Saturday, December 15, 2018

People on the Move

  • Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018
R/GA Austin names Jason Ambrose executive creative director
Jason Ambrose
AUSTIN, Texas -- 

Jason Ambrose has been named executive creative director of R/GA’s Austin office. As the head creative, Ambrose will partner with R/GA Austin’s SVP, managing director Candice Hahn and executive technology director Katrina Bekessy to inspire and integrate multi-disciplinary teams of technologists, narrative storytellers and designers to develop solutions that help brands live up to their highest calling and develop transformative ideas that disrupt culture. In addition, Ambrose will contribute to the office’s active business development pipeline, as well as work with the management team to pinpoint smart talent to join the growing Austin team.

Ambrose joins R/GA from Austin-based Preacher where he served as creative director on The Container Store, Vimeo, Hopdoddy and Cuvée accounts. Other agency experience has consisted of TBWA\Chiat\Day, 72andSunny, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky in both Boulder and Los Angeles. He has worked with brands like MINI, Samsung, Bing, Adidas, Starbucks and Truth. His work has also been recognized at every major global award show including Cannes, The One Show, D&AD, and Clios.

“Jason’s deep stories and systems knowledge and background will help integrate the work at R/GA Austin. We’re looking forward to building on our momentum generating stronger connections and opportunities with our clients. As our disciplines and offerings continue to evolve for our clients’ future needs, Jason will provide a unique and integral perspective for solving problems and inspiring staff,” said Hahn. 

Ambrose said, “R/GA is a Master Class in creating groundbreaking work. It’s an honor to be chosen to lead the creative team and partner with Candice. The talent in this office and the power of the network at our backs will only fuel the R/GA approach of putting product, design craft and technology into each creative expression. I’m excited to help our brands and our team live up to their highest potential. And I’m ready to learn a hell of a lot every day in the process.” 

  • Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018
AKQA hires Chris Wallace as client partner
Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace has joined AKQA as client partner of media in the San Francisco studio. Wallace has 15 years’ experience in a variety of digital strategy and global client leadership roles focused on data-driven decision making, innovation and business transformation. His track record spans diverse sectors--consumer packaged goods, retail, luxury, finance, insurance, healthcare, education, telecom and B2B.

Prior to joining AKQA, Wallace held leadership positions for WPP in Chicago, London and San Francisco. He has spent the last six years working within the group where he earned his “WPP MBA” while working at Mindshare as head of digital for EMEA, global digital lead on Unilever and CHANEL.
On joining AKQA, Wallace said, “As the opportunities to bring media, data and creative closer together for our clients continues to grow, I look forward to working with an inspiring team to continue to shape this ever-evolving world through the lens of digital.”

Scott Symonds, AKQA managing director of media, said, “As we speed forward into a digital, mobile, and programmatic majority media world, we want to provide our client’s the best in strategy, leadership and communication. Chris’ history of delivering deep audience insights for his clients, leading account teams, offices, and global client relationships for top brands, gives him precisely the skillset that we are looking to future-proof our client team leadership.”

  • Friday, Aug. 31, 2018
The Mill promotes Erica Hilbert to head of production, adds EP Blake Nickle
Blake Nickle (l) and Erica Hilbert

The Mill has appointed a new head of production and an executive producer to further bolster the growing production team at its Chicago studio.

Newly named as head of production, Erica Hilbert has already taken a leading presence on the production team since joining The Mill in 2015. Having proven herself a valuable asset to the company, Hilbert steps in to this new role while continuing to lead, mentor and grow the talent at The Mill Chicago.

Meanwhile, Blake Nickle has joined The Mill Chicago as exec producer. Nickle arrives from Digital Kitchen where he worked as EP. He started his career at places like ESC and ILM working on feature films and later found himself drawn to the VFX production world, working on such features as Life of Pi, Moneyball and Star Wars: Episode III–Revenge of the Sith. At Digital Kitchen Chicago, Nickle had the opportunity to work with such brands as Buick, Bose, Amazon and McDonald’s.

Nickle joins the executive producer team and together they will lead the new business initiatives for the studio and explore new ways of servicing the Midwest market.

