84th Academy Awards: Animated Feature

NOMINEES

  • A Cat in Paris  – Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico & Rita – Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 – Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots – Chris Miller
  • Rango – Gore Verbinski

This is a relatively new category that was created in 2001 to reflect the growing artistic and commercial success of animated features.

The first winner was Shrek and, since the Best Picture nominees were expanded in 2009, both Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010) have featured in both.

A CAT IN PARIS

From French studio Folimage, is this tale of a cat who lives a double life – pet by day and skilled thief by night. Notable for being hand-painted, its highly stylized, colour-saturated design makes it unusual in an age of computer animation.

Directors Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli talk with David Poland as part of his DP/30 series [36 mins]

CHICO & RITA

Directed by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal this is the story of a songwriter and singer chasing their dreams set against the backdrops of Havana, New York City, Las VegasHollywood and Paris in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The official UK site is www.chicoandrita.co.uk, the US site www.gkids.tv/chico and director Fernando Trueba talks with David Poland here.

KUNG FU PANDA 2

The sequel to the 2008 blockbuster sees Po and his friends battle to stop a new villain. The strong reviews managed to make this one of the better received sequels of the year and the darker than usual themes may have something to do with executive producer Guillermo del Toro.

Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson talks with David Poland for a DP30 interview and there are more materials at the DreamWorks awards season site.

PUSS IN BOOTS

The spinoff prequel to the Shrek franchise follows the character Puss in Boots and his sidekicks (Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws) as they take on Jack and Jill.

There are some similarities to its DreamWorks stable-mate Kung Fu Panda 2: it got good reviews, made a lot of money and featured Guillermo Del Toro.

More material is available at DreamWorks dedicated awards site and the director Chris Miller sits down for a lengthy DP/30 chat with David Poland.

RANGO

Although produced by Nickelodeon MoviesGore Verbinski and Graham King, this is the first CGI animation feature from Industrial Light & Magic, until now best known for their visual effects work.

A Western filled with references to movies and made like a theatrical production (instead of recording voice parts separately, the actors shared a soundstage) this is currently the hot favourite.

The Paramount Awards site has more material and director Gore Verbinski sat down for a DP/30 interview with David Poland.

Official Oscar site
Explore previous winners and nominees of Best Animated Feature

84th Academy Awards: Short Film (Animated)

Some of this year’s animated shorts (e.g. The Fantastic Flying Books…, Wild Life) have been made available in full online, but where they haven’t I’ve included a trailer. (Also, be sure to check out the links to interviews.)

DIMANCHE (Patrick Doyon)

Featuring traditional hand-drawn animation, this Canadian short from director Patrick Doyon is about a boy who plays with coins on a train track whilst visiting his grandparents.

You can download it from the National Film Board of Canada and there is an interview with Doyon in Animation Magazine.

THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR MORRIS LESSMORE (William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg)

A story about the healing powers of storytelling, it follows a man who loses his books in a hurricane, only to find them somewhere else.

Directed by William Joyce (formerly of Pixar and Dreamworks) and co-directed by Brandon Oldenburg, who are both of Moonbot Studios. It is also available as a companion interactive iPad storybook.

LA LUNA (Enrico Casarosa

A coming of age fable about a young boy who is taken out to sea on a boat by his Father and Grandfather.

Enrico Casarosa talks to David Poland for 30 minutes here and you can get more details on the film at the IMDb.

A MORNING STROLL (Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe)

Based on an event recounted in Paul Auster’s book ‘True Tales of American Life‘, which tells the story of a New Yorker’s early morning encounter with a chicken.

Already a BAFTA winner for Short film Animation 2012, it also won at Sundance 2012. Find out more at BBC News and the Studio AKA site.

WILD LIFE (Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby)

The story of a dapper young remittance man sent from England to Alberta in 1909.

An interview with Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby at Living in Cinema and the official PDF press kit at the National Film Board of Canada.

Also check out this interview at Cartoon Brew.

> Official Oscar site
> Cartoon Brew’s coverage of this years animated nominees

[the films of] Pixar Animation Studios

Kees van Dijkhuizen‘s latest instalment in his montage project showcasing the works of different directors, focuses on the films of Pixar.

Previous montages have explored single directors such as Michel Gondry, David Fincher, Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola, but this one devoted to Pixar is a wonderful distillation of what has been an amazing run of movies since 1995.

It includes clips from the Toy Story trilogy (1995-2010), A Bug’s Life (1998), Monsters Inc (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008) and Up (2009).

> Behind the scenes post
> Pixar at Wikipedia

First footage from Ari Folman’s The Congress

Footage surfaced last month of Ari Folman’s next film The Congress.

After winning huge acclaim for his stunning animated debut Waltz With Bashir (2008), Folman has adapated Stanislaw Lem’s 1971 sci-fi novel The Futurological Congress.

The book deals with a man visiting a congress at a Hotel in Costa Rica and explores a futuristic world where hallucinations have replaced reality.

Clips were recently screened at the Cartoon Movie festival in Lyon back in March where Folman explained that the film would have some notable differences to the book.

A French-German co-production, live action footage will be shot in the US this summer and it will star Jon Hamm and Robin Wright (playing an analog of herself).

The budget is a reported $11m (8m Euros), with half of that going on the animation (which is being done in France) and the release is scheduled for 2013.

> Ari Folman at the IMDb
> Listen to our 2008 interview with Ari Folman about Waltz With Bashir
> More on The Continental Congress novel at Wikipedia

How Walt Disney Cartoons Were Made

This short promotional film shows how Walt Disney cartoons were made back in the late 1930s.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was a big deal at the time, as it was not only Disney’s first animated feature film but also the cel-animated feature ever.

It is fascinating to see the painstaking production and release of the film condensed to just 8 minutes.

The film broke ground with its use of Technicolor and won an Academy Honorary Award “as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field”.

Directors such as Sergei Eisenstein and Charlie Chaplin were quick to praise it and the financial success allowed Disney to finance a studio in Burbank, which is the still the home of Disney today.

[Via Open Culture]

> Official site for the film
> Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Wikipedia