Canadian TV execs are on the move to Toronto-based Portfolio Entertainment which has named Kate Horton as creative director and Stephen R. Kelley as head of sales and acquisition. Horton, previously director of development at Cabium Entertainment, where she produced MONSTER BY MISTAKE, then oversaw the development and implementation of a successful merchandising program for the show, which generated books, plus dolls and home video product. Horton will seek development partnerships for Portfolio.
Dan Lombardo has been named president of Cinesite Hollywood, and Jerry Pooler is stepping up to a new role as exec director, creative. Lombardo will also continue in his new role of general manager. He joined the facility two years ago as vp of production. He succeeds Ruth Scovill as president. Pooler joined Cinesite in 1992 when the facility pioneered the use of digital technology during the restoration of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.
Michelle Pappalardo-Robinson has been appointed vp of production for the recently renamed DisneyToon Studios, to oversee production for its video/DVD premiere and theatrical properties.
"Michelles 14 years of experience and overall knowledge of production will serve as a tremendous asset as we continue to expand the division and break new ground," said Sharon Morrill, evp at DisneyToon Studios.
Chris Robinson interviews indie animator Debra Solomon, the creator of the animated Lizzie McGuire persona, about finding a way to do what you want and make money doing it.
Family programming veteran Bob Higgins has been appointed svp, programming and development for Cartoon Network's kids businesses. The former Sony Pictures Family Entertainment exec will manage Cartoon Network's development, production and programming departments, plus oversee new original animated series, shorts, features and specials created in the network's Burbank studio and with various external production partners. He will also supervise acquisitions of off-net kids' programming, including anime and theatricals from domestic and international sources for Cartoon Network, U.S.
Rick DeMott talks to veteran animator Mike Nguyen about his personal quest and his able band of artists as they strive to make his film, My Little World.
Greg Catlett joins Video Symphony, a leading Hollywood TV, film and DVD education center; in the new post of director of admissions/vp. Catlett will review potential student candidates plus consult with them regarding their curriculum, career paths and employment goals.
Catlett had been a business consultant to numerous leading California-based CPA and accounting firms from 1985-2000. Before that, he was an award-winning salesman with two large companies, Carlson Companies (on the retail side), and Continental Business Services (on the business side) for many years.
Sarah Weidman has joined Sony Pictures Television (SPT) as vp, development, reporting to Melanie Chilek, svp, development and syndicated programming. Weidman will collaborate with Chilek and Zack Van Amburg, svp, development and cable programming, on the creation of new, unscripted programming for the network, cable and syndication marketplace.
FX entertainment president Kevin Reilly is ankling his post to join NBC as president, primetime development. In the new position, Reilly will oversee the NBC Studios division and the network's development department. Reilly worked at NBC in development in the late 1980s and early '90s. He went on to Brillstein-Grey Entertainment for six years before moving to the top programming job at FX in 2000. There he raised the channel's profile with projects such as THE SHIELD and LUCKY.
In accordance with its new emphasis on VFX, New York City-based Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design has changed its name to rhinofx. In addition, the studio has added three of its freelance artists to the roster: Ronen Sharabani, Joseph Burrascano and Joshua Frankel.
According to partner/senior exec producer Rick Wagonheim, hiring freelancers works for both parties. "Team chemistry and collaboration is important at rhinofx." Some of the projects they have been working on at rhinofx include Dentyne Ice, L'Oreal, Baskin-Robbins, Scotch-Brite, Cadillac and Krylon.
Peter van Roden joins Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization, in the newly created position of vp, themed entertainment, reporting to Karen Gruenberg, exec vp of content.
Award-winning editor Kim Bica joins Lost Planet to work out of both of its Los Angeles and New York locations. Prior to joining Lost Planet, Bica was an editor at Spotwelders where her clients included Levis, Southern Comfort, Saturn and HBO, as well as ad agencies Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Arnold St. Louis, GSD&M and TBWAChiatDay. Bica was at FilmCore Editorial in San Francisco and worked on commercials for Nike, Adidas, Supercuts and Robertson Stevens. She began her career at Red Sky Films in San Francisco.
