• Thursday, Jun. 6, 2019
Kathleen Kennedy elected AFI Board of Trustees chair
Kathleen Kennedy
LOS ANGELES -- 

The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced that producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has been elected Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees. Kennedy will lead the AFI Trustees to set the Institute’s priorities and guide its national education programs. Kennedy succeeds Sir Howard Stringer, who served as chair of the AFI Board of Trustees since 1999.

Robert A. Daly remains chair of the AFI Board of Directors, a position he has held since 2009.

“More than 50 years ago, the AFI was created to advance and elevate the art of film, and it has been my privilege to uphold that mission for two decades,” said Stringer. “I pass the torch to Kathleen Kennedy with great confidence, for she is a visionary who has not only long served as an AFI Trustee, but will also lead the Institute into the future with her signature taste, talent and intellect.”

“It is a distinct honor to be elected as chair of the AFI Board of Trustees,” said Kennedy. “AFI’s commitment to the power of storytelling — coupled with its profound respect for the past — is an inspiration in our modern day, and I look forward to working with the Trustees and the incomparable Bob Daly with the goal to shine an even greater light upon the impact these stories have in our nation and around the world.”

Eight-time Academy Award® nominee Kennedy is one of the most successful and respected producers and executives in the film industry today. Most recently, she received the Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 2018 for her contributions to the art form. She joined Lucasfilm in 2012, personally selected by George Lucas to lead the company. Kennedy has produced or executive-produced nearly 100 films. Among her credits are many of the highest-grossing films in motion picture history, such as the recent Star Wars entries, Jurassic Park, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Sixth Sense.

  • Thursday, Jun. 6, 2019
Jason Mayo named COO of Chimney North America
Jason Mayo
NEW YORK -- 

The Chimney Group has added Jason Mayo to its New York office, where he will occupy the role of chief operating officer for North America. He joins at a time of significant worldwide growth for Chimney Group, an independently owned Stockholm-based creation agency with offices in 11 cities and 8 countries worldwide. 

Prior to joining Chimney, Mayo was the managing director and partner of NYC Digital Media Studio, Click 3X. His expertise helped grow the studio from a 20 person VFX boutique to a fully integrated digital production company with over 75 full-time employees spanning designers, animators, live-action directors, producers, developers, editors, colorists, and VFX artists. 

The Chimney Group’s recent foray into the North American market includes the opening of studios in New York and Los Angeles and the hiring of over 35 people, including the recent addition of chief client officer Kristen Martini. Mayo will work closely with North American CEO Marcelo Gandola to bring the Swedish operational and creative model to the States, delivering brand strategy as well as full-service production and postproduction capabilities to multiple verticals.

Mayo said, “What attracted me is Chimney being able to leverage their full power of resources around the globe. We need to make budgets and schedules work harder for our clients, and having a 24/7 production and post pipeline is a powerful package we can offer clients on a global scale.”

Chimney has also recently added sales representation in three US markets, signing with HERO MGMT’s Harrison Elkins to handle representation on the West Coast, Helen O’Brien to rep the company in the Midwest, and Meredith Machial of Liaison who will represent the company in Texas.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
W. Joe DeMiero named president of Publicis Hawkeye 
W. Joe DeMiero
DALLAS -- 

Publicis Hawkeye, a fully integrated marketing agency delivering data-driven customer experiences and advertising, has named W. Joe DeMiero as its president, reporting to Andrew Bruce, CEO of Publicis Communications North America. DeMiero comes over from Team One, Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis Groupe’s premium and aspirational brand agency. At Team One, DeMiero was head of digital, primarily working on the marquee Lexus business. In his role as president, DeMiero will be responsible for the management and continued growth of Publicis Hawkeye.

DeMiero succeeds founder and CEO Steve Dapper, who after starting the legacy agency 20-years ago, and with a tenure of 50-years in advertising, will be retiring.

Bruce said of DeMiero, “His digital chops and transformational thinking will perfectly complement the expertise and passion that fuels our executive team. Steve Dapper leaves some big shoes to fill and a rich legacy of client centricity that Joe will use as a springboard to drive the agency forward.”

DeMiero commented, “For the past 20-years, Hawkeye has been one of the few agencies founded on data-driven customer experiences and advertising, thanks to Steve’s visionary leadership. He’s an icon in our industry, and leaves a legacy of creativity and innovation. As we look to the next two decades and to the rise in the importance of data, Hawkeye is well-positioned to guide our clients into the future. I’m both humbled and excited about this opportunity.”

