CURIOUS PICTURES East and West coast offices teamed up with Cartoon Network to create Sound Hound, a two-minute animated interstitial featuring the classic Hanna-Barbara character, Huckleberry Hound.
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Red Giant Television has reached a deal with Discovery International and Teletoon to produce a third season of "Splat!", the weekly half-hour TV series devoted to animation. This will bring the total number of episodes to 39 half hours. Red Giant is also in the process of creating a two hour, prime-time TV special celebrating animation. Splat! currently airs in 120 countries around the globe.
Fox Family Channels is creating two new digital cable/satellite networks, The Boyz Channel and The Girlz Channel, offering gender-specific entertainment and educational programming for 2-14 year-old boys and girls. The full-time, ad-supported services scheduled to launch sometime in 1999 will also be available as basic analog channels. Much of the programming will come from the library that Fox Kids already owns mixed in with some original productions. In the evenings, the channels' focus will target parents with programs dealing with raising and parenting children of that specific gender.
Silicon Graphics, Inc. has reported negative first quarter results for the 1999 fiscal year. The company announced a net loss of $44 million, or $0.24 per share, compared with a net loss of $56 million in the same quarter a year ago. "Reporting a loss is never satisfying, but I am very encouraged with the progress demonstrated in this quarter's results," said Richard Belluzzo, CEO and chairman of SGI.
Pixar, the company behind "Toy Story," posted a third quarter net profit of $2.5 million, or $0.02 per share, down from a third quarter profit of $5.3 million last year. The positive profits however did surprise financial analysts who had forecasted a third quarter loss of $0.02 for the third quarter. The upcoming release of "A Bug's Life" is expected to help further rejuvenate Pixar's revenues.
Bandai's AnimeVillage.com is the first video releasing company in the US that enables consumers to purchase Japanese animation directly through the Internet. The site also features the latest animation news from Japan, real-time chats, games, message boards, and contests. AnimeVillage.com's initial release slate includes the "Gundam" series and "The Vision of Escaflowne" with plans to expand their library up to 200 titles by the end of 1999.
HotWired's Animation Express (http://www.hotwired.com/animation/) is a new site that showcases the latest animation from both professional and independent animators. The animation can be viewed using plug-in technologies like Quicktime 3, Shockwave's Flash 3 and Director 6 and a "plug-in tester" will help you download the right plug-ins if you don't already have them. Currently, the site features selections from Pixar's Oscar-winning short "Geri's Game" and highlights from Spike and Mike's 1998 Festival of Animation.
* Monday, November 9 - Saturday, November 28. New York City, New York.
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents the sixth annual New York Digital Salon, an international juried showcase of computer-generated artwork. Computer animation screenings will be shown at the SVA Amphitheatre and the exhibit takes place in the School's Visual Arts Museum, both located at 209 East 23rd Street, where a reception is scheduled for November 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. For information and to view work on-line, visit www.sva.edu/salon.* Tuesday, November 3. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
* Friday, November 6 - Saturday, November 14. Siena, Italy.
The third Siena International Short Film Festival and Market boasts one of the two international competitions dedicated solely to animated films. For information call (39) 6-4745585.
Spumco, the studio that brought us the first web cartoon series, The G@*&!$ George Liquor Show, has teamed up with Electric Communities to present the Internets first 3D cartoon chat event. The chat, scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. on November 6, and run through November 9, 1998, will take place on the web site cartoonsforum.com port 9994.
Speed Racer Enterprises, Inc., owners of the Speed Racer property, have signed a license agreement with toymaker Playing Mantis, to produce a line of action figures and vehicles based on the popular 1960s animated series. Playing Mantis, a Speed Racer licensee since 1993, has already produced a line of die-cast Speed Racer products. The company is one of 30 licensees that will be manufacturing and distributing Speed Racer products in 1999.
On November 17, DreamWorks will release three albums based on its forthcoming animated feature film, Prince of Egypt. The album releases come a full month before the films December 18 theatrical opening. The Prince of Egypt: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features performances by Boyz II Men, Amy Grant and the duo of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, singing together for the first time, as well as songs performed by actors who voice characters in the film, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Steve Martin.
