Chicago, Illinois-based TRICKY PICTURES has produced a 20-second main title animation sequence for Nickelodeon's I AM POEM series. In addition, Belgian director and animator Dirk van de Vondel, represented by Tricky Pictures, was selected from more than 200 candidates to create a visual adaptation of "I Used To Be," one of the 15 poems in the series. Produced by Nickelodeon's Creative Lab to serve as interstitial programming, I AM POEM is a new series of short-form films based on original kids' poetry.
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Burbank, California-based RENEGADE ANIMATION has animated a three-spot McDonald's campaign, "My Hero," "Napkin," and "One," which will air in Singapore. The three commercials introduce Fast Fry and Steam Marinate, two muscle-packed superheros who protect the universe from...dried-out fried chicken. The spots, which combine animation with live-action, were created by Leo Burnett (Chicago) to introduce the new Chicken McCrispy sandwich being tested in the Singapore market.
New York-based SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION created a 10-second animated logo for design company Number 17 New York, which will be shown at the head of all future SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (SNL) theatrical releases. It will debut later this year with the release of SUPERSTAR which features the neurotic Catholic schoolgirl Mary Catherine Gallagher, who is portrayed by Molly Shannon on NBC's long-running sketch comedy series. The opening is a dreamy and abstract representation of nightime in New York City with lights of different speeds, scales and densities resolving through to the SNL Studios Logo.
In between Whoopi Goldberg's off-color humor and Roberto Benigni's exuberant antics, Blue Sky Studios' BUNNY, directed by Chris Wedge, picked up the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. The award was appropriately presented by the animated insects from Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE. For the second year in a row, AWN's reader poll predicted the correct Oscar winning film, with 48% of online voters choosing BUNNY. Other animation related Oscars included:
Original Song:THE PRINCE OF EGYPT"When You Believe"Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
PACIFIC DATA IMAGES (PDI) has promoted JANE HARTWELL to associate producer of their second DreamWorks/PDI animated feature co-production SHREK. Previously, Hartwell was Senior Production Manager on SHREK and Production Manager on the first of PDI's animated features, ANTZ. Her expanded responsibilities include involvement in creative, technical and financial aspects of the production. Hartwell is also responsible for the creation of the overall schedule for SHREK and oversees the story, character, lighting, effects and technical director departments.
PDI has hired Arnauld Lamorlette, 34, formerly vice president and director of R&D at the Paris-based studio Buf Compagnie, to join PDI's visual effects team. Lamorlette has been named a Senior Visual Effects Developer on SHREK. Aron Warner, SHREK producer, said, "He has been brought on to PDI's team to oversee the creation of computer-generated human characters and the rich organic world they will inhabit in SHREK.
Spontaneous Combustion, the New York-based digital studio specializing in visual effects, has added desktop artist Bryan Keeling to its graphics team. Keeling, 27, specializes in Adobe After Effects and other desktop paint-and-animation packages. Keeling makes the move following a four-year stint at Pittard Sullivan.
Encore Media Group's five-year-old Action Channel has established a new late-night Saturday programming block devoted to adult Japanese animation called Anime. Encore has acquired ten Japanese animation titles, and will launch the show with anime distributor A.D. Vision's TEKKEN: THE MOTION PICTURE on April 3. In addition to TEKKEN, five additional titles are from A.D. Vision: BATTLE ANGEL, BLOOD REIGN: CURSE OF YOMA, GSC GUNSMITH CATS, SOL BIANCA and the cult series BLUE SEED.
Portland, Oregon-based WILL VINTON STUDIOS (WVS) has completed a CG-spot for Griffin Bacal's client, Just Born, featuring "Marshmallow Peeps." The 15-second spot, "Peeps Choir," which began airing on March 8, is the first-ever television commercial for the 76-year-old company headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The commercial features marshmallow chicks and bunnies performing in a musical revue to a reworked version of "Rockin' Robin." "The challenge was...to give each Peep its very own, special personality..." commented Jill Bazos, Griffin Bacal group account director.
The Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market (MIFA), is scheduled to take place May 31-June 4, 1999 in Annecy, France. This year, the festival received 995 films from 47 countries. 248 of them, representing 30 countries, have been selected for official competition.
This week's updates to the Calendar of Events includes twenty-two new animation-related events, from major festivals to smaller symposiums and screenings. Plan your travels and film submissions accordingly!
On March 25, 1999, 7-10 pm, you are invited to join Santa Monica-based DH Institute of Media Arts (DHIMA) in celebrating demo reels of new graduates and current work produced by their students. After a ton of hard work, these DHIMA students are ready to blow off some steam with staff, students, alumni, and industry. See why SIGGRAPH '97 and '98 recognized 11 of DHIMA students with awards. Past graduates have gone on to work at companies such as Digital Domain, Pixel Envy, SEGA, Namco, Square, Alias|Wavefront, etc. DHIMA will provide drinks, snacks and music.
