Animationweek http://animationweek.uk a global creative hub Wed, 19 Sep 2018 11:32:27 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Cartoon Forum 2018 at a glance http://animationweek.uk/cartoon-forum-2018-at-a-glance/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 11:32:27 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7725 The 29th Cartoon Forum, organised by CARTOON, was successfully held from 10th to 13th September 2018 in Toulouse, France. More than 1,000 participants got together from 38 different countries, ranging from producers, investors, broadcasters, and buyers, to SVoD/VoD platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Hopster TV, Playkids, and Azoomee. It welcomed ...

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The 29th Cartoon Forum, organised by CARTOON, was successfully held from 10th to 13th September 2018 in Toulouse, France.

More than 1,000 participants got together from 38 different countries, ranging from producers, investors, broadcasters, and buyers, to SVoD/VoD platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Hopster TV, Playkids, and Azoomee. It welcomed major European and American buyers, which include France Télévisions, CNC, The Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks Animation Television, Amazon Studios, CANAL+, Super RTL, RAI, Netflix, BBC Children, TF1, Lagardère Active, Playkids, Sony, Turner, Mediatoon, NRK, M6, TVC, ZDF, Nickelodeon, SVT, Spin Master, DHX Media, and Epic Story Media.

Cartoon Forum 2018 Statistics

1. Projects pitched

83 projects selected by CARTOON from 22 countries, which include projects from a guest country (Canada and South Korea), were pitched. The appearance of Canadian studios as co-production partners is growing (5 projects). Israel, Japan, Russia, and The US participated as co-producers of projects.

2. Number of projects by country

France 30 Finland 3 Ukraine 2
United Kingdom 10 Greece 2 Austria 1
Belgium 9 Hungary 2 Cyprus 1
Germany 8 Luxembourg 2 Denmark 1
Canada 7 Norway 2 Iceland 1
Spain 6 Poland 2 South Korea 1
Ireland 5 Serbia 2
Italy 4 Switzerland 2

3. Number of projects by target audience

Children1 38 46%
Pre-school2 28 34%
Family 10 12%
Teenagers/Young Adults 7 8%

1: “Children” targets 5-12 year olds.
2: “Pre-school” targets 2-5 years olds.

4. Number of projects by format

Up to 6’ 11 13%
7’ – 10’ 21 26%
11’ – 15’ 35 42%
22’ – 26’ 11 13%
More than 26’ 5 6%

5. Number of projects by animation technique

2D animation3 45 54%
3D animation 32 39%
Others4 6 7%

3: Includes a combination of techniques: 2D and 3D
4: Representing Stop-Motion, Cut-Out, and Puppets

Trailers for pitched projects

The top 10 projects most attractive to investors

The 83 pitched projects showed a great diversity of genres and visual styles, portraying the richness of European animation series. The top 10 projects, which attracted the largest number of investors, are below. Overall, the popularity of the French projects stood out and 8 projects were ranked in this list. The two non-French projects also showed their big potential as Cartoon Saloon’s (Ireland) project Silly Sundays gathered the third-largest number of the total audience. Over 50% of the total audience of the project Odo pitched by Letko (Poland) and Sixteen South (UK and Ireland) were investors (which were the highest among the top 10 projects).

1. The Borrowers (Blue Spirit Productions)
2. Splat & Seymour (Just Kids)
3. Woolly Woolly (Normaal, Groupe PVP)
3. Country Kids (La Station Animation)
5. Droners (Cyber Group Studios, Supamonks, La Chouette Compagnie)
6. Billy – The Cowboy Hamster (Dandelooo)
7. Zouk, The Little Witch with a Big Personality (Bayard Jeunesse Animation)
8. Tiny Bad Wolf (Xilam Animation)
9. Silly Sundays (Cartoon Saloon)
10. Odo (Letko, Sixteen South)

Spotlight on Finland

For the third time, Cartoon Forum had the spotlight on one country. This year was Finland. On the strength of its three selected projects this year, Finnish animation appeared as a constant thread throughout Cartoon Forum, with presentations of Finnish studios during Croissant Shows and the Finnish Party.

Cartoon Tributes

The Cartoon Tributes are the professional awards given to broadcasters, distributors, and producers who’ve made positive contributions to the European TV animation industry.

The Winners of 2018

Broadcaster of the Year: YLE (Finland)
Producer of the Year: Folimage (France)
Distributor of the Year: 9 Story Distribution International (Ireland)

Coaching Programme

CARTOON encourages young talents to develop their own projects. The “Coaching Programme” is a unique training initiative to enlighten a group of students to the world of the animation industry and present challenges related to project launches. Students and teachers attended the programme from 10 training schools in the Region and 3 Finnish animation universities.

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“Marnie’s World”: a film by active German twin directors http://animationweek.uk/marnies-world/ Mon, 20 Aug 2018 09:18:21 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7695 Marnie’s World is a 3D CGI animated family film of a pampered housecat, Marnie, with a great interest in crime films, in which one day finds herself away from home and encounters very funny animal friends along the way. We could hear from Christoph Lauenstein about Marnie’s World before his ...

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Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein are Academy-Award winning (for an animated short Balance (1989)) twin animation directors, screenwriters and producers. Surprisingly, they directed two feature films at the same time, Luis & the Aliens (2018) and Marnie’s World (2018), in which the latter of the two films was premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2018.

Marnie’s World is a 3D CGI animated family film of a pampered housecat, Marnie, with a great interest in crime films, in which one day finds herself away from home and encounters very funny animal friends along the way. We could hear from Christoph Lauenstein about Marnie’s World before his speech at its world premiere in Annecy.

Synopsis

Marnie is a spoiled house cat, treated like a princess and getting everything she wants. She loves eating, sleeping and watching her favourite crime series Magic Ohura. One day Marnie was kicked out of her comfortable life and had a big problem: She has never been outside before, and she only knows the real world from weird television series.


Interview with Christoph Lauenstein

Animationweek: How did the project start?

Christoph Lauenstein: It all started about 12 years ago, when we did not yet think on making long animated feature films. In these years, we were producing a lot of commercials with the techniques of clay animation and puppet animation. The German city of Bremen wanted us to create some short animated spots showing the four animals from the brother Grimms’ fairytale The Musicians of Bremen, which is the town’s landmark.

We had a lot of freedom, so we decided to do something that doesn’t look too clean and that has some roughness. We created four clay animals: the donkey, the rooster, the cat and the dog, and made 10-second long clips for each of them, showing them singing badly in a casting show.

Christoph Lauenstein: Everybody loved these roughly built creatures, and we started thinking: “Why not change our career into making animated feature films? How about making a feature film with these four unusual animals?” We started writing a screenplay, loosely based on the brother Grimms’ fairytale The Musicians of Bremen. It took us some time to get involved in this brand-new kind of work, and of course we had to learn a lot about storytelling. Fortunately, we got a lot of support from the German script consultant Oliver Schütte. Soon, we realized that we truly love creating ideas and telling stories.

In the following years, we wrote several scripts, not only for Marnie’s World, but also for other projects. We were offering these projects to different production companies, hoping that maybe one of them some day will be a feature film that will go into production. But one day, suddenly, two of our projects went into production… at the same time. Luis & the Aliens and Marnie’s World.

Animationweek: How did you and your brother manage two different big projects at the same time? I would like to know the difficulties you two faced during the two big projects.

Christoph Lauenstein: It was not our plan to do 2 films at the same time. Of course, my brother Wolfgang and I wanted to start with one project, working together as directors on it. But now we had to separate ourselves. One had to be the director for each project. Wolfgang focused on Luis & the Aliens and I did the main direction of Marnie’s World.

Animationweek: What have you learned from the other film that you’ve applied to this film?

Christoph Lauenstein: Because both productions were happening simultaneously, there was not enough time to learn from both films. Anyway, the production was totally different.

Luis & the Aliens was made by a very experienced production team, which did a lot of animated feature-length films in the past. It was a very tight production schedule, which is not always nice for directors. Directors generally want to have more time for their creative work. But for the production, being fast is important to keep it economic, and of course we understood that.

