Getting More Immersed with Indiewire


  The Penske Media purchase of Indiewire has resulted in an expansion of my role as crafts and awards season contributor.  Beginning this week, I begin Emmy coverage of below-the-line contenders along with my usual Oscar season crafts reporting, working closely

Immersed in Blu-ray: Hitchcock and Bogart


The WB Archive Collection gets Hitch and Bogie on Blu-ray and they've never looked better for home viewing. In Kent Jones' indispensable doc, Hitchcock/Truffaut, he reminds us that Truffaut was on a mission to correct misconceptions about Hitch as a lightweight

Immersed in Books: Farber on Film


For the first time, the complete writings of film critic Manny Farber is available from Library of America, edited by Robert Polito (Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson). Manny Farber (1917-2008) was the first modernist film critic to write like a modernist.

stop-motion

Joyce Talks Morris Lessmore and the Retro Vibe

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Books, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

I had a chance to catch up with Bill Joyce about his Oscar nomination for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which has turned out to be the front runner. We discussed the similarities to The Artist and Hugo and some of his latest projects.

You’ve really captured the zeitgeist with your retro short, considering the similarities with The Artist and Hugo. Have you given this much thought?

Yeah, I guess the first dose I got of it was when Hugo came out and I love Méliès. In fact Brian Selznick [the author] and I are good friends. We had the same editor at Harper Collins back in the day and we love the same stuff, and one of the things we talked about was Méliès and automatons. And I knew all the stuff that had gone on with bringing Hugo to the screen — my friend, Chris Wedge, worked on it. And then the movie comes out, and they did the Méliès stuff so beautifully and that’s when I realized that we were on the same wavelength in revering the past and revering the filmmaking of the past with using miniatures and the Fleischer brothers and the way they did their miniature work on their Popeye cartoons.

You were all going back to the roots of this and making it relevant.

There’s something pure and innocent and hand-crafted about that that seems so direct and strong. It’s just so strange how it’s all come together this same year. And then The Artist comes out of nowhere. When I saw it — Brandon [Oldenburg, his Moonbot Studios partner] and I had studied the silent films when working on Morris so intensely and really learned the language of the pantomime and the camera setups and all that stuff. And, my god, these guys have absorbed all the same stuff and it just felt strange like the zeitgeist had this undercurrent for everybody.

But it makes sense considering the times we live in and what we’re grappling with.

It’s so hard and complicated to make a silent film like that. And the artistry that’s in place to make The Artist is astonishing. And, actually, when I heard about it, I thought it sounded cool but I couldn’t imagine it working. Usually when you try and resurrect an old way of storytelling, especially an old cinematic way of storytelling, it ends up feeling not pure and like a stunt and not emotionally true. It just feels like an exercise in style. And for both Hugo and The Artist, I thought they totally tapped into the thing that made them brilliant and emotional to begin with. And so form became function in a way, but it was completely true to the storytelling experience and that’s rare. And it amplified the content. I think shot for shot, The Artist is probably the most thoroughly and thought out film I’ve seen in a really long time.

So let’s bring it back to your work.

We just wanted to make it feel hand-made again, that somehow that felt important, and with books being more a tactile thing, it seemed to go very strongly with the story we were grappling with. And then the more we got into it, Bill, there’s this character that’s in a book, this Humpty character, he should be animated two-dimensionally — he’s a flat illustration. It actually doesn’t make sense to make a 3D model of him, it makes more sense to make a 2D model. We sat around asking ourselves: Can we really do that? Are we just giving in to our fetishist love of 2D? No, this really is the best way to tell this story. It was just really neat to come up with a framework to indulge all our enthusiasms.

Tell me about The Numberlys.

It’s a reworking of Metropolis for kids. It’s in black and white and turns to color because in that world there’s only numbers and its inhabitants, the Numberlys, and five of them go, “We need something else besides numbers,” so they make up the alphabet; having made up the alphabet, that brings about color. We still get into this whole surreal instance of storytelling but we didn’t go miniatures again because it doesn’t help our theme. It’s pretty much silent except when they finally get words. It’s an app first and we’re finishing the short now and then it’ll be a book. It’s like the landscape’s changing so fast: Do we make a short first or an app first? It didn’t seem to make much difference. And then we’re going to start our next one after that, which is Mr. Spam Gets a New Hat. I don’t know why he’s called that but it’s all going to be in color. But it’s a musical.

