FESTS AND EVENTS J’aime les filles, Louise en hiver Earn Ot­tawa Grand Prizes

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The 40th an­niver­sary edi­tion of the Ot­tawa In­ter­na­tional An­i­ma­tion Festival wrapped up by pre­sent­ing its top hon­ors in an awards cer­e­mony at Saint Brigid’s Cen­tre for the Arts to the short film J’aime les filles (I Like Girls) and the fea­ture Louise en hiver.

The Grand Prize for Fea­tures honor was the sec­ond for di­rec­tor Jean-François Laguionie, who pre­vi­ously took a Grand Prize at Ot­tawa in 1982 for La traver­sée de l’At­lan­tique à la rame. The full list of award win­ners: Nel­vana Grand Prize for In­de­pen­dent Short An­i­ma­tion: J’aime les filles, by Diane Obom­sawin (Canada, 2016).

Grand Prize for Best An­i­mated Fea­ture: Louise en Hiver by Jean-François Laguionie (France/Canada, 2016). Hon­or­able Men­tion: Ca­fard by Jan Bultheel (Bel­gium/ France/ Nether­lands).

Car­toon Net­work Award for Best Nar­ra­tive Short An­i­ma­tion: Blind Vaysha by Theodore Ushev (Canada, 2016)

Best Ex­per­i­men­tal or Ab­stract An­i­ma­tion: Sui­jun- Gen­ten (Da­tum Point) by Ryo Orikasa (Ja­pan, 2015).

Best Un­der­grad­u­ate An­i­ma­tion: Cialo Obce (For­eign Body) by Marta Mag­nuska (Poland, 2016).

Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Award for Best Grad­u­a­tion An­i­ma­tion: Frank­furter Str. 99 by Ev­ge­nia Gostrer (Ger­many, 2016).

Best Com­mis­sioned An­i­ma­tion: Honda “Paper” by PES (USA, 2015).

Best Short Film Made for Young Au­di­ences: Three Lit­tle Nin­jas De­liv­ery Ser­vice by Karim Rhel­lam & Kim Claeys (Bel­gium, 2016). Hon­or­able Men­tions: Accidents, Blun­ders, Calami­ties by James Cun­ning­ham (New Zealand), Novem­bre by Mar­jo­laine Per­reten (France).

Best An­i­mated Se­ries Made for Young Au­di­ences: Shaun the Sheep, “The Farmer’s Lla­mas” by Jay Grace (U.K., 2015). Hon­or­able Men­tions: Sum­mer Camp Is­land by Ju­lia Pott (USA). Hey Duggee, “The Omelette Badge” by Grant Or­chard (U.K.).

Gau­mont An­i­ma­tion Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las At­lan an­nounced a pro­mo­tion for Marc Dhrami to Head of Op­er­a­tions and the hir­ing of Gaëlle Guiny as Di­rec­tor of An­i­mated Se­ries De­vel­op­ments. ... One An­i­ma­tion hired an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try heavy­weight and pro­ducer John McKenna as stu­dio head. McKenna will over­see cur­rent pro­duc­tions as well as the de­vel­op­ment of new mul­ti­plat­form prop­er­ties. ... In­dia’s Green Gold An­i­ma­tion an­nounced a new fa­cil­ity open­ing in Los An­ge­les to be headed up by Marc Lumer. ... FX pro­moted Kate Lam­bert to se­nior VP de­vel­op­ment and an­i­ma­tion. She will over­see de­vel­op­ment of an­i­mated orig­i­nal se­ries and short-form an­i­ma­tion pro­grams for FX Net­works. ... Al Kahn, the for­mer founder of 4Kids En­ter­tain­ment and li­cens­ing guru be­hind bring­ing the Ja­panese sen­sa­tion Poke­mon to the states, has been ap­pointed chair­man of the board of on-de­mand kids’ en­ter­tain­ment com­pany Toon Gog­gles. ... Vi­a­com In­ter­na­tional Me­dia Net­works has ap­pointed Sarah Muller as Head of Chil­dren’s at Chan­nel 5 in the U.K. ... Dave Filoni has de­barked as su­per­vis­ing di­rec­tor of Star Wars Rebels to take a wider role de­vel­op­ing an­i­ma­tion projects for Lu­cas­film. Justin Ridge takes over as su­per­vis­ing di­rec­tor on the se­ries, now in its third sea­son.