MTV Networks has expanded the roles of both Judy McGrath and Herb Scannell as part of a continuing international management restructuring. McGrath and Scannel both become MTV Networks Group president. McGrath was formerly president of MTV Networks Music Group, and will be responsible for MTV, MTV2, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central, which officially joined Viacom and MTV Networks last week. Larry Divney, president of Comedy Central, will now report directly to McGrath.
Ascent Media Creative Services Group, a technical and creative services provider for the entertainment industry, has promoted Robert T. Wenrich to the position of cfo. In his new role, Wenrich will handle the strategic and financial management of the company's the entertainment television, commercial television and creative sound services operations. He originally joined the firm in 2002 as cfo for the Creative Sound Services unit.
DUCK studio has announced the signing of award-winning artist, Paul Vester, to its roster of commercial directors. British-born Vester is an experimental animator whose short films have netted him many international prizes as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is working on his new film, IN THE WOODS, a mix of 2D and 3D digital animation, which will be produced at DUCK.
"To be able to work with an artist of the caliber of Paul Vester is great for our entire studio. Were thrilled to have him aboard," said DUCK president, Roger Chouinard.
Dr. Andreas Meissner has joined the Supervisory Board of EM.TV & Merchandising AG, replacing Dr. Ralph Wollburg who resigned his seat due to additional commitments in his full-time occupation as a lawyer. Meissner, a lawyer, had various sojourns abroad in places such as France and Saudi Arabia before he began working for Taylor Wessing in 1988, where he has been a partner of the law firm since 1992.
Gaming industry veteran Scott K. Tsumura has been named svp of Japan/Asia business strategy at Amaze Entertainment and exec studio director of Amaze Entertainment's BlackShip Games. Tsumura was president of Nintendo Software Technology Corp. managing the production of a variety of Nintendo games, such as POKEMONPUZZLE LEAGUE. A native of Japan, Tsumura has more than 25 years of gaming industry experience in both the U.S. and Japan.
Jason Dravis has been made partner in the Monteiro Rose Agency, now to be the Monteiro Rose Dravis Agency, Inc. in Encino, California. Dravis joined the agency in 1995 as an assistant and rapidly advanced to agent. Dravis' clients have included Eddie Guzulian (LILO AND STITCH 2, KIM POSSIBLE), Mark Drop (RECESS, LLOYD IN SPACE), Madeline Paxson, (LILO AND STITCH THE SERIES, PEPPERANN), Scott Fellows (FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, NED'S DECLASSIFIED SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE) and Peafur Productions (AAAGH! IT'S THE MR. HELL SHOW, BOUNTY HAMSTER).
Richard Marks joins Universal Network Television as vp of business affairs, it was announced by Neil Strum, exec vp of Universal Television Productions. Marks will be responsible for business affairs for the Universal series THE AGENCY and THE DISTRICT, as well as pilots ABOUT A BOY, SLICE O' LIFE and KAREN SISCO.
Starz Encore Group LLC (Starz Encore) has promoted Eric W. Becker from director to exec director of corporate communications, overseeing publicity for Starz Encore business, finance, technology, affiliate marketing, and consumer marketing public relations activities.
HD video and VFX editor Bob Williamson has joined Encore Hollywood just in time to complete final post work on the CBS-TV series JAG. He joins a team of senior editors at Encore that also includes Rob Williams, Paul Bonnette, Mark Sherman, Jonathan Slater and Michael Hutchison.
Side Effects Software (SESI), developer of the award-winning Houdini family of 3D software, has made a number of new hires and executive promotions to support what the company says is the rapid growth of the Houdini community.
Carl's Fine Films, a San Francisco-based commercial animation company, has signed director Henry Selick to its staff of commercial directors. Animation superstar Selick's credits include THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and MONKEYBONE. Among other successful ad campaigns, he created the original MTV station IDs. He has won top prizes at Annecy, Ottawa and the Annies plus NIGHTMARE was nominated for an Academy Award for best special effects.
John Powers joins TOKYOPOP Inc. in Los Angeles as vp of marketing for North America's leading graphic novel publisher and a growing force in international entertainment with its numerous anime titles.