Monthly Archives: September, 2016

Friday Fun Fact | Kung Fu Panda

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Kung Fu Panda took four years to make. According to VFX supervisor Markus Manninen, the computer animation used throughout the film was more complex than anything DreamWorks had done before. The first DreamWorks Animation film to be released in IMAX, Kung Fu Panda was the 3rd highest grossing film of 2008.

The film was originally going to be a spoof of the kung fu genre, but one of the directors, John Stevenson, wanted to have a blend of comedy and action to make the film more epic, saying, “I wasn’t interested in making fun of martial arts movies, because I really think they can be great films; they can be as good as any genre movie when they’re done properly.

The opening scene is an homage to Japanese anime, as both directors are big fan of the genre. They wanted to distinguish the opening dream sequence, so it was hand drawn, whereas the rest of the film (with the further exception of the animation in the end credits) was CGI.

One character that needed revisions was Tai Lung, who continually seemed too sympathetic as the villain of the story. As a result, the producers included the sequence that illustrates the story Tigress told about Tai Lung’s betrayal of his father’s principles, and his rampage after being refused the Dragon Scroll to make him sufficiently despicable to the audience. By contrast, Po was refined by Jack Black and the writers from an unpleasant obsessed fan who unsettled his heroes to an affable martial arts lore devotee, painfully self-aware of his inadequacies.

The Kung Fu/Wuxia convention, where attacks on the correct nerve/Chi points can cause paralysis and other effects, is adopted, although it is not explained in the film, and the jade figurine topped sticks on the shell worn on the imprisoned Tai Lung are positioned at the traditional Chi energy points of the body. The sticks are intended to keep the villain from accessing the power from those points, which is why he was first concerned about removing them before attempting to break his chains.

Kung Fu Panda had a massive impact upon the Chinese audience when it released. To get the ambiance of the film perfect, production designer Raymond Zibach and art director Heng Tang had spent years researching Chinese art and kung fu movies. This effort, combined with the rest of the crew’s extensive research and knowledge of Chinese culture, so impressed the Chinese that there were meetings by official government cultural bodies to discuss why their own country has not produced animated films of such quality themselves.

 

 

 

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A Shot of Short | Taking Flight (Brandon Oldenburg)

Remember that time when your grandparents created a whole new world with their stories? You were transported to the magical land where anything could happen. You were the hero of the story, and it was because of your smarts and strength that you saved someone else, your city, or even your planet! What fun! What great storytelling!

Director Brandon Oldenburg‘s Taking Flight takes you back to childhood when grandparents are our heroes. The short’s website, says of the film, “Taking Flight is a short film inspired by the life and heritage of Antonio Pasin, inventor of the Radio Flyer wagon. In this fictional tribute to Pasin’s legacy, what begins as a small boy’s over-scheduled, over supervised, boring day with Grandpa turns into a larger-than-life journey, narrowly escaping wild monkeys and battling aliens to save the universe. Through the power of imagination and epic adventure, a boy learns to be a kid, a father learns to be a dad, and a grandfather reminds us all what childhood is about.”

About the Director: Brandon Oldenburg is an award-winning illustrator, designer, sculptor and film director. After co-founding Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana, he won an Academy Award for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, an animated short film about the curative powers of story.

He has also received an Emmy Award for his directorial work on The Scarecrow, a film and game experience for Chipotle Mexican Grill, which garnered over 14 million views on YouTube. His other recent film projects include an Annie Award nominated short based on Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven; an Emmy Award winning film collaboration with Dolby Laboratories featuring Mr. Morris Lessmore, Silent, and a film adaptation of The Numberlys, a Webby Award winning app and bestselling picture book published by Moonbot Studios. Alongside Moonbot co-founder, William Joyce, Oldenburg is the co-host of TCM Movie Camp, a new program on Turner Classic Movies created to foster a love of classic movies and filmmaking in young audiences.

Oldenburg’s illustrations have graced the covers of prestigious authors’ books such as Elmore Leonard and Michael Chabon. In 2010, Oldenburg was honored with the Distinguished Alumni of the Year from Ringling College of Art and Design, where he received his BFA in Illustration in 1995 and serves on the Board of Trustees.

(Info courtesy: takingflight.com)

Midweek Line Up |10 Films with Inspirational Lighting

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The Cinema encyclopaedia is so vast, that just naming 10 extraordinary films under any category is likely to cause serious fights, even among close cinephile friends. Nevertheless, take a look at these classics mentioned in this list of films with some great use of light to enhance the film, featuring works of Terence Malick, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Alfred Hitchcock, and even David Fincher. Despite missing many names, this list is a good place to start studying the effect of lighting on cinema.

Find the list here: 10 Films with Inspirational Lightning

His Master’s Voice | Morgan Freeman

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Catherine Deneuve (born Catherine Fabienne Dorléac)  – 1943-present

French actress, singer, model and film producer

She gained recognition for her portrayal of aloof, mysterious beauties for various directors, including Luis Buñuel and Roman Polanski. In 1985, she was chosen as the official face of Marianne, France’s national symbol of liberty. A 14-time César Award nominee, she won for her performances in François Truffaut‘s The Last Metro (1980) and Régis Wargnier‘s Indochine (1992). She is also noted for her support for a variety of liberal causes.

Films of note: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)Repulsion (1965)Belle de Jour (1967), The April Fools (1969), Tristana (1970),   Hustle (1975), The Hunger (1983), Scene of the Crime (1986),  My Favourite Season (1993), Place Vendôme (1998), Dancer in the Dark (2000),  Potiche(2010),  The Brand New Testament (2015), Standing Tall (2015)