• Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016
Carla Serrano promoted to CEO of Publicis NY
Carla Serrano

Publicis Worldwide New York has promoted Carla Serrano to CEO, according to North America CEO Andrew Bruce. Serrano joined Publicis Worldwide North America in 2014 as chief strategy officer, and is a member of the Publicis Worldwide Comex leadership team.

Bruce commented, “The passion for what we make, the determination to work in lock-step with clients, and the collaborative spirit and willingness to jump in anywhere, at any time, are the hallmark’s of today’s most magnetic and effective leaders. All are attributes of abundance when describing Carla. Elevating Carla’s role will ensure greater access and influence, which will serve to accelerate our ambitions and fuel our on-going transformation.”

Serrano will report directly to Bruce, who has held the position, along with CEO North America, for the past two years. Bruce has been building a North America leadership team, and Serrano was the natural leader for New York. She will partner with Andy Bird, chief creative officer, New York,  Dawn Winchester chief digital officer, North America, and Nathalie Fagnan chief operating officer, North America.

Throughout Serrano’s career, she has assumed a combination of strategic leadership and agency management roles. Before arriving at Publicis, she held positions such as CEO of Naked NA, CSO at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY and president of Berlin Cameron and Partners. Serrano has worked with brands including Coca-Cola, Apple, Samsung, Cadillac, and Citibank, among others.

Serrano stated, “I am thrilled to be leading a transformative agency, in such a transformative time. Problem-solving and strategic planning will always be part of my DNA. As I look at our industry today, and at the types of challenges our clients face, I deeply believe that leadership founded on strategic skill-sets will be a great advantage.”

  • Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016
Alexander Rea named head of creative technology at Framestore
Alexander Rea

Oscar-winning creative firm Framestore today announces the appointment of Alexander Rea as head of creative technology for the New York office. Rea will use his intricate knowledge of the digital world and his background in advertising, production, design and development to craft smart solutions to support Framestore’s constantly evolving experiential and digital offerings.

Rea will work out of the New York office and report directly to Jonathan Shipman, head of integrated production.

Rea’s appointment comes at a time of rapid growth and evolution of Framestore’s capabilities. These include the appointment of Eileen Cooney as head of Campaigns in New York, a newly created role for the company. The growing Campaigns department builds close partnerships with clients that will help them better adapt content to the realities of today’s rapidly changing creative process.

“I am really looking forward to this incredible opportunity to work in an environment where I can touch so many different areas of Framestore’s offerings,” said Rea. “This unique position gives me the opportunity to merge creativity and technology in order to create the best quality work for our clients.”

“Alexander has unparalleled experience in the digital community, and we are thrilled to have him join our team,” said Shipman. “His knowledge of integrating innovative technology into his work and the ability to explain this in a practical way with real world application will make him an integral part of our team.”

Prior to Framestore, Rea worked at strategy and innovation company Co:Collective, where he created innovative experiences for brands using their proprietary method StoryDoing, enabling clients such as Infiniti and Macy’s to tell their story through iconic actions, rather than traditional advertising methods. He was also a mentor for the R/GA Accelerator for two years running along NYC BigApps and has guest lectured at advertising programs including Miami Ad School Brooklyn. Rea has been found presenting his craft at industry events such as SheSays, TEDx, and PSFK.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016
Larry Byrne named head of production at Frequency540
Larry Byrne

Digital agency Frequency540 (FQ540) has hired industry vet Larry Byrne to lead production. Byrne will report to CEO Andrew Swinand and team closely with Suzanne Michaels, who runs the creative department.

Byrne will lead content production for all of Frequency540’s clients, which include U.S. Cellular, Lincoln Park Zoo and SunPower. His focus: scaling the agency’s content personalization practice, which uses data to inform one-of-a-kind experiences for unique audiences.

Byrne has led global and integrated production teams for many brands, including SC Johnson, Dove, BP, Miller Brewing and Sears, overseeing initiatives in digital, film, social, print and radio.

Byrne said his role is a chance to shape the future of creative content. “Technology has made it possible to tailor unique messages for individuals, but it’s meaningless if it’s not personal. Frequency540 gets this.”

Before joining FQ540, Byrne was chief production officer for Ogilvy’s Chicago office, where he led content production across all media. He also oversaw Eyepatch, Ogilvy’s in-house production facility, growing its size and reputation with work for Kimberly Clark and the Chicago Blackhawks.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016
Ashley Geisheker joins VSA Partners as exec director of production
Ashley Geisheker

Design-driven branding and marketing firm VSA Partners has named Ashley Geisheker, former EP at Cavalry, as associate partner, executive director of production. Geisheker will be charged with continuing the growth and development of VSA’s production department and overseeing integrated productions of all client work.

