Here are some links from stories in our newsletter.
KAREN LITHGOW HAS POSTED “HALLOWEEN ZOMBIES FROM ANIMATED ALGEBRA” ON YOUTUBE
Karen, ASIFA-SF’s treasurer, is the creator of a series of animated algebra lessons being sold to math teachers by a company that specializes in educational products. See it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQmlSKCc9zM
CORRIE FRANCIS’ “A TANGLED TALE!” IS NOW ONLINE
The award winning film is available on vimeo! https://vimeo.com/78802560
Dec. 12, free screening of GET A HORSE and FROZEN in 3D, Delancy St Screening Room
RSVP to http://disneystudiosawards.com
A FEW SIGNED RICHARD WILLIAMS CELS MAY BE AUCTIONED OFF BEFORE CHRISTMAS BY THE WALLACE AND GROMIT FOUNDATION IN THE UK
The cels of a black panther on the prowl are from a Uniroyal Tire commercial. They were given to an ASIFA-SF member when he worked for Williams in LA years ago. They were given back, signed by Williams and will be auctioned off by Nick Parks/Aardman’s charity that benefits children in hospitals and hospices all over the UK. www.wallaceandgromitfoundation.org
HOW SMART IS IT TO START AN ANIMATION BUSINESS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY? By KC
At a recent job symposium in Jamaica the president and CEO of Toon Boom Animation was encouraging people to think seriously about starting an animation business there. According to a newspaper report she was suggesting they can be part of the US $222.6 billion world market for animation. Joan Vogelesang, the CEO also said, “Think in terms of being entrepreneurs and try to find a way to hook into that international network that is out there. It doesn’t have to be a big company. It can just be two or three of you coming together.” She was speaking at a workshop to encourage new businesses on the island according to The Gleaner, a Jamaican newspaper. Vogelesang, who was born in England and went to high school in Jamaica, says she wants to turn her dream of a vibrant and active animation industry on the island into reality.
You can see Vogelesang at the end of a short video promoting a wonderful future for animation in Jamaica suggesting there will be thousands of jobs once the big contracts roll in. From the animation samples shown in the video and on GSW’s website I don’t expect to see that happening soon. GSW’s reel has lots of glitz, but it is weak on character animation. www.capitalistchicks.com/?q=node/499, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eoPI0TyRxA and www.gswanimation.com
“THE NOBLE APPROACH: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Design” by Ted Polson (based on notes by Maurice Noble), Chronicle Books.
This is both an important book about animation design, a subject Noble taught for many years, and a handsome coffee table art book. Polson was a former student of Noble and he worked with Noble on this book about his design concepts and theories before Noble died.
If you are interested in design and layout this book is for you. Chapters are a series of steps including Getting Started, Story, Breaking Down the Elements, Design, Color, Layouts and the Final Film. There are over 200 illustrations in color. Note: My 1988 interview Maurice Noble: Animation’s “Old Rebel” is posted online at http://www.awn.com/mag/issue2.12/2.12pages/2.12cohennoble.html
THEME PARK PRESS HAS JUST RELEASED A SECOND BOOK BY JIM KORKIS, “THE BOOK OF MOUSE: A CELEBRATION OF WALT DISNEY’S MICKEY MOUSE,”
Includes over 300 pages of facts, rare secrets, quotes about Mickey by Walt, filmography, etc. www.ThemeParkPress.com
“COMING SOON TO A FESTIVAL NEAR YOU: Programming Film Festivals,” edited by Jeffrey Ruoff, published by St. Andrews Film Studies, UK, www.stafs.org
If you enjoy attending film festivals this book might fascinate you as it is a tribute to the people responsible for organizing and running some of the best and most important world class festivals. I was delighted to see that two of the 13 chapters are well written tributes to animation festivals. While Marcin Gizycki from Poland has contributed a nice piece about the growth of events that honor animation as a great art form, the final chapter is the reason you might want to locate a copy of this book. Sayoko Kinoshita, the co-founder of the Hiroshima International Animation Festival, wrote a heart warming essay about how she and her late husband struggled for 12 years to introduce world class animation to Japan. It was years of hard work and disappointments to establish this major event in 1985.
The book is the first to focus on a wide variety of festivals in Telluride, Mill Valley, New York, Asia, Turkey, etc. plus LGBT events. It covers many things including the history of these festivals and their cultural and social significance.
“SHADOW OF A MOUSE, Performance, Belief, and World-Making in Animation” by Donald Crafton, The Univ. of Calif. Press, Berkeley, http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520261044
This is a serious academic work and you may find it to be a difficult read, but it contains excellent observations about the structure of animated shorts. For example he traces the development of space in cartoons from flat backdrops in early cartoons to more complex rendered moving backgrounds, the use of overlay and underlay cels, etc. Much of the book is full of fascinating observations, but at times his extensive academic vocabulary slowed down my reading speed. For example he introduces Winsor McCay depicting himself as an animal trainer in Gertie the Dinosaur by saying, “Winsor McCay, the legendary comic strip artist and animated cinema pioneer, implicitly critiqued the distribution of animator-animated agency in films when he presented his avatar as the impresario of an animal act.”
EXPERIENCE AN EXCEPTIONAL DRAMATIC STUDENT FILM FROM FRANCE
The film is Carn, 2012 by Jeff Le Bars, a graduate of Emile Cohl de Lyon http://vimeo.com/69700933
ANIMATION’S HOME ON THE RANGE IN SOUTH DAKOTA
Festival Review by Corrie Francis Parks
The festival is the combined effort of animator and professor Cable Hardin and the enthusiastic animation students at SDSU. In the middle of endless fields of corn and soy, the local and student community gathers to celebrate visiting animators and their films from around the world, culminating in the presentation of the Golden Cowbell Awards.
Aside from the winners, which are listed at http://sodakanimation.com/home/ with photos, some of my favorite films were: Astigmatismo by Nicolai Troshinsky, a beautiful, imaginative cut-out film with mind-blowing in-camera effects; Dents de Lait by Julie Charette, subtle observation of a young boy working through a great loss and Khachaturian Meets Dali by Kirill Fessenko, as strange and wonderful as the surrealist himself.
If I have sparked your interest in SoDak, the FAQs on the festival website (http://sodakanimation.com) offer a further glimpse into the lighthearted spirit of SoDak. They are worth reading, just for kicks. The festival is likely going biannual, so there will be no festival next year, but come 2015, don’t overlook this little gemstone in South Dakota. The ice cream really is amazing.
MIXING ANIMATION AND LIVE ACTION FILMS MAKES A TASTY FEAST FOR THE EYES.
THE FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL du COURT METRAGE, Lille, France, October 9 – 13, 2013
by Nancy Denney Phelps
I was delighted when the Festival International du Court Metrage in Lille, France invited me to be on their jury this year. Nik and I had been to the festival last year to present a program on the history of animation.
This year the festival made the jury’s job challenging by dividing the competition screenings into 3 International and 2 National (French) programs with live action and animation screened together in both categories. I thought that it was going to be difficult to judge both types of films in one program, like comparing apples and oranges, but good film is good film no matter what format it is and it immediately stands out.
I came home with such lovely memories of the festival and urge anyone who is invited to accept. You will have a wonderful time at an exciting festival in a beautiful town. You can visit the festival’s website for more information at: www.festivalducourt-Lille.com
RIC CARRASQUILLO HAS ANIMATED “PARKAS INDOORS” FOR UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS
Ric, who does the covers for our newsletter, invites fellow ASIFA-SF members to see his latest work that features some unusual “tape-based animation.” It is animation made with masking, duct, and electrical tape along with other materials! His work is quite distinctive looking, if not totally unique.
Ric tells us, “I wanted the design to be minimal and modern, drawing inspiration from Saul Bass and the color palette of Tati’s Playtime. There is also a nod to the furniture drawings of Saul Steinberg. Tape was an inexpensive way to animate in two and three dimensions while retaining a tactile quality and play on sticky metaphors.”
One Internet article identifies Upstairs Downstairs as a folksy indie rock five-piece band from San Francisco. Another calls the video “a narrative on wistfulness told primarily with various adhesive tapes.” http://vimeo.com/75135247 Ric’s drawn art is quite different from this animated work so enjoy wandering around his website. http://www.squillostudio.com
ATHENA STUDIOS HOPES TO PRODUCE A STOP-MOTION FEATURE IN SAN FRANCISCO
They just held a successful kickstarter campaign to raise money to complete a sample reel of Auntie Claus the Movie. The production drawings look great, a stop-motion model with replacement faces has been created and the production crew is made up of well seasoned professionals. Apparently the story by Elsie Primavera is a successful children’s book. The production company hopes to acquire financing and distribution by the end of this year so can start in production in 2014 and can deliver the film for a holiday 2016 release. http://www.athenastudios.com
THE SF MUSEUM OF MODERN ART IS ACQUIRING “THE REFUSAL OF TIME” BY WILLIAM KENTRIDGE
It is a joint acquisition (purchase) with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The U.S. premiere is at the Met Oct. 22 to May 11, 2014. It was commissioned for Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany and it consists of five separate video projections, a layered soundscape played through various “megaphones,” and a large kinetic sculpture—the “breathing machine” or “elephant”—an organ-like automaton with a pumping bellows. For the video projections, Kentridge collaborated with choreographers, filmmakers, and stage designers to create animations and live-action sequences, including the final “shadow procession” that ends the 30-minute work. There is stop-motion animation of charcoal drawings, paper cutout figures, original live-action film and other techniques of reversing image and speed. When the museum reopens in 2016 they will have 35 works by the South African artist in their collection. There are lots of video clips of the piece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2VPkD6MJi4
FREE AWARDS SCREENINGS OF “MONSTERS U.”
