The following are highlights from this week’s World Animation Celebration. All events are at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium unless otherwise noted.
The Gala Opening Night Salute to the Academy Awards
5:30 p.m.-2 a.m., World Animation Nightclub
The World Animation Celebration (WAC) kicks off with a salute to the Academy Awards, paying tribute to this year’s Oscar nominees as well as cartoon legend Chuck Jones, recipient of a Special Oscar last year, and other previous winners. Covering three-floors of two venues in the heart of Pasadena, this all-night party will attract the A-list of the animation industry as well those fascinated by this exciting entertainment medium.
Best of Europe and This Year’s Four Oscar Nominees, 5 p.m.
Official program of films in competition: More than 1,100 entries from animators around the world were submitted in the competition, the best of which will be screened over the following days. This includes films from all of this year’s animation Oscar nominees: Peter Lord (“Wat’s Pig”), Richard Condie (“La Sala”), Timothy Hittle and Chris Peterson (“Canhead”), and Tyron Montgomery and Thomas Stellmach (“Quest”).
The Creators of Wallace and Gromit in Person!
20th-anniversary celebration of Aardman Animations, 7:30 p.m.
Three-time Oscar winners Aardman Animations will be back in Hollywood again, hoping to pick up a fourth Academy Award for Peter Lord’s “Wat’s Pig” and headlining the opening night of screenings. From the dancing oven-ready chickens of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledge Hammer” video to the hilarious antics of Wallace and Gromit, this show promises to be a feast of wicked humor and top-class animation.
Disney’s Unseen Treasures
West Coast premiere of footage not seen for more than 50 years, hosted by Walt Disney’s Scott MacQueen; 9:45 p.m.
Can there be such a thing as unseen Disney? If you think you’ve seen it all, this program will surprise you. Included in this presentation are the scene from “Snow White” that was considered too scary for youngsters to see; the original trailer for “Bambi,” which pitched the film as a love story for adults; and “Clair de Lune,” “Fantasia’s” legendary lost child, rescued and brought home 56 years after it was created.
“Ghost in the Shell,” with director Mamoru Oshii in person, 2:30 p.m.
A futuristic cyber-tech thriller, touted as the most expensive and technically advanced Japanese animated feature ever made.
Official Program of Films in Competition, 5 p.m.
More of the world’s best animation, from blockbusting special effects to showreels from the next generation of Walt Disney wannabes.
A Salute to the Fox Animation Studios, 7:30 p.m.
Twentieth Century Fox presents a behind-the-scenes look at the launch of its state-of-the-art animation facility, as well as the creation of its first two feature films, “Anastasia” and “Planet Ice,” and the process of delivering primetime series “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill.”
The Outlaws of Animation, 9:45 p.m.
They are to animation what Quentin Tarantino is to the mainstream film industry. Outlaws, mavericks, call them what you will, the world of animation would certainly be less exciting if it weren’t for the likes of Bill Plympton, Ralph Bakshi, Corky Quakenbush and John Dilworth, just a few of the names associated with a style of animation that thrives both inside and outside the mainstream of what is socially acceptable animated entertainment.. Terrifying space chickens, ultra-sexy seductresses and gun-toting reindeer are the stars of their work.
I’m So Bulgy: Pacific Data Images Presents Homer Simpson in the Third Dimension, 1:30 p.m. Gold Theater
When Homer attempts to hide from his sisters-in-law, Patty and Selma, he winds up transported into the third dimension with no way of getting back. Leading CGI company Pacific Data Images and Richard Raynis and Josh Oakley, executive producers of “The Simpsons,” present a step-by-step dissection of the creative collaboration and techniques used in this computer generated sequence, from the 1995 “Simpsons Halloween Special: Treehouse of Horror IV.”
Freleng Frame by Frame, 3 p.m. Gold Theater
Celebrating the work of Friz Freleng (1906-1995), one of the undisputed masters of the Hollywood cartoon, WAC presents the West Coast premiere of the feature-length documentary “Freleng Frame by Frame.” Combining rare archival photographs, original artwork, never-before-seen pencil tests and an in-depth interview, the film provides an overview of Freleng’s incredible career, from his early years at Disney to his long reign at Warner Bros., where he directed and developed such stars as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tweety & Sylvester.
Official Program of Films in Competition, 5 p.m.
67 Years of Laughs, Innovation and Entertainment: A Salute to Warner Bros. Animation, 7:30 p.m.
From its first cartoon, “Sinking in the Bathtub” in 1930, to its first full-length animated feature, “Quest for Camelot,” due out next year, Warner Bros. has created more cartoon stars than anyone else. The fest salutes this wealth of characters, from Bugs Bunny to Pinky & the Brain, and offers a sneak peek at upcoming WB projects.
