Greg Boegner has been named senior vice president and general manager of eKids Internet, a private, secure Internet-based network designed especially for children. eKids is one of a number of such networks developed by SilverTech, Inc., creator of Private Internet Engine (P.I.E.) technology, founded in February 1997 by former telecommunications executive, El St. John. Other company vertical markets include eDistributors, eLawyer, eUniversity, eShipping, eFinance, eGovernment and eMedicine.
AWN Headline News
Animation and visual effects house Celluloid Studios has recently completed a series of 30-second Bubble Boys spots for Budweiser. The four commercials, The Agent, Agent Phil, Holdouts and Negotiator, are the latest in an ongoing series of Budweiser commercials done by the company, and continue the narrative of two mechanical, tabletop hockey players, Murph and La Rue. The humorous ads again focus on their pursuit of being as famous as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.
Creative design boutique EyeballNYC has teamed with Showtime Networks recently launched ShoNext digital cable channel to produce the 12-episode TV/Web series DISC JOCKEY, an innovative, mixed-media exploration of emerging American DJs. Each two-minute segment combines a documentary-style DJ interview with an animated superhero sequence. Music downloads, DJ tour schedules and other material are available on the Website. "Showtime was very clear in its creative direction," said EyeballNYC director Alex Moulton, who is also a DJ.
Digital studio Spontaneous Combustion has created the title design and end logo animation for a pool of 30-second spots, with 15-second lifts, for T.J. MAXXs Maxximum Stories campaign, which rolled out nationwide on March 18, 2001. The ads, tagged You should go, show women talking about why they love T.J. MAXX. According to design director Dana Yee, "Because the tag is You should go, we wanted to parlay a sense of motion with the typography.
Animagic Entertainment has begun production on BALLOONATIKS, a new comic-action adventure CGI series being produced by The Krislin Company. The first episode is slated to show in October 2001 at MIPCOM. According to series producer Walk Kubiak (TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, THE SMURFS), We have successfully developed a 3D look that challenges in quality and richness any high-end CGI-produced feature film, while working within the constraints of a typical Saturday morning budget. Grammy award-winner Ray Parker Jr. composed the theme song and will provide music for the series.
Fox Kids Network has announced that the new animated series MEDABOT will be joining their Fall 2001 lineup. Fox has ordered 26 episodes of the show, being produced by Nelvana Limited, in association with NAS/Kodansha. The series is set in 2122 A.D., when every kid owns a high performance Medabot, a pet robot with artificial intelligence and strength exclusively controlled by its owner. Kids compete with each other in Robattles pitting Medabot against Medabot. MEDABOT sets the standard for robot-themed action series, said Toper Taylor, president, Nelvana Communications.
Michael Dudok de Wit, who won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for his acclaimed film FATHER AND DAUGHTER, has donated to charity the high definition television he won for giving the shortest acceptance speech (18 seconds) at the Oscar awards ceremony. Dudok de Wit, who lives in London, donated the television to Hollygrove, L.A.s oldest non-sectarian residential facility for abused children. Founded in 1880 as the Los Angeles Orphans Home Society, Hollygrove has served over 15,000 orphaned, abused and neglected children.
Premiering on the IFILM Network this week is DAMNED, a new film by Alex Crouch. Most consider a game of chess to be a fun, harmless way to pass the time, but nobody said it was fun for the pieces on the board! Witness the horrible fate of one group of chess pieces as they're thrown into the jaws of death. These guys know the true meaning of the word "Damned!" Find this short at: www.ifilm.com/ifilm/skeletons/film_detail/0,1263,1104743,00.html. .
The anime classic AKIRA, fresh from a $1 million restoration, has been released on the big screen in a few select theatres in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. With digital projection, this is the cleanest, crispest print ever seen to date. AWN was invited to a special pre-release screening and was very impressed by the quality of the print and restoration. First released theatrically in Japan in 1988, AKIRA has garnered legions of fans around the world and is still considered a masterpiece of cel animation.
Sony Pictures Family Entertainment has begun production on HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, a new animated series scheduled for a December 2001 premier on HBO Family. Academy Award nominee Sharon Stone is set to narrate the series. Based on the classic children's book by Crocket Johnson, the simple characters and situations will be illustrated using cel animation. The series will feature all new characters and situations, as well as those which have appeared in the first book.
According to an article in VARIETY, the six stars of THE SIMPSONS are signing deals worth a reported $100,000 per episode. The new contracts reportedly will pay Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner and Nancy Cartwright $2.2 million per season for the next two seasons, with an option for a third season of 22 episodes at $125,000 per episode. Currently, each of the actors makes $70,000 per episode, a significant jump up from the $25,000 per episode they were making in 1998, when they threatened to leave the show unless they received substantial raises.
Creative Planet, Inc., AWNs parent company, announced on Monday, April 30, 2001, the release of the Animation Budget Builder, a custom add-on for the industry-standard Movie Magic Budgeting software geared for the animation industry. The add-on was designed by Catherine Winder and Zahra Dowlatabadi, authors of the upcoming book, PRODUCING ANIMATION, and represents broadening interest in the development of Movie Magic software. "For years, Movie Magic Budgeting has been a fantastic tool for budgeting and managing the costs of physical production," said Winder.
