Mar 28, 2017
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Bay Area Animation
by Karl Cohen
Scene from David Chai’s 'A Knock On My Door', about a kid escaping from North Korea. photo: courtesy D. Chai
Answering Chai’s Knock
David Chai’s “A Knock On My Door” was selected for the United Nation Association’s Film Festival. David, who teaches at San Jose State, documented both touching and humorous moments in the life of his father, who, as a youngster, escaped a life of sadness and adversity in Korea and moved to America.
“A Knock on My Door” chronicles how the father achieves extraordinary success until a buried past demands a reckoning. The jury selected it from over 600 entries and the screenings were held in October.
David is an independent animator who has worked on a variety of projects ranging from educational software, animation for television and video, commercial advertising, to independent films. Commercials directed for Thunderbean Animation received the Gold Award for best-animated television commercials at the Kalamazoo International Animation Festival.
His independent films have screened in over 220 film festivals internationally, including Sundance, Cinequest, Ann Arbor, and Annecy. They have been broadcast on Atom Films, MTV-2, G4TV, PBS, and ZeD in Canada; featured in Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation; and nominated twice for Best Short Subject at the Annie Awards.
David’s filmography includes “25 Ways to Die”, “Flames of Passion”, “Neighborhood Roots”, “Stoopid Movie”, “Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot”, “Cole Needs Women”, “Aletta Out of Water”, “Life on a Limb”, “Ninjas vs. Guilt”, “Enrique Wrecks the World, “Why Do We Put Up With Them?”, “A Knock on My Door” and “Behind My Behind”.
From 'Toy Story of Terror', a cool, TV short (2013) many missed. photo: courtesy Pixar
Woody Was a Jerk in First Toy Story
In a recent a panel discussion at the Castro in honor of “Toy Story”’s 20th anniversary, Pixar CEO John Lasseter said that in the first draft of the film, “Woody was a jerk."
"You gotta make it edgier”, he said, adding that Disney executives gave him other questionable advice. That was just after Pixar signed their three picture deal with Disney and they were showing their first draft of the script.
The corporate executives were afraid a movie about toys would not appeal to older audiences. He also said that in initial versions of “Toy Story”, Woody was a cowboy ventriloquist dummy that spoke with a John Wayne accent. He also showed us some of the footage shown Disney and indeed Wookdy was a jerk.
Lasseter said they disagreed and fortunately for history they didn’t take Disney’s advice.
Going back to the drawing board, Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and the rest of their small staff revised the script. They believed that adults, teenagers, college kids as well as children would be entertained by their toys. Two weeks later their new script included the sinister neighbor Sid, Andy who was the leader to a roomful of toys, and an unaware spaceman that is Andy's comedic foil.
Animacrackers’ animated an iBook version of Chicken Little.
Oh no, things fall from the sky…rumors fly…and foxes lie! “Chicken Little”, the timeless children’s story, is a new iBook from AnimaCrackers (Mark West and Barbara Bayne). Every page of this classic tale is beautifully animated and the characters speak. Just turn the page and watch them come to life! The animated storybook is now available from iTunes. It can be downloaded onto an iPad, iPhone and Mac for only $1.99.
Mark and Barbara have had colorful, fun careers creating animation in the Bay Area. Their recent work includes projects for Zynga and EA. Past credits include work for WildBrain, Colossal Pictures, Living Books, and Mark was an animator on John Korty’s feature “Twice Upon a Time.”
A flyer for a recent screening of “Chicken Little” by the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema said, “This modern re-telling of the classic tale shows how gullible young poultry can be easily tricked by crafty foxes into believing nonsensical rumors, then brainlessly spreading them about. A good lesson: Consider the source. Oh, and use your head.”
Karl Cohen is an animator, educator and director of the local chapter of the International Animation Society and can be reached
Posted on Dec 08, 2015 - 04:59 PM