“Ashley’s talent and experience bringing integrated ideas to life will be invaluable as VSA continues to win more top tier marketing and branding engagements,” said William Rosen, partner and marketing practice lead at VSA Partners. “As we connect the dots between branding, marketing, digital and data science, our production department continues to evolve to help deliver our clients holistic solutions executed to VSA’s standards.”

Last month VSA was announced as marketing and digital agency of record for Beam Suntory’s Hornitos Tequila, and Geisheker—alongside Bob Winter, partner, executive creative director at VSA—will produce television spots for the marketing program set to launch this spring.

Prior to VSA, Geisheker oversaw broadcast at Cavalry, including most notably managing production for the Coors Family of Brands. Geisheker has also held production roles at Y&R and Energy BBDO, working with clients including Wrigley, Hotels.com and Sears.

“VSA’s history of exceptional design thinking coupled with a legacy for creating the highest quality creative work was something I’ve always admired,” says Geisheker. “I’m looking forward to continuing to produce break-through content across all platforms, along with continuing to build a department of talented, multi-disciplined producers.”

VSA Partners also has on its client roster Beam Suntory’s 2 GINGERS Irish Whisky, Alibaba, and Marvin Windows & Doors, among others.

  • Friday, Jan. 15, 2016
Andy Bate joins ArsenalCreative as head of 2D/lead VFX supervisor
Andy Bate
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

ArsenalCreative, a visual effects and design studio, has hired Andy Bate as the head of 2D and lead visual effects supervisor. Formerly a senior flame artist at a52, Bate is a multi-award winner, having worked on Procter & Gamble’s “Best Job” which garnered an Emmy, Cannes Lion Gold and a Clio Gold,, among other accolades.

“Andy is an established artist whose work is timeless,” said ArsenalCreative managing partner Mark Leiss. “With our recent growth, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to invite Andy on board to continue the excellent work ArsenalCreative is known for. He is exactly the type of talent we have been seeking to drive us to the next level.”

A 15-year plus veteran of the industry, Bate has a portfolio which includes complex campaigns for such brands as Nike, Adidas, Powerade, Xfinity, Microsoft, Hyundai, Verizon and Beats by Dre. Prior to his three-year tenure at a52, Bate began his professional career at The Mill London and in 2009 transferred to The Mill LA, helping to expand that then recently opened West Coast studio. He has contributed to projects over the years out of such agencies as Wieden+Kennedy, Black Ops, BBDO, Commonwealth, Doner, Mullen, Team One, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Publicis.

  • Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016
Translation promotes McFerrin, Samuels to group creative directors
Matthew McFerrin (l) and Armando Samuels

Translation has elevated art director/CD Matthew McFerrin and copywriter/CD Armando Samuels to group creative directors, in the first of a series of internal promotions across the agency’s creative and strategy departments. McFerrin will partner with recent hire, group creative director Achilles Li, to oversee the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Champs Sports accounts. Samuels will take the lead on Translation’s State Farm account, handling all creative aspects of the business, including the company’s NBA marketing campaign, and the ongoing State Farm Neighborhood Sessions music series. Plans call for Samuels to partner with a new member of the Translation team, to be announced in early 2016.

McFerrin originally signed on with the Translation team as a sr. creative in early 2014, following nearly three years as an art director and then sr. art director at Sid Lee. McFerrin has lent his artist’s eye to national and global campaigns for the likes of Absolute Vodka, adidas, Sprite and Major League Soccer.

Samuels first joined Translation as a sr. copywriter, quickly rising to the rank of creative director. Prior to joining Translation, he held sr. copywriter and copywriter positions at Deutsch and TBWA\Chiat\Day LA—where he served as the lead writer for the agency’s award-winning Pepsi Max “Test Drive” campaign. Samuels has helped to deliver creative executions for global brands like adidas, PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and the Coca-Cola Company.

John Norman continues as Translation’s chief creative officer.

  • Monday, Jan. 11, 2016
Stitch adds editors Jason Lewis and Andrew Leggett
Andrew Leggett (left) and Jason Lewis

Editors Jason Lewis and Andrew Leggett have joined creative editorial boutique Stitch. Previously Lewis was a freelance editor working at some of L.A.’s top creative agencies, including the award-winning shop 72andSunny, while Leggett joins from Arcade Edit. The announcement was made by Stitch editor and partner Dan Swietlik and EP Mila Davis.

Lewis and Leggett join a roster at Stitch that also includes editors David Checel, Tim Hardy, Leo King, Chris Catanach and Max Windows.

