If Spielberg cant succeed on the Web who can? This is the question that has been buzzing around the long delayed launch of DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainments Webcaster Pop.com. On Wednesday, August 31, 2000, Netcaster iFilm.com confirmed that it is in final negotiations to merge with Pop. No details of the merger have been announced but Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is overseeing the deal. Allen and his Vulcan Ventures injected US$50 million into Pop in its beginnings. The billionaire is also one of the chief investors in iFilm.
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Soho, U.K.-based The Hive, a 3D animation company, has completed a series of idents to promote the launch of Flextech Interactives brand-new digital TV cable channel, SceneOne. Launched on July 5, 2000, SceneOne is the first-ever television channel to be developed from an Internet site, and focuses on music, film and entertainment. The Hive created three idents "The Club Scene," "The Film Scene" and "The Gig Scene" - to reflect the hip style of SceneOnes three main weekly review programs.
Editing Concepts' Jesse Reisner just finished editing a new spot entitled "Takes It Slow," a new 30-second spot for Pillsbury Toaster Strudels. In the spot, time slows down when a teenager takes a moment to savor a Toaster Strudel before heading off to school. Reisner softened colors, silenced sounds and let the final piece of the tasty food hang in the air before hitting the kids mouth. "This project was all about pacing," said Reisner. "It starts out fast and frantic, then everything slows down when the toaster pops.
The 8th International Hiroshima Animation Festival has awarded its top three prizes to National Film Board of Canada films. The Grand Prize was awarded to Annecy winner and Oscar nominee WHEN THE DAY BREAKS from Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis. In addition, Torril Cove's MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KING'S SHIRTS took home the special jury prize and Eugene Federinko and Rose Newlove's VILLAGE OF IDIOTS was awarded the Renzo Kinoshita Prize. The festival opened on Thursday, August 24 and concluded Monday, August 28, 2000.
Famed graphic artist and novelist Jean "Moebius" Giraud, the man behind the dark designs in the ALIEN series, will be hatching his own 3D animated feature entitled, THRU THE MOEBIUS STRIP. "Its been a life-long dream of mine to create a feature film of my own," said Giraud. "Although its an unknown adventure in some ways, this film presents an opportunity for me to express my many different signature attitudes." The main backer of the film is Global Digital Creation Group.
The X-MEN are gaining more ground in international theatres with top seat debuts in France, U.K. and Brazil. In France, the superhero saga racked up an impressive US$5.83 million in its opening weekend. Holding steady at #2, Americas summer smash, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, amassed another $2.65 million, bringing its French cume to $23.18 million. THE PERFECT STORM sank from first to fourth, with a gross of $2.33 million, raising its French cume to $6.77 million. Falling a spot to land in sixth, GLADIATOR garnered $861,846, advancing its French cume to $29.59 million.
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RKO Pictures has teamed with Phil Roman, CEO of Phil Roman Entertainment, to turn their vintage flicks into animated features. First, RKO chairman-CEO Ted Hartley and Roman will executive produce toon versions of SINBAD THE SAILOR (1946), BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE (1952) and the Three Musketeers film, AT SWORD'S POINT (1952). "Well make them kid friendly," Roman said about the interpretation of the RKO library. "Maybe have a kid as the main character. There is so many ways to adapt them and I dont want to have a formula. Each film is going to have its own challenges.
Nintendo announced on Friday that it would not release its next generation versions of Gameboy and next generation console unit, Gamecube, this year. This announcement marks a crucial hit for the company in the next generation console market, which was led off by the healthy debut of Sonys PlayStation 2 in Japan. The new Sony console looks to be a hot seller for the holiday season, with Sony set to raise ¥150 billion (US$1.4 billion) by selling bonds to keep up with the demand for the PlayStation 2.
Throughout the summer Cartoon Network has been airing a different pilot on Friday evenings, cumulating in the August 25-27, "Voice Your Choice Weekend." Viewers voted for their favorite pilot and the top three will become the next series on Cartoon Network. Surviving the length of the summer after being the first pilot broadcast, THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY was the top pick to join the channels 2001 schedule.
Joining the long line of celebs turning ideas into Webtoons, comedian D.L. Hughley is taking his edgy stand-up act to the Internet. The series, entitled LET ME HOLLER @ YA, will feature animated segments ranging from 30 seconds to 4 minutes from the comedians stand-up act. Unlike deals such as Kelsey Grammers with MediaTrip which gives the actor stock in the Website, @ YA is part of the marketing campaign to promote Hughleys sitcom, THE HUGHLEYS, move from ABC to UPN.
