Monday, May 21, 2018

People on the Move

  • Monday, May. 21, 2018
Framestore names new joint heads of CG
Grant Walker
LONDON -- 

Framestore has named Grant Walker and Ahmed Gharraph to serve as joint heads of CG in London. The two will sit alongside Ross Burgess, head of animation, in the leadership of the creative studio’s advertising, television and immersive entertainment work. 

The appointment marks the return of Gharraph to Framestore after a two-year stint at ILM, where he was lead FX artist on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, receiving a VES nomination in Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature. His credits advertising-side as CG supervisor include “Mog’s Christmas Calamity,” Sainsbury’s highly successful and award-winning 2015 festive campaign; and Shell V-Power’s “Shapeshifter,” directed by Carl Erik Rinsch. 

Grant has been promoted to his new capacity. He joined Framestore in 2009, and in his time at the company has worked across film, advertising and television, building a noteworthy portfolio as a CG artist with campaigns including the VES-nominated Freesat’s “Sheldon”; he was also instrumental in Framestore’s digital recreation of Audrey Hepburn in Galaxy’s 2013 campaign “Chauffeur” for AMV BBDO. Most recently, he was BAFTA-nominated for his creature work in the Black Mirror episode, “Playtest.” 

Drawing on their shared extensive experience the duo will lead a fast-growing team, upholding the highest quality standards in visual effects across multiple media platforms. Working closely with Burgess, they will push to create more award-winning work for Framestore, in a period of increasing project diversity and range.

Helen Stanley, managing director, integrated advertising worldwide, said, “It’s a pleasure to welcome Ahmed back to Framestore and to have such a strong joint leadership in place for our rapidly growing VFX team working across Advertising, Television and Immersive Entertainment. The breadth and depth of projects we are currently working across is not only exciting, but continually pushes us to raise our creative game in brilliant ways. With Grant, Ahmed and Ross at the fore, I’m confident that the quality of our output will go from strength to strength.”

  • Thursday, May. 17, 2018
Shanah Blevins joins Chelsea Pictures as sr. producer
Shanah Blevins
LOS ANGELES -- 

Chelsea Pictures has hired longtime collaborator Shanah Blevins to serve in the newly created role of sr. producer. She will be based in the company’s Venice, Calif. office.

Blevins has made her mark in the advertising world as a go-to line producer, producing campaigns for clients including Nike, Toyota, Verizon, Little Caesars and countless others. She is a longtime trusted Chelsea colleague, producing projects for directors including David Gordon Green and Lauren Greenfield.

After college, Blevins got her feet wet in the world of music videos before transitioning to the commercial landscape, which has allowed her to lend her skillset to feature and TV productions as well.

Chelsea VP/executive producer Pat McGoldrick said, “Whenever Shanah is producing one of our jobs, everyone rests easy knowing that the she is on the job, and that everyone will come away happy. I do not exaggerate. Shanah is a rare gem.”

Blevins said that joining the Chelsea family after having worked with them since 2000 “feels like being home. I’ve worked on six of the seven continents with Chelsea. I’ve had incredible adventures with their amazing directors, agencies and clients. From the streets of Mumbai to the lights of Paris, we’ve captured amazing footage and created thrilling, uniquely Chelsea content. I really believe in the integrity of Chelsea and the talent of the directors. Plus, it’s amazing to be part of a company led by such a strong woman with a vision for her company; Lisa [company president Mehling] will lead us into the future of advertising!”

  • Wednesday, May. 16, 2018
Image Engine hires VFX supervisors Christian Irles, Joern Grosshans 
Christian Irles
VANCOUVER, Canada -- 

Academy Award-nominated visual effects studio Image Engine has appointed two visual effects supervisors to its Vancouver-based headquarters: Christian Irles and Joern Grosshans.

Irles is a visual effects supervisor with over 15 years’ experience. He joins Image Engine from partner company Cinesite, where he completed work on the blockbuster adaptation of the Assassin’s Creed video game and the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns. Previously, Irles worked for MPC in its London, Vancouver and Montreal studios, delivering work on projects such as The Golden Compass, Poseidon and Into the Woods. 

Grosshans is an Emmy and VES Award-winning visual effects supervisor with 14 years experience in the industry. He has supervised titles such as Independence Day: Resurgence on behalf of Mackevision, and Star Trek: Into Darkness, Oblivion, and Academy Award Winner for Best Achievement in Visual Effects Hugo, on behalf of Pixomondo. He has also acted as visual effects supervisor on six seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones. 

Irles and Grosshans further fortify Image Engine which is capable of delivering multiple projects across the globe, augmented by partner company Cinesite in Montreal and London.

Image Engine is currently working on a slate of new projects, including Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; and Legendary Pictures’ Skyscraper. Recent projects include Game of Thrones, Lost in Space and Thor: Ragnarok. 

  • Tuesday, May. 15, 2018
Flame artist Brandon Danowski joins Freefolk NY
Brandon Danowski
NEW YORK -- 

Flame artist Brandon Danowski has joined Freefolk New York. He comes over after four years at The Mill NY where he spearheaded award-winning jobs like the NFL’s 2015 “Super Bowl Babies” commercial. He has worked on brands like Samsung, The New York Times, HBO, Verizon, HBO, Cadillac, Lincoln and TD Ameritrade.

