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Geographical Region: North America

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.

Headline News The Cramp Twins Set For U.S. Premiere On Fox Box

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!

Headline News De Niro Steps Into Mob Boss Roll In Sharkslayer

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.

Headline News Animatrix DVD Release Date!

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.

Headline News Cinar Sells Twin Sisters

Kim Mitzo Thompson and Karen Mitzo Hilderbrand, the founders of Twin Sisters Productions, Inc., have repurchased from CINAR Corporation the company they founded. The deal was concluded on January 13, 2003 for US$1.5 million. The sale also settled the outstanding litigation claims against CINAR by Twin Sisters.

Headline News Square USA's Animatrix Episode To Premiere Theatrically

Warner Bros. Pictures has announced that FINAL FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS, directed by Square USA and one of the nine animated episodes that make up THE ANIMATRIX, will have its theatrical premiere with DREAMCATCHER, a new thriller set to debut in theaters March 21, 2003. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, DREAMCATCHER is a supernatural thriller based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. It stars Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane and Jason Lee, and features special effects by ILM.

Headline News Portfolio Displays Carl Squared For NATPE

At this year's NATPE, Canada's Portfolio Entertainment will offer a sneak peek at its new animated series CARL SQUARED, currently in development for Canadas Family Channel. The half-hour series is a comedic look at cloning and other cutting-edge scientific techniques that are now a part of everyday life. Portfolio will also bring back its hit series ROBOROACH (52 x 30-minutes), which is currently distributed worldwide outside the U.S. by Fox Kids Europe. The series has recently been renewed for a third season of 26 episodes by Canadas Teletoon.

Headline News Cuppa Animates Almera

Toronto-based independent animation house Cuppa Coffee recently completed a commercial for Nissan Almera. "A car commercial is always a unique challenge," said executive producer Adam Shaheen. "You really need to demonstrate difference from the other cars out there, and our goal was to show that difference through the class and style in the illustration reference, and building a relationship between the style, the characters and the product." Working with Mexicos OMNI Producciones with a brief from agency C. C.

Headline News New Shows Lead The Way For Studio B's NATPE Roster

Heading into NATPE 2003, Canada's Studio B has announced new shows and deals, and is aiming to attract some international co-production deals during the upcoming trade show. Currently the studio is in development on SIMON STIMPLE (26 x 22-minutes) for TELETOON.

Headline News THQ And Konami Team For Wireless Downloads

THQ Wireless, a subsidiary of video game publisher THQ Inc., has partnered with Konami Mobile & Online for the release of several wireless games through the NTT DoCoMo network. Initially, five wireless games, including WWE MOBILE MADNESS, MLBPA HOMERUN CONTEST, SOCCER, BOWLING and ROTOBALL, will be available to download through DoCoMo's i-mode service, with new games and other content posted on the Website every month. In all, fifteen games are scheduled for release by May 2003.

Headline News ShoPro USA Will Show At NATPE With A New Name And Two New Animated Properties

To more accurately reflect its core business, licensing company ShoPro USA has changed its name to ShoPro Entertainment. The company will officially unveil its new logo and introduce two new anime shows at NATPE 2003: MEGAMAN BATTLE NETWORK and MIRMO ZIBANG! Both properties began as manga and have evolved into popular TV series in Japan. MEGAMAN BATTLE NETWORK, based on the popular video game series from CAPCOM, is set in a time when everyday amenities are linked to a central computer system.

Headline News UPA Founder Zack Schwartz Has Died

Karl Cohen of ASIFA-SF has brought AWN the news that animator Zack Schwartz, one of the founders of UPA, passed away on January 13, 2003 in Israel. After working at Disney, most notably as an art director on BAMBI and FANTASIA, Schwartz went on to work under Frank Tashlin at Screen Gems and was a founder of UPA. In 1946, Schwartz sold his interest in the studio and moved to New York, where he worked in television advertising, eventually becoming an advertising agency executive.

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