Sat. Nov. 9 at 3 PM at Pixar; with brief talk after by director Dan Scanlan and producer Karl Rea; and Tues. Nov. 10, 7 PM at the Variety Screening Room in SF. Screenings will be in 2D, are open to ASIFA members and you must RSVP (and for more info) to firstname.lastname@example.org You may need to show a personal ID card.
Nov 14, 7:30pm, RALPH BAKSHI’S X-RATED “FRITZ THE CAT”
In 35mm at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. “This counterculture cult hit was the first X-rated animated feature in Hollywood history. After smoking some super-strong weed, our feline friend Fritz hallucinates and gets in trouble with the fuzz. Fleeing across the country in a Volkswagen Bug, he encounters biker rabbits and terrorist radicals (obvious references to the Hell’s Angels and the Black Panthers). Though R. Crumb, Fritz’s creator, hated it the film is a funky, anti-establishment time capsule worthy of contemporary reappraisal.” (1972, 78 min, $10, YBCA members, students, seniors, teachers $8, Yerba Buena Center, 701 Mission St. http://www.ybca.org/x-rated
A FASCINATING TEASER/TRAILER FOR “THE BOX TROLLS” IS ONLINE
This is the next stop-motion feature from Laika (Coraline). It has great looking characters. Tony Staachi, the director, once worked in SF at Colossal Pictures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrC40fnHI9g
SEE AN UNUSUAL UNAUTHORIZED RICHARD WILLIAMS SHORT
It is a wild and silly pixilated 1 minute romp with him http://vimeo.com/54814556 and see a good article with 4 clips of his lecture at the Academy in Oct. imbedded in it at: http://www.awn.com/articles/people/richard-williams-presents-amazing-medium-academy
AN “ATLANTIC MONTHLY” ARTICLE ASKS “WHY MUST ANIMATED KIDS’ MOVIES PROMOTE SELF ESTEEM MYTHS?
In Luke Epplin’s article “You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids’ Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self-Esteem?” (Atlantic Monthly, Aug. 13, 2013) he raises a serious question about what unrealistic plots in Hollywood’s features for kids are doing to their expatiations of life. Instead of the realistic lessens taught by Charles Schultz in his Peanuts comic strips and films where Charlie Brown faces frustrations and failures, animated features are often designed to entertain “a generation weaned on instant gratification.” He points out how the lead characters of Turbo, Cars, Planes and other films face insurmountable tasks and without hard work, years of experience, etc. they achieve instant success. He traces this script construction back to Dumbo and his magic feather. Epplin knows the films are made to make money, not teach lessons about life, but he suggest they could reintroduce the notions of failure and humility. He ends by suggesting the magic-feather syndrome is about as common today in animation as the inevitable sequel. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/08/you-can-do-em-anything-em-must-every-kids-movie-reinforce-the-cult-of-self-esteem/278596/
ENJOY A 90 MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH 93-YEAR-OLD JUNE PATTERSON, A FORMER DISNEY EMPLOYEE
She was an ink & paint artist who worked on Pinocchio at the age of 18. She recounts locking Walt Disney out of his own studio, working on the World War II propaganda cartoons in a secret, guarded room, and how her rookie mistake on one of the most famous Pinocchio scenes led to the decision to have it take place during a rainstorm. http://www.thecornerbooth.net/2013/08/26/tcb-podcast6-interview-with-june-patterson/
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF KROKING DOWN THE RIVER: KROK International Animation Film Festival, September 1 – 10, 2013 – Odessa to Kiev, Ukraine on the MS Dnieper Star
KROK International Animated Film Festival celebrated its 20th birthday this year and oh what a nine day birthday party it was.
When we weren’t watching films there were plenty of other programs taking place. Coffee Chats with the directors gave everyone a chance to listen to the creators talk about their film and to ask them questions. The 2 hours I spent in the creative presentation by US producer and script writer Charles Swenson titled “US/International Storytelling for Animated Film and Television” was time well spent. Charles who has received an Oscar nomination and won an Emmy for The Rugrats certainly knows what he is talking about when it comes to scriptwriting. He has the added distinction to have not only worked in Hollywood, but also at Pilot Studio where he was the writer and producer of Bookashkis. The 2002 film, directed by Mikhail Aldashin, won numerous awards internationally. Charles is now primarily spending his time painting and when he showed me photos of a number of his canvases, I was quite impressed. You can check out his paintings on this website: http://www.charlesgswenson.com
It is said that the friends that you make at KROK are your friends for life and after many years sailing on the KROK boat I know that this is very true. I never think of it as goodbye to everyone but just see you soon, and I am already looking forward to KROK 2014 which will be the student year sailing in Russia. You can learn more about KROK International Animation Festival on their website: A complete list of the winning films is at http://www.krokfestival.com
This is just a small sample of some of the stories in our members’ newsletter. Join ASIFA-SF today to start getting your own complete personal copy!
THE AWARD CERTIFICATES FOR THE 2013 ASIFA-SF SPRING FESTIVAL WERE CREATED BY RICCI CARRASQUILLO
The award certificates were created by Ric Carrasquillo. Besides doing the covers for our newsletters, he is a freelance artist and stop-motion animator. He recently completed work for a soon to be released music video for the band Upstairs Downstairs. At present you can see his stop motion work that opens and closes an Adidas skateboarding film plus his titles. The short, Philadelphia with Mark Suciu, is posted on YouTube. Other credits on the Adidas piece are produced and designed by Juice Design, shot and edited by Chris Mulhern and compositing by Adam Porter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=redN-JcM0Fc&feature=youtu.be
Ric’s website is http://www.squillostudio.com.
SEE GHOSTBOT’S DELIGHTFUL WORK THAT IS BEING SHOWN BY THE OTTAWA ANIMATION FESTIVAL IN SEPT.
Written by a Kid: La Munkya stars La Munkya, a ravenous horse made of paper whose off-the-wall journey from the county fair to the county jail is the subject of a delightfully strange tale told by a very cute “animated” 6 year-old Emily. See it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_UWRUacIuk
CHARLIE CORRIEA HAS COMPLETED “PSALM 90” A MEANINGFUL AND MOVING FILM EXPERIENCE
The text of Psalm 90 is a poem by a person with a terminal illness that offers a prayer of hope to live another day. Charlie’s animation features moments of animation that are at times reminiscent of the giant explosive images seen in Franz Kline’s abstract expressionist paintings from the 1950s and ‘60s. This is a powerful/memorable work of art.
Charlie told me that several months ago a producer approached him about creating something, but he wasn’t told what it might be. “Then two months ago the producer told me about a project he thought I would be good for. He had loved my film Fu-de so he asked me to work in watercolor again. After hearing the audio we came up with a series of visuals that would work with the voice track. We agreed that the words where so powerful that they needed to take center stage, so I made my paintings minimalist and lacking a lot of detail. I relied on the natural texture indicative to the medium. After over two months of making watercolor and Sumi paintings on index cards my project for The Center for Jewish Literacy was finally complete. It seems to have paid off nicely!” http://www.g-dcast.com/psalm90
Charlie graduated in 2010 from SF State’s animation program. His first film, Fu-De (The Brush), 2010, received a Princess Grace Award and other festival honors. http://www.vimeo.com/user3712073/videos See an excellent demo reel at http://charliecorriea.squarespace.com and see additional work at http://vimeo.com/user3712073
THE FIRST TWO OF KAREN LITHGOW‘S SEVEN ANIMATED ALGEBRA LESSONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE
The Phoenix Learning Group, her publisher, has launched a website for the project http://www.animatedalgebra.net. Two lessons are available for immediate download and sale for home and school use (for Mac and PC). She has been working for many months to make this happen. She says, “I’m quite pleased and am working on the third lesson, Exponents, to be released this fall. I chose the 2 most difficult topics to create first, The Slope Intercept and Quadratic Equations. The rest of them should be easier to make. I get on great with my Phoenix contact and they made a wonderful website, logo and marketing materials for me.
IN 2008 PIXAR’S PRESIDENT EXPLAINED THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND WHAT MADE THEM GREAT. IT NOW SEEMS TO BE LESS IMPORTANT TO THE STUDIO
In 2008 Ed Catmull, Pixar’s president, wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review that, “We’re in a business whose customers want to see something new every time they go to the theater. This means we have to put ourselves at great risk. Our most recent film, Wall-E, is a robot love story set in a post-apocalyptic world full of trash. And our previous movie, Ratatouille, is about a French rat who aspires to be a chef. Talk about unexpected ideas! At the outset of making these movies, we simply didn’t know if they would work. However, since we’re supposed to offer something that isn’t obvious, we bought into somebody’s initial vision and took a chance.”
