Sergio Pablos’ “Klaus” Sweeps This Year’s Annie Awards

It’s a clean sweep for Sergio Pablos’ acclaimed animated film… 

The Spanish animator and screenwriter’s Netflix holiday tale Klaus picked up seven trophies at the 47th annual Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.

Klaus

Pablos, who’d previously earned nods for his work on Treasure Planetand Rio, earned three awards. In addition to Best Animated Feature, he won the awards for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production andDirecting in an Animated Feature Production.

Starring Jason SchwartzmanJ.K. Simmonsand Rashida JonesKlaus is the story of a selfish postman and a reclusive toymaker who form an unlikely friendship, delivering joy to a cold, dark town that desperately needs it. 

The Klaus wipeout throws the Academy Awards racefor a loop, as Netflix’s first original animated feature won all seven categories for which it was nominated. 

Pablos’ film dominated over the Big 3 studio mega-grossing sequels — Disney’s Frozen 2DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4.

Here’s a look at this year’s Annie Awards winners: 

Best Animated Feature: Klaus
Best Animated Feature-Independent: I Lost My Body
Best Animated Special Production: How to Train Your Dragon Homecoming
Best Animated Short Subject: Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days
Best Virtual Reality Production: Bonfire
Best Animated Television/Media Commercial: The Mystical Journey of Jimmy Page’s ‘59 Telecaster
Best Animated Television/Media Production For Preschool Children: Ask The Storybots
Episode: Why Do We Have To Recycle?
Best Animated Television/Media Production For Children: Disney Mickey Mouse
Episode: Carried Away
Best General Audience Animated Television/Media Production: BoJack Horseman
Episode: The New Client
Best Student Film: The Fox & The Pigeon
Michelle Chua, Sheridan College
Animated Effects in an Animated Television/Media Production: Love, Death & Robots
Episode: The Secret War
Animated Effects in an Animated Feature Production: Frozen 2
Character Animation in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production: His Dark Materials
Aulo Licinio (Character: lorek)
Character Animation In An Animated Feature Production: Klaus
Sergio Martins (Character: Alva)
Character Animation in a Live Action Production: Avengers: Endgame
Character Animation in a Video Game: Unruly Heroes
Character Design in an Animated Television/Media Production: Carmen Sandiego
Keiko Murayama
Episode: The Chasing Paper Caper
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production: Klaus
Torsten Schrank
Directing in an Animated Television/Media Production: Disney Mickey Mouse
Alonso Ramirez Ramos
Episode: For Whom the Booth Tolls
Directing in an Animated Feature Production: Klaus
Sergio Pablos
Music in an Animated Television/Media Production: Love, Death & Robots
Rob Cairns
Episode: Sonnie’s Edge
Music in an Animated Feature Production:I Lost My Body
Dan Levy
Production Design in an Animated Television/Media Production:Love, Death & Robots
Alberto Mielgo
Episode: The Witness
Production Design In An Animated Feature Production: Klaus
Szymon Biernacki, Marcin Jakubowski
Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Media Production:Carmen Sandiego
Kenny Park
Episode: Becoming Carmen Sandiego, Part 1
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production:Klaus
Sergio Pablos
Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Media Production: Bob’s Burgers
H. Jon Benjamin (Character: Bob)
Episode: Roamin’ Bob-iday
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production: Frozen 2
Josh Gad (Character: Olaf)
Writing in an Animated Television/Media Production:Tuca & Bertie
Shauna McGarry
Episode: The Jelly Lakes
Writing in an Animated Feature Production: I Lost My Body
Jérémy Clapin, Guillaume Laurant
Editorial in an Animated Television/Media Production: Love, Death & Robots
Bo Juhl, Stacy Auckland, Valerian Zamel
Episode: Alternate Histories
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production: Klaus
Pablo García Revert

Carlos Saldanha Receives Variety’s Creative Impact in Animation Award

Carlos Saldanha is being heralded for his creative impact

The 52-year-old Brazilian director, producer and animator has been recognized with Variety’s Creative Impact in Animation award.

Carlos Saldanha

Saldanha has become one of the most successful tellers of animated stories of all time. His credits include Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio and Rio 2, while he co-directed Ice Age and Robots. He’s Blue Sky Animation Studio’s secret weapon, having unleashed a string of worldwide blockbusters that have grossed more than $3 billion.