What’s the style?

It’s early Ernst Lubitsch.

My favorite.

Me too. And they’re incredibly charming: Love Me Tonight. And so we want to explore making a musical matter again. Or somehow translate that crazy leap of faith that musicals make. It seems not ridiculous that you would burst into songs. It’ll be Lubitsch-like with a really early Technicolor look. Again, very much a parable…

It’s amazing: Bill Plympton’s here and and he’s been working on a restoration of Winsor McCay’s The Flying House, and he showed it to us a few minutes ago and it’s amazing. I think it was the last animated piece that Winsor McCay did and it was almost unwatchable. It had degraded so badly. And Plympton took the position: What would McCay do now? It’s in color and has sound and a musical score, which didn’t exist when he did the original short. And it sounds like sacrilege but it’s actually one of the most charming things I’ve seen in a very long time. The color in it looks exactly like the Nemo comic strips looked at the time. He did this amazing job of matching the style of the color with the bold animation of McCay’s. And then he got rid of the title cards and McCay had actually animated lip sync for the characters that matched what the title cards were saying, though he didn’t need to. So once Bill discovered that, he had Patricia Clarkson and Matthew Modine do the dialogue and it matches up beautifully.

How is Rise of the Guardians coming along?

Oh, man. We’re less than a year out and it’s really coming together. It’s true to what I wanted it to be. It’s beautiful and the 3-D’s really nice. I wasn’t that keen on 3-D at the start, but, after seeing Hugo and what we’re doing here, I’m becoming more and more of a convert. And, actually, Tintin was very good in 3-D.

You’re reinvigorating the superhero genre with an infusion of fairy tales: Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost.

When you think about the fact that most the original comic writers were Jewish and were tapping folklore like The Golem, I’m just bringing it back around again.

Laika Adds Shotgun to Animation Arsenal

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers, VFX | Leave a comment

Laika has purchased a site license of Shotgun Software to manage production and enhance collaboration for stop-motion and VFX work throughout its Portland, Oregon studio. Laika implemented the flexible, web-based solution as a central platform for modernizing production management of the data-heavy stop-motion process on its upcoming 3D animated feature ParaNorman, releasing Aug. 17 from Focus Features.

“The traditional method of sharing information and keeping a stop-motion production rolling involves armies of people with clipboards and a massive hallway of shot boards, printouts and schedules,” said Jeff Stringer, Laika’s director of production technology. “We have been using Shotgun to manage visual effects work for a long time, and when we started ParaNorman, we saw an opportunity to use it within the stop-motion pipeline also, to modernize some of the processes we were doing manually.

“The biggest benefit Shotgun gives us is the ability to organize approved artwork and relate it to the shots,” Stringer added. “When we are talking about a particular piece of artwork, everyone is now sure they’re looking at the exact same thing. That was not the case before Shotgun.”

Shotgun is a web-based system that gives all parties involved in a project instant access to critical data, messaging and real-time project progress. Its open API enables studios to use Shotgun as a central platform around which they can quickly build custom tools and bridges to other applications using Python scripting.

“Shotgun is so flexible and easy to customize that we were able to build great tools quickly that let people feed data in automatically and publish easily,” said Laika TD Supervisor Rob Blau. “The way Shotgun has branched out across the pipeline throughout ParaNorman showed us that it’s a great solution to help us collaborate much more effectively on stop-motion productions.”

Rango Grabs 5 Annies

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Annies, Below the Line, Editing, Events, Movies, Music, Production Design, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Rango was the top winner at last night’s Annie Awards from ASIFA-Hollywood at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The surreal lizard comedy directed by Gore Verbinski and animated by ILM nabbed five awards, including best animated feature. But the wealth was spread around quite evenly, with eight films splitting the 12 feature awards, including two for DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 2, (such as best director for Jennifer Yuh Nelson); and two for Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, animated by Weta Digital.

