Women’s Animation Symposium Coming In October

Taking place at the University of California (USC), Women in Animation, USC, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), and CalArts are hosting a symposium in October. The aim is to empower more women and LGBTQ+ people by highlighting their contributions in the world of animation as well as explore solutions to sexual harassment, bias and lack of diversity in the industry.

Marge Dean, president of Women in Animation comments, “We believe strongly in the next generation of artists and filmmakers and are honored to join in presenting this inspiring slate of speakers.”

The symposium will have keynote speakers Brown Johnson and Brenda Chapman both of whom have backgrounds in animation. Brown Johnson has worked on both animation and children’s TV including Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and Clarissa  Explains It All whilst Brenda Chapman is the write of a number of Disney movies. Her credits include Brave, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Maureen Furniss, director of the CalArts Experimental Animation Program says, “With all the media coverage of women’s issues right now, it’s easy to presume that change is on the way. It will take a total shift in the culture, after sustained effort, to see any lasting effects. This event brings focus to important issues and provides a sense of solidarity among women at all levels: executives, established artists, and students eager to join the animation world.”

It will be between 5th and 7th October 2018 and have a number of events including panel,s presentations and screenings. For tickets visit their website here.

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Matt Groening Explores The Past With Disenchantment

Making his name with The Simpsons and moving onto Futurama, Matt Groening has quite a knack for narrative animation and he’s not stopping there. In his new show Disenchantment, he explores the medieval past of a hard-drinking princess, her feisty elf and her personal demon. Not quite the history lesson some of you may be after but it sounds like pretty solid entertainment. Here’s the trailer for the new Netflix show.

Coming out slightly more than a year since his deal with Netflix, Disenchantment stars Noel Fielding, Eric André, Abbi Jacobson, Nat Faxon, Lucy Montgomery and many more. Groening has partnered with his producer Josh Weinstein with whom he has worked on his two previous shows. Their third programme swaps Springfield and New New York for Dreamland a medieval coastal town in which Jacobson plays princess Bean.

From the trailer it’s immediately obvious that Princess Bean is going to be quite a trouble maker after being hauled in front of her dad the King who doesn’t recognise her at first. It seems her family will be getting in her way a lot. The first 10 episodes are being released on Netflix on August 17th with season 2 due for 2019 after a 20 episode deal was signed.

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Pete Docter And Jennifer Lee Taking Over At Pixar And Disney Animation 

It’s been announced that Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee are taking over at Pixar and Disney animation after the announcement that John Lasseter is stepping down at the end of 2018. The pair will be reporting to Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

Speaking of their appointments Alan says, “Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Pete, the genius creative force behind Up, Inside Out, and Monsters, Inc., has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking Frozen, has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective. Each of them embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them to lead us into the future.”

Docter who joined Pixar in 1990, has directed Inside Out, Up and Monsters Inc, as well as being an animation supervisor of Toy Story and Executive Producer on Monsters University and Brave. Lee’s credentials include writing Frozen, Zootropolis and Wreck It Ralph. She started at Disney Animation in 2011 and is currently working on Frozen 2, whilst overseeing Ralph Breaks the Internet as Executive Producer. They are taking over from Lasseter after he was accused of inappropriate behaviour by several staff members. Initially put on sabbatical for 6 months, it was announced recently that he will permanently step down at the end of 2018. You can read more about this including his statement here.

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Coco, review

A young boy called Miguel who dreams of becoming a musician is sent into the land of the deceased on Day of the Dead and he has until sunrise to return before he’s trapped there forever.

Death is a tricky subject to approach in any film, the aftermath is rarely given a second thought. It’s a refreshing beat to see Pixar handle it so well, whilst having respect for it’s audience of all ages it creates a world that will help those who are having a hard time explaining it and dealing with it.

The story begins with a monologue from Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a boy who lives in Mexico with his large family including his great grandmother Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguía) who is on the verge of giving in to her dementia. He explains that after his great great grandfather walked out on his wife and daughter to pursue a career as a musician, all forms of music were permanently banned. He dreams of becoming a musician like his late hero Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), who was considered to be the greatest singer of all time but died under the weight of a huge bell dropped on top of him. After discovering that Ernesto is the disgraced family member, he runs off to enter a talent competition and through a twist of fate he is sent to the Land of the Dead.

