Herbert "Herb" Klynn, a pioneer in motion picture and television animation, passed away on February 3 at the age of 81. Combining graphic design and artistic talents, he worked at UPA from 1944 to 1959 on classic characters like Mr. Magoo, Madeline and Gerald McBoing-Boing, eventually rising to become the studio's Vice President and Production Chief. In 1959, he founded Format Productions with Jules Engel and was responsible for the creation of such popular animation series as THE ALVIN SHOW, THE LONE RANGER, and THE CURIOSITY SHOP, a collaboration with director Chuck Jones.
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The hit Japanese show POKéMON, currently in syndication in the U.S. and exclusively on Kids WB! next season, has been sold to Televisa (Mexico) and Record-TV (Brazil). Both networks will premiere the show in April/May as a five-day-a-week program. The show has also been sold to numerous other Latin American broadcasters including Magic TV and Channel 11 (Argentina), Etcetera and Chilevision Channel 6 (Chile), Caracol (Colombia), Telecorporation (El Salvador), Televicentro (Honduras), Frecuencia Latina (Peru) and Venevision (Venezuela).
Todd MacFarlane, creator of the comic book and late-night HBO animated series, SPAWN, revealed he was the anonymous person that bought baseball star Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball at a recent auction for over $3 million dollars. MacFarlane, who has had a lifelong love of the game, said that he will have the ball mounted in a glass case and tour the country speaking to kid groups about baseball.
Milia '99- the International Content Market for Interactive Media will take place at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France from February 9-12. Milia is an international event that connects all facets of on-line/off-line interactive content by bringing together over 1000 on-line, gaming, multimedia, television, satellite and telecom companies from 57 countries.
For the first time since the October 2 release of "Antz," there were no animated films in the box office top ten. DreamWorks' THE PRINCE OF EGYPT is still the top animated film placing 11th with $1.9M and a grand total of $93.3M domestically. The film's total worldwide gross to date is $197.8M. Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE placed 15th with $1.4M bringing its spectacular sum to $155.9M in North America. Worldwide, the insect film has brought in a total of $213.1M and is still going strong. The film's opening in the U.K.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced the Academy Award/Oscar nominees for films made in 1998. The nominees in the Best Animated Short Film category are:
JOLLY ROGER, an Astley Baker production directed by Mark Baker.
THE CANTERBURY TALES, an S4C production written and executive directed by Jonathan Myerson.
BUNNY, a Blue Sky Studios production written and directed by Chris Wedge.
WHEN LIFE DEPARTS, an A Films Aps production directed by Karsten Killerich and Stefan Fjeldmark.
* Sunday, February 14. Los Angeles, California, USA
Hollywood Shorts will hold their February screening on Valentine's Day at 6:00 p.m. and in honor of the holiday, the films being screened all have a heart-y theme. The sole animated short in this edition is Christine Smith's cel-animated short CHASING THE BLUES AWAY. The screening will be held at THE JOINT, 8771 West Pico Blvd, in West LA. The complete films will also be available for on-line viewing at http://www.lalive.com/hollywoodshorts.
* Wednesday, February 24. Rochester, New York, USA
The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) presents their Winter MFA Animation Screening at 7:00 p.m. in the Carlson Auditorium on the RIT campus. The screening is open to all and includes screenings of the winter quarter projects and thesis films. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call (716) 475-2754.
This Valentine's Day weekend, February 12-14, animation lovebirds can watch a couple of Valentine-themed specials on Nickelodeon and ABC. Nickelodeon will air An Off-Beats Valentine's Special on February 12 at 8:00 p.m. and the 14th at 1:00 p.m. (ET/PT). Based on The Off-Beats, a series of shorts created at Curious Pictures by Mo Willems, which appear on Nickelodeon's animated sketch comedy show Kablam!, the special features four adorably hapless kids who are tormented by the Populars.
Hash Inc. has released Animation Master 99 (AM99), an updated version of their popular computer animation program, which runs on Windows 95, Windows NT and the Mac OS. Many of the new features in this update revolve around a particular theme: Film, Workflow and Video Games. Among the numerous additions to AM99 are Smart Skin, Action Blending, Real-Time Blended Joints, Film Grain, Skeletal Poses, Real-Time Model and Map Export and Field Rendering. The software package still sells for $199 (U.S.). For further information, visit www.hash.com.
M&M/Mars in conjunction with San Francisco-based Protozoa introduced their new M&M's Crispy Chocolate Candies and character, Crispy, to a live broadcast audience using Protozoa's real-time performance animation software, ALIVE. The character has appeared on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, E! News Daily and numerous other television shows. Protozoa executive producer Jana White said, "This is a great opportunity for Protozoa to showcase its talents to a live national audience. Crispy is one of the first living, breathing, 3D characters to appear on live television."