It was a surreal evening hosted by Patton Oswalt (Remy from Ratatouille), who quipped his way during scripted and unscripted moments, such as when the wrong envelope was opened for one of the TV winners. There was even fun parody of Oswald’s Young Adult with Remy.

Winnie the Pooh, Rio and Arthur Christmas each received one award, as did the live-action films Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which were honored for animated elements.

Rango also won the new Members’ Favorite Award, which is voted on by the entire ASIFA-Hollywood membership, including student and affiliate members. The other awards are chosen by select committees of professionals in the field.

As far as the TV categories, The Simpsons was named Best General Audience Animated TV Production, while Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice won four awards. Other TV winners included The Amazing World of Gumball, Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and The Penguins of Madagascar. In one of the biggest surprises, Adam and Dog by Minkyu Lee took the short award over the National Film Board of Canada’s Sunday and Wild Life.

 

PRODUCTION CATEGORIES

Best Animated Feature
Rango – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production

Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production
Kung Fu Panda – Secrets of the Masters – DreamWorks Animation

Best Animated Short Subject
Adam and Dog – Minkyu Lee

Best Animated Television Commercial
Twinings “Sea” – Psyop

Best General Audience Animated TV Production
The Simpsons – Gracie Films

Best Animated Television Production – Preschool
Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates – Disney Television Animation

Best Animated Video Game
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – Shadow Planet Productions, Gagne/Fuelcell

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIES

Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Kevin Romond “Tintin” – Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Florent Andorra “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Industrial Light & Magic

Character Animation in a Television Production
Tony Smeed “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Jeff Gabor “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Eric Reynolds “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – 20th Century Fox

Character Design in a Television Production
Bill Schwab “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Feature Production
Mark “Crash” McCreery “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production

Directing in a Television Production
Matthew Nastuk “The Simpsons” – Gracie Films

Directing in a Feature Production
Jennifer Yuh Nelson “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation

Music in a Television Production
Grace Potter, Michael Giacchino “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Music in a Feature Production
John Williams “Tintin” – Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall

Production Design in a Television Production
Mark Bodnar, Chris Tsirgiotis, Sue Mondt and Daniel Elson “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome” – Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in a Feature Production
Raymond Zibach “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in a Television Production
Brian Kesinger “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Storyboarding in a Feature Production
Jeremy Spears “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Voice Acting in a Television Production
Jeff Bennett as Kowalski “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Bill Nighy as Grandsanta “Arthur Christmas” – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations

Writing in a Television Production
Carolyn Omine “The Simpsons -Treehouse of Horror XXII” – Gracie Films

Writing in a Feature Production
John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Byrkit “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Productions

Editing in Television Production
Ted Machold, Jeff Adams, Doug Tiano, Bob Tomlin “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation

Editing in a Feature Production
Craig Wood, A.C.E. “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present
A Blind Wink/GK Films Production

JURIED AWARDS

Winsor McCay Award —Walt Peregoy, Borge Ring, Ronald Searle
June Foray — Art Leonardi
Special Achievement — Depth Analysis

Animation/VFX Oscar Surprises

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

I analyze the Oscar surprises and snubs for animation and VFX in my TOH column at Indiewire. Who would’ve guessed that both Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris are in and both Cars 2 and Tintin are out? Meanwhile, Rango starts a one-week reissue at the ArcLight Hollywood and the nominated shorts will screen theatrically on Feb. 10.

ShortsHD working with Magnolia Pictures will release The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012 in more than 200 theaters across the US and Canada. Three theatrical programs will give audiences around the country an opportunity to watch the nominated shorts in the animation, live action and documentary categories prior to the 84th Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 26th. This year will mark the second theatrical outing for the nominated documentary shorts, after an enthusiastic reception from audiences for last year’s inaugural run.

The Oscar Nominated Short Films has become a key fixture of the awards season. Last year, the theatrical release broke all records, grossing more than $1,350,000 nationwide and playing in significantly more theaters than in previous years. Since the inception of the program in 2005, attendance has grown by 800%.

Along with the theatrical run, the nominated short films will be released individually on iTunesfrom Feb. 21st in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and other iTunes Stores throughout the world. The release will also be available via cable’s Movies On Demand (MOD), distributed by leading MOD distributor, iN DEMAND L.L.C. and will be available via Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Brighthouse, Cablevision, and Cox Communication.

