• Friday, Feb. 26, 2021
DNEG Feature Animation bolsters senior creative team with Ted Ty, Archie Donato
Ted Ty

DNEG Feature Animation has appointed two new senior creative hires to bolster its leadership team. Ted Ty joins as global head of character animation based in Montreal, while Archie Donato relocates from Los Angeles to join the team as VFX supervisor on a major new project in London.

DNEG Feature Animation is currently in production on a number of high-profile animated projects, including animated musical feature Under the Boardwalk for Paramount Animation, and is in development on the very first animated adaptation of The Great Gatsby with Oscar-winning director William Joyce.

These new hires follow the appointment of former Skydance executive David Prescott, who joined the team last year as sr. VP of creative production.

Ty joins DNEG Feature Animation with over 25 years of experience and a deep understanding of both 2D and 3D animation. Ty started his career at Walt Disney Animation where he worked as a 2D animator under the mentorship of animation legends such as Mark Henn, Ruben Aquino and James Baxter on animated features such as Mulan and Lilo & Stitch. Following a move to DreamWorks, he contributed to major 3D animated features such as Puss in Boots, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Rise of the Guardians.

Ty is a noted and prolific animation instructor, having taught animation masterclasses at CalArts, CTNX Expo, DreamWorks, SCAD, Pixel Quebec and iAnimate.net. He is also a master teacher at YoungArts Foundation. His most recent work was as head of animation and co-director of animated action-comedy feature Fireheart.

VFX supervisor Donato brings a cinematic perspective and a background in live action filmmaking to his new role for DNEG Feature Animation, as well as experience at ILM, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues and 17 years at DreamWorks Animation. During his time at DreamWorks, Donato contributed to many of the studio’s biggest films, most notably as CG Lead on Kung Fu Panda, Megamind, Monsters vs Aliens and Shrek Forever After, lighting supervisor on Rise of the Guardians and CG supervisor on Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Most recently, Donato has turned his talents to VFX supervision for episodic content on shows like Home Before Dark for Apple TV+, Messiah for Netflix and The Loudest Voice for Showtime.

  • Friday, Feb. 26, 2021
Eleven hires creative director Michael de Wit, sr. designer Ruben Martinez
Michael de Wit

Creative agency Eleven, which maintains locations in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, has hired Michael de Wit and Ruben Martinez as, respectively, creative director and sr. designer. 

“Michael and Ruben bring a wealth of international experience to Eleven,” said Mike McKay, chief creative officer at Eleven. “Having worked on global brands like adidas, Vans, Coca-Cola and The North Face, they’ll
help us creatively tap into cultures around the world for Samsung, CommonSpirit Health and many other clients.”

With more than 20 years of experience in creative/art directing, de Wit will leverage his international experience working with lifestyle brands like Vans, adidas, Oakley and Converse, to drive Eleven’s creative and new business approach in 2021. De Wit directed various campaigns and activations throughout his career in Amsterdam, Boston, New York and more, including Converse’s ‘Made by you’ and adidas’ “adidas Running x ISS.” De Wit most recently served as creative director at Unlisted Brand Lab.

Martinez will build on Eleven’s design-focused foundation, bringing to the agency decades of design expertise from working with brands such as Coca-Cola, Amazon and adidas. Today, Eleven is blending design, marketing and brand innovation, and Martinez has been tapped to support those capabilities with his campaign design experience. Martinez will be working with clients such as Casper, Cadre, The Kraken Rum, Samsung, Pella and Electrify America. Prior to joining Eleven, Martinez had been freelancing; earlier he had been at Starch Creative.

De Wit will join McKay and five other creative directors immediately assuming responsibilities for Samsung and CommonSpirit Health while Martinez will work across a range of agency assignments. Additionally, de Wit will play a role in new business development, further extending Eleven’s reach and scope across verticals.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021
Annette Sally named EVP at Blue Sky Agency
Annette Sally

Annette Sally has been named executive VP at Atlanta-based independent agency Blue Sky. Sally will be responsible for overseeing the agency’s client relations and new business development.

