Animation Directors Gary Cureton and Andrew Painter Join Amazing Spectacles

London, UK — Amazing Spectacles, the Animation Production Company that operates within the Prime Focus Group has announced the signing of animation directors Gary Cureton and Andrew Painter. They will join up with existing directors Martyn Pick, Eoin Clarke, Susi Wilkinson, Richard Bazley and Nandita Jain, and mark the next stage of the company’s development as it strengthens its client offering.

Gary Cureton began his career at Aardman Animation writing and directing episodes of Morph as well as animating Wallace & Gromit and numerous commercials. He subsequently made the transition from traditional stop-motion to CG at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop where he worked as an animation director on various projects. After a spell working for MTV in New York, Gary returned to London where he continues to work in both stop-motion and CG, specialising in the making of TV commercials.

Andrew Painter started our as a trainee animator at Walt Disney Animation, working on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He has since been an animator/director/character designer for major London-based commercial studios including Passion Pictures and Hibbert Ralph, where he has spent the past 10 years, progressing to become their main director/character designer. Much of Andrew’s work today is illustration, character design and storyboarding. He recently collaborated with Amazing Spectacles, developing the characters on the Gocompare.com Big Bad Wolf spot which fused 2D hand drawn animation with digital post techniques.

Discussing the announcement, Jules Pye, Executive Producer at Amazing Spectacles said, “To bring in Andrew and Gary is a really positive move for us. Their unique talents perfectly complement those of our other directors and will allow us to add new specialism’s to our roster. They are both so talented and I can’t wait to work alongside them.”

Hollwood’s Gnomon School To Host Talk With Blur Studio On Making Of “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Main Titles

Join Gnomon for a special evening with Blur Studio as they share their work on the main titles for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

How do you approach a project that requires you to tell the story of an entire trilogy in two and a half minutes? Especially when the mandate that the piece “needs to redefine what main titles can be” comes from director David Fincher himself.

Come join the artists of Blur as they walk you through the process of creating more than 200 CG shots of abstract black goo set to the hard hitting cover of “Immigrant Song” by Trent Reznor and Karen O.

Franck Balson (Layout Supervisor), Derron Ross (Animation Supervisor), Johanes Kurnia (Effects Lead) and Jerome Denjean (CG Supervisor) will show the different stages of Blur’s first foray into the realm of title designs, from early concept designs to final renders.

The Making of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Main Titles
Thursday, April 5, 2012
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Gnomon School of Visual Effects
1015 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90038
RSVP

Guest Speakers from Blur Studio

Franck Balson
Layout supervisor

Derron Ross
Animation supervisor

Johanes Kurnia
Effects Lead

Jerome Denjean
CG Supervisor

French Schools of Animation Cinema Network Announces Board Members & Participating Schools

Following the French Schools of Animation Cinema Network’s (RECA) official launch in January, the group has elected board members and released a list of participating schools. Established by the Animation training forum of Angoulême to reflect on the stakes and methods of training in animation, RECA was first announced in November 2011, with the support of the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée(CNC).

RECA Objectives:

- To put in place the tools for a  clear training program available to students;
- To encourage an active, constructive dialogue with the professionals in the field;
- To be a hub for the institutions and animation-related establishments for the purposes of both training and employment.

RECA vows to strictly respect the individual pedagogical an organizational specificity of each institution. It affirms their will to encourage and maintain the combination of the technical and artistic capabilities of the students with the institution’s explicit set of objectives and means.

Participating schools include ArtFx, Arts et Technologies de l’Image Université Paris 8 (ATI), Ecole Emile Cohl, Ecole Georges Méliès, Ecole des métiers du cinéma d’animation (EMCA), Ecole supérieure des arts décoratifs (ENSAD), Ecole supérieure des arts appliqués et du textile (ESAAT), Gobelins l’école de l’image, Institut de l’Image dans l’Océan Indien (ILOI), Institut Sainte-Geneviève, Isart Digital, La Poudrière, Institut des arts appliqués (LISAA), Supinfocum Arles, and Supinfocum Valenciennes.

Elected board members include Dimitri Granovsky, (Ecole George Méliès) ; Marie-France Zumofen, (Gobelins l’école de l’image) ; Cédric Plessiet, (ATI). René Broca was appointed General Manager.

“Adventure Time: The Complete First Season” Comes to DVD on July 10, 2012

What Time Is It?! Full-Season DVD Release Time!

Cartoon Network Announces the DVD Release of Adventure Time: The Complete First Season

Making Your Dreams Come True July 10, Two-Disc Set Contains All 26 Season One Episodes PLUS a Whole Bunch of Bonus Features Created by Pendleton Ward & Show Team

HECK YEAH!!! At long last, the wait is over as Cartoon Network has announced the DVD release of the entire first season of its Emmy®-nominated animated comedy series Adventure Time! Yep, that’s all 26 episodes from the show’s first season, plus heaps of bonus features created by Pendleton Ward and the show team, including featurettes, episode commentaries, animatics and more packed into a sweet DVD package. The Adventure Time: The Complete First Season two-disc set will be available on July 10, 2012 for the suggested retail price of $26.95, making it a must-have for the series’ ravenous fans, who can relive all of the original adventures of best buddies Finn and Jake in the magical land of Ooo.

“Since our first DVD release last September, fans have been telling us nonstop that they want to own full season sets of Adventure Time on DVD. Because the show is for everyone, both kids and adults, we’re really happy we can put this out,” said Erik Resnick, vice president of Cartoon Network Enterprises, the home entertainment division of Cartoon Network. “In addition to the great episodes, Pendleton and the show team have created some great bonus features on this set that we’re sure fans will love.”

The highly-anticipated bonus materials in the Adventure Time: The Complete First Season DVD release include: behind the scene featurettes of the crew, the composers and more filmed by creator Pendleton Ward with his very own camera phone; animatics featuring commentary by Ward, Adam Muto, Pat McHale and Derek Drymon for the “Rainy Day Daydream,” “Slumber Party Panic,” “Dungeon” and “The Enchiridion!” episodes; and episode commentary from cast members and special guests including: “Prisoners of Love” with John DiMaggio, Jeremy Shada, Tom Kenny and Ward; “Ricardio the Heart Guy” with George Takei, Hynden Walch, Kenny, Shada and Ward; “Tree Trunks” with Bettie Ward and Polly Lou Livingston; and “Trouble in Lumpy Space” with DiMaggio, Shada, Kenny and Ward.

