Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekend Linkage

Ed Catmull

Pixar topkick comes to praise Utah's new animation training center:

University of Utah graduate Ed Catmull believes Utah has one of the finest computer animation programs in the country. But it's not at his alma mater, the University of Utah. Nope, Utah's finest is at rival Brigham Young University, and Catmull should know.

A graduate of the U.'s legendary computer science program of the late '60s and '70s, Catmull is president of the wildly successful Pixar Animation, which produced "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo." During a visit Thursday to BYU, Catmull complimented the school for producing students with savvy filmmaking know-how.

"All of a sudden in the last few years, BYU has risen to the top," Catmull said. "They're smart about what they do, and the students that come out of it are really good" ...

There's a nasty tax-break war going on between the Brits and a former colony over the traditional animation biz's younger sibling, the video game industry:

For months, British companies have been decrying the exodus of European game developers to Ontario, Quebec and B.C., where tax incentives are helping to attract multimillion-dollar investments and thousands of highly skilled foreign workers -- their talents fuelling the Canadian industry's exponential growth.

"The Canadians have driven a tank over the French Citroen and have now parked on our lawn," Paul Jackson, head of the main industry organization representing British games producers, complained to the Financial Times earlier this week. "It is becoming very challenging to keep core development studios here."

Like it or not, the animation industry encricles the globe. I get reminded of that on a weekly basis when I see the importation of foreign talent to work in the older part of Animationland here in Southern California. (The New York Times profiles the stateside battle for movie production -- including Blue Sky Animation -- here.)

Imagi, one of the newer 'toon studios in L.A., is cranking up its marketing department:

Imagi Studios has established a comprehensive Marketing , it was a Department, based at its Sherman Oaks facility announced by Co‐CEO Douglas Glen.

Headed by Erin Corbett, recently appointed Senior VP of Marketing, the Department will encompass all areas of worldwide marketing, advertising, sales promotions, licensing, tie‐in programs, publicity, public relations and corporate communications.

... In her new position, she will work closely with Imagi’s partners as the studio develops its marketing campaigns, promotions and licensing. Before coming to irketing.Imagi, Gutierrez worked in retal maImagi Studios’ next two films are Astro Boy and Gatchaman, both of which are slated for worldwide distribution in 2009 ...

Actor-director David Schwimmer talks about DreamWorks Animation's other animation franchise:

“There’s a little love story between the giraffe, my character, and the hippo [voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith],” Schwimmer laughed. “That image of them dating – it’s disturbing.”

Last of all. Jenny Lerew of BlankWing Diaries writes about her husband Pete Bateman, who passed away February 13th after a long fight with cancer. (I had no idea until I read her post this weekend.)

Jenny has my deepest condolences. To say the last year and a half has been difficult for her and Pete would be a monumental understatement.

Use what's left of the weekend wisely and well.


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