For over thirty years, long-time actor Paul Winchell has supplied the voice of Tigger in Walt Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" animated productions. However, the upcoming animated Pooh feature, "Tigger's Family Tree," won't feature his distinctive voice; instead Tigger's voice will be supplied by veteran voice actor Jim Cummings, who is also the current voice of Pooh Bear. Although a Disney spokeswoman denies he was fired, Winchell was let go after only one day of work on the film. She says his day of work was an audition, and the job simply went to the actor who gave a better performance.
Universal Pictures chairman Casey Silver was forced to resign after a year of consistent box office flops such as "Primary Colors," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Out of Sight," "Meet Joe Black," and this weekend's disastrous opening of the expensive sequel "Babe: Pig in the City," which was slaughtered by two other family-oriented features, Disney's "A Bug's Life'" and Paramount's "The Rugrats Movie." Silver had been head of Universal's movie production, marketing and distribution since November 1995.
Animation and visual effects house Pacific Data Images (PDI) has appointed industry veteran George Merkert as Executive Producer of the Motion Picture Visual Effects division. This decision comes on the heels of PDIs announcement of their intention to grow their operation and core business capabilities beyond its present size and scope, and to further develop its traditional animation/visual effects support work with a new emphasis towards content creation.
BEAU CAMERON has joined Santa Maria, California-based COMPUTER CAFÉ as a 3Dcharacter animator. His first project is animating a flock of penguins fora Mervyn's television spot.
Producer/director Eric Radomski recently joined Film Roman as ExecutiveProducer. His new role includes heading up the company's restructuredanimation development and production program as well as taking the helm ofFilm Roman's expanding digital shorts program. Company president and CEODavid Pritchard stated, "Film Roman is fortunate and excited that Eric hasagreed to help us rebuild the new Film Roman. We see him as part of thefuture of this company, will rely on him to lead our animation division
Laurie Goldberg has been named vice president of public relations atCartoon Network. She will oversee all publicity and public relations forCartoon Network including programming, consumer and cable affiliatemarketing campaigns, Cartoon Network Online, Cartoon Network Enterprises(NASCAR and SMASH tennis) and the network's licensed promotions andmerchandising. She joins the network from Pinnacle Brands, Inc., a sportstrading card company in Dallas, where she also served as vice president ofpublic relations.
Respected TV executive Margaret Loesch, who moved to the Jim Henson Company a year ago as president of its television group, has been named the president and CEO of the 30-million subscriber Odyssey cable channel. This comes after an announcement that Hallmark and The Jim Henson Company have bought a "substantial" stake in the religious network. Loesch's new responsibilities include developing original programming from Hallmark, Henson, Odyssey and National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC) and integrating it with the already well-established libraries of Hallmark and Henson.
Los Angeles-based Film Roman has brought Mark Lieber on board as the new president of domestic television development and distribution. Lieber's responsibilities in this newly created position include directing the development of all proprietary television product (both animation and live-action), as well as overseeing the distribution of Film Roman's proprietary series through broadcast, cable and syndication in the U.S.
A survey of cartoon characters related to this issue's theme of licensing and merchandising, answering, "What ten films would you want to have with you if stranded on a desert island?"
Upon hearing the news that L'Enfant au Grelot/Charlie's Christmas won the Cartoon d'Or, Animation World Magazine asked director Jacques-Ry Girerd to share his thoughts.
A l'annonce de la remise du Cartoon d'Or L'Enfant au Grelot, Animation World Magazine a demandau rlisateur Jacques-Ry Girerd de partager sa rction.
Just how does one become an animation pioneer? Mike Lyons profiles the man of the hour, John Lasseter, on the eve of Pixar's Toy Story follow-up, A Bug's Life
The sixth installment of Barry Purves' production diary as he chronicles producing a series of animated shorts for Channel 4. An Animation World Magazine exclusive.
LAURA STONE WALSTONE has joined DIC ENTERTAINMENT as director of international licensing. Her previous positions include vice president of OH! NO!, Inc., director of licensing at Just Toys, and director of licensing at Extreme Studios.
