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OpEd: Brave’s 5th Anniversary and what it means to a Scottish person

Brave, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • June 22, 2017

In 2009, I saw Up in cinemas for the first time, and I left thinking I had just seen the best movie of my life. As soon as I got home that night, I googled Pixar to find out what movies they had in their pipeline, and when I saw they were making a movie set in Scotland, my heart leapt. Mainly with joy. But there was a little bit of worry in there too.

I have always lived in Scotland, and have seen my fair share of movies attempting to portray the country I have grown up in. These movies are riddled with horrible attempts at Scottish accents, actors that have no connection to the country at all, and scenery that wasn’t even filmed on location. They rely on blatant stereotypes and, at best, only skim the surface of what Scotland is really like. So after learning about the production of Brave, I was unsurprisingly cautious, at least until I grew to understand and appreciate Pixar and their values.

Pixar do their research. They made Paris feel real in Ratatouille, they took lessons in ichthyology for Finding Nemo, and they even worked out how many balloons it would take to lift Carl and Ellie’s house in Up (…then took some leniencies). For the creation of Brave, Pixar teams visited Scotland, sketched castles, and went walking in the highlands. They studied the scenery and foliage and experienced our weather and culture first-hand. The end result? Out of all the American movies I have seen, Brave did the absolute best job at capturing Scotland and its scenery, lighting, colours, people, and accents. They hired Scottish actors and learned from them, allowing them to really contribute to the movie. In an interview with Kevin McKidd, the voice of both Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin, Pixar suggested he make Young MacGuffin have a particularly broad accent; almost incomprehensible. But instead of just spewing Scottish-sounding gibberish, McKidd proposed he did “a dialect from my home area, called the Doric, which is a very specific area in the north-east of Scotland.” This resulted in a joke that was funny for viewers in America, but hilarious for viewers in Scotland. It’s genius. Being from the north-east of Scotland myself, I have grown up with the Doric accent around me, and even I struggle to understand it without context (although I do understand all of Young MacGuffin’s lines!) It’s little touches and inside jokes like this that make Brave a film that Scottish people are proud to be associated with.

© Steve Pilcher

Even on the day it came out, Brave created a sense of community and pride across the country. It was released in cinemas a day earlier in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, and I saw it in a makeshift cinema that my village hall put on for the night – mismatched seats and a projector screen. The scenery was breath-taking, and you felt you could almost recognise some places because the attention to detail was so perfect. When Young MacGuffin said his first line, people turned to each other with huge grins on their faces. We were in hysterics. Even the ‘obvious’ jokes (that had to be done) were done completely tastefully.

It’s so refreshing to have a movie that depicts Scotland with such accuracy and respect. We don’t have bears, of course, but…leniencies. Animation allows leniencies. And on top of all of that, Brave is a wonderful movie with a beautiful message and strong, memorable characters. Merida will always be my favourite ‘Disney Princess’.

Pixar places so much importance on being able to transport you to these different worlds and settings that they create and imitate. They fully appreciate how crucial it is to know these worlds themselves before they’re able to make us believe that we know them too. Coco debuts this November, and I can’t wait for the people of Mexico to feel the way I did when Brave was released 5 years ago. Happy 5th anniversary, Brave!

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New Frozen Featurette Will Play Before Coco

Coco, Disney, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • June 13, 2017

Disney and Pixar revealed today that instead of being paired with an original Pixar short, Coco will have a new Frozen featurette played before it – Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. This is not the first spin-off from Disney’s ever-popular Frozen franchise, with the short Frozen Fever debuting alongside their live-action Cinderella in 2015. However, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be a whopping 21 minutes long.

It’s unusual that it’s being played before a Pixar movie, where original short films have become something of a tradition. A little disappointingly, this means we won’t be seeing another brand new short created by Pixar Studios this November when Coco is released – all the more reason to get excited for LOU which will be playing before Cars 3 in just 3 days in North American theatres!

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Pixar reveals an all-Latino cast for Coco (and a new poster!)

Coco, Lee Unkrich, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • June 6, 2017

Along with a beautiful new poster, Pixar released details today of the large cast of characters that we can look forward to seeing in Coco later this year, all voiced by actors of Latino descent (including Gabriel Iglesias, Renée Victor, Sofía Espinosa, and Edward James Olmos). It’s worth remembering that Pixar put a lot of effort into making the cast of Brave entirely Scottish or of Scottish descent (save a few lines of dialogue, like the now-essential John Ratzenberger cameo), so it’s great to see them doing the same and more for Coco.

Information on the cast reveal can be found on Oh My Disney. 18 characters have been revealed, many of them relatives of the main character Miguel, so it seems like we might be seeing a big family reunion in the Land of the Dead. Even though each character is given just a brief description, this new information has really fleshed out the world in which Coco is taking place. We’ve learned that Miguel’s family comes from a long line of shoemakers, and the business was created by his great-great grandmother Mamá Imelda. “The matriarch of the Rivera family”, she is bound to be a strong, interesting character that I’m sure many of us are looking forward to meeting. It also seems like there might be a bit of tension between the musicians and the shoemakers in his extended family…

With Coco being released in under 6 months, we can definitely begin to look forward to seeing more trailers, teasers and posters. In fact, a new trailer is expected to land later this week! Director Lee Unkrich has posted pictures on Twitter of some of the voice actors – Gabriel Iglesias and Edward James Olmos – at Pixar Studios recording lines for the movie.

