• 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.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2021
Momentum bolsters creative team, promotes James Robinson, David Chamberlain
James Robinson

Experiential advertising agency Momentum Worldwide has promoted James Robinson to chief creative officer and David Chamberlain to chief experience design officer of its North American organizations, strengthening its leadership.

Robinson will establish a single point of leadership for all North American creative teams, with a shared focus and vision to deliver cutting-edge creative and best-in-class work. Chamberlain will be responsible for shaping a new era of engagement for consumers and brands through groundbreaking digital experiences.

Robinson joined Momentum New York in 2018 as executive creative director, and has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and outstanding creative work for clients such as American Express, General Motors, Verizon and Walmart.

Over the past five years, Chamberlain has successfully built and elevated the agency’s Experience Design (XD) practice. He’s also played an integral role in the creative leadership of the agency, as well as building out Momentum’s Digital Experience Design practice (DXD).

Donnalyn Smith, president, North America at Momentum Worldwide, commented, “James and David bring such a refreshing approach to creative vision, leadership and excellence. They continuously create outstanding and award-winning work for our clients, and there is no doubt they will make their mark on the creative teams across North America.”

  • Monday, Mar. 15, 2021
Leslie Sims joins Deloitte Digital as U.S. chief creative officer 
Leslie Sims

Leslie Sims has become managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and U.S. chief creative officer, serving as a central creative leader for all of Deloitte Digital, a creative digital consultancy. Sims will work across the entire business to integrate its creative capabilities, teaming with Deloitte Digital’s business strategy, design, technology and data talent to help clients across industries explore the breadth of possibilities and value creative can engender. 

Sims started her career as a copywriter before working her way up to be chief creative officer, first for Y&R, and then for Ogilvy, where she led the national creative vision for both agencies. In these roles, Sims created award-winning, transformative client work and was also named “Advertising Working Mother of the Year” by She Runs It. Sims has served on international award show juries such as the prestigious Grand Effie jury in 2018 and the Cannes Lions Titanium jury in 2019. She is board member of the One Club for Creativity and is also a Clemson University Erwin Center board member.

Sims’ experience setting and resetting the creative vision for Fortune 500 organizations like IBM, U.S. Navy, General Mills, Mastercard, Staples and more will help Deloitte Digital clients across the C-suite harness the power of creativity to develop brand-defining experiences.  

Sims’ appointment follows other Deloitte Digital recent hires like former McCann COO Rich Whalen, executive creative directors Milton Correa and Jones Krahl, and 600 and Rising founder Nathan Young. Sims will be working closely with chief design officer Nelson Kunkel, and Ayan Pal who’s chief creative officer in India. 

  • Monday, Mar. 15, 2021
Stept Studios hires EP Alexis Celic
Alexis Celic

Stept Studios--a company under the aegis of founder and director Nick Martini and which maintains bases of operation in L.A. and Jackson Hole, Wyoming--has added Alexis Celic as an executive producer in its commercial production department. This recent hire underscores a continuing expansion for the company, which is scaling to meet the demand of high-profile projects with brands including Nike, Budweiser, Samsung, New Balance, and Facebook. 

Celic brings years of on-set and in-house experience to Stept’s team. In her previous role as head of production for Imposter, which she held for over three years, Celic helped to facilitate growth throughout her tenure, including a re-branding period for the company. Prior to joining Imposter, Celic started Mother, a small production company, in 2015 to help facilitate the creative dreams of her director friends and other creative collaborators.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Celic began her career as a commercial production office PA. After going freelance and climbing the ranks over the years, she began producing branded content and music videos. Celic worked with notable production companies during her freelance career, including Caviar, Bullitt, and Unit9. 

  • Friday, Mar. 12, 2021
Lauren Hertzberg promoted to partner at Cut+Run
Lauren Hertzberg

Lauren Hertzberg has been promoted to partner at Cut+Run. She joined the company in 2016 and now assumes the role of managing partner, leading the New York office with editor/partner Jon Grover.