What Went Wrong with Animation in 2011?

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Oscar, stop-motion, Tech | Leave a comment

All I kept hearing over the holidays was how disappointing 2011 was for animation. So I gave it some thought for my first TOH column of the year at Indiewire While I enjoyed and admired most of the films for what they accomplished (especially on the technical side), it seemed to be that what we lacked was emotional uplift. But 2012 looks much more promising and diverse, led by Pixar’s Brave (June 22) and three stop-motion movies: Aardman’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Sony, March 30); Laika’s ParaNorman (Focus Features, Aug. 17); and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (Disney, Oct. 5).

Kung Fu Panda 2 Leads Annie Noms

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Annies, Events, Movies, performance capture, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Well, how fitting that on the same day that I spoke with Jennifer Yuh Nelson about directing Kung Fu Panda 2, that the DreamWorks sequel wound up leading the pack of Annie nominees with 12. And, with Puss in Boots grabbing nine (tied for second with Paramount’s Rango), it was a very good day for DreamWorks. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see what the impact will be on Oscar voting, but, for now, Yuh Nelson can bask in the glory of more epic and exotic Po.

“We are really excited about the expanded list of nominations this year…in all 28 categories,” said Frank Gladstone, president, ASIFA-Hollywood.  “All of the major animation studios are represented, as are some of the independent productions from Europe and South America. This certainly is a testament to the wide reach and appeal of animation and the people who create it.”

Special juried awards honoring career achievement and exceptional contributions to animation will also be awarded: Winsor McCay Award — Walt Peregoy, Borge Ring, and Ronald Searle for career contributions to the art of animation; June Foray Award — Art Leonardi for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation; and Special Achievement Award is given to an individual, individuals or a company for unique and outstanding achievement falling within the Annie Award eligibility period and not recognized within the existing award category structure. This year’s Special Achievement goes to Depth Analysis.

The 2011 Annie Award winners will be announced at the 39th Annual Annie Awards ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at UCLA’s Royce Hall. For more info, please visit www.annieawards.org.

Here is the complete list of nominees:

Best Animated Feature

  • A Cat in Paris – Folimage
  • Arrugas (Wrinkles) – Perro Verde Films, S.L.
  • Arthur Christmas – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Cars 2 – Pixar Animation Studios
  • Chico & Rita – Chico & Rita Distribution Limited
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 – DreamWorks Animation
  • Puss In Boots – DreamWorks Animation
  • Rango – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production
  • Rio – Blue Sky Studios
  • Tintin – Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall

Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production

  • Adventure Time: Thank You – Cartoon Network Studios
  • Batman: Year One – Warner Bros. Animation
  • Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas – Blue Sky Studios
  • Kung Fu Panda – Secrets of the Masters – DreamWorks Animation
  • Prey 2 – Blur Studio
  • Star Tours – Industrial Light & Magic

Best Animated Short Subject

  • Adam and Dog – Lodge Films
  • I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat – Warner Bros. Animation
  • La Luna – Pixar Animation Studios
  • (Notes on) Biology – Ornana Films
  • Paths of Hate – Platige Image
  • Sunday – National Film Board of Canada
  • The Ballad of Nessie –Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • The Girl and the Fox – Base14
  • Wild Life – National Film Board of Canada and Studio GDS

Best Animated Television Commercial

  • Audi “Hummingbird” – The Mill
  • Geico “Foghorn” – Renegade Animation
  • McDonald’s “Apple Tree”– Duck Studios/Kompost
  • McDonald’s “Suzi Van Zoom” – Duck Studios/Kompost
  • Norton “Stuff”– Psyop
  • O2 “Niggles & Narks” –The Mill
  • Statoil “Good Night” – Studio AKA
  • “The Pirate” – Meindbender
  • Twinings “Sea” – Psyop

Best General Audience Animated TV Production

  • Archer – FX Productions
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series – Warner Bros. Animation
  • Hoops & YoYo Ruin Christmas – Hallmark
  • MAD – Warner Bros. Animation
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole Season 2 – Starburns Industries, Inc.
  • Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lucasfilm Animation, Ltd.
  • The Simpsons – Gracie Films

