Wednesday, August 31, 2016



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VR Studio Wevr Unveils First Look at Jon Favreau’s ‘Gnomes & Goblins’

Virtual reality studio and content distributor Wevr (creators of theBlu) is set to unveil a preview of Gnomes & Goblins, the company’s immersive VR experience from the imagination of acclaimed film director Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Iron Man).

Set in an enchanted fantasy world, Gnomes & Goblins takes advantage of room-scale technology to deliver a truly immersive experience. Neither film nor game, it was co­-produced and co-­published by Wevr and Reality One, and developed using Wevr’s VR character AI framework, providing a native VR experience that goes beyond 360-degree filmmaking.

In the preview -- available for HTC Vive on September 8 via Wevr Transport, Steam and Viveport -- users will meet and develop a personal relationship with an enigmatic resident of this interactive fantasy, taking a first step into exploring the lucid dream of Gnomes & Goblins and its many realms and denizens.

Created by Favreau, Gnomes & Goblins is executive produced by Wevr co-founder and CEO Neville Spiteri and Reality One co-founder Clint Kisker, and produced by Max Geiger and Gigi Pritzker. Jake Rowell (Call of Duty: Ghosts, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Final Fantasy) served as creative director alongside acclaimed animation supervisor and animation director Andy Jones (Avatar, The Jungle Book, World War Z).

Source: Wevr

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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‘Finding Dory’ Returns to the Big Screen

The animated feature directed by Andrew Stanton is making an encore appearance in more than 2,900 theaters nationwide this Labor Day weekend. Pixar Animation Studios’ Finding Dory returns to theaters September 2, inviting moviegoers to revisit the adventure with clownfish Marlin and Nemo, septopus Hank, whale shark Destiny and beluga whale Bailey as they team up to help Dory reunite with her long-lost parents.

Written by Stanton alongside Bob Peterson and Victoria Strouse, Finding Dory is produced by Lindsey Collins and features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Hayden Rolence, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy.

Produced under a budget of $200 million, The Finding Nemo sequel originally opened June 17, 2016, and became the highest grossing animated film of all time domestically. Finding Dory made $135.1 million over its opening weekend, and went on to earn $479.7 million at the domestic box office and $449.5 million overseas for a worldwide total of $929.2 million.

Source: The Walt Disney Studios

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Dave Rosenbaum Joins Cinesite Animation as Chief Creative Officer

MONTRÉAL, QCCinesite has announced that Dave Rosenbaum has joined the company assuming the key leadership position of Chief Creative Officer. Rosenbaum will help usher in the studios next phase of growth and expansion into a premiere movie animation studio in North America.

At Illumination since its inception, Rosenbaum’s leadership as Vice President of Talent shaped all facets of Illumination’s feature films, marketing, video games and theme park rides including MINIONS, the 2nd highest grossing animated film of all time. He also served as Production Executive and Story Supervisor for Despicable Me 1 & 2, The Lorax, The Secret Life of Pets and this fall’s, SING.

“Dave is one of the industry’s most highly regarded animation executives, with an impeccable track record of shaping movies that become culture phenomena,” said Antony Hunt, President of Cinesite Animation. “Dave’s drive, passion and vision will harness a new phase of expansion for us, as he leads our studio’s growing slate.”

In addition to building and expanding Cinesite’s movie slate, Rosenbaum will help grow the Montreal studio, based at the company’s new 54,000 sq. ft. facility, which has capacity for over 500 storytellers. Rosenbaum will be responsible for seeking out and cultivating new projects, artists, writers and directors. 

“To grow our studio with impressive capacity and potential, to support talented filmmakers, and to deliver great animated films to a worldwide audience is an exciting opportunity,” commented Rosenbaum. “Let’s start with the best stories and storytellers and make Montreal the next animation nexus.”

Prior to joining Illumination, Dave worked at DreamWorks and Screen Imagination Agency in Bulgaria. He received his Master’s Degree in Producing from the American Film Institute.

Source: Cinesite

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Fan-Made Shorts Launch New Toy Line for ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

GLENDALE, CA – Walt Disney Studios announced that a team of Star Wars superfans have revealed the new toy line for the highly anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie via a series of fan-made animated shorts launching on the Star Wars YouTube channel. As part of a competition in collaboration with creative network Tongal, a team was assembled to write, direct and produce original, fan-made stop-motion shorts starring key toys from the new line to kick off a global UGC contest that asks fans to share their own “Rogue Stories.”

