It’s a rarity among animated films, but Pixar’s next effort, UP, will be the opening film of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.UP is a comedy adventure in which 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) fulfils his dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. Initially unknown to him, he discovers he has brought with him his biggest nightmare, a 9-year-old Wilderness Explorer stowaway. The movie is directed by Pete Docter, one of the first animators hired by John Lasseter. Docter’s directorial resume includes of Monsters, Inc.. He also developed the story and characters for Pixar’s first animated feature film, Toy Story, for which he also served as supervising animator. He served as a storyboard artist on their second film, A Bug’s Life, and wrote the initial story treatment for Toy Story 2. UP is co-directed by Bob Peterson, who was also a screenwriter and author of Finding Nemo. This is the first time that an animation film, in 3-D, will be the Opening Ceremony film at the Festival de Cannes. “It’s a great honor for The Walt Disney Studios, and our incredibly talented cast members at Pixar Animation Studios, to have ‘UP’ selected as the first animated feature to ever open the Cannes Film Festival,” Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said. “Adding to this historic milestone, UP is also the first digital 3D film, and the first Disney film selected for the coveted opening night slot at Cannes. We are so proud of this terrific movie, and can’t wait to share it with the filmmaking community and festival-goers on Wednesday, May 13th, and the rest of the world starting on May 29th." Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, added, “We are absolutely thrilled that the Cannes Film Festival has chosen UP to be its prestigious opening night offering. This is a huge step for animation, and further supports our belief that a great animated film is simply a great film. Pete Docter, the director of UP, and the amazing team of artists, animators, technicians, and storytellers at Pixar have worked so hard to create a great motion picture that is impressively fresh, funny, and powerfully emotional.” Animation films distinguished by their participation in the Cannes Official Selection include, Dumbo (1947), The Fantastic Planet (1973), Fritz The Cat (1974), Shrek (2001), The Triplets of Belleville (2003), Shrek 2 (2004), Over the Hedge (2006), Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Waltz with Bashir (2008). The Festival de Cannes runs from Wednesday May 13th to Sunday 24th of May, 2009. The President of the Jury is the internationally recognized French actress Isabelle Huppert. UP will be released in the United States on Friday, May 29th and in France on July 29th.
NEXT WEEK IS BEN 10 WEEK AT CNCartoon Network will present an entire week of Ben 10, March 23-27. It will be made of Alien Force episodes every day after school with a two-hour "Best of Ben 10" block from 3-5 p.m. (eastern). We shouldn’t be surprised if some original Ben 10 episodes air during the week as well. A breakdown of highlights include: • Monday, March 23 at 8 p.m. (ET, PT), a special enhanced presentation of the live-action movie, Ben 10: Race Against Time. It will reveal fun trivia and interesting facts about Ben 10. • Tuesday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 24, Cartoon Network premieres brand new episodes of Ben 10 Alien Force. Tuesday's episode, "Birds of a Feather," Ben and company help Simian, the prince of the arachna-chimps, return to power. On Wednesday, Ben must return a baby monster to its parents before the DNAliens find it in "Unearthed." Ben 10 Week culminates in a special one-hour season finale, "War of the Worlds," on Friday March 27 at 8 p.m. (ET, PT) when Ben and his team travel to the HighBreed home world.
WALLACE & GROMMIT WIN NYICFF AWARDThe fans and critics who attended the NY International Children’s Film Festival this year both declared Aardman’s latest Wallace & Grommit film, A Matter of Loaf & Death their 2009 Award winner. For the record, the NYICFF separates their Awards amongst what adults think was the best film presented, and have another for various age brackets of kids. A Matter of Loaf & Death, directed by W&G creator Nic Park, won both the Grand Jury Prize as well as Best Feature among kids aged 5-10. A Special Jury Award went to the French live action film It’s Sunday. Kids aged 8-14 gave it to the British animated film Fuggy Fuggy. Parents had their own category to vote from, and gave it to the Irish live action film New Boy. For a complete list of winners, check out the site www.gkids.com.
NARUTO TO SIMULTANEOUS AIR IN US & JAPAN (SORTA)VIZ Media, announced the latest chapter in the Naruto series, Naruto Shippuden, Episode 101 (English subtitled), will stream for free in the U.S. on March 26th on the company’s official website, www.naruto.com. That’s the same day the episode is scheduled to air in Japan. This episode of NARUTO Shippuden can be viewed in Canada on March 26th on www.Joost.com. This is the first time that the official web site will simulcast an episode with the broadcast in Japan. “We invite fans across the U.S. to visit NARUTO.com on March 26th for this very special presentation,” says Ken Sasaki, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, VIZ Media. “The web site is the ultimate destination for anything NARUTO and currently contains nearly 100 full-length episodes, all offered in high quality streaming video, and is completely free for viewers. For those who have yet to check out the newest NARUTO Shippuden story arc, there’s still plenty of time to get up to speed before the latest episode debuts later this month!" Related: Video: Pixar's UP Trailer
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