• Monday, Apr. 12, 2021
Tracey Khan named managing director of The Mill Chicago
Tracey Khan

Tracey Khan has been elevated to managing director of The Mill Chicago.

Khan steps into the role with over a decade of experience at The Mill, having originally started in London before being one of the pioneering producers who established the Chicago studio. Previously head of production, Khan is credited with the growth of The Mill’s Chicago studio, particularly the recently expanded direct-to-brand, strategic production offering, Mill+. 

Prior to her role as head of production, Khan cultivated key industry relationships across the globe, as executive producer on projects in collaboration with BBH, AMV, DDB, BBDO, Leo Burnett Cramer- Krasselt, Digitas, and FCB. 

She joins a new leadership team across the global production studio consisting of managing directors Misha Standford Harris in London, Justin Stiebel in Berlin and Anastasia Von Rahl in Los Angeles. 

Khan will focus on the Chicago studio’s continued growth, from continued award-winning VFX and design work with the region’s top agencies, to offering strategic insight and end-to-end production for brand partners. 

Khan commented, “Creativity and diverse perspectives are the driving force behind everything we do here in Chicago. I’d like to continue our drive with both diversifying our portfolio of work and rostered talent to offer up the best creative solutions for our clients across visual effects, design, direction and experiential projects.”

Josh Mandel, the recently appointed CEO of The Mill, said, “Tracey has been an integral part of Chicago’s success for some time, and has long been a person the team can rely upon for sound counsel. As managing director, she will continue to lead with our talent and our creative ambition front and center.”

  • Friday, Apr. 9, 2021
HUSH promotes EP Kristen DiCamillo to partner
Kristen DiCamillo

Experience design firm HUSH has promoted executive producer Kristen DiCamillo to partner--joining founding partners David Schwarz and Erik Karasyk. As the first new partner since the launch of the company nearly 15 years ago, DiCamillo will serve as the managing partner, overseeing and optimizing the company’s success through its processes, operations, and finances. 

Formerly an EP at digital agency B-Reel, DiCamillo led the shop’s production teams to create the globe-spanning, UGC-focused MTV Bump platform. Prior to that, she served as a sr. digital producer at Tool, where she produced the multi-award-winning “Clouds Over Cuba” campaign, and at other agencies including BBH, Sid Lee, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Ogilvy Paris.

DiCamillo joined HUSH in 2017 as EP. During her tenure, she has engaged with virtually every project and client at the firm. Of particular note, she spearheaded the development and deployment of multiple, global Partner Center experiences for Facebook. This work involved multi-product strategic storytelling, physical design and technology integration, global scale rollouts, and support approaches that helped to refine HUSH’s approach and processes. She also played critical roles in delivering the sustainability-focused experience design concept for United Therapeutics’ headquarters, and was essential to the success of the experience design and digital storytelling for Uber’s soon-to-be unveiled Mission Bay global headquarters in San Francisco.

“Over the years, I have been focused on project roadmapping, team building, strategic partner collaboration, delivery, and maintenance practices that ultimately make our projects more successful, profitable, and lead to continued client trust and engagement,” DiCamillo stated. “Now, as managing partner, I’m looking forward to finding the balance between running a healthy business and giving the team runway to find new ways of approaching project programs. For me, it’s all about delivering best-in-class strategic, creative, and technological output, created by a team of people who can see and feel the impact of their efforts on projects and the business as a whole.”

DiCamillo will continue to play a role in guiding production, leading projects anchored by the vision and goals of the studio, working closely with Tonian Irving who is being promoted from sr. producer to EP.

With this leadership change, HUSH recommits itself to fostering a vitally diverse set of perspectives to help guide the firm’s next evolution. “There’s a shared responsibility in making sure that we’re living our values in the work we do. I want to continue to drive the company to put more women in leadership and creative roles and to empower the women within our organization to expect the same respect and to be heard at the same level as the strongest male voice in the room,” DiCamillo continued.

HUSH founding partner Schwarz added, “Kristen’s partnership has been something we’ve wanted to make happen for a long time. In virtually every aspect of her time with us, she kept her focus on the company’s success--and making it a byproduct of the success of our people, our clients, our work, and overall culture. She’s also shown incredible dedication through some major milestones in her own life as well as amidst the acute health, wellness, political and cultural challenges in our society at large. Our ultimate goal is that other incredibly talented employees who share similar tenacity and vision will be able to achieve their next level at the firm and can contribute to our collective success.”

  • Monday, Apr. 5, 2021
The Ad Council names Elise James-DeCruise as its first chief equity officer
Elise James-DeCruise

Elise James-DeCruise has been named the Ad Council’s chief equity officer, a new role at the organization. James-DeCruise will oversee the Ad Council’s ongoing commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.