And the continued support from Jorge R. Gutierrez, the director of The Book of Life which also centred around Día de los Muertos, is still as heart-warming as ever.

Coco is set to release in North American theatres on November 22nd 2017.

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More ‘LOU’ details

Dave Mullins, Lou, Pixar, Short Film

Posted by Joanna • June 2, 2017

Some new details about Pixar’s next short ‘LOU’ have surfaced this week on CinemaBlend in the form of “5 fascinating facts”.

LOU will feature a soundtrack written by Christophe Beck, who composed the memorable scores for Frozen and the Disney short Paperman, so we’re definitely in for a treat. By using a very interesting ‘round’ method, with musicians exhibiting great coordination skills, the soundtrack is sure to sound amazingly unique.

In addition to this, many of us will have already seen the character J.J.’s design: he appears in the background of Inside Out in Riley’s classroom! It’s not unusual for Pixar to recycle previously rendered characters and objects (a certain pizza delivery truck comes to mind).

Perhaps most excitingly, in response to the initial pitch for LOU, John Lasseter is reported to have said:

“This character looks like a pain in the ass to do, let’s make it.”

It’s always inspiring to see Pixar deliberately tackling challenges like this. LOU is a character made up of a mass of lost and found objects, and it’s easy to understand how difficult it must have been to animate him as a single living thing and not a collection of disconnected items. They’ve succeeded in doing this in the past – think of the school of fish in Finding Nemo, or the cute Lego character in Toy Story of Terror, or even the 7 limbs of Hank the septopus in Finding Dory – but animating LOU may just be their most impressive effort yet.

Ever since A Bug’s Life, all Pixar feature-length films have been coupled with original short films. The creation of these shorts is a way of encouraging creativity within the studio, and providing new and upcoming directors with confidence and experience. It’s clearly become a tradition that Pixar are particularly proud of, especially with their new internal short film project. It therefore comes as no surprise that the short film preceding the main feature is often equally as magical and compelling. Cars 3 is being released in North American theatres in just a fortnight, but the simultaneous release of LOU is just as exciting! ­

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Live Pixar tour: Choose Your Own Adventure

Nick Pitera, Pixar

Posted by Simoa • February 18, 2017

For many people, visiting Pixar is a dream that might not be fully realized. On February 17th however, fans were treated to a live tour on the official Youtube channel! The guide was Nick Pitera, a Pixarian and musician who provided his vocals for the infamous “Triple Dent Gum” jingle from Inside Out. Fans were permitted to send in questions as the tour progressed. Pitera answered a few that pertained to his experience inside Pixar. One of his favorite things about working at the studio is being able to contribute in any way to these films which have such a great impact on people. Growing up, the films were significant for him as well.

Luckily the video of the tour is available to watch if you missed the live broadcast.

Although the tour was just over 20 minutes long, these brief glimpses into Pixar are always informative and lots of fun. The company fosters a lot of creativity and looks like it’s one of the best places to work.

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Congratulations to Pixar on 4 Annie Award Nominations

Annie Awards, Awards, Finding Dory, Piper, Pixar

Posted by Nia • November 29, 2016

annie-awards

Yesterday the nominees for the 44th Annual Annie Awards were announced. Like every year, the Annie Awards are a celebration of all the hard work and fantastic accomplishments that are achieved in the animation community. So many different fields within the medium are honored, such as Character Animation in a Video Game, Storyboarding in both Feature and TV Production, Voice Acting, and even Best Student Film. There are so many unsung heroes of the industry that it’s inspiring to see everyone come together to honor the work that has been done. The awards have also been known to be a huge predictor as to what films take home the pivotal Golden Statue otherwise known as the Oscar.

Pixar landed a brilliant 4 nominations in crucial categories. Finding Dory was nominated for Best Animated Feature, Piper got the honor of being nominated for Best Animated Short Subject; while Finding Dory racked another 2 nominations in Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production and Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production. A lot of top quality films have been released from all of the major studios this year – so it will be rather interesting to see which production wins. Regardless, a massive congratulations to all who were involved with animated projects this year. Each film, TV show, or game released only opens up the doors to more possibilities. It’s truly exciting to see how animation continues to grow year after year.

