As of this Sunday, The Simpsons will become the longest-running sitcom currently on television. Creator and executive producer Matt Groening said he is surprised the show has gone on this long, but, he added, The real surprise is that this coming season is as good as any we've ever done. The writers, led by executive producer Mike Scully, are fantastic. They get the characters and they are creating original stories that don't repeat what we've done or anything else I've seen on television. Audience: you be the judge!
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On October 29, 30 and 31, 1998, the Los Angeles-based art gallery and book store, Storyopolis will host English Soup, a performance featuring six actors and a cast of hand-made puppets, devised and directed by Edward Gorey, followed by Dramatis Artifacti, a one-month exhibition of original art work and ephemera by the artist.
* Thursday, September 17. Burbank, California, U.S.A.
Women In Animations Writers Group will meet at ASIFA-Hollywoods Animation Center. This months topic is Copyright and Trademark: Protecting Your Idea, with speaker Ronda Dixon, entertainment lawyer and creator of the animated show Hip House. Admission is $10 for WIA L.A. members, $20 for non-members. Call (818)842-8330 or contact email@example.com.
* Saturday, September 19. Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
The Words & Pictures Museum hosts an appearance and book signing by its founder, Kevin Eastman, co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The event kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with a members-only discussion and exhibit tour. For information visit www.wordsandpictures.org.
* Friday, September 18 -Sunday, September 20. Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.
Anime Iowa, a convention for fans of Japanese animation, takes place at the Radisson Highlander Inn. For information visit http://omocha.shc.uiowa.edu/animeiowa.
NICKELODEON will air the Kablam! Life With Loopy Birthday Gala-bration on Friday, September 25 at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT). Created by Steven Holman and his San Francisco-based production company Wholesome Products, the special is a spin-off from the animated variety show Kablam! mixed-media skit, Life With Loopy.
* Wednesday, September 23. Burbank, California, U.S.A.
ASIFA-Hollywood presents Tom Sitos An Evening With... series featuring Lou Scheimer. Scheimer started out as a layout artist on the Paramount Popeye series. In 1967 he started Filmation Studios, which produced animated series such as Fat Albert, He-Man and The Archies. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $7.00 at the door. For information call (818) 842-8330.
San Rafael, California-based INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC (ILM) has expanded its executive ranks with several internal promotions. GAIL CURREY has been upped to the newly-created position of vice president and chief operating officer, from her previous position as director of digital production operations. JEFF MANN has been promoted to executive in charge of creative operations, up from his previous post as director of production operations. ALAN KEITH has been named vice president/chief administrative officer, up from a position as director of business operations and finance at LUCAS DIGITAL.
Animation educator Gail Banker died of a stroke on Sunday, September 13, the day after her 60th birthday. For the past 13 years, she taught animation to children and adults in the New England area: as an instructor at Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire; as a counselor at the Charles River Creative Arts Program in Dover, Massachusetts; and as founder of Single-Frame Studio in Norwich, Vermont, where she ran weekly animation workshops for children. She also taught adult animation classes at her studio and through various continuing education programs.
U.S. network NBC aired only three episodes of the prime-time animated series Stressed Eric before pulling it off the air due to disappointing ratings (Nielsen average 4.8). The show, produced with British broadcaster BBC by Klasky Csupo and Absolutely Productions, had been specially dubbed with a new voice track for American viewers, and was slated to air for six episodes through the end of the summer season.
Due to minor post-production delays, CARTOON NETWORK has moved the premiere of its newest animated half-hour series, Ed, Edd n Eddy. The show, produced by Danny Antonuccis A.K.A. Cartoons, will now debut on Monday January, 4, 1999, pushed back from its original November launch date.
Fox's prime-time animated series, "The Simpsons" received three Emmy Awards this year, including the craft categories. For the fifth time (1990, '91, '95, '97), the show won the award for "Outstanding Animated Series (for programming one hour or less)," beating out other nominees "King of the Hill" (Fox), "Cow & Chicken" (Cartoon Network) and "Dexter's Laboratory" (Cartoon Network). "The Simpsons" also won in the "Outstanding Music and Lyrics" category, for the song "You're Checkin' In (A Musical Tribute to the Betty Ford Center)," by composer Alf Clausen and lyricist Ken Keeler.