James-DeCruise brings more than 20 years of experience in leading strategies and solutions to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and professional development within the world of marketing and communications. Previously, James-DeCruise held the positions of chief diversity and inclusion officer at Marcus Thomas, a Cleveland-based independent marketing communications agency, and VP, global head of multicultural marketing and inclusion at MediaMath in New York. 

As chief equity officer of the Ad Council, the nation’s leading producer of social good communications, James-DeCruise will report to president and CEO Lisa Sherman. Working closely with senior leadership, James-DeCruise will initiate, advocate for and evaluate the programs and practices that foster a more diverse and inclusive environment, including overseeing and evolving the organization’s existing commitments to racial justice. 

“The Ad Council is unequivocally committed to fighting systemic racism and injustice, both within our organization and in the work we do to reach and motivate the American public,” said Sherman. “I am thrilled to have Elise join our team and welcome her leadership as we accelerate our efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace and society.” 

“Having the opportunity to join the Ad Council as the first chief equity officer is humbling, exciting and rooted in hope for our community, our industry and the next generation of leaders,” said James-DeCruise. “This work is truly at the intersection of my passion for community building, advertising for social good and my longstanding commitment to the advancement of equity and inclusion across the workforce, workplace, marketplace and community, and I couldn’t be more excited. I look forward to supporting everyone across the organization as we partner together to create psychologically safe and brave spaces and deepen the connections between our work and our values.”  

James-DeCruise holds a Master of Science in Instructional Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Robert Morris University. Her awards and accolades include recognition by Forbes as one of the top “Female Leaders to Watch” in tech; by IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) for Excellence in Education 2019;  by Ad Exchanger for Best Education and Tools 2019; by Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Awards 2016 for Strategy; and by Chief Learning Officer Awards 2016 for Innovation. 

  • Sunday, Apr. 4, 2021
EP Kate Hitchings joins 1stAveMachine
Kate Hitchings

1stAveMachine has added Kate Hitchings as executive producer. She formerly served as EP for Electric Theatre Collective and, later its sister company, Friends Electric.

Versatile across all aspects of commercial live-action, VFX, and animation content, Hitchings has helped bring to life narratives for top-tier brands. She was an integral part to the success of Chromebook’s six-part animated series, The Adulthood, and campaigns such as “Swarm” for Lexus and “Mountain” for PlayStation. The latter--which garnered over 40 awards and nominations, including the coveted Cannes Lion Grand Prix--marked the very first time that any production outside of Weta Digital had tapped into crowd simulation software MASSIVE.

Hitchings said, “The partners at 1stAveMachine have built a global mixed-media company that’s truly forward-thinking, and, therefore, future-proof. Technology and media platforms are ever-changing and moving so quickly. It’s ingrained within the culture and leadership here to always look to what’s next and lead that charge. Exploration and experimentation are parts of the very fabric of this company.”

1stAveMachine partner and EP Sam Penfield said of Hitchings, “Her experience across live action and post, in addition to her appetite for innovative platforms and experimental processes, make our stellar producing roster even stronger. In our model, our producing talent are as important as our directorial roster in our pursuit to continue to take risks and push boundaries while maintaining the quality of our projects and responsibilities to our clients.”

Hitchings’ joining comes on the heels of the signings of directors Ron Brodie and Em Cole.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2021
DNEG appoints Roy C. Anthony as global head of research
Roy C. Anthony

Visual effects and animation company DNEG has appointed digital technology innovator and real-time workflow expert Roy C. Anthony as global head of research.

Anthony’s primary focus will be on emerging technologies, driving innovation within the domains of real-time technology and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the artist experience across visual effects and animation. As a former Conference chair of SIGGRAPH (2018), Anthony will also continue to develop and nurture close relationships with the communities of SIGGRAPH, the Visual Effects Society, and other industry organizations and third-party companies focusing on real-time technology and AI. 

DNEG Global CTO Paul Salvini said of Anthony, “His expertise in real-time technology and his passion for the art and science of filmmaking will help us to design and develop new tools and workflows that will fundamentally shape our industry.”

For over 20 years Anthony has been driving innovation across a range of related fields, including real-time, AI, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), projection mapping, film, interactive immersive displays, and future technologies for both film and live event/staging environments. He spent 13 years as a sr. solutions architect in the research & innovation division at Christie Digital Systems and was most recently VP of creative development and operations at Ventuz Technology. Anthony holds patents in Stereoscopy, VR/AR display systems and calibration, and is a co-author of three academic publications on high frame-rate film.

