Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jon Brion To Score 'The Blue Umbrella'

After sitting down to chat with director Saschka Unseld, Indiewire has confirmed that composer Jon Brion, who recently did the music for last year's ParaNorman, will be scoring Pixar's latest short film, The Blue Umbrella.

I'm quite looking forward to seeing what Brion has to offer, and that tiny bit of score we got in the 30-second clip released a few weeks ago sounded really promising.

On why they selected Jon Brion to score the short, Saschka Unseld said:

“He has this ability in creating these really catchy short melodies that stay with you. And that was something that we really needed for the short.”

The Blue Umbrella looks all set to become a huge critically-acclaimed hit. Speaking of critically-acclaimed shorts, Walt Disney Animation Studios uploaded onto YouTube yesterday their brilliant 2012 short film Paperman, which played in theaters back in November with the studio's equally amazing feature film Wreck-It Ralph. If you haven't already seen Paperman, you don't know what you're missing. Disney have proven with both this and Ralph that they are capable of creating masterpieces like those of Pixar. Watch and you will not be disappointed. Kudos to director John Kahrs and the entire crew at Disney Animation - Walt would be proud.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More 'Monsters University' Promo Images

Nope, still no stinkin' trailer. But for now, have a look at these two new promo images for Monsters University that were dropped on Instagram a few days ago.

The first (seen above) gives us a brief look at a small portion of the Monsters U campus. Just from this tiny image you can already get a taste of all the detail Pixar put into creating a believable university - for monsters, mind you. We're sure to find tons of clever monster-ized things here and there in the film, much like in the original film.

The second image is a piece of Chinese promotional art, which focuses on the huge contrast there is between Mike and Sulley. Mike is evidently the more studious of the two, while Sulley seems a heck of a lot more laid back. Heaven knows how these two polar opposites eventually became the best of friends and lifelong partners - but you can find out June 21 when Monsters University hits theaters!

(Thanks Pixar Post)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'The Blue Umbrella' Logo Revealed

The German Pixarblog has our first look at the logo for the upcoming Pixar short film, The Blue Umbrella, directed by Saschka Unseld. Over the years Pixar has developed the habit creating things that are simplistic yet elegant, much like this logo.

If you missed the official reveal of the short earlier this month, you can read more and watch a clip here.

The Blue Umbrella arrives in theaters this summer with Monsters University!

Monday, January 14, 2013

'Brave' Brings Home the Golden Globe

The awards season progresses, and yesterday night Pixar's Brave won its first major award at the 70th Golden Globe Awards. Director Mark Andrews and producer Katherine Sarafian came up to receive the award for Best Animated Feature Film. Watch Mark's acceptance speech below:

I'm very happy to see that Brave won, it was a gorgeous film in terms of both animation and story, and should be enough to prove to the world that the acclaimed Emeryville-based animation studio has indeed not lost its touch and can still make films meant to be treasured by audiences in their hearts for years to come.

Congratulations to Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Katherine Sarafian and the entire team at Pixar for their Golden Globe win and for creating such an incredible work of art.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

To Pixar Canada, and Beyond

The majority of the world was probably feeling elated yesterday afternoon; it was, after all, Friday. But I was feeling particularly gleeful - it's not everyday that you get to visit the satellite studio of one of the world's most beloved filmmaking companies.

Yesterday I had the absolutely incredible opportunity to visit the Pixar Canada studio in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, and it was a visit I'll never forget. The general manager and vice president of the studio, the wonderful Amir Nasrabadi, was kind enough to invite me for a tour around the facility, which has grown significantly since it opened in 2010. 

Let me start by saying that although it is a whole lot smaller than the central studio in Emeryville, it is in no way whatsoever less impressive. Complete with a staircase that connects the three floors, a spacious kitchen for employees to grab a bite or two, a screening room (which Amir describes as "the ultimate home theater"), a fitness center to keep Pixarians nice and healthy, a library with a gorgeous view of some of the local mountains, and a large outdoor deck fit to host some wicked parties, Pixar Canada has it all. However, as you may have guessed, quite a bit of construction had to be completed before the building could have any of these sweet features.

