Archive for the ‘Super U’ Tag

My Latest Obsessions

1. The crystal. As one visitor to Super U commented, it’s “superman-esque”. We are currently looking for someone to come into our office to cleanse the crystal. Seriously. But it’ll have to be after hours as I’m allergic to the smell of sage.

2. When Life Was Good. Yes, still. Here’s Terry Miles (director) and Casey Manderson (plays “Casey”) mugging for the camera and impressing our CEO. I think I made it into the next podcast while taking this photo. Yay!

3. Sinutab. It’s making my life better. I’m neither drowsy nor non-drowsy. It’s lovely.

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TAC.tv – Unnnbelievable!

 

The Drive Thru on TAC.tv

The Drive Thru on TAC.tv

New videos are posted on www.TAC.tv, the English-language site of the infamous Tetes a claques animated videos. The latest is The Drive Thru which, like most of the TAC.tv videos plays on our frustrations in the normal world and then skews it a bit to the side and amps it up. In this one, a hungry driver battles with the unintelligible disembodied voice of the fast food drive thru. Pop over to www.TAC.tv to watch. Sign up for their newsletter, you’ll be among the first to know when new animations are uploaded.

Thirsting for more animation? Check the TAC.tv & Super U Animation contest going on now. We have CGI, stop motion, hand drawn animations already uploaded and the deadline’s not until October 30. Watch and rate!

Announcing the launch of Super U’s Animation Contests

I’m writing from the Ottawa International Animation Festival. I’ve met lots of animators here from schools across Canada, like Emily Carr University, and through the United States. They’re here for inspiration that can only come from meeting people of like-mind and with the same interests.

It was a spark of inspiration that led Michel Beaudet to create Tetes a claques (now TAC.tv, too). He was playing around with different animation techniques in the basement of his house and came up with the unique style of the TAC.tv characters – the dim pilots, the Halloween kids, the farting frogs.

We at Super U are so excited to be partnering with Michel and TAC.tv to launch our first animation contests. I’ve been telling the animators here at the festival about the contests. Michel has said that the “Internet is sucha  great tool to give a voice to emergent artists.” This is exactly what Super U is dedicated to.

The animation contest opens for entry on Thursday, September 25 and we’ll be running 4 contests a year and a best of contest in August 2009 – the top prize is $7,500.

Today was the Billings’ Estate picnic sponsored by Cartoon Network with food by Lone Star (thanks!). They had a cool pumpkin carving competition. I hope the animators entering our film contest are as inventive as these artistic geniuses:

Ottawa International Animation Festival – Blog #2

Matt Senreich, unidentified blonde, Seth Green

Matt Senreich, unidentified blonde, Seth Green

I had the pleasure of seeing the Co-Creators of Robot Chicken (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim), who were the keynote speakers on Thursday at the OIAF. Seth Green (you know him as Scott Evil from Austin Powers) and Matt Senreich produce this stop-motion sketch comedy series and are real fans of animation, actors and pop culture. They came up with the idea in 2000 – before broadband – and told some entertaining storiesabout the early years of fedexing huge tapes coast to coast, working full-time at day jobs and getting by on 3 hours of sleep a night for 9 months. They had some great advice: Make a demo or a pilot (to compensate for the utter lack of imagination of the people you’re pitching to – Green’s words).

Green also said that the immediacy of the internet makes it a great place to use as a launching pad. I really agree with that – lots of animators at the conference are talking about the ability to make something and have it seen by people almost instantaneously. We really hope that they’ll take advantage of the new animation contests here at Super U. Watch this space tomorrow for special details about the contest announcement on www.superu.ca

Ottawa International Animation Festival – Blog #1

Parliament Buildings from the National Gallery

Parliament Buildings from the National Gallery

Welcome to a special series of posts from the Ottawa International Animation Festival. This morning, the Television Animation Conference started off with a bang – the Government of Brazil announced that they have co-production funding available for animation. (Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll track down the contact info.) The keynote speaker was Brown Johnson, President of Animation for Nickelodeon which sounds like a fun place to work: they have fun houses at Halloween, funny car competitions and tie day on Friday. I wonder if Super U will beat them to the first annual “underwear on the outside day”?

Animators - and future animators - in the Book Lounge

Animators - and future animators - in the Book Lounge

The Pitch This! session pitted enthusiastic animators against experienced commissioners from CBC Kids, Teletoon, PBS Kids and Jetix. At breakfast, I sat with the guys who were pitching The Mulligans – a series set around a kids’ golf school – and they were sweating bullets. I admire their chutzpah. Here’s some great feedback I gleaned: Complex character descriptions can be used to fuel the storyline. And: defining the age-range is crucial when pitching. If you’re an animation creator, here’s the scoop on what the Canadian ‘casters are looking for: Teletoon wants boy comedy and teen/tween dramedy, CBC is taking pitches for shows for 4-6 year olds, and a 7:30 am before school show with a broad appeal for young families and they’re looking for shorts.

Stay tuned for some exciting news about animation contests on Superu.ca.

Gotta run to Happy Hour! Here’s a shot of me by the National Gallery of Canada.

Clare at the National Gallery of Canada (Louise Boureois sculpture "Maman")

More Tommy Chong sightings

I just heard that Tommy Chong was on the CBC quiz show “Test the Nation”. He was answering questions for the Reach for the Toppers team. We used to watch Reach for the Top during Sunday night dinner, just after The Beachcombers. We had a family friend, Donald Wilmer, who was on the show, so he became kind of a celebrity for a while. Anyone know how Tommy did? I know he was a great juror for SuperU.ca’s It’s Hilarious contest.

