Audionamix – 7.1.20

Category Archives: New Hire

Deluxe sells distribution biz, former CEO Cyril Drabinsky returns

Platinum Equity has acquired Deluxe Entertainment Services Inc.’s distribution business (Deluxe). Financial terms were not disclosed. Deluxe Entertainment’s creative businesses are not included in the acquisition.

Former Deluxe CEO Cyril Drabinsky, who left the company in 2016 to found CineVizion, is returning to lead the business as CEO under Platinum Equity’s ownership. As part of the transition, CineVizion’s assets will be integrated into Deluxe.

“The entertainment industry, like many others, has been seriously disrupted by the coronavirus crisis,” says Tom Gores, chairman/CEO of Platinum Equity. “It will take both experience and tenacity to make it through to the other side, but we are confident that good companies with strong fundamentals and capable leadership will not only survive this crisis, but thrive.”

Drabinsky was an executive at Deluxe for nearly 20 years and led the company’s transformation from an analog film processing business into a leading digital post production technology and distribution service provider.

Former Deluxe executive Mike Gunter is joining Drabinsky’s leadership team as CFO. Warren Stein, who served as COO of Deluxe until 2016, is also returning as COO. Former Deluxe president of post production William Sherak advised Platinum Equity on the acquisition and will remain in an advisory role with the company going forward.

Founded as a film processing lab in 1915 as part of the Fox Film Corporation, today Deluxe provides a full suite of solutions to content production studios and distributors. The company has approximately 3,400 employees globally, with key hubs in Los Angeles, Bangalore, London and Sydney.

Deluxe comprises four segments: localization (subtitling and dubbing), digital cinema (mastering, key generation and distribution to theaters), home entertainment (compression, encoding and authorizing) and fulfillment (encryption, transcoding and distribution of movies and TV content).

Squeak E. Clean Studios adds Max Taylor ups Amanda Patterson

Squeak E. Clean Studios, which offers music compositions, audio post, music supervision and licensing, has added senior producer Max Taylor to its Los Angeles team and promoted Amanda Patterson to executive producer.

Taylor joins the studio after spending four years at 20th Century Fox coordinating music for the drama Empire. A Chicago-native, Taylor grew up amid the music industry, spending his formative years around concerts and musicians with his father as a sound engineer. He studied at Butler University before kicking off his career in music ticketing and promotions. He spent five years working across multiple functions of live events between Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, liaising between artists, management teams and venues to optimize the guest experience. In 2016, he joined the production team on Empire as a music production liaison, overseeing the end-to-end process for the music-driven series.

Patterson has over a decade of experience in commercial music production, ranging from original composition to sync and sound design for film and advertising. In her two years with Squeak E. Clean Studios, she has produced work for such clients as Facebook, Pepsi and The North Face, as well as the award-winning spot Sport Changes Everything for Nike that features 14-year-old fighter Chantel Navarro.

Her passion for music led her down the path of a serious fan at an early age, surrounding herself with artists and music fans as impassioned as herself. After college, her musician friends began to swap touring gigs for longer-term opportunities, exploring the early days of the commercial music shop. This landed her a job at Black Iris Music, producing out of its Richmond, Virginia office and later moving to Portland, Oregon, to launch the shop’s West Coast presence. After that , she joined Marmoset Music before making the move to Los Angeles to work with Squeak E. Clean Studios.

“Through the murky waters that the world has been wading, it’s a welcome exception to speak of bright and positive news, and these two are those exceptions. Amanda has been a leader without the title ever since our merger, and her seasoned producing skills and ability to lead by example will make her a superb EP. On top of this, to bring on board a senior producer the calibre of Max, with a wealth of experience in composing culture-defining music for Empire, will not only add another layer of skills from another medium, but further expand our offering with another serious talent to help drive us into the future.” says Hamish Macdonald, managing director, Squeak E. Clean Studios.

Audionamix – 7.1.20

Weta opens animation wing led by Prem Akkaraju

Weta Digital will begin producing original content for the first time in its 25-year history. Under the banner Weta Animated, the company will develop original animated content for both cinema and streaming platforms. The company has named Prem Akkaraju, a co-founder of SR Labs, as CEO.

Weta Animated has been a long-held dream of majority owners Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, who will write, produce and direct several animated projects for the company.

“We are huge fans of animated storytelling in all of its forms, but it can be a long, protracted and often costly way to make movies. That’s, in part, why we have created this company — to change the model and open the doors to filmmakers and storytellers who might not otherwise be given the chance to show what they can do,” says Jackson.

Academy Award winners Jackson and Walsh will play a key role in the development of Weta Animated. The new production company will work alongside Weta’s visual effects business for the film and television industry.

Jackson goes on to say, “We’re fortunate to have a strong, creative leadership team at Weta. Both [senior VFX supervisor] Joe Letteri and [executive VFX producer] David Conley have played a huge role in the success of the company. With the expansion of the company, adding someone of Prem’s caliber to this mix is essential. Prem’s energy and passion for film is inspiring; we cannot wait to work with him.”

Weta Digital is known for revolutionizing the VFX production pipeline for some of the biggest films of all time, including Avatar, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Avengers: Endgame. Over the past 25 years, Weta Digital has developed over 100 proprietary tool sets and AI technology.

“Weta Digital began with one machine and just one artist, who created the digital effects in Heavenly Creatures,” says Walsh. “None of us knew what we were doing, but even in those early days, we could see the incredible potential of this new technology. Since then, VFX has become a huge industry, but our goal has remained the same — to bring stories to life through the power of imagination. If you can dream it, we can create it.”

