Larry Lauria starts his two-part series with a conversation with Gary Goldman, co-director of Fox Feature Animations summer release Titan, A.E. and industry veteran.
Walt Disney has promoted Leo Chu to the position of vice president, creative affairs for Walt Disney Feature Animation. Chu will now oversee the development of new features at the California, Florida and Paris-based Disney studios. Previously Chu had worked in various development roles on MULAN and DINOSAUR. Prior to joining the animation wing, Chu helped develop projects for Walt Disney Pictures. Currently, Chu is focusing his attention on next year's ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE.
Fox Family Channel will be shopping for a new head now that president
and CEO Rich Cronin has stepped down from his post. Awaiting the
announcement of Cronin's replacement, programming and marketing
decisions will go through exec VP and Fox Kids general manager
Maureen Smith. Before coming to Fox Family from Viacom, Cronin was
locked up in a breach of contract suit with his former employers.
Once clear of his Viacom commitment, Cronin took Fox Family's reins
Special effects facility Digital Domain has promoted Senior VP C. Bradley Call to head of business development and chief administrative officer and Yvette Macaluso to VP finance. As the company's new #2 man, Call will continue as general counsel, but will help expand Digital Domain's feature development arm. Call will now head the effects houses human resources and purchasing departments. With the company from its inception 7 years ago, Maculas has managed the finance and accounting departments.
Former TriStar Pictures chairman Mike Medavoy has joined the board of directors of Film Roman. The current head of Phoenix Pictures, Medavoy becomes the sixth member of Film Roman's board. Film Roman president John Hyde said Medavoy's appointment would serve to "complement" the company's business plan rather than change it. Film Roman, which produces animation for TV (SIMPSONS, KING OF THE HILL), expanded its operations in 1998 to include limited development and production of feature-length films and recently increased its commercial output.
Visual effects pioneer John Dykstra has swung onto the SPIDER-MAN project. The new project will reunite Dykstra with the effects team from Sony Imageworks, where he was recently special effects supervisor on STUART LITTLE. The Sam Raimi directed flick has also hired former PDI character animator Karen Goulekas. Dykstra told the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER that he doesn't know how many effects there will be yet, because the script (by Raimi and David Koepp) isn't done. "We're still sorting the character out.
Will Vinton Studios has named Maria Grosso as their new executive VP of development at the new Los Angeles office. The former development exec at Warner TV and Universal will work closely with Tom Turpin, president and CEO of Will Vinton Studios, on formulating new TV, film and new media programming. "Maria brings the perfect experience base to expand our producing activities," Turpin said. "The ability to bring unique and distinctive stories to the marketplace is what were after.
Three of animation's top producer/artists on BATMAN, THE X-MEN and THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, as well as such comic book classics as SPIDER-MAN, CONAN and TARZAN, have joined Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLM). Will Meugniot, Larry Houston and Thomas McLaughlin, who have overseen programming for such major studios as Fox, Warner Bros., Sony and Saban, will be steering SLM projects in development as well as THE 7TH PORTAL Web animation franchise.
Lolee Aries has been appointed vice president of production, Nickelodeon Animations Studios. At Nickelodeon, she will oversee the day-to-day production on all of Nickelodeon Animation Studios in-house projects including current series SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, HEY ARNOLD!, CATDOG, ANGRY BEAVERS, OH YEAH! CARTOONS! and the upcoming series CHALKZONE, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS and INVADER ZIM. Aries will also focus on the digital production process and boosting the utilization of in-house talent. Aries joins Nickelodeon from Film Roman, where she served as VP of production.
Former Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth has joined Pixars board of directors and IRON GIANT director Brad Bird has signed on as a director as well. The announcement came on the same day that the 3D-animation company revealed heavy earnings in the first quarter due to the phenomenal success of TOY STORY 2. Roth helped develop TOY STORY 2 before he left Disney to start his own production company. Roth told Reuters that he wanted to keep in touch with the ever-advancing world of 3D animation as his new business is being formed.
Morgan Wandell, VP of programming at Digital Entertainment Network, has left his post. Though a pleasant split, the decision was due to his unhappiness over DENs move to acquire programming instead of developing original content. Recently, the entertainment destination obtained programming from ACE VENTURA director Steve Oedekerks Thumb.com. Wandell told the Daily Variety, "Theres just less for me to do now.
Equally perverse, disturbing and intellectual, the films of Simon Pummell always generate discussion and introspection as they walk the line between experimental non-linear impressions and narrative structure. Includes Quicktime movie clips!
With all the hubbub recently in Los Angeles about artists being out of work, runaway productions and the well attended PBS affiliate station picket, Heather Kenyon sat down with Tom Sito to talk.
