Warner Bros. was once a studio synopymous with animation thanks to the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon lines. But it has been a long time since WB was particularly commanding in theatrical animation. (The studio does have a healthy direct to video animation arm, however.) Other studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks have taken center stage there.

Pixar is famous for its “brain trust,” and the concept of having some individual or group of people to guide other projects, beyond the basic producer capacity, has spread to Marvel, which has Joss Whedon, and Fox, which hired Mark Millar to emulate Whedon’s “godfather” duties with superhero projects.

Now Warner Bros. is assembling its own group of creators to act as a sort of brain trust, with the filmmakers behind Crazy, Stupid, Love., Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and The Muppets formed into a new feature animation think tank that will hopefully create one animated feature per year for the studio.  Read More »

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Doug Sweetland, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2009 Pixar-produced computer animated short film Presto (which was attached to WALL-E theatrically) is finally set to direct his first feature length film.

A student of CalArts, Sweetland decided to leave school in his final year to join Pixar to become an animator on their first feature film Toy Story. He has since severed as animator on A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo. He was promoted to lead animator for the Bud Luckey’s Oscar-nominated short film Boundin’ , worked as an animator and storyboard artist on Brad Bird’s The Incredibles, and stepped up to supervising animator on John Lasseter’s Cars. He won two Annie Awards for his work on Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo and earned one nomination for his character animation on Toy Story 2.

It seemed pretty obvious that Disney was grooming Sweetland to direct an upcoming Pixar feature. Some even speculated that Doug was to be named to director of the announced Monsters Inc 2 (which still has no announced director). So the news that Sweetland will be graduating to a feature film comes as no surprise. It is a bit shocking however to learn that the Pixar vetren’s feature directorial debut won’t be for Pixar, but instead for Sony Pictures Animation.
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Monsters Inc

After over a year of speculation, yesterday it was finally officially announced that Pixar is working on a Monsters Inc sequel. Not only that, but Monsters Inc 2 even has a release date: November 16th 2012.But the one thing absent from the announcement was any mention of a writer or director. Who is writing Monsters Inc 2? What is Pete Docter‘s mystery project? We delve into these questions and more, after the jump.

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Sneak Preview: Pixar’s Presto

Pixar has released a 30 second preview of Doug Sweetland’s computer animated short film Presto, which you will see in front of WALL-E. I’ve seen it and will tell you that it’s probably the best Pixar short since 2000’s For the Birds. Very reminiscent of the old Warner Bros cartoons.

Official Plot Synopsis: Dignity. Poise. Mystery. We expect nothing less from the great, turn-of-the-century magician, Presto. But, when Presto forgets to feed his rabbit one too many times, well, there’s really no telling what to expect! This latest comical short film from Pixar Animation Studios follows the escalating high jinx of the amazing Presto, his rabbit Alec, and what happens onstage when a star magician’s ego provokes some clever revenge from his neglected costar.

WALL-E hits theaters on June 27th 2008.

via: CharacterDesign

First Look: Pixar’s Presto

Pixar's Presto

Presto, the directorial debut of Pixar’s Annie Award-winning supervising animator Doug Sweetland is set to premiere in front of WALL-E.

The five minute short computer animated film follows Presto DiGiotagione, a turn-of-the-century magician, who is famous for an astounding hat trick. Presto’s apprentice rabbit, Alec, however, is dissatisfied as he shares none of Presto’s wild success. While Presto is out eating lavish dinner, Alec is left behind, locked in a birdcage with a carrot torturously out of reach. Sweetland also provides the voices of both Presto and Alec.

Sounds like a promising premise. I was actually a little disappointed with Lifted, the short attached to Ratatouille, because I felt it lacked depth and quality of past Pixar shorts. Don’t get me wrong, it was better than anything Disney or Blue Sky has produced in years. I think I just hold Pixar up to a much higher standard, and the story, character and set design weren’t up to par with Geri’s Game or Birds.

WALL-E hits theaters on June 27th 2008.

source: PixarBlog

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