Joining the Adventure Time: The Complete First Season DVD release at retail are the compilation releases, Adventure Time My Two Favorite People and Adventure Time It Came from the Nightosphere, which are both currently available at retail and offer fans a lower-price point option to add to their DVD libraries.

The popularity of Adventure Time continues to surge as both the show’s ratings and the brand’s consumer products program continue to grow. Throughout its first three seasons, the Adventure Time series has garnered great ratings success with more than 44.3 million kids 6-11 and 35.8 million boys 6-14 tuning in to the series, and making it the #1 show in its timeslot for boys 6-14, according to Nielsen Media Research[i]. In addition, Adventure Time’s presence at top retailers across the country is continually expanding though the property’s comprehensive line of hard and soft consumer products which includes toys, apparel, accessories, youth electronics, comic books, posters and much more.

Many of Adventure Time’s fans are top tier entertainment and television critics who have bestowed high praise and accolades to the smash hit series. IGN.com hailed the show as “trippy and hilarious”[ii] and LA Weekly lauded it as “subversively funny and overwhelmingly cute.”[iii] Meanwhile USA Today.com proclaimed “I will never forget the words Adventure Time“[iv] and Entertainment Weekly.com named Adventure Time to its list of The 25 Greatest Animated Series Ever. In doing so they raved, “Adventure Time makes me wish I were a kid again, just so I could grow up to be as awesome as the kids who are currently watching Adventure Time will be.”[v]

Cartoon Network will support the release of Adventure Time: The Complete First Season with targeted on-air advertising spots on Cartoon Network, as well as a kid-focused online marketing campaign on Cartoonnetwork.com and other kid and parent targeted websites.

Created by Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time is produced by Cartoon Network Studios in association with Frederator Studios. Adventure Time leads viewers on the fantastical adventures of unlikely heroes, Finn & Jake, buddies who traverse the mystical Land of Ooo and encounter its colorful inhabitants. The fourth season of Adventure Time will premiere on Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Cartoon Network.

BASICS
SRP: $26.95
Street Date: July 10, 2012
Order Date: June 5, 2012
Run Time: 286 minutes
UPC: 883929226573
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

[i] Source: Nielson Media Research data. (Period: 4/5/10-1/21/12)
[ii] Source: IGN.com’s DVD review from September 22, 2011 of “Adventure Time: My Two Favorite People.”
[iii] Source: LA Weekly’s column from July 25 titled “Adventure Time is a Hit at San Diego Comic-Con.”
[iv] Source: USA Today.com’s Pop Candy column from July 26, 2011 titled “50 Things I Learned at Comic-Con.”
[v] Source: EW.com’s Popwatch column from May 25, 2011 titled “The 25 Greatest Animated Series Ever.”

Dave Cooper’s “Bagel’s Lucky Hat” In Development As Animated Series with TELETOON & Radical Sheep

Toronto, Canada — March 29, 2012 — TELETOON and Radical Sheep Productions have entered into a development deal for an animated comedy based on the book Bagel’s Lucky Hat by the world-renowned fine artist Dave Cooper (a.k.a. Hector Mumbly).

The Bagel and Becky Show is an 11-minute comedy for kids 8-11 about Bagel and Becky, a brother and sister who just happen to be a dog and a cat, who leave the house each day and usually end up any place other than the spot they were headed to. For them, the shortest distance between A and B also include points Q, BBB, a gassy pogo stick and a goo fight in 3,000,000,000 BC.

“We are so thrilled to be working with Dave Cooper to adapt his incredible book and characters to the screen and beyond. We’ve put together a strong team and we are excited to be working with TELETOON,” says John Leitch, President of Radical Sheep.

The show is being developed by Radical Sheep producer Michelle Melanson and creator Dave Cooper in association with Jam Filled Entertainment (Camp Lakebottom, Crash Canyon).  Ken Cuperus (Mr. Young, My Babysitter’s a Vampire), Adam Rotstein and Doug Hadders (Sidekick, Almost Naked Animals) are attached as showrunners/writers.

“Just like Dave Cooper, The Bagel and Becky Show is a true original: his brand of surrealism and wonderful illustrations are the perfect fit for TELETOON … where anything can happen,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content. “This will also be our first time working with Radical Sheep and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Radical Sheep will be at MIPTV, April 1st-4th 2012.

Turner Greenlights Animated/Live-Action Series “Team Toon”

FREMANTLEMEDIA ENTERPRISES AND LARRY SCHWARZ AND HIS BAND TAKE TEAM TOON TO MIPTV

LONDON, 29 March 2012 — Turner Broadcasting today announced the commission of a new live-action and animation series Team Toon (26 x 30 minutes), which it is co-producing with FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) and Larry Schwarz and His Band for Cartoon Network EMEA.

Turner Broadcasting has greenlit Team Toon for EMEA and Asia-Pacific where it will air on Cartoon Network, bolstering Turner’s live-action output across the regions. FME will manage the worldwide distribution of the TV series (outside of EMEA and Asia-Pacific) and handle all global ancillary rights.

Aimed at 6-11 year-olds, Team Toon is a unique combination of live-action with animation. The series follows the toon-infused adventures of Dylan, Sam, Iko and Ash, the creators of an animated online series Psycho Squirrel which plays at the start of each episode. When trouble strikes they let their imaginations run wild as Team Toon. As the gang races around town in their trusty talking Animobile solving mysteries and battling villains, they blur the line between reality and cartoon. Maybe their toon-infused adventures are real. Maybe they’re not. It really doesn’t matter to Team Toon as these kids take their play seriously.

Cecilia Persson, Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, EMEA, Turner Broadcasting said, “Team Toon is an irresistibly creative and quirky series about kids interpreting their experiences through imagination and play. By putting on their “Toon Faces”, the characters are able to create cartoons in the real world, an imaginative premise sure to strike a chord with our audience. The show uses sophisticated production techniques, both in its mixed media format and its ‘show within a show’ concept and it will be an exciting addition to our live action line-up on Cartoon Network.”

Sander Schwartz, President, Kids & Family Entertainment, FME, said, “Team Toon is a fun, dynamic show with a unique mix of live-action and animation. The crazy irreverent comedic sensibility, innovativeness and eclectic characters of Team Toon resonates well with our target audience. It is fantastic to work with Larry Schwarz and His Band on one of its original comedies and we look forward to developing Team Toon into a hit kids’ property.”

