Olive Jar Studios Inc. will be the exclusive U.S. representation of veteran director Bruce Alcock and his Vancouver-based company Global Mechanic. Alcock, the former creative director and co-founder of Tricky Pictures, joins Olive Jar with a resume featuring live-action with mixed-media, design-based drawn animation, stop-motion and experimental computer animation. Olive Jars executive creative director Fred Macdonald said, "I have been a big fan of Bruces work, and, having bid against Tricky Pictures in the past, know that Bruce is one of the few true experimental directors.
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Peter J. Schankowitz has been appointed Film Romans new president of television programming and development. Schankowitz will oversee all aspects of the companys TV development and sales, including developing live-action and animated series and specials. For the past two years, he has been senior development executive for Jonathan Goodson Productions where he headed the creation and executive producing of the companys reality and game projects.
SGI announced that it would be providing Walt Disney Feature Animation with more than 500 of its Silicon Graphics visual workstations, which will include their new Silicon Graphics Octane2. Previously, Disney has used SGI workstations to create digital characters and special effects for their features GONE IN 60 SECONDS, MISSION TO MARS, DINOSAUR and the upcoming 102 DALMATIANS. The Silicon Graphics Octane2 has more visualization power, a high-performance MIPS RISC processor and new industry-first features.
Seattle-based Smarterville, Inc., a Web-based childrens media company, announced the launch of its Web site, smarterville.com. This is the first Web site to integrate ad-free learning for kids aged 3-7 safely with a revenue-generating destination for parents. Activities featuring animated characters are geared to the childs age, grade and skill level. A system of animated rewards encourages the child to return to the site. The activities are downloaded so children cannot jump to another location online, and no unauthorized people can send messages to the child.
Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment PLC, a leading supplier of children's programming, have agreed to co-produce 26 half-hour episodes of a new Nick Jr. series entitled, OSWALD. As part of the deal, HIT Entertainment will control all international rights in all media excluding the U.S., which Nickelodeon will handle. The show tells the story of a blue octopus who lives in a whimsical city with his best friends, a pet hot dog, penguin and daisy. The animated series, which will be produced by Nicktoons, is based on characters created and designed by childrens book author Dan Yaccarino.
The international box office this past weekend saw a strong debut by SCARY MOVIE in the U.K. and THE TIGGER MOVIE bounced high in its Swedish nod. Disneys orange idol landed in #2, with a gross of US$280,418. Slipping to fourth, CHICKEN RUN laid another $184,548, bringing its total take in Sweden to $589,026. THE PERFECT STORM sank from #2 to sixth with a gross of $146,588, raising its Swedish cume to $834,053. X-MEN fell from fifth to eighth, with a gross of $78,087, lifting its Swedish cume to $1.43 million.
iFilm has set up an online screening room specifically for agents to check out iFilm shorts before they are released to the public. So far agencies CAA, ICM, the Gersh Agency and the United Talent Agency have signed on to participate in the program. Even before the new "Screening Network" was established iFilm short, 405: THE MOVIE, by Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt, landed the filmmakers CAA representation. iFilm is a content destination site that contains its own shorts and links to various work around the Web.
* Thursday, October 12, 2000. Westwood, California, U.S.A.
Jeffrey Scott will be guest speaker at the Women In Animation Writers' Group Seminar Series at Saban Entertainment, 10960 Wilshire Blvd., at 7:30 pm. Jeffrey has written over 500 animation scripts, including the recent PBS DRAGON TALES. For more information and/or to RSVP contact Jean Ann Wright at: Tel.: (818) 360-8321; or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Dynamic Range Imaging is quickly becoming a prevalent digital technique. The ability to light quickly to live-action footage with such accuracy and quality is unmatched by any other technique. Lightwave has already incorporated HDRI into its latest release. Which other packages will follow suit? Rendering with HDRI is time consuming, but will the strong points overcome the deficits? The high quality results of THE MATRIX work by Manex, and the James Brown project, FUNK BLAST by Digital Domain suggest much more work in HDRI will be created as CPU's gain speed and the software evolves.