Dapper concluded, “I’m so thrilled to be passing the baton to Joe for the next leg of the Hawkeye journey. I know he will run it with compassion, curiosity and smarts.”

DeMiero is recognized as a digital transformation leader, helping brands like Lexus, T-Mobile, Honda/Acura, Amazon, and Procter & Gamble leverage technology to improve customer experiences and drive business results. Since 2015, DeMiero has been head of digital at Team One, working with clients including Lexus, The Ritz-Carlton, and Indian Motorcycle. He helped lead Lexus’ enterprise-wide digital transformation initiative, including rolling-out use of first- and third-party customer data across paid and owned channels, standing-up a new enterprise technology stack, cloud migration, website redesigns, development of dealer digital retailing tools, and implementing Agile and DevOps as operational frameworks. In 2017, DeMiero founded TiltShift, Publicis Groupe’s immersive reality capability, which has created industry-first XR experiences for brands like Lexus, Procter & Gamble, and Whirlpool.

Before joining Team One, DeMiero led the successful Honda/Acura digital agency of record pitch, and then opened and led the Razorfish Los Angeles office in support of the account. He led the T-Mobile digital agency of record during its industry-revolutionizing “Un-carrier” brand re-launch, and also led client relationships with Visa, Amazon, and Qualcomm. 

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
Cut+Run promotes Ellese Shell, Marcia Wigley to EP, head of production, respectively
Ellese Shell
NEW YORK -- 

Cut+Run’s New York office has promoted Ellese Shell to executive producer and Marcia Wigley to head of production.

Shell started her career at Cut+Run. Working her way from front desk to head of production, Shell has been an integral part of the company from the beginning. 

Wigley is a New York native whose life-long passion for film was explored as a Cinema Studies major and in her early career in production for Paramount and Viacom. She found her true calling and community in postproduction, producing a wide variety of projects at Lost Planet and the Whitehouse before joining Cut+Run. 

Cut+Run operates under a borderless philosophy making its editors available worldwide on location and via its locations in London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin. The company and its editors have contributed to many category-defining and award-winning projects including those honored by AICP, D&AD, Cannes Lions, Clios and more.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
Bindery adds producer Jason Goldman
Jason Goldman
NEW YORK -- 

Indie film and content studio Bindery has brought Jason Goldman on board as a producer. The hire comes at a time of momentum and growth for the seven-year-old NY-based company, which recently won two Sports Emmys for its Netflix original documentary, Zion.

Reporting to EP Carter Collins, Goldman will be tasked with managing all aspects of day-to-day production on select Bindery projects--from development to physical production to post--on both branded content and original films. He will work across Bindery’s roster of clients that include Apple, Facebook, Google, Nike and Sony.

Prior to Bindery, Goldman was a producer at Brooklyn-based production and entertainment company Public Record. While there, he produced a short documentary, Sidelined, that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was developed and produced with AE Indie Films and premiered on Lifetime. It was also nominated for the 2018 IDA (International Documentary Association) Best Short Doc Award.

Throughout his career, Goldman has produced award-winning short films, feature length documentaries and countless brand campaigns shot around the world. Some of his earliest producing work came under the tutelage of acclaimed documentarian Albert Maysles, where he learned the foundation of vérite filmmaking firsthand. Since then, he’s collaborated on storytelling with brands such as IBM, Samsung, L’Oreal, Prada and Uniqlo.

In 2014, Goldman was selected to participate in Binger Filmlab, an Amsterdam-based international feature-film development center, allowing him to develop projects while being coached and mentored by internationally acclaimed advisors. He was also accepted into the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker program at the Cannes Film Festival, a prestigious spotlight of upcoming filmmakers.  

  • Wednesday, May. 29, 2019
Dave Garcia joins Band Pro as sr. service engineer
Dave Garcia
BURBANK, Calif. -- 

Band Pro has added industry veteran Dave Garcia to its Burbank service department in the role of sr. service engineer. 

An 18-year Sony service and repair professional, Garcia started his career at Sony in the display group servicing PVM and BVM series monitors. He then transitioned to Sony’s VTR group, working with the Betacam BVW, before ultimately advancing to the camera group, repairing Sony’s top professional camera lines including the PMW & PDW series and Sony VENICE.

