The Visual Effects Society (VES) has chosen a new board of directors for 2008, with Jeff Barnes, co-founder and CEO of ComputerCafe Group, as chair. Barnes replaces the previous chair, Jeff Okun, who has reached his term limit.
Industry trade group Cartoon Italia has announced the appointment of Francesco Manfio, General Manager of Gruppo Alcuni, as its new president. Manfio was elected unanimously by the members of the executive board during the association's recent assembly.
Decode Ent.'s longtime head of distribution Dominique Bazay is leaving the company to join Astral Media's Quebec-based kids channel Vrak.TV as VP of programming, reports C21 MEDIA.
Decode partner Neil Court was philosophical about the loss. "If you have to lose an employee, it makes it a little easier if they are going to a broadcaster. We're losing an incredible executive, but we're gaining a client," he said.
Decode's international sales team will take over for Bazay in the short term, with a new appointment likely soon.
Veteran brand marketing and promotion executive Brenda Freeman has been named to the newly created position of chief marketing officer for Turner Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media. In her new role, Freeman will provide overall vision and leadership to all areas of marketing, on-air and trade creative services that support the cable television networks Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, along with their online businesses, and the digital enterprises GameTap and Super Deluxe.
Richard Kerris has left Apple to become the new CTO of Lucasfilm, filling the post vacated by Cliff Plumer, who's now with Digital Domain.
As CTO, Kerris will oversee the technical operations and help develop and execute the company's technology strategy for Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, LucasArts, Lucasfilm Animation, Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Lucas Online.
Cardiff-based Calon, one of Britain's largest independent animation companies, has announced the hiring of Rolant Tomos as development executive, working directly with head of development Andrew Offiler. He will also be working alongside children's live-action producer Peter Murphy on Calon's live-action projects.
Christopher J. Cookson has been named President of Sony Pictures Technologies. He will oversee the development and implementation of the studio's technology policy and processes. He will also serve as Sony Pictures' chief liaison with other Sony Corp. businesses in the area of technology. The position is a new one at Sony Pictures, and Cookson will report to Michael Lynton, CEO and chairman of Sony Pictures Ent., and Amy Pascal, co-chairman.
John P. Quinn has been named EVP, Worldwide Operations, Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.
In his new post, Quinn will oversee global sales and distribution for Warner Bros. Interactive Ent., leveraging the existing supply chain infrastructure he previously managed at Warner Home Video with the game-publishing and development capabilities of Warner Bros. Interactive.
The SCI FI Channel has promoted two of its original programming executives -- Erik Storey and Tony Optican -- to SVP and has added Chris Sanagustin to the team as the Channel's new VP of Development. All three are based in Los Angeles and will continue to develop the channel's award-winning slate of original series and long-form projects.
Laurent Taieb has been promoted to VP, Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP), France as part of the company's strategic commitment to expand and further deepen its licensing and merchandising operations in the market. Taieb has managed NVCP's strategy in France since January 2006, including the direct oversight of DORA THE EXPLORER, which under his leadership became the fastest-growing toy license ever for Fisher Price and has spent the last 22 consecutive months as the territory's number-one licensed property.
In this edition of her bimonthly column, Nancy Cartwright interviews Charlie Adler, veteran voice actor and voice director, who has worked on classic cartoon series such as The Rugrats, as well as the recent live-action blockbuster Transformers.
Paul O'Shea has departed The Moving Picture Co. to become Asylum's newest vfx supervisor.
After having met Asylum Co-Founder/Creative Director Nathan McGuinness, O'Shea was persuaded to join the team. "Nathan's vision for the future of Asylum, the quality of visual effects, and the opportunity to work with the amazing talent here was a deciding factor for me. This, coupled with the chance to bring my daughter up by the beach, convinced me to swap Soho for Santa Monica," said O'Shea.
Managing Director Victor M. Lopez has announced that he is leaving Madrid-based Zinkia Entertainment after six years of "the most wonderful business experience" of his professional life.
In a farewell letter, Lopez stated: "Zinkia represents many things for me, some of my childhood dreams like making TV animated series,' but even more important, giving my daughter her first reason to be proud at school... my father did POCOYÓ!'"
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri (THE LORD OF THE RINGS sequels, KING KONG and the upcoming AVATAR) has joined Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk as an equal partner in Wellington, New Zealand-based Weta Digital Ltd.
At Weta Digital since 2001, Letteri is not only being elevated as a result of the bar-raising, Oscar-winning vfx work that he has supervised, but also for playing a key role in attracting new productions to New Zealand, including James Cameron's highly anticipated AVATAR.
With The Simpsons Movie hitting DVD, Russell Bekins took an opportunity to chat with director David Silverman about his long history with the TV series, as well as its huge jump to the big screen.
4Kids Ent., Inc. announced today that it has appointed Barry Stagg as SVP, Corporate Communications. In his new position, Stagg will be responsible for implementing a global communications program to expand the awareness of 4Kids' current properties and operations, as well as new brands and business ventures.
Molly Chase has been named VP and exec producer for Cartoon Network New Media. In her new role, Chase will oversee several Cartoon Network New Media departments including the design studio, technology group, game studio and the production team, and will be responsible for directing all aspects of production for CartoonNetwork.com, Awesomehouseparty.com and ToonamiJetstream.com.
Upon his retirement from UCLA, Professor Dan McLaughlin speaks with student Chris Mais about his 50-year career as an independent animator and educator of the next generation of filmmakers.
Dan Lin, who is overseeing JUSTICE LEAGUE, has left his SVP of Production post at Warner Bros. to form his own production unit on the lot, report the trades. Lin will officially move over to Lin Pictures starting Jan. 1. The deal will see Lin producing films for Warners exclusively for the first three years of his contract, as well as remaining the shepherd on projects he already has in development and in production under his current SVP role.
Pokemon USA, Inc. has announced that Akira Chiba, who has led the American branch of the company since 2002, will resign at the end of the year. Chiba joined Pokemon USA when the company's New York office was established -- the brand's first corporate headquarters outside of Japan and helped to re-establish Pokemon as a successful global brand.
Russell Bekins takes in the animation family reunion at I Castelli Animati, a festival where filmmakers come to connect with colleagues in a laid-back atmosphere.
With the feature animation industry booming in India, Lisa Goldman reports on the opportunities and challenges presented by an immense and diverse audience.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind SESAME STREET and other educational programs, has announced the addition of Aura Kenny Dunn to its staff as Assistant VP, Government Affairs. In this capacity, Dunn will manage government relations efforts and advance Sesame Workshop's visibility in federal policy and funding arenas to promote education and well-being for children around the globe. She will report to Myung Kang-Huneke, VP, General Counsel.
Jacquelyn Martino, a renowned researcher and graduate from MIT, was recently selected to chair SIGGRAPH 2008, the 35th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. With the theme Evolve, SIGGRAPH returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center. The conference will take place Aug. 11-15, with the exhibition occurring Aug. 12-14.