Thanks in part to several new creatively challenging assignments -- including a comprehensive campaign for General Mills that includes both on-air and online components -- Calabash Animation, the animation studio led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, has made several significant investments in new animation talent and technology.
Tim Connors has been named Chief Operating Officer of Marvel Studios, the Hollywood subsidiary of Marvel Ent. In his new role, Connors will manage Marvel Studios' day-to-day business operations as well as oversee the business transactions for all studio productions including the anticipated releases of IRON MAN 2 on May 7, 2010, THOR on July 16, 2010, THE FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA on May 6, 2011, THE AVENGERS in July 15, 2011 and ANT MAN.
Los Angeles-based vfx and design company Asylum has signed award-winning animation director Piotr Karwas.
Karwas brings more than 10 years of experience in the film industry to Asylum. While working for visual effects facility Digital Domain, he played an integral part in several high-profile feature films, including Peter Jackson's THE LORD OF THE RINGS - THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, Alex Proyas' I, ROBOT and Tim Burton's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
Santa Monica vfx boutique a52 has added award-winning vfx supervisor and artist Andy McKenna to its full-time staff.
At a52, which is well known for its artful contributions to major commercial, music video and television projects, McKenna joins a team that includes the talents of Flame artist/VFX supervisor Patrick Murphy, 3D/VFX supervisor Andrew Hall, and others.
Curious Pictures has named Elyse Lawson as Head of Development. The move is in response to the studio's expansion into original production in areas such as feature films, TV series and games. Lawson joins Curious from Anonymous Content, where she was Director of Development, based in the company's New York office.
Toronto's Yowza Animation is expanding their development team with the recent addition of Heather Walker as Head of Development. The company's reel includes work with large studios such as Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney and considerable television service work. Yowza's development slate includes original I.P. as well as optioned materials and ranges across all ages, genres and media including traditional broadcast, new media and direct-to-DVD.
Yowza plan to roll out the new additions to their I.P. roster at Kidscreen Summit in New York in February.
Creative services agency Blue Room welcomes back Art Director Paul Waszak. Five years ago, Waszak set up his design studio, Red Lynx AVS, inside the offices of Blue Room and, for three years (2003 to 2006) worked as a graphic designer, primarily on Blue Room projects, winning projects with the Blue Room team and earning a number honors for their joint efforts.
Smoke & Mirrors New York (SMNY) recently hired highly regarded CG Supervisor Michael Donovan. Donovan has lent his talent to such brands as LG, GE, Commonwealth, Visine, Upper Deck, Gushers, Ricoh, U2, Verizon, Chase Bank, Schick and Gillette for agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO, and Posnick +.
Prior to joining SMNY, Donovan worked as a CG Supervisor at Spontaneous in New York. Before Spontaneous, Donovan served as technical director at Quiet Man.
Davie Johnston is joining the exec board as Chief Technology Officer at Moving Picture Company (MPC). An accomplished engineer with a strong interest in design, Johnston has been with the company for 14 years working in all aspects of technology and engineering.
Most recently as Head of Strategic Projects, Johnston project managed the design and build of MPC's new office in Santa Monica, California. Prior to this; he was Head of Technology for the commercials and TV department responsible for running and development of the technology team.
Sci Fi Channel and Trion World Network, the publisher and developer of connected games and entertainment, hired two industry veterans in the co-development of a videogame and television show.
Kevin Beardslee joins Trion to serve as Senior Development Director for the project at Trion's San Diego development studio. Television writer Peter Egan has been tapped to write the pilot episode.
The partnership will simultaneously co-develop a game and cable television property. This will be the second original IP Trion has created.
New York-based conceptual design, animation and VFX studio SUSPECT has hired Keith McCabe as their new visual effects director.
DreamWorks Animation announced the election of Richard Sherman to its Board of Directors.
Sherman has served as CEO of The David Geffen Company, an investment management company, since 1992. Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Sherman was a partner with Breslauer, Jacobson, Rutman and Sherman, a leading business management firm serving the entertainment industry. He previously served as a staff accountant with Peat, Marwick and Mitchell.
Crafting strong narrative in student animation is often overlooked, and Heather Kenyon makes the case for several top programs that have excelled in recent years.
According to Henry LaBounta, Chief Visual Officer for EA Black Box, Game Art Direction has three main focus areas – the look of the game, the characters and animation, and the graphic design (menus, user interface, and fonts) – and most of the unsolved problems are with the characters and animation.
Nathania Seales has been promoted to VP of production for Cartoon Network On-Air. Formerly senior director of on-air production, Seales will oversee production of on-air promotions, program production, ad-supported/sponsored promotions and branding material for Cartoon Network and Boomerang. She will continue to manage the assignment of projects and budget allocations to partnering production companies, writers, animation and live-action producers and on-air talent.
Cary Granat is leaving his post as co-CEO of Walden Media -- the company he co-founded -- but will stay as a consultant until the third CHRONICLES OF NARNIA film comes out, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Walden will not bring in a co-CEO to work with Michael Bostick. David Weil, Bostick and Anschutz Film Group CEO, will take on Granat's responsibilities. Bostick joined Walden last March.
Toronto-based distribution company, Breakthrough Ent. has promoted Nat Abraham as its Head of Distribution. Abraham will oversee daily operations including worldwide sales, pre-sales and co-production opportunities.
Janet Hetherington digs up some secrets from creator Jay Stephens about The Secret Saturdays, the new comedy-action animated series airing on Cartoon Network.
VFXWorld talks exclusively with Bob Osher and Hannah Minghella, the new heads of Sony Pictures Digital Prods., about their artist-centric approach to vfx and animation.
Jay Fukuto has been promoted to the position of head of studio for Film Roman at a time when the animation studio is working at near-full capacity with proprietary projects, as well as those produced for other companies. The announcement is effective immediately.
Image Metrics, a provider of facial animation solutions for the entertainment industry, is aligning its operations into Video Game and Film & TV divisions to address the growing demand for its services in the two industries.
Image Metrics' Kelvin Duckett has been promoted to GM of the film group. Former Havok sales exec Brian Waddle is joining Image Metrics as GM of the games organization. In these newly-created positions, Duckett and Waddle will work directly with CEO Mike Starkenburg to expand business operations in their respective markets.
Academy Award nominee Les Ekker has joined Zoic Studios as Creative Director of the commercial division. This position includes directing, on and off set visual effects supervision, visual effects design and mentoring.
Ekker, who went freelance to pursue a multi-faceted experience after his 13-year tenure at Digital Domain, was thrilled to have this ideal role specially designed for him at Zoic.
In this month's column, Martin Goodman gets a head start on Christmas by analyzing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town in mythic terms that would make Joseph Campbell proud.