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Headline News Disney’s Circle 7 Shutters, Lay Offs To Come

With rumors swirling since the Pixar purchase, Walt Disney Co., on March 20, 2006, shuttered its Circle 7 unit, which was dedicated to producing sequels to Pixar films.

A company spokesperson said, Due to changes in our animation business, a substantial number of artists and staff from Circle 7 will be moving into Walt Disney Feature Animation. For those artists without a Feature Animation assignment, we will be assisting them in finding new employment.

Headline News Viacom to Sell DreamWorks Film Library For $900M

Soros Strategic Partners LP and Dune Ent. II Llc., an affiliate of Dune Capital Management LP, have signed a definitive agreement with Viacom Inc. to purchase the film library of Paramount Pictures' DreamWorks Llc. in a transaction that values the film library at $900 million. The library sale, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in April. The transaction completes the second stage of the DreamWorks acquisition.

Headline News Russian Nival Interactive Opens U.S. Headquarters

In a first ever move for an Eastern European game company, Nival Interactive Inc. announced it has established its global headquarters in the U.S. and recruited an executive management team comprised of American videogame industry professionals, including Kevin Bachus, co-creator of Microsofts Xbox, as ceo. The changes are part of the companys plan to expand in the computer, video and mobile game markets by offering its partners superior products with global commercial appeal at a significantly lower production cost.

Headline News AOL & Warner Bros. Launch First Broadband Television Network

AOL and Warner Bros. announced the launch of In2TV, the first broadband television network, on AOL.com. The network offers the largest collection of free on-demand TV shows on the Web, including full episodes of favorite Warner Bros. programs from the past 40 years, such as WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, CHICO & THE MAN, GROWING PAINS, KUNG FU, LOIS & CLARK, as well as animated series, along with interactive features and viral videos that enable audiences to experience and interact with television programming in a new way.

Headline News ibanana integrated media Launches in Canada

Industry exec Michael Hefferon, announced the official launch of ibanana integrated media inc., an entertainment company he heads dedicated to developing and producing integrated content for television, web, mobile and gaming platforms.

Responding to industry demand for dynamic content with digital media convergence, ibanana has developed a concept that utilizes the strengths and applications of each platform to develop inherent synergies.

Headline News Animation Guild Negotiates Three-Year Contract With Producers

The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE, has reached agreement with the animation producers on a three-year collective bargaining agreement, effective Aug. 1, 2006 to July 31, 2009. The Animation Guilds negotiating committee has unanimously recommended ratification to the Guild (TAG, animationguild.org) membership.

Headline News New Element Design Studio Formed

Looking to offer clients a more complete creative experience creative director John Yu and Paul Goldman (founder/creative director of music house Ear Goo) have launched Element, a new design studio offering clients first class motion graphics, visual effects and 2D/3D animation.

Headline News BAFTA’s Third Arm Goes To Games

The growing importance of videogames to entertainment culture has been recognized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which has elevated the sector to become an equal to those for Film and Television. Champions of the moving image, BAFTA seeks to reward artistic and creative innovation within videogames, as one of the principal contemporary art forms.

Headline News Blur Joins Lapin Blanc Animation For Commercials

Lapin Blanc, animation unit of London commercials and film company Lucky Elliot, has signed Oscar nominated animation studio Blur. Celebrating a 10th Birthday, Blur Studio produce some of the worlds finest digital content for features, commercials, game cinematics, music videos and theme park rides. Blur announced at this year's Sundance Festival they are to develop a feature version of the 2005 Academy-nominated short GOPHER BROKE.

Headline News Shrek Producer to Head Framestore Feature Animation

Framestore CFC has announced the formation of Framestore Feature Animation. Heading the new venture will be David Lipman, who joins the company as managing partner after eight years at DreamWorks Animation, where his roles included producer on SHREK 2 and co-exec producer on SHREK.

Headline News Pixar Deal Cheered at Disney Annual Shareholders’ Meeting

The mood was a lot more upbeat at The Walt Disney Co.s 2006 annual shareholders meeting today (March 10) at the Anaheim Pond, according to trade reports. The $7.4 billion Pixar deal (which will close in late April or early May) stole the show, Roy Disney was greeted with thunderous applause, John Lasseter wowed with a promise to revitalize Disney Feature animation and the introduction of new president/ceo Robert Iger was met with enthusiasm.

Headline News DreamWorks Animation Dumps Tortoise & Tusker, Reports 2005 Slump

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ending Dec. 31, 2005.

