iXL, a New York Internet consulting firm offering end-to-end strategic, creative and technology solutions, has wrapped on two new promos for Comedy Central's new series STRIP MALL, starring comedian Julie Brown. Produced by New York-based Fowler Media's David Fowler and edited by iXL's Rob Ortiz, the 30-second "Brown and Dirty" and "Headlines" highlights the antics of the new series. The spot mixes quotes from various reviews intertwined with clips from the series. "The key to the STRIP MALL spots was to synchronize the graphics showing the reviews with show content," said Ortiz.
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Black Logic has created a new spot for Ben Gay and New York ad agency Cline, Davis & Mann. Making his directorial debut on the spot was Black Logic's Patrick Ferguson. "The idea was to take individual parts of the human body affected by the soothing relief of Ben Gay, and integrate them into a 3D environment, where the body could interact with medical graphics, charts, and, ultimately, the product itself," said Ferguson. Floyd Gillis of Black Logic's creative partner, AFCG, created all of the CGI.
Spontaneous Combustion, a New York digital studio specializing in the creation of visual effects and design, has named Roe Bressan managing director. In her new role, Bressan will be part of the management team, which includes executive creative director Tony Robins and general manager Marc Schwartz. Bressan will be responsible for the company's continued growth, accessing new outside talent and further coordinating the internal workings of the firm.
Editor Renny Maslow has joined New York-based Editing Concepts, following a two-year stint with New York City's Northern Lights Post. He has worked on a spot for Hellman's Mayonnaise, directed by Bob Giraldi, and spots for Knorr Forkfulls and Fat Cat Ale, which he directed. Maslow has also cut music videos for Lisa Loeb and Rufas Wainwright and two independent feature films, ENDSVILLE and THE COURT. "I wanted to be more involved with narrative work," said Maslow. "I really love the vibe here. Nelson (Leonard) and Owen (Plotkin) are great editors and strong mentors.
PBS will air a 90-minute documentary on the life and work of Chuck Jones entitled CHUCK JONES: EXTREMES AND IN-BETWEENS, A LIFE IN ANIMATION. Scheduled to air Wednesday, November 22nd at 8 pm, the special includes animated clips, archival footage and new interviews with Jones and a range of celebrity experts including Steven Spielberg, John Lassiter, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Ken Burns, Joe Dante, Roger Ebert, Stan Freberg, Ron Howard, Leonard Maltin, Lorne Michaels and Andre Previn. The film is a co-production of CAMI Spectrum, RM Associates and Thirteen/WNET New York.
ASIFA, the only internationally sanctioned organization for animation, will open a chapter in India. This new chapter will be located in the city of Trivandrum within the Indian state of Kerala, home of Toonz Animation India. The first meeting of ASIFA India will occur during The 2nd Annual Week With The Masters Animation Celebration, from October 30 - November 3, 2000. Bill Dennis, president and CEO of Toonz Animation India, will head the new chapter. Dennis has worked on animated classics such as THE LION KING, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, ALADDIN and THE LITTLE MERMAID.
Steamboat Software, a Los Angeles developer of high-end computer graphics and visual effects software, has announced the release of Jig Software to the general public. Jig is a comprehensive solution for rendering traditional geometry, as well as photorealistic hair, volumes and particles. The software has been ported to SGI and NT platforms, but is primarily developed on and for the Linux operating system. Jig is designed to be scalable, performing well on modest workstations as well as large rendering clusters.
After searching for theatrical distribution for quite awhile, the third installment of the CROW trilogy, THE CROW: SALVATION, will find a home on video. To be released January 23, 2001 by Dimension Films, the film stars Kirsten Dunst and continues the tortured tale of a man murdered, who returns from the dead to seek revenge on his killers. The new film is directed by Bharat Nalluri (KILLING TIME) and written by THE CROW comic book author, James O'Barr, and Chip Johannessen (TV's MILLENNIUM).
The popular syndicated series, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, will finish its six-season long run on television at the end of this season. Producer Studios USA made the announcement on Monday, October 16, 2000 that they were pulling the plug on the series after it finishes its summer run. The reasoning behind the show's cancellation was its declining ratings, which were due to the series being pulled from primetime slots on the WB and UPN. XENA's ratings for the 1999-2000 season were 3.4 down from its peak in the 1996-1997 season when it averaged a 5.7.
Slipping from second to fourth, THE EXORCIST still scared up more money than the debut of DIGIMON: THE MOVIE. The horror classic, with digital clean-up by Pacific Title Digital, possessed another US$4.44 million, levitating its reissue cume to $23.94 million. 20th Century Foxs DIGIMON: THE MOVIEs premiere placed an unimpressive fifth, grossing $4.23 million. With a gross of $3.72 million, ALMOST FAMOUS fell three slots to finish sixth. The 1970s coming-of-age tale, with primary visual effects by Manex and Pacific Title Digital, has pushed its cume over the $23.26 million mark.
