• Monday, Jun. 17, 2019
Sherman, Moore, Willis join The Escape Pod
Derek Sherman

Independent agency The Escape Pod has named several new executives to its leadership team. Derek Sherman has been appointed executive creative director, Tyler Moore is director of integrated strategy, and Holly Willis is VP account director. 

Sherman, is a creative Director, writer and novelist who has led breakthrough integrated marketing campaigns for Apple, Corona, Google, Coca-Cola, Canadian Club, Miller Lite, Kellogg’s, Jim Beam, McDonald’s, Abbott Labs, Amnesty International and Sprite. His work has won multiple Gold and Silver Cannes Lions, D&AD pencils, Gold Effies, and the One Show.

Moore comes over from R/GA. He has worked on innovative campaigns for LIFEWTR, SVEDKA, Maytag, Sprint, Nike, and Corona Extra across digital, social and traditional. He has won multiple awards including an Epica creative award, multiple Webby Awards and a North American Effie.    

Willis brings more than 10 years of experience on blue chip brands across CPG, spirits and beverage, entertainment, retail and electronics. Her expertise spans digital, shopper marketing and traditional brand-building campaigns. Most recently, she spent five years with FCB leading the Samsung Mobile & Services business, as well as agency marketing and new business efforts for the retail/activation division, FCB/RED. She has worked on brands including Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Target, Netflix, Kraft Foods (now Kraft Heinz), Mondelez International, Jack Daniels, Tyson Foods, GE Appliances and 21st Century Fox.

The new executives join Ryan Dickey, who assumed the post of creative director at the agency last year. Dickey is an award-winning 15+ year creative veteran who has created cross-channel, integrated advertising for a diverse range of brands including Apple, Google, Volkswagen, Sony PlayStation, Orbit and Purina. He cut his teeth at agencies including Leo Burnett, Deutsch and Energy BBDO.

Celia Jones is CEO of The Escape Pod while Norm Bilow serves as founder and managing director of The Escape Pod Group.

  • Friday, Jun. 14, 2019
David Bedford appointed digital strategy director at Cheil UK
David Bedford

Cheil UK has appointed David Bedford as its digital strategy director, a newly created role at the agency.

Bedford, who is the former head of planning at Gyro, will be responsible for leading the strategic output and the future direction of Cheil’s digital platform business including setting direction for Samsung.com, Members loyalty platform and digital retail strategy across the UK and Europe.

He joins the Cheil board’s digital leadership group providing direction to internal teams as well as building strong client relationships. He reports to David Coombs, the head of strategic services at Cheil UK.

Bedford was also previously head of planning at Geometry. He most recently served as a freelance strategic consultant at Lida where he worked on Costa Coffee and Experian, and Wunderman, where he was strategy lead on BT’s CRM and Shell’s global CRM. 

Along with Shell and BT, Bedford has led strategy for brands including HSBC, Visa and Vodafone. He was also behind the creation of Vodafone’s content hub “Your Ready Business.” His work has won the IPA Social Works best practice content effectiveness in social media 2015, and he led the Government “Act FAST” campaign which won an IPA Effectiveness Gold. He has also won two Business Marketing Association Awards of Excellence for Thought Leadership and Content Marketing.

  • Friday, Jun. 14, 2019
MPC's NY studio appoints a new head of 2D, hires sr. Flame/Nuke artist
Tim Crean (l) and Julien Aucounturier

Tim Crean has been promoted from VFX supervisor to head of 2D at MPC New York. Additionally, Julien Aucounturier has been hired as sr. Flame/Nuke artist.

Crean has over 20 years of experience in visual effects, motion graphics, design and experiential projects. In addition to working as a sr. artist in different creative studios in Amsterdam and New York, he also co-founded award-winning boutique content studio Suspect in 2003, which worked with global brands such as Hewlett Packard, Time Warner Cable, SAP, Vimeo, Samsung, and Calvin Klein.

Aucounturier has a decade of experience in commercials and film. He’s worked with directors including Peter Lindbergh, Craig Gillespie and Traktor. Aucounturier’s body of work includes the feature film I, Tonya directed by Gillespie ,and the Chanel Le Bleu campaign directed by James Gray.

  • Friday, Jun. 14, 2019
Wild Card adds CFO, chief talent officer, VP of biz development
Ramiro Medina

Creative advertising and entertainment marketing agency Wild Card has bolstered its executive team with the addition of P.J. Nachman as chief financial officer, Ramiro Medina as chief talent officer and Danixa Diaz as VP of business development. 

Alison Temple, Wild Card CEO, said of the three execs, “They bring the experience and strategic insight we’re looking for as we continue to grow and evolve as a creative marketing partner to our clients.” She went on to say that they will “identify talent and expand our capabilities across gaming, brands, film, TV and streaming. This will help us deliver our world building expertise across all our services.” 