Within the release, DreamWorks officially nixed past projects TORTOISE AND THE HARE and TUSKER. Both films were written off for book purposes in 2003. Because DreamWorks Animation plans to abandon the rights to these films in 2006, it receives the associated tax benefit at this time. This has resulted in an increase to net income of approximately $28.0 million, or $0.27 per share, in the fourth quarter.

Headline News Pixar Reports Incredible Profits in 2005

Pixar Animation Studios reported 2005 was the companys most profitable year ever. For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2005, Pixar earned $152.9 million, or $1.24 per fully diluted share, on revenues of $289.1 million. Topping earnings of $141.7 million on revenues of $273.5 million for the year ended Jan. 1, 2005.

Headline News Comic Book Movies & Skywalker Sound Announce Strategic Partnership

Comic Book Movies, an entertainment company established by veteran film producer and comicbook authority Michael Uslan and visionary financier M. Jonathan Roberts, has announced a strategic partnership with Skywalker Sound for all post-production and sound services for their upcoming slate of features films, television and animation productions.

Headline News Toonacious Family Ent. Engages C&I Partners to Fund Animated Films

Toonacious Family Ent. has contracted with C&I Partners to raise funds for CG and 2D animated feature films with budgets targeted from $30 to $60 million. Toonacious has a slate of five animated features in development and will oversee all aspects of production from the Burbank, California, studio.

Headline News Rushes Places Record Autodesk Order Amid VFX Expansion

Leading London-based post-production facility, Rushes, has placed a landmark order with Autodesk, as part of its multi-million pound expansion. The project includes the replacement of the facilitys entire visual effects kit with the latest state-of-the-art systems, as well as doubling its capacity for visual effects work.

Headline News FUNimation & Sabella Dern Ent. Launch Anime Theatrical Distribution Program

FUNimation Ent. and Sabella Dern Ent. announced today (March 2, 2006) the launch of FUNimation Films, a monthly initiative that will bring top-rated anime features and series premiers to movie theaters across the U.S. Set to launch on March 17, 2006, in select Landmark theaters, moviegoers will be treated to a special showing of the DRAGON BALL Z feature, THE RETURN OF COOLER, followed by the main event the U.S. premiere of the DRAGON BALL Z movie, FUSION REBORN.

FUNimation Films was developed with The Bigger Picture, a subsidiary of Sabella Dern Ent.

Headline News HP Helps Simplify DreamWorks Animation Business Operations

DreamWorks Animation has implemented an HP solution based on a service-oriented architecture that simplifies and consolidates key business operations.

A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an approach to building and managing IT infrastructures using standards-based software and services as autonomous, re-usable components.

Headline News GigaPix Studios Launches VFX Division

CGI animation company GigaPix Studios has opened a visual effects department headed by Emmy award-winning vfx supervisor Clay Dale. The division will provide complete, high-end visual effects design and post-production for feature films, television, commercial spots and music videos.

Headline News Israel Gets Animated With New Toon & Game Studio

On Feb. 28, 2006, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) debuted Israels first-ever media center, along with a multimillion-dollar animation studio, in an effort to turn Jerusalem into a major player in the animation and gaming field, reports RED HERRING. The startup, Jerusalem Animation Lab, will include an animation and gaming studio, as well as a development lab to create animation for cellular phones.

Headline News Albie Hecht Launches Biggies Broadband

Albie Hechts new content development company, Worldwide Biggies Inc., has formed a new division, Biggies Broadband, to develop and produce original multi-platform content, syndicated websites and broadband channels aimed at the young adult and family entertainment audience.

Headline News Filipino Firm Boasts Inexpensive Quality Animation

Grace Dimaranan, managing director at Filipino animation firm Top Peg Animation and Creative Studio Inc., has said her company does not need much money to produce quality animation, reports INQ7.net. Recently, the firm produced the award-winning educational and family-oriented animated film, TUTUBI PATROL, which was co-produced with Gecko Prods.

"You really don't need much to produce animation," Dimaranan told INQ7.net.

Headline News Wild Brain Acquires Kidrobot

Wild Brain announced a majority stake acquisition of New York-based, limited edition art toy creator and pop-culture phenomenon Kidrobot. Wild Brain and Kidrobot plan to develop animated television, feature film, direct-to-video and other entertainment properties, utilizing the existing popularity of Kidrobot characters and the "Kidrobot Style" to develop future projects.

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