Since EM.TV head Werner Klatten sold his 24.8% stake in the troubled company to European investment firm Constant Ventures II, EM.TV has made several big acquisition and distribution announcements. These deals along with the announcement of a waiver agreement with 94.22% of the company's former bondholders is seen as a positive sign of the stabilization of the embattled production and licensing firm.
Special Event: MIP-TV
With the acquisition of the company by former Nelvana execs Michael Hirsh and Toper Taylor complete, Cinar's name has been officially changed to Cookie Jar Ent. The once publicly traded company will now be a private entity. The principals include Hirsh and Taylor along with Steve and Patty Carson, TD Capital Canadian Private Equity Partners and Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS). The overall Cookie Jar Group also includes leading education companies Carson-Dellosa and HighReach Learning.
Announced at MIP-TV, independent animation studio Mike Young Prods (MYP) announced the formation of Taffy Ent., the new business unit dedicated to the rights management and worldwide distribution of family and childrens entertainment. Mike and Liz Young and Bill Schultz created Taffy to own and represent its library as well as to actively seek to acquire rights to other animation properties.
The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE, has posted the March issue of their newsletter, THE PEG-BOARD, on their Website at http://www.mpsc839.org, which is hosted by the Animation World Network.
This week in the Theatrical Release Database, new release dates top the list of changes. STEPFORD WIVES now has a firm date in the summer. FAT ALBERT, GARFIELD and SPIDER-MAN 2 will all be in theaters a little bit sooner than previously announced. And PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 and SPIDER-MAN now have target release dates. The sequel to ANACONDA being released in August has yet another title change. We have more details on the plot of ZATHURA (i.e. JUMANJI 2) and a new distribution firm for Jet Li's DANNY THE DOG.
Test your skills and challenge your brain with AWN's Animation Trivia Quiz. Check out the latest installment from quizmaster Karl Staven, an accomplished independent animator and head of the Animation Department at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Music videos have become a venue to showcase innovative animation techniques and a means to explore new way of communicating. Since the formation of MTV, many animators have left their marks on this short form.
This week in AWN's Forums, discussion has already begun about the Friday debut of the second part of CLONE WARS on Cartoon Network. A senior member wants to know some reasonably cheap 3D schools that teach 3ds Max and/or Maya. Another thread focuses on the outsourcing of animation jobs. A junior member wants members' opinions on some good 2D and 3D books to get. One of our members wants to know if others use maquettes for reference. Not even our animation forum can avoid the debating Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.
Netherlands-based AVRO will be bringing Lloyd Entertainment's first TV production, DIP & DAP at MIP-TV. The series began airing in The Netherlands and Belgium in fall 2003. New series of episodes are already in production. The show follows baby giraffes, male Dip and female Dap, as they meet their new surroundings. The characters and animation are based on illustrations by Jet Middag. The first series of 10x5 episodes was geared for children from 2 and up.
U.K. production company Corsham Entertainment has agreed in principle to co-produce with Japanese anime production company Madhouse the 26x30 plus comedy/anime series for teens, NATURAL BORN KITTENS.
Corsham was founded by Oscar-winning STAR WARS producer Gary Kurtz and BIONICLE co-creator Alastair Swinnerton, while Madhouse is one of the top studios in Japan, with credits ranging from feature films NINJA SCROLL, METROPOLIS, VAMPIRE HUNTER D, ANIMATRIX, MILLENNIUM ACTRESS and TOKYO GODFATHERS to TV series CARDCAPTORS and BEYBLADE.
Since launching the integrated brand management company Elastic Rights two years ago in Spain, Ignacio Orive has been busy signing multimedia partners for his diverse slate of projects and selecting new properties to represent in the Iberian and Italian markets. Animated properties he is taking to MIP-TV include FLASH KICKER, and CAILLOU.
At MIP-TV, Elastic Rights will be based on the Spanish producers stand FAPAE/ICEX, R31.29.
Evergreen Entertainment will be offer at MIP-TV the first screen images for STARK RAVEN: THE MOVIE, an 85-minute original movie based on the popular comic books created and written by Ken Smith.
STARK RAVEN: THE MOVIE is an action-packed animated feature film, created and developed by Smith, written by Jono Howard, produced by Steve Walsh, and directed by Hervé Bédard, aimed at a 16+ demographic. Now in production, it will be delivered in spring 2005.
