HIT Ent. Ltd. (HIT) London announced a raft of new agent appointments to represent its properties across the world. "This marks a major shift in gear for HIT as we reinvigorate our licensing business in all key markets," said Peter Byrne evp of International at HIT. "It's all part of a major refocus of the company and our aggressive expansion drive into international territories."
In the first "Animators Unearthed" column by Chris Robinson, he profiles At The Quinte Hotel director Bruce Alcock.
HIT Ent. has reorganized the HIT European consumer product business, designed to simplify future communications with its partners and support future growth across a new category-based infrastructure.
The multiple brand group structure is now disbanded. The three new business units, according to Peter Byrne, evp HIT Int'l are:
UK Consumer Products: Focusing on the core U.K. licensing business teams aligned by category, supported by an international marketing group, managing the entire HIT portfolio of brands.
Comedy director Kenan Moran has signed with Curious Pictures for exclusive TV commercial representation.
Moran, who recently directed a seven-spot Comedy Central image campaign through the company on a freelance basis, was working with Czar U.S. An alumnus of MTVs on-air promo department, he brings a comic sensibility and solid live-action experience to a production company long associated with animation and mixed media work.
Carrie Dumont joins Cookie Jar Ent. as vp of its business affairs group to lead its expanding property acquisition, development and merchandising activities. Dumonts immediate focus will be in overseeing agreements with the ever-expanding roster of partners involved in Cookie Jars latest global television and merchandising sensation, THE DOODLEBOPS, as well the companys other renowned classic preschool brand, CAILLOU.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment International (BVHEI) has appointed Jerome Le Grand to the newly created position of svp/deputy gm of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Le Grand's responsibilities will include the management of the following departments: Finance, Operations/ESCO, Commercial Planning and Distribution, Emerging Markets Group for the EMEA. He will also serve as business contact for the European Legal Department.
Marc Ruxin has been hired as the coo of The Mill Group North America and Alistair Thompson has been promoted to md of The Mill New York.
Ruxin will be responsible for the growth, management and development of new products and services for The Mill and BEAM.TV. Ruxin brings 13 years of experience leading strategy, business development and marketing efforts on both the client and agency side of the technology and entertainment business.
Sharon Ngoi joins Disney Channel's marketing team as creative director and will work on promoting the Playhouse Disney-branded block, a learning-focused daypart for preschoolers, their parents and caregivers.
Bill Burke joins HIT Ent. as vp, brand management, to oversee the brand development of HIT's premiere properties BARNEY and THE WIGGLES, as well as the portfolio of brands from The Jim Henson Co. that HIT acts as worldwide representative for, including FRAGGLE ROCK and ANIMAL JAM. Additionally, he will focus on brand management for new content development. Burke is based in the HIT's New York City office and reports to Jamie Cygielman, svp, consumer products.
Billy Dexter has been appointed MTV Networks first evp/chief diversity officer (cdo). This new executive position creates a senior leader of the company's global initiatives to foster the highest levels of diversity throughout every aspect of its businesses. Dexter reports to Judy McGrath, chairman/ceo of MTV Networks, and will represent diversity issues on her executive strategy team.
In celebration of his long career, Animation World Network presents a tribute to the work and life of Derek Lamb.
Sony Corp. of America has appointed Tim Schaaff has been appointed to the newly-created position of svp of Software Development, effective immediately. Schaaff reports to Keiji Kimura, evp and officer in charge of Technology Strategy of Sony Corp.
Jeff Bewkes has been named president/coo of Time Warner Inc. while Don Logan, chairman of Time Warner's Media & Communications Group, plans to retire at the end of the year and become the non-executive chairman of Time Warner Cable's board of directors.
Bill Buckley joins Bakers Man as chief marketing officer for its family of companies, including Bakers Man Prods., Bakers Man Technology Group, Bakers Man Ent. Group, TrueLight Ent. and Image Quest Studios.
Buckley will develop and oversee the marketing, sales and media relations efforts and, in addition to enhancing existing relationships with key entertainment accounts in theatrical, home entertainment, music and platform games, he is tasked with positioning Bakers Man solutions in a more integrated fashion.
