Former Harvey head Rick Mischel takes the reigns as CEO of Mainframe Entertainment, the pioneering computer animation studio in Canada. He replaces Brett Gannon, who stepped down as president in October 2002 for medical reasons. Mischel will be based at the company's headquarters in Vancouver, overseeing production, development, distribution, licensing, operations and business affairs. "We are looking to Rick to expand our computer graphics animation expertise beyond television and into new areas such as feature films.
Animation industry veteran Max Howard has joined SecondSun Entertainment's board of directors. Howard is chairman/CEO/founder of Melwood Pictures, a Hollywood-based producer of animation and live-action films. Formerly he was president of feature animation at Warner Bros., a SVP at The Walt Disney Co. and, most recently, a producer at DreamWorks where he helped develop and produce SPIRIT, STALLION OF THE CIMARRON amongst the DreamWorks slate. While he was at Warner Bros., the studio produced THE IRON GIANT, QUEST FOR CAMELOT and SPACE JAM.
Disney director Steve Trenbirth joins Mad Cow Pictures founder Steve Sagovac as co-owner of the Australian animation company. Before directing JUNGLE BOOK 2, Trenbirth was animation director on Disneys Annie Award nominated LADY & THE TRAMP 2 and Annie Award winning LION KING 2. Mad Cow offers Flash and traditional animation services, specializing in character design/development, storyboards, Leica reels and is developing its own projects including OOSTEVEN: PLAYGROUND PRIVATE EYE and LEEROY & LOU-ANNE.
In response to the greater number of adults tuning into Cartoon Network, the channel has moved Mike Lazzo from SVP of programming to SVP of its ADULT SWIM programming franchise. And in a move that's been in the works for some time, it was confirmed by a Cartoon Network spokesperson that Linda Simensky, SVP of original animation, will move from Turner headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia to the Cartoon Network Studio in Burbank, California to look after new programming initiatives for 2003.
Paul Golden is onboard at Vinton Studios in Portland, Oregon to spearhead its commercial division as the new president of advertising. Golden's mandate is to encourage the advertising community to turn to Vinton Studios for its variety of abilities including CGI, cel animation, live-action and motion graphics. "I want to correct the general misperception that we're all about clay," said Golden. He also plans to emphasize the individual directors and their unique styles rather than the studio as a whole.
Burbank, California-based Craig Murray Productions has brought on board Richard Redfield as president/executive creative director of CMP/West, to oversee its operations in West Los Angeles. CMP and CMP/West specialize in creating motion picture trailer, TV and print campaigns. Redfield is a veteran trailer producer with more than 200 campaigns to his credit. Most recently, Redfield was a creative director at Harley's House where he directed the advertising efforts on such films as OCEAN'S ELEVEN, AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER and TWO WEEKS NOTICE.
Newly-formed digital film finishing boutique iO Film adds Adam Hawkey as a lead compositor and color timer. Prior to joining iO Film, Hawkey has been freelancing at effects and post-production houses in Hollywood, including Rhythm & Hues, Amalgamated Pixels and Catalyst FX. Hawkey helped create and run THE WUBBULOUS WORLD OF DR. SEUSS, the first virtual set television show for Jim Henson Productions and Nickelodeon.
AOL Time Warner announced today that it is replacing Jamie Kellner, who headed its networks, with Philip I. Kent, a Turner Broadcasting System veteran, who rejoins Turner as its chairman/CEO. He will report to Jeffrey Bewkes, Chairman of AOL Time Warner's Entertainment & Networks Group. Jamie Kellner, who has led Turner for the past two years in Atlanta, will return to California and continue as chairman/CEO of The WB Network through the end of his employment agreement in the summer of 2004, according to the AOL Time Warner release.
Former HIT Entertainment licensing executive Stephen Gould joins Saban Consumer Products Europe (SCPE) as licensing director of its U.K. arm. Gould reports to Ian Downes, managing director for SCPE, the consumer products division of Fox Kids Europe. Gould is responsible for sales, promotions, marketing and advertising Fox Kids Europe-owned and third party properties in the U.K. and Ireland. He will also source new properties for European representation and be involved with deals with SCPE's six other European offices.
Fox Kids Europe (FKE) has promoted Oliver Fryer from director of legal and business affairs to general counsel, responsible for FKE's contractual, legal and business affairs issues, legal outsourcing, corporate governance and the company's legal team. Fryer replaces Kate Trinder (who held the post for five years) and reports to Bruce Steinberg, CEO. Fryer worked for Herbert Smith, the Simkins Partnership and Zenith Entertainment before joining FKE in June 2001.
Creative editorial company Lost Planet has added editors Saar Klein and Peter Mostert. Kleins notable feature film credits include THE THIN RED LINE, which earned him an Academy Award nomination; the 2000 film ALMOST FAMOUS, which won him an ACE award and another Academy Award nomination; and the 2002 action film THE BOURNE IDENTITY.
NYC-based Classic Media has appointed former AOL Time Warner exec Robert Friedman president to take its well-known properties such as Underdog, Lassie and The Lone Ranger and create new value out of them across film, television and video. Friedman will also be looking to license these characters to companies such as breakfast-cereal manufacturers for advertising and tie-ins. Friedman started his TV career in the 1980s in the original development team that created MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon.
