• Friday, Mar. 27, 2020
Imaginary Forces adds creative director Izik Roitman
Izik Roitman

Creative director Izik Roitman has joined Imaginary Forces (IF). With many years of experience in building heavy CGI pipelines, Roitman fills a unique space on IF’s director roster. According to Peter Frankfurt, co-founder and executive creative director, “as our pipelines evolve over the foreseeable future and as our team continues to operate remotely, adding a savvy creative leader who is looking for new ways to conceptualize work is a great fit.”

Roitman, a native of Tel Aviv, spent his early career in Israel as a Flame artist, quickly progressing to directing, integrating, and dreaming up high-end visual effects. After moving to the U.S. and becoming a creative director, Roitman had a tenure at Superfad and Mirada Studios. During that time he was behind many iconic pieces: from Katy Perry music videos and Super Bowl campaigns, to a high publicized iPhone launch. 

Roitman has been freelancing at IF for eight months, directing an effervescent throw for the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV halftime show, a VFX heavy teaser for Apple TV+, and a new anthem for Epix broadcast network. 

  • Thursday, Mar. 26, 2020
Alkemy X adds VFX supervisors Mack, Nash
Bilali Mack (l) and Erin Nash

Alkemy X has hired VFX supervisors Bilali Mack and Erin Nash in its NYC office. Mack comes to Alkemy X from MPC, where he supervised and executed VFX on spots for brands including Adidas, Sonos, Google and BMW. Nash joins the team from FuseFX where he served as head of 2D, leveraging his experience across television, film and commercial work. Mack will be serving as VFX supervisor on the upcoming STARZ Power Book III: Raising Kanan, utilizing his expertise at the intersection of technology and artistry to amplify the storytelling with heightened visuals. Nash’s credits include work on the feature comedy Hail Caesar!, and series including Game of Thrones, Iron First, The Walking Dead, The Defenders and Warrior

The hires come on the heels of a year of steady growth for the visual effects division, with work for such series as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Fear the Walking Dead and Blindspot. Mack and Nash will join a lineup of VFX talent with experience on award-winning episodic series, feature films and branded content, led by VFX creative director Dave Zeevalk and executive producer Mark Miller.

Mack graduated with a B.F.A. in animation and media from Emerson College. He has honed his approach as an artist with stints at Brickyard VFX, Smoke & Mirrors and MPC, working with directors including Saam Farahmand, Dave Myers, The Russo Brothers and Lance Acord. 

Nash boasts over a decade of experience in CG and compositing with industry shops like FuseFX, Zoic Studios, The Mill, The Molecule, Psyop and Artjail. He holds a B.A. in Art from Ursinus College, as well as a diploma in Visual Effects from 3dsense Media School. 

  • Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2020
The Mill adds Webb, Carroll to creative leadership team in Chicago
From the top left, clockwise: Bradon Webb, Adam Carroll, Udesh Chetty and Donnie Bauer

The Mill has hired Bradon Webb and promoted Adam Carroll to serve as creative directors in its Chicago studio. They join the existing creative leadership team of Udesh Chetty and Donnie Bauer.

To support The Mill’s broad range of creative services, each of the newly appointed creative directors will be focusing on the growth and development of their respective departments, establishing The Mill’s robust offering to the Midwest market, from creative concept and direction, to design, visual effects and experiential marketing. 

Webb comes over from Leviathan to lead The Mill’s Experience offering, ensuring the continued research and development into new creative opportunities that employ emerging technologies. Webb’s cross-disciplinary work happens at the intersection of art and technology. He specializes in finding innovative and engaging solutions for agencies and brands to reach their audiences and tell their stories, across multiple formats.

As industry focus shifts from shoot-based creative to digital storytelling techniques, established creative leads, VFX and shoot supervisors Carroll and Chetty will champion the visual effects arm of The Mill, continuing the team’s work on crafting world-class visual effects and exploring new digital solutions to tell brand stories.

Bauer, a celebrated and awarded expert in animation, will continue to lead The Mill’s Chicago-based design team but also take on a wider role in overall creative stewardship for the department. Bauer’s focus will lie in exploring design-led creative opportunities for clients, working closely with the Mill Experience and VFX teams to push digital boundaries. 