Best Animated Television Production – Preschool

  • Chuggington – Ludorum Pictures
  • Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates – Disney Television Animation
  • Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Disney Television Animation
  • The WotWots Season 2 – Pukeko Pictures

Best Animated Television Production – Children

  • Fanboy and Chum Chum – Nickelodeon and Frederator
  • Kung Fu Panda – DreamWorks Animation
  • Penguins of Madagascar – DreamWorks Animation
  • The Amazing World of Gumball – Cartoon Network in Association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media & Studio Soi

Best Animated Video Game

  • Bumpy Road – Simogo
  • Catherine – Atlus
  • Gears of War 3 – Epic Games
  • Gesundheit – Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Ghost Trick: “Phantom Detective” – Capcom
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – Shadow Planet Productions, Gagne/Fuelcell
  • Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One – Insomniac Games
  • Rayman Origins – Ubisoft Montpellier
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Naughty Dog

Animated Effects in an Animated Production

  • Can Yuksel “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Chase Cooper “Rango” – Industrial Light & Magic
  • Dan Lund “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Dave Tidgewell “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Eric Froemling “Cars 2” – Pixar Animation Studios
  • Jason Mayer “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Joel Aron “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” – Lucasfilm Animation, Ltd.
  • Jon Reisch “Cars 2” – Pixar Animation Studios
  • Kevin Romond “Tintin” – Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall
  • Willi Geiger “Rango” – Industrial Light & Magic

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production

  • Branko Grujcic “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”– Industrial Light & Magic
  • Florent Andarra “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Industrial Light & Magic
  • Gary Wu “Cowboys & Aliens”– Industrial Light & Magic
  • Lee Uren “Cowboys & Aliens” – Industrial Light & Magic

Character Animation in a Television Production

  • Chad Sellers “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Michael Franceschi “Kung Fu Panda” – Nickelodeon
  • Rebecca Wilson Bresee “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Sihanouk Mariona “Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole Season 2” – Starburns Industries, Inc.
  • Tony Smeed “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production

  • Andreas Deja “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Dan Wagner “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Jeff Gabor “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios
  • Mark Henn “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Olivier Staphylas “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Patrik Puhala “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios
  • Pierre Perifel “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Live Action Production

  • Andy Arnett “HOP” – Rhythm & Hues, Illumination Entertainment
  • David Lowry “Paul” – Double Negative Visual Effects for Universal Productions/ Relativity Media/Working Title Films/Big Talk Productions
  • Eric Reynolds “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – 20th Century Fox
  • Mike Hull “Paul” – Double Negative Visual Effects for Universal Productions/Relativity Media/Working Title Films/Big Talk Productions

Character Design in a Television Production

  • Bill Schwab “Prep & Landing” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Carl Raggio “Disney Kick Buttowski” – Disney Television Animation
  • Chad Hurd “Archer” – FX Productions
  • Chris Battle “Dan Vs.” – Starz Film Roman
  • Eric Robles “Fanboy and Chum Chum” – Nickelodeon & Frederator
  • Gordon Hammond “TUFF Puppy” – Nickelodeon
  • Mike Dougherty “TUFF Puppy” – Nickelodeon
  • Robert Ryan Cory “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome” – Cartoon Network Studios

Character Design in a Feature Production

  • Jay Shuster “Cars 2” – Pixar Animation Studios
  • Mark “Crash” McCreery “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Productions
  • Patrick Mate “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Peter de Seve “Arthur Christmas” – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Sergio Pablos “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios

Directing in a Television Production

  • Brian Sheesley “Dan Vs.” – Starz Film Roman
  • Chris Savino & Clay Morrow “Disney Kick Buttowski” – Disney Television Animation
  • Dan Riba “Ben 10 Ultimate Alien” – Cartoon Network Studios
  • Duke Johnson “Community” – 23 D Films, Inc.
  • Gabe Swarr “Kung Fu Panda” – Nickelodeon
  • Ken Bruce “TUFF Puppy” – Nickelodeon
  • Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers-Skelton “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice”– Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Matthew Nastuk “The Simpsons” – Gracie Films
  • Mic Graves & Ben Bocquelet “The Amazing World of Gumball” – Cartoon Network Europe in association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media & Studio Soi
  • Peter Hausner “Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu” – Wil Film
  • Steve Loter, Christo Stamboliev, Shaun Cashman, David Knott “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and Technicolor
  • Tony Craig “Hoops & YoYo Ruin Christmas” – Hallmark

