Category ArchivePixar

Pixar 26 May 2006 07:38 am

Bombay Party

- Last night, the Museum of Modern Art opened their film celebration of the work of CalArts Film Makers.

The opening program included work by animators: Stephen Hillenburg, Adam Beckett, JJ Villard, and Naomi Uman. There were also a number of live action shorts by: Cy Kuckenbaker, Dane Davis, Danielle Ye, and Hyun Kyung Kim.

(Flesh Flows by Adam Beckett)

It was an unsettling program which I thought might have featured more animation – given the animation department brought most of the acclaim to the school. However, I suspect this was designed to be more of a tease of what other programs might feature.

Afterward, there was a party at the nearby restaurant, Bombay Palace. There we met with MOMA curator, Josh Siegel, Maureen Selwood completely in her element (it’s been quite a long time since we last met) and a number of other animation folk: John Canemaker, Jeff Sher, Nancy Beiman, Doug Vitarelli, Bill Plympton, Matthew Clinton, and Kathy Rose.

- There’s a good interview with Mo Willems on DRAWN. He talks about his last book, Knufflebunny, which was a Caledecott honor mention, and his newest book (and which we animated for Between The Lions), You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons.

- Hans Perk on his new A Film blog, has posted an intriguing series of lecture notes on “The Relation of Music to Animation” by Albert Hay Malotte a composer at Disney’s from 1934 – 1939. This document combines my two loves: animation and film music. (I love the analysis of the music of Scott Bradley‘s music in Film Music, A Neglected Art by Roy M. Prendergast.)
By the way, the film drafts for the brilliant Mickey film, The Pointer, are also available on that site.

- A Scanner Darkly opened at the Cannes Film Festival to not the most positive of reviews. Here’s the Variety review which compares it not favorably to Waking Life. Richard Linklater turns out to be the first director ever to have two films at Cannes at the same time. His Fast Food Nation is also playing there. He’ll always be on my “A” list for the brilliant, Before Sunset.

Animation &Daily post &Pixar 20 May 2006 07:12 am


The Museum of Modern Art is honoring the work of CalArts with their upcoming film exhibition, TOMORROWLAND: CalArts in Moving Pictures May 25–August 13, 2006

- The list of graduates from the school is impressive. They’ve been a real force in the worlds of animation, both traditional and experimental.

The extensive number of films to be screened include experimental films by: Stephen Hillenburg, Stephen Hillenburg, Larry Cuba, Gary Imhoff, Dennis Pies, Kathy Rose, & Joyce Borenstein.

Traditional 2D films by: Mark Kirkland, Henry Selick, Nancy Beiman, & JJ Villard

3D Entertainment films by: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, Pete Doctor, Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Doug Sweetland, Andrew Stanton, Ken Bruce, & Ralph Eggleston.

There are also quite a few live action films by graduates such as James Mangold who will have his own evening in which he’ll appear. Tuesday, May 23, 7:00 p.m

One curious title listed is: How to Read Macho Mouse. 1991 by Rubén Ortiz Torres, Aaron Anish. It’s described as a deconstruction of Speedy Gonzales, the Looney Tunes caricature of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.

There’s an extensive article in Sunday’s NYTimes about this program of films.

- The PIXAR marketing pool is going strong. This article appears in Sunday’s NY Times about CARS. It’s in the Auto section.

Commentary &Pixar 18 Dec 2005 11:05 am

Pixar Zoetrope

Thanks to George Griffin for sending me information which I definitely feel should be posted. It concerns the “Zoetrope” PIXAR has placed in the middle of their exhibit at MOMA.

“Michael, The Pixar zoetrope is so obviously indebted to Gregory Barsamian and Toshio Iwai and the wall notes only mention Studio Ghibli as an inspiration. Why does a studio that has so thoroughly re-invented cartoon technology play dumb about individual artists who have gone before them. Corporate deception. Here are some urls for this topic, “solid animation?”

AWN article
Gregory Barsamian

Since viewing the exhibit I’ve had no fewer than five people tell me that the “Zoetrope” on display was inspired by Studio Ghibli. Why shouldn’t PIXAR & MOMA appropriately credit the two artists originators? Maybe Disney is getting closer to renewing their relationship with PIXAR.

To see a couple of photos of PIXAR’s “Zoetrope” go to Ronnie Del Carmen‘s blog.

Daily post &Pixar 17 Dec 2005 09:21 am

Pixar Posts


I found two more articles about PIXAR and MOMA that looked at the show from other interesting perspectives. The first from FORBES Magazine focused on money, the second The New York Sun reviewed it as an “Art” exhibition.