“Anyone who knows Lauren has a deep appreciation for her dedication, passion, work ethic and spirit of collaboration,” affirmed Grover. “She truly makes time for every individual to feel supported and heard, and I am so grateful for our working relationship and what she brings to the company. She’s been a longtime partner to all of us, so this official next step is well-deserved.”

Hertzberg joined Cut+Run as executive producer from The Whitehouse, where she worked her way up from receptionist to executive producer in its Chicago and New York offices. In 2018, she was promoted from EP to managing director of Cut+Run NY, expanding her role to work in close partnership with the company’s leadership team including Los Angeles-based managing partner Michelle Eskin.

“From the moment I joined the talented team at Cut+Run, I knew I had found my people,” commented Hertzberg. “And over the past four years, my admiration for our editors as well as production and assistant teams from coast to coast has only grown. This past year certainly tested us all and I am proud of how we faced every challenge together. The more I work alongside this creative and thoughtful group, the more excited and honored I am to be a partner.”

Mentorship and supporting women in the industry have long been important to Hertzberg. As she explained, “I have had the good fortune of having a few strong and career-defining female mentors and role models over the years. I really see this new role as an opportunity to pay it forward by helping develop and support the next generation.”

  • Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2021
Digitas UK adds creative duo of Dani Brown and Alex Wood
Dani Brown (l) and Alex Wood

Digitas UK has hired two new creatives, sr. art director Dani Brown and sr. copywriter Alex Wood. Reporting to chief creative officer Emma de la Fosse, Brown and Wood will work across all accounts with a particular focus on Mondelez, Voltaren and Under Armour. 

Brown and Wood come directly from Atomic where they were for just over four years. Prior to this, Brown and Wood were both at Isobar.

At Atomic, the creative duo garnered awards including the D&AD Graphite Pencil for their work on The Royal Opera House, and an IAB Digital Marketing Showcase Award for their Pringles campaign. 

CCO de la Fosse said that Brown and Wood “have exactly the right mix of creative skills to help realize our creative ambitions. They have an astute understanding of brands and their book is full of examples of how they’ve brought that knowledge to bear across the panoply of digital platforms and channels. What’s more, they are lovely people with no ego which makes them a great addition to our team.”

  • Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2021
Peter Zachwieja promoted to editor at Cutters
Peter Zachwieja

Editorial boutique Cutters has promoted Peter Zachwieja to editor. 

Since graduating with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and joining Cutters as an intern, Zachwieja has grown alongside the company’s many editors and other staff talents. Among his growing list of commercial credits, he has contributed to high-profile campaigns for Getty Images, Mazda, the Emmy Award-nominated Savage x Fenty Show, and many others, while continuing to expand his filmography.

Zachwieja is the editor of filmmaker Vanessa Roth’s feature documentary Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses, produced by June Beallor in association with USC’s Shoah Foundation. Since debuting on Discovery Networks in 2019, this film continues earning prestigious honors in major film festivals, including Best of Show distinction at the 2020 Impact Docs Awards. 

Roth, an Oscar-winning filmmaker and a TV Academy Honors recipient, said, “Peter was the lifeline to bringing this film to the finish line. We had an incredibly tight schedule and complex historical subject matter, yet Peter was committed to seeing it through from the beginning when he came on as an assistant and rose to become our editor on the project after it was clear that he understood emotionally and creatively how to craft this work while being committed to working as a true collaborator within our difficult constraints.”

Roth added, “He was a gift to this project, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to work with him again in both long and short form projects!”

Shelby Bartelstein is one of the All-Star directors VICE invited to help create its ambitious 2020 Mazda Heroes campaign, which involved Zachwieja and other editors from Cutters. Based on her work with Zachwieja on that project, she said, “Peter is my favorite kind of collaborator, one who takes initiative and brings ideas to the table but also listens and forges a path in the edit together. Peter has an ear for music and mix that elevates all of his work. I cannot wait to see what remarkable work he puts out in the future!”

