fmx/conference presents and reflects upon the latest trends in an extraordinarily dynamic industry. And one trend can be seen very clearly throughout animation, visual effects, games and postproduction: story is king. Computer-generated imagery or effects are only effective to the degree that they serve a suspenseful and overwhelming narration. A few highlights from the conference (held May 5-8 in Stuttgart, Germany), include:
Alphanim's new 52x13 series MATT'S MONSTERS has secured new broadcasts of the series with Cartoon Network in Asia, RTP in Portugal and Noga Communications in Israel.
Co-produced by Alphanim, RAI Fiction and Torino-based animation studio Lanterna Magica, MATT'S MONSTERS is a 2D/Flash comedy starring boy-next-door Matt Average, an 8 year-old monster enthusiast who takes family business quite seriously and, as soon as homework is done, rushes to help out in his mom and dad's monster care agency.
Open Development Call for Batman: Brave and Bold Flash GameDeadline: March 27, 2009
Warner Bros. Animation and Mochi Media, in association with DC Comics, are having a casting call for developers to submit ideas for creating a new Flash game as a promotional brand extension for Warner Bros. Animation's hit animated series BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (www.braveandthebold.com), airing Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network.
M&M's is asking Canadians to "Join the Hunt." Created by Proximity Canada, BBDO Toronto, and Firstborn Multimedia based in New York, the campaign uses television, point of sale and online media inviting consumers to find and collect eggs with PIN codes and point values hidden on the web and inside specially marked packages of M&M's Speck-tacular Eggs. The more points collected, the better the chances of winning thousands of instant prizes or one of three grand prize getaways to New York, Las Vegas or Orlando, Florida.
PINOCCHIO's 70th anniversary edition hits DVD and Blu-ray today, March 10, along with a four-film BATMAN anthology on Blu-ray, SOUTH PARK (12th season) on Blu-ray for the first time, HOWARD THE DUCK on DVD for the first time, SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK and TRANSPORTER 3 on DVD/Blu-ray and an edition of WOODY WOODPECKER favorites on DVD.
ALL-STAR SPORTS DAY! on DVD
SPECIAL AGENT OSO, a new animated television series starring Academy Award-nominee Sean Astin as the voice of Oso, a fuzzy, lovable, bumbling stuffed panda bear who is a special agent-in-training, premieres with two consecutive episodes Saturday, April 4 (8-9 a.m., ET/PT) during Disney Channel's learning-focused Playhouse Disney programming block.
The interactive series, which emphasizes discovery, humor and organizational skills, calls upon viewers to help accomplish special missions by breaking down everyday tasks using three simple steps, just as Oso does.
This week in AWN's Forums, members are discussing last weekend's Annie Awards. Did WALL-E and Pixar get snubbed, or is that just the way it goes? What are the 'Do's and 'Don't's for your pitch bible's design and layout? What are some good ways to develop empathy in animated characters? A member is having Flash issues, come help!
As well as, tools for teaching animation, the business of animation and, as always, brand-new stuff to check out in show and tell!
MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA comes in for a landing on DVD and Blu-ray on FRIDAY, February 6, 2009 from DreamWorks Animation.
With twice the laughs, twice the fun and twice the Penguins, the Move It! Move It! Double DVD Pack and Blu-ray include two animated adventures from Nickelodeon's new television series, THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. The series stars Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, Private and King Julien back at the New York zoo where it all started -- on a mission... without permission.
FEAR(S) OF THE DARK came out Monday, with MADAGASCAR 2 hitting DVD/Blu-ray shelves on Friday. Tuesday releases include a MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER volume, AFRO SAMURAI: RESURRECTION, the 20th anniversary edition of OLIVER & COMPANY, direct-to-DVD SPACE BUDDIES and more.
AFRO SAMURAI: RESURRECTION on DVD and Blu-ray
TABCO Inc. and Digital Video have released TAB Kids 3.1, the new version of a software tool that smoothly introduces kids to the animation world in a funny and intuitive way.
The TAB Kids is a friendly and colorful software for kids to create animations and cartoons. It is so easy that any kid can use it with spectacular results, and yet it is powerful, as it relies on the Toonz technology developed for the industry to produce feature films and television series.
Kevin James comedy PAUL BLART: MALL COP won the box office with $39.2M for Sony in its opening holiday weekend. The box office as a whole was up 31 percent over last year's Martin Luther King, Jr. four-day weekend (per VARIETY).
GRAN TORINO (Warner Bros.) moved down one spot to second with $25.6M and in six weeks has a cume of $76.6M. Third went to opener MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D, the widest 3-D opening yet in 2,534 screens, making $24.1M for Lionsgate.
