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Headline News CeMedia Announces Strategic Partnership With Firkafilm

Production agency CeMEDIA (Central European Media Workshop) has added Hungary's FirkaFilm to its production network and named it "First Base Studio" for the CeMEDIA production pipeline. Firka will control the overall production process and subcontract to other CeMEDIA member studios. Under contract with Varga Studios, Firka has provided animation services for an ANGELINA BALLERINA special and most recently completed the animation for 5 episodes of the series MR. BEAN. CeMedia will be at MIPCOM to distribute nearly 50 hours of animation provided by their European member studios.

Headline News Cinar President And CEO Steps Down

Barrie Usher, president and CEO of Canadian children's entertainment company Cinar, has submitted his resignation effective September 15, 2002. George Rossi, senior vice president and CFO, will replace him in the interim until a new president and CEO is appointed. Cinar is emerging from a series of financial scandals that began in 1999, stemming from illegally obtained Canadian tax credits, non-approved investments in offshore accounts and the misappropriation of funds by senior executives.

Headline News Visual Effects Company Zoic Studios Launches

Executive producer Steve Schofield, along with creative directors Chris Jones and Loni Peristere, all formerly of Radium, have formed visual effects company Zoic Studios. The new company, based in Los Angeles, California, will provide visual effects and CG animation for commercials, music videos, feature film and episodic television. The team is currently providing effects for the new Fox show FIREFLY, as well as the popular series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL.

Headline News Phactory Productions And Ultraviolet Merge

New York-based 3D design and animation company Phactory Productions, Inc., has merged with broadcast design studio Ultraviolet to create UV Phactory. The newly formed creative solutions studio offers 2D and 3D design and animation, live-action production and strategic design solutions for advertising agencies and the broadcast and cable communities. The company has already begun work on a host of jobs including projects for Miramax, HBO, TBS and The Sci-Fi Channel. UV Phactory will operate under the management team of Scott Sindorf, Damijan Saccio and Jeff Linnell.

Headline News NewKidCo International Inc. Announces Q2 Results

Interactive entertainment producer NewKidCo International Inc., which develops games based on popular licensed characters such as WINNIE THE POOH and THE MUPPETS, announced its 2nd quarter 2002 results. The company had a net loss of $1.8 million for the quarter versus a net loss of $8.5 million for the same period last year. Income for the six months was a loss of $3.6 million versus a loss of $8.2 million last year, with revenue for the three and six months at $1.2 million and $3.1 million respectively versus $1.7 million and $5.3 million for the same period one year ago.

Headline News HIT Acquires Gullane

C21 Media reports that HIT Entertainment has finalized its acquisition of Gullane, in a deal worth approximately US$215.2 million. Gullane had consistently rebuffed HIT's acquisition proposals until July 2002, when Gullane's directors agreed to a takeover by HIT following support from major shareholders Britt Allcroft and Angus Wright. Adam Mills, chairman of Gullane said: "After careful consideration and a comprehensive review of alternatives, the Board has concluded that an acquisition of Gullane by HIT is in the best interests of shareholders.

Headline News Sunwoo USA Sets Up Shop In Burbank

Korean animation studio Sunwoo Entertainment has announced the establishment of Sunwoo USA, headquartered in Burbank, California. The U.S. headquarters will be the new business development, talent recruiting and international content development arm of Sunwoo Entertainment, which has produced hundreds of episodes of television series including RUGRATS for Nickelodeon, PEPPER ANN and RECESS for Disney and THE FAMILY GUY for Fox. Jae Moh, the executive vice president of Sunwoo Entertainment, will become the CEO and president of Sunwoo USA.

Headline News Dancing Diablo Studio Gets Fired Up

Brooklyn, New York is the home of a newly formed animation studio called Dancing Diablo. The studio set up shop in January 2002, and has already taken on some high profile projects, including work on Fox Kids' upcoming series TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. Founded by director / illustrator / motion designer Beatriz Helena Ramos, who at age 22 founded Caracas Comics Studio in her native Venezuela and has worked on such projects as MTV DOWNTOWN and John R.

