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May 15, 2006

Worth a Mention - May 15, 2006

Michael Bay Shares Transformers Secret

(cinematical.com) I never knew Michael Bay had a website, but that's probably because I never cared to know. From the frequency of his posts there I'd wager the man barely remembers he has a website himself -- but you can't blame him, I suppose. The man is quite busy these days and not everyone is as connected to their fan base as someone like Kevin Smith or Joss Whedon. He remembered this weekend, however, and used it to come out swinging against the large amount of Transformers rumors that've made their way to the internet these past few months. Bay seems to be quite distressed by these rumors, and in a relatively defensive sounding post he tore into Don Murphy and others who have leaked plot information.

According to Bay, much of what we've learned is false. Bay said he's got a "secret" to share with us all ... a secret "the writers don't know, nor my crew, or Steven Spielberg, or the presidents of Paramount and Dreamworks. Not even Don Murphy who is not involved on the day to day with this movie." And just what is this precious, precious secret, unknown to the even mighty Spielberg? "Many of the names in the script are aliases." Why this is devastatingly important, or why he felt he could share it with us after keeping it a secret for so long, I have no idea. Apparently, though, it was important enough for him to get NDA's for all parties involved to sign.

I guess the big question here is whether he's talking about the human or Transformer character names. It he's talking about humans, it means nothing to anyone. Nobody cares about their names. However, given the weight he is putting on this, it seems more likely he means the Transformers themselves ... which could have relatively drastic implications. I can't imagine he'd make a Transformers movie without keeping the major characters around, but then we are talking about the man responsible for The Island, so who really knows?


CG "Over the Hedge" Pushing the State of the Heart

(news.toonzone.net) Bonnie Arnold's resume may not look very long, but it includes an impressive array of top films, from Dances with Wolves to Pixar's Toy Story to Disney's Tarzan. Her latest credit is as the producer for DreamWorks' Over the Hedge, based on the comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. Arnold spoke to Toon Zone News recently over the phone about her role on Over the Hedge and the earlier films in her career.

More: http://news.toonzone.net/article.php?ID=10518

King Kong & Star Wars at Autodesk Digital Film Tour


(animationxpress.com) Trust Autodesk to come up with the best.

Last year, Autodesk arranged the Digital Intermediate tour which was focused on the art of colour grading and was addressed by the likes of Steven Poster, ASC & former President of the American Society of Cinematographers, Jean-Francois Panisset of Sony Pictures Imageworks as well as Philippe Reinaudo from Europe's leading film lab Éclair Laboratoires.

This year Autodesk has widened the scope of the event to include Visual Effects and has organised a Digital Film Tour which boasts of big names like King Kong Director Of Photography Andrew Lesnie ACS, ASC and Industrial Lights & Magic digital supervisor Grady Cofer.

Speaking to Animation 'xpress Autodesk Media and Entertainment, Regional Manager for South East Asia & India Pankaj Kedia said,"Last year Autodesk Media and Entertainment hosted a DI tour which was focused on the art of colour grading. The DI Tour was very well received by the Indian film fraternity and our audience consisted of 450 participants which included DoP's, film makers and the post production community. The success of last years event coupled with the growth of digital technologies in the Indian film industry, we have decided to widen the scope of this year's event to include Visual Effects. As a result, this year's event will also focus on the applications of two of Autodesk Media and Entertainment's most popular products i.e. Flame (VFX) and Lustre (DI)"

"What we intent to focus on this year, is the momentum that has built up worldwide and in India, in the usage of DI and digital post production processes. As a part of this we are bringing 2 very high profile speakers (who have celebrity status in their respective fields) - Andrew Leslie, DoP for King Kong & Lord of the Rings and Grady Cofer, Digital Supervisor from ILM to present. The films that would be discussed would include the biggest blockbusters of recent times - King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Episode III and War of the Worlds"

