Canadian company, Cinar Films Inc., recently announced that they would like to change their corporate name to CINAR Corporation (in French, Corporation Cinar). A Management Proxy Circular was sent to shareholders announcing a Special Shareholder Meeting to be held at the company headquarters in Montreal on December 10, 1998 to vote on the intended name change. The new name was proposed to better reflect the company's diversification into other areas of children's entertainment and education besides the film industry.
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The Harvey Entertainment Company (Nasdaq: HRVY) reported a net loss of $2,006,000, or $0.48 per share, for the third quarter of 1998 as compared to a net gain of $2,551,000, or $0.62 a share, for the same third quarter period in 1997. For the nine month period ending September 30,1998, Harvey has totaled a net loss of $4,788,000, or $1.19 per share, as compared to a net income of $2,551,000, or $0.64 per share, in the comparable year-ago period. Net operating revenues were also considerably less coming in at a negative $1,121,000 compared to revenues of $7,126,000 in the year-ago period.
Respected TV executive Margaret Loesch, who moved to the Jim Henson Company a year ago as president of its television group, has been named the president and CEO of the 30-million subscriber Odyssey cable channel. This comes after an announcement that Hallmark and The Jim Henson Company have bought a "substantial" stake in the religious network. Loesch's new responsibilities include developing original programming from Hallmark, Henson, Odyssey and National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC) and integrating it with the already well-established libraries of Hallmark and Henson.
Canada's television and cinema production and distribution group, Coscient Group, announced that their subsidiary Cactus Animation has started production on two new animated series: "Pirate Family" and "Fantomette." The animated comedies are a co-production with French company Elma Animation and have a total budget of $22 million. The series, each composed of 26 half-hour episodes, have already been pre-sold by Motion International, Coscient Group's distribution subsidiary, to a number of markets.
The newest incarnation of the successful animated Batman franchise, "Batman Beyond," is set for a U.S. premiere of Saturday, January 16, 1999 at 9:30 AM on Kids WB! The show takes place in the 21st century when a mature Bruce Wayne decides it's time to train a younger Caped Crusader to keep Gotham safe. Another highly anticipated comic-turned-cartoon series, "Dilbert," is set for a U.S. premiere on UPN's prime time lineup Monday, January 25, 1999 at 8:00 PM (PT/ET).
The 26th annual Annie Awards ceremony, ASIFA-Hollywood's honoring of the best in animation, took place last Friday, November 13, at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. Disney's "Mulan" finished at the top of the pack winning ten out of the thirty categories, while Warner Bros. Television Animation was honored with six Annies. The awards, hosted by comedian Jay Thomas, will be televised on the Fox Family Channel sometime in December. Click here for a complete list of winners...
Los Angeles-based Film Roman has brought Mark Lieber on board as the new president of domestic television development and distribution. Lieber's responsibilities in this newly created position include directing the development of all proprietary television product (both animation and live-action), as well as overseeing the distribution of Film Roman's proprietary series through broadcast, cable and syndication in the U.S.
Los Angeles-based Rough Draft Studios has been awarded five episodes of the animated "Baby Blues" series. Thirteen episodes of "Baby Blues" have been ordered and will air in fall '99 on the WB prime time schedule. The first eight episodes are being completed by Warner Bros. Television Animation. This recent development fuels rumors that Warner Bros. Television Animation is in the midst of cutbacks. Inside sources have said that Warners will cease production on "Histeria!" after only 52 episodes, cutting 13 previously announced half hours.
The highly anticipated animated primetime series "Dilbert" is set topremiere on UPN Monday January 25, 1999 at 8:00 PM PT/ET. "Dilbert" isbased off the popular syndicated comic strip created by Scott Adams whichdeals with the absurdities of the '90s workplace in the cubicle-confinedoffice environment that rules corporate America.
Toronto-based Nelvana has acquired the worldwide development, production,distribution and merchandise licensing rights to "Puff the Magic Dragon."Based on a classic folk song written by Peter Yarrow of the legendary folkgroup Peter, Paul & Mary and Lenny Lipton, Nelvana will produce an animated"Puff the Magic Dragon" feature length film, television series andtelevision special, as well as license all Puff merchandise. Productionwill begin on this property in late 1999 or 2000. The lyrical children's
* Tuesday, November 17 - Thursday, November 19. Beverly Hills, California,U.S.A.
"Gilbert and Sullivan - The Very Models," a film from artist Barry Purves("Rigoletto," "Achilles") will screen at Laemmle's Music Hall for AcademyAward qualification. Show times are 3:30 and 4:10 PM daily. For more info,contact (310) 274-6869.
