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Plympton's new series of comics is extracted from the comic book "Polls Apart - How To Tell A Democrat From A Republican," by Kathy Paton & Bill Plympton...
Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures have tapped top Hollywood actors to voice characters in their upcoming 3D animated feature, JIMMY, NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS. Patrick Stewart (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION) and Martin Short (INNER SPACE) have signed on to voice characters for the film. The film will chronicle Jimmy's journey into space as he attempts to rescue all the parents from his town who have been kidnapped by the alien Yokians. The feature will start production under the direction of John Davis in January. The scheduled release date is holidays 2001.
Oscar-winning director/actor Billy Bob Thornton is teaming with Acme Productions on a new TV animated series. The currently untitled series is based on an idea by Thornton about a father who has been in a garage band for the past twenty years. The SLINGBLADE director will team with Emmy-winning SIMPSONS writer, Ron Hauge, on developing the project. Thornton will also voice the main character. Acme Production is the six-month-old production company formed by former 20th Century Fox executives Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel.
NewTek has reinforced its commitment to the Macintosh platform by announcing that their newly released Lightwave [6.5] will also be available for Apples new OS X platform. Although NewTek only released Lightwave  on the MAC earlier this year, they have slowly moved their efforts toward the fruity platform.
Berlin children's producer TV Loonland has bought a 65% stake in Seoul distribution firm Saerom Entertainment. Saerom is the third-largest video and DVD distributor in Korea and controls a leading Internet film portal, which it has been leveraging as a new means of distribution. TV Loonland will pay US$9.5 million for its share of the company, which foresees sales of $14 million and profits of $2 million for the year 2000. The move is yet another step in TV Loonland's global expansion, giving the company a strong distribution and Internet foothold in Asia.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's edition John K's George Liquor hits Icebox, the finale of Stain Boy, first two Webisodes of The Critic, Undercover Brother's second season premiere and much, much more!
Get your Web Animation Guide here!
Also every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
On Thursday, December 14, 2000, the Federal Trade Commission approved America Online's US$111 billion acquisition of Time Warner. As part of the approval, AOL must open its high-speed Internet access to competitors. At least three Internet service providers (ISPs) must be offered when AOL/Time Warner enters a new market. "Our concern was, and has always been, about access," said FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky.
Shockwave.com and AtomFilms announced they have signed a definitive merger agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, shockwave.com will acquire AtomFilms in a stock-for-stock deal giving Shockwave shareholders 70% of the combined company. In addition, Macromedia, parent of shockwave.com, will now own less than 50% of the new firm. The combined company will announce its new name at the closing of the deal.
December's feature articles are based on the themes of location-based entertainment and anime. Karl Cohen is profiling Imax -- is animation's next frontier in peril? Also, Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman is discussing the past and future of LBE, specifically VR. On the anime side of things Fred Patten is profiling "Vampire Hunter D," the latest anime release to arrive on U.S. soil. Andrew Osmond is interviewing a number of experts and scholars on the stylistic merits of Japanese animation. Be ready to put on your thinking cap before reading this one.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada's a.k.a. Cartoon, Inc., producers of a television series currently airing on Cartoon Network, is looking for a STORYBOARD SUPERVISOR to supervise an in-house staff of storyboard artists. . . Santa Maria, California's BSR Entertainment Group, a movie production company, is looking for EXPERIENCED LIGHTWAVE ANIMATORS with strong character animation skills. . . Fenton, Michigan's Creative Reign has immediate openings for several ANIMATORS and MODELERS to work on a 3D animated children's movie set for release in 2002. . .
This week's updates to the Calendar of Events includes the Noam Markus Mime Workshop in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 6, 2001; the Australian Effects & Animation Festival in Sydney, Australia, February 26-28, 2001; Culture2Culture at the "Tricky Women" event Vienna, Austria, March 2-8, 2001; and BroadCast WorldWide Market and Conference in Busan, Korea, June 5-8, 2001.