  • Friday, Aug. 31, 2018
Epic Level Entertainment adds partner Dana Guerin, bows "Charlie Says" at Venice Fest
A scene from "Charlie Says" (photo from Venice Film Festival)
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

Epic Level Entertainment announces Dana Guerin has joined the company as a producer, and that their first film together, Charlie Says, will premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 2. Charlie Says, which recounts the story of the three female members of the Manson Family who were imprisoned for the notorious murders, is directed by Mary Harron and written by Guinevere Turner, the team behind American Psycho

Guerin, whose entertainment career includes titles such as The Vault, Outlaws and Angels, and The Taking of Deborah Logan, has been developing the Charlie Says project for the past six years, alongside Harron and Turner. She brought the film to Epic Level when she joined the company earlier this year.

Epic Level Enterttainment producer John Frank Rosenblum said, “I had the pleasure of working with Dana at On Track Entertainment in the ‘90s, where she was ahead of her time in the repurposing of new media properties for basic cable broadcasting. With her latest film, Charlie Says, she is telling the female perspective of a story that had previously been dominated by the male perspective, ensuring that it was also written, directed and primarily produced by women. Here again, Dana shows that she is ahead of the curve with what the public wants, and indeed now demands, from popular entertainment.”

Charlie Says is a story about the three young women who were sentenced to death in the infamous Manson murder case, but when the death penalty was lifted, their sentence became life imprisonment. One young graduate student was sent in to work with them, and to help them understand the consequences of their actions. Through this prison counselor, Karlene Faith, we witness their transformations as they face the reality of their horrific crimes.

Epic Level Entertainment, a full-service production company located in Hollywood, has historically focused on horror and genre entertainment. While these themes will remain a mainstay of the company’s slate, Guerin’s addition will expand their productions to include relevant contemporary themes aligned, for instance, with the #MeToo movement, among others.

“Epic Level Entertainment is excited to be part of the solution with three partner/producers who are female, including myself, Dana and Paige Barnett. Female driven films are more in demand than ever, and Epic Level Entertainment is bringing them to the forefront,” said producer Cindi Rice.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
Brett Boydstun named EVP of production at Karga Seven
Brett Boydstun

Karga Seven Pictures, a Red Arrow Studios company, has promoted Brett Boydstun into the new role of executive VP, production.  The promotion was announced by Karga Seven’s founding partners, Emre Sahin, Kelly McPherson and Sarah Wetherbee.

In his new position, Boydstun will oversee the daily operations of the company, in addition to all aspects of production on Karga Seven’s diverse slate of over a dozen factual, scripted and branded television series, feature films and commercials, including “Hard To Kill” with Tim Kennedy (Discovery), “Shot In the Dark” (Netflix), and “Mysteries & Myths with Megan Fox” (Travel Channel).

Boydstun joined Karga Seven Pictures in 2016 as SVP of production, working on hit series like “JFK: Declassified,” “Hunting Hitler” (History), and “The Hunt for the Zodiak Killer.” Prior to Karga Seven, he spent 13 years at Pilgrim Studios, working in many capacities, including SVP of production finance and operations. His previous experience was in the film world, working on over 40 productions, including “The Prophecy,” “Jack Frost,” “No Way Back,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Fast Sofa,” “Jurassic Park 3,” “Dinosaur,” “X Men” and “6 Days/7 Nights.”

“Brett has played an integral role in the company’s growth since joining our team in 2016,” said co-founder Wetherbee.  “His ability to deftly navigate the various hurdles and obstacles inherent in any large production and deliver projects on time and on-budget, with first-rate staff, make him uniquely qualified to help lead us as we continue to grow our production slate.”

Headquartered in Los Angeles and Istanbul, Karga Seven Pictures is an award-winning production company specializing in factual, scripted and branded productions, across film, television and digital platforms. Since its launch by partners, Wetherbee, McPherson and Sahin in 2008, Karga Seven has produced more than 500 hours of programming, including the Daytime Emmy-nominated documentary special “Got Your 6” (MTV) and hit series “Booze Traveler” (Travel Channel), “Hunting Hitler,” “Cry Wolfe” (Investigation Discovery), “Hard To Kill” with Tim Kennedy, “Shot In the Dark,” and “Mysteries & Myths with Megan Fox.”

