An In­ter­nal Balanc­ing Act

Animation Magazine - - Features -

nner Work­ings, In­ner Work­ings [ Work­ings. In­ner Work­ings. Moana, Mars and Beyond, — Tom McLean

It would be al­most im­pos­si­ble for the story of My Life as a Zuc­chini to be any more heart­felt. It tells the story of a young boy grap­pling with his mother’s sud­den, un­ex­pected death who is then thrown into foster care where he must some­how make a new life — and a new fam­ily — for him­self. And the film­mak­ers’ stylis­tic ap­proach has given the film, re­leased Nov. 11 in the United States by GKIDS, an even greater im­pact.

First-time di­rec­tor Claude Bar­ras took his film to Cannes in May as Ma vie de Cour­gette, and it earned raves. Then the project also took the Grand Prize and the Au­di­ence Award at the 2016 An­necy In­ter­na­tional An­i­ma­tion Film Fes­ti­val. As the film be­comes even bet­ter known for its use of stop-mo­tion and a deeply mov­ing story, Bar­ras ad­mits mak­ing the film was not al­ways easy. He first came upon the book by Gilles Paris 10 years ago and has been mak­ing other projects in the mean­time, but found the book some­how wouldn’t let him go.

“Beyond per­se­ver­ance, there were chal­lenges on the pro­duc­tion side,” writes Bar­ras through a trans­la­tor in an email in­ter­view with An­i­ma­tion Magazine. “Our bud­get was not very big. We wanted to keep a lot of cre­ative free­dom for a first fea­ture which goes, of course, with a tighter bud­get.”

As a first-time di­rec­tor work­ing with stop-mo­tion, there was a learn­ing curve. He was deeply com­mit­ted to do­ing the project in his own way but also needed to solve the cre­ative and pro­duc­tion dilem­mas that came along. Bar­ras at one point was so con­strained by his orig­i­nal $6 mil­lion bud­get that he and his pro­duc­ers went out dur­ing pro­duc­tion to find new fi­nanc­ing and in­creased his funds to $8 mil­lion so he could fin­ish the film in the best way pos­si­ble.

Like a Jazz Jam Bar­ras also writes that the stylis­tic choice he made came with its own set of dif­fi­cul­ties: “Stop-mo­tion is a very de­mand­ing tech­nique since, un­like dig­i­tal tech­niques, the an­i­ma­tion can­not be cor­rected once the scene is shot. This is called di­rect or de­vel­oped an­i­ma­tion.

INumer­ous VFX tech­niques im­bue the star of J.A. Bay­ona’s with the be­liev­abil­ity and emo­tion the touch­ing tale re­quires. By Bill De­sowitz.

n a VFX sea­son dom­i­nated by gi­ant crea­tures ( The BFG, Pete’s Dragon and A Mon­ster Calls), the tree mon­ster of the lat­ter fa­ble (voiced by Liam Nee­son) pro­vided un­usual an­i­ma­tion chal­lenges for di­rec­tor J.A. Bay­ona ( The Im­pos­si­ble), who wanted a tan­gi­ble re­al­ity to make the movie more be­liev­able and emo­tion­ally in­volv­ing.

“I re­ally liked the sil­hou­ettes of the il­lus­tra­tions by Jim Kay (from the novel) and I sug­gested we used that as a start­ing point,” says Bay­ona.

The film, which has been earn­ing rave re­views, tells the story of a young boy named Conor (Lewis MacDougall) in the United King­dom whose mother (Felic­ity Jones) is dy­ing of can­cer, whose fa­ther has moved away to the United States, and whose grand­mother (Sigour­ney Weaver) is a strict and fore­bod­ing fig­ure. Lonely and con­fused, he ac­ci­dently sum­mons a 40-foot-high tree crea­ture that be­friends the boy and tells him tales that force him to con­front his fears about life. The film is based on a 2011 novel by Patrick Ness, from an idea by Siob­han Dowd; Ness also wrote the screen­play for the fea­ture.

A prac­ti­cal, an­i­ma­tronic ver­sion of the mon­ster was built for use on set by DDT (the Os­car win­ners for Pan’s Labyrinth). This par­tially helped de­fine the CG ver­sion made by MPC in Mon­treal, which strove to be more nat­u­ral­is­tic than an­thro­po­mor­phic in build­ing a mon­ster based on a Yew tree.

