Animation World Magazine, Issue 1.12, March 1997

March 1997 News

Compiled by Wendy Jackson

MTV Signs Fred Seibert to Exclusive Independent Production Deal. Former Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert has entered an exclusive independent production deal with MTV Networks, a division of Viacom. MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1 will have exclusive rights to all animated and live-action projects he develops for television. Seibert will also consult on aspects of programming and promotion for the networks. This is actually Seibert's return to MTV, as he points out in commenting, " I started working with MTV Networks in 1980, and after five years away, it is thrilling to be accepted into their generous amnesty program." At that time, Seibert was involved in the launch of MTV, and played an integral role in the development of the animated MTV and Nickelodeon logos. "Fred has had tremendous experience and success in the worlds of animation and brand-building, two cornerstones of our company." said MTV Networks chairman and CEO Tom Freston. "As we now accelerate our investment in animation, we are tapping a huge talent with Fred." Seibert will remain in Los Angeles, with his office based at Nickelodeon Animation Studios.

Saban and Fox: Another Big Deal. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has just inked a seven figure deal to market, sell and distribute Saban Entertainment's huge library of titles. The two companies have also started a joint production agreement to create and distribute a branded home video line, banking on Fox's power in marketing and Saban's expertise in licensing and merchandising. Bob DeLellis, president of Fox Home Video North America, was quoted in Daily Variety as having said, "Our goal is to build a larger presence in the kids marketplace, and there is no better partner or proven leader in that arena than Saban. This is a huge opportunity to build a brand that has significant long term potential."

Meanwhile, Saban has cleared sale of its 3 new kids shows in 75% of the US, including all of the top 5 markets. X-Men has been sold to 61 stations reaching 75% of the US. Marvel Super Heroes has been sold to 64 stations. The All New Captain Kangaroo has been sold to 74 stations. Oliver Twist was renewed for its second season with clearance from 57 stations.

Disney Gets Savage. Walt Disney Television has signed a multi-year development deal with writer/producer Savage Steve Holland, whose credits include animated kids shows Eek! The Cat, The Terrible Thunder Lizards and Klutter. He will develop both animated and live-action projects for Disney, on an exclusive basis.

Animated Documentary in Africa. EntreActe Productions in France is completing production on Archipel, an animated documentary made in collaboration with children from the Ivory Coast in Africa. The film is a portrait of Abidjan society, through the eyes and imagination of Abidjan children ages 8 to 15. The 52 minute live-action/animation documentary film will be released in June, together with an exhibition of the film artwork and a musical CD.

DESIGNefx's Alice In Wonderland spot.DESIGNefx's Alice In Wonderland spot.

Designfx Animates Chesire Cat. Atlanta-based commercial production company, DESIGNfx, recently created a 30 second spot for the Atlanta Ballet's production of Alice in Wonderland. The fully animated commercial features the Chesire Cat character. Spot director Jai Husband used Toon Boom software to create the animation, and the Harry system to synchronize it with the spoken track.

The Universal Miss Spider. David Kirk, author of the popular children's storybooks Miss Spider'storybooks, has sold rights to the character and property to Universal Pictures, who plans to develop a feature film, a home video line, CD-ROMs, music and theme park attractions based on the character. In the last two years, Kirk's Miss Spider books have sold more than one million copies in the US. The books are published by Kirk's partner, publisher Nick Callaway. Together, they founded Callaway & Kirk, described as "a family entertainment company." Callaway said, "Universal is the perfect partner for us because they share our imagination, energy and vision for the incredible growth potential of our character."

Olive Jar Gets Fruity. Olive Jar Animation, the Boston-based studio known for its innovative stop-motion style, has created a new spot for General Mills Fruit by the Foot product. Entitled Beary Scary, the commercial features clay-animated characters telling ghost stories around a campfire, who are attacked by a grizzly bear hungry for their snacks. The spot was animated and directed by is directed by Tom Gasek.