His journey sees him meet deceased family members world and desperate con artist Héctor (Gael García Bernal), trying to scam his way into the real world to see his family. The rule is if no one has put your photo up on Day of the Dead, you cannot cross over. The pair agree to help each other to see their families again.

Coco speaks directly to the world as it is now, it includes issues such as borders and immigration, where you are stopped from seeing loved ones if you don’t have the right credentials. For an animation to be so politically aware as well as dealing with a deeper understanding of mortality, whilst appealing to adults and children alike shows a level of sophisticated storytelling which many studios fail at. Going even further Coco teaches us aspects we may not know about this sacred day and that it’s about family and remembering those who are no longer with us. Basing it on Day of the Dead is more than just a random choice, it’s a chance to understand what this day means to those who celebrate it.

Whilst it sticks with the Pixar formula (our protagonist finds themselves in a difficult situation which they have to get out of before their time runs out), it works perfectly thanks to its difficult and moving moments. It’s not that Coco constantly plucks at the heartstrings for its emotional beats, it’s that it has these occasional riffs that make you think of the difficult questions about life. Containing some of the most beautiful scenery seen on screen that will leave you breathless, combined with a score by Giacchino which rivals his best work, it’s classic Pixar doing what they do best.

4 out of 5.

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The Breadwinner, review

A girl in Afghanistan pretends to be a boy in order to provide for her family after her father is wrongly imprisoned.

For girls to go outside without a male member of their family in certain parts of the world is unthinkable. They are still considered second class citizens and treated as such. Even when they are with a member of their own family, it is still looked down upon. This is the premise of The Breadwinner, an animated film by Nora Twomey who is directing her first solo feature. Taking place in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, it shows the harsh conditions people have to endure in order to live.

Creating the initially atmosphere, The Breadwinner is a beautiful looking film, with stunning landscapes and scenes along with sounds to accompany them. The oppressing environment girls are living in is also established quickly with the girl, Parvana (Saara Chaudry) who is selling items with her father at the local market. During an altercation with three men, her father is told she should not have left the house and both are almost beaten for doing so. As things escalate, her father is hauled off to prison, leaving the family with little money and food. Shortly after she is being chased away from attempting to go shopping on her own, which forces Parvana to disguise herself as a boy to provide for her family. Living with her sick mother, older sister and younger brother, there are a lot of mouths to feed, Parvana puts pressure on herself to be the breadwinner. 

Parvana is a strong willed girl who uses her method of storytelling as her own form of escapism and dealing with harrowing events from her past. The flashes into her story about a boy trying to defeat an evil spirit are as equally gorgeous as the rest of the film, looking as if it’s been cut out from paper. These dream like images pushes it’s plot forward by becoming more erratic as does their situation at home. 

During the course of the movie, we are constantly reminded of the place women have in this particular society. They are beaten for no reason, told not to work, that men are always in charge, that they should be staying at home and look after the men in their family and do nothing else. It’s with this that the director shows what our protagonist is made of, defying what the social convention is whilst hiding who she is. 

The beauty of the animation is matched by the emotional weight within it’s characters. The torture and torment they all suffer on different levels hits the perfect mark in each scene. 

4 out of 5.

Keep. It. Reel.

Golden Globe Nominations 2017

Award season is well and truly on the way with the recent event that was the Critics Choice Awards who dished out yet more shooting star trophies. Soon enough it’ll be the BAFTAs and Oscars taking place, but before the “prestigious” award ceremonies happen, let’s slum it for a bit with the Golden Globes. This week the nominations for next year’s awards were released, and it looks like La La Land is taking the lead, but for some stupid and inexplicable reason, Dev Patel have been shoved into the Supporting Actor category. Why? Some one tell me why? He’s the lead dammit!

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Anyway, this year we’ll see Jimmy Fallon hosting so it’s no doubt that this will be an entertaining event, with a nicer tone than this years. Although I didn’t mind Ricky Gervais, he did, after four times hosting, piss a lot of people off. No surprise but still funny.

