PorchLight Ent. has named Brenda Bisner, Vice President, Acquisitions, Children's Programming. In her new position, Bisner will be responsible for the acquisition of children's animated and live-action programming worldwide for PorchLight's international distribution division, as well as the newly formed home entertainment and digital media divisions.
Classic Media announced that it has appointed Lara Dalch, formerly Director of Promotions Marketing for Cartoon Network & Adult Swim, to the position of Senior Director, Brand Development & Promotions for its operations in North America, effective immediately. Based at the company's North American headquarters in New York, the position reports to Nicole Blake, SVP, Marketing.
Dalch will represent Classic Media at the L.A. Office Roadshow, Sept. 18-20, 2007.
Italy-based publishing and production company Atlantyca Ent. has appointed entertainment production and development exec Karen K. Miller to oversee its U.S.-based animation production operations. Based in Los Angeles, Miller will work with Italy based executives, Chairman Pietro Marietti and Senior Manager/Exec Producer Caterina Vacchi.
Former Cartoon Network chief Jim Samples, who resigned over a publicity stunt that led to a terrorism scare in Boston, is now working as the head of Scripps Networks' HGTV.
Samples stepped down in February as GM and exec VP of CN following a promotional campaign in which dozens of blinking circuit boards featuring a cartoon character giving the finger appeared in 10 cities. In some cases, police closed roads and sent in bomb squads. Samples had been at CN since 2001.
LAIKA Inc. has made two new appointments to its management team. Former Lucasfilm and Hanna-Barbera exec Alan Keith has joined the studio as VP, Business Operations/CFO and Travis Knight has been promoted to VP, Animation.
Keith, who has more than 20 years of finance experience in both corporate and movie studio settings, will be responsible for leading the expansion of LAIKA's business operations as LAIKA continues to grow its pipeline of animated feature films, television commercials, music videos, broadcast graphics and short films.
DreamWorks Animation SKG has announced that Philip Cross, who has been serving as a consultant to the company, has been named Chief Accounting Officer. Mr. Cross will be responsible for managing the company's accounting functions and will report to Lew Coleman, DreamWorks Animation's President and Chief Financial Officer.
Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group announced the promotion of digital executive Jason Root to SVP, Digital, Nick.com and Nickatnite.com. The announcement was made by Steve Youngwood, Executive Vice President, Digital Media for Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group, to whom Mr. Root will continue to report.
Riot of Santa Monica has made several senior level additions to its Feature Visual Effects team as it moves forward on a series of new film projects. Visual Effects Supervisor David Jones, best known for his work on BLACK HAWK DOWN, BAD BOYS II and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, now heads the studio's creative team and oversees work on all of its feature-related projects.
Additionally, Riot has brought on Digital Effects Supervisor Jamie Hallett, formerly with Intelligent Creatures, and Visual Effects Producers Ben Seymour and Erika McKee, both formerly of Rhythm & Hues.
Riot/New York has added Christopher "Pink" Bonnstetter as the company's new CG Supervisor, the studio announced today. Pink will be responsible for expanding the New York CG/visual effects operations of the company.
Imagi Animation Studios today announced the appointment of Yan Chen as Lead CG Supervisor on the feature film ASTRO BOY. Chen comes to Imagi with over ten years of experience at Hollywood studios, including Disney and DreamWorks Animation, and a list of credits that includes DINOSAUR, TREASURE PLANET, THE MATRIX, RELOADED, SHARK TALE and EVERYONE'S HERO.
4Kids Ent. Inc. has appointed Jennifer Askin to the position of Manager, International Broadcast and Digital Sales, in which capacity she will oversee the marketing of worldwide new-media platforms for 4Kids Ent.'s extensive program catalogue. In addition, she will be responsible for securing traditional media sales for television in the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, Poland, the Ukraine, Belarus, all countries in Central Asia, South Africa and Africa.
da Vinci Systems has made visual effects supervisor and DI expert Dean Lyon director of marketing. Lyon has more than 20 years of experience in film and commercial production, and will be a key member of the da Vinci management team led by general manager Bill Robertson. Lyon's duties include brand and product management and direction, advertising and marketing and internal and external communications.
Universal Pictures International Ent., the international home entertainment division of NBC Universal, today announced key new appointments in its London-based management team.