Electronic Arts Invests in Stormfront. The huge interactive software company has just increased its capacity by placing an investment in Stormfront Studios, a software development company based in San Rafael, California.

Humongous Entertainment's character, LutherHumongous Entertainment's character, Luther

Game News. Brøderbund's Imagimaker Series has a new interactive art game for children called Orly's Draw a Story. The game enables the player to create characters which are then animated into a story. . . . Humongous Entertainment, a division of GT Interactive, has released two new educational animated children's games, Freddi Fish and Luther's Water Worries and Freddi Fish and Luther's Maze Madness. . . . Activision is in production on Zork, Grand Inquisitor as the latest in the Hallmark Zork franchise, a series of interactive games involving magic and myth. Zork Grand Inquisitor is scheduled to be released in Fall '97.

The Following News items are reprinted from the February 21 edition of the AWN Animation Flash email newsletter.

Oslo Animation Festival
, the only animation festival for the Nordic countries, is planned for April 24-27. This is an annual competitive festival, which is a nonprofit organization supported by ASIFA Nordic. 170 films have been chosen by the preselection committee, which includes Per Tönnes Nilson, Kjersti Alver, Barbro Björkfelt, Phil Mulloy, Pritt Pärn, Georges Lacroix, Michaela Pavlatová, and Paul and Menno DeNoojier.

Zlín Animation Festival will take place in the Czech Republic May 19-23. The noncompetitive, international festival will feature animated films for children, presentations of Czech and Slovak student films and a separate competition of animated feature films.

Visual Effects Society Formed. In response to the increasing expansion in the field of special effects, a group of leaders in the industry has banded together to form a new professional nonprofit organization called the Visual Effects Society(VES). Dedicated to the "advancement and promotion of the art and science of visual effects," there is speculation that VES could be an answer to the current overcrowding of recognition for the craft in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The society's mandate focuses on three primary areas: information, education and recognition. Jim Morris, elected VES chairperson and president of Lucas Digital said, "The formation of the VES is a culmination of the significant evolution that has occurred in the effects industry. The creative artists and the technology of the effects world have become a key force shaping film, television and interactive media."

Serving as paid executive director is Tom Atkin, an independent marketing consultant for over 25 years, who has worked on ad and marketing campaigns for Paramount, Universal and Sony. To date, there have been 28 people named to the board of directors, representing the leading VFX companies, including Cinesite, Dream Quest Images, Digital Domain, Industrial Light & Magic, Pacific Data Images, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Will Vinton. For more information on VES, contact 818.789.7083.

Real-Time Animation Association Formed. The Performance Animation Society (PAS) is a new organization for professionals working in the realm of real-time and motion-capture animation. Founded by Richard Cray and co-directed by Gregory Peter Panos, the association is open to all types of professionals in this rapidly-evolving craft, from computer animators and composers to actors, dancers and puppeteers, as well as game developers and real-time system engineers and designers. With the recent opening of Medialab's Los Angeles studio, and the expansion of local companies such as Modern Cartoons and House of Moves, the organizers felt that time was right for a professional group in this area. The first PAS meeting was held in February in Santa Monica. For more information, visit the PAS web site at

MSIA Goes Digital.
The Manitoba Society of Independent Animators (MSIA) has invested in a PC system to run 2D and 3D computer animation programs AXA, Autodesk and 3D StudioMax. MSIA technical committee members plan to spend the next few months learning the technology before offering classes to members and the general public. Bill Stewart, who coordinated the acquisition, said, "We will be approaching agencies to fund us in order that we can buy more workstations. We can't really offer courses with only one PC." MSIA is a non-profit organization established in 1987; members include Oscar nominees Cordell Barker and Richard Condie.

Buzz Goes Pop. Pacific Ocean Post, a post-production company based in Santa Monica, has has acquired Buzz F/X, a computer-generated imaging facility formerly operated by Buzz Image Group in Montreal. The new studio will be called POP Animation, and will double its staff of 10 computer graphics artists and animators already employed at the Santa Monica facility.

