As a graduate of Caltech (specializing in physically-based modeling) and former Pixar animation scientist (building the Slinky Dog model for Toy Story, developing lighting technology and working on other software R&D), Ronen Barzel is tailor-made for chairing this year's SIGGRAPH. The 36th annual show will take place in New Orleans (conference: Aug. 3-7; exhibition: Aug. 4-6) at The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Barzel spoke to VFXWorld about what's new this year (including more emphasis on music and audio), the challenges of coping with the economic downturn and what technological advancements are of particular interest.
Press Release from Digital Domain
Venice, CA -- April 16, 2009 -- Digital production studio Digital Domain has named veteran Visual Effects Supervisor and technologist Thad Beier to the new position of Head of CG. In this role Beier will oversee production technology and long-term facility planning to ensure that artists across all feature productions can create the highest quality images efficiently and effectively.
VARIETY reports that two London-based Disney Channel EMEA execs have departed the company: Steve Aranguren, VP for global original programming and managing director Michael Cairns.
The departure happened two weeks ago, and is related to Disney's full takeover of Jetix Europe. Bob Ferguson is now set to run the television side in the U.K. and Ireland and act as general manager for the Jetix and Disney Channels. He has more than 20 years of broadcast experience and 13 years running three Jetix channels in the U.K. and the Nordic region.
Press Release from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
TOKYO, April 15 -- Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today that David Reeves, President, CEO and Co-COO, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), and Deputy President, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., will retire from Sony Computer Entertainment Group as of April 30, 2009.
Press Release from Massive Software
Auckland, NZ (April 16, 2009) -- Massive Software, developer of the Academy Award-winning 3D animation software for AI-driven characters, today announced the appointment of Kevin Mannion as VP Product Strategy and Israel Cooper as Director of Finance.
Kung Fu Panda co-director Mark Osborne reminisces about mentor Jules Engel, who will be honored with a centennial celebration at CalArts on Saturday. Osborne will participate in a roundtable discussion about Engle's influence on contemporary animation.
Press Release from Echo Bridge Entertainment
NEEDHAM, MASS and LOS ANGELES, CA (April 14, 2009) -- Continuing its international expansion of sales operations, independent global distributor Echo Bridge Entertainment has appointed Natalie Yuen to the newly created position of Vice President, International Sales, Asia Pacific, effective immediately. The announcement was made today by Dan March, Executive Vice President, Echo Bridge Entertainment, to whom she will report.
Press Release from Toei Animation, Inc.
LOS ANGELES (April 14, 2009) -- Toei Animation Inc. has hired Eduardo Lucio as the company's new Latin America Sales Manager, it was announced today by Kanji Kazahaya, Director of International Department of Toei Animation Co., Ltd.
Press Release from eyeon
Eric Westphal, Product Manager Europe
eyeon is pleased to announce the promotion of Eric Westphal to Product Manager for Europe. Eric has been an eyeon artist for many years and we are excited to have him as head of our European team. Congratulations Eric! firstname.lastname@example.org.
eyeon Welcomes Robert Zeltsch as Product Specialist
Press Release from PorchLight Entertainment
Los Angeles -- April 13, 2009 -- Shea Fontana has been upped to Vice President, Children's Programming, it was announced today by Bruce Johnson, company President & CEO. In this new position, her responsibilities will expand to include the development, production and acquisition of all genres of children's programming for PorchLight Entertainment.
Chorion has appointed former Playhouse Disney executive Paula Rosenthal as SVP, creative.
Rosenthal will be responsible for managing a production slate and creating new content. She joins Chorion's senior creative team, working with Diana Manson, EVP creative, and Kurt Mueller, SVP, creative and will report to Mary Durkan, managing director, content.
Los Angeles-based creative studio DUCK has signed director, art director, designer, and animator Mato Atom for representation in the U.S. The Swiss native brings his distinctive style to DUCK -- a dynamic mix of CG, graphics, live action, and imaginative backdrops that position products in unique and interesting worlds.
PorchLight Ent. has appointed Courtney Colman to the company post of CFO and Don Mirisch as SVP.
As the chief financial officer, Colman will be responsible for overseeing PorchLight's finance, accounting, human resources and IT departments. Prior to joining PorchLight, Colman was exec VP of finance at First Look Studios, where she oversaw the finance, accounting and participation departments. Before First Look Studios, Colman held the position of CFO of Lieberman Research Worldwide, a market research company specializing in the entertainment sector.
Production company Nexus have signed Brazilian director, CISMA.
Otherwise known as Denis Kamioka, CISMA, which is Portuguese for a "strong and irrational conviction", has lived up to his adopted name and has a reputation for pushing creative boundaries to their limits. Effortlessly combining what would seem to be polar opposite visual styles, CISMA's creative work speaks a universal language.
Brandissimo! promoted of two executives to better manage the company's continued growth in its online games and virtual worlds business.
Executive Vice President and General Manager Andy Babb was named president. Vice President Josh Fisher was promoted to executive producer and senior vice president of content. Additional promotions and new staff members will be announced in the next few weeks.
The Walt Disney Company announced Friday it will cut 1,900 jobs at its Anaheim, Calif. and Orlando, Fla.-based theme parks, per VARIETY.
Some were direct layoffs and some were positions that will not be filled, affecting mostly managers and salaried employees, not workers in the parks. Among the cuts were 50 executives who accepted a voluntary buyout offered to about 600 people.
Sebastian Sylwan has left Autodesk to join Weta Digital as head of R&D. Sylwan served as Autodesk Media & Ent.'s senior film industry manager since 2007, with particular emphasis in stereoscopic technology. In fact, he wrote the final "Digital Eye" column for VFXWORLD in February: "Stereoscopic 3-D and the Future of Visual Storytelling".
As part of its international expansion, Bigpoint.com, a provider of browser-based online games and one of the top gaming portals, is expanding its management team. In Simon Guild, the Hamburg-based company has hired someone with wide international experience in the media industry.
Los Angeles-based creative production and post studio DUCK is bringing the dynamic four-man directing team of nObrain onboard to complement their existing roster of talent. The Paris-based collective, composed of Directors Sebastien Fourcault, Nicolas Pasquet, Charles Keramoal, and Sylvain Lefebvre, is known for boundless creativity in merging high-energy animation with live-action footage for TV, music videos, and spot work.
Dan Rosensweig has been named president and CEO of Activision Publishing's RedOctane, the business unit which develops the blockbuster GUITAR HERO franchise and soon to be released DJ HERO.
ADi, a Portland-based computer animation company, has added Nancy Hoffman as client relationship lead.
With more than 15 years building and nurturing client relationships for companies such as Creative Media Development and Waggener Edstrom, Hoffman will be charged with bringing ADi’s animation expertise to new clients in high-tech, consumer electronics, medical, consumer packaged goods, and education.