August 30, 2014

August 27, 2014

The Mill at Calder’s End

This upcoming gothic horror The Mill at Calder’s End, is directed by Kevin McTurk. It features an all puppet cast, which takes it’s cue from classic’s like ‘The Dark Crystal’ and merges it with Lovecraftian storytelling.

The project originated on Kickstarter, where McTurk sought to raise $32,000 to make the film, and ended up doubling that amount!

McTurk assembled an all-star team of puppeteers and creature designers to create a dark and murky world. The puppets look damn good.

Featuring the voice talents of Jason Flemyng and Barbara Steele, among others, the film is set in Victorian England and tells the tale of Nicolas Grimshaw, who returns home to unearth the dark secret of the mill and Calder’s End.

One of the many awesome things about this flick is that Mike Mignola, creator of ‘Hellboy‘ is one of the concept artists behind the films look.

The Witch of the Mill. This restless spirit will be voiced by horror legend Barbara Steele. (Sculpture by Mitch Devane).

Nicholas Grimshaw's deceased father, Harrison Grimshaw. (Sculpture by Mitch Devane).

Nicholas Grimshaw, the narrator of this tale.(Sculpture by Arjen Tuiten).

No release date has yet been set, but there's all sorts of goodies, like production art and a narrative video by one of the characters over at the film’s Official Site.

Soucre: The Blood Shed

See the trailer:

Interview with Frank Oz

This is a great Frank Oz interview did with Laurie Taylor for the In Confidence series of Britain’s Sky 1 earlier this year.

In it Frank discusses his parents Mike and Frances Oznowicz (important early figures in the Puppeteers of America), his work with Jim Henson and his career as a feature film director. He also explains his love of the Muppet characters, his time performing as Yoda, and corrects the oft-repeated misconception that he’s a voice actor.

Via Puppetvision

11 Second Club (July 2014) Entry by Paul Schwarz

August 26, 2014

Terminix: “Death to Mosquitoes”

Voice Over: Ron Perlman
Produced and directed by Dress Code
Creative Director: Andre Andreev and Dan Covert
Producer: Tara Rose Stromberg
Lead Animator: Josh Parker
Animators: Evan Anthony, Jake Armstrong, Ian Sigmon
Compositing: Ian Sigmon
Designers: Marcin Zeglinski, Evan Anthony, Jake Armstrong, Mercy Lomelin, Dusty Parker, Ian Sigmon
Music/Sound: You Too Can Woo
Agency: Havas Worldwide, Chicago
Chief Creative Officer: Jason Peterson
Creative Director / Art Director: Benny Jackson
Copywriter: Beckett Short
Art Director: Marisa Scime
GAD: Stephen Bach
Account: Christina Banuelos
Producer: Sarah Ko

"GUNTHER" by Erick Oh

August 24, 2014


The Inside Story Behind Johnny Ryan's PRISON PIT featuring Johnny Ryan, James Adomian, Blake Anderson, Kyle Kinane, Rick Shapiro, Brendan Burch and Eric Reynolds. The Animated Adaptation and Documentary are available at (plus Collectors' Edition DVDs, T-shirts, and more.)


The Prize Inside

August 23, 2014

Canada Vignettes: Canadian History Through Animated Short Films

You’ve all seen them on television. Those wonderful, short, fascinating Canada Vignettes that cover the history of Canada, from the ill-fated establishment of the Republic of Manitoba to the exploits of train robber Bill Miner. This series of over 120 short films has played continually on Canadian television from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s.
NFB have launched a DVD compilation of some of the best Canada Vignettes in time for the holidays, so I singled out a few of the more interesting films in the series.

