• Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020
Tiffani Manabat, Harshit Desai join Imaginary Forces
Tiffani Manabat (l) and Harshit Desai
LOS ANGELES -- 

Imaginary Forces (IF) has brought Tiffani Manabat on board as general manager and executive producer, and Harshit Desai as creative director.

Manabat’s background in everything from live action production to the emergence of episodics as VP of commercials at Digital Domain has prepared her to lead IF’s team of analog, digital, and innovative thinkers. “What I suspected about IF is that it’s greater than the sum of its parts, galvanizing everyone in its orbit. This studio deeply understands our success is contingent on the success of our clients and I am genuinely delighted to be here,” said Manabat who added that IF “consistently brings creative fearlessness to the table, with just a touch of healthy naïveté.”

Desai, who moved from Mumbai, India, in 2010, heralds from InSync Plus and Digital Kitchen, where he art directed the Emmy-nominated title for Netflix’s Narcos. His work which is inspired by a strong sense of nostalgia and a true respect for the craft will add another unique layer to the creative leadership at IF.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020
Jeremy Gelade to oversee creative operations, project management at Deutsch
Jeremy Gelade
NEW YORK -- 

Deutsch has hired Jeremy Gelade as SVP, director of creative operations and project management, a new position at the agency.  He will report to Dan Kelleher, chief creative officer of Deutsch’s New York office.  Joining from Translation, Gelade is also a Deutsch “boomeranger,” having previously worked at the agency between 2010 and 2015. 

While at Translation, Gelade served as director of project management and creative operations, working on behalf of major brands including Google, Apple, Jeep, State Farm and the NBA.  In addition to Translation and Deutsch, he’s also gained experience at Lowe NY, StrawberryFrog and Mezzina Brown & Partners.  His projects have earned recognition from the Webby Awards, Cannes Lions, the AICP Show, and the Art Directors Club, to name a few.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020
Jill Landaker Grunes promoted to head of production at FIG
Jill Landaker Grunes
NEW YORK -- 

Creative agency FIG has promoted its award-winning producer, Jill Landaker Grunes, into a new full-time role as head of production.

Grunes will oversee both the production and business affairs departments as well as the agency’s in-house studio. She will collaborate with the agency’s integrated creative, data, media and strategy offerings to nimbly optimize and refine campaigns in market and will continue to expand the definition of what agencies can own and make for brands. 

Grunes began working at FIG in 2016 in a freelance capacity with an extensive background in documentary film and theatre. In this freelance role she led production of the majority of the agency’s output leading to her coming on board full-time to hire a team and set up processes to accommodate growth while maintaining quality. She was promoted to executive producer in early 2018, during which time she helped to establish and expand the agency’s in-house studio offering. 

During her time at FIG, she has been instrumental in the production of many campaigns and projects for brands including Vimeo, Spotify, Macy’s, Virgin Atlantic and CNN. Prior to joining FIG, Grunes founded and led Smartypants Pictures where she produced independent award-winning films and branded content, working with brands and agencies. 

“I’ve loved growing with FIG these last few years and having the opportunity to work with such an exceptional integrated team,” said Grunes. “I look forward to building on FIG’s reputation as creators of exceptional innovative stories.”

Scott Vitrone, partner and chief creative officer at FIG, said, “Jill is one of the most knowledgeable producers I’ve worked with. She brings a calm clarity to every production and always makes our ideas better.” 

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020
Dan Maloney joins Nomad Editing Company
Dan Maloney
NEW YORK -- 

Nomad Editing Company has brought editor Dan Maloney aboard its roster. He will be be based in the NY office.

Prior to joining Nomad, Maloney cut at studios that included Whitehouse Post, Cut+Run, Spot Welders, and Deluxe’s Beast. Throughout his career, Maloney has implemented his eye for composition to a wide range of films, documentaries, branded content and commercials including the seminal Tide “Interview” spot that debuted at Super Bowl XLII to rave reviews and a host of industry awards. 

With Nomad’s vast resources and diverse capabilities, Maloney looks forward to not only fulfilling the visions of directors and agencies, but also refining his own approach. “My editing style revolves mostly around performance and capturing that key moment. Whether I’m doing a comedic or dramatic piece, I try to find that instance where an actor feels ‘locked in’ and expand the narrative out from there.”

