Laika Options Wildwood for 3D Animated Feature

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Tue, 09/13/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

The animation studio Laika has optioned Wildwood the debut HarperCollins children's novel written by Colin Meloy lead singer and songwriter for The Decemberists with illustrations by award-winning artist Carson Ellis.  Travis Knight president and CEO of the animation studio made the announcement. Laika the Portland-based animation studio which produced the Oscar and BAFTA nominated feature film Coraline is currently in production on the 3D stop motion animated feature film ParaNorman. “Wildwood is a marvel an exquisite staggering and lyrical work of art ” says Knight.  “It’s an uncannily perfect fit for Laika commingling the time-honored qualities of classic fantasies and fairy tales with a bold contemporary sensibility.  Colin's captivating melodic prose and Carson's gorgeous spellbinding illustrations form a rich bounty of ideas language and imagery.  Wildwood is a wonderful work of literature and Laika is fully committed to honoring it with an exceptional groundbreaking film. Wildwood the first book in an epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic wonder and danger set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland Oregon tells the story of Prue McKeel whose ordinary life is changed forever when her younger brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness an enchanted and forbidding forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in or at least returned to tell of it. Within this secret world Prue and her friend Curtis embark on a rescue mission and find themselves entwined in a violent struggle for freedom amidst warring creatures peaceable mystics and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. Wildwood filled with 85 intricate and beautiful illustrations by artist Ellis was published on August 30 by HarperCollins' Balzer + Bray imprint. Hands down there is no other movie studio in the entire world besides Laika that I would entrust Wildwood to ” says Meloy.  “Carson and I were prepared to stonewall any and all suitors for the movie rights so close was this book to our hearts. However when Laika came calling our defenses promptly came down. There is no doubt in my mind that they will come to this story with the passion imagination and general awesomeness required to make this book into a truly beautiful animated film. I'm a stop motion enthusiast ” says Ellis “and I've been a fan of Laika since we saw Coraline a couple of years back.  When we visited the studio and saw all the brilliant creative work happening there – someone building a waist-high New England village in painstaking detail someone else sewing pinhead-sized rivets on tiny blue jeans – we were won over completely.  It's an amazing place staffed by patient meticulous super-talented people who wouldn't work there if they didn't love stop-motion animation.  I'm so excited to see what Wildwood will look like in their hands. ,2741
Gearing Up for National Geographic’s Expedition Wild,2011-09-14,When executive producer/director of photography Thomas Winston geared up his company Grizzly Creek Films for a new series of National Geographic Expedition Wild specials he knew he was going to face rugged terrain and he chose his equipment accordingly. He selected a line-up of three Sachtler support systems including the Video 25 Plus the Video 15 SB and the DV 4 II for the seven episodes. Winston is a longtime Sachtler fan. “Filming wildlife is tough – both on the people and on the gear. We have come to rely on our Sachtler equipment as the always there always reliable and always crucial elements of our field production kit” he says. “Simply put the equipment lives up to its reputation as top-notch and durable— even in adverse conditions.” The Sachtler Video 25 Plus with two stage carbon fiber legs became the perfect solution for long lens shooting with the Varicam 3700/Fujinon 42X lens set up. “It was lightweight enough to carry into the deep backcountry and also stable enough for long lens blue-chip wildlife shots like filming wolves in Yellowstone Park or brown bears catching salmon on Kodiak Island ” Winston explains. The Sachtler Video 15 SB with two stage Speed Lock carbon fiber legs was also used extensively for the series. “As the lightest sticks for the Varicam 3700 which was paired with the Canon wide angle zoom HD lens it was a fantastic option for getting set up at lightning speed ” he says. The Sachtler DV 4 II with two-stage aluminum legs relatively speaking the smallest of our supports — was employed for time-lapse photography and HD video with various DSLR cameras. It also proved useful for star Casey Anderson to carry on his solo missions into the wild. Expedition Wild is a seven-hour original series that showcases wildlife expert Anderson and his charismatic animal companions on an action-packed odyssey through North America’s diverse wild places. The show reveals a rare glimpse of the beauty and complexity of the natural world from the inside out. These first seven episodes following Anderson and his best friend Brutus (a nine-hundred pound grizzly) are now airing on the National Geographic Wild channel. ,2742