She comes to Blue Sky most recently from 22squared, where she was executive director of client services. In that role, Sally oversaw clients including The Home Depot, Publix, SunTrust, Baskin-Robbins, and Southeast Toyota. Previously, she was an EVP at Leo Burnett Worldwide, Arnold NYC, and Grey Group, where she managed global brand portfolios such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Edgewell Personal Care.

At Leo Burnett Sally was account lead on the critically acclaimed and culture-changing campaign Always #LikeaGirl, which swept the awards circuit, winning an Emmy, Global Gold Effie, Black Pencil, Grand Clio, Titanium Lion, Glass Lion, and the Grand Prix at Cannes.

“Annette’s track record speaks for itself and is a true testament to her comprehensive experience working with clients to produce exceptional work,” said Blue Sky CEO Rob Farinella. “She’s a courageous leader who’s not afraid to challenge industry standards. Annette’s ability to impact our client’s brands and businesses in a more entrepreneurial agency environment is truly exciting. She’s a team player whose intuitive strategic acumen is matched only by her friendly and caring personality.”

Sally’s new role, paired with the 2020 hiring of executive creative director Mariana Costa, brings together two powerhouse women from large holding company agencies. “I’m very excited to be joining an independent agency that consistently elevates client partners to new heights,” said Sally. “I’m especially thrilled to be working alongside Mariana Costa to grow client business to its greatest potential.”

  • Monday, Feb. 22, 2021
Preymaker expands production team, adds Zachary Fortin, Bridgette Doran
Zachary Fortin (l) and Bridgette Doran

Creative and technology studio Preymaker has added Zachary Fortin in production and Bridgette Doran in operations. Utilizing an advanced custom cloud-based platform, Preymaker is one of the first 100% cloud native creative studios that creates content entirely in the cloud. Fortin will focus on Preymaker’s clients and running projects, while Doran will be responsible for resourcing and talent management. 

Fortin, who worked most recently as a VFX producer at The Mill and prior to that at Imaginary Forces, said the decision to join Preymaker came down largely to his respect for the people there. The entirely cloud-based pipeline and extensive capabilities that go beyond traditional visual effects were also a draw. Fortin said, “I think it’s evident that the technology landscape is converging the games industry, the VFX industry and the immersive industry. With the way Preymaker has established its infrastructure which makes us limitless in terms of scalability, and with the talent we are seeking, I think it’s pretty safe to say you will see some genre-bending projects.”
Doran brings a holistic production industry background to Preymaker, having worked previously in the entertainment industry at Viacom and Marvel Entertainment on everything from large-scale, live tentpole events to episodic and digital content. Joining Preymaker, Doran said, was an opportunity to be hands-on creating something new. “There are no hoops to jump through or red tape to cut back,” she said. “If you have an idea then you are free to voice it and empowered to action it. I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been with Preymaker; it’s a real testament to just how innovative the work is this team is doing.” 
“Zach and Bridgette excel at logistics, multi-tasking and creative collaboration, and they keep their cool with the challenges that can arise on a job or operationally. Their respective expertise and support will make it possible for our team to do the best creative work possible,” said Verity Grantham, who serves as executive producer at Preymaker along with Melanie Wickham. Chief creative at Preymaker is Angus Kneale. 

  • Monday, Feb. 22, 2021
Kate Owen joins The Den as partner/editor
Kate Owen

The Den, the woman-owned bicoastal edit house launched last year, is expanding its presence on the East Coast with the addition of Kate Owen as partner/editor. She joins a talent roster which includes Andrew Ratzlaff, Christjan Jordan, Eric Alexander-Hughes, Katie Cali, and Ross Birchall.

