LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC announced it has teamed with Verant Interactive Inc. and Sony On-line Entertainment to create the first massive multi-player STAR WARS on-line role-playing game. Gameplay will jettison players into a unique combination of combat, specialized missions and daring quests. The STAR WARS on-line game will be developed by Verant, distributed and sold at retail stores by LucasArts, and available for play exclusively on-line at The Station@sony.com. This alliance partners together three of the foremost companies in the interactive entertainment industry.
After allegations of fraud, misallocated funds, shareholder lawsuits, executive shuffling, plummeting stock prices and subsidy suspension, CINAR Corp. said Monday, March 20, 2000 that it had filed a law suit against several companies believed to be connected with the US$122 million in unauthorized investments.
With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH "busting" into first, Buena Vista's MISSION TO MARS toppled to #2 at the U.S. box office. The space mish mesh, with primary special effects by ILM and Dream Quest Images, garnered another US$11.39 million blasting its total gross to $40.6 million. The new teen horror flick, FINAL DESTINATION, crash landed at #3. The New Line fright fest grossed $10.02 million in its first week in theatres.
Ending much anticipation, Steven Spielberg has confirmed his next two projects. Going in front of cameras July 10, 2000, A.I. (artificial intelligence) was a long time work-in-progress by late great filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. The Warner Bros./DreamWorks co-production takes place in the future after the melted polar ice caps have covered much of New York City and other coastal towns with water. Oscar nominated actors Jude Law (THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY) and Haley Joel Osment (THE SIXTH SENSE) will star. To start filming in April 2001, Spielberg will direct MINORITY REPORT starring Tom Cruise.
Questions have been floating around for months on how the Academy will handle the curse-word laced best song nominee "Blame Canada" at the Oscar ceremony. Producers have added more interest to the issue by naming king of improv, Robin Williams, as the singer of the song from the censor-mocking, Canada-bashing comedy, SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER AND UNCUT. Whether "Blame Canada" song lyrics featuring the words "fuck," "fart" and "that bitch Anne Murray," will be bleeped or edited by network censors is still yet unknown.
Animation and visual effects house, CELLULOID STUDIOS, and live-action production company, VISITOR, helped Anheuser-Busch christen their new Bubble Boy Hockey League campaign. The 30-second "press conference" spots feature Hall of Fame hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as the first commissioner of a new league consisting of the Bubble Boys -- those tabletop hockey players found in many bars and dens. Celluloid created the blend of 2D animation and digital manipulation that brought to life the stiff, plastic Bubble Boy hockey players.
SIMEX Digital Studios teamed up with DUCK SOUP STUDIOS to combine live-action with animation in the new Keebler Elves spot. Promoting Chips Deluxe Cookies, the commercial entitled "One Upsman Chip" pits various elves against each other in a bake-off. SimEx wove together the animation from director Sam Cornell with live-action cookies. Animation director Jean Perramon of SimEx helped add a 3D touch to the backgrounds of the spot. The commercial was produced by Carolyn Bates at Duck Soup and Christina Cox at SimEx. SimEx and Duck Soup created the spot for Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett.
HELIUM inflated the new Relenza ads for Santa Monica, California-based design firm FUEL/Razorfish. The 30-second spot for Relenza's anti-flu prescription medication features 3D animation of the process in which a viral infection develops in the lungs. Scenes were also created to demonstrate the inhalation of the particulate medicine and for the spot's closing title sequence. The animation team consisted of John Scheafer, Helium's Creative Director and Miles Vignol, technical director, along with animator Suzi Hammon and producer Karin Rainey.
Brian Miller has been named VP and general manager of the new Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank. Miller will oversee the studio's production department as well as the day-to-day operations. Formerly, Miller served as VP of production at Nickelodeon's Nicktoons Animation Studio, where he oversaw all production. Before moving to Nicktoons, Miller was VP of animation at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, where he managed all domestic and overseas productions.
Nickelodeon has named Michele Moore as the new VP of communications. Formerly, Moore served as director of media relations at interactive TV company Wink Communications. Moore will work out of Nick's New York office. She will oversee the development and promotion of publicity for Nick's TV division and its off-channel businesses, including public affairs, consumer products, recreation and magazines.