Available services at Band Pro include firmware upgrades, fast hardware trouble shooting, and state-of-the-art camera, recorder, and lens repairs. Band Pro is an Authorized Sony Warranty Service Center. Additionally, Band Pro’s service department can manage service for most major cinema or broadcast manufacturers. 

  • Thursday, May. 23, 2019
John Kilshaw joins Framestore as sr. VFX supervisor/creative director for TV
John Kilshaw

Framestore has added sr. visual effects supervisor and creative director John Kilshaw who will be based in New York and continue to build the company’s presence within episodic television.

With more than 15 years of experience, Kilshaw comes to Framestore after previously holding roles at a number of VFX facilities including DNEG, ILM, Lucasfilm, Method, and Zoic. His extensive film credits include several Harry Potter installments, The Avengers, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and he has worked on hit television shows such as Marvel’s Iron Fist, The Defenders, Cary Fukunaga’s Maniac and FBI thriller Quantico.

‘Episodic gives us the opportunity to create fantastic visual effects for an audience whose expectations have never been higher’, said Charles Howell, managing director, Framestore New York. ‘I’m looking forward to welcoming John, his passion, and experience in the field as we continue our global expansion in this area.’

Framestore’s episodic division has been working on a roster of shows that include His Dark Materials for BBC and HBO, The Boys for Amazon Prime Video and See for the new Apple TV+ streaming service, Framestore is providing VFX work on several other BBC, Channel 4, and Netflix productions.

Kilshaw holds a BA in photography and design from North Staffordshire Polytechnic and an MA in 3D computer animation from Bournemouth University.

  • Thursday, May. 23, 2019
Andrew Gordon joins DNEG as head of character animation
Andrew Gordon
LONDON -- 

Visual effects, animation and stereo conversion company DNEG has appointed industry Andrew Gordon as head of character animation for its feature animation team, at the shop’s headquarters in London.

Gordon joins managing director of feature animation Tom Jacomb, animation director Troy Saliba and VFX supervisor Philippe Denis in leading DNEG’s rapidly growing feature animation team.

With more than 20 years’ experience in feature animation at Pixar and Warner Bros., Gordon has an impressive credit list that includes many blockbuster animated franchises such as Ratatouille, Monsters University, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars and The Incredibles 1 & 2.

Throughout his career, Gordon has received global recognition for bringing to life iconic characters such as Mike Wazowski--the green, one-eyed star of the hugely successful Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University films, for which he was animator/character designer and directing animator, respectively; and Marlin in Finding Nemo, for which he won a VES Award for Outstanding Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture.

Jacomb said of Gordon, “His natural and inspirational leadership style, combined with his knowledge and creativity, particularly when it comes to creating characters that audiences really connect with, are invaluable assets that will strengthen our capabilities and play a crucial role in the future growth of the team.

“DNEG has a global reputation for helping storytellers capture audiences’ imaginations through our combination of industry leading technology and an internal philosophy focused on creativity, which has helped us to win four Oscars in the last five years. Now, we want to emulate this success for feature animation. Andrew is joining us at the perfect time, and alongside Troy and Philippe he will play a crucial role in elevating DNEG’s feature animation capabilities on the global stage.”

(The alluded to four Best Visual Effects Oscars in the past five years were for First Man, Blade Runner 2049, Ex Machina and Interstellar.)

In his new role, Gordon will help to foster a culture of creativity that allows animators to thrive by actively promoting and encouraging the sharing of ideas and new ways of thinking. Well known among industry peers for creating the “Lucky 7 Lounge” at Pixar, a secret room accessible through a small hatch in his office frequented by the likes of Steve Jobs, Gordon will focus on harnessing the team’s diverse experience and talents to develop a bespoke look and feel for each feature.

Gordon said, “I am delighted to be joining such a dedicated and hardworking team, led by the amazing Tom Jacomb, at an exciting stage in its journey. Together we are creating a working environment where each film is not just treated as a task, but rather as a collaboration--a chance for everyone to input their individual creativity and character.

“I’m excited to be here in London, which is one of the most diverse capital cities in the world. I believe that London’s rich history provides the perfect environment for our team--a melting pot of creativity that lends itself perfectly to feature animation.“

Gordon will be delivering a masterclass entitled “Acting and Gesture in Animation” at Annecy International Animation Film Festival on June 11.

