The Cannes Film Festival may never be the same. Mellow Manor Productions has announced that it will bring its "Spike and Mike Festival of Animation" to France for this year's event. Recently "Spike and Mike" had successful runs at American festivals Sundance and Austin's South by Southwest, but it is yet to be seen how the European audience will take to the in-your-face humor of the festival of twisted toons.
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Currently, the National Film Board of Canada has four animation projects in production. LITTLE ARMADILLOS is based off a song by filmmaker John Forrest. The educational piece creates a world inside the body where the eardrum is a dance hall and the elbow is a playground. Animator Debra Dawson is bringing the story to life with Long John Baldry performing the title song for the film. Jill Haras is creating JOE. The film follows the true-life story of Vancouver personality Seraphim "Joe" Fortes. Born in Barbados, Fortes came to Vancouver in 1885 and taught the children of the city how to swim.
Animation fans will want to get a hold of the Best Of Zagreb Film: The Classic Collection on VHS. In four decades, Zagreb Film produced 600 animated films, winning more than 400 international awards. The studio is famous for its unique animation style that became known as "the Zagreb school." One of its claims-to-fame was that its filmmakers wrote, designed and directed their own films, resulting in some of the boldest political and entertaining cartoons of all time. All of these films were produced within the Iron Curtain of communism.
Warner Bros. will be releasing ANCHORS AWEIGH on DVD. The Oscar award-winning film features the classic dance number featuring Gene Kelly and Jerry from TOM & JERRY. Nominated for best picture by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the classic story of two sailors on leave in Los Angeles will be sailing into video stores on May 2, 2000.
J.J. SEDELMAIER PRODUCTIONS helped Major League Baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. try new "Sportz" (crackers that is). The 30-second spot for new Nabisco "Sportz" snack crackers integrates cel animation and live-action footage. "We haven't produced many projects integrating animation with live action, but on 'Griffey' we were teamed with the creatives from the Slim Jim spots, so we knew and trusted each other," said Sedelmaier. "But this kind of spot can't be as free-wheeling because the animation occupies a very specific area and requires a very particular look.
SIMEX returns to Toucan Sam with new Kellogs' spot. In the 30-second "Nose Detector" commercial, SimEx artists created the 2D and 3D animation for an adventurous spot, where Toucan Sam follows his nose to Kellogs' delicious-smelling new cereal, Froot Loops with Cherry Berry Swirls. This spot is the sixth Froot Loop commercial for SimEx and paired them with long-time creative partner Peter Lohmeier of Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett. The animation director was Jean Perramon and Christina Cox produced.
QUIET MAN raps on the newest Barrons spot. The visual effects driven spot, entitled "What's Coming," was filmed almost entirely on a bluescreen, which remains visible, mimicking the colors of the Barrons' logo. The spot begins with a man standing with his face buried in a copy of Barrons. Without lifting his head, he takes out an umbrella right before rain begins to fall. After the rain stops, the man takes a step to his left just avoiding a grand piano crashing down on the spot where he was just standing.
On Sunday, April 9, 2000, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts bestowed the honor of best animated short on THE MAN WITH BEAUTIFUL EYES. The film was adapted from a Charles Bukowski poem where a group of boys make a hero of a deadbeat alcoholic. The film by Jonathan Hodgson beat out Oscar winner THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Alexander Petrov, the 1998 Oscar nominated JOLLY ROGER by Mark Baker and festival favorite THE PERI-WIG MAKER by Steffen Schaffler. As it did at the Oscars, THE MATRIX took home the awards for sound and special effects.
Bill Plympton will be appearing at Carolines on Broadway in New York City on May 24, 2000. The presentation will include a sneak preview of his upcoming feature, MUTANT ALIENS, as well as a book party for MUTANT ALIENS, the book. MUTANT ALIENS, to be released in 2001, is based on a graphic novel where an American astronaut is forced to live in space forever. The English version of the 192-page comic book MUTANT ALIENS -- which serves as the storyboard for the feature. Also, the long-awaited video of Bill's feature I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON will be released on April 25, 2000.
BLACK LOGIC wins big with new visual effects commercial for the Wisconsin Lottery. The spot highlights the new FastLucky5.com, a cutting-edge on-line game from the Wisconsin Lottery. Black Logic's Michel Suissa directed the ad. The fast paced spot begins with the declaration, "We have seen the future, and it's digital." The colorful spot bursts with floating digits and 3D animation and promises "a whole new way to play the numbers." Suissa said, "The challenge was to appeal to a younger audience, while remaining coherent and relevant.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS rules cable. The original U.S. broadcast on April 16, 2000 drew nearly 10.7 million people. The show was seen as a three-hour special on the Discovery Channel instead of a six-night mini-series as it was originally shown on the BBC. The large audience made it the most-watched non-sports event on cable TV during the 1999-2000 season with a rating of 8.0. Based on Discovery Channel numbers, approximately 40 million viewers saw some part of the special during its back-to-back Sunday telecasts at 7 pm and 10 pm.
