Saturday, April 26, 2008


More toony links of varying interest:

Animation Magazine notes how John Lasseter waxes enthusiastic over the Little Elephant:

Lasseter ... talked about how Ben Sharpteen’s Dumbo remains one of his favorite movies of all time because it’s funny, emotional and the most cartoony of Disney’s animated features. “It’s the only Disney movie that the lead character doesn’t talk, but it’s also one of the most poignant.” When asked about his favorite moments in the film, he praised the roustabout scene for its design qualities and the “Baby Mine” mother-and-son sequence for its emotional power. “It’s an amazing scene especially once you’ve had a child, yourself.” He also talked about the film’s final flight climax. “That scene gets you every time. It’s a great lesson on how to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Everything is done so exquisitely on this film. Ken O’Conner’s layouts are so sophisticated.”

Australia has exhumed some old, old films (one of which is an ancient cartoon) and is sending them overseas to be preserved:

The Australian government is announcing the return of eight short, silent-era films to the U.S. as part of a new partnership to preserve American filmmaking history.

The titles are "The Prospector" (1912), a one-reel Western made by Essanay Film Manufacturing; "Sin Woman," trailer (1921), a preview for a melodrama; "Mutt and Jeff: On Strike" (1920), an animated short of the popular cartoon characters; and "Long Pants," trailer (1927), a preview for Frank Capra's comedy starring Harry Langdon.

The Annecy Animation Film festival, 2008 edition, is back once again:

PARIS -- Organizers of the 2008 Annecy Animation Festival have named the toons set to screen at the event's 32nd edition ...

Competition titles vying for the festival's Cristal award for best feature include Shinji Aramaki's "Appleseed: Ex Machina" and Masayuki Jokima's "Piano no mori" from Japan, Nina Paley's "Sita Sings the Blues" and Bill Plympton's "Idiots and Angels" from the U.S., French films Christian Hincker's "Peur(s) du noir ...," Guillaume Ivernel's "Chausseurs de dragons" and Olivier Jean-Marie's "Go West: A Lucky Luke Adventure," plus German Hayo Freitag's "Die Drei Rauber" and Adria Garcia's "Nocturna" from Spain.

In all, 1,867 films competed for the coveted slots, with 284 making it into the official selection and 216 selected for the competition category ...

The Simpsons Ride, debuting May 15 in Florida and May 17th at Universal Hollywood, gets favorable preview reviews.

Universal Studios Florida allowed the first visitors on the new $40-million Simpsons Ride this week during “technical rehearsals” in advance of the official opening ... The early reviews of the Simpsons Ride in Florida filtering in from fan sites:

— “Just as good as Back to the Future.” (Orlando United)

— “A great ride … packed with laughs.” (Theme Park Insider)

— “A ton of fun.” (IOA Central)

The fully scheduled Amy Poehler discusses her new cartoon show The Mighty B!, which debuted last Thursday on Nickelodeon:

"We wanted to develop a cartoon together," says Poehler of the simple inspiration that led to creating the show with friends Cynthia True and Eric Wiese. "And we were looking for something that had a strong female character and voice, and it just started there.

"Once we had the idea of Bessie, and knew how she would sound and act, it just sort of exploded," she says.

How Bessie sounds and acts is a lot like a toned-down version of the slightly unhinged Girl Scout Cassie that Poehler created a decade ago in the improv clubs of Chicago, and later the Comedy Central series "Upright Citizens Brigade." ...

Lastly, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wielded vast influence over Hollywood in its long-ago youth. A version of that earlier clout is now returning, according to Variety, in the area of science and technology:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hasn't lacked for influence over the years. ... Yet recently, the Academy has acquired a level of influence on the future direction of the biz unlike any the Acad has had in some 75 years.

And it is doing so through one of its least-publicized arms: The Science and Technology Council.

The Council's first product was its report on the costs and difficulties of digital archiving, "The Digital Dilemma" (Variety, April 20, 2007). It has also been working on developing recommendations for an "Image Interchange Format" that would ensure digital images look consistent as they're passed from place to place.

The Sci-Tech Council has become one of the rare neutral bodies in the industry, which can move forward issues like the digital conversion of Hollywood without having to worry about partisan business interests.

Just 5 years old, the Council has a roster that reads like a who's who of movie technologists, all of whom serve gratis. Some of its activities are well within the Acad's familiar functions, such as archiving and public programs, but it also serves as a forum for discussion and research on emerging technical issues ...

"This is a different world in some ways from how it was in the '20s when the Academy first started," Maltz says. "And in some ways, it's no different, if you look back at why Hollywood exists. Why did people come out here? It wasn't just for the weather, it was to get away from the Motion Picture Patents Co.

Ah yes. The non-stop battle over intellectual property. It's been going on like forever. That's how the town was started, after all. Pirates fought the Edison Trust (Motion Picture Patents Co.) over who had the right to use the damn cameras, and settled in close to the Mexican border, just in case they needed to scram to a safe foreig haven in a hurry.

I'll be incommunicado the next few days, and Mr. Jeff Massie will be serving up tasty morsels in my absence. Have a jolly weekend.


Anonymous said...

I dunno about Mighty B. Cynthia True was responsible for some of the worst Fairly Odd Parents episodes. The premise doesn't exactly excite my two boys. And Bessie isn't the most attractive character in the world. Plus her schtick appears to be dumb noisy spastic humor. Ho-hum. On the other hand, the Simpsons ride sounds grand. Anything to do with Krusty the Klown's gotta be, in his words: "boffo"! Next time I visit the World of Walt I might take a side-trip to Universal. And that would be a first for my family.

Anonymous said...

"Lasseter ... talked about how Ben Sharpteen’s Dumbo remains one of his favorite movies of all time because it’s funny, emotional and the most cartoony of Disney’s animated features."

So, it makes me wonder ; does this mean that people at Disney are pitching sweet, simple "cartoony" 2D projects to Lasseter and is he going to greenlight them ? I suppose a big , classic musical "princess" movie makes the most business sense in a way (maybe not if the public perceives it as "more of the same old same old") but it would be great to see some animated features that are just pure cartoony fun (with some heart) that allow hand-drawn animation to do what it does best.

Anonymous said...

John and Ron would be the last two guys I'd put in charge of resurrecting Disney's 2D future - especially with a princess style feature. Yea, yeah, I know they did Mermaid and maybe they can rechannel that sensibility, but that was along time ago and that doesn't seem to be where their 'snarky' sensibilities lie.

Anonymous said...

OT a bit, but pertaining to an earlier post-the NY Times today(4/27, "SundayStyles" section)has a great article about the trend among the "young" to break the last taboo and share salary info openly. Goes right to what you've said. Worth a link for sure.

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