Saturday, February 23, 2019

People on the Move

  • Friday, Jan. 11, 2019
Kristen Bedard-Johnson joins Sanctuary Content as EP/head of sales
Kristen Bedard-Johnson (l) and Preston Lee
CULVER CITY, Calif. -- 

Sanctuary Content has added sales veteran Kristen Bedard-Johnson as executive producer and head of sales. Bedard-Johnson’s role at the Culver City-based production company will complement that of Preston Lee, EP and founder, on the West coast. 
Bedard-Johnson joins Sanctuary’s new Brooklyn office after two years as director of sales and management--East Coast at Smuggler. With a background in theater and over a decade in advertising at companies like Furlined and RadicalMedia, Bedard-Johnson knew she wanted to join the ranks at Sanctuary when the opportunity arose, having had her eye on their roster since the company launched in 2016. 

“Preston has such a strong reputation in the industry, and right away I saw how his vision aligned with my goals. We came together really naturally,” said Bedard-Johnson. “I’m thrilled to be able help the directors bond their artistic output with commerce, to get specific on what success looks like to them and help to build that trajectory.” 

After 36 months building the company in Culver City, Lee said now is the right time for the infusion of fresh energy and enthusiasm in Sanctuary’s new Brooklyn office. “In order for us to grow and move onto the next phase of our journey, we needed someone exactly like Kristen to come on board. The strength of two strategic minds working across both coasts is the best way to provide the strongest opportunities for our directors.”

A focus on nurturing talent isn’t the only commonality; both EPs share an excitement for the convergence of entertainment and advertising in the current media landscape. This shines through in a roster of makers who create across the very different formats of filmmaking, including advertising, film, music videos, and television. Having produced five short films to date, the company is continuing to push into long-format in all platforms.

  • Friday, Jan. 11, 2019
Electric Theatre Collective hires Lockhart, Durrance, Vlasto
Electric Theatre Collective's (l-r) Elle Lockhart, Antonia Vlasto and Polly Durrance

VFX company Electric Theatre Collective, established in London and L.A., has fortified its team with the hiring of producers Elle Lockhart, Polly Durrance and Antonia Vlasto. 

Lockhart brings a wealth of CG experience and joins from Touch Surgery where she ran the Johnson and Johnson account. Prior to that Lockhart worked at Analog as a VFX producer where she delivered three global campaigns for Nike. At Electric, she will serve as producer on Martini and Toyota.

Vlasto joins Electric working on clients such as Mercedes, Tourism Ireland and Tui. Vlasto joins from 750MPH where, over a 4-year period, she served as producer on Nike, Great Western Railway, VW and Amazon to name a few.

At Electric, Durrance serves as producer on H&M, TK Maxx and Carphone Warehouse. She joins from UNIT where she helped launched its in-house Design Collective, working with clients such as Lush, Pepsi and Thatchers Cider. Prior to UNIT Durrance was at Big Buoy where she produced work for Jaguar Land Rover, giffgaff and Redbull.
Harry Jones, Electric general manager, said: “We are thrilled to have added three talented female producers to our busy production department. Each of them brings their own unique quality and character to the company.”

  • Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019
Cutters Studios Kansas City adds editors Bradley, Kirkpatrick
Editors Morgan Bradley (l) and Kalen Kirkpatrick

Cutters Studios Kansas City (CSKC) is now home to editors Morgan Bradley and Kalen Kirkpatrick.

Honored by AD2 San Francisco among its top young advertising leaders for 2018, Bradley has been a staff editor for Beast for the past 10 years, spanning the company’s West Coast and Chicago operations. With recent commercial credits for Audi, Fitbit, Nike, Sephora and Twitter, and wide recognition for her artistry through Free the Bid, Bradley is a KC native who is thrilled to be returning to her hometown, thanks to Cutters.

Meanwhile Kirkpatrick has been promoted to editor, following four years as an assistant editor at Cutters in Chicago. Kirkpatrick has excelled in honing his craft under the guidance of many acclaimed Cutters editors, while earning awards recognition and contributing to major commercial and feature film projects.