More: http://www.animationxpress.com/anex/y2k6/headlines/anex773

More: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6071909.html?tag=zdfd.newsfeed

Spiderman 3 Exits Cleveland

(superherohype.com) Spider-Man 3 filming ended in Cleveland on Saturday, despite reports that it was extended until Tuesday:

Reports claiming that the Spider-Man 3 Cleveland shoot was extended until Tuesday appear to be false. Cleanup crews are quickly changing "New York" back to Cleveland. Banners and some store fronts still remain, but the cleanup crew is quickly removing broken glass, car parts (including 2 destroyed armored trucks), and sand from the side of Euclid while traffic has resumed on the opposite side of the street. I took some photos of the 3 armored trucks and some cleanup efforts.

Porn Industry Blazes Tech Future For Hollywood

(hollywoodindustry.com) Hollywood has been tiptoeing its way toward letting consumers buy a movie online, burn it onto a DVD and watch it on a living-room TV.

While the studios hesitate, the adult film industry is taking the leap.

Starting Monday, Vivid Entertainment says it will sell its adult films through the online movie service CinemaNow, allowing buyers to burn DVDs that will play on any screen, not just a computer.

It is another first for adult film companies that pioneered the home video market and rushed to the Internet when Hollywood studios still saw it as a threat.

"Leave it to the porn industry once again to take the lead on this stuff," said Michael Greeson, founder of The Diffusion Group, a consumer electronics think tank in Plano, Texas.

Vivid says its downloads, which will cost $19.95 (euro15.45), do not use CSS. Instead, online retailer CinemaNow is using an alternate, proprietary system that it says will protect the adult movies by preventing the burned DVD from being copied to other discs.

"They built a better mousetrap," Asher said of CinemaNow.

Despite the challenges, mainstream studios are taking some risks and inching toward downloadable DVDs.

Both Warner Bros. and Universal Studios have launched hybrid programs overseas in which consumers who download films also get a DVD in the mail.

But the real goal, analysts say, is to pipe major Hollywood movies and TV shows over the Internet directly to TV sets, bypassing DVDs altogether.

"How about I just turn my set on and press 'go,'" Greeson said. "That's the holy grail."


Weinstein Co. Like CG 'Igor'

(vfxworld.com) The Weinstein Co. will represent all international rights to the CG-animated feature comedy, IGOR, from Exodus Film Group. IGOR is being produced by John D. Eraklis and seasoned animation exec Max Howard, who has collaborated on such animated blockbusters as THE LION KING, ALADDIN, SPACE JAM and THE IRON GIANT. The Weinstein Co. will distribute the film in North America and will begin selling the international territories at the Cannes Film Festival.

Chris McKenna (AMERICAN DAD) has penned the playfully irreverent comedy with a new twist to the classic monster genre, IGOR is the story of a mad scientist’s hunchbacked lab assistant who has big dreams of becoming a scientist in his own right and winning the coveted first place award at the annual Evil Science Fair.

Glen Basner, The Weinstein Co. Int’l president, said, “We are extremely excited to add IGOR to TWC’s already diverse slate of films. Audiences around the world will surely root for our hunchbacked hero as he realizes that being evil isn’t all its cracked up to be.”

“We’re thrilled to extend our distribution relationship with the Weinsteins and have them take IGOR to Cannes,” Eraklis added.

Other CG-animated projects for The Weinstein Co. include the fourth installment of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH, OPUS, CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE and Hood vs. Evil, the sequel to the box office hit, HOODWINKED.

Exodus Film Group’s CG-animation slate includes THE HERO OF COLOR CITY and AMARILLO ARMADILLO, with Howard set to exec produce. Exodus is in pre-production on the live-action film, BUNYAN & BABE, featuring the voice of comedic actor Eddie Griffin (DYSFUNKTIONAL FAMILY,SCARY MOVIE 3) as the CG-animated Babe the Blue Ox. Eraklis is producing BUNYAN with exec producer Tarquin Gotch (HOME ALONE, CURLY SUE). Award-winning composer Basil Poledouris (THE JUNGLE BOOK, LONESOME DOVE) is composing the score.