Nachman brings over 20 years of senior investment and operating experience to Wild Card. Medina has a diverse background with more than 20 years of HR/Talent experience across aerospace and defense companies as well as lifestyle brands including Red Bull, Machinima and Virgin Hyperloop One. Diaz has spent time behind and in front of the camera, in addition to 20 years experience in business development for a variety of verticals including digital, OTT, brands, mixed media production and experiential. She began her entertainment career in Miami, focusing on the Hispanic and Latin American markets, before expanding her expertise to domestic and other international territories. She was the VP of business development at the Troika Media Group before joining Wild Card. Prior to that she was an executive producer at 3 Ring Circus in Los Angeles.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2019
DNEG adds to global VFX animation team with key hires
Emile Ghorayeb (l) and Keith Roberts

Visual effects, animation and stereo conversion company DNEG has strengthened its VFX animation team across North America and the United Kingdom, with a series of strategic appointments.  

Emile Ghorayeb joins DNEG as head of animation for its London studio, having previously been animation supervisor for Weta Digital on films including Alita: Battle Angel and War for the Planet of the Apes, for which he won an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Live Action Production. Ghorayeb has 20 years of experience as an animator across film, TV, games and feature animation, and other standout projects on his animation credit list include Avengers: Endgame, Jurassic World, Transformers 2, 3 & 4, Halo 3, Shrek 2 & 3 and the Madagascar movies.

Also joining the team in London is VFX veteran and creature animation specialist Keith Roberts, as animation director. Most recently, Roberts has made a significant contribution to Marvel’s cinematic universe, having been animation director on Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man, Thor: The Dark World and both Guardians of the Galaxy films, for which he brought to life to Baby Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Earlier in his career, Roberts supervised the animation of a number of furry and feathery creatures in family favorites such as Garfield, The Cat in the Hat, Scooby-Doo, Aliens in the Attic and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

The global team also saw the recent appointment of animation director Spencer Cook. Based in Montréal, Cook boasts an illustrious career spanning more than 30 years, from stop-motion animation for TV commercials through to digital animation on some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including Alien: Covenant, Beauty and the Beast, Men in Black 3, The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, and Spider-Man 1, 2 & 3. As a life-long monster movie fan, Cook joined DNEG after completing work on Godzilla: King of the Monsters as animation director. He was a key member of the Sony Pictures Imageworks character animation department in Los Angeles for 14 years, and was nominated for a BAFTA Award, a Saturn Award and two VES Awards for his work as animation director on Spider-Man 3.

The trio joins an animation team already rich in experience, including Aaron Gilman, who was recently promoted to head of animation for DNEG’s Vancouver studio. Gilman, who is currently supervising DNEG’s animation work on the upcoming Disney true-life adventure movie Togo, was animation director on Pacific Rim Uprising, one of the biggest projects in DNEG’s history. Gilman’s career achievements to date include several award nominations for his work on Hollywood blockbusters, culminating in an Annie Award nomination for his leadership of the animation of Azog, the fearsome King of the Orcs in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Under the leadership of global head of animation Robyn Luckham, DNEG’s talented VFX animation team has grown substantially in recent years, delivering work on projects such as Avengers: Endgame, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the upcoming Men In Black: International.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2019
Joanne Kim named chief diversity officer at Marcus Thomas
Joanne Kim

Independent creative agency Marcus Thomas LLC has named former chief idea officer Joanne Kim to serve as its chief diversity officer.

In her former role, she oversaw the agency’s creative, production and digital production centers of practice, and was in charge of agency innovation.

In her new role, Kim will work to cultivate an environment that supports and nurtures diversity, while spearheading the development of inclusion initiatives such as organization-wide diversity training and multicultural events. She will also set measurable objectives for recruiting, hiring and maintaining diverse candidates and interns.

Kim will oversee the development and growth of employee resource groups at the agency while being the voice of diversity and inclusion for Marcus Thomas in the ad and local community.

“Marcus Thomas made a strategic commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion two years ago as part of our long range plan. This is just one step that makes a statement to the world about our belief in the importance of equal rights and representation for all to the future of our business,” said Kim.

  • Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2019
ECD Doss, director of creative strategy Saulitis join Compadre
Curtis Doss (l) and Mika Saulitis

Creative marketing agency Compadre has added Curtis Doss as executive creative director and Mika Saulitis as director of creative strategy.

Doss will be responsible for leading design and creative teams while Saulitis will lead brand strategy, positioning, and marketing assignments for the agency. The two will work closely with Compadre co-presidents Chuck Carey and Robert Blatchford and a team of creatives, strategists, writers, designers, directors, and producers.

