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Production Headline News

Universal Ups Andrew Fenady To VP Production

Universal Pictures has promoted Andrew Fenady to vice president, production. Fenady has been with Universal since 2000, when he came on board as director of production. In his new position he will continue to work with filmmakers on all aspects of physical production, including budgeting, scheduling, hiring crews and managing the daily workings within the production. Fenady is currently overseeing physical production on the films DR. SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 2 and HONEY.

Headline News

Radium Hires Inferno Artist Ali Laventhol

Digital visual effects studio Radium has announced the addition of Inferno artist Ali Laventhol to its Los Angeles office. Laventhol comes to Radium with 10 years of experience in the broadcast television, post-production and visual effects industries. Beginning her career in the broadcast news arena, Laventhol developed her eye for composition and color in the live production of news, weather and sports graphics at a local TV station in the Bay Area.

Film Headline News

Film Roman Names New Development And Programming Exec.

Sidney Clifton has been promoted to senior vice president and head of development and programming at independent animation company Film Roman, Inc. Clifton has already placed five projects into fast track development, while she oversees script development on the animated series TRIPPING THE RIFT, currently in production with CinéGroupe and the Sci-Fi Channel.

Headline News

Nico Puertollano Joins Rhinoceros Visual Effects And Design

Digital artist/designer Nico Puertollano has been added to the staff of New York-based Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design. Prior to joining the staff, Puertollano had worked for Rhinoceros and a number of other companies as an independent artist and designer. As a freelance artist with Rhinoceros, Puertollano worked on a variety of projects including the short animated film FROM THE 104TH FLOOR, commercials for Phoenix Mutual, Arbys and Bengay, as well as projects for Sony, USA Networks, Samsung Digital and others.

Disney Headline News

Michael Eisner Names Successor

Disney chairman Michael Eisner outlined his strategy to revitalize his company in the December 9 issue of FORBES Magazine. Among other juicy tidbits, Eisner reveals that he has written a letter to the Disney board recommending a successor and implies that his choice is current president and COO Bob Iger. Eisner also details his revitalization plan for Disney, which may include selling The Mighty Ducks hockey team, 64 company-owned radio stations and other ancillary businesses with an aim to substantially reduce Disney's $13 billion debt over the next 18 months.

Super Headline News

Super 78 Welcomes Robert Rose As CG Supervisor

Animation and live-action production company Super 78 has hired former Creative Capers art director Robert Rose as CG supervisor. After working as a freelance art director for a number of years, Rose joined Creative Capers Entertainment where he enjoyed a successful six-year tenure as art director/technical director. While at Creative Capers, Rose led the CGI design team and was instrumental in pre-visualization development for Universal Studios SITTING DUCKS, and also worked on the feature films 101 DALMATIANS, MR. MAGOO, THE TIGGER MOVIE and BOUNCE.

Effects Headline News

Imageworks Hires Three New Visual Effects Supervisors

Sony Pictures Imageworks is enhancing its visual effects department with the hire of three new visual effects supervisors: Mark Stetson, Kevin Mack and Richard Hoover. Mark Stetson began his career on STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, and has worked on such films as BLADE RUNNER, THE RIGHT STUFF, GHOSTBUSTERS and DIE HARD. He won an Oscar and a BAFTA Award in 2002 for visual effects on THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Kevin Mack won the Academy Award in 1999 for Best Visual Effects with WHAT DREAMS MAY COME and has supervised effects on DR.

International Headline News

Lynn Chadwick To Head Nelvana's Sales In Europe

Former vice president of Greenlight International B.V., Lynn Chadwick has been appointed Nelvanas director of sales for Northern Europe. Based in the companys London office, she will drive sales and development with key customers in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands. Prior to her position at Greenlight, Chadwick served as vice president, international at Salter Street Films International. She oversaw the establishment and significant growth of their international division, establishing Salter Street as a leading Canadian producer and supplier of television content.

Effects Headline News

R!OT Ups Ken Nakada To Director Of VFX

Santa Monica-based visual effects studio R!OT has promoted Ken Nakada to the post of director of visual effects. In his new role, Nakada will oversee all of the studios activities related to the production of visual effects for feature films, episodic television, commercials and music videos. His role will include managing the department, providing creative oversight for current projects and planning for long term growth. Nakada will also continue to perform his previous duties as a matte painter and compositor.

Effects Headline News

Radium Signs Michele Jeffers As Executive Producer Of Episodic And Features

Executive producer Michele Jeffers has joined digital visual effects studio Radium as head of the companys episodic and features division. She will be based in Radium's Santa Monica office. Jeffers has served as visual effects production manager at top effects houses and studios including Dream Quest Images, Sony Development, Banned from the Ranch, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.

