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Spumco, the studio that brought us the first web cartoon series, The G@*&!$ George Liquor Show, has teamed up with Electric Communities to present the Internets first 3D cartoon chat event. The chat, scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. on November 6, and run through November 9, 1998, will take place on the web site cartoonsforum.com port 9994.
Speed Racer Enterprises, Inc., owners of the Speed Racer property, have signed a license agreement with toymaker Playing Mantis, to produce a line of action figures and vehicles based on the popular 1960s animated series. Playing Mantis, a Speed Racer licensee since 1993, has already produced a line of die-cast Speed Racer products. The company is one of 30 licensees that will be manufacturing and distributing Speed Racer products in 1999.
On November 17, DreamWorks will release three albums based on its forthcoming animated feature film, Prince of Egypt. The album releases come a full month before the films December 18 theatrical opening. The Prince of Egypt: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features performances by Boyz II Men, Amy Grant and the duo of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, singing together for the first time, as well as songs performed by actors who voice characters in the film, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Steve Martin.
* Friday, November 6. New York City, New York.
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) will host a retrospective of animation by animator, educator, historian and author John Canemaker. The screening will take place in the Titus 2 Theatre at 6:00 p.m. and Canemaker will be present. Featured films will include Break the Silence: Kids Speak Out Against Abuse, John Lennon Sketchbook and Canemakers new personal film, Bridgehampton. For information call MOMA at (212) 708-9400.
The 65th Milan International Film, TV and Multimedia Market (MIFED) kicks off this week with a strong focus on animation, in collaboration with the European MEDIA II program. The six-day event, November 1 -6, will include a designated animation market and even an Animation Day on November 3.
* Thursday, October 29. Toronto, Canada.
The fourth Torontos Animators Zoetrope Association (TAZA) Digital Image Festival will showcase independent computer animation such as Macca Strewth by Momentum Animations (Australia). For information visit www.interlog.com/~dolish/taza.htm.
* Tuesday, November 3. Vancouver, Canada.
VanArts presents Before and After Independence: 40 Years of Estonian Animation, a retrospective put together for the Ottawa International Animation festival, which is now touring North America. The show takes place at the Pacific Cinemateque, 1131 Howe Street, at 7:30 p.m The show is made possible by the Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Canadian Consulate in Estonia.
Gribouille, a CGI production company based in Europe and North America, has begun production on two new computer-animated television series. Xcalibur, designed by French artist Philippe Druillet and directed by Didier Pourcel, is being produced in association with Canal +, Ellipsanime, France 2 and Cactus Animation for a targeted late 1999 delivery. Micronauts, based on an existing line of action-figures and Marvel comics, is being produced with Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, Kaleidoscope Media Group and Annex Entertainment, and may be ready as early as fall 1999.
CBS/Fox, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and DIC Entertainment are producing a direct-to-video title based on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., called Our Friend, Martin. The one-hour film will combine new animation with live-action archival footage of the late civil rights activist. Several celebrities are lending their voices to the production, including Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, Susan Sarandon, John Travolta, Jaleel White and Oprah Winfrey.
Paris-headquartered motion-capture animation company, Medialab and Canadian animation studio, Ciné-Groupe, a subsidiary of Lions Gate Entertainment, have agreed to a four-year co-production deal. The two companies plan to co-produce two computer-animated theatrical films and two TV series. The first project, starting production in December, will be Pinocchio 3001, a futuristic rendition of the classic tale.
The animation union, the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists (M.P.S.C.) and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE has completed its voting process and announced the new Executive Board of the organization. Re-elected to office were incumbents Bronwen Barry, Dave Brain, Pat Connolly-Sito, Earl Kress, Craig Littell-Herrick, Enrique May, Ann Sullivan and Stephan Zupkas. Also elected were newcomers Bob Foster, Warren Greenwood and Karen Nugent, replacing Board members Sheila Brown, Tom Ray and Dave Zaboski who did not run for reelection.
ASIFA-Hollywoods third annual lecture series continues with a very special event on November 3, 1998 at 7:00 p.m. Walt Disney Animation master animator Andreas Deja will speak on the subject of character animation. Deja, born in Poland and raised in Germany, started working at Disney at the age of 20 (he was turned away when he applied at age 10!).
DreamWorks Pictures and PDI's computer animated feature film, "Antz" grossed just over $8 million this past week, bringing its totals to date to just under $62 million. The third place finish represented a drop of 27% from last week, but was less than a million dollars behind first place finisher "Pleasantville". The film is currently running in 2929 theatres nationwide. If its current pace continues, by next week, the film will surpass Paramount's "Beavis and Butthead" to become the top U.S. grossing non-Disney animated film.
CINAR Films Inc. (Nasdaq: CINRF; Toronto and Montreal Exchanges; CIF.A, CIF.B) reported record financial results for the third quarter and past nine months ending August 31, 1998.
On October 27, Walt Disney Home Video releases "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride," a direct-to-video animated feature sequel to the 1995 blockbuster theatrical feature, "The Lion King." Disney hopes to achieve similar success to that of the film's predecessor, which has made history as both the number one animated movie and best-selling video of all time.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, has taken issue with the depiction of a character in Nickelodeons Rugrats newspaper comic strip. The comic in question, which ran in newspapers nationwide during the week of Rosh Hashanah--the Jewish New Year--featured a character named Granpa Boris in a synagogue reciting the Mourners Kaddish, a holy Jewish prayer.
The Castelli Animati (Animated Castles) International Animated Film Festival held its second edition, October 15 - 17, 1998 in Rome, Italy. The prize winners were selected by an international jury: painter Carla Accardi (Italy), cartoonist and director Oscar Grillo (Argentina), director Daniele Luchetti (Italy), cartoonist and director Sergio Staino and director Pal Toth (Hungary).
Grand Prize and Audience Prize: Geris Game by Jan Pinkava (U.S.A.)
First Film Prize: Sientje by Christa Moesker (Netherlands).
San Francisco-based animation studio (Colossal) Pictures has signed two new directors to its roster: Jim Matison and Flavio (Kampah). Matison, based in San Francisco, has been a freelance director for the past five years, working with SGI, Mondo Media, Protozoa, Wild Brain and Nickelodeon. He previously worked with (Colossal) starting in 1989 as a staff production artist, and went on to direct Crazy Daisy Ed, a stop-motion segment on Liquid TV, as well as several music videos and commercials.
* Sunday, October 25. Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The AFI Film Festival presents "Suspended Animation," a 90-minute program of stop-motion and computer-animated shorts, curated by Sojourn Pictures. Films include "Geri's Game," "Bingo" and "1001 Nights." The show takes place at Mann's Chinese Theater, 6925 Hollywood Blvd., starting at 2:30 p.m. For information and tickets, call (213) 520-2000.
* Tuesday, October 27 - Saturday, October 31. Leipzig, Germany.
The 41st annual Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film will showcase a retrospective of German animation since 1945, as well as 119 animated films in other programs including competition. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Monday, October 26. San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
The Ideas in Animation series continues at Minna Street Gallery with two performances at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Nik Phelps and the Sprocket Ensemble, with guest musician Jana Herzen will perform live music to animated films by Meredith Root, Martha Colburn and Michael Rudnik. Admission is $10.00 general, $7.00 for students. For information and reservations call (415) 681-3189.
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.