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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.

Headline News Sony Targets May 23 for Launch of First Blu-Ray Disc Titles

Sony Pictures Home Ent. (SPHE) will deliver the first wave of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles on May 23, three months after the rival HD-DVD format begins its launch. Delivery will coincide with the launch that day of the first commercially available BD player from Samsung Electronics, which will be followed shortly by BD players from Pioneer and Sony along with a BD compatible VAIO PC from Sony.

SPHE and MGM Home Ent. will first release eight BD titles, with another eight following shortly June 13.

Headline News China Bans Toon Live-Action Hybrids

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 22, 2006 at 12:00am

In a strange move, China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has banned all TV shows and films that feature live-action actors interacting with animated characters.

"These human live-action, so-called animation pieces will not receive distribution or distribution licenses," read the order, issued Feb. 15, 2006. The state-run Xinhua News Agency states that CG and 2D characters interacting with humans jeopardize "the broadcast order of homemade animation and mislead their development.

Headline News NVIDIA Completes Acquisition of ULi Electronics

NVIDIA Corp. announced that it has completed the acquisition of ULi Electronics Inc., a leading developer of core logic technology.

The acquisition represents the company's ongoing investment in its platform solution strategy and is expected to strengthen its sales, marketing and customer engineering presence in Taiwan and China.

Headline News UTV Invests $5 Million in Animation

Indias UTV has invested in a brand new animation facility at its Andheri Studio with 225 workstations replete with blade render farms and 3ds Max software. The investment of close to $5 million will allow the more than 25,000-square-foot facility to complete High Definition (HD) work for its clients in North America and Europe.

The studio is working on 15 direct-to-video features as well as a 52-episode TV series and 20 short series.

The facility operates 24/7 with a built up capacity to execute more than 150 minutes of 3D animation a month.

Headline News New Zealand's PM Objects to South Park Religious Gag

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark an avowed agnostic said she found the depiction of a statue of a menstruating Virgin Mary on upcoming episode of SOUTH PARK offensive, reports the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Despite protests and a call for a boycott from Roman Catholic bishops, Channel 4 plans to still air the controversial episode in May.

Headline News POW! Procures Exclusive Rights to the 'Stan Lee' Name and Brand

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 15, 2006 at 12:00am

POW! Ent. has announced that it has acquired the exclusive rights and ownership in perpetuity to the name "Stan Lee," his likeness, brand and signature slogans "Stan Lee Presents," "Excelsior" and "Stan's Soap Box." POW! also acquired most of the intellectual properties created by Stan Lee during the period beginning after his tenure as Marvel's cco, editor in chief and publisher and predate POW! Ent. The rights are in addition to new properties that are being developed by Stan Lee for other major entertainment conglomerates on behalf of POW! Ent.

Headline News Indian Animation Industry Set to Reach $950 Million

A Nasscom report on animation and gaming industry states that the Indian animation industry is expected to reach $950 million and the gaming industry to $300 million by 2009, Sify.com reports. However, the report states that Indian companies will need to improve synergy between talent and technology as well increase professional training to obtain this landmark.

At present 1,500-odd animators work in India, but the demand could reach as high as 30,000.

Headline News 4Kids To Ring Opening Bell of New York Stock Exchange

4Kids Ent. will ring the Opening Bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, Feb. 13, 2006, in celebration of the 2006 American International TOY FAIR being held on Feb. 12-15 in New York.

Alfred R. Kahn, chairman/ceo of 4Kids Ent., will preside over the ceremony, which takes place at 9:30 am EST. Kahn will be joined on the bell podium by costumed characters from a few of 4Kids' popular properties, including CABBAGE PATCH KIDS, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and WINX CLUB.

Headline News Alliance Gaming Plans Name Change to Bally Technologies

Alliance Gaming Corp. plans to officially change the name of the Company to Bally Technologies Inc. to more appropriately reflect the company's focus on technology and innovation and to further build on the powerful Bally brand.

Upon approval of shareholders, the name change would be officially announced at the annual meeting of shareholders on March 6, 2006. Bally Technologies, Inc. is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BYI as early as March 7, 2006.

Headline News Ocean Visual FX Launches Studio

Visual effects and 3D animation studio Ocean Visual FX has been formed in Huntington Beach, California, to design and produce effects and animation for feature films, broadcast and corporate marketing, according to Robbie Robfogel, ceo/visual effects supervisor. LuzMary Robfogel is coo.

The studio has brought aboard 3D modeler and animator Brandon MacDougall and character animator Jeff Clifton.

Headline News Japanese Publisher Sells DreamWorks Shares to Paramount

Japanese publisher Kadokawa Holdings Inc. announced it will sell its 2.91% stake in DreamWorks SKG to Paramount Pictures for about $21 million by the end of February, according to VARIETY.

This week, Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc., finalized its purchased of the previously privately held DreamWorks in a $1.6 billion cash-and-debt deal.

