Cel Painter & Mark-Up Artist Sherrie Cuzzort Passes Away

The Animation Guild (TAG) Blog is reporting that cel painter & mark-up artist Sherrie Cuzzort passed away on June 15. Cuzzort worked for Hanna-Barbera, Animation Camera Services but is most notable for her work at Disney. She served as a painter for The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and Lilo & Stich. She also served as a color model mark-up person on Rover Dangerfield, Pocahontus, Runaway Brain, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet.

Services were held earlier today.

Maiden Japan Announces Anime License for “Himawari!”

HOUSTON, June 23, 2011– Entertainment label Maiden Japan today announced its acquisition of the hit animated series HIMAWARI! Based on the teenage ninja manga sensation from the writer/artist team of GoDo and TAGRO, HIMAWARI! was directed by Shigenori Kageyama (Fist of the North Star) with script supervision by Mamiko Ikeda (Sgt. Frog, Emma: A Victorian Romance) and character designs by Okama (Evangelion 1.0 & 2.0,) and Seiji Kishimoto (Elfen Lied, Cat Girl Nuku Nuku.)

Ever since being rescued by a ninja when she was younger, Himawari! Hinata’s greatest ambition has been to become one herself. Now, finally, she’s got her chance to study at Shinobi Gakuen, the elite academy where female ninja are trained! Unfortunately, Himawari! isn’t as prepared as some of her fellow candidates and on her very first day she ends up being saved by one of her teachers. To the embarrassment, the person who rescues her isn’t even a ninja! He’s Hayato Marikoji and HIS duty is to teach the ninja how to act like a normal person like himself!

With that inauspicious start, will Himawari! ever be able to gain entrance to the school? And if she does, can she meet the rigorous standards demanded by her teachers? And why does Hayato remind her so much of an important person from her past? With a whole school full of ninjas, there’s certain to be more going on than meets the eye in HIMAWARI!

Maiden Japan will be distributing HIMAWARI! in conjunction with home video distributor Section23 (Clannad, Highschool of the Dead, Appleseed, with the entire series to be released in both English Subtitled DVD and Digital Formats.

“Voltron Force” Premiere Breaks Record as Nicktoons’ Highest-Rated Debut Ever


Nicktoons‘ launch of Voltron Forceâ„¢ set a new record as the net’s highest-rated series premiere ever with kid, tween and boy demos. The June 16th prime-time premiere of the 90-minute movie, Voltron Force: New Defenders Trilogy, also posted double and triple-digit increases over last year’s like time period with kids 6-11 (+53%) and boys 6-11 (+113%).

On May 27, Nicktoons.comlaunched a dedicated Voltron Forceâ„¢ show site that features Voltron Force: Ultimate Victory, an online game that since launch has received more than 1 million game plays, making it Nicktoon.com’s top game of the week. The site also features video clips, full episodes, flipbooks, characters profiles, a dedicated message board and exclusive weekly printables.

The half-hour series, which features an all-new theme song produced and recorded by Grammy Award®-winning producer and artist Swizz Beatz, follows the adventures of a new class of recruits as they join forces with the original team to fight evil by forming Voltron, the legendary super robot. The series will regularly air Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. (ET) on Nicktoons.

TV Writer Robert A. White (“He-Man”) Passes Away

Variety.com is reporting that television writer Robert A. White died of a heart attack last week in Rancho Mirage, California at the age of 87. After a long career in 70s TV dramas such as My Favoite Martian and Mission: Impossible and work on soap operas, White  transitioned to writing scripts for both He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power). In recent years, his efforts have foocused on stage plays such as WR and Daisy which premired at Hollywood’s Theater West in 2004.

Pixeldust Studios Launches Non-Entertaniment Division for Commercials & Documentaries

Bethesda, MD, June 20, 2011 — Pixeldust Studios, a multi-award winning digital animation and broadcast design studio, has launched a Non-Entertainment Division, which will provide company services to government, corporate, museum, educational and charitable groups and organizations. Ricardo Andrade, President and Creative Director, Pixeldust Studios, made the announcement.