The Munich state prosecutor, Manfred Wick, has begun a probe into allegations that EM.TV, the German family production and merchandising company, has participated in insider trading and other stock market violations. The investigation will focus on EM.TV CEO Thomas Haffa and his brother, Florian, who recently resigned from company's board. This move comes on the heels of investors filing suit last week against the company after EM.TV cut its year-end profit forecast by 90%.
DIC Entertainment is teaming with Tomopoulos Prods. and Jake Steinfeld's Body by Jake Enterprises to create a new animated TV series entitled CAMP JAKE. The show will follow the exploits of the rebellious kids who go to summer camp to get in shape. The companies have agreed to produce 26 initial episodes of the cartoon.
Mondo Media has signed a deal with Renegade Animation and Will Ryan Prods. to syndicate their award-winning Webtoon ELMO AARDVARK: OUTER SPACE DETECTIVE! The series features some of Hollywood's top voice talent including June Foray (Rocky, the Flying Squirrel), Diane Michelle (ALLY MCBEAL, MICKEY MOUSEWORKS), Corey Burton (DUDLEY DO-RIGHT, GUMMI BEARS), Keith Scott (ROCKY & BULLWINKLE: THE MOVIE) and Will Ryan (THE LAND
The Walt Disney Co. has inked a deal with Japan's second-largest toy maker, Tomy Co. Ltd., to market, produce and distribute its toys and games in Japan. The exclusive deal does allow Tomy to sublicense certain products to other toy producers. The pact takes affect in April 2001. "This agreement completes a restructuring of our toy business that we began in September, when we established licensing arrangements with Hasbro and Mattel," said Andy Mooney, president of Disney Consumer Products Worldwide.
Toon Boom Technologies has announced its participation in RealNetworks' RealPartner program to refine USAnimation further to work well with RealNetworks' RealSystem. "We're pleased Toon Boom technologies has chosen to support RealSystem and we welcome Toon Boom into the RealPartner Program," said Geoff Walker, senior developer relations manager, RealNetworks, Inc.
Fox Licensing and Merchandising will unveil a whole slate of new SIMPSONS inspired products at Toy Fair in February. Fox has struck a deal with USAopoly to turn the town of Springfield into the classic Monopoly game. Instead of coveting Boardwalk game players will seek out the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. This new Monopoly take off comes after the release of the hot SIMPSONS "Clue" game, which is selling out at various stores around the U.S. Six new Playmate interactive figures will be released including Sunday Best Homer, Moe, Nelson, Milhouse and Kamp Krusty Bart.
WireBreak Entertainment has restructured its business model to fight going under. As a result, the company has laid off most of its staff except for a few key executives. Started in October 1988, the company quickly moved from being a Web destination site to an online producer and syndicator. Now the firm is moving away from Web content and focusing on interactive television, television and film. Current projects will be outsourced to other production houses.
Creative Planet Inc., a business-to-business solutions firm for the film and TV production industries and parent company of Animation World Network, laid off 72 employees, or 20% of the work staff, on Wednesday, December 13, 2000. The move comes on the heels of the company securing US$30 million in financing from United News & Media PLC. "These reductions are unfortunate," said Creative Planet chairman and CEO Alan DeBevoise. "But we have acquired a number of companies, and as you're scaling and integrating and market conditions change, we have had to streamline the organization.
Jack S. Liebowitz, the comic book publisher who first brought Superman to the page, passed away on Monday, December 11 at his home in Great Neck, New York. He was 100 years old. Liebowitz immigrated to New York in 1910 from his birthplace in Proskurov, Ukraine. He and his partner, former pulp magazine publisher Harry Donenfeld, started publishing the series DETECTIVE COMICS in 1937. This title was the first successful comic centering on one theme. The series later provided the name for the company DC Comics.
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have secured a star and director for the UNDERCOVER BROTHER feature. Based off the UrbanEntertainment.com cartoon series, the live-action film will star Eddie Griffin (MOD SQUAD) and Malcolm Lee (BEST MEN) will direct. The UNDERCOVER BROTHER Webseries was one of the first Webtoons to make the jump to film. John Ridley (THREE KINGS) signed a US$2 million deal to pen and executive produce the feature adaptation.