Gearing up for more DVD/video premieres and theatrical releases, DisneyToon Studios has promoted Ellen Gurney to svp, creative affairs; Karen Malach to the newly created position of 3D development producer; Jennifer Blohm to director, digital production; and Sheila Kelly to manager, production.
Gurney expands her duties to oversee the creative executive team, creative affairs, and development for the studio's burgeoning line of DVD/video premieres and theatrical releases. Gurney is overseeing sequels to MULAN and TARZAN, as well as 20 other projects in various stages of development, 16 of which are in or about to begin production.
Prior to her promotion, Gurney served as vp, video premieres, supervising the development of DVD/video premieres and theatrical releases. Gurney joined Disney in 1993 as a development assistant for Walt Disney Television Animation and was rapidly promoted to manager. She subsequently became director of creative affairs for the division. In her 10 years with Disney, she has guided development on such projects as RETURN TO NEVERLAND, THE LITTLE MERMAID II, 101 DALMATIANS II, POCAHONTAS II and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS.
In her new role, Malach will identify and develop new processes for producing 3D content for the studio's burgeoning line of DVD/video premieres and theatrical releases.
Malach "fell into animation" when a friend told her about an opening at Rankin/Bass Prods. in New York City. She began there as a production secretary immediately after college graduation and worked her way up to associate producer for the THUNDERCATS.
In the mid-'80s, Malach moved to Los Angeles to work in production and segued into animation through Hanna-Barbera where she worked for four years in a variety of capacities including production exe and CGI supervisor for THE REAL ADVENTURES OF JONNY QUEST. After taking time off to have a baby, she headed to Sony Pictures Family Entertainment to work on the MAX STEEL animated series as CGI supervisor.
Malach joined Walt Disney Television Animation in August 2000 as director of digital production, where she worked on television series, DVD/video premieres and theatrical releases.
Concurrently serving as producer for MULAN II, Blohm will segue full-time into her new role when the production wraps.
Blohm started as a production assistant with JetLag Prods., a small animation company, and discovered she loved animation. Within the year, Jennifer rose through the ranks to become associate producer on its "Children's Classics" home video series.
From there, Blohm went to Hanna-Barbara, working as an assoc producer on THE REAL ADVENTURES OF JONNY QUEST. She then worked at Columbia Tri-Star Children's Television as assoc producer on its flagship series JUMANJI and at Cornell/Abood producing animated commercials. Blohm worked as a production manager on the Nickelodeon short film, FETCH, before joining Disney in 1998. Since then, she has served as producer for MULAN II, assoc producer on THE TIGGER MOVIE and worked in management as director of production.
In her new capacity, Kelly has the responsibility of providing day-to-day guidance in implementing and standardizing the overall production process. She will work closely with associate producers, production managers, production coordinators and production associates.
Kelly joins the production management group after serving five years in various capacities at the studio, working on such projects as THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME II, CINDERELLA II and PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE. She joined Disney in 1997 after relocating to Los Angeles from Boston.