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Geographical Region: North America

Headline News France Animation Aims For All Animated Ages At MIP-TV

France Animation, one of Europes leading production and distribution companies specializing in youth programming, has a number of MIP-TV 2003 offerings for the teen and pre-school markets. COSY CORNER is a preschool series (52x6 or 13x26) that features a host of soft, cuddly CGI animated animal characters with strong merchandising potential. It tells the story of a group of Stella, Margot, Arthur and Jacky, who have been thrown together by chance. Living as neighbors in a huge tree, called COSY CORNER, they soon discover that it isnt always easy to get along and put up with each other! Produced by French production company Storimages and co-produced by France 5 and Teletoon France, France Animation has worldwide distribution rights. Also on France Animations MIP-TV 2003 slate, is the second season of hit show WHEEL SQUAD 2 (13x26) which completes the series of 39 episodes. WHEEL SQUAD combines wheel sports, rap, hip-hop and techno for older children. Is a co-production between France Animation, M6, Praxinos, Colorland, RAI and for series one Canal + Belgique. The show can already be seen on the Disney Channel in Asia, Hong Kong and the Middle East, and in Latin America (Fox Kids), Spain (Antena 3), The Netherlands (Kindernet), Portugal (SIC) and Poland amongst other territories. Concluding France Animations animated lineup is the well-known TITEUF (78x7 or 26x26), a successful property all over Europe based on the comic books by Swiss cartoonist Zep. Already a major hit on France 3, the series has already sold to broadcasters in Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, North Africa, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Korea, Ukraine, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Ireland and the Middle East. In addition, TITEUF has inspired lucrative product ranges across a variety of markets with 250,000 GameBoy games sold by Infogrames in Europe alone and 250,000 video cassettes selling in the last 12 months through Universal Pictures Video France. Other merchandising available includes Lafuma school bags, a confectionery deal with Cadbury and a pan-European card deal with Hallmark. Various deals have also been struck with Hasbro, McDonalds, Danone and Kellogg's. TITEUF is a co-production between France Animation, Editions Glenat, Canal J, France 3 and SMEC, in partnership with RAI, Infogrames and Universal. France Animation also brings factual entertainment to MIP-TV with new completed episodes of the fascinating documentary series INSECTOSCOPE and live-action kids series CYBERGIRL. Maia Tubiana, managing director of France Animation said: "We are maintaining our strategy of seeking quality properties for our catalog, partnering at the earliest possible stages on new projects and developing or co-developing series in formats varying from 5 to 26 minutes. We are also happy to announce that we have started production on PETIT VAMPIRE (working title LITTLE VAMPIRE) which we launched with our co-production partner Story at Cartoon Forum this year. The 52x13 series will be ready for delivery in 2004. PETIT VAMPIRE is a Story, France Animation, France 3 and Telegael co-production." Formed in 1984, France Animation (www.france-anim.com) is subsidiary of Wanadoo (France Télécom) and has a sales catalog with more than 1,200 half-hours sold in more than 100 countries.

Headline News Spirited Away, Two Towers and ChubbChubbs Take Home Oscar Gold

On March 23, 2003 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the winners of this year's Oscars. Hayao Miyazakis SPIRITED AWAY (Walt Disney) was awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, while visual effects stunner THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (New Line) took home the Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Eric Armstrong's THE CHUBBCHUBBS (Sony Pictures Imageworks) won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.

Headline News TV Animation Industry Remains MIP-Bound

In spite of battles in the Persian Gulf and concerns over a new Asian virus, most of the animation producers, distributors and broadcasters AWN polled are traveling over the next few days to attend the MIP-TV market in Cannes, France, which gets underway Monday, March 24. Iain Pelling, managing director of Cosgrove Hall Films, said, "It's a difficult time for everybody, but we have to carry on in as normal a way as possible. We will be going to MIP as usual.

Headline News Diller Drops Universal CEO/Co-Chair Post

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.

Headline News CCI & Collingwood O'Hare Form Cross-Atlantic Alliance

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.

Headline News Mike Young Prods. Appoints Distribution & Development Heads

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.

Headline News South Park Boys Hit 100 Episodes; Norman Lear To Collaborate On New Season

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.

Headline News Oscar Shorts Get Theatrical Run

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.

Headline News Silverwing Takes Flight to MIP-TV

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.

Headline News Turner Broadcasting Realigns Its Entertainment, News and Cartoon Businesses

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.

Headline News UPN Buys CG Animated Pilot for Primetime

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.

Headline News Toy Story Nets Online Critics' Top Choice Of 100

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.

Headline News Big Broadcasters Adopt Newcomer's The Koala Brothers

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.

Headline News Mischel Moves Up To Mainframe

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.

Headline News Max Howard Sets On SecondSun's Board

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.

Headline News ASIFA-SF Co-Founder Margaret Hale Dies

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.

Headline News Funky Cops Arrests U.S. Slot

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.

Headline News CINAR Has New President/CEO In Its Corner

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.

Headline News CinéGroupe Reinvents Pinocchio With Upcoming Animated Feature

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.

Headline News NFB Lets Kids Click To Create Their Own Film

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.

Headline News Sony Imageworks Takes Two At Imagina.03

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.

Headline News Gamehouse Goes To The Flipside In Online Gaming Deal

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.

Headline News VirtualMagic Animation Up For Sale

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.

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