Fox Kids Europe (FKE), will launch PUCCA at MIP-TV, an animated TV series based on the funky, cult Korean property created by VOOZ Co., Ltd. FKE has acquired all television and home video rights for the whole of Europe and the Middle East, for the 24x2.5 animated short PUCCA series.
MicroTainment is offering THE FROST FAMILY, a half-hour animated series for primetime at MIP-TV. The combination 2D/3D series will be available for fall 2005. Micortainment will be located in the Canadian Pavilion, #0.01, on the main floor of the Palais.
Manchester-based animation house Cosgrove Hall will offer six new series at MIP-TV 2004 at the Granada stand R38.01.
CODEWARRIORS (26x30) is the company's first foray into CGI/live action mix. The series was commissioned by CITV. The hi-tech adventure series follows online gamers playing to save the world.
The CGI, sci-fi series BLUE DOG BLUES follows a blue dog, a biscuit and an anti-scratch cone. Starting as a short film, Cosgrove Hall is looking for co-production partners to produce a primetime family series.
DECODE Entertainment will have two animated series available at MIP-TV -- pre-school hit FRANNY'S FEET and 2D adventure show KING. Other product includes THE SAVE-UMS! and THE BLOBHEADS. During the market, DECODE will be based on the Don Juan boat, Jette Albert-Edouard, phone +33.04.9.298.7124.
Flanders Images' presence at MIP-TV is in an effort to broaden the reach of productions from Flanders and Brussels, Belgium. Animation presented at this year's conference will be coming from such companies as Big Bad Wolf Productions and Be-FILMS.
Icon Animation will be bringing a full slate of animated projects to MIP-TV. The company hopes to secure distribution and co-production deals for its various series.
VITAMINIX (31x2) is Icon's first co-production with Digital y Cual. The series seeks to introduce the world of food and their vitamin and mineral content to adults and children. The Flash production is finished and available worldwide.
Scholastic Entertainment, producers of CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG and THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS, will be presenting top performing properties at MIP-TV 2004, headlined by the new animated series, MAYA & MIGUEL at booth G3.37. The new comedy chronicles the adventures of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel as they figure out how to leave their stamp on the vibrant world around them.
Sesame Workshop arrives at MIP-TV with previous hits like DRAGON TALES and SAGWA, THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT as well as a newly greenlit second season of PLAY WITH ME SESAME.
VGI Entertainment Inc. will be presenting three pre-school series in its booth R28.13 at MIP-TV. The series include SERGEANT STRIPES, EBB AND FLO and BLANCHE.
Produced by Ealing Animation and A Works TV Production in association with CBBC, SERGEANT STRIPE (26x10) features Stripes, a police station cat, who dreams he is a police sergeant with his very own police force. VGI launched the new 2D series at MIPCOM 2003 and the show receives a 33% audience share across all channels kids4-6 year olds for the BBC.
PorchLight Entertainment will be offering eight new feature length live-action movies for MIP-TV along with four animated movies and a collection of classic childrens stories to its booth Ri34.03.
"This sets a record in terms of quality and number of movies and specials introduced by us at a major sales market," said PorchLight president Bruce Johnson.
Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) is bringing its big animated series, ASTRO BOY, to MIP-TV at stand M5.01. ASTRO BOY is amongst a diverse slate from SPTI, which includes Stephen Kings KINGDOM HOSPITAL, JOAN OF ARCADIA, MISSING, THE RESIDENTS, BEWITCHED IN TOKYO, SEA OF SOULS and POOR ANASTASIA.
Oscar-winning HARVIE KRUMPET is attracting a raft of sales and tops the slate of projects Monster! Distributes is bringing to MIP-TV 2004. Monster has just closed sales with RTP Portugal, Kartunz Poland, Cartoon Network Spain and Yes Israel. HARVIE is also going to be seen on airlines, with Virgin and Continental snapping it up following the WAEA airline market last week.
Peak Entertainment Holdings Inc. has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to the new TV concept, FAIREEZ, from Moody Street Kids in Australia.
FAIREEZ is a new animated TV show (52x11) targeting kids 5-7 featuring four intrepid trainees Gabby, Polly, Tucker and Tim who do their best to foil the plans of the bad-tempered, feckless and wet-blanket-baddie: Jumpalina.