Blue Sky Studios, a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, has signed an agreement with Compaq Computer Corporation that will make the 3D animation studio into one of the top 50 super computing facilities worldwide, according to the Linpack-based "Top 500 list." Planning to use the new computer equipment on the upcoming ICE AGE, the Oscar-award winning company will now have more than 50 times its previous computing power, and double the power of any industry competitor to date.
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The annual European animation co-financing event, Cartoon Forum, will take place on the Baltic Sea Island of Gotland in Sweden. Gotland and its capital Visby will without a doubt survive the animation industry's invasion, as the city has a long history going back to the Vikings and medieval times. The nearby island of Fårö is known by many, too, as director Ingmar Bergman shot many of his films there. The 79 projects to be presented for funding have already been selected, and can be found at Cartoon's Web site www.cartoon-media.be.
When everyone was making toons in New York, Walt Disney was in Kansas City. Now the KANSAS CITY STAR reports that the Walt Disney heirs have pledged funds to refurbish the original animation studio of Walt Disney. For nearly a decade, the Thank You, Walt Disney organization has been fighting to set up a Disney Museum in Kansas City, the birthplace of Mickey Mouse and other early Disney characters. The US$450,000 pledge by the Walt and Lily Disney Foundation is contingent on whether the Thank You organization can match the amount.
On Monday, July 10, 2000, AtomFilms announced the finalists for their recently launched event, Flash.Beat. Organized by AtomFilms and Swatch, Flash.Beat is a competition in which Flash artists created a commercial advertising Swatchs new Internet time system. Atom received over 1,000 submissions from over 30 countries. The ten finalists in both the short form and long form categories can be seen at AtomFilms Finalists Page. Visiting Net surfers can vote for their favorite entry. On July 31, 2000 the winner will be announced.
A stage show starring the SIMPSONS voice-actors will come to this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before going on to two performances at the London Playhouse. The show was premiered in Aspen, Colorado earlier this year. The Edinburgh performance has already sold out. Indeed, the August 14 engagement was the fastest seller in the history of the Fringe, according to the DAILY TELEGRAPH newspaper. The tickets sold in 55 minutes. The show features original voice-actors Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart) and Yeardley Smith (Lisa).
Fremont, California-based myfrenz.com is looking for a 3D ANIMATOR to produce realistic animation with organic model. . . Luxembourg-based Oniria Pictures, an audiovisual production company specializing in animation, is looking for experienced 3D ANIMATORS with a good knowledge of traditional animation and a good sense of timing. . . München, Germany-based Papa Loewe Filmproduktion GmbH, a company producing "Janosch" animated series and feature films, is looking for a DIGITAL COMPOSITOR (ANIMO). . .
An on-line entry form which can be sent directly by e-mail is now available on the Holland festival Web site. The next Holland Animation Film Festival will take place in Utrecht, the Netherlands, November 15-19, 2000. Since 1985 this biennial festival has aimed to be an intermediary between animators and the business world, in addition to including film screenings, retrospectives and theater programs.
Bill Plympton has updated his appearances page. In the next months, "I Married a Strange Person" will be appearing at Hiroshima festival in Japan; "Walt Curtis, the Peckerneck Poet" will be appearing at the Outfest, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival; "Can't Drag Race With Jesus" will be appearing at Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, Anima Mundi festival in Brazil and Hiroshima. Bill Plympton will be appearing at the San Diego Comic Convention, as well as the Krok and Hiroshima Festivals.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book, "Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
- Volume 8 features award-winning works by Khrjanovsky and Schnittke. Titles include: "Armoire," "There Lived Kozyavin," "Pencil and Eraser," "King's Sandwich," "Glass Harmonica," "Ballerina on the Boat" and Butterfly.
For people who want a sneak peek or for fans who want a free look, DreamWorks has placed the opening sequence from CHICKEN RUN on the Net. The clip is available at Countingdown.com and will be available there starting Monday, July 10 and ending 6 pm PST Friday, July 14, 2000. The site will also have links to CHICKEN merchandise from Amazon.com and eBay. "We think showing Web audiences even the first few minutes of CHICKEN RUN will show people the magic that has captured the hearts and imaginations of moviegoers across the country.
Sony Pictures Digital Studios president, Kenneth Williams, has been named the new CEO and president of Stan Lee Media. Subsequently, Stan Lees acting president and CEO, Devendra Mishra, will become the president of Stan Lee International, overseeing partnerships with multimedia companies around the world. Since 1997, Williams has overseen all activities at Sony Pictures Digital. In addition, Williams is one of the founders of Sony Pictures Imageworks, the Academy award-nominated digital effects and animation division of the company.