Directing in a Feature Production

  • Carlos Saldahna “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios
  • Chris Miller “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Don Hall & Stephen Anderson “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Gore Verbinski “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present a Blind Wink/GK Films Productions
  • Jennifer Yuh Nelson “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Kelly Asbury “Gnomeo & Juliet” – Touchstone Pictures

Music in a Television Production

  • Adam Berry, Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and Technicolor
  • Ben Locket “The Amazing World of Gumball” – Cartoon Network Europe in association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media & Studio Soi
  • Frederik Wiedmann “Green Lantern The Animated Series” – Warner Bros. Animation
  • Grace Potter, Michael Giacchino “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Joel McNeely, Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda “Pixie Hollow Games”– DisneyToon Studios
  • Kevin Kliesch “Thundercats” – Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network
  • Shawn Patterson, Zeb Wells “Robot Chicken” – ShadowMachine and Stoopid Monkey in association with Adult Swim

Music in a Feature Production

  • Henry Jackman “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation
  • John Williams “Tintin” – Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall
  • Mikael Mutti, Siedah Garrett, Carlinhos Brown, Sergio Mendes, John Powell, “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios
  • Zooey Deschannel, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Henry Jackman, Robert Lopez “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Production Design in a Television Production

  • Mark Bodner, Chris Tsirgiotis, Sue Mondt and Daniel Elson “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome” – Cartoon Network Studios
  • Peter Martin “Hoops & YoYo Ruin Christmas” – Hallmark

Production Design in a Feature Production

  • Harley Jessup “Cars 2” – Pixar Animation Studios
  • Paul Felix “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Raymond Zilbach “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Tom Cardone, Kyle MacNaughton & Peter Chan “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios

Storyboarding in a Television Production

  • Barry W. Johnson “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Benton Connor “Regular Show” – Cartoon Network Studios
  • Brian Kesinger “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Dave Thomas “TUFF Puppy” – Nickelodeon
  • Fred Gonzalez “TUFF Puppy” – Nickelodeon
  • Joe Mateo “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Justin Nichols “Fanboy & Chum Chum” – Nickelodeon & Frederator
  • Katie Rice “Fanboy & Chum Chum”– Nickelodeon & Frederator
  • Rebecca Sugar “Adventure Time” – Cartoon Network Studios

Storyboarding in a Feature Production

  • Bob Logan “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation
  • David Gosman “Rango” – Paramount Pictures & Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production
  • Gary Graham “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Jeremy Spears “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Josh Hayes “Rango” – Paramount Pictures & Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production
  • Kris Pearn “Arthur Christmas” – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Nelson Yokota “Gnomeo and Juliet” – Touchstone Pictures
  • Philip Craven “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Scott Morse “Cars 2” – Pixar Animation Studios

Voice Acting in a Television Production

  • Carlos Alazraqui as Denzel Crocker “Fairly OddParents” – Nickelodeon
  • Dan Harmon as Jekyll “Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole Season 2” – Starburns Industries, Inc.
  • Daran Norris as Cosmo “Fairly OddParents” – Nickelodeon
  • Dee Bradley Baker as Obi-Wan “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”– Lucasfilm Animation, Ltd.
  • Diedrich Bader as Batman “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” – Warner Bros. Animation
  • H. Jon Benjamin as Sterling Archer “Archer” – FX Productions
  • Jeff Bennett as Kowalski “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and Technicolor
  • Jeff B. Davis as Victor Frankenstein “Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole Season 2” – Starburns Industries, Inc.
  • Jessica Walter as Malory Archer “Archer” – FX Productions
  • Judy Greer as Cheryl Tunt “Archer” – FX Productions
  • Logan Grove as Gumball “The Amazing World of Gumball” – Cartoon Network Europe in association with Dandelion Studios, Boulder Media & Studio Soi
  • Nika Futterman as Asajj Ventress “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” – Lucasfilm Animation, Ltd.
  • Scott Adsit as the Creature “Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole Season 2” – Starburns Industries, Inc.
  • Tara Strong as Timmy Turner “Fairly OddParents – Operation Dingleberg” – Nickelodeon

