Following Finn Arnesen's promotion to head of programme production for Cartoon Network Int'l, Jo Sweby has been named director of acquisitions for Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In addition to acquiring content for Turner's European kids channels, Sweby will work alongside the European programming managers on programming strategy. Part of her new role will involve working with the business development team on new business opportunities.
Geographical Region: Africa
Michael Lombardi has joined Sesame Workshop as evp/cfo, to oversee corporate finance and administration for the Workshop, including preparation of the organization's budget, estimates and financial statements. Lombardi will also evaluate strategic initiatives and new business opportunities.
The merger of the distribution arms of Antefilms Production and France Animation has resulted in the launch of Moonscoop at MIP-TV, a new joint distribution brand. It will combine the respective sales slates of the two companies to create a catalog of more than 1,600 half hours of programming including popular titles such as FUNKY COPS and TITEUF.
Paris-based Moonscoop, the newly combined distributor for Antefilms Prods. and France Animation, has sold its first series, CODE LYOKO, to a U.S. broadcaster. Cartoon Network has acquired 26 episodes of the animated series that blends traditional 2D and 3D animation, which will be a part of the network's new Miguzi weekday afternoon franchise that launches on April 19, 2004.
Disney has confirmed that it has joined forces with San Francisco-based Hoytyboy, producing a computer-animated feature called THE WILD in conjunction with CORE Feature Film of Toronto. THE WILD is being helmed by commercial director Steve "Spaz" Williams, best known for the Blockbuster spots with the hamsters, and is scheduled for a summer 2005 release.
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Jean Réveillon is now secretary general of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) replacing Jean Stock, who had held the position since October 2001 and who will now be working as special consultant to the president until Dec. 31, 2004.
Arne Wessberg, the EBU President, said he was confident that, "the personal and professional qualities of this extremely experienced professional [Réveillon] will enable him to meet on behalf of the EBU and its members all the challenges facing broadcasters in an ever-changing environment."
Grace Animation Studios ceo Christopher Turner is assembling a production team to produce 26 new animated half-hour series of the THE AVENGING APES OF AFRICA (AAoA) for worldwide distribution. Grace will be showing a promo and first episode of the series at NATPE.
THE AVENGING APES OF AFRICA is an exciting action/adventure series for kids 6-12, where five transmuted ape brothers, and their exploration friends span the globe protecting and defending all animals of the world from the dreaded Mr. Harry B. Richborne and his worldwide band of pitiless poachers.
Fans of the animated Nickelodeon series, THE WILD THORNBERRYS, can now join Eliza Thornberry and her family on their cross-continental adventures with an exclusive offer through National Geographic. The two VHS sets follow the Thornberrys as they trek through Africa and Australia filming wildlife documentaries and getting mixed up in their crazy adventures along the way. Available exclusively through National Geographic, the two video sets can be purchased by calling 1-800-627-5162 or by ordering online at www.nationalgeographic.com.
Canal+ has picked up Bardels award-winning holiday special, THE CHRISTMAS ORANGE special for its Christmas 2003 season to air in France, Monaco, Mauritius, Switzerland and Africa.
"THE CHRISTMAS ORANGE is exactly the kind of moral tale we like to have on Canal+", says Sandra Ouaiss, acquisition director of fiction & animation at Canal+ international acquisition.
THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW has been sold to German public service broadcaster ZDF. This deal coincides with Basil's first ever Christmas music single, the double A-side Boom Boom and Christmas Slide that will be released on Dec. 15, 2003 in Germany. The songs will be released in the U.K. on Dec. 8. The 16-year-old singing sensation, India Beau, performs on Boom Boom with Basil. The series will also air on the top rated children's digital channel KIKA, starting fall 2004.
Cartoon Network U.K. has teamed up with animation students from the London Animation Studio at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, who have produced four high-quality IDs now airing across Europe on the channel.
Sesame Workshop has promoted Valerie Mitchell-Johnston from sr. counsel to vp of legal and business affairs, responsible for advising, counseling and closing contracts for the Workshop in all content development and production activities. Mitchell-Johnston oversees issues for the domestic production of SESAME STREET and international co-productions such as OUT THERE and TAKALANI SESAME in South Africa.
The simultaneous release of Warner Bros.' THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS on Nov. 5, 2003 in 35mm and IMAX/15/70 represents a first for a live-action Hollywood film and the prestigious large format corporation, which is attempting to increase both its commercial appeal and profitability as a result of its aggressive repurposing strategy.
DIC Consumer Products has significantly expanded its licensing/merchandising programs across Europe, Latin America, Australia, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East to gear up for the international launches of kids entertainment brands, including STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, MADELINE and SUPER DUPER SUMOS.
Donna Chandler has been promoted from asst vp to vp of Global Outreach for Sesame Workshop, responsible for managing Sesame Workshops Outreach Initiatives in the U.S., South Africa and Egypt. Chandler will also oversee the creation and management of an outreach program for Bangladesh and Brazil.
Videovision Entertainment has acquired worldwide distribution rights to THE LEGEND OF THE SKY KINGDOM. The film is the first animated feature produced in Africa and created using a method dubbed Junkmation, which employs found junk to create characters and sets. The film tells the story of a group of children who escape a cruel orphanage and embark on a quest to find the fabled Sky Kingdom. Roger Hawkins directed the film with Phillip Cunningham producing and Minali De Silva handling art direction.
Sesame Workshop has promoted Renee Mascara to vp, international TV distribution. She will be responsible for managing Sesame Workshop television program sales, including SESAME STREET co-productions. Mascara will also oversee the creation of an internal resource system measuring broadcaster data as it relates to the organizations program time slots and ratings.
4Kids Entertainment Inc. has set MIPCOM 2003 for the launch of 26 episodes of the new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and 47 new episodes of the Japanese sensation, YU-GI-OH!
At long last, Disney's mega hit, THE LION KING, arrives on DVD Oct. 7, 2003 (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) in a special edition worthy of the phenomenon. For starters, the two-disc set contains gorgeous transfers of both the theatrical release and the extended edition featuring the Elton John/Tim Rice song from the play, "Morning Report," digitally cleaned and enhanced in painstaking fashion by the original filmmakers from Feature Animation.
Antefilms Production has announced that it has acquired France Animation, which was previously a Wanadoo subsidiary. Each company will retain its individual identity, but the deal will allow France Animation to ramp up its production line and merges two of Europes largest animation libraries of more than 1,600 half-hours. As part of the deal, Antefilms gains France Animations established marketing and licensing prowess.
Fox Kids Europe (FKE) is taking 144 half-hour episodes of fresh programming to MIPCOM, including three new kids properties, SONIC X, TUTENSTEIN and SHAMAN KING.
FKE has acquired all TV and home video rights for the world, excluding North America and Asia, for 52 half-hour episodes of SONIC X from TMS Entertainment Ltd. This marks the first animated adaptation of the videogame and TV series hedgehog hero to be created in Japan, (DIC Ent. did the first animated TV series in the U.S.).