The quote was reprinted in The Atlantic Monthly in an article that discusses the recent changes in Pixar films that have resulted in the end of their golden age. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/06/monstersuniversity/277121/ A second article in the issue “Monsters University: All Gleeful Style, No Grown-Up Substance,” is also focused on why the studio is no longer making great films: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/06/pixars-sad-decline-in-1-chart/277155/
MICHAEL JANTZE IS BACK AND HIS NEXT PERSONAL WORK IS WELL FINANCED
He has left teaching in Georgia to return to the Bay Area where he will continue with his writing and animation directing. He’s currently living in his hometown, San Anselmo, with his family and dogs and finishing a graphic novel that stars his syndicated comic character The Norm. The book is titled Knocked Out Loaded. His indiegogo campaign raised $22,660 for the project even though his basic goal was only $7,500. For details visit http://www.Jantze.com and http://igg.me/at/thenorm/x/1078650
LAIKA’S WEBSITE HAS AN INTERESTING TRAILER FOR “THE BOXTROLLS”
See their nice looking trailer for their next big release along with behind the scenes videos and other material. http://www.laika.com/
ANIMATION’S BIG WINNERS FOR 2013 SO FAR AND ITS FLOPS
The box office figures for 2013 suggest the business plan of flooding the market with expensive tentpoles need to be refined, but will the bosses learn from their mistakes? The films for 2014 are already in production so don’t expect to see the next bright and not so bright script and marketing ideas before 2015.
The biggest surprise is that Dispicable Me 2, a film with a “modest” budget, a so so look, a dull title, but fun juvenile humor, is presently the 2nd highest grossing film of 2013. It was produced on a $76 million budget and has grossed as of August 18, $781 million worldwide. $346 million (44% of the gross) was from ticket sales in the US. In the UK it is now their fourth-biggest animation release of all time ($66.8 million and growing) behind Toy Story 3 ($115.5 million), Shrek 2 ($75.3 million) and Toy Story 2 ($69.3 million).
The biggest box office winner in 2013 so far is Iron Man 3 which has earned $1.2 billion worldwide. In 4th place is Monsters U at $781 million (40% earned in the US, budget N/A) and in 9th place is The Croods at $583 million (32% in US, $135 million budget). In 19th place is Epic from Blue Sky with a $252 million gross (42% from the US) and a $100 million budget. So far this year the above are the only profitable animated features from the US.
And there are duds… The Smurfs 2 is presently in 39th place, had a $105 million budget and has so far taken in $207 million (72% from foreign box office and the return on ticket sales abroad is a lot less than the domestic return to producers – for example US producers get 25% from China). Planes in 48th place has grossed $53 million so it isn’t likely to break even theatrically. It might make a profit on DVD sales. Turbo had a $135 million budget and its worldwide gross is only $142 million so far with 55% from the US. Escape from Planet Earth had a $40 million budget, and a $71 million take (80% made in the US). Silver Circle released in March has only played theatrically in LA and the 3 week run grossed an unimpressive $4,080. (Statics from http://www.boxofficemojo.com)
“FOODFIGHT” IS CALLED AN UNWATCHABLE FEATURE BY CARTOON BREW
The article is based on a NY Times business section story about how businessman Larry Kasanoff raised $45 million and decided he could direct and produce the film himself. He made a mess of it, as did the bond company that foreclosed on the project and released it on DVD. The article and trailer were posted on August 10, 2013 on http://www.cartoonbrew.com
DETAILS ABOUT WHY BRENDA CHAPMAN WAS RELIEVED OF HER JOB DIRECTING “BRAVE”
It touches on John Lasseter micromanaging Pixar and why she is back at DreamWorks Animation where the environment allows people to be more creative and is pleasant. The article was posted July 16. at http://www.cartoonbrew.com
A PBS RADIO REPORT ON MAURICE NOBLE INCLUDING A RIFT BETWEEN HIM AND CHUCK JONES IS POSTED ONLINE
There were several beefs including his taking over directing MGM’s Dot and the Line, but Jones didn’t share the screen credit or the Oscar with him. http://99percentinvisible.org/post/56808849827/episode-85-noble-effort
BILL PLYMPTON’S TRAILER FOR “CHEATIN”
It is unusual looking artwork, fast paced and it looks like a story people can relate to http://www.cartoonbrew.com/feature-film/bill-plymptons-cheatin-trailer-86146.html
RICHARD WILLIAMS EXPLAINS HIS NEW “ANIMATOR’S SURVIVAL KIT iPAD APP” ONLINE
He’s dedicated his life to animation including advancing the art of animation by passing his knowledge on to future generations. Jerry Beck posted his new short promo for his new The Animator’s Survival Kit iPad app. Jerry writes, “If you care about the craft of animation – this is a must-see, must-buy.” http://blogs.indiewire.com/animationscoop/richard-williams-app
THE PUPPETTOON MOVIE & LOTS OF EXTRAS ARE AVAILABLE ON TWO BLU-RAY DISCS
The limited edition (3000 copies) will not be available in stores. Parts are in high definition, other parts in standard definition. Producer will ship in late Oct. http://b2mp.net/products/the-puppetoon-movie-blu-ray/#foxyshop_gallery/0/
SILLY STOP-MOTION SHORT
Magic Beard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEYCPc9P-Q0
THOUGHTS ON THE VALUE OF ANIMATED SURPRISES by KC
One of animations important capabilities is to present to the audience wonderful visual surprises. Artists have found a variety of ways to create unexpected moments that show that animation can go anywhere and do anything our minds can imagine. Animation is not confined to showing a world that can be recorded live on video or film.
Even in animated features where it is important for the story to progress logically, unusual things can happen. One of my favorite moments is in Disney’s Dumbo (1941) where he drinks from a bucket of water that contains alcohol (an open bottle has been knocked into it by mistake). The film’s next sequence is “Pink Elephants on Parade,” a series of amazing hallucinations. It breaks completely from the realism of the rest of the film. www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoysQe-2HS4
This article could be extended into a book about highly imaginative images in each decade of animation. It was common in early cartoons for “rubber hose” arms and legs to stretch in funny ways including one of Daffy’s legs stretching over 15’ long in Bob Clampett’s Baby Bottleneck. There might be a chapter on the visual puns and extreme takes in the work of Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and other directors (also the extreme images of animator Jim Tyer, to see “Jim Tyer’s Wildest Takes” visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVi5g2KitLg.). A chapter or two might be on the variety of animated surprises that are found in most of the animated shorts nominated each year for the Oscar. I suspect a lot of space might be given to stop-motion artists including work by Charlie Bowers, Willis O’Brian, Ray Harryhausen, George Pal and modern masters like Will Vinton, Nik Park, Jan Svankmajer, Henry Selick and the employees of George Lucas’ ILM. The book might end with the wonderful visual surprises that show up in the openings of every Simpson’s show (the couch gags) or in the work of Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Signe Baumane, Joanna Quinn, Chris Landreth and hundreds of other independent artists working in the 21st Century. I believe visual surprises have a lot to do with why we like and remember animated cartoons.
TWO DIVERGENT REVIEWS OF ANNECY
CONFESSIONS OF AN ANNECY VIRGIN
by Corrie Francis Parks
The first time… it is something you will always remember, a special time to be thoughtfully cherished and, when the universe aligns, enjoyed to its fullest in the true spirit of the French mode de vie. I am, of course, talking about Le Festival international du film d’animation d’Annecy, or simply “Annecy”, as it is affectionately called.
Since my early days as a student, Annecy’s reputation has demanded deference. With each new film, I diligently filled out the entry form and sent in my DVD, wondering if I would ever have the chance to join the historical roll-call of Annecy animators.
This year, the universe did align. A Tangled Tale was one of the 236 films selected from 2461 submissions. And so I joined roughly 7099 other animators and industry professionals in the quintessential French alpine town for a week of animation glory.
Read the rest of the story, and see Corrie’s excellent photos and a list of the winners at http://bit.ly/annecyvirgin
HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE COMMERCALISM AND LOVE THE ANNECY INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL, June 10 – 15, Annecy, France
by Nancy Denney-Phelps
Nancy covers the social scene, official and impromptu parties, great feasts including one hosted by the German film industry and others hosted by the Russian Film Commission, the Irish Film Commission, Canada’s NFB and other government associations, the 7th annual Annecy+ screening that she organizes with Bill Plympton, the Annecy picnic and paddle boat race that she and Nik host and much more including details about more new films and annual appearances of the Annecy+ band. One new film I’m anxious to see after reading about it is Georges Schwizgbel’s Chemin faisant (Along the Way), a painted on glass film that is a meditative stroll.