Mr. Andrade said, “We have been fortunate enough during the past few years to have expanded our creative services to numerous clients who fall into ‘non-entertainment’ categories. While we clearly have made a name for ourselves within the non-fiction television and documentary arenas, we felt now was the appropriate time to officially launch this new company unit, which will provide our same award winning animation and motion graphics work to a much broader universe of companies, organizations and projects, on a global scale.”

Below are details from several recent Pixeldust Non-Entertainment projects:

** PENTAGON “HOW YOUR MONEY FLOWS” FILM:
For its client, Casi, Pixeldust Studios provided for the Pentagon’s Defense Travel Management Office, a four and half minute, cell animated film entitled “Basic Allowance for Housing.” Utilizing a live actress shot in motion capture, Pixeldust then realized that data to create a 3D cell animated female character named “Charlotte” (an allowance specialist) who informs military members how to live off-base comfortably and comparably to their civilian counterparts. This program is balled BAH, or Basic Allowance for Housing.

**  U.S. CONGRESS PROJECT:
Pixeldust Studios is currently in production on an instructional series about the importance of Computer Security for members and employees of the U.S. Congress.

** CORNELL UNIVERSITY:
Pixeldust created original animations for two films for Cornell University. One, about the Mississippi River, is entitled “Mississippi Delta,” and depicts what is happening with that river and the consequences of future flooding.
The other, entitled “Sea of Sound,” features how sounds are transmitted between a diverse array of sea creatures in the ocean, and how mankind and ships can interfere with this communication.

** BRITISH MUSEUM: AFGHANASTAN: CROSSROADS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD PROJECT:
The “Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World” exhibit, currently on display at the British Museum in London, highlights some of the most important archaeological discoveries from ancient Afghanistan and will display precious and unique pieces on loan from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is supporting this unique opportunity for people in the UK to see rare treasures of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.

On behalf of client Maggie Stogner, founder of Blue Bear Films, and in association with National Geographic Missions, Pixeldust Studios created a two minute animated film sequence depicting, in detail, the representation of an ancient Afghan “throne.” That film, projected onto an LCD screen, is currently being featured at the traveling “Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World” exhibit, which recently opened to the public at the British Museum.

Based on hi resolution scans of just a few fragments from archaeological remains of an ancient (over 2,000 years old) Afghan throne fashioned from ivory, Pixeldust Studios’ Technical Director (and former Digital Animator) Samar Shool designed and produced a digital representation, including lighting and a rendering style, of what that throne might actually have looked like originally.

** CYSTIC FIBROSIS FOUNDATION:
On behalf of the National Headquarters of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., Pixeldust provided a series of animations which have been included within that foundation’s corporate fundraising presentations aimed at large donors. The animations depict a bio-mechanical look at how various drugs used to combat Cystic Fibrosis operate within the human body, affecting cells.

Cystic Fibrosis researchers have been using these cell animations in presentations at leading CF research centers across the country, first presented at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference by Eric J. Sorscher, M.D., director of the CF research center at the University of Alabama ­ Birmingham. The animations have also been used by Preston W. Campbell, III, M.D., at leading CF research centers and at Cystic Fibrosis Foundation conferences.

** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.
For Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Pixeldust provided animations helping to visualize the effects of their Cystic Fibrosis drugs within the human body for doctors and the medical community.

FUNimation Brings Sequel to Anime Series “LASTEXILE” To U.S.

Flower Mound, Texas (June 22, 2011) — FUNimation® Entertainment today announced it has acquired the U.S. internet streaming and home video rights to the action adventure fantasy anime series LASTEXILE – Fam, The Silver Wing - (also known as Rasuto Eguzairu – Ginyoku no Famu) from the legendary studio GONZO, the production team behind the LASTEXILE saga.

LASTEXILE is a Japanese animated television series created by GONZO which aired on TV Tokyo in 2003. This new LASTEXILE brings back director Koichi Chigira, character designer Range Murata, production designer Makoto Kobayashi but will be a new story with new main characters and production designs.

Music will again be done by Hitomi Kuroishi.

U.S. anime fans will be able to see the world premiere of the first episode of LASTEXILE -Fam, The Silver Wing - at this year’s Anime Expo in Los Angeles, July 1-4.

June 29th is Mel Blanc Day in Portland

Mayor Sam Adams has proclaimed June 29 to be Mel Blanc Day in Portland. The proclamation is below.