The Genesis of the Project
The story of Canada Vignettes goes back to early 1977, when the CBC’s children’s programming department approached the National Film Board about producing short films, up to five minutes in length, that they could use as “fillers” to complement their programming for kids. The NFB was interested in this project and began to look into a way to produce it.
Meanwhile, events in Ottawa would kick-start this initiative. The Secretary of State announced in the fall of that year that $13 million would be given to Federal Cultural agencies to help promote national unity. The NFB was allocated $2 million of this money to produce films that would be broadcast on the CBC, similar to the Bicentennial Minutes that had played on CBS in the United States the previous year (the original title of the series was to be Canada Minutes). No one in either agency was interested in making or showing “propaganda” films; after some discussions, it was decided to make films on Canadian history and famous Canadians that would be a celebration of Canada, and not anything that could be perceived as propaganda.
Production begins
Radio-Canada eventually agreed to come onboard to broadcast the French films in this series. Over the next three years, a team of 80 filmmakers from across the country worked on the project, including artisans from the NFB’s Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto production centres. Many of the films produced were animation vignettes that presented Canadian history in an amusing way. Some of the vignettes were culled from material excised from full-length documentaries. The key was that they tell an interesting story in a few minutes. It was decided that no credits would be included in the films, only a title.
Television broadcasts
Eventually, the first Vignettes were shipped to the CBC and Radio-Canada on 16mm for broadcast. Though they had initiated the project, the CBC’s children’s department advised the NFB that it could no longer show films that were longer than two minutes as their programming needs had changed in the time that it took to get the series produced. This posed a problem, since a quarter of the vignettes were more than two minutes in length. The main network agreed to make the longer films as well as the short ones available to the affiliate stations, who could then choose what they would show. The films were shown on both prime time and during children’s programming slots. The most popular film in the series to air on Canadian television was Canada Vignettes: Faces, a beautiful work of animation that depicted the faces of Canada (including a cameo by then Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau).

Other Canadian networks eventually picked up the films for broadcast, including CTV, Global and TV Ontario. The TVA network also picked up the French titles and broadcast them over several years, to great response. Television sales of the best vignettes were also made to Turkey, Italy, Algeria, Norway and the United Kingdom, among other countries.
The Theatrical run
Pretty much every Canadian who has ever seen a Canada Vignette remembers the McGarrigle sisters singing in The Log Driver’s Waltz. It is one of our most viewed films on (closing in on 200,000 views). This is not surprising as it played extensively on television and was one of three films from the series to be released theatrically in the 1980s. This came about from a deal the NFB made with Cineplex Odeon to show short films before main features in Canadian cinemas. Cineplex specifically asked for very short films; they agreed to test three of them in their theatres and conduct an exit poll with the audiences to gauge their response.

The NFB was responsible for providing 35mm printing elements to Cineplex Odeon, who would in turn make the release prints for the theatres. Since all the animated Canada Vignettes had been produced on 35mm, it was easiest to produce 35mm prints of these as opposed to blowing up the 16mm documentary vignettes. Of the 22 vignettes proposed to Cineplex, the aforementioned Log Driver’s Waltz was chosen, as were The Horse andNews Canada. Unfortunately, audiences were indifferent to the films and Cineplex eventually pulled them from their theatres (The Log Driver’s Waltz received the best response of the three).

The Log Driver’s Waltz had also been submitted to the Annecy (France) Animation festival and had won the prize for best foreign animation film. This led to theatrical sales in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States and South Africa. The success at Annecy also secured television sales in a dozen countries, most notably in France, Greece, Australia and Switzerland.
Whether offering a humorous take on learning French or a beautiful song by the Cape Breton miners, the Canada Vignettes have become a treasure of Canadian nostalgia. Enjoy.

Via The NFB Blog

August 22, 2014

"The Cat Came Back" by Cordell Barker

A nice high quality version of the classic 1988 NFB short. This film, along with The Big Snit, were a major influence on me as a child in my interests of becoming an animator. For me, this is cartooning personified. A catchy tune, lively full animation, and more squash-and-stretch and boiling lines than you can shake a stick at.