Danowski started out in the industry in 2010 as an intern with Beast, Company 3 and Method in Atlanta. He was hired after this internship and began to focus on finishing and VFX in Flame.

Celia Williams is EP of Freefolk NYC. Established in London in 2003, Freefolk--a full service post and VFX house offering 2D & 3D visual effects, high-end color grading, shoot supervision, animation, design, concept and direction--opened its second studio, in New York in 2016.

  • Monday, May. 14, 2018
Nicole Wasserman joins Big Deahl Productions as EP
Nicole Wasserman
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Big Deahl Productions, a commercialmaking house with bases of operation in Santa Monica and Chicago, has brought Nicole Wasserman on board as executive producer. 

Wasserman previously served as director of sales at Beast Editorial and then moved into music production with Elias Arts where she assumed the EP role. During her Elias tenure, she oversaw notable campaigns like the Apple Watch, Nike+ and Kevin Hart partnership in 2017, and last year’s National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup campaign, which won a Bronze Clio. Additional clients have included Microsoft, Google, Dunkin Donuts, Pepsi, Kraft, and Hyundai.

Big Deahl Productions director and founder David Deahl said, “Nicole is armed with the experience and networking ability to take BDP to the next level.”

Big Deahl Productions is a decorated tabletop production company, with multiple Clio and Addy awards under its belt. Deahl teamed up with accomplished director Todd Klein (formerly of Silent Partners) to form the beginning of a tabletop consortium representing directors with their own unique blends of high-speed, food, beverage, product, and live action. Big Deahl has a list of clients including McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Sara Lee, and Kellogg’s. Big Deahl shoots for clients coast to coast, and has expanded its global reach, helming shoots in cities like Tokyo, Dubai, Milan, Mexico City, and Moscow.

”I am excited to dive into the tabletop production world, I couldn’t imagine entering that space working with anyone other then David,” Wasserman said of her move to Big Deahl Productions. “I’ve built so many great relationships in postproduction over the years, bringing those experiences and expanding into the production space feels right.”

  • Monday, May. 14, 2018
Deluxe names Steve Garrad head of studio, Vancouver, for Method Studios and Encore
Steve Garrad
LOS ANGELES -- 

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. has named Steve Garrad head of its Vancouver studio, overseeing day-to-day operations for its global visual effects company Method Studios and TV post/VFX brand Encore. The long-time production executive takes the helm as both brands build their talent and capacity in Vancouver to meet demand for their feature film and episodic services. 

Reporting to president of Deluxe VFX Ed Ulbrich, Garrad will work closely with his global counterparts at Method’s and Encore’s worldwide studios to keep efficiency and quality high across all productions. 

Ulbrich said, “Steve has been in the VFX business a long time and is deeply connected all around. Studios and filmmakers love him. He’s built and run a VFX studio from scratch. He’s well respected and well liked in the Vancouver creative community and across the industry. There are very few people who have his breadth of experience and we’re thrilled to have him lead our Vancouver studio.” 

Garrad brings two decades of experience and production know-how to the studio, joining most recently from a role as VFX producer for Warner Bros. on the upcoming feature The Meg. Previously he was executive VFX producer at Double Negative, where he was the company’s first employee in Vancouver; instrumental in building and crewing the facility from the ground up over two years, and bringing in The Mummy, Star Trek Beyond and more. Prior to that he was VFX executive producer at Image Engine, where he spent five years executive producing features including R.I.P.D., Fast & Furious 6 and Zero Dark Thirty. He built his early career in London, where he was a sr. VFX producer at Double Negative UK for many years and head of Production at Clear UK (now Prime Focus). Garrad got his start in the industry at Cinesite as a runner, working his way up the ranks to DFX producer. He was nominated for Emmy and Leo Awards for his work on the TV show SGU Stargate, and is a member of the Visual Effects Society’s Board of Directors in Vancouver. 

Garrad said, “The Method/Encore studio in Vancouver was one of the first in town and it’s always been a focal point. There’s strong VFX and post talent there. Ed has a great vision for the global Method organization, and part of it is working to help each studio maintain its own culture, which makes the overall company culture richer, deepens the knowledge base and allows it to move faster.” 

Having created key VFX sequences for features including Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and other blockbusters, Method’s Vancouver studio has grown over the past two years to become one of the largest VFX facilities in the region. The Encore team in Vancouver is currently providing postproduction and/or VFX services for shows including Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Altered Carbon, the CW’s Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and more.

  • Thursday, May. 10, 2018
Ryan Grau becomes Santa Barbara film commissioner
Ryan Grau
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- 

Ryan Grau has been appointed the new director of film & special events at Visit Santa Barbara and will also serve as the official film commissioner representing the County of Santa Barbara. Grau has replaced outgoing Geoffrey Alexander who served as the film commissioner for 10 years. Alexander left Visit Santa Barbara to pursue a career in real estate sales. 