Along with Scott Gibney, Zachwieja also co-edited the critically acclaimed indie feature before/during/after written by and starring Finnerty Steeves, currently in wide release throughout North America via Gravitas Ventures.

“Through our partnership with UN Women, we met Peter at a HeForShe event,” Cutters Studios NY exec producer Elizabeth Krajewski explained. “That led to an internship, and he has been with us ever since.”

Krajewski continued, “Peter has been editing, creating, and filming since well before he came to us, always working on something, and connecting with amazing people. He doesn’t just edit, but collaborates, brings ideas, is thoughtful and puts everything into every project, no matter how big or small. There is no doubt what he wants to do in his career, and he works every day to make it happen.”

“It’s a lifelong dream for me to be able to create and collaborate for a living,” Zachwieja said. “To do so side-by-side with my friends, my mentors, and my peers at Cutters Studios is all I could ask for.”

  • Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2021
Light Iron adds sr. colorist Sam Daley to its NY roster
Sam Daley

Light Iron, the postproduction creative services division of Panavision, has added colorist Sam Daley to its roster of creative talent. Daley joins the team as a sr. colorist and will work out of the company’s New York facility, supporting clients in both feature and episodic projects.

Light Iron co-managing director Seth Hallen said, “Throughout his career, Sam has developed incredibly strong relationships around the industry, particularly in the New York community. Sam’s artistry and passion for creative collaboration are evidenced in his tremendous body of work in both features and series. His credits are second to none and represent the caliber of work Light Iron is known for. Sam’s arrival reflects our commitment to the New York market and to supporting our clients everywhere with access to the very best talent. We expect to make more announcements throughout the year about our expanding roster.”

Daley brings more than 20 years of experience in the New York post-production community, joining Light Iron from Company 3. After getting a start in commercial dailies at DuArt, he developed his skills at Tape House and PostWorks before joining Technicolor. There, he graded dailies on some of the biggest New York productions at the time. Encouraged by the cinematographers with whom he partnered as a dailies colorist, he transitioned into final color.

Daley’s early finishing credits included the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce and the acclaimed indie feature Martha Marcy May Marlene. His television credits include the series Smash, Girls, The Deuce, The Sinner and Succession, and the miniseries I Know This Much Is True and Show Me a Hero, the latter of which earned him an HPA Award nomination in 2016. His feature credits include The Florida Project, Sorry to Bother You and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

“The Light Iron team is incredibly collaborative and forward-thinking, and that’s how I work,” Daley said. “Helping directors and cinematographers cross the finish line is a thrill for me. All the labor and the love they spend comes to fruition on the screen in front of us. It’s the most rewarding part of my craft.”

Daley added, “Working in the Panavision family is a big bonus for me. My first job in the industry was in the camera-rental department as a work-study in film school. That experience allowed me to better communicate with cinematographers when I worked at laboratories earlier in my career. Now, the collaboration can begin at camera prep!” 

Light Iron’s artists provide collaborative, creative expertise on feature films, episodic series and short-form content. Daley will be based alongside fellow senior colorist Sean Dunckley in New York, with the ability to work remotely with filmmakers worldwide. The company’s bicoastal roster of final colorists also includes Ian Vertovec, Jeremy Sawyer, Scott Klein, Corinne Bogdanowicz, Nick Hasson, Ethan Schwartz and Katie Jordan. These artists partner with filmmakers beginning in preproduction, helping cinematographers craft their looks for principal photography and providing a trusted resource from capture to finish.

In addition to Light Iron’s New York and Los Angeles facilities, each of which offers the full breadth of creative finishing services, the company has locations in Atlanta, Albuquerque, Chicago, New Orleans, Toronto and Vancouver offering dailies services and remote sessions. Light Iron’s remote capabilities — including solutions for dailies, offline editorial rentals, and color and finishing — open the doors for filmmakers working anywhere in the world to partner with the company.

