The View from the Top: The World An­i­ma­tion & VFX Sum­mit

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From Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 by the waters of Cal­i­for­nia’s Santa Mon­ica Bay, the 2017 World An­i­ma­tion & VFX Sum­mit cel­e­brates in­dus­try achiev­ers and of­fers ex­pert advice on reach­ing your own heights. Pre­sented by An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine, the Hal­loween week­end event of­fers pan­els and speak­ers cover­ing the business, art and tech­nol­ogy of our in­dus­try. At­ten­dees will gain in­sider knowl­edge from key play­ers, and get a chance to con­tinue the con­ver­sa­tion at in­ti­mate daily net­work­ing meals, breaks and evening par­ties at the Cal­i­for­nia Yacht Club in Marina del Rey. The open­ing night sets the tone with a glit­ter­ing gala in honor of this year’s Hall of Fame Game Changer Award win­ners, with a cock­tail and cer­e­mony at the Ho­tel Casa del Mar. Lori Forte be­gan her ca­reer in fea­ture an­i­ma­tion at Dis­ney, es­tab­lish­ing her­self as the cre­ative ex­ec­u­tive for Os­car-nom­i­nated 1995 fea­ture Toy Story and short Run­away Brain. Forte then be­came a pro­ducer for 20th Cen­tury Fox An­i­ma­tion, where she de­vel­oped and pro­duced the world­wide box-of­fice hit Ice Age movie fran­chise and re­ceived a story credit for Con­ti­nen­tal Drift. Forte also pro­duced Fox/ Blue Sky’s Os­car-nom­i­nated short No Time for Nuts (2006) and the fea­ture Epic (2013). She is cur­rently work­ing on the stu­dio’s De­cem­ber re­lease, Fer­di­nand. Glen Keane is a 38year veteran of Walt Dis­ney Fea­ture An­i­ma­tion best known for cre­at­ing and an­i­mat­ing leg­endary char­ac­ters such as Ariel, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast, and Tarzan. He was also Su­per­vis­ing An­i­ma­tor and Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer on Tan­gled (2010). Though his an­i­ma­tion path be­gan with a slight de­part­men­tal mix-up at CalArts, Keane quickly fell in love with the medium. He joined Dis­ney in 1974, where he trained un­der Ol­lie John­ston, Frank Thomas and Eric Lar­son. He left the stu­dio to start Glen Keane Pro­duc­tions in 2012, ex­plor­ing new fron­tiers of an­i­mated ex­pres­sion. Keane is the re­cip­i­ent of the 2008 Win­sor McCay Award, 2012 Tex Avery Award, and was named a Dis­ney Leg­end in 2013. His lat­est film, Dear Bas­ket­ball, is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Kobe Bryant and com­poser John Wil­liams. Award to be pre­sented by John Musker (di­rec­tor, Dis­ney’s Moana). Fred Seib­ert is the founder of Fred­er­a­tor Net­works, Chief Cre­ative Of­fi­cer of WOW! Un­lim­ited Me­dia, and a se­rial me­dia en­tre­pre­neur. With a re­sume that cov­ers be­ing the first cre­ative di­rec­tor of MTV and the last pres­i­dent of Hanna-Bar­bera Car­toons, Seib­ert con­tin­ues to im­pact the an­i­ma­tion land­scape as the head of lead­ing on­line car­toon net­work Chan­nel Fred­er­a­tor, in­die pro­duc­tion com­pany Fred­er­a­tor Stu­dios ( Bravest War­riors, Bee & Pup­py­cat) and Fred­er­a­tor Books, and as part of the WOW! me­dia jug­ger­naut, a merger of Fred­er­a­tor, Rain­maker Ent. and Ezrin-Hirsh. Mark Tay­lor, as Ex­ec­u­tive VP of Phys­i­cal Pro­duc­tion, over­sees the mas­sive pro­duc­tion pipeline de­liv­er­ing DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion’s TV se­ries—in­clud­ing the con­tent for the stu­dio’s multi-year Net­flix deal. In 2013, Tay­lor was hired to cre­ate the stu­dio, and tasked with pro­duc­ing more than 1,600 episodes for in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion. Since then, he’s lead pro­duc­tion of 12 award-win­ning shows, with more than 20 se­ries now in ac­tive pro­duc­tion, and de­vel­oped a grow­ing global net­work of part­ner stu­dios. Prior to DreamWorks, Tay­lor helped build and lead Nick­elodeon An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio as SVP and Gen­eral Man­ager from 1997-2012. Award to be pre­sented by Margie Cohn (Head of Tele­vi­sion, DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion). PGS En­ter­tain­ment was founded by Philippe and Guil­laume Sout­ter in 2008. This award-win­ning kids’ en­ter­tain­ment fi­nanc­ing, brand man­age­ment and dis­tri­bu­tion com­pany has part­nered on in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized IP in­clud­ing Alvinnn!!! and the Chip­munks (with Bag­dasar­ian Prod. and Tech­ni­color An­i­ma­tion), Mirac­u­lous: Tales of La­dy­bug & Cat Noir ( ZAG and Method), and Emmy win­ner The Jun­gle Bunch (TAT). PGS cur­rently has of­fices in Paris, Hong Kong, Geneva, Barcelona and L.A. Award to be pre­sented by Tom Lynch (CEO, Tom Lynch Com­pany).

