October Issue News Section

Latest Productions of Atelier Graphoui. The Brussels-based Graphoui Workshop, which provides opportunities for young filmmakers to direct their first films in a professional environment, have announced the release of three new productions: Carnet noir (Black Notebook), by Benjamin Ntabundi, Michel Castelain and Jacques Faton, a stop-motion work using photos and clay, deals with an artist's escape from Burundi in the wake of a coup d'etat in 1993; Studeni 1992 Sarajevo (November 1992 Sarajevo), by Stjepan Mihaljevica, a Croatian artist who tells the story of his father's last day going through the streets of Sarajevo in order to get supplies for his family; and Michel Rutsaert and Alex Mortelmans' Cave Canem, is a fable about a town at the edge of the desert, whose people are dedicated to worshipping the moon. Atelier Graphoui can be reached at 11 rue de la Rhétorique, 1060 Brussels, Belgium. Telephone : (32.2) 537 23 74; fax : (32.2) 537 27 67.

Disney TV Hikes Hume. Walt Disney Television Animation has promoted Lenora Hume to senior vice president of international production. In her new job, Hume will continue to oversee production operations for Disney animation studios in Sydney and Tokyo, and the new Canadian studio with facilities in Vancouver and Toronto.

New Facets Whole Toon Catalog Now Available. The eight-year-old catalog of videos, laser discs, and books for animation fans founded by Seattle's Doug Ranny has found a new home at Chicago's Facets Multi-Media, who offers a collection of over 27,000 foreign, classic American, silent, documentary, fine arts and animation videos. Copies of the "Whole Toon Catalog #12" are available free by calling Facets at 1-800-331-6197 or visit their page on AWN at http://www.awn.com/whole-toon/.

The following items are from AWN's September 7, 1996 email News Flash:

MTV Networks To Invest Over $420 Million In Animation. Making a major commitment to animation, MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc., which includes MTV and Nickelodeon, will invest more than $420 million in original animation over the next five years. This will include television series, feature films, interstitials and other animated product. In all, MTV Networks plan to produce more than 850 half-hours animated episodes. This will be accompanied by a major expansion of Nickelodeon's Nicktoons Animation in Los Angeles and MTV Animation's New York facility.

To meet its goals, the company announced the formation of a joint animation council which will oversee production, operations and talent development. The council will be comprised of Abby Terkuhle, Executive Vice President, Creative Director, MTV; Albie Hecht, Senior Vice President, Nick Productions; Mary Harrington, Vice President Animation, Nickelodeon; and John Andrews, Vice President Animation, MTV. The Council will work to coordinate the two studios and offer animators the opportunity to work on "a broader range of projects than most studios." Although both studios will maintain their independent activities, there will be a focus on broadening the opportunities of talent and the exchange of ideas.

Nickelodeon also announced the introduction of two new original series and 26 new episodes of Rugrats. Among their new offerings is Blues Clues a computer animated/live-action series and KABLAM!, an animated sketch comedy, hosted by Henry and June.

Fox Family Makes Tick Feature. Fox Family Films has just signed a deal for a animated feature based on Ben Edlund's comic book character, The Tick. The character first came to animated prominence as an as part of Fox's Saturday morning line up and is scheduled to also appear on Comedy Central. The project is being scripted as a feature, but may not be produced out of Fox's Phoenix-based animation studio, since The Tick's look and style are different from more traditional studio-animated musical fare.

Society For Animation Studies Conference To Be Held In Wisconsin. The 8th annual conclave of the international membership organization of scholars and filmmakers will be hosted this year by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 25-29, 1996. The event will focus on "Japanese Animation And Global Media," featuring papers by academics and independent scholars from around the world, supplemented by screenings Japanese films, a program entitled "Et tu, Popeye," New Material From/About the Ub Iwerks Studio, a James Whitney Retrospective and R-1, Ein Formspiel, a newly restored three-screen work by Oscar Fischinger.

The conference is being organized by Donald Crafton, author of Before Mickey, and features a number of papers on Japanese animation, including David Desser's "Why Anime?" and Rei Okamoto's "Ideological Representation and Cultural Myths in a Japanese Wartime Animated Film, Momotaro--Divine Troops of the Ocean, as well as several panels on animation technology, John Lent's "Korean Animation: The Boom Years" and Sybil DelGaudio's What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? Animation and World War II Training Films." For more information, check out the SAS Web site on AWN (http://www.awn.com/sas/conference.html), or contact:

SAS Conference Committee
c/o Donald Crafton
Communication Arts Department, Vilas Hall
821 University Avenue
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin 53706 USA
Phone 608/262-2417 or 608/833-2279
Email crafton@macc.wisc.edu

Lyricist Zippel Joins Disney Team. Tony Award winning David Zippel (City of Angels) has signed to work on the next three Disney features--Hercules, The Legend of Mulan and Tarzan. Zippel will collaborate with different composers on each of these animated projects. Alan Menken will write the music and score for Hercules, Matthew Wilder will provide the melodies for Mulan and Phil Collins will compose the songs for Tarzan.