“Light Iron’s history of pioneering file-based workflows laid the foundation early on for our remote capabilities,” Hallen said. “Over the past 12 months, as the industry has navigated through the pandemic, our remote solutions for dailies, editorial and finishing have proven to be truly game-changing. Rather than having to centralize at one particular location, our clients can choose to work at multiple Light Iron offices--and from their own offices and homes--concurrently. Wherever filmmakers are working, they can collaborate with the artists at any of our facilities.”

  • Monday, Mar. 8, 2021
VB+P's in-house Lumberyard unit hires Veronica Seder as creative production lead
Veronica Seder

Lumberyard Productions, the in-house production unit of independent agency Venables Bell + Partners, has hired Veronica Seder as creative production lead. In this role, Seder will partner with head of integrated content studios Raquel Bedard and creative director Tyler Hampton to enhance Lumberyard’s production capabilities, spearhead creative efforts, and drive new business opportunities. Seder will also be instrumental in leading production assignments for clients including Audi, Chipotle, 3M, Reebok, LitQuake and AdTechCares. Seder joins the team as Lumberyard has taken on several new projects with both VB+P and non-agency clients, and expanded its capabilities to include music composition and sound design.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have grown our business and expanded our offering in a year that has been so challenging for the industry as a whole,” said Bedard. “We’ve taken on a range of new assignments with marketers of all sizes looking for agile production solutions that meet their current business needs, fulfill health safety requirements, and deliver exceptional creative products. Veronica has an amazing mix of both business and creative expertise, and she is sure to help us build continued momentum and create great work ahead.” 
Seder brings a broad range of skills and experience to her new post, spanning brand and creative development, production, and directing. Before joining Lumberyard, she worked independently, creating, producing and directing a wide range of content for brands including Outside Magazine, Google, Merrell, Shopify and Land Rover. She also worked client-side, as head of content, brand marketing for direct-to-consumer apparel and home goods company Huckberry where she led the company’s creative content team, produced marketing and editorial content geared towards driving sales and brand loyalty, and created educational and inspirational resources for its brand community. 
Earlier in her career, Seder worked in the TV industry, most recently as an independent producer and writer providing strategic content development and creative services to TV production companies and advertising agencies. She also managed TV series development and production in-house at Hoff Productions and Discovery Channel. 

  • Monday, Mar. 8, 2021
Matt Hofherr joins barrettSF as partner/president
Jamie Barrett (l) and Matt Hofherr

In a major shift in the West Coast agency scene, Matt Hofherr is joining barrettSF as partner/president. 

Hofherr left M/H VCCP (formerly MUH-TAY-ZIK / HOF-FER), the award-winning agency he co-founded, and served as chief strategy officer, to take the new role.

“It’s a great new chapter for us,” barrett SF founder/executive creative director Jamie Barrett said of the hire. “Matt is a proven leader and an incredible advertising mind. He’s also a great friend and someone whose work I’ve admired for many years. The whole agency is excited, and I can’t wait to see what we can all create together.”

Even before joining M/H in 2010, Hofherr played a leading role with seven different agencies, four of which—TBWA\Chiat\Day, BBDO, FCB, and Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners—were named “Agency of the Year” while he worked there. 

Hofherr’s brand experience ranges from Apple to Zurich Direct--with Audi, Bed Bath & Beyond, Clorox, Fox Sports, Google, Hulu, Intel, Keds, Method Home, Nestlé, O Organics, Rock the Vote, Sonos, Sony PlayStation, Pennzoil, Tropicana, Webex and many others from various product categories in between.

“This is the most excited I’ve been about any opportunity in my whole career,” said Hofherr. “And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve been fortunate to work at some crazy-good agencies. Yet, barrettSF has a quality about it. I felt it from the start. Really talented people who like, respect and support each other. They bring energy and empathy to the work that is infectious. Add it all up and I believe we’re going to create the next unstoppable agency.”

Barrett opened his independent creative shop in 2012, and bSF has grown its business steadily each year. The award-winning shop’s clients include Sutter Health, ASICS, Cost Plus World Market, 2K Games, Chime, Walmart, and the Oakland A’s, and it has just signed two new clients to be announced this coming month.

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