February 6, 2009
Each year The Animation Guild, ASIFA Hollywood and Women In Animation present a non-denominational celebration of departed friends from our animation community. It will be on Saturday, February 7 at the Lasky-DeMille Barn in Hollywood across from the Hollywood Bowl. The 2008 honorees include

John Ahern, Gus Arriola, Phyllis Barnhart, Gordon Bellamy, Harriet Burns, Greg Burson, John W. Burton, Jr., Vivian Byrne, Joyce Carlson, Bob Carr, Rose Di Bucci, Charlie Downs, Ray Ellis, Joni Jones Fitts, Etsuko Fujioka, Steve Gerber, Fernando Gonzalez, Yoo Sik Ham, Larry Harmon, Margie Hermanson, Ollie Johnston, Ted Key, Eartha Kitt, Andy Knight, Harvey Korman, Lyn Kroeger, Brice Mack, Bill Melendez, David Mitton, Gary Mooney, Jim Mueller, June Nam, Ethan Ormsby, Bill Perez, Richard Pimm, Oliver Postgate, Denis Rich, Dodie Roberts, Irma Rosien, Gerard Salvio, Gina Sheppherd, Robert Smith, Jim Snider, Al Stetter, Dave Stevens, Morris Sullivan, Emru Townsend, Pat Raine Webb, Chiyoko Wergles, Bob Winquist and Justin Wright.

(Thank you, Karl Cohen)

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December 11, 2008


Madeline and Brenden have shown quite a bit of love on behalf of fps for Mamoru Oshii's Sky Crawlers (Read Madeline's review from the September TIFF screening).

The film has been showing in Los Angeles since last week (the last screening is today) at the Los Feliz 3 in order to qualify for Oscar eligibility, and will screen at the Lincoln Center in New York twice on Friday, December 12.

If you are lucky enough to be in either city to see it, let me know what you think of the film!

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August 14, 2008
Film festival venues can be overwhelming and conference venues can be overwhelming, but when you combine them... well, the experience hovers somewhat above the horizon. That said, here are some tidbits:

1. Much discussion, several panels, and two full days of screenings of stereoscopic (3D) films, commercials, sports events, games and scientific visualizations on the first day of the conference. 3D is the agenda for 21st-century digital releases. I took in the two-hour screening of 3D clips and then heard fine artist and installation/performance artist Catherine Owens speak about collaborating with Bono on the 3D film of U2's concert in Buenos Aires. She spoke convincingly about "experimental" exploration and commitment to "idea" in relationship to her personal art, as well as in relationship to her directorial debut of the film U2 3D.

2. The Computer Animation Festival is programmed into seven two-hour screenings that most often repeat the commercials, trailers, and synopses of film titles submitted. For example, Rhythm and Hues showcased effects scenes of the polar bears in "The Golden Compass" and that is screened alongside the commercial from Bridgestone Tires many have seen of the squirrel running onto the highway to retrieve a nut as a car swerves to miss killing him. The festival is screening two impressive studio shorts worth mentioning here: Pixar Studios' Presto and Disney Studios' Glago's Guest. If you've seen WALL-E you've seen Presto before the feature screens.

3) A wonderful Tribute To Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas happened today with Tom Sito moderating a panel that included Frank Thomas' son, Theodore Thomas, documentary filmmaker, as well as a group of celebrity animators who had worked with the two of them in a mentor relationship. All of them delightfully shared their experiences with Frank and Ollie and were very well received. More on this later.

A closing note in case you don't want to wait: you may go online to read about all the sessions at SIGGRAPH 08 and can listen to them on DVD. All panels and discussions have been recorded are available for purchase.

I have constantly forgotten the number one rule for attending film festivals and conferences: find a place to sit, eat well and if you do this, thinking might follow! That said, I will return to report more soon, in spite of the L.A. smog my allergies are swimming in...

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August 13, 2008

Gallery Nucleus in Los Angeles will be hosting The Great Great Grand Show, beginning August 16th and continuing until September 1st.

Saturday's opening reception runs from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and you're encouraged to show up in historical garb if you have it (ninjas and pirates welcome).