Headline News DreamWorks Enhances Animation Production With $1.5 Billion In New Financing

According to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, DreamWorks is in the process of enhancing its animation production capabilities and hopes these enhancements will cut the production time for CG animated features in half. This would allow DreamWorks to release two to three animated features per year. DreamWorks just closed two major financing transactions totaling $1.5 billion. The new financing consists of a $1 billion film securitization, which DreamWorks is labeling the first of its kind in the film industry, as well as a $500 million revolving credit facility.

Headline News Film Roman Announces Increase In Quarter 2 Revenue

Independent animation company Film Roman has reported that revenue increased by 18% or $1.7 million, to $11.1 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2002 compared to $9.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2001. The revenue increase is attributed to the delivery of more fee-for-services television episodes. Net loss attributable to common stock for the second quarter of 2002 was ($169,756) or ($0.02) per share compared to a net loss attributable to common stock of ($1,293,641) or ($0.15) per share for the second quarter of 2001.

Headline News Egmont Imagination To Be Shuttered

Egmont Imagination, the international animation arm of Danish production and distribution company Egmont Entertainment, will be closed, according to a report in VARIETY. The announcement comes on the heels of Egmont joining forces with Danish film and television producer Nordisk Film in mid-August 2002. The new company will now be known as Nordisk Film.

Headline News Law Firm Files Class Action Against Disney Over Pooh Brouhaha

The law firm of Weiss & Yourman has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of securities of the Walt Disney Company between August 15, 1997 and May 15, 2002. The complaint alleges that Disney and some of its officers and directors violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by failing to disclose to the investing public the existence, details and potential effects of a pending lawsuit over merchandising rights concerning WINNIE THE POOH.

Headline News HIT Entertainment Canada Opens Its Doors

UK-based distributor HIT Entertainment has announced the opening of HIT Entertainment Canada, Inc. Officially launched on August 1, 2002, the Toronto-based office will function under the leadership of vice president Pam Westman, and is comprised of an entirely Canadian staff who are responsible for video, DVD and audio sales and distribution, as well as marketing, consumer products, licensing and broadcast sales for HIT's brands in Canada. "HIT recognizes the importance of having a corporate office in Canada," said Rob Lawes, CEO, HIT Entertainment.

Headline News The Animation Guild Signs With Spaff Animation For Upcoming Disney Films

The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE (formerly Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists) has signed a contract with Spaff Animation for work on Disney's upcoming theatrical release JUNGLE BOOK 2, as well as the direct-to-video release LION KING 1 1/2. Long-time animation vet Dave Spafford, who was a lead animator on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, THE SECRET OF NIMH, OLIVER AND COMPANY, THE FOX AND THE HOUND and many others, runs Spaff Animation, which has provided animation for a wide variety of projects for the past 15 years.

Headline News New Consulting Firm Nudge Productions Is Launched

Vancouver-based independent producer Samantha Daley has launched Nudge Productions to provide strategic production consulting, product marketing strategy, production management and sales and marketing. Her current clients include Atomic Cartoons, Pork and Beans Productions Inc. and MX Solutions. "Current market trends show production work moving from large conglomerate studios to smaller boutique studios.

Headline News Superheroes Boost Marvel Enterprises Revenue

It probably comes as no surprise that the incredible success of Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios feature film release SPIDER-MAN ($800 million worldwide) has led the company into strong second quarter revenues. Revenue in this quarter rose to $71 million from $45.9 million a year ago. For its quarter ended June 30, Marvel reported a net profit of $4.2 million after provisions for preferred dividends, or 10 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $11.4 million, or 33 cents a share, a year before.