August 20, 2014

In Memory of Robin Williams - a Poem by Voice Actor Jim Meskimen

Jim Meskimen was touched by the loss of Robin Williams in a unique and personal way. Since 2008, he has been the voice of Disney’s Genie character from Aladdin, having voiced him in a series of Disney video games. Williams, of course, famously brought the Genie to life in the original Disney classic.

Moonbeam City - Trailer

August 18, 2014

"Phantom Limb" by Alex Grigg

Written Directed and Animated by Alex Grigg

In the aftermath of an accident a young couple learn to deal with phantom pains. | | |
Phantom Limb is my contribution to Late Night Work Club first anthology- Ghost Stories.
Making of --
For the most part It was ALex Grigg making this little short, but he did get loads of late night help from the exceptionally talented friends in the credits below. Please find them, follow them, love them. They are all brilliant-

Additional Animation By Alexis Sudgen, James Hatley, Jean-Gui Culot, Jarrod Prince, Bill Northcott,
Backgrounds by Colin Bigelow with German Casado, Jason Pamment, Alex Grigg, Bjorn-Erik Aschim
Sound Design & Audio by Oswald Skillbard
Music Written and Performed by Kirsty Tickle and Jonathan Boulet,
Doctor Voiced by Clifford Hume,
Martha Voiced by Sarah Jones,
Compositing by - Ryan Kirby, Alex Grigg, Scott Benson
Digital Ink and Paint by - Rimon Bar, Alexis Sudgen, Jasper Parker Trenfield
Special Thanks-
Rosie Afford, Jake Armstrong, Greg Sharp, Ben Leon, Scott Benson, Bruce and Bronwyn Grigg,
Produced for Late Night Work Club

What if Michael Bay directed "UP"

August 17, 2014

Behind the Scenes of some 2014 Annecy short films

Making of "Coil"

Making of "Fenrir"

Making of "Hors Champ"

"Henchmen" by Bron Studios

This short film created by former Pixar animator Adam Wood is so good that Adam McKay and Will Ferrell will be producing a movie based on it. It tells the story of a clumsy janitor at a museum who accidentally finds himself inside the sophisticated, out-of-control armor of a famous supervillain.

They are aiming for 2016 for the release. Deadline writes:
The synopsis for the feature-length adaptation suggests there will still be a hapless young twerp in a super suit, but will also focus on a "fallen henchman" named Hank overseeing a "motley crew of blue-collar workers in the Union of Evil." The "risk-nothing" sentiments of Hank are challenged when he must become a hero and rescue the kid in the suit and the missing woman he loves.
The best part of all this is the art direction of the film, which appears to combine 3D and 2D animation. Even the 3D rendering is different and far from Pixar's usual polished surfaces, using shaders that make it look like if it were hand colored with markers or acrylics and 2D animated FX to help it look cartoony instead of focusing on off-style particle FX simulations and more of a flat and appealing design style to the effects animation.

Via sploid

August 13, 2014

So You Want to Be a Pirate!

Australia’s Rubber House Produces A Bunch of Awesome Adult Swim Promos

Australian animation studio Rubber House has completed a series of bumpers and idents Adult Swim. The pieces were produced over the course of two-and-a-half months. Rubber House said that they “took the opportunity to bring in some big-talent who we’ve been wanting to work with for a while”: Charles Huettner (US), Vincent Tsui (France), and Australians Andew Onorato, Hannah Murdoch, Courtney Hopkinson, and Nikhil Markale.

Written, designed, animated by Greg Sharp
Additional animation by Vincent Tsui and Nikhil Markale
Additional clean-up by Hannah Murdoch
Sound design by James Brown & Adult Swim

Written, designed, animated by Greg Sharp for Rubber House
Sound design by James Brown & Adult Swim

Written, designed, animated by Ivan Dixon
3D models by Courtney Hopkinson
Voice: Isy Suttie & Ivan Dixon
Music & Sound by Adult Swim

The eight pieces, which range from ten seconds to over a minute, are currently airing on the channel, and will also be posted on Rubber House’s Vimeo page throughout this week.