Raymond Palma chats with the mother-son team of Betty and Mickey Paraskevas, whose childrens books are turning into television shows like wildfire.
Eric Schneider profiles the man who brought stop-motion animation to Russia, Ladislaw Starewicz. Utilizing puppet beetles and dragonflies, he created films which still speak to us today.
Kevin Tsujihara has temporarily taken the reigns of Warner Bros. Entertaindom Web site. As reported [AWN 4/6/00], Entertaindom.com president and CEO Jim Moloshok, executive VP Jim Banister and third-in-command Jeff Weiner have exited their Time Warner posts. Sources said the top trio was angry about Time Warner's decision not to spawn a separate Entertaindom IPO. The final impetus leading to the leave was when the three execs were not satisfied by the stock options offered to them by Time Warner.
STAN LEE MEDIA (SLM) has hired Iwerks/Universal executive JON CORFINO to head their new location-based entertainment division. Most recently senior vice president, executive in charge of production at Iwerks Entertainment, Corfino previously served as project manager of the planning and development group at Universal Studios. In his newly created post as president, theme park and location-based attractions of Stan Lee Media, Corfino will help the company leverage for the expanding market a new generation of superheroes and super-villains originated on the Web.
MAINFRAME ENTERTAINMENT, INC. announced the appointment of DAN DIDIO to the position of senior VP of creative affairs and ASAPH (ACE) FIPKE to the position of VP creative development. Both will be based at the company's Los Angeles business development offices. DiDio will oversee all development, distribution, marketing and promotion as well as merchandising and licensing of Mainframe's properties. Fipke will be responsible for all development of new digital properties and will work closely with Mainframe's partners to assure a smooth creative process.
MONDO MEDIA, a leading creator and distributor of serial-based animated content, announced that it has named ROBIN HARPER, former VP of marketing for Ninth House Network and Maxis (a division of Electronic Arts), as its new Senior vice president of marketing. In her new position, Harper will be responsible for Mondo Media's marketing operation and help guide the company's overall marketing strategy.
ICEBOX.COM, the soon-to-be launched original animated content site, has appointed GARY LEVINE president of Icebox Entertainment. Levine left his post as executive VP of creative affairs at Warner Bros. Television to join Icebox.com where he will oversee all aspects of series development and production, forge deals with traditional entertainment outlets and help Icebox.com expand the scope of its creative partnerships.
CINEGROUPE has named LUCE PELLERIN as the new director of business affairs and PAT PALUMBO as the new director of finance and administration. Pellerin joined CineGroupe's business affairs department in September of 1999 as legal counsel. Since 1988, Pellerin has specialized in entertainment law. She has served as head of business affairs for Behaviour Communications and Telescene. For the past 10 years, Palumbo has worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Montreal, both in entertainment and multimedia sectors. For the past few years, he has conducted CineGroupe's audits.
GREENLIGHT INTERNATIONAL has appointed LYNN CHADWICK as new company VP and JAAP JOOST (JJ) BREIJINCK as new director of licensing. Chadwick joins the Hilversum, Netherlands-based company from Canadian distribution house Salter Street Film International. As VP at Salter Street, she oversaw the international division, worldwide sales, secured pre-sale financing and assessed third party product. Breijinck joins Greenlight with 14 years of experience in the TV distribution business.
Orlando, Florida-based AARGH! ANIMATION, INC. has signed veteran animator JEFFREY VARAB. Varab, best known for his key animation on MULAN, BALTO, LAND BEFORE TIME, CASPER, THE TIGGER MOVIE and the upcoming Fox feature TITAN A.E., has moved to AARGH! to be part of a more intimate creative team. "The exciting part of joining Mark and Dave [AARGH!] is that it allows me to use all of my experience in exciting and challenging ways," said Varab. Originally hired at Disney Animation in 1977, Varab started on the movie PETE'S DRAGON beside one of Disney's original "9 Old Men," Eric Larson.
DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK, INC. (DEN), a privately held interactive entertainment Web site, announced that prominent entertainment industry veteran FRANK MANCUSO has joined its board of directors. With a distinguished career that spans over four decades, Mancuso most recently served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and remains a special consultant and member of its board of directors. Prior to joining MGM, Mancuso served as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.
William Shpall, chief operating officer of Film Roman, has left the company. John Hyde, president and CEO of Film Roman, has told AWN that Shpall has worked out a deal to leave his post to pursue other Internet deals and projects that have presented themselves to him. Shpall was the father of Film Roman's Web entertainment destination, Level 13, which launched on November 27, 1999. According to Hyde, Shpall with continue on as a consultant to Level 13 and Film Roman's overall Internet strategy until at least the fall of 2000.