Animation World Magazine, Issue 3.1, April 1998

Animation World News

by Wendy Jackson

Business: Fox Films To Focus On Animated Fare, Hit Gets Hot For Production, Festivals Form Alliance, Alliance Allies With Toymakers.

Chris Meledandri.
Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.
Chris Meledandri







People: Simpsons Voices Sound Off, Musical Chairs.

In Passing... Ray Seti.

Places: Nicktoons' New Studio Opens, Cal Science Center Gets Animated, Marvel Mania Opens.

Films: Pentafour Producing Motion-Capture Feature, Nicktoons Expands Feature Slate, Animated Fare At AFM.

Television: The 50 [Almost] Greatest Cartoons, Harvey Toons Join Fox Family.

Commercials: Spotlight on Pacific Data Images (PDI), Animationwerks, Warner Bros. Classic Animation, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Loose Moose, Passion Pictures, Rushes, AMPnyc, CHARLEX, Curious Pictures, Spin Productions and Viewpoint Studios.

Home Video: DIC Is Developing Direct-To-Video, and Mighty Kong, FernGully 2, Batman and Peter Pan Are Released.

Internet & Interactive: Quick Bytes.

Music: Rhino To Release More Animated Records.

Comics: Rugrats In The News.

Education: Richard Williams To Teach NYC Masterclasses, Spain Is Home To New Animation School, Are Schools Selling Out?

Call for Entries: Edinburgh.

Events: MIP, Stuttgart, Bra!ncamp, A Meeting Of The Minds, Brainstorm: ANIFX `98.

Awards: BAFTA Nominees, The 1998 British Animation Awards, Imagina, Academy Honors College Films, Software Shone At Tech Oscars, Brussels Picks Cartoon D'Or Noms, Santa Clarita.


Fox Films To Focus On Animated Fare.
Four months after the theatrical release of Anastasia, Fox expanded its commitment to animation. Fox Family Films, one of four film divisions of Twentieth Century Fox, has been renamed Fox Animation Studios, to reflect the division's new plan to focus solely on animated feature films, including stop-motion, mixed media (live-action mix) and digital production. "We have been and continue to be committed to animation for the long haul, and this expansion reflects the exciting potential that Anastasia has opened up for us," said Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO Bill Mechanic. Live-action projects which were in development by Fox Family Films are being shelved, put into turnaround or transferred to other Fox film divisions. Chris Melenandri will stay on as president of the renamed division, Kevin Bannerman has been upped from vice to senior vice president and Melissa Cobb will keep her post as vice president of production. While Fox Animation Studios' main production facility will remain in Phoenix, the division's Los Angeles office is likely to expand to accommodate more development personnel. Several animated projects are on the development slate, including Dark Town with Henry Selick, Chris Columbus and Sam Hamm, Santa Calls with Blue Sky|VIFX, and projects with Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Steve Oedekerk and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Fox's second animated feature, Planet Ice (1999), is currently in production in Phoenix, under the direction of Art Vitello, and shortly, the studio is expected to announce the next project from Anastasia producer/directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman.

Hit Gets Hot For Production. London-based distributor HIT Entertainment has launched a production studio in Manchester called HOT Animation. The £2 million facility is being headed by producer Jackie Cockle, director Brian Little and cameraman Joe Dembinski, all formerly of Cosgrove Hall Films, which, until late 1997, produced the stop-motion animated series, Brambly Hedge for HIT. The studio has hired a staff of 20 people including animators Paul Couvele and George Laban, and will also utilize freelancers and trainees. HOT Animation will begin production on four new 30-minute episodes of Brambly Hedge in April and 13 ten-minute episodes of Bob the Builder, a new, stop-motion pre-school series, in July. HOT Animation will also be available for third-party production of stop-motion animation for television, commercials, and film. HIT, a publicly traded company, distributes programming to the BBC and broadcasters in more than 80 territories, and launched into home video distribution in September 1997. HIT's managing director Peter Orton said the launch into production represents a "major breakthrough" for the company, and will maximize revenue by ensuring control of rights and the entire production process.

Festivals Form Alliance.
While the growing number of animation events worldwide is resulting in increased competition for patronage and sponsorship funds, organizers of animation festivals in Canada, Holland and Switzerland have established an alliance to work collectively on selective programs, exhibitions and sponsorship proposals. The newly formalized partnership will combine resources of three festivals: the
Ottawa International Animation Festival Animation Festival (OIAF),> the <Holland Animation Film Festival (HAFF)> and Fantoche. The festivals are co-producing an exhibition by Estonian animator Mati Kutt and a retrospective program of films by Russian animator Alexei Karaev, and in the future, plan to build a collective film archive and expand into distribution. OIAF director Chris Robinson said the group is open to expanding the alliance to include other festivals. "The aim is the preservation, maintenance and strengthening of the promotion of independent animation and the artists," he said.

