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Headline News Pipelinefx Closes Series A Financing Round With PacifiCap Group

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 26, 2005 at 12:00am

Pipelinefx, a leading provider of enterprise renderfarm management software for 3D animation and interactive entertainment, has closed its Series A investment round led by Hawaii venture capital firm PacifiCap Group Llc. Several members of the UH Angel investment network also participated in the transaction.

Headline News ShoPro & VIZ to Merge

ShoPro Ent. Inc. and VIZ Llc., two prominent North American-based companies specializing in Japanese content, are merging this spring to create a new entertainment company. The still unnamed venture, to be based in San Francisco, will leverage the unique collaboration, vision and ownership of three global powerhouses in Japanese manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc. and Shogakukan Production Co. Ltd. (ShoPro Japan).

Headline News Court Rules in Favor of Stan Lee Over Marvel

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 12:00am

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Stan Lee is entitled to 10% of the profits Marvel has received since Nov. 1998 from studios for the right to produce and distribute motion pictures and television productions based on Marvel's characters, and from movie-based toys manufactured and sold by Marvel itself.

Headline News House of Moves Launches New MoCap Studio

House of Moves, a division of Vicon Motion Systems, is unveiling its top-of-the-line new facility, with stages and capabilities equipped to provide end-to-end motion capture services for clients in feature film, television, commercial, game development and interactive markets.

Headline News Lack of Labor in India Spurs Studio to Set Up Animation House in China

Bangalore-based game development company Dhruva Interactive is planning to set up a studio in China due to what it reports is a severe workforce shortage in the animation industry in India, it was reported in the zDNet India News.

"We will be setting up a studio in China in the next 12-18 months as we cannot increase the size of our teams in India," said K. Rajesh Rao, ceo of Dhruva. "We are planning to employ about 150 people in China for the studio," he adds.

Headline News EA Moves on Sims-like TV Show, Changes DICE Deal

Electronic Arts has announced the development an interactive TV show, allowing viewers to control the characters like in THE SIMS, and a change in the deal to acquire 50% of Digital Illusions (DICE), reports REUTERS. The company is in early talks with production companies and might use a voting system to allow viewers to determine the actions of the characters.

Headline News Los Simpsons Voices Strike

The Spanish-language cast of THE SIMPSONS have been on strike since October and are threatening protest marches over a contract between their union and privately-owned dubbing studio, Grabaciones y Doblajes Internacionales, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Represented by Mexico's National Actors Assn., the voice actors claim that their former employer broke an exclusivity agreement when it hired non-members of the association. Grabaciones does not deny using nonunion actors, but argues that it never signed an exclusivity contract.

Headline News Navarre To Acquire FUNimation

Navarre Corp., a leading publisher and distributor of a broad range of home entertainment and multimedia software products, is in the process of acquiring 100% of the general and limited partnership interests in FUNimation Productions Ltd. and The FUNimation Store Ltd., a transaction anticipated to close before May 15, 2005.

Headline News India Strives for More Property Rights

At the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference in India that began Jan. 6, 2005, Indian animation firms stressed the ownership of intellectual property rights (IPR) as the key way for the industry to stretch out into the global marketplace, reports INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE.

"India and China are the two places where the action is going to be," Vishal Gondal, founder and director of Indiagames Ltd. "There is a great potential for Indian animation and gaming companies to create own IPR and then hit the global market in a big way.

Headline News Vivendi Universal Games & EA Join Blu-ray Disc Assoc.

Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) and Electronic Arts have joined the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Having these two leaders in multi-platform interactive entertainment strengthens support for the Blu-ray Disc high-definition optical-disc format among the world's leading gaming, consumer electronics, PC and entertainment companies.

Headline News Eisner Gets 13% Raise; Board Makes CEO/Chairman Split Permanent

Walt Disney Co's board announced it has made permanent the policy to separate the roles of ceo and chairman, responding to criticism and requests from shareholders. The corporate governance guidelines now read, "the chairman of the board shall be an independent director unless the board concludes that the best interests of shareholders would otherwise be better served," and to require a written explanation in proxy materials if the two jobs were held by a single person.

Headline News Thailand Sees Big Investment in Animation

Thailand's fledgling animation industry is flying high in the hope that foreign animation companies will invest between one and two billion baht in the industry after taking part in the second Thailand Animation and Multimedia 2005 fair.

The investment may come in the form of outsourcing and joint production and ventures with local companies, according to Manoo Ordeedolchest, the president of the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa). Sipa will act as a matchmaker and the investment would be spent over the next few years.

