Winnie the Pooh opens this weekend! I'm not going to lie - I didn't grow up reading or watching Winnie the Pooh so I was never a fan but when I was asked to help out on the movie I decided to take a crash course in everything Milne. I read some books and watched as many movies as I could access and I discovered a new appreciation for the classic works. My good friends Steve Anderson and Don Hall made an amazing film that stays true to the innocence and charm of the originals and I'm proud to have an additional story credit on the new film.
Here's a panel from one of my sequences in which I tried to emulate the classic book interior -
It's a really fun film that is unique from everything else out there - Take the family and enjoy it!
Animation building mural by Paul Felix -
While at Jersey Mike's sandwich shop in downtown Burbank one day the guy behind the counter noticed my Disney debit card and asked if I had worked on the new film - I thought it odd coming from a guy like him but after saying yes he then revealed his tattoo! WHOA - hardcore fan!
Since I've been back I haven't had a second to stop! The film I'm on is gearing up for an in-house screening and it's go time! I'm really excited about the project and can't wait to share it with the world. I'm continually inspired by the people coming on board to help make this thing! Paul Felix alone as an Art Director will make you step your game up!
But, this isn't about that - this post is about Annecy! I wish I could have done more sketching - especially my last day when I went to Chamonix. Here are some of the ones I managed to get in. The last one was drawn on a paper place mat at a small cafe late in the evening - it got crazy when a young couple tried to dine and dash but then were chased down by some of the wait staff and their thug friends!
- Annecy is amazing. The enthusiasm for animation is overwhelming. It's an animation mecca and any true animation fan should make the pilgrimage to attend it. My first day there was more or less getting acquainted with the town, registering for the festival and trying to remember where my hotel was located.
My second day consisted of a talk with Mike Giaimo, Clay Kaytis and John Kahrs on what a day is like at the studio. I gave a weird presentation that I'm sure anyone of importance from the Disney Corporation or only french speaking attendees would be thoroughly confused by. That night I attended the opening ceremonies and couldn't stop laughing at the hundreds of paper airplanes being thrown trying to reach the stage and the strange bubble popping sound as films are about to begin!
Here's video inside the theatre before it was even filled!
The next day was portfolio reviews and a presentation on the Art of Story. I showed a bunch of classic Peter Pan, Jungle Book, Cinderella and 101 Dalmations boards as well as some new stuff from Tangled and Winnie the Pooh. Man, I love this drawing.
I really enjoyed hearing Mike Giaimo talk about Visual Development and Clay and John on Animation. These guys are the future of animation and any kid who wants to get into animation should study their ways! I tried to go to all of the independent shorts programming and the making of studio shorts that included: La Luna with Enrico, Nessie with Stevie and Kevin, Ice Age's Continental Crack Up short with Carlos Saldanha, and the Warner Bros. shorts with Matthew O'Callaghan.
I was blown away by each of them. Really loved the classic Disney shorts, Loom by Polynoid, Big Bang Big Boom by BLU, Trois Petits points and the Amazing World of Gumball by Dandelion Studios.
It was fun to to see the studio share Nessie with people and found the Warner Bros. shorts very amusing but I reeeally loved Pixar's La Luna. It's one of their best shorts. To hear Enrico discuss it and the thought process behind making it was really something. Thanks to Enrico for making a really touching, poetic piece! Love the crescent shapes in the eyes!
We took one night and went up into the mountains to enjoy dinner at Chalet le Pricaz. Words cannot describe.
One of the best parts of Annecy was meeting the incredible people and discussing animation. Met some really great professionals and students whose work really impressed me like Oliver Kurth, Mark Sperber and Carla Veldman (who was wearing earrings made from her wisdom teeth!) and also chat with people whom I only know by e-mail or blogs! Thanks for coming by and introducing yourselves!
Disney hosted a fun barbecue. A lot of people showed up including the French Ambassador and U.S. Ambassor to France! I will admit though, France, you've gotta learn how to barbecue! - I don't know what that was. Although, I got quite the chuckle at one point when I was talking with a french woman and told her I was originally from Texas she fired finger guns into the air and said "yee-haw!, yipee ki yay!"
I attended the closing ceremonies where the director of the festival, Serge Bromberg rode up on stage on a horse! WHAAA!?! it was so weird and it's one of those moments where you sense things are about to go horribly wrong but,... it didn't. He managed to keep the beast calm amidst all of the camera flashes and cheering. Congrats to Joann Sfar for winning beast feature!
My last day was spent in Chamonix in the French Alps and it is quite the sight.
What an amazing experience. I was happy to come home to California but I would recommend anyone to go to Annecy - eat cheese, drink wine and enjoy animation!