Alliance Allies With Toymakers.
Toronto-based media company Alliance Communications has formed partnerships with three companies: Irwin Toys, Fisher-Price and Sega of America, to develop animated titles based on toys and games. With fellow Canadian company Irwin Toy, Alliance will produce 26 episodes of the Pascal Morelli-designed The 108 Outlaws, aan animated, action/adventure television series combining mythology, Asian legends and medieval tales. A production partner for Outlaws has not yet been named. With U.S. company Fisher-Price (a subsidiary of Mattel), Alliance has already launched production on an animated direct-to-video and series pilot based on Fisher-Price's new Rescue Heroes toy line unveiled at Toyfair. Toronto-based Pictor Entertainment is producing the 2-D/3-D animation, slated for completion in June 1998. Alliance will also produce 13 half-hour episodes of BUG!, a series based on Sega of America's Saturn video game of the same name. The comedy series will consist of three computer-animated cartoon shorts per episode. BUG! will be Alliance's third computer animated series, following Reboot and Beast Wars which were co-produced with the Vancouver-based studio, Mainframe Entertainment. It has not been determined if Mainframe will be involved in the making of BUG!.

For more animation and toy news, see our review of the 1998
Toy Fair, in the March 1998 issue of Animation World Magazine.


Simpsons Voices Sound Off.
A group of actors who voice characters on Fox's animated series, The Simpsons have collectively asked for a major salary increase for next season, inside sources say. The group, which includes Hank Azaria, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer and Yeardly Smith, each earn less than $35,000 per episode, and are requesting more than $100,000 per episode, according to a report in Daily Variety (3/13/98). While Fox is in negotiations with the actors and is expected to compromise with some sort of pay increase, the change could set a precedent which will be hard for producers of other animated shows to match. The Simpsons is produced for Fox by North Hollywood-based Film Roman, Inc. and will begin its 10th season in fall 1998.

Musical Chairs. Virtualmagic Animation
(formerly known as USAnimation) has promoted vice president and general manager Don Spielvogel to the position of president, and added the role of vice president to the duties of executive producer Andrea Romero. . . . Fox Kids Europe has hired Francesco Nespega as a consultant in preparation for the launch of a children's channel in Italy. Nespega was previously COO and managing director at Italian film conglomerate Cecchi Gori Group. . . . Rhythm & Hues has signed two new sales representatives for commercial production: Ron Hoffman on the West Coast and Marc Vandermeer/Creative Artists Management on the East Coast. Renee Case continues as Midwest representative. . . . Susan O'Leary has joined Charlotte, North Carolina-based Skyscraper Digital as production manager. She was previously a production coordinator, script supervisor and script writer at Mainframe Entertainment in Vancouver. . . . Animator James Peebles has joined the staff at Atlanta, Georgia-based studio, DesignEFX, as senior animation director. He was previously art director at Mercury Animation. . . . Stop-motion animation legend, Ray Harryhausen has been appointed honorary president of the Hiroshima International Animation Festival, which will take place in Japan, August 20-24, 1998. Additionally, Thomas Renolder, Thomas Basgier, Irina Margorina, Deanna Morse and Toshio Iwai have been chosen for the festival's selection committee. . . . San Francisco-based production company Wild Brain, Inc. has named Jeffrey Ulin chief executive officer. Ulin was most recently senior vice president of business affairs for CIC International, a distribution arm for Paramount and Universal home entertainment products, plus, his background includes six years at Lucasfilm. The appointment coincides with the studio's expansion of it's digital animation division, which has a feature film in development with Nickelodeon Movies. Wild Brain co-founder Jeff Fino, who has been performing CEO duties since the studio's 1995 launch, will now focus on his role as executive producer. . . . Bob Rubin has been named executive vice president of Universal Family & Home Entertainment Production. He was most recently senior vice president of business affairs for Universal Pictures. In the new role, Rubin will be responsible for all business and legal affairs for the family and home entertainment production division, which includes development and production of animated direct-to-video fare through Universal Studios Home Video and television product through Universal Cartoon Studios. . . . Janet Scardino has been named vice president and managing director of the Disney Channel in Italy, which will launch in fall 1998. She was previously senior vice president of international sales & co-production at Sunbow Entertainment in New York, and her background also includes stints at MTV, Nickelodeon, Fox and PBS. She relocated to Milan and began the Disney Channel position on March 23. . . . Jeff Linton has joined Simitar Entertainment as vice president of specialty products. He was previously general manager of Animated Collectibles, a division of the Japanese animation distributor, Central Park Media. At Simitar, Linton will oversee the launch of new, low-cost animation art reproduction line called AniMagine Chroma-Cel. . . . Dana Townsend has joined San Francisco-based digital effects and computer animation company, Radium as executive producer. She was previously executive producer at Skywalker Sound. . . . .Irvine, California-based animation art distribution company, Linda Jones Enterprises (LJE) has rehired former employee Steve Felton, as director of wholesale and head of animation. For the past five years, he has been director of animation art at Warner Bros. Prior to that he worked at LJE as head of sales and marketing. LJE distributes limited edition art by Chuck Jones as well as fine art and photography. . . . Animator/director Eli Noyes (The Fable of He and She, Alphabet) is working with San Francisco-based animation company Protozoa on a pilot for Disney. . . . Large-format film and simulation ride company Iwerks Entertainment has hired Charles Goldwater as president and CEO. Goldwater was previously head of Mann Theatres. . . . Universal Studios Home Video has brought on Bruce Pfander as executive vice president, domestic, and promoted Andrew Kairey to executive vice president, international and Bill Clark to executive vice president and CEO of the whole division. . . . Thomas E. Lucas has been named senior vice president of marketing for Saban/News Corp.'s Fox Family Channel, set to re-launch in August. He was previously vice president of advertising and promotion for The Travel Channel, and has held marketing jobs at MTV and Hanna-Barbera Productions. . . . Jacqueline Blum, who recently left her post as senior vice president of worldwide licensing and marketing at Film Roman, has been named vice president of entertainment and licensing at Big Dogs, where she will oversee efforts to turn the Big Dog logo/property (currently featured on apparel and gifts) into a character for television and other media.. . . . Rita Street, founding president of the non-profit organization,
Women In Animation, and former editor of Animation Magazine, has joined Film & Video Magazine as senior editor. . . . Trey Parker, co-creator of the animated series, South Park recently made an appearance at the Aspen Comedy Festival. Laughing about the fame and fortune he and partner Matt Stone have received in the past year, Parker was quoted in The Hollywood Reporter (3/9/98), "We were thinking of getting together with Mike Judge and going into a studio with a pitch that we could make up as we go. And we'd make them pay $40,000 to hear the pitch." Any buyers out there?. . . .

