• Thursday, Jun. 17, 2021
Maria Sparling named VP of strategy & client services at Socialfly
Maria Sparling
NEW YORK -- 

Socialfly, a female-founded and led digital marketing agency, has hired Maria Sparling as VP of strategy and client services. Sparling is the first person to step into this position, which Socialfly created to help improve and streamline internal processes, provide support to teams across the agency, and develop new initiatives that ultimately lead to company growth.

Sparling will work alongside the management team on these fronts. She will also play a key role in business development by building relationships with new and existing clients and developing service offerings that expand Socialfly’s portfolio. Sparling will additionally be responsible for enhancing the agency’s culture, acting as a leader and mentor to the entire Socialfly team and developing new internal programs that promote a collaborative, positive, and forward-thinking workplace. 

Sparling has more than 17 years of experience overseeing digital strategy on both the agency and client sides. She has managed every aspect of social media including strategy development, content creation, production, media execution, and influencer programs. As an expert in planning and executing data-led, cross channel marketing programs, Sparling has previously worked with brands such as Hawaiian Tropic, Schick, Playtex, Guess, Timex, General Mills, L’Oreal, Dr. Scholl’s, Reckitt Benckiser and more.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2021
Anthony Gibbs joins Imaginary Forces as creative director
Anthony Gibbs
LOS ANGELES -- 

Imaginary Forces (IF) has brought Anthony Gibbs on board as creative director. With vast experience in design and VFX, Gibbs has created traditional, interactive, and experiential projects for such brands as Apple, AT&T, Epic Games, and Google.
 
Gibbs joins Imaginary Forces following a 14-year tenure at creative studio Framestore, where he held creative director and design director titles. Gibbs notably art directed “Valentino: Master of Couture”--Somerset House’s most-attended exhibition of all time. Working closely with a team of fashion and set designers, software developers, and motion designers, the experience melded physical sculptures and 3D projections.
 
Gibbs also directed several in-show sequences, titles, and live studio content for “Comic Relief,” the BBC’s annual live fundraising event featuring performances by comedians and pop stars. More recently, he helmed a campaign for HP® Z Workstations, which beautifully depicts the creative process unfolding, from a simple sketch to full-on 3D animation. Gibbs’ Framestore clients included Intel, Dyson, BBC, EA, Nintendo, Lumen, and Formula 1.
 
Gibbs is currently serving as an AICP Post judge in the Graphic Design & Animation category.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2021
Editor Justin "Q" Quagliata Joins Union
Justin Quagliata, aka "Q"
NEW YORK -- 

Editor Justin Quagliata, whose work has been honored with the Cannes Grand Prix For Good, as well as D&AD, AICP, Webby Awards, and more, has joined bicoastal Union Editorial. Known for nearly two decades as “Q,” he recently edited E*Trade’s return to the Super Bowl--“Workout”--created via Mullen Lowe, directed by Smuggler’s Randy Krallman, and featuring the theme from The Karate Kid. Other notable work includes March for Our Lives’ “Generation Lockdown” (via McCann, directed by Hungry Man’s Brian Buckley, and edited by Q and Jason Macdonald of NO6) and a diverse campaign for JBL (via Doner/Detroit, directed by frequent collaborator Brian Billow of O Positive). Q recently cut the maiden campaign for Rhythm Energy, created via Mojo Supermarket and helmed by The Director Brothers of Bullitt. Q’s affiliations before Union Editorial include NO6 and Cosmo Street.

“As a boutique that has found success in both long and short form editorial, Union is unique in our business,” Q observed. “I’m thrilled to be on board for the next chapter in Union’s story, and I can’t wait to make my mark here.”

Union partner/managing director Caryn Maclean said of Q, “I have been a fan for a long time and we knew this would be a really good fit.” Maclean presides over the company with partner/managing director Michael Raimondi, executive producer Joe Ross in L.A., executive producer Melissa Lubin in NY, and executive producer Vicki Russell in Austin. 

After graduating from University of Iowa, where he studied film, journalism, and communications, Q decided to pursue the craft of film editing. “I wish I could say it was the Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman double feature I saw as a child that moved me to want to study film,” he mused. “It was Die Hard. I saw it 13 times in the theater… as a 12 year old. Nothing was the same for me after that.” Q began his career in Chicago, but moved home to New York and eventually found his way to Cosmo Street. He joined NO6 in 2010. Among his celebrated projects are March for Our Lives’ “Generation Lockdown” (a Cannes Grand Prix For Good, British Arrows Gold and Silver, Clio Silver, AICP Next Award, and Webby Award winner) and Defy The Name’s Anti-Bullying PSA (D&AD Wood Pencil, Clio Shortlist, AICP, Webby Award). 