Fortunately, we had much more time for the production of Marnie’s World. The main challenge was to bring everything together that came from Germany and from our Belgium co-production partner (Modeling, Compositing and Rendering) and our Indian co-production partner (Animation).

Animationweek: What do you think makes the film Marnie’s World special?

Christoph Lauenstein: I think one point is that the design of the main characters doesn’t look like typical CGI animals. They still look similar to our first rough hand-made clay animation figures. So, I think you can still feel the spirit and the special charm of puppet animation in this movie. For me, it doesn’t matter if the animation is hand-made or CGI, it should be something special. This is one important thing.

Also, the storytelling in Marnie’s World is special as well. Luis & the Aliens is a very mainstream comedy: fast-paced, simple to direct, funny, and more for kids. Marnie’s World should be mainstream as well, but it was important for us to add some poetic elements and adult humor. Marnie’s World is not as fast-paced; it opens more like a kaleidoscope, cross-cutting the stories of the animals and humans living in the world at the same time.

Animationweek: The film had a lot of overlapping stories from different characters. How was the script managed?

Christoph Lauenstein: Marnie’s World is a world full of weird characters. In this world, nothing is what is seems to be. Writing a script with the many main characters was quite complicated. We had to find a good balance among all their stories.

To give this world enough space for creating a nice and poetic atmosphere, we decided not to tell a simple story that is just going forward fast. We wanted to show the world of all characters throughout the film. That means that we had to find a slower tempo for the film, of course with some changes in rhythm from time to time, such as with the fast car-chase scene.

Animationweek: Please let us know some insights on the look development.

Christoph Lauenstein: Because the main characters’ design looks more like puppets  instead of typical CGI animals, the human characters in the film had to look a bit puppet-like as well to match with them. Especially their eyes had to be more puppet-like.

In terms of the sets, our German art director Conny Freche, who lives in a place similar to the rural universe of this film, shot a lot of photos and drew colour illustrations to create the nice, warm-hearted, early-autumn sceneries for the film. Actually, the village with all its details was not a typical German village because it was important for us that the landscape and the village could be located anywhere.

Animationweek: What differences are there between working on a feature film, and making commercials and short films?

Christoph Lauenstein: Huge difference. You have to make a lot of compromises when you make a feature film because everyone in the big team has different ideas in mind. You have to learn how to communicate your own vision, and if necessary, how to compromise.

In producing short films and commercials we often worked in tiny small teams. Sometimes only my brother and I did everything by ourselves. It is a lot of work for two people, but it is much easier regarding communication.

So, learning to communicate with a lot of people was the biggest problem for us in making a feature film. But I think we managed it quite well.

Animationweek: In terms of storytelling, what differences did you find between feature films and shorts?

Christoph Lauenstein: We had to learn that there are a lot of strict rules in the storytelling for feature films. For us, there were a lot of important things to find out on how the story should work, how the drama should be with the timing of the movie, and so on.

Making our very own artistic short films is totally different. We are completely free in making a short film. When we made our short film Balance, nobody told us anything that we have to do, hence there was no compromise in it, and it was great.

Regarding to the storytelling for the feature films, the main thing we needed to consider was that animated films in Europe are mostly films for kids. It’s okay for us. But in our movies, we tried to create some nice humor that interests adults as well, like the black humor we used here and there. Kids don’t understand those kinds of humor, but who cares. Kids are used to not understanding everything, so that it is not a problem. It’s not easy to bring both together, but that’s what we wanted to try.

Animationweek: What will be the next projects from the Lauenstein brothers?

Christoph Lauenstein: We have some very nice ideas for our following feature films. We learned so many things in our very first two projects, and we can’t wait to start a new production.

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David Silverman on “The Simpsons” http://animationweek.uk/david-silverman-on-the-simpsons/ Mon, 13 Aug 2018 09:11:22 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7677 The Simpsons is without a doubt one of the most well-known globally and longest-running animated American TV series in history. David Silverman has served as one of the backbones of the series, not only working as one of the major animators from the beginning, but also directing many episodes of ...

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The Simpsons is without a doubt one of the most well-known globally and longest-running animated American TV series in history. David Silverman has served as one of the backbones of the series, not only working as one of the major animators from the beginning, but also directing many episodes of the TV series, as well as the critically acclaimed The Simpsons Movie.

We could have a precious opportunity to interview with David Silverman in Stuttgart, Germany, during FMX 2018. He kindly told us about his ongoing long creative journey with the great animated sitcom. You can find plenty of behind-the-scenes information of The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie. We are very happy to deliver this special interview to you.

Interview with David Silverman

Animationweek (AW): We would like to go back to the beginning of The Simpsons. How did you start work on The Simpsons?

David Silverman: When I started work on The Simpsons, I was working as a freelance animator and illustrator. Not long before I got out of UCLA in 1984, I had been going to one thing to the other freelancing. I found I was getting more illustration work than animation work, and I was beginning to consider to just stop working in animation altogether for a while and concentrate on illustrating. Not that I would quit it, but I was really thinking seriously of doing that.

I’d just finished a film called One Crazy Summer (1986) that was directed by Savage Steve Holland, and Bill Kopp directed the animation. Bill and Steve were all from CalArts. One of the other animators on that little short production was Wes Archer, who has done freelance work for Klasky Csupo, and gotten the bid, the contract if you will, for The Tracey Ullman Show (1987-1990), and we didn’t know Tracey Ullman, we haven’t heard of her before, but we had heard of Matt Groening. This came about in early of 1987 through Wes, and Wes got myself and Bill Kopp involved. I almost was not involved, because they had originally budgeted for 3 animators, and realized they didn’t have enough money for 3 animators, and so we were back down to two.

They started on March 9th, 1987, and they called me on Tuesday saying “we really need your help!”, because they were not actually starting on Matt’s work, they were starting on M.K. Brown’s work. Short-lived thing called Dr. N!Godatu (1987), and her work was much more difficult to do, so I came in and started helping out. I thought I was going to be here for two weeks to help out, but Gábor Csupó saw my work and said that it was really great, he decided that he did have enough money for three animators, because they were running over. Every second they were over, they got an extra… whatever, so they had more than enough to afford another animator, so that’s how I got involved. Ta da~! (laughs)

AW: What were the most important contributions you have made to the Simpsons series?

David Silverman: Oh, gee… I don’t like to boast! (laughs) Firstly, working with Matt Groening and Sam Simon, and later Jim Brooks, and a big group effort, did the opening title sequence design. I think I contributed a lot to the sense of performance, particularly with Homer, because I did a lot with Homer’s more gregarious performances. There was an episode called Blood Feud, and Homer had this great run of: “Marge, you’re my wife, and I love you very much, but you’re living in a world of make-believe! With flowers and bells and leprechauns, and magic frogs with funny little hats!” Dan Castellaneta went into this very funny voice reading, and I thought it was hilarious, so I just went for it. Further that we had really taken Homer, further than the animation budget seem to say that we were allowed to do, and we said “Ah screw it, we’re just going to go for it anyhow!”

Then there’s also a letter-writing scene, where Homer is sending to Mr. Burns an all-sarcastic letter, and again, that was fun acting.

So it started with that, and I started getting “Oh, could you do Homer saying you’re living in a world of make believe? Could you have Homer skipping in the Land of Chocolate?” For the Land of Chocolate sequence, I was the supervising director at this point, and I had a great deal to do with it, because I took over the boarding of it. I thought that the original board artists had something that was more or less a parody of The Sound of Music (1965), and I thought “Well, let’s not do a parody, let’s do something that some people may want to parody us for someday, so we should just do something original.”

I think a way of drawing the characters, a way of their performances, we all had something to do with it. Wes Archer certainly did. Rich Moore, when he became a director, and certainly Brad Bird, so I think I had a hand in that. They gave me a lot of credit for a lot of great things, and they love my episodes, so I ended up directing The Simpsons Movie (2007). I must’ve done something right!

Well, Jim Brooks also credits me of giving him at least the energy to make it a series. I don’t know if I gave him the idea per se, I would assume Matt had always wanted to do it. But I think if nothing else, he tends to think that I had suggested it at a party where I was pretty drunk (which is surprising that I would get drunk at a party!). Everytime he tells the story, I’m a little drunker, so I guess it makes for a funny story!

