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Star Headline News

Ziff Davis Appoints New Editor-In-Chief For GameNow Magazine

Ziff Davis Media Game Group, the largest publisher of gaming magazines in the U.S., has named LucasArts veteran Tom Byron as editor-in-chief of GAMENOW, a magazine targeted specifically to teen gamers. In this role Byron will be responsible for the editorial content and the day-to-day operations of the magazine and serve as its main spokesperson. Byron is the former editor-in-chief of START, a magazine for Atari enthusiasts, and the games editor for PC HOME JOURNAL.

Animation Headline News

Animation Director Mike Smith Joins Vinton Studios

Award-winning animation director Mike Smith is the latest addition to Portland, Oregon-based Vinton Studios. A multiple Clio award winner, Smith brings more than 20 years experience in animating international commercials, network IDs and music videos in his 2D graphic style that utilizes mixed media techniques, including puppetry, live-action, cut-outs and computer animation. In addition to directing commercials and working with Vintons newly acquired cel animation company, Celluloid Studios, Mike will be engaged in the development of feature film and entertainment projects.

Digital Headline News

VFX Studio Radium Hires Four

Digital visual effects studio Radium welcomes four new staff members: CG supervisor Aladino V. Debert, senior computer artist Mary Beth Haggerty, inferno artist Scott Rader and CG artist Erik Shepherd. Haggerty and Shepherd will be based in the San Francisco location, while Debert and Rader will join the Los Angeles office. A native of Argentina where he attended the School of Architecture at the Buenos Aires University, Aladino V.

Animation Headline News

Animator Lisa Mullins Joins The Faculty Of SF's Academy Of Art College

The Academy of Art College in San Francisco has hired animator Lisa Mullins as the animation lead for their Computer Graphics and 3D Animation department. Mullins has experience working in 2D, stop-motion and computer animation, and has worked in commercials, television, games and film. Her feature credits include HOLLOW MAN, DINOSAUR and SOUTH PARK THE MOVIE. After a stint at Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios, Mullins freelanced on projects for Vinton Studios and Wild Brain.

Marvel Headline News

Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo To Retire At Year End

Marvel exec Allen S. Lipson, Esq., will take over as CEO of Marvel Enterprises effective January 1, 2003, upon the retirement of Peter Cuneo, current president & CEO. Following his retirement, Cuneo will continue to serve as a Marvel board member and advisor. Lipson has been Marvel's executive vice president business & legal affairs since November 1999, where he played an integral role in structuring and negotiating the company's strategic entertainment and licensing relationships.

Animation Headline News

Bionicle Co-Creator Goes Solo

Yet another animation player has struck out on his own. Following the news last week of former TV-Loonland head of programming John Bullivant forming his own company to create and develop character based projects, UK animation scriptwriter Alastair Swinnerton has announced he has left Skryptonite, the animation production company he co-founded five years ago. Swinnerton has now set up a new company called BA20 Entertainment in order to develop and market animation properties in a style similar to that of LEGO's BIONICLE, which Swinnerton helped create.

Headline News

Manuel Le Hir And Guillaume Marien Join Sparx*

Animation and digital visual effects studio Sparx* has brought on Manuel Le Hir and Guillaume Marien. In their new sales development roles, Le Hir and Marien will be working alongside the co-founders of Sparx*, Guillaume Hellouin and Jean-Christophe Bernard. "In the face of a fast-developing market, we wanted to acquire additional resources that would help boost the studios growth while respecting its original values. We chose these two particular personalities for their remarkable career track records, their huge management talent and their corporate spirit," said Hellouin.

Licensing Headline News

DIC Signs Nancy Bassett As SVP Of Worldwide Licensing & Merchandisng

DIC Entertainment announced today that they have signed Nancy Bassett to head up all of their licensing and merchandising sales initiatives worldwide. Bassett comes to DIC from Viacom Consumer Products where she was the vice president of worldwide sales for Paramount Pictures' licensing division. During Bassett's tenure with Viacom she served as the general manager of Viacom Consumer Products Canada and as managing director of Hamilton Projects. Bassett also held executive positions at Alliance Atlantis Entertainment and Sega of Canada.

Media Headline News

Bullivant Gets A Kickback

Television executive John Bullivant has launched Kickback Media, a new executive production and development outfit. According to Bullivant, the aim of Kickback is to create, develop and finance character and design-based intellectual properties. The television activities will focus predominantly on the children's market and will include both animation and live-action content.

Design Headline News

Lisa Cleff Joins Goodspot As VP Of Sales And Marketing

Goodspot Design and Goodspot Editorial has appointed Lisa Cleff to the position of vice president of sales and marketing for both divisions. Cleff joins newly appointed executive producer Mandy Martin, with whom she enjoyed a successful working relationship during their time together at design studio Attik/San Francisco. Prior to joining Goodspot, Cleff served as director of sales and marketing for R!OT Design in Manhattan. Her entree into the world of broadcast design came during her three years as U.S. director of business development at Attik.

