Monday, August 25, 2014

VIEW Conference 2014

August 25, 2014



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:

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NEW Dinner & a Movie Program at EL CAPITAN THEATRE Starts this Friday

Here we go with a story again that features both animation and food. From a press release I just received:

In conjunction with the El Capitan Theatre's engagement of Disney's "Planes: Fire and Rescue" opening this Friday, The El Capitan is rolling out a new program called “Dinner and a Movie” by partnering with another Hollywood classic, Miceli’s Italian Restaurant.

El Capitan guests may book a special package including reserved seating at Miceli's at 5:15pm that includes choice of pasta entrees, side salad, mini cannoli, and fountain beverage, with tax and gratuity included. Dinner is followed by reserved seating for the 6:45pm 3D screening of Disney's "Planes: Fire and Rescue" at The El Capitan Theatre, plus live on stage, an all-new show with Mickey and Friends for $30 per person. (Dinner and movie tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance of date attending, and seating is limited and subject to availability.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Toy Story: Art Influencing Reality

This is one of those things you look at and wonder how you didn't think of doing it:

I assume the Pizza Planet truck is nearby.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sony Announces Medusa

Sony Pictures Animation Announces
New Original Feature Project MEDUSA,
With Emmy® Winner Lauren Faust To Direct

Culver City, CA, June 5, 2014 – Sony Pictures Animation today announced the acquisition of an original animated comedy feature pitch by Todd Alcott and Holly Golden entitled MEDUSA, which will tell an all-new story behind the infamous snake-headed lady from Greek mythology.  Emmy® winner Lauren Faust, who rebooted the My Little Pony franchise in 2010 and turned it into the current My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic phenomenon with an ever-growing fanbase of all ages, is attached to direct the feature.

Sony Pictures Animation president of production Michelle Raimo Kouyate will supervise production, along with Jenny Marchick and Daniel Inkeles. Kouyate states, “After hearing the ingeniously funny pitch from Todd and Holly, we could immediately see the enormous potential in the idea.  And when Lauren Faust, a uniquely gifted animation filmmaker with a real talent for relating to audiences, connected with the project, we knew the combination of her vision and their story would create something extraordinary.  MEDUSA will be a clever, heartfelt animated comedy about a girl who’s having the ultimate bad hair day."

Director Faust comments, “Todd and Holly's version of the tale of Medusa is filled with so many of my favorite ideas to work with: magic, mythology, humor and strong, funny, extremely relatable characters.  I was excited by the idea of showing the comedy behind an otherwise horrific monster, and I was really drawn to the writer's unique re-imagining of Greek mythology.  In our story, we meet Medusa as a young human, who, like so many of us, is overwhelmed with trying to fit a certain mold to please others.  Her resulting popularity ticks off the wrong Goddess who turns her into the snake-haired monster we all know and fear. Medusa sets out on a quest to reverse this curse with the help of a goofy team of oddball and misfit mythological creatures who help her learn that what makes you different is, in fact, what makes you strong.”

Allcott was a co-writer on the animated feature hit Antz, and most recently worked on the Weinstein Company’s live-action The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges and directed by Philip Noyce; Golden has enjoyed a successful career in reality television production. 

Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated and family entertainment for audiences around the world.  The studio is following 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 mouth-watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies—with the family comedies Hotel Transylvania 2 and all-animated Untitled Smurfs Movie scheduled in September 2015 and August 2016 respectively.  Sony Pictures Animation also released a critically acclaimed, 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

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Making of "Get a Horse!"

Just found three videos about the making of Disney's innovative "Get a Horse!" Here's the first one:

Meet the Creators of Get a Horse! - Disney Insider on Disney Video

And the next two are here and here.