Larry Schwarz, the creator of Team Toon, and President of Larry Schwarz and His Band, said, “Team Toon combines live action and animation, but at its heart, it’s about a group of best friends and how they play together.”

Team Toon joins FME’s growing portfolio of kids’ properties which include Max Steel, a high-octane, action-adventure CGI animated series; Really Me, a tween live action sitcom; and The Aquabats Super Show, a quirky comedy adventure that combines a hybrid of concert footage, live-action skits and animation.

Visit FremantleMedia Enterprises at MIPTV 2012 at Stand No. RB1 Riviera Beach, Palais du Festival, 1 – 4 April 2012.

Zodiak Kids Debuts New Series “The Marco Macaco Show” At MIPTV

Paris, France – Paris-based Tele Images Productions, part of Zodiak Kids, and Danish studio Nice Ninja, are delighted to unveil at  MIPTV a pilot episode of The Marco Macaco Show, the new 3D animated non-verbal comedy series produced with Canal +.

Zodiak Kids, Zodiak Media’s children’s production and distribution arm, holds the distribution rights to the series and will start pre-sales of this slapstick comedy to major territories at MIPTV.

Plans are to start the production of the 52 x 5’ series (or 26 x 11’) in September 2012 in France and Denmark for delivery in 2013.

Philippe Alessandri, CEO of Tele Images Productions, comments: “With channels becoming increasingly more interested in co-viewing, The Marco Macaco Show is the type of high quality cartoon that can be watched by parents with their children.”

Thomas Borch Nielsen, CEO of Nice Ninja and creator of the series, adds: “The Marco Macaco Show is the kind of universal storytelling that hits you straight in the funny bone.”

The Marco Macaco Show tells the daily adventures of the worlds most dedicated beach officer, Marco Macaco. Unfortunately his extreme love of order starts one catastrophe after the other. In his eagerness to do things the right way, Marco manages to be zapped by his stun gun, get stuck under a grand piano, fly off with a rocket, handcuff himself and knock the president out — all in just one day.

The Marco Macaco Show is a spin-off series based on the forthcoming animated theatrical feature film Marco Macaco by Jan Rahbek, which will premiere later this year.

The Marco Macaco Show is the next animated comedy show to come from Tele Images Productions after the successful Sally Bollywood series. It is also Nice Ninja’s first TV series, having only produced feature films to date.

Rainmaker Entertainment Announces December 31st, 2011 Year-End Results

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Mar 30, 2012Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2011.

Highlights for the year ended December 31, 2011:

        --  Loss from operations was $2,844,956 an increase of $1,988,012 compared
            to 2010
        --  Earnings for the year were $3,347,738, an improvement of $2,416,600
            compared to 2010.
        --  Revenues decreased $644,859 compared to 2010 to $18,827,454.
        --  The disposition of Rainmaker's 30% interest in Base 10 Group Inc. ("Base
            10") for proceeds of $5,600,000 and resulted in a gain of $4,855,224.

During the year, Rainmaker completed three DVD films as well as Luna, an animated short film. Luna has been selected for screening at a wide range of festivals all over North America and has won two awards including Best Animated Short at the California International Shorts Festival and the Silver Award Best Animated Short at the Spokane Animation Festival. Production on the feature film Escape from Planet Earth continued during the year with an all-star voice cast which includes: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, James Gandolfini.

During 2011 a significant portion of the production capacity at the studio was related to production on the feature film Escape from Planet Earth. This project is currently scheduled to come to an end in Q2 with only minor services provided for the remainder of the year. The revenues from the film in 2011 were $8,298,480 and are anticipated to be approximately 50% of that for 2012. The Company needs to generate additional revenue from its feature film work for hire business. In the meantime, the Company is actively reducing operating costs. If the Company is not able to accomplish these goals, further losses from operations are anticipated in 2012. Management is working with its board of directors to improve company performance on a go forward basis.

Selected Annual Information

The selected annual information provided below has been derived from Rainmaker’s audited annual financial statements which were prepared under IFRS for 2011 and 2010 and under previous Canadian GAAP for 2009.

                                             Years ended December 31,
                                                 2011           2010           2009
                                         ------------------------------------------
                                                (IFRS)         (IFRS)     (CDN GAAP)
        Revenue                          $ 18,827,454   $ 19,472,313   $ 15,136,947
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Expenses
          Operating                        17,302,827     16,055,810     16,786,332
          Depreciation and
           amortization                     1,576,589      2,730,211      3,407,618
          General and administration        1,265,924        987,390        246,344
          Impairment of investment in
           film and television
           properties                       1,178,422        250,000              -
          Gain on sale of property,
           plant and equipment                 (8,781)        (1,071)           183
          Interest expense                    421,440        364,823        684,655
          Interest income                     (64,011)       (57,906)      (135,865)
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           21,672,410     20,329,257     20,989,267
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Loss from operations               (2,844,956)      (856,944)    (5,852,320)
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Gain on sale of investment
           in Base 10 Group Inc.            4,855,224        571,481        297,507
          Share of income from
           investment in Base 10 Group
           Inc.                               864,117        352,226        565,035
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings (loss) from
         continuing operations              2,874,385         66,763     (4,989,778)
        Gain on sale of discontinued
         operations                           473,353        864,375         97,632
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings and comprehensive
         income (loss) for the year      $  3,347,738   $    931,138   $ (4,892,146)
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings (loss) from
         continuing operations per
         share
          - basic and diluted            $       0.16   $       0.00   $      (0.29)
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings (loss) per share
          - basic and diluted            $       0.19   $       0.05   $      (0.28)
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Weighted average number of
         shares outstanding
          Basic and diluted                17,485,175     17,485,175     17,485,175
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Overall Performance

The $7,294,714 increase in total assets is due to a $6,179,613 increase in tax credits receivable and a $4,933,455 increase in cash as a result of the sale of the Base 10 investment, which was offset by a $2,678,728 reduction in the investment and note receivable. These amounts were offset by an impairment of investment in film and television properties of $1,178,422 and various other items.

