(A seven-year odyssey comes to fruition as Disney’s first original Chinese TV co-production.)
This week, I’m taking a break from virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to talk about actual reality: Chinese stone lions are alive!
A “seven-year itch” was finally scratched as I watched the premiere of Ban Jin Ba Liang (半斤八兩 in Mandarin, which loosely translates to “tweedledum and tweedledee”) January 16th, 2016 on China’s Dragon TV channel. In 2009, Wen Feng, Yi Yan and I had the crazy idea to make a buddy comedy about Chinese stone lions. Initial development was bootstrapped by our Beijing-based content company Magic Dumpling Entertainment under the working title Stone Cold Lion, featuring our hearty heroes Chip and Nick.
As an antidote to the rash of news regarding the exploits of major Chinese entertainment companies and real estate barons, I thought I’d offer insight into China’s creative grassroots with an interview of entrepreneurial animation director Toony Wu, a graduate of the Beijing Film Academy who began working in animation in 1999, and is now immersed in augmented reality and virtual reality. In 2007, Toony co-founded what would become known as Dreamspace Media, specializing in 3D and 4D animated shorts and special-venue projects. Dreamspace won various awards for their work, and Toony went on to direct the Chinese animated series DRAGON SUPER CREW (小龙大功夫) for The Walt Disney Company in 2013. In 2016, Toony co-founded Jelly Monster, a Beijing-based animation studio specializing in AR publishing and VR content. I was fortunate to get enough time from this busy creator for ten questions related to his career in animation and his aspirations in immersive… (full post on AWN)
As Cinesite’s Head of Animation, Eamonn will oversee a 54,000-square foot facility that will ramp up to 500 staff, with plans to produce nine animated feature films over the next five years.
“Drawing on the sophisticated techniques developed over the last 20 years in the visual effects industry, we wanted to build a new creative home for the world’s best storytellers, writers, directors and animators. Whether you are an established filmmaker or an emerging writer, we want you to think of our studio as a new destination where your work can be nurtured and flourish.” – Eamonn Butler, Head of Animation, Cinesite
Ten years ago in Taipei (where I’m writing today), I had the pleasure of speaking on “The Making of Disney’s CHICKEN LITTLE” at the 2005 International Forum for Digital Media Art. Here’s a snippet of Q&A.
CHICKEN LITTLE was Walt Disney Feature Animation’s first full CGI stereoscopic animated feature. It set a bar for cartoony 3D animation that paved the way for what we take for granted today (and what many said was impossible at the time).
CHICKEN LITTLE was a groundbreaking collaboration between traditional & digital animation talent – a show and a team that I look back upon fondly.