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Here is the full list of 2017 Golden Globe nominations:

FILM

Best film drama

  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Best film comedy/musical

  • 20th Century Women
  • Deadpool
  • La La Land
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Sing Street

Best actor (drama)

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Joel Edgerton, Loving
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Best actress (drama)

  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best actor (comedy/musical)

  • Colin Farrell, The Lobster
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jonah Hill, War Dogs
  • Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Best actress (comedy/musical)

  • Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
  • Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
  • Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best film supporting actor

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Best film supporting actress

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best film director

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Best screenplay

  • La La Land
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Moonlight
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Hell or High Water

Best animated film

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • Sing
  • Zootopia

Best foreign language film

  • Divines
  • Elle
  • Neruda
  • The Salesman
  • Toni Erdmann

Best film score

  • Moonlight
  • La La Land
  • Arrival
  • Lion
  • Hidden Figures

Best film song

  • Can’t Stop the Feeling, Trolls
  • City of Stars, La La Land
  • Faith, Sing
  • Gold, Gold
  • How Far I’ll Go, Moana

TELEVISION

Best TV series (drama)

  • The Crown
  • Game of Thrones
  • Stranger Things
  • This Is Us
  • Westworld

Best TV series (comedy)

  • Atlanta
  • Black-ish
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • Transparent
  • Veep

Best miniseries or TV movie

  • American Crime
  • The Dresser
  • The Night Manager
  • The Night Of
  • American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson

Best actor in miniseries or TV movie

  • Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
  • Bryan Cranston, All the Way
  • John Turturro, The Night Of
  • Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
  • Courtney B Vance, American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson

Best actress in miniseries or TV movie

  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
  • Sarah Paulson, American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson
  • Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
  • Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Best TV supporting actress

  • Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
  • Mandy Moore, This Is Us
  • Thandie Newton, Westworld

Best TV supporting actor

  • Sterling K Brown, American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson
  • Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
  • John Lithgow, The Crown
  • Christian Slater, Mr Robot
  • John Travolta, American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson

Best actress in a TV series (musical/comedy)

  • Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
  • Issa Rae, Insecure
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
  • Tracy Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Best actor in a TV series (musical/comedy)

  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
  • Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
  • Donald Glover, Atlanta
  • Nick Nolte, Graves
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best actress in a TV series (drama)

  • Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
  • Claire Foy, The Crown
  • Keri Russell, The Americans
  • Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
  • Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Best actor in a TV series (drama)

  • Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Matthew Reese, The Americans
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

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Keep. It. Reel.

Real life Disney

We all love Disney. Whether that’s Disney old school or Disney with Pixar. All of their films are loved, especially the classics such as Bambi, Lion King, Up, Dumbo, 101 Dalmations and so on. Some of these beloved movies have had a change. A real life change. Take a look at these photos of real life Disney characters, they are just amazing. Enjoy and Keep It Reel.

Pixar: the unseen and the untold.

Pixar have created some of the most loved films of all time. The Toy Story trilogy was enjoyed by millions, and millions more cried at the start of the emotional Up. Several more have been created and several more are being created. The release of Braved, shows a side of Pixar similar to Disney’s usual style of animation but also with that Toy Story twist.

Here, like in Brave, we see a new side to Pixar we have never seen before. Take a look at these, courtesy of Pixar. It’s concept art of some of their most famous films including one from the prequel to Monsters Inc, Monsters University. Hope you like them!

Paddington: a teaser poster has arrived…

I recently heard that the very talented and cool Stephen Mangan will be playing Postman Pat in a new feature film with the world’s most famous postman and his black and white cat. Now another one of my favourite boyhood characters is also coming to the big screen: Paddington Bear. If you have no idea who he is you are too young or just not very well educated in the history of brilliant animation. I’ve had several conversations about what I enjoyed to watch when I was younger and the fact still remains, no one ever had it as good as we did! This poster of Paddington Bear looks like the film will tell a deep and meaningful story, which is something I am hoping for plus the usual comedy I came to expect involving him, a police officer and a sandwich. If I have lost you, you REALLY need to catch up, buy the DVDs, find some youtube clips, watch it any way you can. There is no doubt I am excited by this film, which from the IMDB description sounds like Ted by Seth MacFarlane but the nicer version of course! Let me know what you think of this poster, personally, I love it.