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Category: Visual Effects

Headline News Unrated Underworld on DVD

For those who enjoyed the stylish vampire/werewolf cult favorite, UNDERWORLD, it's time to replace your DVD with the new unrated extended version released May 25 (Columbia TriStar Home Ent., $34.95). There's 12 minutes of new footage highlighted by a sexy subplot with vampire Erika (Sophia Myles), backstories on the Lycans and a new battle. But the violence is no more graphic and there's no nudity with Kate Beckinsale.

Headline News NBC Balks on Van Helsing TV Series

Maybe proving the fact that you can't just form a franchise out of thin air, NBC has decided it will now pass on the VAN HELSING TV series TRANSYLVANIA, which it previously signed on to air, reports VARIETY. The original deal, which was struck nine months ago, was the first in-house synergistic move between the two would-be corporate sisters, NBC and Universal Network Television.

Headline News About a Boy Helmer Gets Dark Materials to Work With

New Line Cinema has hired ABOUT A BOY director Chris Weitz to helm the film version of Philip Pullman's award-winning fantasy book series, HIS DARK MATERIALS, reports VARIETY. Tom Stoppard (BRAZIL) wrote the adaptation of the first novel THE GOLDEN COMPASS. The series chronicles two kids in parallel universes who battle shape-shifting creatures, witches and armored polar bears. New Line production president Toby Emmerich will oversee the film.

Headline News ESC & Stan Winston Join Superman

Even though the next SUPERMAN feature still lacks a headliner, Warner Bros. has assigned the picture's f/x work to ESC Ent, with Stan Winston consulting on the design of a prototype Superman's suit. Kim Libreri will serve as visual effects supervisor on the film, which hopes to go before cameras early next year. The film is being scheduled for a summer 2006 release. CHARLIE'S ANGELS helmer McG will direct the flick from a script by ALIAS creator J.J. Abrams.

Headline News DVD Director's Cut of Lucas' THX 1138 Announced

Warner Home Video announced the Sept. 14 DVD release of a two-disc collector's edition of THX 1138 ($26.99 and $19.97 for single-disc version), George Lucas' first film from 1971. The director's cut will include not only meticulous digital audio and video restoration (a collaboration between Lucasfilm and Warner Home Video) but also digitally enhanced backgrounds, cityscapes and crowds of people, according to Jim Ward, vp marketing and distribution at Lucasfilm.

Headline News King Keeps Winning Awards: This Time for Promo CD-ROM

New Line Cinema and Blitz Digital Studios has been awarded the One Show Interactive Pencil award for their promotional CD-ROM, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING Dell Collector's Edition. The promotional advertising campaign was launched in December 2003 to tie in with the film's Holiday release.

Headline News Atari & Zombie Complete Development on Shadow Ops: Red Mercury

Atari and Zombie Inc. have announced the completion of development on SHADOW OPS: RED MERCURY, the highly anticipated action game for the Xbox. In the game, players control Frank Hayden, a special forces operative hand picked to track down and destroy the stolen "Red Mercury," a secret substance that threatens the world with nuclear annihilation. The title is expected to be available in North America on June 15, 2004 and in Europe on June 18.

Headline News Oregon3D Sets Character Animation Camp

Oregon3D Inc., The Academy for Digital Arts & Sciences, is offering a six-week Oregon3D Character Animation Camp, June 6 thru July 16, 2004. It gives students a series of challenging courses designed to immerse participants into the world of character animation. Taught by certified instructors and renowned industry professionals such as Mike Wellins, award-winning former director from Vinton Studios, the Oregon3D Character Animation Camp offers a series of six, individual weeklong classes that range from the history of animation to creating a finished piece of high-quality animation.

The Oregon3D Character Animation Camp is a multi-week "camp experience." Students who cannot commit to the entire six weeks have the option to sign up for the Oregon3D Character Animation Camp's courses a-la-carte at regular course prices, or subset of classes for a discounted rate. Those students, who register for the whole six-week camp, can choose either a Maya or 3ds max specialty track. The Oregon3D Character Animation Camp courses are as follows:

Headline News Potter 3 Opens Day-and-Date in IMAX Theaters

If seeing the next HARRY POTTER adventure on the big screen isn't big enough for you, Warner Bros. Pictures is releasing HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, in select IMAX theatres day-and-date June 4, 2004 with the regular theatrical release. The film has been digitally re-mastered with IMAX DMR technology. The film is scheduled to expand into additional IMAX theatres over the summer.

Headline News Woo In the Driver Seat for Spy-Hunter

Universal has confirmed that MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 director John Woo will be in the driver's seat for the feature film adaptation of Midway Games' SPY-HUNTER, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film is set to star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Based on arcade classic, SPY-HUNTER follows Alec Sects, a former F-15 pilot and a current member of the International Espionage Services' Spy Hunter team.

Headline News Robert Rodriguez Leaves Mars

Due to his leaving the Director's Guild to co-direct SIN CITY with the comic creator Frank Miller, helmer Robert Rodriguez has stepped down as director of the Paramount adaptation of the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-book JOHN CARTER OF MARS series, A PRINCESS OF MARS, reports IGN FilmForce. Rodriguez couldn't stay on MARS because Paramount under DGA guidelines can't employ directors who are not members of the guild. Despite not having a director, Paramount still plans to go into production on the film next year.

Headline News Star Trek: Enterprise Saved for Fourth Season

Just when it had seemed that STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE was doomed, the STAR TREK prequel (with vfx by Eden FX, among others) was apparently saved following a massive fan campaign organized by the Internet site SaveEnterprise.com. When UPN made its upfront presentation on Thursday, it noted that ENTERPRISE would be renewed for a fourth season, switching to the network's low-rated Friday movie slot at 9:00 pm.

