On Sunday, May 7, 2000 in Fredrikstad, Norway, the Nordic and Baltic Animation Festival Fredrikstad called to an end its five-day festival. The Oscar award nominated MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KING'S SHIRTS took home two awards at the festival. The jury consisted of Marjut Rimminen (Finland/U.K.), Konstantin Bronzit (Russia), Sven Påhlsson (Norway), Richard R. Reeves (Canada) and Cory Wynne (U.S.A.). The festivals focus is to promote the screening and better understanding of animation.
Geographical Region: Europe
For its 2000 edition and its 40th anniversary (June 5-10, 2000), the Annecy International Animated Film Festival received 1,092 films (995 in 1999) from 52 countries. 279 of them, representing 36 countries, have been selected for official competition with 207 in competition and 72 in panorama.
"The Masters of Russian Animation," an extraordinary collection of Russia's most important animated short films, is now available on DVD! Volume 1 includes ten films from directors Fyodor Kitruk, Vadim Kurchevsky, Andrei Khrjanovsky, Rasa Strautmane, Yefim Gamburg, Andrei Khrjanovsky, Nikolai Serebryakov and Anatoly Petrov. In All, the Russian collection includes seven videotapes, available individually and in 3- or 7-tape packages. Volume 1 is now available on DVD for $24.95 plus s/h.
On Tuesday, May 2, 2000, Swatch, a world leading watch producer, and AtomFilms, a leader in Internet entertainment, announced a partnership to seek independent creative talent for an animated Swatch "Internet Time" ad campaign. The jointly organized competition is open to Flash animators from around the globe. Winners will help Swatch develop an Internet communication campaign. Peter Fonda, two-time Academy Award nominee, will join Swatch and AtomFilms as one of the advisory judges for the contest.
POKEMON: THE FIRST MOVIE and STUART LITTLE are struggling over who will nab the top spot at international box offices. For the week ending April 26, 2000, POKEMON took Spain and Italy. Around the globe POKEMON finished in 2nd in the U.K. in its second weekend in theatres; 3rd in Germany in its second weekend in theatres; and 4th in France and Sweden. Already in the U.K., POKEMON has grossed a total of $13.14 million in only one week of release. STUART LITTLE finished at #1 in Germany, Australia and Hong Kong.
The Cannes Film Festival may never be the same. Mellow Manor Productions has announced that it will bring its "Spike and Mike Festival of Animation" to France for this year's event. Recently "Spike and Mike" had successful runs at American festivals Sundance and Austin's South by Southwest, but it is yet to be seen how the European audience will take to the in-your-face humor of the festival of twisted toons.
11,111 participants representing 2,776 companies from 100 countries
gathered in Cannes for the 37th edition of MIP TV which closed on
Friday April 14, 2000. The countries most represented in terms of
stands were: France (191), US (188), UK (177), Canada (85) and
Germany (76). In terms of participating companies the countries most
represented were: UK (443), France (422), US (372), Germany (173) and
Canada (139); more than 500 of them came from media and Internet
In the television competition at Cartoons on the Bay, Warner Bros.'
beleaguered series "Mission Hill" took home the prize for best
over-all animation series. The 4th Cartoons On The Bay International
Festival of Television Animation was held in Positano (Amalfi Coast),
Italy from April 14 - 18. Cartoons on the Bay is the only festival in
the world dedicated to television animation. The festival is an
international event with awards, workshops, lectures and events
Abacus Software, Inc. has release a new add-on for Microsoft's COMBAT FLIGHT SIMULATOR called BEHIND ENEMY LINES. The fictional voice-accompanied adventure takes you into the heart of Axis Germany. Players volunteer to fly a critical mission for the Allies. After sneaking behind enemy lines, one must follow the voice instructions from the mission commander or from secret agents. BEHIND ENEMY LINES features 30 new missions, 16 for the RAF and 14 for the Germans, and 3 new aircraft: the Supermarine Spitfire MkIX, the Schweizer 2-32 glider and an UltraLight. The game is priced at US$29.99.
Aardman Animations will be releasing Darren Walsh's ANGRY KID on the Internet at AtomFilms. The first 60-second episode of ANGRY KID will be available for download midnight on Sunday, May 7, 2000 at a specially developed Angry Kid spotlight on the AtomFilms site at www.angrykid.com. "We believe the Internet could very well prove to be one of the most exciting platforms for entertainment distribution," said Dave Sproxton, co-founder and managing director of Aardman.
In the television competition at Cartoons on the Bay, Warner Bros.' beleaguered series MISSION HILL took home the prize for best over-all animation series. The 4th Cartoons On The Bay International Festival of Television Animation was held in Positano (Amalfi Coast), Italy from April 14 - 18. Cartoons on the Bay is the only festival in the world dedicated to television animation. The festival is an international event with awards, workshops, lectures and events centering on the ever-changing world of television animation.
