On March 25, 2001 in Los Angeles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the winners for this year's Oscars. Taking home the prize for outstanding animated short was Michael Dudok de Wit's lyrically elegant FATHER & DAUGHTER. The big winner for the evening was the visual effects epic GLADIATOR, which received five Oscars for best picture, best actor Russell Crowe, best visual effects, best costume design and best sound. Oscar was also kind to the other big visual effects film of the year CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
AWN Headline News
iXL Digital Video Group provided visual effects for Tide's new "Angel" commercial. In the spot, a woman in a white ski suit makes snow angels, however she reaches the ground below getting dirt all over her clothes. The dirt in the live-action footage was not prominent enough, so senior visual effects artist Doug Dimon was assigned to "bring out the dirt," in addition to multiplying the angel mark five times for the final scene. "While the finished spot appears natural, we did a lot digitally to enhance the dirt," said Dimon, who sampled dirt from several plates in flame*.
Curious Pictures has wrapped on a new CGI spot for Lugz athletic shoes entitled "Pirate Radio." In the 30-second commercial, after the Lugz's Blue Man subverts the city power, the hero must avoid the electric company's thugs in order to run a pirate radio station for rooftop parties across the city. "In the Lugz spot, we created characters with a lot of personality surrounded by computer-animated environments that are rich and beautiful," said Chel White, Curious Pictures' director.
Alliance Atlantis has promoted Jennifer Bennett to vice president, merchandising and licensing. Bennett will oversee the licensing of all Alliance Atlantis' television properties, including children's label, AAC KIDSTM. She has been with the company for the past seven years, most recently as director, merchandising and licensing. "Jennifer has been invaluable to Alliance Atlantis' merchandising and licensing initiatives over the past three years since joining the M&L team," said Ted Riley, president, Alliance Atlantis Television Distribution.
Blur Studio has hired Tim Brown as their new co-creative director of the design division. Prior to Blur, Brown served as creative director of the design and animation house, RezN8. Brown's work on CBS's coverage of the 1998 Winter Olympics helped the project earn two Sports Emmy Awards for graphic design and technical innovation. Brown said, "Here, we have a design engine that is integrated with a production engine. Very few design firms have direct access to 3D animation and visual effects production, or to artists of the caliber we have at Blur.
Apple introduced artists to the new version of their award-winning video editing software, Final Cut Pro, late last week. Final Cut Pro 2 is an all-in-one editing solution, featuring real-time editing, breakthrough Power Mac G4 performance and a scalable architecture that allows users to output content into any video format. With Final Cut Pro 2, real-time editing and compositing functions are integrated into the video production workflow seamlessly.
Dosch Design has just released several new products, including version 2.0 products from its state-of-the-art Dosch Textures line. Rust & Metal, Stone & Concrete, Skin, Industrial Design, Broadcast-Design and Special-Effects now include many additional textures, plus a large number of textures which are provided in even higher resolution than in the previous version. The products have been expanded for a wider variety of contents and will soon be supported by the new Dosch Design InfoBase, which will be established on the Dosch Design Website.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's installment a humorous short by Steve Martin, a new Bill Plympton Webtoon and the winners of the Thugs on Film Tosser Awards. Plus, much, much more.
Get your Web Animation Guide here!
Also every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Lions Gate Home Entertainment has gained the home video rights for the MR. BILL collection of shorts. In addition, CinemaNow.com has obtained the Internet video-on-demand rights. Lions Gate plans to release several MR. BILL shorts on VHS late this summer with a DVD featuring 2 hours of content following sometime after. Special features on the DVD will be behind-the-scenes commentary by Mr. Bill about his time on SNL, never-before-seen footage and the short MR. BILL 2013: A BILL ODYSSEY. The collections obtained in the deal were: "The Mr.
Rainbow Studios has opened a new office in Phoenix and a new satellite office in San Francisco. "At a time where many studios are downsizing or restructuring to remain competitive, Rainbow Studios is experiencing tremendous growth in all aspects of our business -- from digital cinema to game development," said Scott Novis, vice president of engineering at Rainbow Studios.
* Thursday, October 25 Sunday, November 4, 2001. Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Entry Deadline: May 15, 2001.
On Thursday, March 22, 2001, one of the fathers of TV animation, William Hanna, died at his home in North Hollywood, California. He was 90 years old. Born in Melrose, New Mexico, on July 14, 1910, Hanna and his partner, Joseph Barbera created such beloved cartoon characters as Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and Scooby-Doo. Hanna, a trained engineer, began his animation career during the Depression when he took an ink and paint position at Harman-Ising Studios.
Walt Disney Co. Latin America has hired Marcos Rosset as managing director, Brazil. He will head all of the company's businesses in the territory, including the Portuguese language Disney Channel that debuts on April 5, 2001. For the past 15 years, Rosset served as managing director of CIC Video, a co-venture between Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. There he oversaw all retail businesses, including interactive consumer products and rental/sell-through video.
Visual effects powerhouse Tippett Studio has recently purchased 10 Silicon Graphics Octane2 visual workstations, 25 Silicon Graphics 230 and Silicon Graphics 330 Windows NT OS-based and Linux OS-based workstations, an SGI 2100 visualization server and a 2TB SGI TP9400 storage system. The company has been using SGI systems since opening its doors in 1983, and continues to choose Silicon Graphics machines to realize their award-winning work.
Visionary Media will offer 26 half-hour TV episodes of WHIRLGIRL, the Flash-animated Internet series, via Catherine Branscome of Branscome International. "WHIRLGIRL has been recreated for TV with more animation and greater frame rates than are seen online via FlashCast, a proprietary process developed in-house by Visionary," explained Visionary Media acting CEO Buzz Potamkin.
TriStar Pictures has announced that it will be putting the animated feature THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN into theaters for a limited release on May 11, 2001. Based on the novel by E.B. White, the film follows the adventures of Louie, a mute trumpeter swan who takes extraordinary steps to compensate for his lack of voice.
CartoonNetwork.com has announced that they have signed John Kricfalusi to a six short deal. Characters featured in his Web Premiere Toons will include the Jetsons, Yogi Bear and Fred and Barney of THE FLINTSTONES. John K's Spumco Inc. will produce the shorts. John Kricfalusi, creator and producer of THE REN & STIMPY SHOW, started his career at Hanna-Barbera. The first toon is scheduled to go live sometime in May. "John is considered one of the top creative forces in animation - online and on television," said Sam Register, senior vice president and creative director of Cartoon Network Online.
* Friday, September 14 Thursday, September 20, 2001. New York, New York, U.S.A.
Entry Deadline: May 15, 2001
Warner Bros. Animation has announced that Jean MacCurdy has stepped down from her post as president and will be replaced by former Sony Family Entertainment Group president Sander Schwartz. MacCardy will become a creative consultant for the studio, working on developing animated and live-action children's productions. In 1979, she joined Warner Bros. Cartoons as director of animation programming and in 1982, was promoted to VP and general manager.