Lewis’ freelance clients included not just agencies but production houses such as PYTKA and the VFX and design studios Brewster Parsons. He got his start at Venice Beach Editorial, the in-house post facility at TBWA\Chiat\Day. During his career he’s worked on such brands as McDonald’s, Activision, PlayStation, Visa, Nissan, and the NFL Network. His work reflects an easy ability to move between styles and genres such as visual storytelling, comedy, performance and dialogue and emotion. He’s also directed a number of short films and spots, several of which he edited.

A Chicago-area native who always wanted to be in the entertainment industry, Lewis cites as evidence his early gig as a production assistant on the raucous “Jerry Springer Show,” which taped in Chicago. After graduating from USC’s film school he replied to an ad on Craigslist for a job in the video department at an ad agency. It turned out to be TBWA\Chiat\Day, where Lewis quickly progressed from working as a dubber to becoming an assistant at its in-house editing studio.

Lewis describes this rapid ascent as something of a fluke: the agency’s legendary creative chief, Lee Clow, was getting the Clio Lifetime Achievement Award, and a video of his career highlights was behind schedule. “They said, ‘Let’s give it to the kid,’ and so I spent the weekend working on a cut,” Lewis recalled. “I showed it to Lee and he liked it. For the next week I had Lee Clow sitting behind me as we worked on this. After it was done, he walked in to Venice Beach and told them, ‘Hire him.’”

During his three years there Lewis worked his way up from assisting to editing before leaving to freelance around town. This tenure gave him valuable experience working closely with agency teams and exposure to a variety of working environments and cultures. For example, he describes his time as Joe Pytka’s in-house editor as “film school meets boot camp. You learned to work fast.”

Leggett has been with Arcade Edit for the past five years, starting as an assistant. Prior to that he was with Beast and its predecessor company, FilmCore, after launching his career at Jigsaw Edit. His work reveals a talent for everything from comedy to documentary storytelling to dramatic narrative, as demonstrated in spots for brands like Samsung, Adobe and Microsoft, among others.

The campaign he edited for Samsung is particularly noteworthy, ranging from emotional to sweetly funny. In “Jay Z Blue,” directed by Mark Romanek, the hip hop superstar is seen talking candidly with producer Rick Rubin about what it’s like to be a husband and father after growing up with no such role model himself. In another, “Swaddle Master,” directed by Michael Downing, a young dad struggles to wrap his baby in a blanket and turns to his Galaxy to find a YouTube video that’ll show him how. (The ‘how-to’ clip he watches was actually shot by Leggett and features his own toddler.)

A native of Memphis, Leggett attended a performing arts high school where he took broadcast production classes. That led to shooting and editing his own BMX videos with his friends, “which is where I fell in love with editing,” he explained.

Fresh out of college he directed and edited his own documentary about a touring rock band, an experience that motivated him to head West and pursue his career full time. Once there he realized his passion lay not so much in production as in post: “I’ve always been drawn to great storytellers,” he said. “I find them fascinating. And that helps explain what I find most gratifying about being an editor. It’s about playing a key role in putting stories together.”

Both editors were attracted to Stitch for a variety of reasons, one being prior working relationships with EP Davis, who joined the studio earlier this year after a lengthy career as an agency producer. Another was the chance to work closely with editor Swietlik. “I’ve always admired and respected Dan’s work, not just in advertising but in feature documentaries,” Lewis said. “I built a good career out of freelance work, but I felt it was time to become part of a larger creative environment and surround myself with like-minded people.”

Leggett, for his part, was drawn to the fact that Stitch is highly supportive of its editors and lets them pursue their passions. “This extends to any work they’re doing that’s outside of what we do for agencies and brands,” he added. “It’s an easygoing creative shop that’s deeply focused on the quality of the work. I’d been talking to Dan for a while, and when Mila joined and I met her, it all fell into place.”

  • Monday, Jan. 11, 2016
Blake Huber joins Flavor as VFX supervisor
Blake Huber

Creative production studio Flavor has added Blake Huber to its L.A. staff as VFX supervisor.

Most recently, Huber was lead Flame artist for MPC, and prior to that, he had been freelancing with Flavor and other leading design/VFX companies, including Big Block, Brand New School, Digital Domain and Logan, since 2013. Consistently working hand-in-hand with top directors and creative directors on major commercial spots for the likes of Discover Card, Geico and Samsung, Huber also serves as VFX supervisor on live-action shoots, bringing him a breadth of knowledge that extends well beyond the studio. A past staff member at Charlex and Brand New School, Huber, a 15-year VFX industry vet, is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, and so far, his artistry has garnered BDA Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards, and the AIGA Certificate of Excellence.

Flavor EP Darren Jaffe said of Huber, “After working with him often over our first year, we found that his perspective, skills and knowledge are invaluable. He is adept at working on large VFX projects with all the explosions and magic, as well as deftly adding his touch to more subtle images to make them shine.”