Activision Unveils Internet Gaming Capabilities With Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries. Activision has developed proprietary Internet drivers which will be built into its upcoming combat-simulation game MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. The connectivity tool allows players to host their own multiplayer online networks for free by connecting to their Internet service provider and launching the game. It will be available this month in the US at a suggested retail price of $49.95.

Activision also signed a deal with Australis Microprogramming, Ltd., an Australian game developer, to acquire the worldwide rights to a new real-time action strategy game. As part of the relationship, Activision will work closely with Australis on the science fiction strategy game's final development. Activision will also supervise the title's artistic direction and "optimize its unique features."

Prrfect Animation Creates Animated Id For Mtv-Asia Using Traditional Chinese Papercut And Imagery. Prrfect Animation, a studio with offices in San Francisco and Shanghai, attempted to achieve an authentic Asian feel for the MTV ID by using an all-Chinese team that included the studio's senior Chinese director--a specialist in the art of paper cutout animation.

In other related news, Prrfect Animation has recently completed the animation for a Barbie CD-ROM, apparently the . This is the first time Barbie has been animated in cartoon form.

Brøderbund Introduces The New Storyquests Line Of Children's Adventures. Gregory and the Hot Air Balloon and Darby the Dragon, developed in partnership with Capitol Multimedia, are the latest in the StoryQuests series which allows children 4-8 to take on challenging adventures through "enchanted worlds," while helping them learn such skills, such as logical reasoning, problem solving and letter recognition. It is available on Windows and Macintosh hybrid CD-ROM format for approximately $30.00.

Brøderbund is also presenting the new ImagiMaker Series, a software package that offers a new line of painting (Kid Pix); drawing (Kid Pix Studio); animating (Orly's Draw-A-Story), and creative writing (The Amazing Writing Machine) programs for kids 3-12. The drawing, painting and animating programs have been introduced in over 10 different languages. The Kid Pix franchise started almost five years ago, while Orly's Draw-A-Story is coming to stores in January 1997.

Early Bow For Mexican Toy Story Video. Facing the video privacy problem south of the border, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has scheduled the Mexican video release of Toy Story more than four weeks ahead of its US debut. Typically, once Spanish-language versions of Disney features are released for the Hispanic market, pirates use the videos as masters for high-volume copying directed at the Mexican market. During the past 18 months of economic recession, piracy has reached record levels in Mexico. Leading retailer Videovisa reckons 55% of cassettes in circulation here are pirated copies. Already, low-quality copies of Toy Story, taped in cinemas during the film's spring theatrical run, are available on street corners for $3 or $4. The legitimate cassettes will retail in Mexico for $10 to $13.

Ghost In The Shell Achieves Mainstream Success. The sci-fi thriller, one of the few Japanese animated movies to make a sustained presence on the home video sell through charts in the US, recently vaulted to #1 on the "Billboard Top Video Sales" chart.

The following items are from AWN's September 21, 1996 email News Flash

Emmy Award Winners And Cable Ace Nominees Announced: Emmys were awarded by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for A Pinky and The Brain Christmas Special (Warner Bros. Television Animation/Amblin) for best Animated Program (for programming one hour or less), Shakespeare: The Animated Tales: The Winter's Tale (HBO) in the Animation category, and Caroline in the City (Barron-Pennette Productions) for Graphic Design And Title Sequence.

In related news, Cable Ace nominees were announced on September 11: For Animated Programming Special or Series: The Chicken From Outerspace (Cartoon Network/Hanna-Barbera), Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist (HBO Downtown Productions), Duckman (Klasky Csupo), Ren & Stimpy (Nickelodeon) and Rocko's Modern Life (Nickelodeon/Games Animation); International Children's Programming Special Or Series: The Neverending Story (Nelvana) and Mole's Christmas (Disney Channel); and for Writing A Children's Special Or Series, Sue Radley for The Adventures of Mole.

Celluloid Briefs, The First Brisbane Animation Festival. A new film tradition will be born in Brisbane October 5-6 1996 when the First Brisbane Animation Festival hits the big screen at Schonell Theatre, at the University of Queensland. "Celluloid Briefs" will feature otherwise inaccessible local and international films, including some new releases and some old favorites. Amongst the smorgasbord of shorts on offer are British and European animations, as well as specialty programmes from Eat Carpet and Cinematheque, an international film organization famed for promoting "rare and unrated films."

The Festival will consist of five main components, featuring programs from guest curators who will attend as special festival guests: Clare Kitson (Commissioning Editor, Channel 4, UK), Joy Toma (Executive Producer, Eat Carpet, SBS Television), Dina Browne (Coordinator, Festival of Television for Australian Children) and Amanda Duthie (Producer, Babble-On, SBS Television). It will showcase animation from around the globe, featuring a range of styles, techniques and themes. The programs include: Children's Animation, The Best of World Animation ,Eat Carpet, The Best of British Cinematheque and The Cartoon Mirror.

