In further developments of the MTV restructuring that has so far resulted in layoffs and the closing of MTV Animation production, Abby Terkuhle is no longer president of MTV Animation. However, according to an MTV spokesperson, Terkuhle will continue his relationship with the company, although the nature of this relationship could not be discussed at press time. Sources suggest that Terkuhle will have a first look producing deal or some similar arrangement.
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Blue Sky Studios, currently at work on the upcoming CG animation feature ICE AGE, has laid off a significant number of their animators. Sources say approximately 100 people have been let go, which could not be confirmed by Fox as of press time. However, a Fox rep did concur that animators have been laid off because the studio is ramping down as principle animation on ICE AGE is nearing completion. The Fox corporate representative also said that Blue Sky has a project in development that has not yet been announced.
In a follow up to a story about the Secret Lab closing that was written in VARIETY and subsequently reported in AWN and numerous other media outlets, AWN was told that the layoffs were part of an overall restructuring of Disney, including the feature animation department, that was announced in April 2001.
Pixar Animation Studios, which currently has the United States top motion picture for a second week in a row, recently reported a 30 percent decline in third quarter earnings. Pixar said earnings fell to $6.2 million or 12 cents per diluted share in the third quarter, which concluded at the end of September 2001, a month before MONSTERS, INC. hit theaters. This figure is down from $8.8 million or 18 cents per share in the period a year ago. Pixar also announced that it is raising projections for 2001 EPS from the previous range of $0.50 to $0.58, to a new estimate of about $0.60.
THE SIMPSONS season premiere, which aired in its regular time slot of Sunday at 8:00 pm, scored high ratings it its 13th season kick-off. Although the show was delayed by 11 minutes in some time zones due to the NFL game wrap-up, it landed in 28th place with an excellent 8.8 rating/13 share. THE SIMPSONS lead-in KING OF THE HILL, also delayed, did not receive such stellar ratings, finishing in 53rd place with a 6.6 rating/10 share. The number two toon was THE SIMPSONS Halloween Special, which had been postponed from its original air date of October 31 due to the World Series.
NY Visual Effects studio Liquid Light, a division of Version2 Editing, has added Smoke artist Nathan Hurlburt to their roster. Initially an Avid editor, Nathan now includes visual effects design, compositing and online finishing among his talents. "Nathan is considered a whiz kid Smoke artist that I knew would impress our advertising and editorial clients," said Liquid Light executive producer Frank Devlin.
U.K.-based animation producers Cosgrove Hall have been given the go ahead by U.K. channel CiTV for 26 x 10 episodes of their new stop-motion/CGI series ENGIE BENJY, scheduled to debut on the channel in 2002. The show is geared toward pre-schoolers and follows the escapades of Engie Benjy the mechanic and his friends Dan the van and Jollop the dog. No distribution deals have been announced, but the show will be available internationally in 2002.
Creative Bubble has completed a four spot campaign for Wow Wee, a divison of Hasbro, Inc. by way of ad agency Posnick & Kolcker (NY). The spots all feature B.I.O.-(Bio-mechanical Integrated Organism) Bugs, Wow Wees new "artificial-intelligence" toy. "When Posnick & Kolcker called, they knew what they wanted," says Doug Dimon, senior effects artist at Creative Bubble. "First, they wanted a truly threatening sky. Second, they wanted two product shots to emphasize the dual mechanical-organic nature of these bugs.
On Level13.net, check out CalArts alum Charles Allen-Ecks award-winning short ONION JOHN. This musical tale of a misunderstood vegetable will leave you in tears.On Darkhorse.com, home to Darkhorse Comics, you find a growing variety of shorts including Tony Millionaires SOCK MONKEYand if youd like to see the day in the life of one unemployed man, check out LAID OFF at oddtodd.com (warning: contains some explicit language!).
Once again, those CG beasties dominated the box office. MONSTERS, INC. collected a whopping $46.2M in its second weekend bring its cume to $122.8M after 10 days. But expect Sulley and Mike to feel the effects of a young wizard named Harry when HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERERS STONE bows on Friday. The Farelly Brothers latest comedy SHALLOW HAL, with visual effects by Alterian Studios & Artist's Asylum Inc. had a big weekend, collecting $23.3M in its debut.
Liberty Livewire Pictures Group member R!OT Santa Monica will be integrating both artists and support staff from sister company 525 Studios. As a result, 525 Studios will curtail operations, effective by year's end.