The proclamation will be read on the steps of City Hall Thursday June 23 at 12:30pm by Commissioner Dan Saltzman. 1221 SW 4th Avenue

Proclamation
CITY OF PORTLAND
Whereas Mel Blanc, whose chosen art form, in its vitality, innovation, excellence, and wide popular appeal, expresses what is unique about Portland; and
Whereas appreciation of his genius recognizes no national boundaries, with Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck well beloved around the world, as are the many other cartoon characters to which he lent his voice; and
Whereas he discovered his gifts here in Portland: in Neighborhood House in South Portland, where he learned to play the violin; in the halls of Lincoln High School, where he perfected the laugh he gave to Woody Woodpecker; in the ballroom of Multnomah Hotel, where he sang and played the ukulele; in the Oregonian Tower, where he performed on KGW’s Hoot Owls, and, later, on his own show, Cobweb & Nuts, on KEX; and
Whereas this summer marks Portland’s first public celebration of Mel Blanc, with Oregon Jewish Museum offering a Mel Blanc exhibit and Oregon Cartoon Institute offering the Mel Blanc Project, a series of public history/arts education events ranging from lectures to guided tours of Mel Blanc’s Portland; and
Whereas on June 29, in Lincoln Hall, where Mel Blanc himself sat as a high school student, Craig Adams, early Portland radio historian, and Robyn Tenenbaum, current Live Wire radio producer, will induct Mel Blanc into Oregon Cartoon Institute’s Hall Of Fame; and
Whereas the City of Portland recognizes the significance and importance of Blanc’s creative genius, which he cultivated and expanded here,
Now, therefore, I, Sam Adams, the Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses,” do hereby proclaim June 29, 2011 to be Mel Blanc Day in Portland, and encourage all residents to celebrate this day.

“Cars” The Lost Episode?


Pixar’s Cars is preceded in animation history by such shorts as Warner Bros. Streamline Greta Green (1937), Tex Avery’s One Cabs Family (1952), and even Disney’s Susie The Little Blue Coupe (1952). But I grew up watching a boring Automobile Club pedestrian safety film called The Talking Car, which my gym class ran endlessly on rainy days. Some future rainy day I’ll subject you to the original ten-minute 1955 black and white version I was routinely tortured with. For now, I just found an embed to the equally bad, sixteen-minute long, 1969 color remake with Brian Forster (The Partridge Family) as “Jimmy”, voices by Hal Smith and some very cool vintage Burbank locations.

(Don’t forget to “See and Be Seen”)

Paso Robles Art Association Presents Art Exhibit for Classic Walt Disney Artists Frank Armitage and Walt Pergoy


The Paso Robles Art Association Showroom Gallery is very proud to present the exhibit, Zip-a-Dee-Duo: The Fine Art of Frank Armitage and Walt Pergoy, two fine artist with long years of creative history. Both men have created memorable work for Walt Disney when Disney studios were at a high. They helped to influence the way the baby boom generation was regularly exposed to art as entertainment in the form of TV and films.

Opening Reception: June 23 4 – 6
Showroom Gallery Hours:
Thursday & Sunday 12 – 6
Friday & Saturday 12 – 9

Exhibit Closes July 10th

“Cars 2″ is Already a Hit Whether You Like the Film Or Not

Cars

An article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal deemed Cars 2 a Hit Already–in Stores. The article made it clear that the franchise earns an obscene amount of money for Pixar’s parent company, Disney, and that basically means they’re going to continue making sequels and spin-offs until the cows come home (or until kids stop buying crap related to the film, whichever comes first).

Below are some of the key facts and financial figures from the WSJ piece:
Continue reading

Jerry Eisenberg on Stu’s Show

Heads up on a fun, free-wheeling interview with Hanna-Barbera veteran animator Jerry Eisenberg. It’s being broadcast live today at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific, and rerun the next six days at the same hour, on Stu’s Show on Shokus Internet Radio. Host Stuart Shostack says he’ll be covering the history of H-B (and Eisenberg’s career) from 1964-1975, and his career with Ruby-Spears beyond that. Eisenberg’s last appearence on Stu’s Show, back in March, barely scratched the surface of this man’s incredible career. Tune in HERE.

