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Interview: Robert Vince of ‘The Search for Santa Paws’

Posted on November 29, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Robert Vince is the man behind the wildly popular “buddies” movies including the latest, The Search For Santa Paws. They feature adorable dogs and heartwarming stories, just right for family movie night. I spoke to him about the challenges of directing animals and children, what makes a great holiday movie, and why Christmas is his favorite time of year.

I wanted to make a Christmas movie and our lofty goal was to make one that had timeless values, a classic, a perennial that parents could pull out for their children each year.

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You have some great voice talent — tell me about casting.

Nine tenths of the job is finding talented people who are great at what they do and then they make me look great.

The voice talent people have to have a distinctive voice that comes out of that character rather than being placed into it. They have an ability to project; it’s more like being a theater actor in some ways than a film actor that can use their physicality.

Actors often say that you should never work with children or animals, but that seems to be your specialty! How do you make that work?

We’re making family films because we love them and we’ve been doing it for a long time. Family films and children and animals go “hand in paws,” as I like to say. Children are not acting in a lot of ways; they’re being who they are. That’s where casting is important. You have to choose children for a role that is based on who they are because they really can’t be something else very well or believably. So Madison Pettis really was the big sister figure to all the other girls on the set. And Kaitlyn Maher really is the cutest little thing on the planet is really a sweet little soul with a beautiful voice. I’d like to say it’s great directing but it’s really who they are.

And with the animals, it’s the trainers — they really know how to create characters with the animals. It’s a special talent. I tell them what I want and then with a look or the training, with their connection with the animals, they make it work.

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Is it important to you to work with Blu-Ray and the other technological advances?

Yes, it makes it possible for the audience at home to see our movie as it was intended to be seen in a theater. It’s such a fantastic technology and really brings the movie to life in the home. With the CGI and digital effects we can create any environment we want to. Anything I can think of, we can do. The film-maker is not limited by the resources available, only by imagination.

The sky’s the limit — literally. You’ve taken the buddies to outer space!

I always laugh when people ask how we got the moon shots. I say, “Well, we didn’t go to the moon!”

What makes a classic holiday movie?

It has to appeal to the most important part of that time of year, the selflessness. This is the one time of year where we suspend our own interests in a selfless manner and take care of others. It has to connect with the heart and music is a big part of that. We have a beautiful song that really connects. You have to have a sense of faith and belief and the importance of the family bond.

To me, the spirit of Christmas is embodied in the hearts of children untouched by the fears, doubts, and disappointments of the adult world. That’s the line that means the most to me in the movie. Before I write a movie I try to write the theme in one sentence and that was it for me in this movie. That one line really says it all for me. As adults we get confused and have disappointments and the like but for a child, in the morning when they get up, their hearts filled with joy, giving to each other, that’s what the spirit of Christmas is all about.

And don’t forget the Santa Paws giveaway!

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Behind the Scenes Directors Interview
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The Search for Santa Paws

Posted on November 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

B
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: None
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to DVD: November 23, 2010
Amazon.com ASIN: B003E4B0H6

The Search For Santa Paws is the latest in the wildly popular series of “buddies” films from Robert Vince (watch for an interview with him posting later today). When Santa (Richard Riehle of “Office Space”) loses his memory, he will need the help of an elf, a magic crystal, and of course some very special dogs to save Christmas.

Be sure to check out the Santa Paws coloring and activity pages. And I am very excited and honored that Disney has given me FIVE copies of this DVD to share with my readers. This one is only for those who have never won anything from me before. If you qualify, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with “Santa Paws” in the subject line and tell me what you like best about the buddies movies. Don’t forget to include your address! Good luck and keep checking as I have more giveaways coming all month. (My policy on conflicts is available on the blog.)

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Comedy Contests and Giveaways DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week Elementary School Fantasy For the Whole Family Preschoolers Series/Sequel Talking animals
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Tribute: Leslie Nielsen

Posted on November 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm

The most unexpected comic superstar of the 1990’s was one-time leading man Leslie Nielsen, who died today at age 84. The son of a Canadian mountie, Nielsen appeared in a number of golden age television dramas before his lead role in “Forbidden Planet,” an outer-space drama inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” He went on to play bland leads and less-bland heavies in crime stories, costume drama, and even one of the sugary Tammy movies along with television Westerns “Daniel Boone” and “Wagon Train.” In the 1960’s-70’s he appeared in many television series including the popular medical shows “Ben Casey” and “Dr. Kildare” and crime shows “Columbo,” “Cannon,” and “SWAT” and was a regular on the nighttime soap opera, “Peyton Place.” He was the ship captain in the cheesy classic, “The Poseidon Adventure.”

And then came Airplane! in 1981, where his classic, sliver-haired handsome look and deadpan delivery turned him into an immediate comic superstar. He went on to acclaim in the silly Police Squad! television series and the The Naked Gun movies. Some of Nielsen’s best lines have been collected by the Huffington Post.

May his memory be a blessing and may those who loved him find comfort in sharing their loss with his many fans.

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Actors Tribute

The Peter Yarrow Sing-Along Special

Posted on November 27, 2010 at 8:15 am

Yes, it sounds a little bit like “A Mighty Wind,” but this is the real deal, a PBS concert sing-along with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary, joined by Noel Paul Stookey, Keb’ Mo’, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Billy Jonas, and Bethany & Rufus, taped in August in the Concert Hall of New York. It’s a perfect holiday weekend treat for the whole family to join on classic songs like “Polly Wolly Doodle” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” and some less familiar like “Weave Me the Sunshine.”

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Music Television

John Sebastian and Folk Rewind

Posted on November 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm

John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful (“Do You Believe In Magic”) hosts the latest installment of the popular “My Music” series features a treasure trove of historical footage not seen in over four decades, plus exciting new concert performances.

Sebastian takes viewers through the extensive archival material, sharing the stories behind the music as he uncovers classic folk performances from the ’50s and ’60s. But the vintage footage is merely the prelude to the final act – an exciting new concert featuring some of folk music’s most enduring artists. All the original members of The Chad Mitchell Trio reunite to perform Bob Dylan’s anthem “Blowin’ In The Wind.” Jesse Colin Young of The Youngbloods offers the generation-defining hit “Get Together.” Barry McGuire belts out his 1965 chart-topper “Eve Of Destruction.” And Roger McGuinn of The Byrds delivers an unforgettable encore of two of his biggest hits – “My Back Pages” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

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Music
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