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The Nicktoons Film Festival Announces
Screening: 2– A Halloween Scare
The Nicktoons Film Festival continues this Sunday, Halloween night, with Screening: 2, a selection of ghoulishly funny shorts. A co-production of Frederator Studios and Animation Magazine for Nicktoons, The Nicktoons Film Festival airs on the Nicktoons cable channel Sunday nights 10 p.m (EST) and 7 p.m. (PST), with a repeat at 1:00 p.m. (EST) and 10 p.m. (PST). The films featured in Screening Number: 2–A Halloween Scare are: Day Off The Dead by Lee Lanier a senior animator on Shrek and Jeffrey Dates a vfx artist on major films like Spy Kids 2; April by CalArts student Jiwook Kim; The Thing With No Head from UCLA grad Mark Fearing and featuring the voice talent of Brian Doyle-Murray; Rotting Hills–Clark’s New Home from Nelvana filmmaker Glen Wyand; Jack & Jill from School of Visual Arts grad Andrea Shear; Attack of the Note Sheep from Texas A&M Visualization Laboratory alum Jessica Scott; and At Wit’s Vend from award-winning UCLA grad Alan Estridge.
The Nicktoons Film Festival:
Screening Number: 2 – A Halloween Scare
Airdate & Time: Oct. 31, 2004, 10 p.m. (EST); 7 p.m. (PST), Nicktoons
Film #1: Day Off The Dead (Length: 5:40; CG)–In case you were wondering, we can now tell you "what the dead do on their day off," courtesy of filmmakers Lee Lanier and Jeffrey Dates. Lanier, a former senior animator on Shrek and Dates, a vfx animator on films like Spy Kids 2, strut their creative and creepy stuff in this extremely well-animated and grandly goofy short. Says Lanier, “Day Off The Dead was created with Animation Master and Adobe AfterEffects. A crew of a dozen volunteers from all over North America worked on it in their spare time over a period of two years. My co-director, Jeffrey Dates, lives in Dallas, while I live just outside of Las Vegas. It was Jeff’s idea to put Day of the Dead style characters into one of my surreal 3D environments. The collaboration was carried out over the Internet." (For more information on Lee Lanier, visit www.beezlebugbit.com. To find out what Jeffrey Dates is up to go to wwwkungfukoi.com. And, for a full list of awards and other behind-the-scenes info on Day Off The Dead, visit www.dayoffthedead.com.)
Film #2: April (Length: 3:00; Traditional 2D)–Third-year Cal Arts student Jiwook Kim’s short is a testament to the power of simple, pencil-drawn animation. The offbeat toon centers on a "different-looking" girl, whose face launches a million ill stomachs, until she finally meets her true match one day. Kim says the toon began as a character design study. He notes, "I liked to draw antique dolls and then wanted to move them. I also like all kinds of horror stories." Using "sharp pencils" to create the black-and-white project, Kim finished the piece in less than two months. He says he believes pencils are the perfect tools for "beginners, because you’ve already used them a lot and got used to them already!" The short won the Cal Arts Peer’s Pick Award and was one of Animation Magazine’s Student Short Film Winner’s Circle picks earlier this year. (If you would like see more of Kim’s artwork, you can visit www.calarts.edu/~kim.)
Film #3: The Thing With No Head (Length: 3:50; Traditional 2D)–Every kid wants a pet, but as filmmaker Mark Fearing proves in his totally outthere and wonderful short, The Thing With No Head, some little ones should just give up the dream. Says Fearing, "The Thing with No Head is my first traditionally animated film. It was created in four months at UCLA’s Animation Workshop. I hand-painted 1,110 cells, 22 backgrounds were painted in Photoshop and the entire thing was shot in about 36 hours on an ACME 16mm animation camera. The idea came from a sketch of a little headless thing that I had been drawing as far back as 1994. I had drawn it running around, accomplishing some funny and odd things. I wanted to create a complete story, a mini-film that wasn’t just about laughs." The Thing With No Head features a voice over by character actor Brian Doyle-Murray (The Flying Dutchman on SpongeBob SquarePants). (To learn more about the animation of Mark Fearing, visit www.markfearing.com.)
Film #4: Rotting Hills–Clark’s New Home (Length: 5:00; Animated in Flash)–Zombies continue to haunt our collective imagination, but Glen Wyand’s wacky short series, Rotting Hills, takes this premise to the extreme. In this episode called Clark’s New Home, Clark McWeeble’s dad is so thrilled with his family’s new life in the country that only Clark seems to notice Rotting Hills is a town crawling with zombies. Dad just thinks that rotting smell is swamp gas. Although it doesn’t explain his penchant for oogieness, it should be noted that Wyand is a graduate of Canada’s Sheridan College and its classical animation program. He came to Nelvana as a junior animator on John Callahan’s Quads in 2002. By 2003 he was working as a animation supervisor on the hit Canuck series, Jacob Two-Two. That same year Wyand pitched the idea for Rotting Hills to the company and it was accepted as part of Nelvana’s short program called the Funpak. (For more info on Glen Wyand and Rotting Hills, e-mail email@example.com.)
Film #5: Jack & Jill (Length: 1:33, CG, animated in Alias’ Maya software)–A 2004 graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, filmmaker Andrea Shear has already interned at the famous Will Vinton Studios in Portland, Oregon. We’re sure that’s because the unexpected storyline of her thesis project, Jack & Jill, caught the company’s attention. Shear says that the idea for the short actually popped into her very active head during a graphic design class at SVA. Says Shear, "We had to reinterpret the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill, which is really a story without a story. Everyone has different images in their heads for Jack and Jill. Some people think they are brother and sister, some people think they are boyfriend and girlfriend. But, I think it’s just innately morbid." (For more info on Andrea Shear and her work, check out her site at www.andreashear.com.)
Film #6: Attack of the Note Sheep (Length: 1:20; Traditional 2D composited with live action footage)– Although filmmaker Jessica Scott is obviously a brainiac–she’s a grad of Texas A&M Visualization Laboratory– she also has a devilish sense of humor. We won’t give away the punch line to this short-short, but let’s just say it’s pretty brutal if you happen to be a hand-drawn sheep! Says Scott, "The idea for the animation came from a couple of college friends who would always draw sheep when they were bored in class. I picked up the habit, and took it with me to grad school, where I created this short." (For more information on Jessica Scott, visit her site at www.njord.org.)
Film #7: At Wit’s Vend (Length: 3:49; CG animation completed in Alias’ Maya software) Filmmaker Alan Estridge, a graduate of the UCLA Animation Workshop and winner of the 2004 Chuck Jones Award in Animation, has definitely lost a lot of pocket change to vending machines. He turns it all around, however, in his big-gag short called At Wit’s Vend, a premise that cruelly pits man against chocolate in a painfully funny struggle for survival. Estridge is working on his next all CG film called Gridlock. (To check out Alan Estridge’s other shorts and storyboard art go to www.chompy.com.)