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Animation Headline News

Crest Animation Studios & RichCrest Secures $40 Million Financing

DE Shaw group has invested in a 14.99% stake in Mumbai-based Crest Animation Studios and another 26% in its U.S. subsidiary Rich Crest Holdings for an aggregate infusion of up to $40 million.

RichCrest Animation Inc., located in Burbank, California, has entered into an agreement with Lions Gate Inc. for the production of three full-length, 3D feature films.

The first movie, SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE, is scheduled for release in 2008. The second movie project titled, ALPHA & OMEGA, is in the development and is planned for release in 2009.

Mainframe Headline News

Rainmaker To Complete Acquisition of Mainframe

Rainmaker Animation & Visual Effects has entered into an agreement to acquire all of Mainframe Ent., with the new corporate name to be Rainmaker Ent. Inc. (REI).

This was the result of Rainmaker acquiring the balance of the 38% of the outstanding shares of Mainframe not owned by Rainmakers majority owned subsidiary, RNK Capital Ltd. Partnership (RNK Capital LP), by way of an amalgamation, resulting in a cash purchase price of $0.24 per share.

Animation Headline News

Recruiting Vet Rachelle Lewis Starts Up Animation/VFX Talent Agency

Rachelle Lewis, a long-time professional recruiter in the entertainment industry, has started her own recruiting company, Rachelle Lewis Recruiting and Talent, which specializes in placing animation and vfx artists for studios worldwide.

"My company specializes in placing animation and vfx artists for feature, TV and gaming," Lewis told AWN/VFXWORLD. We also represent artists who have television or feature treatments and help them in developing and pitching their ideas to major studios."

Cartoon Headline News

China To Produce 70,000 Minutes of Animation In 2006

China, which recently banned the telecast of foreign cartoons during primetime viewing, plans to produce 70,000 minutes of animation this year, state media reported. Already the country has produced 50,000 minutes, exceeding last year's total output of 47,200 minutes.

"The rapid development of China's cartoon industry is attracting more and more international attention," an official with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), Jin Delong said.

Online Headline News

Sony Online Ent. Acquires Worlds Apart Prods. Assets

Sony Online Ent. has acquired key assets of Worlds Apart Prods., a premier independent developer of online trading card games. Key employees of Worlds Apart will form the core of the new SOE-Denver, integrating into SOE's worldwide group of studios stretching from San Diego to Seattle and Austin to Taiwan. The acquisition will strengthen SOE's position as a leader in the online gaming space by extending the depth of its gaming offerings.

Digital Headline News

Picture Bug Prods. Celebrates Anniversary on Isle of Man

Picture Bug Prods., based in Ballaugh on the Isle of Man, has just celebrated its first anniversary, reports IOMOnline.co.im. The firm is run by Adrian Bell and Anthony Rea from their base at Iceman's Cottage where it creates animation, digital videos and moving graphics for commercials.

They have already worked with Manx Telecom, Sleepwell Hotels, Isle of Man Post Office and several other Island businesses and charities. They put together the Manx Telecom electronic Christmas card last year and have designed a video promoting Sleepwell Hotels.

Films Headline News

MTV & Nickelodeon Become Full In-House PMPG Labels

Viacom Inc. announced Aug. 21, 2006, that MTV and Nickelodeon will become full labels under the Paramount Motion Picture Group (PMPG) as part of a new structure designed to deepen their already successful track record with their core target audiences. The two former production companies, which had operated as on-lot producers, will now join several other labels under PMPG's umbrella, including Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics.

Headline News

Brits Ban Tokin’ Toons

Under pressure from regulators and the U.K. anti-smoking lobby, Turner Broadcasting will edit out scenes of cartoon characters smoking in U.K. versions of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including THE FLINTSTONES, TOM AND JERRY and SCOOBY-DOO, according to various news outlets.

In all, more than 1,700 episodes will be re-edited after the Office of Communications (Ofcom) received a complaint about two TOM AND JERRY toons "Texas Tom" and "Tennis Chumps" which aired on Turner-owned Boomerang.

Software Headline News

Thai, Singapore Firms Join In Animation Venture

E-Saan Software Park, a Thai software development agency in this northeastern province, and Singapore-based 3 View Group will jointly develop an animation and multi-media business to penetrate overseas markets, reports ETNA.MCOT.Net.

E-Saan Software Park director Panupong Wanjantuk said that the Animation and Multimedia Innovation Centre (AMIC) under the supervision of Khon Kaen University is coordinating with 3 View Group under a business plan to create job opportunities and generate income.

Design Headline News

Newspeak Opens in NYC with mtvU & VH1 Projects

Newspeak has started up in New York City as a young design boutique specializing in motion design, art direction and identity development. Founded by Erik Montovano, its creative director, he is joined at Newspeak by Andreea Prichea as exec producer. The companys initial projects are a major show package for mtvU MTVs 24-hour college network, and show packages for three Vh1Classic series.

