QUOTE OF THE MONTH
‘It came from sort of no expectations. That it did happen, and that we got to make this under the radar completely on our own terms is really one of the highest points of my professional life.’
‘Anomalisa’ Wins Venice Grand Jury Prize, Distrib Deal with Paramount
The stop-motion animated film Anomalisa won the Grand Jury Prize at the prestigious Venice Film Festival and wowed audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival, making it an immediate awards-season contender.
The film’s reception earned it a deal with Paramount, which is planning a Dec. 30 release in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for Oscar consideration.
Curzon Artificial Eye picked distribution rights for the United Kingdom.
Anomalisa is the first animated project for award-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich and wrote and directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
The animation expertise came from Kaufman’s co-director, Duke Johnson, whose directorial credits include Moral Orel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole, Beforel Orel and the 2010 animated Christmas episode of Community.
The film is produced by Starburns Industries and Snoot Entertainment and was partially funded through Kickstarter. Judge Upholds Amended VFX And Animation Antitrust Lawsuit
A federal judge has rejected visualeffects and animation companies’ motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit claiming the companies conspired to suppress wages and agree not to poach each other’s employees.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said the evidence in an amended complaint suggests “a plausible inference” that the studios — DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures, Blue Sky Studios, Disney, Lucasfilm and Pixar — had agreed not to solicit each others’ workers, shared information about pay practices and
took steps to keep secret the agreement.
The original complaint — filed by lighting artist Georgia Cano, character effects artist Robert Nitsch and production engineer David Wentworth — accuses the studios of suppressing wages since 2004 by refraining from cold-calling employees and sharing news of job offers.
Koh dismissed the lawsuit in April, partly because many claims were brought too late, but said the plaintiffs could file an amended complaint within 30 days. Her most-recent ruling states the amended complaint sufficiently alleges studios tried to fraudulently conceal their conspiracy and that the statute of limitations could therefore be put on hold. Justin Roiland Tweets Tease New Fox Series ‘Solar Opposites’
Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland announced via Twitter that he has a new animated series titled Solar Opposites in development at Fox.
In addition to a character sheet, Roiland tweeted a few storyboard-style sketches and explained the series’ premise: A family of aliens escapes its doomed home world and ends up on Earth living in the suburbs.
The tweets prompted an unhappy but eventually resigned response from Roiland’s partner on the show, Mike McMahan.
It’s not clear what stage the show is in at Fox or when it might air. But given the success of Rick and Morty, fans are already paying attention and waiting for the new show.
Over the Garden Wall ‘Garden Wall,’ ‘Adventure Time’ Win Top Animation Emmy Awards
It was a good night for Cartoon Network at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, as the network won the Outstanding Animated Program for its Over the Garden Wall miniseries and Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program for Adventure Time.
The full list of winners and nominees in animation and VFX categories follows:
• Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance: Hank Azaria for The Simpsons “The Princess Guide”
• Outstanding Animated Program: The Garden Wall
• Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program: Adventure Time
• Outstanding Special Visual Effects In A Supporting Role: American Horror Story: Freak Show • Edward Mordrake, Part 2
• Outstanding Special Visual Effects: Game Of Thrones • The Dance Of Dragons Hayao Miyazaki Plans Japan Theme Park Based on Studio Ghibli’s works
Pseudo-retired animation legend Hayao Miyazaki has announced plans to create a forest retreat for children.
Using local industries and exclusively local products, the nature park project will reportedly be inspired by the globally beloved works of Studio Ghibli — the acclaimed production house Miyazaki co-founded with Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki and Yasuyoshi Tokuma in 1985.
This surely magical experience is set to open to the public in 2018 and will be located in the midst of virgin forest on Kume Island (Kumejima), about 55 miles from Okinawa. Animation Guild Ratifies 3-Year Contract with Studio Management
Members of Animation Guild have ratified a new three-year contract with management with an overwhelming voter majority.
The deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers includes 3 percent annual increases in contract minimums, zero rollbacks and 10 percent pension increases for those retiring after Aug. 1 of this year.
The agreement takes care of the about 3,100 members of IATSE Local 839. Major studios signing on include Disney, DreamWorks, Fox Animation, Marvel, Universal, Cartoon Network and Disney’s ABC Studios. Three Animation Projects Among 42nd Student Academy Award Winners
The 15 winners of the 42nd Student Academy Awards competition have been announced, including three animation prize takers.
