Warner Bros. cartoon director Art Davis passed away on May 9, 2000 at 3 pm. An underrated and overlooked director of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, Davis directed many Daffy Duck and Porky Pig cartoons in his tenure. He directed one classic Bugs Bunny toon in 1949 called BOWERY BUGS. Davis started his animation career in 1921 and is credited with being the industry's first in-betweener. Davis took over the Clampett unit as director in 1945. After his unit was dissolved in 1948, he continued on as an animator and story man in the Freleng unit until the studio closed.
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Slaying the competition at the U.S. box office, DreamWorks' GLADIATOR easily finished in the top spot. The Roman action epic, with primary special effects by Mill Film Ltd., grossed a Goliath US$34.82 million, which is nearly the combined gross of the rest of the top ten films. GLADIATOR dethroned two-week box office champ U-571, which fell to second. The Universal World War II submarine story grossed another $7.77 million bringing its total theatre receipts to $49.59 million. Despite horrid reviews from about every source, THE FLINTSTONES VIVA ROCK VEGAS managed to finish in third place.
With live-action Julia Roberts-starrer ERIN BROCKOVICH reigning the international box office, POKEMON: THE FIRST MOVIE and STUART LITTLE started their descent down the charts. For the week ending May 4, 2000, STUART LITTLE fell from the #1 spot in Australia to land in 2nd place. The Columbia pic grossed another US$1.53 million Down Under, raising its cume in the country to $10.7 million. The radiant rodent also fell from the top spot in Germany and Hong Kong to land in fourth place in both countries. STUART's gross in Germany was $516,789, raising its German cume to $4.75 million.
On Sunday, May 7, 2000 the 31st annual ASIFA-East animation festival was held in New York City. The event packed the auditorium with animators and animation buffs. The overflow of the audience was sent to a second theater to watch a simulcast of the winning films. The event holds four categories for students, commercials, sponsored films and independent films. The big winners were Nickelodeon, taking home three awards in the sponsored category, and Acme Filmworks, which won three awards in the commercial category.
On Sunday, May 7, 2000 in Fredrikstad, Norway, the Nordic and Baltic Animation Festival Fredrikstad called to an end its five-day festival. The Oscar award nominated MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KING'S SHIRTS took home two awards at the festival. The jury consisted of Marjut Rimminen (Finland/U.K.), Konstantin Bronzit (Russia), Sven Påhlsson (Norway), Richard R. Reeves (Canada) and Cory Wynne (U.S.A.). The festivals focus is to promote the screening and better understanding of animation.
Disney has signed a new multiyear book licensing deal with Random House Inc. which sees the end to its 70-year relationship with Golden Books Family Entertainment. The golden spined children's books, which have graced the shelves of bookstores to grocery markets, will no longer feature Disney characters. The decision to sign with Random House came after the terms of their deal with Golden Books were not profitable. The financial terms of the five-year deal were not disclosed due to competitive reasons.
Cartoon Network has unveiled the line-up for their "Voice Your Choice Weekend." Starting on June 9, 2000, the toon home will air the first of ten animated pilots that will compete for spots on the channels 2001 schedule. On the weekend of August 25-27, viewers will vote on-line for their favorite, of which the top three will become original series. Airing June 9, THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY was created by Maxwell Atoms. BILLY AND MANDY is a quirky cartoon where Billy and Mandy win the friendship of the Grim Reaper during a competition for Billys hamsters soul.
Studio City, California-based Phil Roman Entertainment company, in partnership with Quarter Star Productions (QSP) of Charlotte, North Carolina, will produce SOAP ON THE RANGE, a new primetime animated half-hour comedy TV series. Headed by animator and producer, Phil Roman, RANGE lampoons soaps and Westerns with a story about two rival family ranches in Colorado. Twenty-six episodes of SOAP ON THE RANGE will be set for delivery in time for the 2001 television season. Serving alongside Roman, as executive producers will be the husband and wife team of Joyce Wade-May and Patrick W.
Lolee Aries has been appointed vice president of production, Nickelodeon Animations Studios. At Nickelodeon, she will oversee the day-to-day production on all of Nickelodeon Animation Studios in-house projects including current series SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, HEY ARNOLD!, CATDOG, ANGRY BEAVERS, OH YEAH! CARTOONS! and the upcoming series CHALKZONE, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS and INVADER ZIM. Aries will also focus on the digital production process and boosting the utilization of in-house talent. Aries joins Nickelodeon from Film Roman, where she served as VP of production.
Mattel, Inc. has signed a new multiyear worldwide licensing pact with Nickelodeon to renew and expand its current toy license agreement. The deal will include toy categories such as action figures, dolls, plush toys, games, handheld games, puzzles, and infant and preschool products. Mattel now controls all properties from Nickelodeon's children's television programming services, as well as Nickelodeon's motion pictures division, Nickelodeon Movies. As part of the deal, Mattel will be the international toy licensee for Nickelodeon's RUGRATS and BLUE'S CLUES in more than 30 countries.