Duck Soup Makes Alphabet Soup. Duck Soup Producktions and their independent new media/live-action production arm, The Front, have animated a new series of commercials for the US West Yellow Pages Directory. The first spot, The Big Sweep uses computer animation to portray a janitor sweeping letters off the cover of the book, while the second spot, Doodling Around, features the book being flipped like a huge flipbook to form the campaign logo. Other recently completed spots by the Los Angeles-based production company include Wizard, Personal Trainer and Barber, three in a series of animated duck (how appropriate) spots for the Cadillac Catera campaign; a "stick-figure style" animated spot for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, as well as the live-action and animation combo spot, Genie for Alpha-Bits Cereal.

AMPnyc Creates Cartoon Network Spots. One-year old New York-based AMPnyc, a new independent animation studio, recently completed two major projects for the Cartoon Network. Big Wednesday is a series of 23 interstitials promoting the network's new Wednesday night lineup, which showcases a "cutting-edge style" using multimedia animation technique spots, and the new "O Canada" series of National Film Board of Canada shorts.

The company's second project is a series of four one-minute shorts called Cartoons That Never Made It, which parody various styles and concepts. The shorts--Rupert the Grouper, Frothy Dawg, Heidi and the Yodelers and Salt and Slug--will all be airing by mid-March, and will also be showcased at various animation festivals, including the upcoming World Animation Celebration in Pasadena. AMPnyc was founded in April 1996 by Michael Adams, whose partners are Ted Minoff and Greg Pair.

Renegade Relocation. Burbank-based Renegade Animation has moved their office again, this time just a mile down the road. The move was necessary to accomodate their growing staff. With 8 rooms and an artist's bullpen area capable of housing up to 12 people, the larger facility will lend room for new Renegade personnel include animators Ken McDonald, David Vamos and Ashby Manson, animation checker Dora Yakutis, and production coordinator Laura Velkei. "Now we can do more work in-house and keep tighter control over costs and the creatuive aspects of each project,." said Darrel Van Citters, Renegade president and director.

Space Jam Now in Europe, Soon in UK. Warner Bros.' Space Jam has hit the screens in Europe, grossing a total of $8.7 million in opening weekend alone (Feb 7-9). Box offices raked in the following grosses: $2.7 million in Germany, $2.4 million s in France, $1.7 million n Spain; the film is also playing in Switzerland, Austria, Denmark and Portugal. The Museum of the Moving Image in London will present an exhibit on the making of Space Jam,"featuring animation artwork from the film. The exhibit, running March 14-June 1, opens with the premiere of the film in the UK.

David & Alison to Make "Bob & Margaret"?? British animators Alison Snowden and David Fine are currently optioning the rights to develop their Oscar-winning animated short Bob's Birthday into a half-hour TV series. Canada's Nelvana is looking into developing the Bob and Margaret Show based on the middle-aged couple in Bob's Birthday. If the project moves forward, it will be a Canadian-UK co-production ,with the participation of Channel 4 in England. "We are really excited.," Fine told AWN.

Too Much Coffee Man Will Be "Schoolhouse Rocked." Bob Dorough, composer, lyricist and vocalist of the pop culture classic ABC short series Schoolhouse Rocks, will lend his talents to the new Too Much Coffee Man animated series, by writing and recording the theme song. Currently in development by InVision Entertainment, Coffee Man is an "edgy" animated series for adults, based on the underground comic by Shannon Wheeler, hoping to be on air by mid-1998. InVision Entertainment executive vice president Michael Hack describes Coffee Man as a cross between Seinfeld and Comedy Central's Dr. Katz, and said" the fact that our target audience is the older teen and young adult audiences (18-35) cinches this deal. Bob Dorough's style is exactly what we are looking for." InVision has just completed production on Streetfighter for the USA Network.

