AWN has confirmed that Cartoon Network vp of original animation Linda Simensky has announced to the company that she will be leaving her post to join PBS Kids. Simensky is an eight -year veteran at Cartoon Net, having been a major part in sheparding some of the channel's key brands, including the POWERPUFF GIRLS. Before arriving at Cartoon Network, Simensky was the first director of animation at Nickelodeon. She also founded the New York chapter of Women in Animation.
In an anticipated move, John Calley has left his position as chairman/ceo of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) to concentrate on producing films, and has entered into a first-look production deal based at the Sony Pictures lot. Calley will remain on SPE's operating committee as well as SPE's board of directors.
Broadway Video DesignLab has hired Lisanne McDonald, an exec producer with broad experience spanning vfx, design and live action for film and television. She reports directly to managing director Karen Stewart.
Prior to her permanent position with DesignLab, McDonald was a freelance producer with the company.
McDonald has produced broadcast design and network branding and re-branding packaging projects, in addition to episodics, talk shows, commercials, documentaries and new media applications.
R!OT Manhattan has promoted Tom McCullough to visual effects supervisor. In his new role, McCullough will design, budget and oversee visual effects work for commercials, episodic television and broadcast graphics. He will also provide on-set visual effects supervision. McCullough will retain his post as senior inferno artist and will remain involved in hands-on visual effects production. A multi-talented artist, McCullough is also skilled in 3D animation.
Don Levy has been promoted to svp of marketing and communications, Sony Pictures Digital (SPD). In his new position, Levy will continue to direct the corporate communications, marketing and public relations for SPD's operating units, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures Digital Networks, Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Online Entertainment. In addition, Levy will continue to be responsible for the coordination of marketing and brand strategy between Sony Pictures Digital and Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Electronics and others.
Mel Alcock has joined Fox Kids Europe (FKE) as exec director of commercial sales to oversee the generation of advertising sales and sponsorship revenue for all Fox Kids channels and online and interactive operations throughout Europe and the Middle East. Alcock will work together with Fox Kids local Managing Directors and Sales Directors.
Warner Bros. technical operations has promoted Darcy Antonellis to evp, distribution & technology operations, and Chuck Dages to evp, emerging technology. Both Antonellis and Dages will report directly to technical operations president Chris Cookson.
Industry veteran Jere Hausfater has joined Miramax Films as evp/co-head of Miramax International. Based in Los Angeles, Hausfater will report to Miramax Films coo Rick Sands, and will work alongside Stuart Ford in heading Miramax International. He will also work in conjunction with Agnes Mentre, who heads Miramaxs acquisitions group, to acquire product for sale and distribution outside of North America. Additionally, Hausfaters business affairs background will be tapped to help Miramax develop European co-financing structures.
Lisa Cleff rejoins Global brand communications group ATTIK, in San Francisco, California, as vp of business development and marketing.
Jamie Kellner, founding architect of The WB Television Network, is turning over the leadership reigns of The WB to longtime colleagues Garth Ancier, Jordan Levin and Jed Petrick when he steps down as chairman/ceo at the end of the 2003-04 television season, it was announced Sept. 30, 2003 by Kellner and Barry Meyer, chairman/ceo Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Ancier will become chairman of the network, taking over Kellner's big picture, forward thinking, strategic planning responsibilities as well as having the network's cfo and general counsel report to him.
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School has added Ron Thornton to its team of instructors. Thornton was a founder of the legendary Animation house Foundation Imaging in Valencia, California, and a pioneer in the use of computers for vfx. His credits include BABYLON 5Babylon 5 (for which he won the Emmy for best visual effects), STAR TREK VOYAGER, DEEP SPACE 9 and ENTERPRISE. He was recently nominated for his work on the series finale of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.
Jan Carlee, a director with broad experience spanning animation and visual effects for feature films and commercials, has joined Wild Brains director roster. He will direct projects for commercials, television and film, as well as be an integral part of Wild Brains on-going development efforts in the feature film arena.
Scott Jenkins speaks with artist Doug Chiang and Sparx*s Alan Portillo about the epic 3D universe, building momentum under the name Robota.
Front Porch Digital Inc. has named Nikesh Kalra U.S. director of sales and marketing. Kalra brings more than 10 years of experience selling digital media solutions in the media and entertainment sector.
Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) has promoted three members of its London, Munich and Rome-based programming sales teams.
Carsten Fink, based in Munich, has been promoted from director of sales to exec director, sales, German-speaking markets. Carsten Fink joined BVITV in 2000 from United Distributors, where he was an international sales manager. Fink leads German-speaking sales for such territories as Germany, Austria and Switzerland and reports to BVITVs vp of sales, Alison Homewood.
Urs Rohner will remain under contract as ceo of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 until 2006, under the new regime headed by the group's new owner, Haim Saban. Many had speculated that Saban would replace Rohner with a handpicked successor.
Mark Miller has been promoted from exec in charge of production to vp/sr exec in charge of production at Industrial Light & Magic. The 19-year ILM vet will be responsible for overseeing and managing the production department and its staff, as well as take a leading role in ILMs strategic marketing and bidding efforts.
Czech animation is renowned for its rich heritage, even as it continues in crisis. Andrew Osmond interviews two of its leading figures on upholding a proud tradition.
High-tech/entertainment journalist David Bloom has joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. as vp corporate communications. Bloom will help coordinate company-wide publicity and media relations, work on political and technological issues with the MPAA, and assist in all internal and external corporate communications initiatives.
Chris Grace, one of the pioneers of S4C and the founder of the animation industry in Wales, will step down from his full-time post at S4C in the next few months, but will continue to develop and oversee animation projects.
Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution has promoted Cristina Mancini to the newly created position of exec director, marketing, promotion and publicity, responsible for the publicity group within the marketing department reporting to Michael Bessolo, svp of marketing, promotion and publicity.
David Miercort joins Miramax Films in Los Angeles as svp of acquisitions and business affairs. Reporting to both Agnes Mentre, head of Miramaxs acquisition group, and co-president of production, Bob Osher, Miercort will be involved in motion picture acquisitions activities from a business affairs/legal perspective and help facilitate agreements for promotions initiatives.
Tribune Entertainment president/ceo Dick Askin was elected Aug. 22, 2003 by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' board of governors to replace writer/producer Bryce Zabel as chairman. Askin had served as vice chair and ran unopposed. Current second vice chair John Shaffner has moved up from to vice chairman. Newly elected to the post of second vice chair is Karen Miller becomes the second vice chair. Re-elected to second terms are secretary Daniel Birman, treasurer Leo Chaloukian and Los Angeles-area vice chair Mitch Waldow. New terms begin Oct. 1, 2003.
Michelle Guy joins Fox Kids U.K. as press and pr manager, replacing Anna Sargent who left the company in June 2003. Guy is responsible for generating press coverage for Fox Kids channel, online, interactive and consumer products activities in the U.K. and for promoting the Fox Kids brand to U.K. audiences.