Saturday, October 18, 2014

Invention of Love

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The Series (Press Release)

DHX MEDIA AND SONY PICTURES ANIMATION TAKING CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS TO TELEVISION

Halifax, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Vancouver. October 9, 2014. DHX Media, a key player internationally in the creation of content for families and children, has signed a deal with Sony Pictures Animation to expand the blockbuster film franchise Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs into television with a brand-new adaptation.

The far-reaching deal will see DHX Media develop and produce twenty-six 22-minute, traditionally animated small-screen episodes of the acclaimed computer-generated animated feature films, and includes global television and non-US home entertainment exploitation rights to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The Series (Sony will distribute home entertainment in the US).  The deal also has DHX Media representing merchandising for the television series on a worldwide basis.

The 2009 mouth-watering animated comedy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its 2013 sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, were produced by Sony Pictures Animation, and distributed by Columbia Pictures.  Both films were critical and commercial successes which grossed a combined $510 million in theaters.  

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The Series takes place before giant food came raining down on Swallow Falls.  Flint Lockwood is a high school tween with big dreams.  Swallow Falls is a blue-collar town where sardines are driving a booming economy. But Flint suffers from NFD: Non Fish-related Dreams. He wants to be a serious scientist and maybe one day not have his inventions blow up in his face. Along for the ride is Sam Sparks, who's the new girl in town and the school's newest wannabe ace reporter.  These two outsiders come together for laughs and comedic adventures with all the great characters from the film: Flint's Dad Tim, Steve the Monkey, Manny the head of the school's audiovisual, school gym teacher Earl before he becomes a cop, Brent who still models baby wear, and Mayor Shelbourne, who wins every election on the pro-sardine platform.   


Steven DeNure, President and COO of DHX Media, said: “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has a tremendous legacy as beloved children’s books and a duo of highly popular feature films, showing how great ideas can succeed across media. We believe audiences both old and new are going to love this fiercely funny franchise reimagined for the small screen.”

Bob Osher, President of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, said: “I'm thrilled to see the adventures of our beloved characters from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs further expanded to television for audiences around the world to enjoy.”

Rick Mischel, executive producer at Sony Pictures Animation, added: “DHX’s track record in creating great kids’ television content makes them an ideal partner to capture the unique humor and tone of Flint Lockwood and his friends that made the theatrical franchise so successful.”


About Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follows the adventures of Flint Lockwood, an eccentric young scientist whose awkward demeanor and half-baked inventions – ratbirds, spray-on shoes, and talking monkeys – have made him an outsider in his hometown of Swallow Falls.  All that is about to change with his latest contraption: the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Nano Dynamic Food Replicator (or FLDSNDFR for short), a miraculous machine designed to make sure nobody ever goes hungry again. But when his creation leaves the whole world in a pickle, the forecast goes from sunny to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs  Based on the best-selling book by Judi and Ron Barrett, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (writers and directors of “The LEGO Movie”); produced by Pam Marsden (“Dinosaur”). The CG animation was created by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up where Sony Pictures Animation’s mouth-watering comedy left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention -- a machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals – "foodimals!"  Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and other foodimals to save the world – again! Columbia Pictures presents a Sony Pictures Animation film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.  With the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, and Kristen Schaal.  Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn.  Story by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller and Erica Rivinoja.  Screenplay by Erica Rivinoja and John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein.  Inspired by the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs written by Judi Barrett & illustrated by Ron Barrett.  Produced by Pam Marsden and Kirk Bodyfelt.  Executive producers are Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.  Music by Mark Mothersbaugh.  Imagery and Animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.

About DHX Media Ltd.
DHX Media Ltd. (www.dhxmedia.com), a leading creator, producer, marketer and broadcaster of family entertainment, is recognized globally for such brands as Yo Gabba Gabba!, Caillou,Teletubbies, In the Night Garden, Inspector Gadget, Johnny Test, and the multi-award winningDegrassi franchise. DHX Media Ltd. is the owner of Family Channel, the most-viewed children's television channel in Canada, as well as Disney Junior (English & French) and Disney XD. The Company markets and distributes its library of more than 10,000 half-hours of entertainment programming worldwide, and licenses its owned properties through its dedicated consumer products business. DHX Media Ltd.'s full-service international licensing agency, Copyright Promotions Licensing Group Ltd. (CPLG), represents numerous entertainment, sport and design brands. DHX Media Ltd. has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Munich and Amsterdam, and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols DHX.A and DHX.B.