Operating activities used cash of $5,685,262 in 2011 compared to $763,429 in 2010; however, cash flow from operations before changes in working capital was $545,719 in 2011 compared to $2,314,897 in 2010. Financing activities provided cash of $2,870,104 as an additional $4,725,119 was drawn on the production loan credit facility, net of $1,855,015 of capital leases payments. Investing activities provided cash of $7,748,613 compared to requiring cash of $106,702 in 2010 due primarily to cash distributions of $1,650,000 from Base 10 and proceeds of $5,600,000 from the subsequent sale of the investment in Base 10 on December 16, 2011.

Earnings from continuing operations increased $2,807,622 to $2,874,385 in 2011 from $66,763 in 2010. The increase is primarily due to the sale of the investment in Base 10 which resulted in a gain of $4,855,224. A more detailed analysis of the other components of earnings from continuing operations is provided below under the title Results of Operations.

The gain on sale of discontinued operations for 2011 was $473,353 compared to $864,375 in 2010. This represents the use of $123,353 of service credits as well as a cash payment due that relates to certain earn-out targets.

On March 31, 2011, Base 10 paid the Company a distribution of $1,650,000 of which $1,320,000 was paid in cash with the remaining $330,000 paid on December 16, 2011. The share of income from the equity investment in Base 10 was $864,117 in 2011 (2010 – $352,226) and earn-out consideration received from Base 10 was $592,196.

Results of Operations

Year ended December 31, 2011 compared to 2010

Revenue

Revenue decreased by $644,859 to $18,827,454 in 2011 from $19,472,313 in 2010. The decrease in revenue was due primarily to a $1,290,877 decrease in gaming revenues as no gaming properties were produced in 2011. In addition, revenue from production of DVD’s and other special projects decreased $1,902,944 from $11,664,357 in 2010 to $9,761,413 in 2011 and revenue from licensing contracts of the Company’s film library decreased $257,117. These decreases were somewhat offset by increased production on feature films, primarily being Escape from Planet Earth, resulting in a $2,736,025 increase in revenue from $6,010,462 in 2010 to $8,746,486 in 2011.

Operating expenses

Operating expenses increased by $1,247,017 to $17,302,827 in 2011 compared to $16,055,810 in 2010. Operating expenses are net of tax credits of $11,919,307 compared to $9,205,837 in 2010. Employee compensation costs increased $3,824,810 in 2011 from $18,979,697 in 2010 to $22,804,507 in 2011. This was primarily due to increase employee costs related to production of the feature film Escape from Planet Earth. Rainmaker had 97 full-time regular employees and 239 term employees at December 31, 2011 compared to 91 full-time and 133 term employees at December 31, 2010. The remainder of the increase in operating expenses in 2011 is largely due to a $298,928 increase in indirect production expenses to $841,323, a $122,549 increase in meals and entertainment to $314,267 and a $103,872 increase in repairs and maintenance to $864,830.

Depreciation and amortization of property, plant and equipment

Depreciation and amortization of property, plant and equipment decreased $1,153,622 in 2011 to $1,576,589 as compared to $2,730,211 in 2010 due to decreasing carrying value of the assets from 2010 to 2011.

General and administration expense

General and administration expenses increased $278,534 to $1,265,924 in 2011 from $987,390 in 2010. This increase is primarily due to a $196,601 increase in legal costs and a $95,081 decrease in foreign exchange gain.

Impairment of investment in film and television properties

Rainmaker recorded impairment of film and television properties of $1,178,422 in 2011 compared to $250,000 in 2010. This impairment is the result of managements’ decision to cease further development of certain projects, which resulted in the write-off of the projects carrying values, which were estimated higher than their estimated value.

Interest expense

Total interest expense increased $56,617 in 2011 to $421,440 as compared to $364,823 in 2010. This is primarily due to the increase in the amount drawn on the production loans from $1,524,027 at December 31, 2010 to $6,249,146 at December 31, 2011.

Equity earnings

Rainmaker’s 30% interest in Base 10 Group Inc. was reported on an equity basis until it was disposed of in December 2011. Rainmaker reported equity earnings of $864,117 from this investment in 2011 as compared to $352,226 in 2010.

Gain on sale of Base 10

The sale of Rainmaker’s 30% interest resulted in proceeds of $5,600,000 million. In addition the Company earned $592,196 of earn-out consideration during the year (2010 – $289,576). Upon final disposition and recognition of all deferred gains and earn-out consideration, the Company recognized a total gain $4,855,224 on sale of the asset.

Gain on sale of discontinued operations

The gain on sale of discontinued operations for 2011 was $473,353 (2010 – $864,375). This represents the use of service credits from Deluxe more fully described in Note 18 of the accompanying financial statements. The gain for the year is comprised of a $350,000 cash payment receivable ($2010 – Nil), and $123,353 in service credits used ($2010 – $864,375).

Earnings for the year

Earnings for the year ended December 31, 2011 increased $2,416,600 to $3,347,738 from $931,138 in 2010.

Selected Fourth Quarter Information

                                                          Quarter ended December 31,
                                                                2011           2010
                                                        ---------------------------
        Revenue                                         $  5,122,599   $  4,422,416
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Expenses
          Operating                                        5,822,597      3,486,852
          Depreciation and amortization                      340,322        600,331
          General and administration                         394,268        254,233
          Impairment of investment in film and
           television properties                           1,178,422        250,000
          Gain on sale of property, plant and
           equipment                                          (8,781)             -
          Interest expense                                   111,043         96,193
          Interest income                                    (22,690)       (20,573)
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           7,815,181      4,667,036
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings (loss) from operations                   (2,692,582)      (244,620)
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Gain on sale of investment in Base 10 Group
           Inc.                                            4,039,898         74,376
          Share of income from investment in Base 10
           Group Inc.                                        427,914        197,371
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings from continuing operations                1,775,230         27,127
        Gain on sale of discontinued operations              378,528        749,249
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings and comprehensive income               $  2,153,758   $    776,376
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Earnings from continuing operations per share
          - basic and diluted                                 $ 0.10         $ 0.00
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total comprehensive income per share
          - basic and diluted                                 $ 0.12         $ 0.04
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Weighted average number of shares outstanding
          Basic and diluted                               17,485,175     17,485,175
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loss from operations for the fourth quarter of 2011 increased $2,447,962 over the fourth quarter of 2010. The increase over the prior year is largely due to the $2,335,745 increase in the operating costs, a $140,035 and a $928,422 increase in impairment of investment in film and television properties, offset by a decrease in depreciation and amortization of $260,009 and an increase in revenue of $700,183.