Saldanha even has Oscar cred with a nomimation for 2003’s animated short Gone Nutty, and an exclusive deal at Fox, where his BottleCap Productions calls home.

Growing up in Rio de Janeiro afforded Saldanha with a unique perspective of the world, and in particular, how it would come to shape his animation and filmmaking instincts and aesthetic.

“I was always a film buff,” Saldanha recalls. “Movies were always very special to me, but I never knew how to accomplish my goals. Blade Runner is my favorite film and I’ve seen it 20 times at least. I find it inspiring. So I went to college for computer science, but I was always very artistic. A friend showed me one of John Lasseter’s early CGI-animated shorts, and I was hooked, because this was how to bridge the elements together.”

The Ice Age franchise has cemented itself as one of the most popular in the medium, and Saldanha knows that he’s crossed over into something larger, capturing the imaginations of children (and adults) around the world, especially with the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat, which has become the official mascot of Blue Sky Studios.

“When you’re a part of something that becomes that big for so many people, especially children, you can’t help but feel proud. Scrat was something unique to the creative process, in that he wasn’t originally defined in the script. He was an organic character who took shape as a result of creative group think. So it’s very special that he’s become so embraced, and it felt very natural for Scrat to become an integral part of Blue Sky,” Saldanha says. “We all loved those little noises he makes!”

Saldanha’s relationship with fellow filmmaker and Blue Sky head Chris Wedge has been instrumental to his career. “Chris is a visionary and working with him has been a tremendous experience,” Saldanha says. “We’re interested in telling relatable stories in an exciting and fresh way, and Chris brings a great attitude to the creative process.”

Following up the huge success of 2002’s Ice Age would prove to be interesting for Saldanha, who helped to craft 2005’s Robots, calling it a “transitional film for me, moving out of the Ice Age’world, and getting involved in something new. And that’s what we love to do, we love building worlds within our films. And with Robots, we got to do something a bit unique with the characters and setting.”

The two Rio films clearly mean a lot to Saldanha, who says he was “thrilled to infuse my Brazilian heritage into the film, and it was a big goal for me to show the city of Rio de Janeiro in a very colorful and bright fashion. These were projects that were very close to me on a personal level, so to be able to craft them in the way that we did, it was a joyous experience. It was very important for worldwide audiences to embrace these films. I wanted to create a mood and tone with no boundaries and a free spirit approach to the storytelling. This was a true passion project.”

Saldanha’s newest project, the animated adventure Ferdinand, hits screens December 15. It’s based on the classic children’s book The Story of Ferdinand, about a Spanish bull that would rather stop and smell the roses than participate in bullish activities. John Cena voices the title character, with Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez and Daveed Diggs among the other voice-over artists.

“We’re currently halfway through animation and it’s coming along fantastic. We’re so thrilled for people to see it as we’re having so much fun working on this particular story,” Saldanha says. He adds there will be a “wonderful musical component to the film,” as he’s again collaborating with favored film composer John Powell. “We really wanted to capture the richness of Spain, with vibrant and bold colors, so that the audience can really feel the atmosphere. And with John doing the score again for us, we’ll have something really special for the audience. We extended the original book but we retained what’s essential to the core story of a big bull with a really big heart.”

Saldanha was also asked to participate in the 2014 anthology film Rio, I Love You, with other celebrated filmmakers including Jose Padilha, Fernando Meirelles, Paolo Sorrentino and Guillermo Arriaga. “I had such a great time doing my short for Rio, I Love You,” Saldanha says. “I did it to test the waters, and I’m excited about tackling a live-action project in the future. I’m not sure what it’ll be exactly, but I love to challenge myself and keep things fresh. But I’ll never leave animation behind. That’s where my heart is.”

Aterciopelados Working on First Studio Album in Seven Years

Aterciopelados is readying for a comeback…

The Latin alternative rock band, led by Andrea Echeverri and Héctor Buitrago, is hard at work on their first studio album since 2008’s Rio, Buitrago tells Billboard.

Aterciopelados

“We have been playing some new songs on tour and are at work on more,” says Buitrago.

Aterciopelados plans to release the album at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.

Meanwhile, a DVD by Buitrago and Echeverri will be out in February on Sony Music. It will feature versions of well known Aterciopelados songs recorded live in Bogota with guest artists including Zoé singer León Larregui and Spanish fusionist Macaco.

Echeverri and Buitrago reunited in 2014 to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Aterciopelados after working respective solo projects; the band toured the U.S. in October.

Buitrago has also written the music for Another Word For Beauty, a play by Motorcycle Dairies screenwriter José Rivera.

The play, which will feature a live band, centers on the real-life story of contestants in an inmates’ beauty contest held at Bogota’s Buen Pastor women’s prison in Colombia.

Another Word for Beauty opens at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre on January 16.

Mendes Invited to Join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Sergio Mendes will soon be an Oscar voter…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended invitations to join the organization to 322 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures, including the 74-year-old Brazilian musician.

Sergio Mendes

Mendes was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2012 as co-writer of the song “Real In Rio” from the animated film Rio.

Mendes, who has over 55 releases and plays bossa nova heavily crossed with jazz and funk, also lent his talents to the Rio 2 soundtrack.

In addition to Mendes, this year’s class includes Fernando Trueba.

The 60-year-old Spanish filmmaker won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with Belle Époque in 1994.

He was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 84th Academy Awards. It’s the first nomination for a Spanish full-length animated film.

Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2015.

New members will be welcomed into the Academy at an invitation-only reception in September.

Here’s a look at the Latino invitees in 2015:

Casting Directors
Luis San Narciso – “The Skin I Live In,” “The Sea Inside”

Directors
Fernando Trueba – “Chico & Rita,” “Belle Epoque”

Documentary
João Moreira Salles – “Santiago,” “Entreatos (Intermissions)”

Makeup Artists and Hairstylists
Johnny Villanueva – “The Gambler,” “The Fighter”

Music
Sergio Mendes – “Rio 2,” “Rio”

Sound
Odin Benitez – “Frozen,” “Silver Linings Playbook”
Martín Hernández – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Biutiful”
Thomas Varga – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “The Immigrant”

Visual Effects
Edwin Rivera – “22 Jump Street,” “Moneyball”

Writers
Armando Bo – “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Biutiful”
Álex de la Iglesia – “El Crimen Perfecto,” “The Day of the Beast”
Jorge Guerricaechevarría – “Cell 211,” “The Day of the Beast”

Falcão Among the Industry Professionals Speaking at This Year’s RioMarket

Renato Falcão is ready to talk shop…

The Brazilian filmmaker, a noted cinematographer, producer and director, is among the industry professionals set to speak at RioMarket, the biggest event of the Latin American audiovisual industry hosted by the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Renato Falcão

Falcão, best known as the cinematographer on the blockbuster hit animated films Rio, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Epic and Rio 2, has been invited to discuss the current state of the business at the event, which kicked off on Wednesday.

With a renewed format — dividing its TV and film focuses in separate stints — the RioMarket program includes over 40 discussion panels and seven workshops, gathering more than 200 experts in production, costume design, sound, animation, marketing and other areas.

Other international guests and lecturers this year will be costume designer Janie Bryant (Mad Men), screenwriter Marc Halsey (The Carrie Diaries) and producer Andrew Meyer, among many others in a heavy contingent of Hollywood producers and sales agents looking for the latest Latin American productions.

Brazil’s growing television industry is demanding more local content, as networks need to meet the percentages of locally produced shows that became mandatory by law two years ago. Also, President Dilma Rousseff announced earlier this year a funding package of $540 million to be poured into production, distribution and exhibition. Most of these film projects and formats will be offered to co-producers, sales agents and distributors through RioMarket sections Rio Screenings, One-to-One meetings and FilmShow.

Saldanha to Receive CinemaCon’s International Filmmaker of the Year Award

Carlos Saldanha will be getting plenty of love at this year’s CinemaCon

The 49-year-old Brazilian director of animated films will receive the international filmmaker of the year award at this year’s edition of CinemaCon, the annual gathering of theater owners in Las Vegas.

Carlos Saldanha

This year’s convention will take place March 24-27 at Caesars Palace.

Saldanha, an Academy Award nominated filmmaker who works with Blue Sky Studios, is currently wrapping production on Rio 2, his follow up to 20th Century Fox‘s animated hit Rio.

