Thomas Vitale has been promoted to Exec VP, Programming and Original Movies for the Sci Fi Channel. Vitale will continue to report to Dave Howe, President, Sci Fi Channel. Vitale, who started at the channel in early 1993, soon after the network's September 1992 launch, has played a vital role with Sci Fi throughout its history, most recently serving as SVP, Programming and Original Movies.
Veteran research strategist Lanie Richberger has been named VP of research for Turner Broadcasting System's Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media (AYAKM) group, it was announced Monday by Jon Marks, SVP of Turner Research. In this capacity, Richberger will be responsible for managing all aspects of research, including organizing, analyzing and reporting on audience ratings, delivery, and user information supporting the cable television networks Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, along with their online businesses and digital enterprises.
Activision Publishing has appointed Brad Jakeman as Chief Creative Officer, expected to join the company in early November 2008.
In this newly-created position, Jakeman will be responsible for leading global advertising, media, marketing and consumer research for all of Activision Publishing's franchises. Jakeman will report to Mike Griffith, President and CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc.
Platinum Studios, Inc., an entertainment company that controls an international library of more than 5,600 comic book characters which it adapts, produces and licenses for all forms of media, announced that it is creating an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is being formed to help further the company's pursuits of home video and theatrical distribution, marketing, and developing content for new media.
Tom Sito chats with the veteran animator about his life, his work, his new book, and the time he substituted for a gorilla.
Bill Desowitz reports on the launch of last weekend's 5D conference in Long Beach, which offered "an overload of stimulus."
Rainmaker Ent. has promoted animation producer Jennifer Twiner-McCarron to Vice President of Production, Rainmaker Ent. Twiner-McCarron has been producer or exec producer on most of Rainmaker's films for the past eight years.
Warren Franklin, CEO of Rainmaker Ent. also announced that Kimberly Dennison has joined Rainmaker as Director of Development and Barbara Dawson has returned to the company as Director of Talent Relations and Recruiting, both newly-created positions. Tony Pelle has been promoted to Director of Technology, also a newly created post.
Electronic Arts has promoted Rod Humble to Exec VP and Head of The Sims Label of EA. In this role, Humble will be responsible for The Sims Label, which develops and markets life-simulation games and online communities with an emphasis on creativity, community and humor. THE SIMS is the best-selling PC franchise of all time.
Former The Sims leader Nancy Smith will manage special projects for The Sims Label until she begins a new executive role at EA, to be defined over the coming months.
Janet Hetherington and Bill Desowitz report on the digital action at Montreal's conference for digital arts, ADAPT 2008.
Turner Entertainment Networks Asia has promoted Mark Eyers to the new position of Vice President for Content. In his new role, Eyers will oversee all aspects of TENA's content business, including scheduling, acquisitions, programming operations, presentation, original production & development and new brands/business initiatives.
The eDIT Filmmaker's Festival is reported by Johannes Wolters, where cinematography, editing and vfx flow together in greater context.
Visual effects facility CafeFX has named respected industry veteran Joni Jacobson Executive Producer and Head of Business Development. Jacobson will oversee the company's Los Angeles production operation at the spacious facility it shares with sister company, commercial and design studio The Syndicate.
Marvel Ent. has promoted Simon Philips to President, Worldwide Consumer Products. Philips, who was previously President, Marvel International, will also remain in the role as Marvel's Head of Worldwide Animation.
Big Idea, Inc., an Entertainment Rights group company, has appointed VEGGIETALES co-creator, Mike Nawrocki, to VP Development. In this newly created position, Nawrocki will oversee all creative and production at the Big Idea studio, including the popular VEGGIETALES and 3-2-1 PENGUINS! series.
Janet Hetherington and Jon Hofferman report on the animated workshops, panels and screenings at the 2008 Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Television Animation Conference.
LAIKA/house President/EP Lourri Hammack has welcomed director Nicholas Weigel to the expanding director roster for the commercial studio.
"Nicholas brings a unique voice and wonderfully off-kilter vision to the studio. He is currently applying his skewed funny bone to a live action/animation campaign, which rolls out in November. He is a great addition to our talented group of directors and also gives us greater depth in original content creation," said Hammack.
Editor, compositor and vfx artist Mark Repasky has joined the creative staff at Broadway Video. Repasky, who arrives from the Creative Group, New York City, brings sterling credits in short-form media including work for Showtime, Time-Warner, VH1, CBS and Matrix.
Sil van der Woerd will be joining the Gnomon School of Visual Effects to collaborate with students on the development of his latest music video WHITE SWAN.
W!LDBRAIN Animation Studios has promoted Amy Capen to Head of Commercial and New Media Production. In her new position, Capen is charged with developing new business, recruiting creative and production talent as well as overseeing commercial and short form production. Capen will report to Marge Dean, General Manager, W!LDBRAIN Animation Studios.
The Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group, recently formed to provide its audiences with innovative gaming experiences, made several new key management appointments. David Bergantino has been named VP of Premium Games Production; Shaan Kandawalla, VP of Retail and Licensed Games; and Pete Banks, VP of Engineering. The announcements were made by Dave Williams, SVP and GM, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group, to whom the team will continue to report.
Disney animation exec Andrew Millstein has been named general manager for Walt Disney Animation Studios, and industry effects production veteran Jim Morris will take on a parallel role as general manager for Pixar Animation Studios
Both executives will be responsible for guiding overall operations of their respective studios, and will continue to oversee all aspects of production related to animated features, short films and special animated projects. They will report directly to Ed Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.
LAIKA/house President/Executive Producer Lourri Hammack has hired Ben Fischler as Visual Effects Supervisor for LAIKA/house.
In his new position, Fischler will drive the look and push the visual quality of projects within the LAIKA/house CG Department.
Fischler joined LAIKA/house after leaving DreamWorks Animation, where he worked as a Production Lighter on projects including: MADAGASCAR, MADAGASCAR 2: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA, BEE MOVIE, SHREK 2, SHREK THE THIRD, and OVER THE HEDGE.
Baby Networks have expanded their London-based executive team by hiring Ralf Kies as Director, Licensing & Merchandising. In this role Kies will be overseeing the off-air strategic commercial development of the BabyTV brand across home entertainment, licensing and merchandising, FMCG promotions and retail partnerships on a worldwide basis.
Additionally Kies responsibilities include developing broadcast partnerships for Baby Networks Ltd. portfolio of audiovisual content through syndication of programming to international TV channels.