Erica Hilbert, managing director of The Mill in Chicago, said, “With this strong creative team at the helm, we hope to continue to guide the Midwest creative market - even through this difficult and uncertain time - providing a range of digital creative solutions to ensure agencies, brands and our production partners can continue to tell great stories and get work made.” 

  • Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2020
Creative director Ninaad Kulkarni joins Nice Shoes
Ninaad Kulkarni

Creative studio Nice Shoes has hired creative director Ninaad Kulkarni as part of its growing experiential division. A 3D artist, immersive storyteller and animation filmmaker with a background in traditional and 3D animation, Kulkarni was selected in 2019 as part of the Forbes “30 Under 30” India class. He comes to NYC-based Nice Shoes having worked with Audi, among other leading brands.

Kulkarni established himself as a nontraditional filmmaker to watch following the success of his thesis short film KCLOC. This artful visual exploration of the concept of time was showcased at MoMA, winning the prestigious Red-Dot Award, Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers Award and the AT&T Film Award, as well as being selected for screening at over 130 international film festivals. His most recent project, a collaborative virtual reality film The Other Side VR, is the first-ever immersive experience based on the Partition of India, which fuses woodcut--a traditional printmaking technique--and 3D animation. He’s currently working to expand the experience, adding more stories and interviews as well as launching it to a wider audience. 

Kulkarni studied at the National Institute of Design, India and earned his M.F.A. in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

  • Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020
Framestore taps Christian Nielsen to lead CG in L.A.
Christian Nielsen

Oscar-winning creative studio Framestore has tapped Christian Nielsen as head of CG in its Los Angeles office, bringing with him over 20 years of industry experience in commercial and film work.

Nielsen--who reports directly to Duncan Burbidge, Framestore L.A.’s managing director--will be charged with overseeing the studio’s roster of CG supervisors, CG leads and discipline supervisors, advising them on strategic, technical and creative decisions, as well as providing on-set supervision through to delivery of projects. 

Joining Framestore from The Mill in New York where he spent over eight years, first as CG supervisor followed by head of CG/VFX supervisor, Nielsen has worked on brands like PlayStation, Bud Light, AT&T, and Gillette, and alongside notable directors such as Peter Berg, Wayne McClammy and Martin de Thurah. 

Most notably, he led the team that worked closely alongside Bud Light’s creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy, on 10 spots for the brand’s famed “Dilly Dilly” campaign--two of which aired during the 2018 Super Bowl. As VFX/CG supervisor on Playstation’s “The King,” he and the team worked across assets from approximately 30 different games, including characters from God of War, Call of Duty, Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn, and more.  

Prior to The Mill, Nielsen also spent time at Framestore in London working on The Tale of Despereaux--the company’s first feature animation film. 

Nielsen has received a host of industry accolades, including a Cannes Gold Lion, D&AD, Clios, VES and Webby Awards. He studied CG and animation at Truemax in Copenhagen, and is a member of the Visual Effects Society.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2020
Melissa Lubin joins Union NY as executive producer
Melissa Lubin

Bicoastal Union Editorial has hired Melissa Lubin as executive producer in its New York office where she will be heading up new initiatives and pursuing expanded business opportunities for the company. Lubin will team with Union partner Caryn Maclean who now takes on the title of managing director. Prior to joining Union, Lubin spent four years as EP at Beast Editorial NY, a division of Deluxe Entertainment Services, Inc. 

Lubin said she was drawn to Union’s high-caliber work, the “sterling reputation” of its people and the company’s forward-thinking vision. “In addition to award-winning spot work, Union has its eyes on the future, pursuing more docuseries and other interesting projects,” she said. “What they’ve done via Union Entertainment Group with regard to originating content is quite impressive.”

Maclean said, “I was looking for a partner and collaborator and I’ve found that in Melissa.”

Upon graduating from Binghamton University in 2005, Manhattan native Lubin got her start as a receptionist at the indie editorial outfit Cutting Room. She steadily rose through the ranks, holding positions there as assistant producer, producer, and sr. producer/head of production. She ultimately was appointed executive producer at age 28.

Lubin joined Beast NY as executive producer in 2016, managing the New York office as well as working closely with all regional Beast offices as a key executive selling editorial services across the country. She was deeply involved with various campaigns for clients such as Progressive, ExxonMobil, and Visa. 

In working with agencies and production companies such as BBDO, TBWA, McCann, Droga5, RadicalMedia, Station Film, O Positive, SMUGGLER, PRETTYBIRD, and others, Lubin has curated a career rich in collaborative spirit.  

