• Thursday, Mar. 12, 2015
Deluxe Ups Strauss, Rezentes to Managing Director of Encore, Level 3 Post, Respectively
Morgan Strauss
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Deluxe Creative Services CEO Stefan Sonnenfeld today announced the promotion of Morgan Strauss to managing director of Encore, and Stephanie Rezentes as managing director of Level 3 Post. The promotions are part of an ongoing initiative to streamline operations across companies under the Deluxe Creative Services umbrella including Beast, Company 3, EFILM, Encore, Level 3 Post, and Method Studios.

Strauss has been with Encore since 2001, most recently serving as sr. VP for operations, where he oversaw workflow design and IT in addition to business development and strategy. Working out of Encore’s Hollywood facility, Strauss will be the point person for all of Encore’s locations across North America and Europe. With a wealth of hands-on experience in episodic TV, having managed projects like Deadwood and Curb Your Enthusiasm for Encore, Strauss’ efforts will further cement Encore as a leader in 4K post production and VFX for TV, commercials, and features.

Rezentes, a nine-year veteran at Level 3 Post, has served as postproduction coordinator, operations manager, and most recently director of production. She has been integral to building Level 3’s reputation for delivering top-quality TV and film postproduction ahead of deadline. Rezentes will be based out of Level 3’s studio in Burbank and will be in regular contact with Strauss and the larger Deluxe Creative Services network.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015
Jason Schugardt joins MPC LA as head of 3D
Jason Schugardt
LOS ANGELES -- 

MPC LA has brought Jason Schugardt aboard as head of 3D. Over the span of his 19-year VFX career, Schugardt has worked on an impressive body of work in both commercials and feature films. He brings on-set and supervisory experience from across the globe, having spent time at leading boutiques and large facilities including Sony Imageworks, Weta Digital, MPC Film, Asylum VFX, and most recently, Method Studios.

Schugardt’s extensive background in 3D and knack for developing new VFX techniques has led him to work on such notable ad projects as Skittles’ Super Bowl 2015 spot “Settle It” directed by Dante Ariola, and Sonos’ “Face Off” Super Bowl 2014 spot directed by Mark Romanek. Schugardt has also led projects for Acura and Time Warner Cable for director Nicolai Fuglsig as VFX supervisor, and Kia and EA Battlefield for director Noam Murro as CG supervisor.

Among Schugardt's notable feature achievements, Schugardt has worked on four Oscar-winning films including David Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and Peter Jackson’s “King Kong.”

  • Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2015
Nirad "Bugs" Russell named MassMarket’s East Coast EP
Nirad "Bugs" Russell
NEW YORK -- 

Bicoastal visual effects studio MassMarket has appointed Nirad “Bugs” Russell to oversee its New York production office. Russell will manage day-to-day production, following a decade of work with Absolute Post, where he was instrumental in opening both their London and New York City offices and served as a sr. producer.

Russell has earned a reputation for technologically innovative work, including AT&T’s award-winning “The New Possible” campaign, which integrated live Olympic record results into a fully produced spot, seemingly in real time. Together with MassMarket’s Los Angeles EP Blythe Dalton Klippsten, Russell is harnessing that spirit of innovation to set a new creative course for the company.

“We’ve created a fun, hard-working culture at MassMarket,” said Russell. “Despite the distance, the New York team maintains close contact with the West Coast team. Our pipeline is such that we can share resources and work seamlessly across offices. It’s especially important to us that we feel like a family and act as one company, despite the distance,” said Russell. “We’re already off to a great start working on [Smuggler director] Adam Berg’s next project, along with a few other exciting projects that are underway.”

  • Monday, Mar. 9, 2015
Astrid Downs joins Beast as executive producer
Astrid Downs
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Creative editorial company Beast has hired executive producer Astrid Downs to oversee projects for its Santa Monica office. Downs’ experience spans production and postproduction for over a decade.

“Astrid’s roots are in production, so she has a deep understanding of what clients want and need from a post service provider. She also knows how all the various pieces of the post workflow fit together beyond editorial, which will help streamline projects for clients,” said Valerie Petrusson, president, Beast.

“Having known Valerie and the Beast crew for awhile, I’m already familiar with their friendly and creative ethos, said Downs. “Beast is still the approachable boutique powerhouse from its independent days, and now also has the power to tap into Deluxe’s considerable resources. We have the flexibility to take on projects of any size and I look forward to working with a broad spectrum of clients.”