On Friday, August 25, 2000, cartoonist Carl Barks, who reinvented the fowl-mouthed Donald Duck into an endearing Everyman on the comic book page, passed away. He died at his home in southern Oregon of leukemia. He was 99 years old. Barks started his association with the Walt Disney Co. in the early 1930s as an in-betweener and then moved over to the story department to write gags for many of the early Donald Duck cartoons. In 1943, he moved over to Western Publishing, which published Walt Disney comic books, to draw the Donald Duck segments for WALT DISNEY COMICS & STORIES.
On August 26, 2000, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences held its creative awards ceremony, which featured many of this years animated prizes. The big winner this year was the BBC/Discovery special WALKING WITH DINOSAURS. With special effects by the Framestore, DINOSAURS walked away with the awards for outstanding animated program more than one hour, outstanding special effects in a miniseries, movie or special and outstanding sound editing. To no ones surprise THE SIMPSONS won for outstanding animated program for one hour or less for the "Behind The Laughter" episode.
Classic Media, a newly created investment group featuring former Golden Books chief Eric Ellenbogen, former chairman of Universal Studios and CEO of Viacom Inc. Frank Biondi and producer Steve Tisch, agreed to purchase a 60% stake in Harvey Entertainment in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about US$30 million. Currently, it is unclear how the move will effect Harveys management structure, but Classic Media officials have said they will be active in company discussions.
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features a short from Bill Plympton, a hilarious Webisode of BIRTHDAY PARTY 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!"
Rick's Pick For Friday, August 25, 2000!
New York-based animation and design house, So! much, has created a 3D animated 30-second spot for MCI Worldcom and Blockbuster Video. The "FreeFlix Follies" campaign highlights the free movie bonuses of signing up for MCI with a send-up of vaudeville shows. The commercial reunites Abbott and Costello-like characters Seymour the Movie Ticket and Answer the Telephone, which were created for a previous spot by So! much three years ago. "Were really committed to marrying thoughtful, passionate design work with top-quality CG animation," says Jennifer Yeh, executive producer at So! much.
Quiet Man unzipped the tuxes of some penguins for a new Pepsi ad "Zoo," which introduces new lemon-flavored Pepsi Twist (currently being test marketed in Texas and Minnesota), and has some plucky penguins strip down to their Speedos to take a cooling dip in a pool. Quiet Man creative director and the spots visual effects director Johnnie Semerad used Discreet Logic Inferno software to remove the black from the penguins' bodies, and tack on new arms to allow the movements of a simulated striptease. "The key was to determine how to make the penguins look naked," said Semerad.
For feature films Martin Goodman is taking a look at this summer's
hits and misses. Gerard Raiti is figuring out why some cartoons don't
work as live-action adaptations and others do. Amid Amidi is
profiling feature films that have been released outside of the big
studios' theatrical machine. Plus, for a look into the Japanese
Munich, Germany-based H5B5 Media AG is looking for 3D ANIMATORS, an
ASSISTANT VFX-PRODUCER, DIGITAL MATTE ARTISTS, MODELERS, TEXTURING
ARTISTS and CHARACTER ANIMATORS as well as ALLROUNDERS for various
documentary, fiction and science-fiction productions. . . San Rafael,
California-based Artmaze, Inc., producers of media types such as
still images, panoramas, walk through animation and real-time 3D, is
looking for a 3D MODELER and a 3D TECHNICAL DIRECTOR. . . Fremont,
The M.P.S.C. Local 839 IATSE, the labor union for screen cartoonists
and CGI artists and technicians in southern California, has updated
their AWN page with the latest wage survey and August 2000 edition of
their newsletter, The Peg-Board...
The 5th edition of I Castelli Animati will take place in Genzano,
Italy, October 4-8, 2000. I Castelli Animati highlights animation in
all its forms from commercials to features films. The international
competition features the following prizes: grand prize "I Castelli
Animati," special jury prize, best debut short film, best European
short film, audience prize, the Fabrizio Bellocchio prize and best
non-narrative short film. The Italian competition will give a grand
Serving as the major animation festival in South America, Anima Mundi
has rolled out its list of winners for the 2000 competition in both
Rio de Janeiro and S Paulo...