The Golden Globe winner for best comedy/musical, TOY STORY 2, will be riding onto video and DVD on October 17, 2000. The sequel to the 1995 blockbuster continues the story of Woody and Buzz with Woody getting kidnapped by a money-grubbing toy collector. The TOY STORY 2 DVD will feature a widescreen version, outtakes, French language track, a sneak peek at Pixar's next film MONSTERS, INC. and the Oscar-nominated short film LUXO JR. Walt Disney Home Video will also be offering a TOY STORY DVD 2-Pack featuring the original movie.
Mindfire Entertainment and Sega are set to transform the top-selling video game and arcade series THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD into a feature length film. THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD feature will follow the game's plot, where genetic research leads to the creation of zombies, which threaten Earth's future. The movie is being penned by Dave Parker and Mark Altman and will be produced by Mindfire Millennium, a division of Mindfire Entertainment set-up to turn games and comics into features and TV series.
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With WHAT LIES BENEATH slowly sinking, THE X-MEN have claimed debut victories around the globe. In Spain, the mighty mutants premiered in first with a gross of US$2.02 million. In its second week in Spain, THE CELL fell to third, grossing $997,797 thus elevating its cume to $2.02 million. Dropping 46%, HOLLOW MAN placed sixth with a gross of $381,275, lifting its Spanish cume to $8.86 million. In eighth, NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS fell a humongous 52%, grossing $315,201 and raising its Spanish cume to $1.65 million.
On Monday, October 16, 2000, Z.com, an Internet comedy content site, laid off 50 workers -- half of its staff. However, the Webcaster has secured additional financing to keep it operating until at least next spring. The company's major backers include Internet incubator Idealab, Basic Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary. "It's a tough time," Z.com CEO Joe DiNunzio told THE DAILY VARIETY. "Today's a very challenging day to have to let some really talented people go, but it's in the best interest of the company.
In February, Warner Bros. will start shooting their live-action adaptation of SCOOBY-DOO. Raja Gosnell, director of HOME ALONE 3 and the Drew Barrymore comedy NEVER BEEN KISSED, will direct the film from a script by James Gunn, with Chuck Roven producing. The picture will shoot in Australia and no cast has been announced. The story will feature the gang of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby, but no specific plot summary has been release.
* Wednesday, October 25, 2000. Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Yuri Norstein is coming to Georgetown University. Norstein will talk about his life and work, in a program called "Animation & Me." The event is being sponsored by the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies. The event is free to the public and will take place from noon to 2 pm. For information call Astrik Teni at Georgetown University (202) 687-5576.
* Wednesday, November 8 Friday, November 10, 2000. Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The ANIMATION MAGAZINE Animation Business Marketplace is dedicated to expanding opportunities for professionals working in animation and new media. The conference will have presentations to explain the art, technologies and challenges confronting the industry today. The event gives visitors a chance to interact with other people working in the booming sector of new media and animation. For more information contact John Tidwell at: email@example.com.
With live-action films MEET THE PARENTS and REMEMBER THE TITANS reclaiming their first and second spots respectively, the debut of New Lines LOST SOULS only managed to place third. The anti-Christ adventure, with primary visual effects by Cinesite, grossed US$7.95 million. The reissue of THE EXORCIST slipped to sixth with a gross of $5.24 million. The horror classic, with digital clean-up by Pacific Title Digital, has scared up $30.53 million thus far. When the dust cleared, ALMOST FAMOUS edged out live-action mockumentary, BEST IN SHOW, to claim ninth place, grossing $2.19 million.
The WB Network's Kids' WB! has ordered 13 additional episodes of its new cartoon series JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES from Sony Pictures Family Entertainment. Since its debut on September 9, 2000 the toon has led its time slot among the major networks in the kids 2-11 demographic. In addition, the series is the second ranked Kids' WB! series only behind POKEMON. Kids WB! senior VP Donna Friedman said, "We are thrilled that JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES has proven to be a breakout hit we knew it would be.
Disney vice chairman Sanford "Sandy" Litvack has decided to leave the company at years end. The move has been long rumored since the very public fight in court between Disney and former Disney executive and now DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. Apparently, the feud weighed a great deal on Litvack. Disney chairman Michael Eisner said, "I regret Sandys decision, but I accept it and respect his desire to pursue new ventures." Litvack did not announce any specific new business plans.
Director of the original TRON, Steven Lisberger, has said that he is in the early stages of developing TRON 2.0 for Disney. Apparently, two scripts have been written for the sequel one by Lisberger and one by Richard Jeffries, who penned the unproduced screen adaptation of Marvel Comics, SILVER SURFER. Lisberger said, "Its been an interesting experience for me, certainly, to go back to that film after 20 years and really study it and see what it was about from this perspective. I learned a lot about my own film.
* Tuesday, October 24, 2000. Rockville, Maryland, U.S.A.
Yuri Norstein will be presenting videos of his work, discussing his current projects and answering questions from the audience. The event will be in Russian and admission is US$10. The proceeds will go toward the completion of his work-in-progress THE OVERCOAT. The event will take place from 7 - 9 pm. For information call the Jewish Community Center at (301) 881-0100 (in English) or (301) 230-3728 (in Russian).