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.
Geographical Region: North America
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.
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.
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.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING picked up five awards at the third annual DVD Premiere Awards, including the award for Best Overall New Extra Features in a New Release.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Renderfest: New 3D Festival
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Friday, July 25 - Sunday, July 27, 2003
Entry Deadline: Sunday, March 30, 2003
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.
The National Film Boards Animation Studio is reaching out to emerging animators across Canada with its new "Animation Hothouse" program. Six young filmmakers have been selected to participate in the intensive program, directing an animated work ranging from ten seconds to thirty seconds. The selected students will spend 12 weeks with the NFBs community of filmmakers in Montreal, where theyll be provided with tools, resources, support and mentoring.
Kevin Prendiville, former visual effects supervisor at Ring of Fire, has joined The Syndicate as the studio's new VFX supervisor and lead flame artist. Previously, Prendiville was the Henry artist at Hollywood-based visual effects house Novocom, where he worked on commercials for Discover Card, AT&T, Miller Lite, Chevy Blazer, Levis, Allsport and Mountain Dew. His music video work at Novocom included clips for Michael Jackson and Lenny Kravitz, and a special effects heavy Garth Brooks track that won the Country Music video of the year award in 1995.
Latin American distribution specialist Salsa Entertainment returns to NATPE 2003 with the exclusive Latin American distribution rights to three new animation series: SOMETHING ELSE (26 x 11-minutes), OLLIVERS ADVENTURES (13 x 21-minutes) and METALHEADS (26 x 11-minutes). Based on the award-winning childrens illustrated book of the same title by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell, SOMETHING ELSE targets 5 to 8 year-old kids with the unpredictable adventures of long-nosed, orange and furry Something and small, blue and furry Something Else.
Vancouver-based computer animation studio Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. is bringing two new animated projects to this year's NATPE: ALIEN LEGION and MAXINE 5. ALIEN LEGION, based on the cult comic book series created by Carl Potts, follows the futuristic exploits of the Legion's Force Nomad and its multi-species ranks of alien legionnaires. Culled from the unwanted of three galaxies, legionnaires are the expendable shock troops and peacekeepers of the new intergalactic realm.
Although Disney chose to give Hayao Miyazaki's SPIRITED AWAY a modest release in the U.S., the film has managed to catch the eye of critics. Already winning Best Animated Feature from the New York Critics Circle, The Los Angeles Critics Association and the National Board of Review, SPIRITED AWAY is now finding its way on to critics' "Best of 2002" lists.
A highlight of the holiday hit film CATCH MEIF YOU CAN, which opened in theaters nationwide on December 25, 2002, is the distinctive opening credits created byLondon's Nexus Productions. Nexus was called upon by DreamWorks tocreate an opening sequence for the film, which stars LeonardoDiCaprio and Tom Hanks and is directed by Steven Spielberg. In CATCHME IF YOU CAN, DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, Jr., who at the age of17 became the most successful bank robber in the history of the
The animated adventures of MR. BEAN is heading to Scandinavia. The 26 x 30-minute series has been sold to SVT, Sweden and YLE, Finland by Fremantle International Distribution, which distributes both the original live-action series and the animated series. SVT will start to broadcast the series on December 23, 2002 and it will run through early February. The series launch date on YLE is still to be announced. MR.