J.J. Abrams will receive the Visual Effects Society’s Visionary Award in recognition of his contributions to filmed entertainment. The award will be presented at the 13th Annual VES Awards on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. ... ILM chief creative officer John Knoll and producer Gale Anne Hurd have joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Science and Technology Council. ... Before the first episode had even aired, Disney Channels renewed for a second season its animated series Star Wars Rebels. ... LAIKA and Focus Features will continue their partnership on LAIKA’s next three projects. As with the three movies that the companies have partnered on previously — Coraline, ParaNorman and the current release The Boxtrolls — Focus will distribute the next three movies domestically, and Universal Pictures International will release them overseas. ... Little Airplane Productions has appointed Stefanie Zhang as its resident producer in mainland China. Based in Beijing, Zhang will provide local support to the studio’s clients and partners, and work to build new relationships in the country. ... Toonz Entertainment is acquiring full ownership of Spanish production and distribution company Imira Entertainment. The transaction will be finalized upon completion of due diligence. ... Turner Broadcasting is re-launching its kids brand Boomerang as a worldwide, all-animation, youth-targeted network, featuring a line-up up classic and contemporary cartoons. ... It’s official — TV network The Hub is no more. As of Oct. 13, The Hub transformed into Discovery Family, which will continue to showcase Hasbro Studios award-winning children’s content in daytime.