The UK-born Owen started editing while in her teens, becoming an apprentice to the award-winning film editor Jim Bambrick at the age of 18. She moved to New York from London a few years later and has since edited an impressive array of projects ranging from fashion and beauty to lifestyle and entertainment. She’s worked with brands such as Gucci, Clinique, Maybelline, Victoria Beckham, Vogue, Adidas, Sony, Showtime, and Virgin Atlantic out of agencies like Mother, Saatchi&Saatchi, mcgarrybowen, Grey Worldwide, and Y&R. Owen has won multiple industry awards from the One Show, D&AD, BTAA, as well as a Gold Cannes Lions for her work on “The Man Who Walked Around the World” campaign for Johnnie Walker. Owen has also made a mark in the film world with the BAFTA-nominated short Turning and the Toronto Film Fest selection The Sweetest Sound
Previous editorial house affiliations for Owen include Wax, Marshall Street Editors, Hooligan, and Whitehouse Post.

  • Monday, Feb. 22, 2021
Arts & Letters Creative Co. elevates Castillo to director at in-house studio XYZ
Geoff Castillo

Arts & Letters Creative Co., an independent shop working in advertising and technology with clients such as Google, ESPN and NBC News, has promoted Geoff Castillo to director, where he will be responsible for directing content and film at XYZ, the agency’s in-house production studio. This newly created position comes after a year of growth for the agency which now has 162 employees.

Castillo served as the director on the Google Photos’ “Look at Your Photographs” spot featuring Nickelback. Prior to that, Castillo was an art director at the agency where he has already helped to direct multiple internal productions and was one of the first creative hires in 2017.

Charles Hodges, founder and ECD of Arts and Letters Creative Co., said, “As an agency that makes so much of our work within our walls, it was important to us to have someone (Castillo) leading the charge who understands our entire creative process and the best way to deliver amazing work for our clients.” 

Arts & Letters has recently created several projects in-house within XYZ including NBA on ESPN’s “It’s NBA on ESPN Time,” NFL on ESPN’s “Looks Like We Made It” and GPay’s “Make it Happen” campaign. 

  • Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021
Leo Marks joins We Are Social as creative director, head of studios
Leo Marks

Global digital creative agency We Are Social has hired Leo Marks as creative director and head of studios, adding to the Berlin office and the in-house production unit, We Are Social Studios. The 38-year-old is a multiple award-winning creative director and reports to Germany managing director, Roberto Collazos Garcia.

Most recently, Marks worked as the in-house global creative director at BMW AG for the MINI brand, responsible for launching the first all electric MINI, and re-inventing the visual identity and tonality for the whole MINI brand and product portfolio.

His accolades and achievements include working with the team to lead MINI to the Interbrand Top 100, as well as winning them the Clio Bronze Winner Music for their 2019 Super Bowl commercial “Don’t Fence Me In” and establishing their innovation & design center in Brooklyn, winning them the NYCxDESIGN Award in Architectural Pop-up.

Leading in-house and agency teams for diverse brands and agencies including adidas Originals, Ralph Lauren, Vans, The Tate Modern, Dazed Media, Spine TV, Nowness, TBrand Studios and Vice, Marks is a passionate disruptor focused on building teams that aim to change the parameters of existing models while adding real value to brands and audiences.

“With Leo, we gain an outstanding creative director who is known far beyond the borders of Germany. With his experience and creativity, he will provide valuable new impulses for our clients and drive the expansion of We Are Social Studios in the German market,” said Garcia.

Marks shared, “The shift towards social has created a really exciting space in which we can design communication specifically for the medium. This opens a lot of doors in terms of how we approach storytelling, especially in relation to how the audience can create the narrative, and with that comes a lot of possibilities.”

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021
Thomas Montminy Brodeur joins Framestore’s NY episodic team as VFX supervisor 
Thomas Montminy Brodeur

Oscar-winning creative studio Framestore has appointed Thomas Montminy Brodeur as VFX supervisor to further bolster the company’s episodic offering under New York managing director, Charles Howell. 

With 15 years of industry experience, Montminy Brodeur will be charged with developing methodologies and maintaining high-end image quality across a variety of episodic projects.

