IDT Ent. has announced two key executive appointments. Neil S. Braun, currently president/coo of Vanguard Animation and former president of the NBC Television Network, chairman/ceo of Viacom Ent. and president/coo of Imagine Films Ent., has been named president of feature films and television. Veteran animation producer and creative affairs exec Jerry Davis, whose credits include ROBOTS, ICE AGE, IRON GIANT and TOY STORY, has been named cco, animated features.
The executives will spearhead IDT Ent.'s aggressive expansion of its feature film and television production slate. Braun is lead financial architect for all business deals regarding feature film and television properties. Davis heads up the search for, and development of, creative content and talent for all of IDT Ent.'s animated feature films. He will explore content sources from both within the IDT Ent. framework of subsidiaries and from the larger entertainment community.
"With Braun and Davis in our corner, IDT Ent. has the perfect business/creative one-two punch," said Jim Courter, ceo of IDT Corp. "Neil and Jerry's combined business acumen and filmmaking experience will supercharge an already powerhouse IDT Ent. management team."
Braun and Davis join IDT Ent. as the company moves into both feature film and television production. IDT Ent. intends to distribute its first full length CG animated feature, YANKEE IRVING, through its recently announced two-year, multi-picture distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox. Developed and originally directed by the late Christopher Reeve, YANKEE IRVING was the last project he worked on before his passing.
"Our company is willing and able to invest in executives and filmmakers who create magical, emotionally resonant family entertainment," said Morris Berger, ceo of IDT Ent. "Neil and Jerry's expertise is evidenced by the hundreds of millions of dollars the films they've been involved with have earned at the box office."
As part of his corporate IDT Ent. responsibilities, Braun will continue to serve as president/coo of Vanguard Animation, a leading independent feature film animation production company he co-founded with John H. Williams, a producer of SHREK. IDT Ent. is the principal investor in Vanguard Animation. At Vanguard, his responsibilities include negotiating worldwide financing and distribution arrangements. Vanguard's first full length animated feature film, VALIANT, will premiere in the U.S. on August 19, distributed through Walt Disney Pictures. The company has a full slate of animated projects in various stages of production and development.
Prior to co-founding Vanguard Animation, Braun was president of the NBC Television Network. Before that, he was chairman/ceo of Viacom Ent., where he was responsible for the turn-around of the production and distribution divisions for primetime programming, first-run syndicated programming, licensing & merchandising and worldwide exploitation of the TV library. During his tenure as president/coo of Imagine Films Ent., the film and television production company owned by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Braun took the company public. He also headed HBO's film financing and home video activities.
"IDT Ent. empowers the creative process," said Braun. "Its management strength and financial muscle allow for timely and strategic decisions."
Prior to joining IDT Ent., Davis was an executive at Blue Sky Studios, the animation arm of Twentieth Century Fox, where he was a producer on ROBOTS and a production supervisor on ICE AGE. He was also director of creative affairs for Warner Bros. Feature Animation, where he spearheaded the adaptation of the classic Ted Hughes children's book, IRON GIANT, and led the pioneering effort to integrate CG and traditional animation into the film version. While at Walt Disney Studios, he worked closely with Pixar as a production executive to bring TOY STORY to the screen. Davis was also a theatrical producer, starting with Alexander H. Cohen Prods., and lists many regional and Off-Broadway productions among his producing credits.
"IDT Ent. had the right strategy at the right time and I'm thrilled to be a part of it," said Davis.
IDT Ent. is a vertically integrated entertainment company that develops, produces and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment content. IDT Ent. is a subsidiary of IDT Corp., an international telecom, entertainment and technology company.