In Passing...

Ray Seti.
Animator and artist Ray Seti died on February 21, 1998 from a brain tumor. He was 65 years old. Seti worked in the New York commercial animation industry for over 35 years, founded two film graphics/animation companies, and taught animation in the 1980s and 90s. He is also a past president of the now defunct New York union, the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Guild. Seti emigrated to the U.S. from Egypt in the late 1940s and started his career in animation working for Film Graphics, a company run by Lee Blair, husband of Disney artist Mary Blair and brother of animation historian Preston Blair. He also worked for studios such as Trilogy Graphics, Nexus Productions, Laser East and Frame:Runner, and for Hal Seeger on a remake of the Fleischer Koko the Clown series, which aired on television in the late 1950s. In 1971 Seti founded Sunflower Films, which he ran until 1986, and in 1992 he founded Seti Video Communications, which produced commercials out of White Plains, New York. In the 1980s he offered animation classes at his studio in the evenings, which were frequented by advertising agency staffers. Up until late 1997, Seti was teaching advanced animation at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. "He was a bright and clever person," said colleague Howard Beckerman, who teaches a similar class at SVA. Animator Emily Hubley has taken over Seti's class at SVA.


<Nicktoons New Studio Opens.>
Check out our special report on the brand new Nicktoons Animation Studio in Burbank, California.

Cal Science Center Gets Animated. The new California Science Center, which opened in Los Angeles in February, features a multimedia exhibit called Bodyworks which includes animation by independent production company, Smith Entertainment. Inside a 150-seat theater, the exhibit demonstrates how the human body functions during exercise, with a 2-D animated character (Walt) projected on a screen behind a 50-foot animatronic robot (Tess). The 15-minute animated sequence features the voice of Howard Hoffman as Walt.

Marvel Mania Opens. After four years of planning and construction, the comic-themed restaurant Marvel Mania has opened at Universal City in Los Angeles-adjacent Universal City, California. The restaurant is filled with Marvel comics exhibits and interactive displays such as a 20 x 20 foot video screen running Marvel animation, synchronized to dining booths that vibrate with the animated scenes. Even the restrooms have animated characters projected on the mirrors, using a technology called Pepper's Ghost, created by the U.K.-based company of the same name. The restaurant also features a store and a permanent exhibit of Marvel artifacts including original art from Marvel comics dating back to 1939. If all that's not enough to draw a crowd, the menu featuring "Mutant Chicken Wings," the "Iron Man Burger" and "Chocolate Carnage" should do the trick.


Pentafour Producing Motion-Capture Feature.
Pentafour, a Madras, India-based animation and effects company, has started production on what is being called the first animated motion-capture feature film, Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of the Mists. Working with Venice, California-based motion-capture company, House of Moves, Pentafour has begun shooting motion-capture data (optical technique) in Los Angeles which will be composited with computer-generated characters by artists in both the Los Angeles and Madras facilities. Pentafour's Sriram Sundar Rajan is producing the film, and Alan Jacobs and Evan Ricks are co-directing. Actors cast to voice characters in Sinbad include Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek) , Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and Brendan Fraser (George of the Jungle). Pentafour, a software company which has recently branched into animation production, is also working on computer animation for The King and I, Morgan Creek's animated feature slated for direct-to-video release in summer 1999 and are currently working on television pilots for DreamWorks, Sony and Disney. Pentafour has not yet announced a release date or a distributor for Sinbad.

For more information about motion-capture animation, see Animation World Magazine's
February 1998 issue focusing on the techniques of motion-capture and stop-motion animation.

Nicktoons Expands Feature Slate. Nickelodeon has entered into a film development deal with Craig Bartlett, creator of Hey Arnold!, to develop an animated feature film based on the series, which has just been renewed for its fourth season on Nickelodeon. Klasky Csupo is currently in production on Nickelodeon's first animated feature, The Rugrats Movie which is slated for a November 25, 1998 release. In addition, Nickelodeon is already in development on a second Rugrats feature, for which David N. Weiss and J. David Stem are writing a script. Recently at
Toy Fair, Mattel debuted a new line of Rugrats toys.

Animated Fare At AFM. The American Film Market ran February 26 through March 6, 1998 at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, California. Out of hundreds of films for sale at the market, a handful of animated films were available from GoodTimes Entertainment (Animated Classics, Camelot, the Legend, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer), Harmony Gold (Adventures on Rainbow Pond), Lighthouse Entertainment (A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation), Movie Reps International (The Warrior Prince), Santa Monica Pictures (The Adventures of Peter Rabbit) and Shochiku (Jungle Emporer Leo).