Long be­fore The Hunger Games, there was The Long Walk — a novel about teens who en­gage in an an­nual walk­ing con­test where stop­ping means death and be­ing the last one alive means riches be­yond com­pare. Pub­lished in 1979 by Stephen King, writ­ing un­der the pseu­do­nym Richard Bach­man, the story earned a life­long fan in Adri­ano Gazza, now a 41-year-old mo­tion graph­ics artist in Lon­don who turned his love of the book into a haunt­ing an­i­mated short.

Where did the idea for the short come from and why did you de­cide to tell the story in an­i­ma­tion?: When I was 15, I first read Richard Bach­man’s (a.k.a. Stephen King’s) The Long Walk. I was com­pletely cap­ti­vated by the story and al­ways wanted to see a live-ac­tion ver­sion, al­beit with lots of fantasy and sur­real im­agery el­e­ments. It was a long-run­ning joke amongst friends that I could make it. Then af­ter try­ing to make a live-ac­tion ver­sion, I re­al­ized an­i­ma­tion was a method to al­low me com­plete con­trol over my time with­out hav­ing to wait on the avail­abil­ity of other peo­ple.

How did you fund the short?: It’s com­pletely self-fi­nanced, in that apart from lots of work it didn’t cost me any­thing (aside from soft­ware li­censes and the cost of the voiceover artist, Jimmy [Pritts], who did a great job).

How many peo­ple worked on the project with you?: It was my­self for all of the an­i­ma­tion, and my best friend Pep (Ru­fian), who records as Small Mag­el­lanic Cloud, who cre­ated the amaz­ing score and sound­scape. Help­ing with my cre­ative choices and san­ity was my won­der­ful wife as well!

How long did it take to fin­ish the movie?: I spent a good year or so test­ing styles and refin­ing the script and sto­ry­board, then prob­a­bly nine months or so on pro­duc­tion proper. From when I dis­carded the ini­tial scripts for a live-ac­tion ap­proach to now was around five years. It took so long as I have two young chil­dren and a full time job, so I worked on my com­mute and some evenings.

What tools did you use?: Ini­tially, I sto­ry­boarded us­ing var­i­ous apps on my phone, and also did some ro­to­scop­ing and an­i­ma­tion tests on my iPad, all on my com­mute. (I once got a thumbs up by a guy watch­ing over my shoul­der, giv­ing me a boost. So thanks, sir!) Some of these tests made it to the fi­nal film. It was when I started us­ing Mix­amo/ Fuse (now owned by Adobe), which al­lowed me to cre­ate 3D char­ac­ters and add mo-cap data to them, then bring the fbx files into Cin­ema 4D, that a style emerged that I was pleased with. I fur­ther played with tex­tures and over­lays in Af­ter Ef­fects, Il­lus­tra­tor and Pho­to­shop to get the look I was af­ter.

When was the film com­pleted?: I fin­ished it a few weeks ago, then the score was fin­ished and I made some mi­nor tweaks to the vi­su­als with fresh eyes.

What was the most chal­leng­ing as­pect of mak­ing your film?: Just find­ing the time ini­tially. Also, par­ing down the novel into a co­her­ent short sec­tion that could en­cap­su­late the story but not be im­pos­si­ble to pro­duce. I also hit a road­block ear­lier this year where I couldn’t seem to get it to come to­gether. Even­tu­ally I worked on one scene that I was re­ally pleased with, and this was the break­through that al­lowed me to con­tinue.

What are your fu­ture an­i­ma­tion plans?: Ul­ti­mately, I’d like to work in fea­tures, and I have some ideas to de­velop there. As long as I’m be­ing cre­ative and do­ing what I love, I’m happy, so each day is a bless­ing re­ally.

