ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.2 - MAY 1999

People

Fred Seibert. Courtesy of Nickelodeon.
Musical Chairs. Julia Pistor, a founding executive of Nickelodeon Movies, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of the division. Pistor, who will continue to report to Albie Hecht, President of Film and Television Entertainment for Nickelodeon, will relocate to Los Angeles from the company's headquarters in New York. She will be responsible for broadening Nickelodeon's feature development slate and continue its mandate to produce kids-first movies, star-driven family films and animated features. Among her duties include serving as producer, along with Hecht, on the upcoming Snow Day, a family comedy starring Chevy Chase and Pam Grier. "She has a great story sense, a smart and collaborative business approach, and true passion for making movies with a genuine kid-first perspective," stated Albie Hecht. "Having Julia head up our office in Los Angeles ensures that we can continue the very positive track-record we've already established for Nickelodeon Movies." Prior to the promotion, Pistor had been Vice President, Nickelodeon Movies since 1994, and most recently had served as co-producer of The Rugrats Movie. She was also the executive producer of Nickelodeon Movies' Good Burger (1997) and Harriet The Spy (1996). . . . Fred Seibert, former President of Hanna-Barbera and MTV's original creative director, has been named President of MTV Networks Online, reporting directly to Tom Freston, Chairman and CEO, MTV Networks. MTV Networks Online will be based in New York along with a satellite office in San Mateo, California. In his new role, Seibert is responsible for overseeing two new online ventures, Project Nozzle [AF 3/02/99], the new registered online kids destination from Nickelodeon scheduled to launch in September 1999, and The Buggles Project, a new all-genre online music destination set to launch in June 1999. He will also oversee worldwide development of MTV Networks Online businesses including managing the current MTV.com, VH1.com and Nick.com. "We want our online businesses to be leaders in the next wave of creativity and convenience on the Web," stated Tom Freston. "With Fred Seibert, we get someone who can take us there. He's a creative maverick, and an out-of-the-box thinker with an enviable track record both as a creator and an executive. We've very excited to have Fred back with us." Prior to joining MTV, Seibert founded Frederator Incorporated, an independent TV production company where he produced the Nickelodeon series Oh Yeah! Cartoons! . . . . Renie Bardeau, 64, who served as Chief Photographer and Photo Archivist at Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.) for nearly 40 years until his retirement in July 1998, has received the highest and rarest honor awarded to Disneyland Cast Members - a window on Main Street, U.S.A. The window reads: "Kingdom Photo Services - Magic Eye to the World - Renié Bardeau, photographer/archivist." Appropriately located over the Main Street Photo Supply Co., it celebrates Bardeau's career in which he snapped more than one million photographs at the world's most famous theme park. During his tenure, Bardeau photographed everything and everybody from Walt Disney and then-Vice President, Richard Nixon, at the opening of the Disneyland Monorail System in 1959, to Elizabeth Taylor at her extravagant 1992 birthday party, plus thousands of other celebrities, athletes and dignitaries. Of his occupation, Bardeau said, "This job is really an art and taxes your creative juices. How many ways can you photograph the Matterhorn and make it interesting? There is a way. I'm always looking for a different angle." . . . Eighties rock singer Billy Idol is providing the lead voice in Sceneries Entertainment's upcoming animated feature Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2, to be released by Columbia TriStar in fall 1999. The film is based on a graphic novel by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman, along with Simon Bisley and Eric Talbot. Idol will play the role of Tyler, a genocidal villain, who will ultimately be conquered by F.A.K.K., an immortal female warrior. The film's soundtrack also features music by Axel Rose, Sammy Hagar and the Stone Temple Pilots. . . .

Pam Coats. Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Judy Fearing has been appointed to the newly created position of senior vice president, Global Marketing and Studio Development for Disney Consumer Products, it was announced Thursday by division Chairman Bo Boyd and President Anne Osberg. Fearing, 44, will be responsible for developing and implementing marketing and branding strategies around the world for all of Disney Consumer Products' businesses: Licensing, The Disney Store, Buena Vista Publishing, Walt Disney Art Classics, Disney Direct Marketing and Disney Interactive. She will also oversee the development of consumer products based on all entertainment properties from The Walt Disney Studios, ABC and ESPN. Fearing most recently served as senior vice president of marketing at ESPN, where she helped build consumer awareness of that brand. Prior to joining ESPN, Fearing spent 12 years at PepsiCo, where she was vice president of cola marketing. She also served as vice president and general manager of RJR Nabisco's specialty-foods division. Fearing, who is married, holds a bachelor's degree from Duke University and a master of business administration degree from Dartmouth. . . . Pam Coats has been promoted from producer to senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Feature Animation, making her the highest ranked woman at Disney Animation. Coats, who produced Mulan, will direct creative development of all projects in the studio's feature animation division. Her previous credits include producing the Roger Rabbit short, Trail Mix-Up, and executive producing the Mickey Mouse short, Runaway Brain. She joined Disney feature animation in 1989. . . .

Don MacBain. Courtesy of Pacific Data Images.