I remember saying to him that I’m glad we have a chance to do some really adult animation on a prime time show. I think I may have gone on about how there hasn’t been anything really animated on prime time since the days of The Flintstones (1960-1966). I might have suggested that this could be a series, I don’t know. But it was early on, it was actually probably at the first Tracey Ullman party, which was April 19th 1987, which was the first time The Simpsons bit aired on the show. It was three episodes into it, the first few of them had Dr. N!Godatu, the M.K. Brown stuff, then it was The Simpsons.

AW: What were the most memorable moments for you during your time at The Simpsons so far?

David Silverman: There had been some great moments. Speaking of the Land of Chocolate routine, I remember reading that script, and laughing so hard that I nearly fell out of my chair. It was just about Homer imagining himself in the Land of Chocolate, skipping after chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow trees. I guess when I read that, I saw it in my mind and I just laughed really hard. The idea of him skipping away.

After the third season, Wes Archer wanted to leave the show for a while, so he got on the loudspeaker and was basically saying his farewell, but he had his hilarious, kind of not-serious, but sarcastic rant. Wes was basically dissing everybody, but in such a hilarious way. That put me on the floor.

Matt Groening and I used to go to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival together, and we talked about an idea of The Simpsons in New Orleans, but we never got around to it. Last year in March, I pitched this idea to the show runner, Al Gene, and I had a hook on it that involved the nephew of Bleeding Gums Murphy, and Al said: “Oh that is great! When can you write it up?” And I said that I haven’t written an episode before! Al suggested that I should partner up with somebody. I said “sure”, and I got involved with Brian Kelley. It’s been very big, very popular, certainly very popular in New Orleans, but it’s been a popular episode.

AW: We would like to ask you about your career. How were you able to become a director of the series?

David Silverman: Well, it’s a very old expression, but it’s true: Luck is opportunity plus preparedness. When I had the opportunity to work on The Simpsons was on The Tracey Ullman Show, when nobody really paid attention to it. Wes Archer and I really dived in, just trying everything we could to make it good, be experimental and do weird things, and so forth. I guess we both proved ourselves. So when it came to the series, they just looked at us and asked if we can direct, and we said “Yeah, we can direct!” We were basically co-directing the shorts, and I think they knew that, so they thought: “Well, they did a good job with that, so let see what happens…” And that’s what happened. We were going to try directing, and it can either work out, or it won’t work out.

If my show didn’t come out well, they were like: “Well, if David’s show doesn’t come out, we’re going to pull the plug, and that’ll be it, and we’ll never bother with The Simpsons again as a serious show.” So it was literally all hanging on my episode. Maybe that’s why they like me… (laughs)

AW: What were the most important aspects for you when directing?

David Silverman: Well, really understanding the point of the story, and really staging with an eye on presenting the humor in the best way possible, and keeping that in mind as you go along, from point to point, sequence to sequence, and then within the sequence, within the scene, trying to keep that in mind. Occasionally, when you can, see if there’s anything that can reoccur, see if there’s anything to emphasize, story points or thematic points, or something like that. Anything that emotionally, or even physically repeat, in the story that would, not really duplicate, but somehow echo.

Especially on The Simpsons, making sure the comedy is timed and staged properly, and simple things like: Keeping everybody focused on the punchline, don’t step on the punchline with extraneous performances that drag on the punchline, don’t cut on the punchline, like I still see some people doing. But also, making sure the emotional performances reflect and support the joke, and don’t get in the way of the joke. Also, it’s about the emotion of the scene, and making sure the performances reflect that.

And also, make sure that your artist understands, because when doing something that doesn’t really work, try to express that and why it doesn’t work, so hopefully they can get some value out of it, and hopefully I get some value out of it, because I learn something new from the artist, and also in a way that I haven’t considered, and I think it’s much better. The other thing I look forward to is getting more knowledge from the people I am working with, and seeing what they have to present.

AW: We would like to ask you about the Treehouse of Horror episodes. They are quite a fun change-of-pace to the more typical episodes. So, please let us know your experience directing some of the episodes, and how you find it compares to the typical The Simpsons episodes.

David Silverman: There are always The Simpsons episodes that you can do a lot of great cinematics, particularly in Treehouse of Horror, because you’re often parodying certain films that had a signature look or have an iconic scene, something like that. It’s always fun to replicate that. But also, they’re far more difficult, because they usually involve three times the amount of design work, because each story will be very different, especially as we got along in later seasons.

There was an episode where Homer clones himself, and it wasn’t so bad, because there wasn’t a lot of design, just a lot of work with a lot of Homers. Actually, it was a pretty simpler one, and the only one that was really difficult was The Island of Dr. Hibbert, where every one of the backgrounds had to be all new, the characters all had to be redesigned, and so forth. But typically, you had three times the amount of design work.

But, they’re fun because you get to play with them and the characters get to perform in different genres, and usually one that you had some connection to, from a filmmaker’s point of view, like “Oh, this would be a great parody of Bram Stoker’s Dracula“. I know Mike Anderson had a great time parodying all these Hitchcock films, like a parody of Strangers on a Train (1951).

The one I enjoyed the most was Treehouse of Horror IV, that included the episodes The Devil and Homer Simpson, Terror at 5½ Feet and Bart Simpson’s Dracula, and the episode also had a parody of the TV show called Night Gallery (1969-1973) hosted by Rod Serling, which now nobody knows what the hell we’re talking about (laughs), but it works! The thing is that it actually works even though you don’t know what it is about. With Bart just walking through saying “paintings…”, “life is images rendered in colorful goop”, which I believe is a Conan O’Brien line. It all still works.

AW: I like to ask you now about The Simpsons Movie, which of course is such a huge thing for The Simpsons. What was your vision for the film?

David Silverman: I was trying to get it done on time. That was my vision! (laughs)

It was interesting because I was more involved with the story on that, more than the show, because Jim Brooks wanted me to be in the rewrite room, for nothing else than if something were to pop into my mind. I would say this: I wanted to do something in widescreen, in 2.39, which is CinemaScope widescreen. At the time, the show was on 1.33 aperture, 4:3 ratio, and so that’s what inspired me. I remember looking at older CinemaScope films because they were very beautifully staged. I needed something that had a lot of characters in it, because there were often a lot of characters on the screen. I particularly looked at Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), because that was one of the great John Sturges, well-staged. It was almost like a play, very interesting compositions of characters. I looked at Lawrence of Arabia (1962) again. I also looked at It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), because that was a comedy that often had ten people on the screen at the same time. And often shot in a proscenium way to present everybody. I thought that was a very useful thing to look at.

So that was where I started from, keeping an eye on making it much more cinematic than we do on the show, keeping every shot had to be cinematic basically. In the show, you try your best to render every shot with a great deal of attention, but there’s only so much time. I at least pick my main shots in an episode, thinking these have to really work, and I can let the other ones just be the service to do the job, because you don’t have the time. If these work, then everything else will work, high tide floats all boats. But with the movie, every shot had to be awesome, so that was the other consideration.

We were moving so fast, so I had sequence directors working underneath me and working with me, really, and so that took a lot of the pressure off too. We started boarding in the beginning of 2006, and we had to stop, all pencils down, at the beginning of June, 2007. That’s not a lot of time, it’s a little less than a year and a half, to do the film from board to color.

AW: How did you find the transition from directing an episodic series to directing a movie?

David Silverman: I think it’s just communicating with everybody. There was also the challenge in logistics, because we had two studios in LA working on it, Film Roman and Rough Draft Studios, so that was hard. We also had a group working on the Gracie Films lot, doing the main storyboarding, just so they can react fast, with great nimbleness, to Jim Brooks and Al Gene with what they wanted to change at a drop of a hat. So I had to spend a lot of time at three locations, and that got to be grueling. I ended up spending more time in the trailer at the Fox lot, because that was where the main work was happening, in terms of getting the story finished and getting the boards right.

Once I got the boards right, the staging was set up with the boards, I could work with the sequence directors and pass that stuff off to them and they would re-board it, and I would see that, and so forth. But that was the challenge, it was the logistics. And also the ticking clock!

