Santa Monica-based visual effects studio R!OT has promoted Ken Nakada to the post of director of visual effects. In his new role, Nakada will oversee all of the studios activities related to the production of visual effects for feature films, episodic television, commercials and music videos. His role will include managing the department, providing creative oversight for current projects and planning for long term growth. Nakada will also continue to perform his previous duties as a matte painter and compositor.
Executive producer Michele Jeffers has joined digital visual effects studio Radium as head of the companys episodic and features division. She will be based in Radium's Santa Monica office. Jeffers has served as visual effects production manager at top effects houses and studios including Dream Quest Images, Sony Development, Banned from the Ranch, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.
Veteran animation and visual effects producer Andrea Mansour has joined independent animation studio Wild Brain, Inc. as head of commercials. Mansour will be responsible for all sales and management of Wild Brain's commercial division, developing new business opportunities, recruiting creative and production talent and overseeing commercial marketing efforts for the company. Prior to joining Wild Brain, Mansour was a creative program director with Sapient, a design and consulting firm in San Francisco.
In the wake of last week's announcement of the departure of Michael Hirsh, CEO of Nelvana, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that it will combine the operations of Nelvana and its television division into one integrated business unit under the leadership of Paul Robertson. "As president of Corus Television, Paul has consistently delivered outstanding financial results and programming schedules, always with customer service as a top priority," said John Cassaday, president and CEO of Corus Entertainment.
Toronto-based visual effects house GVFX has named Ron OBrien president and chief executive officer. OBrien will be responsible for overseeing all of GVFXs daily global business activities including the offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Working closely with John Gajdecki, founder and effects supervisor of GVFX, OBrien will oversee GVFXs business and corporate strategy, and manage all business development, marketing and operational interests.
The Internet rumors have been flying for weeks and now a recent LA TIMES report has stated that Tom Schumacher, president of Disney Feature Animation, may leave his post when his contract expires in June 2003. No word on what Schumacher will do if he departs, but he is reportedly in discussions with Disney to figure out what his role will be with the company. Schumacher has headed Disney Feature Animation since 1999, throughout a turbulent time for the division.
Philip H. Knight, co-founder of Nike, Inc., has become the majority shareholder of Portland, Oregon-based Vinton Studios after making a financial investment in the company. The amount of the investment was undisclosed. In addition, Knight will join Vintons board of directors. "Phil Knights investment and board involvement is a tremendous boost to our strategic plan to take Vinton Studios to the highest competitive level in both entertainment and commercial production," said Vinton CEO and president Jeff Farnath.
London-based 4Kids Entertainment International has completed an expansion of its operations that encompasses the promotion of key management and the appointments of new executives. Promoted to the position of commercial director is Helen Howells, who will focus on the company's sub-agent relationships as well as oversee its marketing and creative areas. Howells assumes her new position with 4Kids Entertainment International after serving as director of international licensing. She joined the company in 2000.
The Producers Guild of America's New Media Council recently put together a panel of industry heavy hitters to discuss Producing Animation in the 21st Century. Greg Singer was there to take down the details
John Calley, chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced that company veterans Amy Pascal, chairman, Columbia Pictures; Jeff Blake, president, worldwide marketing and distribution, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group; and Yair Landau, president, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment have been promoted to vice chairmen, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). As vice-chairmen of SPE, they will share all day-to-day responsibilities formerly belonging to the COO, while retaining their current roles and titles within their divisions. All three report to Calley.
Karl Cohen has found a copy of Winsor McCay's long lost lesson on animation. Read about what it contains and what these tidbits mean to animation's history.
FUTURAMA writer Patric Verrone was recently honored with the fifth annual Animation Writing Award from the Animation Writers Caucus (AWC) of the Writers Guild of America, west. The award, which is intended to honor writers who have advanced the literature of animation in film and/or television through the years, and who have made outstanding contributions to the profession of the animation writer, was presented to Verrone by WGA,w president Victoria Riskin.
