Friday, November 14, 2008

The Links of November Toons

I've been buried of late in the negotiation tap dance, and the linkfest has languished, which I now rectify.

France has trouble keeping its c.g. animators and tech directors down on the old Parisian farm:

While Gaul has had a thriving animation industry with Oscar-nominated 2-D features like "The Triplets of Belleville" and "Persepolis," Gaul lacks the financial backing to produce mainstream CGI pics that can export well.

"In France, it's nearly impossible to raise more than E15 million ($18.7 million) to make a 3-D animation film unless you're a movie mogul like Luc Besson," says former Duran Duboi topper Pascal Herold, who has just wrapped post-production on "Le Chat Botte" (Puss 'n Boots).

A series of recent casualities has hampered the mood of French animation producers working with CGI:

* The production of "Monster in Paris," helmed by Eric Bergeron ("Shark Tale") for Bibo Films and produced by Luc Besson's EuropaCorp, has been halted.

* Rumors spreading within the animation circuit even have it that the Gaumont's $35 million animated feature "Rock the Boat" has been delayed because of financial trouble.

A film festival devoted strictly to animated feature rolls out November 14-16 -- The Waterloo Festival of Animated Cinema (I was waiting for this!):

An integral feature for the festival was that they were going to use original 35 mm film for all the screenings. “There was no way to enjoy these movies the way Japanese audiences were. To be able to see this in a theatre, to be able to see this the way it’s supposed to be was very important to us.”

While many die-hard fans of certain genres, often anime, will certainly have seen the films before, seeing them on 35 mm is something special. “A lot is lost in translation from the big screen to the little [TV] screen,” said [festival found Joseph] Chen.

Chen notes that throughout the history of film, animation has had a stigma attached to it, one that WFAC can hopefully dispel. “A lot of people don’t take animation seriously. Back in the 1920s when Lotte Reiniger was looking for people to back her film Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed, they [the studios] didn’t want to talk to her. They thought animation was too difficult a medium. That continues to this day. People think that it’s too hoity- toity, or that it’s for kids.”

Madagascar 2 director Eric Darnell gets interviewed by his home-town teevee station here:

Q: How does one go from Prairie Village, Kansas to Hollywood?

A: Slowly ...

Sound designer Ben Burtt -- most recently of Wall-E -- talks about matching sound to image:

I've always found, when you're trying to create illusions with sound, especially in a science fiction or fantasy movie, that pulling sounds from the world around us is a great way to cement that illusion because you can go out and record an elevator in George Lucas's house or something, and it will have that motor sound. It will be an elevator and you might associate it with that, but if you use it in a movie people will believe it's a force field, or maybe it's the sound of a spaceship door opening.

...and of course Pixar has released its new trailer for Up ...

Animation legend/veteran Bob Givens holds forth at the ASIFA Hollywood archives, and Will Finn is there to participate:

I dropped by the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archives this afternoon to find animation legend Bob Givens regaling Steve Worth and Mike Fontanelli with insights and memories from his past 95 years, including going to grammar school with John Wayne, assisting on Disney's SNOW WHITE, storyboarding and doing layouts on countless classic LOONEY TUNES and TV shows for Hanna-Barbera, Depatie Freleng and others. Somewhere in there he found himself drafted into World War II as well, where he wound up tagging along on covert ops and doing Kitchen Patrol with author William Saroyan before being tapped by Rudolf Ising to return the Culver City and participate in animating training films that saved the lives of countless Allied soldiers.

Blogging Stocks pats DreamWorks Animation on its furry back for the most excellent launch of Madagascar the 2nd:

... [K]udos to the studio's marketing department for improving the previous film's opening weekend. Madagascar, which was released in May 2005, took in $47 million during its opening weekend. As of this writing, Escape 2 Africa has been credited with about $63 million. Considering that this isn't the summertime, I thought the sequel's debut performance was pretty cool.

And here's another equally cool fact: if the estimates hold, then Escape 2 Africa's first-weekend take will be slightly higher than Kung Fu Panda's opening weekend of $60.2 million. You've got to call that a success.

Film Roman/Starz Media has itself a new studio head:

[Jay] Fukuto, who joined Film Roman two years ago from MGA Entertainment, will now oversee all of the studio's animation production operations for TV series, feature films, homevid, commercials and visual effects ...

Fukuto, who will report to Starz Animation CEO Kent Rice, formerly served as veep of entertainment for MGA, where he oversaw development of the "Bratz" and "Alien Racers" series.

He also served a stint at Walt Disney TV Animation, where he worked on "Kim Possible" and "Lilo & Stitch: The Animated Series."

Lastly, the trades and various outlets announce the animated contenders for the oncoming Academy Awards:

The contenders are "Bolt," "Delgo," "Dragon Hunters," "Fly Me to the Moon," "Igor," "Kung Fu Panda," "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," "$9.99," "The Sky Crawlers," "Sword of the Stranger," "The Tale of Despereaux," "Waltz With Bashir" "WALL-E" and "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!

Because there are at least eight but fewer than 16 submissions, a maximum of three movies can share the spotlight when Oscar nominations in all categories are announced January 22.

Have a nutritious weekend.


Stephen Worth said...

I'm afraid I shuffled around the archive post on Bob Givens and the link you have there doesn't work any more. Here is the corrected link...

Interview: Bob Givens- Grand Old Man of Animation

There are now two video clips online of the interview.


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