Series Headline News

Cartoon Boom For Irish Animation Sector

The Irish animation industry has had an excellent year and the most recent success has been the selection of the Irish animated feature film THE UGLY DUCKLING AND ME, for the Toronto International Film Festival, which takes place next month. It will screen as part of the Sprockets Family Zone, which is dedicated to featuring films that represent the best in contemporary international childrens cinema.

Headline News

Cartoons Twice As Good As Mommy at Easing Pain

Cartoons are twice as effective as mothers at soothing the pain felt by children, a study has shown, reports THE TIMES ONLINE.

The research team at the University of Siena that carried out the study said that many techniques had been tried to distract children during medical procedures, like having a blood sample taken. They included hypnosis, relaxation and desensitisation, as well as toys such as kaleidoscopes, puppets and even virtual reality glasses.

Animation Headline News

Changzhou National Hi-tech District Completed

After a one and a half of construction, the Changzhou National Hi-tech District, based in Jiangsu province, China, has been finished. Participation includes more than 40 animation companies from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and cooperative agreements from eight overseas entities from Korea, India, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore. Based on the status of their working agenda, by the end of this year, 12 animated productions should be completed, totaling 6,251 minutes.

Headline News

NaturalMotion Gets Funding from Benchmark Capital Europe

NaturalMotion Ltd. announced that it has closed a major financing round with Benchmark Capital Europe, the top-tier venture capitalist behind eBay, Betfair, Setanta and bebo.com. The additional capital will help NaturalMotion extend its lead in the development of innovative and interactive 3D entertainment technologies such as euphoria, a groundbreaking motion synthesis technology for next-generation videogame consoles.

Games Headline News

Research Reveals Casual Games Provide Mental Balance, Stress Relief

RealNetworks Inc., the leading developer, publisher and distributor of casual games, announced research findings that demonstrate U.S. adults who play computer games play casual games for a quick mental break. Sixty-four precent of respondents cited gameplay as a way to unwind and relax, while 53% play for stress relief.

Animation Headline News

China Bans Foreign Cartoons From Primetime

Chinas State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has issued a new notice stating that no TV stations will be allowed to broadcast foreign cartoons before 8:00 pm, starting from Sept. 1, 2006, reports various news sources. Chinas primetime programming hours are 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

The notice was not published on SARFT's website, but staff at Southwest China's Guizhou Provincial Television Station, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to CHINA DAILY that they received it more than two months ago.

Comics Headline News

Virgin Comics Sets Up Animation Shop In Bangalore

Virgin Comics has set up an animation studio in Bangalore where artists work on themes with a strong eastern influence. Reports NDTVPROFIT.COM.

"Bangalore is the true R&D centre for Virgin animation," said Suresh Seetharaman, president, Virgin Comics & Virgin Animation. "It creates all the content, be it art, content and works with a complete network of people abroad who help us put it all together."

Headline News

Buena Vista Worldwide Home Ent. Launched

Details of the previously announced restructuring of the Buena Vista Home Ent. division were revealed, as BVHE and Buena Vista Home Ent. International are integrated into one global division: Buena Vista Worldwide Home Ent. (BVWHE).

Explained BVWHE president Bob Chapek: "With the rapidly changing landscape facing the home entertainment industry, we need to embrace not only new technologies but the global nature of our business as well. This new organization addresses the need for global strategies and allows for market customization."

Animation Headline News

Wales’ Half A Million Animation Boost

The animation industry in Wales will receive a major boost following the announcement that three companies will share S4Cs £500,000 animation development and production fund.

The awards, given as part of a competitive tendering process, are to be split between Calon in Cardiff Bay, Griffilms, with offices in Caernarfon and Cardiff, and a partnership between Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da and Dinamo in Cardiff.

Calon will receive £250,000, while Griffilms receives £150,000. The Cwmni Da/Dinamo partnership will receive £100,000.

Online Headline News

MTV Networks Acquires Atom Ent. For $200 Million

Viacoms MTV Networks (MTVN) has acquired Atom Ent. Inc., a portfolio of four leading online destinations for casual games, short films and video, for $200 million. The deal advances the company's multiplatform strategy of building an engaging universe of music, gaming, entertainment, news and interactivity for targeted audiences.

Effects Headline News

VFX Vets Launch Gradient Effects

Gradient Effects, a new visual effects studio with international expertise specializing in feature work, has set up shop in Venice, California, founded by vfx supervisor/producer Thomas Tannenberger. He will be joined by Olcun Tan as head of R&D, a former lead effects developer at DreamWorks.

Studio Headline News

Sony Pictures Flexes Box Office Muscle

Sony Pictures Ent. has surpassed the $1 billion mark in box office receipts for calendar year 2006, making it the fifth year in a row the studio has reached that milestone at the box office, a feat matched only by Warner Bros.

Studios Headline News

Zoic BC Launches in Vancouver

Award-winning visual effects house Zoic Studios has opened Zoic BC. The Canadian-based company is being launched to service Zoic Studios' ever-diversifying client base, and has proven to be a natural step in the company's evolution. Zoic BC has already completed the feature film PATHFINDER for Twentieth Century Fox and is working on two episodics: EUREKA for SCI-FI Channel and BLADE for Spike TV, both of which have proved to be successful for their respective networks.

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