AW: As a long-time The Simpsons fans, we felt that the movie was very extraordinary. How did you make The Simpsons Movie feel so special?

David Silverman: I really felt like we dodged a bullet. We were really worried that it wasn’t going to work somehow. We were hoping that it was going to work out, but it was very difficult to do. It was harder than we thought to make a movie out of this show. The format of this show is different to the format of the movie. Even Jim Brooks, who had experience in movies, found that it was a real challenge. But we were just happy when the crowd reacted as well as they did. We have this publicist who was in charge of Fox publicity, and he was just like: “Guys, don’t worry, this film is hilarious. I can make a trailer, and I guarantee that every time I get a laugh from a trailer, it’s an extra $10 million at the weekend box office.” And he was right! We had a huge weekend opening, almost by his prediction.

AW: You have worked on some projects unrelated to The Simpsons. What were the biggest things you have taken away from The Simpsons that have influenced you?

David Silverman: I think, if I were to bring anything to the other projects I did, it would be a little bit of The Simpsons sensibility and The Simpsons sense of humor. The throwaway sense of humor, the unexpected line of dialogue. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I like the sense of performance, because we try to go for a real and honest performance. Matt Groening really wants us to avoid the cliché cartoony poses that people don’t really do, like pointing up in the air, which I always call “Cartoon Vaudeville”, and I would try to say: “Be aware of Cartoon Vaudeville poses! Have somebody do something different with their hands”. You should try doing something subtly different with the finger and hand posing, something that has a more sense of humanity, not just sense of cartoon, with all the moving-around.

It’s probably that, which is what I take away the most from The Simpsons.

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Cartoon Forum 2018: Presenting 86 new TV series projects http://animationweek.uk/before-cartoon-forum-2018/ Wed, 01 Aug 2018 08:56:42 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7609 1. Presenting 86 new TV series projects From 10th to 13th September 2018, the 29th Cartoon Forum will be held in Toulouse, France. Cartoon Forum has been the core event for the growth of the co-production and distribution of European animation for television and new media platforms since 1990. It ...

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1. Presenting 86 new TV series projects

From 10th to 13th September 2018, the 29th Cartoon Forum will be held in Toulouse, France. Cartoon Forum has been the core event for the growth of the co-production and distribution of European animation for television and new media platforms since 1990. It has helped finance 734 animation series, funding over 2.5 billion EUR since its inception. The organizer, CARTOON – European Association of Animation Film, announced that about 1000 sector professionals will have the opportunity to discover 513 hours of animated series content that have original stories and innovative visual material this year.

Projects selected from 21 countries

CARTOON also announced that 86 projects from 21 countries have been selected for pitching at Cartoon Forum 2018. France leads the selection with 28 projects, followed by UK with 9 projects, Germany with 8, Belgium with 7 and Spain with 6 projects. Two Canadian projects, Jax – Merlin’s Lineage and The Galactic Postman, and one Korean project, Wonderful ThumThum, will be presented as an extension of CARTOON‘s collaboration with Canada and South Korea during Cartoon Connection events. Furthermore, two projects pitched at the Cartoon Springboard 2017, an event for young talents, were selected for the Cartoon Forum 2018: Tufo and Mum is Pouring Rain.

Country spotlight: Finland

Cartoon Forum will spotlight one country for the third time. Finland will be the highlighted country. Finnish animation, including their three selected projects this year, will appear as a constant thread throughout Cartoon Forum such as the presentations of Finnish studios during Croissant Shows and the Finnish Farewell Dinner & Party.

2. Our picks

We picked 19 projects that caught our attention from the 86 selected projects that will be pitched at Cartoon Forum 2018.


Pre-School

Billy the Cowboy Hamster

  • TV series – 78 x 7′
  • Producer: Dandelooo (France)
  • 2D Computer

Birdie

  • TV series – 52 x 5′
  • Producers: Mutiny Group (Ireland) / elk.Studios (Ireland)
  • 2D Computer

Flo & The Intrepids

  • TV series – 52 x 7′
  • Producers: Ánima Kitchent Media (Spain)
  • 3D Computer

KOMANEKO, the Curious Cat

  • TV series – 52 x 7′
  • Producers: KOMADOLI Studio (France) / Dwarf (Japan)
  • Stop-motion

Odo

  • TV series – 26 x 7′
  • Producers: Letko (Poland) / Sixteen South (United Kingdom)
  • 2D Computer, Cut-out

The Who What

  • TV series – 52 x 7′
  • Producer: Silex Films (France) / Doncvoilà Productions (France)
  • 2D Computer

Woolly Woolly

  • TV series – 52 x 11′
  • Producers: Normaal (France) / Groupe PVP (Canada)
  • Stop-motion

Zouk, the Little Witch with a Big Personality

  • TV series – 52 x 11′
  • Producers: Bayard Jeunesse Animation (France) / Normaal (France)
  • 2D Computer


Children

Chicken Big

  • TV series – 11 x 26′
  • Producers: Bestial Investments (Spain) / GraveRobber Productions (United States of America)
  • 2D Computer

Jax – Merlin’s Lineage

  • TV series – 26 x 22′
  • Producer: Squeeze (Canada)
  • 3D Computer

Paradise Valley

  • TV series – 52 x 11′
  • Producers: GunHil (Iceland)
  • 3D Computer

The Borrowers

  • TV series – 52 x 11′
  • Producers: Blue Spirit Productions (France)
  • 3D Computer

The Fluffy Four

  • TV series – 52 x 7′
  • Producers: Lunanime (Belgium) / Beast Animation (Belgium)
  • Stop-motion

URIKITO 3024

  • TV series – 26 x 22’30
  • Producer: La Chouette Compagnie (France)
  • 2D Computer

We are the Artists

  • TV series – 52 x 13′
  • Producers: EX NIHILO (France) / Folimage (France)
  • 2D Computer


Family

Future Postman

  • TV series – 13 x 5′
  • Producers: AddArt (Greece) / Pangolin Entertainment (Greece) / Heinrich Böll Stiftung Greece (Greece)
  • 2D Computer, Cut-out

Looking for Santa

  • TV special – 26′
  • Producer: Folimage (France) / LUNANIME (Belgium)
  • 2D Computer

The Snores

  • TV series – 52 x 7′
  • Producers: Gertie (Italy)
  • 3D Computer


Young adults/Adults

Deep in the Bowl

  • TV series – 26 x 5′
  • Producers: ZEILT productions (Luxembourg) / WATT frame (France)
  • 3D Computer, Live action

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Behind the story of “Cracké Wacky Island” http://animationweek.uk/cracke-wacky-island/ Mon, 23 Jul 2018 20:05:04 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7583 The presence of Canadian animation is continually increasing in Europe during recent years, and Squeeze Studio Animation in Québec City is one of the most prosperous Canadian studios, which already have global IPs. Cracké, a 3D animated comedy TV series (52 x 1′), is the hallmark of Squeeze Studio and ...

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The presence of Canadian animation is continually increasing in Europe during recent years, and Squeeze Studio Animation in Québec City is one of the most prosperous Canadian studios, which already have global IPs.

Cracké, a 3D animated comedy TV series (52 x 1′), is the hallmark of Squeeze Studio and aired by international distributors, including the three leading global animation broadcasters: Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. The 1-minute short animation series are funny stories of Ed, an ostrich who is eager to brood and protect his eight eggs, with fun, animated slapstick action.

Animationweek heard that the sequel to Cracké is in development from Chantal Cloutier, the head of original creations and producer at Squeeze Studio, during the Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2018. In the sequel series titled Cracké Wacky Island, you can dive into the universe for much longer and with more depth than with the first series. You will be able to meet some new characters living in the same island as Ed in the upcoming new episodes. They will prepare two packages for the audience: a 3-minute series without dialogue, and a 7-minute series with dialogue.


Patrick Beaulieu and Chantal Cloutier

Interview with Patrick Beaulieu and Chantal Cloutier

To uncover more about the awaited series, we interviewed Patrick Beaulieu (Chief Creative Officer and Squeeze’s Co-Founder) and Chantal Cloutier.

Hideki Nagaishi (HN): First, I would like to ask you about Ed, the main character from the first series. How did the character start out?

