LAURA STONE WALSTONE has joined DIC ENTERTAINMENT as director of international licensing. Her previous positions include vice president of OH! NO!, Inc., director of licensing at Just Toys, and director of licensing at Extreme Studios.
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THE VISUAL EFFECTS SOCIETY (VES) has hired MICHELE SMITH as director of operations. The Los Angeles-based non-profit organization was founded in 1997 by former marketing consultant Tom Atkin, now executive director. He said, "We look forward to her active participation and contribution as the society continues to grow worldwide." Smith previously worked in the accounting department at Polygram Filmed Entertainment, and has an MBA from Pepperdine University.
New York-based LEE HUNT ASSOCIATES has hired JANE FRIESEN as head of production. She was previously executive producer and general manager at Click 3X, and supervising producer at Sony Music Studios.
MILIA, the International Content Market for Interactive Media Conference will take place in Cannes, France, February 9-12, 1999. Entries for the fifth Milia d'Or Awards and the New Talent Pavilion are still being accepted. The event is organized by the Reed Midem Organization, the same company that puts on MIPCOM and MIP TV. For the second year, MILIA will present a conference called "Towards the Convergence of Animation and Video Games," the objective of which is to bring together publishers, producers and developers of interactive products to promote partnerships.
DreamWorks Pictures and PDI's computer animated feature film, "Antz" grossed $11.2 million last weekend, dropping to third place in the box office charts, following its first two weeks in the number one spot. The total cumulative box office gross to date is $51.5 million, and the film is currently running in 2903 theaters nationwide. "Antz" will make its international debut starting in New Zealand and Australia on October 29.
On October 13, Columbia TriStar Home Video released "Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night," a direct-to-video animated musical based on the true story of "Silent Night." The 48-minute film was produced by Buzz Potamkin and is Columbia TriStar's first in-house direct-to-video animated feature. Voice talent, directed by Susan Blu, includes the late Phil Hartman, Tom Arnold and Marie Osmond.
The Sitges Fantasy Film Festival wrapped up on October 16 in Barcelona, Spain. The international jury for the "Anima't" animation festival within a festival was comprised of Jerry Beck (U.S.A.), Mercedes Gaspar (Spain) and Giorgio Valentini (Italy). They selected "Un Jour" by Marie Paccou (France) as Best Film, and gave an Honorable Mention to "Glassy Ocean" by Shigeru Tamura (Japan). In the main festival, Bill Plympton's film, "More Sex & Violence" won the "Best Short Film" award.
Berlin, Germany-based animation studio, Hahn Film is launching production studios in Taiwan and Vietnam. Each studio will employ about 150 people, and will be devoted to digital ink and paint services, initially for Hahn projects, but may branch out to service other studios in the future. The first studio, called Saigon Graphics Enterprises, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is already up and running, working on the production of the animated series "Wild Life," which is being distributed by Hit Entertainment and is pre-sold to the Fox Family Channel (U.S.), the BBC and Nickelodeon (U.K.).
THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC) has hired Internet developer MARK PESCE to head up a new department in the School of Cinema-Television devoted to interactive media. Pesce is cited as being the person who developed Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), the programming code that enables real-time interactivity on the web. He is also co-founder, with Jan Mallis, of an Internet content company called blitcom. Pesce designed the certificate program in 3D Arts at San Francisco State University's College of Extended Learning, and has been teaching at the college level since 1995.
Paris, France-based Gaumont Multimedia and Hamburg, Germany-based IGEL Media have reached a multi-year, multi-million dollar first-look distribution agreement giving IGEL all television and home video rights on future Gaumont Multimedia animated series for Germany, Scandinavia, Japan and Korea. The deal, sealed at MIPCOM, reflects both companies' need to address the increased competition and decreased number of broadcast slots available in Germany and Asia.
Buzz Potamkin has been named to the board of directors of Visionary Media LLC, a New York-based company that develops online content. Potamkin is president of an independent animation consulting firm, Project X, through which he will now explore opportunities for Visionary Medias web properties, such as WhirlGirl, to reach additional media including film and television animation. Since founding Project X in 1996, Potamkin has just completed production of the direct-to-video title Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night for Columbia Tri-Star Home Video.