To Be An­nounced:

There are still sur­prises in store, so stay tuned on­line and in print for the lat­est Sum­mit news!

What do you do af­ter cre­at­ing one of the most pop­u­lar, trail-blaz­ing an­i­mated preschool shows in re­cent mem­ory? If you’re Doc McStuffins cre­ator and exec pro­ducer Chris Nee, you em­bark on a whole new ad­ven­ture with an­other awe­some toon that pushes the cre­ative en­ve­lope.

Nee’s brand new an­i­mated se­ries Vam­pi­rina, which de­buts this month on Dis­ney Ju­nior and Dis­ney Chan­nel, cen­ters on a de­light­ful fam­ily of, um, blood­suck­ers, who have re­cently moved from Tran­syl­va­nia to a Penn­syl­va­nia neigh­bor­hood. Each episode cen­ters on the ad­ven­tures of Vam­pi­rina (voiced by Is­abella Crovetti) and her par­ents (voiced by Lau­ren Gra­ham and James Van Der Beek) as she learns to ad­just to the nor­mal hu­man world around her.

Speak­ing from the Dis­ney stu­dios in Bur­bank, Nee tells us that the whole jour­ney be­gan when she saw a tiny vis­ual devel­op­ment clip of what Dis­ney and Ir­ish stu­dio Brown Bag Films had put to­gether. “Dis­ney Ju­nior had found this book property [by author Anne Marie Pace and il­lus­tra­tor LeUyen Pham] and thought that it would be cool to de­velop into a se­ries for a preschool au­di­ence,” Nee re­calls. “The sec­ond I saw this char­ac­ter, I just knew I had to help bring her to life. I was just so ex­cited by what she looked like and ev­ery­thing that she rep­re­sented.”

Find­ing an­other property to fall in love with af­ter the amaz­ingly dy­namic Doc McStuffins wasn’t go­ing to be easy. “I knew Doc had set the bar re­ally high, but I was re­ally ex­cited by what Vam­pi­rina had to say. She rep­re­sents a kid who is re­ally dif­fer­ent, and she can be some­times hard to be friends with, be­cause she is so un­usual, but it’s def­i­nitely worth it. She’s a to­tal spark plug, and doesn’t do ev­ery­thing the right way, but her spirit is truly in­fec­tious.” The Awe­some Ir­ish Con­nec­tion The show’s preschool-friendly CG an­i­ma­tion is co-pro­duced by Brown Bag Films in

eat is al­ways left of the cen­ter. They have Yeti Spaghetti, blood or­ange juice, and love to eat things like eye­ball soup or bone soup.”

Yet, the writ­ers were al­ways aware of their spe­cial bal­anc­ing act. Nee notes, “In the be­gin­ning, we asked our­selves, was there go­ing to be a day when we all turned around and said, ‘Oh my God, we are do­ing vam­pires for preschool!’ How do we honor what is so cool about this world with­out be­ing in a place where kids might come in scared? At the end of the day, what hap­pens is that you see this char­ac­ter who is so in­stantly lov­able and such a great en­try into this space. You know you’re ‘ In the be­gin­ning, we asked our­selves, was there go­ing to be a day when we all turned around and said, “Oh my God, we are do­ing vam­pires for preschool!’

IDavid Do­zoretz and his Dig­i­tal Di­men­sion team rely on Un­real to ren­der the new an­i­mated se­ries. By Ellen Wolff

n the new NBCUniver­sal-dis­trib­uted TV se­ries Za­fari, one char­ac­ter in par­tic­u­lar em­bod­ies what this an­i­mated chil­dren’s show is all about: It’s the ele­phant Zoomba, who doesn’t have the typ­i­cally gray skin of his species, but has ze­bra stripes in­stead. “We wanted to cel­e­brate be­ing dif­fer­ent,” says the show’s cre­ator and di­rec­tor David Do­zoretz. “We’re the only show do­ing mixand-match an­i­mals.”