Grau grew up in Ventura and moved to Santa Barbara in 1995. He has worked on small and large scale production throughout the past 20 plus years and started a local production company called von Grau Productions. Prior to and during that time, he had worked 10 years in medical device sales. Additionally, he worked for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival as the venue manager for four years. Still photography and motion pictures have always been great passions for him. Directing short films for festivals, producing commercials for local businesses, scouting major catalog shoots in the hills of Montecito and a brief acting career are a few of his career accomplishments in the industry.

  • Tuesday, May. 8, 2018
Casanova//McCann names Will Pierce as its 1st chief strategy officer
Will Pierce

Casanova//McCann has promoted Will Pierce to sr. VP, chief strategy officer.

Pierce, who joined four years ago as director of strategic planning for the New York office, becomes the agency’s first overall chief strategy officer, encompassing its national network of offices. He has over 18 years of experience across general, Hispanic and global markets. He started his career at McCann, built Hispanic expertise at Saatchi/Conill, general market & global experience at Havas/Arnold, and then joined Casanova//McCann in 2014. Most recently, he was VP, director of strategic planning. 

Ingrid Otero-Smart, president/CEO of Casanova//McCann, said of Pierce, “He has helped us build a world-class planning department that has contributed significantly to our clients’ businesses and, as a result, has been instrumental in our continued growth.”

Casanova//McCann is one of the fastest growing Hispanic-focused agencies in the country and works with well-known brands such as Nestlé USA, Chevrolet, Carl’s Jr, eBay, California Lottery, and many others. The agency has full-service offices in California, New York, and Detroit, and employs over 100 professionals.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this new opportunity and what the future holds for us,” said Pierce. “We’re gearing up to take Casanova//McCann to the next level through provocative thought leadership and culture-driven creativity. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all of my experience, it’s that culture has an almost magical power to shape brands into those that consumers will fall in love with.  We’re getting to the heart of cultural truths that will create more of those brands.”

  • Thursday, May. 3, 2018
McCann Worldgroup promotes Chris Macdonald, Nannette Dufour
Nannette Dufour (l) and Chris Macdonald
NEW YORK -- 

McCann Worldgroup has named Chris Macdonald and Nannette Dufour to new leadership positions. Macdonald has been promoted to president, Advertising & Allied Agencies, and Dufour to president, Global Clients & Business Leadership.

Harris Diamond, chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup, said, “Nannette and Chris will work along with Bill Kolb, who is president, Diversified Agencies, to further drive creative marketing solutions that will help our clients thrive in this business environment. With this leadership team, which also includes global creative chairman Rob Reilly and global chief strategy officer Suzanne Powers, along with our discipline and operational leadership, we are well positioned to further accelerate our ability to create growth opportunities for our clients and deploy the best set of multiplatform resources anywhere in the world.” (Luca Lindner, who has been president of McCann Worldgroup, has announced his planned mid-2018 retirement from this full-time role and will serve as a consultant to the leadership team.)

Macdonald’s responsibilities are being expanded from North American regional to global with oversight of McCann Worldgroup’s advertising and allied agency resources. Macdonald first joined McCann London in 2005, where he was promoted to CEO. In 2013, he became president of McCann New York and was promoted in 2016 to president of McCann North America.

Dufour will add operational oversight over all of McCann Worldgroup’s global and key regional accounts, ensuring that all of these clients are receiving the required geographic and discipline resources. Dufour first joined McCann Worldgroup in 2012 and was named chief client officer in 2015. 

McCann Worldgroup led all agencies in global and U.S. new business wins in 2017, according to R3 Worldwide. McCann was recently recognized as Network of the Year at the 2018 International ANDY Awards, following many top global creative honors in 2017. Last year the agency won the most top Grand Prix (six) at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and was the most awarded Cannes agency in North America. Also in 2017, McCann was named Agency of the Year and/or Network of the Year at the Clio, One Show, Cresta, Epica, Midas, New York Festivals, LIA, ANDY, ADC, Golden Drum, and Cristal awards festivals as well as at the EFFIEs shows in North America, Latin America, and the Middle East/North Africa.

  • Wednesday, May. 2, 2018
Rick Dalby joins DigitalFilm Tree as sr. colorist
Rick Dalby
LOS ANGELES -- 

Postproduction and software development company DigitalFilm Tree (DFT) has brought Rick Dalby on board as a sr. colorist. He has already begun working on the hit show “Roseanne” as well as TBS’ “Wrecked.” Additionally, he is collaborating on “NCIS: LA” and “Angie Tribeca.” 

Dalby comes to DigitalFilm Tree from NBCUniversal with prior tenures at Modern VideoFilm and Laser Pacific.  He has served as final colorist for such iconic shows as “Cheers,” “The Wonder Years,” “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” for which he was nominated for an HPA Award for Outstanding Color Grading--Television. 

Ramy Katrib, CEO/founder of DFT, said of Dalby,  “He is one of the top colorists in the industry and continues to build amazing relationships with DPs and producers through his outstanding creative work.”

“I enjoy working at DFT because it’s a boutique facility and our team is very collaborative,” says Dalby of his move to DigitalFilm Tree.  “I also like that we are a beta test site for Black Magic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, so I actually get to test out new builds and give feedback.”