SIGGRAPH 99, taking place in Los Angeles from August 8-12, is currently accepting entries for the Computer Animation Festival. The selected films and videos will appear in either the daily screening room, the Electronic Theater or in other special events. Entries can be sent in many areas including animation, entertainment, special effects, visualization, research and technique, education, architecture, art, music, dance, non-narrative and experimental works, commercial productions and student-produced works. Film submissions must be received by April 7, 1999.
AWN Headline News
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has formed a new division (unnamed as of publication) to develop character-based entertainment primarily targeted to the kids market in live action, CGI, cel animation and other media. This is in addition to the family films, which will continue to be developed and produced by Columbia Pictures. Sander Schwartz has been named president of this new entertainment group, in addition to his current responsibilities as head of SPE's Columbia TriStar Television Children's Programming, which will fold into this new division.
Imax Corp. has agreed to make a strategic investment in Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment, producers of the 3D computer-animated REBOOT and BEAST WARS. The company will invest CAN$16 million (U.S.$10.6 million) into Mainframe to acquire an equity and convertible senior debt, giving Imax an approximate 30% stake in the company. As part of the deal, Imax and Mainframe will co-produce 3D animated films for release in IMAX theaters and other markets. Their first collaboration, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, is expected to be released to IMAX theaters by summer 2001.
In a move to consolidate, DreamWorks Television Animation has closed down, and the direct-to-video unit has merged with the feature division. A DreamWorks spokeswoman stated, "We are currently reorganizing our animation divisions so we are all operating under one umbrella. While we have decided not to continue pursuing television animation opportunities at this time, we are continuing to develop and produce animation for both feature films and direct-to-video." The TV division, spearheaded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, opened shop in 1996 headed by Gary Krisel and David Simon.
Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE has passed $150 million in the overseas box office and $310 million worldwide making it the 11th highest-grossing animated feature of all time. The top ten spots are all held by Disney films. The film has been released in 26 countries so far and has been in the top ten consistently in most countries including Germany ($15 million), Italy ($5.5 million), Spain ($10.2 million), Sweden ($3.5 million), and Taiwan ($3 million). In the United Kingdom, the film set a new record for the highest animated opening, and the eighth largest opening ever.
The highly anticipated DISNEY'S MICKEY MOUSEWORKS will join the ABC Saturday morning children's lineup on May 1, 1999 at 12:00 noon (ET/PT). The new half-hour series features cartoons of varying lengths (12, 7-1/2, 6, and 1-1/2 minutes) featuring Disney's classic stable of stars such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Minnie Mouse.
Adobe Systems has began shipping Adobe After Effects 4.0, the latest version of the software tool for motion graphics designers and visual effects artists. Highlighting this release is tighter integration with other Adobe applications (e.g. Premiere, Photoshop, Illustrator).
Six-time Emmy-winner Phil Roman, who in February departed Film Roman, the animation company he founded in 1984 [AF 02/16/99], has announced the formation of his new company, privately owned Phil Roman Entertainment in Studio City, California. Roman is president and chief executive officer of the full service animation firm. The new company will create, develop and produce traditional and computer animation for TV, features, commercials and promotions. The Roman company is expected to announce a number of projects soon.
Visual effects and animation studio Rhythm & Hues has purchased the VIFX portion of Marina del Rey based-effects house Blue Sky/VIFX from 20 Century Fox for approximately $5 million. Under the Rhythm & Hues banner, the combined companies will be the largest privately owned visual f/x house in Los Angeles. The core management team at VIFX will remain intact although layoffs are expected for some of VIFX's 100+ employees because of an overlap of job functions once the merger is completed.
Career Boot Camp, presented by the L.A. Chapter's of SIGGRAPH and Women in Animation, is a one-day intensive computer animation-geared event taking place Sunday, March 7 from 9-5 p.m. at the Universal Hilton in Universal City, California. The program is designed to inform people interested in breaking into the computer animation and visual effects industries. Attendees will hear from industry professionals from such companies as Industrial Light & Magic, the Walt Disney Company, Pacific Data Images (PDI), Tippett Studios, Area 51 and numerous others.
Cartoon Network is hosting an eight-hour BOY GIRL, BOY GIRL marathon on Sunday, March 7, from 12-8 p.m. The event features alternating 11-minute shorts from two of their newest shows, ED, EDD n EDDY and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS.
Link Entertainment's PRESTON PIG has been commissioned by Childrens ITV. Twenty-six seven minute episodes of this children's series will be produced by Varga tvc to air in September 2000. The show, based on Colin McNaughton's popular books, follows the countless inept attempts by Mr. Wolf to catch and eat the carefree Preston Pig. "We believe that this series is set to be a classic, following in the grand tradition of such double acts as Tom and Jerry, and Sylvester and Tweety," commented Genevieve Dexter, Head of Sales & Acquisitions, Link Entertainment.