Patrick Beaulieu: The birth of Cracké goes back a long way. I designed Ed the ostrich back in 2000. Initially, Ed wasn’t created for a specific story, but we could tell just by looking at him that he had personality. With his unique pose and his very empathic look, Ed was already moving audiences. At the beginning of the studio, my partner Denis Doré (Squeeze’s CEO and co-founder) and I were both inspired by this very unique bird and this is why we chose to use Ed for the creation of our first original creation. Our objective was to build a very qualitative slapstick show in 3D, which would be ultra-cartoony and inspired by the classics of animation like Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. We started building Ed’s story. For me it was important to be inspired by real life. As I am the father of 4 young girls, it was interesting to build the story around an overburdened father, taking care of several kids. This is how Ed was born. Inspired by my life as a father, but making it much more challenging for him, as he has 8 eggs to take care of, and no one to rely on (with him being a single dad).

HN: The first series is focusing on funny moments during a minute. In Cracké Wacky Island, you can share scenes with the audience for much more than a minute. What new things do you want or aim to deliver to the audience by using the increased length format of 3 minutes without dialogue, and 7 minutes with dialogue?

Patrick Beaulieu: Cracké was a really cool experience! Bringing the slapstick comedy in 3D with our daddy ostrich was so much fun. But, it was also very challenging to create stories for one minute episodes. For Cracké Wacky Island, we wanted to enlarge the universe, dig into our characters and have the opportunity to go further with them. The 3 and 7 minute episode formats allow us to play with slower, quieter moments, mixed with more complex scenes, which brings new layers of emotion to the series. In this new opus, we are bringing new characters who have the opportunity to speak. The dialogues are a nice addition to our 7 minutes episodes, allowing us to add fun moments between the characters, whilst keeping the visual flavor and universal appeal of the franchise. This opens new doors for us to explore for storytelling.

HN: We would like to hear about the universe of the story (the island) and new characters. How were the idea and design of the island and the characters developed?

Patrick Beaulieu: Our objective was to create a universe with several characters based on a classic segment-based structure. We came up with 5 distinctive teams of characters, who all have their very specific motivations and interactions. Each character is unique, with an explosive personality. To bring them all together, the island was a perfect setting, as it allows them to develop their own stories and go through zany adventures, while sharing the same rich environment.

HN: Could you please briefly introduce the new characters?

Patrick Beaulieu: Cracké Wacky Island is home to the strangest, looniest, most off-beat characters ever collected on the same landmass. These hilarious weirdos couldn’t be more different, but they’re all motivated by relatable and heartfelt objectives.

Ed the ostrich, a single dad, desperately protects his adventurous egg Junior from danger. Percy the reclusive panther does his precise chores, but young hippo Mimi‘s hyperactive “help” is his worst nightmare. Boneface is a pirate skeleton enjoying retirement from life, but Winston & Batty steal his treasure. Twin crocodiles Croc & Chef co-host a cooking show, but the talented Chef tries to prove he’s better than wacky Croc. And the adorable Happy Hedgehogs want to be included in everything that happens on the island.

Ed and Junior

Percy, Mimi and Croc

HN: What do you like most about Cracké Wacky Island?

Patrick Beaulieu: What I like the most in Cracké Wacky Island is the opportunity to create… to leave the beaten track, explore concepts, new ideas that will bring a fresh wind to the audience. I love bringing our characters to life, placing them in unexplored contexts, with visual humor. This world offers ultimate freedom to create. That’s what I like the most about this brand and Wacky Island.

HN: What difficulties did you meet through the development of the project so far, if you have any?

Patrick Beaulieu: Presently, on the creative side, there are no real difficulties to tackle this project. We are excited about this universe and are inspired by the characters. Working every day on Cracké Wacky Island is just real fun, we enjoy every second of it! Since we started the studio, our ultimate goal has always been to tell amazing stories involving unforgettable characters through quality 3D animated content. We want our characters to stand out from the crowd. To make an impact. This series is about that.

HN: Could you please let us know what stage your project is at now? And if everything goes well, when can we enjoy the series?

Chantal Cloutier: We just finished the development phase of the series, going into production shortly. The delivery of a first portion of the series is scheduled for Fall 2019, while the last portion will be completed and delivered by early 2020.

The post Behind the story of “Cracké Wacky Island” appeared first on Animationweek.

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“Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires”; under its skin with Mike Mort http://animationweek.uk/chuck-steel-mike-mort/ Sat, 30 Jun 2018 12:30:53 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7563 Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is a stop-motion action-horror-comedy animated feature filled to the brim with epic stop-motion action sequences, inspired by and paying great homage to the great action movies of the 80’s. Around close to midnight on 12th June, the world premiere of Animortal Studio’s debut feature ...

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Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires is a stop-motion action-horror-comedy animated feature filled to the brim with epic stop-motion action sequences, inspired by and paying great homage to the great action movies of the 80’s.

Around close to midnight on 12th June, the world premiere of Animortal Studio’s debut feature was held in Annecy, France, as a part of Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2018.

After the world premiere, I could hear the story behind the film and the development process from the director of the film Mike Mort. I’m excited to share his words with you.

Interview with Mike Mort

Trayton Scott: Where did the initial idea of the story come from?

Mike Mort: I came up the character Chuck Steel when I was 15 years old whilst still in school. I used to doodle him when I should’ve been listening in class. Around that time, I used to make Super-8 short films with the character. When I went to college, I made more short films. When I got into the industry as an animator and director, I’ve always been trying to make a film with that character. I wrote the feature script in 2001, and I was in Annecy 15 years ago trying to get this film made. I wasn’t getting any luck, because adult animation is quite hard to get funded, since people are still a little nervous about it. It didn’t go anywhere for a number of years, and I parked it on a shelf.

Then around 2012, I was just frustrated with the fact that I wasn’t getting anywhere with my ideas, and I just felt the need to make another Chuck Steel short film, so I decided to make another short film in my basement. I wrote a 15-minute short film script, which was based on the idea of trying to make a 3-act feature structure to show what it could be if it were to be expanded. I came up with a scenario and a basic story that worked in that way. I’ve set about making the models, and I made a cast of about 20 characters and also started making the set, because I’ve been a model maker myself. I’ve just been able to do it on my own, so I just thought I’d be there for the next few years making that film.

Then I got introduced to businessmen, who are now my business partners, who have invested in lots of different things, but are also huge animation fans, particularly in a project I did a few years ago called Gogs. They came on-board and helped me complete the funding of the short film. We had a crew of 6 working on that in my basement for the next 18 months. That worked out really well, and as soon as we done that, we started talking about making a feature film, and I already had the script from 2001, ready to go. I did try to talk them out of doing that script, thinking it’s too big, there’s too many characters in it, it’s too hard, but they wanted to do it. I’m glad they did, because we pulled of an epic stop-motion film, I think.

Trayton Scott: I thought this film was such a great spoof of the 80’s action movies. What elements of those movies inspired you for Chuck Steel?

Mike Mort: I grew up in the 80’s, and I loved all those old Chuck Norris, Steve Segal, and Bruce Willis action movies. Cobra was a real influence, it was such a ludicrous action film, but at the time it was released, it was just a straight-up action film. You watch it now, and you would just laugh.

I began re-watching these films when I had the idea for the short film. I would look and notice how they were lit, and they were lit in a way that there is a lot of shadow, with little bits of light in the darkness, and I thought this was actually quite easy to achieve on a small budget. You can create the same atmosphere with minimal actual set builds, and it’s all about the look of the film, the lens flares, the little camera moves, things like that which make it feel authentic, and are easy to achieve now with software.

I researched all those films again and I try to put as much of them into the short film as I could, because when I started the short film, I thought that would be the end of it. I would just do another short film and leave it there, but I got lucky with meeting my business partners, and here we are now with the feature film.

Trayton Scott: What was the most difficult part in your whole journey of making the story?

Mike Mort: For the feature film, the hardest part was the sheer scale of what we were trying to do. I think we got a thousand more shots in this film than any other stop motion film.