Union Editorial has offices located in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and London (where it maintains an alliance with Marshall Street Editors). The company also develops and produces original content through its Union Entertainment Group banner. Other Union companies include Resolution, which provides finishing services, VFX, graphics and mix for commercials, features and gaming. Union is presided over by partner/managing director Michael Raimondi in LA, Maclean alongside Lubin in NY, and executive producer Vicki Russell in Austin. The Union roster is comprised of partner/editors Jim Haygood, Einar Thorsteinsson, Jay Friedkin, Sloane Klevin, Marco Perez, Merritt Duff, and editors Chris Huth, Daniel Luna, Laura Milstein, Jason Lucas, Karen Kourtessis, Kevin Ray, Nicholas Wayman-Harris, Rachael Waxler, Zach Kashkett, Andrea MacArthur, Amanda Perry as well as select projects with Teddy Gersten,Tim Thornton-Allen, Matt Chesse, John Mayes, Spencer Ferszt, Paul Plew and the Marshall Street U.K. roster.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2020
Northern Lights adds editor Anthony Marinelli
Anthony Marinelli

Editor Anthony Marinelli--whose experience spans commercial, brand content, film and social projects--has joined NY/LA/SF based postproduction boutique Northern Lights. Marinelli comes to Northern Lights from a four year stint at TwoPointO where he was also a partner.  He has previously worked at KIND Editorial, Alkemy X, Red Car, Cut+Run, and Crew Cuts.

Marinelli’s work for brands like Mercedes, FedEx, BMW, Visa, Pepsi, Scotts, Mount Sinai, and Verizon has aired in the Super Bowl and the Oscars.  He also edited the Webby Award winning documentary Alicia in Africa featuring Alicia Keys for Keep a Child Alive.

Marinelli is also active in independent theater and film. He has written and directed numerous award winning plays and short films including Acoustic Space which won Best Short at the 2018 Ridgewood Guild Film Festival and Best Short Screenplay in the Richmond International Film Festival. 

Marinelli’s most recent campaigns are for Mount Sinai and Bernie & Phyl’s for DeVito Verdi.

  • Thursday, Mar. 5, 2020
Sid Lee completes its U.S. leadership team with Palazzo-Hart, Shanbhag
Melissa Palazzo-Hart

Global creative company Sid Lee has finalized the core of its leadership team in the U.S. with the addition of Melissa Palazzo-Hart as chief operations officer and Nirm Shanbhag as chief strategy officer.

Palazzo-Hart brings over 20 years of experience building, scaling, and optimizing businesses and brands. Most recently as managing director of Eclipse Advertising, she piloted the organization’s creative division. Prior to that, she served as president of entertainment and advertising agency Ant Farm. She also held leadership positions at Ketchum Public Relations, USA Network, Miramax Films and Sony Pictures.

Shanbhag’s role prior to joining Sid Lee was as principal at Notch Strategy, a boutique strategy shop he founded six-plus years ago. He earlier was managing director at Interbrand for which he built a West Coast presence by creating an experiential studio. He also worked with such ad agencies as MullenLowe and McCann Erickson.

Palazzo-Hart and Shanbhag round out a U.S. leadership ensemble at Sid Lee which includes: USA CEO Andy Bateman; Jeff Alpen, managing director, Seattle and New York; Nicolas Van Erum, managing director, L.A.; and Cam Levin, chief creative officer.

On the account front, Sid Lee has just become the global agency of record for performance workwear brand Dickies, following the new U.S. business win of simplehuman, a designer and manufacturer of tools for efficient living. Sid Lee’s creative partner roster also includes Warner Bros. Games, FC Cincinnati, Marvel, TNT’s Snowpiercer, lifestyle hospitality company SBE, and Cartessa Aesthetics, a disruptive aesthetic device company.

“Our expansion in the U.S. is born from our understanding of what clients need from their creative partnerships. Since joining our collective, Andy has attracted top-tier talents and together they’re reshaping Sid Lee in the U.S.A. to be a forward-thinking, digital-first creative company. The team has been able to quickly create critical momentum that’s resonating across our entire collective,” stated Bertrand Cesvet, CEO of Sid Lee Group.