  • Friday, Jun. 11, 2021
Editors Kenji Yamauchi & Tania Mesta join Lost Planet Family
Tania Mesta and Kenji Yamauchi
NEW YORK -- 

Editor Kenji Yamauchi started at Lost Planet in July 2015 as an Assistant Editor. Yamauchi explains, “I moved to the United States, from São Paulo, all by myself.  To be completely honest, I never had the dream to work abroad but when the opportunity at Lost Planet appeared, I jumped on it. It's not easy being alone in a new country and looking back, if anyone had told me how taxes work I'd probably never have come, but I'm glad no one did, so here I am.”  Yamauchi's skill in executing emotional storylines is evidenced in his work on campaigns with Google, Samsung, Amex, Budweiser, as well as his work in music videos with artists such as Mumford & Sons.

Tania Mesta's path to editing was not as direct. She explored many roads, from studying French and business in college to working on a home renovation show in Los Angeles, and finally landing as an assistant editor at RPS where her training began. Born of Mexican parents and raised in El Paso, Texas, she is both figuratively and literally from the border, embracing what both cultures bring to her world view and her work. She has edited numerous campaigns with brands such as Calvin Klein, Prada, and Mass Mutual.

Executive Producer Krystn Wagenberg shared, “My experience has taught me that we must continue to seek the latest talent to reap the benefit of new ideas and fresh eyes. Both Kenji and Tania have the fearless edge that will help push the boundaries of emotional and creative storytelling. I am super excited to be involved in taking their careers to the next level.”

  • Wednesday, Jun. 9, 2021
Jill Landaker Grunes named head of production at 21Grams
Jill Landaker Grunes
NEW YORK -- 

Ad agency 21Grams has named Jill Landaker Grunes as its first head of production. She is charged with pushing the quality of the work through partnerships with best-in-class creative partners, while also building out a team to support the rapid growth of the New York-based agency.

Prior to her move to 21Grams, Landaker Grunes ran integrated production at NYC-based brand shop FIG. Previously, she founded and led Smartypants Pictures where she produced independent award-winning films and branded content, working with brands and agencies.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 9, 2021
Technicolor Creative Studios hires Anna Watkins as global VP, growth and brand partnerships
Anna Watkins
LONDON -- 

Technicolor Creative Studios, the newly launched collective of creative studios across advertising and entertainment, has hired Anna Watkins as global VP of growth and brand partnerships.

Watkins joins the Brand Experience and Advertising division, headed by David Patton. The hire comes as the advertising division looks to expand its remit and creative offering to brands across the globe.

The collection of Creative Studios under Technicolor’s Brand Experience and Advertising division, MPC and The Mill, are renowned for their work within the advertising creative and production arena. With the hire of Watkins, the Brand Experience and Advertising division will be facilitating more direct-to-brand partnerships, offering an end to end service from creative strategy and ideation through to production as well as expanding its technology driven creative solutions, including virtual productions, immersive AR and VR experiences, interactive products, 3D brand mascots and digital assets.

Watkins was previously managing director at Verizon Media UK, overseeing growth at Yahoo, AOL, and HuffPost. Prior to this she was global CEO Mofilm (You and Mr Jones) and has also served as managing director of Initiative and Guardian Labs as well as CEO of Grand Union. Watkins started her career in advertising at M&C Saatchi and TBWA.

Patton, president of Technicolor Creative Studios, Brand Experience and Advertising, said, “Anna will support the growth of MPC and The Mill’s direct-to-brand offering, in addition to identifying new growth opportunities across the Technicolor Creative Studios, Brand Experience and Advertising division. This is a pivotal hire as we look to focus on how we can faster evolve our offering to accommodate the massive growing demand for our services. Our goal is to be the top provider of creative production to brands globally as they look to lean on new forms of creative technology to connect with their customer base in new and innovative ways.”

Watkins commented, “I am delighted to be joining Technicolor Creative Studios with its stellar creative heritage in visual effects, CG and groundbreaking innovative solutions in the world of creative technology. Both MPC and The Mill are seeing considerable opportunities to grow not only an end-to-end service for our clients from strategy through to production, but also through our ever-increasing creative production capabilities in immersive and interactive marketing across the globe.”

  • Monday, Jun. 7, 2021
Tobias Suhm joins The Den as partner/editor
Tobias Suhm
LOS ANGELES -- 

The Den has added editor Tobias Suhm to its team as a partner. He joins a talent roster at the bicoastal edit house which includes Christjan Jordan, Kate Owen, Eric Alexander-Hughes, Katie Cali, Andrew Ratzlaff and Ross Birchall.