The 50 [Almost] Greatest Cartoons.
Cartoon Network U.S. aired an eight-hour marathon program called "The 50 Greatest Cartoons of All Time" on March 14 and 15. The program includes interviews with Chuck Jones, Joe Barbera, June Foray, Charlie Adler, Maurice Noble and Leonard Maltin. While Cartoon Network programmers were inspired by Jerry Beck's book of the same name, for which more than 1,000 animation professionals were asked to pick the 50 greatest cartoons, the lineup of this program is different than the list in the book, in that it only includes films that Cartoon Network and parent company Time/Warner own or to which they have secured broadcast rights. Disney films included in the book, such as Skeleton Dance, The Band Concert and Steamboat Willie will not be featured, nor will certain "politically incorrect" Warner Bros. films be shown, such as Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, one of the "Censored 11" shorts which was included in the Beck's book. However, Cartoon Network's program does include some rarely seen gems. A complete list follows: What's Opera, Doc? (Warner Bros., 1957), Duck Amuck (Warner Bros., 1953), Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century (Warner Bros., 1953), One Froggy Evening (Warner Bros., 1955), Gertie the Dinosaur (Winsor McCay, 1914), Red Hot Riding Hood (MGM, 1943), Dough for the Do-Do (Warner Bros., 1949), King-Size Canary (MGM, 1947), Rabbit of Seville (Warner Bros., 1950), Bad Luck Blackie (MGM, 1949), The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (Warner Bros., 1946), Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor (Paramount, 1936), Betty Boop (Paramount), Little Rural Riding Hood (MGM, 1949), The Big Snit (Richard Condie, National Film Board of Canada, 1985), Northwest Hounded Police (MGM, 1946), Rabbit Seasoning (Warner Bros., 1952), The Scarlet Pumpernickel (Warner Bros., 1950), The Cat Came Back (Cordell Barker, National Film Board of Canada, 1988), Superman (Paramount, 1941), You Ought to Be in Pictures (Warner Bros., 1940), Ali Baba Bunny (Warner Bros., 1957), Feed the Kitty (Warner Bros., 1952), Little Red Riding Rabbit (Warner Bros., 1941), Peace on Earth (MGM, 1939), Cat Concerto (MGM, 1947), Beep Prepared (Warner Bros., 1961), Book Revue (Warner Bros., 1947), Quasi at the Quackadero (Sally Cruikshank, 1975), Corny Concerto (Warner Bros., 1943), The Dover Boys (Warner Bros., 1942), Felix in Hollywood (M.J. Winkler, 1923), The Big Snooze (Warner Bros., 1946), Hair-Raising Hare (Warner Bros., 1946), A Wild Hare (Warner Bros., 1940), I Love to Singa (Warner Bros., 1936), Tweetie Pie (Warner Bros., 1947), Daffy Duck Slept Here (Warner Bros., 1948), A Dream Walking (Paramount, 1934), Pink Phink (United Artists, 1964), Peco's Pest (MGM, 1955), Bob's Birthday (Alison Snowden and David Fine, National Film Board of Canada, 1994), Senor Droopy (MGM, 1949), Who Killed Who? (MGM, 1943), Screwball Squirrel (MGM, 1944), The Flagstones (Hanna-Barbera, 1959), Ruff and Reddy (Hanna-Barbera, 1957), Spud Dud (Hanna-Barbera, 1960), The Cat That Hated People (MGM, 1948) and Bambi Meets Godzilla (Marv Newland, International Rocketship, 1969).

Harvey Toons Join Fox Family. Fox Family Channel has licensed 65 half-hour episodes of Harveytoons from Harvey Entertainment, and will air the shows on Saturdays and Sundays starting in fall 1998. Harveytoons is a collection of repackaged, classic animated cartoons from the Harvey library featuring characters such as Casper, Baby Huey, Herman & Katnip, Little Audrey and Buzzy the Crow. Harvey Entertainment is reviving these characters through a bevy of licensing deals and a new, direct-to-video animated feature, Casper Meets Wendy. Fox Family Channel, a Saban/News Corp. co-venture, will relaunch in August 1998 on U.S. cable television.