Voice Acting in a Feature Production

  • Ashley Jensen as Bryony “Arthur Christmas” – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Bill Nighy as Grandsanta “Arthur Christmas” – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Gary Oldman as Shen “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • James Hong as Mr. Ping “Kung Fu Panda 2” DreamWorks Animation
  • Jemaine Clement as Nigel “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios
  • Jim Cummings as Featherstone “Gnomeo and Juliet” – Touchstone Pictures
  • Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Alexander Dumpty “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation

Writing in a Television Production

  • Blake Lemons, William Reiss, C.H. Greenblatt, Derek Evanick, Diana Lafyatis, Neil Graf “Disney Fish Hooks – Fish School Musical” – Disney Television Animation
  • Carolyn Omine “The Simpsons -Treehouse of Horror XXII” – Gracie Films
  • Dani MIchaeli, Sean Charmatz, Nate Cash, Luke Brookshier, Paul Tibbitt “SpongeBob SquarePants – Patrick’s Staycation” – Nickelodeon
  • Josh Weinstein “Futurama – All The President’s Heads” – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television
  • Kevin Sullivan, Will Schifrin, Ray DeLaurentis “TUFF Puppy Thunder Dog” – Nickelodeon
  • Matt Maiellaro, Dave Willis “Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 – The Creditor” – Williams Street Studios, Adult Swim
  • Ray DeLaurentis, Will Schifrin “Fairly OddParents “Invasion of the Dads” – Nickelodeon
  • Steve Wermers-Skelton, Kevin Deters “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Writing in a Feature Production

  • Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil, Mark Burton, Kathy Greenburg, Emily Cook, Rob Sprackling, John R. Smith, Kelly Asbury, Steve Hamilton “Gnomeo & Juliet” – Touchstone Pictures
  • Brian Kesinger, Kendelle Hoyer, Don Dougherty, Clio Chang, Don Hall, Stephen Anderson “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Byrkit “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Productions
  • Sarah Smith, Peter Baynham “Arthur Christmas” – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Steve Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cronish “Tintin”– Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall

Editing in Television Production

  • Garret Elkins “Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole Season 2” – Starburn Industries, Inc.
  • Hugo Morales “Kung Fu Panda” Nickelodeon
  • Jason W.A. Tucker “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” – Lucasfilm Animation, Ltd.
  • Paul D. Calder “Futurama” – The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television
  • Ted Machold, Jeff Adams, Doug Tiano, Bob Tomlin “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and Technicolor

Editing in a Feature Production

  • Clare Knight, A.C.E. “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Craig Wood, A.C.E. “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Productions
  • Eric Dapkewicz “Puss In Boots” – DreamWorks Animation
  • Michael Kahn “Tintin”– Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall
  • Stephen Schaffer, A.C.E. “Cars 2” – Pixar Animation Studios

Pixomondo Helps Hugo

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Clips, Events, Movies, Oscar, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Pixomondo came of age with Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, tapping more than 400 artists in 10 of the company’s 11 facilities in Germany, the US, Canada, China, and the UK with a unique 24/7 global pipeline for 800 plus VFX shots.

After an Autodesk sponsored screening on Monday night at the Landmark in LA, Pixomondo VFX supervisor Ben Grossmann explained that they had a hand in tailoring every conceivable kind of animation, including stop-motion for a toy mouse that the compositors complained lacked motion blur because they didn’t realize Scorsese wanted to go old school for his valentine to film history and preservation.

