After being briefly available online Monday, Glen Keane’s Kobe Bryant movie, Dear Basketball (2017), the winner of that year’s Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, has been taken down in the aftermath of the basketball star’s death, according to the Los Angeles Times. The five-minute picture is based off a poem Bryant wrote for the Players’ Tribune in November 2015 to announce his retirement, narrated by Bryant himself, scored by Oscar-winning composer John Williams, and animated by Keane, son of The Family Circus creator Bil Keane. A teaser trailer for the short will still be hosted on dearbasketball.com.
Olivia Wilde’s Wake Up (2020), starring Margaret Qualley and with cinematography by frequent Darren Aronofsky collaborator Matthew Libatique, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival over the coming days (trailer available from People magazine), according to IndieWire. Wilde and Qualley both had a breakthrough year in 2019, with Wilde directing Booksmart (2019) and Wilde appearing in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) as well as FX’s Fosse/Verdon (2019), and Libatique has been nominated for two Academy Awards. In Wake Up, Qualley plays Jane Doe, a woman forced to rediscover her humanity in an increasingly digital world.
Luke Halyk’s Pokémon: Call to Adventure (2019) is a passion project the Saskatchewan-based filmmaker co-produced with cinematographer Joel Kereluke, who he met while the two were studying at the University of Regina, according to CBC. Shot over three days with a local cast and crew, the YouTube video stars sixteen-year-old Abby Clifford as Sophia, an aspiring Pokémon trainer, and the animated material was outsourced to Giuseppe Morabito in Italy. Halyk says the prototypical hero’s journey found in the video game series, about a protagonist from humble origins overcoming obstacles to go on an adventure, is what grants Pokémon its universal appeal.
Lance Acord’s four-minute A Holiday Reunion (2019), a sequel to Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), will reunite E.T. and a now married-with-children Elliot (Henry Thomas) at theater pre-shows over the long holiday weekend, according to Deadline. The Comcast commercial, produced by their advertising agency, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, premiered as a two-minute cut during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, before the full edit played on Syfy during their airings of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Thursday night. Spielberg never took creative control of the ad, but was consulted throughout the process and responded favorably to the theme of “connection.”