“For us, the face was a big chal­lenge be-

T2D an­i­ma­tion gives a time­less qual­ity to the beloved Bri­tish ro­mance story of By Karen Yoss­man.

here can be few more-daunt­ing tasks for a di­rec­tor than por­tray­ing the in­ti­macy of a real-life, 40-year mar­riage as a fea­ture-length 2D an­i­ma­tion — espe­cially when the sole off­spring of that cou­ple is not only an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on the project but also the au­thor of the book on which the film is based.

But that was pre­cisely the chal­lenge vet­eran an­i­ma­tor Roger Main­wood found him­self fac­ing when, al­most a decade ago, he agreed to di­rect an adap­ta­tion of the bio­graph­i­cal graphic novel Ethel & Ernest, writ­ten by beloved Bri­tish writer and il­lus­tra­tor Ray­mond Briggs about his par­ents. The book, which was pub­lished in 1998, al­most 30 years after their deaths, tells the true and, in the best pos­si­ble way, un­re­mark­able story of an or­di­nary Bri­tish cou­ple, Ethel and Ernest — Briggs’ mother and fa­ther — as they meet, fall in love and grow old to­gether over the course of four decades. It’s ef­fec­tively a fea­ture-length ver­sion of the open­ing mon­tage from Dis­ney-Pixar’s Up, ex­cept based on a real story.

“It was a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause it’s about Ray­mond’s par­ents,” says Main­wood, who has pre­vi­ously worked on other Briggs-au­thored an­i­ma­tions, in­clud­ing When the Wind Blows and The Snow­man and the Snow­dog. “It’s very per­sonal, and for many years he wouldn’t al­low us to do it. But we gained his trust and we worked on other films of his over the years.”

The un­usu­ally del­i­cate na­ture of the project, which ends with the deaths of both Ethel and Ernest (voiced by Brenda Blethyn and Jim Broad­bent) within a year of each other, was brought home to the cast and crew when Ray­mond, now 82, broke down in tears while sit­ting in on one of the first voice-record­ing ses­sions.

“He said it felt a bit like his mum and dad were back in the room with him again,” says co-pro­ducer Camilla Deakin. As such, Main­wood and his team, who were based at Lu­pus Films’ Lon­don of­fices but also worked along­side an­i­ma­tion stu­dios in Lux­em­burg and Wales, made the de­ci­sion to keep

“Never work with chil­dren or an­i­mals” is prob­a­bly the best-known say­ing in show busi­ness, but as the United King­dom-based team at Lu­pus Films be­hind the hand-drawn an­i­mated TV spe­cial We’re Go­ing on a Bear Hunt soon re­al­ized, it doesn’t just ap­ply to live ac­tion.

Based on the much-lauded chil­dren’s book of the same name by English au­thor Michael Rosen and il­lus­tra­tor He­len Ox­en­bury, We’re Go­ing on a Bear Hunt fea­tures no less than five pro­tag­o­nists rang­ing from teenager to tod­dler — plus their dog, Ru­fus — who meet a va­ri­ety of crit­ters on their quest to find a bear.

“It was re­ally hard be­cause each (child) had to have an in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter and yet they have to work as a fam­ily unit,” says co-di­rec­tor Joanna Har­ri­son, who was re­spon­si­ble for turn­ing the pic­ture book into the treat­ment that re­sulted in the 24-minute spe­cial to be broad­cast on Chan­nel 4 in the United King­dom around Christ­mas. (In­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion is set to fol­low in 2017.) “Then you’ve got con­ti­nu­ity, so they al­ways have to be in the right place at the right time to go through to the next scene. The stag­ing has been very hard to do.”

“Mak­ing them all move and walk and talk in a dif­fer­ent way that re­lates to their per­son­al­ity and their age was very chal­leng­ing,” says pro­ducer Ruth Field­ing. “Be­cause a 5-year old moves very dif­fer­ently to a 10-year old, moves very dif­fer­ently to a 2-year old. And how they re­act to mud or wa­ter can be quite dif­fer­ent. So find­ing the phys­i­cal­ity of the char­ac­ters was a chal­lenge — but fun.”

