Bill Plympton will be appearing at Carolines on Broadway in New York City on May 24, 2000. The presentation will include a sneak preview of his upcoming feature, MUTANT ALIENS, as well as a book party for MUTANT ALIENS, the book. MUTANT ALIENS, to be released in 2001, is based on a graphic novel where an American astronaut is forced to live in space forever. The English version of the 192-page comic book MUTANT ALIENS -- which serves as the storyboard for the feature. Also, the long-awaited video of Bill's feature I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON will be released on April 25, 2000.
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Harvey Entertainment Company announced that The Chase Manhattan Bank is arranging a US$25 million, five-year revolving credit facility and that Harvey has completed the acquisition of 100% of the capital stock of PM Entertainment Group Inc., an independent entertainment production and distribution company. The PM Entertainment Group purchase consisted of $6.5 million in cash and $1.45 million in Harvey Entertainment Common Stock paid at closing, as well as a $2.05 million subordinated note, payable over the next five quarterly periods.
Humongous Entertainment, a leading publisher of children's entertainment products, announced a donation of US$228,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the largest wish-granting organization in the world. The donation was the result of a specially created holiday promotion appearing on 16 of Humongous Entertainment's popular children's CD-Roms. With more than 105,000 holiday consumers participating, this promotion became the largest rebate program in the company's history.
Mexico City-based Ollin Studio has opened a new office in Toronto, Canada. The animation and post-production studio's new facility will offer computer animation, post-production, Internet and multimedia services. Ollin Studio is one of the top animation, post-production, Internet and multimedia houses in Mexico. Ollin has brought high quality animation/post-production to the Mexican market and hopes to do the same in North America. The company's international business representative in Canada is Jose Luis Monzon.
The World War II submarine pic, U-571, easily sailed into the top spot at the U.S. box office on Easter weekend. By grossing US$19.55 million, the Universal actioner more than doubled the second place film LOVE AND BASKETBALL. Slipping two places, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO finished the holiday weekend at #7. The DreamWorks animated buddy flick grossed another $5.22 raising its total take to $41.91 million. Landing in 9th place for the third straight week, FINAL DESTINATION grossed another $2.76 million bringing its total cume to $42.59 million.
The Cannes Film Festival may never be the same. Mellow Manor Productions has announced that it will bring its "Spike and Mike Festival of Animation" to France for this year's event. Recently "Spike and Mike" had successful runs at American festivals Sundance and Austin's South by Southwest, but it is yet to be seen how the European audience will take to the in-your-face humor of the festival of twisted toons.
Currently, the National Film Board of Canada has four animation projects in production. LITTLE ARMADILLOS is based off a song by filmmaker John Forrest. The educational piece creates a world inside the body where the eardrum is a dance hall and the elbow is a playground. Animator Debra Dawson is bringing the story to life with Long John Baldry performing the title song for the film. Jill Haras is creating JOE. The film follows the true-life story of Vancouver personality Seraphim "Joe" Fortes. Born in Barbados, Fortes came to Vancouver in 1885 and taught the children of the city how to swim.
Animation fans will want to get a hold of the Best Of Zagreb Film: The Classic Collection on VHS. In four decades, Zagreb Film produced 600 animated films, winning more than 400 international awards. The studio is famous for its unique animation style that became known as "the Zagreb school." One of its claims-to-fame was that its filmmakers wrote, designed and directed their own films, resulting in some of the boldest political and entertaining cartoons of all time. All of these films were produced within the Iron Curtain of communism.
Warner Bros. will be releasing ANCHORS AWEIGH on DVD. The Oscar award-winning film features the classic dance number featuring Gene Kelly and Jerry from TOM & JERRY. Nominated for best picture by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the classic story of two sailors on leave in Los Angeles will be sailing into video stores on May 2, 2000.
J.J. SEDELMAIER PRODUCTIONS helped Major League Baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. try new "Sportz" (crackers that is). The 30-second spot for new Nabisco "Sportz" snack crackers integrates cel animation and live-action footage. "We haven't produced many projects integrating animation with live action, but on 'Griffey' we were teamed with the creatives from the Slim Jim spots, so we knew and trusted each other," said Sedelmaier. "But this kind of spot can't be as free-wheeling because the animation occupies a very specific area and requires a very particular look.
