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Geographical Region: Australia

Festival Headline News

11th Rushes Soho Shorts Festival Now Calling for Submissions

The entry form for this year's Rushes Soho Shorts Festival can now be downloaded at www.sohoshorts.com.

Celebrating the previous year's best director in each of the six competition categories Short Film, Animation, Documentary, Music Video, Newcomer and Broadcast Design, the festival has built a phenomenal following and maintains a significant bridge between the independent and commercial film making communities.

Studios Headline News

Seven in Running for 2008 Visual Effects Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled the seven films remaining in contention for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 81st Academy Awards. Expected contenders include THE DARK KNIGHT, IRON MAN and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, along with surprises like AUSTRALIA and JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

VFX houses Digital Domain, Double Negative and Framestore all got multiple nods.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

Festival Headline News

Melbourne International Animation Festival 2009

The deadline for submissions to MIAF09 is Friday January 16, 2009. To read full festival entry guidelines and to download your entry form, visit: www.miaf.net/2009/entries.html

Entry is free and to be considered eligible, films should have been completed after January 1, 2007.

Animation Headline News

Third Annual aniBoom Awards Announced

aniBoom has unveiled the winners for its Third Annual aniBoom Awards designed for independent animators across the globe. After receiving roughly 1,300 entries from 93 cities in 27 countries, the grand prize was awarded to Joaquin Baldwin from Sherman Oaks, California by a high profile executive jury and millions of viewers.

Show Headline News

ASIFA-SF's Annual Open Screening for Animators And Studios

This will be an evening of new work by local artists and friends from around the globe. Anyone is welcome to bring animated/special effects work unannounced the night of the show (DVD and 16 mm) and it will be shown. Wednesday, January 14, 7:15 p.m. at the Exploratorium's McBean Theatre in San Francisco, free, public invited. The open screening for student films will be in May.

Films include:

Million Headline News

Disney Bails on Dawn Treader

Disney will not co-finance the third CHRONICLES OF NARNIA film with Walden Media, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Without elaborating, the two entities confirmed Tuesday that for "budgetary and logistical reasons," Disney will not co-produce and co-finance THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. The third book in the series by C.S. Lewis follows the younger two Pevensie siblings, Lucy and Edmund and their tiresome cousin, Eustace Scrubb, as they voyage to the end of the world with now-King Caspian.

Headline News

Audiences Say Sure To Yes Man

Winning its opening weekend, Jim Carrey's comedy YES MAN (Warner Bros., vfx by LOOK! Effects) earned $18.26M, lower than expected because of bad, snowy weather covering much of the U.S.

Will Smith's mysterious drama SEVEN POUNDS (Sony, vfx by CafeFX) opened in second place with $14.85M. Animated feature THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX (Universal, animation from Framestore Feature Animation) placed third in its opening weekend with $10.1M.

Headline News

Baz Luhrmann Buys Great Gatsby

AUSTRALIA director Baz Luhrmann has bought the rights to F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel THE GREAT GATSBY, the trades are reporting.

Both THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and Nikki Finke's DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD DAILY say that Luhrmann will get this project out more quickly, with less of a delay than between his last few films.

The director has taken between four to seven years between projects STRICTLY BALLROOM (1992), ROMEO + JULIET (1996), MOULIN ROUGE! (2001) and this year's release of AUSTRALIA.

Neither a script or an attached studio has come about yet.

Film Headline News

Drux Flux One of Canada's Top Ten Shorts

The National Film Board of Canada has several titles in Canada's Top Ten list of best films in 2008, including Theodore Ushev's animated short DRUX FLUX. The list was announced on December 16, 2008 by the Toronto International Film Festival Group.

Series Headline News

CBeebies Acquires Penelope

British channel BBC has acquired the TV rights for animated series PENELOPE (54x5) from TV-Loonland to air on digital preschool channel CBeebies. TV-Loonland is handling the multi-territory distribution for PENELOPE, which is a co-production by Nippon Animation, NHK Enterprises and Shirogumi Inc. The series is set to premiere on CBeebies in spring 2009.

CBeebies will join PENELOPE broadcasters that include ABC Australia, France 5, JIM JAM Italy, MNET South Africa alongside Scandinavian broadcasters DRTV Denmark, TV2 Norway, RUV Iceland and MTV3/Channel Juniori Finland.

Show Headline News

Pinky and Perky Christmas Special Due on BBC

CGI spectacular THE PINKY AND PERKY SHOW is due to screen across the BBC this Christmas with a special festive helping of everyone's favorite pigs.

PPC Enterprises, which holds M&L rights in the brand, has revealed that the show will screen four times on CBBC over the Christmas period, as well as showing at 10 a.m. on BBC One on Christmas Day.

Series Headline News

DECODE Wins New Sales for Kid vs. Kat

Kids and family entertainment specialist DECODE Enterprises, the distribution subsidiary of DHX Media Ltd., has signed two major deals for KID VS. KAT (52x11 or 26x22), an animated series produced by Studio B Productions in association YTV Canada and Jetix Europe.