Alan Keith, chief administrative officer and vice president of Lucas Digital, announced that Robert Rieders has been named general counsel of Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC. Rieders will also serve as corporate secretary to the Lucas Digital board of directors "We are very pleased that Rob Rieders is joining our organization," said Keith. "Lucas Digital is looking at a future that encompasses continued growth, with projects of scope and size unlike anything in our first twenty-five years.
Creating what is arguably both the biggest project and greatest success in its eight years of operation, New York's The Diecks Group recently delivered a complete redesign of Discovery Kids Network, a three-hour block of programming aired on weekends on the Discovery Channel. Creative director Brian Diecks and The Diecks Group team were the exclusive creators of 122 on-air design elements, including block opens, next-ons, bumpers, interstitials and promo elements. The project required extensive live-action, 3D animation, effects compositing and 2D graphics.
Adobe announced at NAB the upcoming availability of a plug-in that will optimize Photoshop software for use with the Intel Pentium 4 processor. The new plug-in takes advantage of Intel's latest processor technology and reaffirms Adobe's commitment to providing outstanding performance on the latest technology platforms. Photoshop's software Pentium 4 processor plug-in is expected to be available in May, with no charge to all Photoshop users. Graphic artists who use Photoshop on Intel machines will directly benefit from the Pentium 4 processor's high performance and 144 new instructions.
This year, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (June 4-9, 2001) will pay tribute to Great Britain, with a profile of Aardman Animations, along with screenings of classic British shorts, THE YELLOW SUBMARINE, the Bolex Brothers' THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF TOM THUMB, and more. For its 2001 edition Annecy received 1,070 films (1,092 in 2000). 242 of them, representing 26 countries, have been selected for official competition with 193 in competition and 49 in panorama. Confirmed jury members are: AWN's Ron Diamond (producer and publisher, USA), John R.
On Sunday, May 13, Cartoon Network will present JOHNNY BRAVO'S MOTHER'S DAY MAMA-THON, a 7-hour tribute to the Lady Who Brought Us the Sultan of Self Regard, His Mama. During the Mama-Thon, which runs from 12-7 pm (ET/PT), viewers can witness the many facets of Mama's personality, including disciplinarian (she wields a paddle in PREP SCHOOL JOHNNY), protector (leading a team of commandos to the mall to rescue her beloved son in LAW AND DISORDER), and even diva (Mama does a Marilyn Monroe impression in DUDE RANCH DOOFUS).
Industry giants Nickelodeon and THQ will soon be creating and publishing videogames based on original characters and storylines, with the ultimate aim being multi-media franchise development.
San Franciscos Wild Brain, Inc. has announced their work on the animated open, close and lifts for Cartoon Network's new weekly series, THE CHUCK JONES SHOW, which premiered on the cable network this past April 8, 2001. In the 30-second open, Wile E. Coyote zooms around on an Acme rocket, interacting with old Chuck Jones characters such as the Road Runner, Michigan J. Frog, Duck Dodgers, Marvin the Martian and Bugs Bunny. The characters eventually fall onto a stage and surround an animated, framed picture of Chuck Jones. As Wile E.
On April 23, 2001, at NAB, the annual international conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, Alias|Wavefront announced Maya 4, the sixth major release of its professional 3D animation and visual effects software. This major new release features enhancements and optimizations that will improve the products overall performance and efficiency, particularly in the areas of rendering, character animation, brush and paint tools and games related functionality.
On April 23, 2001, at NAB, the annual international conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, Softimage demonstrated version 1.5 of its SOFTIMAGE|XSI software and hinted that a new release would be ready for SIGGRAPH in July. "I can't say much more," program manager Michael Smith commented, "but this next release will be big." Softimage introduced its "INNOVATE::CREATE::COLLABORATE" tagline and displayed the power of XSI with images of Manta, a 3D character created in XSI.
On April 23, 2001, Apple announced the immediate availability of QuickTime 5 and the upcoming availability of QuickTime Streaming Server 3 at NAB, the annual international conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas. In addition, Apple is demonstrating a preview version of QuickTime with support for industry-standard MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 encoding and decoding. "QuickTime has been long established as the digital media standard for capturing, encoding and delivering content on the Internet," said Philip Schiller, Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing.
SGI on April 20, 2001, announced their third consecutive quarter of increased revenue growth and improved operating performance. For the quarter ending March 31, 2001, the company posted revenue of $510 million, compared with $487 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2000, which represents a 5% increase. The company reported a net operating loss of $47 million for the quarter, excluding charges, compared with a net operating loss of $93 million in the previous quarter.
Sharon Katz, creator of HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNAH (Audience Choice Award, Chicks 'n Flicks Film Festival), has finished her newest animated short, THE ANGEL'S FOOT CAKE / DER FUS TORT. In the film, Drinkeleh Fresserkeh decides to make a cake in the shape of an Angel's foot. The Angels take umbrage and the fun begins in this delightfully raucous modern Yiddish animated tale. The film premiers April 29, 2001 at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.
Through an exclusive worldwide publishing and distribution agreement with Fox Interactive, Activision, Inc. will soon bring shootouts, robberies and high-speed car chases to the PlayStation with WORLDS SCARIEST POLICE CHASES. Based on the Fox television show of the same name, the game features running commentary from retired Sheriff Jon Bunnell, with an array of action-packed police missions. The game will allow players complete control as they take on the role of police officers, chasing down and apprehending law breaking criminals.