Headline News Pixar Posts High Second Quarter Earnings

Citing the success of MONSTERS, INC. and strong sales of its Renderman animation software among other factors, Pixar Animation Studios announced higher than expected earnings for its fiscal second quarter ended June 29, 2002. For the quarter, Pixar earned $10.4 million or $0.20 per diluted share. These results compare to earnings of $8.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, achieved in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for the quarter were $22.8 million, as compared to $16.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Headline News TV-Loonland Acquires Majority Stake In Home Entertainment Company Metrodome

Family entertainment producer TV-Loonland AG continues to expand operations in its home entertainment unit by increasing its stake in the UK-based DVD and video distributor Metrodome Group plc, London. The deal, worth some £1.25 million (US$1.92 million), will be paid with 7.36 million Metrodome shares, increasing TV-Loonland's share in the company from 29.9% to a majority stake of 54.18%. Metrodome will subsequently assume Loonland's home entertainment rights for such series as PONGWIFFY, LITTLE GHOSTS, YVON OF THE YUKON and THE CRAMP TWINS.

Headline News Cartoonist Union Gets A New Name

IMotion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Local 839 IATSE will now be known as The Animation Guild. The union, which represents animators, designers, technical crafts and story people in the animation field, has been known by its former name (or the acronym MPSC) for over fifty years. But effective with its approval by the IATSE general executive board on July 23 and the Local 839 membership on July 30, 2002, the union will now official be known as The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE.

Headline News Nickelodeon Buys Out Noggin; Enters Into Production Deal With Sesame Workshop

Nickelodeon has bought out the other 50 percent of educational network Noggin from joint venture partner Sesame Workshop, pending customary regulatory approvals. Financial details of the buyout were not disclosed. The channel will be operated and managed by Nickelodeon, with Noggin general manager Tom Ascheim continuing to oversee the networks day-to-day operations. Ascheim will report to Herb Scannell, president, Nickelodeon, TV Land and The New TNN.

Headline News New VFX House Opens

Strega Imaging, a new visual FX and motion graphics design company, has opened its doors in Universal City, California. Partners and co-creative directors Colin Cheer and Michael Jackson gained their industry experience from their previous work on an eclectic array of projects. Cheer, an illustrator and designer, was involved in the early days of the desktop publishing revolution, and in 1997 he was recruited to head the 3D effects team at 525 Studios, working on effects for the series THE OUTER LIMITS along with other film and video projects.

Headline News AtomFilms to Launch Digital Cable Channel

AtomTelevision, a new joint venture between Internet short film provider AtomFilms and Global Media Holdings, has announced it will launch a digital network in early 2003 using its extensive library of short films and animation titles. As part of AtomTelevision's debut, the company is announcing the launch of its VOD (video-on-demand) initiative, Atom on Demand.

Headline News Disney Earnings Down; Warnings On Fourth Quarter Revenue

Despite the strong box office performance of recent hits LILO & STITCH and THE ROOKIE, The Walt Disney Company has reported lower than expected earnings for the quarter and nine months ended June 30, 2002. Referencing the downturn in the international and domestic travel and tourism industry as well as the economy as a whole, Disney cited in particular the drop-off of attendance at its domestic theme parks and resorts, and the lack of television advertising dollars at the ABC television network.

Headline News Pork And Beans Gets Flashy With Yakkity Yak

Vancouver, Canada's Pork and Beans Productions recently moved to a brand new 5000 square foot studio in the Yaletown district of Vancouver. The company is expanding to accommodate a growing staff as they prepare to start Flash animation production on the series YAKKITY YAK, in association with Studio B Productions. Distributed by MTV Networks International, YAKKITY YAK was created by Australian company Kapow Pictures and follows the life of a yak that longs for his big break into show business. It is scheduled to broadcast on Teletoon and Nickelodeon Australia in 2003.

Headline News A.D. Vision Forms Alliance With Japan's CoMix Wave

NorthAmerican anime distributor A.D. Vision, Inc. (ADV), has partneredwith CoMix Wave, Inc., a Japanese anime and manga management andproduction company, to promote and popularize CoMix Wave's creativetalent and holdings. CoMix Wave manages more than 50 of Japan's topmanga artists and illustrators, and works to discover and promote newtalent within the industry. The company also manages production --both in Japan and overseas -- of a variety of anime projects,

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