Douglas Greiff has left his position as VP of program development at Nickelodeon to join Hip TV as partner and head of production. Specializing in Latin-themed programming, Hip TV has produced original programming in English, Spanish and Portuguese for USA Networks, E! Entertainment Television, The Discovery Channel and Fox Sports World, among others. Hip TV founder Beatriz Acevado said, Im delighted to have Doug as a partner in Hip TV.
Award-winning producer Dan Balaam has been promoted to creative director of Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the U.K. and is now in charge of all on air promotions and packaging for the channels. Having been with the channel since its launch, Dan has had a huge influence on the fun and irreverent look and style of the channel. While at Cartoon Network U.K.
The terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11th touched people worldwide, and many cartoonists have turned to art to express their grief. 9-11: EMERGENCY RELIEF is a comic book project to benefit the American Red Cross featuring some of the comic world's leading talents from legendary creators such as Will Eisner to hot new talents such as artist Frank Cho, whos original artwork for the cover of the book recently sold at Baltimore Comic-Con's benefit auction for $5,000, with the money going to the American Red Cross.
U.K. animation company Peppers Ghost Productions (PGP) has aligned with U.S.-based Beckett Entertainment to develop animation properties and have announced their first project. Entitled GENE-FUSION, the concept is pitched as an adventure property designed for multiple formats including TV series, gaming, feature film and Web entertainment. PGP is currently involved in all aspects of design and modeling for the GENE-FUSION concept plus scripting for the TV series.
The LEGO Company has partnered with Canadian entertainment company CinéGroupe and secured full global merchandising rights to the television show GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER DIMENSION. The show is scheduled to premiere in February 2002 on the Fox Kids Network in the U.S. and on YTV in Canada. The series GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER DIMENSION is inspired by Web characters created by writer-creator-producer Tom Lynch, and combines live-action with computer-generated animation, 3D backgrounds and special effects.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Team Soho has been hard at work creating THE GETAWAY, a highly anticipated game for Sony's Playstation 2 console. In THE GETAWAY the player takes on the role of Mark Hammond, a retired bank robber who is forced back into the world he left to save his son from an evil mobster. To animate the games characters, Team Soho used five motion-capture performers at once, in real-time. Each motion-capture performer wore an Ascension CyberSuit outfitted with 11 sensors and had a separate backpack and receiving base station.
On November 10, 2001 at a gala ceremony hosted by voice actor BillyWest, the 29th Annual Annie Awards were presented. The big winnerwas SHREK, which took home eight Annie's including outstandingtheatrical feature and outstanding directing for an animated feature.THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE nabbed three awards, for femaleperformer in an animated feature (Eartha Kitt as Yzma), best song andoutstanding individual character animation. In television, once againTHE SIMPSONS took home the award for outstanding primetime show.
ASIFA-Hollywood presents The 29th Annual Annie Awards, honoring excellence in the art of animation...
This week's updates to the Calendar of Events include: Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - Sunday, February 03, 2002, Los Angeles, California USA. An Evening of Diversions: Saturday, November 17, 2001, Los Angeles, California USA . . . York Independent Film Festival: Saturday, February 23 - Sunday, February 24, 2002, York, UK . . . Taos Talking Picture Festival: Thursday, April 11 - Sunday, April 14, 2002, Taos, New Mexico USA.
Will Ryan asks illustrator, cartoonist, animator, director Milton Knight about his worldwide artistic influences.
Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - Sunday, February 03, 2002, Los Angeles, California USA. Through nearly 400 objects from the 17th century to the present, Devices of Wonder explores our long and playful entanglement with the magical technologies and artful instruments that we have placed between our eyes and the world. Centuries before the advent of cyberspace, humans created a host of gadgets to enhance visual perception.
Saturday, November 17, 2001, Los Angeles, California USA. An Evening of Diversions - Featuring intriguing amusements inspired by the Devices of Wonder exhibition, An Evening of Diversions invites audiences to step back in time 100 years, when the new century offered mind-boggling technological advancements. Produced by Community Arts Resources, the evening features cinema's first frames, a magic lantern show and other acts of wonder that amazed the public in 1901. No reservations required. At the J. Paul Getty Museum on Saturday November 17, 6:00 - 9:00 pm.
Saturday, February 23 - Sunday, February 24, 2002, York, UK. Entry Deadline: Saturday, January 12, 2002. Call for Films! York Independent Film Festival is an annual competitive festival held in York, England. The 2002 festival will be held at the University of York on 23rd and 24th of February, and entries are now being accepted. Deadline for entries is January 12th 2002, and entry is FREE. Awards are to be given in the following categories: Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Feature, Best Short, Best in Festival.