Commenting on his new role, Roy C. Anthony said: “DNEG’s global scope provides access to an incredible pool of talent, refreshing new perspectives and limitless potential. It is clear from the industry honors and recognition the company has received that DNEG is a technological and creative powerhouse. As the industry continues to evolve, and new emerging technology paradigms manifest including the exciting innovations in real-time technology and application of AI to production, I feel DNEG is uniquely positioned to capture and apply that positive energy at a global scale.”

  • Monday, Mar. 29, 2021
Daniel DelPurgatorio joins ATKPLN as exec creative director
Daniel DelPurgatorio

Design-first creative studio ATKPLN has hired Daniel DelPurgatorio as its executive creative director. He previously spearheaded the efforts of the U.S. design division of Framestore Chicago. DelPurgatorio earlier was at design house Vitamin and prior to that served as creative director at Reel FX Creative Studios.

DelPurgatorio also has directorial chops as reflected in such credits as the short films Third Wheel, Body(s), and OTHER, along with Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter for Warner Bros. He’s a Project Greenlight winner and has had his films screened at such festivals as SXSW, Telluride, Fantasia and Screamfest.

DelPurgatorio is a graduate from Ringling College of Art and Design.

  • Monday, Mar. 29, 2021
The Den adds Ryan Curtis as exec producer
Ryan Curtis

Ryan Curtis has joined The Den as executive producer. His addition to the team is an integral part of the bicoastal edit house’s plan to expand its finishing and postproduction capabilities. The Den’s roster of talent includes Christjan Jordan, Kate Owen, Eric Alexander-Hughes, Katie Cali, Andrew Ratzlaff, and Ross Birchall.
With combined experience in film production and post supervision of both offline and finishing, Curtis has worked with clients including 72andSunny, CP+B, Google, and Adobe on broadcast commercials, original content, documentary films, and music videos. Most recently, Curtis served as the director of postproduction at Hecho Studios, where he oversaw editorial and finishing departments serving both the MDC Constellation of agencies and Hecho’s own client direct relationships.  

Prior to launching into postproduction, Curtis spent five years producing commercials and music videos for artists including Janelle Monae, Travis Scott, and Ariel Pink; and directed a film based around the first posthumous exhibition of Oscar de la Renta’s life work, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival and winning Best Documentary at the London Fashion Film Festival.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 23, 2021
Editor Brandon Porter joins Nomad as partner
Brandon Porter

Nomad Editing Company has brought L.A.-based editor Brandon Porter on board as a partner. Formerly a 10-year vet of Whitehouse Post, he will join fellow Nomad partners Jennifer Lederman, Glenn Martin, Jai Shukla, Jim Ulbrich, Amanda Moreau, Adam Schwartz and Jared Coller as they map out the future of the company and refine new creative approaches to serve the next era of storytelling.

Nomad partner, president and CEO Martin said of Porter, “His editing has such a unique interplay between picture and sound – creating pace, anticipation and overall intrigue as to how the story will unfold. I’ve watched his spots over and over, and each viewing leaves me with something new to discover.”

As a News & Documentary Emmy-nominated editor, Porter has amassed a body of work tht includes projects across film and advertising. He has collaborated on projects for top-tier brands such as the Adidas World Cup spot “God Level,” directed by Fernando Meirelles, and the 2021 EA Sports: Madden initiative, directed by F. Gary Gray. Unsurprisingly, Porter describes his editing style as being geared towards action and sports, with epic moments featuring an emphasis on visual effects.

Porter has also cut also many other notable projects outside of advertising, including Wireless, a series produced by Steven Soderbergh and starring Tye Sheridan, HBO short film Black Boy Joy, which follows three generations of Black men struggling to juggle the demands of raising a young son with autism, State of America, a timely and affecting piece dedicated to the victims of police brutality and systemic racism, as well as the Tribeca X feature winning U Shoot Videos?, both done in collaboration with director Morgan Cooper, who’s helming the upcoming reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Porter considers his addition to Nomad a hopeful step in the right direction towards creating opportunities in the industry for more diverse groups. “For me, it means a lot to have someone from such an underrepresented community be in an ownership position,” he said. “I’ve barely met any Black editors, let alone any post houses with Black ownership. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but it’s something that’s not very known. And to me, all of it comes down to exposure for young Black and Brown talent to know this is definitely something they can strive for as a career. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the support of family to push them into what they may think is an unorthodox job, so hopefully, by being in this position, I can be a bit of a shining light that inspires them to go after their dreams.”

Martin added, “Nomad has always been about our people. We share, and are inspired by Brandon’s commitment to building a more inclusive path to success in our industry. Over the past year we got to know him and often discussed what working together might look like, and as we got to know each other better, a future partnership felt inevitable. Brandon also shares our belief in nurturing and mentoring young talent. It’s been a huge part of Nomad’s ethos over the past twenty-five years, and we’re excited to find like-minded partners who will catapult this effort forward in a direction we’re thrilled to be led. We cannot wait to see how we can all benefit from his vision.”