Palo Alto, California-based Pacific Data Images (PDI) created a computer-animated commercial for agency Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners and their client, Jet-Dry. The 30-second spot depicts a store full of dishwashers, electric fans and other household appliances which come to life after hours. PDI completed the animation in ten weeks. Credits include animation direction by Larry Bafia, with additional animation by David House and David Spivak. . . . .Two month old, Santa Barbara, California-based company Animationwerks is in production on 55 seconds of 2-D animation for a music video for the swing band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Depicting a Big Bad Wolf and his foxy girlfriend, the animation is based on the edgy illustration style of artist Todd Schorr. . . . New York-based Curious Pictures created a cel-animated commercial for the Karsh & Hagan agency and their client, The Colorado Lottery. The 30-second spot titled Crazy 8's depicts a bus full of playing cards, and was directed by Denis Morella, with animation direction by Steward Lee and additional animation by Nick Hewitt, Chris Petroco and James Munro. . . . . Studio City, California-based Warner Bros. Classic Animation and San Rafael, California-based Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) created a commercial for Pontiac, in which an animated Wile E. Coyote drives a live-action car to chase the Roadrunner. ILM's Steve Beck directed the 30-second spot. . . . London-based studio Loose Moose created stop-motion animation for a Heinz Ketchup commercial, The Big Squeeze. The animation was directed by Ange Palethorpe. . . . Animator Mike Johnson (The Devil Went Down to Georgia) directed a stop-motion animated commercial called Flood for Shell International. This is Johnson's first spot for London-based studio Passion Pictures. The 30-second spot, which promotes the LEGO toy promotion being offered by the gasoline vendor, also employs 2-D animation of water created by Rushes studio. . . . New York-based AMPnyc is working on a commercial for Primestar Satellite Television. The 30-second, mixed media spot promoting Primestar's "Kids Remote Control" and Nickelodeon Magazine will air on Primestar network starting April 1. . . . New York-based CHARLEX created visual effects for a 30-second commercial for Novartis Animal Health called Dog's Fears. Much like the talking pig in the film Babe, the commercial features a live-action dog reacting to its owner's descriptions of dog illnesses. Effects artist Greg Oyen used Flame to manipulate the movements of the dog, frame by frame. . . . . . . New York-based Curious Pictures' director Mo Willems has created six animated ids for Nickelodeon's Nick at Nite programming, featuring the character "Logobelly" he first animated for the network in January 1997. The 10-second spots, Flub, No Quarter, Boom!, Always Something On, Watch This and Punch the Clock, were created in 3-D and 2-D animation with Toonz and 3DStudioMax software. Animators were Rochelle Kaiden, Kim Lee, Brendan Gallagher and Karen Villareal. . . . Toronto-based Spin Productions created a 30-second computer-animated commercial called Puppet for Midland Walwyn Capital Inc. The entirely CG spot depicts a downtown cityscape of cranes and skyscrapers which took four months to create. The cranes lift the towers of a bank building so that it looks like a marionette puppet. Spin's CG animation director Kyran Kelly used Houdini, AfterEffects and Inferno software to create the animation. . . . Boston, Massachusetts-based Viewpoint Studios created the main title animation package for ESPN's prime time TV special, Town Meeting. Perry Horovas was 3-D animator, Kvin Stolworthy was senior coordinating director and Adrienne Goldman was creative director.

Home Video

DIC Is Developing Direct-To-Video.
Burbank, California-based DIC Entertainment is launching a division to produce all new animated fare for direct-to-video release. The new "video premiere" division will be headed by Riley Katherine Ellis, who was most recently a producer of live-action for Caravan Pictures. DIC Entertainment, owned by the Walt Disney Company, will release its videos through Buena Vista, one of Disney's distribution divisions. A title based on the Madeline animated series is slated for release in spring 1999. A feature length animated Inspector Gadget video is also planned, to coincide with the future theatrical release of a Disney live-action feature based on the animated character. "[Direct-to-video entertainment] is a new industry that I think will grow considerably," said Ellis, who has been getting her feet wet at DIC since mid-March. Though Ellis has no prior experience producing animation, she feels that her extensive live-action background will prove useful in developing compelling material for animation, and is looking to work with writers with experience writing for long-form projects as well as animated series.

A Mighty Video at the Right Time. In June, 1998, Warner Bros. Family Entertainment will release a new, direct-to-video animated feature The Mighty Kong, a new animated feature produced by independent studio, L.A. Animation. The 2-D animated film was directed by Art Scott, an industry veteran whose 60-year career includes work at Charles Mintz and Disney studios. Mighty Kong features voices by Dudley Moore and Jodi Benson, and original songs by The Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). The film's story line is similar to that of Mighty Joe Young, Walt Disney Pictures' upcoming live-action feature remake of the 1949 film about a giant gorilla, which has just been pushed from a summer 1998 to a holiday 1998 release. This gives Mighty Kong ample time to cash in on what Warner Home Video's director of marketing Dan Capone calls, "the impending `Monster Mania'" which will emerge in the consumer marketplace. Mighty Kong runs 78 minutes and will be available June 16 for U.S. $19.94.

FernGully 2 In A Store Near You. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the direct-to-video title FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue on March 17, 1998. The 75-minute film will be available for $19.98 in U.S. retail outlets.

Fern Gully 2 co-directors Dave Marshall and Phil Robinson of Wild Brain explain their pre-production process in the
March 1998 issue of Animation World Magazine.

Batman Hits The Shelves. Warner Bros. Home Video will release the direct-to-video title Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero on March 17, 1998. The 70-minute film will be available for $19.96 in U.S. and $22.98 in Canada retail outlets.

Peter Pan Flies Onto Home Video. On March 3, 1998 Walt Disney Home Video released Peter Pan, the 14th animated feature from Walt Disney. The 77-minute video, which includes an historical introduction called "You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan" is priced at $26.99 and will be available for a limited time of 45 days. After its 1953 debut, the film was released theatrically in 1958, 1969, 1976, 1982 and 1989. Concurrent with the current video release, Walt Disney Records is offering a new 25-minute audiocassette and 40-page hard cover book product, Peter Pan Read & Sing Along.