The 7th annual ASIFA Central Midwest Animator's Conference & Retreat takes place from April 30 through May 2 in the heart of Starved Rock State Park (Utica, Illinois). The event brings together an informal group of attendees to hear featured speakers, view animation and discuss various aspects of the animation business. Also included on the agenda is a Bar-B-Que, nature hikes and a chance to swim in an indoor pool or relax in a hot tub. The Retreat also features "The Helen Victoria Haynes World Peace Storyboard & Animation Scholarship Competition" designed to encourage student animators.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the nominations for its 51st British Academy Film Awards. Nominees for The Best Short Animated Film are:
1001 NIGHTS, Yukio Sonoyama/Mike Smith.
THE CANTERBURY TALES, Aida Zyablikova/Renat Zinnurov/Ashley Potter/Dave Antrobus/Claire Jennings/ Mic Graves/Joanna Quinn/Les Mills.
GOGWANA, Helen Nabarro/Deiniol Morris/Sion Jones/Michael Mort/Joe Turner.
HUMDRUM, Carla Shelley/Julie Lockhart/Peter Peake.
The Visual Effects Society (VES) is presenting the first "VES '99: A Festival of Visual Effects" which will take place June 4-6 at the Leonard Goldenson Theater of the Television Academy. The event is designed to provide an annual platform for sharing creativity and common interests in the production of visual effects for the entertainment industry. The three-day program includes a series of seminars presented by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Jim Henson's Creature Workshop and Sony Pictures Imageworks among others.
The Game Show Network has signed a deal with Interactive Television Entertainment (ITE-USA) to start airing the live, real-time animated action game THROUT AND NECK in the U.S. Using technologies developed by ITE-USA, home viewers are able to control the movement of the animated characters using their telephone keypads to input commands. In the game, Throut and Neck are two unruly beasts who somehow wind up in SheepHeaven, a mind-numbing world of annoyingly cute and adorable sheep. The players at home control their monsters to see which one can defeat the most sheep and return home.
* Wednesday, March 10. San Jose, California USA.
"Filmmakers and Animators Evening at the Tech," a Bay Area industrygathering designed to help local members of the large format film industryand animation community, takes place at The Tech Museum of Innovationstarting at 7:00 p.m. The evening includes a reception and a screening oflarge format animated shorts including Mark Osborne's MORE, Jules Engel'sAVIARY, Don MacBain's FIRE and Barbel Neubauer's SKY; followed by a
* Monday, March 8. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
The Association of Northern Animators (ANA) will host a celebration ofwomen's animation on March 8 (International Women's Day) at the TelegraphHotel. The evening will include screenings and discussion of women's filmsproduced in the region. Female animators from the Northeast UK regioninclude Candy Guard (POND LIFE) and Sarah Kennedy (CRAPSTON VILLAS). Forfurther details, e-mail email@example.com or contact Yvonne Scott at(0191) 265 4932.
Foxs new animated series, THE PJS, has been picked up for a second season. Twenty-two additional episodes of the Imagine/Touchstone/Will Vinton Studios series will start airing in fall 99. Season-to-date, The PJs is averaging a 6.4 rating and 10 household share, which is a 12% jump from its King of the Hill lead-in and a 45% increase over the timeslot average last season.
In a precedent-setting deal, Chinese national broadcaster CCTV signed anagreement with Warner Bros. Intl. TV to start airing a 15-minute block ofLooney Tunes starting this summer. The program, which will run 7 days aweek, consists of two animated shorts a day. This marks the first timeLooney Tunes will be nationally broadcast as a regularly scheduled programin China; and signals a significant development in bringing U.S. TVprogramming to China, where it is virtually nonexistent on CCTV, thecountry's main broadcaster.
Nickelodeon has announced a new endeavor tentatively titled "ProjectNozzle." This initiative will transform the Nick.com website from itscurrent TV-centric position into a full, free online service for kids.Project Nozzle, which will compete with Walt Disney's Disney Blast andDisney Channel's Zoog Disney services on the Disney.com site, will havesuch features as guided Web tours, auditoriums, bulletin boards, moderatedchats and e-mail, along with kid content from a wide range of content
* Thursday, February 25 - Wednesday, March 3. San Jose, California, USA.
The week-long Cinequest San Jose Film Festival IX takes place with numerous screenings and special events. Among the events are PDI Presents: The Making of Antz and a screening dedicated to recent animated shorts. For additional information visit www.cinequest.org or call (408) 295-3378 for tickets.
Burbank, California-based Rich Animation's upcoming animated feature THE KING AND I, slated for release March 19, utilized a unique production process by transferring animation scenes via the Internet between artists located in California, Europe, China, India, Korea and Canada. By avoiding the massive overhead costs associated with typical feature animation studios, Rich was able to compete with the big boys by delivering a theatrical quality feature on a budget.