Walnut Creek Beats Out S.F. For Lucasfilm's Letterman Eats

(San Francisco Business Times) San Francisco's newest corporate landmark is getting its first restaurant. But not by one of the city's landmark chefs.

Instead, for the inaugural eatery in the Letterman Digital Arts Center, the Lucasfilm people have turned to ... Walnut Creek?

Indeed. Va de Vi, a bistro and wine bar that has developed a committed fan base in its hometown with an impressive wine list and internationally flavored small plates of shareable food, will open its second site, serving both lunch and dinner in Letterman's red brick Building D.

According to Lucasfilm, literally dozens of restaurants were vying to become the center's first culinary tenant. Va de Vi may have had the inside track: Apparently some Lucasfilm employees who live in Walnut Creek put in a good word for the place. The lease got signed last week.

"The team of Stan Raaen, John Walz and Dale Raaen and chef Kelly Degala also brought an enthusiasm that was unmatched," said Raul Saavedra, leasing director for the center.

The new tenant will make plenty of hungry film, special effects and video game-makers very happy. The center has been open, with a cafe but otherwise restaurantless, for nearly a year.
Autodesk keeps going Hollywood

San Rafael's Autodesk continues to pursue its Hollywood dreams.

The 24-year-old company, known for its design software for architects, sashayed into the entertainment software arena last year with the acquisition of Toronto-based Alias, which makes animation and visual effects software used by companies like San Francisco's Wild Brain.

Now the company is moving farther up the red carpet, partnering with the father of Angelina Jolie's forthcoming baby, Brad Pitt. The company is sponsoring an upcoming PBS documentary series that will focus on sustainability in architecture. The six-part series, titled "design: e2, the economies of being environmentally conscious," will explore the social, political, cultural, environmental and economic issues of sustainable architecture and current solutions. It will be hosted by Pitt, who's been dubbed a "starchitect" for his interest in design.


Practical VFX Wizards Flock To Kentucky

(wonderfest.com) WonderFest is a weekend of hobby escape that’s held every Summer in Louisville, Kentucky USA! It features movie special effects guests, the largest model contest in the U.S. for sci-fi, horror & comics-related subjects, model and toy dealers galore, and seminars to entertain and improve hobbyists of all ages! Some highlights:

ALIENS Revisited: Return to LV-426...
It’s the 20th Anniversary of James Cameron’s blockbuster action-horror epic and we’re celebrating with displays and this presentation by Bob Burns and miniature FX-master Pat McClung! See exclusive video from the Burns Museum of classic miniatures and props like the Sulaco, the Narcissus, the drop-ships plus the full-sized Queen Alien and her minions and hear tales from the Colonial Marine trenches from Pat, one of the sole survivors of the production!

Persistence of Vision: The Animated Career of Randall William Cook
Randall William Cook’s career as a stop-motion animator, creature and FX makeup designer has spanned 30 years, culminating recently in three (count ‘em!) Academy Awards for visual effects on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the role of 2nd Unit Director for last year’s dazzling King Kong! WonderFest is proud to welcome him as he talks about the state of the FX art and looks back on highlights of his work on films like The Thing, Ghost Busters, The Gate, Fright Night, 2010 and…The Further Adventures of Major Mars?

Modeling ENTERPRISE in a BIG way!
Sides Model builder Sean Sides will present an overview of the 2+ years involved in the construction of his amazing Federation starship on display at this year’s show! The presentation will include pictures and discussion from the basic armature assembly, the electronics and wiring, body work to final assembly and finish. At the end of the presentation, Sean will also share a glimpse into his newest, even Bigger project!

Check it out: http://www.wonderfest.com/about.htm

Posted by dschnee at May 15, 2006 02:22 PM

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