Nancy also writes about her brush with the law! “The French gendarmes showed up and demanded… There was no reasoning with the gendarmes, they meant business…” Read what happened in her informative article online at http://sprockets.animationblogspot.com/
THE 3RD BEIRUT ANIMATION FESTIVAL
By Nancy Denney-Phelps
Beirut, Lebanon, 14-18 June 2013
My first trip to the Middle East proved to be the amazing experience I had expected it to be. Unfortunately I had to miss the first two days of the Beirut Animated Festival due to commitments at Annecy. I left on Sunday from the Geneva airport. My first surprise came when I landed at the Beirut airport. The festival staff had told me that I could purchase a visa when I arrived at the airport, but as it turned out with my official invitation to participate in a cultural event, there was no charge for my visa and it was good for a month even though I would only be there for four days.
The week before the festival Beirut Animated offered a week long workshop. Seven young Arab animators collaborated to produce a short film about Mar Mikhael railroad station. The film makers set out to make the train, stuck in the station since it was abandoned in 1975, move once again through the magic of animation. The closing night audience was thrilled to see the old train move again even if it was only for a short while on film. Watch it at http://www.brofessionalreview.com/tag/David-Habchy
If the amazing patterns are hard to imagine you can read a complete explanation of the project and see the Hully Gully in action at http://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/acblogs/how-we-made-a-giant-zoetrope. Baz and David Habchy hope to receive a grant to develop their zoetrope idea further.
Even though I was only in Beirut for four days I will never forget the Arab animation that I saw or the sights, sounds, and tastes of that exciting city and most of all the marvelous people that I met. If you are ever lucky enough to be invited to Beirut Animated be sure not to miss this wonderful experience and I hope that I will be invited back to the festival again soon. To learn more about the 3rd edition of Beirut Animation visit http://www.metropoliscinema.net/2013/beirut-animated-3rd-edition/
Read the whole story and see Nancy’s photos at http://sprockets.animationblogspot.com/
THE 15TH ANNUAL ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS
With special guest artists
Monday, Sept. 23, at Dolby Labs in SF
100 Potrero Ave. 7:00 pm, free, arrive early to sign in at the guard’s desk
Wednesday, Sept. 25 at San Jose State University
In the Morris Dailey Auditorium, 7:30 pm, free, no RSVP needed
Once again Ron Diamond is selecting an exceptional program of films. All are in high-resolution digital formats and some are in 3D. While the list of films and guests has not yet been announced, you can check The Animation Show of Shows’ Facebook page before the event’s performance in SF. The event has consistently featured films that have gone on to be considered for Oscar nominations. To date 24 have received nominations and eight in past shows have received the award (Father and Daughter, 2000; Harvie Krumpet, 2003; Ryan, 2004; The Danish Poet, 2006; La Maison en Petite Cubes (The House of Small Cubes), 2008; The Lost Thing, 2010; The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore 2011 and Paperman 2012.
Hard to find DVDs of international animation, including many films in past Animation Show of Shows, will be available in the lobby before and after this program. There are three films on each DVD and individual DVDs are only $5. Deluxe, boxed sets of six DVDs are $30. They are also available online from www.filmporium.com.
“A treasure trove of inspiration and animation magic” Nick Park
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), in collaboration with ASIFA-SF and SIGGRAPH-SF, present
RECENT FILMS FROM THE NFB’S ACCLAIMED ANIMATION STUDIOS, WITH CELEBRATED DIRECTORS CHRIS LANDRETH AND THEODORE USHEV IN ATTENDANCE
FRIDAY, SEPT. 27, 7:00 PM
AT INDUSTRIAL LIGHT AND MAGIC
Letterman Theatre, free to ASIFA-SF members and their guests (1 or 2)
RSVP necessary to email@example.com
Chris Landreth, who won an Academy Award for Ryan in 2005, recently won the Annecy Chrystal (Grand Prize at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival) for Subconscious Password (his first film in 3D). He will show both films and discuss his adventures through the Uncanny Valley, a place where animated characters can seem realistic without quite being real, and where they can be unsettling, smart, creepy, cheesy, funny—or all of these at the same time.
Theodore Ushev won Annecy’s Fipresci Award for Gloria Victoria in June, the last film in his trilogy that also includes Tower Bawher (2005) and Drux Flux (2009). His trilogy on the relationship between art and power uses Russian constructivist imagery and all three film are in stereoscopic 3D. The Fipresci prize is presented by the International Federation of Film Critics.
Additional recent NFB shorts: Hollow Land by Michelle and Uri Kranot, The End of Pinky (3D), by Claire Blanchet and Impromptu (3D) by Bruce Alcock. will be shown. A trailer for Hollow Land is included in an article praising the Kranot’s film at http://www.midnighteast.com/mag/?p=27341
These are just bits of what you’ll find in our monthly newsletter. To get your copy, join ASIFA-SF today!
DOES THE WORLD NEED OVER 1000 NEW DISNEY LICENSED “MONSTERS UNIVERSITY” PRODUCTS?
The new collection must be quite remarkable to number over 1,000 fine items inspired by one film. http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/06/11/disney-roars-into-retail-with-robust-product-assor/
CHRIS LANDRETH WINS THE ANNECY CRYSTAL AWARD FOR BEST SHORT
Chris, who created the Oscar winning Ryan, has a wild new film for us to experience. http://www.nfb.ca/film/subconscious_password
WHY ARE CALARTS AND USC EXCEPTIONAL ANIMATION SCHOOLS? by KC
USC’s new website hosts a lot of information about the program. http://anim.usc.edu. There is also an interesting interview with Sheila Sofain about scientific visualization at: http://anim.usc.edu/faculty-related/sheila-sofian-hench-dada-associate-professor-talks-about-new-minor/
These are just bits of what you’ll find in our monthly newsletter. To get your copy, join ASIFA-SF today!
“CICADA PRINCESS” BY MAURICIO BAIOCCHI HAS BEEN QUITE SUCCESSFUL AT INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS
The live action puppetry film was directed by Mauricio Baiocchi whose screen credits for effects work include major features produced at ILM, The Orphanage and other studios. The short is based on Mauricio’s script about cicadas, an insect that lives underground for sixteen years. The film was made with lead puppet maker Robert Barnes and lots of local volunteers.
CORRIE FRANCIS PARKS’ “A TANGLED TALE” IS BEING SHOWN IN ANNECY, PALM SPRINGS AND HAMBURG THIS MONTH!
Her sand animation will be screened in four events, our ASIFA-SF Spring Festival, The Annecy International Animated Film Festival, the Hamburg Short Film Festival and the Palm Springs ShortFest. The film has already been screened at the Tricky Women Animation Festival in Vienna and the Tehran Int’l Animation Festival. http://www.corriefrancis.com/
JERRY GERBER, WHO DOES MUSIC FOR ANIMATION SOUNDTRACKS, HAS A NEW CD OUT
He is best known for his music fot Art Clokey’s Gumby series. He has just released Cosmic Consciousness. His new CD contains Five Pieces for Virtual Instruments and Symphony #8. He says “it is my finest CD.”
STOP-MOTION SPECIAL EFFECTS WIZZARD WEBSTER COLCORD HAS POSTED A MAKING OF SHORT
It shows him working on stop-motion sequences for Straight to Hell Returns, 2010, an Alex Cox production. http://youtu.be/xFHVLOVM990
TONY CLAAR HAS A FUN 33 SECOND CARTOON ON YOUTUBE
See Off and On at http://youtu.be/OH8W_QzDkR0
“MOVING INNOVATION, A HISTORY OF COMPUTER ANIMATION” By TOM SITO, MIT Press
Reviewed by Nancy Denney-Phelps
It isn’t often that I read a text book that is a real page turner, but Tom Sito’s new book – MOVING INNOVATION, A History of Computer Animation is definitely a must-read. Whether you are involved in the animation or games industry or a lover of animation this book should be read and kept close for handy reference. For animation schools, Moving Innovation is an invaluable educational reference to not only teach students about their past but to guide them into the 3D revolution.
The book is $29.95 from MIT Press, hardcover, 362 pages, http://mitpress.mit.edu.
CAN A GIRAFF FLY OR SWIM?
Find out in a photo realistic short by Cube Creative made to celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2012. It may amaze you. See 5M80 at http://www.wimp.com/highdiving/ To see more of their work visit http://www.cube-creative.fr/selected-works/
A MOST UNUSUAL ANIMATED WORK FROM IBM IS “THE WORLD’S SMALLEST MOVIE”
The work was made using atoms being animated under an electron microscope. A “how to” film about how the scientists made the film short follows the feature attraction. IBM made it at a lab near San Jose, CA. https://ibm.thismoment.com/us-en/youtube/latestbuzz2
A BBC report explained, “Researchers at IBM have created the world’s smallest movie by manipulating single atoms on a copper surface. The stop-motion animation uses a few dozen carbon atoms, moved around with the tiny tip of what is called a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM). It would take about 1,000 of the frames of the film laid side by side to span a single human hair. http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/05/01/tech-smallest-movie-ibm.html and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22364761
“23 CARTOONISTS DEMAND ACTION NOW ON GUN VIOLENCE”
The film is a reaction to the mass shooting in Newton and the senseless loss of innocent lives. http://www.demandaction.org/cartoonists/
NINA PALEY IS ANIMATING ABSTRACT ARABIC TILE PATTERNS
See her blog for lots of animated examples.