You can find the rest of the Annie Award nominees and categories below:

Best Animated Feature

  • “Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation

Best Animated Feature – Independent 

  • “Long Way North,” Sacrebleu Productions, Maybe Movies, NorlumStudios, France 3 Cinéma and 2 Minutes
  • “Miss Hokusai,” GKids
  • “My Life as a Zucchini,” GKids
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions
  • “Your Name.,” CoMix Wave Films

Best Animated Special Production

  • “Audrie & Daisy,” AfterImage Public Media in association with Actual Films for Netflix
  • “Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll,” DreamWorks Animation
  • “Little Big Awesome,” Titmouse, Inc./Amazon Studios
  • “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” CBS Films/J.P. Entertainment/Participant Media
  • “Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Massive Swerve Studios and Passion Pictures Animation

Best Animated Short Subject 

  • “Blind Vaysha,” National FilmBoard of Canada
  • “Deer Flower,” Studio ZAZAC
  • “Path Title Sequence,” Acme Filmworks
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
  • “Piper,” Pixar Animation Studios

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Commercial 

  • “Duelyst,” Powerhouse Animation Studios, Inc.
  • “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Trailer, Plastic Wax
  • “Lily & the Snowman,” Hornet
  • Loteria “Night Shift,” Passion Pictures Ltd.
  • “The Importance of Paying Attention: Teeth,” Bill Plympton Studio

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production for Preschool Children 

  • “Ask the StoryBots,” Episode: Why Do I Have to Brush My Teeth?, JibJab Bros. Studios for Netflix
  • “Peg + Cat,” Episode: The Disappearing Art Problem, The Fred Rogers Company/ 9ate7 Productions
  • “Puffin Rock – The First Snow,” Episode 59, Cartoon Saloon, Dog Ears, Penguin RandomHouse
  • “The Stinky & Dirty Show,” Episode: Squeak, Amazon Studios and Brown Bag Films
  • “Tumble Leaf,” Episode: Mighty Mud Movers / Having a Ball, Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production for Children

  • “Adventure Time,” Episode: Bad Jubies, Bix Pix Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Frederator Studios
  • “DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender,” Episode: Return of the Gladiator, DreamWorks Animation Television
  • “Elena of Avalor,” Episode: A Day to Remember, Disney Television Animation
  • “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Episode: Trans-Dimensional Turtles, Nickelodeon
  • “Wander Over Yonder,” Episode: My Fair Hatey, Disney Television Animation

Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: Glued, Where’s My Bob?, Bento Box Entertainment
  • “BoJack Horseman,” Episode: Fish Out of Water, Tornante Productions for Netflix
  • “Long Live the Royals,” Episode: Punk Show, Cartoon Network Studios
  • “The Simpsons,” Episode: Barthood, Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox Television
  • “The Venture Bros,” Episode: Hostile Makeover, Titmouse, Inc.

Best Student Film 

  • “Citipati,” Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • “FISHWITCH,” Adrienne Dowling
  • “The Abyss,” Liying Huang
  • “The Wrong End of the Stick,” Terri Matthews
  • “Twiddly Things,” Adara Todd

Animated Effects in an Animated Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Lead Effects Artist: David Horsley; CG Look Development Lead: Eric Wachtman; Senior Compositor: Timur Khodzhaev; Compositor: Daniel Leatherdale; Lead CG Lighter: Terrance Tomberg
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation; Effects Sequence Lead: Matt Titus; Effects Sequence Lead: Jeff Budsberg; Effects Sequence Lead: Carl Hooper; Effects Sequence Lead: Louis Flores; Effects Sequence Lead: Jason Mayer
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Head of Effects Animation: Marlon West; Effects Lead: Erin V. Ramos; Effects Lead: Blair Pierpont; Foundation Effects Lead: Ian J. Coony; Effects Lead: John M. Kosnik
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions; Special Effects Supervisor: Mouloud Oussid
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Effects Lead: Thom Wickes; Effects Lead: Henrik Fält; Effects Animator: Dong Joo Byun; Effects Animator: Rattanin Sirinaruemarn; Effects Animator: Sam Klock

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production

  • “Deepwater Horizon,” Lionsgate; The Rig;  Effects TD Supervisor: Raul Essig; Digital Artist : Mark Chataway; Lead Digital Artist : George Kuruvilla; Digital Artist : Mihai Cioroba
  • “Doctor Strange,” Marvel, Mirror Dimension; FX Supervisor: Georg Kaltenbrunner; Digital Artist : Michael Marcuzzi; Digital Artist : Thomas Bevan; Digital Artist: Andrew Graham; Digital Artist: Jihyun Yoon
  • “Ghostbusters,” Iloura; Animator: Terry Bannon; Animator: Nicholas Tripodi; Animator: Daniel Fotheringham; Animator: Matt Weaver; Animator: Julien Boudou
  • “The BFG,” Amblin Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures; Lead Effects TD: Claude Schitter; Senior Previs Animator: Benjaman Folkman; Senior Effects TD: Gary Boyle; FX Supervisor: David Caeiro; CG Supervisor: Luke Millar
  • “Warcraft,” Legendary/Universal; Magic; Legendary/ Universal; FX Supervisor: John Hansen; Lead Artist: George Kuruvilla; Lead Artist: Alexis Hall, Lead Artist: Gordon Chapman; Lead Artist: Ben O’Brien

Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Atomic Puppet,” Mercury Filmworks, Gaumont Animation, Technicolor; Character Animator: Barry Kennedy; Characters: Disastro, Phil Felt, Joey Felt, Old
  • Man, Atomic Puppet, Mookie, Vivian Felt, Smoke Monster, Principal Wartickle, Sword Sister (Paulina), Were-chicken, Chicken, Mr. Inkwood, Cornelius (Octopus), Atomic Android, incidental characters
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Becoming, Part 1, DreamWorks Animation Television; Character Animator: Mike Chaffe; Characters: Blinky, Aaarrrgghh!!
  • “The Snowy Day,”   Amazon Studios and Karrot Entertainment; Lead Animator: Rob Thomson; Character: Peter, Mom, Nana and other various characters
  • “Tumble Leaf,” Episode: Thinking Outside The Hoop / Fig’s HayMaze-ing Wander, Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment; Lead Animator: Dan MacKenzie; Characters: Fig, Hedge, Stick, Okra, Maple, Pine, Buckeye, Gourd, Chickens
  • “Tumble Leaf,” Episode: Mighty Mud Movers / Having a Ball, Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment; Lead Animator: Joe Heinen; Characters: Fig, Hedge, Stick, Buckeye, Pine, Beetles

Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios; Character Development and Animation: Erick Oh; Characters: All Characters
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings” Laika; Animator: Jan Maas; Characters: Multiple
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation; Animation Supervisor: Ludovic Bouancheau; Characters: Various
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Animator: Dave Hardin Charactes: Judy Hopps, Stu Hopps, Bonnie Hopps, Chief Bogo, Nick Wilde,
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Animator: Chad Sellers; Characters: Mr. Big, Koslov, Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, Flash

Character Animation in a Live Action Production

  • “Captain America: Civil War,” Marvel Studios; Spider-man; ILM Animation Supervisor: Steve Rawlins; CG Lead Artist: Ebrahim Jahromi; Associate Animation Supervisor: Cedric Lo; CG Lead Artist: Stephen King; Digital Artist: Yair Gutierrez
  • “Games of Thrones,” HBO, Episode: Battle of the Bastards; Visual Effects By Iloura: Nicholas Tripodi; Visual Effects By Iloura: Dean Elliott; Visual Effects By Iloura: James Hollingworth; Visual Effects By Iloura: Matt Weaver
  • “The Jungle Book,”  Walt Disney Pictures; Animation Supervisor: Andrew R. Jones; Animation Supervisor: Peta Bayley; Animation Supervisor: Gabriele Zucchelli; Character Supervisor: Benjamin Jones
  • “The Jungle Book,” Walt Disney Pictures; Animation Supervisor: Andrew R. Jones; Senior Animation Supervisor: Paul Story; Animation Supervisor: Dennis Yoo; Motion Editor: Eteuati Tema; Senior Facial Modeller: Andrei Coval
  • “Warcraft ,” Legendary/Universal; Orcs; Animation Supervisor: Hal Hickel; Digital Artist : Jee Young Park; Digital Artist: Kai-Hua Lan; Animation Supervisor: Cedric Lo; Animation Supervisor: KimHuat Ooi

Character Animation in a Video Game

  • “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Legends,” Ludia Inc.; Character Animator: Lucio Mennillo; Character: Donatello Vision; Character Animator: Martine Quesnel;  Character: Leonardo Vision; Character Animator: Alexandre Cheff; Character: Donatello LARP; Character Animator: Laura Gorrie; Character: Leatherhead LARP; Lead Animator: Guillaume Charrin; Character: Raphael Vision
  • “Titanfall 2,” Respawn Entertainment; Character Animator: Ranon Sarono, Character: Jack Cooper, BT-7274, Weapons; Character Animator: Shawn Wilson; Character: BT-7274, Creatures; Lead Animator: Mark Grigsby Character: BT-7274, Jack Cooper, Viper, Weapons; Lead Animator: Paul Messerly Character: BT-7274, Jack Cooper, AI; Character Animator: Moy Parra, Character BT-7274, Villains
  • “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” Naughty Dog; Lead Animator: Jeremy Yates Character: All; Lead Animator: Almudena Soria Character: All; Lead Animator: Eric Baldwin Character: All; Lead Animator: Paul Davies Character: All; Lead Animator: Tom Bland Character: All; Witcher 3 Expansion Packs – Character Animation Reel; CDProjekt Red Lead Animator: Sebastian Kalemba; Character: Directing role

Character Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production 

  • “Counterfeit Cat,” Episode: 28 Seconds Later, Tricon Kids & Family and Wildseed Kids; Art Director: Raphaël Chabassol;  Character: Full cast: Max, Gark, Betty, etc.
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Win, Lose or Draal, DreamWorks Animation Television; Character Designer: Victor Maldonado, Character: All Characters; Character Designer: Alfredo Torres, Character: All Characters; Character Designer: Jules Rigolle, Character: All Characters
  • “Pig Goat Banana Cricket,” Episode: It’s Time to Slumber Party, Nickelodeon; Character Designer: Jennifer Wood, Character: Various
  • “Rain or Shine,” Google Spotlight Stories/Nexus Studios; Character Design: Robin Davey, Character: Multiple
  • “Wander Over Yonder,” Episode: The Night Out, Disney Television Animation; Character Designer: Benjamin Balistreri, Character: Various

