Four animated series are making their U.S. debuts at NATPE this year through Paris-based Canal+ Distribution/Canal+ Image International: Fennec (52 x 13 minutes), Blazing Dragons (26 x 13 minutes) created by Monty Pythons Terry Jones, The Pirate Family (26 x 26 minutes) and Tristan & Isolde (26 x 26 minutes). Canal+ is also offering the feature-length version of the animated feature, Trouble with Sophie, based on the famous childrens book by the Countess Segur.
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Premiered at MIPCOM, Korean company Samsung Entertainment Group will again offer their newest 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 Alexanders War Chronicles by Hiroshi Aramata. The executive producer is Haruki Kadokawa, with Masao Maruyama producing, Rintaro directing and Yoshinori Kanmori supervisor directing. Animation is being produced by Mad House in Japan.
Budapest, Hungary-based Varga Studios has been commissioned to co-produce a series of animated projects: Liza (13 x 6 minutes), Wolves, Witches and Giants (13 x 7.5 minutes), Animated Tales of the World, Percy, the Parkkeeper (13 x 7.5 minutes) and Kipper. In addition, Vargas sister company, VARGA tvc Ltd., premiered their first project, Oi! Get Off Our Train, a half-hour animated special produced by the company in association with BBC Bristol, Miramax Films and ZDF, which made its television debut in the U.K.
Toronto, Canada-based animation studio NELVANA Enterprises (Booth 1910) has reached a deal with cable and satellite channel TELETOON France giving the broadcaster 200 half-hours of animation programming per year from NELVANA.
With the holidays behind and the children back in school, this winter's animated films are slowly starting to head out and make way for spring's batch of films. DreamWorks' "The Prince of Egypt" held eighth place with $3.6M after 6 weeks of release for a grand total of $87.3M. Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life" passed the $150M mark placing twelfth with a grand cume of $151.7M. The family-targeted Disney remake of "Mighty Joe Young," featuring extensive CGI work took fourteenth amassing $2.5M and a 5-week sum of $43.4M.
MTV brings five different animated shows to NATPE including their newest entry, MTV Downtown, a look at the lives of a group of diverse, multi-ethnic characters who live, work and play in the East Village of New York City. The cast centers on a pair of siblings who are polar opposites: older brother Alex is introverted and thoughtful, while teenage Chaka is wild and impulsive. Thirteen half-hour episodes of the show are being offered.
DIC is introducing three new half-hour series at NATPE: Sabrina: The Animated Series, Sonic Underground and Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. Sabrina is based off the ABC TV series which was originally based on the Archie comic books. 65 episodes, scheduled to air in the U.S. on UPNs Disney Afternoon and distributed by Buena Vista Television internationally, will feature the voice of Emily Hart as 12-year old Sabrina and Melissa Joan Hart as the voice of Sabrinas two aunts.
Kaleidoscope Media Group has entered a deal with Brilliant Digital Entertainment to distribute Gravity Angels, (viewable at http://www.multipathmovies.com) the Internets first full-length 3D computer animated movie. The two-hour sci-fi thriller, which will be offered at NATPE for domestic and international broadcast and home video rights, uses Brilliants proprietary production technology. Brilliants president Kevin Bermeister explains, Our tools allow us to create scalable animation in one production process.
Animha Productions, a unique association of professionals dedicated to independent film production and animation workshops, has just finished a new film. "When the Water is Sick..." has been produced in association with the ASIFA Workshops Group. It will be included in a special compilation of animated films by children from around the world to be screened at Annecy, France, in summer '99. To find more about this and other Animha projects, visit their web site at:
Hollywood-based Gnomon Inc. has launched a monthly speaker series for digital production professionals...
Featured in the Animation World Store this week: an amazing collection of Russia's most important short films!
Animator and director Julia Tortolani has joined Wild Brains creative roster of commercial directors. She joins the company from Radical Media in New York City where she directed commercials for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Ford and Hardees. Her longer format animation work includes a 55-minute animated program installed with a synchronized light show at Universal Studios Marvel Mania Theme Restaurant in Hollywood. Regarding her move to Wild Brain, Tortolani said, Im really excited about the opportunities at Wild Brain.
Columbia TriStar Television Childrens Programming (CTTCP) has appointed Michael T. Helfand to Vice President, Business Affairs where he will be responsible for CTTCPs full range of business affairs negotiations for pilots and series. Helfand joins Columbia TriStar from DIC Entertainment where he was Head of the Legal and Business Affairs Department.
Technical animation specialist Brandon Davis has joined the animation and visual effects team at Computer Café. Davis, whose experience spans interactive games, corporate media and television, has expertise in water, smoke, light and other particle effects simulating physical processes, as well as authoring programs to perform these functions. He first freelanced with Computer Café when the company called on his assistance in creating visual effects for the motion picture Armageddon.
Atlanta-based Crawford Communications designed and produced a 45-second computer animated identification sequence for Odyssey Productions, producers of the popular Minds Eye video series now distributed by Sony Music Video. The sequence was designed by Robert Taylor of Crawford Digital and Jason Ett of DESIGNefx with an original soundtrack by Randy Garmon and Reid Hall of m&e (music & effects). Created in Alias|Wavefront Maya and composited in Flame, the spot is a visual representation of The Minds Eye concept.
San Francisco-based Radium contributed a combination of 3D animation, morph and compositing techniques to a 30-second spot for Lawson Software produced by Complete Pandemonium. The spot features a fast-talking businessman delivering a sales pitch to a prospective client as he slowly turns into a 3D snake, modeled by Radium computer animator William Opdyke. The visual effects were executive produced by Dana Townsend.
Animation World Network is looking for an intern to assist the editorial staff with our monthly on-line publication Animation World Magazine and weekly Flash Email Newsletter. Responsibilities will include proofreading, copy editing, news gathering, transcribing interviews, filing, researching publicity information, writers and companies, conducting surveys, working with freelance writers and managing correspondence for the editor and associate editor. Part of the positions responsibilities involves doing publicity for the publication.
* Wednesday, January 27. London, England.
As part of Londons Museum of the Moving Image lecture series, British Pathe opens up their archives to present a unique view of early British animation. Titles by Lancelot Speed, H.M. Bateman, Tom Webster, Frank Holland, Walter Booth and Brian White will be screened in this event presented by researcher Ken Clark. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is £6. For museum information call 0171 401 2636 or for the box office call 0171 928 3232.
Carol Laufer, a 6-year veteran of Blue Sky | VIFX, has been promoted from producer to the position of executive producer at the companys Harrison, New York studio. She replaces Nina Rappaport who left to pursue other interests. Laufer has produced numerous projects at Blue Sky | VIFX including the Rayovac battery campaign featuring Michael Jordan and a three-spot campaign for Target featuring a host of photorealistic animated toys.
Betty Lou Gerson, the actress behind the distinctive voice of fur-loving villainess Cruella De Vil, in Disney's classic animated feature, "101 Dalmations" (1961), passed away on January 12 at the age of 84.
The four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend created a healthy box office with DreamWorks The Prince of Egypt continuing to edge its way towards $100 million. The religious epic, which was banned this week in Indian Ocean-located The Maldives for its offensive portrayal of Moses, came in eighth with $6.2M after 32 days of release for a grand total of $82.5M. At its current pace, the film is poised to pass The Rugrats Movie as the highest gross non-Disney animated feature of all-time.