Nickelodeon South East Asia has acquired the show alongside a deal with ABC in Australia, bringing the series into brand new territories. KID VS. KAT is also set to air on YTV in Canada, Jetix Europe and Jetix U.S.

Blu-ray Headline News

The Dark Knight Blu-Ray Sales Shatter All Records

DVD and Blu-ray sales for THE DARK KNIGHT have broken records this week with 1.7 million Blu-ray discs sold and more than 13.5 million total DVDs and Blu-ray discs sold so far worldwide.

Global sales include U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, Benelux and Australia and consist of consumer sales and rental sales in one week. More than one million Blu-ray discs were sold in the U.S. alone.

Headline News

49 Songs Queue for 2008 Oscar

Forty-nine songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are contending for nominations in the Original Song category for the 81st Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday.

The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are listed below in alphabetical order by song title:

"Another Way to Die" from QUANTUM OF SOLACE"Barking at the Moon" from BOLT"The Boys Are Back" from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR"Broken and Bent" from ROLE MODELS

Headline News

Weekend Box Office Slow for Day Earth Stood Still

Fox's sci-fi remake THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL opened at the top of the weekend box office with $30.48M (vfx by At The Post, Cinesite, Digital Dimension, Flash Film Works, Gentle Giant Studios, Hydraulx, Image Design Engine and Weta Digital). 123 IMAX theatres contributed approximately $3.7 million tothe domestic total.

Three-week-old FOUR CHRISTMASES (Warner Bros./New Line) placed second with $13.07M and has a total gross of $87.78M.

Headline News

Hugh Jackman is Oscar Host

Hugh Jackman will host the 81st Academy Awards telecast. This will be Jackman's first time center stage at the Oscar show, although he has previously been a presenter.

"Hugh Jackman is a consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star," said producer Laurence Mark and executive producer Bill Condon in a joint statement. "He also has style, elegance and a sense of occasion. Hugh is the ideal choice to host a celebration of the year's movies -- and to have fun doing it."

Effects Headline News

ILM Scores 3 Entries on Oscar VFX Long List

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its list of 15 semifinalists for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 81st Academy Awards, with Industrial Light & Magic getting three contenders: IRON MAN, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL and THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (along with Tippett Studio). Other anticipated contenders include THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (Digital Domain, Lola/Hydraulx, Asylum and Matte World Digital), THE DARK KNIGHT (Double Negative, Framestore) and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (Weta Digital, Cinesite).

Effects Headline News

Cinesite Completes Spectacular Drone Attack Sequence On Earth Stood Still

Cinesite completed a major sequence for the Twentieth Century Fox's THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, which was released Friday in the U.S. and U.K., complete with CG planes, tanks and spectacular explosions.

Kids Headline News

Nickelodeon To Launch New Multiplayer Global Game

Nickelodeon is helping kids get their game on in the name of the environment, beginning Dec. 14 with the launch of THE BIG GREEN HELP GLOBAL CHALLENGE -- the first multiplayer kids' online game with a goal of igniting real-world action for environmental change. Kids will be asked to virtually pledge volunteer hours in the "Global Challenge" that they can translate into actionable steps in their homes, communities and schools.

Headline News

Holdovers Lead Top Seven Spots at Weekend Box Office

The top seven films at the box office remained virtually unchanged, save for some slight shuffling. Warner Bros./New Line comedy FOUR CHRISTMASES stayed at the top with a haul of $16.76M and $69.4M in two weeks.

TWILIGHT (Summit Ent., vfx by CIS Vancouver, ILM, Catalyst Media, Rez-Illusion, PIC Agency, Lola and Gentle Giant) moved up from third to second place in its third week out, earning $13.05M and a total gross of $138.4M.

Series Headline News

Mediatoon's Magic Roundabout Sees International Deals

Mediatoon has inked several new TV and video rights deals, for its series THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, featuring amusing stories produced in HD and loveable characters, such as Dougal and Zebedee.

Italia 1 (Italy), TV2 (Norway), YLE (Finland), TRT (Turkey), EESTI (Estonia) and Al Jazeera (Middle East) have snapped up the preschool show.

Headline News

American Greetings Expands Licensing Reach Of Care Bears

American Greetings Properties, the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, continues to expand the international footprint of CARE BEARS across the globe with a slate of new deals in key territories. Through a partnership with Spain-based retail giant Oysho, American Greetings Properties recently launched CARE BEARS classic apparel at all Oysho stores worldwide.

Headline News

Three Delivery Fans Warm Up with Webisodes this Winter

New York-based independent producer Animation Collective will soon debut 11 exclusive webisodes released in conjunction with their original show THREE DELIVERY, which currently airs on Nicktoons Network. As part of a multiplatform strategy for the series, the 1.5 minute webisodes will roll out each week through the month of December on www.ThreeDelivery.com.

A new webisode will be posted each Friday beginning December 5 through January 2, 2009.

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