Dorinda Marticorena, VP, Kids & Sports Marketing, has been promoted to SVP, Worldwide High Definition, at Warner Home Video, replacing Steve Nickerson, who announced plans to leave WHV at the end of September.
In her new role, Marticorena will report directly to Mark Horak, EVP & GM, Worldwide Operations & New Packaged Media, and will lead the company's efforts to promote mainstream adoption of the high definition DVD formats.
Alice Cahn has been promoted to the newly created position of vice president, social responsibility for Cartoon Network, it was announced today. In her new role, Cahn will be responsible for providing guidance, content direction and coordination on the design and implementation of outreach and social-responsibility initiatives across all Cartoon Network divisions. She also will continue to develop key relationships with media and child advocacy communities, appropriate sponsors, educators, nonprofit organizations and trade associations.
Sydney-based animation production company Sticky Pictures has announced that Donna Andrews -- a founding partner and producer with the company -- will take over the role of exec producer, effective immediately. Andrews replaces Tim Brooke-Hunt, who is leaving Sticky Pictures to join the Australian Broadcasting Corp. as Executive Head of Children's.
"On behalf of Sticky, I'd like to thank Tim for all his fantastic work and wonderful guidance over the last five years. We will miss him greatly and wish him every success in his new role at the ABC," Andrews said.
Imagi International Holdings Limited has announced the appointment of veteran animator and teacher Frank Gladstone to provide advanced training for Imagi's 400+ artists and animators. Gladstone will teach university-level courses, to be offered on a quarterly basis, in film history, cinematography, storytelling and visual language.
Veteran production and development executive Tracy Katsky has been appointed to the newly created post of SVP of development and original programming at Nickelodeon, KIDSCREEN reports. Katsky will oversee all of the station's ongoing live-action and animation program development, live-action series production on the West Coast, and new series development for Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite.
Before joining Nickelodeon, Katsky served as SVP of development for HBO Independent Productions and earlier was SVP of comedy for Fox Broadcasting.
Marianne O'Reilly, an eight-year veteran of Rainmaker Visual Effects, has been elevated from exec producer to president of the burgeoning division. Previously, Warren Franklin served as president of the division, but was elevated to CEO of Rainmaker Ent. (parent company of Rainmaker Animation, Rainmaker Post and Rainmaker Visual Effects) last July when Mainframe was acquired.
In his 93 years, Bill Littlejohn packed in enough for three lifetimes. Animator/historian Tom Sito sat down recently with the legendary test pilot/social activist/AMPAS governor/animator to talk about his extraordinary life.
Emmy-winning Visual Effects Supervisor and Flame artist R. Edward Black, whose skills include on-set visual effects supervision, compositing, visual effects production, graphic design and animation, has joined Encore Hollywood. Black will join the visual effects team working on the television series HOUSE, and will also be available for other television, feature film, commercial and music video assignments.
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) has announced the appointment of Arwed-Ralf Grenzbach as Vice President, Videogames, Music and Special Products. The newly created role signals efforts by NVCP to further advance its international consumer products business into the rapidly expanding interactive and music arena. Grenzbach, who is London-based, will report to Jean-Philippe Randisi, Vice President and Managing Director, NVCP EMEA, also in London.
Veteran entertainment publicist Anne Stavola has been named vice president, East Coast Publicity for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. She will report directly to Jasmine Madatian, senior vice president, publicity for WDSMP, and will be responsible for overseeing Disney's newly reorganized New York publicity office. In her new role, Stavola will work directly with Madatian in developing and implementing publicity strategies and campaigns for all motion pictures released under the Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures banners.
Pilar Flynn has been named Associate Producer on Imagi's ASTRO BOY, it was announced today by Cecil Kramer, Executive VP of Production. Flynn began her animation career at DreamWorks where she worked for eight years on the development and production of such films as THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS, SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON, MADAGASCAR and FLUSHED AWAY. She also coproduced DreamWorks' first CG-animated short, the multiple-award-winning FIRST FLIGHT. Most recently Flynn served as associate producer of the animated feature film MEAN MARGARET for Starz Media.
Bret Johnson has been promoted to EVP, physical production at Universal Pictures, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Johnson, who has held various posts at Universal since joining the studio in 1988, will continue to work with filmmakers on all aspects of physical production, including scheduling, budgeting, hiring crews and managing day-to-day production.