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020
David Prescott to head DNEG's feature animation team in L.A.
David Prescott
LOS ANGELES -- 

Visual effects and feature animation studio DNEG has appointed former Skydance SVP David Prescott to lead the expansion of its feature animation team into Los Angeles.

As SVP of creative production for feature animation at DNEG, Prescott will work closely with managing director of feature animation Tom Jacomb to build a client-facing team designed to support filmmakers around the world. Based in LA, the team will comprise of senior creative and production staff and will provide a range of services at various stages of the feature animation process, including pitching and development support, creative supervision and production management.

One of Prescott’s early areas of focus will be the implementation of a distributed production model for feature animation, leveraging DNEG’s facilities in Montreal and Mumbai, as well as London and LA, and pulling in creative talent from across the DNEG group to support the needs of feature animation clients.   

Prescott has almost 30 years of experience working as a creative director and VFX supervisor on live-action and feature animation projects, at companies such as DreamWorks Animation, Technicolor and Digital Domain. In his most recent role at Skydance, Prescott was responsible for the management of everything from technology development to the creative collaboration between filmmakers, artists and producers.

Prescott said: “Feature animation is in an incredible position in the entertainment industry, with strong market growth and animated features regularly appearing in lists of the highest grossing films of the year. I was drawn to the opportunity at DNEG both because of the company’s creative credentials, and because of the wealth of talent across its global facilities. This gives us the ability to bring together creative talent from all aspects of DNEG’s global business to provide the very best service to filmmakers, specifically tailored to the requirements of their projects. I think this puts DNEG in a unique position in the industry.”

Jacomb said: “I am over the moon to be working with David again. He was my VFX supervisor on Rise of the Guardians during our time at DreamWorks, and he is one of a very select pool of senior creatives in our industry who understand the requirements of both visual effects and feature animation at the highest level.”

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2020
Moxie hires EP Michael Lenic
Michael Lenic
NEW YORK -- 

Michael Lenic has joined Moxie Pictures as executive producer. Based in New York, Lenic will be working with co-owners Robert Fernandez and Dan Levinson, and with Moxie’s in-house sales and talent management team, Katrin Lanternier and Katie Goldstein. 

Lenic will team with VP and executive producer Karol Zeno and will be involved in all aspects of the company’s commercial and narrative projects.

Lenic brings to Moxie a wealth of experience in the production and agency worlds. He has creative produced for Droga5, 72andSunny and Google, and has line produced at m ss ng p eces, Variable, RadicalMedia, and The Mill+.

  • Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020
Mike Chambers re-elected as VES Board chair
Mike Chambers
LOS ANGELES -- 

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has announced its 2020 Board of Directors officers. The officers, who comprise the VES Board Executive Committee, were elected at the January 2020 Board meeting. The officers include Mike Chambers, who was re-elected as Board chair.

“Our Society is proud and fortunate to have strong, impassioned leadership represented on our Executive Committee,” said Eric Roth, VES director. “This dedicated group of professionals gives their considerable expertise and volunteer time to our organization. And I’m excited about their collective vision and plans to advance our global membership even further.”

The 2020 Officers of the VES Board of Directors are:
--Chair: Mike Chambers
--1st Vice Chair: Lisa Cooke
--2nd Vice Chair: Emma Clifton Perry
--Treasurer: Laurie Blavin
--Secretary: Rita Cahill

Mike Chambers, Chair
Chambers is a freelance Visual Effects Producer and Independent VFX Consultant, specializing in large-scale feature film productions. He is currently in postproduction on Tenet, his fourth collaboration with esteemed writer-producer-director Christopher Nolan. Other recent credits include Greyhound, Dunkirk, Alice Through The Looking Glass, Transcendence and The Dark Knight Rises. Chambers has contributed to the visual effects efforts on numerous Academy and BAFTA awarwinning films, and he has personally won three VES Awards for Best Visual Effects, on Dunkirk, Inception, and The Day After Tomorrow. He was also nominated for his work on I Am Legend. Chambers is beginning his sixth term as chair of the VES. He has been a member for over 20 years, serving multiple terms on the Board of Directors, and he has previously served on the Executive Committee as both vice chair and secretary. He is also a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), and the Producers Guild of America (PGA).

