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AWN Headline News

Headline News Imax and Mainframe join forces to produce bigscreen 3D films

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.

Headline News DreamWorks TV shuts down

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.

Headline News Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE is doing great around the world

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.

Headline News Disney's highly anticipated MICKEY MOUSEWORKS arrives in May

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.

Headline News Adobe releases powerful new After Effects 4.0

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).

Headline News Sony forms new kids entertainment group headed by Sander Schwartz

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.

Headline News Computer Animation Boot Camp arrives in March

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.

Headline News Phil Roman Entertainment Formed

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.

Headline News Rhythm & Hues merges with VIFX

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.

Headline News The British Academy Award nominees are announced

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.

Headline News "VES '99: A Festival of Visual Effects" hits Hollywood in June

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.

Headline News The interactive game show, THROUT AND NECK, makes its way to the U.S.

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.

Headline News PRESTON PIG in production

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.

Headline News ASIFA Central is hosting a retreat for animators

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.

Headline News Filmmakers and animators evening at the Tech

* 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

Headline News ANA to celebrate women's animation

* 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 alys.hawkins@unn.ac.uk or contact Yvonne Scott at(0191) 265 4932.

Headline News PJs picked up for a second season

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.

Headline News Bugs and Daffy arrive in China

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.

Headline News Nick's interactive Nozzle changes the Web

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

Headline News More primetime 'toons for ABC, Fox and NBC

By Amid Amidi | Thursday, March 4, 1999 at 12:00am

Major U.S. networks have been bitten by an animation bug and have recently announced a slew of primetime animated series. ABC has worked out a deal with Miramax and Touchstone TV for six episodes of CLERKS, based on director Kevin Smiths 1994 indie film of the same name. Slated for a midseason or fall 2000 launch, the show will be executive-produced by Smith and former SEINFELD supervising producer, Dave Mandel. Like the film, the TV series, only the second ever produced by Miramax, focuses on two young slackers who keep minimum-wage jobs in New Jersey.

Headline News Woody Woodpecker is back on TV

By Amid Amidi | Thursday, March 4, 1999 at 12:00am

Fox Kids will start airing WOODY WOODPECKER on May 8. The series, produced by Universal Cartoon Studios, features new adventures of Woody, Wally Walrus and Chilly Willy. It was originally scheduled to air during the fall '98 season. The show's supervising director and producer is animation veteran Bob Jaques.

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