“THE HISTORY OF TYPOGRAPHY” is a delightful educational 5 min. short by Ben Barrett-Forrest from Canada.
DON’T MISS SEEING PAUL BERRY’S OSCAR NOMINATED “THE SANDMAN” (1991)
Paul (1961-2001, he died of a brain tumor when he was 40) was a highly talented British animator who worked here on Nightmare Before Christmas. He was a unique character with a wild hair style and a personality to match. His stop-motion horror short is a brilliant work. http://vimeo.com/23506050
“LIPPY” (MICHAEL LIPMAN) HAS ANIMATED “PRUNEY FINGERS” FOR A TED ED ANIMATED TALK
CHECK OUT CARTOONLAND’S NEW WEBSITE
FOUR PROJECTION MAPPING VIDEOS
Including a high fashions costume exhibit that was at the DeYoung. http://experientialdesigns.blogspot.com/2013/05/3d-projection-mapping.html
CREATE ANIMATION FOR LEDS MOUNTED ON YOUR BIKE WHEELS – MONKEY LIGHT PRO IS A WILD PRODUCT
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF THE TRICKFILM FESTIVAL: APRIL 23 – 28, STUTTGART, GERMANY
By Nancy Denny-Phelps
Each year I wait with great anticipation for the International Trickfilm Festival of Animation and the 2013 20th anniversary edition did not disappoint me.
You can read Nancy’s full article here: http://sprockets.animationblogspot.com/
READ ABOUT THE 4TH ANNUAL GOLDEN KUKER INTERNATIONAL ANIMATIONAL IN BULGARIA
By Bill Dennis
Bill was a judge at the festival and is a founder and President of ASIFA India and International Animation Consulting Group. To read his festival review, to see his photos and to read his previous blog entries visit http://www.awn.com/blogs/global-animation-talk-iacg/road-golden-kuker-iaff-festival.
COME ENJOY AND BE PART OF ASIFA-SF
2nd ANNUAL SPRING SHOW
SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 1:30 PM
At the Randall Jr. Museums’ Theatre
Free, public invited, lots of free parking
Work by independent animators
- The BAYCAT staff dares to show us their Inner Demons
- Ben Ridgway, who teaches at SF State, will present the World Premiere of Cosmic Flower Unfolding
- Corrie Francis Park’s A Tangled Tale (sand animation)
- David Chai, who teaches at San Jose State, A Knock on My Door
- David Levy’s Camp Story (excerpt), memories shared by his father
- Greg Holgate’s Cosmo with music by Nik Phelps
- Gene Hamm will show The Dyslexic Magician and Doublecross, two gag cartoons
- Gene will also show “a couple of things I did for hire”
- Josey Gist is showing work from TUSC
- Mark West and Barbara’s The Little Red Hen
- Michael Langan’s Choros
- Peter Parr’s Summer Dream (exceptional drawings)
- Tony Claars’ Loco Motion
College student shorts
- Tamara by Jason Marino & Craig Kitzmann, San Jose State
- Edith and the Bear by Hillary Bradfield, San Jose State
- We also expect work from other schools
Animation by teens from the Baycat, an after school program headed by Tim Harrington
- Deathly Day by Rachel Purvis
- A Day in the Life of a Sidekick
- Angry Birds Hospital by Arshad Muhammad
- Ghost Inc. by Gwydion Brain
- A Day in the Circus by Alex Lu, Gwydion Brain, Arshad Muhammad, Rachel Purvis
- Ridiculous Candidates by Jocelyn Alvarado
It isn’t too late to enter work. There are no forms to fill out and no entry fee. Just send us a DVD or bring it the day of the show. Please limit your entry to less than 10 minutes so all works submitted can be shown. All works must be on DVD. You do not have to be an ASIFA member to enter or live in Northern California, but you are invited to become a member (details at www.asifa-sf.org) and we hope you can be present to enjoy the applause.
Mail work in advance to: Karl Cohen, 478 Frederick, SF, CA 94117 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can be a judge!
The audience’s vote determines who will get the prizes:
A small cash grand prize and certificate awards will be given for best student film, best independent and best professional work plus second prizes, honorable mentions, etc. Certificates of appreciation will be given to pre-college animators. Last year we also presented jury awards for the funniest film, the best experimental work and the best educational work.
How to find the museum
The Randall Jr. Museum is at the top of Corona Heights, right in the geographic center of the city, but it is sometimes hard for newcomers to find; http://www.randallmuseum.org has a map and instructions on how to find it by car, Muni and on foot
If in doubt, call (415) 554-9600 for assistance. 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114.
These are just bits of what you’ll find in our monthly newsletter. To get your copy, join ASIFA-SF today!
THE GRAND OPENING OF THE NEW EXPLORATORIUM: MIWA MATREYEK IN PERSON by Steve Segal
Miwa Matreyek is an animator and performance artist who helped to inaugurate the new Exploratorium on Pier 15 in grand style. Her website is full of wonderful films and other things that will expand your understanding of what animation can be.
VINCE COLLINS’ WORK WAS FEATURED ON CARTOON BREW ON APRIL 26, 2013
They featured 4 of his films, links to 2 interviews, etc. Vince is a unique local talent. http://www.cartoonbrew.com/shorts/artist-of-the-day-vince-collins-81290.html
THE GRAND OPENING OF THE NEW EXPLORATORIUM: THE OPENING NIGHT LIGHT SHOW BY OBSCURA DIGITAL by KC
A video on the making of the light show is posted online at https://vimeo.com/63614114 Clips of the show are on YouTube and should be on Obscura Digital’s website soon. http://obscuradigital.com/ ASIFA-SF will be using the museum’s theatre for some of our events once it is open this fall.
THE BERKELEY FILM FOUNDATION ANIMATION GRANT
They are offering grants up to $12,000 for projects under 30 min. to people who live or work in Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, Emeryville or El Cerrito for at least 1 year. May 31 deadline, details & to apply http://www.berkeleyfilmfoundation.org
BEIJING FILM ACADEMY STUDENT WHO STUDIED ANIMATION AT SF STATE FOR HER SEMESTER ABROAD HAS CREATED A FUN, DELIGHTFUL FILM ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE
It is her graduate film. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY7fFP05PKk&noredirect=1
JOHN KORTY AND LUCASFILM’S “TWICE UPON A TIME” (1983) A RARE, MADE IN THE BAY AREA FEATURE, SCREENED IN LA IN 35MM FOR 3 NIGHTS
Like an updated Fractured Fairy Tale, the story is set in a fantasy world of sweet dreams and nightmares. It finds the heroes attempting to re-calibrate the cosmic clock to restore the flow of time. Voices included Lorenzo Music, Marshall Efron, Paul Frees, and Hamilton Camp. The dialogue was largely improvised. http://blogs.indiewire.com/animationscoop/
G-DCAST SEEKS JEWISH ANIMATORS FOR A PAID SIX DAY RESIDENCY PROGRAM IN SF
G-dcast is seeking emerging Jewish animation students currently enrolled in a college or students who have graduated within the last three years for a 6-day studio residency in SF in August. They are a small animation production company in SF and they seek artists who work in any style (hand-drawn, digital 2D, stop motion, claymation), as long as you can bring your gear with you to San Francisco and can work quickly! Learn more at http://www.g-dcast.com/sgcjm13. Their latest short, The Mountain and the Cliff was produced in 48 hours at the Jewish Funders Network conference in March, 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_mjgwNExmA Several other shorts are on the studio’s website. http://www.g-dcast.com
ANIMATION AT THE SF INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Saturday May 4 at 6:45 PM, Monday May 6 at 8:45 PM (both at the Kabuki) and Thurs. May 9 at 3:30 PM (New People Cinema), THE SEARCH FOR EMAK BAKIA, A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT AN EXPERIMENTAL SHORT BY MAN RAY
“Far too personal and specific to entice the wider audience it deserves, this experimental documentary is a must for anyone who classes themselves as a cinephile. Rich in visually-alluring imagery and boasting an infectiously spirited approach, The Search for Emak Bakia is a surprisingly compelling love letter to an extraordinary director and his pioneering work.” (from a review in CineVue.com) The classic film includes some stop-motion footage. A trailer is posted at http://vimeo.com/43305669.
Fri. May 24, THE PAINTING (LE TABLEAU), opening at a Landmark theatre in SF and at their Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley.
“A wryly inventive parable” that is a love story between a Halfie and a Sketchie in a kingdom divided into the three castes: the impeccably painted Alldunns who reside in a majestic palace; the Halfies who the Painter has left incomplete; and the untouchable Sketchies, simple charcoal outlines who are banished to the cursed forest. The story is an adventure into forest. Trailer at http://www.gkids.tv/thepainting/
“COYOTE FALLS” STARRING ROADRUNNER AND WILE COYOYE
9th EDITION OF THE FETE DE L’ANIM
IN TOURCOING AND LILLE, FRANCE
by Nancy Denney-Phelps
My first visit to the Fete de l’Anim, March 14 – 17 was full of lovely surprises. The closing night festivities started with the presentation of the students’ marathon film. I was sitting next to Raoul Servais when the finished film was screened and he told me he was very pleased with what the students had done to bring his hand-drawn image to life. You can see the students’ Servais’ art for the student film along with photos of the film marathon festival at http://www.fete-anim.com
Sekhar Mukherjee and Raoul Servais
ANIMA – THE BRUSSELS ANIMATION FESTIVAL FEBRUARY 8 THROUGH 17 2013 BRUSSELS, BELGIUM by Nancy Denny-Phelps
Excerpts appear in this month’s newsletter from a much longer article posted at http://sprockets.animationblogspot.com/ Read a lot more about this festival and see photos of the puppets and sets on her website.