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Character Designer: Shannon Tindle, Characters: Multiple
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Art Director Characters: Bill Schwab, Characters: Moana, Maui, Pua, Heihei, Tamatoa, Kakamora, Lalotai Characters (Realm of Monsters); Visual Development Artist: Jin Kim,  Charactesr: Moana, Maui, Gramma Tala, Sina, Ancestor Wayfinders, Lalotai Characters (Realm of Monsters), Te Kā
  • “The Secret Life of Pets,” Illumination Entertainment; Character Design by: Eric Guillon Character: All
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Art Director: Tim Lamb, Characters: Trolls; Character Designer: Craig Kellman, Characters: Bergens
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Character Design : Cory Loftis, Characters: Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps, Flash, Chief Bogo, Clawhauser, Mr. Big, Fru Fru, Koslov, Bellwether, Yax, Finnick, Doug, Mr. and Mrs. Otterton, Duke Weaselton, Misc. Characters

Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “A Love Story,” Passion Pictures; Director: Saschka Unseld
  • “Adventure Time,” Episode: Bad Jubies, Cartoon Network Studios; Director: Kirsten Lepore
  • “Open Season: Scared Silly,” Episode: Open Season: Scared Silly; Sony Pictures Animation; Director: David Feiss
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures; Director: Patrick Osborne
  • “Wander Over Yonder,” Episode: My Fair Hatey, Disney Television Animation; Director: Dave Thomas; Director: Eddie Trigueros; Director: Justin Nichols

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Director: Travis Knight
  • “My Life as a Zucchini,”GKids; Director: Claude Barras
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli,  Wild Bunch,  Why Not Productions; Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
  • “Your Name.,” CoMix Wave Films; Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Director: Byron Howard; Director: Rich Moore

Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: Glued, Where’s My Bob?, Bento Box Entertainment; Composer: Loren Bouchard; Composer: John Dylan Keith
  • “Disney Mickey Mouse,” Episode: Dancevidaniya, Disney Television Animation; Composer: Christopher Willis
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Becoming, Part 1, DreamWorks Animation Television; Composer: Alexandre Desplat; Composer: TimDavis
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures; Composer: Scot Stafford; Composer/Lyricist: Alexis Harte; Composer/Lyricist: JJ Wiesler
  • “Star Wars Rebels,” Episode: #2-24: Twilight of the Apprentice, LucasfilmLtd. / Disney XD; Composer: Kevin Kiner

Music in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders,” Warner Bros. Animation; Composer: Kristopher Carter; Composer: Lolita Ritmanis; Composer: Michael McCuistion
  • “Sing,” Illumination Entertainment; Composer: Joby Talbot
  • “The Little Prince,” Netflix and On Animation Studios; Composer: Hans Zimmer; Composer: Richard Harvey; Composer/Lyricist: Camille
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions; Composer: Laurent Perez del Mar
  • “The Secret Life of Pets,” Illumination Entertainment, Composer: Alexandre Desplat

Production Design in an Animated Television Broadcast Production

  • “Adventure TIme,” Episode: Bad Jubies; Bix Pix Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Frederator Studios; Production Design: Jason Kolowski
  • “Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures; Production Design: Tuna Bora
  • “Puffin Rock,” Episode: The First Snow, Cartoon Saloon, Dog Ears and Penguin for Netflix; Production Design: Lily Bernard
  • “Rain or Shine,” Google Spotlight Stories/Nexus Studios; Production Design: Robin Davey
  • “The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show,” Episode: The Wrath of Hughes, DreamWorks Animation Television; Production Design: Kevin Dart; Production Design: Sylvia Liu; Production Design: Chris Turnham; Production Design: Eastwood Wong

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Production Design: Nelson Lowry; Production Design: Trevor Dalmer; Production Design: August Hall; Production Design: Ean McNamara
  • “Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation; Production Design: Raymond Zibach; Production Design: Max Boas
  • “The Little Prince,” Netflix and On Animation Studio; Production Design: Lou Romano; Production Design: Alexander Juhasz; Production Design: Celine Desrumaux
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Production Design: Kendal Cronkhite; Production Design: Tim Lamb
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Production Design: David Goetz; Production Design: Matthias Lechner

Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Atomic Puppet,” Episode: Sick Day, Mercury Filmworks, Gaumont Animation, Technicolor; Storyboard Artist: Kyle Marshall
  • “Disney Mickey Mouse,” Episode: Road Hogs, Disney Television Animation; Storyboard Artist: Heiko Von Drengenberg
  • “DreamWorks Trollhunters,” Episode: Win, Lose or Draal, DreamWorks Animation Television; Storyboard Artist: Hyunjoo Song
  • “Milo Murphy’s Law,” Episode: Going the Extra Milo, Disney Television Animation; Storyboard Artist: Dan Povenmire; Storyboard Artist: Kyle Menke
  • “The Adventures of Puss in Boots,” Episode: Prey Time, DreamWorks Animation Television; Storyboard Artist: Ben Juwono

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios; Storyboard Artist: Trevor Jimenez
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Storyboard Artist: Mark Garcia
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Storyboard Artist: Normand Lemay
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Storyboard Artist: Claire Morrissey
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Storyboard Artist: Dean Wellins

Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “BoJack Horseman,” Episode: Multiple Episodes; Tornante Productions, LLC for Netflix; Alison Brie as Diane Nguyen
  • “Open Season: Scared Silly,” Episode: Open Season: Scared Silly; Sony Pictures Animation; Will Townsend as Mr. Weenie
  • “Splash and Bubbles,” Episode: #102 I Only Have Eyespots/Double Bubbles; The Jim Henson Company and Herschend Entertainment; Puppeteer Leslie Carrara-Rudolph as: Bubbles
  • “Star Wars Rebels,” Episode: #3-05: Hera’s Heroes, LucasfilmLtd. / Disney XD; Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn
  • “The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show,” Episode: Ponce de León; DreamWorks Animation Television; Carlos Alazraqui as Ponce de León

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Art Parkinson as Kubo
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Auli’i Cravalho as Moana
  • “Storks,” Warner Animation Group; Katie Crown as Tulip
  • “Trolls,” DreamWorks Animation; Zooey Deschanel as Bridget
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde

Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: The Hormone-iums, Bento Box Entertainment; Writer: Lizzie Molyneux; Writer: Wendy Molyneux
  • “Gravity Falls.” Episode: Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls, Disney TV Animation; Writer: Shion Takeuchi; Writer: Mark Rizzo; Writer: Jeff Rowe; Writer: Josh Weinstein; Writer: Alex Hirsch
  • “Puffin Rock – The First Snow,” Episode: 59; Cartoon Saloon, Dog Ears, Penguin Random House; Writer: Davey Moore
  • “The Simpson,” Episode: Barthood, Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox Television; Writer: Dan Greaney
  • “The Simpsons,” Episode: The Burns Cage; Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox Television; Writer: Rob LaZebnik

Writing in an Animated Feature Production

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika; Writer: Marc Haimes; Writer: Chris Butler
  • “My Life as a Zucchini,” GKids; Writer: Céline Sciamma
  • “The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions; Writer:Michael Dudok de Wit; Writer: Pascale Ferran
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Writer: Jared Bush; Writer: Phil Johnston

Editorial in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

  • “All Hail King Julien,” Episode: King Julien Superstar!; DreamWorks Animation Television; David Craig, Jeff Adams
  • “Bob’s Burgers,” Episode: Sea Me Now; Bento Box Entertainment; Mark Seymour, Chuck Smith, Eric Davidson
  • “Disney Mickey Mouse,” Episode: Sock Burglar, Disney Television Animation; Illya Owens
  • “Gravity Falls,” Episode: Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls, Disney TV Animation; Kevin Locarro; Andrew Sorcini; Nancy Frazen; Tony Mizgalski
  • “Star Wars Rebels,” Episode: #2-24: Twilight of the Apprentice; LucasfilmLtd. / Disney XD; Joe E. Elwood, Alex McDonnell

Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

  • “April and the Extraordinary World,” GKids, Nazim Meslem
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika, Christopher Murrie
  • “Moana,” Walt Disney Animation Studios, Jeff Draheim
  • “Sausage Party,” Columbia Pictures, Annapurna Pictures; Kevin Pavlovic
  • “Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation Studios; Fabienne Rawley, Jeremy Milton

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In depth: Finding Dory, sequels, and Pixar heroines

Cars 2, Cars 3, Finding Dory, in depth, Monsters University, Pixar, Pixar Heroines, sequels, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • June 29, 2016

This post is the first in a new feature on Upcoming Pixar where we offer a closer look at Pixar films.

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Dory – everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang. She’s so beloved that she nearly swims away with Finding Nemo. Nearly, but not quite. One reason why that film is such an unparalleled Pixar entry is because Dory as the scene stealing, ebullient comic relief doesn’t ever overshadow Marlin. We still care about him even though he’s not immediately lovable. (Or arguably, lovable at all).

Now Dory has a movie of her very own. She’s not stealing any scenes because they all belong to her.

In retrospect, focusing the sequel on Dory makes a lot of sense. Andrew Stanton crafted an emotionally resonant story with talking fish that was based on his own observations of fatherhood. That story was finished for the most part. But a new one centered on the silly, eccentric, and carefree secondary character held an ocean of possibility.

Of course, Dory isn’t the first goofy Pixar sidekick to become a protagonist in her own film. Mater was the first in Cars 2. But Finding Dory, unlike Cars 2, was enthusiastically accepted by most. While I do enjoy the latter film, I can understand why others have never been thrilled about a Mater centric movie. Cars 2 was disappointing to many because there was nothing meaningful underneath the hoods. Pixar films can just be fun diversions, but that’s a post for another day. But to everyone’s collective relief, the emotional stakes are higher in Finding Dory. Dory’s presence in Finding Nemo makes that film all the more poignant because her silliness contains pathos. She’s not just the hilarious sidekick.

“Please don’t go away. Please? No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before.”

“And…and I look at you, and I’m home! Please…I don’t want that to go away. I don’t want to forget.”

Is it any wonder that Andrew Stanton felt “very worried about Dory and couldn’t stop thinking about how she needed closure”?