Production Starts on Alchemist Agenda,2011-09-30,The Hive has begun production on a feature length motion comic with director Marty Weiss based on his Amazon Studios winning script The Alchemist Agenda. The screenplay was selected from thousands of participants and won Amazon Studios' December 2010 Best Script Award as well as their February 2011 Best Test Movie Award. The Alchemist Agenda is an action-adventure story about a thrill-seeking treasure hunter who finds a cloaked U-boat off the coast of New York and embarks on an international pursuit to unlock the mysteries buried inside with a beautiful professor who has a secret agenda of her own. A motion comic is an animated comic book. All artwork for The Alchemist Agenda will be created specifically for the project. Motion comics are a unique medium in which to tell the story and create a specific style for the film. Marty Weiss became known for creating comedic and highly visual commercials directing hundreds of national and international image campaigns for major Blue Chip brands and TV Networks before segueing into longer form projects.   Weiss helmed his first feature length film Vampires: The Turning for Sony/Screen Gems Entertainment - an action/horror movie that evolved out of John Carpenter's Vampires. It was filmed in Chiang Mai Thailand and released worldwide in 2005. We are always looking to work with creative filmmakers on exciting projects. It is a great honor to be chosen by Amazon Studios script winner Marty Weiss to help create a Motion Comic from his action packed script says Yesenia Higuera partner at The Hive. The Hive is a a creative production studio that specializes in Motion Comics New Media and film post production based out of Hollywood California. The newly formed Amazon Studios is looking to make commercial motion pictures based on scripts and movies submitted by budding screenwriters and filmmakers. They have a first look deal with Warner Brothers. ,2748
Barco D3D Cinema to Host Technology Demo at Moody Gardens,2011-09-30,Museum cinema integration pioneer D3D Cinema will team with Moody Gardens and Barco to host an exclusive preview of new digital projection technology providing a glimpse into the future of the movie going experience. The event will take place January 9-10 on an 80-foot screen at the second annual Moody Gardens Digital Cinema Symposium in Galveston Texas. Barco says the event will feature a series of noteworthy milestones in the digital cinema revolution including the first demonstration of Barco's revolutionary laser light engine on a giant screen the first demonstration of true DLP 4K resolution 3D on a giant screen the first 4K 3D comparison of 48 frames-per-second and 60 frames-per-second content and the first giant 3D 500 mbps comparison nearly double the current cinema bit rate standard. Barco and our technology partners continue to raise the bar and redefine the forefront of cinema technology innovation says Don Kempf president of D3D. We are confident that this event will demonstrate to the museum and giant screen communities that the future of experiential digital 3D cinema is now. Last year's first Moody Digital Symposium was a truly groundbreaking event enabling our industry to move past talk and theory for the first time. This year we intend to further the digital 3D revolution with another provocative display. Art Mercurio vice president of technology at D3D Cinema says As a 3D system integrator we're particularly excited about the light levels that lasers can achieve. As they do with all of their technology Barco has approached the laser lamp house design to be fully modular so that all of their current 4K projectors may be upgraded simply and easily. And no more xenon lamp costs. We're fully committed to providing the highest quality solutions for giant screen theaters says Todd Hoddick vice president of Barco's entertainment division in North America. D3D is helping to guide this industry in an electrifying direction and we're pleased to be helping them lead the way. Registration for the 2012 Moody Digital Cinema Symposium begins in October. Barco D3D Cinema Moody Gardens ,2750
