Sarah Weidman has joined Sony Pictures Television (SPT) as vp, development, reporting to Melanie Chilek, svp, development and syndicated programming. Weidman will collaborate with Chilek and Zack Van Amburg, svp, development and cable programming, on the creation of new, unscripted programming for the network, cable and syndication marketplace.
FX entertainment president Kevin Reilly is ankling his post to join NBC as president, primetime development. In the new position, Reilly will oversee the NBC Studios division and the network's development department. Reilly worked at NBC in development in the late 1980s and early '90s. He went on to Brillstein-Grey Entertainment for six years before moving to the top programming job at FX in 2000. There he raised the channel's profile with projects such as THE SHIELD and LUCKY.
In accordance with its new emphasis on VFX, New York City-based Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design has changed its name to rhinofx. In addition, the studio has added three of its freelance artists to the roster: Ronen Sharabani, Joseph Burrascano and Joshua Frankel.
According to partner/senior exec producer Rick Wagonheim, hiring freelancers works for both parties. "Team chemistry and collaboration is important at rhinofx." Some of the projects they have been working on at rhinofx include Dentyne Ice, L'Oreal, Baskin-Robbins, Scotch-Brite, Cadillac and Krylon.
Peter van Roden joins Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization, in the newly created position of vp, themed entertainment, reporting to Karen Gruenberg, exec vp of content.
Award-winning editor Kim Bica joins Lost Planet to work out of both of its Los Angeles and New York locations. Prior to joining Lost Planet, Bica was an editor at Spotwelders where her clients included Levis, Southern Comfort, Saturn and HBO, as well as ad agencies Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Arnold St. Louis, GSD&M and TBWAChiatDay. Bica was at FilmCore Editorial in San Francisco and worked on commercials for Nike, Adidas, Supercuts and Robertson Stevens. She began her career at Red Sky Films in San Francisco.
Ascent Media Creative Services Group, a technical and creative services provider for the entertainment industry, has promoted Robert T. Wenrich to the position of cfo. In his new role, Wenrich will handle the strategic and financial management of the company's the entertainment television, commercial television and creative sound services operations. He originally joined the firm in 2002 as cfo for the Creative Sound Services unit.
MTV Networks has expanded the roles of both Judy McGrath and Herb Scannell as part of a continuing international management restructuring. McGrath and Scannel both become MTV Networks Group president. McGrath was formerly president of MTV Networks Music Group, and will be responsible for MTV, MTV2, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central, which officially joined Viacom and MTV Networks last week. Larry Divney, president of Comedy Central, will now report directly to McGrath.
DUCK studio has announced the signing of award-winning artist, Paul Vester, to its roster of commercial directors. British-born Vester is an experimental animator whose short films have netted him many international prizes as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is working on his new film, IN THE WOODS, a mix of 2D and 3D digital animation, which will be produced at DUCK.
"To be able to work with an artist of the caliber of Paul Vester is great for our entire studio. Were thrilled to have him aboard," said DUCK president, Roger Chouinard.
Dr. Andreas Meissner has joined the Supervisory Board of EM.TV & Merchandising AG, replacing Dr. Ralph Wollburg who resigned his seat due to additional commitments in his full-time occupation as a lawyer. Meissner, a lawyer, had various sojourns abroad in places such as France and Saudi Arabia before he began working for Taylor Wessing in 1988, where he has been a partner of the law firm since 1992.
Gaming industry veteran Scott K. Tsumura has been named svp of Japan/Asia business strategy at Amaze Entertainment and exec studio director of Amaze Entertainment's BlackShip Games. Tsumura was president of Nintendo Software Technology Corp. managing the production of a variety of Nintendo games, such as POKEMONPUZZLE LEAGUE. A native of Japan, Tsumura has more than 25 years of gaming industry experience in both the U.S. and Japan.
Jason Dravis has been made partner in the Monteiro Rose Agency, now to be the Monteiro Rose Dravis Agency, Inc. in Encino, California. Dravis joined the agency in 1995 as an assistant and rapidly advanced to agent. Dravis' clients have included Eddie Guzulian (LILO AND STITCH 2, KIM POSSIBLE), Mark Drop (RECESS, LLOYD IN SPACE), Madeline Paxson, (LILO AND STITCH THE SERIES, PEPPERANN), Scott Fellows (FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, NED'S DECLASSIFIED SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE) and Peafur Productions (AAAGH! IT'S THE MR. HELL SHOW, BOUNTY HAMSTER).
