December 13, 2008

"Brendan and the secret of Kells" on the Asifa Italia website

Alf and I have been asked to write a few words about the movie on the Asifa Italia website.
So we thought it would have been nice to share it here, especially for our families and friends who always complain that our blogs are in english only.. :)
Buona lettura!

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a cura di Alessandra Sorrentino e Alfredo Cassano

E' finalmente online il trailer del film d'animazione "Brendan and the secret of Kells", lungometraggio 2d coprodotto da Cartoon Saloon (Irlanda), Les Armateurs (Francia) e ViviFilm (Belgio), che vedra' la luce per la prima volta nelle sale cinematografiche a Parigi, l'11 febbraio 2009.
Per il momento il trailer e' disponibile in francese, distribuito da
Gebeka, mentre il trailer originale in inglese distribuito da Disney/Buena Vista sara' online nei prossimi giorni.

IX secolo. Brendan, un ragazzo di dodici anni, cresce circondato da monaci nell'abbazia fortificata di Kells, sotto la tutela di suo zio, Abbott Cellach, un uomo severo e autoritario che lo educa con grande rigore, confidando nel fatto che un giorno potra' seguire i suoi stessi passi.

Ma ben presto la monotona vita del giovane Brendan viene sconvolta dall'arrivo di Brother Aidan, un anziano maestro illuminato che gli mostra la bellezza dell'arte e stimola la sua creativita' attraverso le pagine dello straordinario, ma non ancora completo, Libro di Kells.


La minaccia di una terribile invasione vichinga e' imminente, tuttavia Brendan e' determinato a inseguire la strada dei suoi sogni: completare le ultime pagine del Libro prima che sia troppo tardi. Per farlo dovra' intraprendere un rischioso viaggio e, accompagnato dalla misteriosa fatina Aisling e dal gatto Pangur Ban, scoprira' per la prima volta il mondo al di fuori delle mura dell'abbazia, e le sue piu' profonde paure.

Kells e' un piccolo centro abitato che sorge nella contea di Kilkenny, in Irlanda. Ed e' proprio qui che tutto ha inizio, 10 anni fa, presso lo studio Cartoon Saloon, dall'entusiasmo del regista Tomm Moore e il suo team di giovani talenti, ai quali col tempo si sono affiancati artisti provenienti da tutto il mondo.
Il film e' forse uno degli ultimi lungometraggi realizzati in
animazione tradizionale con carta e matita. La ricerca stilistica, particolarmente influenzata dall'arte medievale, ha dato luogo ad uno scenario visivamente suggestivo e ricco di dettagli, a cui si integra un character design decisamente grafico e dal gusto fortemente illustrativo.
Anche il team di animazione, del quale abbiamo avuto l'onore di far parte, ha avuto lo stimolante compito di mantenere questa coerenza stilistica. E' stato adottato un approccio
"pose-to-pose", che favorisse l'appeal del singolo disegno, conservando pero' la forza emotiva dei personaggi.
Particolarmente interessante e' stato per noi curare anche le "sequenze speciali" del film (sogni, flashback, racconti), realizzate in Flash e graficamente differenti l'una dall'altra.

In un periodo in cui l'animazione sembrerebbe orientarsi definitivamente verso il 3d, "Brendan and the secret of Kells" rappresenta una preziosa eccezione che ci auguriamo possa raggiungere presto le sale cinematografiche italiane.



copyright Cartoon Saloon/Les Armatures/Vivifilm

December 04, 2008

Brendan and the Secret of Kells - french trailer

copyright Les Armateurs/Vivifilm/Cartoon Saloon

And finally, here it is!
This is the french theatrical trailer, distribuited by Gebeka. The original english version by Disney/Buena Vista Ireland will come in a few days.
Hope you'll enjoy it.

November 05, 2008

More pirates!

storyboard panel from "Monsters & Pirates" - Copyright Graphilm

Another character shot from the pirates show. It's been so much fun working on that!
At the moment I'm boarding on a real sweet pre-school show for BBC, and the great thing is to have the chance of working again with the amazing artist and friend Jez Hall.
We have a little news at home. Our friend Lia just came up with this lovely gift, and obviously we couldn't resist to those smart eyes.. His name's Julius. Welcome to the family :)


October 09, 2008

Children book illustration exhibition

one of the exhibition postcards

I've been asked to participate in a children book illustrations exhibition here in Turin. Had very short time to wrap it up, so I just decided to tell a little and very simple story, which took place a few months ago in our living room..
Starring: our beloved kitten Cirillo and the hamster Fantasmino :)
If you're curious to read the story, just click on the two pictures below. Enjoy.

page 1

page 2

August 21, 2008

Pirates


A couple of character shots from the pirates show I am working on at the moment. All drawn on Flash.

August 05, 2008

Sad news.

Our little tiger is very sick.
We just found out he has got a horrible viral disease called FIP, feline infectious peritonitis, and there is no known cure for that. It occurs when the cat reacts inappropriately to feline coronavirus infection, better known as the lousy flu virus. Most cats mount an immune response after getting infected, kick the virus out and live happily ever after. But for reasons that are still not fully understood an unfortunate few cats develop this disease, especially the young ones.
Sadly, kittens with FIP don't survive more than a few weeks.

Our heart is broken but we are trying to do our best and make him feel as loved as possible.. It's so sad, he's only 5 months old.

We made a blog called "Cirillo", a diary with which we hope to get close to the people who are experiencing the same nightmare and help all the cat lovers to understand and recognize its symptoms.

