Awards Long Shots
Studio: Filme de Papel Director: Alê Abreu Release Date: Jan. 17 (Brazil) Synopsis: A young boy named Cuca living in a remote village in a mythical country sees his father depart on a train to an unknown capital in search of work. The boy is besieged with anguished memories until one night a breath of wind carries him to a distant land. The film won the Best Feature Cristal at Annecy this year. Studio: Plymptoons Director: Bill Plympton Release Date: Aug. 15 (limited) Synopsis: This cynical love story follows beautiful Ella, whose husband Jake is tricked into thinking she has been unfaithful and retaliates with his own affairs. Initially out for revenge, Ella encounters a magician with a magical machine that allows her to to temporarily transport her consciousness into the bodies of Jake’s mistresses. Studio: Production I.G Distributor: Warner Bros. International Director: Mizuho Nishikubo Release Date: Feb. 22 (Japan) Synopsis: A fictionalization of the Kuril Islands dispute, the film centers on brothers Junpei and Kanta growing up on a small northern island under Soviet oppression during and after World War II. Despite the nationalistic struggles of the adults, they befriend a young Russian girl — but they cannot fend off the cruelty and distrust of the world around them for long. Giovanni’s Island won a Special Distinction at Annecy. Studio: Exodus Film Group Distributor: Magnolia Pictures Director: Frank Gladstone Release Date: Oct. 3 (limited) Box Office: $32k Synopsis: A many hued adventure following a group of crayons that come magically to life at night. Yellow, a very timid crayon, accidentally summons two evil unfinished drawings known as King Scrawl and his sidekick Nat, and now the crayons must act fast to save their town before their colors fade. Studio: Summertime Ent., Prana Studios Distributor: Clarius Ent.
Will Finn, Dan St. Directors: Pierre Release Date: May 9 Box Office: $18.7m ($8.5m) Synopsis: Dorothy Gale returns to the land of Oz to help save her old Yellow Brick Road crew and the rest of the kingdom from a megalomaniacal Jester with the help of some new pals, including a China doll princess, a marshmallow man, a wise owl and a faithful old tug boat. Studio: Rover Distributor: Open Road Films Director: Peter Lepeniotis Release Date: Jan. 17 Box Office: $110.3m ($64.3m) Synopsis: When Surly’s selfish scheming gets him banished from the park and he’s forced to survive in the city, the nut store he targets for a delicious heist turns out to be a criminal hang out. Slapstick hijinx uncover a plot by the park critters’ leader, and Surly becomes an unlikely hero just in time for winter. Studio: DisneyToon Distributor: Disney Director: Signe Baumane Release Date: Aug. 22 (Latvia) Synopsis: A powerful, personal exploration of mental illness and heredity, relating the stories of women in Baumane’s family and their struggles, and her own questions about her mental fitness, with surreal and metaphorical imagery. This feature film debut has been entered by Latvia as its Foreign Language Oscar contender.
Todd Wilderman (DreamWorks Animation) Type of Animation: CG Story: This four-minute prelude to Home follows the Boov race of aliens and their leader, Captain Smek, as they search for a hospitable planet to take over. Ran with: Frank Mosvold (Norway) Type of Animation: CG Story: Bendik encounters every child’s nightmare: a monster living under his bed! But when the monster reveals his secret dream of becoming a singer, the boy does all he can to help this unusual beast achieve its goal. Qualifying Win: Best Animation Daisy Jacobs (U.K.) Type of Animation: Story: A unique blend of inventive techniques brings to life this somewhat surreal slice-of-life short, which also took home the graduate film Cristal at Annecy this year. Qualifying Win: Hiroshima International Animation Festival — Grand Prize Mike Ambs, Paul Foyder, Gino Roy, Greg Shewchuk, Whitfield Scheidegger (U.S.) Type of Animation: Stop-motion Story: Presented by Disney, this mini-scale adventure follows an unpainted vinyl figure in search of his lost soul mate who finds himself on a quest that alters the destiny of his entire world. Qualifying Win: — Best Animation Tarik Abdel-Gawad (U.S.) Type of Animation: Live-action/CG hybrid Story: This innovative film is an elaborately coordinated performance — entirely captured in-camera — exploring the synthesis of real and digital space using project mapping on moving surfaces, robots and live actors. Qualifying Win: SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival — Best in Show Ivan Maximov (Russia) Type of Animation: 2D Story: In a seaside village inhabited by odd anthropomorphic creatures, a lone fisherman encounters two eggs about to hatch in a basket. Strangely, a baby elephant hatches and imprints on the fisherman. When the second elephant hatches and their parental figure vanishes, the little creatures search him out to the edges of