Ben Burtt, sound designer for all the STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES films, is headed to Pixar Animation Studios, reports THE POST-STANDARD. Burtt said that he worked at Lucasfilm on a project-to-project basis and no new projects were in the works. Pixar gave him "the most attractive" of his offers, so he took it. One of the perks he cited was Pixar's Bay Area location, which has been his home for years.
In response to the changing commercial environment, Rhythm& Hues Studios is evolving its commercial group in the attempt of creating a new production model.
With the hiring of Paul Babb as its new live action exec producer, the studio has refocused its energies to create what it calls The Complete Digital Studio a full service shop for both advertising agencies and production companies.
The result: Rhythm & Hues Commercial Studios.
To further enhance its growing presence in Central and Eastern Europe, Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has promoted Iwona Hordziej to sales director and appointed Oi Yee Wong as sales exec for Central and Eastern Europe.
DIC Ent. has promoted company veteran Shannon Nettleton to vp of production. She will oversee the production and post-production departments and will manage the efforts of DICs in-house production teams, as well as outside vendors and freelancers. She will supervise the companys slate of film, television and home entertainment productions and develop systems to maximize the efficiency of these projects.
Feature film production executive Margaret French Isaac has joined Vanguard as evp, production & development, be responsible for the development of feature films, nurturing relationships with filmmakers, and shepherding Vanguard Films (live action) and Vanguard Animation projects from development through production.
Luis Goicouria has been promoted to vp of digital media for MTV Networks Latin America. He will oversee the companys New Media division in Miami and report to Charlie Singer, evp of programming, creative and strategic marketing, MTV Networks Latin America.
Goicouria oversee all strategic and operational aspects of interactive digital media, and continue to ensure the integration and expansion of both online and mobile businesses. He will also lead the development and distribution of proprietary digital content for MTV Networks brands across Latin America.
Evan St. Lifer joins vp/gm of Scholastic Library Publishing to oversee the editorial, marketing and sales efforts. He will have day-to-day oversight of Scholastic Library Publishing's major reference and nonfiction imprints including Grolier, Grolier Online, Children's Press and Franklin Watts, which include such notable reference resources as ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA, the newly released ENCYCLOPEDIA LATINA, NEW BOOK OF KNOWLEDGE and NUEVA ENCICLOPEDIA CUMBRE EN LINEA.
In a continuation of their recent expansion, New York-based design and production company UVPHACTORY has added editor/vfx artist Robert Lopuski to its staff roster.
Robert reflects the creative vibe of this place and is a logical extension of our continued growth. He has the UVPHACTORY sensibility creativity, savvy and humor and he is a natural at what he does, technically and creatively, explained co-founder Scott Sindorf.
Television/film producer Antony Root joins Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) as svp, international production, Europe. In this newly created position based in London, Root will oversee SPTI's production operations in Europe.
National Geographic Ventures (NGV) has named William Weil evp, strategy, marketing and entertainment; and Patricia Najda vp, domestic home entertainment.
John Landgraf has been named president/gm, FX Networks, replacing former FX Networks president/ceo Peter Liguori who joined FOX Broadcasting Co. as its president of Entertainment. Landgraf will be responsible for all business and programming operations including program development, scheduling, marketing, public relations, research and business affairs for FX Networks, which consists of FX and Fox Movie Channel.
Changes in top leadership roles at MTV and VH1 include the appointment of Christina Norman as president of MTV: Music Television and Tom Calderone as gm of VH1.
Leading post-production boutique Post Logic Studios has appointed Manny Fernandez to the newly created position of managing director of its Manhattan-based satellite Post Logic N.Y.C. Opened in March 2004 with a focus on long form work, the New York operation has flourished since its inception and will now broaden its client base to include television and commercial projects. To accommodate its new clientele, Post Logic N.Y.C. has added a second Spirit HD/SD telecine.
Noodlesoup Prods. (NSP) has signed 3D director/animator Doug Johnson. Johnson has directed spots for such clients as Novartis, IBM, Nabisco, SBC, Combe Inc. and Nickelodeon. He has also been a lead CG animator on numerous award-winning spots for Orkin, Primeco, Sci Fi Channel, AT&T, Bell South and others.
