West Hollywood, California visual effects and design house Ring of Fire has added four new talents to their roster including lead motion graphics/special effects designer Todd DuFour, Henry artist Paul Geiger, Henry artist John Ciampa and inferno* artist Danny Yoon. Previously, DuFour operated his own broadcast and Web design company called Burrn. Prior to opening Burrn, DuFour spent three years freelancing at ad agency TBWA/Chiat Day as their lead motion graphic designer. Previously, Geiger worked as a freelance Henry artist and before that he worked for Pittard Sullivan.
Eyeballnyc, the New York design and production boutique, has named Michael Eastwood as their new executive producer. Previously, Eastwood worked for Andy Arkin's rep firm Blah! BLAH? (Blah...), New York, which represents leading commercial, production design and animation companies. Eastwood started his career as a producer working for Spike & Mike's Festival of Animation.
Colorist Frank Roman has joined the digital mastering/intermediate creative team at Cinesite, Inc. Roman is a native of Los Angeles who began his career at Fotokem Film Labs as a telecine assistant for their sister company Fototronics. He subsequently worked for Paramount Pictures and later for MGM/UA, where he was responsible for transferring film to digital formats.
DIC Entertainment has named Kaaren Lee Brown senior VP in charge of creative affairs. She will oversee project development and act as a liaison to broadcasters and rights-holders. DIC's current productions that she will head are SUPER DUPER SUMOS, POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC, MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY: MOVIE TOONS and SALEM. Previous positions Brown has held are VP of entertainment licensing for Full Moon Productions, VP of entertainment licensing at Tyco Toys, VP of acquisitions at Hanna-Barbera and director of licensing at Mattel.
Wild Brain, Inc. announced the appointment of John A. Schwallie as the company's new chief financial officer. As CFO, he will oversee all financial and IT, Facilities and HR operations. Previously, he served as CFO of London-based Central European Media Enterprises (CME), a publicly traded company. While there he helped launch and operate NOVA TV, CME's first national broadcast television station in the Czech Republic. "We are very pleased to welcome someone of John's caliber to Wild Brain," said Jeff Ulin, CEO of Wild Brain, Inc.
Stephen Johnstone has been named head of interactive for Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Europe. He will oversee content creation across the Internet (including Cartoon Network), broadband, wireless devices, interactive and enhanced TV. Joining Turner in 1994, Johnstone played a key role in launching Cartoon Network in European territories including Holland, France and Spain. He will move back to London from the company's Madrid office where he was Channel Manager for Cartoon Network Spain, the number one channel on Canal Satellite Digital.
Rhinoceros Visual Effects & Design has added CG director/project leader David Barosin to its roster. He was a major factor in creating character animations for ad campaigns such as J. Walter Thompson's Orkin Man, "Primetheus" the Primeco alien for The Richards Group, the Statue of Liberty for Oldsmobile and Leo Burnett, and the "Virtual Lady" for Intel. "I really like the team that's here at Rhinoceros," Barosin said. "These are great people, many of whom I've worked with before.
Click 3X, a digital commercial studio, has added award-winning effects veteran Glen Bennett to their Los Angeles team. Bennett, who has worked in video and digital effects since 1986, was a pioneer in the use of Discreet Logic's Flame* software, winning a Monitor Award for Best Special Effects in 1995 for the Guinness "Enigma" spot directed by Michael Hausseman. He received the 1998 MVPA Award for Best Visual FX for his work on 311's music video "Transistor" directed by Jay Papke. Click 3X VP, executive producer Phyllis Nix said, "What can I say?
Richard Wolpart, former CEO of Checkout.com, has been brought onto RealNetworks' staff as a strategic adviser on digital music distribution and wireless communications. Wolpert will split his time between RealNetworks and consulting for his 10-year-old investment company, Chance Investments. From 1996-98, he served as president of Disney Online.
Class-Key Chew-Po has signed 3D animation director David Foss. The director has worked with Class-Key in the past on projects for Columbia Tri-Star, Nickelodeon and San Diego's Wildlife Park's Festival of Lights promotion. In the past he has worked for such studios as Optimus, Hgun Labs and Runandgun. Foss' personal work has toured with festivals around the world. His film 47 HURTZ was screened as part of Resfest and his short HORNED GRANDMA is part of Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival.
DIC Entertainment has raised Michael Maliani to the new position of chief creative officer. His responsibilities will be heading up the creative aspects of the business such as design, development and approval of programming, advertising and consumer products. Maliani will be leaving his role as senior vice president of development, where he oversaw artists, producers and directors on DIC productions. As an executive producer on DIC programming he has won two Emmys, a CableACE award, a Humanitas Prize and two Environmental Media Awards.
The Hiroshima Animation Festival has always seemed like a bastion of Western animation in the midst of animation rich Japan. Chris Robinson interviews festival director Sayoko Kinoshita regarding the festival's purpose and success.
DIC Entertainment has named Melissa Bomes executive vice president of worldwide consumer products. Bomes will oversee the growth of the division, including such areas as licensing and merchandising, promotions and retail marketing. Bomes recently served as VP of business development at estyle.com and before that was an executive at Walt Disney working in strategic alliances and business development for its retail stores.
