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Headline News Schumacher To Leave Disney Feature Animation?

The Internet rumors have been flying for weeks and now a recent LA TIMES report has stated that Tom Schumacher, president of Disney Feature Animation, may leave his post when his contract expires in June 2003. No word on what Schumacher will do if he departs, but he is reportedly in discussions with Disney to figure out what his role will be with the company. Schumacher has headed Disney Feature Animation since 1999, throughout a turbulent time for the division.

Headline News Nike's Knight Becomes Majority Shareholder Of Vinton Studios

Philip H. Knight, co-founder of Nike, Inc., has become the majority shareholder of Portland, Oregon-based Vinton Studios after making a financial investment in the company. The amount of the investment was undisclosed. In addition, Knight will join Vintons board of directors. "Phil Knights investment and board involvement is a tremendous boost to our strategic plan to take Vinton Studios to the highest competitive level in both entertainment and commercial production," said Vinton CEO and president Jeff Farnath.

Headline News 4Kids Expands; Promotes New Execs

London-based 4Kids Entertainment International has completed an expansion of its operations that encompasses the promotion of key management and the appointments of new executives. Promoted to the position of commercial director is Helen Howells, who will focus on the company's sub-agent relationships as well as oversee its marketing and creative areas. Howells assumes her new position with 4Kids Entertainment International after serving as director of international licensing. She joined the company in 2000.

Headline News Sony Pictures Announces New Management Structure

John Calley, chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced that company veterans Amy Pascal, chairman, Columbia Pictures; Jeff Blake, president, worldwide marketing and distribution, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group; and Yair Landau, president, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment have been promoted to vice chairmen, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). As vice-chairmen of SPE, they will share all day-to-day responsibilities formerly belonging to the COO, while retaining their current roles and titles within their divisions. All three report to Calley.

Headline News Animation Writers Honor Patric Verrone

FUTURAMA writer Patric Verrone was recently honored with the fifth annual Animation Writing Award from the Animation Writers Caucus (AWC) of the Writers Guild of America, west. The award, which is intended to honor writers who have advanced the literature of animation in film and/or television through the years, and who have made outstanding contributions to the profession of the animation writer, was presented to Verrone by WGA,w president Victoria Riskin.

Headline News Mainframe President Takes Medical Leave

Canadian computer animation company Mainframe Entertainment has announced that company president Brett Gannon is temporarily stepping down from his post and will be taking an extended medical leave due to an undisclosed illness. Gannon's responsibilities will be taken over by CFO George Lawton, who is based in Canada, and Los Angeles-based Mark Fleischer, president Mainframe USA. According to Mainframe, Gannon intends to return to the company once fully recovered.

Headline News Hirsh Leaves Nelvana

Corus Entertainment has announced that Michael Hirsh, founding partner and CEO of Nelvana Ltd., is stepping down from his post, although he will remain with the company in an advisory capacity. Hirsh started Nelvana in 1971 with his two founding partners, Patrick Loubert and Clive Smith, who had both left the company at the end of 2001. Nelvana was sold to Corus Entertainment in 2000. "No other company is better positioned to lead the industry into the next decade and I look forward to working with my successor to ensure Nelvana's continued success," said Hirsh.

Headline News V-12 Commercials Expands, Signs Director Linzi Knight

Based on the success of live-action spots for AT&T, Verizon, PBS and others, Studio V-12 has recently launched a separate commercial division to handle the growing workload. Continuing its expansion, V-12 announces the addition of director Linzi Knight. Knight joins the current V-12 roster of Juan Delcan, V-12 Co-Founder David Hwang and Daryl Goodrich. After training in Toronto as a graphic designer, Knight spent five years pursuing design opportunities in Europe where she worked in top European design firms like Grapus in Paris and Meta Design in Berlin.

ANIMATIONWorld Prague, A Change of Life

In 1959 at the request of Bill Snyder, a successful animation distributor, Gene Deitch arrived in Prague to oversee the production of several animated specials based on classic children's books. He was surprised to find an impossible production system, and is even more surprised to find himself still there to this day

Headline News Former Fox Kids Network Pres Maureen Smith Joins TLC

Former Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids Network president Maureen Smith has joined TLC Entertainment as a partner in the network. She joins co-founders and partners George Taweel and Rob Loos. Among Smith's most immediate objectives are to increase the company's library of intellectual properties, oversee marketing and brand management for each, and to fully exploit its media assets across all applicable platforms including television, home video, video on demand, publishing and feature films.

Headline News Blur Studios Gains General Manager Nicolaou

Michael T. Nicolaou has joined Blur Studio as general manager. Nicolaou will oversee day-to-day operations at the visual effects, animation and design studio and participate in the implementation of the studios long-term expansion, including its planned move into feature film production. Nicolaou comes to Blur Studio from the high-tech firm Boxx Technologies. Previously, he served as a regional director for technology solutions provider Intergraph Corporation.

Headline News Ian Downes Promoted To Managing Director Of FKE Consumer Products Division

Ian Downes, managing director of Fox Kids Europe's (FKE) consumer products business in the UK, has been promoted to managing director of FKEs consumer products division. Downes will replace Jean-Philippe Randisi, who will leave the company on December 31, 2002. Effective October 7, 2002, Downes assumed overall responsibility for FKEs consumer products activities, including home video, while also retaining responsibility for the UK consumer products business. Randisi will work with Downes until December 31, 2002, to ensure an orderly transition.

Headline News James A. Rasulo To Head Walt Disney Parks And Resorts

Just days after the announcement that former Disney Resorts president Paul Pressler has left to take a position as president and chief executive officer of Gap Inc., Disney has announced his successor. James A. (Jay) Rasulo, a 17-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company and chairman and chief executive officer of Euro Disney S.C.A. has been promoted to president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide.

Headline News Greg Baldwin Joins Sony Pictures Television International

Former MTV marketing director Greg Baldwin has been appointed vice president, marketing and talent relations, Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI). Based in Los Angeles, Baldwin assumes responsibility for all of SPTI's promotional marketing and talent relations' activities in support of the company's three lines of business - licensing, international networks and international productions. Most recently, Baldwin served as the director, music marketing for MTV Networks in New York.

Headline News Ziff Davis Appoints New Editor-In-Chief For GameNow Magazine

Ziff Davis Media Game Group, the largest publisher of gaming magazines in the U.S., has named LucasArts veteran Tom Byron as editor-in-chief of GAMENOW, a magazine targeted specifically to teen gamers. In this role Byron will be responsible for the editorial content and the day-to-day operations of the magazine and serve as its main spokesperson. Byron is the former editor-in-chief of START, a magazine for Atari enthusiasts, and the games editor for PC HOME JOURNAL.

Headline News Animation Director Mike Smith Joins Vinton Studios

Award-winning animation director Mike Smith is the latest addition to Portland, Oregon-based Vinton Studios. A multiple Clio award winner, Smith brings more than 20 years experience in animating international commercials, network IDs and music videos in his 2D graphic style that utilizes mixed media techniques, including puppetry, live-action, cut-outs and computer animation. In addition to directing commercials and working with Vintons newly acquired cel animation company, Celluloid Studios, Mike will be engaged in the development of feature film and entertainment projects.