Visual effects supervisor, inferno artist and designer Aron Baxter has left his post with Nice Shoes to join sister facility Guava. The move is the first step in a new expansion effort at Guava. The studio expects to make significant additions to its creative staff and technical resources early in 2005. With Baxter moving to Guava, Nice Shoes has promoted inferno artist John Shea from a nighttime position to days.
Cecilia Persson has been appointed director of acquisitions for Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami channels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Curious Pictures has tapped DreamWorks/PDI alum Lewis Kofsky to head its newly expanded visual effects department in New York. Kofsky recently completed the visual effects for SHREK 2 and the soon-to-be released MADAGASCAR.
Animation historian/journalist Harvey Deneroff has joined The Savannah College of Art and Design School of Film and Digital Media as one of three new professors beginning winter quarter 2005.
Deneroff, recently moved from London to Atlanta, joins the college as a part-time professor of animation. The former ANIMATION MAGAZINE and ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE editor has a Ph.D. in communication-cinema and a M.A. degree in cinema from USC.
Side Effects Software, developer of the award-winning Houdini family of 3D software, has appointed Craig Zerouni as production consultant. The addition of Zerouni to Side Effects Softwares production team will further establish the companys position as an essential partner for production studios. In this role, Zerouni and team will collaborate directly with production studios and technical directors to help build superior CG pipelines and create cutting-edge digital animation for feature films.
David Hulbert, former president, Walt Disney Television International, will be leaving the company in the wake of the Disney-ABC Television Group reorganization its television businesses in the European, Middle Eastern and African territories, promoting of two key executives to oversee this new organizational structure.
John Hardie, former svp/md, branded television, EMEA moves up to evp/md, Branded Television, EMEA while Tom Toumazis, former svp/md, Buena Vista International Television, EMEA advance to evp/md, Buena Vista International Television, EMEA.
Splinex Technology Inc., a provider of visual communication software and technology, has named Michael Stojda as president/ceo. Stojda has also been appointed to the board of directors.
Seth Rosenthal has joined Tweak as a partner and director of business development. Rosenthal wrapped up six years at Industrial Light & Magic in order to make the jump. He will contribute to Tweak's efforts to expand its visual effects business for feature films and commercials and will help launch a new division to distribute Tweak's proprietary software applications for visual effects and media production.
Cookie Jar Entertainment, the programming and licensing arm The Cookie Jar Group, has promoted Kelly Elwood from vp of marketing & licensing to svp of marketing. Based in Cookie Jars Toronto offices, Elwood will oversee the companys expanding industry and consumer brand marketing, as well as provide strategic planning on behalf of its growing entertainment lineup.
Animator Joanna Priestley celebrates 20 years of innovation, imagination and squiggly lines with the recent release of her two-disc DVD anthology, Fighting Gravity and Relative Orbits.
Cathy Laughton joins London-based Celador Intl in February 2005 as head of kids programming to champion of its new kids division (Celador International Kids) and will be responsible for sales of the companys portfolio of childrens programming as well as the development of new program acquisitions.
Laughton has 15 years experience in television distribution, which includes stints with Nelvana Enterprises (U.K.) Ltd, Jim Henson Co. and HIT Entertainment Plc.
Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has promoted Christoph Pachler from exec director to vp, business development, in charge of strategic planning and new business initiatives for SPTI's three business lines: distribution, international networks and international production. His primary focus is on identifying new opportunities to expand SPTI's international networks portfolio, including the launches of new networks and acquisition of existing channels, as well as the acquisition of local production companies worldwide.
Laura Michalchyshyn has joined the Sundance Channel as evp, programming & marketing, responsible for all creative expressions of the Sundance Channel brand, both on and off-Channel, including original programming, film acquisition, program planning, on-air promotion and the creative strategy and implementation of all off-Channel consumer marketing.
Michalchyshyn, who will be based in New York City, will report to Sundance Channel Founder Robert Redford and Larry Aidem, president/ceo.