Suhm, who had previously been at Whitehouse Post, has worked with international brands and garnered accolades from awards competitions such as CLIO and the Webbys. The Beardyman music video, “6 am (Ready to Write),” featuring Joe Rogan and directed by his long-time friend and collaborator, Ian Pons Jewell, won the UK Music Video Award for Best Dance Music Video last year. Suhm’s Skittles ad, “Yogurt Boy,” and the Michelob spot “Call from Nature” are also among the work he’s most proud of. 

“I like that editing is a kind of intangible mystery artform,” said Suhm. “Everyone knows what a cinematographer does or a screenwriter but when it comes to editing it all seems to be a kind of mystery that is hard to come by--and yet it has such a tremendous impact on the overall outcome of a film.”

“Tobias is an amazing artist,” said editor Jordan, co-founder of The Den. “He is an epic storyteller and his work truly showcases both his editing skills and his creativity. I am beyond thrilled to have him join us as a partner at The Den. His warmth, humor, and expertise will help continue to shape our growing company.” 
 
Suhm hails from a small town in the southwest corner of Germany, known as the Black Forest. Close to the border of France and Switzerland, the fairytale-esque area provided an idyllic background to a childhood filled with ‘80s movies, including every Spielberg classic. This early fascination with films, including delving into books, making-ofs, and behind-the-scenes accounts, led him to begin editing home footage that he and his friend would shoot on a miniDV camera. 
 
After high school, Suhm left for Munich where he completed a three-year film editing apprenticeship at a German broadcast station before heading to film school. He attended the noted Filmakademie Baden- Württemberg. Upon graduating, he moved to Berlin, where he lived and worked for nine years until making the leap to Los Angeles to edit at Whitehouse Post. 

  • Monday, Jun. 7, 2021
Uppercut adds editors Sean Fazende, Milena Z. Petrovic
Sean Fazende
NEW YORK -- 

Editorial, finishing, and VFX studio Uppercut has added two editors to its roster. Sean Fazende joins the team in Los Angeles and Milena Z. Petrovic will work globally, with home bases in NYC and Europe.

Uppercut has seen considerable expansion in the last year, with the addition of Lisa Houck as managing director and the studio’s new offices in Atlanta, building upon its New York flagship location. Fazende, who was previously at Cut+Run, joins Uppercut’s West Coast team, which also includes editor Danielle Sclafani.

Fazende grew up in Texas, transfixed by the endless loop of music videos on MTV. His love of storytelling prompted him to attend Boston University’s film school. After graduation, he moved to L.A. to begin his career cutting music videos, working with artists such as Lorde, Selena Gomez, and Calvin Harris. His fast-paced editing style naturally segued him into commercial work for various brands and agencies. 

Petrovic grew up in a family of filmmakers in Serbia, where she began editing and directing at the age of 12. She graduated from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade and has since won numerous awards for her feature, documentary, and commercial work. She won the FIPRESCI Award for Best Film Editing for the feature The Belgrade Phantom. Her short film Bluebird had its premiere in Cannes, and her commercial work has won awards at such festivals as D&AD, Cannes Lions, Clio, Eurobest, Ciclope, APA, etc. She relishes creative collaboration across a variety of mediums, including fiction, documentary, music videos, and advertising. Uppercut becomes her first U.S. roost.

  • Thursday, Jun. 3, 2021
ESPN promotes Burke Magnus to president of programming & original content
Burke Magnus

ESPN has promoted Burke Magnus to the new title of president, Programming and Original Content. Magnus, who was previously EVP, Programming & Original Content, will continue to report to Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, ESPN and Sports Content.

“Burke is a talented leader and collaborative colleague who has been instrumental in guiding ESPN through what has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging and critical periods in our history,” Pitaro said. “He is an industry-leading programming strategist who continues to take on new challenges with his signature combination of relationship building and creativity.”

Magnus is responsible for all programming and rights acquisition and scheduling, and, as of November 2020, added oversight of ESPN and ESPN+ original content development and scheduling (including ESPN Films and 30 for 30 franchise). In his role, Magnus is responsible for rightsholder relationships, content strategy and cross-platform programming rights acquisition/scheduling on a global basis. He is a key driver of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer priority, including ESPN+, through his team’s close collaboration with DMED (Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution).

He has guided ESPN and The Walt Disney Company through one of its most active and notable sports rights acquisition periods. He helped drive new, cross-platform (linear, direct-to-consumer, digital, social, etc.) agreements and/or extensions in recent months with the NFL, MLB, NHL, SEC, LaLiga and more. Additionally, he led a programming team that collaborated with numerous league, conference and event partners to navigate the postponement, cancellation and rescheduling of thousands of events across ESPN platforms in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak during the past 15 months.