Via The Brew

Loic Miermont - Demo Reel

August 07, 2014

"The Kids"

Sequences animated by CRCR for the first Episode from Season 3 of The Amazing World Of Gumball.

And here's another animation by CRCR called "Lendemain de cuite".

Trailers for upcoming animated short films

August 06, 2014

Top 20 Best Movie Trailers Of All Time

I love trailers & teasers for films! Often times they are better than the movie itself. As we all know, it's an art form all and its purpose is to lure you to the movie theatres, to make you spend your money and see this film. It's meant to entice you, seduce you, intrigue you, and influence you. I'm ranking these movie trailers as to how much they intrigued me at the time of their release, making me really want to go see the film they were showcasing. Here's a list of my personal favorite teasers and trailers.

#20 - Fight Club

Directed by: David Fincher
One of my all time favorite films, this trailer is what initially sparked my interest in the movie. There's nothing too fancy about this trailer, but something about the editing is shrewd and gets into your brain, it has lots of information, yet doesn't reveal the core plot points. It made me insanely curious to see this film, the cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth was obvious and delightful to see, and the editing had a story progression to it that draws you in wanting to see how this seemingly structured chaos will all turn out.

#19 - Spiderman

Directed by: Sam Raimi
Well crafted, with simple and effective editing, every cut and every frame is well timed and flows together very nicely, plus add to the fact that comicbook fans had been waiting a long time for a big budget spiderman film to come through, this trailer nails everything it needs to do very efficiently and beautifully.

#18 - The Fellowship of the Ring

Directed by: Pete Jackson
Seeing J.R.R. Tolkien's world realized for the first time (with the exception of Ralph Bakshi's semi-failed attempt) is enough to send any lover of the fantasy genre in mad delirium after seeing this. Just as a new age of visual effects was dawning, we are given this first of many trailers that will introduce us to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and how it will be in our film consciousness from 2001 to 2003.

#17 - The Social Network

Directed by: David Fincher
Before I had even clicked on the link to see this trailer for the first time, my expectations were extremely low; "A Facebook movie?! ...ugh!" were my thoughts, but I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the look of the film and how well crafted the trailer was. It did it's job very well; it left me wanting to see more.

#16 - The Iron Giant

Directed by: Brad Bird
In terms of structure, this is a very typical trailer, but given the fact that WB had badly marketed this film otherwise (which lead to it's poor box office success), this trailer they had cut together does the job perfectly, I remember getting goosebumps during the watching of this trailer in the movie theatre, there was no way I wasn't going to see this film, it had all the elements of a solid story and interesting characters, the trailer displays all these qualities quite nicely.

#15 - Dark City

Directed by: Alex Proyas
The trailer gives you the influx of a sci-fi/film noir mix while giving you the sense of something totally original and mind-bending is at work here. I remember being very captivated and fascinated with what this film had to offer.

#14 - Star Trek 6

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
I'm a big Star Trek fan, and in my opinion, out of all 12 films, this one has their best trailer. The pacing, the dialogue/voice-over matching with the imagery being cut back and forth, all makes the film look like far more of an action space battle mystery drama than it actually was. For any lover of this old franchise, this trailer seals the deal to make you go see the film, it has everything you need, shows you the whole summary of the main plot (without revealing too much) and has a natural progression to how it displays the information to the viewer. You even see Kirk getting vaporized!

#13 - The Matrix Reloaded

Directed by: Andy & Lana Wachowski
After such a mind-blowing first film, the anticipation for its sequel was massive! So the trailer had to be amazing, it had to grab your attention, had to showcase more of what the first film delivered (plus more!), had to convince the viewer that you were going to be in for a wild and crazy ride, and this intense trailer does exactly that.