YOU MIGHT ENJOY A HANDSOME VISUAL MEDITATION
Simon Haiduk just posted an impressive six minute abstract cosmic journey. https://vimeo.com/59759365
ANIMATORS, ASIFA-SF WANTS TO SHOW YOUR WORK! BE PART OF OUR SECOND ANNUAL ASIFA-SF SPRING SHOW
SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 1:30 PM
At the Randall Jr. Museums’ Theatre
Free, public invited, lots of free parking
There will be prizes. A small cash grand prize and certificate awards for best student film, best independent and best professional work plus second prizes, honorable mentions, etc. Certificates of appreciation will be given to pre-college animators. Last year we also presented jury awards for the funniest film, the best experimental work and the best educational work.
The Randall Jr. Museum is at the top of Corona Heights, right in the geographic center of the city, but it is sometimes hard for newcomers to find; if in doubt, call (415) 554-9600 for assistance. 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114.
http://www.randallmuseum.org gives instructions on how to find it by car, Muni and on foot.
Can you stretch your limbs like Bravoman or write humorous lines like Jim Zub? Rob Pereyda, an ASIFA-SF member, tells us “Bravoman is based on the Bravoman webcomic, which is something we did to revive the classic game franchise from Japan. The voice cast is Rob Paulsen, Dee Bradley Baker, and Romi Dames.” Jim Zub is the writer and Rob’s co-director and co-producer. See a trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMtL83z0FJI.
GENE DEITCH IS 88, BUT HE IS BY NO MEANS RETIRED
Gene has been active on the Internet for many years. His most recent project, Roll The Credits!, focuses on 65 people who influenced, supported and inspired him over the years. It covers his major projects including failures. It is well illustrated including movie clips never seen by the public. In his supplement, the Deitch Dungeon, he exposes to daylight previously hidden private videos! htttp://www.genedeitchcredits.com. And at http://www.awn.com/genedeitch you can download his free book How To Succeed In Animation. He says, “If you’re serious about getting into this line of work, I’ve tried to lay down what to think about it, and how to make out. However quickly the technology changes, what its all about still applies.”
His book For The Love Of Prague is also online. It tells about his experiences working and surviving 30 years in the closed world of Communist Party controlled Czechoslovakia. There are strange stories about how he happened to be sent there, about falling in love and how he thrived there in spite of the conditions. There have been five editions of the book and printed copies may still be found on Amazon. http://www.fortheloveofprague.com
GEORGE LUCAS IS OFFERING TO SHARE HIS WEALTH WITH DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES
San Anselmo has accepted his offer to contribute land, development money and bronze statues of Yoda and Indiana Jones for a public park. It will cover a 8,700 sq. ft. lot in downtown San Anselmo Ave. Lucas will also pay for the demolition of an existing building and has already preserved a historic fresco that was in the building. The park will contain three “meandering” paths that will lead to a 15 ft. circular fountain. The fountain will contain the two bronze statues. Indiana Jones will be about 6 ft. high and Yoda is about two ft. tall. Similar Yoda fountains are located at the entrance to the Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco and at George’s Big Rock Ranch. http://www.marinij.com/ci_22335497
BILL DENNIS, A MEMBER OF ASIFA-SF, HAS WRITTEN “I’M A BIG FAN OF ASIFA INTERNATIONAL”
Read Bill’s story here: http://www.awn.com/blogs/global-animation-talk-iacg/im-big-fan-asifa-international
Saturday May 4 at 6:45 PM, Monday May 6 at 8:45 PM (both at the Kabuki) and Thurs. May 9 at 3:30 PM (New People Cinema), THE SEARCH FOR EMARK BAKIA, A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT AN EXPERIMENTAL SHORT BY MAN RAY
“Far too personal and specific to entice the wider audience it deserves, this experimental documentary is a must for anyone who classes themselves as a cinephile. Rich in visually-alluring imagery and boasting an infectiously spirited approach, The Search for Emak Bakia is a surprisingly compelling love letter to an extraordinary director and his pioneering work.” The classic film and the documentary includes some stop-motion footage. From a review in CineVue.com A trailer is posted at http://vimeo.com/43305669.
July 8-12, STOP-MOTION ANIMATION CLASS.
11am – 1pm, for intermediate artists ages 10-14, A weeklong workshop taught by Brian Kolm of AtomicBearPress.com. Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission St., 415-CAR-TOON, http://www.cartoonart.org.
TOM SITO TALKS ABOUT WRITING HIS NEW BOOK “MOVING INNOVATION, A HISTORY OF COMPUTER ANIMATION”
The online interview talks about how it began long before John Lasster’s Luxo Jr., who some of the other pioneers were, how he managed to find and interview 75 pioneers and where can one find information about the book Tom plans to do book signings in the Bay Area in May. http://www.mitpress.mit.edu/books/moving-innovation and http://flipanimation.blogspot.com/2013/03/tom-sitos-history-of-computer-animation.html
SEE A LOST “POGO” ANIMATED SHORT BY WALT KELLY
Walt was one of the talented artists who went on strike at Disney in 1941. His Pogo comic strip (1948 – 1975) included political and social satire and dangerous topics including pollution and ecology. The unfinished short We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us can be seen on Cartoon Brew. It suggests he was a really talented animator. http://www.cartoonbrew.com/comics/rediscovering-walt-kellys-lost-pogo-short-79054.html
DISNEY HAS PRODUCED A SERIES OF 19, 3.5 MINUTE, 2D HAND DRAWN MICKEY MOUSE SHORTS FOR THE INTERNET AND CABLE
The entire series should be out this summer. http://www.awn.com/news/cartoons/disney-unveils-new-mickey-mouse-short
“NY TIMES” REVIEWER WASN’T IMPRESSED WITH DISNEY’S OZ PREQUEL
Manohla Dargis wrote , “Can the major studios still make magic? From the looks of Oz the Great and Powerful, a dispiriting, infuriating jumble of big money, small ideas and ugly visuals, the answer seems to be no unless, perhaps, the man behind the curtain is Martin Scorsese or James Cameron… With so much riding on this Oz it’s a surprise that the results are so uninspired, or given Disney’s recent run with the likes of Alice in Wonderland, maybe not.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/movies/oz-the-great-and-powerful-starring-james-franco.html?_r=0
“The bigger bummer, though, is that the studio that has enchanted generations with Tinker Bell and at least a few plucky princesses has backed a movie that has such backward ideas about female characters that it makes the 1939 Wizard of Oz look like a suffragist classic.”
KICKSTARTER RAISED $770,309 TO CONTINUE PRODUCTION ON THE POPULAR ANIMATED SERIES “CYANIDE AND HAPPINESS”
14,242 backers have pitched in to support a project that has characters with stick figure arms and legs. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/explosm/the-cyanide-and-happiness-show
ICING ON THE SACHERTORTE – THOUGHTS ON TRICKY WOMEN ANIMATION FESTIVAL
BY CORRIE FRANCIS PARKS
This article (excerpted below) was first posted on her blog March 15, 2013
The Tricky Women International Animation Festival (http://www.trickywomen.at/) proclaims to be the first and only animation festival dedicated exclusively to women. From March 6-11, 138 films screened at the Hyden Theater in Vienna, Austria.
With the exception of the jury members and a few working professionals, the majority of filmmakers in attendance were either just finishing their studies or in their first year out. Many of the films were graduation films and crowd funding was a hot topic – almost everyone had heard of it, but its implementation seemed not so pervasive in Europe for a variety of logistical reasons. Jury member Signe Baumane gave a workshop on her Kickstarter-funded feature-in-progress and I had several conversations with filmmakers about my own experiences with “A Tangled Tale” (http://corriefrancis.blogspot.com/2011/11/reflections-on-kickstarter-adventure.html). While some countries still have a good bit of governmental funding for films, it often goes to the same list of people and the same ‘type’ of projects so this new generation of filmmakers is very rightly concerned with how to transition outside the academic environment. There was much talk about how to “make it” and from my unofficial survey it seems students in Europe are turning to freelance work.
That said, the jury chose one of the few 3D films for an honorable mention, “Out of Nowhere” (https://vimeo.com/51462095) from Isca Mayo and Maayan Tzuriel from Israel. A poetic, subtle story about an ageing lifeguard, and empty pool and a single-minded chicken. The film has some beautiful moments of character animation and some unfortunate modeling mistakes, but the concept is strong and the design carries the film.