The Legend of Max Howard

Max Howard

Seeing Max Howard’s name as one of the judges of Animation Magazine‘s Pitch Party reminded me of a link I’d been meaning to share. First, a little background: back in the Eighties and Nineties, for reasons nobody fully understands, almost anybody who worked in musical theater could become an animation executive at Disney. Someday, someone will write about it and explain this weird aberration of animation history. Until then, we can piece it together through bits and pieces, like this three-page Orlando Sentinel article from July, 1990, about Max Howard’s beginnings in the animation industry.

The article reveals that Howard had an impressive background in British theater, but was thoroughly unqualified to be running an animation studio, which is what Disney animation v-p Peter Schneider hired him to do during the production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Howard says in the article (a bit indiscreetly) that, “They thought I was the person to run their London animation studio; incidentally, I didn’t. I told Disney I had spent my years in the theater and didn’t know a thing about animation.”

As a historian, I find it fascinating to revisit articles like this decades later. The piece is especially interesting now that Howard has aggressively begun to promote himself as an animation consultant and all-knowing guru who flies around the world to share his wisdom. In his lectures, I’m sure he doesn’t use many examples from his stint as president of Warner Bros. Animation where he oversaw the legendarily inept production of Quest for Camelot. He also doesn’t mention the film in his official bio, though he does make sure to take responsibility for The Iron Giant. Thankfully, that means he’s learned a few things throughout the years about what constitutes quality animated filmmaking.

Warner Bros. Bringing Several Animated Series to Comic-Con

(June 21, 2011, 10:45 AM PT: 29 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes until #WBSDCC) – The clock is ticking, and Comic-Con is right around the corner! By bringing 16 series to Comic-Con International: San Diego, Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) further strengthens its presence at the world’s leading pop culture convention – and will deliver a one-of-a-kind experience for fans in the process. The anticipation is building as a star-studded lineup of performers and producers from Warner Bros. Television and Warner Bros. Animation series prepare for a robust schedule of panel sessions, screenings, media appearances and autograph signings.

For continuing info on the Studio’s plans at Comic-Con, please follow us on Twitter @TheWBdotcom, hashtag #WBSDCC, and visit www.thewb.com/comiccon

For a complete social media contact list, including official Facebook pages and Twitter feeds for WBTVG series, talent and producers, download the social media contacts page here: www.thewb.com/comiccon/2011WBSDCCSocialMedia

PLEASE NOTE: Series stars and creative teams scheduled to attend are subject to change.

[Editor's Note: The press release has been edited to reflect only the animated-related programming for WB at Comic-Con. - Chris A.]

WARNER BROS. ANIMATION

Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Executive producer Bruce Timm will join producer Giancarlo Volpe and producer/story editor Jim Krieg for a panel moderated by executive producer/Warner Bros. Animation’s Sam Register

The Looney Tunes Show: Supervising producers Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, story editor Hugh Davidson and writer Rachel Ramras

MAD: MAD television show producers Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek, along with MAD magazine editor John Ficarra, art director Sam Viviano and Spy vs. Spy artist Peter Kuper

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Supervising producers Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone and producer Mitch Watson

ThunderCats: Producers Michael Jelenic and Ethan Spaulding, and art director Dan Norton

Young Justice: Producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman, and lead character designer Phil Bourassa

Download additional panel details, including the complete schedule with times and locations, here: www.thewb.com/comiccon/2011WBSDCCPanels

THE BOOTH

And it wouldn’t be Comic-Con without a visit to the Warner Bros. booth. The Studio will once again have a can’t-miss, nearly 3,000-square-foot destination on the convention floor, at space #4545. Anchored by the iconic Warner Bros. Water Tower, the booth is a must-visit location for autograph signings, multiple interactive kiosks for fans to play video games from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and much, much more. Stay tuned to @TheWBdotcom on Twitter or www.thewb.com/comiccon in the coming weeks for more details about activities at the booth.

SPECIAL SNEAK PEEK PILOT SCREENINGS

WEDNESDAY, JULY 20 • 6—9 PM • BALLROOM 20

WBTVG continues its Comic-Con tradition of hosting a special sneak peek premiere event on preview night. This year, the Studio is offering fans the opportunity to see some of the most anticipated new premieres of the year.