Stanton didn’t work on the sequel right away. It wasn’t until 2011, eight years after Finding Nemo, that he began to consider it. And it clearly took more time to tackle the story before it was officially announced and released into the ocean five years later. This is the usual way sequels are handled at Pixar, with the exception of Toy Story 2. That film had to be salvaged on a tight deadline which makes it all the more impressive.

For all the worry about “Pixar’s decline” and reliance on sequels, critics and fans should rest assured. Finding Dory may not be as seamless as its predecessor, but its story is still meaningful. Art continues to challenge, technology continues to inspire.

Finding Dory should assuage worry in the same way Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 did. But the Cars sequels and Toy Story 4 represent too big of a worry. Apparently, Pixar isn’t allowed any missteps. We’ve already seen this with Brave, Monsters University, and more recently, The Good Dinosaur. Those are films that I love dearly. While Finding Dory should remind everyone that Pixar is still in robust shape, creating a sequel that retains the emotional power of its predecessor, that still isn’t enough for most.

But why is Finding Dory so significant, even if it is a dreaded sequel? For starters, it’s only the third Pixar film to feature a female protagonist. A supporting female character with a murky background became much more substantial. Dory was hilarious and heartbreaking in the first film. She still is, but now she’s achieved closure. Her story was given so much love and attention that the sequel, in retrospect, is all the more necessary. And sequels are rarely ever necessary according to the general public.

Then of course, is what her short term memory loss represents. It’s not merely there for laughs.

“I was using her disability to represent everybody. It works for anybody, because nobody is perfect. Everybody has a flaw that they maybe mislabel as such.”

-Andrew Stanton

Her disability doesn’t hinder her from being kind, generous, and friendly. It doesn’t hinder her from demonstrating empathy or discovering other forms of strength. And probably less important, or maybe even more so, is that Marlin and Nemo, along with new friends Hank, Destiny, and Bailey, do not pity Dory. They recognize all the wonderful things she is capable of, not despite her disability, but precisely because of it. They see her, first and foremost, as a friend they love and care about. She recognizes the same and encourages them despite their own limitations. This is a sequel where the characters either overcome their disabilities or still thrive even if they aren’t cured of them. That kind of message is vital for all ages, but especially for the youngest who do make up a large portion of Pixar’s audience.

tumblr_mjzmteGdWm1s714eko1_500When Stanton first revealed how Dory’s disability would be treated (in this excellent interview with Collider), I was reminded of “Toy Story of TERROR!” That short film, like Finding Dory, made a vivacious supporting female character the lead. Jessie’s role in Toy Story 2 functions the same way as Dory’s in Finding Nemo. She adds more emotional weight. In “TERROR!”, Jessie overcomes her claustrophobia in order to save the day. Many fans even praised the sensitive way her panic attacks and anxiety were depicted.

“Jessie never gives up, Jessie finds a way.”

Compare that to Dory’s unflagging optimism in Finding Nemo, along with her insistence that there’s always another way in the sequel. These are two female characters who confront or embrace their weaknesses and disabilities. They refuse to give up even when they’ve seemingly exhausted all their options.

Jessie and Dory assist the male hero but they are well rounded supporting characters in their own right. Jessie was introduced in a sequel while Dory was re-introduced in one of her own. Holly Shiftwell in Cars 2 was Mater’s romantic interest, but she was also a highly skilled secret agent. Whether The Incredibles 2 features any prominent new female characters remains to be seen. Could Helen and/or Violet be protagonists this time around? They’re still compelling even as secondary characters. Cruz Ramirez in Cars 3 is a crucial character, but she’s supporting Lightning McQueen. No doubt she’ll be fun to watch and we should hope for a positive, non stereotypical representation of her Hispanic background.

tumblr_mzxuikdFDd1s5wuldo1_500Now onto Toy Story 4. Woody will be reunited with Bo Peep in a love story. Bo Peep is really the only female character in a Pixar film who is merely peripheral. She had less screentime in Toy Story 2 because, as a porcelain lamp, it wasn’t logical that she’d be able to travel with the other toys around the tri-county area. Her absence in the third film was also a logical choice for the story. It was meant to show that losing friends is inevitable, but also made sense because Molly wouldn’t have assigned Bo Peep any sentimental value and held onto her like Andy did with his toys.

Bo Peep isn’t a dynamic character, but that’s not an issue. She may be on the sidelines, but so are Slinky, Rex, Hamm, and Mr. Potato Head. They’re all colorful, interesting characters, but the motivations and character arcs are reserved for Woody and Buzz.

We don’t know what to expect from Toy Story 4 just yet, but given Pixar’s track record, I think it’s safe to assume that Bo Peep will be an even stronger character in this upcoming installment.

For those who scoff at sequels and Pixar’s recent proliferation of them, their future does appear bleak. It’s much easier to look at Cars 2, Monsters University, Cars 3, and Toy Story 4 as proof positive of Pixar’s decline than to look past those films and remain eager about what else is yet to come. What’s ironic is that no one harbors this kind of pessimism for The Incredibles 2. Doesn’t that film have just as much potential as the others to be unspectacular? The general consensus of course is that The Incredibles 2 is the only sequel capable of being good. But Finding Dory and the Toy Story sequels have proven that to be untrue. Even if Cars 2Monsters University, and The Good Dinosaur are regarded as weak efforts, that still doesn’t mean that Pixar’s creative quality has declined.