Three of animation's top producer/artists on BATMAN, THE X-MEN and THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, as well as such comic book classics as SPIDER-MAN, CONAN and TARZAN, have joined Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLM). Will Meugniot, Larry Houston and Thomas McLaughlin, who have overseen programming for such major studios as Fox, Warner Bros., Sony and Saban, will be steering SLM projects in development as well as THE 7TH PORTAL Web animation franchise.
The convergence between the Net and TV gets narrower as KING OF THE HILL steps into the game in a big way. On Sunday, May 14, 2000, Fox will air an episode of KING where Peggy Hill is lured into making an inspirational video about her long time embarrassment her big feet. However, the shifty photographer just posts Peggys plus-sized piggys on a fetish Web site called peggysfeet.com.
Nelvana Limited announced that it has filed with the Ontario Securities Commission to offer 3.75 million subordinate voting shares of the company in the U.S. and Canada. A portion of the money gained from the new offering will be used to repay loans for the purchase of Klutz Publishing, a leading U.S. childrens book publisher. The remainder of the funds will be used to pay off borrowings under the firms credit facilities. The producer of children favs BABAR and FRANKLIN is selling 3,684,032 shares and the remaining 65,968 shares are being sold by two unnamed shareholders.
Pushing the boundaries of bedtimes everywhere, Nickelodeon will extend their Friday night line-up to 10 pm. Cyma Zarghami, Nick exec VP and general manager, said that the new hour block might be filled with U-PICK, a show that gives kids the chance to vote on what Nick series they want to watch. Currently, U-PICK airs on Friday nights and Zarghami said, "[U-PICKs] performing very well right now. We may expand that to 10 pm. We may put an anchor block in there. We havent decided yet." This decision comes amid rumors that ABCs TGIF Friday family programming is on the skids.
* Thursday, May 11 Friday, May 12, 2000. North Hollywood, Calfornia, U.S.A.
The California Institute of the Arts, School of Film/Video is holding Showcase 2000, a chance for students to screen their films and videos. Films in character animation will be shown on May 11 at 9pm and experimental animation films will be shown on May 12 at 8pm. The event will be held at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, 5230 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. For more information call Tel.: (661) 253-7818.
Quebec Animation, an alliance of animation companies in Quebec, announced that Oscar award-winning Productions Pascal Blais has joined the group. Productions Pascal Blais THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA recently won the Oscar for best animated short. Formed in 1999, the organization highlights the creativity and mastery in animation and visual effects of its members, while each company stands as an independent entity. "The rise of Montreal as an internationally recognized shooting center in the past ten years has been impressive," said Pascal Blais, President of Productions Pascal Blais.
A Canadian Television Fund (CTF) commissioned report calls for stiffer conflict-of-interest rules for the distribution of their CA$200 million in funds. Two reports, one by consultants François Colbert and David Silcox for CTF and one by KPMG for the Heritage Ministry, pointed out several serious administrative problems in the way Canadian funds are handed out to production companies. Both reports recommend that Telefilm Canada, a second government agency that helps fund and produce Canadian productions, should get out of the funding business and concentrate on producing feature films.
Los Angeles, California-based Unbound Studios, an Internet animation and gaming company, is looking for 2D/FLASH ANIMATORS, an ANIMATION DIRECTOR and TRADITIONAL ANIMATORS. . . Sherman Oaks, California-based Animation Creations, an Animation Workshop, is looking for an ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR/ASSISTANT. . . Toronto, Canada-based Nelvana is looking for traditional ANIMATORS for a new series animated in Flash, as well as a DIRECTOR and STORYBOARD ARTISTS. . .
For its 2000 edition and its 40th anniversary (June 5-10, 2000), the Annecy International Animated Film Festival received 1,092 films (995 in 1999) from 52 countries. 279 of them, representing 36 countries, have been selected for official competition with 207 in competition and 72 in panorama.
This week's updates to the Calendar of Events includes the Singapore Animation Fiesta in June 2000, and the first AnimeOnline Festival in Los Angeles in July 2000. With multiple search capabilities, AWN's new calendar of events gives you a customized way to look through the upcoming events - by Name, Location, Entry Deadline, Category, Event Type and more. Use it to stay abreast of animation related activities across the globe. If you know of animation related events that we don't have listed, send an email with the pertinent facts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book, "Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
Test your skills and challenge your brain with AWN's Animation Trivia Quiz. This week, we're asking questions about award winners...
"The Masters of Russian Animation," an extraordinary collection of Russia's most important animated short films, is now available on DVD! Volume 1 includes ten films from directors Fyodor Kitruk, Vadim Kurchevsky, Andrei Khrjanovsky, Rasa Strautmane, Yefim Gamburg, Andrei Khrjanovsky, Nikolai Serebryakov and Anatoly Petrov. In All, the Russian collection includes seven videotapes, available individually and in 3- or 7-tape packages. Volume 1 is now available on DVD for $24.95 plus s/h.
Former Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth has joined Pixars board of directors and IRON GIANT director Brad Bird has signed on as a director as well. The announcement came on the same day that the 3D-animation company revealed heavy earnings in the first quarter due to the phenomenal success of TOY STORY 2. Roth helped develop TOY STORY 2 before he left Disney to start his own production company. Roth told Reuters that he wanted to keep in touch with the ever-advancing world of 3D animation as his new business is being formed.