Tag: Animation

“What Lives Inside” Official Trailer and behind the scenes

This is the future folks, computer companies producing a movie to be shown on a streaming service.

Get ready to be taken to a world beyond your imagination. From Academy Award Winner Robert Stromberg, Dell presents What Lives Inside. Starring Academy Award Winner J.K. Simmons, Colin Hanks and Catherine O’Hara. Premiering March 25th only on Hulu. Find out more at here.

From Fast Co.Create.

What Lives Inside is the fourth installment of Intel’s “Inside Films” series, dating back to a partnership with Toshiba, and agency Pereira & O’Dell, that started in 2011 with Inside, starring Emmy Rossum and directed by D.J. Caruso. It was followed by 2012’s The Beauty Inside starring Topher Grace, and 2013’s The Power Inside starring Harvey Keitel.

This year’s film, divided into four episodes, is about the son of an absentee father (Hanks) who finds himself on a journey of self-discovery after the death of his father (Simmons), a well-known and acclaimed children’s puppeteer who was widely celebrated for his creativity. The son discovers a mysterious world of his dad’s creation and finds himself on an adventure that will soon unlock his own creativity.

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Pereira & O’Dell chief creative officer PJ Pereira says one of the biggest challenges this year was finding another fresh way of bringing the same premise—Intel tagline “It’s what’s inside that counts”—to life. “We had to find a role to make the product not the subject of the story we are telling, but a character,” says Pereira. “Because characters are what the audience will remember and love months after the campaign is gone.”

In addition to Oscar-winning talent, each Inside Films series featured a social element, soliciting submissions from people for the chance to see their photo and videos for the film, or even audition for a part. This year, it worked a bit differently. “This time, because the central theme is their creativity, that’s what is on display. Their drawings, as if they were all kids that have submitted ideas to the character played by J.K. Simmons,” says Pereira.

Just six weeks after Stromberg issued a challenge online, the film received thousands of creature submissions and more user-generated content than the two previous films combined. “This project always felt more like a film than an ad, with its longer format, incredible cast and extensive visual effects,” says Stromberg, who won art direction Oscars for Alice in Wonderland and Avatar. “The whole interactive angle is also super interesting to me. We’ve had over 6,000 submissions of art work, which is crazy! I just think that’s a much better indicator of engagement than throwing a project into testing. I love how it lets people be an active part of the final product. Any time I can be a part of inspiring others to get in touch with their creative side, only inspires me more as an artist.”

The film debuts on Hulu, with new episodes weekly for four weeks, then starting May 6 the full series will be available on WhatLivesInside.com and YouTube.

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.

 

Walt Before Mickey – Exclusive Trailer

From our friends over at DisneybyMark.

Walt Before Mickey, is a big screen movie about the life of a simple man with a big dream: Walt Disney. Set in the early 1900′s, the film is based on the book Walt Before Mickey that chronicles Walt’s early years and his rise to success. This feature film is being produced by Armando Gutierrez (Henry & Me), Jeff Rice (Executive Producer of End Before Watch, 2 GUNS, Broken City, Lone Survivor), Christian Vogeler (Silver Linings Playbook), Arthur Bernstein (Hitters Anonymous), Ben Everard (Keeping Time), and directed by Ari Taub (Last Letters of Monte Rosa).

The hardcover book Walt Before Mickey, written by Timothy Susanin, and its forward written by Diane Disney Miller, was the only book ever supported by the Disney family. “Walt remains a 20th century icon, and I am happy Armando is bringing his incredible story to the big screen,” says Timothy Susanin. “‘Walt Before Mickey’ is a fresh take on a classic American ideal, exploring a part of Walt Disney’s life that little is known about,” says Armando Gutierrez. A release date has not been set.

The film’s website is http://waltbeforemickey.com/index.html

Walt Before Mickey is a feature film production of The Dreamer Movie, llc. and is based on the book Walt Before Mickey by Timothy Susanin with foreword by Diane Disney Miller. This company is not associated with the Walt Disney Company

A second Biopic of Walt Disney is out. From Cartoon Brew.

As Dreamers Do, directed by Logan Sekulow (God Bless Vegas) and written by Wendy Ott, is described as “an art film for families.”

“This movie is a passion project for me,” Sekulow said in a recent press release. “Since before I went into film school, I dreamed of telling a story like this. Walt has been a lifelong inspiration, and I hope to share this often-untold adventure in a unique, creative and entertaining way. I’m a hardcore Walt fan, and we will not disappoint.”

