New York, NY – June 23, 2009 – Starz Digital Media, an operating division of Starz Media, today announced the launch of ABE Toons (www.abetoons.com), a new online video site for top independent animators and a consumer destination for animated shorts. In celebration of the launch, the new site is announcing the “ABE Toons Talent Search,” seeking the next great animator. The ABE Toons Talent Search contest will award the grand prize winner $4,000 in cash and the opportunity to direct the production of an animated series based upon the grand prize-winning entry and with a series production value of up to $25,000. Cash prizes of $1,000 and $500 will be awarded to the top two runners-up respectively, with an additional $500 awarded to the most popular video (based on number of views).
Artists whose videos are currently featured on ABEToons.com include Tad Stones, director of the “Hellboy Animated” series and a longtime animation veteran with stints at Disney and Universal Cartoon Studios; Jennifer Shiman, creator and producer/animator for the popular and award-winning “Starz Bunnies” (“30-Second Bunnies Theater”) videos; and Sweeney & Laney, head writers on “Tripping the Rift,” a production of Starz Media’s Film Roman.
Videos on ABEToons.com are classified by genre, with featured channels including “American Manga,” “Comic Classics,” “Sick & Twisted,” “The Underground” and “Wisecrackers.”
Starz Digital Media will continue to add new content to the site in the months ahead, including video from the ABE Toons Talent Search winners. The Talent Search runs through August 31, 2009, with contest entries submitted online at ABEToons.com. Videos should be two to six minutes in length and follow guidelines detailed on the contest entry page. The grand prize winner will have the opportunity for the entry to be distributed across other sites with which Starz Digital Media partners.
“ABE Toons is a natural addition to Starz Media’s growing number of digital initiatives,” said Marc DeBevoise, senior vice president, digital media, business development and strategy for Starz Media. “Combined with our other ad-supported broadband channels built around large niches, including Manga.com and StarzBunnies.com, we are looking to take advantage of our large library across multiple media platforms and genres with professionally produced content – some of which will come from yet-to-be-discovered and alternative talent submitting entries in our search for the next animation star.”
The contest grand prize winner will also have the opportunity to work with some of the top animation producers in the industry via Starz Digital Media’s relationship with Starz Media’s two animation studios, Film Roman and Starz Animation Toronto. Film Roman’s work includes “The Simpsons,” “The Goode Family” and two new series for Marvel Entertainment, as well as Starz Media’s “Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!,” an animated preschool series that airs on Nick Jr. in the U.S. and in more than 50 other markets around the world. Starz Animation Toronto recently completed Focus Features’ upcoming Tim Burton-produced movie 9 and is currently animating two more major theatrical features – including Gnomeo & Juliet, for Miramax Films and Elton John’s Rocket Pictures – as well as a broadcast network primetime holiday special.
Contest judges include DeBevoise, Film Roman Head of Studio Jay Fukuto, Starz Animation Toronto Head of Studio David Steinberg and animation producer (9, Finding Nemo) Jinko Gotoh.
About Starz Digital Media
Starz Digital Media, an operating division of Starz Media, LLC, is responsible for all digital and on-demand distribution of library content from Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Starz Originals from Starz Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment. Through a range of distribution and marketing partnerships with multichannel video providers, Internet distributors and wireless operators worldwide, Starz Digital Media makes its content available under numerous business models including download-to-own/electronic sell-through, video-on-demand, pay-per-view, subscription video-on-demand and ad-supported streaming. The division also programs and supports numerous ad-supported broadband channels and develops games and gaming-related content from many of its properties for distribution worldwide.
About Starz Media
Starz Media, LLC, is a programming production and distribution company operating worldwide. It includes the Film Roman, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Manga Entertainment brands. Its units create animated and live-action programming – including theatrical films – and programming created under contract for other media companies. It distributes that programming, and programming acquired from outside producers, through home video retailers, theaters, broadcasters, ad-supported and premium television channels, and Internet and wireless video distributors in the U.S. and internationally. Starz Media (www.starzmedia.com) is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital Group.
Eric Becker Matt Biscuiti
Starz Entertainment & Starz Digital Media The Lippin Group for Starz Digital Media
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Eric W. Becker
Executive Director of Corporate Communications
Starz Entertainment and Starz Digital Media
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