Internet & Interactive

Quick Bytes.
Warner Bros. Online will launch a combined Batman and Superman web site this week at . . . Absolut Panushka has unveiled a new ten-second animated film by Jan Lenica, at, and will premiere seven more films over the next seven weeks. . . . Digital Planet has signed a content license agreement with Macromedia to create games for the new on-line entertainment web site, ShockRave ( Digital Planet's first game for ShockRave, Fire in the Hood, will be created with Macromedia's Flash 2 software. . . . BerksAlive Online Magazine ( is featuring a weekly, animated cartoon series called Dante's Inferno created by Bob Cesca using Macromedia's Flash 2 software. . . . Tivoli Systems is using Jay Ward's classic cartoon characters, Rocky & Bullwinkle in 60-second advertising cartoons. Three episodes have been produced so far, and can be seen at

Are you creating animation content for the World Wide Web? Tell us about it! Send the URL with a description, including method of creation, to


Rhino To Release More Animated Records.
Music distributor Kid Rhino has signed a multi-year deal with Nickelodeon to create audio products based on Nickelodeon properties. The first release will be a compilation called The Best of Nicktoons, featuring 41 theme songs from shows such as Rugrats, Angry Beavers, Rocko's Modern Life and Hey Arnold! Also, in summer 1998, Kid Rhino's parent company Rhino Records will release a second volume of music from Fox's animated series, The Simpsons, following last year's release of Songs in the Key of Springfield.


Rugrats In The News.
Paper, that is. A new comic strip starring the characters from Nickelodeon's animated series and upcoming feature film, "Rugrats" will be launched in U.S. newspapers on Sunday, April 5. The strip is being syndicated by Creators Syndicate, and will run in daily and weekly papers including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post. This is the first comic strip syndication relationship for Nickelodeon.


<Richard Williams To Teach NYC Masterclasses.>
Famed animation director and educator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Thief and the Cobbler) will present his intensive Animation Masterclass at the Tribeca Film Center in New York City, June 5-7 and June 13-14, 1998. These popular "crash course" style workshops have sold out at recent engagements in San Francisco, so advance registration is suggested. For information, contact

Spain Is Home To New Animation School. A new animation training school called Toon Factory has opened in Valencia, Spain. The courses, which range from 48 hours to several months, include storytelling & scriptwriting for animation, character design, background art, storyboard, advanced layout techniques, animation I & II, digital processing for animation, clay animation, puppet animation, vectorial 2-D animation, experimental animation, animation for computer games, sound & music for animation, animation marketing and licensing and workshops for children. The school accepts foreign students and is "interested in having international exchange programs with other animation schools in the world, and in meeting foreign animation professionals interested in coming to Spain as visiting professors," said Toon Factory coordinator Fernando Carrion. For information, visit or e-mail

Are Schools Selling Out? Industry-education partnerships are becoming essential for schools trying to stay on top of animation technologies, and to ensure job placement for graduates. Animation and digital effects studios, desperate for fresh ideas and qualified talent, are investing money and resources into schools, to forge relationships with students before they enter the industry playing field. Recently, Nickelodeon announced plans to collaborate with animation programs at the University of Southern California (USC) and California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) by providing resources and donations in exchange for access to students' original ideas and projects. In fall 1998, USC's School of Cinema-Television will offer a course called "Nickelodeon Experimental Animation," in which Nickelodeon staffers will guest teach and lecture. Nickelodeon will have a "first look deal" for student projects produced in the class, and the option to develop and acquire projects for commercial distribution. At Cal Arts, Nickelodeon will fund expansion of the Character Animation Lab and offer students internships at their studio in Burbank Meanwhile, New York University has teamed up with Los Angeles effects studio, Digital Domain to develop a new graduate program for film and business student to learn about digital production. The curriculum will include courses taught by Digital Domain executives via satellite video link. Digital Domain will also provide summer internship positions for students in the program.

Call for Entries

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (August 16-30, 1998, Scotland) is accepting submissions for its next competition program until May 21, 1998. For information and entry forms, contact


The 35th MIP TV market will take place April 3-8, 1998 in Cannes, France. This annual event is a major point of business for the international television industry, including animation. To date, nearly 700 animated programs are slated to be offered by selected companies in the more than 981 exhibitors confirmed to date. MIP's organizers have noted that there is a particular increase in animated fare for adults. Some of the new animated shows being offered at MIP are Tristan and Isolde and Born Free from Canal +, Marcelo Pan Y Vino from P.M.M.P, The Slow Norris from Link Entertainment and Oi! Get Off Our Train from VARGA tvc Ltd.

For more information about MIP, visit
MIP TV will be reviewed in the May 1998 issue of Animation World Magazine.

The 9th International Festival of Animated Film in Stuttgart, Germany will take place April 3-8, 1998. 160 films have been selected for the international competition program. Programs include retrospectives of Marv Newland (Canada), Marjut Rimminen (U.K./Finland), Magnus Carlsson (Sweden) and Jiri Brdecka (Czech Republic); a screening of American musical cartoons from the `30s and `40s; a seminar about animation on the web with AWN's Ron Diamond and Christine Panushka; and a focus on Japan which includes a program organized by Sayoko Kinoshita, a retrospective of films by Yoji Kuri, plus a screening of Argentinian Eduardo Grenstein's documentary about the popularity of anime. For information, visit the official festival web site:

Stuttgart will be reviewed in the May 1998 issue of Animation World Magazine.

