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The woman three seats down from me had a Woody The Cowboy doll whose arm she waved excitedly whenever the Disney/Pixar head honcho said anything she particularly agreed with (which happened a lot, but with a four second delay for translation). The guy next to her was wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt in subtler homage to the visiting dignitary’s trademark penchant for same. And the young woman between us wore a miniskirt emblazoned with an entire “Spider-Man” comic paired with clashing cartoon Converse and pantyhose dotted with hearts and Mickey Mouses. Ok, she was a little off-brief, but at least she was exuberantly so. Welcome to the press area for the Tokyo International Film Festival talk from amiable animation genius John Lasseter, formerly of Disney, founding member of Pixar, now Chief Creative Officer of Disney/Pixar. He was in town (if you can call the vast, intricate megalopolis »
- Jessica Kiang
Tokyo — The mainstream Japanese film industry came in for a surprising volume of criticism Saturday at a Tokyo event intended to celebrate the iconic comedian, actor and director Takeshi Kitano.
The occasion was an on-stage session at which Kitano was named as the first recipient of the Tokyo Intl. Film Festival’s Samurai Prize. He was greeted and quizzed by eight prize-winning student filmmakers, and then lauded by Cannes festival selector Christian Jeune and critic and Asian film expert Tony Rayns.
Looking and sounding as gruff and burdened as ever, Kitano kicked off with a cute anecdote about his early days as a struggling comedian who had to work in bars and massage parlors in order make ends meet. “I scrubbed the backs of Yakuza” gangsters, he said.
Since then, that proximity to organized crime has come in handy. Not only have gritty gangster films become Kitano’s directorial trademark, »
- Patrick Frater
Tokyo — Invited to speak in Tokyo as part of the ‘Cool Japan’ cultural promotion drive, animator John Lasseter delivered a heart-felt and deeply personal tribute to Japan, Japanese film culture, and fellow animation icon Hayao Miyazaki.
“Thank you, Japan for making me who I am,” he said by way of conclusion in front of a packed theatre at the Tokyo International Film Festival on Friday.
The speech was carefully written and enthusiastically presented by a Lasseter who clearly intended to educate as much as he was there to promote. Lasseter is chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studio, and DisneyToon Studios.
He included early photographs of himself and fellow student animators at California Institute of the Arts, showed a clip of Miyazaki’s “Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro,” which he described as “clever and economical” animation, but with depth. And then described how »
- Patrick Frater
John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios, paid an emotional tribute to Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki at a special keynote appearance Friday night at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Appearing to tear up several times during his one-hour talk, Lasseter said: "Whenever we get stuck at Pixar or Disney, I put on a Miyazaki film sequence or two, just to get us inspired again." Lasseter was invited by the festival to discuss the concept of "Cool Japan," the Japanese government's slogan for promoting the nation's culture industries. The two-
- Patrick Brzeski
With a focus on animation this year, the fest’s red carpet – changed back from the ecologically-themed green carpet of previous years – saw Japanese superhero Ultraman and other animation characters along with J-pop group Arashi, prime minister Shinzo Abe and Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn, who is heading the competition jury.
“I have three heroes and they’re all Japanese – Ultraman, Saber Rider and Akira Kurosawa,” said Gunn, declaring himself excited to be in Tokyo and at the festival, looking for unique films with “something specific to say”.
- email@example.com (Jean Noh)
Tokyo — The 27th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival kicked off on Thursday with a gala opening at the Roppongi Hills entertainment and shopping complex.
The red carpet was trod by nearly 370 fests guests and celebs, including Rie Miyazawa, star of the competition’s only Japanese pic, the Daihachi Yoshida embezzlement drama “Pale Moon,” and Miki Nakatani, serving as the fest’s “navigator,” or spokeswoman, though she is a major star in her own right. Getting by far the loudest screams from the crowd, however, was the five-member boy band Arashi, who made a surprise appearance as reps of the government’s “Cool Japan” initiative.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared on stage at the Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills main theater prior to world premiere screening of opening film “Big Hero 6.” Saying that he could feel by the “fever in the air” that the fest was beginning, he added, »
- Laura Prudom
Tokyo — The 27th running of the Tokyo International Film Festival got under way Thursday with pomp and circumstance – and just the right degree of levity.
The opening ceremony in the Roppongi Hills complex was attended by a Japanese princess, two ministers and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as a coterie of international guests.