The event is being held in conjunction with Animation in Australia: Future Directions, a two-day Conference hosted by the university's Animation Department, and will focus on the animator-practitioner and is geared towards those who would influence the nature of Australia's animating future.

Mars Attacks! In 3-D. Warner Bros. is hoping to get attention of souvenir shoppers at its New York City Studio Store with Marvin the Martin in the 3rd Dimension. The 12-minute animated 3-D film, which feature classic Looney Tune characters, was completed by Warner Bros. Classic Animation in a 5 perf-70mm, 24 frame-per-second format for twin projection on a 50-foot-wide screen. The film will debut at Warner's 5th Avenue Studio Store next month as part of a major expansion of the flagship shop.

In other Warner Bros.-related news, it was announced that Space Jam due in theaters November 15, will not only have Michael Jordan, but also an all-star soundtrack from Warner Sunset/Atlantic. The album will feature such artists as Seal and Coolio as well as R. Kelly, Naughty By Nature, Quad City DJs and Monica. Producers David Foster, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. One of the soundtrack's cuts will be a remake of Cheech and Chong's Basketball Jones, performed by Barry White and comic Chris Rock.

Riley To Lead Canada's Teletoon. Teletoon, the newly licensed Canadian 24-hour animation channel that plans to launch in September 1997, announced the appointment of John Riley as president. Riley comes from the Canadian-based Family Channel, one of the partners in Teletoon, where he was vice president of business affairs and helped put together the application for the new cable service.

Curious Pictures Opens West Coast Office. The New York-based animation/effects house has opened a West Coast office in San Francisco. It is staffed by executive producer Anne Smith (formerly at Colossal Pictures), and former Colossal animators/directors Robert Valley and Denis Morella. Smith, who worked for MTV as well as The Ink Tank, joined Colossal in 1991. Her production credits include spots for Nike, Intel and Celestial Seasonings.

Alexis Wallrich Promoted To Executive Vice President At Shanghai Morning Sun Animation (Usa) Co. Wallrich will continue to oversee all operations, including business affairs, development and production, at the US office of the largest foreign-owned animation studio in China. Shanghai Morning Sun animates shows such as Life With Louie, as well as the upcoming Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and The Fantastic Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor.

David Lane Joins Will Vinton Studios. London-based director David Lane has signed a seven year agreement with Portland, Oregon-based Vinton. Lane specializes in effects-oriented live action work, ranging from second-unit directing ("Superman", "Muppets' Treasure Island") to the CGI dancing cars and gas pumps of his Shell campaign done out of Savoy in 1994.

Summit Media Gets In Toon With Oscar's Orchestra. The syndication and media buying unit of 4Kids Entertainment, debuts Oscar's Orchestra starring Dudley Moore as the voice of "Oscar", the Grand Piano, and features other characters based on the instruments of the orchestra to introduce young people to classical music. Thirteen half-hours are slated for this fall, with an additional 13 now in production for the 1997-98 season.

In related news, Britain's Tony Collingwood Productions, which is producing Oscar's Orchestra has moved into a new $2 million animation studio in London which can send and receive animation "via digitilization."

Maxis' Announces Interactive Holiday Releases. Maxis known for its SimCity games, will release seven new titles in time for the holidays: SimCopter, SimGolf, SimPark, SimTunes, Marty's in Where's Morgan, Full Tilt and The Crystal Skull.

Hunchback To Speak Catalan. The government of the Spanish region of Catalonia will foot the entire $104,000 bill for dubbing The Hunchback of Notre Dame into Catalan, according to Buena Vista International Spain. Catalan is the official language of Catalonia, whose capital Barcelona hosted the 1992 Olympics. Some 10.3 million people live in the region, although most only speak it as a second language. But, the local government wants to subsidize any undertaking that promotes the language.

Disney Channel Turning To Universal. The Disney Channel has licensed the Universal/Amblin Entertainment animated feature library to help fill its new nightly schedule of family films at 7:00 p.m. Titles in the package include The Land Before Time, An American Tail and its sequel An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, as well as We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story and Balto.

Sundance Channel Focus On Independent Films To Include Animation. Following the creative vision of Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, the new US cable outlet is claiming to hew to a film festival format in its programming. Thus, in addition to its slate of independent features and shorts, it promises to offer anywhere from 2-5 animated programs monthly. So far, the channel has offered such frame-by-frame titles as Bob's Birthday, Special Delivery, A Small Domain, Blackfly, Sleepy Guy, Nocturna Artificialia, and Gas Planet. In October, it will also show Crumb, the award-winning documentary about underground comic hero Robert Crumb (Keep On Truckin, Fritz the Cat).

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