Joining Framestore from Rodeo FX in Montreal, Montminy Brodeur spent the last decade in the roles of digital compositor, digital compositing supervisor, and most recently VFX supervisor on primetime shows such as Black Sails, Crawl and Watchmen. He also worked on Game of Thrones (seasons 4-7), during which time he acted as compositing supervisor for seasons 6 and 7. 

Montminy Brodeur began his career at Framestore in London as a paint and roto artist working on films such as Where the Wild Things Are, Avatar, and Sherlock Holmes.  “Many years ago, Framestore gave me my first shot at a dream job,” he said. “The opportunity to be back with such an incredible team, pushing the limits of what we are capable of as a company and an industry is extremely exciting to me.”

“Thomas is a holistic problem-solver of the highest caliber, capable of delivering amazing images,” said Howell. “The four seasons of experience on Game of Thrones, in addition to the countless other shows he’s worked on, have equipped him with the expertise to lead teams with a strategic mindset.” 

Montminy Brodeur claims a host of industry awards, including a VES Award for Outstanding Environment in a Photoreal Episode for Game of Thrones, as well as a Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) Award for Best Visual Effects. He graduated from Collège Mérici in Quebec City with a diploma in multimedia, an AEC degree in visual effects compositing at Institut Grasset.

Discovering his passion of imparting knowledge and skills to the next generation of artists, he has also taught compositing at Institut Grasset, l’Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and O’Sullivan College of Québec.  Moreover, he later earned an undergraduate certificate in 3D for visual effects from UQAT to further build his skillset and understanding across departments in order to produce the best solutions for clients.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021
Company 3 adds colorist Yvan Lucas to roster
Yvan Lucas

Company 3 has added colorist Yvan Lucas to its artists roster. Lucas has colored a number of major award-winning feature films, including The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Django Unchained, Snowpiercer, Argo, Shutter Island, and Inglorious Basterds.  

Lucas has worked at a variety of facilities, most notably EFILM (now part of Company 3), and as an in-demand freelance colorist in the U.S. and his native France. “Yvan has colored some of my favorite films,” said Company 3 president Stefan Sonnenfeld. “I love his work and I’m beyond thrilled to have him part of our team.”

Lucas said. “I look forward to joining Stefan and such a creative team and being a part of this robust company with so many excellent projects to its credit.” 

Before embarking on his digital color grading career with France’s first digitally-graded feature, Amélie, for director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, Lucas was among the busiest photochemical color timers in the country, working on such internationally praised films as Delicatessen and City of Lost Children for Jeunet and cinematographer Darius Khondji.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021
Dillon Stoneburner upped to editor at Final Cut
Dillon Stoneburner

Creative editorial house Final Cut has promoted Dillon Stoneburner to the editor roster in its Los Angeles office. Stoneburner had been an assistant editor at Final Cut for six years. 
Hailing from Detroit, Stoneburner made the move to Los Angeles just out of college. He landed his first job as a runner at Final Cut, then began to climb the ranks, becoming vault manager before moving to the cutting room.  
The young editor found mentorship and encouragement in the editing bays at Final Cut, honing his skills under the tutelage of Jeff Buchanan, Zoe Schack, Rick Russell, and Joe Guest, Stoneburner’s relatable personality and dedication to his craft have led to work with global brands such as Amazon, Doritos, Xfinity, Squarespace, Audi, Uber, and Budweiser. His passion for exploring character-led stories and documentary-style campaigns is also evidenced in his editing for television series and in multiple short films. He most recently co-edited a DoorDash campaign with Buchanan, which aired during last Sunday’s big game. Featuring actor and performer Daveed Diggs and some of Sesame Street’s most recognizable residents, the campaign was the delivery service’s first-ever Super Bowl appearance. 
“Every editor I’ve worked with has taught me something that has helped me to grow in my career,” said Stoneburner. “I hope I’m able to pay it forward in the same way in the future. Final Cut gave me a chance--a kid from a small suburb outside Detroit who’s had to work for everything he has--and they are like a giant, ridiculously talented family to me.” 

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