Headline News Dreamwave Comics Ends

Canadian comics publisher Dreamwaye Prods. has stopped operations and is shutting its doors. Dreamwaves line of licensed comics included TRANSFORMERS, DUEL MASTERS, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and MEGAMAN. President Pat Lee cited market conditions as the reason for the closing, including "...the shrinking comicbook market combined with a weak U.S. dollar and unsustainable monetary commitments." The company was founded in 1996 by brothers Pat and Roger Lee.

Headline News West Midlands Animation Development Scheme

Light House, in partnership with Screen West Midlands, and animation companies Screenburn and The CharacterShop in the U.K., are launching a new initiative to provide work placement opportunities for talented new animators with these regional animation companies.

Headline News Global Gaming League & ClanBase Form Strategic Partnership

The Global Gaming League (GGL), the leader in competitive videogaming entertainment, announced a strategic partnership with ClanBase.com, Europe's leading competition organizer for online gamers. The partnership will see the two companies working together to take competitive online videogaming to the next level by combining their respective communities and talents. Together, they form the world's largest online gaming community with more than a million players from 190 countries around the world.

Headline News Chinese Animator Wins Copyright Battle With Nike

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, December 30, 2004 at 12:00am

Chinese Internet cartoonist Zhu Zhiqiang has won a court battle against the U.S. footwear and apparel maker Nike Inc. over the company's use of his "Little Match Man" illustration, reports the ASSOCIATED PRESS. Zhu had sought $240,000 in compensation, but a Beijing court only granted him $36,000 in compensation and forced Nike to issue a public apology to Zhu, the CHINA DAILY newspaper said.

"I got what I wanted - confirmation on my copyright over my stickman," Zhu said.

Headline News 5,000-Year-Old Animation Found in Iran

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, December 30, 2004 at 12:00am

A 5,000-year-old animated piece on an earthen goblet was found in Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchistan province, southeastern Iran, reports IRANIAN.WS. On this ancient piece, the artist portrayed a goat jumping toward a tree to eat leaves.

The earthenware found in Burnt City, one of the most developed of ancient civilizations, show the images of goat and fish more than any other subject.

Headline News Animated Look at Sumatra Earthquake/Tsunami

The devastating tsunami caused by an earthquake Dec. 26, 2004, off Sumatra, 1,620 kilometers northwest of Jakarta, traveled at an average speed of 700 kph across the Indian Ocean as fast as a jetliner according to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, it was reported by THE DAILY YOMIURI.

Headline News Shorts International to Distribute American Short Film Catalog

U.K.-based Shorts International, the short film distribution arm of Britshorts Ltd., has become the exclusive distributor for the entire short film library of American Vantage/Hypnotic. American Vantage/Hypnotic, a subsidiary of American Vantage Media Corp., has one of the largest high-quality short film and animation libraries in the world. The combined entity gives Shorts Intl the largest short film distribution capability across the globe.

Headline News Disney Doesn’t Support Disney on Board at Disney

Last week, Disney shareholder Frank Wierenga put forth a proposal to the board of directors of the Walt Disney Co. to open a seat on the board to a member of the Disney family. Roy Disney responded with gratitude, but declined the proposal on behalf of the Disneys. Below is Roy Disneys response to the proposal.

Headline News Red Star Studio Raises Banner for Film Revolution

Red Star Studio has opened its doors in Sheffield. The new company will produce high-end digital effects and animation aimed at independent film and television. Situated in the burgeoning film community of Sheffield in the north of England and with a base in London, Red Star has been founded by the award-winning duo Benjamin Smith and Jan Rogowski. Their previous credits include Chris Morris' BAFTA award-winning 35mm short film MY WRONGS 8245-8249 AND 117, for which they created all the visual effects.

Headline News Thomson Acquires MPC in Major VFX Expansion

Thomson has acquired The Moving Picture Co. (MPC) from British broadcaster, ITV, for £52.7 million (76 million). MPC, which is located in the Soho district of London and employs around 400 people, is an industry-leading provider of vfx and post-production services to both the feature film and commercial advertising industries.

Headline News Jim Henson Co. Re-Structures Television Department

In order to increase its network and cable programming portfolio, The Jim Henson Co. has hired Eric Poticha as vp of Television and Halle Stanford as head of children's television. Poticha will develop new comedy and drama series, miniseries and features for television as well as develop future Muppet projects to be produced by Henson for The Walt Disney Co. Stanford will lead development and production of all preschool and children's programming for both television and direct-to-video projects in animated and live-action formats.

Headline News Disney Supports Blu-ray Disc Format

The high-def DVD war just got more interesting, as The Walt Disney Co. announced its non-exclusive support of the Blue-ray Disc format embraced by Sony and manufactured by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. This comes on the heels of last weeks announcement that Toshiba Corp. is getting support from Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. and New Line for its rival next-generation DVD format, HD DVD.

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