  • Monday, Jan. 7, 2019
DelPurgatorio, Richardson, Carroll join Framestore's Chicago office
Danny DelPurgatorio

Framestore has hired three new creatives for its Chicago office: Danny DelPurgatorio as creative director, Krysten Richardson as Flame artist, and Jordan Carroll as CG lead/supervisor. The company’s Chicago shop, which opened in May 2017, has grown rapidly in its first year and a half, more than doubling the number of employees.

DelPurgatorio, a longstanding member of the Chicago creative community, brings to Framestore a range of experience. He originally moved to Chicago in 2009 as creative director for Vitamin Pictures. With a background in Illustration, DelPurgatorio began his career as a creative director at Reel FX in Dallas. His role saw him leading and directing both commercial and entertainment projects, including the 2008 short film Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter for Warner Brothers, Paramount, and DC Comics, a tie-in to Zack Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation, and produced by Snyder himself. Additionally, DelPurgatorio has worked with global brands such as Nike, Nintendo, and Northface, as a director and creative director as well as designer, animator, and compositor.

His experience in motion pictures and commercial work makes DelPurgatorio a strong addition to the Chicago office, where he will be helping grow the team’s design capabilities across advertising, entertainment, and immersive, in addition to leading a variety of projects in each discipline. 

Meanwhile Richardson has been a frequent collaborator with Framestore’s Los Angeles and Chicago teams, making her appointment a natural fit. Her portfolio includes brands such as Nike, Apple, Toyota, Sony, Gatorade, and Doritos, and she has worked as a freelance Flame artist at The Mill and Method, among other boutique VFX shops. She is also the founder of a global group for female Flame artists called “Ladies of Logik.” At Framestore, Richardson will supervise shoots and lead projects, while also working directly with clients to help fulfill their creative goals.

Carroll joins Framestore from The Mill Chicago, where he worked as a lead CG artist over a variety of projects and clients, including Disney, GMC, and Chevrolet. Trained in VFX at Savannah College of Art and Design, Carroll began his career at Firstborn in NYC, before moving to Chicago. At Framestore he will work across a range of pitches and projects, both supervising shoots and working directly on individual jobs, while also continuing to grow the office’s CG department. 

Krystina Wilson, managing director, Framestore Chicago, is enthused over the three new hires, sharing, “I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Jordan and Krysten at different points in my career and have always been impressed with Danny’s reputation - his passion for pushing the work, for mentoring artists, and his natural leadership abilities--ever since I entered this market nearly seven years ago.”

  • Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019
Editor Alison Grasso joins Cutters NY
Alison Grasso

Cutters Studios has added commercial editor Alison Grasso to its New York staff

Well known as an editor for Crew Cuts in New York, Grasso started her commercial career with the company immediately upon graduation from NYU (BFA, film and TV production). Her passions for documentary-style visual storytelling, beauty and fashion are reflected in her creative collaborations for scores of prominent brands, including Garnier, Gatorade, L’Oreal, Pantene, Target and Verizon. In the expanding world of feature audio, Grasso edited the entire second season of the top-rated podcast “Limetown,” and also edited promotional audio material for the acclaimed audio documentary “The Wilderness,” hosted by Pod Save America’s Jon Favreau.

Grasso is also a director, shooter, writer and on-camera talent, with many New York stories--and in particular, those involving craft beer--taking the spotlight in her latest projects. Earning accolades in prominent festivals and events worldwide, Grasso has firmly established herself as a content creator and influencer.

“I aspire to do work that isn’t confined by boundaries,” Grasso said. “After seeing the breadth of work from Cutters Studios that supports global clients with projects that reach beyond the traditional--and learning that they’re forward-thinking, excited about the changing media landscape, and passionate about being involved in the creation process--I’m confident the relationship will be a great fit.”

Cutters NY executive producer Elizabeth Krajewski added, “Advertising has evolved and changed so much. The known entities of :30s and :60s are still there, but the endless opportunities in all forms of storytelling make good editors even more central to the process. Alison shines in both the traditional and non-traditional, and is always forging the next path and just craving to tell good stories.” 

