Live action/animation crossover features are not a new thing. Even a cursory look at the best known hybrids – like the 2D animation/live action crossovers Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the stop motion/live action crossovers like King Kong and Ray Harryhausen’s films – suggest that animation and live action have shared the screen successfully for a long time.
More recently, with the advent of CGI and the widespread use of digital special effects, live action/animation crossovers (LOTR, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Life of Pi) have become more prevalent and more profitable.
At the same time, the lines between live action and animation have become more blurred. Live action directors like Steven Spielberg, Gore Verbinski and Guillermo del Toro have moved successfully into animation and animators like Brad Bird, Tim Burton and Andrew Stanton have moved the other way.
And more and more, the craft and knowledge from live action is being fed into animation features. WALL·E and How to Train Your Dragon benefited enormously from the input of live action cinematographer Roger Deacons. And with Rango, Gore Verbinski aspired to make an animated feature using live action knowledge and ended up with a unique photorealistic look (as if shot on location), which helped win the film an Oscar for Best Animation Feature Film.
With this blurring of the lines between live action and animation, what does the future hold? In terms of awards – are these films animation, are they live action or do they fall between the cracks? What opportunities do future animation projects hold for traditional live action roles like cinematography and production design? And can animation skills and live action skills be translated, transferred and combined to make better movies?
Stuart Sumida, a Professor of Biology at California State University, is the world’s foremost consultant on animal movement for animated films. He has worked on over 50 animated and CG/effects films including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Tarzan, Reign of Fire, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ratatouille, Bolt, Kung Fu Panda, Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon and Life of Pi.
Fergal Reilly is a director for Sony Pictures Digital Productions and Sony Pictures Animation. He began his career as a story/concept artist for Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros, and Sony/Columbia Pictures. His credits include The Iron Giant, Spiderman 2, Stuart Little, Open Season, The Smurfs, Hotel Transylvania and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. As a Director at Sony, he is currently developing a number of projects including an adaptation of the comic book property Chickenhare. He is also consulting on a number of other hybrid shows in various stages of production such as Smurfs 2 and the upcoming Oz The Great and Powerful.
Simon Kay has worked in the animation/games/vfx industry for over 10 years. He’s currently a Motion Capture Supervisor with renowned vfx company Double Negative in the UK. His film credits include Superman: Man of Steel, Total Recall, John Carter of Mars, Paul, Iron Man 2 and Angels and Demons.
Ciaran Crowley has worked as a visual effects artist for almost 15 years. His film credits include some of the most visually impressive blockbusters of recent times including Stardust, The Bourne Ultimatum, Inception, Iron Man 2, 2012, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
This JDIFF event has been organised in conjunction with Gareth Lee, Irish School of Animation at Ballyfermot College of Further Education and with the support of the Irish Film Board.