Wild Headline News

Wild Brain Names Andrea Mansour Head Of Commercials

Veteran animation and visual effects producer Andrea Mansour has joined independent animation studio Wild Brain, Inc. as head of commercials. Mansour will be responsible for all sales and management of Wild Brain's commercial division, developing new business opportunities, recruiting creative and production talent and overseeing commercial marketing efforts for the company. Prior to joining Wild Brain, Mansour was a creative program director with Sapient, a design and consulting firm in San Francisco.

Headline News

Corus Entertainment Announces Nelvana Executive Team

In the wake of last week's announcement of the departure of Michael Hirsh, CEO of Nelvana, Corus Entertainment Inc. announced that it will combine the operations of Nelvana and its television division into one integrated business unit under the leadership of Paul Robertson. "As president of Corus Television, Paul has consistently delivered outstanding financial results and programming schedules, always with customer service as a top priority," said John Cassaday, president and CEO of Corus Entertainment.

Effects Headline News

Ron O’Brien Named President And CEO Of GVFX

Toronto-based visual effects house GVFX has named Ron OBrien president and chief executive officer. OBrien will be responsible for overseeing all of GVFXs daily global business activities including the offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Working closely with John Gajdecki, founder and effects supervisor of GVFX, OBrien will oversee GVFXs business and corporate strategy, and manage all business development, marketing and operational interests.

Animation Headline News

Schumacher To Leave Disney Feature Animation?

The Internet rumors have been flying for weeks and now a recent LA TIMES report has stated that Tom Schumacher, president of Disney Feature Animation, may leave his post when his contract expires in June 2003. No word on what Schumacher will do if he departs, but he is reportedly in discussions with Disney to figure out what his role will be with the company. Schumacher has headed Disney Feature Animation since 1999, throughout a turbulent time for the division.

Studios Headline News

Nike's Knight Becomes Majority Shareholder Of Vinton Studios

Philip H. Knight, co-founder of Nike, Inc., has become the majority shareholder of Portland, Oregon-based Vinton Studios after making a financial investment in the company. The amount of the investment was undisclosed. In addition, Knight will join Vintons board of directors. "Phil Knights investment and board involvement is a tremendous boost to our strategic plan to take Vinton Studios to the highest competitive level in both entertainment and commercial production," said Vinton CEO and president Jeff Farnath.

International Headline News

4Kids Expands; Promotes New Execs

London-based 4Kids Entertainment International has completed an expansion of its operations that encompasses the promotion of key management and the appointments of new executives. Promoted to the position of commercial director is Helen Howells, who will focus on the company's sub-agent relationships as well as oversee its marketing and creative areas. Howells assumes her new position with 4Kids Entertainment International after serving as director of international licensing. She joined the company in 2000.

Headline News

Sony Pictures Announces New Management Structure

John Calley, chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced that company veterans Amy Pascal, chairman, Columbia Pictures; Jeff Blake, president, worldwide marketing and distribution, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group; and Yair Landau, president, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment have been promoted to vice chairmen, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). As vice-chairmen of SPE, they will share all day-to-day responsibilities formerly belonging to the COO, while retaining their current roles and titles within their divisions. All three report to Calley.

Animation Headline News

Animation Writers Honor Patric Verrone

FUTURAMA writer Patric Verrone was recently honored with the fifth annual Animation Writing Award from the Animation Writers Caucus (AWC) of the Writers Guild of America, west. The award, which is intended to honor writers who have advanced the literature of animation in film and/or television through the years, and who have made outstanding contributions to the profession of the animation writer, was presented to Verrone by WGA,w president Victoria Riskin.

Mainframe Headline News

Mainframe President Takes Medical Leave

Canadian computer animation company Mainframe Entertainment has announced that company president Brett Gannon is temporarily stepping down from his post and will be taking an extended medical leave due to an undisclosed illness. Gannon's responsibilities will be taken over by CFO George Lawton, who is based in Canada, and Los Angeles-based Mark Fleischer, president Mainframe USA. According to Mainframe, Gannon intends to return to the company once fully recovered.

Company Headline News

Hirsh Leaves Nelvana

Corus Entertainment has announced that Michael Hirsh, founding partner and CEO of Nelvana Ltd., is stepping down from his post, although he will remain with the company in an advisory capacity. Hirsh started Nelvana in 1971 with his two founding partners, Patrick Loubert and Clive Smith, who had both left the company at the end of 2001. Nelvana was sold to Corus Entertainment in 2000. "No other company is better positioned to lead the industry into the next decade and I look forward to working with my successor to ensure Nelvana's continued success," said Hirsh.

Design Headline News

V-12 Commercials Expands, Signs Director Linzi Knight

Based on the success of live-action spots for AT&T, Verizon, PBS and others, Studio V-12 has recently launched a separate commercial division to handle the growing workload. Continuing its expansion, V-12 announces the addition of director Linzi Knight. Knight joins the current V-12 roster of Juan Delcan, V-12 Co-Founder David Hwang and Daryl Goodrich. After training in Toronto as a graphic designer, Knight spent five years pursuing design opportunities in Europe where she worked in top European design firms like Grapus in Paris and Meta Design in Berlin.