Magnus, a member of Disney’s CEO Diversity and Inclusion Council, joined ESPN in 1995 as a program associate, and has held various programming department positions since. A native of Ridgewood, N.J., Magnus graduated from College of the Holy Cross with a bachelor’s degree in history and then received his master’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 2, 2021
Editor Carlos Crooks joins STITCH
Carlos Crooks
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

STITCH has added editor Carlos Crooks to its roster. Crooks joins STITCH after having served as a prolific freelance cutter up and down the West Coast for the past six years.  Among the agencies for which he’s edited are Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey, Deutsch, Team One and David&Goliath in Los Angeles as well as BSSP and Eleven in San Francisco.

Crooks said he’s joining STITCH because the people took the time to build a relationship with him. “I trust the family there,” he shared, noting that when he was working around L.A. as a freelance assistant, he met many of the people who are now on the company’s roster. “Some of the editors who provided me with guidance when I was assisting now work at STITCH,” he notes. “So that was a nice segue into a company that’s home to many of the people I’ve known and formed strong bonds with early in my career.

“On top of that, they would always be looking out for me and sending me projects to work on if I had the availability,” Crooks continued. “They trusted and believed in my craft, and that meant a lot. When I was introduced to Dan (Swietlik, STITCH owner/editor), his first words were not about how great STITCH is; rather, he asked how I wanted to grow as an editor. That made all the difference.”

Crooks also brings to his new roost a commitment to help boost opportunities and mentorship for fellow BIPOC talents. Like many postproduction companies, STITCH has been fielding requests for a more diverse list of talents over the past year or so, and was looking to add an editor who could give them stronger representation in terms of gender or cultural background. “Hunter Connor, our EP and head of production, had worked with Carlos when he was on staff at David&Goliath, and recommended him highly,” said Mila Davis, STITCH managing director and EP.. “And Dan Bootzin, who’s also on our roster, knew him and said the same things about his talent and passion. So it was an easy choice to make.”

Davis, who came to postproduction from the agency side, believes Crooks’ in-house experience is a plus. “He comes with some established creative relationships, which is great. We’re going to focus on transitioning those into his new role working for an independent company. We’ve done this very successfully with some of the other editors on our roster, and we believe we can do the same with Carlos.”

Among Crooks’ editing credits is “Born to Box” for the upstart fitness apparel brand Gymshark and the production collective Where The Buffalo Roam. The spot is an inspiring, docu-style look at a young boxer who credits his father for his dedication and training; his story is told through a densely layered visual narrative that never gets in the way of the emotional impact.

Not surprising, Crooks knows his way around sheet metal, having edited assorted pulse-quickening Kia and Lexus spots. He’s also cut comic broadcast promos for HBO and fast-paced videogame spots for NBA2K.

More notable is his work with former agency colleague Zach Browne. A copywriter, Browne took a poem he wrote, “It Doesn’t Matter,” and turned it into a powerful message about racism, created in the wake of the George Floyd murder. Crooks followed that up with a similarly powerful film, “Sorry Breonna,” in which a succession of black women share their apologies with the woman who was shot and killed in her apartment by Louisville police officers, none of whom were charged with a crime.

A graduate of the USC film school, Crooks credits internships at Paramount Pictures and Anonymous Content with helping get him where he is today. At the former, he was mentored by the head of story, who worked closely with him showing him how film narrative clicked. At the latter, he was mentored by an executive who helped shine a light on the commercials world and recommended he consider creative editorial as a possible career option--going so far as putting in a call to Exile for him, where he landed as vault manager. “A lot of my success came from the awesome guidance and support I had from the editors and producers there,” Crooks pointed out.

At Exile he began assisting, then went out on his own as a freelance assistant before going on staff, first as an assistant and later as an editor, at David&Goliath. From there he began his odyssey of working with other agencies and production companies in a career that’s reached its latest milestone at STITCH.

The ad business is grappling with its own poor record on creating opportunities for people of color, and Crooks is aware of what his signing represents for STITCH and what it means for the industry. That there’s now one more Black editor working in the ranks of independent shops is, at its heart, a step in the right direction.

“This is such an important topic for me, so during the pandemic I started collaborating with Nate Nichols and Steffi Beringer, who started the activist group Allyship & Action, to help in any way I can to make this right,” Crooks explained. “It’s unfortunate that as you grow in the ad industry you see less and less people who look like you,” he continued. “It’s just a fact. So it’s good that organizations like Allyship & Action are making a pointed effort to create this change in the industry. It’s long overdue.”

Crooks said he hopes STITCH will open him up to a new world of creative possibilities. “Editing is such a joy because of the aspect of collaboration,” he noted. “It’s what makes the final piece as special as it is. The opportunity to be with a company that understands my passion to work on a variety of projects and a wide range of creative is vital.”

Being with STITCH puts him in another sphere as an editor, he added. “It’s exciting, being in a pool with the kinds of editors I’ve always admired. It will help me get my craft to the level I’ve always wanted it to be. It’ll push me to learn more, to excel more and to refine my skill more."

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