Access Top-notch Animation Works Featured at SIGGRAPH Asia 2020

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Still from animated feature film “Wolfwalkers”

SIGGRAPH Asia 2020’s Computer Animation Festival showcases animation, visual effects, and scientific visualization projects, along with must-see works in computer animation assembled by a top international jury. Animators and computer graphics artists from DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Cartoon Saloon, Netflix, Glen Keane Productions, Titmouse (and more!) will discuss their creations and lifelong journeys in the animation and computer graphics industries.

Comprised of a brand-new winners screening alongside the venerable Electronic Theater and Animation Theater programs, the festival will take you on a tour of the full breadth of this year’s most innovative and inspirational work in computer animation. From 577 submitted works, 22 films have been selected for the Animation Theater program, which will be accessible for viewing via the virtual event platform. And, the top 25 “must-see” projects selected by festival’s 11-member jury will be screened in Electronic Theater program on a separate platform, Eventive. The Electronic Theater will once again be a visual treat you don’t want to miss. In addition, the festival is highlighting the three award-winning films as part of a special screening you can enjoy right alongside the Electronic Theater; at SIGGRAPH Asia 2020, the jury’s Best in Show, Best Student Film, and Jury’s Special will take center stage for the very first time.

Computer Animation Festival Panel and Production Talks include presentations by experts in the creation of computer animation and visual effects, as well as behind-the-scenes disclosures from studios and schools whose works will be screened during the festival. Talks will premiere on the platform between 10–13 December.

Highlights of the Computer Animation Festival Panel and Production Talks include:

1. The Making of Pixar’s ‘Wind’

From Pixar Animation Studios, Writer and Director Edwin Chang, Producer Jesús Martínez, and Supervising Technical Director Beth Albright will discuss the making of their heartfelt, computer-animated short film, “Wind”. Made as part of Pixar’s SparkShorts program, “Wind” is set in a world of magical realism where a grandmother and her grandson are trapped deep down an endless chasm, scavenging debris that surrounds them to realize their dream of escaping to a better life. A screening of the film will be followed by a “Making Of” presentation and Q&A.

2. Producing ‘Over the Moon’

Still from animated feature film “Over the Moon”

Producers Peilin Chou (Netflix) and Gennie Rim (Glen Keane Productions) will discuss the development and production of the recently premiered Netflix and Pearl Studios animated musical adventure, “Over the Moon”, directed by SIGGRAPH Asia 2020 keynote speaker and legendary Oscar winner Glen Keane and co-directed by Oscar winner John Kahrs. In the film, a bright young girl fueled with determination and a passion for science, Fei Fei, builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of the legendary Chinese Moon Goddess, Chang’e. After an impossible journey, she ends up in a whimsical land of fantastical creatures. Directed by Keane, animated at Sony Pictures Imageworks, and produced by Rim and Chou for Shanghai-based Pearl Studios, “Over the Moon” is a musical adventure about moving forward, embracing the unexpected, and believing the impossible is possible.

3. The Making of ‘Wolfwalkers’

Co-directors Tomm Moore (“Song of the Sea”, “The Secret of Kells”) and Ross Stewart (“The Secret of Kells”), of Cartoon Saloon, will share creative insights into the making of their latest animated feature film, “Wolfwalkers”, which premieres worldwide 11 December on Apple TV+. Set in the middle of the 17th century, “Wolfwalkers” follows the fortunes of young hunter Robyn Goodfellow (Honor Kneafsey) as she joins her father on a mission to destroy Ireland’s last wolf pack. Joining forces with feisty Mebh MacTire (Eva Whittaker), Robyn soon learns her new friend is a member of a pack of shapeshifting werewolves. As she delves deeper into their world of superstition and magic, Robyn risks becoming the prey in her father’s lethal quest. The film is co-produced by the award-winning animation studios Cartoon Saloon and Melusine Productions.

4. Titmouse – Trailblazers in Innovative 2D/CG Animation

Chris Prynoski, founder and president of Titmouse — known in the animation community as Chris P. — launched one of the most prolific, independent, Emmy Award-winning animation studios in business today. Titmouse leads and supports the unprecedented and explosive growth in episodic 2D/CG animation. Just a few of the hugely popular shows they produce include “Big Mouth”, “Star Trek: Lower Decks”, “Bless the Harts”, “The Midnight Gospel”, and “Tigtone”. The animation industry’s tremendous production expansion has been fueled by leading streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and HBO Max, as well as more niche streamers like Crunchyroll and Syfy’s adult animation block, TZGZ. The medium of 2D/CG provides an almost unlimited design palette from which creators can run wild. In this one-on-one discussion, Chris will share his studio’s rich history of embracing practically every 2D/3D/CG/VR technology they’ve gotten their hands on, and how they embrace and leverage animation production technology to tell great stories for kids aged 3 to 83.

5. Harnessing Technology to Tell Your Story: A Talk With Jorge Gutierrez

Jorge Gutierrez (Reel FX) is an Emmy Award-winning director, animator, writer, and artist. He has embraced and taken advantage of 2D, 3D, and VR technology at every stage of his career, from his early work with Flash cartoons, to his latest 3D/CG animated limited series “Maya and the Three”, a Mesoamerican fantasy epic that will premiere globally on Netflix in 2021. In this candid talk, the director discusses his strategies for harnessing technology to serve his creative vision, sharing colorful behind-the-scenes stories and personal details of how different production technologies mostly helped, and sometimes hindered, his career in animation.

6. Titmouse’s ‘5 Second Day’ Snack Chats, 2020 Edition

Feast on a selection of 10 byte-sized cartoons from the Emmy Award-winning animation studio Titmouse during its infamous “5 Second Day” 2020 Edition screening. A longstanding tradition, this is a day when the studio closes so that staff can make whatever project is swimming around in their heads. “5 Second Day” came about as a way to make cartoons we can all enjoy; however, the tradition has evolved since its initiation in 2008. The complexity, length, and creative collaboration across departments has skyrocketed. Some artists will work on ambitious ideas for months. In the end, the artists retain control of the short. To date, more than 1,000 “5 Second Day” cartoons have been created.

7. Reinventing My Filmmaking Career by Pivoting from Live-action to Animation With Unreal Engine

Director Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull (HaZ Film Ltd) will talk about a shift from live-action filmmaking to animated feature films and TV production to stay relevant and proactive in Hollywood. Dulull will showcase how Unreal Engine enables indie filmmakers to tell high-concept stories that were previously not possible to achieve … except with huge budgets and resources. The director will begin by sharing a pilot proof of concept project, followed by discussion of how he fell in love with real-time graphics, and how that project led to him being tapped to direct the animated feature film “Mutant Year Zero”, a movie based on the acclaimed video game. Dulull will share how his pilot was created entirely inside Unreal Engine as final pixel renders. A candid deep dive into the process, the project is visually driven, presented with tons of behind-the-scenes footage to break down the scenes in Unreal Engine. The talk will be followed by Q&A.

To attend or learn more about the SIGGRAPH Asia 2020 Computer Animation Festival, visit https://sa2020.siggraph.org/en/attend/computer-animation-festival

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