The animation winners are: An Object at Rest, by Seth Boyden (California Institute of the Arts); Soar, by Alyce Tzue (Academy of Art University, San Francisco); and Taking the Plunge, by Nicholas Manfredi and Elizabeth Ku-Herrero (The School of Visual Arts).
Additionally, CG films Chiaroscuro, by Daniel Drummond (Chapman University) and Zoe, by ChiHyun Lee (School of Visual Arts) took the alternative category honors. Disney TV Animation Makes Key Executive Appointments
Disney Television Animation made several key executive appointments to help further the content development pipelines at Disney Junior, Disney Channel and Disney XD.
Eric Coleman has been named senior VP of original programming and general manager. Additionally, Jonathan Schneider has been promoted to VP strategy; while Aaron Simpson joins Disney as VP development; Shane Prigmore is now VP creative affairs; and Bonnie Lemon has joined the company as VP production. [
3Inside Out, Toy Story that Time Forgot and PBS’ In Their Own Words: Jim Henson arrive on disc.
feature projects are on offer at American Film Market in Santa Monica, CA. [americanfilmmarket. com] It’s finally here, Charlie Brown! Fox releases The Peanuts Movie today.
Just in time to toast the successful seventh season of J.G. Quintel’s Emmy-winning series, this somewhat slim (at 160 pages) but quite engaging hardcover is a fitting celebration of this Cartoon Network gem. Paging through, readers enter a cartoony world of polar bear portals, demonic hot dogs, and more surreal adventures of Mordecai the bluejay, Rigby the raccoon and their long-suffering co-workers.
This behind-the-scenes peek offers a healthy mix of show artwork, from Quintel’s earliest concept drawings to storyboards and series art, plus character development sketches, production art and even writers’ room doodles. This visual olio is served with indepth interviews with Quintel and other key creatives and voice actors, expertly handled by experienced animation writer (and occasional cartoonist) O’Leary. So, there’s plenty to tide you over until season eight premieres next year!
Box-office aficionados woke up after the weekend of Sept. 4 to a surprise in that highly analyzed tally of ticket sales: a CG-animated film from Mexico titled Un gallo con muchos huevos opened in 10th place with an impressive domestic gross of $4.8 million.
That total, earned by screenings at about 400 cinemas nationwide, makes Un gallo con muchos huevos, which translates as A Rooster with Many Eggs, a groundbreaker: It is the first Mexican animated feature to open in the United States with a limited theatrical release. Produced for about $5.3 million and distributed by Pantelion, a partnership between Lionsgate Entertainment and Grupo Televisa, the movie opened Aug. 21 in Mexico and held the top spot at the box office for three weeks. Additional foreign releases are set for Russia, Europe and Latin American, all boding well for the feature.
But the film’s success — it’s earned a 73 percent fresh rating from critics and 84 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.com — is clearly less of a surprise to those familiar with the property’s history in Mexico, which includes a hit website, merchandising and a pair of 2D animated features.
Online Origins Created by brothers Rodolfo and Gabriel Riva Palacio — who also wrote, directed and produced Un gallo — as a website called Huevocartoon, the original idea was to create small skits that made fun of everything from movies to politics using animated egg characters. But when the first cartoon was posted in 2002, it was an unexpected hit, says Rodolfo Riva Palacio.
“We were expecting to have around 6,000 visitors in the first six months, but what happened is that immediately everybody loved the idea of making a society with eggs and we had around 3 million visitors to our website in just two months, which was crazy!” he says.
This, of course, was before Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube, making the success remarkable enough for the brothers and their company, Huevocartoon Productions, to put out a successful line of merchandise.
That piqued the interest of Videocine, a division of Televisa, which approached Huevocartoon about doing 2D animated movies. Una pelicula de huevos (A Movie of Eggs) was released in 2006, followed in 2009 by Otra película de huevos y un pollo (Another Egg Movie and a Chicken). Both were smash hits — Riva Palacio says the first movie was the second-highest grossing Mexican film of all time when it was released, and it was topped by the sequel.
But while the films were a hit in Mexico and scored sales in other Latin American markets and Spain, Riva Palacio says it was clear that a CG version was needed to spread the franchise’s success even further.
“We needed training, we needed to acquire appropriate equipment, acquire the proper deals, etc., and so it took us almost six years to make that transition from 2D to CGI,” he says.
That transition was essential to breaking through to a global audience. “2D is different; it gives you a sense of reduced audience,” says Riva Palacio. “It doesn’t feel like a global movie. So this is really the one that is taking us across the border.”