Animation historian John Canemaker is working on his eighth animationhistory book, titled "Walt Disney's Nine Old men and the Art of Animation"to be published by Hyperion in 2001. It will contain detailed biographicalportraits of Les Clark, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, WardKimball, Milt Kahl, John Lounsbery, Eric Larson and Wolfgang Reitherman.The book will also discuss the early Disney animators who influenced "theNine," such as Ub Iwerks, Norman Ferguson, Fred Moore, Ham Luske, Vladimir
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JIM KEESHEN has joined FILM ROMAN as a director on the animated series, "Family Guy." This spring, his company Jim Keeshen Productions produced the show's pilot with creator Seth MacFarlane.
Thursday, September 3 - Sunday, September 6. Lake Buena Vista, Florida, U.S.A.
The Disney Institute, a vacation resort, hosts "Mulan: An Animation Experience," a four-day event which gives guests a hands-on look at the making of the animated feature "Mulan." The program includes animation workshops, appearances by the film's supervising animator Mark Henn, CGI supervisor Eric Guaglione, head of special effects David Tidgwell and voice actress June Foray. For pricing and information, call (800) 496-6337. This event will be repeated September 11-14.
CRAIG ALLEN has been named general manager of JIM HENSON INTERACTIVE. He was formerly a senior producer at DISNEY INTERACTIVE.
Thursday, September 3. Melbourne, Australia.
Digital Divas, a networking group for women working in new media, hosts a meeting at Open Channel, 13 Victoria Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne. Existing members include Kathy Mueller, Kiera Poelsma and Maree Woolley. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
JEFF WILLIAMS has joined ANIMATION WORLD NETWORK as webmaster, replacing Ged Bauer, who has left to pursue further education.
Thursday, September 3. Studio City, California, U.S.A.
Screenmusic Studios hosts the first meeting of Women In Animation Los Angeles' new Voice Over Group from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Admission is free, but RSVP is essential. Call Muriel Whitaker at (310) 412-2719. Screenmusic Studio is located at 11700 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. For directions, call Screenmusic directly at (818) 753-6040.
Animation editor and producer Lee Gunther passed away on August 25 following a stroke suffered the previous day. He was 63 years old. A memorial service was held on Saturday, August 29 at Forest Lawn in Burbank, California. Starting at Warner Bros. in the 1960s and then at DePatie-Freleng studios from 1964-1978, Gunther was a film editor on more than 85 animated shorts in all. At DePatie-Freleng, he also worked as an executive in charge of production in the 1970s.
Tuesday, September 8. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Women In Animation Los Angeles hosts a mixer at Lumpy Gravy, the restaurant/gallery co-owned by Gabor Csupo of Klasky Csupo. The event is the second in a series of fundraising animation mixers that will take place on the second Tuesday of every month. The event will feature the original "napkin cartoon" drink special: draw a cartoon on a napkin, get a discount! Lumpy Gravy is located at 7311 Beverly Blvd. For information call (323) 934-9400.
CBS has made a last-minute programming decision to move the debut of its new, animated Saturday-morning line-up back to October 3, two weeks later than the previously announced date of September 19. The aim is to maximize on-air promotional opportunities, which would have been difficult during the sports programming scheduled on many of the network's local affiliates in the next few weeks. "We are very proud of our new Nelvana-produced shows," said Lucy Johnson, senior vice president of daytime/children's programming and special projects at CBS.
San Francisco-based WILD BRAIN INC. produced "Super Mom II," a sequel to their original Clio-award-winning spot, "Super Mom," for Coca-Cola. The 30-second, cel-animated commercial was directed by Mike Smith and Dave Marshall.
CURIOUS PICTURES' San Francisco studio produced 30 seconds of computer graphics and collage animation as part of a 60-second changeable promo spot called "Countdown" for HBO. It was directed by Chel White ("Photocopy Cha Cha") using a combination of photographs animated on cels and Flame software.
New York-based J.J. SEDELMAIER PRODUCTIONS created a second animated commercial for Quilted Northern Tissue, working again with illustrator/designer Bonnie Timmons ("Caroline in the City" opening credits). The new, 30-second spot, titled "Grandma Mimi" was directed by J.J. Sedelmaier, and the head animator was David Wachtenheim.