We had to make those stylistic choices and have lots and lots of small shots in the film, which is hard to achieve in animation because of the setup time. Lighting it, moving the camera, etc., all adds time to your production shoots. Trying to do this film on a budget that’s a lot smaller than other stop-motion films, whilst trying to add more characters and more shots, was the challenge. We are trying to keep that epic scale whilst being an independent movie, really, and trying to come off like we are a big budget film.

Trayton Scott: I thought the film had such great, memorable characters. What was your process in developing them?

Mike Mort: Like I said, the character Chuck Steel was from when I was 15, so it was 30 years of thinking about a character and how he works. Obviously, when I started the character, he was a bit more simplistic. I started to get into learning about writing and script structure, and character development. It came naturally to me through that type of character, because it was so familiar to me and I liked writing dialogue that is ridiculous as well, especially the scenes with Jack and Chuck talking. It in those scenes, it is almost like you are arguing with yourself, in your head. It just flows, you know?

I wouldn’t say there’s tons of character development, since they are such archetypal, clichéd characters, but I just wanted to make them as ridiculous as possible and push the absurdity of those clichés. At the same time, I wanted to give them a little bit of humanity somehow, just through the way the story develops and how they interact with each other, and how they are friends even though they are constantly shouting at each other.

Trayton Scott: The film was so entertaining with a lot of very funny jokes. During the premier on Tuesday, the audience was just roaring with laughter, so what do you think is the best way of integrating such funny gags and jokes into the script?

Mike Mort: A hard question, because when I tend to write, I do mull over scenes for a while, I get little ideas for moments in the film, either action sequences, or just silly lines and ideas for conversations, and sometimes that comes from real life. I try to keep notes of lines that pop into my head, but it’s an organic process, so sometimes you sit there trying to make that dialogue work and it doesn’t happen. Sometimes, you sit there and it just flows. It’s not something I can really explain.

There are also a lot of references to the 80’s as well, so there are jokes in there that people will recognize, or it’d be nods to other films, but I didn’t want to make it too obviously spoofing a particular film. I wanted it to feel like a film from that era, but not necessarily having specific elements from specific films like Lethal Weapon or Die Hard. I didn’t want to do something too reminiscent, just make it stylistically feel like those films.

Trayton Scott: The film is such a spectacle with so much action and gore. How did you accomplish such a dynamic visual with stop motion animation? What was the most difficult technical challenge?

Mike Mort: The action scenes are actually quite fun to storyboard. I love coming up with action scenes and set pieces. In the storyboarding phase, you have to be as detailed as you can, but there was a little bit of freedom on the set to, for example add a little cutaway of an explosion or a bullet, because of the pace of the edit we wanted to make. Because this is an animation, you do have to try to plan that as much as possible, so there was a long storyboarding phase.

The way we created that dynamic live-action feel is to keep the camera moving all the time, so even if we don’t use a motion-control rig for the shot, we do hand-held wobbling in post-production, and we add things like lens flare, dust and dirt, things like that, just to bring it away from stop motion and more into the live-action arena.

The storyboarding phase is a fun phase, but you are meant to go into it without any limits. You just do what you think is going to work, and figure out the problems later.

Actually, one of the hardest things in the film are the dialogue scenes. The puppets had basically a solid skull with a Plasticine skin, and you have to take the head off, sculpt the lips in, and put the head back on, for every frame. I only did it this way because it’s the way I know how, and that’s a really long way of doing it. Nobody else does it like that anymore, because it’s stupid (laughs).

But we did it because stylistically we didn’t want it to look like replacement mouths and replacement heads, because we didn’t have the budget to do the ultra-slick facial replacements like in Laika Entertainment. That requires such a long period of pre-production and rapid prototyping and all of that. We just didn’t have access to that, so the work ended up being done in the shot by the animator.

It was the one thing that slowed down the production down a lot, and it was hard for people to sometimes do. It’s a particular skill. In hindsight, we will try and find a quicker way of doing that next time.

The actual fighting and action scenes… They are no more challenging than most other stop-motion shots. In fact, there is a benefit to them because they are short. A long stop-motion shot can go wrong in the middle, and you have to go back and fix it. With an action shot, it can sometimes be 12 frames long, and you can get through that quite quickly. You know in the edit that you are going to shake the camera a bit and add motion-blur in post-production, so sometimes the flaws in the animation disappear. With that, you can be slightly more forgiving when you’re approving a shot.

You can be ultra-fussy about stop-motion, but it was none of that with some of the short action sequences. As long as the shot had the right vibe, and I knew it was going to work, we would usually go through with it on the first take.

Trayton Scott: There were a lot of impressively gory scenes of characters with melting skin all the way to the bone. How was that achieved in stop-motion?

Mike Mort: For the melting scenes, most of our human characters we stylistically needed to have Plasticine faces on them, so they would have that life to them. For the villains, as soon as they became a creature or a trampire, we went to a latex skin, which was painted with acrylics for it to look like the 80’s style of prosthetics and monster effects from that era. And that was a stylistic choice.

When it came down to the melting scenes, we would have the trampire puppet or the creature be latex for most shots. As soon as we got to a shot where it needed to melt, it would be replaced by a version that was basically a skeleton, with a skin on top of it that was made from meltable red wax that is painted with acrylics quite thickly, and that would yet create another layer of skin.

For each frame you are trying to animate this character, you would put a heat gun or a hairdryer onto it and it would slightly melt. You would take the frame as it’s melting, and then take the heat away so it wouldn’t melt too quickly. It was quite hard to judge whether it’s too much, and whether to take it away. The painted skin would actually sag and look like skin, revealing the red melted blood underneath. Once that fell off, it revealed the skeleton sculpt that was there, so it was like a three-layered thing.

As you can see in the film, a lot of those melting shots are quite quick, because you can only control that stuff so far, because it is actually melting frame-by-frame. But there’s no CGI with it. We did add smoke coming off and blood spraying coming out of eyes in post-production, but the whole thing was a stop-motion meltdown.

Trayton Scott: There was an impressive variety of trampire characters. We would like some insights on the pipeline of designing, fabricating, and rigging a puppet.

Mike Mort: The creature and character designs I did myself during the pre-production. One of my favorite things to do is character designs, so I can just sit down with a pen and come up with a hundred trampires, a hundred tramps, two hundred crowds, and so on. That was during the pre-production phase, and I really enjoyed that.

Then that goes to our construction team, or our puppet team. If our character were human, they would be sculpted with Plasticine, and if they were trampires, they would be with latex. Each one was with a ball-and-socket armature. We didn’t use any wire armatures because we knew they were going to break, so we had to find a reasonable way of doing full armatures for 425 puppets, which is a lot to get through.

We built 5 or 6 body shapes, from tall to short, fat to thin, females and males, and they were cast in a foam material, All the heads were different, but the bodies were variations of these shapes. The hands were interchangeable pieces of silicone that could come out. The shoes were latex slip-on skin things, which were durable. A lot of times, when you use foam latex or silicone, they can tear, but liquid latex is quite durable, so they would last the entire shoot, usually. Whenever we can use liquid latex, we did.

The costumes were handmade after the foam bodies were made.

Trayton Scott: What was it like working with Joris de Man on the score?

Mike Mort: I met Joris on a short film, because I played a game called Killzone 2, and I heard the music thinking “Wow, this is really great music for a game”, and I looked at the credits and made a note of his name. I looked him up, and it turned out that he is married to an animation producer I worked with years ago, and he is based in the UK, so I rang him for the short film.

He did such a good job with just digital instruments that sounds like a real orchestra, and I think he is a genius for getting such an authentic 80’s score. Luckily on this film, we were able to record it with an actual philharmonic orchestra in Prague, so Joris has been key to this film feeling like a genuine 80’s film.

I really hope he gets to do more films on the back of this, because he’s such a good composer, and we will be definitely be working together on the next one.

Synopsis

It’s 1986, and Chuck Steel is ‘the best God damn cop on the force’ according to his boss, Captain Jack Schitt. But even this maverick, renegade, loose cannon, lone wolf, cop on the edge who doesn’t play by the rules has his work cut out for him when the Governor of LA decides to reduce the licensing hours for clubs and bars, triggering a sudden, inexplicable spate of high profile assaults in the city.