Atomic Cartoons have announced a partnership with Punktuition LLC on the new animated comedy series, PUNKTUITION. Atomic will debut the project to buyers and broadcasters at the 2009 Kidscreen Summit in New York in February.
MARLEY & ME (Fox, vfx by At The Post, LOOK! Effects and Lola Visual Effects) won the weekend box office, earning $24.26M between Jan. 2-4, 2009 and earning a total two-week holiday gross of $106.66M.
Disney's Adam Sandler family comedy BEDTIME STORIES earned $20.5M, staying in second place. With vfx by RotoFactory, Cinesite, Gentle Giant Studios, LOOK! Effects, Lola Visual Effects, Mark Rappaport Creature Effects, Proof and Tinsley Transfers, the film has earned $85.54M since debuting Christmas Day.
Fox's MARLEY & ME won the weekend box office (Dec. 26-28) with $36.4 million, earning a total of $50.7M since its Christmas Day release. The comedy starring Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and 22 dogs had vfx by At The Post, LOOK! Effects and Lola Visual Effects.
The film's $14.75M first day was the largest Christmas Day opening in motion picture history.
Animacam, the Spain-based online international animation festival, closed its first edition on December 21 and announced the 11 winners for 2008.
Winning its opening weekend, Jim Carrey's comedy YES MAN (Warner Bros., vfx by LOOK! Effects) earned $18.26M, lower than expected because of bad, snowy weather covering much of the U.S.
Will Smith's mysterious drama SEVEN POUNDS (Sony, vfx by CafeFX) opened in second place with $14.85M. Animated feature THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX (Universal, animation from Framestore Feature Animation) placed third in its opening weekend with $10.1M.
This week in AWN's Forums, animators working through Christmas are wishing holiday greetings to each other. A member has written two scripts for any interested producers or studios to take a look at. Know what Los Angeles-based studios are hiring interns? A recent grad is looking for entry-level work. The discussion on transitioning After Effects to Final Cut Pro continues, as does the discussion on how to effectively create thick outlines in Flash.
This week in AWN's Forums, a member wants to know where it's possible to find copies of animation series pitch bibles, either for free or for a fee. Moderator Larry Lauria has created an online Animated Christmas Festival on his blog. What's the best way to go about selling a concept to your employer? And there is cry for help with Flash PNG files. What codec should a person save to when streaming 2D Quicktime files. A discussion continues on how to quickly and efficiently add thick outlines in Flash.
Thanks in part to several new creatively challenging assignments -- including a comprehensive campaign for General Mills that includes both on-air and online components -- Calabash Animation, the animation studio led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, has made several significant investments in new animation talent and technology.
THE DARK KNIGHT, DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO! and the fourth season of LOST arrive on DVD and Blu-ray, plus Oscar-winning Best Animated Short PETER & THE WOLF makes its U.S. DVD debut, and more.
THE DARK KNIGHT On DVD And Blu-ray
This week in AWN's Forums, a newbie to animation wants to know the best 2D animation programs. Discussion continues on the aspect ratio on animation software. A member wants to know the best way to set up a Flash movie for eventual broadcast or screening. Have some advice on becoming a voiceover actor? A member is looking for advice. Help out a member choosing which 3D software to use for a feature film. A junior at the Savannah College of Art and Design is looking for a summer internship. Got some cool links to Christmas animation? Post them now!
Bitfilm has released the first issue of its new BITFILM COLLECTION. It contains 12 groundbreaking digital animations, voted on the first ranks by the international audience of the Bitfilm Festival -- including all six winners of the Bitfilm Awards. Once a month, the digital film experts will select 12 films that they consider state of the art of digital animation.
Animation is not just kids' stuff anymore, and Nexus Productions Ltd. is in the thick of the changing creative and business market for animated films of all kinds. The London-based company, founded 10 years ago to create creative, family animation for commercials, music videos and shorts, has recently doubled its size, secured new avenues of funding, and positioned itself to take advantage of a revolution in the field. In addition, two recent short films produced by Nexus, THIS WAY UP and DAMAGED GOODS, have qualified for the 2008 Academy Award for animated short.
Nathania Seales has been promoted to VP of production for Cartoon Network On-Air. Formerly senior director of on-air production, Seales will oversee production of on-air promotions, program production, ad-supported/sponsored promotions and branding material for Cartoon Network and Boomerang. She will continue to manage the assignment of projects and budget allocations to partnering production companies, writers, animation and live-action producers and on-air talent.