Joe Hartwick, Twentieth Century Fox's president of physical production, has been upped to oversee a new vfx department at the studio, given the high volume of effects-laden event films and the need to shift priorities and streamline costs. Hartwick will not only coordinate the visual effects needs of all Fox films, but also serve as liaison for the effects houses collaborating with them.
The Walt Disney Co. has made some sweeping changes this week in the top executive ranks at the ABC network. Anne Sweeney and George Bodenheimer have been named co-chairs of Disney's Media Networks unit. Sweeney will be adding the ABC Television Network, which includes ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime, ABC News and Touchstone Television to her portfolio of responsibilities, while Bodenheimer remains head of ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports.
Griffin Guess has been promoted from sales exec to the newly created post of Director of Commercials and Music Videos at Encore Hollywood, where will head sales for Encores recently formed short-form post-production team.
Joseph L. Lias is the new president of THX Ltd., the creator of superior cinema presentation standards and the leading provider of product certification and venue design for entertainment and consumer electronics. Lias will capitalize on entertainment presentation technology developed by THX, and will leverage his successful entrepreneurial track record, built over two decades, to expand the capabilities of THX in digital entertainment technology. Ivan Fujihara will remain as gm and will continue to oversee THX quality assurance programs and standards.
SignaSys Inc. has promoted Jeff Wolter from western region systems sales manager to director, sales.
Wolter's career in sales management began with non-technology companies, including Phoenix Technologies Environmental Services and Random Snowboards. In 1999, he parlayed his experience into the television technology industry with Media Site and later with Convera, an Intel-backed media management software company.
Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) has appointed Mark J. Halacy to evp, Global Human Resources, overseeing the company's global HR operations across North America, Europe and Asia.
"Mark has led many successful HR development initiatives across large-scale, global organizations," said Bruce Hack, ceo of VU Games, to whom Halacy will report. "He will play an important leadership role at VU Games, as we aim to strengthen our global practices and capabilities."
Pixar's former cfo Ann Mather, who recently stepped down from that post, has joined the board of directors of European broadcast group, Central European Media Enterprises (CME), reported VARIETY. Mather will be a non-exec director on the audit and compensation committees. Prior Pixar, she served as evp/cfo for Village Roadshow Pictures. Prior to that, she was a svp of finance at Disney. CME owns television stations in Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Ukraine.
Brigham Taylor has been promoted to svp of production, Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, responsible for finding, developing, and overseeing the production of films under the Walt Disney and Touchstone Pictures banners.
"Brigham is a tremendous asset to our team," said Nina Jacobson, president of Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, to whom he will continue report. "He knows good material when he sees it, and he's great with people. His contribution over the last year has been invaluable to the studio, the filmmakers and me."
Irving Plonskier joins Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) as exec director, advertising sales, Latin America to direct SPTI's pan-regional advertising sales business.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. has promoted attorney Michael Moore to vp, Intellectual Property Group, responsible for protecting MGM's intellectual property assets, including the world's largest library of modern films and a trademark portfolio with some of the world's best-known properties, including the MGM Lion, United Artists, the Pink Panther and Rocky.
U.K. independent Tiger Aspect Productions has appointed multi-award winning producer Steve Hewlett as its new non-executive director. Hewlett will work closely with the heads of departments to develop programming, broaden broadcasters relations and help expand the companys international opportunities and ambitions.
Following Finn Arnesen's promotion to head of programme production for Cartoon Network Int'l, Jo Sweby has been named director of acquisitions for Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In addition to acquiring content for Turner's European kids channels, Sweby will work alongside the European programming managers on programming strategy. Part of her new role will involve working with the business development team on new business opportunities.
Novel Entertainment has appointed animation production veteran Marion Edwards as its animation consultant to work with Novel across its portfolio of titles on a non-exclusive basis.
She starts on POCOYO, Novels latest animation project for CiTV, co-produced with Carlton international and Spains Zinkia Entertainment. She also help develop HORRID HENRY, an animated television series based on Francesca Simons internationally renowned books, as well as developing animation for a number of Novels upcoming projects.
Michael Lombardi has joined Sesame Workshop as evp/cfo, to oversee corporate finance and administration for the Workshop, including preparation of the organization's budget, estimates and financial statements. Lombardi will also evaluate strategic initiatives and new business opportunities.
Elastic Rights has appointed three new executives to manage the companys portfolio of multimedia properties. Two will be based at the companys Madrid headquarters while the third is located in Lisbon to oversee ER growing Portuguese business.
Joining ER from one of Spains leading media groups, Taller de Editores/VOCENTO, is Juanjo Conde, who takes over the position of marketing director. Conde will liaise closely with strategic partners and play a key role in creating a marketing platform for properties represented by Elastic Rights.
Shuffle Inc., an international television commercial production company with offices in Venice, California, and Tokyo, Japan, has launched Shuffle USA as a new operating unit.
Ann Mather will step down as evp and cfo of Pixar Animation Studios in May to devote more time to her family. She will be replaced by Simon Bax, 45, who has more than 20 years of financial operations experience, including more than seven years as cfo of Fox Filmed Ent.
Lianne Siegel Shattuck was recently promoted to vp, current programming and Gary Hall was recently named vp, post-production at Twentieth Century Fox TV.
Siegel Shattuck rose through the ranks of the studio's comedy department, working on most of Twentieth's successful animated comedies including, KING OF THE HILL, THE SIMPSONS, FAMILY GUY and FUTURAMA. She also served as the creative exec on Titus and AUSA.
Flame artist Toni DiMauro has joined Click 3x. DiMauro is skilled in compositing, beauty work and design with diverse credits in commercial and broadcast media. She joins Click 3x from the freelance ranks and has recently worked with the studio in that capacity on projects for Road Runner High Speed Online and ESPN.
Miramax Home Entertainment adds 24-year industry sales and marketing veteran Jeffrey Fink as sevp of the division, reporting to Miramax Films chief coo Rick Sands and co-president of production Bob Osher, who jointly run the home entertainment division.
Nearly a decade after his first stint at Comedy Central began, programming and network-branding guru Doug Herzog rejoins the all-comedy channel as president, replacing Larry Divney, who will retire. Herzog will be based in the network's Los Angeles office, as of early May 2004.
Josh Sabarra joins New Line Home Entertainment (NLHE) as vp of publicity, based in Los Angeles. In his new post, Sabarra will work closely with the divisions marketing team to publicize home entertainment releases and will liaise with New Line Cinemas theatrical department to integrate public relations activities, as well as, handle corporate communications for the home entertainment unit.
The announcement was made today by New Line Home Entertainment senior vice president of marketing Matt Lasorsa.
MGM Pictures, a division of MGM Studios Inc., has promoted Bruce Markoe to evp, feature post-production. He will report to Andy Davis, the evp of physical production.
"Bruce has become a vital part of MGM since he joined the company, and has been a great supporter of filmmakers here," said Davis. "This promotion is extremely well deserved."