Cambium Catalyst International Entertainment (CCI) in Toronto, Canada has reacquired the majority of the Gullane Entertainment library from HIT Entertainment. CCI was associated with Gullane through the merger of Cambium and Catalyst in February 2002. The combined new entity had been operating alongside its U.K. affiliate Gullane when it was acquired by HIT and HIT became the minority shareholder of CCI. A year later, CCI amicably has ended its relationship with HIT, re-acquired HIT's share of CCI and hundreds of hours of the Gullane library. "We have a company that is larger than either Cambium or Catalyst was before. As a result, our distribution division, CCI Releasing, has grown. Its current library includes childrens (live action and animation), documentaries, family movies and lifestyle programming," said Arnie Zipursky, chairman/CEO of CCI. CCI recently formed a partnership with Collingwood OHare in the U.K. to produce HARRY AND HIS BUCKETFUL OF DINOSAURS. For more on CCI, check out www.ccientertainment.com.
Geographical Region: North America
While most of Nelvana's computer animated programs have been done with the assistance of outside studios, the Toronto-based production house, which is part of Corus Entertainment, turned out an entire 3D CGI one-hour special, ç, completely in-house, now airing on Nickelodeon. It premiered in primetime March 31 with rebroadcasts on April 1 and 14 at noon. The studio is becoming increasingly more self-contained, under the direction CGI pioneer and production chief Scott Dwyer. Based upon the best-selling book series by acclaimed children's author, David Kirk, MISS SPIDER stars Brooke Shields as the voice of a full-grown spider who discovers she doesn't know everything there is to know about being a terrific mom. Having been adopted herself when she was young, Miss Spider's lessons multiply when she and her young ones try to reunite an abandoned chicken egg with its mother. Nelvana used primarily Maya and combustion to create the rich, colorful natural environments and soft characters. The Nelvana production in association with Callaway & Kirk was exec. produced by Michael Hirsh, Dyer, Kirk, Nicholas Callaway and Nadine va der Velde. Pam Lehn served as supervising producer and Susie Grondin was producer. Mike Fallows directed the script by van der Velde while Mike Shiell was animation director. While animation remained at Nelvana, voice recording was done in Canada and the U.S. Tony Jay as the voice of the evil Spiderus was recorded at Voice Trax West in Los Angeles. Shields and Rick Moranis (the voice of her husband Holley) were recorded at Magno Sound in New York City. The majority of the voices were recorded at Studio 306 in Toronto under the direction of Jessie Thomson. Nelvana also produced in-house the ROLIE POLIE OLIE: GREAT DEFENDER OF FUN special last year that aired on Disney in the U.S. and CBC in Canada. MISS SPIDER'S SUNNY PATCH KIDS will air later this year on TELETOON in Canada. The special is sponsored by U.S. retailer Target, which just launched a lifestyle brand for children called Sunny Patch, in stores across America featuring images of Miss Spider and friends on clothing, garden tools and home décor.
Joseph Gilland, who headed up Walt Disney Feature Animation EFX department in Florida for LILO AND STITCH and TARZAN, has joined Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver, Canada to be special effects supervisor on the SILVERWING animated series. "SILVERWING is just such a fantastic story. It is one of my son's favorite books and I absolutely jumped at the chance to be part of bringing SILVERWING'S story to life!" said Gilland.
Hitting theaters in the U.S. March 28, 2003, Paramount Picture's action film THE CORE relied on many visual effects houses to help depict the unnatural events taking place around the world due to changes in the earth's rotational inner core, resulting in catastrophic events for some of the world's most recognizable city scenes and monuments.
Noticed those amazing 3D graphics and animation CNN has been using in its coverage of the war in Iraq? AWN was able to get some questions answered about how they're done from Mike Kraft, director of graphics at CNN USA and his beleaguered department pounding out the images round the clock, seven days a week.
AWN: How do you create the terrain do you do it in-house, with what tools?
Toon Boom released its latest version of USAnimation with improved features and a new name to distinguish one of the most widely used 2D animation softwares in the world. USAnimation OPUS features a new user interface for users to configure layouts to suit their own workflow preferences. Camera, Xsheet, Paint and Scene Planning functions have been merged into one Universal Stage Module. "Our next generation of vector technology allows more functionality and increases quality of the work," said Joan Vogelesang, Toom Boon Technologies' COO.
