George Port has joined Whamo as their new head of business development, the company recently reported. With the recent rapid expansion of Whamo, which includes the opening of an office in Spain as well as the establishment of partnerships with Canada's Cambium Entertainment and Australia's Burbank Animation Studios, company president Joseph Szew opted to bring in Port. According to Szew, "We need someone who will be able to help us manage the company's aggressive strategy and growth.
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Class-Key Chew-Po Commercials, a division of Klasky Csupo, Inc., has signed 2D/3D animation director Frank Molieri to its directing roster. Frank joins the company after a stint at Warner Bros. Classic Animation, where he directed numerous spots incorporating the studio's family of characters. Molieri broke into animation on the Don Bluth animated feature ROCK A DOODLE. He later freelanced at various animation studios until he signed on at Warner. He has directed spots for Kraft, Pontiac, General Motors, Burger King, Radio Shack and MCI.
Fox Kids Network announced on March 28 their lineup of new and returning series to their Saturday morning and weekday afternoon programming schedule.
TV-Loonland's CONNIE THE COW (52 x 7, produced by Spains Neptuno) has been sold to Disney U.K. for a spring 2002 delivery. After creating quite a buzz at MIPCOM Junior 2000, Munich's TV-Loonland announced at MIP TV that it had sold the pre-school animated series relating the experiences of a curious calf named Connie to Disney's U.K. arm. TV-Loonland has also had Disney success with their live-action series IN A HEARTBEAT.
Emmy Award winning cartoon series THE POWERPUFF GIRLS is now brought to life for deaf and hard of hearing viewers of Cartoon Network U.K. thanks to acclaimed deaf signer, Nikki Stratton. On Monday, March 26, the network announced that THE POWERPUFF GIRLS with deaf signing will be shown on Sundays at 9:30 am and everyday at 12:30 am. The signed version of ED EDD N EDDY is shown everyday at 12:00 am and on Sundays at 8:30 am and is the country's first regular, signed cartoon service. The success of that effort paved the way for this latest effort with THE POWERPUFF GIRLS.
Spanish animation company BRB Internacional announced at MIP TV a new major financing deal, which will help them expand their operations. Banco Espírito Santo de Investimento (BESI), an Iberian bank, has acquired 25% of BRB International. BESI is a major player in Portugal and Brazil, and part of the NYSE listed Espirito Santo Group (NYSE:ESF). The move enables BRB Internacional to consolidate and increase its position in the international audio-visual market.
Inferno artist Jean-Luc Azzis has recently joined Sea Level, a digital effects boutique specializing in visuals for high-end television commercials. His first project with the company involves compositing and visual effects services for a Jeep spot titled, "Red Light, Green Light" out of PentaMark Worldwide, Detroit, and directed by Headquarters' David Cornell. While previously freelancing at Method Studios, Azzis' credits included a series of spots promoting Intel's Pentium III chip featuring performance artists Blue Man Group.
Richard Morris, vfx designer behind the "Jackals Forge" animators resource site (www.jackals-forge.com), has joined the BBC under a 10 month contract to design and supervise the graphics for a forthcoming science series entitled HOW TO BUILD A HUMAN. Prior to this move, Morris worked at London's Moving Picture Company (www.moving-picture.co.uk) and was designer and CG supervisor behind the recent LEAF award-winning series BODY STORY. His interest in biomedical subjects dates back to his work for Red Post Production on the BBC's THE HUMAN BODY.
Sesame Workshop's TINY PLANETS is in final negotiations to be aired on Italy's largest commercial broadcaster Mediatrade's channels. TINY PLANETS is a CGI animated educational comic adventure series for 3 to 5 year olds. A co-production with Pepper's Ghost Productions, the show follows Bing and Bong as they explore the worlds of their solar system such as the planets of light and color, sound, technology, stuff, self and nature through a space aged couch.
Nickelodeon, one of the leading entertainment brands for kids worldwide, is expanding its reach into China as of May 1, 2001. After visiting Beijing for four days and meeting with China's president Jiang Zemin and other industry officials, Bill Roedy, president MTV Networks International, and Frank Brown, president MTV Networks Asia, made the announcement.