  • Monday, Dec. 31, 2018
Creative director John Leamy joins BigStar
John Leamy

Creative services company BigStar has added creative director John Leamy to its team. Leamy is an award-winning, multidisciplinary creative who is best known for his design, live show graphics, film, and print work. He brings more than two decades of experience in shaping advertising, marketing, and branding campaigns for such clients as ABC, Red Bull, MGM Grand, and LG. Leamy is currently working on the title design and branding for the upcoming PBS series, Chasing the Moon.

Entering its 15th year of business, BigStar with its hiring of Leamy rounds out a benchmark 2018 in which the company has expanded its footprint as an entertainment marketing and branding partner of major TV networks and OTT content providers, tallying blockbuster show launches and campaigns for FX, HBO, ABC, Amazon, AMC, Turner, and Syfy. Meanwhile, BigStar continues to increase its slate of feature film and documentary series work. The team recently made waves with the 2018 top-grossing indie, Free Solo, from National Geographic, creating the documentary’s main titles, VFX sequences, and graphics package.

Leamy has a history with BigStar founder/ECD Josh Norton. Their relationship began more than 20 years ago when the two were freelancers, working side-by-side at various creative studios. Since then, the two have stayed in touch and were waiting for the right opportunity to work together again. Most recently, Leamy was ECD at Leroy & Clarkson, serving at the helm of projects for clients such as National Geographic, Nasdaq, Nickelodeon, and ABC News. Prior to that, he was creative director at Spontaneous, a position he held for eight years while leading projects for a wide variety of clients, such as AT&T, Wendy’s, Maybelline, and Lockheed Martin. In addition, he was a long-time creative partner of U2 creating live concert visuals, music video, film, and print content for the seminal rock band. Leamy started his career as a freelance artist at Imaginary Forces, RadicalMedia, Freestyle Collective, and MTV, among others.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018
Karen Staughton named associate director, strategy, for AnalogFolk
Karen Staughton
PORTLAND, Ore. -- 

Independent digital creative agency AnalogFolk (AF) has hired Karen Staughton as associate director, strategy for its Portland office. She will report to AF partner/managing director Kunal Muzumdar.

A digital marketing strategist for over 12 years, Staughton has worked on both the agency and client side in the U.S. and abroad for global music, entertainment and lifestyle brands. Most recently, she was a senior strategist at Swift Agency in Portland, where she worked on adidas, PayPal, YouTube Music and Blue Apron, providing category, consumer and cultural insights to creatively solve business problems while strategically building the brands in social and digital.

Prior to Swift, Staughton spent time on the client side as head of marketing at Spotify UK (London). Before that, Staughton was digital and communications director at Cornerstone Agency (London) where she led strategy and creative campaigns for Converse and Coca-Cola. Earlier in her career, her first stint on the client side was at Columbia Records (Sony) in London as head of digital marketing. While there, Staughton established and developed the label’s digital team--responsible for all digital marketing, planning/strategy and social teams that oversaw a roster of 90+ artists --and delivered multiple award-winning campaigns including for Calvin Harris and Daft Punk.

The hiring of Staughton comes as AF closes out a strong year of new biz including landing AOR duties for Nike U.S. Football, Blink Fitness (experience AOR) and Guardian Life (digital AOR).

  • Friday, Dec. 21, 2018
Karen Barragan named head of marketing at Blumhouse
Jason Bateman in a scene from the series "Ozark," one of the many original series promoted by Karen Barragan during her tenure at Netflix (photo by Jackson Davis/Netflix via AP)

Karen Barragan is leaving Netflix, where she served as VP of publicity for original series programming, to become head of marketing and communications at Blumhouse Productions. 

Barragan will work across film and TV at Blumhouse which is headed by Jason Blum, nominated for two Best Picture Oscars for producing Whiplash and Get Out. Blumhouse has produced such films as The Purge, Insidious, the Ouija and Paranormal Activity franchises. Blumhouse also maintains an independent television studio.

During her six-year Netflix tenure, Barragan promoted such original series fare as House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Ozark and Stranger Things. She also publicized major Netflix deals such as its exclusive agreement entered into earlier this year with Ryan Murphy and Ryan Murphy Productions (Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson) to produce new series and films.

  • Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018
Christine Simmons named Motion Picture Academy COO
Christine Simmons

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named Christine Simmons to the position of chief operating officer. Simmons, president and COO of the Los Angeles Sparks, will assume her new role in January, reporting directly to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.

Simmons will be responsible for the day-to-day management and enhancement of the Academy’s internal organization and infrastructure, with focus on the Academy Foundation, comprised of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy Film Archive, its educational programs and the Science and Technology Council. She will join leadership in collaborative efforts to fulfill and further the Academy mission, that is to recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination, and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures. 

“There has been--and continues to be--a sea change in our film community, our Academy, and in the culture at large. Christine brings both nonprofit and corporate management expertise, an ability to implement creative solutions, and a love of film to our Academy. It’s the perfect moment for an innovative thinker,” said Hudson.

“I look forward to joining the team and contributing to the innovation and growth of the operational excellence of the Academy. The organization’s efforts to support filmmakers and programs where every person’s story can be told are invaluable,” said Simmons. 

The LA Sparks, a founding team of the WNBA, are three-time League champions and one of the League’s most successful franchise business operations. Prior to becoming president and COO, Simmons served as EVP of Magic Johnson Enterprises where she led the day-to-day operations of the Sparks throughout the team’s first season. Before working at MJE, she held senior positions managing and expanding supplier diversity at both Disney and NBC/Universal Studios.

Simmons serves on the advisory councils for Women in Sports and Events and Next Play Capital. She previously served as Board president of the UCLA Alumni Association and is a member of the UCLA Foundation’s Board of Directors and the UC Regents. In October 2018, Ebony magazine included her in its “Power 100” list of inspiring African Americans.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018
Leviathan adds Cody Tilson, promotes Kyle Shoup
Cody Tilson (l) and Kyle Shoup

Specialized creative agency Leviathan has added creative director Cody Tilson and promoted Kyle Shoup from creative director to executive creative director.

Most recently an associate creative director for Digital Kitchen in Chicago, Tilson has been an artist and designer for over 15 years.  Previously he served as a sr. art director for both Blast Radius and Designkitchen. His projects span innovative developments for such clients as Blizzard Entertainment, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, HBO and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Over the years, Tilson has also illustrated hundreds of book covers, gig posters and other projects on the side.

All these achievements build upon Tilson’s original claim to fame as senior designer--and later, art director--for Playboy Magazine, from 2006 to 2012. Working alongside the world’s finest illustrators and photographers, Tilson also contributed illustrations, ran photo shoots, and designed scores of provocative and visually inventive feature stories for the publication. Chicago born and bred, Tilson studied design and illustration at Columbia College.

“Cody’s conceptual art traverses power and beauty, whimsical storytelling paired with contemporary design,” said Leviathan chief creative officer Jason White. “Already we’re seeing the impact of his magical touch on the digital experiences we’re building together.”

ECD Shoup’s diverse range of portfolio projects spans from broadcast work for clients such as HBO, MTV, SPEED Network, Sundance TV and VH1, to commissioned video installations, music videos, video games and groundbreaking experiential installations. Having joined Leviathan in late 2013 from Foundation Content, he has been a vital contributor to many of the company’s most acclaimed experiences, including installations for Airbus Americas, Art Institute of Chicago, Jabil and MSI Chicago. Highly skilled across the disciplines of identity/branding, environmental wayfinding, motion, interactive and experiential design, Shoup earned his BS in Graphic Design from the University of Cincinnati.

Since launching Leviathan in 2010, White, now CCO, had served in the ECD role now occupied by Shoup. White said, “Kyle and I share a collaborative bond that spans over a decade, resulting in some extraordinary projects and a solid relationship. His design talent, entrepreneurial spirit and creative leadership are already essential in Leviathan’s work.”

White continued, “The explosive growth occurring here has resulted in a reinvention of my role as well. Moving forward as chief creative officer, I will be focusing on the direction of our brand, culture and relationships with our growing universe of phenomenal collaborators.”

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Erik Anderson


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