Sid Lee has bases of operation in Montreal, Toronto, Paris, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. clients. Sid Lee is a member of kyu, a collective of top drawer global creative companies including IDEO, SYPartners and Digital Kitchen established by Hakuhodo DY Holdings, the second largest agency network in Asia.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020
ThinkLA names its board of directors
Pete Imwalle, co-president of ThinkLA, and EVP/COO of agency RPA

ThinkLA has named its 2020 board of directors after its annual election process. Members of the board include executives from a wide range of firms, including Amazon and Amazon Studios, BET, Deutsch, Horizon Media, Walton Isaacson, NBCUniversal Media and Radical Media.

ThinkLA is a media, marketing, and advertising collective which helps these businesses survive by fostering connectivity and producing educational and networking events.

The goal of ThinkLA is to facilitate business growth and promote the intellectual infrastructure for creativity, bringing together creators, buyers, and sellers and helping its members stay ahead of the curve and prosper in the rapidly evolving advertising ecosystem.

The trade association supports hundreds of creative and media companies representing over 10,000 employees in the Los Angeles area. The new board members will help guide the association as it continues its mission to connect, educate and inspire the Southern California marketing community. 

Here’s a rundown of the executive committee, directors and new directors on the board:

2020 Executive Committee

Serena Duff, GM Western Region, Horizon Media (Co-President)
Pete Imwalle, Executive VP, Chief Operating Officer, RPA (Co-President)
Eric Johnson, President, Ignited (Vice President)
Steve Orenstein, Chief Financial Officer, battery (Treasurer)

2020 Directors

  • Kirsten Atkinson, VP, Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal Media
  • Alexis Boerger, Founder, Orion Consulting
  • Luis Camano, Founder/Chief Creative, Key Activations
  • Andrew Derr, Media & Platform Senior Sales Leader, Amazon
  • Jean Freeman, Principal + CEO, Zambezi
  • Tim Hand, Co-Owner, TJH & Associates
  • Wanda Kato, EVP Managing Partner, Horizon Media
  • Mikeala Liboro, Director of PR/Communications, TBWA\Chiat\Day
  • Stuart McLean, Founder, S3 Software
  • Samantha Perlich, Sales Director, Fyllo
  • Zach Rosenburg, Growth Consultant, Zach Rosenburg Consulting
  • Frank Scherma, President, Radical Media
  • Karin Shaer, Chief Marketing Officer, The Firm
  • Carol Terakawa, CRO, Shopkick
  • Aaron Walton, President, Walton Isaacson

New directors to the Board

  • Greg Castonovo, President, Zenith/Moxie/MRY
  • Latasha Gillespie, Head of Diversity, Amazon Studios
  • Jenna Lauer, Managing Partner, Hall & Partners
  • Kim Lewis, SVP, BET
  • Kevin Mayer, EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, BJ’s Restaurant
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020
Kent Zambrana joins ATK PLN as sr. producer
Kent Zambrana

Design-first creative studio ATK PLN has added Kent Zambrana as sr. producer. Zambrana has over a decade of experience in production, overseeing diverse teams of artists and comprehensive day-to-day logistics for projects spanning live action, animation and design. He comes to ATK PLN following a career at creative shops across the agency and production sides of the business, where he held multiple roles managing artists and shaping strategy on work for Fortune 500 clients and other large brands. 

A seasoned team leader, Zambrana has developed and executed media campaigns for omni-channel video ecosystems, interactive projects, and future tech. 

Zambrana said, “ATK PLN’s offerings across design, animation and live action fit nicely within my skill set. I’m looking forward to leveraging my production expertise and direct-to-brand and agency perspectives to better serve their clients and continue to grow their offerings.”

Zambrana studied radio, television and film at the University of Texas in Austin. Eager to dive headfirst into the industry, he made his way to Los Angeles where he spent four years producing work across “The Simpsons” properties, including the television series, theme park ride, digital platforms and promotional campaigns. He returned to Texas and became a supervising producer at Invodo, building out the video content library of the startup’s digital video platform. He rapidly climbed the ranks, landing as head of production while broadening his experience producing projects across animation, live action, 2D and 3D. When the company was acquired by Industrial Color in 2018, he led both the Dallas and Austin offices as sr. director of production before joining The Marketing Arm to lead its in-house production shop.

Outside of the studio, Zambrana can be found rehearsing, recording and performing with his indie pop band, “Letting Up Despite Great Faults.”

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