Categories
Animation Awards Season

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

Categories
Animation Awards Season

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

Categories
Animation Interesting

[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

Categories
Animation News

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

Categories
Animation Behind The Scenes

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

Categories
Animation

Inception Animated Short

Austrian artist Wolfgang Matzl has created a 60 second version of Inception done in paper stop-motion.

> Wolfgang Matzl
> Inception at the IMDb

Categories
Amusing Animation

The Assassination of Yogi Bear by the Coward Boo Boo

YouTube user Estevez has created this amusing mashup of the forthcoming Yogi Bear and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

If you want to see the original scene from Andrew Dominik’s 2007 film click here.

Painfully obvious spoiler warning: Jesse James (Brad Pitt) is assassinated by Robert Ford (Casey Affleck).

> The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford at Wikipedia
> Yogi Bear at the IMDb

Categories
Amusing Animation TV

The Simpsons Avatar intro

Last night The Simpsons spoofed James Cameron’s Avatar in the opening sequence of an episode called The Fool Monty.

Check it out here.

Categories
Amusing Animation

When Werner Herzog Rescued Joaquin Phoenix

Sacha Ciezata has created a neat animated short depicting the time when director Werner Herzog rescued Joaquin Phoenix from a car crash.

Using the audio from a recent press Q&A for My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, it also references the bearded version of Joaquin Phoenix from I’m Still Here, even though the incident took place back in 2006.

For some reason, which I can’t fully explain, my favourite bit is when Herzog ‘confiscates’ the cigarette lighter.

> Werner Herzog
> The Guardian report from 2006 on the incident

Categories
Animation Interesting

Inception and Paprika

Inception has been one of the most talked about films of the summer, but something that caught my interest recently was these two YouTube videos pointing out the similarities between Christopher Nolan’s film and the 2006 anime film Paprika.

The latter is the story of a research psychologist who uses a device that allows therapists to enter patients’ dreams.

Nolan himself has admitted the influence of The Matrix, 2001, Heat and Blade Runner, but see if you can detect elements of Inception in this trailer for Paprika:

Now check out this mashup up of both movies.

Although there are clearly differences, did Nolan get his central concept from the Japanese film?

> Inception review
> Paprika at the IMDb

Categories
Animation Interesting

Steve Jobs and John Lasseter discuss Pixar in 1996

Back in October 1996 Steve Jobs and John Lasseter went on The Charlie Rose Show to discuss Pixar and the future of animated film.

A little bit of background: Jobs bought the animation division of ILM from George Lucas in 1986, renamed it Pixar and in 1995 their first feature length movie Toy Story began an incredible run of acclaimed animated blockbusters; Lasseter was the creative chief who directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Cars (2006) whilst also serving as executive producer on Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo(2003) and The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and WALL-E (2008).

The interview is fascinating in retrospect because it was only a few months before Jobs returned to Apple (the computer company he had co-founded in 1976) and began the great renaissance that gave the world the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone.

Just a decade after the following interview was recorded, Pixar was bought by Disney in early 2006 for $7.4 billion – Jobs became the largest individual shareholder and Lasseter was appointed Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Watch it in full below:

Categories
Amusing Animation Behind The Scenes

Lee Unkrich editing Toy Story 3 at 36,000 feet

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich recently tweeted that he was editing the new Pixar film at 36,000 feet.

He then posted the following picture to prove it.

Tech savvy readers might like to note that he appears to be using Avid Media Composer on a MacBook Pro.

[Via Matt]

Categories
Animation Short Films

The Third & The Seventh

The above short film The Third & The Seventh by Alex Roman is an incredible example of CGI animation. So good in fact, that it doesn’t on first glance look as though it was entirely created on a computer.

It deals with architecture and photography and the following video explains how it was done:

This video also shows how they did a certain shot:

It not only shows how far visual effects have come but also how cheap the tools are to create something that looks stunning.

[Link vis PetaPixel]

Categories
Animation Interesting

Nick Park on Wallace and Gromit

Animator Nick Park gives a 20 minute interview on Wallace and Gromit.

Categories
Amusing Animation Random

Wallace and Gromit Google logo

Wallace and Gromit Google logo

This Google logo to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Wallace and Gromit is rather clever.

Categories
Animation Interesting

Early CGI Test of Where The Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak‘s classic children’s book Where The Wild Things Are is soon to be released as a live-action movie directed by Spike Jonze.

However, in 1983 a young animator at Disney shot this short piece of CGI test footage for a potential movie.

It didn’t work out as costs were too high and that young animator was unfortunately fired soon after.

However, things worked out OK in the end because he then went on to help found Pixar, direct the Toy Story movies and eventually go back to Disney in 2006 as the chief creative officer of the revamped Walt Disney Animation Studios.

His name?

John Lasseter.

Categories
Animation Cannes Festivals

Pixar’s Up at Cannes

Here is a short video feature of the world premiere of Pixar’s Up at the Cannes film festival this week.

The film opened to largely rave reviews.