The 11th Society of Animation Studies Conference will be held in Australia for the first time. The conference, to be held in Brisbane in August or October 1999 (exact date to be confirmed), is timed to coincide with the Third Asia Pacific Triennial exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery. The theme of the conference is "Animation: Contexts and Identities," with a focus on Asia Pacific animation. A call for papers and presentation proposals is now open. Proposals should contain a 50-word summary and a 250-word abstract.
London-based distributor LINK ENTERTAINMENT has promoted GENVIEVE DEXTER from sales manager to head of sales and acquisitions. She joined Link in 1997, leaving a post as sales manager at Eva Entertainment. Link also promoted ANNIKA BLUHM from script development executive to head of script development. She joined Link in 1996 and previously worked in development and as a script editor at BBC.
CARTOON NETWORK has promoted DEA CONNICK PEREZ to vice president of programming and production, a role in which she will direct all aspects of programming, including scheduling, acquisitions and program operations. She joined the Atlanta-based company in 1997 as program director, and was previously director of acquisitions at Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite/TV Land.
NELVANA LIMITED has promoted EMMANUÈLE PÉTRY to director of co-productions. She was previously director of the company's Paris office, where she will remain. Pétry has been responsible for securing co-production partners for Nelvana, including Neurones, Marathon and Ellipse. Also at Nelvana's Paris office, MARIE-LAURE MARCHAND has been promoted to director of international sales.
Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is launching the largest expansion in its history. New attractions that will be added in the next 12 months include "Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin," an interactive film ride; "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," a ride for youngsters which will replace "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride;" and a return of "The Main Street Electrical Parade," featuring floats of Dumbo, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and other animated characters.
HBO will launch its new 24-hour channel, HBO Family, in February 1999. The venture is being headed up by Sheila Nevins, senior vice president of original programming for HBO, and Dolores Morris, who left Children's Television Workshop (CTW) in June to become vice president of HBO Family [AF 6/2/98].
Humongous Entertainment has released the first two CD-Roms based on Nickelodeon's animated/live-action series, "Blue's Clues." "Blue's ABC Time Activities" is available for U.S. $19.99 and "Blue's Birthday Adventure" is $29.99. Both titles are Windows and Macintosh compatible, and feature games and educational activities aimed at 3-6 year-olds. The games are the first releases to come out of an exclusive, five-year worldwide deal with Nickelodeon.
The International Center for Gibbon Studies (ICGS) in Santa Clarita, California has agreed to host a private event for artists interested in sketching the live animals. Presented by Women In Animation Los Angeles on Saturday, September 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the trip will include a lectured tour and a rare opportunity to practice life drawing of more than 30 animals. "Gibbons are fast-moving small primates that are active in the morning and slow down during the afternoon, so the day will satisfy quick sketch to intense study for all artists," said event coordinator Susan Palmer.
The Nashville Independent Film Festival (NIFF) (formerly known as Sinking Creek) is accepting submissions for its next edition, June 9-13, 1999. A first prize in the animation category at this festival will qualify your film for Academy Award consideration. Entry fees vary, and the deadline is December 4. The first 100 entries will receive a free pass to the festival. For entry forms and information, visit www.nashvillefilmfestival.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, September 11. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The 50th annual Prime Time Emmy Awards will take place, and will simultaneously air on the cable network, TV Land. The winner in the animated series category will be included in the next Animation Flash.
BILL DENNIS has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mumbai, India-based UTVI ANIMATION and RM/USL STUDIOS, the largest animation studio in India. Dennis will be responsible for overseeing and growing the operations of the companies' studios in Singapore and Bombay and for developing new animation studios around the region. He will also oversee all in-house development and co-production deals. Dennis, now based in Los Angeles, was previously president of Fil-Cartoons in Manila, a studio which serviced Hanna-Barbera and Turner Broadcasting before they merged with Time/Warner.