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Headline News VES Announces 2007 Board of Directors

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has elected 15 new members to its board of directors, and the new board has elected Jeffrey A. Okun to a one-year term as chair. He replaces outgoing chair Carl Rosendahl, who held the position for three years.

"Seeing the board pass the leadership role to Jeff is very appropriate," remarked exec director Erc Roth. "He's been personally involved in so many aspects of the VES' work and cares very deeply about our members. The VES will be in very good hands."

Headline News Universal Pictures Lures Chris Meledandri From 20th Century Fox Animation

Universal Pictures has hired away Christopher Meledandri, the president of Twentieth Century Fox Animation and animation exec who oversaw the hit ICE AGE movies, to produce animated and live-action family films. Universal Pictures has entered into a five-year production agreement with Meledandri in what the studio sees as the first step in creating a separately financed production company to distribute family films via Universal Pictures worldwide distribution operations. The agreement, beginning in April 2007, was announced today (Jan.

Headline News DreamWorks Taps Christine Birch as Marketing Head

A day after announcing that Anne Globe has become DreamWorks Animation's new head of worldwide marketing and consumer products, DreamWorks has named Christine Birch to serve as president of marketing for live-action features, VARIETY reports.

Birch, who will report to co-chair-ceo Stacey Snider, was most recently exec vp of creative advertising at Sony Pictures. While spearheading marketing for DreamWorks, Birch will liaison with marketing heads at Paramount, which owns DreamWorks. Snider and Birch previously worked together at TriStar.

Headline News Post Logic Studios New York Hires Peter Bavaro

Post Logic Studios has appointed Peter Bavaro to the post of exec director, sales and marketing.

"It's great to have Peter on board with us," said Larry Birstock, ceo, Post Logic Studios. "Peter's depth of production experience will be an invaluable asset in supporting our growth strategy. Post Logic Studios continues to be well positioned to build on its present success and become recognized as one of the industry's most creative, professional and highest-quality providers of visual effects, post-production and DI for film and televisions projects."

Headline News Anne Globe Upped to DreamWorks Animation Marketing Chief

Anne Globe takes over as DreamWorks Animation's new head of worldwide marketing and consumer products. Globe replaces Terry Press, the longtime and highly effective marketing head of the studio, who announced plans to step down from her role, but to continue to work with the studio as a consultant, as well as to take on other non-competitive projects in the industry.

Headline News Christine Davis New In-House Producer at Cookie Jar Ent.

Christine Davis joins Cookie Jar Ent. as the company's newest in-house producer. Based in Cookie Jar's Toronto headquarters, Davis will report to Pamela Slavin, vp production and will be responsible for producing new series for the company's growing original production slate.

A 20-year producing vet, Davis' credits include LITTLE PEOPLE, THE NEWSROOM, THE WRONG COAST, ANNE; JOURNEY TO GREEN GABLES, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, BRUNO and SESAME STORIES.

Headline News Brian Simpson Appointed CEO of Keyframe Digital Prods.

Brian Simpson joins Keyframe Digital Prods. as its new ceo. Reporting to Keyframe Digital's founders, Darren Cranford and Clint Green, Simpson's mandate is to assume responsibility for the strategic direction and implementation of Keyframe's productions. He will be operating from the head office located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.

Headline News Gail Berman Departs Paramount Pictures President Post

Paramount Pictures president Gail Berman is leaving her post, the trades have reported with confirmation from the company.

Paramount chairman/ceo Brad Grey announced this afternoon (Jan. 10, 2007) that Berman has exited her job, effective immediately. A reorganization of the studio's production structure will be announced shortly.

Berman, who joined Paramount in May 2005, had a number of films under her watch, including NACHO LIBRE, WORLD TRADE CENTER and the recently released FREEDOM WRITERS, that marked the beginning of a turnaround at Paramount.

Headline News Ahn Upped to NBC Universal TV Networks Distribution EVP

Henry Ahn has been promoted to evp, NBCU Television Networks Distribution, responsible for all sales and sales support of NBCU's television content to cable, satellite and telco industries.

Ahn will continue to work closely with JB Perrette, president, NBCU Digital Distribution and his team, to deliver digital products to all of NBCU Television Networks Distribution's customers.