Santa Maria, California-based COMPUTER CAFÉ recreated the opening sequence of "Armageddon" for an Aerosmith video titled "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." Digital artists Brett Paton and Mike Bozulich used Lightwave 3D and After Effects software to recreate the asteroid and planets featured in the sequence.
Toronto, Canada-based TOPIX/MAD DOG created 22 animated effects sequences for the first annual Golden Marble Awards show. Director of animation William Cameron used 3D Studio MAX for 3D, and Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects for 2D sequences, with final compositing done on Flint and Flame.
Automaker Lincoln Mercury, a major sponsor for Paramount and Nickelodeon's animated feature, "The Rugrats Movie," will spend approximately U.S. $20 million on tie-in advertising to launch a new minivan called the Mercury Villager in conjunction with the film's release in November. The campaign will include TV ads featuring the Rugrats characters in an animated version of the minivan.
PACIFIC DATA IMAGES (PDI) has licensed Alias|Wavefront's compositing software, Composer, for use in its computer animation production. This represents a significant outside purchase for the studio, which mainly uses in-house proprietary software. PDI's director of research and development, Ken Pearce explained, "It's often difficult to incorporate off-the-shelf solutions into our proprietary graphics pipeline, but the openness of Composer makes it easy to integrate."
BIOMECHANICS has released a software program called Nuance, which is specifically designed to edit captured motion. It allows animators to "tweak" motion-capture data to perfect the animation or "resize" motion by determining a number of frames over which an action will occur. Nuance can be used with 3D animation software such as Maya and 3D Studio MAX. The cost is U.S. $7, 495. for a single-seat license.
JON VEIN has been promoted from senior to executive vice president at FILM ROMAN, a role in which he will continue to oversee the company's reach into feature films, including "There Goes the Neighborhood," a live-action/animation film in development with Universal.
On September 1, Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the English-language dubbed video of Hayao Miyazaki's animated feature, "Kiki's Delivery Service." The family film tells the story of a 13-year-old witch named Kiki. The English voice track features Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Matthew Lawrence, Debbie Reynolds and Janeane Garofolo. The film is 104 minutes, rated "G" and priced at U.S. $19.99. The Walt Disney Company will distribute several more of Miyazaki's films, including "Princess Mononoke" (theatrical release by Miramax, summer 1999) and "Castle in the Sky" (video release 1999).
MIKE DARNELL has been promoted to executive vice president of specials and alternative programming for FOX BROADCASTING, where he will oversee new projects including the animated series "Family Guy," "The PJs" and "Futurama." Darnell joined the network in 1994 as director of specials.
Fall is upon us, and so is the season of many video releases. Following is a list of upcoming U.S. video releases of Japanese anime films. A.D.V. Films and their label Urban Vision will release "Tekkamen Blade II - Stage 3: Final Encounter" (9/22/98), "Dark Warrior" (10/06/98), "MAPS 1 & 2" (10/06/98), "Dark Warrior - First Strike" (10/06/98), "Cutey Honey Volume 2" (10/13/98), "Delinquent in Drag" (10/20/98), "Ruin Explorers 2" (10/27/98) and "Slayers: Dragon Slave!" (11/10/98).
SAM REGISTER has been promoted to vice president of CARTOON NETWORK ONLINE. He was previously creative director for the division, and has overseen the development and recent launch of the network's web site, www.cartoonnetwork.com. Prior to joining Cartoon Network in Atlanta, Register worked in San Francisco at (Colossal) Pictures as creative director and at Turner New Media, where, as creative director, he created the Cartoon Network World section of America Online.
Coinciding with the U.S. tour of The Spice Girls, Psygnosis has released "Spice World," a PlayStation console video game. The game, aimed at pre-teen girls, gives users a chance to choreograph dance routines starring animated versions of Ginger, Scary, Baby, Posh and Sporty Spice. While it may not be rocket science, the Spice Girls game does address a need for games designed for girls. "Spice World" for PlayStation is $35.95.
Toronto, Canada-based animation company Nelvana Limited has completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Kids Can Press Ltd., a Canadian publisher of children's books. One of Kids Cans properties is Franklin, the story of a turtle which Nelvana has already turned into an animated series. The $6.1 million (CAN) acquisition now gives Nelvana access to Kids Cans library of over 250 children's book titles. One of these, titled Elliot Moose, is currently being developed for an animated television series.