Tomm Moore SongoftheSea
Key moment of inspiration: Holidaying in Dingle in the west of Ireland. Becoming reacquainted with the sea life and folklore in that area, I realized both were under threat and, indeed, interdependent to some extent — and that is what got me thinking about the story of Song of the Sea. Toughest challenge in making the movie: After the hassle of financing was over, the biggest challenge was coordinating five co-production partners working together over two years. Pivotal scene: The scene that sums up the film’s combination of gentle humor and magic is when Saoirse finds her selkie coat and goes for a nighttime swim with the seals. It’s also a great example of a dialogue-free sequence that is told purely with color, movement and music. On the state of the animation business: I would say the industry and medium are healthy and exciting right now in general.
Favorite movie or animated character of all time:
Totoro. Career beginnings: I was an after-school and weekend filmmaker as a teenager. I joined the young Irish filmmakers group in my hometown in Kilkenny, mostly to meet girls. Not only did I meet my wife there, I also got a start at filmmaking. Best advice: Show up every day and work on whatever you are passionate about: drawing, writing, whatever. Keep making stuff and the rest will follow.
Favorite movie or animated character of all time: It’s not at the top of many people’s lists, I’m sure, but one of my favorite animated characters of all time is the villian, Mok, from the ill fated Rock ‘n’ Rule movie in the early days of Nelvana in Canada. Career beginnings: My whole career in animation is really due to my love of comics. As a kid I drew my own comic books and was obsessed with film. The combination of comics plus film equaled animation in my mind. And that’s how I ended up at Sheridan College enrolled in their classical animation program. Best advice: Don’t panic. As a first-time director on a huge production, I learned that it’s hugely important to keep a level head. You’re surrounded by incredibly talented folks who will always help you solve the problem if you give them the space and time they need.
Studio: Blue Sky Studios, Fox Animation Distributor: Fox Director: Carlos Saldanha Release Date: April 11 Box Office: $496.7m ($131.5m) Synopsis: Blu, Jewel and their three nestlings return to the Amazon in search of an elusive, wild blue macaw along with their human pals. But Blu must evade the plottings of his old nemesis, Nigel the cockatoo, and face perhaps the most terrifying challenge of all: winning over his father-in-law. Pros & Cons: Despite a strong box-office result, critics gave Blu and Jewel’s return middling reviews. While the film’s colorful, musical, fun-filled spirit made for an enjoyable distraction, many felt the story was too by-the-numbers and fell into the usual sequel traps. Studio: DreamWorks Animation Distributor: Fox Director: Dean DeBlois Release Date: June 13 Box Office: $614.9m ($176.5m) Synopsis: Five years after the first outing, the vikings of Berk are obsessed with the new sport of dragon racing. But Hiccup and Toothless are busy charting unknown lands, and in their adventures discover new dragons and a mysterious rider — and find themselves in the middle of a struggle that will determine the fate of humans and dragons alike. Pros & Cons: Returning audiences were overwhelming pleased with Dragon 2, as were critics wary of The Curse of the Sequel. With a third film planned for the franchise, the Academy might watch and wait to see where Hiccup goes from here before bestowing another nomination. Studio: LAIKA Distributor: Focus Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi Release Date: Sept. 26 Box Office: $82.3m ($46.2m) Synopsis: An orphaned human boy raised by cavern-dwelling Boxtrolls must confront his own dual identity as he works to free his misunderstood family from the clutches of a villainous, socialclimbing exterminator with the help of a plucky rich girl who is starved for attention from her snooty father. Pros & Cons: LAIKA succeeds in offering a refreshingly surreal, impeccably hand-crafted third feature from its hard working stop-motion studio. Critics were somewhat divided on whether the film’s quirky humor and darker turns were a boon or a bust.
Studio: Disney Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams Release Date: Nov. 7 Synopsis: Based on the Marvel comics created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau, Hiro — a young robotics prodigy living in San Fransokyo — and the soft-body helper ‘bot Baymax, created by his late brother, uncover a criminal plot and must pull together a team of inexperienced crime fighters, outfitting them with powerful cybernetic armor in order to solve the mystery surrounding the crime. The Odds: Disney is hoping Big Hero 6 will be an action-focused answer to last year’s winner, Frozen, blending humor, soaring sci-fi effects and hopefully enough of an emotional impact to win over the Academy. Studio: DreamWorks Animation Distributor: Fox Directors: Simon J. Smith, Eric Darnell Release Date: Nov. 26 Synopsis: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are sent on their most epic espionage mission yet when they are contracted by the North Wind — an inter-species task force dedicated to helping animals — to help stop Dr. Octavius Brine’s malicious world domination plans. Pros & Cons: The intrepid Antarctic transplants who stole the show in smash-hit Madagascar finally get their own feature, building on the success of direct-to-video and TV projects. DWA is confident enough in the film to bump it up to the competitive Thanksgiving weekend slot.
