Celebrity Anime/Manga Guest Speakers Announced for UCI Extension Course

Sep 1st 2006
Manga & Anime Superstars Offers Insider Information to Fans and Screenwriters Fascinated By the Unique Artistic Culture



IRVINE, Calif. – August 31, 2006 – Today UC Irvine Extension announced the addition of several leading anime/manga celebrities who will present insider perspectives to students, an unprecedented opportunity within the booming industry, at UC Irvine Extension's new course entitled, “Manga & Anime Explosion: What, Why, How & Wow!” The course, which will take place Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. from September 26 through October 24, supports a growing fascination with manga, Japanese comic books; and anime, Japanese animation influenced by the drawing style of manga.

“Never before has such an incredible opportunity come along for anime and manga fans to meet the legends of this industry in such an intimate setting,” said Dr. Kirwan Rockefeller, director of UC Irvine Extension's Arts and Humanities program.

Rockefeller worked closely with the course instructor, Northrop Davis, a professional screenwriter, commercial director and manga expert, to develop the innovative course and help students understand the philosophy and culture of the art forms.

“I'm truly delighted that these pioneers in the anime/manga industries are offering their time to enlighten our students,” said Davis. “We've tried to survey every major area of the creative and business side of manga and anime, so it's like a crash course in the industry, with the focus on practical knowledge for people getting jobs in those industries, while also benefiting those with a general interest. A few of these industry leaders' appearances will almost be like Steven Spielberg teaching you how to direct a film.”

Big-budget films such as “Superman” and “X-Men” have brought a fresh interest to the craft of writing comics, from storytelling, to character development and dialogue formatting. Manga is the fastest growing segment of the United States' fiction market and, along with anime, has had a growing influence on video games, films and other art forms. Southern California has become a thriving community for the manga and anime industry, with industry leaders like Bandai, Tokopop and DelRey making a presence locally.

“Manga & Anime Explosion: What, Why, How & Wow!” will look at the historical and cultural significance of these two art forms and how they have shaped the look and feel of many of today's Hollywood productions. In addition, students will apply methods of story and character development found in manga to screenwriting, advertising, information publishing and other creative endeavors. The course is aimed at both screenwriters seeking to expand their writing skills and add a new technique to their existing portfolio, as well as the growing number of passionate fans who seek greater knowledge of these art forms and how they've grown to become a phenomenon.

Davis, an accomplished screenwriter who has sold pitches which he subsequently wrote as screenplays to Sony and 20th Century Fox, is also an expert in manga and is responsible for securing the extensive contacts with the anime and manga leaders presenting during his course at UC Irvine Extension. He pitched the "Battle Angel Alita" manga series to FOX, which subsequently acquired it for James Cameron who is in production on the vfx-heavy film franchise. Davis will offer his expertise and experience to students, including advice on pitching projects to studios, while incorporating the various accomplished professionals as guest speakers during the course.

Some of the most successful and well-known anime and manga industry leaders will be making appearances and sharing their insight with UC Irvine Extension students, including:

- Eric Calderon heads creative business development for the groundbreaking Japanese animation studio GONZO, based in Tokyo with satellite offices in Los Angeles, London and Paris. Calderon began the business that led to the animated music video for the band Linkin Park (“Breaking the Habit”) which was awarded the MTV VMA Music Video Awards – Viewer's Choice in 2004.

- Maki Terashima-Furuta launched the U.S. subsidiary of Production I.G in May 1997 in Los Angeles. She has brought many anime titles to the U.S., Latin/South American and European markets. She has also licensed "Ghost in the Shell 2," to Dreamworks, and negotiated the deal and worked on Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill Vol. 1."

- Steve Galloway, executive producer and vice president of Film and Television at TOKYOPOP, has more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry and he has established a reputation for blazing trails in animation, music and film production.

- Hikaru Sasahara learned the basics of animation as a child by helping out at the anime studio that his father founded. In 1996 he started Digital Manga, Inc. which originally made emanga – colorized, animated, electronic manga complete with bilingual voice-overs and text.

- Eugene Son has written for animated shows such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, A.T.O.M., and the anime series Duel Masters - and has also done development work for companies such as Hasbro and Cartoon Network.

- John Hervey established Beyond Time, LLC in 2002 with one goal in mind: to publish creator-owned comic books as foundations for their development in other formats such as film, television and online media. He wrote and published his first creator-owned title, “Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury” in March 2004 is currently developing “Black Tiger” as a feature film through his new venture Continuum Entertainment, Inc.

- Robert Place Napton of Bandai Entertainment is one of the pioneers of the American anime industry who started his career in 1988 when he went to work for the Japanese company Books Nippan – then the leading importer of anime merchandise in the U.S. Napton also worked with Ken Iyadomi's company L.A. Hero to release the first ever commercially subtitled anime video “Gunbuster Vol. 1” in 1989, which was the birth of the U.S. anime video market.

- Eric P. Sherman, president and co-creator of Bang Zoom! Entertainment has produced, directed and written hundreds of episodes of anime, dozens of video games, and live action films. Many of his anime titles have aired on major U.S. television networks such as Cartoon Network, MTV, G4, Showtime, Starz and Anime Network.

The five-week UC Irvine Extension course is open to the public and begins September 26 on the UC Irvine campus. The cost for the program is $185. To register for the course or for more information, visit www.unex.uci.edu or call (949) 824-5414.

About UC Irvine Extension: As the continuing education arm of UCI, UC Irvine Extension is dedicated to providing a university-level learning experience for students, offering thousands of exciting courses and programs to local, regional, and global constituencies. UC Irvine Extension offers a rich array of academic and community programs to support a diverse audience, from a wide selection of academic programs to numerous campus activities. For more information, please visit www.extension.uci.edu.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

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