In June, Avid Technologies bought Softimage [AF 6/17/98], combining two powers of digital production and 3D graphics. Not to be outdone, in a similar yet reversed situation, San Rafael, California-based Autodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) has announced plans to acquire Montreal, Canada-based Discreet Logic (Nasdaq: DSLGF). Autodesk is the parent company of Kinetix, makers of 3D graphics and animation software such as 3D StudioMAX and Character Studio. The merger had some foreshadowing, as Kinetix and Discreet Logic announced a product integration partnership in March [AF 4/7/98].
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The Vital! International Animation Festival (formerly known as Cardiff) is closing its doors due to financial losses incurred at its latest edition in June 1998. This years festival director Jane Williams has left the organization, and the board of directors is now responsible for managing a debt which sources said amounts to approximately (U.K.) £25,000.
Paramounts Great America theme park in Santa Clara, California is starting construction on a new 2.3-acre area called Kidzville, scheduled to open to the public in March 1999. The featured attractions and rides will be based on Hanna-Barbera characters such as Scooby Doo, Shaggy, Yogi Bear and Top Cat. However, this is not a new licensing deal. Hanna-Barbera costumed characters have been featured at the park since it was opened by Marriott in 1976 and bought by Paramount in 1992.
Nickelodeon Movies has acquired the feature film rights to Jeff Smiths comic book, Bone for an unspecified amount of money in the high six-figure range. The property is being developed as an animated feature film to be directed by Smith.
Imagina, a computer conference and festival which is often referred to as the European equivalent to SIGGRAPH, is expanding for its 18th edition, January 18-22, 1999. In keeping with tradition, the event will start in Monaco, January 18-20, with conferences and panel discussions on the theme "integral images and meta tools", the "Prix Pixel-INA" awards competition and the Innovation Space; then, in Paris, January 20-22, the event will continue with the exhibition of new industrial developments and technologies.
For information, visit www.ina.fr/ina/imagina.
The 7th biennial Hiroshima International Animation Festival ended on Monday, August 24 with a grand awards ceremony. The top winners are:
Grand Prize: "The Old Lady and the Pigeons" by Sylvain Chomet (Canada).
Hiroshima Prize: The Mermaid by Alexander Petrov (Russia).
Debut (first film) Prize: Busby by Anna Henckel-Donners-Marck (Germany).
Renzo Kinoshita Prize: "L'Aréne (Série "Vermillion")" by Nicolas Jacquet (France).
In last weeks Animation Flash, London-based Passion Pictures was mistakenly credited for three 30-second animated spots for travel agency Lunn Poly/Thomson, animated by Mic Graves, Robin Shaw and Joris van Hulzen. The spots were, in fact, produced by aka Pizazz, a different animation studio in London.
Worldfest, an independent film festival which has been held in Houston for the past 32 years and additionally in Charleston, South Carolina for the past five years, is moving from Charleston to Flagstaff, Arizona. The first annual Worldfest-Flagstaff International Film Festival will be held November 13-22, 1998. Houston will continue as usual.
The Writers Guild of America has forged an agreement with Twentieth Century Fox to cover writers working on prime-time animated shows The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Futurama and Family Guy. This is of great significance for animation writers and WGAs Animation Writers Caucus, because it gives animation writers on these shows the same benefits as their live-action counterparts, such as mandatory payment for re-writes and access to the WGA health insurance plan.
ANNE SWEENEY has been named president of DISNEY/ABC CABLE NETWORKS, filling a position left vacant when Geraldine Laybourne left in June to form her own media company. Since 1996, Sweeney has been president of the Disney Channel, a title she will retain with the promotion, which will add several programming outlets under her wing: Lifetime, A&E, The History Channel and E! Entertainment Television, as well as ABCs Saturday morning line-up. Prior to Disney, Sweeney was at FX for three years and at Nickelodeon for 12. . . .
Geraldine Laybourne, often described as one of the most powerful women inthe entertainment industry, has left her post as president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks to form her own diversified media company. With ABC asits first investor and client, the still unnamed company will focus oncreating branded content for the Internet and television, targeted mainlyat women and children. Prior to joining Disney/ABC in 1996, Laybourne waspresident of Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, a company she joined in 1980 at its
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainmentis flooding the kids home video market with eight new releases priced atU.S. $5.98 (Canadian $7.98) each. The titles being released on April 7 arere-releases of the TV series episodes and vault films: "The Adventures ofRaggedy Ann & Andy: The Mabbit Adventure," "Bobby's World: Roger 'n Me,""Cinderella," "Life With Louie: For Pete's Sake," "Life With Louie: TheMasked Chess Boy," "Snow White" and "The Tick: The Tick vs. Arthur." In
* Tuesday, April 21-Sunday, April 26. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.The first Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children.Animated works in the program include the 1940s "Animaland" cartoons byDavid Hand, "Carmen Habanera" by Polish animator Aleksandra Korejwo and"Smoke" by Cal Arts graduate Bobby Podesta. For information, call (416)968-FILM.