Northern Lights Post has added noted comedy/lifestyle editor John Laskas to its roster of talented editors and named Rich Schafler of Schafler Artist Management, New York, as its east coast commercial sales rep.
Brad Grey, chairman of Brillstein-Grey Ent., has been named chairman/ceo of Viacom's Paramount Motion Picture Group. Grey assumes the titles of chairman and ceo in a newly broadened role. In this position, he will have ultimate authority on film development and production as well as business operations, worldwide.
Pamela Kaufman has been promoted from svp, Nickleodeon marketing to evp, marketing and worldwide promotions, expanding her responsibilities to include strategic planning of worldwide programming launches as well as global partnership deals.
"Pam Kaufman is one of the most successful marketers in the entertainment industry," said Nickelodeon TV president Cyma Zarghami, to whom Kaufman will continue to report. "Her consumer marketing and property management skills have raised the creative bar for the entire industry and have turned our TV properties into gold."
Rick Sands has been named as the new president/coo of DreamWorks SKG. In his new post, Sands will primarily be responsible for overseeing the management of day-to-day operations of the private company, reporting directly to principal partner David Geffen.
Curious Pictures announced that it has joined forces with Grand Large, the Paris-based commercial production company, and will be working with Grand Larges new award-winning French director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director and writer of AMELIE and A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT.
Grand Large has a compelling group of feature directors, and I am really excited about them and their work, said David Starr, exec producer/marketing director for Curious Pictures. If there is one director that I have always wanted to work with, it is Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Marvel Comics has brought Mark Paniccia on board as a senior editor to significantly bolster the publishers presence and success in the hot teen graphic novel category. He will also recruit a new generation of comicbook writers and artists.
iO Film, a technologically advanced, full-service digital film finishing facility specializing in film and video projects, has promoted Evan Edelist from svp/development to gm/evp. Edelist will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the facility, overseeing production, scheduling and sales.
He will also help design the companys new 26,000-square-foot Hollywood facility, slated for a summer 2005 movie-in, working closely with iO Films cto Kevin Mullican.
Mike Hackett is on board as a staff editor at Crush Editorial, a leading post-production editorial company specializing in TV commercials, motion picture trailers, promotional content for videogames and other video programming, according to Cindy Carey, Crush Editorials exec producer.
Mike Hackett has edited more than 200 TV commercials and music videos, and assistant edited some 600 TV spots, as well as assistant edited 22 episodes of fifth season of the TV series BABYLON 5 and two related TV movies.
Vinton Studios has named Mike Cachuela director of story for feature films, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Cachuela has been a longtime collaborator with Vintons stop-motion master Henry Selick. Cachuela was storyboard artist on Wes Anderson's THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU for which Selick did the stop-motion animation.
"Having someone of Mike's caliber join our feature film division is testimony to our commitment to make Vinton Studios a major producer of full-length animated feature films for the global market," Vinton Studios ceo Jeff Farnath said.
Stanley Cheung has been named md, The Walt Disney Co. (China), responsible for driving the company's strategy, coordinating all of Disney's business efforts in China, including overseeing Disney's global brands in the market, expanding existing businesses and seeking out new business opportunities.
Disney will now have its existing businesses in China managed locally, with all business segments reporting into Cheung, as well as their respective business units. Based in Shanghai, Cheung assumes his new post on Jan. 1, 2005.
Rupert Gavin has been appointed non-executive chairman of the Contender Entertainment Group (CEG), one of the U.K.s fastest growing entertainment companies. Gavin will be assisting CEG to double its market share of the U.K. DVD market and expand its wholly owned IP base.
Robert Harper, vice chairman of Twentieth Century Fox, has been promoted to vice chairman, Fox Filmed Ent. With his promotion, Harper assumes new global strategic, creative and managerial responsibilities for all of Fox Filmed Ent., concentrating particularly on interdivisional synergy.
Harper's promotion reflects the studio's success, growth and management stability. Fox has had three consecutive, record-breaking years, with over $2 billion in worldwide box office in 2004.