Jeff Herrera has been appointed to the newly created position of vp multicultural marketing for Universal Studios Home Ent. (USHE), to oversee the crafting and implementation of marketing strategies aimed at Latinos, African-Americans, and other ethnic groups. Herrera will work closely with USHE's sales and marketing departments to develop strategies and programs as well as play a key role in identifying and implementing partnership opportunities between USHE and its NBC Universal sister company, Spanish-language television network, Telemundo.
B. Susan Kirch has been promoted to vp, creative affairs for DisneyToon Studios, responsible for developing original scripts and stories as well as sequels to Disney¹s animated successes. Kirch will be working with filmmakers through all stages of production on films that will be distributed by Disneys Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Pictures Distribution¹s theatrical division.
Kirch reports jointly to Sharon Morrill, president of DisneyToon Studios and to Ellen Gurney, svp of creative affairs.
Emmy Award-winning Los Angeles visual effects and design company A52 has hired Andrew Hall, formerly a feature film animation supervisor for Digital Domain, as CG supervisor.
Hall began his career at London's The Motion Picture Co., earning the title of senior animator and working on numerous TV commercials and features, including THE ENGLISH PATIENT, TOMORROW NEVER DIES, RICHARD III and THE MIRACLE MAKER.
A former boyfriend of Sydney teenager has been committed to stand trial for allegedly murdering an 18-year-old Walt Disney animator, Lyndsay van Blanken, according to many newspaper accounts in Australia.
William Matheson, 22, was committed on April 27, 2005, in Sydney's Central Local Court over her death in November 2003. A trial date has yet to be set.
Accounts say he was the last person known to see van Blanken alive on Nov. 24, 2003, outside the Charing Cross Hotel in Waverley, in Sydney's east.
Former Comedy Central and MGM Interactive executive, Kenneth Locker has joined Cookie Jar Entertainment, the programming and licensing arm of Cookie Jar Group, in the newly created position of svp of Digital Media, Cookie Jar. Locker will be responsible for leveraging new and existing content for the company, across a variety of platforms, including the Internet, wireless, broadband and IPTV.
Vince Roberts has been promoted to the newly created position of evp, worldwide technology and operations, Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group and Walt Disney Television International. He will be responsible for the global technical and operational strategic direction and ongoing management of all television and IT functions across the Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group, including Disney Channel, Toon Disney, SOAPnet, ABC Family and JETIX; and Walt Disney Television International, including, Disney-branded networks in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Japan and Canada.
Brad Weston joins Paramount Pictures as co-president, production, overseeing the day-to-day development and production of the studio's annual slate of films and literary acquisitions along with fellow co-president Alli Shearmur, who was appointed on April 14, 2005. Weston will report to Paramount Pictures president Gail Berman.
Jill Lindeman joins Disney ABC Cable Networks Group as vp/creative director for marketing, Disney Channel, responsible for the creative direction and management of all on-air promotion for Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Jetix, Playhouse Disney and ABC Kids, including the development and production of interstitials for Disney Channel. Additionally, Lindeman has oversight of the creative direction for off-air initiatives including print production, online development and marketing collateral.
She reports to Matt Palmer, svp, marketing, Disney Channel, in Burbank, California.
The Art Institute of California Los Angeles has promoted Aaron Lyle to academic director for Media Arts & Animation.
Aarons connections to industry are an enormous benefit to the program and school; our students and faculty will benefit tremendously from his expertise, said Dave Moughalian, dean of Academic Affairs.
Margaret C. Whitman, president/ceo of eBay, has been elected to DreamWorks Animations board of directors.
"Meg is someone that both Roger Enrico and I have been courting to join our board of directors for many months," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation ceo. "Having had the opportunity to work with her in the past, I know firsthand what an exceptional talent she is and believe that her expertise in building a global brand combined with her consumer technology experience really makes her a perfect fit for our company."
Cartoon Network has promoted Pola Changnon to vp of on-air and exec producer of program production. She will be responsible for managing and directing all on-air production that comprises the signature environments of both Cartoon Network and Boomerang-from network IDs and spots, to original and acquired series promotion and packaging, to interstitials and production work on network specials and stunts.