Bel-Air Film Festival Runs October 12-17,2011-09-30,The fourth annual Bel-Air Film Festival which runs from October 12th to October 17th has announced its line-up for the event that will be taking place at the Skirball Cultural Center the Luxe Sunset Hotel and the UCLA James Bridges Theatre. The festival begins with the Opening Night Red Carpet Gala held at the Skirball Cultural Center. This evening includes honoring writing partners Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz (Happy Days Splash A League of Their Own) producer Bob Yari (Crash The Illusionist) and actor Victor Alfieri (Angels and Demons Southland Persons Unknown) and a World Premiere screening of the feature film My Father’s Will written and directed by Fraydun Manocherian. There will also be a live musical performance by Chris Mann who has performed at the Sundance Film Festival the pre-Oscars Young Hollywood Party the American Film Institute Awards and with David Foster and Katharine McPhee at the Horatio Alger Awards. In addition Mann is a principle voice on the hit television show Glee and the accompanying soundtracks. An opening night poker fundraiser will benefit the Bel-Air Film and Arts non-profit organization raise funds for film students attending the USC School of Cinematic Arts Long Beach State University and the New York Film Academy. The event will be hosted by Academy-Award nominee Don Cheadle (Crash Traffic Hotel Rwanda) Kathy Najimy (King of the Hill) and Mimi Rogers (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Dumb and Dumberer). This year the Bel-Air Film Festival will be screening 36 films which includes 23 World Premieres and 6 Los Angeles Premieres. Short films and Student Shorts will also be screened. Screenings will be held at the Luxe Sunset Hotel and the UCLA James Bridges Theater. The festival includes a series of after parties which will take place each evening. Tickets are on-sale now at ,2751
Documenting the French Coastline,2011-09-30,Early in 2012 the European public-service channel Arte will broadcast a 90-minute documentary entitled Le relief d’une côte. With more than 3000 kilometers of coastline France indeed offers a very varied and beautiful panorama. To film in S3D Gédéon Programmes employed the technical team of Binocle 3D. Capturing S3D footage in flight created many technical challenges the first of which was to obtain stable images while dealing with high turbulence including disturbances created by the helicopter blades themselves. Then there were the very strict requirements of air traffic control which required quite a bit of juggling by the pilot in order to ensure a complete overview of the coast. For the project an Ecureuil B130 helicopter provided by HRT was equipped with a rig furnished by Jet Propulsion which included a Super Gyron stabilized gyro head provided by ACS. The stereographers for Binocle Jean-Marie Boulet and Thomas Brésard chose a configuration ideal for filming landscapes with two types of gear sizes up to 110 centimeters and a fixed-width convergence. The Binocle team also provided specifications for the recording setup using four Sony P1 cameras (featuring Sony’s 2/3 inch sensors) which were then equipped with synchronized Angénieux 19X zooms and provided four synchronous streams of 4:2:2 video all recorded to two Sony SRW-1 HD decks. All photography was completed between August 18 and September 2 and covered such a long distance resulting in the setup completing more than 45 sorties with either three to four flights per day varying between an altitude of 100 and 3000 feet. One technical aspect of the filming which was already difficult was dealing on a daily basis with the legal aspects of the shoot as well as the technical intricacies says Boulet. The Navy also required that the nature of the images be verified and cleared especially near some of the strategic sites such as Toulon or Brest.” Moreover given the extra weight of the equipment and the possibility of damage due to the heavy the winds the helicopter was limited to only flying to 60 percent of its capabilities. Throughout the voyage punctuated by 36 refueling stops the ground crew followed its progress by car processing and providing S3D quality control for over 75 hours of rushes. For S3D quality control the team used a 46-inch LG S3D screen in conjunction with Binocle’s own Disparity Tagger software which provides not only automatic correction of pan tilt and rotation errors but also lens zoom errors which can be much more difficult to detect and correct in addition to providing visual feedback of the scene in order to ensure proper setup of convergence and inter-axial requirements. The film is currently being editing and already looks to be a very successful project says Laurent Baujard of Gédéon Programmes. Production Team Production: Gédéon Programmes Directors: Charles-Antoine de Rouvre and Jérôme Scémia Camera operator: Mike Durby Stereographer : Jean-Marie Boulet Technical stereographer: Thomas Brésard S3D rushes: Guillaume Béchard Helicopter equipment: Jean Chesnau Pilots: Félix Claro Jean-Christophe Beauvillier and Jean-Pierre Pelletier Photos: Guillaume Béchard – Mike Durby