THE VISUAL EFFECTS SOCIETY (VES) has hired MICHELE SMITH as director of operations. The Los Angeles-based non-profit organization was founded in 1997 by former marketing consultant Tom Atkin, now executive director. He said, "We look forward to her active participation and contribution as the society continues to grow worldwide." Smith previously worked in the accounting department at Polygram Filmed Entertainment, and has an MBA from Pepperdine University.
New York-based LEE HUNT ASSOCIATES has hired JANE FRIESEN as head of production. She was previously executive producer and general manager at Click 3X, and supervising producer at Sony Music Studios.
THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC) has hired Internet developer MARK PESCE to head up a new department in the School of Cinema-Television devoted to interactive media. Pesce is cited as being the person who developed Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), the programming code that enables real-time interactivity on the web. He is also co-founder, with Jan Mallis, of an Internet content company called blitcom. Pesce designed the certificate program in 3D Arts at San Francisco State University's College of Extended Learning, and has been teaching at the college level since 1995.
Buzz Potamkin has been named to the board of directors of Visionary Media LLC, a New York-based company that develops online content. Potamkin is president of an independent animation consulting firm, Project X, through which he will now explore opportunities for Visionary Medias web properties, such as WhirlGirl, to reach additional media including film and television animation. Since founding Project X in 1996, Potamkin has just completed production of the direct-to-video title Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night for Columbia Tri-Star Home Video.
Ellipsanime, Canal +s Paris-based studio that produces the animated series, Corto Maltese, has hired MARIE-PIERRE MOULINJEUNE as deputy director for international development and co-productions. She will supervise the development and production of animated films and TV series, and report to vice president Robert Réa. Moulinjeune was previously in charge of coordinating animated co-productions for Télé-Images, and prior to that she was head of program acquisitions for France 2.
THE GREENBLATT JANOLLARI STUDIO, a Los Angeles-based production company, has signed ERIC FOGEL, creator of the MTV animated series Celebrity Death Match and The Head, to develop a concept for a new, prime-time, stop-motion animated series. The deal gives Fogel a flat six-figure sum for developing a series concept and pilot script, which, if adapted as a series, will be executive produced by Fogel, and targeted for fall 1999. No network is attached at this early stage.
Three executives have been promoted at NICKELODEONs New York headquarters. MARJORIE COHN has been upped to senior vice president of current series. She was previously vice president/executive producer of current series, and has been with the company for ten years. ALISON DEXTER has been upped to senior vice president of production operations and planning. She was previously vice president of production operations, and joined the company in 1991 as a line producer. SERGEI KUHARSKY has been promoted to senior vice president of brand and franchise management.
The Harrison, New York-based East Coast office of Blue Sky | VIFX has promoted Michael Feder to associate producer. Feder came to Blue Sky | VIFX in 1997, following production stints at Turner Pictures Worldwide and Jersey Films in Los Angeles. Blue Sky | VIFX's CEO David Brown stated, Mike really deserves this promotion and I believe with his strong production background and experience he will continue to make significant contributions to building the studio's relationships with the New York production community.
North Hollywood, California-based FILM ROMAN has hired WILLIAM SHPALL as chief operating officer. For the past two and a half years, Shpall has been a principal in the financial consulting firm, Inter.comm, and was previously CFO of Carolco Pictures. Film Roman CEO David Pritchard commented on Shpalls appointment, Im delighted to have Bill join me in shaping the company as we continue to implement the new strategy at Film Roman. The critical ingredient of a successful entertainment company is financial planning and operating discipline and Bill brings us both.
Venice, California-based DIGITAL DOMAIN has hired ENRIQUE SANTOS as director of technology, a role in which he will oversee the companys technology department and assume responsibility for its overall technical direction. Santos was previously senior manager of technology at WALT DISNEY FEATURE ANIMATION, where he managed technical support for animated features from The Lion King to Mulan. At Digital Domain, Santos will report to vice president of digital operations, Edward Kummer, with whom he worked at Disney for four years.