Web entertainment network Heavy.com has signed a deal to have its BEHIND THE MUSIC THAT SUCKS Net series appear within the TV variety show FARMCLUB on USA Network. THAT SUCKS is a 52-Webisode series that lampoons the hit VH-1 show, BEHIND THE MUSIC. Popular recording artists rise to stardom is reinvented in outrageous ways. "As the signature show on Heavy.com, BEHIND THE MUSIC THAT SUCKS has a great following," said show creator and Heavy.coms Co-CEO David Carson. "Were totally into the Heavy.com/Farmclub association.
SLACKER and DAZED AND CONFUSED director, Richard Linklater, has started the rotoscoped animation for his new feature, WALKING LIFE. The film will digitally shoot live-action actors which will then be "painted" over by artists using filmmaker Bob Sabistons new interpolated rotoscoping software. The program allows animators to stylize live-action footage with simulated brushstrokes. "WALKING LIFE is not animated in the truest sense of the word. It is a composite of wildly different, reimagined video scenes drawn in cartoon style," said Sabiston to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Avid Technology, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Fremont, California-based Motion Factory, Inc., an applications company specializing in interactive 3D software for character-driven games and the Web. Along with the deal, Avid named Motion Factorys former president and CEO, David Pritchard, as the new general manager of Softimage Co., Avids graphics and effects arm.
Icebox, Inc., an original animation destination, has inked a content deal with comedian and co-creator of DR. KATZ, Jonathan Katz, to write and produce new animated shows. The first series will be AGAINST THE GRAIN, which Katz will co-create with Tom Snyder, co-creator of DR. KATZ. "Jonathan is one of only a handful of successful creators of smart, primetime animated television series," said Icebox CEO Steve Stanford.
Tom Snyder Productions announced a deal with CartoonNetwork.com to create, develop and produce three original Web Premiere Toons. The first series is SWITCHEROO, which interviews children and animates their daydreams with a satirical twist. OVERDUE chronicles an over-aggressive librarian and the extremes to which she will go to retrieve overdue books and collect fines. Finally, LETS HAVE FUN watches the slow break down of a live-TV childrens show host who really has no patience with kids. "Did we get three shorts?
Disney Interactive has enlisted Into Networks PlayNow.com to create the Disney Interactive Channel for Disney-themed games on the Net. The new channel will be like Sonys Station, which features on-line versions of JEOPARDY and WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Into Networks will produce 12 titles for Disney that will be available on a pay-for-play basis through high-speed Internet services available from cable set-top box providers. Games will be based on Disneys feature films THE LION KING, TOY STORY and TARZAN.
Mattel Interactive has signed a licensing agreement with Harmony Gold to create games based on the popular anime series, ROBOTECH. Mattel Interactive plans to have ROBOTECH games ready for next-generation console systems and PCs beginning in fourth quarter 2001. Specific details regarding platforms and developers have yet to be announced. The ROBOTECH series helped ignite the anime phenomenon in America, with an 85-episode animated series that aired in early 1985. The series was re-aired in 1994 on Sci-Fi Channel and once again on Cartoon Network in 1999.
With CHICKEN RUN claiming victory at theatres, Aardman Animations ANGRY KID on AtomFilms Web site has set Internet records. In just seven weeks, ANGRY KID, Aardman's first character created exclusively for the Web, has been watched by over 1 million people -- an Internet record. With roughly 300,000 people downloading the mischievous miscreant and sending it to their friends, the total audience is nearing one and a half million people. "We knew that the Internet had vast potential as a major entertainment medium," said Dave Sproxton, co-founder and managing director of Aardman.
On Wednesday, July 5, 2000, Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. announced its financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000. The CGI production company reported earnings of US$1.4 million ($0.84 million attributable to common shareholders) or $0.05 per share, versus a loss of $17 million or $1.23 per share for the year ended March 31, 1999, on a revenue increase of more than 100%. The increase has been attributed to the delivery of 52 episodes, which is double the amount of the prior year.
Infogrames Entertainment S.A., a global publisher of interactive entertainment software, has signed a deal to acquire Paradigm Entertainment, Inc., one of the leading developers of interactive 3D video games and related technologies. Within the deal, Paradigm Entertainment will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Infogrames. In addition to developing games, Paradigm will maintain a research and development group with a focus on developing technology for current and next-generation game platforms. The deal will involve the exchange of up to 700,000 Infogrames Entertainment shares.
Coming on the heels of recent executive departures, Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids Network have promoted Brian Casentini to VP current programming at both networks and named Jonathan Rosenthal as VP development at Fox Kids. Casentini will helm current programming in production for Fox Family and Fox Kids and Rosenthal will head day-to-day development management and administration for Fox Kids Network. Previously, Casentini served as director of programming and development at Fox Family, where he helped create the award-winning series ANGELA ANACONDA.