Spawn and Beyond, 9:45 p.m.,. Pasadena Conference Center Theater
HBO offers a sneak preview of its new animated series “Spawn,” based on Todd McFarlane’s bestselling comic book of the same name. The series, due to debut on HBO in May, follows the adventures of Spawn, a former CIA operative, who after a mysterious and violent death makes a deal to return to Earth to save his wife Wanda. He finds himself thrust five years into the future, without any of his memories, but with strange new powers and an evil duty to Hell.
The World’s Best Computer Animation, 9:45 p.m.
Blockbuster movies such as “Toy Story,” “Independence Day” and “Dante’s Peak” have pushed the boundaries of CGI and proven its box office appeal. But what quantum leaps can we expect from the next wave of developments in CGI? WAC presents a roundup of the world’s cutting-edge CGI,, including the newest developments fresh from IMAGINA, the international CGI fest in France.
Friday, March 28
Official Program of Films in Competition, 3 p.m.
Mondo Plympton, 3 p.m.
A fantastically weird animated journey through the strange brain of off-the-wall cartoonist Bill Plympton. In this world premiere, a cartoon Plympton guides us through his career and some bizarre episodes from his life. He discusses his early years as a cartoonist and even takes questions from an animated audience. Interwoven with this are a bunch of his classic films, from “Boomtown,” his first animated production, to 1995’s “How to Make Love to a Woman,” plus some of his newer work that hasn’t been seen before.
Beavis and Butt-head Outtakes, 5:30 p.m.
A free showing of unseen footage that was cut from MTV/Paramount’s movie “Beavis and Butt-head Do America,” as well as the short “Animation Sucks,” in which Beavis and Butt-head wreck havoc in an animation class.
Keynote address, 5:30 p.m.
Following the “Beavis and Butt-head Outtakes,” Sumner Redstone, Viacom chairman and chief executive officer and one of the most powerful media owners in the world today, will deliver WAC’s keynote address, focusing on talent, youth and opportunity. Redstone oversees television networks and studios including MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures.
From Beavers to Beavis: A Salute to Nickelodeon, MTV and Klasky-Csupo, 7:30 p.m.
When it comes to making hip animation for Generation X, few companies have been as successful as MTV, Nickelodeon and Klasky-Csupo. Speakers will include Mike Judge (“Beavis and Butt-head”), Peter Chung (“Aeon Flux”), Craig Bartlett (“Hey Arnold!”), Peter Hannan (“Catdog”), Mitch Schauer (“Angry Beavers”) and Gabor Csupo and Arlene Klusky (“Rugrats” and “Duckman”). The program also includes world premieres of the upcoming series “Daria” and “Angry Beavers.”
The Most Outrageous Cartoon Contest, 9:45 p.m.
With barf-bags at the ready, the Official Outrageous Committee has searched the twilight zone of bad taste and probed the most outrageous minds in the industry, in search of the most shocking and often hilarious animation that has ever been made. Not for the easily offended or the faint-hearted.
Surprise program to be announced., 10:30 a.m.
The 10 Greatest Warner Bros. Cartoons, 1 p.m.
We asked 10 of America’s leading animation authorities to come up with a definitive list of the 10 greatest Warner Bros. cartoons of all time. These 10 Warner Bros. cartoons have, in this jury’s opinion, stood the test of time and are the greatest. These 10 bona-fide cartoon masterpieces will screen in 35mm.
“Catnapped!,” 1 p.m., venue TBA
Takashi Nakamura, animation director of the Manga hit “Akira,” makes his directorial debut with “Catnapped!,” an off the wall adventure that combines the charm of Disney’s “Lady and The Tramp” with the futuristic vision of Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.” Set on the cat world of Banipalwitt, the film follows the adventures of two children as they attempt to rescue their pet dog from the evil feline princess Bubulina.
The Final Program of Films in Competition, 3:30 p.m.
The World’s Best Commercials, 5:45 p.m.
Looking for a show that includes some of the most innovative work from the world’s top animation studios? Then look no further. Not only are some of these commercials too outrageous to be screened on U.S. television, but some even needed special government authorization to get them out of their country.
“Werner Eat My Dust,” 5:45 p.m., venue TBA
Released in Germany last year and never seen in the U.S., “Werner Eat My Dust” grossed more than $30 million at the box office in its first three months. First introduced to cinema audiences six years ago, Werner is a motor mechanic’s apprentice whose sole purpose in life is to ride his bike faster than a freight train, raise hell and drink more beer than his body can hold.
Awards ceremony and screening of the best of the competition, 8 p.m.
Crowning a week of world premieres and star-studded screenings, WAC presents the winning films in competition, chosen from more than200 film and video finalists. After the awards and screenings, animators and cartoon-lovers can dance the night away at Klasky-Csupo’s infamous Day-Glo party.
Repeat screenings of the best of the festival
The schedule will be posted at the festival center by Friday.