Riding the hopes that fantasy will be hot after LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER, Disney has reportedly signed a multi-million dollar deal to produce the film versions of horror-film-writer-director Clive Barker's new fantasy series THE ARABAT QUARTET. Britain's EMPIRE magazine quotes a Disney spokeswoman as saying, "The work is a combination of HARRY POTTER and a contemporary WIZARD OF OZ." The first in the series is scheduled to hit bookstores next year. Barker's lawyer said that Disney inked the agreement "without reading any written words of the novels."
U.K. football hero and sports anchorman Gary Lineker is about to get the cartoon treatment from the BBC. Lineker's animated alter ego appears in a regular slot on a new BBC1 Sunday morning magazine programme, FOOTBALL FEVER. The segment has been created by Alive Animation, which built up a library of Lineker's movements and expressions on computer. This means the character can be animated at the last minute, allowing for topical script changes. According to the UK newspaper EVENING STANDARD, the technology is so advanced that the cartoon could even be created 'live' on air.
Japanese trade officials have placed trade restrictions on Sony's PlayStation 2 because of concerns that the gaming system could be used for a military processor. The fear is due to PlayStation 2's high-speed graphic processing. Theoretically, the processor could be removed from the console and used in missile guidance systems. For example, a missile like a Tomahawk needs to locate its destination as it flies through the air and use high-speed graphic processing to pinpoint its target.
Orlando, Florida-based AARGH! ANIMATION, INC. has signed veteran animator JEFFREY VARAB. Varab, best known for his key animation on MULAN, BALTO, LAND BEFORE TIME, CASPER, THE TIGGER MOVIE and the upcoming Fox feature TITAN A.E., has moved to AARGH! to be part of a more intimate creative team. "The exciting part of joining Mark and Dave [AARGH!] is that it allows me to use all of my experience in exciting and challenging ways," said Varab. Originally hired at Disney Animation in 1977, Varab started on the movie PETE'S DRAGON beside one of Disney's original "9 Old Men," Eric Larson.
On May 27, 2000 in Europe, Turner Broadcasting will launch Boomerang, a brand new animation channel from the Cartoon Network stable. The new network will feature over 2,000 characters such as Top Cat, Wacky Races, Yogi Bear and the Hair Bear Bunch. The new channel will run from 6 am until midnight and will be available along with Cartoon Network and Cartoon Network Plus to all Sky Digital homes. Discussions with operators for digital cable and DTT carriage are also underway.
POKEMON is still going strong. KIDS WB! has ordered 52 more episodes of the phenomenon for September 2000. The latest broadcasters to catch the series are TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, TV2 Norway, MTV Finland, RTL-Klub (Hungary) and RTL-TVI (Belgium), as well as Cartoon Network in Australia and New Zealand. The total number of episodes for the series is now 156.
Mattel Interactive has entered into a deal with Danish company, TV Animation, the creators and owners of the animated interactive TV series THE NELLY NUT SHOW and the real-time technology, The Cartoon Broadcast System. The partnership will further develop the series for world TV markets. Mattel Interactive will represent the partnership in North America and other English speaking territories around the globe.
If you're waiting for the bus and a poster talks to you don't be startled. To promote, the debut of the hit series ANGELA ANACONDA on Cartoon Network Europe, the toon TV channel has designed talking posters to be placed in bus shelters all over the U.K. The posters will be fitted with a hidden movement sensor that will make it talk whenever a person passes by. There will be five different sound bites plus a song emanating from the posters for Cartoon Network Europe's new 52 part series created by Joanna Ferrone and Sue Rose, creator of the highly successful PEPPER ANN and voice of Angela.
Manga Entertainment brings Hayao Miyazaki's first film to DVD and VHS. THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO is the first film written and directed by anime pioneer and visionary Hayao Miyazaki (PRINCESS MONONOKE, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE). Loosely based on French novelist Maurice Leblanc's ARSENE LUPIN: GENTLEMAN THIEF adventure, the film follows Lupin, an underworld version of Sherlock Holmes, who is famous for swindling goods from the rich around the world.
Canadian-based TV and film company Alliance Atlantis Communications and Munich-based kids producer TV Loonland have joined to create animated joint ventures. The German producer will supply CA$110 million (US$ 76 million) over the next three years to co-create up to nine new children's series. As part of the deal, TV Loonland will hold all European rights, while Alliance will control the remaining worldwide rights. For an additional $14 million, TV Loonland has acquired European rights to Alliance's portfolio which includes YVON OF THE YUKON.
George Lucas has decided to go mostly digital with the live-action segments of STAR WARS EPISODE II. On Sunday, April 9, 2000, Lucas said, after four months of testing high-definition cameras, he will start shooting most of the next STAR WARS installment with Sony digital cameras. Jim Morris, president of Lucas Digital, said the cameras had "exceeded expectations." In June, the film will start shooting in Australia for two months, then move to Italy and Tunisia in August for another month, followed by 18 months of post-production.