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Animation Filmmaking Interview People

Joe Dante Talks About ‘Termite Terrace,’ The Film He Tried To Make About Warner Bros. Animators

I love Joe Dante, Warner Bros. animation and Chuck Jones so I had to post this. By the way Termite Terrace is now the Fernwood side of the KTLA News Room, off of Van Ness. Steve

As part of a short film series about films that were never made, director Joe Dante (Gremlins) talks about the time he developed a film about Golden Age Hollywood animators called Termite Terrace, the unglamorous nickname of the Warner Bros. animation studio in the 1930s.

In the video, Joe Dante recounts how his friendship with Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones inspired the film, and how he developed the idea with screenwriter Charlie Haas (Matinee, Gremlins 2: The New Batch) in the early-’90s:

Warner Bros., unsurprisingly, didn’t express any interest in a historical drama about animation artists and passed on the idea. Dante has, in other interviews, referred to it as the “heartbreaker” of his career.

Haas’ script for the film has circulated privately for years and has been read by various people. Cartoonist Cole Rothacker is one of those people, and he wrote about it on Tumblr, describing it as “a pretty terrific script, giving animators, who have tedious, thankless jobs, a moment in the spotlight, a movie that pays great tribute to them and all their hard work. It does for animators and Looney Tunes what Goodfellas did for mobsters.”

Rothacker also points out that the film had a strong point of view — that of Chuck Jones’:

All the names were changed, some characters were combinations of 2 or more real people, but it was basically the story of when Chuck Jones first arrived at the WB lot in the late ’30s and rose through the ranks, going from in-betweener to director. It shows the struggles Jones went through, along with his mentor Tex Avery. The movie is definitely from the perspective of Jones, as it depicts the Bob Clampett analogous character as an incompetent, two-faced lout.

Shortly after Warner Bros. passed on Dante’s film, they re-branded Bugs, Daffy, and the rest of the Looney Tunes roster for the 1996 film Space Jam, which was a hit for the studio. Dante eventually worked with the Looney Tunes characters, too, when he directed the 2003 live-action/animated combo Looney Tunes: Back in Action, a creative misfire that was micromanaged to death by Warner Bros. executives who used 25 writers on the film.

If you want a taste of what Termite Terrace might have looked like, here’s an actual late-1930s studio gag reel from Warner Bros.’ animation studio that shows the artists and execs goofing around:


Termite Terrace Gag Reel by CarlStallingEnthusiast

From  at Cartoon Brew

Categories
Animation Disney Restoration

‘Lost’ Disney cartoon with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit found


From BFI.

The BFI National Archive and Walt Disney Animation Studios are pleased to announce the rediscovery of a rare, long-lost, Walt Disney animated film, Sleigh Bells (1928) featuring the first ever Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a long-eared precursor to Mickey Mouse.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was invented by Walt Disney in 1927 and was loved for his mischievous and rebellious personality. A number of other films do survive but Sleigh Bells has been, until now, a lost film, unseen since its original release. The animation in the film was accomplished by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, both of whom went on to create the character of Mickey Mouse, following a contractual disagreement with Universal, for whom they had created the Oswald films.

The print of Sleigh Bells (1928) was preserved in the collections of the BFI National Archive. The exciting rediscovery was made by a researcher browsing the online catalogue of the BFI National Archive’s holdings. Walt Disney Animation Studios have taken this unique surviving film print and created both a new preservation print and digital copies. The film has a running time of approximately six minutes.

 

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Robin Baker, Head Curator, BFI National Archive said:

“What a joyful treat to discover a long-lost Walt Disney film in the BFI National Archive and to be able to show Sleigh Bells to a whole new audience 87 years after it was made. The restoration of this film will introduce many audiences to Disney’s work in the silent period – it clearly demonstrates the vitality and imagination of his animation at a key point in his early career. We thank Walt Disney for working with us and are thrilled to present the world premiere of this restored version here in London at BFI Southbank.”

Andrew Millstein, President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, which oversaw the restoration, added:

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with the BFI National Archives in the restoration of the ‘lost’ Oswald short, Sleigh Bells, and to be sharing this delightful animated discovery with audiences in the UK as part of this special Disney holiday programme. The Oswald shorts are an important part of our Studios’ history, and we have been working with film archives and private collectors all around the world to research the missing titles. We are grateful to Katrina Stokes, Robin Baker, and their associates at the BFI for helping us locate and preserve Sleigh Bells.”

More here.

Categories
Animation Disney Technology

Glen Keane ‘drawing sculptures’ in virtual reality with Tilt Brush

Photo from Wired

“I can put goggles on and I just step into the paper and now I’m drawing in it,” Keane says. “Today, all the rules have changed.”

