Roy Conli interview

Don’t call Olaf’s Frozen Adventure a short film. “Technically, it’s a featurette,” according to producer Roy Conli. Whatever you’d like to call it, the 21-minute animated story is set to play in theaters before Pixar’s upcoming Coco. The “featurette,” which is directed by Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton, centers on Olaf, the childish and joyous snowman from Frozen, as he learns about the holiday traditions of the citizens of Arendelle in an attempt to give Elsa and Anna a tradition of their own after the years they spent apart. It’s a fun continuation of the Frozen narrative and a nice return for beloved characters from the 2013 smash hit.

A few weeks ago, I visited Walt Disney Animation and sat down with producer Roy Conli, who told me about John Lasseter‘s involvement, a rejected alternate idea for the special, how the featurette’s music could possibly follow the mega-hit “Let It Go,” and more.
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born in china

DisneyNature has been continuing the tradition Walt Disney started many years ago of producing animal documentaries filled with story, excitement, adventure, and fun. Their latest release, Born in China, ventures into the wilds of China to capture intimate moments with a panda and her growing cub, a young golden monkey who feels displaced by his baby sister, and a mother snow leopard struggling to raise her two cubs.

Whenever I’m watching a DisneyNature film, I sit there wondering how they create these films. The subjects are not as predictable and are much harder to photograph than the subjects of a traditional documentary. Are the stories crafted before the filmmakers head out into the wilds? Or is a narrative constructed in the editing room?

Last month, I talked with Born in China producer Roy Conli to find out the answers to these questions. Conli also serves on the Walt Disney Animation Studios Story Trust and has also produced films ranging from Treasure Planet to Frozen to Big Hero 6. As you’d expect, the nature documentary process is fascinating. Did you know that it took them 90 days to even get the first shot of the cubs in this movie? We discuss that and more in our Born in China interview.

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Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we seriously agree with Frank Cross that there might be some Russian vodka poisoned by Chernobyl out there, hit the outback in search of something sinister, insist that voguing is not only a word but also a verb, get all kinds of artistic, and experience the new face of Simple Jack. 

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THR’s 2010 Awards Watch Animators Roundtable

It’s award season, and The Hollywood Reporter has begun posting their series of roundtable discussions with the contenders. Earlier this month they posted an one-hour discussion between screenwriters Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours), Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), John Wells (The Company Men), Todd Phillips (Due Date) and David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole).

Today we get to watch/listen to the Animators roundtable, which includes Bonnie Arnold (producer, How to Train Your Dragon), Roy Conli (producer, Tangled), Bob Last (producer, The Illusionist), Tom McGrath (director, Megamind), Chris Meledandri (producer, Despicable Me) and Lee Unkrich (director, Toy Story 3).

Unfortunately, unlike the screenwriters roundtable, THR has decided not to put the entire video online. Instead they have given us three clips and have a full transcript of the roundtable online only for subscribers. You can still watch over ten minutes of the roundtable in selected clips embedded after the jump.
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