PDI has named producer/director Don MacBain as Visual Effects Producer for its Commercial and Feature Film Effects Division. MacBain's credits include Production Supervisor for the Starship Troopers Miniature Unit, the crash sequence for Money Train, and line producer/production manager for 25 projects at Sony Pictures Imageworks, as well as making the independent, experimental IMAX film, Fire. . . . Boo Wong has been promoted to head the CGI Department at Curious Pictures, the bi-coastal, live-action, graphics, special effects and animation studio, it was announced today by Executive Producer/Head of Production Richard Winkler. Wong, 33, succeeds Tammy Walters, who recently left the company to pursue a career as a producer. In her new post, Wong will be responsible for the overall operation of the CGI department including scheduling, media flow, resource management, evaluation and purchase of software and hardware, and in-house producing for the high-end, 3D computer generated imagery department which provides 3D animation and effects, digital compositing, digital ink and paint, 2D graphics, and integrated motion control/motion tracking. Wong, who joined Curious as an intern four years ago, most recently was the company's Senior Compositor creating digital effects for clients such as Cap'N Crunch, Kraft, Wendy's, Showtime and HBO. She was also the in-house Visual Effects Supervisor on live-action, stop-motion and effects shoots, and the project lead on numerous CG jobs including several Cap'N Crunch and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese spots. Prior to working in digital production, Boo Wong, spent eight years immersed in the world of modern dance. In addition to choreographing original work for companies in the United States, Europe and Asia for stage, film and broadcast, she performed and studied under such notables as Sankai Juku, Doug Varone, and Merce Cunningham. During this period she also acted in the Japanese film, Raffles Hotel, as well as acting and modeling in numerous TV commercials and print ads in Asia for clients including American Express Hong Kong and Swatch. A native of Singapore, Boo Wong came to the United States to earn her degree in Electrical Engineering, with an emphasis in computers, from California State University, Fullerton, CA. She makes her home in New York City with Voltaire, a director of stop-motion and live-action commercials, and their son, Mars. . . . The president of Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Chuck Viane, has promoted Manuel "Rod" Rodriguez to the post of senior vice president and general sales manager for Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. In his new role, Rodriguez will be responsible for handling sales and distribution operations throughout the United States and Canada for all motion pictures released under the Walt Disney, Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures banners. Rodriguez, an industry veteran who has been based at Buena Vista's Atlanta headquarters for the past 14 years, will report directly to Viane. Commenting on the announcement, Viane said, "Rod is an outstanding choice for the general sales manager spot because he is so highly respected by his colleagues and co-workers. His industry background includes top executive jobs on both the exhibition and distribution side and he is well qualified for his new duties with our national operation. He is a great guy and we look forward to having him with us in California as a major player on the team." Rodriguez joined Buena Vista Pictures Distribution in 1985 as branch manager for the Atlanta/Charlotte office. Four years later, he was promoted to division manager for the Southeastern division, where he was responsible for ten major territories. He was subsequently promoted in 1989 to vice president, Southeastern division. He launched his industry career in 1962 as a theater manager for the Atlanta-based Storey Theaters circuit. During his 21-year association with that company, he worked in a variety of capacities and ultimately held the post of executive vice president/senior film buyer. A native of Havana, Cuba, Rodriguez came to the United States in 1957. . . . Roger A. Burlage has joined Harvey Entertainment to lead a new permanent management team. Mr. Burlage is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LIVE Entertainment Inc. Gary Gray, Chairman of the Board of the Company, stated, "After a full and complete review of strategic alternatives over the last six months, we are pleased to have reached agreement to bring Roger Burlage and his management team on board, backed by a substantial equity infusion.". . . .

David Kilmer
, author of The Animated Film Collector's Guide: Worldwide Sources For Cartoons On Videotape And Laserdisc, has been appointed Associate Editor of Animation World Magazine. "We are absolutely delighted to have someone of David's caliber join AWN. He brings an incredible base of knowledge and enthusiasm to the company," said co-publisher Dan Sarto. . . . Will Vinton Studios has promoted Zilpha Yost to executive producer, a new position in the advertising division which is headed by president David Altschul. Yost has been a senior producer at Vinton Studios since 1992, taking a leave of absence in 1995 to run the stop-motion studio in Los Angeles for Tim Burton's Mars Attacks. When Burton chose to complete the film in CGI, Yost returned to Vinton, bringing some of the creative artists who had been doing stop-motion animation on Mars Attacks. with her. Yost will work very closely with Rich Durkin, executive producer in Vinton's New York office. "Zilpha is a perfect choice," Durkin said. "Her work over the years, and particularly on M&M's, has given her a depth of insight into characterization and storytelling that is rare in this business.". . . Richard Shurtliff has been named Head Systems Administrator at Curious Pictures, the bi-coastal, live-action, graphics, special effects and animation studio, it was announced today by Executive Producer/Head of Production Richard Winkler. In his new post, Shurtliff, 33, will work directly with Boo Wong, who heads Curious' CGI Department, and will be responsible for managing the company's network of 30 NT Workstations, 10 Macs and 10 SGIs running Maya and 3D Studio Max for 3D, and After Effects for 2D compositing. "We're really looking forward to having Rich refine the digital technology of all of Curious, which includes the CG, editing, cel and stop-motion departments in New York and San Francisco," explained Boo Wong. Shurtliff comes to Curious from RGA Digital Studios (New York, NY) where, for the last three years (August 1995 - present), he was Senior Network Administrator, with duties including: the management of RGA's network of SGI workstations; the configuration and installation of workstations, peripherals and software; and, the design and deployment of multi-platform backup systems. Earlier in his career, Shurtliff spent five years (January 1990 - August 1995) with Electronic Data Systems (Detroit, MI) where he held a variety of positions including UNIX Systems Administrator for almost three years, Systems Programmer/Analyst and LAN Support. Richard Shurtliff earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of California (Irvine, CA) in 1988.


Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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