Supernatural: The Anime Series: The popular series Supernatural makes history this summer as the first-ever live-action show to be re-imagined in Japanese anime style. Renowned animation studio Madhouse – working with the full approval of series creator Eric Kripke – produced the anime series, which mirrors the story arc of Supernatural’s first two seasons, providing supplemental stories ranging from prequels and spin-offs to untold tales that fit within the Supernatural mythology.

THE TV SERIES SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, JULY 22

MAD: 10:00—11:00 a.m., Room 25ABC
Green Lantern: The Animated Series: 2:00—3:00 p.m., Room 6BCF
ThunderCats: 3:30—4:30 p.m., Room 6A

SUNDAY, JULY 24

Young Justice: 10:00—11:00 a.m., Room 7AB
Supernatural: 11:15 a.m.—12:15 p.m., Hall H
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: 1:00—2:00 p.m., Room 6A
The Looney Tunes Show: 2:15—3:15 p.m., Room 6A

Anime Expo 2011 Announces Madhouse Studio Creators as Guests of Honor

LOS ANGELES (June 21, 2011) – Anime Expo 2011 has announced Tetsuro Araki, Masayoshi Tanaka and Kentaro Hashimoto of Madhouse Studios as Guests of Honor. The trio will be present for a special July 2nd screening of the acclaimed zombie apocalypse series Highschool of the Dead and will host a creator’s panel at Anime Expo, when it returns to the L.A. Convention Center from July 1 — 4, 2011.

Tetsuro Araki has engaged with a number of animated TV series, including Di Gi Charat Nyo and Gungrave, as a Madhouse staff. He makes a shocking directorial debut, with the animation adaptation of the comic series Death Note. Since then he has directed the vampiric saga Kurozuka and adapted the zombie apocalypse Highschool of the Dead. Mr. Araki is now working with Production I.G on his new series Guilty Crown.

As an animator, Masayoshi Tanaka has worked on popular series such as X, Chobits, Eureka 7, Honey And Clover and many more. As character designer and chief animator, his most famous works include Toradora!, the animated adaptation of the Shonen Jump series Reborn! and Highschool of the Dead. He is currently working on Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai at A-1 Pictures.

Kentaro Hashimoto has produced mega-hit animated television series like Death Note and Kurozuka. Mr. Hashimoto has brought out new animated interpretation of the classic literature by Ango Sakaguchi in Aoi Bungaku: In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom. His newest series is the acclaimed zombie apocalypse action animated series Highschool of the Dead.

The roster of Anime Expo 2011 Guests of Honor includes Japanese pop trio Kalafina; singing sensation Maon Kurosaki; techno pop band NIRGILIS; LASTEXILE -Fam, The Silver Wing- production team Koichi Chigira, Makoto Kobayashi, Takaaki Suzuki and Hiroyuki Birukawa; Japanese TV Host and blogger Danny Choo; voice actress and singer Miyuki Sawashiro; voice actors Toshio Furukawa, Vic Mignogna, Toshiyuki Morikawa and Taliesin Jaffe; stars of the Power Rangers series and movies; video game developer Sohei Niikawa; Crypton Future Media CEO Hiroyuki Itoh and Producer Wataru Sasaki; Vocaloid songwriter Onyx Kobayashi; manga artists Izumi Matsumoto and Fred Gallagher and anime director Seiji Mizushima. Anime Expo has also announced Hatsune Miku as its first ever Virtual Guest of Honor. Themed the “Year of the Fan,” Anime Expo 2011 will fully immerse guests into the world of Japanese animation, manga (comic books), music and fashion. Anime Expo is a non-stop marathon of Japanese pop culture that’s been likened to Halloween in July.

China’s IMAGI Announces 2011 Annual Results

Hong Kong, June 21, 2011 – (ACN Newswire) – IMAGI International Holdings Limited (“IMAGI” and together with its subsidiaries, “the Group”; HKSE: 0585) today reported its audited consolidated annual results for the year ended 31 March 2011.

