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Animation Scoop

Immersed in Movies: Bill Plympton Talks 'Cheatin''

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 29, 2014 2:41 PM
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After a successful opening in France and a slew of festival awards, Bill Plympton's noirish Cheatin' -- his most daring feature to date -- is still having a tough time getting theatrical distribution here at home. It just goes to show that there's still a lot of prejudice against adult animation when it comes to American indies. Not that Plympton isn't still hopeful, which we discussed after a successful screening at Cannes.

Immersed in Movies: Rob Gibbs Talks 'Radiator Springs 500 1/2'

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 23, 2014 11:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Pixar has certainly gotten a lot of mileage with Cars, and this week launches a new "Tales From Radiator Springs" series of shorts premiering on the Disney Movies Anywhere app. The first short, Radiator Springs 500 1/2, introduces a new off-road racing challenging that Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) can't resist entering to redeem the honor of the town and its founder, Stanley. Director Rob Gibbs ("Mater's Tall Tales") discusses some of the new animated twists and turns.

Immersed in Movies: Will Finn Talks 'Legends of Oz'

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • May 9, 2014 12:07 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, comes Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, an indie animated musical from Summertime and Clarius, made by Prana Studios. Adapted from the initial book by Roger Baum, the great grandson of L. Frank Baum, co-director Will Finn (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, The Secret of NIMH) discusses his first foray in helming a CG-animated feature.

Immersed in Movies: Scott Peterson Talks ''Dragon 2' VFX at FMX

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 22, 2014 12:00 PM
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The FMX 2014 conference in Stuttgart on film, games, and transmedia kicked off Tuesday morning with "Advancing Visual Effects in How To Train Your Dragon 2," revealing how both Hiccup and DreamWorks have grown up. Scott Peterson, co-head of VFX at the animation studio, screened the first five minutes (embed here) and offered details of their new high-res simulations.

Immersed in Movies: Sergio Mendes Talks Music In "Rio 2"

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 11, 2014 2:30 PM
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In Rio 2, musical legend Sergio Mendes helps expand the Brazilian flavor as the adventure continues in the Amazon. For director Carlos Saldanha, musically it's richer and more multi-layered, and, as the story progresses, the jungle offers its own vibe, and, by the end, it's a mixture of the two. Mendes tells what the musical journey has been like for him.

Immersed in Movies: BOOK REVIEW: 'Creativity, Inc.'

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • April 8, 2014 9:04 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Ed Catmull explores the secret of Pixar's success in Creativity, Inc. (Random House) with a managerial insight that's applicable to everyone. Reminiscent of John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success," the Yoda of Pixar has presided over the industry's animation leader with a winning philosophy that delicately balances individual talent and chemistry with team leadership and a dynamic vision.

Immersed in Movies: Pixar's Kelsey Mann Talks 'Party Central' Short

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 21, 2014 11:21 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Despite Pixar not having a feature this year, it worked out perfectly for the MU short, Party Central, to play in front of Muppets Most Wanted since Jim Henson was such an important influence on director Kelsey Mann. "They always had that manic energy when you got a group of the Muppets together. I wanted to get that over the top feeling in this short."

Immersed in Movies: Carlos Saldanha Talks 'Rio 2'

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 14, 2014 12:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
In Rio 2 (opening April 11th), we go from Rio to the Amazon for a richer and more musical comedy/adventure with newcomers Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars joining Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway), and their three kids in the rainforest. Director Carlos Saldanha discusses raising the bar at Blue Sky.

Immersed in Movies: Talking 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' with Minkoff & Schleifer

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 7, 2014 12:15 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Mr. Peabody & Sherman has been given the DreamWorks treatment on the big screen in CG and 3-D yet it still retains the charm and appeal of the original Jay Ward cartoons created by Ted Key. The wacky WABAC is back but there's more at stake in terms of single parenting, rites of passage and the tricky time-space continuum. I spoke with director Rob Minkoff and Jason Schleifer, the head of character animation, about re-inventing the iconic property.

Immersed in Movies: Anatomy of a Scene for the Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 17, 2014 3:00 PM
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What were the most challenging scenes to animate in the Oscar-Nominated shorts? I posed this to all five directors: Lauren MacMullan (Get A Horse!), Daniel Sousa (Feral), Shuhei Morita (Possessions), Laurent Witz (Mr. Hublot), and Max Lang (Room on the Broom).