Huber related, “I love the fact that with Flavor, we have the opportunity to feel like a new studio here in L.A., while operating under the umbrella of Cutters Studios, which is well established. Darren has done a wonderful job of assembling the right staff to make the most impact and help position us to be competitive and visible in the marketplace. Everyone here is united in the common goal of providing the best experiences possible for our clients, while fostering creativity at the absolute highest levels.”

  • Monday, Jan. 11, 2016
Editor Jacquelyn London joins Optimus
Editor Jacquelyn London
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Production and post house Optimus has added editor Jacquelyn London to its Santa Monica office. London has worked with leading music video directors including Chris Applebaum, Sam Bayer, Anthony Mandler and Mark Pellington. In the commercial world, London has cut spots for automotive brands Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and Jeep, and has worked with other name brands including Garnier, Sony and Beats, among others.

“Jacquelyn is such a strong addition to our editorial team in Santa Monica,” assessed Optimus EP/managing director Therese Hunsberger. “She brings a unique perspective from her many years cutting videos for the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Muse, Maroon5, Pink, Depeche Mode, Annie Lennox, J. Lo, Usher and more. We already have clients requesting her, and know she’ll be in high demand here.”

For the past four years, London was an editor at Sunset Edit. Before that, she spent five years at Bonch, Inc., rounding out almost a decade at two of the biggest music video houses in the country. She started her career as an assistant editor on the teen drama television series, The O.C. Raised in upstate New York, London earned a bachelor degree from Florida State University where she studied graphic design and photography, and graduated from the LA Film School in 2006 where she learned editing.

About his music video collaborations with London, director Applebaum said, “The best thing about working with Jacquelyn is that she always gives me something I didn’t know I wanted.”

“While I love the creative challenge of cutting music videos, I am so excited to join Optimus and focus more on commercials,” said London. “It was important to me that I wasn’t stuck in a commercial house where I was just a number. Optimus is the opposite of that - nurturing, nimble and committed to supporting its editors’ creative pursuits. It’s unique in that it is a leading production and post house but operates like a boutique. And, Therese and Optimus president Tom Duff are amazing; their employees are flourishing creatively.”

  • Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016
Andrew Rodgers named exec director of Denver Film Society
Andrew Rodgers

Andrew Rodgers has been appointed executive director of the Denver Film Society, a non-profit organization that annually presents the Denver Film Festival and provides year-round film programming and education at the Sie FilmCenter. Rodgers will assume his full-time duties in March after relocating from Winston-Salem, N.C., with his wife Iana Dontcheva, a filmmaker and professor, and their daughters Mia and Anya.

Rodgers was selected after a comprehensive national executive search guided by Arts Consulting Group that attracted more than 100 applicants from 22 states and Canada.

With a B.A. in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University, Rodgers began his professional career as a journalist with the Chicago Tribune and later worked as a publicist for the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City and the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2013, he received his M.B.A. degree from Wake Forest University.

Since 2005, Rodgers has served as the executive director of RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem. Under his leadership, RiverRun grew from a small, struggling non-profit into a financially sound, nationally-recognized regional festival with annual income nearly 200 percent higher than upon his arrival. His fundraising and business management efforts attracted support from Fortune 500 companies, major foundations and government granting agencies and led to a doubling of the organization’s revenue from individual contributions and programs.

An accomplished filmmaker and director, Rodgers also has two documentary short films to his credit - “Crooked Candy” (2014) and “Dark Station,” which will debut in 2016.  Rodgers came to Denver for the screening of “Crooked Candy” during the 2014 Denver Film Festival.  This was his second direct encounter with the Denver Film Society as he also served as a juror during the 2008 Starz Denver Film Festival.

“I’ve known Andrew for a number of years and have followed his successful development as a respected industry leader and festival presenter,” said Britta Erickson, festival director for the Denver Film Society. “His knowledge of film, his business acumen and his ability to attract support for film organizations will help us expand our reach even further.”

Rodgers describes himself as both a strategic and operational leader, able to balance the two sides of himself--the creative and the business/management--in order to motivate and lead a board of directors and staff toward his vision of a larger and more impactful DFS.

“For many years, I’ve been a fan of the Denver Film Society and the role it has played in nurturing emerging filmmakers and presenting groundbreaking new cinema,” said Rodgers. “In particular, I’ve been very impressed by the way DFS has been able to use its festivals, events and facility to bring communities together. I am incredibly honored to have been selected to help lead the organization forward and work alongside the talented staff to find even more ways to use the cinematic experience to entertain, educate, provoke, persuade, move and motivate audiences.”

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