FAMILY GUY and THE PJS are among the animated series seeking new network homes for next season. Fox is in early talks with UPN to bring THE FAMILY GUY to the channel. The edgy animation has seen low ratings on Fox, however rates high with young men 18-34, which makes it prefect for the testosterone, targeted TV network, UPN. The only thing hurting the deal is the high price tag dangling from the toon. Fox is also speaking with UPN about sending stop-motion series GARY & MIKE to the network. The show, produced by Big Ticket, was scheduled to debut on Fox this summer.
STAN LEE MEDIA (SLM) has hired Iwerks/Universal executive JON CORFINO to head their new location-based entertainment division. Most recently senior vice president, executive in charge of production at Iwerks Entertainment, Corfino previously served as project manager of the planning and development group at Universal Studios. In his newly created post as president, theme park and location-based attractions of Stan Lee Media, Corfino will help the company leverage for the expanding market a new generation of superheroes and super-villains originated on the Web.
MAINFRAME ENTERTAINMENT, INC. announced the appointment of DAN DIDIO to the position of senior VP of creative affairs and ASAPH (ACE) FIPKE to the position of VP creative development. Both will be based at the company's Los Angeles business development offices. DiDio will oversee all development, distribution, marketing and promotion as well as merchandising and licensing of Mainframe's properties. Fipke will be responsible for all development of new digital properties and will work closely with Mainframe's partners to assure a smooth creative process.
MONDO MEDIA, a leading creator and distributor of serial-based animated content, announced that it has named ROBIN HARPER, former VP of marketing for Ninth House Network and Maxis (a division of Electronic Arts), as its new Senior vice president of marketing. In her new position, Harper will be responsible for Mondo Media's marketing operation and help guide the company's overall marketing strategy.
CHARLEX founder and creative director Alex Weil has created "Casual George," a 30-second spot to introduce the new "gold dollar" coin from the U.S. Mint. Charlex brings the stoic face of the first U.S. president off the dollar bill and places it on a lean young body. George gets jiggy with friends at a club, scuba dives with the fishes and drives a classic car along the freeway. "This project was about creating the character of George," said Weil. "We wanted to give him as much humanity as possible. When he reacts to the new one dollar coin, we wanted a reaction everybody can relate to.
WILL VINTON STUDIOS has delivered a new spot entitled "Choices" promoting 989 Studios' video game SYPHON FILTER 2. Mike Wellins directed the CGI commercial for San Francisco-based ad agency, Butler, Shine & Stern. The spot is designed to look like a scene taken directly from the game. The ad starts with the hero running on top of a speeding train firing his machine gun at approaching enemy. When the valiant hero corners the villain, the evil foe suddenly asks whether he can be "done in" with something less painful than a gun.
Prestigious life drawing instructor Glenn Vilppu is now offering The
Vilppu Quick Sketch Manual, with 22 pages of drawings from his
The newest trailer for Disney's upcoming CGI epic DINOSAUR has hit the Web. The trailer, which runs 2 minutes, 26 seconds and offers new footage from the film, was available on the Internet for one week prior to its nationwide debut in theaters on March 10, 2000. Richard Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group said, "Premiering the new DINOSAUR trailer on the Internet is a great way to bring this fantastic film to a large cross-section of moviegoers.
Cartoon Network will bring The Banana Splits -- Fleagle, Drooper, Bingo and Snorky -- to the Web. The original live-action variety show, THE BANANA SPLITS ADVENTURE HOUR, was produced by Hanna-Barbera and Sid & Marty Krofft, and appeared on NBC from 1968-1970. The show featured music by The Splits, and introduced serialized cartoons such as THE ARABIAN KNIGHTS and THE THREE MUSKETEERS. In this updated version, The Splits are transformed by a Magic Machine into animated personas. Each of the characters goes on their own adventure before they all meet up again in the final episode.
Abacus Software, Inc. has release a new add-on for Microsoft's COMBAT FLIGHT SIMULATOR called BEHIND ENEMY LINES. The fictional voice-accompanied adventure takes you into the heart of Axis Germany. Players volunteer to fly a critical mission for the Allies. After sneaking behind enemy lines, one must follow the voice instructions from the mission commander or from secret agents. BEHIND ENEMY LINES features 30 new missions, 16 for the RAF and 14 for the Germans, and 3 new aircraft: the Supermarine Spitfire MkIX, the Schweizer 2-32 glider and an UltraLight. The game is priced at US$29.99.
On March 21, 2000, Activision, Inc. released the highly anticipated TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER for the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. The game features a sophisticated yet easy-to-learn trick and combo system that allows players to perform hundreds of combination moves in an effort to become the highest-rated skater. Gamers choose from Tony Hawk and other nine top-ranked skaters as they thrash real-world tracks, performing signature tricks.
Based on the forthcoming release of 20th Century Fox's futuristic animated feature film, TITAN A.E., Fox Interactive announced its plans to develop the TITAN A.E. game for PlayStation. Fox Interactive is banking on the sci-fi feel of the film to translate easily to the gaming world. "We're raising the level of excitement for the film and inviting fans to embark on their own TITAN adventures through the game," said Dave Shaw, executive director of Worldwide Brand Marketing. "Titan A.E.
Will Vinton Studios will be offering home video titles from their library on their Web site www.vinton.com. The Academy Award winning CLOSED MONDAYS, The California Raisins and the Mr. Resistor collection will all be available on the site. Additional titles, as well as Will Vinton merchandise, will be added to the site in the months to come.