About Sony Pictures Animation
Sony Pictures Animation (www.SonyPicturesAnimation.com) produces a variety of animated and family entertainment for audiences around the world.  The studio followed its worldwide comedy hits—the 2012 monster hit comedy Hotel Transylvania, the hybrid live action/animated blockbusters The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2, and the 2009 mouth-watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballswith the family comedy Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, now available on Blu-ray combo pack and digital.  Sony Pictures Animation also released a brand new mini-movie on DVD and television last Fall, The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow.  The studio, in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed feature films:  the CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas; and the Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventure, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.  In 2007, Surf's Up also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.  The division, whose first feature film Open Season led to a very successful movie franchise, turned 10 in 2012.  Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Popeye Animation Test

Check out Genndy Tartakovsky's animation test for Sony Picture Animation's upcoming Popeye movie. This may be the best blending so far of hand-drawn whimsy with solid, CGI modeling:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inside Sony Pictures Animation - Director Lauren Faust

Medusa could've been a Disney picture but Sony has snatched it up and now wants you to learn more about its director, Lauren Faust (creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), and her history in the animation world and I like that they don't mind her giving positive mentions to things from other studios.

Monday, August 25, 2014

VIEW Conference 2014



August 25, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE 2014 VIEW CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Dr. Alvy Ray Smith, Glen Keane, and Tom McGrath highlight the 15th annual conference, Italy’s largest computer graphics conference, October 14-17.

[TURIN, Italy] “It is with extreme pride and great pleasure that I announce our 2014 VIEW Conference keynote speakers,” says conference director Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez. “Alvy Ray Smith, Glen Keane, and Tom McGrath are highly respected gurus in the computer graphics and digital entertainment industry and we are immensely honored to host them in our beautiful city.”

Alvy Ray Smith invented core computer graphics technology and co-founded Pixar, the first studio to make a CG feature film, the famous Toy Story,” Gutierrez continues. Glen Keane created and animated some of our most renowned and most-loved Disney characters: Tarzan, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and Aladdin. Now, he’s working with Google to create a state of the art interactive, animated story for mobile devices. Tom McGrath wrote and directed one of the most successful CG animated feature film franchises, the three-film Madagascar series, which were the first to give CG animated characters a wacky cartoon style. In November, DreamWorks will release the fourth film in the series, The Penguins of Madagascar, for which Tom McGrath was a writer and executive producer and also the lead as the voice of Skipper the Penguin. You can see why I’m so excited.”

The 2014 VIEW conference will take place October 14 to 17 in Turin (Torino), Italy, a baroque city in the foothills of the Alps known for cars, chocolate, and cinema. The largest computer graphics conference in Italy, VIEW is celebrating its 15th year of bringing top talent and remarkable visionaries to Turin. The VIEW conference follows the annual VIEWFest digital film festival. Most talks are in English, with translation available to and from Italian and English.

 “We will roll out announcements to introduce more speakers and our workshop series over the next few weeks, so please stay tuned,” Gutierrez says. “I am so enthusiastic about our 2014 program. It matches the amazing conferences we’ve had before and takes us beyond.”

For more information, please visit the website: www.viewconference.it.


For Immediate Release

VIEW 2014 FULL PROGRAM ONLINE
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR WORKSHOPS AND MASTER CLASSES
WORLD PREMIERE TALK ON DISNEY’S Big Hero 6


TURIN, ITALY – Attendees at Italy’s largest computer graphics conference to be held October 14-18 in beautiful Turin, Italy, can now register online at http://viewconference.it/  for the full conference, for inspiring and creative workshops led by award-winning professionals, and for practical master classes taught by expert users.

“I know from experience that the workshops and classes will fill up fast, so people should register as early as they can,” says Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez, conference director. “We are fortunate to welcome back, by popular demand, the incredibly creative and two-time Annie nominee, Kris Pearn, co-director of the animated feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Also, the brilliant Lucia Modesto, supervising character technical director at PDI/DreamWorks for Mr. Peabody and Sherman; the amazing David Schaub, animation supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks for The Amazing Spider-Man who has received Oscar and BAFTA nominations, seven VES nominations, and a VES award; and the remarkable Brenda Bakker Harger, theater director, improviser, and professor at the entertainment technology center at Carnegie Mellon University.”

“Also this year, for the first time,” she adds, “we are welcoming Rob Coleman, animation supervisor at Animal Logic for The Lego Movie, former animation director at Industrial Light & Magic for the Star WarsEpisodes I, II, and III, two-time Oscar and BAFTA nominee, and three-time VES award nominee. And, we have instructors who will give practical workshops on products from Autodesk, Wacom, Maxon, and Pixologic. So, you can see why I suggest that people register as soon as possible.”

In addition to the workshops, Coleman, Schaub, Modesto, and Bakker Harger join other award-winning speakers throughout the week who will share information about their studios’ work on the major visual effects and animated feature films of 2014, videogames, virtual reality, and other exciting areas of computer graphics.

Keynoting the VIEW conference are award-winning director, writer, producer and actor Tom McGrath from DreamWorks Animation, artist, inventor, author, entrepreneur and Pixar-co-founder Alvy Ray Smith, and award-winning legendary animator Glen Keane.