Animation Headline News

Toonz Animation India Brings On Writer Atul Rao

Award-winning Los Angeles based writer and producer, Atul Rao, will be joining Toonz Animation India as the story editor and co-art director for its upcoming 3D series ADVENTURES OF HANUMAN. Rao and his family will join Toonz in India in November 2002. Starting as a staff writer at Nelvana Entertainment, Rao wrote for animated hits such as BABAR, CAREBEARS, BEETLEJUICE and TINTIN and then spent four years as producer, head writer and performer for Canadian cable network YTV.

Studios Headline News

Powerhouse Studios Announces Jay Elliot As CEO

PowerHouse Studios, Inc., a group of affiliated companies in the technology, entertainment, game, healthcare and education industries, has appointed Jay Elliot as CEO. Elliot will be responsible for overseeing the entire PowerHouse operation from its headquarters in Los Angeles. As a member of PowerHouse's Board of Directors, Elliot has recently overseen the acquisition of Agate Technologies, Inc. as well as entertainment development partnerships with Bluetorch Media, Nuvo Studios and Thrilling Entertainment.

Studio Headline News

Warner Bros. Exec VP Goes Indie

Warner Bros.' Lorenzo di Boneventura has stepped down from his position as executive VP of motion pictures to take a role at the studio producing independent films. As reported in VARIETY, di Boneventura, who was promoted to the position of exec VP less than two months ago, said he wanted to move to indie producing to "stretch his creative muscles," which were apparently atrophying under the strains of heading a major motion picture studio.

Disney Headline News

Walt Disney Internet Group Names Diana Longarzo VP Of International Strategy

Diana Longarzo has been named vice president of international strategy and business development for the Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG). In this role, Longarzo will lead strategic product development and business development for WDIG's mobile and broadband businesses. Longarzo joins WDIG from Longarzo Consulting, a consultancy she founded that specialized in business strategy for entertainment and media companies such as Palm, Inc. and QBEO, Inc., an interactive television company.

Cartoon Headline News

Cartoon Network Founder Cohen Shops New Project

VARIETY reports that veteran Turner exec Betty Cohen will leave the company to shop a multi-platform program targeted to young adults and teens. Cohen, who began with Turner in 1988 in the on-air promotions department at TNT, went on to oversee the creation and launch of Cartoon Network and served as its senior executive for ten years. In June 2001, she stepped down from her position as president of Cartoon Network Worldwide, but stayed within the AOL/ Time Warner family to develop projects like the one she has on the market.

Effects Headline News

3D Animator David Lombardi Joins ComputerCafe

Animator Dave Lombardi has joined ComputerCafe, after previously working with the animation and visual effects studio on the teaser-trailer for the upcoming film THE HULK. Lombardi recently completed work for ComputerCafe as animation supervisor on effects for SPY KIDS 2. His credits span film, television and music videos, and includes work on the STAR TREK series DEEP SPACE NINE and VOYAGER, as well as commercials for Sony Vaio and music videos for Ludacris and Janet Jackson.

Effects Headline News

Radium Reunites Exec Prod Darby Walker-Curts and Ops Manager Paul Abatemarco

Santa Monica, California-based visual effects studio Radium has hired executive producer Darby Walker-Curts and operations manager Paul Abatemarco, reuniting the pair who worked together at R!OT from 1997-2000. Darby Walker-Curts was executive producer of Telecine at R!OT, where she oversaw numerous projects including music videos for Dave Matthews, Jewel, Bryan Adams, Natalie Imbruglia and Incubus, as well as commercials for such noted directors as Nico Beyer, Danny Ducovny, Samuel Bayer, Herb Ritts and Marcos Siega.

Animation Headline News

Rhythm & Hues' Ian Hulbert Jumps To Topix

After seven years with Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles, Ian Hulbert has joined Toronto-based visual effects and animation studio TOPIX as senior animation director. Hulbert will head the 3D character animation team at the studio, which has created effects and animation for such diverse projects as Atom Egoyan's Oscar-nominated film THE SWEET HEREAFTER, commercials for companies like Coca Cola, Kraft Foods, Chrysler, Budweiser, Discover Card and Post Cereals, and music videos for artist such as David Bowie, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan and Mary J. Blige.

Headline News

Paul Grimshaw Joins The Orphanage

Paul Grimshaw, former executive producer of Industrial Light + Magic Commercial Productions (ILMCP), has joined San Francisco, California's The Orphanage as vice president and executive producer of the commercial and music video division. Grimshaw's mission includes developing the live-action component of the current business unit, with the goal of making the entire division a key player within the industry. Grimshaw will be assisted in this plan by John Benson, the executive producer for The Orphanage in Los Angeles. Benson established the L.A.

Entertainment Headline News

Entertainment Rights Hires Sales Manager For Latin America

Entertainment Rights, the global childrens entertainment group, is expanding its U.S. office with the appointment of Fabiola Flores Cortes as sales manager for Latin America, handling all sales of the ER catalogue in this region. She will join Gillian Kirby, who is responsible for ERs business in the USA and Canada, in the New York office.

Effects Headline News

Cinesite Appoints Jeffrey Baksinski To Manage 3D Department

Cinesite Hollywood has named Jeffrey Baksinski manager of the 3D department. Baksinski has been the motion/tracking supervisor in the visual effects department at Cinesite since 1998, where his responsibilities included supervising camera reconstruction, virtual set modeling and the creation and application of pipeline and procedures on such films as RED PLANET, 13 GHOSTS and WINDTALKERS.