Two of the artists exhibiting are Scott Campbell and Graham Annable, both Hickee comics anthology contributors. Scott C has also contributed work to I Am 8-Bit and Totoro Forest Project, and Graham's known for his comic foray, Grickle, whose misadventures continue in animated form. He is also a story artist on Coraline, Laika's much anticipated feature. Here's The Last Duet On Earth, a little future history until you get to see Graham's latest, From Whence Before Times, which debuts at the show.



The show is rounded out by Flight regular Israel Sanchez, and Jon Klaasen, who animated the super-sweet Eye for Annai. Several of us fps-side are huge fans of this short.



So if you're in LA on Saturday, you know where you need to be.

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August 12, 2008
We love our Lego around here, and when it's moving around, all the better. So we're happy to pass on this bit of news about the upcoming Nicktoons Network Animation Festival, which is happening this October in Los Angeles. Nickelodeon is specifically looking for stop-mo shorts using Lego bricks and minifigs, no more than two minutes long.

The contest is open to just about anyone who isn't living in a country on the U.S.'s "ain't no friend of mine" list, so Cuban animators will have to look elsewhere. Peep the rules and regulations, and find out how you can win $25,000 to create a new Lego short for Nick. Don't forget to read all the fine print so you don't have any surprises when it comes to rights. The final due date is September 15, so get to it, blockheads!

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October 13, 2007
Animation fans in LA who didn't make it to the Platform International Animation Festival (or those who simply want to relive it) will get a chance to see selections from the festival during a screening on Monday, October 15, at 8:00 p.m. at the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater.

There were many notable shorts during the festival although I haven't been able to find out the full lineup for this screening (Luis Cook's The Pearce Sisters and work by Don Hertzfeldt and Miwa Matreyek will be featured), I don't doubt for a moment that the variety and selection of shorts will be entirely worth your time.

Previously on fps
Platform International Animation Festival coverage

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September 28, 2007

(Pika Pika 2007)

I hope your weekend is full of eye-opening creativity and spontaneity, with flashes of pure joy, whimsy and possibly genius. Here's something to get you started.

Previously on fps:

OIAF 2006: PikaPika Lightning Doodle Project

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July 4, 2007
There's once again talk of a Samurai Jack feature, but this time, rather more sensibly, it's to be animated, with creator Genndy Tartakovsky directing. Fred Seibert has launched Frederator Films (along with Kevin Kolde and Eric Gardner), with the aim of producing animated features for under $20 million. Aside from Samurai Jack, the other initial projects are stop-motion The Neverhood (based on the game I praised last year, with creator Doug TenNapel on board to direct) and the hip-hop The Seven Deadly Sins, with Don King signed to provide a voice (!).

If you happen to find yourself in Beja, Portugal in the next two months, the Animatu digital animation festival is screening the best of last year's films. In July they'll be screening a short every hour from 9:00 p.m. to midnight at the Galeria do Desassossego; in August they'll be screening a short before every feature on Mondays at the Pax Julia Municipal Theatre. And if you're a digital filmmaker, don't forget: you've still got just under two weeks to submit your work for this year's festival. (The new deadline's July 15.)

Teheran's Experimental and Documentary Film Center wants to kick-start Iran's animation industry by supporting the production of more animated shorts, as well as theatrical features, with an emphasis on films with a distinctive directorial touch. I'm all for auteur cinema, especially those that are distinctly of the culture that produced them, but I'm curious as to the flavour of the films that will be produced, as Iran has a history of being less than supportive of films the government deems anti-Islamic, anti-Iranian or anti-government (including the recent Persepolis). In some cases that makes the resulting films more interesting, as directors find new, creative ways of slipping in their messages while getting around state censors and critics.

This Saturday the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco plays host to Blast Off!, an exhibition on comics and manga that will feature taiko drumming, cosplay, panel discussions with Gilles Poitras and Fred Schodt, and more. The event, which ties into the museum's Osamu Tezuka exhibit, appears to have the goal of connecting teens who are into manga and anime with a deeper understanding of Japan, anime and manga. Cool.

July 11 will see a tribute to Woody Woodpecker in Hollywood, at Mann's Chinese 6 Theater. On the guest list are Leonard Maltin, Billy West, June Foray, Maurice LaMarche and Phil Roman. (I'm assuming that there will be actual Woody Woodpecker cartoons screened as well, but there's no mention.) People in the neighbourhood can go to this event for free, and the rest of us can watch the show online. Either way, you'll need to visit the website to sign up.

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