The disposition of the Base 10 investment further described above, resulted in an increased gain on sale of the investment of $3,965,522 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. The equity income from Base 10 was recognized until the date of sale and was $230,543 higher than 2010.

Other

Rainmaker Entertainment Inc., a multifaceted animation studio, is one of Canada’s largest producers of CG animation. With an innovative history that spans over 18 years, Rainmaker today continues to tell engaging stories and create compelling characters for all media. The studio’s 200 creatively-inspired artists and storytellers are currently in development on the company’s first slate of proprietary projects and in production on the 3D animated family comedy Escape From Planet Earth, voiced by Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, James Gandolfini. The film, to be distributed by The Weinstein Company in 2013, is directed by Cal Brunker (Despicable Me). Rainmaker has also produced the award-winning short Luna. Originally established as Mainframe Entertainment, the company broke ground by producing the first ever CGI animation series ReBoot. In addition to developing its own properties, Rainmaker also produces feature length DVD’s for many top international brands including Barbie, Max Steel and Tony Hawk, and more. Rainmaker’s clients include Mattel, The Weinstein Company, Lionsgate, Sony, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and MTV. Circle of Confusion, the leading management firm, is repping the company in Hollywood.

Sheridan College Student Films 2012

Canada’s Sheridan College is well known for the quality of their animation program and the work of their students (alumni include Dean Dublois, Michel Gagné and Danny Antonucci). Here’s a sneak peek/montage of this year’s graduate films – 63 of them in 2 minutes – which will screen publicly on Industry Day, Thursday April 26th. Beautiful looking stuff – can’t wait to see the full finished films.

Quay Brothers Retrospective Coming to MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art in New York continues to be one of the most animation friendly museums in the US. This week they announced an exhibition and accompanying film retrospective celebrating the work of the 64-year-old identical twin animators Stephen and Timothy Quay, better known as the Brothers Quay. The show, “Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets,” opens on August 8, 2012. The show is being organized by Ron Magliozzi, who has also co-curated MoMA’s hit exhibitions on Tim Burton and Pixar. More from MoMA’s website:

Internationally renowned moving image artists and designers, the Quay Brothers were born outside Philadelphia and have worked from their London studio, Atelier Koninck, since the late 1970s. For over 30 years, they have been in the avant-garde of stop-motion puppet animation and live-action movie-making in the Eastern European tradition of filmmakers like Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Svankmajer and the Russian Yuri Norstein, and have championed a design aesthetic influenced by the graphic surrealism of Polish poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Beginning with their student films in 1971, the Quay Brothers have produced over 45 moving image works, including two features, music videos, dance films, documentaries, and signature personal works, including The Street of Crocodiles (1986), the Stille Nacht series (1988—2008), Institute Benjamenta (1995), and In Absentia (2000). They have also designed sets and projections for opera, drama, and concert performances such as Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa (1991), Ionesco’s The Chairs (Tony-nominated design, 1997), Richard Ayre’s The Cricket Recovers (2005), and recent site-specific pieces based on the work of Bartók and Kafka.

In addition to their better known films, this exhibition will include never-before-seen moving image works and graphic design, drawings, and calligraphy, presenting animated and live-action films alongside installations, objects, and works on paper.

Animated Fragments #19

Goodbye by Flavio Santana (Brazil): This piece was the winner of February’s edition of the 11 Second Club.

Test by Josh Parpan (US)

Little Red Bumper by Nicole M. Hamilton (US)

Animated GIF by FuFu Frauenwahl (Germany)
Dance Around Fire

Excerpt from The Long Walk by Svilen Dimitrov (Bulgaria)

Jeffrey Katzenberg Says Honoring Employees is Good Business Strategy

As a counterbalance to Digital Domain and its dunderheaded business strategy of making one-third of its staff pay them to work on its films, the video above features DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg speaking about he importance of honoring his studio’s employees. Katzenberg says in the interview:

The thing that I have learned, and I only wish that I knew it twenty-five or thirty years ago, which is to honor and celebrate, recognize and reward your employees and their work–is a fantastic business strategy. If they love their work, they love coming to work, they will strive to do great work and you’ll succeed.

(via @supersternio)

Nickelodeon Presents New Half-Hour Special, “Dora’s Easter Adventure”

Swiper’s up to no good again and Dora, Boots and their new friend the Hip-Hop Bunny must stop him in the new half-hour Dora the Explorer special, Dora’s Easter Adventure, premiering Wednesday, April 4, at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon recently debuted the seventh season of the Emmy Award-winning international phenomenon.

In Dora’s Easter Adventure, Dora and Boots are waiting for a visit from the Hip-Hop Bunny, who’s bringing all the Easter Eggs for the big Egg Hunt. But when Swiper swipes the Hip-Hop Bunny’s basket, Dora and Boots and the Bunny go on an adventure to get back the basket and make sure everyone has a “hoppy” Easter.

On NickJr.com, Nickelodeon’s award-winning website, parents and their preschoolers can find new Dora Easter activities like printable Dora Easter coloring pages and a Dora Egg decorating pack, plus watch a sneak peek of the Dora’s Easter Adventure special online.

Viz Media Promotes Ken Sasaki to President & CEO

Hidemi Fukuhara Elevated to Vice Chairman

San Francisco, CA, March, 29 2012 — VIZ Media, the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga, graphic novels and anime in North America, announced today that Ken Sasaki will succeed Hidemi Fukuhara as President and CEO of the company as of April 1st, 2012.

Sasaki joined VIZ Media in February of 2008 and most recently served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for VIZ Media, where he led the company’s digital content distribution strategy for animation. Sasaki was a driving force behind developing relationships with industry leaders for the digital distribution of anime.

“We have spent the last few years preparing VIZ Media for its digital future,” said Ken Sasaki. “I look forward to expanding our digital distribution channels even further, making manga, graphic novels and anime even more accessible to fans across North America.”

Fukuhara is to be elevated to Vice Chairman for VIZ Media at the end of the month, leaving the day-to-day operations to his successor. He joined the company in March 2004 and began directing and overseeing all financial and operational concerns. Prior to this, Fukuhara spent 19 years at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, moving quickly up the ranks to become its Deputy President and Managing Director.

“Ken Sasaki is a dynamic businessman and leader, and I am proud of the work we have done together over the past few years,” said Hidemi Fukuhara. “Ken will continue what we started, ensuring fans of manga and anime all across North America get the stories they love anytime in their preferred medium, whether it be physical media or digitally through the web or phone or tablet apps.”

