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June 02, 2006

Worth a Mention - June 2, 2006

Dreamworks Animation Expanding To India

(animationxpress.com) It's official and its coming straight from DreamWorks SKG cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg's mouth.

"DreamWorks is very much looking at doing business in India," he told Animation 'xpress at the Cannes Film Festival where he was promoting Over the Hedge.

Katzenberg said he had been to India twice in the past nine months. "India is a very exciting place and has potential for great animation. We've been very impressed with the Indian animation community's enthusiasm to master the constantly changing tools of CG animation. We believe this eagerness will lead to the development of a highly skilled animation community."

He added, however, that Dreamworks foray into India would not be in the form of outsourcing. "It will be definitely more than that"

Katzenberg pointed out that what animation is witnessing is its second renaissance. "The first wave was in the eighties and was more handdrawn," he pointed out. "Today, animation is digital. Today's animated movies demand superior technological achievement along with tremendous artistry and storytelling. Now is a great time for our industry."

DreamWorks Animation produces two movies per year.

VFX Maven Stan Winston To Procuce Deaths

(scifi.com) Italian commercial director Dario Piana will make his feature directorial debut with The Deaths of Ian, an independent horror film produced by venerable F/X maven Stan Winston's production company, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written by Brendan Hood, Deaths tells the story of an all-American guy who is murdered each day by horrifying pursuers, only to wake up in slightly different lives to experience the terror of being murdered again.

The movie will provide plenty of creatures that will be created by Stan Winston Studios. Producers are Winston and Brian Gilbert. Odyssey Entertainment is financing the movie, scheduled for a summer shoot on the Isle of Man.

Italian native Piana has directed about 400 commercials and also is attached to Phoenix Pictures' Werewolf and Millennium Films' Snakeskin.

How 11 VFX Companies Created X3

(vfxworld.com) When it came time to prepare the last of Fox's mutant-themed trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand (which broke box office records during its Memorial holiday debut), there were some firm absolutes: One, there would be the addition of new mutants, including impressive examples of their powers in action. Second, the eye-popping visual effects set pieces would raise the bar. Third, the scale and the mortal stakes for the X-team would be raised as well through the complex vfx sequences conjured up by writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn. Their epic ideas proved to be so vast and challenging, that 11 visual effects companies were hired. Vendors such as Soho VFX, Framestore CFC, CIS Hollywood, Rhythm & Hues, New Deal Studios Inc., Kleiser-Walczak, Hydraulx and Lola Visual Effects all contributed work to the film, with The Moving Picture Co. (MPC), Cinesite and Weta Digital contributing the largest sequences.

VFX sup John Bruno went to recent collaborators MPC to take on key vfx sequences for the film. Nicolas Aithadi, visual effects coordinator at MPC, explains how they were drafted onto the project. We were supposed to do a lot more than what we ended up doing. In the beginning, there were less visual effects companies, maybe three or four, so the movie was divided into bigger pieces. Quite quickly, we all realized the time we had to do the effects, it was too big and we had to give up on some of the effects and concentrate on what was possible in the time, because it was a really short project in terms of time. For the biggest sequence we did, we got the shots somewhere in December and had to deliver them in March. It was quite tight in the schedule so we preferred to concentrate on what we could do.

More: http://vfxworld.com/?atype=articles&id=2897

Warner Buys Affleck's CG Animated Ark

Warner Brothers has acquired Aardvark Art's Ark, a Casey Affleck screenplay for an animated family film, Variety reported. Affleck will executive-produce.

The movie revolves around the adventures of an animal family aboard Noah's Ark. The script is the second for Affleck, who co-wrote with Matt Damon the Gus Van Sant-directed Gerry, which starred both Damon and Affleck.

Affleck stars with Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman in Gone, Baby, Gone, the Miramax adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel that Casey's brother, Ben Affleck, wrote and directed.

ILM at SIGGRAPH 2006: Preview 5, Sketches

(siggraph.org) ILM members will be presenting 4 sketches at SIGGRAPH 2006 covering such projects as Poseidon and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Other studios presenting sketches include Pixar, Digital Domain, MPC, Blue Sky Studios, PDI/DreamWorks Animation, Weta Digital and Rhythm and Hues...

You can check the ILM related sketches here:

http://www.siggraph.org/s2006/main.php?f=conference&p=sketches&s=1
http://www.siggraph.org/s2006/main.php?f=conference&p=sketches&s=18
http://www.siggraph.org/s2006/main.php?f=conference&p=sketches&s=19

You can check the other VFX related sketches, which cover projects like Cars, King Kong, Over the Hedge, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Flushed Away, here: http://www.siggraph.org/s2006/main.php?f=conference&p=sketches

Man Behind King Kong Takes On PS3 Role

(avinfo.co.uk) The actor who has been heavily involved in computer generated graphics in movies has transferred his knowledge for use in a new game for the Playstation 3.

