Digital Film Tools, the producer of Composite Suite, a comprehensive set of visual effects plug-ins for editors and visual effects artists, is offering a free Fast Blur plug-in for Avid editing systems and Adobe After Effects. The plug-in is a high-quality, deep focus blur plug-in that can be downloaded from Digital Film Tools Website at www.digitalfilmtools.com/html/products.html.
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Crater Software has released the latest version of their flagship 2D animation package CTP. Among other things, version 1.4 now offers complete compatibility with Macromedia Flash, making the cartoon production tool ideal for animators looking to publish their work on the Web. "Enhancing CTP 1.4 with Flash compatibility was clearly the next step to take," explained Crater Software President Joe Alonso, "With an overwhelming majority of Web users with Flash installed on their browsers, it has gone from a mere file format to the new standard in Web media delivery.
Z.com is in need of an Internet savior. In October, Z.com laid off 50 employees, which was most of its staff. The Web entertainment site is looking around town for a possible merger partner. The company's major backers include Internet incubator Idealab, Basic Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary. Z.com CEO Joe DiNunzio told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER that, "We're exploring strategic alternatives that include mergers or bringing in new equity partners."
Angry EM.TV shareholders are stating that the company should pay them DM35 million (US$16.8 million) in damages for financial mismanagement and deliberately misleading the investors. Shareholders, represented by lawyers Tilp & Kaelberer and Klaus Rotter, said they would sue EM.TV if the firm doesn't comply with their out-of-court settlement. The German children's production house has refused to discuss a settlement until an investigation by the Munich state prosecutor's office into the company's actions is completed.
Entertaindom.com has become the first casualty of the AOL Time Warner merger. As part of overall company trimming, Entertaindom will fold up operations on February 1st. The content from the site will most likely be combined with series on the Warner Bros. Online site. How many employees will lose their jobs is yet to be known. However, insiders say that over the next few weeks there will be major cuts throughout Time Warner. Already 400 staffers have been cut from news division CNN. The completion of the merger has long loomed over Entertaindom.
Adobe is now shipping the latest version of their award-winning and very popular digital video editing software Premiere. Adobe Premiere 6.0 allows users to edit digital video on a desktop and publish it to the Web in multiple formats, including RealNetworks RealMedia, Microsoft WindowsMedia and Apple QuickTime, quickly and easily. This new version is being dubbed "the tool of choice for DV professionals" because of its built-in support for a large selection of DV devices on Macintosh and Windows platforms.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the short list of films being considered for the Visual Effects Oscar. The seven films chosen were CAST AWAY, DINOSAUR, DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, GLADIATOR, HOLLOW MAN, THE PERFECT STORM and X-MEN. Fifteen-minute clip reels from each of the seven films will be screened for the Visual Effects Award Nominating Committee on February 7. The members will then pick three of the seven films for nominations. Those nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 13, at 5:30 am.
Macromedia Inc., creator of Flash software and parent to Shockwave.com, has announced that it will acquire Web content management company Allaire Corp. in a US$360 million cash and stock deal. Macromedia will exchange 0.2 shares of its stock plus $3 in cash for each share in Allaire. Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess will continue as CEO of the new combined firm, with Allaire's CTO Jeremy Allaire talking over the same role at Macromedia. The combined company will retain the Macromedia name.
EM.TV's CEO Thomas Haffa and deputy chairman Florian Haffa have admitted that they sold shares in the company without consulting the firm's financial advisory, WestLB. The sale may be a violation of German stock exchange rules. Thomas sold DM40 million (US$19.2 million) worth of EM.TV shares while Florian's amount was not released. Up until Tuesday, Thomas had insisted that he informed WestLB of the sales, but now says he only informed the bank of his intention of the sales and did not place the move in writing.
Germany-based children's TV and licensing firm, BKN International, has acquired the operational assets of its former parent Los Angeles-based BKN Inc. BKNI will pay US$25.5 million over the next two years to gain the rights to BKN's fifth largest animation portfolio in the U.S. In addition, BKNI will pay $2.6 million in cash for BKN Inc.'s L.A. studio and its trademark. Therefore, BKN Inc. will only exist as a holding company with a 34% share in BKN International. In a separate deal, Sony Pictures Family Entertainment has purchased 3.8% of BKNI from BKN Inc.
* Thursday, February 15 Sunday, February 18, 2001. Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The American Cinematheque and the World Animation Festival are sponsoring a screening of Czech animator Karel Zeman's work. Zeman's work as an animator and special effects artist stretched from the 1940s to the 1960s. He worked on such films as THE FABULOUS WORLD OF JULES VERNE (1958) and BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1961). For more information contact the American Cinematheque at: 1800 North Highland Ave., Los Angeles, California 90028, U.S.A.; or Tel.: (323) 466-FILM.