Veteran media executive Allan Grafman joins Archie Comics Entertainment as president to expand the company's worldwide operations. His mandate is to increase the media exploitation of such characters as Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Josie and the Pussycats. Several Archie characters have been developed for films and TV shows, which Grafman will pursue as well as opportunities in video, video games, music, live events and licensing. Grafman led the turnaround and restructuring of Hallmark Entertainment where he served as XVP.
CINAR Corp. has named former WWF Entertainment head Stuart C. Snyder its new president and CEO. Snyder has extensive management experience in video, television, film, animation and live-action entertainment, as well as contacts in the production and distribution communities plus retail and licensing. The CINAR board is counting on Snyder to return the entertainment division to profitability and broaden the range of family products.
Janie Grace, controller of children's and youth programming at ITV, a leading broadcaster in the U.K., has quit '"by mutual agreement" shortly before the arrival of new director of programs Nigel Pickard. Grace leaves the position after two and a half years but declined to comment on her reasons for leaving. Grace and Pickard were colleagues at TVS in the '80s. She went on to head up Nickelodeon U.K. while Pickard took charge of CiTV, the children's arm of ITV. Grace later replaced Pickard at CiTV when he went on to the BBC.
Candyce Ayn-Lund has signed on as director of business development for Atlanta-based animation firm DAGNABIT! and will represent the company to the advertising and entertainment markets. Most recently, Ayn-Lund was director of new media and broadcast development for the Atlanta studio of NY-based design house Click3X. Prior to joining Click3X, Ayn-Lund was an account manager at post-production facility Crawford Communications, where she oversaw many long and short format projects for CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, TCM, Turner South and Turner Sports. DAGNABIT!
Digital visual effects studio Radium has upped producer Sascha Flick to senior producer/Los Angeles. Based in Radium's Santa Monica, California location, Flicks new position expands her reach to managing awarded projects and bidding new projects, as well as working closely with the senior production staff to maintain the cohesive structure between the San Francisco and Santa Monica offices.
Children's entertainment group Entertainment Rights has expanded its sales team and appointed Matthew Ashcroft as sales executive responsible for developing business in the key markets of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Australia and New Zealand. Ashcroft's most recent position was sales executive for Fireworks International, the international distribution arm of Canadian based Fireworks Entertainment, where he was responsible for pay and free TV sales to Asia and Latin America.
John F. Hardman has been promoted to senior vice president, Kids' WB!, replacing Donna Friedman Meir, who has decamped the network to head up kids' programming and production for National Geographic Television & Film. Hardman has been with Kids' WB! for four years, and most recently served as vice president, programming and development. In his new capacity, Hardman will oversee all aspects of the development, scheduling and programming of animated and live-action series for the broadcast network.
Anthony Tabtong has joined Charlex as senior character animator, adding his talents to Charlex's growing 3D department. Tabtong moves to the company after four years at Curious Pictures as a senior 3D character animator. At Curious Pictures, Tabtong worked on spots for Nicktoons, Disney, Lugz, AT&T, Applebees, HBO and Target, among others. His past experience includes character animation for video games.
Andrea DAmico has been appointed vice president of visual effects sales for Ascent Media, and will act as a liaison between the Ascent Media Creative Services companies, including Encore and R!OT, that provide visual effects services for feature films and television. DAmico will also continue in her role as executive producer of visual effects with R!OT, Santa Monica.
Donna Friedman Meir will be leaving her position as executive VP of Kids' WB! as she has been named president of kids' programming and production for National Geographic Television & Film. The announcement was made by National Geographic Television & Film president Tim Kelly. "Donna has the talent and expertise to bring the best of National Geographic to the next generation and further expand our reach into the kids' entertainment market.
The exodus from AOL Time Warner continues with the announcement that Ted Turner has decided to step down as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner. This follows the highly publicized departure of chairman Steve Case, who earlier this month announced his departure from the company amid criticism from shareholders. AOL's stock has fallen 70% since it acquired Time Warner in 2001. Turner was rumored as a possible replacement for Case, but the newly-created position of chairman and chief executive officer went to CEO Dick Parsons.
Tremendous! Entertainment, Inc., a leading TV and film producer, distributor and rights acquisition company, is expanding its sales and distribution arm with the appointment of Jane Durkee as its new program sales executive. Based in Minnesota at Tremendous! Entertainments headquarters, Durkee will report to president Colleen Steward Needles and work closely with Germaine Deagan Sweet, vice president of sales and co-productions, to continue expanding the companys growing distribution efforts by selling the companys programs in both domestic and international markets.
The Board of Directors of AOL Time Warner Inc. has unanimously elected CEO Dick Parsons to the newly-combined position of chairman and chief executive officer. The appointment will become effective at the May 16, 2003 annual shareholders meeting, which is when Steve Case will step down as chairman, as previously announced. AOL's stock has fallen 70% since it acquired Time Warner in 2001, a consequence many stockholders had blamed on Case, a major architect of the merger. Case will remain a director of the company and will continue to co-chair the merger strategy committee.