Brooks Jewell has been named senior publicist, trade and media relations for Showtime Networks Inc. In her new position, Jewell will be responsible for securing consistent placement of Showtime Networks Inc. programming, marketing, business and new media initiatives in national cable and Hollywood trade publications as well as appropriate technology and business-related publications. Prior to joining Showtime, Jewell served as publicity director for Blue Sky Studios, a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
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London-based Realise Studio has just completed a new commercial for the Royal Mail. Directed by Jon Hollis of 400 films, this special effects laden commercial is a departure from the Royal Mails current quirky campaign. The commercial features a series of transitions from a view of the world from space, to a guy sitting on his sofa in London reading a letter. Each start image is made up of 40,000 others. At a distance the thousands of images combine visually to make up the larger, composite one. As the camera zooms closer the composite one breaks apart.
SAMURAI X: THE MOTION PICTURE was released on DVD and VHS on March 27, 2001. Inspired by the 97 episode TV series of the same name, the feature film marks the return of Rurouni Kenshin, who must fight his past demons in a duel to the death. The ADV Films title will sell for US$19.98 on VHS and $29.98 on DVD.
ADV Films released two new volumes of the anime series FLINT: THE TIME DETECTIVE. Hitting stores March 27, 2001, the time-traveling adventures of the little caveman return in "The Sands of Time" and "Can't We All Get Along?" The series currently airs on Fox Kids and is produced by Sanrio, the creators of HELLO KITTY. Both volumes will sell on VHS and DVD for US$14.98.
Animation World Magazine's yearly "Publisher's Notebook" column introducing the April 2001 issue, where co-publisher Dan Sarto contemplates the past rocky year and mulls over headlines that never were.
San Francisco, California-based Mondo Media, a leading online animation and syndication company, cut 28 of its 110 employees on Monday, March 26. The cuts affected all areas of the company. According to Robin Harper, senior VP of marketing, the layoffs do not signal fiscal trouble. There is no financial crisis at the company. We recently raised $17 million, and this layoff is a proactive move to ensure the longevity of the company through the current economic downturn, she said.
Softimage announced on Thursday, March 29, that it is restructuring its business operations, resulting in the loss of 47 jobs worldwide, 37 of which are coming from the companys Montreal headquarters. Laid off employees will receive a severance package. Despite the cutbacks, more than 200 people will continue to be employed at the Montreal facility.
Munichs TV-Loonland AG has beaten their fiscal year 2000 business forecasts, posting significant gains in revenue and earnings. Figures released by the company show revenue at DM 145.1 million, a tenfold increase over last year. Earnings, forecast at DM 11.5 million, rose to DM 16.1 million. Net earnings per share rose to EUR 1.26. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) improved to DM 21.4 million, while earnings before interest, tax and depreciations (EBITDA) improved to DM 40.6 million. The company states they have liquid reserves of about DM 65 million.
The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) has announced the recipients of its 4th annual Interactive Achievement Awards. The Awards were presented at a gala event held in San Jose at Polly Esthers on March 22. DIABLO II (PC), developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, garnered three awards, including the top honor of overall Game of the Year 2001 and Computer Game of the Year.
R!OT has added 3D animator and visual effects artist Dominic Daigle to their animation staff. Prior to R!OT, Daigle worked at Montreal-based Ice Storm Digital, where he worked on the 22-episode series THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE. His other credits include the films THE SOUND OF THE CARCERI and THE RED VIOLIN, the TV series THE REAL ADVENTURES OF JONNY QUEST and spots for Coke, Molson Dry and Chevy's Venture. Daigle said, "My favorite projects are those where the effects are invisible.
Click 3X has expanded its creative staff by adding two new designer/directors Michael Wiehart and Christine Lin and a senior inferno* artist Steve Zourntos. Wiehart is one of four artists that formed Zurich-based motion-graphics design firm, Frame by Frame. He has won a Gold Lion at Cannes for his work on a spot for Pioneer. Wiehart said, "Early in my career, I tended to be involved in every aspect of my projects, from developing the idea, the concept, through production and post, and I've held onto that. I still like to do work on the machines.
