Geographical Region: North America
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chicago International Children's Film Festival
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Thursday, October 23 - Sunday, November 02, 2003
Entry Deadline: Thursday, May 01, 2003
David Pritchard, former CEO and president of Film Roman, has launched Fat Rock Entertainment, a new venture dedicated to producing and distributing family-friendly films. Fat Rock has licensed multiple properties from Hasbro, including MY LITTLE PONY and SUPER SOAKERS, upon which it will build its first slate of films. The first of the films is expected to debut in theatres in July 2003. The G-rated films will be in the $5-10 million budget range and will be a combination of live-action and digital animation.
Australian visual effects company Photon VFX, best known for its work on SCOOBY DOO and FINAL FANTASY, was the effects company behind the main character in the Warner Bros. horror flick GHOST SHIP -- the ship itself. The effects laden film is the largest feature film project to be shot and had all visual effects produced entirely in Australia.
From KISS to clones, Corus Entertainments Nelvana Limited brings an eclectic slate of programming to NATPE this January. Gene Simmons, lead singer of the rock band KISS, has created MY DAD THE ROCK STAR, a 26 x 30-minute animated comedy targeted to 6-12 year-olds. The series centers on Willy Zilla, a 12 year-old kid who just wants to lead a quiet, normal existence.
CMP Media's Gama Network announced the finalists in the fifth annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) Competition. Selected by a panel of game industry professionals, 10 finalist teams will compete for the $15,000 Seamus McNally Grand Prize as well as other awards honoring technical excellence, game design, visual art and audio awards.