Manga Entertainment has announced the launch of the official X Web site. X is the latest anime hit from Japan to be released in U.S. theatres. The supernatural thriller was designed by the all-female studio, Clamp. The film is directed by Rintaro, who has been working in anime for over 30 years and is best known in the U.S. for directing the TV series KIMBA THE WHITE LION and ASTRO BOY. The site will feature a live streaming video trailer courtesy of sputnik7.com for both Real Player and Windows Media Player and an official movie poster giveaway to the first 100 entrants.
MIXME NETWORKS, INC., a developer of media technologies supporting dynamic, interactive e-marketing tools and interactive greetings, announced the appointment of RUSSELL T. GILLAM as the company's new CEO. Gillam is an Internet pioneer coming to MixMe Networks, Inc. from Disney Direct where he served as senior VP of commerce. Gillam was responsible for all the Internet initiatives of Disney properties. There he led a staff of over 1,000 people across the e-commerce units including Disney, ABC, ESPN and Go.com.
Sweden-based animation studio Filmtecknarna F. Animation has produced eleven 30-second, 2D animated spots for Oxygen Media entitled "Mom's On-line." The commercials are based on actual advice on childcare that mothers have posted on the Oxygen Web site. Commissioned by Oxygen Media's Bee Murphy, the spots were directed by Jonas Odell and produced by Leila El-Zein. Filmtecknarna produces commercials for the international market, as well as short films and TV series. Their spot for the British beer "Boddingtons" is currently nominated in the British Animation Awards.
The 4th edition of Cartoons On The Bay, the International Festival of
Television Animation, will be held in Positano (Amalfi Coast), Italy,
April 14-18, 2000. Cartoons on the Bay is the only festival in the
world solely dedicated to television animation. Promoted by Rai
Radiotelevisione Italiana and conceived and organized by Rai Trade,
the festival is an international event with awards, workshops,
lectures and events centering on the ever-changing world of
J.J. Sedelmaier Productions has created the new opening for Comedy Central's second season of STRANGERS WITH CANDY. The opening, produced by J.J. Sedelmaier and directed by Ward Sutton, sums up the premise of the live-action series in 30 seconds. It follows the crazy life of series star Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) after she drops out of high school. Ward Sutton's heavy line and bright colors warps an animated Blank through a whirlwind ride of sex, drugs and prostitution that leads back to high school 30 years later. The lead animator on the project was Tony Eastman.
Be a part of Playboy's rich heritage of cartoon humor. Participate in
Playboy's Comix and Animation Contest. All multimedia formats
welcome: Shockwave, Flash, videotape, pen and ink and more! The grand
prize winner receives $25,000. Five honorable mentions will also be
selected. Judges include Scott Adams, Award winning creator of
"Dilbert," and Kevin Smith, writer/director of hit films "Chasing
Amy" and "Dogma." The deadline for submission is April 1, 2000. As
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts have announced their nominees for the 2000 BAFTA Awards. The British Academy has one prize for animation in the Best Short category.
Sunday, March 26th will be the Big Night, the 72nd Academy Awards,
presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...
SOFTIMAGE, the producers of popular 3D tool SOFTIMAGE|3D, announced that their eagerly anticipated next-generation 3D system code-named Sumatra has been given a name. Sumatra is to be released simply as SOFTIMAGE|XSI - a very humble and straight-forward name, but an effective one all the same. Why SOFTIMAGE|XSI? Unfortunately there's no funny story as to why SOFTIMAGE chose this name, it is simply the file extension of SOFTIMAGE's interactive media format.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
The Brussels Cartoon and Animated Film Festival has announced their
winners. This year's jury consisted of Canal +'s Servane Calmant,
director Catherine Montondo, RTBF journalist Hugues Dayez, Plateau
journalist Luc Joris and producer Steve Walsh. The prize winners at
this year's festival are: French Community Grand Prize: "Bzz" by
Benoît Feroumont; Flemish Community Grand Prize: "Suburbanites" by
Stefan Vermeulen; Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques