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Geographical Region: South America

Series Headline News

Turner Commissions U.K. Version of Preschool Series Hi-5

Turner Broadcasting has commissioned a local version of popular television series HI-5. Set to air on Turner's preschool channel Cartoonito, Hi-5 will be produced by BAFTA award-winning production company Darrall Macqueen.

Forty half-hour episodes of the U.K. local version will be produced, with casting to commence next month. Also partnering on the U.K. series is free-to-air broadcaster GMTV who will begin showing the series in 2009 following Cartoonito's premier in 2008.

Headline News

Israeli Actress Set To Play Female Lead in Angels & Demons

VARIETY reports Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer will portray Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra in Columbia Pictures' DA VINCI CODE prequel ANGELS & DEMONS.

Tom Hanks will reprise his role as religious art scholar Robert Langdon. Vetra becomes entangled with Langdon as they attempt to sort through a mystery surrounding two groups with powerful and ancient roots: the Illuminati, the most powerful underground organization in history, and the Catholic Church.

Ron Howard will be back to direct the prequel from an Akiva Goldsman script.

Digital Headline News

Marvel Appoints Ira Rubenstein Executive VP Of Global Digital Media Group

Marvel Ent. has appointed Ira Rubenstein to the position of Executive Vice President of Marvel's newly launched Global Digital Media Group. In this newly created position, Rubenstein will oversee Marvel's digital distribution strategy across all media and platforms. Rubenstein will relocate to Marvel's New York headquarters and report to John Turitzin, Executive Vice President, Office of the Chief Executive.

Licensing Headline News

New Broadcasters For Zorro: Generation Z

BKN announced that several additional broadcasters have acquired the TV rights to its ZORRO: GENERATION Z property.

Telecinco and Clan TV/TVE in Spain, POP Channel in the U.K., ATV in Hong Kong, Star TV in Greece, SABC in South Africa, Solimac in Malaysia and TV7 in Bulgaria, have all signed up for this animated series (26x22) aimed at boys and girls ages 6 to 12.

Headline News

Irmira Ent. Signs Merchandising Deal For Lola & Virginia

Imira Ent., a Spanish production and distribution company specializing in youth programming, has signed a major Italian deal for LOLA & VIRGINIA with RAI Trade (the commercial arm of RAI) acquiring merchandising rights to the hit international property for the territory.

In further deals, Panini is set to launch a LOLA & VIRGINIA sticker stack book, story albums, puzzle and coloring books in Italy as well as Spain, Portugal and Brazil. Imira has also signed an agreement with Nintendo DS for the development of a videogame to launch in selected territories worldwide.

Headline News

Leo Award Nominees Announced

The regional awards for excellence in film and television in British Columbia, Canada, The Leo Awards, announced their nominees on Wednesday. The awards will be given out at two ceremonies on May 23 and May 24 in Vancouver.

The Nominees for Best Animation Program or Series are:

BARBIE MARIPOSA: FAIRYTOPIA 4 (Luke Carroll, Tiffany J. Shuttleworth - Producers)BEING IAN (Blair Peters, Chris Bartleman - Producers)GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (Chris Bartleman - Producer)JIBBER JABBER (David Bowes, Jim Corbett - Producers)

Headline News

CIS Taps Massive To Fill Stands For Leatherheads

Massive, the premier Artificial Intelligence -driven 3D animation software, was used by CIS Hollywood to fill football stadiums with virtual crowds for Universal Pictures' LEATHERHEADS.

Directed by George Clooney, and starring Clooney, Renee Zellweger and John Krasinski, the romantic comedy launched in the U.S. on April 4, 2008.

Headline News

Jeff Blake Extends Employment With Sony Pictures Through 2012

Jeff Blake has signed a long-term contract with Sony Pictures in which the respected industry veteran will continue to serve as chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group through 2012.

In addition to his role overseeing the studio's worldwide marketing and distribution division, Blake continues to serve as vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Advertising Headline News

Bonilla Named To New Position At Nickelodeon

Gary Bonilla has been hired to the new position of SVP of Creative Strategy for Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group.

The announcement was made by Leigh Anne Brodsky, President of Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products; and Russell Hicks, Executive Vice President and Executive Creative Director, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group, both to whom Bonilla will report.

Company Headline News

Eisner To Be Keynote Speaker At MIPCOM

Michael Eisner, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company and now the driving force behind online content companies Vuguru and Veoh, will deliver a keynote at the upcoming MIPCOM, which takes place in Cannes October 13-17, 2008.

Channel Headline News

Playhouse Disney Comes To Latin America

Disney and ESPN Media Networks Latin America announced the launch of their new Playhouse Disney Channel in Latin America, with programming especially designed for preschoolers, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Playhouse Disney Channel joins existing Disney Channel and Jetix cable channels, present in 19 countries in the region, to provide entertainment for the entire family.

As of June 1, 2008, Playhouse Disney Channel will be offered in the basic subscription package offered by Cablevision, Multicanal and Teledigital.

Awards Headline News

JerryTime!, 30 Second Bunnies Among Webby Nominees

In keeping with its famous five-word acceptance speech limit, The 12th Annual Webby Awards nominees unveiled this week can be summed up simply as: "More power to the people."

From sharing opinions and ideas with millions worldwide to impacting global affairs to just being funny and entertaining, many of the nominees reveal how people are going online to reshape politics and re-energize the democratic process.

Online Film & Video: Best Use Of Animation Or Motion Graphics:

--30-Second Bunnies Theatre (Starz/Angry Alien)

Animated Headline News

Entertainment Rights And Transformers Taking Over

Entertainment Rights announced it has secured further significant broadcast agreements for the new TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED series (26x22) plus a 70-minute special episode.

Before MIPTV, the company has secured broadcast agreements in more than 80 territories including: Mediaset (Italy), Turner Broadcasting (Australia, Latin America and India), Jetix (Israel, Netherlands and Belgium), Network 10 (Australia), TV3 (New Zealand), Mediacorp TV12 (Singapore) and TV Globo (Brazil).

Weekend Headline News

Valkyrie Release Date Moved To President's Day Weekend 2009

MGM and UA announced today they are moving the release date of Bryan Singer's World War II thriller VALKYRIE, to President's Day weekend, February 13, 2009.

This moves the Tom Cruise vehicle out of awards season contention, but will have more moneymaking potential.

Animation Headline News

Mark Taylor New Senior VP Of Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Nickelodeon has promoted Mark Taylor to Senior Vice President and General Manager, Nickelodeon Animation Studio.

He will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of Nickelodeon's Burbank Animation Studio, the largest producer of television animation in the U.S.

He will report to Brown Johnson, President, Animation and Alison Dexter, Executive Vice President, Production, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group.

Headline News

SWAY Studio's Sleight Of Hand Opens Columbia's 21

Renowned for its groundbreaking photo-realism and lighting techniques in commercial visual effects, SWAY Studio is currently showcasing its creative versatility with a spectacular 3D opening sequence for Robert Luketic's feature film 21, now the #1 movie in America.

Utilizing expert techniques with macro photography, specialty lighting and animation, SWAY's talented team of artists created a stunning photo-realistic environment mirroring an iconic Las Vegas casino.

Headline News

MGM Chief Operating Officer Departs

Rick Sands, Chief Operating Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios since January 2006, today announced his departure from the studio in order to pursue other opportunities in entertainment and content.

In line with the roadmap set forth by Harry E. Sloan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MGM, Sands accomplished several key strategic goals for the studio. Sands' contributions included the revitalization of a full service theatrical marketing and distribution infrastructure that allowed for the North American release of the studio's films.

Series Headline News

Web Series Headed To Sci Fi Channel

Production begins this month on Sci Fi Channel's groundbreaking new original series SANCTUARY.

Shot in the style of the feature films 300 and SIN CITY, SANCTUARY is the first television series to feature live-action actors against primarily virtual sets. The 13-episode season of this one-hour drama is slated to debut this fall.

Effects Headline News

Superhero Movie Gets Effects From Entity FX

Entity FX, an award-winning visual effects company in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, has completed visual effects for SUPERHERO MOVIE.

Leveraging its experience creating visual effects for comic book and graphic novel-based properties including the hit television series SMALLVILLE, Entity FX turned around more than 126 visual effects shots for the motion picture comedy in about three weeks.

Headline News

PlayStation Makes A Cameo In New Wyclef Video

PlayStation 3, PSP and hit game title, BURNOUT PARADISE have been integrated into FAST CAR, the new music video from Grammy-winning Sony BMG artist Wyclef Jean.

BURNOUT is from Criterion Games, an Electronic Arts studio.

In this unique integration, Jean and the video's other characters utilize the PlayStation platforms to drive the video's storyline, as they interact in a surreal world brought to life with footage from BURNOUT PARADISE. The video will be available for download on PlayStation Store beginning on March 27 for a limited time.

Film Headline News

Robosapien To Star In New Feature

The feature film rights for Robosapien robot have been sold to producing team Avi Arad of Arad Productions and Steven Paul of Crystal Sky Pictures. WowWee Group, an Optimal Group company, owns the rights.

In collaboration with WowWee, Arad has developed the lead character for the film from graphic designs created by WowWee and Arad.

Television Headline News

College Television Award Winners Announced

Students from UCLA, New York University, Cornell University, Pasadena's Art Center College of Design, University of Florida, Florida State University Graduate Film School in Tallahassee, Southern Illinois University, Northwestern University and Manhattan School of Music (in collaboration with Columbia University) took first place at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation's 29th College Television Awards.

The winners were announced Saturday at a black-tie gala ceremony at Culver Studios.

Film Headline News

Canadian Animator Potterton To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Three-time Academy Award- nominee Gerald Potterton will be awarded the Pulcinella Lifetime Achievement Award 2008 from the 12th Annual Cartoons on the Bay International Festival of Television Animation next month in Salerno, Italy.

The award, presented each year to "a prestigious personality of the world of cinema and television animation," will be given to Potterton during the awards ceremony on April 12.