Lisa Cooke, 1st Vice Chair
Cooke has spent more than 20 years as an animation/VFX producer, creative consultant, screenwriter and actor. Firmly believing that it is vital for science to effectively communicate its truths to a broader audience, she started Green Ray Media, and for the last 10-plus years, has been using animation and VFX to help science communicate the amazing stories it has to tell. In the past, Cooke has worked for clients including Lucasfilm, Fox, Nickelodeon Films, ABC, CBS, Paramount and Universal, and in the VFX and animation industry for companies including Pixar, Glasgow-based Digital Animations Group, and Tippett Studio. As sr. producer at Reardon Studios, she helped bring the MOVA Contour reality capture to the film industry. Cooke has also taught story structure at the SF Academy of Art, JFK University and Ex’pression College, and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. She served six years on the Bay Area Board of Managers before joining the VES Board of Directors, where she serves as chair of the Archive Committee and was 2nd vice chair in 2019.

Emma Clifton Perry, 2nd Vice Chair
Perry is a sr. compositor with more than 15 years experience working across feature films, longform/TV series, commercials and advertising. Perry has worked both in house with FOX and at VFX facilities worldwide including WETA Digital, Framestore, MPC, Rising Sun Pictures, DrD, Method Studios and The Mill, working both as an artist and in leadership roles. She is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand, offering remote compositing and vfx consulting services worldwide. She also provides guest lecturing services to various universities, having herself studied at the NCCA, Bournemouth University,UK. In recent years Perry has served several terms as chair, co-chair and secretary/treasurer on the VES New Zealand Board of Managers. She is currently in her fourth year on the VES Board of Directors.

Laurie Blavin, Treasurer
Blavin’s 20-year career spans the culture, creativity, and technology of both Hollywood and Silicon Valley. A proven leader with expertise in building and managing creative and technical teams, she counsels companies and professionals in strategy, brand value stewardship, and full-cycle staffing and recruiting for international companies large and small, startup and established businesses. She is passionate about humanizing the technology side of organizations, while supporting the seeming
chaos that sometimes accompanies visionary innovation. On the VFX and Entertainment front, Blavin has worked at or for Dreamworks Animation, The Orphanage, Scanline VFX, MPC, and Technicolor. Prior to focusing on VFX, she worked at AOL, Vivid Studios, Walmart.com, and Blurb. Away from work, Blavin is a collector and curator of fine photography and spends time behind the camera on personal projects. This is Blavin’s first term on the VES Board of Directors.

Rita Cahill, Secretary
Cahill is an international business and marketing/PR consultant for a number of US, Chinese, Canadian, UK and EU companies for visual effects and animation projects. Current and former clients include companies in the feature film, television, VR and game industries, as well as government and educational entities. She is also a partner in MakeBelieve Entertainment, a film development company and serves as Executive Producer on a number of international projects. Previously, Cahill was the VP marketing for Cinesite where she oversaw the marketing of four divisions of the pioneering digital studio’s services. Prior to Cinesite, Cahill was a founding Board member of the Mill Valley Film Festival/California Film Institute and remains on the Institute’s Emeritus Board of Directors. Cahill was also the founding consultant on the formation and establishment of the Singapore International Film Festival. This is Cahill’s sixth term as secretary. Previously, Cahill served as chair or co-chair of the VES Summit for eight years. 

  • Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020
Terry McCarthy named American Society of Cinematographers’ CEO
Terry McCarthy
LOS ANGELES -- 

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has named Terry McCarthy as CEO of the organization. In this newly created role, McCarthy is responsible for all business matters relating to the Society, including events, educational efforts, and publishing.

With more than 30 years of experience in journalism, McCarthy is a four-time Emmy® winner and recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award. He also brings extensive non-profit management experience to the ASC, having previously served as president of the American Academy in Berlin, and prior to that as president and CEO of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.

“Terry’s exceptional background in media and global relationship building will help to guide our ongoing outreach and visibility, and expand our publishing and web activities,” said Kees van Oostrum, ASC president. “Our mission is to drive cinematography into the future, steering the conversations around modern image making. The Society and its members are uniquely able to play an important role in maintaining the intentions of filmmakers amidst an expansive landscape of new tools and distribution platforms.”

McCarthy has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America as a reporter, covering political, military and societal issues for TIME magazine, ABC News and CBS News. He speaks six languages--English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.

McCarthy said, “The entire industry is going through a period of creative disruption. Cinematographers, with one foot in the artistic side and one foot in the technology side, are perfectly placed to play a major role in determining how movies, television and even video games will look in the future. The ASC will shape this discussion through our educational efforts both with our Master Classes, technology committees and public talks at the Clubhouse, as well as in the pages of our magazine, American Cinematographer.”