June 29, 2008

Studying a 70's japanese masterpiece

Haha wo tazunete sanzenri, also known as 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother or just Marco is an amazing anime tv series aired around 1976, directed by Isao Takahata.
It is based on the chapter "From the Apennines to the Andes" of the novel Cuore, by the italian writer Edmondo De Amicis, and it's part of the project World Masterpiece Theatre, a number of TV series based on classics of literature from around the world, produced by Nippon Animation over the course of 30 years. It includes "Heidi", "Anne of Green Gables", "The adventures of Tom Sawyer" and many other jewels of japanese animation.

With a bit of surprise I figured out that really few people out of Europe know about it. Fortunately this show was very popular in Italy when I was young and for what I can remember it kept me entertained for many hours of my childhood.
Recently I had the chance of watching it all again after many years, and I was completely stunned.
I don't think I've ever seen a tv show with such an intensity of storytelling, richness of atmosphere, backgrounds, emotional intimacy of the characters and music. The soundtrack is performed by a quite impressive orchestra and includes more than 120 beautiful and all different tracks. Hayao Miyazaki also worked on this series, he was responsible of layouts and continuity and to me he had done a great work on that, as you really feel like you "know" the town, with its narrow streets, the squares, the harbour, and you would be able to actually walk from a place to another if you happened to be there.

The story initially takes place in Genoa, Italy. Marco is a young boy who lives with his father Pietro and a cute little monkey called Amedio, while his mother left for Argentina to find work. Letters from her arrive regularly until one day they suddenly stop. So, worried for what might have happened to her, Marco decides to embark upon a long journey to Argentina in the hope of finding his mother.
The animation is surprisingly good too, great posing, right emotional timing.. and it's "just" a tv show! What would I give to see on tv something like that these days.

So during the weekend I decided to take some time and rewatch a few sequences, observing and sketching. I really enjoyed that.
Here are some drawings I made on Flash.





p.s. The dvds were pretty hard to find, but for those interested I got a good edition with english subtitles here

June 24, 2008

A bit of relax

Today I got to enjoy a whole day free from work! The 24th of June here is San Giovanni's day, the patron saint of Turin and as per every year all the town celebrated with shows in the main squares, historical re-enactments, small markets selling delicious typical products, athletic events and of course, fireworks on the Po river. So nice to take it easy on a weekday.

June 09, 2008

Brendan at the Annecy festival

copyright Les Armatures/Vivifilm/Cartoon Saloon

another still from "Brendan and the secret of Kells"

So, one of the most popular animation festivals in the world has just started! I can't be there this year cause I am very busy with work, but I am so excited as there will be the first public behind-the-scenes presentation of "Brendan and the Secret of Kells". The art director Ross Stewart and the director Tomm Moore will lead a conference and present early character design and visual development, showing how they evolved to the present version in the final film. Some sections of the movie will also be screened and Tomm just let me know that they will be showing a whole sequence Alf and I animated, so if you happen to be there, you can see it on Thursday at 14.00 - Petite Salle, Bonlieu.
Enjoy the festival :)

May 30, 2008

This app is fun!

I just found this thing called Flipbook. It's a little app on the Benetton (!?!) website that lets you make small straight-ahead animations with one brush tool and one onion skin view.
Of course, we got many other way more professional tools to animate, but these toys to me are just irresistable :D So here is the silly thing I did this morning in about 1 minute to try how it worked.
..And you can even export it to pdf, print and cut out your cute rectangular flipbook!!! I know, I am such a kid.

April 28, 2008

Totoro - 20 years anniversary

In April 1988 one of the loveliest animated film from Studio Ghibli saw the light of day. So, I couldn't help but celebrate and draw one of my favourite moments in the movie.. :)

March 13, 2008

More flash animaton


(HQ recommended)

So, as requested I am posting more animation from Wulfie. This is a scene I made with Alfredo, I animated the little girl Libby and the turtle and he animated the wolf and the hare.
As for the "skipping" one posted below, this scene is part of the ending sequence of the trailer and it was made entirely in Flash. With much fun!

February 11, 2008

Wulfie


(HQ recommended)

a little scene I animated for Wulfie - end credits

In the past weeks I've been animating on a tv series development called "Wulfie". It's a very cute show about a young girl who finds she shares her room with the 'big bad wolf' from the fairytales... The rough animation on the trailer has been done between myself, Alfredo and my friend Tom Caulfield on wacom tablets. We used Flash, but in a very traditional way - basically frame by frame with the brush tool. I have to say it's been fun! I was very interested in testing this technique more deeply, and it turned out to be very handy and quick. The rough animation we provided will then be cleaned up and painted with another software.

This will be more less the final look of the show.

concept design by Tom Caulfield

January 14, 2008

The Secret of Kells





copyright Les Armatures/Vivifilm/Cartoon Saloon

a couple of stills from the movie I poached from Tomm's blog

So that's the final title for the movie, "The Secret of Kells".
Buena Vista is apparently starting the official marketing, so things are finally moving, I can't wait to see it completed.
A big hug to the Kilkenny crew, wherever you guys are!

January 09, 2008

The tiny couple on Cold Hard Flash!


a scene concept I did for And I Love

Today "Alf and I" have been featured on Cold Hard Flash with our music video And I Love, a happy coincidence as it's Alfredo's birthday!
Thank you so much Aaron for your nice words and Buon Compleanno Alf!

Here's the link to the post: http://www.coldhardflash.com/2008/01/irish-couple-work-for-brennans-love.html