Cinar Partners With Readers Digest. The animation producer and the publisher have signed an agreement to jointly produce and distribute animated programming for children around the world. The first project, an adaptation of the children's story, The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures will be a Cinar co-venture with France Animation, in association with Ravensburger of Germany and Reader's Digest. All 26 episodes will feature the Reader's Digest brand name, as will any home videos based on the series. "The partnership brings us together with a global leader who shares our vision of responsible and entertaining children's programming," said Cinar president Ronald A. Weinberg.

Saban Restructures Licensing & Merchandising Division. Mega-entertainment company Saban Entertainment announced a new "category management partnership program" which puts the process of licensing, developing and merchandising a property under the management of one person or team, rather than having the various stages of responsibility divided among different departments. "After meeting one-on-one with many of our licensees and retail partners, we redesigned our infrastructure to better enable us to focus all of our licensing resources on a particular category. Now, in lieu of dictating to our licensees, we work strategically in conjunction with our licensees and retailers, to design the big picture together as partners and think about eachother in a very comprehensive way." said Susanne Lee, senior vice president of Licensing and Merchandising for Saban. Bandai America, Mattel, Toy Biz, Disguise, S. Goldberg, and Gordy are among Saban's licensing partners.

Four Media Co., which recently partnered with French company Medialab, sold about 5 million shares of common stock, bringing in about $28 million in their initial public offering.

Dreamworks Signs First-Look With Weitz and Weitz. Paul and Chris Weitz, the screenwriters of Ants (the DreamWorks/PDI computer-animated feature currently in production), have signed a one-year, non-exclusive first-look deal with Dreamworks SKG. The development deal will include both animation and live-action scripts. Dreamworks Pictures co-head Laurie MacDonald said, "These guys have style, substance and a truly original voice . . .we're thrilled that they've decided to make Dreamworks their home."

Hollywood Shuffle.
Kathleen Helppie-Shipley
has been promoted from vice president to senior vice president at Warner Bros. Classic Animation, where she will executive produce and oversee production of classic character animation sequences for theatrical shorts, TV specials and promotional spots. Kathleen has been working in animation at Warner Bros. since 1980. . . Marjorie Randolph has joined Walt Disney Feature Animation as vice president of human resources, where she will oversee all aspects of recruiting, contract negotiations and employee relations. And over at one of Disney's acquired companies, Pamela Thompson has started recruiting full-time for Dreamquest Images.

Cori Stern has been promoted from the position of manager to director of program development at Saban Entertainment, where she will continue to oversee development of new animated and live action programming, reporting to senior vp of development Joel Andryc. How did Stern get into such a great position? Take a look back at her tips on the trade column, entitled "So You Wanna Be An Animation Executive?, published in Animation World Magazine's September '96 issue. Saban has also added two more development executives to the department; Kim Christiansen, who moved over from Walt Disney TV Animation programming, and John Luiso, who moved over from MCA/Universal merchandising.

David L. Simon has taken on the role of heading up operations for Dreamworks Tv Animation. Simon migrated from Walt Disney TV, as did Dreamworks TV Animation division head Gary Krisel, who will supervise Simon in his new role. Dreamworks Interactive has named Craig Relyea head of marketing and JEFF NUZZI as lead marketing manager (he was former Disney Interactive marketing manager) Meanwhile, Dan Kaufman, former Dreamworks Interactive head of business development, has left the company to pursue other interests.

Eddie Dombrower has been promoted from director to vice president of JIM Henson Interactive in Los Angeles. Part of his responsibilities will be to oversee a joint project with Microsoft to develop original online programming.

Nickelodeon Latin America has named Stephen Grieder vp and creative director, and Tony Fadel program director for the network.

Meta Tools to Acquire Fractal. Visual design software companies Meta Tools Inc. and Fractal Design Corp. will soon merge when Meta Tools acquires Fractal for $145 million in stock. The as yet to be renamed combined company will account for about 270 employees, and will bring together a large collection of professional computer graphics, animation, video, photography and digital imaging software.