IMAX Corporation appointed veteran motion picture production and marketing executive Greg Foster to the newly created position of president, Filmed Entertainment, on Tuesday, March 27. Foster will work out of the company's Santa Monica, California office, and be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company's filmed entertainment activities including creative development, production and business affairs. He will also have a hands-on role in the marketing and distribution of the large-format motion pictures produced under the IMAX banner.
Production, acquisition and distribution company, Harmony Gold has promoted Alan Letz to the newly created position of executive vice president, business development, and hired Judy Gold as vice president, sales and acquisitions. Letz has been with the company since 1985 and moves from his most recent post of senior vice president, sales and acquisitions to concentrate on pioneering Harmony Gold's emergence into the business aspects of new media, Internet, e-commerce, licensing, merchandising and sponsorships tied to Harmony Gold programming.
Santa Monica, California's SimEx Digital Studios has completed work on a new 30-second Kellogg's Frosted Flakes commercial. The artists at SimEx provided 2D animation, compositing and editing for the new Kellogg's spot, called "High Dive," starring Tony the Tiger. Director Jean Perramon's team created Tony in the famous "Tex Avery-style." The commercial revisits classic 1940s style animation while using snappy cuts to keep it fresh.
Santa Monica, California's R!OT, a creative digital studio, recently provided design, animation and visual effects services for a new campaign for Walgreens and Chicago agency Euro RSCG Tatham. Co-directed by R!OT's Carl Seibert and Plum Productions' Dana Christiaansen, the commercials promote Walgreens' Website, www.walgreens.com. In "Signs," the camera pulls from a tight shot of a woman working at a computer into an exterior of her home with a Walgreens sign hanging above her window.
Fox Family Channel announced on March 28 the addition of three new animated series to their 2001-2002 daytime programming lineup.
On April 1, Testarossa ToolsInMotion, a developer of human motion editing applications for the 3D content creation market, announced the release of VROOM FOR MAYA, a motion-capture plug-in library for Alias|Wavefront's MAYA 3D animation software. The library includes plug-ins that let users readand write skeletal animation in the Acclaim ASF/AMC, Biovision BVH,and Motion Analysis HTR mocap file formats, as well as import themotion of a mocap skeleton into a MAYA skeleton regardless of thereference pose and skeletal structure. The library also provides
Electric Image announced that itsUniverse 3.0 3D modeling, animation and rendering system is shippingfor Windows NT/2000. Universe is an upgrade and a replacement for theaward-winning ElectricImage Animation System (EIAS), which has beenavailable on the Macintosh for over ten years. Universe 3.0 isavailable for $1,995. "There has been a consistent demand for aWindows version of Electric Image software for several years now, andwe are very proud to release Universe 3.0 in this market," said
Beginning in April, GameSpy Industries, through their relationshipwith Disney Interactive, is launching the online multi-playercomponent of Disney Interactive's DISNEY'S ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE- SEARCH FOR THE JOURNAL, a specially created, free, 3D multi-playergame "prequel" to DISNEY'S ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE, which is slatedfor a June 15th theatrical release. GameSpy will host the onlinemulti-player gameplay for DISNEY'S ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE - SEARCHFOR THE JOURNAL prequel, as well as DISNEY'S ATLANTIS: THE LOST
LEGO Media International(LMI), the new TV and film division of the world-renowned children'stoy brand, premiered its first ever program, LITTLE ROBOTS, at MIP TV2001. LITTLE ROBOTS is a new pre-school animated series based on thechildren's book by Mike Brownlow. The pilot was produced for LMI bythe U.K.'s Cosgrove Hall Films utilizing an unusual technique, whichcombines model animation with CGI backgrounds and effects. Theprogram also boasts top U.K. writing and voice (Lenny Henry, Su
CineGroupe has recently announced that production has started on 26episodes of WHAT'S WITH ANDY, a new half-hour animated series set topremier Fall, 2001 on Canada's TELETOON and the Fox Family Channel inthe U.S. The series, based on the "Just" series of books written byAndy Griffith, chronicles the life of teenager Andy Larkin, aself-proclaimed master prankster whose goal is to be the greatestpractical joker in the world, though his schemes backfire every time.Realized primarily in 2D animation, the series also incorporates a