Blue Sky | VIFX's Jan Carlée directed and designed a cinematic bug's-eye-view of the natural world for a series of three 30-second computer animated spots for Nature's Resource herbal products: "Echinacea," "Ginko Balboa" and "St. John Wort." All three ads, which feature a ladybug searching out the choicest flowers and herbal ingredients, "bring the camera down to the ladybug's level and stage the scenes so that we see the world from her point of view," explains Carlée.
Nickelodeon received their highest Nielsen ratings ever on January 18 with the premiere of a new half-hour "Rugrats" episode in primetime. The show garnered a 13.8 rating and 35 share among kids 2-11, representing one-third of all 2-11 year-olds watching TV between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. that evening. The record-breaking number was the climax of an all-day "Rugrats" marathon during Martin Luther King Day.
In the show's first outing on Monday, January 25, "Dilbert" delivered UPN's highest-rated telecast of a comedy in adults 18-49 (3.3 rating/9 share) and 18-34 (3.7/11). The show's performance among total viewers (4.2/6) more than tripled UPN's season averages in the 8:00 p.m. Monday time slot and was UPN's best household rating for a comedy since a February '97 airing of "Moesha."
Animation veteran Byron Vaughns ("Animaniacs," "The Lionhearts," "The Pink Panther") has announced the opening of a new school, Animation Creations, a cartoon workshop studio geared toward both children and adults. Among the 4-8 week courses being offered are Very Simple Toons (ages 6-18), Scriptwriting (16-adults) and Timing and Slugging (adults 18 and older). This Saturday, February 6 an open house celebration will be held from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m.
"The Ren and Stimpy Show" creator John Kricfalusi and his company, Spümco, have completed a second set of retro-styled commercials for clothing retailer Old Navy - "Boys Big Hood Fleece" and "Girls Curly Fleece." The two 30-second spots, which started airing in December, promote Old Navy's Performance Fleece line complete with characters like a Curly Fleece Poodle and a walrus. Both were produced through (Colossal) Pictures and directed/produced by John Kricfalusi. Executive producers were Kevin Kolde (Spumco) and Jana Canellos (Colossal).
The animated feature "Princess Mononoke," Japan's highest-grossing feature of all-time, had an amazing television debut in Japan on January 22. Airing on Nippon Television Network (NTV), the Hayao Miyazaki film brought in a 35.1 rating, the eighth highest ranking in Japanese television history for movie broadcast ratings and the highest rating for a broadcast movie in 15 years.
The second season of MTV's "Celebrity Deathmatch" starts Thursday, February 4th at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The clay-rendered matches for the season opener are Ice Cube vs. Ice-T, Robert DeNiro vs. Al Pacino and the Backstreet Boys vs. the Beastie Boys. Upcoming matches in the second season include "Battle of the Teen Scream Queens," "Battle of the Bonds" and a match with the cast of "Friends," along with "Deathmatch Fashion Show," where clay supermodels fashion the latest in Deathmatch body armor and weapons.
Kids WB! has ordered 13 additional episodes of the futuristic "Batman Beyond," which debuted in January to strong ratings in both its primetime preview and regular Saturday morning slot. The new episodes will be ready for the 1999-2000 season.
Disney's 36th animated feature, "Mulan," is released on video on February 2 at $26.99. It will receive a simultaneous release in Disney's Spanish-language collection, Disney En Espanol. As a special bonus, the video will feature an exclusive five-minute behind-the-scenes look at Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming animated film, "Tarzan." DreamWorks will release "Antz" on home video on February 9 only four months after its theatrical release at $26.98.
The 18th annual Imagina 1999, Europe's premiere computer graphics festival, wrapped up on January 22. During the show, the 13th edition of the "Prix Pixel-INA" awards were presented. Blue Sky | VIFX's "Bunny" took home three awards including top honors, the Grand Prix Imagina. For more information on the festival, visit www.ina.fr. Here are the winners from this prestigious European awards program honoring the world's best computer graphics:
Grand Prix Imagina: "Bunny" by Chris Wedge of Blue Sky | VIFX (USA).
* Saturday, February 6 - Saturday, February 13. New York City, New York, USA.
"The 1999 New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) will be held at Cantor Film Center in Manhattan. Among the highlights are a screening of Hayao Miyazaki's feature "Kiki's Delivery Service" and an Ub Iwerks Retrospective in Animation. Forty-two films will be in competition including such animated entries as "Mario the Show Cleaner," "Pingu Steals," "A Dog Cartoon" [AF 12/22/98], "Frank the Wrabbit" and "Furious George." For further information call (212) 677-6478.