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Headline News KISS & Platinum Studios Create Comic Venture

Platinum Studios Inc. and KISS Catalog Ltd., the billion-dollar merchandising empire created and managed by KISS' original members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, announced the creation of a new worldwide comicbook entertainment company, the KISS Comics Group (www.KissComicsGroup.com).

Headline News Ka-Chew! Opens Live-Action Punch Co.

Hollywood based ka-chew! announced the opening of Punch Co., a live-action entity for the studio. Ellen Knable will join Punch as exec producer and will oversee all national sales efforts. Knable will also run the sales and marketing efforts for ka-chew! in animation for the west and midwest. Schaffer/Rogers continue to rep ka-chew! in the east and Ann Asprodites in the south.

Headline News Softimage Develops New 3D Game Pipeline with EA Chicago

Softimage Co. is developing a 3D game development pipeline built on SOFTIMAGE|XSI software in close collaboration with Electronic Arts' Chicago studio. EA has the largest game development studio operation in the world, and employs a variety of engines, tools and technologies to best serve the needs of each of its game and development teams.

Headline News Jan. 24 Proclaimed Joseph Barbera Day in Los Angeles County

During a memorial ceremony at the Warner Bros. Burbank, California lot last night for the late animation legend Joseph Barbera, attendees learned Jan. 24, 2007 was proclaimed "Joseph Barbera Day" in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich presented a scroll Barbera's children -- Lynn, Jayne and Neal.

Headline News Animation Advisors Opens Virtual Shingle

Jack Enyart, Jean Ann Wright, and M.J. Lallo have joined forces to form Animation Advisors, to address various animation industry needs.

Enyart has been a writer and development specialist for most every major animation studio in Hollywood. He worked on ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, SCOOBY-DOO, PINK PANTHER, JOHNNY BRAVO and many other TV series. His comicbook credits include LOONEY TUNES, ROGER RABBIT, TOY STORY, LION KING and many more. He may be reached at je@consultoont.com.

Headline News Ghibli To Distribute Foreign Toons in Japan

Studio Ghibli has launched into the distribution of foreign animated features in the Japanese market, reports VARIETY. The Ghibli Museum, which organizes animation displays and screenings, will handle the new business. At first, the art films will be screened at the Cinema Angelika in Shibuya, a Tokyo entertainment center. The first film on the slate will be Alexander Petrov's paint on glass film, THE AWAKENING OF SPRING.

Headline News Appalachian Region To Get $5M For Tech Industry

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Ohio's Appalachian region is among 13 regions across the nation receiving a total of $65 million to boost economic development, reports Copley News. Appalachian region will get as much as $5 million to promote the growth of the computer gaming industry in Ohio,

The Athens. Ohio-based Information Technology Alliance of Appalachian Ohio, a nonprofit organization promoting the information technology industry, appears to be the primary recipient in Ohio.

Headline News NBC Universal Cable Ent. To Launch Chiller Network

NBC Universal Cable Ent. announced the launch of Chiller, a 24-hour entertainment cable channel dedicated to the horror genre. DIRECTV will be the first affiliate to carry the new network, which starts March 1, 2007.

"We continually look at our options for launching new networks," said Jeff Gaspin, president, NBC Universal Cable Ent., digital content and cross network strategy.. "Horror is one of the most reliably successful genres in entertainment today and Chiller seems like a well-timed addition to our portfolio."

Headline News NASSCOM's Animation and Gaming India 2007 Wraps Up in Hyderabad

On Jan. 10, 2007, NASSCOM, the premier trade body of the IT software and services industry in India, closed its two-day NASSCOM Animation & Gaming India event in Hyderabad.

NASSCOM also released the annual report on the Animation and Gaming Industry in India -- 2007. Key findings of the report include an expected CAGR for Indian Animation industry at 25% over 2006-2010 and a CAGR of 72% over 2006-2010 for gaming.

Headline News Disney's Iger Touts Technology & Website Redesign at CES

The Walt Disney Co. president/ceo Bob Iger unveiled his company's newly redesigned and enhanced Disney.com website, which will launch later this month, in his keynote address to the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

He told the assembly that Disney is committed to working with consumer electronics as it builds on its tradition of using the newest technology to create high-quality content.

Headline News MPC To Tour North America in Search of VFX Talent

MPC (The Moving Picture Co.), the award-winning visual effects facility, will be touring North America to expand its London-based team through 2008, having secured lead vfx vendor status for THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN. MPC is also experiencing growth on such projects as Tim Burton's SWEENEY TODD, the Vince Vaughn-starrer FRED CLAUS, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX and Roland Emmerich's 10,000 BC.

Headline News Japanese Government To Promote Media Arts Industry

The Agency for Cultural Affairs in Tokyo will offer financial backing to discover and promote overseas young talent in animation, computer graphics and videogame programs in fiscal 2007, according to a report in JAPAN TODAY.COM

The agency seeks 440 million yen in budgetary allocations, awaiting approval. Funding would begin April 1 2007, to commission new work for around three million yen by artists who win contests or are recommended by experts, the officials said. Other efforts include improving websites on media arts.