Andy Serkis was the actor behind Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movie, as well as being the human face behind King Kong.

He is now working on his video game debut, which will come in the PS3 title Heavenly Sword, in which he will play an evil king.

The actor is also the dramatic director of the martial arts game, which is being developed by UK game developer Ninja Theory.

Sony's Playstation 3 will be in UK shops in November in order to catch the Christmas rush and the game is thought to take advantage of its power to make their title closer to the quality of a Hollywood production than anything before.

As one of the leading games, it should be released soon after the console.

MORK & MINDY Movie Coming

(cinescape.com) In the latest issue of ESQUIRE magazine, it states that ROBIN WILLIAMS is involved in a "MORK & MINDY" movie. It's short and sweet, just mentioning that he is involved and that "Pam Dawber, your boat has come in".

Thank god Williams will be Mork again.... you couldn't imagine it with anyone else in the lead role!!

Pam Dawber mentioned this a while back on Dark Horizons actually, saying "Robin and I were speaking at a function, and he's the one who said he'd love to do a 'Mork' movie sometime - and what's great about Robin is that wouldn't even consider doing it if the original cast didn't return. About six, seven months later, I had a call from Miller-Milkis who said that it was a possibility, and if it happened - would I like to do it. It took me all of five seconds to scream yes. But to cut a long story short, it was put in the pipeline, but Robin had just been so busy with all his other movies that we didn't have time for this one. Everytime we bump into each other though, he still insists we are going to do it one day - a Robin promise. I look forward to it, it'll be such a blast".

ALIEN VS PREDATOR 2 Wants Sigourney

(cinescape.com) A report from a studio insider regarding ALIEN VS PREDATOR 2. Here is the basic gist:

- None of the cast from ALIEN VS PREDATOR will be returning.

- Movie will be set in a different time.

- Studio wants Sigourney Weaver to play a part.

- Weaver hated the idea behind the film.

ALIEN VS PREDATOR 2 is a 20th Century Fox film and is aiming for an August 10, 2007 release.

Fountain Released In October

(scifiwire) Ain't It Cool News is reporting that Warner Brothers will release Darren Aronofsky's oft-delayed SF epic film The Fountain on Oct. 13.

The film, which was shot last year in Montreal and elswhere, had been in development since 2002, when it initially featured Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.

They eventually left the project, and Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz stepped in to make the century-leaping story of a man, a woman and the Fountain of Youth. The movie kicked into high gear in 2004.

The movie was teased at last year's Comic-Con International in July, with a press party, interviews and a panel, and expectations were for a release late in 2005. That date came and went.

Two More X-Men Spinoffs For Fox

(moviehole.net) Twentieth Century Fox still haven’t found a cure for their enthrallment with “X-Men”.

On top of the “Wolverine” and “Magento” movies, a studio rep tells USA Today that they’re looking at doing a further two spin-off’s, one featuring popular comic book character Emma Frost.

The character is featured prominently in the comics, but didn’t appear in any of the three “X-Men” movies.

David O’Russell (“Three Kings”) is developing the ‘Emma Frost’ film, which, I’m assuming, will be an origin tale, explaining how the lass became to be a sexy mutant telepath who can transform her skin into diamonds.

According to Wikipedia Frost has been both friend and foe of the X-Men. She was originally one of the wealthy, mutant elites who comprised the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. She has had a lifelong interest in teaching the next generation and led the club’s junior team the Hellions.

After her students’ deaths, she joined Charles Xavier’s cause, mentoring the X-Men junior team Generation X. She later joined the X-Men and became headmistress of the Xavier Institute, although her ethics and loyalty remain in question.

The other spin-off film they’re discussing, is one that would fix “on the kids in (Professor X's) school, focusing on their lives, and less of a global adventure for the team," says Hutch Parker, production president of 20th Century Fox.

New VFX For Famed Universal Tram Tour

(chicagotribune.com) Fast cars dancing to hip-hop, King Kong's Skull Island and the littered suburban scene after a 747-jet crash from "War of the Worlds" are all part of the newly revamped Backlot Tour here at Universal Studios Hollywood. In the biggest overhaul of the tour since it began in 1964, there will be assorted new attractions added to the leaping dinosaurs from "Jurassic Park" and other stalwart features. The new tour--in the works for about a year--will go into previews in early June, with an official opening on June 26. It lasts about 45 minutes--the same as the old tour--and is packed with lots of information on (and promotion for) the movies made on this working studio lot.

-H

Posted by dschnee at June 2, 2006 06:44 AM

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