Canadian computer animation company Mainframe Entertainment has announced that company president Brett Gannon is temporarily stepping down from his post and will be taking an extended medical leave due to an undisclosed illness. Gannon's responsibilities will be taken over by CFO George Lawton, who is based in Canada, and Los Angeles-based Mark Fleischer, president Mainframe USA. According to Mainframe, Gannon intends to return to the company once fully recovered.
Corus Entertainment has announced that Michael Hirsh, founding partner and CEO of Nelvana Ltd., is stepping down from his post, although he will remain with the company in an advisory capacity. Hirsh started Nelvana in 1971 with his two founding partners, Patrick Loubert and Clive Smith, who had both left the company at the end of 2001. Nelvana was sold to Corus Entertainment in 2000. "No other company is better positioned to lead the industry into the next decade and I look forward to working with my successor to ensure Nelvana's continued success," said Hirsh.
Based on the success of live-action spots for AT&T, Verizon, PBS and others, Studio V-12 has recently launched a separate commercial division to handle the growing workload. Continuing its expansion, V-12 announces the addition of director Linzi Knight. Knight joins the current V-12 roster of Juan Delcan, V-12 Co-Founder David Hwang and Daryl Goodrich. After training in Toronto as a graphic designer, Knight spent five years pursuing design opportunities in Europe where she worked in top European design firms like Grapus in Paris and Meta Design in Berlin.
In 1959 at the request of Bill Snyder, a successful animation distributor, Gene Deitch arrived in Prague to oversee the production of several animated specials based on classic children's books. He was surprised to find an impossible production system, and is even more surprised to find himself still there to this day
Former Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids Network president Maureen Smith has joined TLC Entertainment as a partner in the network. She joins co-founders and partners George Taweel and Rob Loos. Among Smith's most immediate objectives are to increase the company's library of intellectual properties, oversee marketing and brand management for each, and to fully exploit its media assets across all applicable platforms including television, home video, video on demand, publishing and feature films.
Michael T. Nicolaou has joined Blur Studio as general manager. Nicolaou will oversee day-to-day operations at the visual effects, animation and design studio and participate in the implementation of the studios long-term expansion, including its planned move into feature film production. Nicolaou comes to Blur Studio from the high-tech firm Boxx Technologies. Previously, he served as a regional director for technology solutions provider Intergraph Corporation.
Ian Downes, managing director of Fox Kids Europe's (FKE) consumer products business in the UK, has been promoted to managing director of FKEs consumer products division. Downes will replace Jean-Philippe Randisi, who will leave the company on December 31, 2002. Effective October 7, 2002, Downes assumed overall responsibility for FKEs consumer products activities, including home video, while also retaining responsibility for the UK consumer products business. Randisi will work with Downes until December 31, 2002, to ensure an orderly transition.
Just days after the announcement that former Disney Resorts president Paul Pressler has left to take a position as president and chief executive officer of Gap Inc., Disney has announced his successor. James A. (Jay) Rasulo, a 17-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company and chairman and chief executive officer of Euro Disney S.C.A. has been promoted to president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide.
Fred Patten outlines Hayao Miyazaki's career and rise to fame, culminating in his trip to launch the English-dubbed version of Spirited Away.
Phil Vischer, founder of Big Idea Productions, explains how he turned a bunch of God loving vegetables into one of the hottest commodities around. Let's face itthese legumes are cute! Really cute! Rick DeMott reports.
Former MTV marketing director Greg Baldwin has been appointed vice president, marketing and talent relations, Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI). Based in Los Angeles, Baldwin assumes responsibility for all of SPTI's promotional marketing and talent relations' activities in support of the company's three lines of business - licensing, international networks and international productions. Most recently, Baldwin served as the director, music marketing for MTV Networks in New York.
Chris Lanier discusses the themes of Hayao Miyazakis Spirited Away. What starts as a parable of the terrifying adult world turns to a world of delight due to Miyazaki's trademarks of kindness and humanity.