reality. Qualifying Win: Tampere Film Festival — International Grand Prix Alan Holly (Ireland) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Professional-grade animation lends color and graphic flair to this story of a lost soul stumbling through the city, offering a visual journey through his life’s epilogue until death catches up. Qualifying Win: SXSW — Jury Award for Animated Short Pedro Solís García (Spain) Type of Animation: CG Story: The kid-friendly short centers on the friendship between two special children — Maria, a young orphaned girl, and her new classmate Nicolas, a boy with cerebral palsy. Qualifying Win: Goya Award — Best Short Animation Patrick Osborne, produced by Kristina Reed (Disney) Type of Animation: drawn 2D Story: The story of one man’s love life, as seen through the eyes of his dog and best friend Winston, revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. Ran with: Jerzy Kucia (Poland) Type of Animation: Story: This poetic work is inspired by the relationship between images and music, evoking feelings and seeking out landscape specificity by recounting events that have taken place in a given scene. Qualifying Win: Krakow Film Festival — Golden Dragon for Best Short Film Yoriko Mizushiri (Japan) Type of Animation: 2D Story: A sensuous pastel feast for the senses is stirred as the traditional Japanese futon morphs and lazily stretches to take on the aspects of a range of life’s simplest, most stirring pleasures. Qualifying Win: Anima — Grand Prix
Tor Fruergaard (Denmark) Type of Animation: 2D Story: This twisted coming-of-age tale stars Fabian, whose awkward adolescence is not helped by his domineering mother — a veterinarian who relishes neutering dogs to “calm their urges.” It’s not until feisty Felicia visits the clinic that Fabian gets an idea of what those urges may be. Qualifying Win: Odense International Film Festival — Best Danish Short Piotr Dumala (Poland) Type of Animation: Hand-drawn Story: This confrontational film is an impassioned address to issues of rape culture and violence against women illustrated by a male group’s assault on a bathing party. Qualifying Win: Ottawa International Animation Festival — Grand Prize for Independent Short Iria Lopez (U.K./Spain) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Traditionally animated over silkscreened backgrounds, this coming-ofage tale centers on José, a teenage boy and the only pig in his family. When a new neighbor moves in next door, José begins to come to terms with who he really is. Qualifying Win: New York International Children’s Film Festival — Best Animated Short Cristian Guerreschi (Denmark) Type of Animation: CG Story: A young janitor imagines himself in a high stakes battle in the empty canvas of a cubicle farm after the working stiffs go home. Qualifying Win: Anima Mundi — Popular Jury Yumi Joung (South Korea) Type of Animation: 2D Story: Stark, illustrative, black-and-white characters explore the nature of young, immature love through the device of simple children’s games. Qualifying Win: Grand Prix Jeon Dahee (France) Type of Animation: Hand-drawn and digital Story: The portly, ponderous man on the chair is caught in an existential crisis, doubting the truth of his own existence. Is he merely a self-created illusion, or perhaps an image crafted by others? Qualifying Win: Annecy Cristal Joseph Oxford (U.S.) Type of Animation: Story: This painstakingly crafted “cardboard love story” is as heartrending as it is inventive, telling the story of two box persons, living and loving in their corrugated world. Qualifying Win: Aspen Shortsfest — Best Animation Luc Perez (Denmark) Type of Animation:
Mixed media Story: Abdu, a young Malian, leaves his homeland for a new life in Europe. His journey takes him to the Niger River and the barbed wire of Ceuta, where dreams are confronted by harsh reality. Qualifying Win: FlickerFest — Best Animation Eion Duffy (Ireland) Type of Animation: Story: The lilting jaunt of a children’s storybook takes increasingly morose turns as an optimistic squirrel sets out to find his scarf and tries to help his fellow forest critters along the way. Qualifying Win: San Francisco International Film Festival — Golden Gate Award for Animated Short Brandon Oldenburg, William Joyce (U.S.) Type of Animation: CG Story: It’s Fritz Lang’s Metropolis … for kids! Friends 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 grow weary of their black and white, numbers-only world and set out to create the alphabet and bring in color, creativity and jellybeans. Qualifying Win: Cleveland International Film Festival — Best Animated Short Film
