TOM SITO has left his post as head of story at DreamWorks Feature Animation, entering a one-year development deal with WARNER BROS. FEATURE ANIMATION. At Warner Bros. he will join development on the animated feature, Osmosis Jones, which sources say will be directed by Sito if the film is green-lit. As president of the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Union (M.P.S.C.) Local 839 and vice president of ASIFA-Hollywood, Sito is an influential force in the animation industry.
AWN Headline News
OTTAWA WINNERS. The Ottawa International Animation Festival wrapped up on Sunday night with an awards show at the National Arts Center in Canadas capital city. The grand prize went to the new Estonian film, Night of the Carrots, by Priit Pärn who was on hand to accept the award as the festival also hosted a four-part retrospective of Estonian animation.
After 20 years in the animation industry, including Oscar and Emmy wins, animation producer and consultant NICK BOSUSTOW and his wife Julie have fulfilled a lifelong dream and accepted an invitation from the U.S. Peace Corps to work in Guatemala for the next two years, where they will assist small businesses. The Bosustows will leave the U.S. in January, after selling their home. Nick is the son of Steven Bosustow, a founding member of the legendary UPA animation studio.
Copenhagen, Denmark-based INTERACTIVE TELEVISION ENTERTAINMENT has named PREBEN HENRICHSEN to the newly-created position of promotion and new business manager. He was previously sales and marketing manager for the broadcaster Kanal2/TV Denmark.
Paris, France-based SALSA DISTRIBUTION has hired XAVIER GONZÁLES DEL VALLE as marketing manager, replacing Marianna Herrera-Brun. Del Valle has a background in journalism and public relations, and has worked in creating exchange programs between executives in Latin America and Europe.Paris, France-based SALSA DISTRIBUTION has hired XAVIER GONZÁLES DEL VALLE as marketing manager, replacing Marianna Herrera-Brun. Del Valle has a background in journalism and public relations, and has worked in creating exchange programs between executives in Latin America and Europe.
Vancouver, Canada-based Gordon Stanfield Animation (GSA) has hired Penny Fenwick as head of program sales and co-production coordinator. She has been working in television sales and promotions since graduating from Concordia University 1997 with a masters degree in animation.
Manchester, England-based animation studio Cosgrove Hall, known for its stop-motion production on series such as Brambly Hedge and The Animal Shelf, is launching production on a new, 26-part, drawn 2D animated series called Foxbusters. The show is about a group of renegade chickens that challenge the process of natural selection and try not to get eaten by foxes. David Freedman and Alan Gilbey are writing scripts. The ITV Network Centre has commissioned 11 episodes for debut in September 1999.
Sydney, Australia-based independent producer and distributor Energee Entertainment Pty Ltd., producers of the animated series Crocadoo, has acquired two cartoon series from the 1960s to sell to the nostalgia niche market. Clutch Cargo follows the seaplane travel adventures of Clutch and his friends Spinner and Paddlefoot, and Space Angel follows the intergalactic adventures of law enforcer Scott McCloud from the Earth Bureau of Investigation. Both are contained in half-hour episodes which can also be shown as five-minute daily strips or used as fillers.
Paris, France-based Salsa Distribution has sold several animated series to the international market.
One-year-old Gloucester, U.K.-based The Little Entertainment Company (LEC Ltd.) has two new series, Magical Mystery Merlin and Charlie Marmalade. The companys first two animated shows have recently secured broadcast spots on BBC (Little Monsters) and ITV (Billy).
New York-based GLC Productions is seeking partners for a computer-animated series called The Buddy System. The pilot episode, titled The Third Ticket portrays a couple of hockey fans at a game, one of whom, to the disappointment of his buddy, invited his girlfriend. Animation was produced on SGI machines with Alias|Wavefronts PowerAnimator and Maya software. The Third Ticket is also being screened as a short film at festivals such as the recent Los Angeles International Short Film Festival.
Copenhagen, Denmark-based Interactive Television Entertainment is launching several new interactive game shows, including two that will incorporate animation, based on the concept used for the series Hugo the TV Troll. Tush Tush will use real-time motion-capture animation to allow viewers to interact with the program via the Internet and telephone. Yo-Yo, developed with Los Angeles-based Dream Entertainment, will offer animated carnival-type games linked to video games which viewers can play simultaneously on consoles in their homes.
Korean company Samsung Entertainment Group is launching a new animated series for adults called "Alexander." Peter Chung, creator of "Aeon Flux," is designing the characters for the fantasy-adventure show, which is set in 4th Century B.C. Macedonia, and is based on the novel "Alexander's War Chronicles" by Hiroshi Aramata. The executive producer is Haruki Kadokawa, the producers are Masao Maruyama and Rintaro, and the supervising director is Yoshinori Kanemori. Animation is being produced at Mad House in Japan. Screenmusic Studios in Los Angeles will handle post-production.