Digital Domain Gets Top Line Feature Credit. TV advertisements for the new effects-laden Universal Pictures feature film Dante's Peak includes prominent top-line credits for Digital Domain, the Venice, California-based studio which created most of the special effects on the film. While this may not sound like a big deal, these days getting due credit is an increasingly hot topic with effects studios negotiating contracts for feature film work. The Los Angeles' SIGGRAPH chapter recently held a panel discussion called "How to Get A Credit," which featured speakers from Rhythm & Hues, Novocom, and Hammerhead Productions, as well as a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Visual Effects branch.

© Disney Enterprises Inc.

Home Video Releases. Walt Disney Home Video released an all-new line of Winnie the Pooh home videos Pooh Friendship, in celebration of what the Disney marketing folks have named "the year of friendship". The titles, Pooh Wishes,Tigger-ific Tales and Clever Little Piglet are priced at $12.99 each. Promotional tie-ins include a mail-in rebate for free Pooh lithographs.

Walt Disney Home Video will release its 34th animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame on video March 4, priced at US$26.99. Promotional tie-ins include licensing and merchandise rebates with General Mills, Nestle and Hasbro. Hunchback is nominated for an Academy Award in the Original Musical Score Category.

Central Park Media will release three anime titles on home video in April. Battle Arena Toshinden, available April 15, is based on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn video games of the same name. Big Wars, available April 8, is a science-fiction outer space adventure. Venus 5: The Inma Ball, available April 8, is a "dark erotic horror film."

The Following News items are reprinted from the February 7 edition of the AWN Animation Flash email newsletter.

Voice of Snow White Now Silent.
Adriana Caselotti, the legendary voice of the heroine in Walt Disney's first feature-length animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, passed away in her home on January 19th at the age of 80. "This is certainly the end of an era for all of us at the studio and for Disney animation lovers the world over. We really feel as if we've lost a member of the family." commented Roy E. Disney, current chairman of the Walt Disney Company.

Warner Bros. Pushes Quest Release Back. Warner Bros. Feature Animation has pushed back the release date of their first fully animated feature film, The Quest for Camelot, from November 1997 to the summer of 1998. Although this change throws a wrench in the works of merchandising and promotional plans tied to the film, it was necessary to give the production team more time to complete the animation on Quest, after many key animators were pulled away to frantically finish Space Jam last fall. The new release date means that Quest will be competing for audiences against Disney's Mulan, also scheduled for summer `98 release, rather than Fox's first animated feature Anastasia, which is sticking with its '97 holiday season release.

Nickelodeon Goes Nordic. This month, the Nickelodeon cable network has finally launched their broadcast in the Nordic territories with a commercial-free channel airing six hours of kids programming per day. Currrently the programming is available in both Swedish and English in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland through the ViaSat+ DBS cable package. Plans to dub Nick programming into Norwegian, Finnish and Danish languages are in the works.

Cartoon Network Nears 40 Million Subscribers. Cartoon Network is approaching the 40 million mark in the US, with a recent acquisition of 8 million subscribers--85% of which came from from Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) cable systems, which owns a 9% stake in Time Warner (the parent company of Cartoon Network). In order to make room for the channel, TCI has eliminated several other channels, including E! Entertainment Television and Comedy Central. The new broadcast area for Cartoon Network includes Los Angeles, Tuscon, San Francisco, San Jose, Denver, Baltimore and Boise.

King Of The Hill to Rule For Another Season. The Fox Broadcasting Co. has ordered a full season of 22 episodes of King of the Hill, Mike Judge's new animated series which is being paired with The Simpsons in the Sunday evening lineup. The decision had to be made after the show had been on the air only a few weeks, and ratings were available from just two episodes; but the network is confident that they have finally found the perfect show to fill the slot between The Simpsons and Married . . . With Children.

