Fox Television Ent. Group chairman Sandy Grushow announced on Jan. 5, 2004 he had resigned his post effective immediately to launch a Twentieth Century Fox-based production company called Phase Two. His contract was set to expire in summer 2004.
John S. Chen, chairman/ceo/president of Sybase Inc., will join the Walt Disney Co. board of directors in January 2004, as ex-members Roy Disney and Stan Gold continue to publicly criticize the board and its actions.
Animation veteran Stephanie Graziano (DreamWorks, Fox Kids, BKN Studios) joins North Hollywood-based Gang of 7 Animation as the eighth member of its power-packed team.
She will remain active with Graz Entertainment and there are no plans to change the name of Gang of 7 Animation (G7animation.com).
Allyson Taylor has joined the Starz corporate communications department in the newly created position of manager of public relations. Reporting to Eric Becker, exec director of corporate communications for Starz, Taylor will be responsible for coordinating and implementing local public relations campaigns, including working with cable and satellite affiliates to generate publicity for Starz On Demand, STARZ! HD and other advanced new product offerings from Starz as they enter the marketplace. She will also lend PR support for Starz promotional campaigns, sweepstakes, as well as other select consumer and affiliate activities and special events.
Taylor was director of communications for Dave & Buster's Inc., an operator of large-format entertainment complexes based in Dallas. Prior to that, she held a communications manager/asst vp position for Bank One.
Producer Donald De Line has been appointed vice chairman, Motion Picture Group and president, Paramount Pictures, effective Jan. 5, 2004. De Line replaces John Goldwyn, who is stepping down to become a producer at the studio in the wake of criticism that the feature slate has not only performed below expectation at the box office (including the disappointing LARA CROFT sequel), but also lacks Oscar prestige. Reporting to Sherry Lansing, chairman, Paramount Pictures, De Line is expected to pump up and diversify the studio's feature production slate during this three-year stint.
Kathy Vrabeck has been promoted to president of Activision Publishing and will oversee Activision's product development activities worldwide, including research and development and product acquisitions, as well as the company's global brand management operation. The reorganization also see Larry Goldberg exiting as evp of Worldwide Studios.
Veteran animator Becky Bristow has been named chair of the Digital Arts and Design program in the Software School of Beijing University, China. Bristow reports she is busy creating the curriculum and building the new graduate digital arts program
Entertainment Rights in London has made a raft of new appointments, starting with Anya Hollis, promoted to director of marketing and consumer products, responsible for the strategic licensing and marketing of the company's portfolio of brands. Julie King becomes group PR manager on Jan. 1, 2004 and Jennie Saul will be promoted to the newly created role of head of live events on this date.
Kevin Mullican has been named cto for iO Film, a technologically advanced, full-service digital film finishing facility specializing in film and video projects from every sector of the entertainment industry.
VFX industry veteran Jeff Ross has joined Hollywood-based visual effects shop Eden FX, in the newly created position of evp.
Ross has built an extensive career guiding, managing and overseeing the growth of numerous successful, high-end post-production companies. For the past two years, he served as evp/coo of Sunset Digital, a high definition facility specializing in feature film mastering, digital restoration, linear and non-linear editing and DVD compression and authoring.
Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has appointed two key executives, Ross Pollack as svp of business development, Asia, and John Fukunaga, svp of sales planning.
DC Comics has named Gregory Noveck to the newly formed post of svp, creative affairs. He will oversee the exploitation of the DC characters in feature films and television at Warner Bros. and New Line as well as developing outside creative alliances. The bi-coastal exec will report to DC publisher and president Paul Levitz.
Andrew Maltz, former president/ceo of Avica Technology Corp., has been named director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new Science and Technology Council.
Michael Lynton was named chairman/ceo of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), filling the coveted position vacated by the retiring John Calley. In addition, vice chairman Amy Pascal was promoted to chairman of the Motion Picture Group at SPE in a further integration of global businesses and digital media, according to Howard Stringer, chairman/ceo of Sony Corp. of America and vice chairman of Sony Corp. Lynton, who had been president, Time Warner International; president, AOL International, and ceo, AOL Europe, since 2000, will be headquartered in Culver City, California.
Bill Desowitz sits down with Tim Burton and talks with the director about Big Fish and the pros and cons of a digital world.
Animation exec Toper Taylor and longtime USC School Of Fine Arts supporter Putter Pence have been named co-chairs has named of the University of Southern California School of Fine Arts Board of Councilors for a two-year term beginning January 2004.At the same time, Craig Jacobson and Ann Ehringer have been appointed to serve as councilors on the 12-person board for three-year terms.
Buena Vista International Inc. upped four of its key marketing and publicity exec directors to vp: Maggie Todd (international publicity), Donald Evans (marketing and promotions), Mari Gastineau (marketing/creative print services) and Ticole Richards (marketing/creative film services).
Samantha Maltin has been promoted to vp, business development, promotions marketing at Nickelodeon, responsible for developing on- and off-channel marketing and promotional opportunities for new business advertising sales partners and collaborating with Nickelodeon Ad Sales to secure non-traditional advertisers for the network. She also secures promotional partners for Nickelodeon Movies that can bring on- and off-channel support and leverage new or incremental media for the network.
Online vet Paul Myers has been hired by Fox Kids U.K. as online producer, responsible for the overall look, feel and content of the Fox Kids U.K. Website (www.foxkids.co.uk), development of the company's corporate Website (www.foxkidseurope.com), with additional responsibilities for marketing and customer relationship management in order to drive registration, build site loyalty and attract new users.
Teri Weiss has been promoted from exec in charge of production to vp of Nick Jr., responsible for overseeing Nick Jr. signature shows, including DORA THE EXPLORER and BLUE'S CLUES plus several pilots in development.
"Teri's creativity and her dedication to diversity, combined with her keen planning and passion for children's television, will continue to be an asset at Nick Jr.," said Brown Johnson, evp of Nick Jr., to whom Weiss will continue to report in New York City.
Warner Bros. International TV Distribution has hired Jessica Pinto for the newly created post of director of animation marketing. She will head the creative side of the new international Kids WB! blocks, in addition to managing sales and marketing presentations for programs the company distributes to other foreign networks. Previously, she served as vp, programming & scheduling for the Kids' WB! Pinto will be based in Burbank and report to Warner Bros. TV creative services svp Lisa Gregorian.
Wim Stocks has been promoted at Atari as evp, responsible for sales, licensing, marketing, distribution and logistics in North America, Latin/South America, Australia and the Pacific Rim region.
Paul Robinson, svp of worldwide programming strategy for ABC Cable Networks Group and svp/md of Disney U.K. branded television is leaving the Walt Disney Co. to pursue new opportunities.
Len Cochrane, president of TELETOON, and Hillary Firestone, VP Network Marketing and Promotions have brought on two new directors to the Canadian cartoon channel. Renee Gluck is the new director of creative services, replacing Gervais Vignola, who continues with TELETOON in a consulting role. Susan Nakhle is director of communications, filling in for Pascale Guillotte, who is on maternity leave until September 2004.
The new ASIFA Intl Board, consisting of the representatives of 14 national and regional groups and offices met Nov. 15, 2003 in Espinho, Portugal during the CINANIMA 2003 festival to elect new officers. They are:President: Noureddin Zarrinkelk (Iran)VP/contact person for Asia: Sayoko Kinoshita (Japan)VP/contact person for Europe: Thomas Renoldner (Austria)Secretary General: Vesna Dovnikovic (Croatia)Treasurer: Carol Beecher (Canada)Editor of ASIFA NET: Thomas Renoldner (Austria)