Comedy Central plans to celebrate America's birthday on July 4, 2003 with a 1:00 am broadcast of SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT, uncensored by the cablenet with encore presentations July 5 and 6 at 1:00 am. The feature film based upon the hit series by Trey Parker and Matt Stone grossed more than $52 million in the U.S. and won both New York and L.A. Film Critics awards. It also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, "Blame Canada."
Geographical Region: North America
After a four-year hiatus for Disney comic books in the U.S. market, Disney Publishing Worldwide has signed a deal with Gemstone Publishing to bring Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and other Disney favorites back onto the printed page. Gemstone will release the first two monthly comics, WALT DISNEY COMICS AND STORIES and UNCLE SCROOGE, in June at $6.95, while the first bi-monthly, DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES ($7.95), debuts in July, and monthlies DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS and MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS ($2.95), arrive in September.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), the oldest, largest and most prestigious animation festival in North America, has had its funding completely cut by Telefilm Canada, which is the federal film funding branch of the Ministry of Heritage.
Kelly O'Brien, former Ottawa Festival director in the '70s and 80s, died May 5, 2003, at age 50 at her home in Beaches, near Toronto in Canada. According to a report in the TORONTO STAR, she suffered from liver disease, but autopsy results were inconclusive, so the matter is still under police investigation.
Flash specialty studio ANIMAX is producing a 35mm-animated short film for Jellyman Prods., CATCHING KRINGLE, in a mix of 2D techniques. ANIMAX is using Flash, USAnimation and traditional hand animation for the holiday themed short, featuring the voices of Danny De Vito and John Rhy-Davies, with a cameo by Larry King. The film will be ready to exhibit at film and animation festivals in time for the holiday season.
Leading childrens and family entertainment specialist, DECODE Entertainment in Toronto, has appointed Los Angeles-based The Sharpe Co. as worldwide licensing agent for its digital 2D animated preschool show FRANNY'S FEET. The series tells the exciting stories of a little girl whose fantastic feet take her on magical adventures when she tries on shoes in her grandfathers repair shop.
FRANNY'S FEET (13x22) has been commissioned by Channel Five in the U.K., ABC in Australia, France 5 and Teletoon in France, Discover UYK and Canada's TeleQuebec.
Vancouver-based Bardel Entertainment seems to be doing exceptionally well with holiday programming. Bardel's big Leo Award-winning production, THE CHRISTMAS ORANGE, has recently been sold to SVT Sweden and is in final negotiations with TV2 Denmark and CBBC London. This family holiday classic has aired on ABC Family in the U.S., TELETOON in Canada, TV12 in Singapore, Asia TV in Hong Kong and Teletoon in France, charming audiences with its thoughtful message and unique 2D and Flash-animatied style.
Due to the success of Digital Fusion and DFX+, eyeon Software Inc. has opened two new offices eyeon USA and eyeon Europe. Los Angeles-based eyeon USA is lead by Digital Fusion guru and director of business development, Rony Soussan, who has been influential in Digital Fusion's proliferation on the west coast, and has a long history as a digital compositor. Soussan offers expertise with both the product and the pipeline, as well as advanced training.
Bravo! NewStyleArtsChannel got animated with the world premiere of the new sitcom HEY JOEL on June 3, 2003 at 10:30 pm. Produced by Blueprint Entertainment and Curious Pictures in association with CHUM Television, this half-hour, 13-part adult-themed cartoon series depicts the adventures of Joel Stein, the host of a daily three-minute rock star interview show on the music channel VH1, and offers an irreverent behind-the-scenes look at the recording industry.
Bringing a theatrical quality to a slate of USA Network movie premiere trailers, Broadway Video's DesignLab has finished its animated work for the channel's rollout of eight movies.
At the 24th Banff Rockie Awards (June 8-13, 2003), ABOUT A FISHERMAN AND A FISH, produced by Soyuzmultfilm Film Studio in Russia, won the Animation Program Award. The Banff student jury screened programs in the Animation and Children's and Youth categories and decided the International Student Jury Prize. The Animation prize was won by MONKEY DUST, produced by Talkback for the BBC, which depicts a nightmarish, nocturnal world, inhabited by the sad, the lonely and the emotionally crippled.
The coveted short film grand prize at the 27th International Festival of Animated Film at Annecy went to Koji Yamamura's ATAMA YAMA, while Serge Elissalde's VERTE was honored with the grand prize for Best TV Animation Production. 295 films were screened in the "Annecy 2003" official selection. The awards were presented at the closing ceremony held on Saturday, June 7, 2003. Congratulations to all the winners!
The Short and Feature Fiction Films jury, made up of Susie Campbell, Mikhail Aldashin, Giannalberto Bendazzi, Gabor Csupo and Bill Plympton, has awarded:
The much ballyhooed anthology of nine MATRIX shorts premiered June 3, 2003 on DVD ($24.98 suggested retail from Warner Home Video), with its unprecedented fusion of computer animation and anime, delving deeper into the complex virtual world of the Matrix and featuring some of the top anime creators, including Yoshiaki Kawajiri (VAMPIRE HUNTER D), Shinchiro Waanable (COWBOY BEBOP) and Koji Morimoto (AKIRA'S animation supervisor).
