Marketing veteran Dennis Rice has been named svp, publicity for Buena Vista Pictures marketing and Heidi Trotta has been elevated to the position of svp, communications for The Walt Disney Studios.
In making the announcement Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook said, "Heidi has done a tremendous job overseeing the publicity department and the film publicity campaigns, which certainly have contributed to the enormous success the studio is enjoying this year. She is a team player and knows the studio inside and out and I am extremely happy that she will now be overseeing all areas of studio communication. "Cook added, "We are very fortunate that Dennis is returning to the Disney family, with his knowledge of films and his vast marketing experience; I know the publicity group is in the best of hands."
In his position, Rice, who will report directly to Oren Aviv, president, BVPM, will oversee all areas of film publicity, including national publicity, field marketing, creative materials (both broadcast and photo) for both live-action and animated films. Additionally, Rice will formulate and execute all publicity campaigns.
"Returning to Disney is like coming home," said Rice. "To have an opportunity to work for the best and most successful marketing and publicity organization in the business is, both, an honor and a privilege. I look forward to working with Oren (Aviv) and the rest of his terrific team."
Trotta, reporting directly to Cook and working closely with Zenia Mucha, svp, corporate communications for The Walt Disney Co., will be responsible for the overall communication and publicity strategy for the studio, including legit, feature films, music and home entertainment divisions. Trotta will also oversee all award campaigns.
"I can't thank Dick enough for the extraordinary opportunity he has given me at Disney. First, by putting the incredible publicity teams for both the feature and home entertainment areas in my hands, and now the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead with this expanded role at the studio," commented Trotta. "Working with Oren over the past four years has been the most invaluable professional experience of my career I look forward to working with him and his amazing marketing team in my new capacity."
Prior to joining Disney, Rice was founder and president of Entertainment Marketing and Licensing Inc., where he worked as a consultant with various companies, including The Walt Disney Studios, MGM, Walden Media, The Anschutz Entertainment Group, Crusader Entertainment, Intermedia/Summit Entertainment, among many others. His most recent accomplishments include the successful releases of Jim Cameron's GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS and Disney's HOLES. From 1999 to 2002, Rice was president of theatrical marketing for Miramax. He was responsible for the release of more than 30 films per year, including such successes as SCREAM 3, SCARY MOVIE, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, CHOCOLAT, SPY KIDS, BRIDGET JONES' DIARY and NOTTING HILL.
Rice also served as president, worldwide marketing and publicity, Universal Studios, October Films division from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that he was svp of marketing for Buena Vista Home Entertainment, where he helped triple the division's sales. He marketed such Disney video properties as ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LION KING and HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS.
Trotta, joined The Walt Disney Studios in 1990 as director, publicity, advertising and promotions for both Walt Disney and Touchstone Television. She was promoted to vp in 1995. During her tenure, she oversaw campaigns for such television series as EMPTY NEST, SPORTS NIGHT and FELICITY.
She devised the publicity campaign for the re-launch of The Wonderful World of Disney franchise, which produced such films as CINDERELLA, starring Whitney Houston and Brandy, and ANNIE, starring Kathy Bates. She was named svp, publicity for The Walt Disney Studios in 1999, overseeing publicity campaigns for both Buena Vista Pictures Marketing and Buena Vista Home Entertainment divisions, including REMEMBER THE TITANS, THE ROOKIE, SIGNS, LILO & STITCH, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, TOY STORY 2, MONSTERS, INC., FINDING NEMO, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, FREAKY FRIDAY, OPEN RANGE and PRINCESS DIARIES.
Prior to joining Disney, Trotta was a publicist at Warner Bros. Television, where she launched such series as CHINA BEACH and LIFE GOES ON. She in turn was honored with the Maxwell Weinberg Showmanship Award for her publicity campaigns on both series, the first publicist to ever receive the prestigious honor two years in a row. Trotta began her publicity career in 1981 at Columbia Pictures Television and later moved to MGM, launching the successful series, THIRTYSOMETHING.