Do­zoretz, a for­mer ILM pre­viz su­per­vi­sor whose many cred­its in­clude the Star Wars pre­quels, spent over a dozen years de­vel­op­ing Za­fari. ILM friends lent their tal­ents to his ef­forts, in­clud­ing con­cept artist Iain McCaig ( Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens, The Avengers). As Do­zoretz re­calls, “I told Iain about an ele­phant with ze­bra stripes, and he did the very first draw­ings.”

But the char­ac­ter de­signs aren’t the only ex­am­ples of the “hy­brid’ think­ing be­hind the in­no­va­tive new show. To cre­ate the 52 x 11-minute se­ries, Do­zoretz teamed with Dig­i­tal Di­men­sion in Mon­treal, Canada, where they are us­ing Epic Games’ Un­real En­gine 4 soft­ware to ren­der the an­i­ma­tion.

Get­ting Un­real Re­sults Led by Dig­i­tal Di­men­sion Pres­i­dent and CEO Louis-Si­mon Mé­nard, the stu­dio was con­fi­dent that us­ing Un­real for ren­der­ing would al­low the pro­duc­tion team more time to fo­cus on char­ac­ter mod­el­ing and an­i­ma­tion. Do­zoretz con­fesses he had some skep­ti­cism when Dig­i­tal Di­men­sion first pro­posed this, but he’s be­come a be­liever. He notes, In the last cou­ple of years, peo­ple have been of­fload­ing ren­der­ing tasks from the CPU to the GPU and the game en­gine has been writ­ten for that. Game en­gines have just got­ten to the point where they have the bells and whis­tles that I needed.”

“We’re do­ing a num­ber of things with Un­real that peo­ple haven’t done be­fore,” Do­zoretz ex­plains. “One of things is that we are record­ing the frames—we want the frames. Most of the time in a videogame you blast the frame to screen and throw it away. We’re ac­tu­ally not do­ing it in real time— 30 fps—we’re get­ting about 3 fps—and the rea­son is be­cause of disk sav­ing. That’s the slow-down. But, in ad­di­tion, we ac­tu­ally have a ver­sion where we don’t save to disk.” Do­zoretz ob­serves that his ILM men­tor John Knoll ac­tu­ally had used Un­real for some ele-

ages fully lit and in real time in the edit ses­sion. So even though the an­i­ma­tion is kind ‘ We still have a tra­di­tional Maya-based an­i­ma­tion pipeline. What I’m able to do that is dif­fer­ent is that I can ap­prove a shot at 1:30 in the af­ter­noon, and at 1:40 see it ren­dered.’ cre­ator/di­rec­tor David Do­zoretz

ibly busy time for the team at Rain­bow thanks to the growth of me­dia op­por­tu­ni­ties. The stu­dio’s Winx Club, es­pe­cially, has be­come an ev­er­green property on a global level. “That is why we keep in­vest­ing in qual­ity, be­cause this will al­ways be the key to stand out in a crowded field. Rain­bow is the only one with a full in-house pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity in Italy—from preschool an­i­ma­tion to teen live-ac­tion shows. We’ve ex­panded our pro­duc­tion skills to cater to dif­fer­ent tar­get groups and gen­res, and we are re­ally proud of the re­sults achieved. The Ital­ian TV mar­ket has be­come very busy, and with the re­cent en­trance of POP TV to the mar­ket, there are now eight free TV chan­nels in ad­di­tion to pay TV op­tions.”

At the MIP mar­ket, Buzzelli and the team at Rain­bow will be look­ing to con­sol­i­date their po­si­tion as a lead­ing li­cen­sor and pro­ducer as well as sign­ing new part­ners for 44 Cats. “We also want to pub­li­cize our re­cent ac­qui­si­tion of Iven S.p.A. group (which in­cludes Colorado Film, Moviement, San Isidro and a stake in Gav­ila srl). This brings new and ex­cit­ing projects on board for us. Be­cause they spe­cial­ize in live ac­tion for young adults, this ac­qui­si­tion greatly in­creases our strength in that area, com­ple­ment­ing what we’re al­ready do­ing very Mag­gie & Bianca Fash­ion For more info, visit

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