Bra!ncamp, A Meeting Of The Minds. The second annual Bra!ncamp took place in New York City, March 26-27, 1998. The event is a think-tank for people who work in the kids entertainment industry, designed to be an alternative to busy trade shows, and "the only thing in the kids business that people will `want' to go to rather than `have' to go to," said Fred Seibert, who co-founded the event with Howard Leib and executive director Lina Maini. Presenters included Robert Friedman, president of New Line Television, Anna Home, chair of The World Summit on Television, Brown Johnson, senior vice president of Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon Media Works, Gary Niles, executive vice president of marketing for Galoob Toys, Jules Feiffer, senior fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program, Charles Rivkin, president and COO of The Jim Henson Company and Herb Scannell, president of Nickelodeon. Participation is limited to 75 people, and is by invitation only. For information, contact or call Lina Maini at (516) 593-5494.

Animation World Magazine will attend Bra!ncamp and include an article about the event in the June 1998 issue.

Brainstorm: ANIFX `98. The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) will present the second annual Animation & Visual Effects Expo May 11-13, 1998 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Session Topics Include "Evolution of Art & Technology: From Analog to Digital" produced by Viewpoint Studios, "Launching Children's Properties Worldwide" produced by KidScreen, "The Seamlessness of Special Effects" produced by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), "Toon Tales: How We Made It To The Tube" produced by Playback/Canada on Location, "CGTV" produced by Millimeter Magazine, "Employment Opportunities in the Animation/Visual Effects Industry" produced by UCLA Extension, "Animating in CG: One-on-One Conversations with Harrison Ellenshaw" and "Cyberbabes in Toyland" produced by Visual Effects Society (VES). For information visit

<Read Frankie Kowalski's preview of ANIFX `98 in this issue of Animation World Magazine.> Then keep an eye out for the event review in our May 1998 issue.


BAFTA Nominees.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced the nominations for its 50th British Academy Film Awards. Nominees for The Best Short Animated Film are: El Caminante, produced by Jeremy Moorshead and directed Debra Smith, Flatworld, produced by Nigel Pay and directed by Daniel Greaves, Stage Fright, by Helen Nabarro, Michael Rose and Steve Box, and
T.R.A.N.S.I.T., produced by Iain Harvey and directed by Piet Kroon. In the category, The Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, the nominees are The Borrowers, The Fifth Element, Men In Black and Titanic. The awards will be presented at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday, April 19, 1998. Winners will be published in the following Animation Flash newsletter.

The 1998 British Animation Awards (BAA) were presented on March 5 at the National Film Theatre in London. Winning films will tour theaters in England throughout March and April. This year, the actual awards are original pieces of art created by Richard Williams, Daniel Greaves, Caroline Leaf, Graham Ralph and Rolf Harris. For information, call (44) 171 637 7103.

The winners are:
Mari Kuttna Award for Best Directorial Debut (sponsored by the Animation Unit, BBC Bristol): The Little Princess' Birthday by Jim Lefevre, Edinburgh College of Art.
Most Creative Use of New Technologies: Feeling My Way by Jonathan Hodgson.
Best Direction in a Commercial: Unison by Jerry Hibbert, produced by Hibbert Ralph Animation.
Best Animation in a Commercial: Fisherman's Friend by Stephen Weston, produced by Bermuda Shorts.
Best Children's Series (sponsored by Britt-Allcroft Company): Gogs by Deniol Morris and Michael Mort, Arrgh Animations for S4C/BBC.
Best Children's Special (sponsored by Cosgrove Hall Films): Famous Fred by Joanna Quinn, produced by TVC for Channel 4/S4C.
Best Film at the Cutting Edge (joint winners): Staggerings by Peter Collis, produced for Arts Council of England Hi-Tech Project; and Light of Uncertainty by Clive Walley, Painted Films for S4C and BBC2.
Best Film Over 10 Minutes (sponsored by John Cary Films): Death and the Mother by Ruth Lingford, produced by Ownbrand Productions for Channel 4.
Best Film Under 10 Minutes (sponsored by HIT Entertainment): 3 Ways to Go by Sarah Cox, produced by Picasso Pictures for Channel 4/Arts Council of England Scheme.
Best International Co-Production: Stressed Eric: Nativity created by Carl Gorham, produced by Absolutely Productions/Klasky Csupo.
Best TV/Film Graphics: Tomorrow Never Dies, visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, produced by FrameStore for Limelight/Eon Productions.
Craft Award: Gourmand by Andrew Higgins, Royal College of Art.
Best Scenario (sponsored by the Animation Unit, BBC Bristol): Stressed Eric: Nativity created by Carl Gorham, produced by Absolutely Productions/Klasky Csupo.
Favorite TV/Film Graphics: Tomorrow Never Dies, visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, produced by FrameStore for Limelight/Eon Productions.
Favorite Commercial: Dairylea Dunkers Dino Time by Mark Nunnely and Ray Harryhausen.
New Perspectives: Flatworld by Daniel Greaves, produced by Tandem Films Entertainment for BBC in association with EVA Entertainment VIDEAL and S4C.

Imagina, the European equivalent to SIGGRAPH, took place in Monaco, March 4-6, 1998. Visit the <review of Imagina `98> in this issue of Animation World Magazine for a complete list of winners.

