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Confab to fete animation

Animation execs, students and fans are planning to gather at the Pasadena Civic Center for the debut of the World Animation Celebration, which runs March 24-30.

The event, presented by Variety and Animation magazine, boasts industry sponsors MTV, Nickelodeon, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Bros., Fox Animation Studios, Hanna-Barbera, Klasky-Csupo, Sony Pictures Imageworks, HBO Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Universal Animation and Pacific Data Images.

Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone is slated as the conference’s keynote speaker. He will address attendees at 5 p.m. March 28.

A number of toon-friendly groups are running their own portions of the confab. Among the week’s highlights:

* Miller Freeman’s New Animation Technology Exposition, running March 26-28.

* A job opportunities expo sponsored by ASIFA-Hollywood, the West Coast branch of a French-based international animation org.

* ASIFA-Hollywood and Women in Animation’s series of job opportunity seminars.

* Animation 2000, sponsored by Crain Royer Studios, designed to inform high school students about careers in animation.

* The Intl. Business Conference of Television Animation, featuring speakers from most of WAC’s entertainment industry sponsors as well as from other companies. The IBCTA runs March 25-26.

Keynoting for the IBCTA is Michael Hirsh, chairman of Nelvana.

Terry Thoren, CEO of Klasky- Csupo and honorary WAC chairman, said the two-day business conference was developed for three reasons: “First, so production and broadcast executives can get on panels and talk about industry issues. Second, independents can talk about production services they provide, and, third, independents will have the ability to pitch a show that’s fairly far along in development and maybe get the funding to get the show made.”

WAC kicks off on the evening of March 24 with an Academy Awards party in honor of animator Chuck Jones as well as the animators behind this year’s Oscar-nominated animated shorts. The Academy Award nominees, Thoren said, are expected to attend the WAC party.

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