Debbie Denise has been promoted to evp, Production Infrastructure, and exec producer at Sony Pictures Imageworks, Denise, who joined Imageworks with Ken Ralston in 1995, is a highly respected executive visual effects producer who most recently completed production on the CG feature THE POLAR EXPRESS, on which she also received credit as associate producer. It was her sixth film with director Robert Zemeckis. With this promotion, she continues in her role as an exec producer along with oversight of Imageworks production infrastructure. Together with recently appointed Jenny Fulle, the two evps lead all aspects of Imageworks production, from client relations and bidding to production management and staffing. Both continue to report to Imageworks president Tim Sarnoff.
Visual effects supervisor and ESC Ent. founder Kim Libreri has joined Industrial Light & Magic as the company prepares to move next year into its new Presidio facility in San Francisco and goes through a major shift in the way the facility structures productions and support ranks on its film projects.
Liberty Media Corporation announced the promotion of Robert B. Clasen has been promoted to the post of president/ceo of Starz Entertainment Group Llc., effective December 1, 2004. Clasen had been president/coo and replaces Mark Bauman who is retiring as interim ceo.
Kim Libreri, former vfx supervisor at ESC Ent., played a key role in the inception and development of Iridas FrameCycler Digital Daily System and SpeedGrade, the new non-destructive color grading and film finishing application. Both products were used extensively in the two MATRIX sequels as well as CATWOMAN.
New York-based Sideshow Creative has hired senior producer Bennett Lieber. He will produce both commercial editorial, graphics and visual effects and broadcast design projects.
Universal Studios Hollywood has named veteran theme park executive Tim Runco, vp, entertainment, and has brought attraction designer John Murdy back to the company as creative director, entertainment production.
Jim Morris, president of Lucas Digital for 11 years, is heading south to produce computer-animated movies. Chrissie England, svp of production at ILM, has been promoted to president of ILM.
Jim, Chrissie and their team at ILM have been working hard over the last 18 months to implement sweeping changes in both the operations and structure of ILM, commented Lucasfilm Ltd. president Micheline Chau. Now that those initiatives have been launched, Jim is taking this opportunity to move on to other areas of the entertainment business.
Viacom chairman/ceo Sumner M. Redstone announced today the promotion of four key members of the company's senior management team to evp, including Carl D. Folta, head of corporate relations; Carol A. Melton, in charge of government relations; William Roskin, overseeing human resources and administration and Martin M. Shea, head of investor relations. They all report directly to Redstone.
Nicholas Longano, previously of Vivendi Universal Games, has been named chief marketing officer of Massive Inc., the creator of the world's first video game advertising network. As cmo, Longano will be responsible for continuing to expand Massive's dominant leadership position in the in-game advertising market by building the largest network of publishers and titles into a recognized and legitimized media solution for advertisers.
DIC Ent. (DIC) has named Hasbro veteran Michael Verrecchia to the position of svp of marketing. In his new position, Verrecchia will oversee all marketing and promotional initiatives for DIC, including marketing strategies for the company's brand properties STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and the upcoming release of TROLLZ. He will be responsible for creating and executing multi-layered retail and consumer campaigns, including advertising, promotions and publicity.
AWN has learned that Pam Coats contract has not been renewed as svp of creative development at Walt Disney Feature Animation. Meanwhile, Susan Butterworth has been in charge of development since January.
Ron Geraci has been promoted from up to svp of research for Nickelodeon, overseeing all programming and advertising sales research for Nickelodeon and digital channels Noggin, The N, Nickelodeon Games and Sports (Nick GAS) and Nektons.
"Ron is a well-respected and talented executive who continually succeeds in keeping the entire Nickelodeon network abreast of audience and competitive research," said Laura E. Wendt, svp of research, Nickelodeon Networks, to whom he reports. "His new role acknowledges his expertise and contribution to the success of the network."
Marc Buhaj has been named vp, programming and scheduling for Cartoon Network and Boomerang, based in Atlanta. Buhaj moves from his previous Turner post in Hong Kong to direct all aspects of programming for the two networks, including scheduling, on-air event planning and program operations.
Walt Disney Television Animation (WDTVA) has named Meredith Metz, svp, creative affairs, and has promoted Lisa Salamone Smith to svp, production.
"Being able to bring Meredith to WDTVA to lead our development efforts is especially meaningful," said Barry Blumberg, WDTVA president, to whom they both will report. "Her vast experience and exceptional eye for creative, innovative projects are a winning combination that will make her a valuable addition to our team."
Bill Desowitz interviews Incredibles director Brad Bird, supervising technical director Rick Sayre and effects supervisor Sandra Karpman about bringing human CG superheroes to the big screen.
Paramount Pictures chairman Sherry Lansing announced that she would be leaving her post when her contract is up at the end of next year. Serving in the position since 1992, she has become the top female exec in the industry. She says that her decision is not due to the studios slipping box office, but a part of her plan to pursue philanthropy or political interests.
Alias has appointed former Kaydara president Michel Besner as vp, business development - emerging markets. Besner's appointment follows the recent completion of Alias' acquisition of Kaydara, renowned for MotionBuilder and FBX character animation technology. As a member of the Alias executive management team, Besner will be responsible for identifying strategic opportunities in the growing market of 3D interactive applications.
Phillip Miller has been appointed evp of business development of mental images U.S. subsidiary, mental images Inc. Miller joins mental images with a noteworthy career of defining and promoting leading software solutions at Autodesk, Discreet, and Instant Effects in addition to architectural design.
Michele Ganeless has been appointed evp/gm of Comedy Central, reporting directly to networks president Doug Herzog and will be based in New York. She rejoins the comedy network from her previous position of evp/gm of the USA Network where she worked closely with Herzog, then president/ceo.
Ganeless oversees all programming and marketing functions, which encompasses programming, co-productions, consumer and trade marketing and advertising, creative services, on-air promotion, acquisitions, audience research, scheduling and new business.
Janet Eng joins Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) as sales director, Asia. Based at SPTI's offices in Singapore, Eng will provide a number of markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, with a closer, more systematic presence. She will also pursue the sourcing of local content, and will maximize the licensing of formats and support the development of production arrangements in those markets.
Audrey Steele has been promoted from vp to svp, sales research and marketing for FOX Broadcasting Co., responsible for marketing FOXs sales and programming strategy to the advertising community through development of sales positioning, materials and primary research.
Audrey is a creative researcher, a gifted presenter, a skilled administrator and a pleasure to work with, said Jon Nesvig, president of sales for the network, to whom she will report. We are pleased to be able to further recognize her contributions to FOX's sales efforts.
Just as HIT Ent. announced its plans to launch a 24-hour digital cable television channel for preschool children with Comcast Corp., PBS and Sesame Workshop, Rob Lawes left his job as HIT ceo. Peter Orton, chairman/founder of HIT has taken over as interim chief executive.