Izzy Bur­ton

Animation Magazine - - Tv - By Jean Thoren

Di­rec­tor/Con­cept Artist Via (Blue Zoo An­i­ma­tion) Grow­ing up, Blue Zoo An­i­ma­tion con­cept artist Izzy Bur­ton was ob­sessed with Dis­ney’s 101 Dal­ma­tians. “It’s still prob­a­bly my fa­vorite 2D an­i­mated movie, be­cause of the sketch­i­ness and the Lon­don en­vi­ron­ments,” she re­calls. “I’ve also been a huge fan of Rata­touille and The Aris­to­cats for the Parisian back­grounds … Come to think of it, most of the films I love are down to the en­vi­ron­ment art, which seems very fit­ting.”

The cre­ative 24-year old re­calls writ­ing sto­ries and il­lus­trat­ing them even as a child, grow­ing up in the Cotswolds of Eng­land. Af­ter study­ing com­puter an­i­ma­tion at Ox­ford, Bur­ton re­al­ized that she could merge her pas­sion for com­put­ers and the arts and pur­sue a ca­reer in CG an­i­ma­tion. Be­fore long, she landed a job as con­cept artist at BAFTA-win­ning U.K. stu­dio Blue Zoo, where she di­rected the ac­claimed short Via, a painterly, po­etic take on a man’s jour­ney through life.

“I love that I’m do­ing some­thing I didn’t even think was pos­si­ble for me to do,” says Bur­ton. “I’ve al­ways worked hard, but I feel so com­pletely lucky ev­ery day to be a con­cept artist and have the op­por­tu­ni­ties I do to di­rect my own short film. I see so many tal­ented peo­ple strug­gling to find jobs, so the fact I’m here it’s crazy — lit­er­ally liv­ing a bizarre but amaz­ing dream.”

Via’s great re­cep­tion has en­cour­aged Bur­ton in many ways. “I’d spent so many years try­ing to be cool and like ev­ery­one else, only to re­al­ize that it was my kook­i­ness and bonkers ideas that made me me,” she ad­mits. “The re­sponse from Via taught me that my way of see­ing the world isn’t all that crazy or airy-fairy, and I’m start­ing to trust in my ideas more.”

Bur­ton says she hopes to di­rect more short films, and even try her hand at live-ac­tion projects in the fu­ture. “At the mo­ment, there’s a big com­mo­tion over fe­male direc­tors, and I’d love to be one of the next gen­er­a­tion of women direc­tors that helps the in­dus­try change and progress.”

age the Cowardly Dog). A spe­cial GameZone will be launched at the Kun­st­mu­seum, fo­cus­ing on “Games and Ar­chi­tec­ture” and e-sports.

Among other spe­cial pro­grams are a unique look at the an­i­ma­tion of Estonia, Latvia and Lithua­nia, as well as mas­ter classes of­fered by the artists and tech­ni­cal teams of Lov­ing Vin­cent and Isle of Dogs. The or­ga­niz­ers are also plan­ning a spe­cial trib­ute to Ire­land’s Car­toon Sa­loon stu­dio with screen­ings of their hugely ac­claimed films The Se­cret of Kells, Song of the Sea and The Bread­win­ner, as well as Wil­liam Joyce’s Moon­bot Stu­dios. Movie Pre­mieres and In­no­va­tive Ex­per­i­ments

“We have around 200 dif­fer­ent events at the Fes­ti­val this year,” says fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Ul­rich We­ge­nast. “Per­son­ally, I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to The Fu­tur­o­log­i­cal Con­gress by Theater Dort­mund. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of live an­i­ma­tion, act­ing and shoot­ing of var­i­ous

to the Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion mar­ket. We are cer­tainly open to join projects with in­ter­na­tional stu­dios and can bring much value in terms of artis­tic creativ­ity.”