It stars Olan Rogers as Walt Disney, Mark Stuart and Tyler Hayes as his parents Elias and Flora Disney, Ryan Dunlap as his brother Roy and William Haynes as Disney’s friend/business partner Ub Iwerks. Country crooner Travis Tritt narrates the film. Filming began earlier this month in Franklin, Tennessee, with a spring release date planned. The production is being documented on the official Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Congress, a film by Ari Folman.

The recent controversy about what Andy Serkis said about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Scarlett Johansson’s performance in Her are both indications of the rise of the “Virtual Actor.” 

After seeing the fascinating trailer, I am looking forward to seeing this film. Please note the Fleischer and Kubrick comments in the interview selections below.

From the website for The Congress, a film by Ari Folman.

Robin Wright, a Hollywood actress who once held great promise (“The Princess Bride”, “Forest Gump”), receives an unexpected offer in mid-life: Mirramount Studios want to scan her entire being into their computers and purchase ownership of her image for an astronomical fee. After she is scanned, the studio will be allowed to make whatever films it wishes with the 3-D Robin, including all the blockbusters she chose not to make during her career. As if that were not inducement enough, the studio promises to keep the new 3D Robin forever young in the movies. She will always be thirty-something, a stunning beauty who never grows old. In return, Robin will receive tons of money but shell be forbidden to appear on any kind of stage for all eternity. Despite her deep internal resistance, Robin eventually signs the contract , since she understand that in the economy of scanned actors, its her only way to stay in the business, but even more crucial, Robin can give her son Aaron, who suffers from a rare disorder, the best treatment money can buy. The contract is valid for 20 years.

Twenty years later, Robin arrives at Abrahama, the animated city composed by Miramount Nagasaki, once a Hollywood studio that signed Robin, and now the exclusive creator of the cinematic dream-world that controls all our emotions, from love and longings to ego and deathly anxieties. Miramount Nagasaki’s chemistry is everywhere, from the air-conditioning to the water sources. During the intervening two decades, the corporation has turned Robin Wright from a Hollywood actress with unfulfilled potential into an international superstar and fantasy. On-screen, she has remained forever young. In the animated world of the future, Miraramount Nagasaki is celebrating a huge gathering in the heart of the desert, “The Futurist Congress.” At the event, Miramount Nagasaki’s genius scientists — once creators of movies, now computer programmers who have evolved into chemists and pharmacists—will declare the next stage in the chemical evolution: free choice! From now on, every viewer can create movies in his own imagination, thanks to chemical selection. Robin Wright is now a mere chemical formula that every person can consume by taking the correct prescription, then staging whatever story they desire: Snow White, personal family dramas, or porn. It’s all in the brain, all through chemicals.

The animated Robin Wright is an “elderly” woman of 66. When she arrives at the congress as the guest of honor, no one recognizes her as the stunning beauty admired by all, a star whose image is broadcast on screens in every corner of the congress. She is lonely, about to become a chemical formula, when out of nowhere, Paramount Nagasaki’s utopian plan is suddenly derailed: the thinking man, the resister, the rebels who have been fighting the deceptive regime of the pharmaceutical world, unite and turn the Futurist Congress into a fatally violent arena. The struggle for clarity of thought becomes a war of independence for the right to imagine. Out of the forgetting and the loss, Robin suddenly regains the ability to choose. Will she go back to living in the world of truth, a gray world devoid of chemistry, where she is an aging, anonymous actress caring for her sick 30-year-old son? Or will she surrender to the captivating lie of the chemical world and remain forever young?

The Congress by Ari Folman

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In his novel The Futurological Congress, the great science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem foresaw a worldwide chemical dictatorship run by the leading pharmaceutical companies.  Written in the late nineteen-sixties, the book depicted drug manufacturers’ complete control of our entire range of emotions, from love and longings, to jealousy and deadly fear. Lem, considered sci-fi’s greatest prophet and philosopher (alongside Philip K. Dick), could not have realized how prescient he was in predicting the start of the third millennium. Into the psychochemical whirlwind foreseen by Lem, the film adaptation of his novel introduces the current cinematic technologies of 3-D and motion capture, which threaten to eradicate the cinema we grew up on. In the post-“Avatar” era, every filmmaker must ponder whether the flesh and blood actors who have rocked our imagination since childhood can be replaced by computer-generated 3-D images. Can these computerized characters create in us the same excitement and enthusiasm, and does it truly matter? The film, entitled The Congress, takes 3-D computer images one step further, developing them into a chemical formula that every customer may consume through prescription pills, thereby compiling in their minds the movies they have always wanted to see, staging their fantasies, and casting the actors they adore. In this world, these beloved creatures of stage and cinema become futile relics, lacking in content, remembered by no one. Where, then, do these actors go after selling their souls and identities to the studio devil? The Congress comprises quasi-documentary live-action sequences that follow one such actress, Robin Wright, as she accepts an offer to be scanned and signs a contract selling her identity to the studio, then transitions into an animated world that depicts her tribulations after selling her image, up until the moment when the studio turns her into a chemical formula. Only the mesmerizing combination of animation – with the beautiful freedom it bestows on cinematic interpretation – and quasidocumentary live-action, can illustrate the transition made by the human mind between psychochemical influence and deceptive reality. The Congress is primarily a futuristic fantasy, but it is also a cry for help and a profound cry of nostalgia for the old-time cinema we know and love.