* Tuesday, November 17 - Thursday, November 19. Encino, California,U.S.A.
"Bunny," a new computer-animated short film written and directed by BlueSky | VIFX founder Chris Wedge with music by Tom Waits, will be screenedfor three days at Laemmle's Town Center 5 for Academy Award qualification.The film uses a new computer application called "Radiosity" that mimics themost subtle properties of natural light. Show times are 11:15 and 11:30 AMdaily. For further screening information, contact (818) 981-9811.
A number of animation books have recently been released just in time for the holiday season. Great Plains Publications has published Gene Walz's "Cartoon Charlie: The Life and Art of Animation Pioneer Charles Thorson," a detailed biography of the Golden Age animation artist filled with many never-before-seen illustrations.
* Saturday, November 14. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Keyframe '98 is a screening of computer-generated films by USC animation students and a number of guest artists. "Plug," a computer animated/live-action film about a futuristic society where people live their entire lives plugged into virtual reality machines will also screen. The event takes place at the University of Southern California (USC) in the Norris Theater at 7:00 PM and is free to the public. For more information, call (213) 740-3986.
* Saturday, November 21. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The Animazing Gallery is hosting a book signing with four animation authors - John Canemaker ("Tex Avery," "Before the Animation Begins"), John Culhane ("Fantasia"), John Grant ("The Encyclopedia of Walt Disney Characters"), and Stefan Kanfer ("Serious Business"). The authors will also share anecdotes and their experiences about the history of animation during the event which takes place from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. To RSVP or find out more about the event, contact Louis Albert Steidl or Nick Leone at (212) 226-7374.
Toronto-based TOPIX/MAD DOG produced a 30-second spot for Ford of Canada which added a twist on the classic 'Three Little Pigs' story utilizing live-action integrated with cel animation. While the CGI work was done at TOPIX/Mad Dog, Chuck Gammage of Chuck Gammage Animation directed the 2D animation. In the ad, the pigs find refuge from the wolf in a 1999 Ford Windstar.
RENEGADE ANIMATION animated "Fly the Friendly Skies," a 30-second commercial for General Mills Trix Yogurt featuring the Trix Rabbit introducing the snack to a couple of bored kids on a plane flight. The cel animated spot was directed by Renegade's Darrell Van Citters and produced through the Saatchi and Saatchi Agency in New York. The commercial's contemporary style incorporates sharp, angular features and quick fluid motion while combining black & white and color animation with live-action elements.
Motional Realms, LLC has released the ReelMotion plug-in for 3D Studio MAX, a real-time, physics-based procedural animation tool. The plug-in is designed for the professional animation artist and ideal for forensics animation, animating space and aerial dogfights, cars, helicopters and other rigid-body objects. It's possible to drive or fly a vehicle through a scene interactively using a mouse or joystick via a real-time display using QuickDraw 3D (Mac) or OpenGL (Windows).
* Saturday, November 14. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
E.G. Daily (the voice of Tommy Pickles on "Rugrats" and Babe the Pig) will do a reading during the "Babe: Pig in the City Craft and Story Hour" at Storyopolis. The children's event, which includes craft making, starts at 11:30 AM and costs $6. To RSVP, call (310) 358-2512.
Here is a look at some of the various marketing items related to Disney/Pixars massive advertising campaign for A Bugs Life. The movie web site, www.abugslife.com, launched last week complete with Shockwave and QTVR games, behind-the-scenes information on the making of the film, sweepstakes, and the ability to purchase tickets for theaters nationwide.
(COLOSSAL) PICTURES animated the Super Chunk package for Cartoon Network consisting of a 25-second show open and close and seven 10-second bumpers. The new material started airing on October 17, 1998 during the Super Chunk programming block which airs on Saturdays from 4:00 - 7:00 PM. Cartoon Networks design director Bee Murphy came up with the concept art for the spots which were directed at (Colossal) by Charlie Canfield. The CG animation for the package was done in 3D Studio Max.
New York-based J.J. SEDELMAIER PRODUCTIONS created two 15-second spots, Liberty and Airport, for Rothmans retail stores. The spots feature the powerful, heroic, Constructivist-leaning WPA mural style imagery of the Rothmans Man. The traditional ink-and-paint cel animated spots were based on the designs of illustrator Doug Fraser and were directed by J.J. Sedelmaier.
The life of Walt Disney has been the subject of many unofficial biographies and articles with allegations accusing him of being everything from a fascist to a bigot. Now for the first time the record can be set straight with a new interactive CD-ROM narrated by Disneys first child, Diane Disney-Miller. Walt Disney: An Intimate History of the Man and His Magic, was produced to present an accurate account of his life and celebrate his accomplishments.