LAIKA, the Portland-based animation studio whose first feature film, CORALINE, was released by Focus Features on February 6, has announced that Travis Knight has been named President and CEO of the company. Knight, the son of LAIKA's owner Philip H. Knight, succeeds Dale Wahl, who has held the position since 2005. Travis Knight, who sits on the LAIKA Board and has been Head of Animation since 2007, was one of the lead animators on CORALINE, the first stop-motion animated feature film to be produced in 3-D.
Rob Segal and Kobi Ofir will join the WorldGaming as chief marketing officer and chief technology officer, respectively. Both Segal and Ofir will fill their positions immediately and join company co-founders Billy Levy, President, and Zack Zeldin, VP, as the company prepares for launch this spring.
WorldGaming will be an online destination for console gamers to network and challenge other players from around the world in tournaments for real money.
Robert Mitchell, SVP and managing director of The Walt Disney Company's U.K. operations, has left the company, effective immediately, according to VARIETY.
Daniel Frigo will replace Mitchell and will continue his former job as exec VP and GM of Disney's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations. Mitchell had been with Disney since 1991, and representatives declined comment on his departure.
Tweak Software, developers of RV, the image and sequence viewer for animation and visual effects, have hired visual effects industry veteran Alan Trombla. Trombla, who has worked at all levels of visual effects and digital animation production from writing software and managing large engineering teams to lighting shots and leading CG productions, joins Tweak Software as Director of Product Development.
DECODE Ent. President Steven DeNure will become president and chief operating officer of DHX Media. His duties will include overseeing operations across all of the company's divisions. In addition DeNure will oversee the three kid-focused production units as well as DECODE Enterprises, the company's distribution division. His mandate will include increasing the synergies across the three entities, including the development, financing, production and support functions.
Diego Lerner has been named president, The Walt Disney Company, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Activision Blizzard has appointed Thibaud de Saint-Quentin as SVP and managing director of European Publishing, where he will oversee the company's regional strategy and long-term growth initiatives.
Thibaud, who joins the company as of March 9, 2009, will be based out of its European headquarters in the U.K., Stockley Park office and will report to Brian Hodous, Activision Blizzard's chief customer officer.
Headlight, the New York-based VFX, design and animation studio, has hired Steve Holiner as its new exec producer. Holiner is an industry veteran with more than 10 years experience working on commercials for top clients, including McCann, BBDO, JWT, Ogilvy, and Saatchi Healthcare. His lengthy resume includes Super Bowl spots for GE, Pepsi, Lay's and FedEx.
Vancouver Film School graduate Yaniv Friedman has joined the busy design and branding firm, Trace Pictures, as full time designer/animator.
"Our first intro to Yaniv's work was a short film we saw on Motionographer called A BRIEF GUIDE ABOUT BRIDESMAIDS, explains Daniel Luna, Associate Creative Director at Trace. "His work was unique -- we saw some serious talent and we wanted to work with him."
Visual effects studio Radical 3D has hired of Richard "Dickie" Payne as its lead character modeler for a new series it's producing called ANIMAL ARMAGEDDON.
Payne will be in charge of modeling and texturing characters for the eight part series airing now on Animal Planet.
Randy Lake has been named executive VP and general manager of Sony Pictures Imageworks. Lake, who has worked with Sony Pictures Digital Productions since 2006 in a business strategy and development role, moves into Imageworks to manage overall operations, strategy and planning.
For Kunio Kato, the Oscars were a whirlwind experience. Here are some exclusive pics from his big night. Here he is with the likes of John Cleese, Sean Penn, Andrew Stanton and more.
One of the highlights of the tour is always the public screening at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. This year the Academy not only hosted a night highlighting the shorts, but also the animated features. Check out the pics for both events.
ILM had a photographer follow the Oscar tour around their facilities and we'd like to share some of the great pics.
At the Dreamworks stop, Rick Farmiloe meets the filmmakers and hears about their thought process and methods of getting it on the screen. For him, this year the field was exceptionally strong, with every film being quite unique and different from the rest.
Peter Chernin, News Corporation's President and Chief Operating Officer and CEO of the Fox Group, will step down when his contract expires on June 30, 2009. The Los Angeles-based Fox businesses will report directly to Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch upon Chernin's departure.
Chernin will launch a Fox-based production company later this year, among other ventures.
Visual effects software developer The Foundry has appointment of new sales and product management staff to help boost global sales of the company's Nuke VFX compositing and image-processing plug-ins products, and maintain the focus on customer-driven product development.
Joining the company are: Michael Bailey in the role of director of sales, worldwide, who has responsibility for expanding global sales; Schel Kuehnert, who becomes the new director of sales for the Americas and Tom Cowland, who takes on a customer-facing role as plug-ins product manager.
Big Stage Ent., a media technology company that lets consumers project themselves photo-realistically into the digital realm, has named digital media industry veteran Patrick Barry to the role of vice president, content alliances. In this newly created role, Barry will focus on growing partnerships with media and entertainment companies interested in developing both new digital revenue opportunities and deep consumer engagement.
Bill Desowitz catches up with VES Lifetime Achievement Award winners Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall about producing VFX movies.
Ellen Wolff sat down with Phil Tippett to discuss creatures, the state of the industry and his desire to play down his title as "pioneer."