THE SIMPSONS yet again claimed the primetime TV toon crown scoring an 8.6 rating/13 share in 38th place. KING OF THE HILL notched in a four-way tie for #68, garnering a 5.8 rating/9 share. Not preempted by NFL football, FUTURAMA took the 84th slot with a 4.3 rating/7 share. The premiere of GARY & MIKE placed high for its fledgling network, UPN. With extreme help as a follow-up to WWF SMACKDOWN on Thursday, the new stop-motion cartoon kicked off with a 3.6 rating/5 share in 86th place.
DIC Entertainment has signed on to create 26 half-hour episodes of EVOLUTION, based on Ivan Reitman's forthcoming summer live-action feature. This project re-teams DIC's president and CEO Andy Heyward with Reitman, who collaborated on REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and MUMMIES ALIVE. Producing the series along with DIC will be Reitman's The Montecito Picture Co. (TMPC) in conjunction with DreamWorks and Columbia Pictures. Heyward, Reitman and TMPC's co-founder Tom Pollack will executive produce the traditionally animated show.
* Sunday, January 28 Thursday, February 1, 2001. Reunion Island, France (off the coast of Madagascar).
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Touchstone's UNBREAKABLE is truly becoming an international box office hero with top place finishes all over the globe. In France, UNBREAKABLE held on tight to the top spot, with a gross of US$4.68 million, elevating its cume to $11.74 million. At #3, CHICKEN RUN escaped with a gross of $2.64 million, flying its French cume to $11.48 million. DINOSAUR roared in at #4, grossing $2.22 million, thereby growing its French cume to $25.14 million. In sixth, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS slew $1.16 million, increasing its French cume to $2.83 million.
Disney is releasing for the first time PETE'S DRAGON in its original theatrical 135-minute cut. Hitting stores on January 16, 2001, the VHS and DVD will have a restored and remastered video and audio track. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song Score and Best Song for "Candle On The Water." The story follows lighthouse keeper Lampie (Mickey Rooney) and Nora (Helen Reddy) as they try to save Pete (Sean Marshall) and his pet dragon Elliot from his cruel foster mother Mrs. Gogan (Shelley Winters) and the scheming quack, Dr. Terminus (Jim Dale).
Sinking behind the debut of the new teen drama, SAVE THE LAST DANCE, CAST AWAY drifted into second place at the U.S. box office with a gross of US$17.15 million. The desert island drama, with primary visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, has accumulated an impressive $165.1 million to date. Holding onto third, TRAFFIC drove in with another $11.17 million. The drug ring rage, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, has grabbed $33.08 million so far. In fifth, after its first week in wide release, THIRTEEN DAYS thrilled audiences to the tune of $10.23 million.
Mondo Media has announced that it has obtained over US$17 million in its third round of equity financing. The round was led by SBVC with supporting investment for global expansion from Venturepark and others. Returning investors included Foundation Capital, Sofinnova Ventures and Red Rock Ventures. As part of the round, Carl Rosendahl, principal managing director for SBVC, has joined Mondo Media's board of directors. The money will be used to continue Mondo Media's current productions, develop new ones and expand the company's presence in Europe.
Alison de Vere, the creator of THE BLACK DOG and MR. PASCAL, has passed away. She was 73 years old. Her first regular industry job was with the Halas and Batchelor Studio, which she started in 1951, as a background designer on public relations films. In 1957 she became the head of the Guild Television Services' animation unit. There she directed and designed TV commercials. In 1960 she made her first independent film entitled TWO FACES, based on some of her poetry. She joined TVC in 1967 as design director for YELLOW SUBMARINE. One can catch a cameo of de Vere in the Eleanor Rigby sequence.
The Nasdaq Stock Exchange has officially delisted Film Roman Inc. shares from their Small Cap Market. The move is not unexpected due to Film Roman's failure to meet the Exchange's minimum bid requirements. The final share price on the Nasdaq for the company's shares was 56 cents. After being delisted, Film Roman's common stock was immediately eligible for trading on the OTC Bulletin Board under the new symbol ROMN.OB. The OTC Bulletin Board is a regulated quotation service that displays real-time quotes, last-sale prices and volume information in over-the-counter (OTC) equity securities.
As a consolidation measure, the combined AOL Time Warner company has cut six members from its board of directors including U.S. Secretary of State designate Colin Powell. Former General Powell has received some bad press in regards to his involvement with AOL and how it would affect his work as Secretary of State. His removal from the board can be seen as a move to better insure Powell's approval into president-elect George W. Bush's cabinet. The new company's board consists of 16 members. Three members were cut from each of the two company's boards.