Much like its larger counterpart in California, at Pixar Canada "there is very little we don't allow" says Amir. Throughout the studio you'll find of all sorts Nerf guns on the employees' desks, waiting to be picked up and carried into battle, and I was even warned to keep my head up, for you never know when you might unexpectedly cross paths with a dart flying at 35 miles per hour. I even caught a glimpse of a single forgotten dart lying next to Sulley by the staircase (pictured above). Employees are also permitted to bring their dogs to work, and one even has a fish tank.

As you might expect, the Pixarians can decorate their work spaces in pretty much any way they like, much like in Emeryville. There were some insanely cool cubicles, it amazed me how creative these folks were, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised - they're Pixarians for crying out loud.

Photo credit: Evoke International Design

The library is one place that really stood out for me. It's extremely colorful, has some really comfy-looking spots to sit in, and a bookshelf containing pretty much every Pixar 'Art of' book there is, which the filmmakers can flip through at any time if they're in need of inspiration. Amir said that this was meant to be a space where a group of employees could sit down and have a small meeting about an issue they've had on their minds. And of course, you can't have a Pixar studio without some sort of hidden passageway somewhere (now that was awesome). The wallpaper behind the bookshelf (pictured above) has a really awesome pattern designed by the studio's creative director Dylan Brown, which has hidden silhouettes of various Pixar characters - you can spend quite a bit of time trying to find and name them all.

Pixar Canada as it appears from the outside

The architecture in the building is sensational. From the outside, it just looks like an everyday Vancouver office building, and at first glance there's nothing really remarkable or extraordinary about it. Once you step inside, however, your whole perception of the building changes instantly; that is, if you weren't already aware that the building is home to some of the most talented filmmakers in the world. In the interior, the studio is beautifully decorated with all sorts of indigenous wood from different parts of the province, and it makes for a truly gorgeous workplace bursting with inspiration. It might interest you to know that the building is also one of Vancouver's oldest buildings; the third or fourth one ever built, in fact, making it a heritage building. Several parts of the building, including brick walls and the industrial ceiling, remained untouched even while renovating. Why? They give the building such great character, and isn't that what Pixar is all about?

What made my day is when Amir told me I could draw something on Pixar Canada's own doodle wall, where employees and guests can come at any time and, well, doodle. I ended up doing a not-that-good little drawing of Buzz Lightyear, but I was overwhelmed to leave my own mark at the very place where artists and visionaries create such beloved works.

So far, Pixar Canada have worked on four different short films; Air Mater, Small Fry, Time Travel Mater, and Partysaurus Rex. While I obviously cannot say what the studio is currently working on, I can tell you that it is absolute brilliance and typical Pixar greatness, and when people see it they are going to be blown away. People of all ages will be able to take something out of it.

Bruce hangs out by the staircase, keeping an eye on the kitchen.

I was given an awesome little Pixar Canada goody bag filled with all sorts of cool items (a Partysaurus Rex t-shirt and the Pixar Shorts Collection - Volume 2 on Blu-ray to name a few) and left the studio, head swarming with feelings of awe and astonishment. Visiting a film studio is a great experience, but visiting a Pixar studio...well, it's something that can't really be put into words.

A huge thank you to Amir Nasrabadi for inviting me! Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@AmirNasrabadi)!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

'Brave' Receives Oscar Nomination

The Awards Season. One of the most exhilarating times of the year for moviegoers across the globe. Our hearts race as we cross our fingers, hoping and praying that our favorite films, actors, and filmmakers will be recognized and nominated for some sort of award - particularly at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars. Ladies and gentlemen, here are this year's nominees for Best Animated Feature Film...