Pixomondo’s London facility completed a heavily-CG opening fly-through sequence and shots involving the inside of the train station; Stuttgart handled most of Georges Méliès’ apartment, graveyard sequences, and Paris exteriors; Berlin managed complicated fire and debris VFX simulation scattered throughout the film along with portions of the train crash sequence; Shanghai completed shots focused around the clock tower staircase and green screen composites; Beijing worked on a magic show sequence, crowd duplication, match-moving, and wire removal; Burbank created a magical animation sequence of flying papers, character animation and CG face replacement; Toronto and Frankfurt worked on train station coverage, with Frankfurt executing Hugo’s nightmare transformation into the automaton. Pixomondo’s LA team completed specialized shots throughout the film, and Hugo’s nightmare in the train station, while also acting as the hub for all VFX work and editorial for other studio-produced VFX shots.

Grossmann told me that the VFX was intricately intertwined with the 3-D as part of the narrative, and that everything for Scorsese was based on 3-D. The idea was to be on the set with the characters. You’re with Hugo in the train station; up in the clocks; in the toy store; or with Méliès in the toy store or his glass studio. It was about the thrill of discovery. In fact, to get 3-D so precise and to have so much control over it was difficult but vital. They worked very closely with all the principals, particularly Rob Legato, the production VFX supervisor who had previous stereo experience on Avatar.

“You string it all together and then sweeten the interocular distance and convergence for different parts of the shot,” Grossmann explains. “It means the stereo settings are constantly changing. For instance, you start out by separating the left and right eye cameras by 10 feet at the head of the shot and then slowly start animating them closer together as you get closer to the station, so that by the time you’re swooping through the crowd of people, the interocular distance gets much shorter. For a lot of our big stereo shots we matched the camera separation to the human eye. Most 3-D movies have a 1/4 of an inch or a 1/2 of an inch. And a big stereo shot would be about an inch. On Hugo, a big stereo shot was 2.2 inches. That’s unique. It takes a lot of refining.”

First Look at Frankenweenie Images

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech | Leave a comment

Just in time for Halloween, Walt Disney Pictures recently unveiled the first set of images from Tim Burton’s stop-motion Frankenweenie in black-and-white and 3-D (Oct. 5, 2012). Apparently Burton always intended for Frankenweenie to be a feature, but had to settle for a short back in 1984. Producer Don Hahn recently told me that this project is so personal to Burton (a metaphor for his lonely youth in Burbank) that he’s serving as sole director.

Expanding on the Frankenstein myth, Victor Young Victor (voiced by Charlie Tahan) toils away in his attic lab, trying to bring his beloved dog Sparky (a playful bull terrier), back to life, taking to heart what he’s earned about electricity from science teacher Mr. Rzykruski (voiced by Martin Landau). He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers, and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

The rest of the voice cast includes Winona Ryder as Elsa van Helsing, Catherine O’Hara as Victor’s mother Susan, along with Martin Short, Tom Kenny, and Conchata Ferrell. Would love to see this on a double-bill with Young Frankenstein.

Trailering ParaNorman

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

Focus Features has just released the teaser trailer to Laika’s stop-motion ParaNorman (Aug. 17, 2012). It certainly looks broader and more frantic than Henry Selick’s acclaimed Coraline, but then it’s boy-centric. And perhaps more iconic in design. Yet it’s undeniably Laika in conveying a goth-like Pacific Northwest. Animation supervisor Brad Schiff (The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, Corpse Bride) has certainly raised the stakes, too. Can’t wait to see more.

Misunderstood Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) speaks to dead people and takes on zombies, witches, and ghosts. Chris Butler and Sam Fell direct, and the voice cast also includes Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Bernard Hill, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tucker Albrizzi, Alex Borstein, Jodelle Ferland, and Elaine Stritch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZA0mC38540

ParaNorman Gets a Teaser Poster

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, stop-motion, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

Laika’s stop-motion follow-up to the acclaimed Coraline is ParaNorman (Aug. 17, 2012), and Focus Features has just released the evocative teaser poster (with the trailer to follow on Friday). the poster certainly gives off a mysterious, supernatural vibe. And if you didn’t know any better, you’d might presume that it’s even CG.

In any event, misunderstood Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) speaks to dead people, which comes in handy when his town is cursed by zombies, witches, and ghosts. Have no fear: Norman is the only one that can reverse a centuries-old curse.

Chris Butler and Sam Fell direct, and the voice cast also includes Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Bernard Hill, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tucker Albrizzi, Alex Borstein, Jodelle Ferland, and Elaine Stritch.