* Monday, November 9 - Wednesday, November 11. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The second New York Shorts International Film Festival will feature six competition categories: animation, comedy, documentary, drama, experimental and student. For information visit www.shorts.org
The 65th Milan International Film, TV and Multimedia Market (MIFED) kicks off this week with a strong focus on animation, in collaboration with the European MEDIA II program. The six-day event, November 1 -6, will include a designated animation market and even an Animation Day on November 3.
* Thursday, October 29. Toronto, Canada.
The fourth Torontos Animators Zoetrope Association (TAZA) Digital Image Festival will showcase independent computer animation such as Macca Strewth by Momentum Animations (Australia). For information visit www.interlog.com/~dolish/taza.htm.
* Tuesday, November 3. Vancouver, Canada.
VanArts presents Before and After Independence: 40 Years of Estonian Animation, a retrospective put together for the Ottawa International Animation festival, which is now touring North America. The show takes place at the Pacific Cinemateque, 1131 Howe Street, at 7:30 p.m The show is made possible by the Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Canadian Consulate in Estonia.
* Friday, November 6. New York City, New York.
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) will host a retrospective of animation by animator, educator, historian and author John Canemaker. The screening will take place in the Titus 2 Theatre at 6:00 p.m. and Canemaker will be present. Featured films will include Break the Silence: Kids Speak Out Against Abuse, John Lennon Sketchbook and Canemakers new personal film, Bridgehampton. For information call MOMA at (212) 708-9400.
Gribouille, a CGI production company based in Europe and North America, has begun production on two new computer-animated television series. Xcalibur, designed by French artist Philippe Druillet and directed by Didier Pourcel, is being produced in association with Canal +, Ellipsanime, France 2 and Cactus Animation for a targeted late 1999 delivery. Micronauts, based on an existing line of action-figures and Marvel comics, is being produced with Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, Kaleidoscope Media Group and Annex Entertainment, and may be ready as early as fall 1999.
CBS/Fox, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and DIC Entertainment are producing a direct-to-video title based on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., called Our Friend, Martin. The one-hour film will combine new animation with live-action archival footage of the late civil rights activist. Several celebrities are lending their voices to the production, including Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, Susan Sarandon, John Travolta, Jaleel White and Oprah Winfrey.
Paris-headquartered motion-capture animation company, Medialab and Canadian animation studio, Ciné-Groupe, a subsidiary of Lions Gate Entertainment, have agreed to a four-year co-production deal. The two companies plan to co-produce two computer-animated theatrical films and two TV series. The first project, starting production in December, will be Pinocchio 3001, a futuristic rendition of the classic tale.
The animation union, the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists (M.P.S.C.) and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE has completed its voting process and announced the new Executive Board of the organization. Re-elected to office were incumbents Bronwen Barry, Dave Brain, Pat Connolly-Sito, Earl Kress, Craig Littell-Herrick, Enrique May, Ann Sullivan and Stephan Zupkas. Also elected were newcomers Bob Foster, Warren Greenwood and Karen Nugent, replacing Board members Sheila Brown, Tom Ray and Dave Zaboski who did not run for reelection.
ASIFA-Hollywoods third annual lecture series continues with a very special event on November 3, 1998 at 7:00 p.m. Walt Disney Animation master animator Andreas Deja will speak on the subject of character animation. Deja, born in Poland and raised in Germany, started working at Disney at the age of 20 (he was turned away when he applied at age 10!).
DreamWorks Pictures and PDI's computer animated feature film, "Antz" grossed just over $8 million this past week, bringing its totals to date to just under $62 million. The third place finish represented a drop of 27% from last week, but was less than a million dollars behind first place finisher "Pleasantville". The film is currently running in 2929 theatres nationwide. If its current pace continues, by next week, the film will surpass Paramount's "Beavis and Butthead" to become the top U.S. grossing non-Disney animated film.