Thomas Helmintoller joins S4 Studios in the newly created post of creative director. A specialist in graphics production for trailers, music videos, movies and home video packaging, Helmintoller designed air combat sequences of DER ROTE BARON (THE RED BARON), an international co-production being distributed by Warner Bros. in October 2007.
Karen Raugust reports that despite the wide gap in budgets and resources, independent animation houses can learn from the major media companies' digital/new media activities.
MTV Networks' Ent. Group has promoted Erik Flannigan to evp, digital media. The Entertainment Group is comprised of a multi-platform portfolio of brands featuring the Comedy Central, Spike TV and TV Land cable channels, as well as Internet sites AtomFilms, AtomUploads, GameTrailers.com and Xfire. Flannigan supervises the linear channels' digital media teams, overseeing the networks' digital programming initiatives, to maximize revenue growth opportunities for the group and now will oversee all of the Entertainment Group's digital businesses as well.
Sharon Morrill, president of DisneyToon Studios, has stepped down from her post, where she had been responsible for producing direct-to-video sequels of the Disney Co.'s animated features. She will do special projects for Disney.
ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE reported on March 28, 2007, that it was the end of the line for Disney direct-to-video sequels and how the studio was moving forward under the new corporate climate with Ed Catmull and John Lasseter at the helm.
Dream Works Animation has hired former Nickelodeon Movies development vp Damon Ross as a senior development exec. Ross's main duty will be acquiring and developing literary properties as well as original projects. He will work on the day-to-day development of features at the studio with Chris Kuser.
The new DreamWorks exec will report to the studio's head of creative development and production Bill Damaschke and head of development Kristine Belson.
Karen Raugust looks at how animation executives rely on their big-studio experience to launch new indie production houses.
Janet Hetherington talks to Canadian vfx professionals about why their companies are being tasked with providing effects for A-list productions such as 300, Superman, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Babylon 5: The Lost Tales and more.
Lisa Streff to vp of domestic licensing in DICâs consumer products division, to oversee the development and implementation of domestic licensing and merchandising programs for the company's slate of entertainment and lifestyle brands, including MOMMY & ME, HORSELAND, MCDONALDS, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, CAKE, MADELINE SLUMBER PARTY GIRLS and DICâs all new boy-driven property, DINO SQUAD. She will oversee the efforts of sales, retail and product development.
Shari Weisenberg joins SCI FI Channel in the newly created position of vp, strategic marketing, to lead all sales marketing initiatives for the SCI FI brand. Her appointment signals the Channel's commitment to leveraging its multimedia assets to maximize the reach and impact of all sponsor messaging.
Method Studios has signed Andy Boyd as a CG supervisor. Most recently working as the head of 3D Commercials with Framestore-CFC London, Boyd is a well-known 3D artist and recognized as the visual effects creative force behind high-profile campaigns such as the Daniel Kleinman-directed GUINNESS Noitulove, SURE/REXONA lensed by Noam Murro and ESUVEE directed by Daniel Kleinman. His official start will be July 1.
San Francisco-based animation and production studio W!LDBRAIN announced that Michael Polis will be the new chief marketing officer for the company, the first in the studio's history. Polis will focus on building up brands for the company, such as the YO GABBA GABBA series for Nick Jr., while also focusing on management of the overall W!LDBRAIN corporate identity.
Digital media and children's television exec Lisa Judson has been named president, Warner Bros. Animation, succeeding Sander Schwartz, who recently departed to concentrate on broadband and new media animation with the studio as a producer.
Veteran Warner Bros. Ent. business operations exec Andy Lewis has been named evp/general administrative manager at Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD), overseeing all business operations, including finance, administration, planning and analysis for WBDTD, one of the leading distributors of first-run and off-network programming in the domestic television marketplace. Lewis comes to WBDTD after a decade at Warner Bros. Animation (WBA).
Handcranked, otherwise known as the veteran animation director team of Bryan Papciak and Jeff Sias, will join Global Mechanic to be represented for commercial production worldwide, it was announced by Global Mechanic exec producer Matthew Charde. Global Mechanic produces commercials, television series and films in all media, working with directors internationally and studios on both coasts of North America.
Visual effects studio Guava has signed seasoned animator and designer James Collins to its roster. He recently completed a spot for GMC via Lowe Worldwide with Guava. He comes from Click 3X, where he rebuilt the CG department and headed the team.
"In addition to providing an environment that is conducive to creativity, Guava offers a very talented staff," said Collins. "I am eager to contribute my skills while also learning from the experienced artists here. At Guava, I hope to help clients nurture their ideas and solve their creative needs."
HBO has a new lineup of four top corporate officers today (June 5, 2007) to replace Chris Albrecht, the ceo who resigned last month. Bill Nelson heads the group as chairman/ceo. Richard Plepler, Eric Kessler and Hal Akselrad have been elevated to the new title of co-presidents, all with specific duties at the pay cable channel and all report to Nelson. Time Warner chairman/ceo Dick Parsons and president/coo Jeff Bewkes made the announcement.
Italian-based production company Atlantyca Ent. has appointed Claudia Mazzucco ceo and Caterina Vacchi as senior manager/exec producer of the company.
Mazzucco will oversee all of the company's initiatives and reports to chairman Pietro Marietti, who established Atlantyca Ent. in September 2006 to create new business opportunities for the company's library of entertainment book properties.
Katherine Pope has been promoted from evp, NBC Ent., to president, NBC Universal Television Studio, and will head one of the country's largest and most successful television production companies, it was announced today by NBC Ent. and NBC Universal Television Studio co-chairmen Marc Graboff and Ben Silverman.
Prior to the Disney/Pixar Ratatouille presentation at WonderCon earlier this year, Andrew Farago was granted a one-on-one interview with comedian/actor/writer Patton Oswalt to discuss his starring role in the upcoming film.
Teri Meyer has been promoted to the newly created position of evp of worldwide publicity for Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Marketing. She will be responsible for formulating and executing worldwide publicity campaigns for all live-action and animated features released under The Walt Disney Pictures (live action and animation), Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures banners.
Alan Fine has been appointed to the newly created position of evp/chief marketing officer of Marvel Characters Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marvel Ent., which owns and licenses Marvel's intellectual property library. Fine will be responsible for directing and coordinating Marvel's efforts to support and strengthen its brands.
Fine, who joined Marvel in 1996, will retain his current title of ceo of Marvel's publishing and toy divisions.
LAIKA Inc. has appointed Cynthia Barton Rabe to the position of vp/cmo, entertainment division. Rabe is a 20-year marketing veteran who has held management positions with consumer product and technology companies, including Intel and Ralston Purina. She is also a business consultant, author and guest lecturer specializing in innovation and corporate strategy.
Sander Schwartz is stepping down as the president of Warner Bros. Animation. He plans to move into a production deal with the studio working on broadband and new media animation. Warner is looking for his replacement.
Japanese director Satoshi Kon sat down with Greg Singer to discuss the making of his latest animated feature, Paprika.