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.
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.
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.
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.
Entertaindom.com president and CEO Jim Moloshok, executive VP Jim Banister and third-in-command Jeff Weiner will be exiting their Time Warner posts in the upcoming weeks. The dot-com trio has already moved out of their offices and has stopped participating in the day-to-day operations of the company. The walk was spurred by Time Warner's increasing lack of interest in the entertainment site they launched in November of 1999 as their impending merger with America On-line plows ahead.
Veteran animation producer and executive Max Howard has finalized a first-look production deal with DreamWorks. Launching his new production company, Melwood Pictures, Howard will be developing both live-action and animated features. Therefore, he will be stepping down as producer on DreamWorks Pictures' upcoming animated release SPIRIT, STALLION OF THE CIMARRON. Howard came to DreamWorks from Warner Bros. where he served as president of feature animation. During his tenure, the studio produced the award-winning animated feature THE IRON GIANT, as well as QUEST FOR CAMELOT and SPACE JAM.
ARON WARNER has been named the new head of PACIFIC DATA IMAGES (PDI), the computer animation, commercial production, and effects affiliate of DreamWorks SKG. The move follows the announcement that PDI president and chief executive officer Jim DeRose is resigning his post, effective April 1, 2000, to pursue an unspecified Internet business opportunity. In making the announcement, Katzenberg stated, "During his time at PDI, Jim made enormous contributions to the firm. In one short year, he re-established PDI in the commercial and effects business and took it to record levels.
DISNEY CHANNEL has promoted GARY MARSH to executive VP, original programming. In his new role, Marsh will be responsible for the development and production of Disney Channel's entire slate of original programming, including Disney Channel original movies, narrative and reality series for both pre-school and older kids and music and documentary series and specials. In addition, he will oversee the network's newly created talent and alternative programming department. Marsh joined Disney Channel from Columbia Pictures Television in July 1988 as executive director, programming.
With the imminent release of the newly re-scored anime Castle in the Sky, Andrew Osmond profiles Hayao Miyazaki's musical partner, Joe Hisaishi.
Mike Lyons meets Richard and Robert Sherman, one of the most popular and celebrated songwriting duos in animation history. Their songs for Disney have created enchanting moments in classics like Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book.
Michel Gagn a designer and special effects animator on many major animated features, doesn't limit his creativity there. Bob Miller reveals Michel's after hours projects which range from painting to writing children's books.
Bob Miller interviews Frank Welker, a voice over legend. From cartoons to live-action, it is guaranteed you have heard his voice and probably not even realized. Was that a real parrot, dog, pig or Frank? Includes filmography.
Jeffrey Kramer has been named the new president of Honkworm International's cross media division. Kramer's main role at Honkworm will be to attract new major talent to the Internet company. Kramer comes to Honkworm from David E. Kelley Productions, where he served as president. He was the executive producer on ABC's THE PRACTICE and Fox's ALLY MCBEAL.
Renowned director Paul Vester has left Rhythm & Hues to become the creative director, digital and mixed media for Class-Key Chew-Po Commercials. Vester has helmed spots for Xerox, Listerine, Hershey, Twizzlers, Geico Direct. He also served as the animation director of the Grammy-nominated music video for Oasis' "All Around the World." Recently, Vester's film ABDUCTEES was featured in the animated short film compilation, CARTOON NOIR, which has played in theatres across the U.S. Some of his other animated short film credits include SUNBEAM and PICNIC.
Steve Ziolkowski has signed on as director of animation at SuperToons, the new animation division of the Super 78 Company. At SuperToons, Ziolkowski will help build the company into a top-of-the-line producer of animation for PlayStation 2, the Internet and digital TV. Ziolkowski will also oversee Moscow-based Super 78/Russia, which specializes in CGI animation. Before moving to SuperToons, Ziolkowski was a senior animator at Disney's DreamQuest Studios (recently renamed The Secret Lab).
Brian Miller has been named VP and general manager of the new Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank. Miller will oversee the studio's production department as well as the day-to-day operations. Formerly, Miller served as VP of production at Nickelodeon's Nicktoons Animation Studio, where he oversaw all production. Before moving to Nicktoons, Miller was VP of animation at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, where he managed all domestic and overseas productions.
Nickelodeon has named Michele Moore as the new VP of communications. Formerly, Moore served as director of media relations at interactive TV company Wink Communications. Moore will work out of Nick's New York office. She will oversee the development and promotion of publicity for Nick's TV division and its off-channel businesses, including public affairs, consumer products, recreation and magazines.
MIXME NETWORKS, INC., a developer of media technologies supporting dynamic, interactive e-marketing tools and interactive greetings, announced the appointment of RUSSELL T. GILLAM as the company's new CEO. Gillam is an Internet pioneer coming to MixMe Networks, Inc. from Disney Direct where he served as senior VP of commerce. Gillam was responsible for all the Internet initiatives of Disney properties. There he led a staff of over 1,000 people across the e-commerce units including Disney, ABC, ESPN and Go.com.
DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK, INC. (DEN), an on-line network targeting Generation Y, announced the appointment of MORRIS SIM as head of digital programming. Formerly with Microsoft, Sim held a variety of top-level managerial positions, supervising entire teams of programmers and designers for Microsoft's extensive line of consumer software. During his seven-year tour-of-duty, Sim was a key player in the development and design of some of Microsoft's top software products, like Access, VisualFoxPro, Visual Basic, Microsoft Works, Home Suite and Microsoft Office.
In the continuing crisis at CINAR Corp., husband and wife co-founders, Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg, have stepped down after senior VP and CFO Hasanain Panju was fired when US$122 million was found to have disappeared into investments without board approval. With tax fraud allegations floating in the skies, Charest will leave her chairman and co-CEO seat, while Weinberg will give up his president and co-CEO position. The couple will remain as leaders and directors of the company.
Two months before the WORLD ANIMATION CELEBRATION opens, festival director TRACY CROSSLEY has left "to pursue other interests." WAC has appointed a new director Danielle Robertson. "The team we have assembled to produce this year's event has an incredible amount of festival experience and has banded together to produce a memorable experience for everyone involved," said Robertson. "We appreciate the contributions Tracy had made and wish her the very best in all her future endeavors."