  • Frankenweenie - Tim Burton
  • ParaNorman - Sam Fell & Chris Butler
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits - Peter Lord
  • Wreck-It Ralph - Rich Moore
  • Brave - Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapmam

All I can say What a great year 2012 was for animation. There's not a film that was nominated that doesn't deserve to win, and it's so great to see the Academy recognize stop-motion animation, as it really is quite an underrated art form.

It's fantastic to see Brave up there after Pixar not being nominated for the first time ever last year with Cars 2. I would love, love, love to see Brave take the shiny golden man home this year, but let's face it - it's got some pretty tough competition, primarily with Disney's Wreck-It Ralph. Over the course of the past few years, Disney Animation have been upping their game after a few years of delivering so-so films (see Kyle's Animated World for some great in-depth articles on Disney's ups and downs throughout the ages), and Ralph was just a huge leap forward, and was pretty much as good as a Pixar film. I would be equally delighted to see Disney bring home their first ever Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

I was a bit disappointed that Brave didn't get a Best Original Song nomination for "Touch the Sky", "Learn Me Right", or "Into the Open Air". The film had some gorgeous music, so it's quite a shame that it wasn't recognized in this year's Oscars. On the bright side, the film does have a nomination for Best Music at the Annies, so hopefully it wins there. 

Who are you hoping takes home home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature this year? Who do you think will win? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Pixar Unveils New Short "The Blue Umbrella"

With every new year comes not only a brand new feature film from Pixar, but also a magnificent little short which seems to always break new ground. Each of the studio's shorts is usually only around five minutes long, and yet they have such a powerful impact on those who see them, and each one is even more breathtaking than the last. This year Pixar presents a short film unlike any other they've ever done; The Blue Umbrella.

Have a look at a brief yet incredibly appetite-wetting 30-second clip of the short below:

Not even a full minute of footage and already this looks set to be one of the most astounding shorts Pixar has ever set out to make. YouTube commenters are saying things such as "30 seconds and already a better love story than Twilight" (and I quite agree).

The Blue Umbrella is six minutes long, directed by Pixar technical artist Saschka Unseld and tells the story of a lonely little blue umbrella falling for a red one in a world where inanimate objects come alive (and we all know how much Pixar loves bringing the inanimate to life). The short marks the first time that the studio attempts to create something that looks absolutely photorealistic, which you probably noticed when watching the short clip above. The crew had to overcome several challenges in order to nail the look, and who knows, now that they seem to have mastered how to do so we may see a full-length feature Pixar film done like this in the future.

I can't express how excited I am to see this, it looks like Pixar's most unique, spectacular short film to date - but I probably say that for every new short from the studio.

Read more over at The Wall Street Journal, and be sure to follow the short's director on Twitter, as well as the official viral marketing account for the short. Catch The Blue Umbrella in theaters this summer in front of Monsters University!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cars Land Makes a Splash at Pasadena Rose Parade

Pixar's films and characters continue to inspire people across the globe to create their own pieces of mindblowing artwork. As requested by a reader, here is a post on the glorious Cars Land float that Disney Parks put together for the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Watch these two videos and see all the work and effort that went into building the float.

The float, as you can see, is a truly miraculous work of art, and proof that hard work always pays off, with the reward being something as incredible as this. It would have been great to have seen this float in person, so let us know in the comments if you were one of the lucky people who attended the Rose Parade and saw the float, and even if you didn't let us know what you think!

Thanks Pixar News

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Imagine You at MU

Pixar has released onto the web the MU promo that has been showing in theaters in front of Monsters, Inc. 3D, complete with a YouTube channel just for Monsters University - the school, not the film, mind you.

Not sure if you'd really want to attend Monsters U? Have a look at the ad below, then get back to us.

Not surprisingly, Pixar is doing an outstanding job with the marketing for this film, with this and the website released a few weeks back, but we are yet to get a full-length trailer for the film! Hopefully we'll see it in March attached to Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful, or, if we're lucky, it'll pop up online before then.

Monsters University enrolls in theaters June 21!