Continuing the revamping of its finance division, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has announced three top-level finance appointments. Peter Halt was appointed senior VP and chief financial officer of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, which was formed last spring. Previously he served as VP finance and corporate controller at SPE. Filling Halt's old role will be Mark Rudolph, who is currently VP finance at Sony Pictures Imageworks. Simon Baker was named VP finance and corporate treasurer at SPE. Prior to Sony, Baker was the VP of finance at Fox Entertainment Group.
Icebox.com has announced that Strauss Zelnick has joined the company's board of directors. Until his recent resignation, Zelnick served as president and CEO of Bertelsmann AG's music company BMG Entertainment. He also serves as non-executive chairman of broadband application service provider On2.
Disney's Buena Vista has promoted Jason Reed to senior VP of the motion picture group and Bob Chapek and Dennis Maguire to presidents of home entertainment domestic and international respectively. Reed will now be the third in command at Buena Vista Motion Picture Group, under president Nina Jacobson and exec VP Mark Vahradian. Previously, Reed served as VP of production for the last 5 1/2 years. As president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment's domestic division, Chapek will oversee all areas of domestic distribution for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Miramax and Dimension.
Saban International, the distribution division of Fox Family Worldwide, has promoted Julie Wineberg to senior VP of international sales and management, Tony Howe to VP of international business and legal affairs and Maria Torregrosa to VP of sales. Wineberg will increase her work with international Fox Kids channels while continuing to oversee all aspects of the division's day-to-day television sales administration. Previously, she served as VP of international sales management. Howe will continue negotiating and spearheading co-productions and distribution deals across all media worldwide.
Film Roman has promoted Uriel Sigala to the position of chief technology officer. In his new post, he will be responsible for modernizing the company's technology so that it can be more efficient and cost-effective. Sigala is a five-year veteran of Film Roman as the head of the technology division, in which he helped establish Film Roman's entertainment Website Level13.net. Currently, he is spearheading the design and implementation of the forthcoming www.filmroman.com Website.
PDI/DreamWorks (formerly PDI), the animation and visual effects arm of DreamWorks SKG, has named Teresa Cheng as head of production. Cheng will oversee all of the global production efforts for PDI/DreamWorks. Previously, she has served as production manager for the DreamWorks animated feature film, SPIRIT, currently in production. Prior to DreamWorks, Cheng served as visual effects producer for Warner Bros.' BATMAN AND ROBIN.
Warner Bros.' exec VP of production Robert Guralnick will leave his post after his contract expires at the end of November. Sources say that the executive is pursuing other offers at various media companies. Currently, Guralnick was overseeing the Arnold Schwartzenegger film, COLLATERAL DAMAGE and the live-action adaptation of SCOOBY-DOO. Guralnick is an 11-year vet of Warner Bros., who was hired in 1989 as a production VP. After Guralnick's exit Warner Bros.' will be left with only two executive VPs of production, Kevin McCormick and Jeff Robinov.
BOXX Technologies, a leading provider of digital content creation tools for the entertainment and digital film industries, announced that James H. Moore has joined the company as chairman. Moore recently served as president and COO at Crossroads Systems, a high-technology manufacturer of fibre channel storage routers for the computer networking industry. Prior to joining Crossroads Systems, Moore was vice president and general manager of Crystal Semiconductor and Cirrus Logic.
Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) (WDIG) has promoted Erik Flannigan to senior VP of non-Disney-branded entertainment Websites. Previously, Flannigan served as VP of MrShowbiz.com, Movies.com and Wall of Sound. In his new position, Flannigan will continue to be responsible for those three sites as well as ABC.com and Oscar.com. He will relocate to Los Angeles from Seattle. Flannigan joined MrShowbiz in 1995 as an associate editor. Before joining Mr.Showbiz, Flannigan was managing editor of the music publication ICE and senior editor at the Rocket, an independent music newspaper in Seattle.
Cinesite the visual effects arm of Kodak, has named Michael Fink as their senior visual effects supervisor. Fink's visual effects supervisor credits include WAR GAMES, THE SEVENTH SIGN, BRAVEHEART, LETHAL WEAPON 4 and X-MEN. He earned an Oscar nomination for BATMAN RETURNS in 1993. Fink led a start-up venture, Warner Digital Studios, for Warner Bros., in 1995. The full service visual effects shop had a 150 staff at its peak. They created visual effects for BATMAN AND ROBIN, ERASER, MARS ATTACKS, CONSPIRACY THEORY and CONTACT.
Film Roman has promoted director of television development Sidney Clifton to vice president in charge of TV. In her new role, Clifton will oversee all television projects from development to sales as well as the acquisition of literary properties for live-action and animated productions. Clifton joined Film Roman as development coordinator and moved up to manager of television development before assuming the role of director of television development. Before Film Roman, she was a journalist for Exodus and Essence magazines and an executive assistant as Fox Sports Network.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has appointed three new staff members for its Rome Cartoon Network Italy office. Jaime Ondarza has been named marketing manager and will oversee the establishment of the Cartoon Network brand in Italy. Previous, Ondarza worked for international advertising agency Young & Rubicam. Andrea Castellari joins as sales director and will be in charge of the development of all commercial activities relating to Cartoon Network's channel and Website as well as work to strengthen the co-operation with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.