The attacks all have one thing in common, a crime scene covered in blood but with no sign of the victim. When the latest victim manages to survive an attack, Chuck visits her in hospital and is confronted by a crazed old man who introduces himself as Abraham Van Rental. He warns a disbelieving Chuck that an evil scourge is about to descend on the city of Los Angeles – the scourge of the TRAMPIRES – a mutated hybrid of vampire and tramp…

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Warner Bros. Presents: A Look Ahead http://animationweek.uk/warner-bros-presents-a-look-ahead/ Wed, 20 Jun 2018 07:48:02 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7544 Warner Animation Group (WAG) and Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) held a program titled “Warner Bros: A Look Ahead” on 11th June during the Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2018, and gave a look at 4 exciting upcoming titles: Looney Tunes Cartoons, Teen Titans Go! To the movies, The Lego® Movie ...

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Warner Animation Group (WAG) and Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) held a program titled “Warner Bros: A Look Ahead” on 11th June during the Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2018, and gave a look at 4 exciting upcoming titles: Looney Tunes Cartoons, Teen Titans Go! To the movies, The Lego® Movie 2: The Second Part, and Smallfoot. During the presentation, they uncovered some sneak-previews and clips of the 4 titles. It seemed like they definitely succeeded capturing the full attention of the audience and raised their expectations for their releases by the quality of their works shown.

Looney Tunes Cartoons

Presenter: Peter Browngardt (executive producer)

The first title introduced at the program was a revival of the legendary cartoon masterpiece, Looney Tunes, and it will be titled Looney Tunes Cartoons. Peter’s primary vision of the project was to bring the “Looney” back into the “Tune”.

He showed very expressive concept drawings of characters like Bug Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig by the cartoonists in the team. One innovative idea of the show is that it will be a very cartoonist-driven series. Cartoonists can create a drawing that can inspire a gag, or even an entire full cartoon. He scouts social networking service Instagram for new cartoonists to join the project. He also fully emphasized to the artists the importance of drawing with form, and showed model sheets of Looney Tunes Cartoons characters that included form breakdowns.

He showed an animatic of one of the episodes: The Curse of the Monkey Bird. The audience was roaring with laughter throughout the animatic, and we felt the whole thing was really pushed to the edge as much as possible, and there is no doubt that audience felt like it contained the spirit of the original cartoon series.

Each cartoon will vary from one to six minutes in length, and they will produce 1,000 minutes of all-new Looney Tunes Cartoons animation that will be distributed across multiple platforms – including digital, mobile and broadcast – in 2019.

Teen Titans Go! To the movies

Presenter: Peter Rida Michel (director and producer)

From the globally popular DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network’s animated TV series, Teen Titans Go! will have its first feature film. In this movie, the Teen Titans notice that every superhero has their own movie – except their own.

You can expect a much more theatrical experience to this film over the TV series. Peter particularly noted that in the original TV series, the backgrounds were done with vector graphics in Adobe® Illustrator®. In the new featured film however, the background will feature more hand-painted backgrounds with a much more dramatic composition.

He also mentioned that the film will have a large emphasis on the music, featuring a wide variety of music styles, such as EDM and Rock.

Warner Bros. has granted the development team their entire IP library for use in the film, so be sure to expect a lot of cameos.

The new film is set to release on 27th July, 2018, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

The Lego ® Movie 2: The Second Part

Presenter: Jinko Gotoh (executive producer)

Jinko introduced the sequel of the beloved The Lego® Movie (2014). Phil Lord and Christopher Miller handed over the baton to Mike Mitchell to direct the sequel (Phil and Christopher are still taking part in the film project for screenplay writing and producing). Jinko mentioned that one of the characteristics of the film project is the participation of talented female creators such as Trisha Gum (co-director) and Kristen Anderson (art director).

“The LEGO® Movie 2” reunites the heroes of Bricksburg in an all new action-packed adventure to save their beloved city. It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. The battle to defeat them and restore harmony to the LEGO® universe will take Emmet, Lucy, Batman and their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds, including a strange galaxy where everything is a musical. It will test their courage, creativity and Master Building skills, and reveal just how special they really are.

The Lego® Movie 2: The Second Part will be released in February 8, 2019.

Smallfoot

Presenter: Karey Kirkpatrick (director, screenwriter and songwriter)

The very talented Karey Kirkpatrick introduced an original IP to be released as a feature film: Smallfoot. He is the director, screenwriter and songwriter of the film. It is a story about a funny role-reversal of yetis and humans: A yeti, Migo, descends from the mountains, and discovers a creature thought to be a tale of myth by the yetis: A human.

Karey explained that one of the technical challenges was creating realistic snow and fur of the yetis, and a more efficient rendering method was achieved for that. Even so, it takes 200 hours to render a single frame. Then the audience enjoyed a clip from the film, a scene which Karey put a lot of humor into.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. is set to debut Smallfoot in theaters September 28, 2018.

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Cartoon 360 at a glance http://animationweek.uk/cartoon-360-at-a-glance/ Mon, 18 Jun 2018 15:08:17 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7518 The fifth edition of Cartoon 360 was successfully wrapped up at Lille, France on 30th May 2018. 23 animation projects were presented with their diverse transmedia approaches, including AR and VR, which are trending new formats of storytelling in the animation industry. “Next Stop” was awarded the first honor of ...

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The fifth edition of Cartoon 360 was successfully wrapped up at Lille, France on 30th May 2018. 23 animation projects were presented with their diverse transmedia approaches, including AR and VR, which are trending new formats of storytelling in the animation industry.

“Next Stop” was awarded the first honor of the prize among 23 selected projects by La Fabrique des Formats. The award was given to support its prototyping for the first time.

One of the major benefits of presenting projects at Cartoon 360 is the ability to get feedback from industry experts in order to develop your projects further and build your network with the industry. The feedback includes marketing, business models, medium, and the storytelling. All of them are essential in elevating your projects to the next stage.

As Yolanda Alonso, Cartoon 360 director, mentioned in her interview article ( http://animationweek.uk/what-is-cartoon-360/ ), there were many VR and AR projects. Here are some interesting VR and AR projects we picked up from the 23 pitched projects.

VR projects

Dashenka: The Story of a Puppy

It is based on a story of a very famous Czech writer Karel Čapek, who is generally known for sci-fi stories, but this project is based on his non sci-fi story about a dog. The producer Jiri Sádek (COFILM) came from the live-action film industry. They have a skilled partner to develop their VR content at Prague, which specializes in visual effects for Hollywood blockbusters such as Assassin’s Creed.

Experts gave several pieces of advice, such as it could be developed as a TV series for preschools in France, which already had an established market, before developing to VR, as the market for kids is still developing. Also, the potential to develop a good VR animation for kids is well regarded because the project is based on a really good old childrens story.

Dreamin’ Zone

It’s a story of the military zone between North and South Korea. The father of the main character is a soldier, and musicians and animals in the VR film will be identified as soldiers. They will try to use AI to make the visuals of character and background interact with the viewers. The animation will be around 20 minutes long. Their prototype already looks unique and the visuals of universe is in a simple and modern-art style.

Griffin

It is a 10-minute original VR animation of a political and poetic tale. In the story, when soldiers with white scarves appear, Paris loses its culture. It is a story of preservation and promotion of culture and art, and Paris and the Louvre Museum will be in VR. They add a film-grain effect to the surface of the 3D visuals, and it fits well with the story.

An expert suggested this could have success if they make it a traditional 2D animation or graphic novel of the story, as it is a good story. To develop the story in VR, one important aspect to think about is its uniqueness as a VR animation, such as how viewers interact with the story, and VR as a business model is still limited with the size of the potential audience.

Pressure Cooker

It is a comedy drama behind closed doors, which you can enjoy in 20 minutes. We can experience a story of what happens inside a manor house with six main characters. They will make several simultaneous stories in one main story, so that you can enjoy different stories (scenarios) in the same house.

Experts welcomed the project, as it has a good story combined with good visuals, and the production can be managed well technically. They suggested developing this project step-by-step, and not to use the whole potentially high budget in one stretch. It would be more feasible if they start creating one content to a certain level with an affordable cost and test it with audience, and then they further find an audience and platform they will focus on.