“These fan-created shorts are a tribute to the incredible content that the Star Wars community posts online every day,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “The Go Rogue campaign was designed with Star Wars fans in mind – we want them to be front and center in the run up to Rogue One by imagining and creating their own Rogue Stories."

When Star Wars news breaks, many fans worldwide react by sharing their own videos online. Fans posted over 838,000 pieces of Star Wars-related content on YouTube in the past year alone. Star Wars fan-generated content is also incredibly popular, accruing more than 16.3 billion views in the last year.

The global contest, which kicks off September 30, invites fans to share their own short stories or skits set in a galaxy far, far away… Winning entries from around the globe will be chosen by a panel including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards. Beginning September 30, teen and adult fans can enter the Go Rogue contest. In addition to the global contest on, in the U.S. and parts of Canada, kids 8-12 can participate here. Winners will be invited to Lucasfilm in San Francisco to attend a screening of Rogue One, and see their short story on the big screen.

The fan-created shorts showcasing the new line of Rogue One toys for the first time can now be viewed on the Star Wars YouTube channel, with new installments rolling out through September. The team was led by James DeJulio at Tongal, and the series was written by Kevin Ulrich and brought to life by stop-motion animators and directors Dan MacKenzie and Tucker Barrie. The stories follow the adventures of Rogue One toys from Hasbro, LEGO, FUNKO, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel and Disney Store as they try to track down the building instructions to the LEGO Star Wars Death Star set which have been misplaced by the Empire. 

“I’ve been a Star Wars fan my whole life so this is a dream project,” said James DeJulio, co-founder of Tongal. “It’s been amazing to see what an inspiration Star Wars has been to so many members of our creative community, whether that’s coming up with their own Star Wars storylines, or playing out scenes with Star Wars toys at home with their kids. I’m excited to share this first ‘Rogue Story’ with the world and hope it inspires other fans to share theirs.”

Fans can pre-order a handful of select items seen in the Rogue Stories beginning September 2 at mass retailers, Disney Store locations and The full range of new “Rogue One” and Star Wars products will be available globally starting on September 30.

Source: Walt Disney Studios

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Digital Domain Delivers Seamless Effects for Spike Jonze’s New Ad for Kenzo

VFX house Digital Domain contributed work to the stunning new short film directed by Spike Jonze for Kenzo's new perfume, Kenzo World.

Digital Domain VFX supervisor Janelle Croshaw once again teamed up with Jonze to launch new scent under Kenzo's newest creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. The three-and-a-half-minute short film for Kenzo World, entitled “My Mutant Brain” and starring Margaret Qualley, is being called “the best perfume ad of all time.”

The short film, shot by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, starts out with Margaret inattentively sitting at a fancy dinner event. She exits the stuffy room and enters into the mirrored halls of L.A.’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Qualley’s charismatic dancing takes over as she springs through the halls in a full-body frenzy, showing off her best high kicks and back flips, as well as an astounding ability to shoot laser beams from her fingertips.

As well as working closely with the art department and a handful of other seamless-looking shots that appear throughout the short, Digital Domain created the laser beams and ensuing wreckage they cause, and helped Qualley fly through an exploding eye made from flower petals.

“It’s always great collaborating with Spike, and assisting him to achieve the vision of his storytelling,” Croshaw said about the project. “The infinity mirror shot was probably the hardest paint/environment shot I’ve seen in a long time.”

Source: Digital Domain

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Liven up your day with a new Metroid-inspired tune

2 minutes ago - 5:00 PM on 08.31.2016 // Salvador GRodiles

A great way to end August

[Disclaimer: Jayson Napolitano wrote for Japanator. No relationships, professional or personal, were factored into this post.]

With the month that commemorates the Metroid franchise's 30th anniversary coming to a close, the video games record label known as Game Chops have launched a music video that for "Elysian Sky," a Metroid-inspired dubstep song by Varien (Walking Dead TV series and Planetside 2's Music). 

The song's music video features a mix of footage from the Metroid Prime series and Rainfall Film's Metroid fan movie, The Sky Calls. All in all, the editing between the game and movie work well in capturing the tune's feeling that makes you think that you're exploring an uncharted region of space.

As a person who isn't a fan of dubstep music, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed "Elysian Sky." Hell, I could see this song as an opening theme for a new Metroid title that continues Samus' story after Fusion.

Even though Metroid's 30th Anniversary didn't hit us with some official solid material that reminds people why they love this franchise, Varien's new song, and a few other fan works show us that there are many folks that are willing to pay homage to this series when the month of its birthday lands on our planet. In other words, Samus' special day will never go unnoticed as her legacy still lives on within our hearts.

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