Prior to joining Compadre, Doss served as creative director at design agency Big Block and creative services company BigStar, where he led creative teams in entertainment marketing, sports branding, and main title design assignments. He also served as art director at Planet Earth Skateboards and DC Shoes, where he focused on skate, surf, and snow markets.

Saulitis has developed positioning and integrated marketing campaigns for clients including Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, and FX. Prior to joining Compadre, Saulitis served as sr. creative strategist at creative branding agency Loyalkaspar, and as communications manager at brand consultancy Troika. 

  • Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2019
Sr. editor Izzy Ehrlich goes back to School
Izzy Ehrlich

Internationally-awarded senior editor Izzy Ehrlich has once again joined forces with Toronto’s School Editing. The move sees Ehrlich come full circle to settle in where her career began.

Having kick-started her career as an assistant at School in 2007, Ehrlich returns with a wealth of experience and a reputation as one of Toronto’s most intuitive and in-demand editors. She recently via Rooster Post Production edited the lauded Gillette spot “Samson,” which features a father helping his transgender son shave for the first time, for Grey Canada.

Ehrlich put all of her creative energy into her career over the past decade, progressing from the assistant chair to the editor table. Along the way, she’s picked up multiple awards, including an AICE Award for Tourism Nova Scotia.

When not bringing the stories behind Adidas, Reebok, Coca-Cola, Dairy Farmers, Coors Light, Budweiser, and Nova Scotia Tourism to life, Ehrlich can be found tearing up the stage on the drums for one of her two bands, Prettyboy and Found Objects. Her passion for music is as natural as her editing style. She sees, hears, writes and cuts in the same sensory way. For her, stories are visualized in shape and color as well as narrative form. 

  • Friday, Jun. 7, 2019
Gizmo Rivera joins The Mission as VFX supervisor/lead Flame artist
Gizmo Rivera
VENICE, Calif. -- 

Effects house The Mission has brought Gizmo Rivera on board as VFX supervisor/lead Flame. With over 15 years at many of the top VFX houses, he has worked on award winning films, commercials, and music videos and is a master of beauty work, character development, projection, particles and complex CG.

Rivera’s work has been featured in high profile spots for brands such as Nike, Coca Cola, Jeep, Lexus, Old Spice, Nissan, Adidas, Audi, Gatorade, Kia, NOS, and Maytag.  He comes to the Mission from MPC. Prior to MPC he spent time at The Mill, a52, and Hydraulx where he worked to create and shape visual effects for major films such as Avatar, Iron Man 2, X-Men Origins, and Wolverine

The Mission’s managing director, Michael Pardee noted, “Not only is Gizmo an incredibly talented visual effects artist, but he also collaborates extremely well with our clients, which is essential when executing high caliber work on tight deadlines.”
Rivera was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, where he loved to draw, read comics, and experiment with street art. His career has been on the fast track since moving to Los Angeles to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a VFX artist. 

  • Friday, Jun. 7, 2019
Senior staff changes at International Cinematographers Guild
ICG staffers (l-r) Alexander Tonisson, Xiomara Comrie and Heather Pearson

The International Cinematographers Guild (ICG, IATSE Local 600) is undergoing major staff changes in both their Western and Eastern Region offices, it was announced by national executive director Rebecca Rhine.
Alexander Tonisson, a 14-year veteran of the labor movement, has been hired as the Guild’s new Western Region director. He most recently served as director of field services to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE, LOCAL 21) running the day-to-day field staff operations in all four regional offices, including all representation, legal work, bargaining and internal/external organizing. Tonisson is accomplished in program development, coalition building, labor organizing, campaign planning and directing, contract negotiations, directing labor communications, managing union staff and research and legal strategy. 
Joining him at Local 600’s Los Angeles office as assistant Western Region director is Xiomara Comrie, until now the Guild’s lead business representative and acting Western Region director. She originally joined the ICG in 2008 as a business representative after a 20-year career as a camera assistant. As the national diversity officer of the ICG, Comrie also works alongside the diversity and women’s committees to increase awareness and promote inclusion and access within the membership and the industry. 
Heather Pearson will become the new in-house legal counsel, succeeding the retiring David Adelstein. Pearson was most recently sr. counsel at the Writers Guild of America West. She graduated from UC Davis Law School and was a captain in the United States Army.
Also joining the International Cinematographers Guild in its New York office as an Eastern Region business representative is Anna Nowlan, a second generation of labor and community organizers in her family, with more than 15 years of experience. She was most recently lead organizer for New Jersey Communities United in Newark, NJ.
Rhine described these and other staffing changes as being “on a scale we have not experienced before.” She added, “It feels to me as if we are at a pivotal moment in our development. This presents an opportunity to move into a higher gear to meet and exceed our members’ expectations.”

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