Barry Diller has resigned as co-chairman/CEO of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to end investors' concerns about him also being head of USA Interactive. USA Interactive just unveiled plans to buy control of online service Expedia.com in a deal valued at $3.3 billion. Most of Diller's investments rest with USA Interactive where he is CEO/chairman. "My executive role was never intended to be permanent," Diller said in a statement.
Geographical Region: North America
Independent animation studio Mike Young Productions (MYP) is expanding with key hires in areas of development and distribution. Regis Brown joins as VP of international sales, responsible for launching a new distribution arm for the company. His sales slate includes HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE in key international territories, JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS, a co-production with PBS WLIW and Entara Ltd., and PET ALIEN, a co-production with Antefilms Production, for TF1.
Toronto-based Cambium Catalyst International Entertainment (CCI) has partnered with U.K. animation studio, Collingwood OHare Entertainment (COE), to co-produce the animated series HARRY AND HIS BUCKETFUL OF DINOSAURS. Based on the successful book of the same name, the animated pre-school series explores the vivid imagination of a child and his dinosaur companions. Production is set for fall 2003 in the U.K. and Canada. CCI Releasing will hold worldwide distribution rights.
SOUTH PARK returns with more action, more social satire, more life lessons, as well as pointers from legendary television producer Norman Lear as the seventh season of the series created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker begins Wednesday, March 19 at 10:00 pm on Comedy Central. Lear will collaborate with the SOUTH PARK creators who said they are thrilled to be working with one of their idols. "Norman is a genius," said Parker in a release.
If you'd like to see all five Oscar-nominated animated shorts on the big screen you now can in select cities thanks to Apollo Cinema, an international shorts distribution company, that has packaged them into a compilaton package that premieres March 14, 2003 in Los Angeles and New York. The animated shorts have been combined with live-action short contenders into a single 91-minute program that will run daily for two weeks at the Laemmle Fairfax 3 in Los Angeles and the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York.
Bardel Entertainment will be unveiling its new animated action series SILVERWING at MIP-TV. Based on the first novel in a trilogy by Ken Oppel, it follows the coming-of-age tale of Shade, who is in search for his father. The book is selling well in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Denmark, Australia, Holland and will soon be available in Italy. Negotiations are underway for the trilogy to be re-released to coincide with the launch of the television series in fall 2003 on TELETOON in Canada.
Shortly after Turner Broadcasting head Jamie Kellner resigned, newly appointed TBS chairman/CEO Philip I. Kent announced March 11, 2003 AOL Time Warner is restructuring the Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.'s network businesses to create three broader, integrated operating units Cartoon, Entertainment and News - with direct oversight for their respective programming, marketing, advertising sales and other business functions. Key executives have been reassigned immediately to new management positions.
The UPN network has bought its first CG animated primetime pilot, MEET THE BREAKNECKS, exec produced by Carsey-Werner-Mandabach in Los Angeles and animated by DKP Effects in Toronto, Canada. It's an original concept created by David Sacks, David Goetsch, Jason Venokuris and Ross Venokur about a suburban family that are actually video game characters dealing with its unique everyday problems.
The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), the international association of the leading Internet-based cinema journalists, has released its choices of the Top 100 Animated Features of All Time with TOY STORY placing first according to a vote of the 138 reviewers.
The Disney Channel U.S. is the latest in a raft of major broadcasters to prebuy THE KOALA BROTHERS, the first project from a new production house, Spellbound Entertainment. London-based Spellbound was launched in 2002 by the ex-HIT executive, Peter Curtis and ex-Endemol executive, Nick Barrington. Produced by Famous Flying Films for Spellbound, the stop-frame model animation series follows the adventures of Frank and Buster, two koalas on a mission to help others in need in the Australian outback.
Former Harvey head Rick Mischel takes the reigns as CEO of Mainframe Entertainment, the pioneering computer animation studio in Canada. He replaces Brett Gannon, who stepped down as president in October 2002 for medical reasons. Mischel will be based at the company's headquarters in Vancouver, overseeing production, development, distribution, licensing, operations and business affairs. "We are looking to Rick to expand our computer graphics animation expertise beyond television and into new areas such as feature films.
Animation industry veteran Max Howard has joined SecondSun Entertainment's board of directors. Howard is chairman/CEO/founder of Melwood Pictures, a Hollywood-based producer of animation and live-action films. Formerly he was president of feature animation at Warner Bros., a SVP at The Walt Disney Co. and, most recently, a producer at DreamWorks where he helped develop and produce SPIRIT, STALLION OF THE CIMARRON amongst the DreamWorks slate. While he was at Warner Bros., the studio produced THE IRON GIANT, QUEST FOR CAMELOT and SPACE JAM.