  • Monday, Aug. 27, 2018
MPC Advertising bolsters sr. creative team in NY
Ashley Bernes (l) and Dirk Riesenfeld

MPC’s New York studio has boosted its creative firepower on a senior level with a major promotion and the relocation of a top talent.

Ashley Bernes, previously a VFX/CG supervisor at MPC, has been promoted to creative director. Bernes, a 12-year veteran of MPC, arrived in New York to help open the company’s office there in 2011. And Dirk Riesenfeld, a senior effects artist, has relocated from MPC’s Amsterdam office to join the New York studio as 2D VFX supervisor. He has extensive experience working on high-profile ad campaigns in both Europe and the U.K.

Camila De Biaggi, managing director, MPC New York, commented, “We’re delighted to recognize Ashley’s work with this well-deserved promotion and to welcome Dirk to the New York studio. Ashley’s creative leadership on some of our best work, coupled with his rapport with both creative teams and clients, makes this a natural next step in his career. Dirk brings deep creative inspiration and vast expertise working on major ad campaigns in Europe and the UK. Having them here is what makes MPC New York a hub for great work and amazing talent.”

Bernes joined MPC in London in 2006 as a FX technical director and soon became a CG supervisor. He has been creative director on some of the studio’s most high-profile projects, including the Samsung “Billion Colors” spot as well the recent Tiffany’s “Believe in Dreams” campaign launch. Other projects in his portfolio include work for Mercedes, Kohl’s, IBM, Macy’s and Sony’s “Paint”, which won a Gold Lion at Cannes. He has also directed campaigns at MPC including Air Wick’s “Pure Colors” and a film for U.S. Navy’s “Sleep Tight” campaign.

Bernes said, “I worked alongside some of the best and most inspiring artists in the business when I came to MPC, and the company’s culture, dedication and creative standards were ingrained into my everyday work ethic. Today we have a global mindset, and our commitment to tackle the most challenging and creative assignments has been critical to the growth of our brand and our talent. In my role as creative director, I’m looking forward to guiding our team as they continue to produce the very best results for our clients.”

Riesenfeld joined MPC London in 2015 and later moved to its Amsterdam studio. He’s worked on projects for brands such as Nescafé, Pepsi and Mercedes-Benz, and has over 15 years’ experience in visual effects. Among his career highlights are the Heineken “Trailblazing” spot from 2017, and Milka’s “All for One.” Prior to joining MPC he was an effects artist at the boutique European postproduction company The Marmalade Post.

Riesenfeld said, “I’m excited to be joining the New York studio, collaborating with the teams here and embracing the challenge of working in a different market. The studio has created some incredible work, and I want to continue producing the high-caliber products it’s known for, while helping to propel it even further.”

  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
Patrick Ferguson joins MPC's LA studio as VFX supervisor
Patrick Ferguson

MPC’s LA studio has brought Patrick Ferguson on board as VFX supervisor. His body of work spans commercials and feature films.

Ferguson has collaborated with notable directors including Stacy Wall, Mark Romanek, Melina Matsoukas, Brian Billow and Carl Rinsch. Ferguson’s work includes campaigns for such brands as Nike, Apple, Audi, HP and ESPN. Previous positions include VFX supervisor at The Mission and head of 2D at Method. He has also worked on high-profile films including Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, and he was on the Academy Award®-winning team for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.


  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
Y&R Health and Wellness Practice promotes Efren Vaca to EVP, managing director, North America
Efren Vaca

Efren Vaca has been promoted to EVP, managing director of Y&R’s Health and Wellness Practice, North America. The announcement comes on the heels of significant growth for the Health and Wellness Practice, which has added $33.5 million in revenue since Y&R global CEO David Sable established the practice two years ago.  

An 18-year Y&R veteran, Vaca has led integrated U.S. and global teams across a wide range of categories and brands such as oncology, autoimmune, infectious diseases, gastroenterology, neurology, women’s health and skincare.  With deep experience in both branded and condition awareness initiatives, Efren has helped build blockbuster brands, expand product portfolios and drive legacy product growth. Vaca will report to Howard Courtemanche, p0resident of Y&R’s Health and Wellness Practice.