Then there were the an­i­mals. As well as Ru­fus and the tit­u­lar bear, the team “wanted to rep­re­sent the flora and fauna of the English coun­try­side and the an­i­mals that you find within,” says Field­ing. “So we’ve put a hedge­hog and an owl and a fox and a stag and a bee­tle and a field mouse … and also all the dif­fer­ent flow­ers and the mead­ows. Joanna did quite a lot of re­search into what might grow in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions, be they mud flats or some meadow or a wood­land en­vi­ron­ment. So na­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment is very much another char­ac­ter in the film.”

Art on Screen In the book, the chil­dren’s caper across English coun­try­side is lov­ingly cap­tured in Ox­en­bury’s wa­ter­color il­lus­tra­tions, and codi­rec­tors Har­ri­son and Robin Shaw were de­ter­mined to re­main faith­ful to her visual style. But with 12 to 25 draw­ings per sec­ond of an­i­ma­tion (de­pend­ing on whether or not there is a cam­era move), this proved less than straight­for­ward to trans­late onto the screen. “We had to de­velop a tech­nique which en­abled us to paint those (back­grounds) in wa­ter­color and then scan them into the com­puter and they were an­i­mated with TVPaint on top of that,” says Field­ing.

“To keep the live­li­ness and spon­tane­ity of a mark with a brush on pa­per, we did some wa­ter­color washes and just sev­eral ver­sions of the same color on pa­per,” says Shaw, who, to­gether with Har­ri­son, was re­spon­si­ble for a team of 33 an­i­ma­tors and 24 an­i­ma­tion as­sis­tants. “We scanned those in, and you play them back one after the other so you get a kind of life to the color rather than it just be­ing flat, block color. Then we used quite a char­coal-y, graphite-y line in the an­i­ma­tion on top of that, and we used var­i­ous shad­ow­ing things and tonal things that added on top to af­fect the col­ors to try and give the im­pres­sion of a lit­tle bit of bleed or ex­tra in­ten­sity of pig­ment in the paint. So it was quite com­pli­cated.”

Less com­pli­cated was Shaw’s outlook on the project. “One of the big things about it for me is that there aren’t enough films where chil­dren re­ally are just be­ing al­lowed to be chil­dren, on their own, without su­per­vi­sion, without some kind of in­flu­ence from adults,” Shaw says. “All the films that are made for chil­dren now are rarely with chil­dren as the main char­ac­ter; it’s su­per­heroes or Star Wars or some­thing. So it is re­ally hark­ing back to clas­sic Bri­tish chil­dren’s films and sto­ries.”

Trust­ing the Source The team’s faith in the book, which was first pub­lished in 1989 and is now con­sid­ered a sta­ple of chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, out­weighed any con­cerns about whether the au­di­ence might be used to a more fre­netic pace of an­i­ma­tion. “I think the themes of the story are still very per­ti­nent to au­di­ences to­day and kids love that sense of ad­ven­ture and be­ing left on their own to ex­plore the coun­try­side and hope­fully to dis­cover a bear,” says Field­ing. “And, in­ter­est­ingly, when we showed the an­i­matic (to a test group), as soon as you get (to the scene) in the cave, they are hooked and they’re ab­so­lutely on the edge of their seats.”

“It’s about mov­ing peo­ple,” says Shaw. “Stir­ring emo­tions and for peo­ple to say, ‘Oh, it’s re­ally lovely that film.’ We don’t just want to move things — we want to move peo­ple.” [

LNick­elodeon An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio pours qual­ity into the orig­i­nal an­i­mated TV movie realm with its new Christ­mas spe­cial, By Tom McLean.

it­tle her­alds the com­ing of the hol­i­day sea­son as much as the air­ing of an­i­mated Christ­mas TV spe­cials. And while ev­ery­one knows the clas­sics and has their fa­vorites, Nick­elodeon An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio is look­ing for far more than just a quick pay­off with Al­bert, the stu­dio’s first an­i­mated TV movie.

Al­bert tells the tale of a tiny Dou­glas fir tree liv­ing at a nurs­ery in Ver­mont who dreams of be­com­ing the iconic Christ­mas tree in huge Em­pire City. When a TV re­port in­forms Al­bert (voiced by Bobby Moynihan) that a search is un­der­way for the per­fect tree, he and his pals — a fun-lov­ing palm tree (Sasheer Za­mata) and a ram­bunc­tious weed (Ju­dah Fried­lan­der) — set out to make the dream a re­al­ity.