Annual Results for the year ended 31 March 2011

– Revenue amounted to HK$8.6 million and loss for the year was HK$623.6 million
– Excluding the accounting losses due to the redemption of prints and advertising loan, a bridge loan and convertible loan notes, the loss for the year was significantly narrowed
down by 89.9% to HK$122.2 million, of which HK$81.2 million was attributable to the provision for impairment loss relating to Astro Boy and Gatchaman
— The Restructuring commenced in May 2010 (including the above-mentioned provision) wiped the Group’s past slate clean. Astro Boy and Gatchaman will no longer have any adversefinancial effect on the Group beyond last financial year
– Administrative expenses substantially reduced by 68.3% to HK$27.5 million as the Group closed its studio in the United States and streamlining the one in Hong Kong in the
first quarter of 2010

Strong Financial Position and Debt-free

– Bank balances amounted to HK$167.2 million and a current ratio of 10.5 as at 31 March 2011
– Subsequent to the year end, the cash and bank balances further increased by HK$123.8 million as a result of the exercise of the options granted in May 2010
– After repaying its core creditors in May 2010, the Group has become debt-free

On 13 April 2011, the Group completed its acquisition of the Toon Express Group (the “TE Group”) which marks a major milestone in achieving its vision to become a major Asian brand company through the management of proprietary animated cartoon brands in the Greater China region and beyond. However, as the acquisition was completed after 31 March 2011, the results of TE Group were not reflected in the results of last financial year.

IMAGI’s Chairman Francis Leung Pak To said, “The acquisition will enable the Group to build a bigger and much more solid consumer products licensing business in Greater China and international markets. Over the past few months, we have formed a new management team and carried out a restructuring programme to focus our resources on Greater China and self-owned animated cartoon brands. We are pleased to report that the restructuring of the Group’s previous operations has been completed and its financial and accounting effects have been fully reflected in the results of the year ended 31 March 2011. Moving ahead, TE Group is now our main operating entity and we are now looking forward to a brighter future.”

A Brighter Future with the newly acquired TE Group

Mr. Soh Szu Wei, CEO of IMAGI said, “Looking ahead, the Group is turning over a new leaf in its business development. Together with its existing expertise in the production and distribution of internationally acclaimed stereoscopic 3D CGI full featured movies, the Group is well positioned to become a branded family entertainment powerhouse in the Greater China area and beyond. TE Group has already established a strong merchandising foothold in China with Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. The Group intends to leverage its first mover advantage, leadership position as well as the strong connections of our two partners to expand into the broader merchandising, lifestyle, media, entertainment and services markets.”

TE Group is now partnering with Creative Power Entertaining Limited Liability Company (“CPE”), TE Group’s strategic media content partner, and Disney Enterprises, Inc. (“Disney”). TE Group granted Disney an exclusive right as the “Master Licensee” to manage its merchandise licensing business for 10 years from 1 January 2011. TE Group charges Disney royalties according to the kinds of products in addition to a minimum guarantee which is adjusted periodically. This minimum guarantee can minimise business exposure of TE Group on a global basis and at the same time, is an incitement for its licensees to generate as much licensing income as possible. This agreement with Disney opens up a worldwide network of licensees and allows TE Group to benefit from Disney’s economies of scale.

In October 2010, CPE granted Buena Vista International (“BVI”), an affiliate of Disney, a license to telecast the 100 episodes of the TV series Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of the Seasons on pay TV non-exclusively in China, and exclusively in 52 territories including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, India and Southeast Asia, in English and 17 other local languages. This signals the beginning of a long-term distribution relationship with a global giant and allows TE Group to tap into overseas markets rapidly.

“Phineas And Ferb” Movie Coming To DVD

Families can bring home Disney Channel’s original movie, Phineas & Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, in the 2-Disc “Ultimate Fan Pack” DVD Set on August 23, 2011. Based on Disney Channel’s #1 animated hit comedy series among Tweens 9-14 for three years running, this epic release comes packaged with a DVD of the movie, a digital copy of the movie with eight digital music tracks, all new bonus features and an awesome do-it-yourself Platypult Kit — all for the suggested retail price of $26.99 in the U.S. and $29.99 in Canada.

