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Animation ANIMATIONWorld

Prague, A Change of Life

In 1959 at the request of Bill Snyder, a successful animation distributor, Gene Deitch arrived in Prague to oversee the production of several animated specials based on classic children's books. He was surprised to find an impossible production system, and is even more surprised to find himself still there to this day

Kids Headline News

Former Fox Kids Network Pres Maureen Smith Joins TLC

Former Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids Network president Maureen Smith has joined TLC Entertainment as a partner in the network. She joins co-founders and partners George Taweel and Rob Loos. Among Smith's most immediate objectives are to increase the company's library of intellectual properties, oversee marketing and brand management for each, and to fully exploit its media assets across all applicable platforms including television, home video, video on demand, publishing and feature films.

Studio Headline News

Blur Studios Gains General Manager Nicolaou

Michael T. Nicolaou has joined Blur Studio as general manager. Nicolaou will oversee day-to-day operations at the visual effects, animation and design studio and participate in the implementation of the studios long-term expansion, including its planned move into feature film production. Nicolaou comes to Blur Studio from the high-tech firm Boxx Technologies. Previously, he served as a regional director for technology solutions provider Intergraph Corporation.

Headline News

Ian Downes Promoted To Managing Director Of FKE Consumer Products Division

Ian Downes, managing director of Fox Kids Europe's (FKE) consumer products business in the UK, has been promoted to managing director of FKEs consumer products division. Downes will replace Jean-Philippe Randisi, who will leave the company on December 31, 2002. Effective October 7, 2002, Downes assumed overall responsibility for FKEs consumer products activities, including home video, while also retaining responsibility for the UK consumer products business. Randisi will work with Downes until December 31, 2002, to ensure an orderly transition.

Disney Headline News

James A. Rasulo To Head Walt Disney Parks And Resorts

Just days after the announcement that former Disney Resorts president Paul Pressler has left to take a position as president and chief executive officer of Gap Inc., Disney has announced his successor. James A. (Jay) Rasulo, a 17-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company and chairman and chief executive officer of Euro Disney S.C.A. has been promoted to president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide.

International Headline News

Greg Baldwin Joins Sony Pictures Television International

Former MTV marketing director Greg Baldwin has been appointed vice president, marketing and talent relations, Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI). Based in Los Angeles, Baldwin assumes responsibility for all of SPTI's promotional marketing and talent relations' activities in support of the company's three lines of business - licensing, international networks and international productions. Most recently, Baldwin served as the director, music marketing for MTV Networks in New York.

Star Headline News

Ziff Davis Appoints New Editor-In-Chief For GameNow Magazine

Ziff Davis Media Game Group, the largest publisher of gaming magazines in the U.S., has named LucasArts veteran Tom Byron as editor-in-chief of GAMENOW, a magazine targeted specifically to teen gamers. In this role Byron will be responsible for the editorial content and the day-to-day operations of the magazine and serve as its main spokesperson. Byron is the former editor-in-chief of START, a magazine for Atari enthusiasts, and the games editor for PC HOME JOURNAL.

Animation Headline News

Animation Director Mike Smith Joins Vinton Studios

Award-winning animation director Mike Smith is the latest addition to Portland, Oregon-based Vinton Studios. A multiple Clio award winner, Smith brings more than 20 years experience in animating international commercials, network IDs and music videos in his 2D graphic style that utilizes mixed media techniques, including puppetry, live-action, cut-outs and computer animation. In addition to directing commercials and working with Vintons newly acquired cel animation company, Celluloid Studios, Mike will be engaged in the development of feature film and entertainment projects.

Digital Headline News

VFX Studio Radium Hires Four

Digital visual effects studio Radium welcomes four new staff members: CG supervisor Aladino V. Debert, senior computer artist Mary Beth Haggerty, inferno artist Scott Rader and CG artist Erik Shepherd. Haggerty and Shepherd will be based in the San Francisco location, while Debert and Rader will join the Los Angeles office. A native of Argentina where he attended the School of Architecture at the Buenos Aires University, Aladino V.