Headline News Bernd Conrad New TV-Loonland Licensing and Merchandising Head

Bernd Conrad joins TV-Loonland as its new licensing and merchandising head to help expand the company's L&M business. He will be operating from the Munich office.

Reporting to TV-Loonland coo Olivier Dumont, Conrad will devise and implement the company's strategy on marketing and L&M opportunities, as well as be responsible for the selection and management of licensing agents internationally. Furthermore, he will directly handle L&M in German-speaking Europe and pan-international deals.

Headline News Paul Shurgot Upped to Disney Studios SVP/CFO

Paul Shurgot, a key member of Disney's financial team for more than 11 years, has been promoted from deputy cfo to svp/cfo for The Walt Disney Studios. In his new role, Shurgot oversees all finance, accounting and information technology for the studio, including Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Animation, Pixar Animation, Miramax Films, Buena Vista Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, Buena Vista Worldwide Home Ent., Disney Theatrical Prods., and the Buena Vista Music Group.

Headline News John Easum New President of VIZ Media Europe in New Paris Headquarters

VIZ Media Llc. Has relocated its European operations from Amsterdam to Paris. The new European company will be called VIZ Media Europe, S.A.R.L (VME) and officially opens on Jan. 15, 2007. John Easum has been appointed president/gérant of VME and will oversee all of VIZ Media's European, Middle Eastern and African operations from Paris.

Headline News W!LDBRAIN Names Lisa Rose

Premiere animation studio W!LDBRAIN has hired named Lisa Rose as its director of public relations and marketing. An award-winning public relations specialist with more than 13 years of experience, Rose reports directly to Charles Rivkin, president/ceo of W!LDBRAIN.

"We are delighted to welcome Lisa to W!LDBRAIN at this exciting time in our company's history," said Rivkin. "Her proven creativity and extensive experience in entertainment public relations and marketing make her a perfect addition to our talented management team."

Headline News DreamWorks Animation CFO Departing

DreamWorks Animation announced today (Dec. 15, 2006) that Kristina Leslie, its cfo, will be leaving the company. Leslie will remain in her role through Feb. 2007 to oversee the reporting of the company's year-end results. DeamWorks will begin the search for a replacement.

Headline News Antonio Huab New HIT Ent. VP for Asia Pacific

Antonio Huab joins HIT Ent. as the new vp for Asia. Huab, a 15-year seasoned licensing and marketing exec in the entertainment industry, will be responsible for driving the Asia Pacific consumer products and TV distribution business out of HIT's recently opened office in Hong Kong.

Headline News Lew Coleman Joins DreamWorks Animation Board of Directors

DreamWorks Animation president Lewis Coleman has been elected to the company's board of directors.

"Lew is a widely-respected leader and advisor who has greatly contributed to the success of DreamWorks Animation, both as the company's president and as a prior board member," said Roger Enrico, the DreamWork's chairman. "He has worked hand-in-hand with our board and management team over the past several years in establishing the core objectives of this company and his continued leadership will be instrumental in accomplishing these goals."

Headline News Brown Johnson to Lead Nick Jr. & NOGGIN Teams Merged as Nickelodeon Preschool

Nick Jr. and NOGGIN will blend their creative and management teams into a unified group -- Nickelodeon Preschool, the largest preschool and parent's destination in the world -- with 109 hours of preschool television a week, representing 56% of all preschool programming on television. The new preschool team will be led by Brown Johnson who has been named evp/exec creative director, Nickelodeon Preschool and gm of NOGGIN.

Headline News Nina Jacobson Signs First-Look with DreamWorks

Nina Jacobson has signed a three-year, first-look agreement at DreamWorks Studios, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. This deal comes six months after she was removed as head of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. The new agreement goes into effect in January.

Jacobson previously worked at DreamWorks as a senior film exec prior to taking the post of president of the motion picture division at Disney in 1998. At DreamWorks, she developed hits, such as WHAT LIES BENEATH and ANTZ, for which she is credited as formulating the original idea.

Headline News Rainmaker Sets Deal with Former Mainframe CEO Rick Mischel

Rainmaker announced today (Dec. 4, 2006) that former Mainframe ceo Rick Mischel will now serve as an exec producer with a first look deal at Rainmaker. Rainmaker recently acquired Mainframe Ent. Mischel was instrumental in the sale of the company and will moves into his new role immediately.

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