Three animated shorts were among the winners at MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2003. The record number festival attendees reported opportunities were offered to them during the four-day festival (May 15-18, 2003 in Boulder, Colorado) to sell their screenplays, films, stageplays, short stories, film scores, libretti and TV pilots, while forging new alliances within the U.S. and the international film and entertainment industry. The event featured workshops and panels, networking parties, an awards ceremony and reception plus the annual Moondance labyrinth. Speakers and participants came from the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Brazil, New Zealand, Slovakia, UK, Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Finland, Mexico and other countries. The animation winners were:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mailed entry forms on May 27, 2003 for the 2003 Scientific and Technical Awards to more than 850 companies and individuals, including past winners, within the sci-tech community both in the United States and abroad. All entry applications must be submitted to the Academy no later than Friday, August 1, 2003.
"We want to begin compiling a list of achievements that can be considered by the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee for recognition at the 76th Academy Awards," said committee chair Richard Edlund.
ASIFA-East has announced the recipients of their 34th annual Animation Festival. Unlike other festivals, all entries are screened and are voted on by the members who attend the screenings. ASIFA-east is the Eastern U.S. chapter of ASIFA international, which was founded in 1960 by a group of animators to increase the visibility of animated films worldwide. Awards were handed out at 6:00 pm May 4, 2003 at the Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street in Manhattan, New York.
New York-based Click 3x recently finished up production on a spot promoting Food Network's "Dine In Dine Out Sweepstakes." The idea for the 30-second spot germinated with the cable net's in-house creative staff, after which Click 3x's Creative Director Iain Greenway and his compatriots were enlisted to design the visuals and produce the ad. The commercial interjects Food Network personalities into a stylized 3D kitchen and/or restaurant setting. The visual concept is reminiscent of architectural blueprints, featuring objects rendered in stroked outlines.
CinéGroupe has made its major theatrical project, P3K: PINOCCHIO 3000 available for licensing. Carlton consumer division is already onboard to handle licensing, theatrical, publishing, broadcast and video rights in the U.K.
Newark, New Jersey-based IDT Media announced May 15, 2003 that its animation production unit, Digital Production Solutions (DPS), will acquire a 51% interest in Film Roman, Inc., a leading independent animation company, through the purchase of newly issued shares of Film Roman common stock. Film Roman produces the animation on the primetime hits THE SIMPSONS and KING OF THE HILL. IDT Media is a subsidiary of IDT Corp., a multinational carrier, telecommunications and technology company.
Industry vet Darren Frankel joins visual effects company Stargate Digital as vp in charge of post-production. He will supervise Stargates daily post-production operations, including editorial, artist hiring, facility management and scheduling. Stargate (www.stargatefilms.com) recently did 200 effects shots for USA Networks HELEN OF TROY mini-series and creates effects for such highly-rated television series as CSI, CSI: MIAMI, ER, THIRD WATCH and CROSSING JORDAN.
Making its first E3 appearance since the recent merger between Square and Enix, Square Enix U.S.A. is poised to take role-playing games (RPGs) to the next level with a variety of titles. The highly anticipated FINAL FANTASY XI, the company's first venture into online gaming, will make its North American debut for PlayStation2 and PC. The company brings several high caliber role-playing games to the North American market for PlayStation 2, including UNLIMITED Saga, FINAL FANTASY X-2, STAR OCEAN TILL THE END OF TIME and DRAKENGARD. Square Enix U.S.A.
COO Joan Vogelesang has been appointed president of Toon Boom Technologies Inc., replacing Jacques Bilodeau who has left the company. She now takes complete charge of the company's direction and will continue to spearhead sales, marketing and operations, according to Hubert Manseau, chairman of board. Regarding Bilodeu's departure, Manseau said, "The Board of Directors would like to thank Mr. Bilodeau for his past contributions at Toon Boom Technologies and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Tara Sorensen joins National Geographic Television & Films as VP of development on May 12, 2003 to oversee development and production of its kids' programming unit. She will be based in Beverly Hills, working closely with Friedman Meir, president of the Kids' Programming & Production Unit for NGT&F. The unit was established earlier in 2003 to develop and sell original programming to major U.S. cable and broadcast networks, as well as direct-to-video properties. The Kids' group is working with creators, production companies, studios, networks and corporate sponsors to develop projects with characters and storylines for the preschool to tween audiences.
Sorensen was vp of creative affairs for the Family Entertainment division of Sony Pictures Television, where she oversaw the development of shows like JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES and MEN IN BLACK animated series for Kids WB!, DRAGON TALES for PBS and the STUART LITTLE series for HBO Family. Sorensen was a development manger for Nelvana Communications, where she helped develop ROLIE POLIE OLIE for the Disney Channel.
Winners for the 1st Annual International 3D Awards were announced at the evening ceremony May 9, 2003 at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, running in conjunction with the 3D Festival 2003. The winners each picked up a Digital Hero trophy, hand sculpted by Dan Platt, at the ceremony The winners are:
Feature Film VFX