In the past couple of years, the Y&R Health and Wellness Practice has won numerous pieces of business, including Allergan, Merck Animal Health, Pfizer consumer and pharma, Sanofi, PhRMA, and project work for NY Presbyterian and Mt. Sinai. As the practice continues to grow, Efren will be handling strategic growth in North America. 

In addition to his health and wellness background, Efren has worked on iconic brands such as AT&T, DuPont, MetLife, Philip Morris, and Poland Spring.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018
Jeroen van der Meer and Sicco Wegerif to helm MediaMonks' Amsterdam office 
Jeroen van der Meer (l) and Sicco Wegerif

MediaMonks is reinforcing its European operation with the dual promotion of Jeroen van der Meer and Sicco Wegerif to the jointly held position of managing director. The duo—previously in charge of two of the company’s core departments: Platforms and Creative Content—will now lead MediaMonks’ Amsterdam office.

Both Van der Meer and Wegerif are veterans of MediaMonks. As the company’s former executive creative director, Van der Meer led the creative teams behind some of MediaMonks’ most awarded campaigns including: Reporters Without Borders: The Uncensored Playlist, Weber BBQ Cultures and Google Nightwalk. Under Van der Meer’s leadership the global team of creatives has grown exponentially in recent years. In turn, Wegerif earned his stripes by building the global Platforms team from a two-person operation to the company’s largest proposition—producing apps and dotcoms for clients such as Google, Twitter, Heineken and the U.S. Air Force. Before joining MediaMonks, Wegerif worked as managing director at OOiP and operations director at 

MediaMonks CEO Victor Knaap commented, “It’s great to see two long term Monks grow within the company. Given their shared knowledge of our digital and cultural DNA, Jeroen and Sicco are the ideal duo to boost our European operations and continue the focus on delivering world class work for our clients.”

Wegerif said, “I believe we offer a unique combination of creative and operational management skills—which is exactly what brands and agencies are looking for. Add more than 750 talented Monks to the mix and you hold the recipe for revolutionary work.”

Van der Meer added, “We’ve watched as Amsterdam has evolved into the European version of Silicon Valley over the years—opening up countless opportunities for delivering innovative campaigns. Together with Sicco and our clients, I’m looking to make use of our proximity to tech even more to raise local creative work to internationally renowned levels.”

  • Monday, Aug. 20, 2018
Brown, Glickman, Owett, Cohen promoted to ECDs at Y&R
Nathalie Brown (l) and Margot Owett

Four senior creative leaders have been promoted to the position of executive creative director at Y&R: Nathalie Brown, Eric Glickman, Margot Owett and Fern Cohen.

Since joining Y&R, Brown has been creating award-winning campaigns while running some of the agency’s biggest pitches. She’s been the creative vision for everything from body stocking contortions on Cirque du Soleil, to world-renowned hospital systems on MD Anderson--and she is currently leading the Office Depot account. Over the course of her career, Brown has worked across categories and brands like Dell, Hampton Inn, Land Rover, Fisher-Price, Verizon Wireless, MasterCard, Burger King, Coca-Cola and Nature Valley. Prior to Y&R, Nathalie was a creative director at McCann Erickson.

As the creative lead for Pepperidge Farm, Glickman is the voice behind the smiling personality of the Goldfish brand, and has been instrumental in developing Goldfish into a fully integrated gaming and social brand. His team has reimagined storytelling for Goldfish and strengthened the breadth of content Y&R makes as an agency--from full CG animation to gifs created with crackers.

Cohen and Owett have been a longstanding team whose work includes launching Dell Beginnings in 2012, to relaunching Xerox with Set the Page Free, to entirely redefining Miss America for the modern world. Before joining Y&R, Fern and Margot held positions at Saatchi & Saatchi. 

Leslie Sims, chief creative officer, Y&R North America, said, “Nathalie, Eric, Fern, and Margot have each earned this recognition through the sheer force of their creativity, smarts, humor, and courage to tread in uncharted territory. We’re fortunate to have such a deep bench of talent and we all can’t wait to see what they accomplish next.”

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