“All directions are open now, just immersing myself in space is more like a dance. What is this amazing new world I just stepped into? When I draw in VR I draw all the characters real life size. They are that size in my imagination. The character can turn […] and even if you take the goggles off, I’m still remembering — she’s right there, she’s real.”

Over nearly four decades at Disney, Glen Keane animated some the most compelling characters of our time: Ariel from The Little Mermaid, the titular beast in Beauty and the Beast, and Disney’s Tarzan, to name just a few. Keane has spent his career embracing new tools, from digital environments to 3D animation to today’s virtual reality, which finally enables him to step into his drawings and wander freely through his imagination. At FoST, he’ll explore how to tap into your own creativity, connecting to emotion and character more directly than ever before.

More on the FoST Summit here.

Futureofstorytelling.org website.

More about Tilt Brush

 

Categories
Animation

Trailer for the animated film, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet

Inspired by the beloved classic, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is a richly-animated story and celebration of Gibran’s book, created by artists, animators and musicians from around the world, written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King). Starring Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek-Pinault, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina, John Rhys-Davies and Quvenzhané Wallis.

For a gallery of the artwork click here.

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To learn more about the film, visit gibransprophetmovie.com.

Categories
Animation

Duet Festival Screenings

We have a couple of updates about Duet, the recent film by Glen Keane.

The film is part of the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival 16 – 21 September 2014 Bristol, UK. Duet will be shown Friday Sept. 19.

Encounters Festival is the UK’s leading short film and animation festival, and the annual meeting place for filmmakers and industry professionals.  Based in Bristol, UK, Encounters runs a six day festival in September and its main venues are Watershed and Arnolfini, on Bristol’s scenic Harbourside.

In 2014 Encounters Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary. DOWNLOAD THE 2014 FESTIVAL GUIDE HERE.

 

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Duet will be shown VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy in a presentation called The Duet of Tech and Art – How technology and artistry elevates us to a higher place.

Keynote presentations will be given by Glen Keane as well as Pixar Co-Founder Dr. Alvy Ray Smith. Smith co-invented the concept of the alpha channel and directed the milestone “Genesis Demo” in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. His website is here.

About Glen Keane:

Glen Keane is known for drawing and animating the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the BeastTarzan,and Aladdin. Recently, through Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, he directed and created Duet, now available as a cinematic version of a future, interactive, hand-drawn animated story for mobile phones.

Acclaimed animator Glen Keane unveiled a first look at his latest and most personal project to date, DUET, as part of a special ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects). Animated in its entirety and directed by Glen Keane (former Disney animator and creator of such beloved characters as Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan and Rapunzel), DUET tells the story of Mia and Tosh and how their individual paths in life weave together to create an inspired duet. The unique, interactive nature of the story allows the viewer to seamlessly follow the journey of either of the two characters from birth to adulthood. DUET is the third in a series of Spotlight Stories, which is a new way of telling stories on mobile devices. The stories blend world-class artistry with innovative rendering and interaction technology for mobile to create a new canvas for the next generation of storytelling. DUET is the first traditionally animated, hand-drawn film to debut as a Spotlight Story. The film offers a glimpse into what’s possible on mobile devices, a rich,modern canvas for creative expression and immersive works of art and technology.

DUET will officially launch later this year and will be available on all capable devices with proper hardware capabilities and OS version higher than Android 4.2.

A 38-year veteran of Walt Disney Feature Animation, Glen Keane is most noted for creating and animating such legendary Disney characters as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast”, and Tarzan. Glen also served as Supervising Animator and Executive Producer on Disney’s 2010 box office hit, “Tangled”. In the spring of 2012, Glen decided to leave Disney Studios in pursuit of further artistic exploration. In his departure letter he stated: “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.” In 2013, he launched Glen Keane Productions to pursue his personal projects.

 

Categories
Animation People Technology

Glen Keane’s “Duet” at Google I/O Conference 2014

Interesting that a technology company like Google is turning to hand drawn animation.

A celebration of life through the hand-drawn line, Duet is the latest in a series of Google ATAP’s Spotlight Stories, interactive short films made exclusively for mobile devices.

Animator Glen Keane unveiled a first look at his latest and most personal project to date, as part of a special ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) Session at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco, California. Glen gave a live demonstration and talk through the creative process behind Duet.

Animated in its entirety and directed by Glen Keane (former Disney animator and creator of such beloved characters as Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan and Rapunzel), Duet tells the story of Mia and Tosh and how their individual paths in life weave together to create an inspired duet. The unique, interactive nature of the story allows the viewer to seamlessly follow the journey of either of the two characters from birth to adulthood.

From Animation Scoop.