#12 - The Two Towers

Directed by: Peter Jackson
With the epic soundtrack from "Requiem For A Dream" playing over the relentlessly cool imagery, you can't help but get shivers up your spine, expertly edited and assembled, this trailer evokes the sense of doom, dread, grand battles, high-fantasy, heroic, self-sacrificing themes that would come with the film. You get all the energy, war, drama, and adventure that you had come to expect from the first film only magnified in this trailer.

#11 - The Phantom Menace

Directed by: George Lucas
As much as I eventually learned to hate this film immensely, I must put the first trailer on this list, because for what was the MOST anticipated film release EVER, the trailer did as good a job as it could possibly have done; To get millions of people insanely excited over this film... including me! I watched this trailer a hundred times when it was released on the Apple trailers website, analyzing every shot over and over again, and I would get goose bumps each time I'd see Darth Maul getting that double-lightsaber out.

#10 - Her

Directed by: Spike Jonze
A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need. This trailer doesn't quite capture the full magic that the final film delivered, but it gets pretty close, and it masterfully draws you in and makes you very very curious. You know your in for a bit of an artsy film, and a bit of an unconventional love story and a mind-blowingly awesome performance from Joaquin Phoenix, in fact, his acting shines through in the trailer so much that it was the main reason why I wanted to see this film as fast as possible.

#9 - 300

Directed by: Zack Snyder
Oh yes! Nothing gets your blood pumping like a testosterone-filled, raw, action-packed, 6-pack abs, R-rated, sword-clashing epic medieval war film. You know EXACTLY what you're in for with this movie and Zack Snyder's unique visual style is brought into the spotlight for the first time.

#8 - Prometheus

Directed by: Ridley Scott
A prime example of the trailer being better than the film. I was so pumped and excited to see another Ridley Scott Alien film that I couldn't sleep, especially after seeing their viral video/commercial campaigns they had released online (my favorite was Happy Birthday David). The trailer does an excellent job of leaving lots of mystery as to what will happen with the story and the characters, and showcases the stunningly awesome ships, costumes, set designs, scenery and flawless visual effects. But most importantly, the trailer injects that sense of death, dread, and doom that is inevitable with an Alien movie.

#7 - Enemy

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
This trailer definitely got me hooked almost immediately, that sense of a deep mystery-puzzle is very apparent right away, I couldn't help but be immensely curious about how this film would turn out.

#6 - Terminator 2

Directed by: James Cameron
This is just plain cool! If you were already familiar with the first film, well this simple teaser would certainly get your heart racing. It shows you nothing from the actual film, just the terminator cyborg assembly line, then the reveal of Arnold and slam in the 'T2: Judgment Day' metal slabs and you've got everyone hooked!

#5 - Where The Wild Things Are

Directed by: Spike Jonze
With an Arcade Fire soundtrack, great editing, no spoilers to the story, and beautiful imagery, you can't help but want to see this film. For me it tapped into that inner child, that wanderlust, that sense of seeking out adventure in manners that made me think of films like Goonies and Labyrinth. This trailer makes you feel something strong, taps directly and deeply into your emotions, giving you a very good taste of warmth and a heart in the filmmaking that I hadn't felt since the Jim Henson movies.

#4 - Inception

Directed by: Chris Nolan
With the fantastic visual effects and hints at a much deeper story and intriguing character developments, this trailer shows you so much and yet doesn't really tell you anything about what the plot is, it's a big conundrum that leaves the viewer feeling like they NEED to see this film just to discover some answers for all the questions the trailer raises. It practically hypnotizes you to go see it.

#3 - The Incredibles

Directed by: Brad Bird
Most people don't remember the first teaser that came out for The Incredibles, it was only in theatres, and it was under two minutes in length, none of the scenes in the teaser appear in the movie at all (a common tactic Pixar would do back then). Pixar/Disney had fun making teasers that was a self-contained little stories that evoked the mood and atmosphere that the film will have. The Incredibles was no exception to this technique and it works amazingly well. I remember laughing out loud in the movie theatre and getting the feeling that I couldn't wait to see this film, I remember my disappointment when I saw the release date was 12 months away! Talk about a long wait, but it planted the seed in my head and I KNEW I was going to LOVE this movie, a full year before it was released. The teaser tells you EXACTLY what the film's themes are without giving away any of the story. It's quite honestly the perfect teaser trailer.

