Veteran animation producer and executive Max Howard has finalized a first-look production deal with DreamWorks. Launching his new production company, Melwood Pictures, Howard will be developing both live-action and animated features. Therefore, he will be stepping down as producer on DreamWorks Pictures' upcoming animated release SPIRIT, STALLION OF THE CIMARRON. Howard came to DreamWorks from Warner Bros. where he served as president of feature animation. During his tenure, the studio produced the award-winning animated feature THE IRON GIANT, as well as QUEST FOR CAMELOT and SPACE JAM.
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With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH firmly planted at #1, DreamWorks' THE ROAD TO EL DORADO ended up finishing in second place at the U.S. box office. The newest toon featuring Elton John songs grossed US$12.85 million. The special effects enhanced action flick, ROMEO MUST DIE, slipped to #4. The Jet Li film, with primary special effects by Manex Visual Effects, brought home $9.38 million bringing its cume to $38.8 million. Coming off its best picture win at the Oscars, AMERICAN BEAUTY finished in 6th place grossing another $5.41 million, raising its cume to $116.7 million.
Boris FX, the producer of high-end compositing and effects technology recently launched a new titling plug-in called Boris Graffiti. Based on the powerful text animation engine found in Boris RED, Boris Graffiti allows editors to create complex 2D and 3D animated titles within their already familiar non-linear editing system.
Director of MIMIC, Guillermo del Toro is set to helm BLADE 2: BLOOD HUNT, the sequel to the hit 1998 horror film starring Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson. The film will go in front of cameras this fall. Potentially, the film could see a summer 2001 release date. Snipes is back in the title role, and Kristofferson will come back as his mentor -- even though he seemingly died in the first film. Based on the Marvel Comics hero who's part man and part vampire, Blade hunts down the walking dead as they try to liquidate the human race.
The Harvey Entertainment Co. has entered into a deal with Vancouver-based Studio B to produce a new TV series based on their character Wendy the Witch. Studio B has acquired the rights to the popular children's series from Harvey and has partnered with Harvey in producing 26 half-hour episodes for the worldwide television and video marketplace. The series is expected to be available for delivery beginning in January 2001. Studio B also produces D'MYNA LEAGUES, WHAT ABOUT MIMI and YVON OF THE YUKON.
Jim Henson Interactive (JHI), the interactive division of The Jim Henson Company, released the first of a series of MuppeToons on its Muppetworld Web site. This collaboration between Pulse Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company and its award-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop will feature the first 3D version of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie the Bear.
Two new shorts from Spunky Town have set down on Shockwave.com. Two episodes of THE BEATLESS, "Zombies of Love" and "Beat Less the Devil," have come to the Netcaster. The series follows three of the world's worst rockers who investigate paranormal activity. Also premiering on Shockwave is HIX HOLLAR, USA, a new comedy cartoon about a suburban family's move to a farm town.
Two new storyboarding books, STORYBOARDING 101: A CRASH COURSE IN PROFESSIONAL STORYBOARDING by James O. Fraioli and STORYBOARDS: MOTION IN ART, 2ND EDITION by Mark Simon, are currently on the shelves. STORYBOARDING 101 is written for individuals looking to break into storyboarding but don't know where to start. The book features concise information on both the mechanics of the art and how the business works. James O. Fraioli has storyboarded THE TEMP, WILD AMERICA, ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS and EIGHT HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG.
The Vancouver Film School (VFS) has launched the largest scholarship competition in the history of the institution. Open to residents of Canada and the United States, the VFS 2000 Scholarship Competition will award 12 scholarships, for a total value of more than US$174,000. Established in 1987, VFS focuses on portfolio development and production-based education. "We are basically a production house that teaches; our students learn by doing," said director of registration Daniel Craig.
Prestigious life drawing instructor Glenn Vilppu is offering two new video tapes of his classes on drawing, a PROFILE DEMONSTRATION and a FRONT VIEW DEMONSTRATION. Vilppu said: "These are the best demonstrations of head drawing that I have done so far. The two demonstrations are done using black, red and white pencils. I also have a new mike so the sound is excellent." In the Anatomy Demonstration series, now available is a DEMONSTRATION OF LEG DRAWING video. Each video is available for $24.94 plus s/h.
On Wednesday, March 29, 2000, Disney lobbyists helped deliver Gemstar's FCC complaint against the America On-Line and Time Warner merger to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Gemstar has agreements with TV stations in every market in the U.S., which allows the company to engrave program information into broadcast signals. VCRs equipped with Gemstar's VCR-Plus technology can then decode the signal, making it easier for users to record TV programming.
Montreal-based CINAR Corp. has come to an interim deal with Globe-X Management, which halts the pending lawsuit against the investment firm. The agreement allows CINAR Corp. to look into investments made, without board approval, in Globe-X Management's affiliate Globe-X Canadiana. However, the deal does not finalizes the terms in which CINAR will be able to recover the nearly US$76 million invested in Globe-X. The lawsuit was filed on Monday, March 20, in an attempt to recover the funds, which were signed by former co-CEO Ronald Weinberg and senior executive VP Hasanain Panju.
Perhaps, Neitchze was correct because GOD is dead. At least NBC's rendition of him is. The troubled toon GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB has been excommunicated from NBC's line-up. The decision to pull the series out of the line-up came in response to the lowest ratings ever for a regularly scheduled program in the Tuesday 8:30 pm time slot. Nearly 5% of the country's NBC affiliates had already pre-empted the show from their schedule for either religious concerns or they felt it just wasn't funny. Recently, advertisers were even turning their attention away from the ify animation series.
Stardust Entertainment Filmproduktion, a computer animation and visual effects studio located in Berlin-Potsdam, Germany, is looking to recruit a number of people to work on this and other upcoming productions this year. The company language is English.
On March 26th in Los Angeles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the winner for Best Animated Short Film...
April 1st, 2000 marks the first day of AWN's fifth year in existence. This is also the 15th anniversary of "The Big Snit," Richard Condie's Academy Award-nominated animated film...
Chris Robinson, Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival, is on tour in Canada to present a screening and discussion of the Best New Canadian Animation. The screenings will take place in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Admission is free. The schedule is as follows: Vancouver: Wednesday, April 5th, 7:00pm at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Granville Island; Hosted by ASIFA Vancouver. Calgary: Saturday, April 8th; Contact Carol Beecher at email@example.com; Hosted by the Quickdraw Animation Society (QAS).
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book, "Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...
The Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film was celebrated March 16-21, marking its 20th year in existence. The biannual festival presented a wide ranging programme, giving prizes worth 142,000 German marks (70,000 euros or US dollars) and enjoying a growth of 25% in the number of spectators. With approximately 42,000 spectators and some 500 films in the programme, Stuttgart calls itself, "The second largest animated film event world wide," a definition which might well be true. A new competition category this year was for feature animations.