A new three-year agreement between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), representing voice-over performers working in television animation, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing 108 television animation producers, has been approved by the Guilds National Board of Directors. The deal is a final version of one that was announced in August [AF 8/11/98], when it represented only 60 animation producers, and was still pending approval by SAG member performers.
San Francisco-based WILD BRAIN, INC. has launched its first of a multi-spot animated campaign for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurants. The Young & Rubicam campaign, which combines 2D and 3D animation with live-action, introduces "The Colonel," KFC's new animated spokesperson, new KFC products and a new overall look for the fast food company.
Ellipsanime, Canal +s Paris-based studio that produces the animated series, Corto Maltese, has hired MARIE-PIERRE MOULINJEUNE as deputy director for international development and co-productions. She will supervise the development and production of animated films and TV series, and report to vice president Robert Réa. Moulinjeune was previously in charge of coordinating animated co-productions for Télé-Images, and prior to that she was head of program acquisitions for France 2.
Animation historian Marcin Gizycki has begun production on a 30-minute documentary film about animator Jan Lenica, a Poland native whose credits include animated shorts such as Janko the Musician (1960), Labyrinth (1962), and several films with Walerian Borowczyk. After teaching in Kassel and Berlin, Germany for the past 20 years (and stints working in France and the United States), Lenica has returned to Poland where he is currently making a 30-minute film called Wyspa R.O. (The R.O. Island), with Studio Miniatur Filmowych.
Laguna Hills, California-based CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY, INC. (CETI) has introduced two new high-end graphics workstations: ProStation GS 400D and ProAlpha GS 667. The workstations, which cost $9,995 and $12,875 respectively, are compatible with animation software such as Alias|Wavefronts Maya, Softimage 3D, Lightwave 3DKinetixs 3D Studio MAX, and others.
* Wednesday, October 14 - Thursday, October 15. Pasadena, California, U.S.A.
The D.Film Festival, a showcase for independent digital media, will have two shows during the DV Expo: one on Wednesday at 12 p.m. and the other on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.. For information visit www.dfilm.com.
* Thursday, October 15 - Saturday, October 17. Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A.
The D.Film Festival will have a show at UC Santa Cruzs Kresge Town Hall. For information visit www.dfilm.com or call (831) 459-2159.
* Wednesday, October 14. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The University of Southern Californias (USC) Animation department presents a screening of abstract animated films by German artist, Bärbel Neubauer. The artist will be in attendance. A chronological selection of films will be screened, including her latest film, Firehouse. The screening will take place in the School of Cinema-Televisions George Lucas Building, room 108. For this special screening, the public is welcome to attend. No phone calls, please.
* Thursday, October 15. North Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The Women In Animation Writers Group presents Collaborating With Musicians: From Scratch Tracks to Final Production, a panel discussion featuring Alex Rannie from The Simpsons and Bambi Moe, vice president of music at Walt Disney TV Animation. Admission is $10 for members, $20 for non-members. The event takes place from 7-9 p.m. at Film Roman, 12020 Chandler Blvd., Suite 200, in North Hollywood. RSVP is essential. Call (818) 623-0020 or e-mail email@example.com.
* Thursday, October 15 - Sunday, October 25. Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The 15th Annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival (CICFF), presents over 150 films and videos for children from 30 countries in a juried competition. For information call (773) 281-9075 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Thursday, October 15 - Friday, October 23. Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.
The Art Institute of Phoenix hosts an exhibit of comic art called A Sampling of Chaos. A reception will be held on October 15 from 6-8 p.m. For information call (800) 474-2479.
THE GREENBLATT JANOLLARI STUDIO, a Los Angeles-based production company, has signed ERIC FOGEL, creator of the MTV animated series Celebrity Death Match and The Head, to develop a concept for a new, prime-time, stop-motion animated series. The deal gives Fogel a flat six-figure sum for developing a series concept and pilot script, which, if adapted as a series, will be executive produced by Fogel, and targeted for fall 1999. No network is attached at this early stage.