One of the great ap­peals of mak­ing a Christ­mas spe­cial is its ever­green qual­ity, says pro­ducer Chris Vis­cardi. “We, like many peo­ple through­out the world, are fans of the hol­i­day spe­cials from when we were grow­ing up, from Frosty to Ru­dolph to Char­lie Brown,” he says. “We were re­ally look­ing to — no pun in­tended — to make a Christ­mas spe­cial that’s ever­green and a part of our yearly cel­e­bra­tion of spe­cials, but also hope­fully will be­come as iconic as those oth­ers are.”

The project be­gan as an idea from brother writ­ing duo Aaron and Will Eisen­berg, who fre­quently col­lab­o­rate with Vis­cardi and his pro­duc­ing part­ner, Will McRobb. “They told us about this adorable and sen­ti­men­tal idea they had for a Christ­mas movie, and we shared it with Nick­elodeon, and Nick­elodeon jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to make it be­cause, A) we hadn’t made any orig­i­nal an­i­mated movies be­fore and that was some­thing that we re­ally wanted to do, and B) we were look­ing to do a Christ­mas story,” says Vis­cardi. “Those two forces com­bined and it moved very quickly.”

An An­i­mated First While Nick­elodeon has made many live­ac­tion TV movies, Al­bert is the first time the stu­dio has pro­duced an an­i­mated one, says se­nior VP of pro­duc­tion David Stein­berg.

“The idea of mak­ing an an­i­mated made-forTV movie that lever­ages the amaz­ing tal­ent

Any­one who thinks the visual ef­fects Os­cars race is the one area where the megablock­busters take home the gold needs to re­think that premise. Re­cent years have seen the gold tro­phy go­ing home more of­ten with films that use ef­fects in new and in­ven­tive ways, em­pha­siz­ing qual­ity over quan­tity.

Last year’s win for Ex Machina was one of the true upsets of the evening, throw­ing for a loop Os­car pools that had bet heav­ily on in­dus­try fa­vorite Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens, which had dom­i­nated at the VES Awards.

This year’s pic­ture is even more tricky, with a raft of su­per­hero block­busters mak­ing ob­vi­ous can­di­dates, and The Jun­gle Book pos­ing a clear chal­lenge that has a good chance of ap­peal­ing to vot­ers as an al­ter­na­tive.

That said, there’s a lot of mys­ter­ies still wait­ing to be seen — in­clud­ing another Star Wars movie — al­ways an ef­fects event worth see­ing on the big screen.

Let the race be­gin! Dis­ney Re­lease Date: April 15 Box Of­fice: $966 mil­lion world­wide ($364 mil­lion U.S.) Di­rec­tor: Jon Favreau VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Rob Le­gato, Adam Valdez Ef­fects Stu­dios: MPC, Weta Dig­i­tal, Dig­i­tal Do­main Be­hind the Scenes: Favreau turned to Os­car-win­ning VFX su­per­vi­sor Rob Le­gato ( Hugo, Ti­tanic) to spear­head the movie in col­lab­o­ra­tion with MPC, which did the ma­jor­ity of CG char­ac­ters and en­vi­ron­ments; and Weta Dig­i­tal, which han­dled King Louie and the other pri­mates — not sur­pris­ing, given its King Kong and Planet of the Apes pedi­gree. Le­gato was thrilled to use the best that vir­tual pro­duc­tion has to of­fer with some new tech wrin­kles to work more quickly, ef­fi­ciently and be­liev­ably, as though they were shoot­ing a live-ac­tion movie. Awards Chances: The sur­prise hit of the year, The Jun­gle Book de­fied ex­pec­ta­tions for what a com­pletely vir­tual live-ac­tion re-imag­in­ing of a clas­sic an­i­mated fea­ture could be like. The tech­ni­cal work pushes the en­ve­lope in both scope and in style, cre­at­ing with cut­ting edge tools some­thing that’s com­pletely con­vinc­ing and to­tally de­light­ful.

