Laura Michalchyshyn has joined the Sundance Channel as evp, programming & marketing, responsible for all creative expressions of the Sundance Channel brand, both on and off-Channel, including original programming, film acquisition, program planning, on-air promotion and the creative strategy and implementation of all off-Channel consumer marketing.
Michalchyshyn, who will be based in New York City, will report to Sundance Channel Founder Robert Redford and Larry Aidem, president/ceo.
She comes to Sundance Channel from Alliance Atlantis Communications, where she was svp, dramatic programming, responsible for all programming for Alliance Atlantis dramatic channels, including Showcase, Showcase DIVA, Showcase ACTION, and the Independent Film Channel Canada.
"Laura has a longstanding love of, and appreciation for, independent film, said Redford. Couple that with a creative, television-centric aesthetic that has proven to be successful for a number of cable networks and we believe we have exactly what Sundance Channel needs in its top creative executive."
"Laura's television sensibility, her creative and leadership skills, and her enviable track record make for a very compelling and necessary addition to the Sundance Channel management team, especially at this point in the network's evolution," commented Aidem.
Michalchyshyn is relocating to New York from Toronto, where she worked, since 1997, for Alliance Atlantis. In her seven years with Showcase she transformed the channel with strategic acquisitions and commissions of some of the best Canadian, American, British, Australian and other international programming from creators, major studios and distributors around the world. In 2001 Michalchyshyn led the launch of three Canadian digital specialty channels, including Showcase Action, Showcase Diva and IFC Canada. In just three years, these channels have grown to be market leaders in the digital tier.
In 1995, Michalchyshyn was part of the management team that launched the first Canadian women's cable channel, WTN, where was program manager responsible for scheduling and acquiring movies, series and documentaries. She also produced an ongoing half-hour short film series that launched the careers of many emerging Canadian filmmakers.
Michalchyshyn has produced two independent films with director Noam Gonick, which have traveled the international festival circuit and been released and broadcast in a number of countries. The documentary, GUY MADDIN: WAITING FOR TWILIGHT (1997), and the feature, HEY, HAPPY! (2001), have both been broadcast on Sundance Channel.
Michalchyshy has received numerous awards for nurturing emerging talent and creating innovative, unique and critically acclaimed programming, including the following prizes: Excellence in Mentoring and Professional Development (WIFT), Best Documentary (Hot Docs, Manitoba Blizzard Awards), Best New Canadian Film, (Inside Out) and Showcase: Best Specialty Cable Channel (Eye and X-tra 2003, 2004).
Reporting to Michalchyshyn on the programming side will be Adam Pincus, svp, original programming, and Christian Vesper, vp, film programming. On the marketing and branding side, reporting to her will be Kirk Iwanowski, svp, marketing; Keira Alexandra, vp/creative director; and Meredith Breitbarth, vp, advertising and creative services. Iwanowski will continue to report to Aidem on affiliate marketing and promotion.
Under the creative direction of Redford, the Sundance Channel brings television viewers daring and engaging feature films, shorts, documentaries, world cinema and animation, shown uncut and with no commercials. Launched in 1996, Sundance Channel (www.sundancechannel.com) is a venture between NBC Universal, Redford and Showtime Networks Inc. Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance mission of supporting independent artists and providing them with wider opportunities to present their work to audiences.