Margaret Hale, one of the founding members of ASIFA-SF who ran ink-and-paint departments for more than 20 years, died of a heart attack at the age of 76 on February 16, 2003 at her home in Jacksonville, Oregon. Born and educated in England, she met her husband Jeff Hale when they were students at the Royal Academy of Art. They soon moved to Canada to work in animation and then moved to the U.S. in 1964 to work for Imagination, Inc. in San Francisco, California, which they ultimately owned. The company was known for its commercials and work for SEASAME STREET.
FUNKY COPS by AnteFilms, is the latest in a growing roster of French-made animated series to be broadcast on a U.S. network. 4Kids Entertainment acquired the 26x30 series to air in the FOX BOX Saturday morning kids block. FUNKY COPS features a pair of cops who turn into disco stars in '70s San Francisco. The show was created by brothers Christophe and Benoit Di Sabatino. It is produced in AnteFilms' digital studios based in Levallois and Angouleme.
CINAR Corp. has named former WWF Entertainment head Stuart C. Snyder its new president and CEO. Snyder has extensive management experience in video, television, film, animation and live-action entertainment, as well as contacts in the production and distribution communities plus retail and licensing. The CINAR board is counting on Snyder to return the entertainment division to profitability and broaden the range of family products.
Arizona State University Art Museum Short Film And Video Festival.Tempe, Arizona, USA.Saturday, April 19, 2003.Entry Deadline: Friday, February 14, 2003.
Canada's first full-length 3D animated feature film P3K, PINOCCHIO 3000, is currently in production in Montréal, and has recently added Malcolm McDowell, Howie Mandel and Whoopi Goldberg to its cast of voices. McDowell plays Mayor Scamboli, a technocratic megalomaniac who rules the megapolis of Scamboville with an iron fist. Mandel plays Spencer, Gepettos trusted cyborg-penguin assistant who helps him create Pinocchio, a very special robot equipped with a one-of-a-kind P3K processor that endows him with the lively imagination of a youngster.
The NFBs new youth targeted Website, "Ultrabug Cliposcope," gives visitors a hands-on introduction to moviemaking. Part of the NFB's overall media education initiative, the Ultrabug Cliposcope site lets kids (or adults!) create films, view them and e-mail them to their friends. The site is powered by the Ez-Toons game engine developed by Quebec's Sarbakan.
Star Wars Fan Film Awards
Comic-Con 2003, San Diego, California, USA
Thursday, July 17, 2003 - Sunday, July 20, 2003
Entry Deadline: Tuesday, June 3, 2003
Imagina.03, the international festival for digital images, handed out its annual awards on February 5, 2003 at a ceremony in Monaco's Grimaldi Forum. Sony Pictures Imageworks had a big night, winning awards for best direction for the short film THE CHUBBCHUBBS, directed by Eric Armstrong, and taking home best feature honors for STUART LITTLE 2. 2003 was the first year Imagina has presented a best feature film prize, and it was awarded to the feature film that had the most effective use of digital technology.
Flipside, Inc., part of the Vivendi Universal Net USA Group, has signed an exclusive three-year agreement with GameHouse, Inc. to distribute all skill-based cash competition versions of GameHouse's popular game titles including COLLAPSE, MAH JONG, BOUNCEOUT, WHATWORD? and GEMDROP. This agreement gives Flipside the opportunity to distribute these games on iWin, its cash-competitions channel. As part of the agreement, Flipside will power GameHouse's cash competitions channel at www.gamehouse.com.
VirtualMagic Animation, the North Hollywood-based digital ink, paint and compositing company and former production division of USAnimation, is on the block. According to president Don Spielvogel, the company is being put up for sale by its investors as a result of the changing dynamics of the cartoon animation business in the U.S., as well as the wishes of its non-animation industry investors to move on.
TV-Loonland has signed a 52-episode agreement with 4Kids Entertainment for animation series THE CRAMP TWINS. 4Kids Entertainment will serve as the exclusive merchandise licensing agent and representative of television broadcast and home video rights for the series within the United States. 4Kids Entertainment's ever-growing portfolio includes well-known children's properties such as POKÉMON, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and YU-GI-OH!
USA TODAY brings us the news that Robert De Niro has come on board DreamWorks' upcoming animated feature SHARKSLAYER to voice Don Lino, the "Godfather" of all sharks, replacing THE SOPRANOS' James Gandolfini. De Niro joins Will Smith (ALI, MEN IN BLACK) who voices Oscar, a young fish that is found at the scene of the crime when the son of Don Lino gets killed. Oscar takes advantage of this opportunity to play the hero, but soon finds that there are serious consequences to his posing as the great Sharkslayer.
After previously announcing that the short film FINAL FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS, directed by Square USA, will have its theatrical premiere with the feature film DREAMCATCHER, Warner Home Video and Village Roadshow Pictures have now announced the DVD release date for THE ANIMATRIX. The nine animated episodes that make up THE ANIMATRIX (including FINAL FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS) will be released worldwide on DVD and videocassette on June 3, 2003.