This special 2-Disc “Ultimate Fan Pack” also includes a variety of cool bonus features (i.e., eight deleted scenes, a music video, an exclusive song, a sing-along “Perry-oke” feature, and a bonus episode). The Digital Copy lets viewers transfer the movie and the eight digital music tracks onto their laptop and/or portable devices of choice — to watch the movie or listen to songs anytime, anywhere and at the touch of a button. The Ultimate Fan Pack is the perfect gift for teens and/or families on-the-go!

Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across The 2nd Dimension features Disney Channel’s dynamic animated duo, Phineas Flynn and his stepbrother Ferb Fletcher, as they go on their biggest adventure yet. When the boys discover that their pet platypus Perry is in fact a secret agent who battles the forces of evil daily, they join him on a grand adventure that blasts them to another dimension where a truly evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has taken over an alternate Tri-state Area. This larger than life, action-packed adventure will have the entire family laughing out loud!

Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across The 2nd Dimension was co-created and executive produced by Emmy® Award-winner Dan Povenmire (Director for TV’s Family Guy; Director/Writer for SpongeBob SquarePants) and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (Writer/Director for TV’s Rocko’s Modern Life; Artist for The Simpsons and King of the Hill).

Bringing each and every character to life are the voice talents of Vincent Martella (Role Models, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigilo) as Phineas Flynn, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually, Nanny McPhee) as Ferb Fletcher, Dee Bradley Baker (TV’s American Dad, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) as Perry the Platypus, Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, High School Musical franchise) as Candace, Mitchel Musso (Pair of Kings, Hannah Montana, Hatching Pete) as Jeremy Johnson and Alyson Stoner (Step Up 3D, Camp Rock 1 & 2) as Isabella, to name just a few.

Bonus Features:

- 8 Deleted Scenes — “Mysterious Force,” “Doof’s Lair,” “Vanessa Meets Doof,” “Blimp Ride,” “Memory Wipe,” “Danville Newscast,” “Inventions Revealed” and “Robot Riot Extended”

- Animatin’ Music Video — a behind-the-scenes music video performance by Co-Creators/ Executive Producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

- Perry-oke — a sing-along feature that allows viewers to sing along to the on-screen lyrics

- Dr. D’s Jukebox-inator — an on-screen jukebox that allows users to play all eight digital music tracks from their home entertainment system

- Bonus Episode “Attack of the 50 Foot Sister” — a bonus episode with character and creator commentary

VIZ Brings Naoki Urasawa’s “Monster” Anime To Netflix Watch Instantly

VIZ Media continues to expand its anime offerings as it announces the launch of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster on Netflix, the world’s leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows. The complete 74-episode psychological suspense series will be available to watch instantly for members in the U.S. beginning June 20th.

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster (rated TV-MA, subtitled) is based on the critically acclaimed manga (graphic novel) series, also published in North America by VIZ Media, and will be presented uncut. The series joins several other popular VIZ Media anime titles such as Bleach, Death Note, Naruto, Inuyasha, and MÄR, which can now be instantly streamed from Netflix.

What would you do if a child you once saved grew up to be a monster? An ice-cold killer is on the loose, and Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Tenma, a brilliant neurosurgeon with a promising future, risks his career to save a critically wounded young boy named Johan. When the boy, now a coldhearted and charismatic young man, reappears nine years later in the midst of a string of unusual serial murders, Tenma goes on the run from the police, who suspect him to be the killer, to find Johan and stop the monster he set loose upon the world.

Conspiracies, serial murders, and secret government experiments set against the grim backdrop of the formerly communist Eastern Europe are masterfully woven together in this compelling work of suspense. The critically acclaimed Naoki Urasawa’s Monster manga series is also published in North America by VIZ Media and was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award.

Sixty-six new European Animation Series To Debut At Cartoon Forum In Poland

"Agatha", One of Several Projects Planned For Cartoon Forum

European animation producers are getting ready to conquer screens across the continent with a new generation of series to be presented at the 22nd Cartoon Forum, the European co-production forum for TV and new platforms. The event, which will take place from 13-16 September in the seaside city of Sopot in northern Poland, will showcase 66 new projects for animated series, many of which will reach European screens over the next few months. About 700 animation producers, broadcasters and investors meet each year at the event to set up co-productions and accelerate financial arrangements for new TV projects.