FAMILY GUY and THE PJS are among the animated series seeking new network homes for next season. Fox is in early talks with UPN to bring THE FAMILY GUY to the channel. The edgy animation has seen low ratings on Fox, however rates high with young men 18-34, which makes it prefect for the testosterone, targeted TV network, UPN. The only thing hurting the deal is the high price tag dangling from the toon. Fox is also speaking with UPN about sending stop-motion series GARY & MIKE to the network. The show, produced by Big Ticket, was scheduled to debut on Fox this summer.
STAN LEE MEDIA (SLM) has hired Iwerks/Universal executive JON CORFINO to head their new location-based entertainment division. Most recently senior vice president, executive in charge of production at Iwerks Entertainment, Corfino previously served as project manager of the planning and development group at Universal Studios. In his newly created post as president, theme park and location-based attractions of Stan Lee Media, Corfino will help the company leverage for the expanding market a new generation of superheroes and super-villains originated on the Web.
MAINFRAME ENTERTAINMENT, INC. announced the appointment of DAN DIDIO to the position of senior VP of creative affairs and ASAPH (ACE) FIPKE to the position of VP creative development. Both will be based at the company's Los Angeles business development offices. DiDio will oversee all development, distribution, marketing and promotion as well as merchandising and licensing of Mainframe's properties. Fipke will be responsible for all development of new digital properties and will work closely with Mainframe's partners to assure a smooth creative process.
MONDO MEDIA, a leading creator and distributor of serial-based animated content, announced that it has named ROBIN HARPER, former VP of marketing for Ninth House Network and Maxis (a division of Electronic Arts), as its new Senior vice president of marketing. In her new position, Harper will be responsible for Mondo Media's marketing operation and help guide the company's overall marketing strategy.
CHARLEX founder and creative director Alex Weil has created "Casual George," a 30-second spot to introduce the new "gold dollar" coin from the U.S. Mint. Charlex brings the stoic face of the first U.S. president off the dollar bill and places it on a lean young body. George gets jiggy with friends at a club, scuba dives with the fishes and drives a classic car along the freeway. "This project was about creating the character of George," said Weil. "We wanted to give him as much humanity as possible. When he reacts to the new one dollar coin, we wanted a reaction everybody can relate to.
WILL VINTON STUDIOS has delivered a new spot entitled "Choices" promoting 989 Studios' video game SYPHON FILTER 2. Mike Wellins directed the CGI commercial for San Francisco-based ad agency, Butler, Shine & Stern. The spot is designed to look like a scene taken directly from the game. The ad starts with the hero running on top of a speeding train firing his machine gun at approaching enemy. When the valiant hero corners the villain, the evil foe suddenly asks whether he can be "done in" with something less painful than a gun.
BLACK LOGIC wins big with new visual effects commercial for the Wisconsin Lottery. The spot highlights the new FastLucky5.com, a cutting-edge on-line game from the Wisconsin Lottery. Black Logic's Michel Suissa directed the ad. The fast paced spot begins with the declaration, "We have seen the future, and it's digital." The colorful spot bursts with floating digits and 3D animation and promises "a whole new way to play the numbers." Suissa said, "The challenge was to appeal to a younger audience, while remaining coherent and relevant.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS rules cable. The original U.S. broadcast on April 16, 2000 drew nearly 10.7 million people. The show was seen as a three-hour special on the Discovery Channel instead of a six-night mini-series as it was originally shown on the BBC. The large audience made it the most-watched non-sports event on cable TV during the 1999-2000 season with a rating of 8.0. Based on Discovery Channel numbers, approximately 40 million viewers saw some part of the special during its back-to-back Sunday telecasts at 7 pm and 10 pm.
11,111 participants representing 2,776 companies from 100 countries
gathered in Cannes for the 37th edition of MIP TV which closed on
Friday April 14, 2000. The countries most represented in terms of
stands were: France (191), US (188), UK (177), Canada (85) and
Germany (76). In terms of participating companies the countries most
represented were: UK (443), France (422), US (372), Germany (173) and
Canada (139); more than 500 of them came from media and Internet
In the television competition at Cartoons on the Bay, Warner Bros.'
beleaguered series "Mission Hill" took home the prize for best
over-all animation series. The 4th Cartoons On The Bay International
Festival of Television Animation was held in Positano (Amalfi Coast),
Italy from April 14 - 18. Cartoons on the Bay is the only festival in
the world dedicated to television animation. The festival is an
international event with awards, workshops, lectures and events
The M.P.S.C. Local 839 IATSE, the labor union for screen cartoonists
and CGI artists and technicians in southern California, has updated
their page with the April 2000 edition of their newsletter, "The
Plympton's new series of comics extracted from the comic book,
"Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton," is for ADULTS ONLY...