In a speech without notes, Abe identified detailed elements of the festival program, pitched Tokyo as a gateway to Asian cinema, and personally welcomed U.S. animation icon John Lasseter. He also repeated the country’s ‘Cool Japan’ culture and tourism pitch and joshed with five part boy-band Arashi, who were dressed like the Pm in sharp, dark suits. “I hope some of their popularity rubs off on the government,” he said.
In a city they obviously admire, the directing and production team from opening film “Big Hero 6” gushed their thanks and wonderment at being part of the opening event. »
- Patrick Frater and Mark Schilling
Big Hero 6 is getting closer to release every day, and I cannot wait for you guys to see it. I saw it last week and then sat in on roundtable discussions with the directors and members of the cast. They spoke candidly about the process of making the film.
Scott Adsit, who voices Baymax, was asked about the changes their characters went through in development. He replied,
“I don’t think their relationship changed that much. I think it became more central as the process went on and became more of the heart of the film. I think originally it was part of the film, but the focus was more on the superhero team and its formation and all that. And I think after they started recording and restorying everything we took more of a center stage.”
Ryan Potter, the voice of Hiro, added, “They changed the relationships of certain characters around, »
- Mily Dunbar
If there’s one thing animated movies have over their live action counterparts it’s their ability to craft a meticulous attention to detail in which everything that appears on screen is there for a reason. Of all the animation studios out there, Pixar has justly earned a reputation for cramming in a wealth of hidden details for the eagle-eyed viewer to spot.
Counting up all the easter eggs in Pixar’s filmography is an immense task – considering that they already had several movies in the pipeline from day one, it’s understandable that right from the beginning they found the time to populate their films with little visual touches referencing back and forth across their body of work.
From the frequent appearance of the phrase A113, an inside joke referring to the classroom in which John Lasseter, Brad Bird and other Pixar staff were taught at the California Institute of the Arts, »
- Andrew Dilks
Seoul – Pixar boss John Lasseter said that he owes a debt of gratitude to South Korea, but that there are no plans to transfer animation production away from the U.S.
“All production is to remain in-house at this point in time,” said Lasseter, who is chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, at an event in Seoul that marked the first leg of an Asian tour.
“We’re focusing on hand-crafted work in the studios. We recruit people from everywhere around the world but everything happens in house,” he said.
For the Walt Disney Animation Studios slate Lasseter confirmed release dates of Jan 2015 for “Big Hero 6,” which premieres later this week as the opening film of the Tokyo International Film Festival; 2016 for “Zootopia”; and slots thereafter for “Moana” and “Giants,” both of which are currently in production.
Pixar’s “Inside Out” is to »
- Nemo Kim
While DreamWorks Animation is set to launch its Chinese venture in Shanghai and to collaborate with South Korean animation studios, John Lasseter says Disney-Pixar has no immediate plans for localized projects in Asia. "At this point in time, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, we have artists from all over the world working for us. We are working on handcrafted films at our in-house studios," Lasseter told Korean reporters on Tuesday in Seoul, where he kicked off the company's Asia tour. About the growth of other animation firms, he said he welcomes healthy competition. "I'd rather be a
- Lee Hyo-won
The Wind Rises (Japan: Kaze tachinu), 2013.
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
A profile of Jiro Horikoshi (Anno/Gordon-Levitt), a Japanese engineer who designed fighter planes during World War II.
The swan song of Hayao Miyazaki…say it ain’t so!! Still, Clint Eastwood made a similar remark about retiring after Gran Torino (2008) and has still carried on. So maybe we haven’t seen the last of Miyazaki; it wouldn’t certainly be a huge loss to cinema and animation if it happens to be true. If Miyazaki has finally taken leave on his Ghibli efforts, what a way to go out. The Wind Rises is not the best the studio has produced – just because the man is leaving the business there is no need to get hyperbolic – though it is a spectacular film, »
- Gary Collinson
One of the unique fixtures of an opening weekend in Los Angeles, whether it's an art house release or a studio blockbuster, are filmmakers and sometimes stars popping their heads into a theater to see how their baby plays. Well, if you're going to a screening of the new animated feature "The Book of Life" in the Southland this weekend, there's a good chance you might see Jorge R. Gutierrez dropping by your theater. "Book" is Gutierrez's directorial debut and a project he's worked diligently to bring to the big screen for 14 years. The talented animator has received advice about handling the release from the film's producer, Guillermo del Toro, but Gutierrez jokes he's not listening to it. "He said don't read the Internet, don't read any reviews, like, don't look at the comments," Gutierrez says. "But I am a masochist, so I'm reading everything. And then this whole weekend »
- Gregory Ellwood
As massive and business-minded a corporation as it is, Walt Disney Animation leaves room in their pipeline for experimentation. Each year, crew members on any and every rung of the bureaucratic ladder have the opportunity to pitch short films to John Lasseter and the Wda "story trust," a group of the company's veteran directors, writers, and artists. The goal: Push story and animation technology to places where the feature slate can't go (at least, not until the shorts lay the groundwork). Animator Patrick Osborne pitched "Feast" as a living work of concept art — graphic, fluid, and nostalgic — that also fell into the Disney mold, a sweet story of a dog that loves food. Lasseter took to it, and this November, the fully rendered short hits theaters in front of "Big Hero 6." Mimicking the artistic style of illustrator Jeff Turley (who previously art directed "Paperman"), "Feast" chronicles the life of a puppy named Winston, »
- Matt Patches
"Frozen" fans excited for the upcoming Broadway musical adaptation of the animated hit may want to let it go for a while: According to the man in charge of putting the show together, the final product is still in the early planning stages, with no concrete timeline in sight.