Downs began her career serving as a line producer for a production company specializing in the Hispanic market. She then transitioned to working with Where’s the Board and WTB Interactive for nearly eight years, a role in which she represented a wide range of companies including Beast, Chelsea, Arsenal FX, Backyard, Machine Head and Digital Kitchen. Next she served as executive producer and head of sales at Bully Pictures, where she helped expand the production company’s client list. Most recently, Downs headed up the commercial division of MRB Production, handling everything from sales and bidding to composing treatments and director reels.

  • Monday, Mar. 9, 2015
Butcher adds editor Nick Pezzillo
Nick Pezzillo
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Postproduction company Butcher has brought editor Nick Pezzillo aboard its roster. Formerly at Foundation Content, he has cut commercial projects for such brands as Audi, EA Sports, Nissan, Levi’s and Microsoft Surface. A piece for the latter client was recently awarded Gold and Silver Addys, as well as a National Gold Addy.

Pezzillo also has several short films and music videos in his portfolio including the recent short documentary, A Supporting Role. His music video credits span such artists as Arctic Monkeys, Alex Clare, Portugal the Man, Andy Grammar, and King Krule.

The addition of Pezzillo comes on the heels of a Butcher expansion, which includes a new VFX division. The company’s recent standout editorial work has been for such brands as Honda, Chevy, Coke and Motorola, as well as creating the opening titles for Jamie Marshall’s upcoming feature-length thriller, The Guilty Innocent.

  • Monday, Mar. 9, 2015
Rob Trostle joins Droga5 as executive design director
Rob Trostle
NEW YORK -- 

Rob Trostle has joined Droga5’s NY headquarters as executive design director, a new role at the agency. Reporting to chief creative officer Ted Royer, Trostle will oversee and grow the design department and its capabilities as he rolls out the creative vision for the team.

Trostle comes to Droga5 with more than 15 years of design and leadership experience. Having worked at agencies such as Mother and Anomaly throughout his career, Trostle had the opportunity to work with clients including Cole Haan, Target, Johnson & Johnson and Mitchum. Most recently, he founded a personal venture, Golden Arm, to explore the relationship between business and design while cultivating powerful stories for forward-thinking brands. In addition to his personal and professional projects, Trostle has been teaching advertising concepts and campaigns at Parsons The New School for Design for the past four years.

Trostle said. “My hope is to help brands find business solutions and discover new opportunities through design and, ultimately, the campaigns we create.”

  • Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2015
Cedric Devitt to become CCO at Big Spaceship
Big Spaceship's (l-r) Rob Thorsen, Cedric Devitt, and Michael Lebowitz.
BROOKLYN, NY -- 

Digital creative agency Big Spaceship has named Cedric Devitt to assume the newly created role of chief creative officer, effective March 9. Under the aegis of founder/CEO Michael Lebowitz and managing director Rob Thorsen, the agency in 2014 increased revenue by more than 20 percent, created its first international presence (in Seoul), and brought on new clients including Samsung Mobile, Nestle Purina, Google Play and Organic Valley. Devitt’s role will grow and sharpen work across all three of the agency’s core practices, including marcom, product and social, leading creativity for the agency at large. Devitt will report directly to Lebowitz.

Prior to Big Spaceship, Devitt served as chief creative officer of MRY and was responsible for the creative output of the agency across North America, Europe and Asia. Before LBi acquired MRY in 2013, Devitt spent over three years at LBi in creative leadership roles, including CCO and executive creative director. He also spent time at TribalDDB Worldwide and Grey.

Devitt's notable creative accomplishments include global platforms for Coca-Cola London Olympics “Move to the Beat” and Coca-Cola Placelists--a location-based global social music platform with Spotify. He has also developed branded content and social campaigns for Sony Xperia, Adobe, and Listerine, among others. This past year he led the AT&T It Can Wait campaign to help prevent teens from texting and driving. Previously, he helped create the first online presidential primary with Americans Elect, and is also an award-winning film-maker with the feature length documentary Air Guitar Nation. Devitt’s work has been recognized with numerous industry accolades from The One Show, Clios, Webbys, LIA, Lovie Awards and the 2012 SXSW People’s Choice Award.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2015
Editor Richard Cooperman joins /Wildchild/
Richard Cooperman
LOS ANGELES -- 

Editor Richard Cooperman, whose high-gloss fashion/beauty work spans everything from couture to luxury automobile campaigns, has signed with /Wildchild/, the New York and L.A.-based content collective founded by Yvette Piñeyro.