Bohbot Kids Network (BKN) is launching the animated series "Roswell Conspiracies--Aliens, Myths and Legends" for a Fall 1999 U.S. debut and BKN affiliate debut in 2000. It's unusual format will be comprised of 20 one-hour episodes that can also be split into 40 half-hour episodes. With a production budget of U.S. $850,000 per episode, the show is described as Bohbot's most ambitious children's series to date. The science-fiction show, based on the concept that a NATO Alliance was formed to seek out and destroy alien trespassers, is aimed at kids aged 7-13.
World Entertainment Events is introducing a new animated series to the international market. "Voltron: The Third Dimension" debuted in September in over 180 U.S. markets. The 3D computer-animated show is based on the original "Voltron" cartoon made in the 1980s. The first 26 episodes of the new series were produced by Mike Young Productions ("Prince of Atlantis") and Netter Digital Entertainment ("Babylon 5").
One year ago, CANAL + Distribution launched KIDS + to handle international sales of its more than 800 hours of children's programming. Kids + has since sold programming to Italy's Disney Channel Italy and RAI, Germany's Super RTL, Ireland's RTE, Switzerland's Television Suisse-Romande and France's France 3. Kids +'s new animation being launched at MIPCOM this year includes a feature-length version of "Trouble With Sophie," as well as new episodes of "Fennec" and "Blazing Dragons."
Budapest, Hungary-based Varga Studio is working on a new, stop-motion animated special, "Don Quixote de La Mancha," based on the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The 30-minute program has been in development for two years, and is now being co-produced with S4C, HBO America and BBC for Spring 1999. The stop-motion materials used--metal skeletons with rubber and clay heads--were developed by studio founder Csaba Varga, who will assume the role of director for the first time since his 1993 short, "Beasts."
New York-based 4 Kids Entertainment is bringing the popular Japanese animated series "Pokémon" to the international market. The show started in U.S. syndication in September, and is signed to appear on Italy's MediaSet network, Australia's Channel 10, Mexico's Televisa, Canada's YTV and Brazil's Globo TV.
Nelvana Limited has greenlit production on 13 episodes of their new animated series, "Redwall" based on the book series by Brian Jacques. The show is about the legends of a mythical medieval abbey populated by woodland creatures. Nelvana co-CEO Michael Hirsh said, "It has all the elements of a medieval fairy tale."
San Francisco-based RADIUM produced a 30-second animation of the MTV logo for the network's annual MTV Movie Awards show. The sequence is being used as a lead-in to clips of nominees introduced in the show. Artist Alaina Goetz used Maya and Flame to create the piece, which was produced in just three days.
London-based PASSION PICTURES produced ten seconds of computer animation in two different spots for food supplier, The Co-op. Depicting realistic chickens and a pig, the 3D CG sequences were directed by Chris Knott, using software such as Morph Gizmo for facial animation and the Lightwave plug-in, Steamer for atmospheric haze.
New York-based J.J. SEDELMAIER PRODUCTIONS created the animation in a two-spot package for Griffin Bacal's client Tonka and their new product, Cool Tools toys. The spots combine live-action with animation of drawings by designer Doug Fraser, animated by Vinnie Bell. J.J. Sedelmaier Productions also created animation in an ad for Hasbro/Parker Brothers' ad for "Family Game Night." The animation is done in a childlike style, directed by Sedelmaier and animated by Tony Eastman.
Los Angeles-based Industrial Light & Magic Commercial Productions (a division of ILM parent, Lucas Digital) used animated visual effects in a commercial for First Union. Live actors were composited with a 3D CG environment featuring a floating piggy bank, animated money and other exaggerated elements of the finance world. The production team included director Steve Beck, visual effects supervisor George Murphy and CG lead Tim Stevenson.
Boston-based VIEWPOINT STUDIOS and HECK YES! PRODUCTIONS have redesigned the main title animation package for the History Channel's show, "Modern Marvels." The 20-second open was created with Flame, compositing motion control photography with animation by Mike Leone of ViewPoint.
The New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) will take place February 4-19, 1999 in New York City. The festival will showcase 50-60 new works of all types, including animation. Festival organizers are seeking "creative, intelligent, passionate work that does not speak down to children," and "will consider difficult subject matter, controversial themes." There are no juried prizes, rather, audience members complete ballots to select audience awards in different age categories.