Animation Headline News

Animator Lisa Mullins Joins The Faculty Of SF's Academy Of Art College

The Academy of Art College in San Francisco has hired animator Lisa Mullins as the animation lead for their Computer Graphics and 3D Animation department. Mullins has experience working in 2D, stop-motion and computer animation, and has worked in commercials, television, games and film. Her feature credits include HOLLOW MAN, DINOSAUR and SOUTH PARK THE MOVIE. After a stint at Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios, Mullins freelanced on projects for Vinton Studios and Wild Brain.

Marvel Headline News

Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo To Retire At Year End

Marvel exec Allen S. Lipson, Esq., will take over as CEO of Marvel Enterprises effective January 1, 2003, upon the retirement of Peter Cuneo, current president & CEO. Following his retirement, Cuneo will continue to serve as a Marvel board member and advisor. Lipson has been Marvel's executive vice president business & legal affairs since November 1999, where he played an integral role in structuring and negotiating the company's strategic entertainment and licensing relationships.

Animation Headline News

Bionicle Co-Creator Goes Solo

Yet another animation player has struck out on his own. Following the news last week of former TV-Loonland head of programming John Bullivant forming his own company to create and develop character based projects, UK animation scriptwriter Alastair Swinnerton has announced he has left Skryptonite, the animation production company he co-founded five years ago. Swinnerton has now set up a new company called BA20 Entertainment in order to develop and market animation properties in a style similar to that of LEGO's BIONICLE, which Swinnerton helped create.

Headline News

Manuel Le Hir And Guillaume Marien Join Sparx*

Animation and digital visual effects studio Sparx* has brought on Manuel Le Hir and Guillaume Marien. In their new sales development roles, Le Hir and Marien will be working alongside the co-founders of Sparx*, Guillaume Hellouin and Jean-Christophe Bernard. "In the face of a fast-developing market, we wanted to acquire additional resources that would help boost the studios growth while respecting its original values. We chose these two particular personalities for their remarkable career track records, their huge management talent and their corporate spirit," said Hellouin.

Licensing Headline News

DIC Signs Nancy Bassett As SVP Of Worldwide Licensing & Merchandisng

DIC Entertainment announced today that they have signed Nancy Bassett to head up all of their licensing and merchandising sales initiatives worldwide. Bassett comes to DIC from Viacom Consumer Products where she was the vice president of worldwide sales for Paramount Pictures' licensing division. During Bassett's tenure with Viacom she served as the general manager of Viacom Consumer Products Canada and as managing director of Hamilton Projects. Bassett also held executive positions at Alliance Atlantis Entertainment and Sega of Canada.

Media Headline News

Bullivant Gets A Kickback

Television executive John Bullivant has launched Kickback Media, a new executive production and development outfit. According to Bullivant, the aim of Kickback is to create, develop and finance character and design-based intellectual properties. The television activities will focus predominantly on the children's market and will include both animation and live-action content.

Design Headline News

Lisa Cleff Joins Goodspot As VP Of Sales And Marketing

Goodspot Design and Goodspot Editorial has appointed Lisa Cleff to the position of vice president of sales and marketing for both divisions. Cleff joins newly appointed executive producer Mandy Martin, with whom she enjoyed a successful working relationship during their time together at design studio Attik/San Francisco. Prior to joining Goodspot, Cleff served as director of sales and marketing for R!OT Design in Manhattan. Her entree into the world of broadcast design came during her three years as U.S. director of business development at Attik.

Animation Headline News

Toonz Animation India Brings On Writer Atul Rao

Award-winning Los Angeles based writer and producer, Atul Rao, will be joining Toonz Animation India as the story editor and co-art director for its upcoming 3D series ADVENTURES OF HANUMAN. Rao and his family will join Toonz in India in November 2002. Starting as a staff writer at Nelvana Entertainment, Rao wrote for animated hits such as BABAR, CAREBEARS, BEETLEJUICE and TINTIN and then spent four years as producer, head writer and performer for Canadian cable network YTV.

Studio Headline News

Warner Bros. Exec VP Goes Indie

Warner Bros.' Lorenzo di Boneventura has stepped down from his position as executive VP of motion pictures to take a role at the studio producing independent films. As reported in VARIETY, di Boneventura, who was promoted to the position of exec VP less than two months ago, said he wanted to move to indie producing to "stretch his creative muscles," which were apparently atrophying under the strains of heading a major motion picture studio.