TIFF Special Report

TIFF Special Report from Marguerite Pigott:

Hi all, and welcome to Super U’s first blog from TIFF.  The festival has been going for a few days now, and I honestly don’t know when other folks find the time to blog!  TIFF has been fast and furious, and Canadian films are front and centre. 

I particularly loved Atom Egoyan’s latest, Adoration, and Philippe Falardeau’s film, It’s Not Me, I Swear!  Adoration is, I think, the most emotional film Egoyan has made.  It is vintage Egoyan – cerebral, inquisitive, philosophical and highly original.  But where previous films had an emotional restraint that some find cold, Adoration does not.  The ending was genuinely moving.  Okay, I’ll admit it; Atom Egoyan made me cry.  Whodathunk? 

And Philippe Falardeau’s latest is a wonderful extension of his previous films.  I was a big fan to start with.  I loved Le Moitie Gauche du Frigo and Congorama, so my expectations were pretty high.  As always, he exceeded them.  The story is beautifully balanced between sorrow and comedy, and the performance of the boy at the centre of the film is absolutely remarkable.  When the young actor came on stage after the screening, he got a long, loud standing ovation from the 900 strong crowd. 

Bruce McDonald’s film Pontypool is also getting a lot of attention.  Last year he set the Festival on fire with The Tracey Fragments – an innovative and totally compelling film  – so I couldn’t wait to see Pontypool.  Clearly, a lot of other people felt the same way.  The industry screening was this afternoon, and for the first time, I was turned away from a TIFF screening because the theatre was filled to over capacity.  And there was already a long line of industry types outside the theatre, hoping that people inside might leave, so they could grab their seats.  Brian DePalma got turned away too, so I was in pretty good company.  I’m going to try again on Friday, but if you’re not at TIFF, or if you are at TIFF but you’re averse to line ups, you’ll be able to see it on Super Channel, so keep an eye out for it.

Of course a huge part of TIFF is the parties.  One of the parties I look forward to every year is the Canadian Film Centre barbecue.  In twenty years of CFC barbecues it has never rained, but the CFC’s luck ran out today.  It rained and rained, but the party was still great.  Everyone crowded into a few big, white marquees, and those used to ‘working the room’ learned to ‘work the tent’.  The grounds got very muddy very fast – women wearing high heels gave up and went barefoot. The ankle deep mud in the field-turned-parking lot was evocative of the fields of Passchendaele, so I suppose it was kind of appropriate.  In any case, the party was as great as it has ever been.  The food was good, the company was even better, and maybe the fact that we all defied the weather made the party even a bit more special than usual. 

One of the things I love about the festival, and about the parties in particular, is that they remind me why I work in Canadian film – not always an easy gig, as you know.  Everywhere I turn at the festival, I see people I genuinely care for; people I’ve worked with, people I know from ‘around’ or people whose work I’ve admired for years.  We’ve all made an investment in this industry and in each other, and even when it rains like hell, we all keep showing up. If I have to be soaked with rain and crowded into a tent, I can’t think of a bunch of people I’d rather be with.

I’m going to keep blogging from the festival, so please keep an eye out.  I’ll be posting a ‘market update’ with insight from international sales agent Mark Horowitz of H2O, and at the Strategic Partners conference at the Atlantic Film Festival, I’ll be interviewing Niv Fichman  and Don McKellar (Producer and Screenwriter of Blindness, respectively) at a luncheon sponsored by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.  If you have a question you’d like me to ask Niv or Don, please let me know.  I’ll be posting here after the interview, and I’ll let you know all about it.

Thanks for reading, Marguerite

Before the silly season starts

This week, the PM Stephen Harper pulled the Governor General Michaëlle Jean from attending the Paralympics in Beijing. Rumour has it that a federal election will be called early Tuesday. Then “Silly Season” starts: Canadian media outlets write about nothing except the election, politicians, promises, platforms and scandals (we hope, for variety’s sake) until the vote takes place, which could be as early as the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. So before the onslaught of electioneering starts… 

Here’s what’s making news: The Regina SixListeria Hysteria, Killer Sushi

At the movies: Babylon A.D., Traitor, Disaster Movie, Hamlet 2

On TV: Everest (CBC, 2-part miniseries Aug 31 and Sept 1, 8 to 10 pm). 

Oh, and David Duchovny’s a sex addict. Sigh. Maybe the election will be more interesting. 

You can always watch the latest films on Super U! Check for new films daily.

Have a great weekend.

Don’t you know who I am?

The dreaded six-word phrase uttered by would-be celebs from airports to restaurants worldwide. Now that we’re heading into festival and market season in Canada – Toronto, Atlantic, Ottawa Animation, Vancouver are all in September – it’s time to tell the world who you are by updating your bio for the delegate book.

Robert Wong, Director of the Provincial Tax Credit program for the film and television industry in BC, used to submit fake bios. He included record of his participation in the Extreme Shredding finals of the Tax Credit Games in which he lost both hands and had them replaced with flamethrowers. Bob was the hit of Strategic Partners!

In my fake life, when I am unable to find work in my chosen field as muse to Clive Owen, or find my career as pharmacist to Anna Nicole Smith abruptly ended, I decide to take a day job. So, here I am at Super U! In my spare time I enjoy green tea, macrame, visiting my friends in rehab and planning for my next police car chase to be broadcast live in prime time.