In the coming months, alongside the vibrant publishing, licensing, home entertainment and broadcast entertainment businesses, Sasaki will continue to build the audience for its digital platforms, VIZ Anime and VIZ Manga, and to create innovative product offerings such as Weekly Shonen Jump Alpa (the new digital manga anthology). Sasaki plans to unveil the next digital chapter for VIZ Media this summer.

Animated Shorts by George Griffin

George Griffin is one of the stalwarts of the New York indie scene, a filmmaker with an inspiring DIY approach who has been making films of every stripe continuously since 1969. His work hasn’t been readily available online, which is why I was excited to learn that he’s recently been uploading a selection of his films onto Vimeo. A more extensive collection of Griffin’s shorts can be purchased through his website.

If you’re unfamiliar with his work, you will want to read this 1997 interview on AWN in which he discusses his personal and artistic history, and why he values the idea of “doing my own thing.” Below are a few of his works that are currently online.

Flying Fur (1981), an “animated love song to the cartoon chase” set to Scott Bradley’s score from the Tom and Jerry short Puttin’ on the Dog.

Ko-Ko (1988), a collage-animation film that explores the visual equivalent to the aural improvisations of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

New Fangled (1990) is rooted in Griffin’s experiences working in advertising and pillories the nonsensical jargon used by ad agency “creatives.”

“Drawings from the Hospital Bed” by Tom Bone

Australian artist Tom Bone was laid up in a hospital bed for three weeks due to a broken pelvis. He made the best of his time and produced a four-minute animated short during his hospital stay. There’s a phenomenal amount of inventive character designs in his hilariously perverse morphing freakfest, which is looped multiple times below.

“My Way” by Veljko Popović

My Way is a sweet-natured short about the anxieties of growing up, and the unknown forces (represented by the metaphorical pebble) that shape our life experiences. Directed by Veljko Popović and made at Croatia’s Bold Studio, the film is based on a book written and illustrated by Svjetlan Junaković. Despite remaining faithful to the illustrator’s richly textured style, the director Popović manages to avoid the blandness that plagues many book adaptations through a dynamic use of screen space and creative transitions between scenes. My Way has played at dozens of film festivals since its debut in 2010.

CREDITS
Story and visuals: Svjetlan Junaković
Director: Veljko Popović
Producer: Masha Udovičić
Music and sound: Hrvoje Štefotić
Narator: Charles Foster
Animation: Zvonimir Haramija, Mirela Ivanković Bielen, Ana Horvat, Juliana Kučan, Ana-Marija Vidaković
Compositing: Masha Udovičić, Zvonimir Haramija, Juliana Kučan

“Dinotasia”

Opening in London on May 4th is Dinotasia, a new feature film containing a series of vignettes about dinosaurs, narrated by filmmaker Werner Herzog. The animation for this film was originally created for the Discovery Channel series Dinosaur Revolution, which aired in the U.S. last fall. Erik Nelson, best known for his work with director Werner Herzog on his documentary features, co-directed the film with David Krentz, lead character designer for Disney’s Dinosaur, and has contributed to Fantasia 2000, Treasure Planet, Valiant and The Ant Bully. It should open in the U.S. later this year.

Digital Domain’s John Textor Brags to Investors about Exploiting Animation Student Labor

Digital Domain CEO John Textor (pictured above with his wife) envisions big things for his company’s new feature animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida called Tradition Studios. While we’ve written about the studio’s ambitious feature film plans, what wasn’t known until recently is how Textor intends to create the films. His plan is to convince students to pay Digital Domain to work on its films for free.

The blog VFX Soldier has obtained a speech that Textor gave last November to investors in which he revealed how the company’s new animation school Digital Domain Institute will be integrated with the Tradition studio. Textor told the audience:

Classes starting in the education space, what’s interesting is the relationship between the digital studio and the college.  Not only is this a first in a number of ways that we’ve talked about, but 30% of the workforce at our digital studio down in Florida, is not only going to be free, with student labor, it’s going to be labor that’s actually paying us for the privilege of working on our films.

Now this was the controversial element of this and the first discussions with the Department of Education, ’cause it sounds like you’re taking advantage of the students.  But we were able to persuade even the academic community, if we don’t do something to dramatically reduce costs in our industry, not only ours but many other industries in this country, then we’re going to lose these industries .. we’re going to lose these jobs.  And our industry was going very quickly to India and China.

Students, in other words, will pay up to $105,000 for the “privilege” of working on Digital Domain’s features, the first of which will be The Legend of Tembo. As VFX Soldier points out, “It’s one thing to work for low pay, it’s another thing to work for free, but it’s unfathomable to be expected to pay to work for free.

If all of this sounds a little fishy, that’s because it is. The Animation Guild in Los Angeles is exploring whether Digital Domain might be in violation of state and federal labor laws. They’ve tried to communicate with multiple Florida government agencies, including the state’s Department of Education, with no luck yet. Federal labor laws, however, would appear to be in favor of artists as they clearly stipulate that interns cannot “perform productive work” (i.e. work on the production of a film) without being compensated with at least minimum wage and overtime pay. (Minimum wage, by the way, is $7.67 per hour in Florida.)

As animation education programs proliferate around the United States and competition intensifies for a finite number of jobs, studios find themselves in a position to exploit young artists more aggressively than ever before. Whether it’s Titmouse relocating its studio nearly 3,000 miles away to avoid paying its employees union wages or Digital Domain making people pay to work on its films, there are plenty of legal loopholes that studios can exploit to save a buck on the backs of their production crews. And some studio CEOs are so proud of themselves that they’ll publicly boast about how they’re getting away with it.

UPDATE: John Textor’s “Free Student Labor” Comments Have Staying Power

UPDATE #2: John Textor Made $16 Million In 2011 While Digital Domain’s Revenue Dropped

UPDATE #3: Digital Domain CEO John Textor Caught On Video: “Free Labor is Much Better Than Cheap Labor”

(Photo of Debbie and John Trextor via TCPalm.com)

Edd Gould (1988-2012)

British animation artist Edd Gould passed away on Sunday, March 25 from leukemia. He was the creator of the popular online animation series Eddsworld, which achieved a devoted following on numerous video platforms including Newgrounds and YouTube. On YouTube alone, his shorts have been viewed over 80 million times. The Eddsworld universe also included comics and Flash games. Gould animated all the shorts, co-wrote them, and provided some of the voices. It is not clear at this point whether the series will continue without his participation, but the rest of the Eddsworld crew has promised fans that they will finish the two-part episode that Gould was working on at the time of his death.