Academy Honors College Films. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented the 1997 College Awards on Sunday, March 8 in Los Angeles. The award for Traditional Animation, First Place was presented by Nancy Cartwright to Bobby Podesta (Cal Arts) for his film, Smoke, and the second and third place awards went to Mark Dale Levine (UCLA) for Unborn Baby Blues and Mark Walsh (Cal Arts) for Extra Crispy. The award for Non-Traditional Animation, First Place was presented by John Dykstra to John Lally and Valerie Mih (USC) for their film, <Pets,> and the second and third place awards went to Chris Higgins (University of Georgia) for Mamita Rica and Ian Wilmoth (RISD) for Asa Nisi Masa.

Software Shone At Tech Oscars. About 520 people attended the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 28 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California. The gathering of "brains in bowties," as celebrity presenter Ashley Judd called them, were brought together to recognize innovators in the development of motion picture technologies, which includes more animation software systems than in recent years. Animation-related honors went to Richard Chuang, Glenn Entis and Carl Rosendahl for the concept and architecture of the Pacific Data Images (PDI) Animation System; to Greg Hermanovic, Kim Davidson, Mark Elendt and Paul H. Breslin for the development of the procedural modeling and animation components for Side Effects Software's Prisms software package; to James J. Keating, Michael Wahrman and Richard Hollander for their contributions that led to the Wavefront Advanced Visualizer computer graphics system; to William Kovacs for his creative leadership and Roy Hall for his principal engineering efforts that led to the Wavefront Advanced Visualizer computer graphics system; to John Gibson, Rob Kreiger, Milan Novacek, Glen Ozymok and Dave Springer for the development of the geometric modeling component of the Alias PowerAnimator system; to Dominique Boisvert, Réjean Gagné, Daniel Langlois and Richard Laperriére for the development of the "Actor" animation component of the Softimage computer animation system; to Eben Ostby, William Reeves, Samuel J. Leffler and Tom Duff for the development of Pixar's Marionette 3-D Computer Animation System and to Craig W. Reynolds for his pioneering contributions to the development of 3-D computer animation for motion picture production; to Richard Shoup, Alvy Ray Smith and Thomas Porter for their pioneering efforts in the development of digital paint systems used in motion picture production.

Brussels Picks Cartoon D'Or Noms. The Brussels International Animation Festival wrapped up with a closing ceremony on February 28, at which they announced the festival's nominee selections for the Cartoon d'Or prize for the best European animated film. The four films selected by Brussels are Fragile by Daniel Wiroth, Marie by Corinne Kuyl,
T.R.A.N.S.I. T .by Piet Kroon and Many Happy Returns by Marjut Rimminen. Only six animation festivals are invited to suggest films for the coveted Cartoon d'Or prize: Brussels, Annecy, Utrecht, Cardiff, Espinho and Oslo. Additional nominees will be submitted by these festivals throughout the year, and the winning film will be selected by CARTOON's jury and announced at the next annual CARTOON forum in September, 1998.

Santa Clarita. The Santa Clarita International "Family-Themed" Film Festival took place in Santa Clarita, California, in February. Animated films which received awards are: Tale of Egypt directed by Diane Eskenazi (Sony Wonder Films/Golden Films) for Best Animation-Feature, Officer Buckle and Gloria directed by Chris Larson (O'Plenty Animation) for Best Animation-Short and Charlie, the Leprechaun written by Michael Stribling for Best Screenplay-Animation.

Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF),> to http://

Holland Animation Film Festival (HAFF)> to

March 1998>

February 1998>

Women in Animation>

Toy Fair>

March 1998 issue>

<> make this an e-mail link

<review of Imagina `98> to article in this issue



<Richard Williams To Teach NYC Masterclasses.> to Richard Williams advertisement in this issue (coordinate this with Dan)

<Nicktoons New Studio Opens.> to Nicktoons report in this issue

<preview article> to kowalski anifx article in this issue


01 no image, never mind

02 no image, never mind


Janet Scardino, vice president and managing director
for Disney Channel, Italy.
Photo courtesy of Disney.

05 no image, never mind

Susan O'Leary, production manager at Skyscraper Digital.
Photo courtesy of Skyscraper Digital.

Rita Street, senior editor for Film & Video Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Rita Street.


Walt, a 2-D animated character in a multimedia exhibit
at The California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Photo courtesy of Smith Entertainment.

09 no image, never mind


Craig Bartlett, creator of Hey Arnold!, is now in a feature film
development deal with Nickelodeon.
Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon.


Casper, one of the characters in Harvey's
classic library of Harveytoons.
© Harvey Entertainment.


Mike Johnson's LEGO commercial for
Shell International and Passion Pictures.
Photo courtesy of Passion Pictures.

Curious Pictures' Logobelly spot for Nick at Nite, and Crazy 8's
for The Colorado Lottery. Images courtesy of Curious Pictures.

Curious Pictures' Logobelly spot Crazy 8's for The Colorado Lottery

Home Video

The Mighty Kong.
© Warner Home Video.

The Mighty Kong.

FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue.
© Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

FernGully 2

Peter Pan. © Disney.

Peter Pan


instead of an image, put the realflash banner ad at the top of this page


Richard Williams and his Oscar awards. © A.M.P.A.S.

17 toon factory logo, no caption


The 1998 British Animation Awards, designed by Caroline Leaf, Michael Dudok de Wit and
Sylvain Chomet. Courtesy of the BAA.


news18a Leafnews18b Dudok de Witnews18c Chomet


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