Headline News Smallville Flies Again on DVD

SMALLVILLE - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (Warner Home Video, $59.98) has made it to DVD, with all 23 episodes of the WB series on six discs. The focus shifted in season two to Clark Kent's (Tom Welling) growing and agonizing self-discovery. Episodes such as the two-parter "Heat" and "Red" deal with his past and his disturbing superpowers. Look for Christopher Reeve as a scientist who helps explain his Kryptonian origins in "Rosetta." Vfx provided by Modern Videofilm Inc. and Rainmaker Digital Pictures.

Headline News Eden FX Names D' Amico as Exec Producer

Visual effects shop Eden FX has expanded its production team by naming Andrea D'Amico as exec producer. In her new post, D'Amico will specialize in the production of feature film visual effects. Regarding her new position, she says, "Eden FX has an excellent track record in long-form television visual effects and recently made an impressive entrée into the feature world by providing over 200 fx shots for HELLBOY, and a beautiful fx shot for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

Headline News Digital Musings From the Editor:

Continuing our focus on films this month, we look internationally, as Alain Bielik examines the gorgeous hallucinatory work done by Mac Guff Ligne for the French western BLUEBERRY, Chris Harz sizes up the London vfx scene, where a flurry of big budget American productions have recently migrated; and on Thursday I take a glimpse of the emerging presence of Shanghai SFS Digital Media as a vfx/3D-animated force to be reckoned with in China.

Headline News Caligari Announces Light Edition of gameSpace

Caligari announced the release of gameSpace Light (gSL), a special edition of the company's game graphics authoring software. gameSpace Light is designed to introduce independent game developers, students and hobbyists to 3D game content creation using Caligari's trademark first-person-perspective design interface.

Headline News BAFTA Hands Out Craft Awards

BAFTA announced the winners of its Craft Awards on May 16, 2004 at a ceremony hosted by Alistair McGowan at the Dorchester. The TV documentary RESTORATION won the BAFTA for Graphic Design while Framestore took home the Visual Effects BAFTA for its work on SEA MONSTERS A WALKING WITH DINOSAURS TRILOGY.

Headline News UGO Airs E3 Inspired Shorts

UGO Networks (www.ugo.com), a leading online magazine for guys, is teaming with a group of Hollywood film producers to create three shorts set at the E3 Expo. The short films -- DREAM GIRL, CREATION and A.D.D. MAN SAVES E3 will take a humorous, irreverent look at the world of videogames and the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Emmy-winning producers Ian Sander and Kim Moses; Dark Light Pictures; Greg McClatchy of Motor Ent.; FilmworksFX and director Stuart Acher participated in the creation of the shorts.

Headline News Wolfgang Petersen Casts Spell on Xanth Fantasy Series

Warner Bros. has snatched up the rights to the fantasy novel series XANTH to be produced by TROY helmer Wolfgang Petersen along with TROY writer David Benioff and Diana Rathbun of Petersen's Radiant Prods, reports VARIETY. Radiant's Samuel Dickerman will exec produce.

A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON is the first book in the series, which chronicles a boy named Bink in the world of Xanth, where all the inhabitants must possess magical powers or face banishment.

Headline News SIGGRAPH's Emerging Technologies To Explore Enhancing Life

ACM SIGGRAPH announced the content of the Emerging Technologies exhibition for SIGGRAPH 2004, the 31st International Conference on Computer Graphics and Techniques, being held Aug. 8 -12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The SIGGRAPH 2004 Emerging Technologies exhibition will feature 28 interactive installations from research labs, universities, independent artists and industry that explore the theme of enhancing life.

Headline News Pirates 2 & 3 To Hit Theaters in 2006

Disney announced its plans for the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise at the North American Theatre Owners annual meeting. Production will been on booth the second and third film soon with both film arriving in theaters in 2006 released six months apart. ComingSoon.net has also confirmed that Johnny Depp's wish of Rolling Stones' Keith Richards playing Captain Jack Sparrow's dad in the sequel will come true. Depp has long said that he modeled his performance on the legendary rocker.

Headline News Disney's Jungle Cruise Goes From Ride to Feature

Despite previous reports that the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels would be the last amusement park ride turned feature film, The Walt Disney Co. has announced that it plans to turn the Jungle Cruise ride into an adventure flick, reported HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. "It's completely inspired by and relates to the ride and will contain elements of the ride in the story," producer David Hoberman said.

Headline News Board Members of UK Post Announced

The first-ever elected board of UK Post has been announced, the brand new association representing the film and broadcast post-production and effects industry.

All 10 of the largest companies in the sector as well as 70% of the top 50 companies, including the BBC, ITV and a number of emerging companies have already signed up as members.

Headline News Passion of the Christ Coming to DVD

Mel Gibson's biblical blockbuster, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, will debut on DVD Aug. 31, 2004 (Fox Home Ent., $29.98) in a bare bones single disc edition, presented at the maximum bit rate. So don't expect any nifty bonus features for at least a year, including how Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience handled the numerous digital effects that were supervised by Ted Rae.

As of May 9, THE PASSION has grossed $360M domestically and $222M overseas.

Headline News Passion's Lighting Struck Assistant Director Unveils Artwork

Jan Michelini, an assistant director on THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, unveiled in the U.S. his artwork inspired by the filming of the movie at a celebrity studded reception on May 12, 2004 at Kolibri Gallery. The 24 year-old Italian-born Michelini was affectionately nicknamed "Lightning Boy" by Mel Gibson and producer Steve McEveety when he was struck by bolts of lightning on two separate occasions while filming the "The Crucifixion" and "Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount" scenes.

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