Messiah, the plug-in softbody and character module for Lightwave, has developed a stand alone package, messiah:studio, that should prove to be strong competition to 3D software packages. With Renderman capabilities, a low price tag (US$1600), softbodies for creating cloth and realistic characters, inverse kinematics for simplified animation, and radiosity for realistic rendering, it will be interesting to see how other packages react to messiah's strengths.
BKN International AG, a childrens animated production, distribution and marketing company, has launched a new media division, BKN New Media Ltd. The division was established to help BKN better exploit its properties over the Internet. The first venture for the new arm will be the launch of its consumer-based community Website featuring THE ROSWELL CONSPIRACIES.
Columbia Pictures has optioned the feature film rights to Image Comics POWERS, created by writer-artist Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Financial terms of the deal were listed as the duo receiving low six figures up front leading to high-six figures following the films release. The comic follows the cases of two homicide detectives -- who live in a world full of superheroes and villains assigned to the "powers" division to investigate superpower-related murders. Bendis will either receive a co-producing or an associate producing credit on the film.
* Saturday, October 14 Saturday, November 18, 2000. Manitou Springs, Colorado, U.S.A.
Entry Deadline: September 15, 2000.
* Friday, October 6 Sunday, October 8, 2000. Saint Gely, France.
Objectif Image Saint Gely presents the 15th annual Saint Gely Short Film
Festival. The festivals categories are documentary, fictional-dramatic, animation and experimental. Past festival chairmen have been Jean Pierre Mocky in 1998 and Claude Pinoteau in 1999. For more information contact Jean Pierre Mas at: Tel.: ++33 4 67 66 69 69; or Web: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/herve.lebrouster.
Australia-born Domenic DiGiorgio, a 3D animator specializing in character animation, has joined Santa Monica-based Computer Cafe as a lead character animator. Previously, DiGiorgio served as computer animation producer at Digital Animations Group, Scotland, where he created animation for television commercials and interactive games. In his two year tenure at Digital Animations, DiGiorgios credits include the games BRAVEHEART and OFFICIAL FORMULA 1 RACING, and commercials for Glover, Ike & Mike Hot Tamales and Lucky Duck.
Mexico-based Ollin Studio, an animation and visual effects, post-production, Internet and multimedia house, has finished production on their first in-house project an all-CGI animated short entitled, CAKE, which looks like it is animated using clay. Carlos Iturriaga, director of the 3D-animation division at Ollin, directed the film. CAKE is the story of a little girl whose hunger brings her to act upon her primitive impulses without considering the consequences. Power Modeler was used for modeling, Maya for animation and Renderman for rendering and partial illumination.
Santa Monica, California-based Zeros & Ones, Inc. is looking for an ANIMATION INTERN for cutting edge Web animated series. . . Spain-based BRB International, leading TV animation studios & distributors in Europe, are looking for ARTISTIC DIRECTORS for animation feature films. . . Manhattan Beach, California-based Moon Crescent Studios, an independent film studio working on an animated feature film, is looking for a SOFTWARE DEVELOPER. . .
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features a fascinating short entitled MIRROR, Cartoon Network has revamped its Web Premiere Toons section, John K rolls a humorous WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT and much, much more.
Get your Toon In: Web Animation Guide here!
Every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
The deadline to register your film for competition at the 7th annual London Effects & Animation Festival (LEAF) is September 15, 2000. Europe's leading computer generated animation and special effects festival will award the best work from around the world in the following categories: Commercials (Animation); Commercials (Live-Action); Short Film; Music Video; Feature Film; Student; Titles, Idents & Stings; and Education & Simulation. This year the festival has introduced a new category: Web Animation. An independent panel comprised of industry experts will judge entries.