Doc­tor Strange Marvel Stu­dios-Dis­ney Re­lease Date: Nov. 4 Box Of­fice: $574 mil­lion world­wide ($184 mil­lion U.S.) as of Nov. 22 Di­rec­tor: Scott Der­rick­son VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Stephane Ceretti Ef­fects Stu­dios: ILM, Base FX, Frame­store, Method Stu­dios, Luma Pic­tures, Rise Visual Ef­fects, Lola VFX, Crafty Apes, Per­cep­tion, Tech­ni­color VFX, Ex­cep­tional Minds, An­i­mal Logic, The Se­cret Lab Be­hind the Scenes: The big­gest VFX set piece — the most vis­ually com­plex of any Marvel movie thus far — is a con­fronta­tion be­tween Strange and Kae­cil­ius (Mads Mikkelsen) in New York, which was in­spired by M.C. Escher, who also in­spired In­cep­tion. In­dus­trial Light & Magic han­dled the se­quence, su­per­vised by Richard Bluff, with more am­bi­tion than In­cep­tion. “We’ve seen bend­ing build­ings, we’ve seen fold­ing, but what we haven’t seen was the frac­tur­ing of a city and the in­tro­duc­tion of mass du­pli­ca­tion on a math­e­mat­i­cal level and in­fin­itely com­plex frac­tals,” he said. Awards Chances: Of all this year’s ma­jor comic-book movies, the ef­fects in Doc­tor Strange were the most in­ven­tive and fun. The movie de­fies the con­ven­tions of the su­per­hero genre — now well es­tab­lished by nearly 20 years of suc­cesses — a fea­ture that should put it at the front of the pack and in line to cast a spell over the nom­i­nat­ing vot­ers.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Lu­cas­film-Dis­ney Re­lease Date: Dec. 16 Di­rec­tor: Gareth Ed­wards VFX Su­per­vi­sor: John Knoll Ef­fects Stu­dio: ILM Be­hind the Scenes: We don’t know much yet about the VFX process for Rogue One, as Dis­ney is keep­ing the movie — as it did last year with The Force Awak­ens — un­der tight wraps ahead of its Dec. 16 re­lease date. We do know that ILM VFX su­per­vi­sor John Knoll sug­gested the idea for the movie — about a team of Rebel agents who are tasked with steal­ing the Death Star plans that were the ma­jor plot point in the orig­i­nal 1977 movie — and that fan re­ac­tion to the lim­ited footage so far re­leased in trail­ers and fea­turettes has been quite ex­cited. Awards Chances: Star Wars movies don’t al­ways have the kind of luck in the Os­cars race that you would think the se­ries that in­vented mod­ern VFX would have. The pre­quel tril­ogy went home empty handed and last year’s en­try, The Force Awak­ens, did well in nearly ev­ery ef­fects award con­test ex­cept the Os­cars. That said, never un­der­es­ti­mate the love for Star Wars, espe­cially if this ex­per­i­men­tal new take on the clas­sic se­ries strikes crit­i­cal gold.

Bat­man v. Su­per­man:

Dawn of Jus­tice Warner Bros. Re­lease Date: March 25 Box Of­fice: $873 mil­lion world­wide ($330 mil­lion U.S.) Di­rec­tor: Zack Sny­der VFX Su­per­vi­sor: John “DJ” DesJardin Ef­fects Stu­dios: Mov­ing Pic­ture Com­pany, Scan­lineVFX, Weta Dig­i­tal, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Method Stu­dios, Shade VFX, Per­cep­tion, Team­works Dig­i­tal, The Re­sis­tance Awards Chances: Much de­rided by crit­ics and fans for its dank take on the typ­i­cally sunny world of Su­per­man, the ef­fects of Dawn of Jus­tice are im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore. Yes, the film is dark — it’s sup­posed to be — but the su­per heroic an­tics of the Man of Steel fac­ing down the Dark Knight, with Won­der Woman chip­ping in for good mea­sure, are un­de­ni­ably a spec­tac­u­lar achieve­ment.

Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War Marvel Stu­dios-Dis­ney Re­lease Date: May 6 Box Of­fice: $1.15 bil­lion world­wide ($408 mil­lion U.S.) Di­rec­tors: Joe and An­thony Russo VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Dan DeLeeuw Ef­fects Stu­dios: ILM, Rise Visual Ef­fects, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Luma Pic­tures, Lola VFX, Ci­ne­site, Cantina, Sarof­sky, An­i­mal Logic, Crafty Apes, Im­age En­gine De­sign, Tech­ni­color VFX, Cap­i­tal T, Ex­cep­tional Minds Awards Chances: On the other side of the comic-book fan­boy aisle is a movie full of the re­fined ef­fects that have come to de­fine Marvel Stu­dios’ ex­traor­di­nar­ily suc­cess­ful cin­e­matic uni­verse. Packed to the rim with su­per­heroes of all stripes, Civil War brings the char­ac­ters’ di­verse pow­ers to vivid life in hugely en­ter­tain­ing se­quences.

Dead­pool 20th Cen­tury Fox Re­lease Date: Feb. 12 Box Of­fice: $782 mil­lion world­wide ($363 mil­lion U.S.) Di­rec­tor: Tim Miller VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Jonathan Roth­bart Ef­fects Stu­dios: Dig­i­tal Do­main, Atomic Fic­tion, Rodeo FX, Luma Pic­tures, Blur Stu­dio, Weta Dig­i­tal, OllinVFX, Im­age En­gine De­sign, Fu­ri­ous FX Awards Chances: Another su­per­hero hit, this one with a darker edge that fits the char­ac­ter, who is a man­gled su­per­pow­er­ful as­sas­sin with a smart mouth who just wants to be loved. This film and its ef­fects glee­fully em­braced the in­san­ity of its premise and took the vi­su­als to ex­tremes in the slow-mo truck shoot­ing se­quence, for ex­am­ple. While its rough edges may not earn it in­vi­ta­tion to tea from some Acad­emy mem­bers, the ef­fects are too good to ig­nore. Warner Bros. Re­lease Date: Nov. 18 Box Of­fice: $226 mil­lion world­wide ($81 mil­lion U.S.) as of Nov. 22 Di­rec­tor: David Yates VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Tim Burke, Chris­tian Manz Ef­fects Stu­dios: Frame­store, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, MPC, Rodeo FX, Method Stu­dios, Im­age En­gine, Ci­ne­site, Milk Visual Ef­fects, Se­cret Lab Awards Chances: With a re­turn to the world of Harry Pot­ter, Fan­tas­tic Beasts in­jects a good dose of whimsy into the race. The Acad­emy has al­ways been kind to the Pot­ter fran­chise, and the ex­cel­lent crea­ture work here could carry over that fa­vor to the pre­quel. Ef­fects Stu­dios: DDT Efec­tos Espe­ciales, MPC, El Ran­chito VFX, Glass­works Barcelona, Miopa Efec­tos Visuales, Head­less, Magi­con Mu­nich, Lam­post Min­imo VFX Awards Chances: This is ex­actly the kind of spoiler film awards watch­ers should be on guard for. This heart­felt movie re­lies very heav­ily on cre­at­ing a re­al­is­tic, sym­pa­thetic and not­too-scary crea­ture for the story’s young pro­tag­o­nist to pour out his heart to. And it works, po­si­tion­ing this movie as the dark horse to watch. Para­mount Re­lease Date: July 22 Box Of­fice: $343 mil­lion world­wide ($184 mil­lion U.S.) Di­rec­tor: Justin Lin VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Peter Chi­ang Ef­fects Stu­dios: Atomic Fic­tion, Clear An­gle Stu­dios, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Rodeo FX, Mist VFX Stu­dio, Prime Fo­cus Awards Chances: Star Trek movies have rarely earned much awards love de­spite their huge suc­cess, but the third en­try in the re­boot im­proved im­pres­sively on the pre­vi­ous two movies, with ef­fects de­liv­er­ing the most thrilling ver­sion to date of the Trek movie sta­ple of de­stroy­ing the En­ter­prise. Univer­sal Re­lease Date: June 10 Box Of­fice: $433 mil­lion world­wide ($47

Jan. 5: Jan. 13: Jan. 24: Os­car Nom­i­na­tions An­nounce­ment Feb. 6: Feb. 11: Awards Feb. 13: Feb. 21: Feb. 26: The Os­cars will be held at the Dolby Theatre at Hol­ly­wood & High­land in Hol­ly­wood. The cer­e­mony will be tele­vised live by ABC.

The stars be­hind the best cre­ative, tech­ni­cal and busi­ness out­fits in the an­i­ma­tion and visual ef­fects in­dus­tries shone brightly and shared their vast knowl­edge at the fifth an­nual World An­i­ma­tion & VFX Sum­mit.