A native of Toronto, Cooperman joins /Wildchild/ from jumP. Recent projects include work for Lexus, L’Oreal and Hugo Boss and Samsung.

Starting with the editing of music videos, Cooperman’s work has followed a path of visual storytelling that’s included high-end fashion and beauty work for some of the top labels and designers in the industry, including Thierry Mugler, directed by Floria Sigismondi, and Hugo Boss, directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Cooperman has also diversified into automotive advertising which has adopted the sensibilities of top fashion directors and stylists to position cars and SUVs as badges of taste and style, the ultimate in luxury accessorizing.

Indeed, Cooperman was drawn to /Wildchild/ based on its strength in the fashion arena. “I was looking for an editorial company that was strong in the genres where I like to play, and I’d become aware of them based on their fashion work,” he said.

In addition to Åkerlund and Sigismondi, Cooperman has also worked with such noted fashion and music video directors as Wilfred Brimo, Sophie Muller and Melina Matsoukas--and all on car commercials.  “For me, it’s fun and challenging to combine the demands and influences of these two worlds,” he says about his automotive work, noting that the influence of fashion advertising and imagery is being felt in many areas of ad content.

His move into fashion came via the stylistically-related genre of music videos, Cooperman explained.  After graduating from Ryerson University in Toronto he landed at a small production company there that specialized in videos. It’s where he started to edit, “and I loved it,” he recalled. “Sometimes you find something that you’re good at, and when you do, it never feels like work.”

Cooperman has just completed a campaign for Lexus via Team One that introduces its new NX crossover in the brand’s characteristically sexy way. Directed by Brimo, the spots depict the attributes of the new model in a fast-paced and breathless fashion.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2015
Zac Stuart-Pontier joins Greencard's directorial roster
Zac Stuart-Pontier
NEW YORK -- 

Production company Greencard has added Zac Stuart-Pontier to its roster of directors. Most recently, he served as editor, one of the writers and co-producer of HBO’s miniseries “The Jinx,” which is currently airing.  The accomplished editor of the groundbreaking documentary “Catfish,” on which he was also a co-producer, Stuart-Pontier will be available for commercial work via Greencard.

Previously, he did double duty as editor and second unit director on the 2011 Sundance award-winner “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” His editing ranges from SXSW award winner “NY Export: Opus Jazz,” to numerous short films, music videos (The Shins, Missy Elliot) and commercials notably for Citibank, Sperry and Nike.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2015
Venables Bell & Partners promotes four to associate partners
Lee Einhorn (l) and Michael Davidson
SAN FRANCISCO -- 

Venables Bell & Partners is promoting four to the newly defined role of associate partner: Lee Einhorn, associate partner, creative director, who along with his CD role will lead the social media and emerging creative platforms; Michael Davidson, associate partner, head of strategy, who continues to oversee the agency’s strategy department; Mary Johnstone, associate partner, head of talent and Gary Brown, associate partner, chief financial officer.

Einhorn joined VB&P in 2010 as a creative director, combining his digital experience with traditional agency work. Since then, he has been instrumental in leading some of the most innovative and talked-about campaigns VB&P has created, including Google Fiber’s “Why Speed Matters” and eBay’s “When it’s on your mind. It’s on eBay.”  Along with Google, he also currently leads the agency’s Conoco Phillips Brands and shares CD responsibilities on the Audi business.

Davidson came to VB&P in 2013 from Goodby Silverstein & Partners and has played a critical role in winning Reebok, where his strategic oversight led to the development of the “Be More Human” brand platform. For the past year, he has overseen the day-to-day management of the department’s 15 staffers and will continue to do so as Lucy Farey Jones, founder and executive strategy director, focuses on venture partnerships and future offerings.

Johnstone will now report into chairman and founder Paul Venables. Johnstone and Venables will partner to continue the agency’s mission of doing right by its people and lead the talent team, which focuses on culture, workplace happiness and talent development. Johnstone joined VB&P in 2012 after 17 years managing talent at Publicis & Hal Riney.

Brown oversees VB&P’s client and agency financials, as well as drives the agency’s progressive value-based compensation model. Since coming to VB&P in 2013, Brown has driven complete overhaul of the enterprise management systems for the agency, as well as fostered a deeper level of financial transparency focused on greater involvement and understanding of the client teams. Before VB&P, he served as VP, finance and operations, for Evolution Bureau, leading the agency’s financial operations as it evolved from a start-up to one of the fastest growing digital agencies.

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