From the world of animated films:
-  Lighting supervisor and VES award winner Alessandro Jacomini from Disney Animation Studios will give a world premiere talk on Big Hero 6, which releases November 7 in the US and December 25 in Italy.
-  Director and VES award nominee Patrick Osborne will speak about and present the Italian premiere of Disney Animation’s  short film “Feast.”
-  Providing an early look at the 2016 Smurfs film are production designer Noëlle Triaureau and two-time Annie award nominee art director Marcelo Vignali from Sony Pictures Animation.
-  Co-head of story at DreamWorks Animation and two-time Annie award nominee Alessandro Carloni will present How to Train Your Dragon 2.
-  Supervising production designer, Emmy award winner and two-time Annie award nominee Nelson Lowry from Laika will introduce the stop frame world of The Boxtrolls.
-  Jerome Solomon, academic dean at Cogswell College and a SIGGRAPH national committee member, will show this year’s selections of the best in computer graphics from SIGGRAPH’s Electronic Theater.

From the world of visual effects:
- Industrial Light & Magic’s Scott Farrar, who has received an Oscar, six Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations, four VES nominations, and two VES awards, will speak on Transformers 4, for which he was visual effects supervisor and second unit director.
-  VFX supervisor Keith Miller from Weta Digital, a BAFTA nominee and three-time VES nominee, will present work from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
-  VFX supervisor Kyle McCulloch, a two-time VES award nominee and VES award winner, will talk about Framestore’s work on Guardians of the Galaxy.
-  Animation supervisor Tim Harrington will talk about Industrial Light & Magic’s work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Visual effects supervisor Stefen Fangmeier, who has three Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations, three BAFTA awards, and a VES nomination,  and Merzin Tavaria, chief creative director at Prime Focus World, will present the visual effects in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

In addition, speakers from the worlds of game development,  virtual reality, motion capture, and medicine include: Parag Havaldar, R & D Lead at Blizzard Entertainment. David Putrino from Not Impossible Labs at Weill-Cornell Medical College. Flávio Andaló and Milton Luiz Horn Vieira from the DesignLab at UFSC. Elisa Di Lorenzo from Untold Games. Pierre-Alain Gagne from DOWiNO. Philip Stevju Løken from Placebo Effects.  Kim Baumann Larsen from Digital Storytelling.

“This is such a special conference,” Gutierrez says. “People come to communicate, tocollaborate, and to learn. It is unlike any other conference I know.We are so honored that these incredible artists will join us in Turin for the conference and share their knowledge in workshops for groups of our attendees.  I am thrilled with this year’s program, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

VIEW Conference, October 14 – 18, 2014, Turin Italy
For more information and online registration, visit www.viewconference.it

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

We may all still be processing the tragic death of Robin Williams, a stellar talent who simply could not be boxed in. If ever there was somebody who played by their own rule book it was him (Andy Kaufman and Bill Murray would count as well). My first exposure to him was through Mork and Mindy, where even then he was practically an animated character. But amongst all his TV and film credits I think maybe his standout role, and not just because I'm an animation enthusiast, was as Genie in Disney's Aladdin, where he could be many different characters in one without ever confusing or losing the audience, literally freeing him to be just about anything he could imagine, which quite possibly makes it the most quintessentially Robin Williams-ish role of all. Thankfully the animators were able to match Robin's tour de force vocal performance with equally stunning visuals.

Sadly, though, some of the filmographies I have seen of him since news of his death broke have completely left out mention of that role. Cartoon Brew has posted statements from Eric Goldberg and Ron and John, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn just now that Entertainment Weekly specifically interviewed Eric about the time he spent with Robin while working on Aladdin as supervising animator for Genie.

I've always wondered what it would be like to meet Robin Williams in person. Now that that's an impossibility, at least in these mortal realms, what I do have to fall back on is a small memento from Eric Goldberg who sketched me in the place of Aladdin encountering that larger-than-life persona of Genie, and thereby, by extension, Robin Williams. (The sketch riffs on the scene from the film where Genie says to Aladdin as they meet, "Should I call you 'Al' or maybe just 'Din'?") So, in my indirect encounter, I found him to be as many others have described him, warm and humorous:

Robin, we'll miss you.

(UPDATE: Just found out that Slate concurs with my assessment of the Genie in Aladdin being Williams' greatest performance. And Bustle does as well.)


The hard-to-read text from the first image above is:

We're deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, a wonderfully gifted man who touched our hearts and never failed to make us laugh. An incredible actor and a comedic genius, Robin will always be remembered for bringing some of the world's favorite characters to life, from his zany alien on ABC's Mork & Mindy to the irasicble Genie in Disney's Aladdin. He was a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family, and he will be sorely missed. We join Robin's friends and fans everywhere in mourning, and offer our thoughts and condolences to his family during this difficult time.

Robert A. Iger, The Walt Disney Company