  • Wednesday, May. 22, 2019
HouseSpecial signs director John Robson 
John Robson
PORTLAND, Ore. -- 

Animation studio HouseSpecial has signed director John Robson. He brings a digitally rich portfolio that includes the Vimeo Staff Pick CG short Quality Time and memorable content for brands including Xbox One X, Nike, IBM, Apple, Gnarls Barkley and Campbell’s Soup. A Southern California native, Robson refined his accomplished narrative sensibilities in Los Angeles at studios such as Blind, ManvsMachine, Brand New School and Motion Theory.

Robson is also the founder of Late Lunch Inc, a studio specializing in live action and post production, including 3D animation, conceptual design, compositing and virtual reality.

A former UC Santa Barbara Film major, Robson is looking forward to discovering Oregon’s lush natural scenery while working in a globally known maker culture that embraces tactile creation and digital experimentation.

  • Tuesday, May. 21, 2019
VMLY&R names Gilroy, Nadarajah joint directors of global diversity, equity and inclusion
Suba Nadarajah (l) and Tasha Gilroy
NEW YORK -- 

VMLY&R has appointed two leaders to spearhead the agency’s expanding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives across its global network. Tasha Gilroy and Suba Nadarajah, joint directors of diversity, equity and inclusion, will lead VMLY&R’s global DEI strategy. They will be focused on introducing new programs and partnerships that build on the agency’s inclusive culture and diverse workforce, and drive continued cultural literacy, awareness, and acceptance across the organization. Both roles will report to Ronnie Felder, executive director of human resources.

Gilroy will lead talent and partnership initiatives that build VMLY&R’s pipeline of top talent in North America and globally. In this role, she will guide the vision and execution for an equitable talent recruitment and retention strategy across the network. She will continue managing and growing the agency’s many existing relationships with partner organizations such as 4A’s MAIP, ColorComm, AAF Mosaic Center for Multiculturalism, One Club for Creativity, and 3% Conference.

Nadarajah will lead the development and implementation of internal strategies that nurture a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable global culture. In this role, she will cultivate independent employee networks and programs and wider industry support systems in collaboration with organizations such as NAAAP, Mid-America GLCC, and GLAAD. She will also lead in-agency advocacy, identifying and advancing best practices, education, and employee engagement programs that promote progressive environments where all talent can thrive. 

“Our goal is for the diversity of our teams to reflect the diversity of the world we create for,” said Jon Cook, VMLY&R global CEO. “While we’ve taken many steps forward—as a Top 100 Best Adoption Friendly Workplace and committed partner to organizations like the 3% Movement—we know how much work we have left to do. DEI is a critical dimension of our success as an agency and industry, and we will continue our education and investment to support an inclusive, diverse workforce and pipeline of leaders.”

Gilroy and Nadarajah will work together to introduce new programs across the U.S. and global markets such as Brave Questions, Safe Spaces (BQSS) a platform designed to promote intersectional dialogue, awareness, and community. It encourages employees to engage in respectful conversations about cultures or perspectives they may otherwise feel nervous discussing. BQSS has sponsored thought-provoking conversations with notable guests such as Academy Award-winning “BlacKkKlansman” co-writer Kevin Willmott and Telly Leung, star of Fox’s hit series “Glee” and Disney’s “Aladdin” on Broadway.

Gilroy has served in culture and inclusion roles for the past 13 years. Most recently, she was director of inclusion and community for Y&R. Over the years, she has introduced a range of high-impact programs including unconscious bias executive training and employee programs that have forged access and opportunities for women, people of color, and the industry’s most underrepresented groups. Gilroy is a member of ColorComm and an active supporter of Advancing Women Executives and The Bougie Brunch Group. 

Nadarajah has been an influential thought leader on the role of design and creativity in promoting equality. She previously served as the director of design for VML, leading design and branding counsel for client teams. Her experience spans senior design roles at Hallmark, River City Studio, Bernstein-Rein and Blacktop Creative. Over the years she has worked on major brands such as Walmart, McDonald’s, Sprint, and Bayer, and earned recognition from The One Show, Art Directors Club, and Addy Awards for her work. Nadarajah has also been an adjunct professor at the Kansas City Art Institute and University of Central Missouri, where she taught branding and design systems.

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