Bill recently illustrated "Monica's Untold Story, An Amorality Tale," published by an anonymous source, with full page watercolor illustrations. . .
The fledgling Fox Family Channel has added ten new animated series to its kid and teen-targeted daytime lineup for the 1999-2000 season. The lineup represents a major investment from Fox Family in creating original and entertaining animated programming. Animation World Network spoke to Joel Andryc, Senior Vice President, Programming & Development about this lineup and how they're working to create a unique identity in the already overcrowded world of cable.
Headbone Interactive has signed two deals to deliver animated series to cable outlets Discovery Channel and Fox Family Channel. HUGO TAKES A DETOUR is a series of one-minute interstitials that will start airing on the Discovery Channel in spring '99. Not only is this Headbone's first foray into animated programming for television but it is also the first animated program to air on the Discovery Channel.
One of the largest motion capture studios in the world, hOuse of mOves (HOM), has moved to a larger facility in Marina del Rey, California, situated near Los Angeles International Airport. The larger space includes a 3,500-square foot stage with a 24-foot ceiling, along with an additional 3,500 sq. ft. of space for executive offices and conference rooms. HOM has also upgraded their motion capture hardware to include a new system with 12 cameras capturing at anywhere from 60-240 frames per second.
PIXAR has announced that its Chief Financial Officer and executive vice president, Lawrence Levy, will leave his post at the end March to take personal time off. No replacement has been announced yet. Levy will continue to be involved with Pixar as a member of the company's Board of Directors. Pixar also announced that it has appointed Chief Technical Officer Ed Catmull to its Board.
* Tuesday, March 16. San Jose, California, USA.
The "Performance Animation Society" and the "Game Developers Conference" present "Evolving Humans for Games," an evening that takes a look at the next wave of tools that are enabling game developers to add photorealistic humans and 3D objects to their game environments. The meeting, at the San Jose Conference Center, takes place from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. and is open to everybody. For more information visit www.pasociety.org/gdc.
Legendary Warner Bros. layout artist, Hawley Pratt, who worked predominantly under the direction of Friz Freleng, passed away March 4 at the age of 87. He was raised in New York City and ironically graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the 1930s, Pratt became an artist at Walt Disney Studios but soon found himself at Warners where he worked on all of Freleng's Oscar-winning cartoons including TWEETY PIE, SPEEDY GONZALEZ and BIRDS ANONYMOUS, and was nominated for an Oscar as director of the 1966 DePatie-Freleng short, THE PINK BLUEPRINT.
Commercial director and graphic designer JAY VIGON has joined 3D animation and effects company RHYTHM & HUES STUDIOS. His most recent projects in the broadcast video graphics arena include spots for Ericcson Cellular, Miro's Wearever line of pots and pans, Deloitte Consulting and Janus Mutual Funds. His long history of work in the graphics field ranges from designing the logo for Gotcha Surf Wear and the third STAR WARS film, RETURN OF THE JEDI, as well as authoring two books on logo development and design: MARKS I and MARKS II.
Digital ink, paint and compositing house VIRTUALMAGIC ANIMATION has hired CHRISIE RUSSELL as Production Manager and promoted Ryan Robertson to the same position. Russell joins VirtualMagic from Warner Bros. Feature Animation where she was Assistant Production Manager on their last three features, THE IRON GIANT, SPACE JAM and THE QUEST FOR CAMELOT. Ryan Roberston, previously the production manager and art editor of the bi-monthly magazine HOT LAVA, joined VirtualMagic in 1997 as an Administrative Assistant.
April 15 is the deadline to send in animation scripts for the 1999 Humanitas Prize recognizing "humanizing achievement in television and feature film writing." A $10,000 prize is given to the writer whose children's animation script most fully communicates human values. This year, the Children's Animation category now includes both non-primetime and primetime shows. Engraved trophies are also awarded to the winning shows producer, director, story editor, production company and network.
* Wednesday, March 10 - Sunday, March 14. Tampere, Finland.
The 29th Tampere International Short Film Festival features competitive screenings of over 80 short films from around the world. The special screenings include retrospectives of Frédéric Back and Pat O'Neill, a look at Russian animation in the '90s and screenings of five children's films such as Lotte Reiniger's 1926 film Adventures of Prince Achmed and the Iranian puppet animation film, Basaaritarinoita. For ticket information direct your browser to http://www.tampere.fi/festival/film/index2.htm.