with a group of like-minded individuals, i went on a field trip yesterday to the warner bros. studio in burbank (lovely downtown burbank) for a private screening of the new short theatrical animated cartoons they have created for release in theaters this year. the first one, “coyote falls” has already come out with “cats & dogs II” to much acclaim (the cartoon, not the movie,) it stars the chuck jones-created cartoon characters, wile e. coyote & the road runner (as do the other two cartoons that have been completed.)
all three cartoons are 3-d cgi 3 minute short films and i’ll say right off the bat, they were absolutely wonderful. each of them has been directed by matthew o’callaghan & shepherded through production by sam register, who was our host.
joining us for the screening was critic and author leonard maltin as well as blogger (cartoon brew,) author & warner bros. animation history expert, jerry beck. peter roth, chief executive of warner bros. television stopped by & wished us welcome.
most important, though, was the presence of chuck jones’ daughter, linda jones clough (emmy award-winning producer) & keeper of the flame that shines forth from the chuck jones center for creativity.
although the look on my face indicates otherwise, the cartoons were hilarious & thrilling & visually adroit. as linda said to matthew after the screening, “like chuck, you paid attention to each frame (although there are no frames in cgi animation); so that each frame stood on its own as a potent image. ” (i paraphrase.)
my feeling was that they were modern & traditional at the same time, something that has not been readily apparent (or even sought after) with other recent animated film forays by the w.b. the 3-d was never used just because they could, but always in service to the story or the gag; it was a brilliant use of the technology & i hope they continue on this same path in the future.
matthew o’callaghan (l) flanks linda jones clough (daughter of animation legend chuck jones & an emmy award-winning animation film producer in her own right) with leonard maltin (r) renowned critic, author & essayist after the screening at the warner bros. studios.
later that afternoon, we drove over the hollywood hills to beverly hills for dinner at kate mantilini’s & a screening of all 9 of chuck jones’ academy award-nominated (& winning) cartoon shorts at the academy of motion picture arts & sciences on wilshire blvd. (that’s the moon rising above beverly hills!) the screening was followed by an awesome panel discussion led by bill kroyer, head of digital arts at chapman university & featuring “the dover boys”, four animators who were mentored by chuck jones in the early 1980s; kelly asbury, chris bailey, jeff degrandis & rob minkoff (all of whom have become extremely successful & well-respected directors/producers & artists.)
hooray for hollywood! although the day was long the rewards were great, exhilirating & heart-warming.