A few other films deserve a mention. One of the loveliest ladies I met was Maryam Kashkoolinia from Iran. A fellow sand animator, her film Tunnel (http://www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/en/films/tunnel/) was in the same program as “A Tangled Tale” (http://www.atangledtalefilm.com/) – probably a deliberate choice by the programmers to contrast these two types of sand animation. Maryam’s film dealt with the tunnels dug to circumvent the blockade on the Gaza strip, with moments of humor and tragedy.
The grand prize winner was “KellerKind” (https://vimeo.com/47545884) by Julia Ocker. While I found the film hard to watch due to its content – it’s about a mother locking her monstrous newborn child in the cellar – the painterly animation and tight storytelling made this one of the more well-rounded films in the festival and I don’t begrudge the judges their choice (at least not too much!).
When the Tricky Women Festival gets inquiries from young women about where to study animation, more often than not they refer them to programs elsewhere in the EU. This was unfortunately evident in the Austrian panorama, which was comprised mostly of student work. While some films had good conceptual development nearly all lacked the care and attention to craft which was evident on most of the other films. Only “Achill” (https://vimeo.com/52367416) by Gudrun Krebitz, had the production quality of a professional film, probably why she won the prize for Best Austrian animation. Ironically, the film was made at a university in Germany, which just proved the point. So are there any professional women animators in Austria? There were 2 films in competition from Austria: “Transition 89”, an abstract film by artist/programmer LIA and Edith Stauber’s “Nachbehandlung (After-Treatment)” (http://www.sixpackfilm.com/en/catalogue/show/2003), which received an honorable mention. The sound design and quirky line drawings carried the film. In this case the limited animation added to the black hole of time one encounters in a hospital waiting room.
This is only a portion of Corrie’s story. To read the full article, and to get many other great stories in our newletter, join ASIFA-SF today!
MICHAEL LANGAN’S INTRODUCTION TO THE BEYONCE SUPER BOWL HALF TIME SHOW WAS SEEN BY OVER 110 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE US
The sponsor put the intro online so people could step through the 377 frames a frame at a time so they could look for clues to a contest. Almost every frame is different. The contest has ended but you may still be able to step through it online at: http://halftime.pepsi.com. See the work at 24 fps at: http://langanfilms.com/stream_pepsihalftime.html. It is an impressive accomplishment.
Sun. April 7th CAREERS IN ANIMATION
Starting at 1 PM, free, Coppola Theater, San Francisco State University. Come learn from people with experience in stop-motion, 2D and 3D animation, games, and in other areas. Our experts have worked as writers, animators, directors and in other industry jobs and will answer as many questions as possible. For direction see the map at: http://www.sfsu.edu/~sfsumap/southeast.htm.
THE WALT DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM PROVIDES SUMMER DAY CAMPS FOR KIDS
Their Summer Workshops are week-long programs designed to ignite imagination and creative development using traditional art mediums as well as the latest computer technology. Explore art, animation, and filmmaking through innovative projects and hands-on activities. For details visit: http://www.waltdisney.org/summer-camp.
THE SF FILM SOCIETY SUMMER PROGRAMS FOR TEENS
Several workshops will provide intensive hands-on training for young aspiring filmmakers aged 14 – 18. http://sffs.org/Education.
“MEL BLANC: THE MAN OF A THOUSAND VOICES,” IS A DELIGHTFUL DOCUMENTARY
See it online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=JRlmb0xAtBs&NR=1
JERRY BECK, CARTOON BREW’S FOUNDER, HAS SOLD HIS INTEREST IN HIS WEBSITE TO HIS PARTNER AMID AMIDI
Animation historian Jerry Beck has sold his interest in the popular website to Amid Amidi nine years after Amid joined the site as a co-partner. Beck founded his original Internet site, Cartoon Research, in the 1990s. Amid plans to expand his site so it can be used with a mobile platform. Beck’s departure was a surprise to his readers, but he told Deadline Hollywood talks to sell it began in November. “We were clearly two different types of people in terms of out points of view, I think that was one of the pleasures of the site. But the time had come to move on.” Beck is writing a book about SpongeBob and is writing about animation history on his blog: http://www.cartoonresearch.com.
MICHAELA PAVLATOVA’S “TRAM” IS ONLINE
It was on the Academy short list of 10 films considered for an Oscar and it was a highlight of Ron Diamond’s Animation Show of Shows, that we showed last Nov. Now you can enjoy it by visiting: http://vk.com/video432246_169171761
READ “THOUGHT YOU HAD ANIMATION PEGGED? NOT FOR MUCH LONGER” BY J J SEDELMAIER
This is a fascinating article on some of the tools animators once used including peg bars, hole punches, discs, etc. He talks about different systems used at different studios (from Bray to Disney). Lots of photos and information at: http://imprint.printmag.com/animation/thought-you-had-animation-pegged-not-for-much-longer/
SEE A PORTRAIT OF QUEEN ELIZABETH THAT IS A BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED EFFECTS FILM
It is constructed with utmost care using photos of her from childhood to recent images. All are morphed into one remarkable three minute sequence. It is free of cuts or the jumps in the image when things don’t line up correctly. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=E8nJhG1xE5o
READ HOW A SCHOLAR’S FABRICATED RESEARCH HELPED CREATE CENSORSHIP OF THE COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY
In the early 1950s conservative America was shocked by the research of the anti-comics crusader and psychiatrist Fredric Wertham. His best selling book The Seduction of the Innocent (1954) told parents and Congress that comics were a direct cause of violence, drug use, and homosexuality. His testimony helped create the establishment of the comic book code of 1954. http://www.comicartville.com/comicscode.htm
His research papers have finally been made public and Carol Tilley, a researcher and professor at the Univ. of Illinois, found in them that Wertham’s research was biased, fabricated, exaggerated, and selectively edited to support his argument that comics are an evil influence on our youth and that they can lead to anti-social behavior. In other words, he lied. Read her article at: http://io9.com/5985199/how-one-mans-lies-almost-destroyed-the-comics-industry.
DISCOVER THE ANIMATION OF BOB GODFREY, “THE GODFATHER OF BRITISH ANIMATION”
Bob won an Oscar for Great (1975), an Oscar nomination for his mock-erotic film Karma Sutra Rides Again (1971) and 2 other Academy nominations. His work ranged from early British TV ads and kids’ shows to his humorous sex oriented trilogy. (It also included Dream Doll (1979) and Instant Sex (1980). His work was seen in the US in The Tournee of Animation programs. The Guardian (UK) included several of his TV shorts (not his best work) in a long obituary (he was 91). http://guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2013/feb/23/bob-godfrey-career-clips.
FOR PUPPET ANIMATORS
Check out Christiane Cegavske’s progress on a new puppet she is creating for Seed in the Sand. She has been documenting the progress on her blog. http://christianecegavske.wordpress.com/
FILMS FROM SAN JOSE STATE, “TULE LAKE” AND “A KNOCK ON MY DOOR” ARE WINNING FESTIVAL AWARDS
Tule Lake won two major prizes at the Creative Awards in San Jose. The short by Michelle Ikemoto and her classmates won both the Best Film under 30 minutes and Best Student Film awards. Tule Lake is a tribute to the director’s late grandmother and the risks she took to preserve normalcy for her family during their exile in the Tule Lake internment camp during World War II. Tule Lake has also been nominated for Best Student film in ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Awards and it won First Place in Animation and tied for Best in Show in the Calif. State University’s Media Arts Festival in November 2012. http://tulelakeproject.blogspot.com/
At the New York Society of Illustrators 55th Annual Exhibition Associate Professor David Chai and his production team (current students and alumni from San Jose State’s animation and illustration program) won the Gold Medal in the Moving Image category for their animated short A Knock on My Door. The film documents the life of David Chai’s father, Hi Dong Chai, a Professor Emeritus from SJSU’s Electrical Engineering department. http://www.societyillustrators.org
DAN McHALE’S NEW SHORT “RGB” CAN BE SEEN ON CARTOON BREW
It was shown at our Jan. screening. The Cartoon Brew page includes a link to Dan’s Skip this Film 2012.
SEE AN IMPRESSIVE TECHNIQUE USING SEQUENCES OF THICK PAPER CUTOUTS
Kijek and Adamski are from Poland and have posted four more works in different styles at http://vimeo.com/kijekadamski
PIXAR FANS SHOULD ENJOY SEEING THE SHORT “PARTYSAURES REX” ON THE INTERNET
ANIMATION MENTOR IS NOW OFFERING LOWER TUTION AND THE EXACT SKILL SET THAT STUDIOS SEEK USING THE AMP STUDIO PRODUCTION PIPELINE
Animation Mentor has restructured their animation program so students will train on a professional production pipeline similar to those used by studios worldwide. The Amp system is the first fully distributed studio production pipeline. It integrates vfx coursework to address industry needs. They have reduced tuition costs and shortened program lengths (formerly six classes, now four) to provide students with better access and options. They have simplified their grading system, and have new loan options and monthly payment plans. For more information, please contact Micha Hershman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at 5104507220 or email@example.com, or visit http://www.animationmentor.com.
