When Aardman Animations received copies of Lewi Firth Boltons stop-motion film, they were so impressed they offered him a job, however, what the Oscar-winning studio didnt know was that Bolton is only 14 years old. BBC NEWS recently reported the story of the talent young filmmaker from Bridlington, U.K., who took up stop-motion animation three years ago after seeing Aardmans WALLACE AND GROMIT shorts.
Arthur Hair has been named cto/svp for The Walt Disney Studios. He will report to president Alan Bergman and will be responsible for the studios technology strategies. He will work closely with the studios business units to identify opportunities for leveraging technology to take advantage of the rapidly evolving marketplace.
Yanick Dusseault, one of the most accomplished visual effects digital matte artists working today, has joined ElementFX as its art director. ElementFX is a digital post-production studio.
In naming Dusseault to the new post, Marjolaine Tremblay, the company's ceo/animation director, said, "Luring Yanick to our studio is a real coup for ElementFX. His expertise and wonderful reputation allow him to be very selective. The fact that he was drawn to our company's philosophy of client and artist collaboration is indicative of who we are and where we are heading."
Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) announced several key promotions within its European distribution team and the expansion of its new digital initiatives group in response to the growth of digital content distribution in Europe. Stuart Baxter has been promoted to evp, European distribution. Danny Goldman has been named svp, sales, and Nina Pustilnik joins the company as vp, digital initiatives.
Award-winning vfx operator Adam Watson, whose CV includes stints on Oscar-nominated feature films MOULIN ROUGE and THE MATRIX, is joining Rushes expanding VFX department.
Watson joins the team headed up by Paul Hannaford. Further, he joins at an opportune time for Rushes, following its recent multi-million pound investment on new kit, suites and talent.
Animation production vet Ken Tsumura joins Mainframe Ent. as svp, production and technology.
Tsumura was a producer and production manager for multiple high-profile animated series and feature films, including CURIOUS GEORGE for Universal, ADAM SANDLERS EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS for Columbia Pictures, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, JOSEPH KING OF DREAMS and FATHER OF THE PRIDE for DreamWorks Animation, THE SIMPSONS for Gracie Films and numerous series for Disney Animation.
Andre Caraco and Gigi Semone were named evps of publicity for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.
SCI FI Channel has launch a new Visions for Tomorrow public affairs initiative set to champion a bold, optimistic view of the future and is predicated on the belief that individuals can have a positive impact on the human condition. What began as a two-day SCI FI Channel management off-site in the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California in May 2004 has become the inspiration for SCI FIs ambitious new public affairs campaign, which is comprised of public service announcements, educational outreach, nonprofit advocacy efforts and an illustrious advisory board.
Jonathan Friedland joins The Walt Disney Co. as vp, corporate communications, where he will participate in developing and executing the communications strategies for various issues and initiatives, including financial reporting, legislative and regulatory issues, corporate reputation management and executive communications. He also will work closely with Disney's businesses, including Parks and Resorts, Media Networks, Consumer Products and Studio Ent.
Marie-Christine Dufour joins Image In Media Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Section Rouge Média Inc. as evp, distribution and communications, to head its new distribution division.
9 Story Ent., the Emmy and Gemini award-winning animation company, has added Natalie Osborne to its growing executive team. In her new role as evp of business development, Osborne will lead the effort to grow international distribution and the companys portfolio of intellectual properties. A 10-year vet, she worked with some of the worlds top media companies, including NBC Universal in London, where she specialized in childrens and family programming.
Toronto-based Portfolio Ent. Inc. has upped Aron Dunn from development exec to manager of creative development. In his new role, Dunn will over see the acquisition of new intellectual properties and shepherd them through the development process. He will also explore the extension of all brands across multiple delivery platforms including web, mobile and game applications.
Kyra E. Reppen, the former head of NickJr.com and creator and architect behind the recently launched ParentsConnect brand, has been named svp/gm of NeoPets, the largest and fastest-growing youth community on the Internet. In her new role, Reppen will lead and manage all day-to-day operations, creative direction and business strategy for NeoPets, which is based in Glendale, California.
