Bill Desowitz reports on the launch of last weekend's 5D conference in Long Beach, which offered "an overload of stimulus."
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.
Word coming from the Bay Area is that the Totoro Forest Project auction at Pixar was a stellar success. The world's top film animators, comic book artists and illustrators came together after creating original works of art inspired by the iconic animated film My Neighbor Totoro for an auction to benefit the Totoro No Furusato (Totoro's Homeland) National Fund
DECODE Enterprises, the distribution subsidiary of DHX Media, has promoted Josh Scherba from Director of Sales to VP, Distribution.
In his new role, he will continue to head the sales team for DECODE Enterprises' distribution catalogue which includes programming from DHX's production subsidiary's DECODE Entertainment, Halifax Film and Studio B Productions as well as acquired third party series.
Entertainment and development company W!LDBRAIN has hired Marge Dean as general manager of W!LDBRAIN Animation Studios. Dean will replace Andrea Mansour, who will be leaving the company this fall to relocate to Atlanta with her family. Dean will report to Charles Rivkin, President and CEO, and will work out of the San Francisco office beginning September 8.
W!LDBRAIN has inked an overall exclusive deal with animation veteran Danny Antonucci, creator of ED, EDD N EDDY, one of the highest-rated and longest-running original cartoons on Cartoon Network. Under the exclusive pact, Antonucci will develop original television series, feature film and new media projects for W!LDBRAIN. The development slate reflects a variety of projects that appeal to kids and adults.
Steve M. Rezayat is joining the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation as Chief Financial Officer.
Rezayat will be joining former Chief Financial Officer and current Chief Executive Officer Trulee Karahashi in the guidance of the organization that runs the nation's largest anime and manga convention, Anime Expo.
Rezayat is a seasoned financial management executive with 36 years of experience and holds a Master's degree in Management and a Bachelor's degree in Accounting.