INTERVIEW WITH ARI FOLMAN

THE CONGRESS presents a strongly dystopic vision of Hollywood and big studio movies – is that also how you view that part of the industry? Does your film reflect a fear for the future of cinema?

While searching for a suitable location in LA to shoot the scanning room scene, I was  shocked to learn that such a room already exists. Actors have been scanned for a number of years now – this technology is already here. Flesh and blood actors are not really needed in this ”post Avatar era“. I guess its economics now that dictate whether the next generation of films will be with scanned actors, or with a completely new generation of actors ”built from scratch“. As an optimist, I think the choice for a human actor will win out and I hope The Congress is our small contribution toward that goal.

So many details in THE CONGRESS are ”futuristic“ yet still very current – do you see any positive aspects of living in another reality, behind an online avatar for example? Do you think it approaches the film‘s idea of choosing your own reality?

I think the chemical world outlined in Lem‘s novel and in the film is a fantasy, but at the same time its still a major fear for those of us who travel in our imagination and our dreams. I have always had the feeling that everybody, everywhere lives in parallel universes, one, were we function in real time and the other, the universe where our mind takes us – with or without our control. Combining the two worlds into a one, is for me the biggest goal of being a filmmaker. 

The film is unique but features what seems like an encyclopedia of significant references in terms of cinema and otherwise. Were there key films or other influences that served as guides or inspirations as you made this movie?

The animated part is a tribute to the great Fleischer Brothers‘ work from the 30‘s. It‘s hand drawn, made in 8 different countries and took two and a half years to create 55 minutes of animation. It was by far the toughest mission of my life as a director. The team back home, led by the director of animation, Yoni Goodman were working 24/7 to ensure the animation from a number of different studios had a consistency in the characters from scene to scene. During the process we discovered that sleep is for mortals and animation for the insane! Elsewhere in the movie I try to pay tribute to my idol Stanley Kubrick twice; once with a reference to Dr. Strangelove and another to 2001: A Space Odyssey, still my favorite sci-fi movie ever.

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For more behind the scenes go here.

Robin Williams in Back to Neverland

Robin Williams, Walter Cronkite and Jerry Rees prepare for the opening scene.

From JerryRees.com Go there for more great photos and information. I worked with Jerry Rees when I was at Walt Disney Imagineering. His is a very talented guy and is best known for the delightful Brave Little Toaster. He went to Cal Arts.

Written & Directed by Jerry Rees

Starring Robin Williams & Walter Cronkite

This award winning short film, combining live action and animation, played in the main theater at Disney/MGM Studios’ Animation Pavilion. Walter Cronkite, in his familiar role of trusted newscaster, set out to reveal the secrets behind Disney animation. Robin, in the role of Disney World tourist, volunteered to help with Walter’s show-and-tell. With a twinkle in his eye, Walter called on his assistant Tinkerbell to transport them to a magical limbo where anything could happen.

Step by step, Robin was transformed into an animated character – a Little Lost Boy from the classic film Peter Pan. Robin suddenly found himself facing the notorious Captain Hook. Experiencing everything from utter fear, to total joy, Robin learned that strong and believable emotions have always been at the heart of the Disney animation.

Rees, who began his career as a Disney Feature Animator, sums it up this way; “It’s not how you move the drawings, it’s how the drawings move the audience.”

Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, and devoted keeper of the family legacy, discusses storyboards for the Captain Hook showdown with “Back to Neverland” Director Jerry Rees.

 

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.

Life After PI

“Life After Pi” is a short documentary about Rhythm & Hues Studios, the L.A. based Visual Effects company that won an Academy Award for its groundbreaking work on “Life of Pi”– just two weeks after declaring bankruptcy. The film explores rapidly changing forces impacting the global VFX community, and the Film Industry as a whole.

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A113—it had no windows and no door.

Very interesting article from Vanity Fair about the very talented Cal Arts students that went on to do so much.

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RHYTHM & HUES: Life After Pi Trailer

VFX companies and artists are treated as mere cogs in the machine, with little regard to creating a sustainable, collaborative working relationship. This will lead not only to the demise of more VFX companies, but to increasing instability industry wide.

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