  • Monday, Mar. 22, 2021
Sibling Rivalry adds Darren Foldes as managing director/L.A. EP
Darren Foldes

Sibling Rivalry, an independent creative company partnering with clients such as Nike, HPE and Lexus, has added Darren Foldes as its new managing director and West Coast executive producer. 

Before joining Sibling Rivalry, Foldes was exec producer and director of sales at Pulse Films, and, prior to that, he served as EP at Caviar. He received his first EP role at Green Dot Films, where he worked for 10 years from 2004-2014.

Foldes executive produced at Pulse the Apple “Bounce” ad that took home multiple honors including Gold for Craft/Art Direction at the 2020 One Club Awards, as well as at the ADC Awards, which included two Best of Discipline designations--one in Advertising, and another in Motion/Film/Gaming Craft. Foldes also executive produced, in conjunction with Wieden+Kennedy, Nike’s “You Can’t Stop Us” campaign. 

Foldes has had the opportunity to lead many projects for high-profile brands such as Nike, Apple, Gatorade, ESPN, Google, Toyota, Call of Duty, and Target, partnering alongside agencies including Wieden, 72andSunny and Droga5. 

“Darren represents the evolution of Sibling Films,” said Mikon Van Gastel, co-founder and executive creative director at Sibling. “Darren will continue to raise the profile of the company and hone our quality of work while bringing in diverse talent, and new disciplines such as comedy and narrative storytelling. Given his experience in long format content and being L.A.-based, we will also open up opportunities for our directors to tell their stories in new and captivating ways.”

Foldes is enthused over prospects at Sibling Rivalry, noting that he is joining at a “breakout time” for the company.

Foldes launched his career in the film industry as head of production for Steve Stabler’s Commotion Pictures. While there, Foldes wrote and produced two films for MGM, Just For Kicks and Recipe For Disaster, and concocted and sold the show Scumbag to VH-1.

Foldes will also occasionally dust off his old DJ setlist for VIP clients that have included Prince, Diane Von Furstenberg, Kristen Bell, and Surface Magazine.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021
AFX Creative hires Gallo, promotes Minitser, Amburgey, Kim
Toby Gallo
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

AFX Creative, an independent studio that specializes in VFX, design/motion, color and editorial services for the advertising and entertainment industries, has hired seasoned systems engineer and administrator Toby Gallo to serve as its new director of technology. The company--which is under the aegis of creative founder and managing director Mark Leiss--has also promoted Esther Minitser to head of production, Jessica Amburgey to sr. color producer, and Stefan Kim to production coordinator. 

With more than 25 years of technology experience in network design, implementation and support, Gallo most recently worked at Shed, where he oversaw systems and network administration, and periphery management. Previously, he’s also worked for companies such as Technicolor, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment, Digiscope, Nickelodeon, Gradient Effects, and World Wide Broadcasting. Gallo is well known for his work on groundbreaking pipelines and render farm solutions in the long-form episodic world.

Minitser most recently served as AFX Creative’s VFX producer for the past three years. She has been with AFX Creative since 2015. A recent graduate from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in California, she applies that knowledge to her day-to-day work.

Amburgey joined AFX Creative in October 2020 as a color producer. Previously, she served in a similar capacity at The Mill in Culver City, Calif.

Kim first joined AFX Creative in June 2018. He had been head of client services.

Remote services                                                                                                                                                                                                              ---
In light of the pandemic, AFX Creative has set up new technology by which the company is now able to provide Creative Remote Sessions to its commercial director, photographer and creative clients who need to evaluate color-accuracy and image fidelity as if they were “in the same room.” AFX Creative Remote provides a broadcast-grade, high-bandwidth signal beamed to a color-calibrated viewing environment--either at one of the company’s remote locations, or at one of its clients’ locations, anywhere in the world. This end-to-end calibration ensures that what the company’s clients see on their remote monitors is what the AFX Creative team sees on theirs.

The AFX Creative stream technology broadcasts each client session feed as a review quality, low-latency, real-time signal to a password protected website, viewable on computers and tablets. The stream can be accessed by dozens of people viewing it at the same time. The AFX Creative Mobile platform, currently under development, will allow for connecting viewers to the stream via iOS native iPhone and iPad apps. The launch of this Mobile platform will be announced in the very near future. 

Gallo said he is looking forward to optimizing AFX Creative’s existing infrastructure, and focusing on taking its CGI and finishing to the next level.

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