Af­ter years of spec­u­la­tion, au­di­ences will fi­nally get to see DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion’s hy­per­col­or­ful, mu­si­cal-spec­tac­u­lar take on the clas­sic doll line cre­ated by Thomas Dam. And ad­mir­ers of the art­form can crack open this 160-page hard­cover to marvel at a trea­sure trove of art that went into pol­ish­ing this lat­est DWA gem. In­side are hun­dreds of play­ful, vi­brant pieces cre­ated by con­cept and pro­duc­tion artists at the stu­dio for the reimag­in­ing of the story. Plus, a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally charm­ing fore­word writ­ten by Anna Ken­drick, who voices Trolls’ hero­ine, Poppy, op­po­site Justin Tim­ber­lake’s Branch.

10Head to Butte County, Calif., for An­i­ma­tion Chico, pre­sent­ing a va­ri­ety of films from es­tab­lished and up­com­ing artists world­wide. [an­i­ma­tionchico.com]

the other end of the spec­trum,” says Mitchell. “The Trolls are op­ti­mists, the Ber­gens are pes­simists.”

Mitchell de­nies any sim­i­lar­ity be­tween Shrek and Trolls, aside from the the ir­rev­er­ent com­edy and in­cor­po­rat­ing mu­si­cal el­e­ments — the lat­ter be­ing done in a more di­rect mu­si­cal genre fash­ion than in any pre­vi­ous DreamWorks fea­tures.

“It’s not a mu­si­cal in the tra­di­tional sense of a mu­si­cal,” says Dorhn. “It’s more of a juke­box mu­si­cal with fa­mil­iar songs — even though there are orig­i­nal songs as well — but it def­i­nitely doesn’t ad­here to the tra­di­tional mu­si­cal rules.”

The movie scored a coup in coralling the ser­vices of the mul­ti­tal­ented Tim­ber­lake, who so liked the movie that he agreed to star in it and be its mu­sic su­per­vi­sor.

“He was re­ally ea­ger and tapped right into what we were do­ing, and im­proved what Walt and I were do­ing,” says Mitchell. While the film­mak­ers had al­ready cho­sen songs from dif­fer­ent eras they thought fit the movie, Tim­ber­lake was able to bring a more re­fined sen­si­bil­ity to those de­ci­sions while also con­tribut­ing to orig­i­nal songs. “He gave it a co­he­sive­ness,” says Mitchell. “It doesn’t feel scat­tered. All these songs, they re­ally hold to­gether for the story.”

Mov­ing the fea­ture into an­i­ma­tion re­vealed some un­usual chal­lenges for the direc­tors. While the char­ac­ters re­tained the “ugly-cute” ex­pres­sions and bod­ies of the orig­i­nal dolls, their pro­por­tions — big heads with small bod­ies — proved dif­fi­cult for lay­out and for an­i­ma­tion.

“For lay­out, it was hard to do an over-theshoul­der (shot) when you’ve got a gi­gan­tic melon head,” says Mitchell. It also was hard for the Trolls to hug each other — some­thing the script man­dated they do ev­ery hour on the hour.

And mak­ing them move con­vinc­ingly — and dance — was an an­i­ma­tion chal­lenge the pro­duc­tion over­came steadily but surely.

“They’re not nor­mal pro­por­tions, but we can defy grav­ity with the dances,” says Dorhn. “We can do all these won­der­ful things that you couldn’t do in live ac­tion, so we used it to our ad­van­tage.”

Mitchell praised the skill of the an­i­ma­tion team for avoid­ing the many pit­falls pre­sented by mak­ing an­i­mated char­ac­ters dance.

“It some­times can have a very off-putting … ro­to­scoped feel­ing, where it’s like a char­ac­ter that’s wear­ing a suit rather than your char­ac­ter it­self,” says Mitchell. “We did have a chore­og­ra­pher, but (the an­i­ma­tors) would just look at it as ref­er­ence. They were so clever, they could just watch it and then they could ap­ply it, but they’d put their own spin to it.” A Blank Can­vas The crew also en­joyed the free­dom that came from there be­ing no pre­vi­ous movie or TV show to em­u­late. “We were snappy when we wanted to be snappy and when it

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