Sunwoo USA, the Burbank, California based division of Sunwoo Entertainment in Korea, has entered into a co-production and co-development agreement with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), to make THE UNHUGGABLES, a 26x30 animated series based on the book published by the NWF. The NWF will premiere a comic strip based on the book in spring of 2003. THE UNHUGGABLES features a group of school-aged animals, whose unappealing characteristics make them the outcasts. The action-packed coming-of-age misadventures of a spider, snake, porcupine, skunk, armadillo and an Asian False Vampire Bat is targeted for kids 2-11 and tentatively scheduled for the 2003/2004-television season. "We are very excited to be working with Sunwoo, one of the most innovative production and animation companies in the business," said Christopher Palmer, president/CEO of National Wildlife Productions, the production arm of the NWF. In addition, Sunwoo USA is offering in its first MIP product slate, SPACE HIP HOP DUCK, a 52x11 animated series already sold to KBS Network in Korea, according to Jae Moh, president/CEO of Sunwoo USA. SPACE HIP HOP DUCK features two near-do-well slackers who hip hop across the Hip Hop Galaxy in search of odd jobs while pursuing their dreams of becoming rock stars. It stars Hip Hop, a green sharp billed female duck and her human companion Wangja, a young male with a talent for gadgetry, who travel aboard Argo, a multi-purpose robot who serves as both a butler, a spaceship and a peacemaker. Sunwoo Entertainment, headquartered in Seoul, Korea, is comprised of three animation studios: Sunwoo Animation, Grimsaem Animation and Anivision Korea. These studios work closely together with Sunwoo Digital International to provide state of the art animation services. Its recently launched U.S. division seeks co-production deals, recruits talent and develops content with international appeal for its Korean-based studios.
Vancouver-based Atomic Cartoons is showcasing four new properties at MIP-TV 2003. The creators of ATOMIC BETTY (recently picked up by TELETOON Canada, Teletoon France and Cartoon Network Europe), are presenting animated trailers of DENNIS, DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION, DIRTY LIL BASTER and THE CARNEYS at the spring television market in France. DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION (26x22) is an irreverent primetime social commentary for adults about a well-to-do family that goes bankrupt and is forced to move into a trailer park.
Just in time for MIP TV 2003, international producer-distributor TV-Loonland has brought on Jamie Lynn as sales executive in its distribution division. Based in the London office, Lynn will be responsible for TV-Loonland's extensive rights portfolio of children's programming throughout Asia, Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Lynn headed SSA Public Relations' London office for three years where he spearheaded several successful publicity campaigns for a wide range of high profile clients from the international television and film business and generated new business. David Ferguson, COO at TV-Loonland said," Lynn has developed vital and strong relationships with many top executives within the film, television and licensing industry. His acquired knowledge of the international television distribution business is highly valued and I look forward to working with him." TV-Loonland (www.tv-loonland.com) is an integrated media company producing and distributing internationally animation for children, youth and families. With its own development teams and production facilities in Europe, Great Britain, Asia and the U.S.A., a comprehensive rights catalog as well as a focused distribution effort for Europe, North and South America and Asia; TV-Loonland has become a world leader among the independent majors in the industry.
The North Sydney, Australia-based Kapow Pictures is taking its first animated series YAKKITY YAK the brainchild of KPs founder Mark Gravas to MIP-TV. The co-production with Canadas Studio B for kids 8-12 is already airing on Canada's TELETOON and has been sold to sold to TF1 (France) and Channel 10 (Australia). KP partner and executive producer Sandra Walters is presenting the 52x11 series at MIP. "Its a character-driven series, and its quirky by nature, she said. "That gives us license to reference reality, but to really push the boundaries," she said. Kapow (www.kapowpictures.com) has built its six-year-old reputation doing commercials for Kellogg's, Optus and Bonds, as well as pilots EGO FROM MARS and AGENT GREEN, which aired on Nickelodeon. The outfit made a big impact with its animated short film SHOW AND TELL, which was nominated for an AFI in 2002, and was named best short film at the Telluride Indie Fest and Most Popular Animated Film at Ausfest 2002. It followed on the heels of Kapows first short film, WYATT EARP, which won Best Animated Short in the Vancouver animation festival in 2000. WYATT EARP has since screened at more than 20 festivals, while Australian television rights have been bought by SBS.
Umbrella organization European Broadcasting Union is coproducing an animated series PITT & KANTROP (26x26) with Millimages (France), using funding from nine EBU member broadcasters ARD (Germany), BBC (U.K.), France 2 and France 3, RAI (Italy), RTBF and VRT (Belgium), RTVE (Spain) and SRG-SSR (Switzerland). Targeted at kids 6-12, the toon features 13-year-old Pitt and his pterodactyl pet Kantrop, created by Isabeau Merle and Fethi Nedjari. The series is an off-beat modern comedy set in prehistoric times, which recounts the adventures of Pitt, and Kantrop, the last pterodactyl, as they try to bring progress to Pitt's tribe. Wolfgang Wegmann (ARD), Theresa Plummer-Andrews (BBC) and Babette Vimenet (France) are set to exec produce. Millimages Licenses, Millimages UK and Millimages USA will handle international distribution rights when the series launches in fall 2004. "We are confident that the series PITT & KANTROP will be another success for the EBU and its members in providing quality European programming to children across Europe," said Philippe Jacot, head of the EBU coproduction unit. Millimages, based in Paris (www.millimages.com), is one of the largest producers and distributors of animated programming with its own post production and stop-motion service studios. The Geneva-based EBU (www.ebu.ch) is the largest professional association of national broadcasters in the world. It serves 71 active members in 52 countries of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and 45 associate members in 28 countries around the world. Working on behalf of its members, the EBU negotiates broadcasting rights for major sports events, operates the Eurovision and Euroradio networks, organizes program exchanges, stimulates and coordinates coproductions, and provides a full range of other operational, commercial, technical, legal and strategic services.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.