, Larry Sul­li­van, Chris Jai Alex and NYC night queen Amy Sacco.

Said Sascha Hart­mann: “To get this film made and com­pleted has really been a true labor of love. We received a good stu­dio offer to go to Los Ange­les about three years ago with a deal that was pretty excit­ing, but we decided to remain in Scot­land, keep cre­ative con­trol and pro­duce a truly Scot­tish prod­uct! Granted it’s taken longer than we expected and we had to raise more finance, which was chal­leng­ing, but this is an expen­sive busi­ness and it has to be done right. For­tu­nately, ani­ma­tion sto­ries are time­less, and so there are no restric­tions on them. Thanks to the sup­port of our pro­ducer and men­tor John (Fraser) we made it.

Sir Sean has been incred­i­ble too. We have worked hand in hand with him for over six years. From day one we knew Sir Sean was per­fect for the role of Sir Billi — being a true Scot­tish hero and also a grand­fa­ther him­self. No mat­ter how many times I hear his leg­endary voice on the film, it still gives me a thrill!” said Hartmann.

Said Fraser, a Scot­tish indus­tri­al­ist: “We’re well aware how com­pet­i­tive this mar­ket sec­tor is with the heavy­weight ani­ma­tion stu­dios out there — I guess you could call it a ‘David and Goliath’ adven­ture, but we believe we have pro­duced an end prod­uct that is some­thing to be proud of as inde­pen­dent film mak­ers. At the end of the day, this film was pro­duced and made in Scot­land, because that’s what we believe in. Invest­ing in local cre­ative tal­ent, jobs and ulti­mately invest­ing in a Scot­tish film indus­try. Sascha and his team couldn’t have worked any harder so the rest is in the hands of the gods, as they say.”

Said Cum­ming: “I think it is amaz­ing that they have per­se­vered so long and hard to get this project made in Scot­land, when there was absolutely no prece­dent for any­thing like this there. Their enthu­si­asm was so great, and I’m very pre­dis­posed to doing Scot­tish things. Though nei­ther [Sir Sean nor I] live in our home coun­try, we feel very con­nected to it.”