#2 - Watchmen

Directed by: Zack Snyder
I saw this trailer in theatres and it blew me away. I had been following the production blog online for over a year, watching the making of videos and all the information that was being leaked regarding the film. Ever since I had read the comics in 1987, I was a big fan of the source material, my expectations were going to be high. I remember the rumors going around Hollywood in the mid-90s regarding Terry Gilliam making a 12 part mini-series with HBO to adapt this story, and it had always been regarded as a property that was 'un-filmable'. But After seeing Zack Snyder's "300" I was confident he had what it took to make a solid comicbook-to-film adaptation. This trailer attacks all your senses and it prepares you for the crazy movie he wants to deliver to you.

Critiques and audiences didn't like the final film for the most part, but despite what problems the movie may have had, I still loved the final product, and for me, this trailer (for both fans and for those who had never heard of the graphic novel) are sure to be curious about seeing the movie, it personifies the film quite perfectly. There may be no sign of the typical DC superhero characters that we are all more familiar with. but you can tell there will be many storylines, subplots, and a big cast of colorful characters. The trailer is a visual feast with a killer soundtrack, giving you only a hint of what the story is about, but implanting the sense that you'll be in for a hell of a ride.

#1 - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Directed by David Fincher
This is my all time favorite trailer. The version that first got leaked out online (then promptly removed) has a few more graphic imagery worked into the cut, but the premise was the same, cut on the beats of the music, occasionally the lyrics match up to the content of the visuals and it all masterfully displays the intensity and raw, dark nature of the film. Jeff Cronenweth's impeccable cinematography is shown in this fast-cutting teaser, see my full breakdown of each shot here.

I was unaware of the books that this film was based upon, but it made me quite curious as to what it was all about. Of course it reveals nothing of the story, I was just left guessing and speculating as to what the plot could be, and loving the visual style and the progression of it all. Each time I watched the trailer I couldn't blink, I held my breath, and I was feverishly trying to decode what was happening. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Karen O re-imagined "Immigrant Song" (a Led Zeppelin classic rock tune) for the incredible soundtrack, listen to the whole thing here.

I think the reason why I love this teaser so much is that it gets directly into my brain, it tells me that I need to see this film, in fact it just demands it. I know it's going to be an intense film, a complex film, and potentially quite dark and twisted too.

Honorable Mention - Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition (1997)

This was the promo for the theatrical re-release of the first three Star Wars films, all restored and re-mastered (but including the first round of awful CGI FX added into it). There's something about this trailer that truly captured the dynamic fun, energy and sense of adventure that those films had (even though this marked the beginning of George Lucas's attempts at ruining the films). None the less this trailer does an excellent job of convincing you to go see these films in theatres. And to mash up all three movies into one trailer is just incredible to see, masterfully edited with a great finishing touch of Yoda bathed in the red glowing light of Luke's X-wing as it flies away, so awesome. I remember watching this trailer online, the tingles went up my neck, I was soooo excited about seeing the originals in theatres, it tapped into my nostalgia like nothing else.

"Verschleif" by Laurin Döpfner

Making Of:
With an edge sander, half a millimeter is sanded off each work piece (wood, walnut, transformer, skull or analogue camera) and photographed. About 650 photos are made into a short film, which contrasts the inner structure of nature and technology.

August 05, 2014

Rich Aucoin - Yelling In Sleep

Animation directed by Joel Mackenzie, the video features a lumberjack who “must harness the power of nature in order to fight an 8-bit mutant wasp monster that is destroying his friends and his home.” It is said to be inspired by Bravestarr, Power Rangers, video games from the ’90s and NFB’s “Log Driver’s Waltz”.

"Talking" by David Besnier (aka Davedonut)