This year’s edition of Cartoon Forum is particularly interesting thanks to a spectacular rise in the global budget for projects. The selected series total a global investment of 214.5 million euros, up 30% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the volume of productions rose 25% to reach 467 hours of animation. The figures reflect the positive outlook for the sector, as well as the consolidation of European animated series on broadcasters’ programming schedules, both on the continent and abroad.

Projects targeted at children aged 6-9 stand out in the event’s line-up, along with short format series with episodes under 11 minutes long. The sector’s gravitation towards cross-media continues to grow, with more than a third of the projects conceived simultaneously for television and other platforms like internet, mobiles, video consoles or tablets.

France is once again this year’s protagonist with 21 projects, followed by Britain and Spain which each double their participation from last year with 14 and 11 projects respectively. Sixteen other European countries will also participate with projects at the forum, underscoring the animation industry’s growing strength across the continent.

Located just a few kilometres from the city of Gdan´sk, Sopot is known as the summer capital of Poland. With a blend of beaches, nature and impressive landscapes, this charming town on the Baltic Sea will give a personal touch to the relaxing atmosphere that has already characterised Cartoon Forum for more than two decades.

Cartoon Forum, with a reputation for bringing animation projects to life, has been organised by CARTOON every year since 1990 with the aim to boost production and circulate European animated series. This is the second time the event will be held in a new member of the European Union after the 2010 edition was celebrated in Hungary.

A Pitch Party Where Everyone Loses Except Animation Magazine

Pitch Party

The problem with publishing a magazine about animation that nobody wants to read is that one often has to resort to questionable tactics to raise money. One of Animation Magazine‘s most insanely screwball stunts is their annual Pitch Party, which they’ve been getting away with for the past ten years.

Here’s how it works. Contestants pay $375 to “pitch” their animated project. Except, they don’t really pitch anything. Instead, they submit one 2″ x 5″ image to the magazine that contains their entire idea. I can’t even fit my daily to-do list in a space that small, much less an idea for an entire animated project. But amateurs and students who don’t know better still try to do it:

Pitch Party

Anybody who has worked in the animation industry for more than a week knows that this isn’t an even remotely realistic way to sell a series, and anybody who hasn’t worked in the industry could learn that by spending a few bucks on David Levy’s excellent primer Animation Development: From Pitch to Production. The sad thing is that Animation Magazine knows this too. They’ve published enough interviews with executives over the years that they could compile their own book of dos and donts for pitching.

What’s so wrong about giving industry access to amateurs and students who otherwise haven’t learned the proper (and free) way to contact executives. Nothing, if Animation Magazine billed this as an educational opportunity to develop a project and receive feedback from execs. They don’t do that though. They frame the contest as an “economical marketing campaign that lets you–the independent artist–and your animation project reach decision-makers the smart way.” In other words, they lead entrants to believe that this is a legitimate way for them to put their ideas in front of an audience of professionals. Ahh, if only it were that easy.

Pitch Party Executives

One of the main attractions of the event is that the entries are “judged” by development execs and producers, pictured above. Commenters on the Brew often make fun of those who judge movie posters as an indicator of a film’s quality, but guess what, professional industry execs have the magical ability to judge an entire series concept by looking at a miniature rectangle. This year’s nine judges, all respected professionals, should know better than to participate in this shakedown of budding creators. Not only are they squandering their own hard-earned reputations, they’re making our industry weaker by misleading people about how the animation business really works.

To end on a personal note, a couple weeks ago when I moved, my movers told me about their idea for an animated series. They’d even recorded tracks, but didn’t know the first thing about producing animation. I offered to meet with them for coffee and give them some basic guidance and tips. That’s how you help people. Animation Magazine and the executives who enable their contest believe that the best way to help people is to take people’s money by concocting a ridiculous event that has no grouding in industry realities.

An ironic note: part of the prize package if you win the contest is that Animation Magazine will reimburse your entry fee. The real winners though are the artists who weren’t naive enough to fall for the magazine’s pitch folly in the first place.

UPDATE: The folks at Animation Magazine want everyone to know that my article is “full of factual errors and negative comments,” and that they do the Pitch Party because, “It’s a valuable service to offer. . . .and not because it’s a huge profit center.” You can read the full statement on their website.