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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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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