* Wednesday, April 22-Friday, April 24. Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.The first annual Motion Graphics, Animation and Arts Festival will take
The British Academy of Film and Television Artsheld its 50th British Academy Film Awards in London on Sunday, April 19.The winner for Best Short Animated Film is Aardman's "Stage Fright," byHelen Nabarro, Michael Rose and Steve Box. In the category, BestAchievement in Special Visual Effects, the winner is "The Fifth Element.
* Tuesday, April 21-Sunday, April 26. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.The first Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children.Animated works in the program include the 1940s "Animaland" cartoons byDavid Hand, "Carmen Habanera" by Polish animator Aleksandra Korejwo and"Smoke" by Cal Arts graduate Bobby Podesta. For information, call (416)968-FILM.* Wednesday, April 22-Friday, April 24. Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.The first annual Motion Graphics, Animation and Arts Festival will take
Disney-owned DIC Entertainment will provide fivehours of animation programming a week to Paxson Communications' new U.S.family entertainment network, Pax Net. An exclusive, two year agreementreached between the two companies names DIC as the sole provider ofchildren's programming for the television network group, which will launchon August 31, 1998. Much of the programming will be from DIC's existinganimation library, packaged as an educational program block called"Freddy's Firehouse," which will air for three hours on Saturday and two
The FEMINALE, a festival in Cologne, Germany, isseeking entries for it's ninth edition, October 1-6, 1998. The program hasfive categories, including Animation. Entry forms are being accepted untilJune 1, 1998. For information, contact email@example.com.
The Sixth Annual Comic Arts Conference is acceptingpapers to be presented at a joint meeting of comics scholars andprofessionals in San Diego, California during the Comic-Con International,August 13 - 16, 1998. Faculty, students, and those outside the universitycommunity are encouraged to make submissions for papers and sessions whichtake a critical or historical perspective on comics, comic strips, comicbooks, woodcut novels, etc. Please note, editorial cartoons, caricatures,
The Goethe Institute will present a non-competitiveanimation festival called Metamorfosi, May 11-15, 1998 in Rome, Italy. Theevent will feature films, seminars, meetings and exhibitions on animationfrom different countries. Animators whose work will be showcased includeGiannini & Luzzati (Italy), Raimund Krumme (Germany), Phil Mulloy (U.K.)and Jan Lenica (Poland). For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visitwww.goethe.de/it/rom.
"Optical Poetry," a major exhibition ofthe work of the late abstract animation filmmaker Oskar Fischinger openedlast week at the Jack Rutberg Fine Arts gallery at 357 North LaBrea Avenuein Los Angeles, California. The exhibition, which runs through June,features more than 40 original paintings and drawings created byFischinger. Other than a mutoscope created by Fischinger which is only ondisplay, all of the artwork in the show is for sale. Prices range between$6,000-$80,000 per piece. A video cassette -"The Films of Oskar Fischinger
Viacom-owned cable network UPN has reached anagreement with Buena Vista Television to broadcast Disney animatedchildren's programming. Starting in fall 1999, UPN will air a two-hourblock of syndicated, Disney-branded shows which is most likely to includeprograms from the "Disney's One Saturday Morning" block which currentlyairs on ABC: "Disney's Recess," "Disney's Doug," "Disney's Pepper Ann" and"Disney's Hercules." Kellogg's, which sponsored the "Disney Afternoon"syndicated program block, will retain it's primary sponsorship role as the
ACME FILMWORKS director BILL PLYMPTON created two animatedPSAs as part of a literacy campaign sponsored by 7-Eleven. The two15-second spots will air as bumpers on the PBS series "Wishbone." Theagency was The Richards Group in Dallas, Texas, and the producer was DianaLawless. . . . New Zealand-based FLEA CIRCUS, represented in the U.S. byCURIOUS PICTURES, created a seven and four second bumper for Nickelodeon's"Toons From Planet Orange," a program showcasing animation from around the
Disney's new theme park, Animal Kingdom, opensin Orlando, Florida on April 22. The 500-acre park features live animals,rides, and a few attractions which utilize animation. "It's Tough to be aBug," a show that takes place in a 430-seat theater inside a giant tree,combines 3-D computer animation with animatronic characters. Viewers wear"bug-eye" polarized glasses to view the animation, which was produced byDisney in association with Pixar, which is currently in production on the
Palo Alto, California-based PACIFIC DATA IMAGES (PDI)has hired JOHN BATTER to the newly created position of Chief FinancialOfficer. He previously held the same post at DreamWorks Interactive wherehe was part of the start-up management team. Prior to DreamWorks, Batterwas CFO for game developer Xatrix Entertainment. Batter's appointment willfree up time for PDI founder and president Carl Rosendahl to move into achairman's position. The company is also searching to fill an additional