(Thanks, David OReilly)

Cartoon Network Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Ratings Growth and a New Generation of Content for a New Generation of Kids

The #1 Network with Boys 6-11 Announces Slate of New and Returning Series

CartoonNetwork.com Ranks as #1 Domain in Kids Category

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, along with double-digit growth and its #1 status with boys 6-11 on all of television, Cartoon Network announced today several new and returning series to its programming line-up.

Having its best first quarter with kids in prime in five years (up 28% vs. 2011) and showing the most gains compared to the competition in the kids space, the network’s afternoon Upfront presentation held at New York’s Roseland Ballroom paid tribute to the past and present with a full orchestra playing classic Cartoon Network television theme songs and live performances from the creative talent behind the hit animated comedy series Adventure Time and Regular Show.

Announcements included a new sketch comedy show from entertainer Nick Cannon; the world premiere of DreamWorks Dragons: The Series, based on the critically-acclaimed feature film, How to Train Your Dragon; an original series based on Web sensation, Annoying Orange; a brand new animated series from the global franchise powerhouse, Ben 10: Omniverse; and a new CG-animated series from Warner Bros. Animation, Beware The Batman. Also, on the heels of the hugely successful Ninjago launch in 2011–currently the #1 show across 1st Quarter 2012 with all boys–a new partnership with LEGO for a second series was announced by the network as it continues to build on its slate of diverse content.

“We are executing a brand vision and content strategy that is fueling tremendous results for Cartoon Network,” said Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer, Turner Broadcasting’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media (AYAKM). “Today, with a re-invented and thriving prime time, along with overall double-digit growth in total day, we are building the kind of momentum that is making this a great 20th anniversary.”

Ranking #1 in early evening prime time (7-9 p.m.) among boys 6-11 throughout 1st Quarter this year, Cartoon Network also announced new upcoming seasons of its original hit animated comedy series Adventure Time, Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, MAD and The Looney Tunes Show. A 2nd season pick-up for the live-action comedy series Level Up, which debuted as the most watched live-action series in the network’s history, and a 5th season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, also was announced.

Combined with top-performing acquisitions and specials, these programming anchors not only fueled 2011’s prime time performance as Cartoon Network’s most-watched in five years, they also set the stage for a record breaking first quarter in 2012. New seasons for more than a dozen additional series also will premiere across the 2012-13 programming timeframe.

“For 20 years, Cartoon Network has cultivated truly original voices from a diverse array of artists and producers, making us the great alternative to everything else out there,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “Cartoon Network Studios has grown to become the most supportive and creative environment for a new generation of creators.”

Cartoon Network also announced its ongoing commitment to its shorts program with ten original 7-minute shorts to be produced this year with a wholly dedicated production unit at Cartoon Network Studios. With production already underway on many of these projects, this continuing investment in diverse and unique talent has resulted in many of the network’s hit animated series.

Additionally, the network revealed that a third Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards special has been slated for early 2013. The second annual telecast (Feb. 20, 2012), hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, ranked as the #1 program of the day among all boy demos, and out-performed the inaugural Hall of Game special by double and triple-digits–between 64% and 103%–across all kid and boy demos. Online voting for the celebrity sports awards also nearly tripled in participation, from 37 million votes in 2011 to more than 100 million votes in 2012.

“Cartoon Network enters into the upfront season with strong momentum and a programming foundation that is resonating with our audience, as well as advertisers,” said John O’Hara, executive vice president and general sales manager, Cartoon Network. “The ad sales team is committed to developing ideas that extend the reach of an advertiser’s message and connects their brands across multiple screens with an engaged audience. As brands look to deliver measurable return on their investment, we believe it’s a good time to reassess plans and for advertisers to strategically increase their media budgets with Cartoon Network.”

Building off of the success of CartoonNetwork.com ranking as the #1 domain in the kids category among kids 6-11*, the network announced that its next big foray into on-line gaming would be the global roll-out of Formula Cartoon, a huge on-line racing game which will let players race against their friends or favorite Cartoon Network characters.

* Source: Data from comScore Media Metrix run on domain level for Unique Visitors age 6-11 in the Media — Entertainment — Kids category for the February 2012 reporting period

Further details of Cartoon Network’s programming announcements include the following:

CARTOON NETWORK NEW SERIES

  • Nick Cannon Sketch Comedy Series: The series is a live-action, half-hour, sketch comedy show rooted in raw mischief, high energy and slapstick humor. You’ll never know what will happen next! Some of the silliest kids you know will make up this wild comedy troupe led by teen stars Jeremy Shada (Adventure Time), Brandon Soo Hoo (Enders Game, Tropic Thunder), Shameik Moore (Joyful Noise), Shauna Case (American Horror Story) and Chanelle Peloso (Level Up). Nick Cannon will bring the funny as creator and executive producer along with executive producers Michael Goldman and Scott Tomlinson. The series is being produced by Cartoon Network Studios in association with NCredible Entertainment.
  • Annoying Orange: Boasting more than 1 billion YouTube online views to date, Annoying Orange is the Web sensation transformed into a new television series that follows Orange and his buddies as they go on a wide range of adventures that take them from the fruit stand to parts unknown and everything in between. The television series was developed and will be produced by The Collective. Dane Boedigheimer co-created the television series with Tom Sheppard (Emmy Award-winning writer for Pinky and the Brain). Conrad Vernon (director of Madagascar 3 and Monsters vs. Aliens) will serve as executive producer for the series along with Gary Binkow and Dan Weinstein of The Collective. The series will premiere on Cartoon Network this summer.
  • DreamWorks Dragons: The Series: Picking up where the critically-acclaimed feature film, How to Train Your Dragon, left off, this weekly animated series follows the continuing adventures of Hiccup and his dragon Toothless on the island of Berk, along with the band of dragon trainers, all of whom now have dragons of their own! Through their training, the kids are finding out the cool things dragons can do. Not only will they learn more about their dragons, they’ll also discover new ones and battle against enemies as they explore worlds they never dreamed existed. In addition, the talented cast from the feature film–Jay Baruchel (Hiccup), America Ferrera (Astrid), Christopher Mitz-Plasse (Fishlegs) and T.J. Miller (Tuffnut)–will lend their voices to the series, which is produced by DreamWorks Animation and premieres this fall.
  • New LEGO Project: Following the instant ratings success of the CG-animated Ninjago, LEGO and Cartoon Network plan to expand their partnership with an all-new series from LEGO for 2013.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: In the brand-new animated series, Ben 10: Omniverse, Ben will have a new character design that pays homage to his past, and he’ll have a whole new batch of aliens to battle. Beating the bad guys is just part of the superhero gig. With a little help from his new, by-the-book rookie partner, Ben explores the quirkier side of things in the alien underground and discovers enemies from his past looking for a re-match, all while a mysterious hunter is hot on his trail! With 10 new aliens at his disposal and a brand new lease on life, Ben 10 is back and more fun than ever! Matt Youngberg is supervising producer for the series, which will premiere on Cartoon Network this fall.
  • Ben 10 is Cartoon Network’s most successful original global franchise. Since the premiere of the original Ben 10 series, created by Man of Action Studios, in 2006, the franchise has spawned four animated series, one animated movie, two live-action movies, a CG movie, a feature film currently in development, a widely-popular consumer products line and has captured the imaginations of viewers on a worldwide scale.
  • Beware the Batman: A cool, new take on the classic Dark Knight franchise, Beware the Batman incorporates Batman’s core characters with a rogues gallery of new villains not previously seen in animated form. Along with backup from ex-secret agent Alfred and lethal swordstress Katana, the Dark Knight faces the twisted machinations of Gotham City’s criminal underworld led by the likes of Anarky, Professor Pyg, Mister Toad and Magpie. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, this action-packed detective thriller deftly redefines what we have come to know as a “Batman show.” Featuring cutting-edge CGI visuals to match the intricate twists and turns of the narrative, Batman steps out of the shadows and into the spotlight for an entirely new generation of fans. With WBA’s Sam Register executive producing, and Batman Beyond’s Glen Murakami and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated’s Mitch Watson producing, Beware the Batman, based on characters from DC Comics, is coming soon to Cartoon Network!
  • Total Drama: Revenge of the Island: It’s back to the island where Total Drama began with an all-new cast! Since the series’ host Chris took the show worldwide, Camp Wawanakwa has been abandoned and turned into a toxic nuclear waste dump–the perfect place for new and painful, cringe-inducing challenges! Fighting for the million dollar prize are thirteen wild new players. Total Drama: Revenge of the Island is produced by Fresh TV and will premiere on Cartoon Network this summer.

SPECIALS AND MOVIES

  • Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards: Hall of Game is Cartoon Network’s signature venture into the broadcast awards arena, created and produced in association with IMG Media, the production arm of global sports, entertainment and media company, IMG. This high-energy, multi-platform experience lets viewers decide who’s got game, by honoring their favorite sports stars and sports moments of the year. From the red carpet, to the never-before-seen stunts and surprises on stage, this unconventional celebration in 2013 will be led by a celebrity host and feature icons from television, film, music and sports, as kids experience an evening of humor and fun at the most raucous and biggest sports awards show ever presented on television.

RETURNING SERIES

  • Adventure Time
  • Regular Show
  • MAD
  • The Amazing World of Gumball
  • The Looney Tunes Show
  • Ninjago
  • Level Up
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  • Young Justice
  • Johnny Test
  • Pokémon
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series
  • Almost Naked Animals
  • Casper‘s Scare School
  • Hero 108
  • Scaredy Squirrel
  • Sidekick

Henson to Develop “Imaginocean” Animated Series

HOLLYWOOD, CA — The Jim Henson Company is in development on a new animated children’s series, Imaginocean, based on the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway musical, John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean. The musical underwater adventure series (52 x 11’) will be brought to life using the Emmy Award-winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a proprietary technology that allows digital characters to be puppeteered in real time.

Set amidst a vibrant underwater world of boisterous characters and bottomless adventure, Imaginocean is told from the point-of-view of an eccentric and charming young fish named Dorsel, performed by the Tony and Emmy-nominated Tartaglia (Disney Channel’s Johnny and The Sprites). The character driven and story-based series is full of comedy,  friendship and music; and features a social-emotional curriculum that engages viewers as Dorsel and his pals learn how one small ripple can create a wave throughout an entire deep blue sea.

“John’s imagination and creativity have brought Imaginocean’s incredible and engaging undersea characters to life in a fun and adventure-filled environment,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company. “John’s humor and music-filled story is a perfect fit for us.  It has been amazing to work with John on translating this stage production into a captivating television series for young viewers.”

The Imaginocean television series will be executive produced by Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford for The Jim Henson Company, with John Tartaglia, Jill Shinderman and Michael Shawn Lewis executive producing for Jellyfish Jive Productions, LLC. The Jim Henson Company will be meeting with potential co-production partners at the upcoming MIP-TV.

Ottawa International Animation Festival Announces 2012 Programming Lineup

OTTAWA (March 28, 2012) — The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is announcing its most crowd-pleasing lineup ever for the 2012 edition of North America’s premier animation festival.

Running from September 19th-23rd, Ottawa 2012 will pay tribute to the work of animation legend Ralph Bakshi, who ignited the imagination of future animators and became a hero to generations of fans and filmmakers by infusing adult themes such as sex, drugs and racism into the family-friendly animation world of the 1970s.

The United Kingdom will also be in the spotlight, as the Festival will examine British artists Barry Purves, one of the world’s finest puppet animators, and the groundbreaking Unconventional Ad Men: Smith and Foulkes.

Purves’ work has been internationally acclaimed for decades while Smith & Foulkes’ art has been featured in advertising campaigns for some of the world’s most iconic brands including Coca Cola, Honda and Motorola.

YouTubular: Animation in the Age of the Meme
will examine the role of YouTube in today’s animation industry and showcase some of the strangest and most contagious viral videos to grace your computer screen.

Other programming announced to date includes: Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedians and Animation, which will retrace the historical relationship between animators and comedians; the life and career of Ward Kimball will be examined and the innovative films of the late Karen Aqua will be celebrated.

“In past years, our event has been criticized for being too avant-garde or too dark,” says Festival artistic director Chris Robinson. “This year we wanted to provide some really fun and entertaining programming but don’t worry, there’s sure to also be the usual array of delightfully bizarre and thought provoking work that many other members of our audience love.”