Jetix Europe announced today (Sept. 22, 2006) that Michael Lekes has resigned from his position as svp of programming for personal reasons. He leaves the company at the end of September after four years service. Jetix Europe actively seeking a replacement to take over the leadership of its content division as soon as possible.
Mark Kimball and Rick Sayre have joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Science and Technology Council, bringing the groups membership to 25.
Kimball, the director of digital production at the Walt Disney Co., shared a Scientific and Engineering Award in 1991 for the design and development of the CAPS production system for feature film animation. Sayre, the supervising technical director at Pixar Animation Studios, shared a Technical Achievement Award in 1996 for the creation and development of the Direct Input Device.
Carol Lee has been named vp, home entertainment, North America, Granada International, based at the companys U.S. headquarters in Sherman Oaks, California, and is responsible for delivering Granada Internationals substantial programming library across all digital platforms. She will be involved in securing new distribution deals, overseeing product release strategy and expanding sales opportunities.
Digital Domain has hired a trio of top senior execs from Industrial Light & Magic as it attempts to re-emerge as a vfx powerhouse. Mark Miller, a 22-year vet of ILM, most recently vp and senior exec in charge of production and marketing, has been named president of Digital Domain, reporting to ceo Carl Stork. Cliff Plumer will retain his cto title at Digital Domain and will lead the companys planned expansion of its technological resources and in the convergence of film and videogames. Kim Libreri, a vfx supervisor at ILM (POSEIDON), will join Digital Domain as vp, advanced strategy.
Anthony Marcoly has been promoted from evp to president, sales and distribution, Buena Vista International Inc., taking on a more comprehensive management role overseeing all aspects of sales and distribution for Disney and Touchstone Picture films internationally, as well as continuing his oversight of international acquisitions.
Framestore CFC has named U.K. Film Council commissioner Steve Norris md of its film division, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Norris has held the lead Film Council post since 1997, overseeing a period in which more than 200 international films with budgets totaling around $6 billion were filmed in U.K., including several vfx heavy productions such as the HARRY POTTER franchise.
Licensing veteran Cynthia Money joins the Taffy Ent. team as president, worldwide consumer products, to build the consumer awareness and innovative marketing platforms for all of the companys award-winning brands. Money will be based in Los Angeles.
Zoic Studios announced the addition of Barbara Genicoff, as visual effects producer for commercials. The company, known for its outstanding visual effects in advertising, TV and feature film, has experienced significant growth in all areas and approached Genicoff as a complement to the burgeoning commercial team.
Amy Gruberg joins Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) as svp, media operations, responsible for shaping the media vision for MGM. She will influence all aspects of the studios media operations, including overseeing the media strategy and placement for each of the studios films, working on MGM Home Ent. releases, and building brand extensions for MGMs television partners as films enter their network and cable windows.
Two veteran FOX publicity execs have been promoted to vp as Shannon Ryan has been named vp, entertainment publicity, and Elissa Johansmeier has been promoted to vp, publicity and corporate communications. Both report to Joe Earley, evp, publicity, corporate communications and creative services for FOX, who also announced several additional promotions within the networks publicity department.
Former Digital Domain vet Dennis Hoffman has been appointed vp/head of production for Vancouver-based Anthem Visual Effects Inc. Anthem was recently awarded, for the second consecutive year, production of visual effects for Starz/IDT Ent.s anthology series MASTERS OF HORROR.
Kent Rice has been named ceo of Starz Animation, a division of Starz Media, to develop and produce animated feature-length movies. Rice reports to Clasen.
Rice is a 20-year vet with executive level management experience in cable operations, telecom and TV programming, both in domestic and international markets. Most recently, he had been executive adviser to Starz Ent., helping acquire the newly named Starz Media and the integration of Starz Media with Starz Ent.