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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Animated News: Brenda Chapman and TED

Brenda Chapman at the Annie Awards
On February 8th, as part of the TED series of lectures, writer and director Brenda Chapman talked about her career, the portrayal of women in Disney/Pixar animated films, and how their roles, character development, and life goals have changed over the years--due in no small part to her involvement in the storytelling process.

(Special thanks to Jerry Beck's Animation Scoop)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Animated News: Nancy Beiman on NPR

Nancy Beiman (source: LinkedIn)
Working off of the Vanity Fair article on a group of graduates from CalArts' animation program in the 1970's--which included such notable animators as Tim Burton, Brad Bird, John Lasseter, and Disney's first female animation supervisor: Nancy Beiman--on Sunday, February 16th, National Public Radio posted an interview with Ms.Beiman on their website.

You can read the transcript on their website, however I highly encourage readers to listen to the entire interview with Ms. Beiman by either streaming audio or downloading the audio file off of the same page. During the interview, Ms. Beiman provides some insights on what it was like to be one of the few women studying to be an animator at CalArts at that time.

While only five-and-a-half minutes long, Ms. Beiman's interview is worth listening to for any girl who in interested in pursuing a career in animation. Starting at time marker 1:50, she discusses not just some of the male-centric humor she endured with grace (and countering with humor of her own), but also the hard work involved in learning the trade of animation with some notes on what she did to succeed in her field.

Ms. Beiman has published two books: "Prepare to Board: Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts" (now in its second edition), and "Animated Performance: Bringing Imaginary Animal, Human and Fantasy Characters to Life". While I haven't yet read "Animated Performance", in my not-so-humble opinion, "Prepare to Board' is a must-read for any serious animation student.

For those who only wish to listen to the NPR interview, I've embedded NPR's Media Player below.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Animated Updates: Rocks in my Pockets

For those waiting patiently for Signe Baumane to release her film 'Rocks in my Pockets', according to Signe's last update, she finished the theatrical trailer and is looking to premiere her film in Spring 2014.

Signe and I in Toronto where she showed
the first clip from her film 'Rocks in my Pockets'

For those who don't know what her film is about, Signe has posted the following description on her brand new website:

'"Rocks In My Pockets" is a story of mystery and redemption. The film is based on true events involving the women of my family, including myself, and our battles with madness. It raises questions of how much family genetics determine who we are and if it is possible to outsmart one's own DNA.'

She has also released the theatrical trailer on YouTube, which you can view below:

Additionally, on her website, Signe has started to introduce her characters and their stories. The first short video is "Anna" and can be viewed on her website's main page under the trailer.

Then, over on the 'Meet Signe' page, Signe has posted an introductory video where she talks about her motivations for researching her family history and eventually making 'Rocks in my Pockets". While watching this video, take a close look at the set that Signe is standing on. In it, you can see that the backgrounds for her film are all these miniature paper mache sets over which she has composited her hand-drawn character animations.

Probably the most interesting section for me, and any of you who love to know the nuts-and-bolts of creating an animated film, is the 'Process' page where Signe shows how she made her film.

Signe Baumane has joined a rare group of women animators, including Lotte Reiniger and Nina Paley, who have created their own feature-length animated films. So if you'd like to receive updates on the progress of her film as it nears distribution, I recommend signing up to be on her e-mailing list, which can be found at the top of her website.

And don't forget, I interviewed Signe in 2013 for my yearly series on International Women's Month. You can read that interview on this website at the following link.

Spring can't arrive soon enough!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Animated News: Michaela Pavlátová interviewed on Skwigly

Michaela Pavlátová
Near the end of January, Skwigly Online Magazine posted animator Laura-Beth Cowley's interview with Michaela Pavlátová. Ms. Pavlátová is the director/animator of animated short films like "Carnival of Animals" and most recently the award winning "Tram", her bawdy tale of fantasy and romance on a street car. The interview can be found on the Skwigly website at the following link.

Additionally, Skwigly interviewed Ms. Pavlátová back in November at the Bradford Animation Festival and posted a mini-podcast of that interview on their website at the following link.

Ms. Michaela Pavlátová has posted trailers to the rest of her animations on her website, and you can see the trailer she created for "Tram" below.

Please Note: as some of Ms. Pavlátová's films contain some adult imagery, some of the videos and pictures on her website (including the trailer above) may be NSFW.

* image used from Michaela Pavlátová entry in Wikipedia.org