I prefer to take an optimistic view of Pixar’s sequels because of the roles Pixar heroines, old and new, get to play. Despite popular beliefs to the contrary, I know there are more original films in the works. Coco is just the only one that’s been announced.

Good stories exist in Pixar’s original films and their sequels. Personally, I have yet to watch a bad Pixar film. Others don’t agree and that’s fine too. I’m not worried about Pixar making a bad film, because as I’ve seen, they’re still making good ones.

Pessimism is tempting, but as Dory says, there’s always another way.

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Pixar’s 30th

30 Years of Pixar, Pixar

Posted by Simoa • February 3, 2016

On February 3, 1986, Pixar as we know it was born! Today marks 30 years of excellence.

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From humble beginnings as a computer graphics company, Pixar, nestled in Emeryville, California, is now a world renowned animation studio.

“The little studio that could” has been making huge leaps in both art and technology. It has blended math and science with the magic of storytelling. Through risk, innovation, and unparalleled imaginative flair, the films of Pixar have made a significant impact on pop culture. It has become synonymous with quality, timeless entertainment that everyone can fall in love with.

If you’d like to share what Pixar means to you, please email us at upcomingpixar [at] gmail.com.

Happy 30 years to Pixar, and here’s to 30 more!

 

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Jonas Rivera Wins PGA Award

Academy Awards, Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, PGA Awards, Pixar

Posted by Nia • January 27, 2016

Congratulations to Inside Out producer Jonas Rivera who took home a Producers Guild Award for Best Animated Feature on Saturday’s ceremony.

Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar

The Good Dinosaur was also nominated along with Anomalisa, Minions, and The Peanuts Movie. The PGA Awards honor the best producing work in film and television and are usually a precursor to what takes home the gold during the Academy Awards. Next to the Oscars, it’s one of the most anticipated events in the industry. Here’s hoping that Inside Out also wins the Oscar for Best Animated Film next month! Best of luck to Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, and the team at Pixar!

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Pixar at the Oscars

Academy Awards, Animation, Inside Out, Interview, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Lava, Michael Giacchino, Pete Docter, Pixar, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film, The Good Dinosaur, UP

Posted by Nia • January 16, 2016

Congratulations to the talented folks at Pixar for receiving not one but THREE Oscar nominations during Thursday’s announcement. Inside Out was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and also scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay; it will be the only animated film competing in that category. Sanjay’s Super Team took home a nod for Best Animated Short Film.

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"Sanjay's Super Team" Comes to the Con ? Director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle are taking Pixar Animation Studios' new short to San Diego's Comic-Con International next month for its North American premiere and a peek behind the scenes of the production process. The Super Story Behind the Pixar Short "Sanjay's Super Team," slated for Thurs., July 9 at 11 a.m. in the Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront, reveals the unique inspiration for this incredibly personal film that features superheroes like never before. The short debuts in U.S. theaters in front of Disney-Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" on Nov. 25, 2015.

Via Disney/Pixar

It was indeed great news hearing that Pixar was nominated for several awards, but it’s also hard not to acknowledge the slight disappointments regarding snubs to both The Good Dinosaur and Lava. In an ideal world, all four films released from the studio would have been nominated for Oscars. They all followed the Pixar standard of challenging both art and technology, paving the way for future animated films. The Good Dinosaur alone was revolutionary in it’s technical aspects and successful blend of animation against hyperrealistic backgrounds. Lava also showcased stunning backgrounds that were brought to life through the use of song; depicting the romance between two volcanoes without dialogue but only through a love ballad. Lava‘s catchy song was clearly absent from the Best Original Song nominees. Also missing from the Best Original Score category was Michael Giacchino’s beautiful work on Inside Out.

In the past, an animated film has even been nominated for Best Picture, such as Pete Docter’s last film Up. If an animated film can be nominated for Best Picture, then it’s director should also be recognized in the Best Director category. Inside Out was incredibly inventive and something we haven’t seen before. It cleverly took us inside the mind of a young girl and created relatable characters out of her emotions… not to mention simultaneously hitting us all with a wave of childhood nostalgia. Docter spent 4+ years working on the film; from writing the screenplay, approving every minute detail most audience members might miss, to even guiding a brilliant team of artists into crafting his vision. That time frame is longer than most live action directors work on a film.

In an interview with Screencrush, Pixarian Kelsey Mann explains why animation directors are just as worthy as notable live action directors in receiving acknowledgement from The Academy:

“From the ground up, directors at Pixar are in charge of everything from the story to the individual blades of grass. We start from nothing. Literally nothing. And it all has to be built from the ground up. And Pete is involved in every decision.”

Slowly audiences (and even The Academy) are beginning to realize that animation isn’t only for children, but it’s an art form entirely of it’s own; crafting stories a thousand times better and more original than most of the live action films released in Hollywood. Here’s hoping that one day an animated film will not only be nominated for Best Picture again, but will win it too.

We will definitely be keeping our fingers crossed for Pixar to take home all of the awards on the February 28th Oscar ceremony.

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