Sunny weather and rich sea air wel­comed at­ten­dees to the Cal­i­for­nia Yacht Club in Ma­rina del Rey, Calif., which kicked off with a break­fast spon­sored by The Gotham Group, be­fore get­ting down to busi­ness with a fo­cus on vir­tual re­al­ity and VFX. “The Chang­ing Face of the VFX In­dus­try” panel lived up to its ti­tle, fea­tur­ing a panel com­prised of some of the top women in the game to­day.

High­light­ing the first af­ter­noon was a lively panel on voice act­ing and a spot­light on Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion, dur­ing which shots of vodka were served to the au­di­ence and pro­vid­ing a nice segue into the open­ing-night cock­tail party, spon­sored by Nick­elodeon.

The sec­ond day started with a wa­ter theme, with break­fast spon­sored by Splash En­ter­tain­ment and an in-depth look at the mak­ing of Dis­ney’s most-re­cent an­i­mated fea­ture, Moana, that re­vealed se­crets about ev­ery­thing from cre­at­ing wa­ter to max­i­miz­ing the ren­der time.

Some of the top names in stream­ing talked about the pros and cons of such plat­forms. “We are a quar­ter inch along on a hun­dred foot ruler,” said Fred Siebert of Fred­er­a­tor Stu­dios, re­cently merged into WOW! Un­lim­ited Me­dia.

$23 bil­lion in­dus­try by 1992. Page 14 of­fers an ar­ti­cle head­lined “New Age TV An­i­ma­tion,” dis­cussing ”a new breed of an­i­ma­tion that has found a home on net­work TV,” in­clud­ing shows such as The Tracey Ull­man Show, Pee­Wee’s Play­house and Amaz­ing Sto­ries.

Many of the an­i­ma­tors show­cased at that year’s fes­ti­val also are in this first is­sue, in­clud­ing Ralph Bak­shi, Bruno Bozzetto, Milt Kahl, Wal­ter Lantz and Nor­man McLaren.

Our next few cov­ers fea­tured Pee-Wee Her­man, Tim Bur­ton with Beetle­juice, Richard Wil­liams with Roger Rab­bit, Don Bluth and Ralph Bak­shi, and, in the Spring 1989 is­sue, Dis­ney’s bi-coastal lead­ers, Peter Sch­nei­der and Roy Dis­ney, are in­ter­viewed for the cover story.

In the sum­mer and fall of ’89, we show­cased the young Pixar team with Knick Knack, and Matt Groen­ing with pro­ducer Sam Si­mon in front of Klasky Csupo’s Simp­sons fam­ily char­ac­ter over­lay.

In the Fe­bru­ary 1990 is­sue, Jim Hen­son is fea­tured on the cover, and in­side talks about his com­pany’s merger with Dis­ney, which was putting the fin­ish­ing touches on the “new” cor­po­rate head­quar­ters that were re­cently re­mod­eled and re-opened in Novem­ber 2016.

We also re­port on Mar­garet Loesch leav­ing her po­si­tion as CEO and pres­i­dent of Marvel Pro­duc­tions to launch the new Fox Chil­dren’s Net­work.

All of the early is­sues fea­ture ex­ten­sive global cov­er­age, in­clud­ing an Eastern Euro­pean up­date, a story ti­tled “Ja­panese An­i­ma­tion: The Cult Grows Up,” and Euro­pean fes­ti­val and pro­duc­tion news.

The fi­nal is­sue of 1990 fea­tures Bill and Sue Kroyer with their rev­o­lu­tion­ary cel and CG movie FernGully: The Last Rain­for­est.

And that was just the first three years! Check out more of the archives at www.an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net, and feel free to share your fa­vorite mem­o­ries of An­i­ma­tion Magazine by email­ing us at edit@an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net. The best ones may ap­pear in fu­ture ret­ro­spec­tives. [

Text­book over­lays in­spired the look of Dis­ney story artist Leo Mat­suda’s short, In­ner

Di­rec­tor J.A. Bay­ona on the set of A Mon­ster Calls with an an­i­ma­tronic ver­sion of the tree mon­ster cre­ated by DDT to help guide later CG ver­sions.

Lu­pus Films fol­lowed the art style of He­len Ox­en­bury for

Fred Siebert in­tro­duces Butch Hart­man at the Hall of Fame Awards Gala.

The open­ing-night cock­tail party brought to­gether new and old friends at the Cal­i­for­nia Yacht Club in Ma­rina del Rey, Calif.

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