Mixin Pixls has created visual effects for the Hyundai spot "Ice City," which launches the new EF Sonata for Korea. The commercial has a lone car entering an icy metropolis, which begins to melt the snow and bring life to the city. "To create the desired look, two production options were discussed," said Mixin Pixls' executive producer Dan Filice. "One was to shoot a miniature set and composite the necessary images. The second was to create the 'city' via computer animation.
Red Sky's Boston office (formerly Olive Jar Studios, Inc.) has wrapped on the new integrated television campaign for Chili's Grill & Bar. Chili's and the Austin, Texas ad agency GSD&M developed the creative concept for 30-second "Butterfly." The spot begins at sunrise when a chili pepper character, hanging from a tree and back lit by a morning sky, appears to pulse or "breathe" deeply. As the day draws on, the chili pepper metamorphoses into a mushroom, sprouts wings and flies away to land atop a sizzling fajita.
REZN8, a design and animation production house, developed part of the opening sequence for the 73rd Annual Academy Awards telecast Sunday, March 25, 2001. REZN8 designed and created the special video segment that introduced Oscar host Steve Martin. Traveling through deep space, viewers were treated to animated radio signals and past Academy Award moments composited by the REZN8 graphics team over film footage. The opening culminates in a 3D NASA space station, modeled and animated by REZN8.
Zeros & Ones, Inc., a Santa Monica-based holding company with operations in content, technology and production, has launched Zeros & Ones Studios. The new studio will focus on cutting-edge digital animation production that will maximize the potential of Flash and other 2-D tools in the creation of media that plays across all platforms. Newly appointed VP-Managing Director Tim Rummel, has put together a team headed by Michael Adamo, co-founder of New York-based AMPnyc Animation.
A memorial service for Mr. Hanna has been scheduled for Monday, April 2, at 6:00 pm, at:
Warner Bros. Studios
Steven J. Ross Theater
4000 Warner Boulevard
Guests are asked to enter through Gate 7/Forest Lawn Drive, and not to arrive before 5:15 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of the following:
The William D. Hanna Research Fund
c/o Elly Brtva
919 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1100
Pixar executive vice president and two-time Oscar-winning director John Lasseter has signed a ten year contract to provide his services exclusively to the studio. "John Lasseter, more than anyone else, has shaped Pixar into the world-class animation studio it is today. With John leading our creative team for the next decade, our dream of nurturing a golden age of animation at Pixar may come true," said Pixar CEO Steve Jobs.
PDI/DreamWorks has named Michael Garner and Laura Lockwood producers at the company's commercials division. Both have just finished their duties as production supervisors on PDI's 3D animated feature SHREK. Previously, Garner worked as production coordinator on PDI's first feature ANTZ. Prior to PDI, he worked at Digital Domain, where his credits include TITANIC, DANTE'S PEAK and THE FIFTH ELEMENT. "I've always gravitated towards the more technical, multi-tasking types of production," Garner said.
DIC Entertainment and Riverdale Productions announced an agreement to co-produce, distribute and merchandise a new animated television series based on the JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS comic book. Riverdale Productions is the film and television arm of Archie Comic Publications and MultiModal Media Group.
Since Fox didn't air their usual Sunday animation block of THE SIMPSONS, KING OF THE HILL and FUTURAMA, there were only three shows that made their way to primetime this week. Tied with five other shows for 104th, WBs THE PJS scored a 1.4 rating/2 share. Tied with four other shows for 110th, UPN's GARY & MIKE scored a 1.3 rating/2 share. Tied with four other shows for 115th, UPN's CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH scored a 1.2 rating/2 share. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S. on broadcast networks for the week starting Monday, March 18 through Sunday, March 25, 2001.