Fraud troubles for CINAR Corp. increased as RCMP agents seized four boxes of the ARTHUR TV-series producers' tax documents. With a warrant in hand, a joint team from the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and provincial police searched the Old Montreal offices of the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (Sodec) on the morning of Thursday, April 6, 2000. The search was part of an ongoing investigation launched by the RCMP on October 19, 1999 [AF 10/19/99] after a Bloc Québécois MP made tax fraud allegations in the House of Commons.
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Entertaindom.com president and CEO Jim Moloshok, executive VP Jim Banister and third-in-command Jeff Weiner will be exiting their Time Warner posts in the upcoming weeks. The dot-com trio has already moved out of their offices and has stopped participating in the day-to-day operations of the company. The walk was spurred by Time Warner's increasing lack of interest in the entertainment site they launched in November of 1999 as their impending merger with America On-line plows ahead.
DreamWorks allowed Reel.com to design and host the Web site for its upcoming stop-motion feature CHICKEN RUN. Launched April 3, 2000, www.reel.com/chickenrun contains the movie trailer, screensavers and downloadable "desktop adventures" created by ToggleThis, which created the successful Virgin Atlantic/Austin Powers Web toons of last summer. DreamWorks has recently licensed out its official Web sites for AMERICAN BEAUTY and GALAXY QUEST to Amazon.com. Reel.com is an e-commerce site that sells videos and DVDs.
Indie film queen Parker Posey has joined the cast of the live-action feature rendition of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS. Posey (WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, SCREAM 3) will play the tyrannical record producer who is bent on controlling the minds of the world's youth. Posey joins Rachael Leigh Cook (SHE'S ALL THAT) who is set to play the title character. Tara Reid (AMERICAN PIE) is in talks to play the absentminded, blonde band member Melodie, while Alan Cumming is in talks to play the agent who discovers the tiger-like trio. Rumors still are floating on who will play the third pussycat Valerie.
* Friday, April 14, 2000. Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will be screening the 10 animated and live-action Oscar nominated short films. The animated films, including Academy winner THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, will kick off the "Shorts!" presentation at 7:30 pm. In addition to the live-action films, the evening's lineup will include HUMDRUM, MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KING'S SHIRTS, 3 MISSES and WHEN THE DAY BREAKS. For more information contact the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at: Tel.: (310) 247-3000.
MIP TV is the premiere television conference and market in the world. The six-day event brings together production companies and distributors from all over the globe. The conference includes a vast array of panels and round-table discussions with some of the world's top professionals. In 1999, MIP TV attracted 10,439 professionals from 2,565 companies from 94 countries, of which 1,170 were exhibiting companies from 50 different countries. This year MIP TV will be featuring a focus on the Internet and other related new technologies.
Veteran animation producer and executive Max Howard has finalized a first-look production deal with DreamWorks. Launching his new production company, Melwood Pictures, Howard will be developing both live-action and animated features. Therefore, he will be stepping down as producer on DreamWorks Pictures' upcoming animated release SPIRIT, STALLION OF THE CIMARRON. Howard came to DreamWorks from Warner Bros. where he served as president of feature animation. During his tenure, the studio produced the award-winning animated feature THE IRON GIANT, as well as QUEST FOR CAMELOT and SPACE JAM.
With live-action film ERIN BROCKOVICH firmly planted at #1, DreamWorks' THE ROAD TO EL DORADO ended up finishing in second place at the U.S. box office. The newest toon featuring Elton John songs grossed US$12.85 million. The special effects enhanced action flick, ROMEO MUST DIE, slipped to #4. The Jet Li film, with primary special effects by Manex Visual Effects, brought home $9.38 million bringing its cume to $38.8 million. Coming off its best picture win at the Oscars, AMERICAN BEAUTY finished in 6th place grossing another $5.41 million, raising its cume to $116.7 million.
Boris FX, the producer of high-end compositing and effects technology recently launched a new titling plug-in called Boris Graffiti. Based on the powerful text animation engine found in Boris RED, Boris Graffiti allows editors to create complex 2D and 3D animated titles within their already familiar non-linear editing system.
REALVIZ has announced a new application, ReTimer 2.0, that can be used to change the speed or length of any motion sequence in post-production. ReTimer utilizes a revolutionary method for creating highly accurate new frames between frames that were actually shot, and can also be used to subtract frames to shorten a sequence realistically. ReTimer automatically creates any number of new frames through an accurate warping technique developed by INRIA, the renowned French Research Lab that is a technology partner to REALVIZ.
ARON WARNER has been named the new head of PACIFIC DATA IMAGES (PDI), the computer animation, commercial production, and effects affiliate of DreamWorks SKG. The move follows the announcement that PDI president and chief executive officer Jim DeRose is resigning his post, effective April 1, 2000, to pursue an unspecified Internet business opportunity. In making the announcement, Katzenberg stated, "During his time at PDI, Jim made enormous contributions to the firm. In one short year, he re-established PDI in the commercial and effects business and took it to record levels.
DISNEY CHANNEL has promoted GARY MARSH to executive VP, original programming. In his new role, Marsh will be responsible for the development and production of Disney Channel's entire slate of original programming, including Disney Channel original movies, narrative and reality series for both pre-school and older kids and music and documentary series and specials. In addition, he will oversee the network's newly created talent and alternative programming department. Marsh joined Disney Channel from Columbia Pictures Television in July 1988 as executive director, programming.
The team behind INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA is back, producing ARACH ATTACK, a special effects-driven comedic thriller about a toxic waste spill that creates giant spiders. The flick is scheduled to start shooting in September in Australia. New Zealander Ellory Elkayem will direct from a script he co-wrote with Jesse Alexander. The pic is being produced by Centropolis Entertainment, the production house of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, which has teamed on the project with Warner Bros. and Australia's Village Roadshow Pictures.
HARRY POTTER has decided to sail with Chris Columbus at the helm. The director of HOME ALONE and MRS. DOUBTFIRE will steer the adaptation of J.K. Rowling's mega-selling book HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE. Reportedly, the sequel novel, CHAMBER OF SECRETS, is already in development. The film is being produced at Warner Bros. Steven Spielberg was in line to direct the film, however there were reported creative differences with the novel's writer Rowling.