The sequel opens in theaters April 11 and features the return of voice leads Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jermaine Clement, Leslie Mann, George Lopez, will.i.am and Jamie Foxx.

New voice additions include Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth and Rita Moreno.

The Rio franchise is from Fox Animation Studios and Blue Sky Studios.

Saldanha’s other credits include Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Robots.

New Teaser Trailer Released for Bruno Mars’ “Rio 2”

He may hail from Hawaii, but Bruno Mars will be heading to a different paradise locale in the near future…

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican singer will be making his big screen debut, voicing a character in the highly anticipated sequel to the hit animated film Rio.

Rio 2

Rio 2, which saw its new teaser trailer released on the Yahoo! Movies site recently, centers on Blu, Jewel and their three kids living the perfect domesticated life in the magical city of Rio de Janeiro. When Jewel decides the kids need to learn to live like real birds, she insists the family venture into the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in with his new neighbors, he worries he may lose Jewel and the kids to the call of the wild.

The new teaser clip isn’t so plot-revealing as it is entertaining, featuring a performance by a cute capybara named Clara. The little creature is featured delivering a rendition of “Memory” from the 1981 musical Cats in front of other characters until a surprise predator shows up.

The sequel is still supported by Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann and Jamie Foxx among others.

Along with Mars, newcomers in the cast ensemble include The X Factor season one finalist Rachel Crow, Andy Garcia and Kristin Chenoweth.

Original music by Janelle Monae, one of the voice cast members, will be featured in the film from director Carlos Saldanha.

Rio 2 is set for release on April 14, 2014 in the United States.

Saldanha Forms BottleCap Productions

There’s a new feather in Carlos Saldanha’s (bottle) cap…

The 44-year-old Brazilian animated film director, who co-helmed Ice Age and then directed two Ice Age sequels, as well as Robots and Rio, has formed BottleCap Productions.

Carlos Saldanha

The label is Fox-based, where Saldanha made an exclusive five-year deal with 20th Century Fox and Fox International to develop live-action and animated projects.

BottleCap Productions will percolate new projects while Saldanha wraps up his directing work on Rio 2,  which is slated for release next spring for Blue Sky Studios and Fox.

After serving as catalyst for the massively successful Ice Age and Rio franchises, Saldanha is one of the most important director relationships for Fox.

His most recent, Rio, grossed more than $500 million worldwide.

Pitbull to Lend His Voice to the Animated Film “Epic”

He’s already conquered the music world… And, now Pitbull is preparing to take on Hollywood.

The 31-year-old Cuban American singer—who sings the theme song to Men In Black III, entitled “Back in Time—has been cast in Epic, a new 3D CG-animated film by the makers of Ice Age and Rio.

Pitbull

Pitbull is set to lend his voice to one of the animated film’s characters, Bufo.

The film, which had been developed under the title Leafmen, will star Beyonce Knowles as Queen Tara, Colin Farrell as Ronin, The Hunger GamesJosh Hutcherson as Nod, Amanda Seyfried as Mary Katherine, Johnny Knoxville as Mandrake and Aziz Ansari as Mub.

Epic is described as a battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and evil. When a teenaged girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters to save that world, which in turn saves the real world.

Epic is slated for release on May 24, 2013.

Austin’s Post-Wizards of Waverly Place Plans

Don’t expect to see the last of Jake T. Austin when filming wraps on the fourth and final season of Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place.

Jake T Austin Paper Magazine

Along with putting his best face forward and looking all grown up in this month’s issue of Paper magazine ,  the 16-year-old half-Latino actor is also preparing to hit the big screen in a highly-anticipated holiday film.

Next month, he’ll appear in Garry Marshall‘s latest film, New Year’s Eve, where he’ll share scenes with Sarah Jessica Parker. He’ll even share his first-ever on-screen kisses with Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin.

Jake T Austin Paper Magazine Shoot

The soon-to-be-17-year-old Austin, who has also starred in The Perfect Game and RIO, will appear as Huckleberry Finn in 2013’s Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry FinnHe’ll also serve as KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball pre-show host this year.

 

Click here to read his interview with Paper magazine and see more images from his cover shoot.