Headline News China Doubles Animation Output

China's animation industry produced more than 81,000 minutes of animation this year, nearly doubling last year's 42,700 minutes, Zhao Shi, deputy director of SARFT, according to XINHUA.

By August, China produced more than 50,000 minutes, which more than 1993 through 2003 combined. As for exporting animation, China sold 65,100 minutes to 17 countries.

Headline News DIC Pacts Deal With AEC to Reach New Retail & Digital Channels

DIC Ent. inked a distribution deal with Alliance Ent. Corp. (AEC), a Source Interlink company through its NCircle Ent. division, for the home entertainment and non-exclusive digital rights in the U.S. and Canada for select animated and live-action titles in DIC's library. DIC properties will access for the new first time distribution at brick and mortar retail outlets, as well as options for delivery on digital platforms in the U.s. and Canada.

Headline News Headgate to Evolve Into EA Salt Lake Studio

Electronic Arts Inc. has acquired the development team at Utah-based developer Headgate Studios Inc. EA has partnered with Headgate since 2000 to develop top franchises, such as TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR and MADDEN NFL. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The development team will remain in Bountiful, Utah, and will continue to work in partnership with the EA development teams in California and Florida. The EA Salt Lake Studio team will focus on development for the Nintendo Wii.

Headline News Raimi Scares Up TV Division

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 12:00am

Sam Raimi has hired former Tribune Ent. and Universal exec William Hamm to head the newly formed Ghost House Television, writes VARIETY.

First up for the new television division of Ghost House Pictures is a miniseries based on Dean Koontz's THE TAKING. Raimi and Ghost House partner Rob Tapert are exec producing with the co-exec producer being Larry Block, who brought the project to Ghost House.

The novel centers on a small-town husband and wife as an apocalyptic rain precedes otherworldly invasion.

Headline News Look Effects Launches The Captain Design Division

Look Effects has expanded into graphic design with the recent unveiling of its new division, The Captain. The Captain offers TV, advertising and feature film client creative services that include the conception and production of main title sequences, show opens, logo design, film graphics and branding.

The Captain also achieved major client wins from HBO, Fox Sports and Dockers. Heading up the division are designer/director Mason Nicoll, exec producer Ellen Stafford and business development director Eric Todd Smith.

Headline News Cuppa Coffee Purchases New Studio Facility

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, December 14, 2006 at 12:00am

Cuppa Coffee Studios has purchased a new production facility at 53 Ontario Street in Toronto, formerly owned and occupied by The Partners Film Co. Housing 40 stop-motion studios, 50 compositing stations, seven online editing suites, including one HD suite, and an unparalleled character, sets and prop fabrication department, this move firmly cements Cuppa Coffee as the largest stop-motion facility in the world.

Headline News ER To Acquire Classic Media Holdings

London-based Entertainment Rights Plc. (ER) has conditionally agreed to acquire Classic Media Holdings, Inc. for $210.0 million. Classic Media is the U.S.-based owner of an extensive portfolio of intellectual properties focused on children's and family characters and brands.

Headline News Entity FX Opens Vancouver Studio

Entity FX, creator of visual effects for motion pictures such as MIAMI VICE and THE AVIATOR and television series such as SMALLVILLE, has opened a new studio, providing full-service visual effects supervision and production in Vancouver, British Columbia. The new Canadian facility coincides with the expansion of Entity FX's U.S. operations in Los Angeles and will enhance the company's position in providing theatrical and episodic visual effects work in a market that topped more than $1 billion last year.

Headline News Autodesk to Cut 30 Jobs in Montreal to Streamline Systems Business

In response to several Montreal newspapers reporting that Autodesk will cut 30 jobs at its Montreal office in order to put greater emphasis on its 3D software products, the company released the following statement:

"Autodesk Inc. made proactive changes to its Media & Ent. systems business in order to optimize that business' performance and long-term growth. Autodesk Media & Ent. vps Marc Petit and Stig Gruman led the effort...

Headline News Weinstein-Blockbuster Rental Deal Challenged in Court

The National Entertainment Buying Group and two independent retailers have filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court to stop The Weinstein Co. and Genius Products from labeling its sell-thru DVDs as not appropriate for rental, reports VideoBusiness.com. This moves comes on the heels of TWC's recent deal giving Blockbuster exclusive rights to rent Weinstein DVD releases.

Headline News UTV Acquires Game Stake, Enters Feature Animation

Mumbai-based UTV Software Communications Ltd. has announced the acquisition of 70% of U.K. gaming company Ignition Ent. for $13 million and a 51% stake in leading Indian mobile gaming firm Indiagames for $15 million, reports various news outlets. In addition, UTV said it was investing $30 million into three animated features.

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