ToonBox Ent., Red Director: Bobs Gannaway Release Date: July 18 Box Office: $139.2m ($59.1m) Synopsis: Dusty Crophopper retires from aerial racing and joins up with a team of smokejumpers and high-flying fire fighters to protect the forests around Piston Peak and truly earn his wings.
Palm Springs Shortfest —
Los Angeles Shorts Fest
Alex Grigg (U.K./Australia) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Created as a challenge from the online indie animator group Late Night Work Club, this graphically impactful work shows what happens when a young couple narrowly survive a motorcycle accident, and one finds himself haunted by the other’s phantom limb pains. Qualifying Win: Sydney Film Festival — Yoram Gross Animation Award Péter Vácz (Hungary) Type of Animation: 2D and Stop-motion Story: Rabbit and Deer live happily as roommates and best friends until Deer’s obsession with discovering the key to the third dimension pulls them apart and tests the strength of their friendship. Qualifying Win: Atlanta Film Festival — Animated Short Award Erik Schmitt (Germany) Type of Animation: Live-action hybrid Story: Bruno roams the streets of Berlin full of ponderous questions, searching for the soul of the city behind its many facades — that little something that others might not notice. Qualifying Win: Seattle International Film Festival — Grand Jury Prize for Short Animation Steven Vander Meer (U.S.) Type of Animation: Hand-drawn Story: Hand inked onto over 5,000 salmon-colored index card, this flipbookstyle film showcases the Deadly Sins, intriguing anagrams and the song Aquatic Hitchhiker by Leftover Salmon for a soundly thematic entrée. Qualifying Win: Athens International Film + Video Festival — Animation First Prize Yousif Al-Khalifa (U.K.) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Sonja leads an isolated life as a lonely fishmonger, more at ease with her fish than her customers. Until one day a delivery man turns up who looks like a rainbow trout … Qualifying Win: BAFTA - Animated Short Film Chris Landreth (Canada) Type of Animation: CG Story: The common social faux pas of forgetting someone’s name leads to a mind-bending journey through the subconscious, styled after the classic TV game show Password. Qualifying Wins: Canadian Screen Award Best Animated Short, CineQuest Best Animated Short
Réka Bucsi (Hungary) Type of Animation: 2D Story: A series of hilariously surreal vignettes lampooning the oftenanthropomorphising nature of humananimal relationships build to an expanded view of a strange forest where anything is possible. Qualifying Win: Melbourne International Film Festival — SAE Award for Best Animation Short Film Paul Cabon (France) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Annecy Award-winning director Cabon’s latest is a delightful hodge-podge of action and comedy, incorporating narrative themes from spy movies, supernatural thrillers and his own unique imagination. Qualifying Win: Guanajuato International Film Festival — Best Short Animation Anna Benner, Pia Borg, Gemma Burditt (U.K.) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Three directors using distinct animation styles to tell the same story from different characters’ points of view tackle a session between a psychiatrist, a schizophrenic patient and his mother. Qualifying Win: Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film — Grand Prix Patrick McHale (U.S.) Type of Animation: 2D Story: The inspiration for Cartoon Network’s Over the Garden Wall follows two brothers lost in a mysterious place called the Unknown, a place where longforgotten stories take shape around them as they search for a way home. Qualifying Win: Santa Barbara International Film Festival — Bruce Corwin Award for Best Animation Short Karolina Gusiec (U.K.) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Hand-drawn pencil images scrawl out collections of memories, toying with the very idea of memory, of loss and of internal versus external reality. Qualifying Win: Ann Arbor Film Festival — Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper, Florian Wittmann (Germany) Type of Animation: Story: This graduate film from Filmakademie celebrates the never-ending cycle of deterioration and rebirth, taking it in a new direction as unexpected forces of nature clash with the existing structures of society. Qualifying Win: Los Angeles Shorts Fest — Best Experimental Bernardo Britto (U.S.) Type of Animation: 2D Story: A seemingly inconsequential man is tasked with compiling the definitive history of human existence before the planet blows up. No pressure. Qualifying Win: Florida Film Festival — Best Animated Short, Sundance Film Festival — Short Film Jury Award for Animation
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
(Nickelodeon Movies/ Paramount). The nefarious pirate Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) is searching for the final page of a magical book that will make his evil plan come true. Unfortunately, the page is home to the Krabby Patty secret formula, putting all of Bikini Bottom in danger. Directed by Paul