Headline News Cosgrove Hall Films Restructures

On the eve of Cosgrove Hall Films 30 years in the industry new md, Anthony Utley, has announced a major management restructure. Utley recently disbanded the management team of senior producers, which had been set up temporarily as owners ITV Granada, searched for a new md.

Two senior producer posts have been eliminated while two new roles of exec producer and creative director have been created.

Headline News Paramount’s DreamWorks Purchase Completed

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 12:00am

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc., has closed on its acquisition of DreamWorks SKG for $1.6 billion in cash and assumption of debt. The announcement was made today (Feb. 1, 2006) by Paramount chairman/ceo Brad Grey. The company noted that it is well along in its process to sell the DreamWorks live-action film library.

Under the agreement, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen of DreamWorks will remain in their respective roles as producer/director and chairman.

Headline News Grand Theft Auto Lawsuit Creates Turmoil at Take-Two

After the city of Los Angeles filed suit against Take-Two Software for selling pornographic videogames to children, the game developers stock plummeted on Friday. At the close of Friday, Take-Two share were at $14.69 down 13.7%. Earlier in the day, the stock had hit a three-year low of $13.68.

The game named in the suit is GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS, which had its rating changed from MA "Mature 17+" to AO "Adults Only 18+ after it was discovered that it contained hidden sex scenes.

Headline News Team Disney Building Renamed After Michael Eisner

Disney ceo Bob Iger, chairman of the board Senator George Mitchell, the board of directors and hundreds of Disney employees gathered at The Walt Disney Studios on Jan. 27, 2006, to honor former ceo Michael Eisner at a dedication ceremony for Team Disney The Michael D. Eisner Building.

Headline News New Disney Toon Committee Features Three From Pixar

More details of the Walt Disney-Pixar merger have become public via the companys SEC filing on Jan. 26, 2006. Pixars Steve Jobs, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull will sit on a committee with Disneys ceo Bob Iger, Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook and Disney cfo Tom Staggs to oversee all the feature animation at the company. Lasseter, who will report to Iger directly, will have greenlight power, subject to the approval of the committee, which will work out R&D and budget issues. The committee will meet once a month at Pixars headquarters in Emeryville, California.

Headline News MTV Restructures to Enhance Multiplatform Delivery & TV Mix

Christina Norman, president, MTV, and Brian Graden, president of entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group and president of Logo, announced a radical new organizational structure for MTV that will allow the network to more aggressively develop and deliver dynamic content for audiences across all screens. MTVs multiplatform strategy revolves around building an engaging universe of music, entertainment, news, community and interactivity that allows the audience access to content whenever and wherever they want across a mix of platforms.

Headline News Disney Goes to Infinity and Beyond with $7.4 Billion Pixar Purchase

Its a done deal: The Walt Disney Co. will acquire Pixar Animation Studios for an all-stock transaction to be completed this summer. Under terms of the agreement, 2.3 Disney shares will be issued for each Pixar share. Based on Pixar's fully diluted shares outstanding, the transaction value is $7.4 billion ($6.3 billion net of Pixar's cash of just above $1 billion).

Headline News AtomFilms Studio to Develop Original Online Video Content

Atom Ent. announced the opening of AtomFilms Studio, a new program which invests in independent producers to create broadband entertainment. AtomFilms Studio announced six development projects and plans to produce dozens more projects during the course of the year. New shorts from AtomFilms Studio will be distributed beginning this spring on the award-winning AtomFilms website (www.atomfilms.com) and its online and mobile entertainment partners.

Headline News UPN & The WB Merge to Form The CW Network

CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Ent. announced their intent to form a new 5th network, The CW, to be launched in the fall of 2006. The new broadcasting network will be a joint venture between Warner Bros. and CBS, with each company owning 50%. In an important strategic move that secures major market distribution for The CW, it was announced that Tribune Broadcasting and the CBS Corp.'s UPN affiliates have agreed separately to sign 10-year affiliation agreements with the new network.

Headline News Rendering Center To Be Built in Southern China

An animation rendering support center for animation production is being set for Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong Province, reports People.com.cn. The project hopes to bring all areas of animation production studio-design, financing, production, selling to the area.

The Institute of Digital Media Technology (Shenzhen) Ltd. (IDMT) will build the center. IDMT is a major 3D animation production company, which made the first 3D high-definition cartoon movie in China.

Headline News Genius Products Sells Baby Genius Back to Creators

Genius Products Inc. the exclusive U.S. home entertainment distributor for The Weinstein Co., has sold its Baby Genius brand to Pacific Ent. Corp., a newly formed company headed by Klaus Moeller in a deal enabling Genius to focus its efforts on distributing its wide range of top independent and mainstream feature film titles while retaining exclusive U.S. distribution rights for the preschool brands.

Headline News NVIDIA and Adobe Partner on New Production Studio

NVIDIA Corp. will offer its Quadro professional graphics to Adobe users through the newly announced Adobe Production Studio. NVIDIA and Adobe have established a strategic partnership that allows tighter integration between these hardware and software solutions in order to support industry initiatives, such as the recently announced Adobe OpenHD alliance.

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