Networks Announce Program Schedules. This is the time of year when the TV networks present their schedules to advertisers, in preparation for pre-selling ad space in their program blocks. Saturday morning and afternoon kids blocks are generally presented to ad buyers from cereal, toy, and fast food companies. Here's some highlights of who will be showing what in the way of animation:

"We recognize that as our hits age, we need to infuse new and fresh programming into our schedule." commented Margaret Loesch, president of Fox Kids Network, which has recently been aggressively promoting itself in the industry as "the number one" kids network. Fox is still in active pursuit of a cable opportunity to air their kids programming 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Kids WB president Jean MacCurdy announced two new animated shows that will air on the network in 1997-98, as part of their overall increase in daily kids programming hours up from 9 to 19. The 10 additional hours will include Umptee-3 TV is an educational series about a pirate TV station for kids, produced by Norman Lear and former Disney animator Jim George. Calamity Jane is an action/adventure series set in the wild west, and The Bugs and Daffy Show is hoping to bank on the success of Warner Bros.' Space Jam released last year. Kids WB Network will continue to air Animaniacs, Pinky & the Brain, Batman, Superman and The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries.

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) will add at least three new animated series to its Saturday morning lineup, The subject matter covers its bases in terms of age groups, with Pepper Ann, a show about a spunky red-headed pre-teen and Recess, which is about a fifth grade student. The new 101 Dalmatians series being produced by Disney-owned Jumbo Pictures will also premiere in the fall, and will undoubtedly ride on the wave of success of the live-action feature film remake released this year.

Children's Television Workshop (CTW) is expanding its development effort with two new animated programs in development for CBS' Saturday morning slots and other outlets. Problem # 13, written by Nick Hollander (Tiny Toons, Animaniacs) and developed from a concept by Eric Weiner, will be a half-hour comedy adventure series with an educational focus on teaching everyday mathematics. Dragon Tales is a pre-schooler series for CBS which is currently in development with Columbia TriStar, for debut in the 1998-99 season. CTW is also developing a show with Flying Rhinosceros, Inc. ( a company recently founded by co-creators of the California Raisins) on a series that will teach children to draw cartoons. Dolores Morris, Vice President of Program Development at CTW said "We are reaching out more to Hollywood's creative community as CTW begins to undertake more ambitious projectsWe are developing cutting edge and breakthrough programs, projects that the company has not traditionally been known for."

The Money-Go-Round

This is also the time of year when publicly-traded companies release their earnings reports for the past year. Here is a rundown of where the money is.
Fourth-quarter earnings for PIXAR have exceeded the expectations of analysts, with an annual net income of $25.3 million (54 cents per share), a huge increase over 1995, during which Pixar's net income was only $1.6 million (4 cents per share). Not bad for a company which only went public a little over a year ago. The majority of Pixar's '96 profits can be attributed to sales of the "Toy Story" CD-ROM, not from the Toy Story video, as one might assume, because much of the revenue from the October home video release won't even get to Pixar until the first half of 1997 has passed.

Canadian animation producer CINAR FILMS INC. announced a 1996 revenue of $57.9 million, a 38% increase over the previous year. Gross profit increased 48% to $15.5 million. Cinar also recently donated an estimated $8.1 million of animation artwork to the Cinémathèque Québecoise, with the resulting tax deduction bringing earnings share up 45% to 32 cents per share. Cinar president Ronald Weinberg attributes the revenue to the increased production activities of the company, which produced 171 half-hours of programming in 1996.

The Big "D" Takes On E! to Start ABZ?? The Walt Disney Company has purchased Time Warner's 58% majority interest in E! Entertainment Television for $320 million. There has been some speculation that Disney would change the entertainment news channel into a childrens channel, after Disney/ABC's recent announcement of their plan to launch ABZ, a cable network to complement the Disney Channel. Although Disney's stake will undoubtedly have influence on E!'s programming, sources say that the entertainment news format will remain, since the network has only recently become profitable.