Commentary &Pixar 16 Dec 2005 08:57 am

Pixar Exhibit

The New York Times reviews the PIXAR exhibition at MOMA.
I have to say the author of the review well articulates some of my thoughts about the show.
The Times also has an interactive slide show of the exhibit.
There’s another, less insightful review in today’sThe New York Post.
For those of you who can’t make it to NY, I overheard, at the opening, a discussion of where the show would travel once it leaves New York. It’s going to Europe and several cities in the US ending in San Francisco. All I have is hearsay, but I’ll try to find out more about this.

Commentary &Pixar 14 Dec 2005 12:10 pm


The Museum of Modern Art has an extensive exhibition of artwork from the PIXAR films. Last night there was an official opening where a couple of hundred people were invited to eat sushi and sandwiches, drink martinis and wine and pore over the displays which sprawl over several rooms in the museum. The only animation people I recognized were Emily Hubley and Will Rosenthal, George Griffin and Karen Cooper, and Bill Plympton. The museum has scheduled several chat sessions upcoming with John Lasseter, directors, designers, and animators from PIXAR.

The artwork downstairs around the two theaters featured a lot of the original preproduction paintings and drawings (I recognized much of the work from the “Art of {film title here}” books released) they’ve produced for each of their films. I was surprised at how small most of it is. Few pieces seemed to expand beyond the animators’ desktop. That, of course, isn’t a negative; it’s just not what I anticipated.

Something else I didn’t anticipate was the “zoetrope” I’d read about in the New York Times. (I’m not sure this is actually a Zoetrope. It’s a stroboscopic effect as opposed to looking through slits spinning. I suppose that’s a moot comment.) Here were dozens of PIXAR dolls sculpted in 3D placed on a rotating table. It was encased in a large frame with several large windows through which you could see the rotation. The lights within the case strobed to create an effect of motion in the dolls. Because ambient lights in the room are dimmed, the dolls almost seem to be in deep shadow. It sounds somewhat similar to a device developed by Toshio Iwai in 1988. I didn’t find the work very thrilling when I first came upon it already in motion. Later, when I saw it still, with the room lit so you could see the details of all the little dolls, and the table began to spin counter-clockwise; then the lights dimmed and the stroboscope flashed, the group watching the display applauded because suddenly the dolls took on a motion. It became more impressive.

In the same room was a digital projection. The screen – a wall – was very wide and not very high. The program included motion projection of some of the work on display downstairs. Several pieces floated around each other and came to life when they filled this very wide screen. I found the wide-screen projection exciting. All those Cinerama movies in my childhood had an effect, I guess.

Most enjoyable, to me, was a projection of the skeletal framework for characters, props and backgrounds which animated around each other. It was thoroughly engrossing to watch.

I am wrestling with the “art” of all this preproduction material and would like to talk about it in another posting. I do know I was, once again, transfixed by the stunning Miro mural one had to bypass on the way to, past, and from the PIXAR exhibit. It made me want to get back to see more of the art upstairs. I will return soon.

strobe lights
build your own zoetrope
buy your own zoetrope $6.95

Daily post &Pixar 14 Dec 2005 08:46 am


Last night I went to the Museum of Modern Art to see the opening of the Pixar exhibit of artwork from their films. (I’ll post comments on the show and its schedule later today.) There, I met up with Emily Hubley and her husband, Will Rosenthal. It was a pleasure to talk about her upcoming program at the Museum. The woman, like both of her parents, is a true artist, and I look forward to any new work. Here are details from the Museum’s film schedule:

An Evening with Emily Hubley:
Program includes animated segments from Bubble Boy (a work in-progress directed by Barak Goodman and John Maggio); Original Child (2003, directed by Carey Schonegevel); Blue Vinyl (2002, directed by Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold); Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001, directed by John Cameron Mitchell); Keeping Sound (a work in-progress directed by Peter Friedman and Jean-Francois Brunet). Also shown are animated shorts directed by Emily Hubley: Octave (2006), Her Grandmother’s Gift (1995, cowritten by Emily and Faith Hubley), and The Tower (1984, codirected by Georgia Hubley). A live performance Tactics of Desire (2005), with animation by Emily Hubley and music by Sue Garner is performed by Angel Dean, Sue Garner, Ted Reichman, and Megan Reilly. Program 90 min.
Wednesday, January 4, 8:00

I also want to thank Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew and Emru Townsend at FPS for the kind and encouraging words they’ve written about this website and my work in general. As many of you in this business know, it’s tough to go at it day after day, year after year. A few positive words will carry you a long way.

Daily post &Pixar 12 Dec 2005 08:47 am

Pixar Event

There was an interesting article by Charles Solomon in the Sunday NY Times about the Pixar exhibition opening Wednesday at the Museum of Modern Art. Included in the show, along with lots of art and preproduction material from the films, will be a 3D zoetrope. Small 3D statues of the Toy Story characters will be placed in a zoetrope. When spun, they will come to life. Sounds creepy but interesting. Why aren’t more studios as imaginative as the Pixar people?

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