> Official site for Up
> Critical reactions to the film at the festival
> Up at IMDb
> More about Pixar at Wikipedia

Categories
Animation Cinema Interviews Podcast

Interview: John Lasseter on Bolt

 

He initially worked as an animator at Disney in the late 70s before going on to join the computer animation division of Lucasfilm‘s Industrial Light and Magic.

In 1986 the department was purchased by Apple founder Steve Jobs who renamed the new company Pixar (a fake Spanish word meaning ‘to make pixels’) and gave Lasseter the freedom to direct, produce and create models for a variety of projects, many of which were television commercials.

In the late 1980s Lasseter made several award winning shorts before going on to direct the groundbreaking Toy Story in 1995, the first feature-length computer animated film.

As the chief of Pixar’s creative department, Lasseter became the key figure behind an extraordinary run of critically acclaimed, blockbuster animated films.

He directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Cars (2006) whilst also serving as executive producer on Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003) and The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and WALL-E (2008).

If the success of Pixar was not enough, his career reached a new plateau in early 2006 when Disney officially acquired Pixar, and promoted Lasseter to Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

The first movie he has overseen for Disney is Bolt, the tale of a small white dog who, having spent his entire life acting in a TV series, thinks that he has super powers.

Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard, it was produced by Lasseter and I spoke to him in London recently about his career and the new film.

You can listen to the interview here:

You can also stream it here:

[audio:http://filmdetail.receptionmedia.com/John_Lasseter_on_Bolt.mp3]

You can download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here

Bolt is out at UK cinemas on Friday 6th February

Download this interview as an MP3 file
John Lasseter at the IMDb
> Official UK site for Bolt
> Official Pixar site

Categories
Animation Interviews Podcast

Interview: Ari Folman on Waltz With Bashir

Waltz With Bashir is the remarkable new film that deals with the memory of Israeli soldiers involved in the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 which culminated in the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

Directed by Ari Folman, it examines his experiences in the army and struggle to remember what happened as he interviews fellow soldiers from the time.

The strange title is taken from a scene with one of Folman’s interviewees remembers taking a machine gun and dancing an ‘insane waltz’ amid enemy fire, with posters of Bashir Gemayel lining the walls behind him.

Gemayel was the Lebanese president who whose assassination helped trigger the massacre.

The most unusual and startling aspect of the film is that it is animated, an unconventional approach for what is essentially a documentary.

I recently spoke with Ari in London about the film and you can listen to the interview here:

[audio:http://filmdetail.receptionmedia.com/Ari_Folman_on_Waltz_With_Bashir.mp3]

Download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Watch the trailer here:

 

Waltz With Bashir is out at selected UK cinemas from Friday 21st November

* Find a cinema near you that is showing the film by clicking here *

Download this interview as an MP3 file
Ari Folman at the IMDb
> Official site for Waltz With Bashir
Find out more about the Shabra and Shatila massacre at Wikipedia
> Get local showtimes for the film via Google Movies

Categories
Animation Short Films

Presto

This is the Pixar short film Presto which is about a magician and his hungry rabbit sidekick.

Categories
Animation DVD & Blu-ray

BURN-E


Burn-E from Dark Defender on Vimeo.

This is BURN-E – the short companion film to WALL-E that will be included on the upcoming DVD.

WALL-E is released on UK DVD on Monday 24th November by Disney

> Pre-order WALL-E on Amazon UK
> Listen to out interview with Angus McLane about WALL-E 

Categories
Animation In Production Interesting

First video from Pixar’s next film ‘Up’

Here is the first footage of Pixar’s next film Up.


Original Video– More videos at TinyPic

The story is about an older man (voiced by Edward Asner) who finally fulfils his lifelong dream of exploring the world.

Up is released in the US in May 2009.

> Up at the IMDb
> Official site for the film
> More on the film at Pixar’s blog

[Link via The Animation Blog]

Categories
Animation Cinema Interviews Podcast

Interview: Angus MacLane on WALL-E

Angus MacLane was the directing animator on WALL-E, the latest film from Pixar.

The story is about the last robot left on Earth many years into the future, after mankind has evacuated onboard a giant spaceship.

Named WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth class), he organises the giant mounds of waste that litter the planet, with only a cockroach for company.

But when a new robot named EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) visits Earth, he starts to have feelings for her and soon discovers where the humans have gone.

Since it was released in the US last month it has got rave reviews and topped the box office.

I recently spoke to Angus about his role, the challenges animating the robots and what it is like to work at Pixar.

Listen to the interview here:

You can download this interview as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here

WALL-E is out at UK cinemas this Friday

> Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Angus MacLane at the IMDb
> Check out the WALL-E Angus made from Lego
> Official site for WALL-E
> Read reviews for WALL-E at Metacritic
> Pixar Animation Studios
> Find out more about Pixar at Wikipedia

Categories
Animation Interesting Short Films

MUTO by Blu

Here is MUTO – the latest wall painted animation by the street artists known as Blu:


MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

It was made in Buenos Aires and Baden.

> BLU’s official site
> Blu’s blog