Paragon & Lacewood Deal Nears Closing. Toronto-based Paragon Entertainment has finally signed its agreement to acquire a 75% stake in Ottawa-based animation production company, Lacewood Productions. Lacewood, which until now has been controlled by its founder, Sheldon Wiseman, plans to use the extra financing to develop more proprietary productions. Wiseman decided to maintain his 25% interest so as to participate in the company's growth.

The Hollywood Shuffle.
Mary HarringtonMary Harrington

Nickelodeon has signed Mary Harrington to an exclusive production deal to identify, develop and produce animated properties for the network. The former vice president/executive producer of production and development for Nicktoons will offer first look rights to television and feature projects, both animated and live action. Harrington will continue to act as Executive Producer on Hey, Arnold! and the upcoming series Angry Beavers, which she developed. "Nicktoons is my baby, [but] they're getting the best out of me and now I'm doing more of what I like to do." said Harrington. Albie Hecht will serve as acting head of Nicktoons while Nickelodeon searches out her replacement.

Atlanta-based animation and special effects studio DESIGNefx has added two new animation talents to its staff; animation director Jai Anthony-Lewis Husband and CGI animator Rod Brunet. Both are experienced in the field; Husband's background includes animating for Disney and Turner Interactive while Brunet comes from the video game industry giant Electronic Arts/Origin Systems. . . . Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group has promoted former VP of business affairs Philip Muhl to senior vice president of business affairs for the division.

With the staffing crunch facing the animation industry these days, even recruiters are being recruited away from rival companies. Brad Reinke has taken over CG Technical recruiting for Dreamworks Animation, after a short stint as Recruiting Manager for effects house Digital Domain. Reinke previously headed up recruiting at Rhythm & Hues.

Colossally Interactive.
San Francisco-based (Colossal) Pictures has announced the expansion of their Interactive Division with the appointment of Sam Register as creative director, who joins the company from Turner New Media, the division which is producing the Cartoon Network World web site. "In working with Sam I am most impressed by his grasp of branding and a universal backwards and forwards knowledge of cartoon animation characters." commented George Evelyn, senior creative director. Launching this week is Colossal Interactive's latest project, a collaboration with Broderbund Software entitled Koala Lumpur: Journey to the Edge. The studio's next project in development is an new web show for Microsoft Network (MSN).

EAI'sCrayola Magic 3D Coloring Book.
EAI'sCrayola Magic 3D Coloring Book.

EAI To Make Interactive Products For IBM. Iowa-based Engineering Animation has been contracted by IBM's Consumer Division to produce a series of four Crayola 3D interactive products, which will give children an opportunity to customize 3D scenes using Crayola art tools. "This agreement is another example of how "Highly realistic 3D technology is not currently available in children's multimedia creativity products, and this series will set the new visualization standard for the category." said EAI president and CEO Matt Rizai.

Universal to Host Nickelodeon Theme Park Attraction. Universal Studios Hollywood is partnering with Nickelodeon to create Totally Nickelodeon, a permanent attraction of interactive games based on their kids TV shows. Opening in March, the attraction will include a 1,200 seat "theatrical playground" and The Sliminator, which will dump hundreds of gallons of Nickelodeon's trademark green slime onto willing guests. This partnership with the Hollywood Universal Studios is an expansion of the Nickelodeon section of the Florida Universal Studios, which has hosted a Nickelodeon attraction since it opened in 1990.

Gabor Csupo Opens L.A. Restaurant. Animator Gabor Csupo, co-founder of Klasky Csupo Animation, has opened a combination bistro and art gallery in Hollywood. Lumpy Gravy, as the restaurant is named, after a Frank Zappa album, is a non-traditional venue featuring a gallery, performance space, stage, and restaurant. Current exhibitions include artwork by Igor Kovalyov and Mark Mothersbaugh among others. 7311 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles. (213) 934-9400.

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