Sal Maniaci has been promoted to the newly-created position of svp of development and original production for TV Land and Nick at Nite. He will continue to be based in New York City and will oversee the creation, development and execution of original programming and production for TV Land and Nick at Nite.
Maniaci has been instrumental in launching the originals agenda on both networks. TV Land and Nick at Nite have substantially increased original content since Maniaci joined the networks two years ago.
Jeff Zucker has been named ceo and Randy Falco has been named president/coo of a newly integrated NBC Universal Television Group. Beth Comstock has been appointed to the newly created position of president, NBCU Digital Media and Market Development.
Alan Bergman has been promoted to president, The Walt Disney Studios (TWDS). In his new role, Bergman will continue to report directly to Dick Cook, chairman, TWDS and oversee strategy and operations for all business units, including Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Buena Vista Pictures Marketing, Buena Vista International, Miramax, Buena Vista Home Entertainment worldwide, Disney Theatrical Productions, The Buena Vista Music Group, Buena Vista Television and Buena Vista Television International.
Post Logic Studios has hired well-respected colorist Frank Roman for its Hollywood-based DI team and vastly expanded motion picture services pipeline and infrastruture. Romans career includes a stint at pioneering DI facility Cinesite; he joins Post Logic from Laser Pacific Media Corp.
Roman recently collaborated with legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, on the 4K digital intermediate for the upcoming feature, THE BLACK DAHLIA. Roman also worked with cinematographer Shane Hurlbut on the digital intermediates for SOMETHING NEW and INTO THE BLUE.
Respected industry vet Joni Jacobson has been hired to head the new Los Angeles offices of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Jacobson steps into the newly created role of exec in charge of Production Marketing, and will lead marketing efforts going forward.
Jacobson will also develop the L.A. marketing beachhead for Skywalker Sound. The new Los Angeles offices will be opened in January and are located at The Lot in West Hollywood.
DreamWorks Animation announced two new hires and a promotion, to support the company's strategy of producing two CG films a year plus direct-to-video movies.
John Batter rejoins DreamWorks Animation as a senior production executive; Jane Hartwell, a nine-year veteran with the company, has been promoted to head of global production and Nancy Bernstein joins as head of production for the studio's Glendale, California campus.
Park Village, one of Londons leading production companies, has signed directors James Rogan and Aasaf Ainapore. They join Park Village alongside Johan Brisinger, Jim Hayton, Omid Nooshin, Charlie Stebbings, Peter Webb and Roger Woodburn.
Rogan started his film career at the tender age of 14 when he worked as a cameraman on the Channel 4/Childrens Film Units production, WILLIES WAR. He went on to shoot another two further features for the CFU as cameraman and advanced to director of photography.
Sir Sean Connery will come out of his retirement from films to supply the voice of a vet in a low-budget animated Scottish short from Glasgow Animation, reports BBC NEWS.
The former 007 star will play the title role in SIR BILLI THE VET, which will be set in the Highlands.
Connery agreed to take part despite having recently said he would make no more movies because he was "fed up with the idiots" in Hollywood.
Actor Alan Cumming will voice his faithful companion Gordon the Goat.
Jason Lust has joined the Jim Henson Co. as svp, Feature Films. In his new role, Lust will oversee and expand the companys strong film development slate by continuing to pursue strategic creative partners as well as tap into the companys dedicated development fund for optioning existing properties, such as childrens books, comics and video games.
Massive Software, developer of the Academy Award-winning 3D animation software for AI-driven characters and digital stunts, announced a company expansion in tandem with the rapid growth of its reach into the film and television production space. Massive has tapped Nick Divehall, former Alias senior manager, for the role of vp of Business Development. Concurrently, Massive announced an initial suite of channel partners to handle product sales in Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, London and Montreal.
Lewis Coleman, a DreamWorks Animation board member and former vice chairman and cfo of Bank of America, has been named president of DreamWorks Animation.
Coleman, reporting to DreamWorks Animation ceo, Jeffrey Katzenberg, will lead the company's efforts with Katzenberg and coo Ann Daly, as it continues to produce two computer-generated animated movies per year and expands its business activities in direct-to-video movies, a growing licensing business, Broadway musicals and live entertainment. All execs who previously reported to Katzenberg will now report to Coleman.