Stephen Irwin (U.K.) Type of Animation: Digital 2D Story: Irwin’s twisted vibrance is in fine fettle for this demented bedtime story, narrated by a fluffy bunny who bears witness to a young girl cleaning up after her parents are brutally murdered. Qualifying Win: Krakow Film Festival — Silver Dragon for Best Short Animation Santiago “Bou” Grasso (Argentina) Type of Animation: Stop-motion Story: This psychological drama centers on a woman whose whole life is dedicated to the care of her dignitary father. Her dismal daily routine is punctuated by the mocking ring of a clock. Qualifying Win: Encounters Film Festival — Animated Grand Prix Gerd Gockell (Germany/Switzerland) Type of Animation: Experimental Story: Pixelation techniques meet monochrome abstract painting in this tightrope walk between the recognizable and the inscrutable. Qualifying Win: Annecy Jury Award for Short Film Kim Ju-im (S. Korea) Type of Animation: 2D Story: A common office chair unravels its legs and goes on a psychedelic vision quest filled with terror and beauty, leading to its transformation into a liberated musical instrument. Qualifying Win: Slamdance — Jury Award for Animated Short
Tibbitt and Mike Mitchell. Feb. 6. Shaun the Sheep Movie (Aardman Animations). While a U.S. distributor has not been confirmed, the woolly little stop-motion hero is popular around the world. Shaun’s first feature outing sends him and his flock into the big city to rescue the hapless Farmer, tricked by Shaun’s mischief into leaving the farm. Written and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, the film features the voices of Justin Fletcher and John Sparkes. Feb. 6 (U.K.) Home (DreamWorks Animation/ Fox). The adaptation of Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday, directed by Tim Johnson, features the voices of Rihanna and Jim Parsons as a human teenager and a banished alien who team up to evade the inept Boov aliens and their leader Captain Smek (Steve Martin). March 27.
B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations
(DreamWorks Animation/ Fox). Directed by Tony Leondis, this supernatural comedy stars Seth Rogen and Melissa McCarthy as intrepid ghost-agents for the Bureau who must use their skills to stop an evil spirit (Bill Murray) and his ghost army and save the world. June 5. Inside Out (Disney-Pixar). Pete Docter takes an interesting detour from traditional animation fare with this psychological story centered on a young girl uprooted from her Midwestern life when her father gets a new job in San Francisco. Her inner emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) strive to help her navigate this new life. June 19. Minions (Illumination/ Universal). The popular henchmen from Despicable Me get their own origins adventure, directed by helmers Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. After failing all their masters through history, the Minions get one last chance with 1960s femme fatale Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and her inventor husband (Jon Hamm). July 10. Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia). Genndy Tartakovsky returns to the world’s spookiest travelodge for more monster mayhem with proprietor Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), hapless human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and the rest of the hotel’s creepy clientele. Sept. 25. Peanuts (Blue Sky/ Fox). Steve Martino directs the firstever CG adaptation of the popular comic, from a script by Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz and Cornelius Uliano. “Here’s where I lean thematically. I want to go through this journey. ... Charlie Brown is that guy who, in the face of repeated failure, picks himself back up and tries again. That’s no small task,” Martino has said of the project. Nov. 6. The Good Dinosaur (Disney-Pixar). Peter Sohn has taken over the reins from concept creator Bob Peterson for this humorous pre-historical tale of a teenage Apatosaurus (Lucas Neff) on a quest to restore peace to his tranquil community with the help of an young human boy. John Lithgow, Frances McDormand, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer and Bill Hader also star. Nov. 25. Kung Fu Panda 3 (DreamWorks Animation/ Fox). Jennifer Yuh Nelson reunites with Po and Co. (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and David Cross) for more “legendary adventures of awesomeness” as the portly hero must face down two epic threats — one supernatural, and one closer to home. Dec. 23. Ratchet & Clank (Rainmaker/CMG). Based on Insomniac Games’ hit video game title, this origin story shows how Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) and Clank (David Kaye) first teamed up as they try to save the Solana Galaxy from Chairman Drek (Kevin Michael Richardson) and the Blarg. Kevin Munroe and Jericca Cleland are directing. TBA. When Marnie Was There (Studio Ghibli). The latest from Hiromasa Yonebayashi ( The Secret World of Arrietty) debuted in Japan this summer, opening at No. 3 and earning audience praise. Based on Joan G. Robinson’s novel, the beautiful 2D animation tells the nuanced story of the relationship between sickly Anna and the mysterious, spectral Marnie. Here’s hoping GKIDS or Disney will opt to bring this Stateside soon. TBA.