Richard Marks joins Universal Network Television as vp of business affairs, it was announced by Neil Strum, exec vp of Universal Television Productions. Marks will be responsible for business affairs for the Universal series THE AGENCY and THE DISTRICT, as well as pilots ABOUT A BOY, SLICE O' LIFE and KAREN SISCO.
Starz Encore Group LLC (Starz Encore) has promoted Eric W. Becker from director to exec director of corporate communications, overseeing publicity for Starz Encore business, finance, technology, affiliate marketing, and consumer marketing public relations activities.
Carl's Fine Films, a San Francisco-based commercial animation company, has signed director Henry Selick to its staff of commercial directors. Animation superstar Selick's credits include THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and MONKEYBONE. Among other successful ad campaigns, he created the original MTV station IDs. He has won top prizes at Annecy, Ottawa and the Annies plus NIGHTMARE was nominated for an Academy Award for best special effects.
HD video and VFX editor Bob Williamson has joined Encore Hollywood just in time to complete final post work on the CBS-TV series JAG. He joins a team of senior editors at Encore that also includes Rob Williams, Paul Bonnette, Mark Sherman, Jonathan Slater and Michael Hutchison.
Side Effects Software (SESI), developer of the award-winning Houdini family of 3D software, has made a number of new hires and executive promotions to support what the company says is the rapid growth of the Houdini community.
John Powers joins TOKYOPOP Inc. in Los Angeles as vp of marketing for North America's leading graphic novel publisher and a growing force in international entertainment with its numerous anime titles.
New York City-based Animation Collective, Inc., has appointed Aundrea DeFur to the newly created position of head of production. She will oversee the studio's production slate and manage client relationships.
Industry vet Darren Frankel joins visual effects company Stargate Digital as vp in charge of post-production. He will supervise Stargates daily post-production operations, including editorial, artist hiring, facility management and scheduling. Stargate (www.stargatefilms.com) recently did 200 effects shots for USA Networks HELEN OF TROY mini-series and creates effects for such highly-rated television series as CSI, CSI: MIAMI, ER, THIRD WATCH and CROSSING JORDAN.
Iain Pelling, Cosgrove Hall Films md said he has decided to move on from the Manchester, U.K.-based animation company. Under his direction, the studio has become one of the leading animation companies in Europe. He spearheaded adding capabilities to the studio, including a CGI unit, Cosgrove Hall Digital, as well as new talent and better production management for its award-winning 2D and stop-frame production crews. Since he joined CHF in 1996, the studio has won three international and six national programming awards, plus one Childrens BAFTA and five BAFTA nominations.
David F. Zucker (40) has been named ceo/president of Midway Games Inc., replacing Neil D. Nicastro (46), Midway's chairman who has also stepped down as coo. Nicastro will continue as chairman of Midway's board of directors. The gaming company has not named a new coo.
COO Joan Vogelesang has been appointed president of Toon Boom Technologies Inc., replacing Jacques Bilodeau who has left the company. She now takes complete charge of the company's direction and will continue to spearhead sales, marketing and operations, according to Hubert Manseau, chairman of board. Regarding Bilodeu's departure, Manseau said, "The Board of Directors would like to thank Mr. Bilodeau for his past contributions at Toon Boom Technologies and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Tara Sorensen joins National Geographic Television & Films as VP of development on May 12, 2003 to oversee development and production of its kids' programming unit. She will be based in Beverly Hills, working closely with Friedman Meir, president of the Kids' Programming & Production Unit for NGT&F. The unit was established earlier in 2003 to develop and sell original programming to major U.S. cable and broadcast networks, as well as direct-to-video properties. The Kids' group is working with creators, production companies, studios, networks and corporate sponsors to develop projects with characters and storylines for the preschool to tween audiences.
Sorensen was vp of creative affairs for the Family Entertainment division of Sony Pictures Television, where she oversaw the development of shows like JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES and MEN IN BLACK animated series for Kids WB!, DRAGON TALES for PBS and the STUART LITTLE series for HBO Family. Sorensen was a development manger for Nelvana Communications, where she helped develop ROLIE POLIE OLIE for the Disney Channel.
Mike Wald has been promoted from vp to svp of Worldwide Pay Television at Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI), reporting to Peter Iacono, evp of sales, SPTI. Wald will remain based at the studio's Culver City, California headquarters and continues to oversee all worldwide pay television activities for the studio, managing SPTI's relationships with major domestic and international pay television clients.