After decades at the helm of Pixar, co-founder Ed Catmull is retiring. The 73-year-old co-founded Pixar in 1986 alongside Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, and helped shepherd the cutting-edge computer animation studio into becoming the global animation giant it is today.

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Pixar works on their films for years; most releases are developed for a good five years. Almost every film they’ve developed has had problems at one point of another. Some, like Ratatouille and Toy Story, were completely reworked when Pixar realized the story wasn’t working. The film newt was announced in 2008 at a Disney presentation, and canceled only two years later, making it the first announced Pixar movie to be canceled. Now we learn how the death of one story gave birth to another.

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Toy Story

Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull recently published a book called Creativity Inc.,  bout how creativity and business can work hand in hand. The book is filled with stories from Catmull’s journey at Pixar, some details of which have never been told publicly before. One of the stories is about how a business deal came within seven days from changing history as we know it. Not only would Toy Story never have been made, it is very likely the computer animation revolution would have happened entirely differently or maybe not even at all.

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From 2001 to 2009, Pixar released original films almost every year. And they were all great. Then they did Toy Story 3, followed by Cars 2 and with this year’s Monsters University, some fans have began to complain the company is relying too heavily on older material. Others argued that out of 14 films, there are only four sequels and only one of those wasn’t legitimately fantastic. So what’s the worry?

Turns out Pixar has heard fan complaints and are taking them to heart. Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar, said in an interview that the studio is hoping to do an original movie every single year, and sequels only every other year. That plan is already in place with a prequel this year (Monsters University), an original film next year (The Good Dinosaur), then an original film (Inside Out) and sequel (Finding Dory) in 2015. Plus, we can now guess what’s being released in 2016 and 2017. Read More »

In 1988, the National Film Preservation Act create the National Film Registry, which selects a couple dozen films each year for preservation in the Library of Congress. Up to 25 films are selected annually as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films.” These have to be at least ten years old, can be feature, short experimental or ‘other’ — anything that is film, really — and are chosen from a list of films nominated by the public.

This year, 2228 films were nominated by the public and twenty-five were selected for preservation. Among those are the big Oscar winner The Silence of the Lambs, everyone’s favorite autistic history hero Forrest Gump, Charlie Chaplin‘s The Kid and one of the greatest (and earliest) train movies ever made, John Ford‘s The Iron Horse.

We’ve got a more complete list below. Read More »

Q&A: How Does A Pixar Short Film Get Made?

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how Pixar develops and produces their feature animated films, but we’ve learned very little about how the beloved short films get created. So I decided it was time we find out. I shot a message over to Enrico Casarosa, the director of Pixar’s next short film La Luna, who was happy to shed some light on the process.  “How Does A Pixar Short Film Get Made?” Find out, after the jump.
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It’s hard to imagine a day when Pixar was in hard financial times, but the company took many years to earn a profit. In the 1985, the Computer Division of Lucasfilm (which later became Pixar) was under financial pressure. Pixar veteran Craig Good recently recalled a story of how Pixar bosses Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith saved their employees from being let go.

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The International Animated Film Society ASIFA-Hollywood has announced the nominees for the 38th Annual Annie Awards, and the DreamWorks feature How to Train Your Dragon leads the pack with more than ten nods. But there’s a caveat; that and the full list of nominations after the break. Read More »

Ed Catmull to Receive Gordon E. Sawyer Award

Pixar co-founder and president, Ed Catmull will receive an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — the Gordon E. Sawyer Award. Catmull will receive his Oscar statuette at the Scientific and Technical Awards banquet, to be held on February 7th 2009.

Catmull has contributed to many important developments in computer graphics and computer animation. While at University in the early 1970’s, Catmull developed the concepts of Z-buffering, texture mapping, bicubic patches, and invented algorithms for anti-aliasing and refining subdivision surfaces. At Lucasfilm he helped develop digital image compositing technology and was a key developer of the RenderMan rendering system at Pixar.

source: Variety

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Pixar Will Not Become a Special Effects Studio

When it was announced that Brad Bird would be directing a live action adaptation of 1906, a co-production of Pixar and Warner Bros, many assumed that the Emeryville animation studio would be providing the visual effects. Well now Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull told attendees of the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference that Pixar will not be entering the special effects business.

“We’ve got two projects coming where there’s a live action element. But our view is not that we’re trying to diversify; it’s more that we’ve got a creative vision to try something different, and we want to support that vision,” Catmull said. “Whether or not it goes beyond that we don’t know, but we don’t want to turn Pixar into a live action studio. In fact, the intent is that the special effects will not be done at Pixar… We are not trying to become a special effects company.”

Catmull’s comments are the first public admission from senior Pixar staff that Andrew Stanton‘s John Carter of Mars will involve “live action elements”. But am I the only person completely confused? I’ve heard that Pixar has already been hard at work creating a computer scale model of a 1906 San Francisco. If that isn’t going to be used as part of the visual effects for Bird’s upcoming film, than what exactly is Pixar’s role in the project. Anyone at Pixar care to elaborate or clear this up?

source: AWN