HEAR KARL COHEN AND MARTHA GORZYCKI DISCUSS “THE RABBI’S CAT” AND THE OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATION
The 2 hour discussion and music show on Radio Valencia was hosted by Mara Math. http://radiovalencia.fm/podcasts/?show=depth%20perception
Feb. 2, ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD’S ANNIE AWARDS WILL BE STREAMED LIVE
The award ceremony, animation’s most prestigious event in the US, begins at 7 PM. http://annieawards.org/event-info
UNPAID STUDENT INTERNSHIPS – WHEN ARE THEY AN ASSET AND WHEN ARE THEY A RIPOFF? By KC (Excerpted)
Most people (students, teachers and employers) are unaware that state and federal guidelines exist that explain what constitutes an unpaid internships and when an intern should be paid at least the minimum wage for their services.
In ”The Ethics and Economics of Unpaid Internships” (http://www.investopedia.com) the author points out that the rule that the employer must not receive any immediate benefit from the intern’s work is vague and is being used by companies to defend questionable programs. The article also points out the Department of Labor only investigates cases where there is a complaint and that most interns fear reporting unfair labor practices will hurt their chances for future employment opportunities.
A UNIVERSITY TEACHING POSITION IS AVAILABLE AT RIT
To find out about the opening at Rochester Inst. of Technology go to http://careers.rit.edu/ click on “Faculty Positions,” then search openings (either all postings or 278BR).
SIGNE BAUMAN HAS A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR HER FIRST FEATURE
A CYNICAL ANIMATED LOOK AT THE WORLD HUMANS HAVE CREATED
ENJOY A MAGIC/TRICK FILM FROM 1908 BY PATHE IN COLOR
This delightful work has its original hand-pained colors. Hugo was a tribute to this kind of art film.
NICK PARK HAS HELPED LAUNCH A UNITED NATIONS SHORT FILM CONTEST TO SUPPORT FORESTS AROUND THE WORLD
Nick, the creator of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, is in two short videos that were made to promote the worldwide competition. One features lots of people making brief statements and the other is a 3 or 4 minute statement that includes his talking about his childhood imaginations and personal love of forests. Wallace and Gromit make brief appearances. The contest is open to all film/video/digital techniques that share personal experience about how forests protect, sustain, nurture or inspire.
“OSKAR FISCHINGER (1900-1967): EXPERIMENTS IN CINEMATIC ABSTRACTION”
Edited by Cindy Keefer and Jaap Guldemond, available in April from Thames & Hudson, 240 pages, paperback, extensive color illustrations.
This Fischinger monograph explores the position of his work within the international avant-garde. It examines his animation, paintings, use of music, experiences in Hollywood, and his influence on today’s filmmakers, artists and animators. The book also contains unpublished documents by Fischinger and others.
A limited supply of the books will be available earlier from the Center for Visual Music (CVM) in LA. The CVM also has an online library that may be of interest with pages dedicated to several visionary artists besides Fischinger. www.centerforvisualmusic.org/Library.html Excerpts from other selected films (Fischinger, Belson and others) can be seen at http://vimeo.com/user4392897/videos
“WHO’S AFRAID OF THE SONG OF THE SOUTH? AND OTHER FORBIDDEN DISNEY STORIES” BY JIM KORKIS (Excerpted)
This is not a fictional book like Marc Eliot’s “Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince,” nor does it cover the ugly controversial strike in 1941 or dozens of other topics discussed in other books. Instead it covers new, well researched stories by a man who has done an excellent job sorting through the studio’s records and then writing them up for an intelligent, educated audience. The author worked at the Florida studio for several years as a historian and educator.
Almost half of the book is a discussion of Song of the South, a lovely live action feature with several animated segments in it. Unfortunately, despite its charm, it contains racist elements and its release was greeted with pickets and attacks in the press when it was first released. Every time it was rereleased in the US the protests have grown louder. It includes lots of new details about various stages of the production and the film’s exhibition, the people working on it and those who refused to work on it and of course the protests. It also mentions things like outrageous Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse parody “Journey into the Disney Vault” (2006) that allegedly divulges Disney’s darkest secrets including shocking footage from Song of the South that wasn’t in the film.
There is a lot more material in the book that makes it a must have volume, but I suspect this will not be the final book of “forbidden” Disney stories. Having been told so many naughty tales about the studio over the past 30 or 40 years there is a lot of material yet to be covered. I see no reason why the Disney family and the corporation should object to Korkis’ book and I believe it to be honest and accurate. It is available from Amazon and is published by http://www.ThemeParkPress.com
RON DIAMOND’S 14th ANNUAL ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS
Once again Ron has assembled a rich and varied show that received a great deal of applause and praise. If you are interested in seeing some of the films from the current or past programs, selected titles are available on DVDs. They sell for $5 a disc. Each disc contains three shorts. Deluxe, boxed sets of six DVDs are $30; available from http://www.filmporium.com.
The program included Oh Willy! by Emma de Swaef and James Roels from Belgium. You can see the trailer at http://vimeo.com/34891933. Oh Willy! is a stop-motion film made with puppets covered with a soft felt-like material. Marie’s website lists about 60 festivals in which the film has won major prizes including several grand prizes, audience awards and best animation honors. Part of the film takes place in a nudist colony.
WHAT ANIMATION CAN BE
Last month’s article about new visions of what animation can be has been expanded and publishers by AWN.COM with lots of links to some wonderful films.
PHIL TIPPETT STUDIOS BRINGS TED TO LIFE ON “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”
STUDY STOP-MOTION ANIMATION AT THE SF ART INSTITUTE
The course runs 12 sessions, Thursdays, Jan. 31–April 25 from 7:30–10:30 pm, tuition: $480. David Borengasser (http://www.davidborengasser.com) and Tiffany Doesken (http://tiffanydoesken.com) are the instructors.
THE DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM IS PRESENTING TWO STOP-MOTION PUPPET CONSTRUCTION CLASSES AND OTHER EVENTS
On February 16 they present Introduction to Stop-Motion Puppet Creation with Bonita DeCarlo, Character Fabrication Supervisor for The Nightmare Before Christmas and Character Production Manager for James and the Giant Peach and Monkeybone.
On January 26, February 23, and March 16 they will present Stop-Motion Puppet Construction, Wardrobe Fabrication, and Performance with animator and independent filmmaker, Ruben Esqueda (A series of 3 classes).
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE WALT DISNEY FAMILY MUSEUM:
Sat. Jan. 19, The Conservation and Preservation of Animation Cels with WDFM art conservator, Martin Salazar (lecture and tour).
Sat. Jan. 19, The Disney Classics Preserving Walt’s Vision with Theodore Gluck, The Walt Disney Studios’ Director of Library Restoration and Preservation. It is presented in conjunction with the Museum’s feature exhibition Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic.
February 16, Behind the Magic: The Making of Stop Motion Features, ParaNorman (2012) and Coraline (2009) with Mark Shapiro, Director of Entertainment Brand Marketing for LAIKA. (Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition, Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation).
March 2, Bringing Frankenweenie to Life with popular producer, director and author, Don Hahn.
March 23, 2719 Hyperion—Foundation of an Empire (Exploring the History of The Walt Disney Studios, 1925-1939) with Disney historian and author, David Lesjak.
Note: the programs often sell out so order tickets in advance. http://www.waltdisney.com/lectures-and-discussions
ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD’S ANNIE AWARDS HAVE NOMINATED EIGHT FILMS FOR BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Hotel Transylvania (Sony Animation),
The Pirates! Band Of Misfits (Aardman/Sony Animation),
The Rabbi’s Cat (Autochenille Production/GKids),
Rise Of The Guardians (Dreamworks Animation),
Wreck-It Ralph (Disney).
For a full list visit http://www.cartoonbrew.com/events/annie-award-nominations-2012-74101.html
JIM KORKIS’ NEW BOOK IS “WHO’S AFRAID OF SONG OF THE SOUTH? AND OTHER FORBIDDEN DISNEY STORIES”
While over half of the book is about the suppressed feature it covers other unusual subjects from Disney’s shorts about VD and menstruation to Tim Burton’s career with Disney and John Carter’s flop. There is a section on Ward Kimball and UFOs, another on Walt’s FBI file and much more. I’m looking forward to reviewing it. It is published by Theme Park Press and is available from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Afraid-Forbidden-Disney-Stories-ebook/dp/B00AG6G250
“MEET PES, THE STOP-MOTION GENIUS WHO TURNS GRENADES INTO FRESH GUACAMOLE” is an informative article by Hugh Hart published in Wired.
NER, GIVING AN ANIMATED EXPLANATION AS TO HOW THE 1% HAS SCREWED UP OUR NATION’S ECCONOMY, HAS BEEN CENSORED ON THE INTERNET!
After it went online the SF Chronicle (Dec. 5) criticized the film for a six second segment where a rich guy urinates on the middle class. The paper called Tax the Rich, an Animated Fairy Tale “crass, sophomoric and at times almost laughably hypocritical… garbage.”’ The image is from the deleted sequence. It was written and animated by Mike Konopacki and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. It deals with the rich buying elections. See it at http://www.cft.org or at http://front.moveon.org/hollywood-legend-ed-asner-has-outraged-republicans-over-this-animated-short/?rc=fb.fan
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