Half a Life

It is a VR project as one of transmedia approaches of an animated documentary film to deliver the reality of LGBTQ refugees. A journalist, Tamara Shogaolu, is leading the project passionately for more than 7 years.

One advice from an expert is to present different issues in the right order for the audience to be able to follow it more easily. For marketing, it would be worth considering developing the content for YouTube or as a Podcast to get connected with audience in a more cost-effective way. It was also suggested to check some good 360 VR documentary installations for her reference.

AR Projects

Ella, Oscar & Hoo

Ella, Oscar & Hoo is an TV animation series and it is a story of two children, Ella and Oscar, and a cloud character “Hoo”, which is good for learning social emotions. They showed an attractive idea of an AR app for smartphones and tablet. If children can see the poster or book of Ella, Oscar & Hoo through a smartphone or tablet by using the app, they can play a short game to make Ella, Oscar and Hoo smile, which includes some animations.

An expert asked how to monetize the AR app and continually release content for it. The expert suggested a monthly subscription business model for the monetization, and as for continually releasing new content, the team can make use of their animation scenes from the TV series for the AR app, so it wouldn’t be difficult.

Globozone

An AR project based on their TV series was presented. The TV series is created with Unity, so that they can utilize all visual materials of the TV series to their transmedia contents such as an AR app and video game. The visuals and length of each TV series episode demonstrated a good compatibility and natural fit to be enjoyed with smartphone or tablet. For example, a funny coffee machine in the first episode in TV series can appear into your real office through AR.

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Annecy 2018: Award Winners http://animationweek.uk/annecy-2018-award-winners/ Sun, 17 Jun 2018 19:42:45 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7484 The 42nd Annecy International Animation Film Festival announced the 2018 award winners during the Closing Ceremony on Saturday 16th June. Feature Films SHORT FILMS TV and Commissioned films GRADUATION FILMS ANIMATION OFF-LIMITS SHORT FILMS

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The 42nd Annecy International Animation Film Festival announced the 2018 award winners during the Closing Ceremony on Saturday 16th June.

Feature Films

Cristal for a Feature Film

  • Funan
  • Director: Denis Do
  • LES FILMS D’ICI, LUNANIME BVBA, BAC FILMS, WEBSPIDER PRODUCTIONS, ITHINKASIA

Jury Award / Audience Award

  • The Breadwinner
  • Director: Nora Twomey
  • CARTOON SALOON, AIRCRAFT PICTURES, MELUSINE PRODUCTIONS / STUDIO 352

Jury Distinction

  • The Wolf House
  • Directors: Cristóbal León, Joaquín Cociña
  • DILUVIO

SHORT FILMS

Cristal for a Short Film

  • Bloeistraat 11
  • Director: Nienke Deutz
  • LUNANIME BVBA, NEED PRODUCTIONS, WINDMILL FILM, BEAST ANIMATION

Jury Award / Audience Award

  • Weekends
  • Director: Trevor Jimenez
  • PAST LIVES PRODUCTIONS

Jury Distinction

  • Biciklisti
  • Director: Veljko Popovic
  • LEMONADE 3D / KRUPNI KADAR, BAGAN FILMS

“Jean-Luc Xiberras” Award for a First Film

  • Egg
  • Director: Martina Scarpelli
  • MIYU PRODUCTIONS, LATE LOVE

TV and Commissioned films

Cristal for a TV Production

  • PIG: The Dam Keeper Poems “Yellow Flower”, “Hello Nice to Meet You”
  • Director: Erick Oh
  • TONKO HOUSE LLC

Jury Award for a TV Series

  • The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who’s Walking
  • Director: Thomas Sheppard
  • STOOPID BUDDY STOODIOS

Jury Award for a TV Series

  • We Bare Bears “Panda’s Art”
  • Director: Daniel Chong
  • CARTOON NETWORK STUDIOS

Cristal for a Commissioned Film

  • Leica “Everything in Black and White”
  • Director: Mateus de Paula Santos
  • VETOR ZERO / LOBO

Jury Award (Commissioned Film)

  • Mark Lotterman “Happy”
  • Director: Alice Saey

GRADUATION FILMS

Cristal for a Graduation Film

  • Barbeque
  • Director: Jenny Jokela
  • ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART

Jury Award

  • Inanimate
  • Director: Lucia Bulgheroni
  • NFTS – NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL

Jury Distinction

  • Hybrids
  • Directors: Florian Brauch, Matthieu Pujol, Kim Tailhades, Yohan Thireau, Romain Thirion
  • MOPA (SUPINFOCOM ARLES)

ANIMATION OFF-LIMITS SHORT FILMS

Off-Limits Award (tied)

  • Boy Transcoded from Phosphene
  • Director: Rodrigo Faustini

Off-Limits Award (tied)

  • An Excavation of Us
  • Director: Shirley Bruno
  • LE FRESNOY – STUDIO NATIONAL DES ARTS CONTEMPORAINS

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Right before Annecy 2018 : special programs not to miss http://animationweek.uk/right-before-annecy-2018/ Wed, 06 Jun 2018 20:02:06 +0000 http://animationweek.uk/?p=7458 The 42nd Annecy International Animation Festival is quickly approaching and will kick off on 11th June. Annecy again will be filled with various exciting and inspiring programs this year. 220 selected films, world premiers, concert films and unique experiences in virtual reality are all waiting for us. Here are some ...

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The 42nd Annecy International Animation Festival is quickly approaching and will kick off on 11th June. Annecy again will be filled with various exciting and inspiring programs this year. 220 selected films, world premiers, concert films and unique experiences in virtual reality are all waiting for us.


Here are some highlights of special programs from Annecy 2018.

World premiers

Dilili in Paris

[Opening ceremony on 11th June]

The director Michel Ocelot will present the world premier of his new feature film, Dilili in Paris.

Hotel Transylvania 3

The world-exclusive screening of the non-finalised version of the film is going to be screened on Wednesday 13th June at 6:00 pm in the Bonlieu Grande salle.

How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World

The screening of the first footage of  the film will be released on Thursday 14th June at 10:30 am in the Bonlieu Grande salle.

The Incredibles 2

The world premier will be on Friday 15th June at 4:00 pm in the Bonlieu Grande salle.

Other screening events can be found from the link below.

https://www.annecy.org/programme:en:pse

Keynotes

Two Keynote speeches are planned this year.

  • 35 Years of Polygon Pictures : Shuzo John Shiota will offer insight into how Polygon Pictures, a successful Japanese digital animation studio, managed to stay afloat in the rough-and-tumble world of computer animation, by continuing to create engaging stories and original imagery.
  • Keynote with 20th Century Fox Animation’s Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird : 20th Century Fox Animation Co-Presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird will have a discussion about the state of the animation industry and its future in creating compelling entertainment through artistry, storytelling and technology.

Masterclasses

Work in Progress

WIP Features:

  • Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
  • Penguin Highway
  • Playmobil – The Movie (working title)
  • Spider-ManTM: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Spies in Disguise
  • The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily
  • The Crossing
  • The Swallows of Kabul

WIP TV:

  • Becca’s Bunch
  • hello world!
  • 101 Dalmatian Street
  • Radiant

Annecy celebrates Brazilian animation

The Annecy Festival will have a focus on Brazil. Brazilian animation will be honored throughout the week to highlight the country’s cultural energy, especially from a cinematographic point of view.

Annecy Classics

The festival will pay tributes to timeless classic films that are part of a heritage to us.

  • My Neighbor Totoro : It is the 30th anniversary of the film and will have a screening on Wednesday 13th June at 4:30 pm in the Bonlieu Petite Salle.
  • The Prince of Egypt (a digital restored version)
  • Des Cowboys et des Indiens, le cinéma de Patar et Aubier
  • Millennium Actress

There will be a programme of short films with Instrumentarium (CNC programme), Celebrating 60 Years of Nukufilm Studio and Animation in Armed Forces Movies (in partnership with the ECPAD).

Midnight Specials

If you are night-owls and would love to enjoy the evenings with special screenings, the festival offers you a selection of films for the mature audience to enjoy.

Music and Animated Movies

Music is an inseparable part of animation. Several inspiring music events are held during Annecy.

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