In a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter about his many successes adapting popular Disney properties into hit Broadway shows (including recent record-breaker "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast"), Thomas Schumacher, president and producer at Disney Theatrical Group, told the trade that the "Frozen" stage production was a top priority -- but there's still a lot of work to do.
"My job is to corral the writers of the movie. I'm already talking to directors, and I have a design concept, and we have to begin to fashion this idea," Schumacher said of the planning process so far. "It doesn't need to be fast. »
- Katie Roberts
Inside Out is Pixar’s next highly anticipated release, but it’s also paired with a brand new Pixar short film that’s a must see, James Ford Murphy’s directorial debut, Lava. The piece focuses on a lonely volcano out in the middle of the sea who’s just looking for someone to love, or rather, lava. And it’s no wonder John Lasseter went with the idea when Murphy pitched him three options; for a mere seven-minute piece, Lava is extremely moving and the song is quite catchy, too. While talking to Murphy about Lava, he broke down the process of how to pitch ideas at Pixar, what it’s like bringing an immobile volcano to life, his thoughts on screening before Inside Out and loads more. Catch it all in the video interview after the jump. Lava will hit theaters with Insider Out on June 19, 2015. James Ford Murphy »
- Perri Nemiroff
Q. What do Lincoln, E.T., The Color Purple, War of the Worlds, Jurassic Park, 12 Years a Slave, Eat Pray Love, A Mighty Heart, World War Z, Jane Eyre, Saving Mr. Banks, Proof, Elizabeth, The Master, American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, Her, The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, Inception, Hustle & Flow, The Hunger Games, Monsters, Inc., A Bug's Life, and Toy Story 3 have in common? A. They were all produced by women. Look around. Female producers are everywhere: Shepherding the new Star Wars trilogy. Bringing the latest Hunger Games to theaters. And in February, when Oscar night rolls around, 11 women »
- Nicole Sperling
With this weekend's release of Gone Girl, director David Fincher has once again showcased the unsettling sounds of award-winning composers Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor (above). Ever since 2010's The Social Network, the duo have become a fixture of Fincher's work. The duo's deceptively minimal sound, with subtle motifs barely hiding cold electronic undercurrents, is remarkably well-suited for Fincher's trademark visual aesthetic, in which every smile and doorway can take on an air of menace if the camera lingers long enough. While he has worked with a number of composers before—most notably Howard Shore—Fincher has found »
- Joshua Rivera
Check out the new teaser trailer for Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out.
From an adventurous balloon ride above the clouds to a monster-filled metropolis, Academy Award-winning director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”) has taken audiences to unique and imaginative places. In Disney•Pixar’s original movie “ Inside Out,” he will take us to the most extraordinary location of all—inside the mind.
Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, »
- Michelle McCue
By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
Barry Levinson‘s drama The Humbling, which stars Al Pacino, and Richard Lagravanese‘s musical The Last Five Years, which Jason Robert Brown adapted from his off-Broadway show — two films that had their world premieres at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival and quickly found U.S. distributors that see them as 2014 awards bait — will open the 21st annual Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference on Oct. 23, the fest announced on Tuesday.
Additionally, Jon Stewart‘s feature directorial debut Rosewater, a drama based on the harrowing true story of the Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, will close the fest in Texas’ capital on Oct. 30, with Stewart and Bahari — who have been working the fest circuit hard this fall — on hand for the festivities.
- Anjelica Oswald
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