FilmFay is an up-and-com­ing an­i­ma­tion stu­dio, which opened its doors in Kazan seven years ago. The team at FilmFay are cur­rently work­ing on a plas­ticine stop-mo­tion mu­si­cal fea­ture ti­tled Home. The project’s exec pro­ducer Kse­nia Fe­dorova be­lieves that the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try in Rus­sian is a vic­tim of cor­rup­tion, monopoly and a lack of com­pe­ti­tion be­cause it’s funded by the gov­ern­ment. “That’s why we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing big chal­lenges in terms of sales as well as lack of top-level ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions in the field of an­i­ma­tion,” she says. De­spite all odds, the team at FilmFay are work­ing on pro­mot­ing their new an­i­mated fea­ture. “We are pleased to have the par­tic­i­pa­tion of fa­mous Rus­sian ac­tors and mu­si­cians and to be able to pro­duce an en­tire fea­ture with plas­ticine an­i­ma­tion. We’ve al­ready re­leased 10 min­utes of the project and hope to pro­duce a new chil­dren’s se­ries for fam­ily au­di­ences on YouTube in the near fu­ture.”

While many of the ex­ec­u­tives ex­pressed their pos­i­tive hopes for the fu­ture, they also be­lieve that the coun­try should put more em­pha­sis on teach­ing an­i­ma­tion to the next gen­er­a­tion of artists and work­ers. Shar is one of the lead­ing an­i­ma­tion stu­dio/schools in Rus­sia, and was founded by Fy­o­dor Khitruk, Ed­uard Nazarov, Yuri Norstein and An­drei Khrzhanovsky in 1993. Over the past 25 years, the school has helped pro­duce over 90 an­i­mated projects, in­clud­ing ac­claimed shorts such as Khrzhanovksy’s Lion with Grey Beard (1994) and Long Jour­ney (1997), Alexan­der Petrov’s The Mer­maid (1997), and the TV se­ries Lit­eral Sto­ries (1996) by Liza Skvortsova.

Shar’s fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Anna Ostal­skaya is also pleased about the rapid de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try’s an­i­ma­tion sec­tor. “We are see­ing the de­vel­op­ment of many new projects,” she says. “Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion has be­come more vis­i­ble in the global in­dus­try thanks to com­mer­cial an­i­mated projects

The crown jewel of my an­i­ma­tion trav­els last year was a trip to Rus­sia as a guest of the the 6th St. Peters­burg In­ter­na­tional Cul­tural Fo­rum.

Our hosts were the lovely CEO of the Rus­sian An­i­ma­tion Film As­so­ci­a­tion, Irina Mas­tusova; Yu­liana Slashcheva from Soyuz­mult­film; the Gov­ern­ment of St. Peters­burg; and lead­ing the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. The Fo­rum sup­ports the gathering of artists from all over the world and in­tro­duces for­eign guests to op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able com­mer­cially in Rus­sia in their spe­cific art­form. The guests at­tended high-level lectures and so­cial oc­ca­sions where dis­cus­sions cen­tered on the op­por­tu­ni­ties and effective mech­a­nisms to get in­volved with Rus­sian pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als. The whole trip was, in one word, spec­tac­u­lar — as was the beau­ti­ful city of St. Peters­burg!

I was well aware of the long his­tory, tal­ent, heart and in­ge­nu­ity of Rus­sian an­i­ma­tors. We were for­tu­nate to host the late di­rec­tor Fy­o­dor Khitruk (1917-2012) in Los An­ge­les dur­ing the 1980s at one of our World An­i­ma­tion Cel­e­bra­tion events, along with our long­time friend Alek­sandr Petrov ( The Old Man and the Sea, My Love), whose film The Cow is still on my Top 10 list of most fa­vorite an­i­mated shorts. I was thrilled to see Petrov again and dis­cover an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of art by Khitruk at a won­der­ful re­cep­tion in the KGallery. The ex­hibit cel­e­brated Fy­o­dor’s long ca­reer as one of the ma­jor forces in Soviet an­i­ma­tion through ac­claimed works such as Win­nie-the-Pooh, Top­tyzhka, Boni­face’s Va­ca­tion and The Lion and the Bull.