On the heels of announcing ASC’s associate membership with IMAGO (the International Federation of Cinematographers), van Oostrum highlights ambitious plans for the ASC moving into 2020. “We plan to further expand our international sessions of the popular ASC Master Classes. We will also program and host our biennial International Summit in June.”

McCarthy added that there will be special events throughout the year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of American Cinematographer. “This magazine continues to have iconic status, and by the end of this year we will have every one of its 1,200 issues available in a searchable online database--a real treasure trove of 100 years of cinematography!”

The work of several ASC Committees rounds out the Society’s commitment to advancing the art of cinematography, including the Motion Imaging Technology Council, Vision Committee, and Education and Outreach group.

The ASC comprises over 400 members around the world, with over 200 associate members working in allied sectors of the industry.

  • Monday, Jan. 13, 2020
Brand New School hires Magnus Hierta as exec creative director
Magnus Hierta
NEW YORK -- 

Brand New School has brought Magnus Hierta on board as executive creative director at its Los Angeles studio. Hierta has had a diverse career, from ECD of Hue & Cry, the design and animation studio he founded, to a VP/creative director role at The Martin Agency. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and began using animation as a means to relay concepts in his building designs. Hierta then shifted into design and animation, as the industry was beginning to coalesce in his native Los Angeles.

During his tenure at The Martin Agency, he was pivotal in winning and managing the global Oreo account, beginning with the “Wonderfilled” campaign. The need for consistent design-focused content led Hierta to start Hue & Cry in 2014 as an animation division of The Martin Agency, working on Geico and UPS, in addition to Oreo. In 2018 he spun-off Hue & Cry as an independently owned and operated studio, seeing the need for a top-tier design company that would use an amplified understanding of agency-side thinking to make better work for clients. Its efforts garnered international awards, including Cannes Lions, AICP, Effie, One Show, and D&AD.

“I think any creative will tell you that we pour all our love for design and making into what we do,” said Hierta. “Brand New School is the perfect place for me to contribute my varied experience and passion.”

Devin Brook, managing partner of Brand New School, added, “As we continue to develop relationships with both brands and agencies, Magnus represents the unique intersection of those two streams of our business. Having collaborated with Magnus over the years, his thoughtful leadership on both the agency and production sides combined with his acute eye for design add immense value to Brand New School.”

  • Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020
Nice Shoes launches editorial division, hires Adam Liebowitz as creative director
Adam Liebowitz
NEW YORK -- 

Nice Shoes has hired Adam Liebowitz as creative director of editorial. This marks the NYC-based creative studio’s official launch of a dedicated creative editorial division, with a roster of talent led by executive producer Tara Holmes.

Liebowitz comes to Nice Shoes after two decades at his own editorial studio, Go Robot!, and cutting at a number of other top editorial shops. Nice Shoes’ division has grown in reaction to evolving client needs, adding a highly curated slate of creative editors to complement its lineup of artists and producers. The roster of editorial talent will work across Nice Shoes’ global network of interconnected offices in NYC, Chicago, Toronto, Minneapolis and Boston.

Liebowitz’s has cut projects for such clients as Apple, IBM, UPS, AT&T, Verizon, FedEx, Nike, and NASCAR. His work has earned him recognition from Cannes Lions, AICP, Clios, AICE, and London Film Awards, among numerous other honors.

In addition to Liebowitz, the international roster features creative editors with backgrounds across multiple genres, including Marcos Castiel, Rami D’Aguiar, Colin Loughlin, John Maloney, Michael Reuter and Dan Suter. Nice Shoes has leveraged its integrated internal creative offerings on a number of recent projects, including a Gillette spot cut by D’Aguiar, AAA and Lipton spots edited by Castiel, an eBay spot from Reuter, as well as two Verizon Visible campaigns edited by Loughlin, both of which engaged the artistry of Nice Shoes’ VFX, design, and color teams.

The growth into a dedicated editorial division comes on the heels of adding two new colorists: Maria Carretero in New York, and Yulia Bulashenko in Toronto, as well as executive producer Kirsten Anderson in Boston. Both Holmes and managing director Justin Pandolfino have been instrumental in this strategic growth, adapting to industry shifts and addressing expanding client needs across advertising, entertainment, experiential and emerging technology.

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