Be­yond the Fo­rum, I was happy to be able to visit a few of Rus­sia’s more than 50 an­i­ma­tion and game stu­dios whose work we have cov­ered both in our mag­a­zine and on­line ex­ten­sively. The largest and fore­most of them was The Riki Group, headed up by Ilya Popov, who was our gra­cious host dur­ing a tour of the beau­ti­ful home of­fice, in­clud­ing ex­ten­sive li­cens­ing dis­plays for their many shows. Their an­chor se­ries Kiko­riki is both a Rus­sian and global hit and is sure to be a clas­sic. This im­pres­sive group of pro­fes­sion­als has been con­quer­ing the world with their in­ter­na­tional co-pro­duc­tions, dis­tri­bu­tion and li­cens­ing projects for more than 10 years. The stu­dio has its own school for the train­ing of an­i­ma­tors, sto­ry­board artists, direc­tors and screen­writ­ers in the art of an­i­ma­tion. (riki-group.com)

A real treat and sur­prise was visit­ing my old friend, and Os­car con­tender for his short films Lava­tory Love Story and We Can’t Live with­out Cos­mos, Konstantin Bronzit, at Mel­nitsa An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio. Mel­nitsa made its first fea­ture, Alyosha Popovich and Tu­garin the Ser­pent in 2003. The stu­dio en­joyed the high­est do­mes­tic box of­fice re­turns for their seven features about the leg­endary bo­gatyrs (war­riors) of an­cient Rus­sia and con­tin­ues to in­no­vate with their features across the na­tion. (mel­nitsa.com) Glo­ri­ous Past, Thriv­ing Fu­ture

The sec­ond half of my trip took us to Moscow for a whirl­wind tour of three stu­dios there. Pic­tured be­low was the group from Soyuz­mult­film, the stu­dio known for a wide va­ri­ety of styles and tech­niques pro­duced by many of the most in­flu­en­tial an­i­ma­tion artists from the Soviet Union era. We were hosted by Yu­liana Slashcheva, chair­woman of the Board, and di­rec­tor Boris Mashkovt­sev. They are ag­gres­sively con­tin­u­ing the tra­di­tion of sup­port­ing a di­verse col­lec­tion of artists and shows by ex­tend­ing their out­reach around the globe with their much-loved projects. The stu­dio is launch­ing sev­eral TV se­ries, and is con­tin­u­ing in the tra­di­tion of be­ing the cen­ter of an­i­ma­tion with the Technopark ini­tia­tive, which col­lects in­no­va­tions and helps Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion star­tups. (souz­mult.com)

Next, it was on to where we talked to CEO Dmitry Loveiko and di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing Daria Kat­iba, who told us about the his­tory of and fu­ture plans for their global in­ter­net phe­nom­e­non Masha and the Bear (27 bil­lion views on YouTube). In only nine years they have pro­duced 67 high-qual­ity episodes, and are look­ing for­ward to branch­ing out into the U.S. mar­ket with their Spin Mas­ter deal. Of course, I was very happy to hear Dmitry say, “Thanks to the sup­port of Mag­a­zine from the be­gin­ning, we have ex­pe­ri­enced a warm feel­ing of ac­cep­tance from both the in­dus­try and the view­ers around the world”. We love you too, Dmitry! (an­i­mac­cord.com)

Our last stop was the stu­dio, the home of the first Rus­sian an­i­mated film in 3D: a.k.a. (2010), which was launched by vi­sion­ary Vadim Sot­skov. The com­pany has com­pleted four fea­ture films and has one in pro­duc­tion. They have also branched out into se­ries pro­duc­tion with and Fam­ily. (ki­noatis.ru/en)

I highly rec­om­mend a visit to the next edi­tion of the St. Peters­burg Int’l Cul­tural Fo­rum in Novem­ber if you have the op­por­tu­nity. The Rus­sian peo­ple are warm and wel­com­ing, and ea­ger to work with global an­i­ma­tion pro­duc­ers. It’s a won­der­ful chance to ex­pe­ri­ence all that Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion and cul­ture has to of­fer, and should be a must-do on your global an­i­ma­tion calendar!

ef­fi­cient con­nec­tiv­ity with your re­mote ma­chines.

For me, flex­i­bil­ity is al­ways a chief con­cern. Dead­line of­fers the abil­ity to launch renders and have ac­cess to third-party li­cens­ing, and charges at such a mi­cro level. There’s also the flex­i­bil­ity in how much Dead­line can con­trol. It’s chock full of pre­set scripts for tons of dif­fer­ent soft­ware pack­ages, but it’s also eas­ily cus­tom­ized to gen­er­ate your own Python scripts. If you can call a ren­der from a com­mand line, then you can con­trol it through Dead­line. Web­site: dead­line.thinkbox­soft­ware.com Price: $48 yearly per Dead­line node.

might be de­scribed as yaoi in

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