This sentiment is shared by entrepreneur Sean Parker (Napster, Facebook), who invested in Weta Digital last year and who has joined the board as vice chairman. Akkaraju co-founded SR Labs with Parker, where he previously served as CEO and still serves as executive chairman. SR Labs solutions streamline traditional distribution to theaters and consumers. Akkaraju is an inventor on 11 domestic and 25 global utility technology patents related to SR Labs’ groundbreaking architecture. Prior to SR Labs, Akkaraju was the chief content officer of SFX Entertainment. Before joining SFX, he was a principal at JPMorgan Entertainment Partners, the largest entertainment-focused Wall Street investment fund at the time.


VFX studio Cinesite adds three to global management team

Visual effects and animation studio Cinesite has added three to its management team: Melissa Taylor joins as general manager in London, Siobhan Bentley is head of production VFX in London, and Tamara Boutcher is the company’s new global head of production for feature animation in Montreal.

“Melissa, Siobhan and Tamara are proven talented executives with deep knowledge of the visual effects and feature animation industries,” reports Cinesite CEO Anthony Hunt. “Working toward equal representation in an industry that is statistically male-dominated is very important to us all, and we’re working hard to improve the balance. We have a collective philosophy on diversity and inclusion, which is embodied in our wider approach of encouraging everyone on the team.”

Taylor will oversee Cinesite London’s visual effects studio while working closely with Montreal colleagues and group VFX brands Image Engine and Trixter. Taylor brings over 30 years’ industry knowledge and relationship-building experience. She joins Cinesite from visual effects studio Framestore, where she served as global head of business development for film and was involved with projects such as Spider-Man: Far From Home, Wonder Woman 1984, Lady and the Tramp, Tom and Jerry and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Prior to Framestore, Taylor was EP at DNeg.

Bentley is tasked with leading, developing and motivating the London production teams throughout a show’s lifecycle. She joins Cinesite from MPC, where she oversaw the production teams on many acclaimed films, such as The Lion King, Roma, The Jungle Book, The Martian and Guardians of the Galaxy. She will work closely with crewing and producers to ensure projects are progressing through departments and deadlines are being met.

Based at Cinesite’s Montreal studio, Boutcher will be responsible for the production and day-to-day operations of the company’s feature animation service slate, developed and produced out of the Montreal and Vancouver studios. Her animation career began at The Walt Disney Company and as the studio transitioned from 2D features to 3D features, Boutcher worked as the director of production, helping to guide the teams and develop practices and technologies for the blending of traditional animation and CGI. Her work is featured in The Addams Family, Dinosaur, The Angry Birds Movie and We Are Not Princesses.

Image Caption: L-R Siobhan Bentley, Melissa Taylor and Tamara Boutcher


Stephen Lighthill named president of ASC

The American Society of Cinematographer’s board of governors has once again elected Stephen Lighthill as president of the organization. He previously held the position from 2012 to 2013. The board also voted in VPs Amy Vincent, Bill Bennett and John Simmons; treasurer Levie Isaacks; secretary Gregg Heschong; and sergeant-at-arms David Darby.

Lighthill, who was most recently a VP at the ASC, takes over the reins from outgoing ASC president Kees van Oostrum, who served the maximum four terms and recently was appointed to lead IMAGO, the international federation of cinematographers.

Lighthill assumes his role at an important time in history, as members continue to advocate for equal rights and diversity as well as safe production environments amidst the COVID-19 contagion. “This is a challenging moment for filmmaking in general, and cinematography in particular,” he says. “As an organization, we are making plans to put words into action. Through the work of the Future Practices Committee and Vision Committee, I’m ready to lead our society in responding and in making our work environments safe, equal and diverse.”

Lighthill is currently at the American Film Institute Conservatory as the discipline chair/cinematography, where he’s been a proponent for gender diversity and supported 100 female cinematography graduates during his tenure. He has also long served as an officer on the national executive board of the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) as well.

Lighthill began his career shooting for San Francisco Bay Area news programs as well as national news shows such as 60 Minutes. He segued into documentary cinematography, working on many films, including Gimme Shelter and Berkeley in the Sixties. The latter was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Audience Award at Sundance.

His narrative credits include such television dramas as Vietnam War Story, Earth 2 and Nash Bridges, among many others. In 2018, Lighthill was honored with the ASC President’s Award. He was also the recipient of the Society of Camera Operators President’s Award in 2000.

The ASC has over 20 committees leading the organization’s various initiatives, including the recently formed Future Practices Committee to assist and advise on COVID-19 safety on set; the Motion Imaging Technology Council (MITC) formed in 2003 to understand technology’s ongoing impact on the imaging chain in a way that best serves the creative interests of filmmakers; the efforts of the Vision Committee to encourage and support the advancement of underrepresented cinematographers, their crews and other filmmakers; regional and international ASC Master Classes taught by members; Clubhouse Conversation discussions with members and filmmakers about highly regarded work; and the activities of the Education & Outreach Committee with film schools.


Pixelworks hires post vets to lead TrueCut motion grading initiatives

Pixelworks, which provides video and display processing solutions, has beefed up its team with the hire of industry veterans Sarah Priestnall and Bruce Harris. The duo will lead TrueCut motion grading technology initiatives in North America, specifically targeting Hollywood.

Introduced in 2019, Pixelworks TrueCut motion grading provides filmmakers with the ability to deliver at a cinematically tuned high frame rate while filming at any frame rate. This allows for a broader set of motion appearances. The platform takes advantage of current cinema and home-entertainment displays while also ensuring a consistent motion appearance across different devices and screens that is faithful to the original artistic intent.

Priestnall joins as the director of product marketing, heading up the Burbank office and advancing the TrueCut commercial rollout. Harris joins as creative engineer and artist, responsible for usability design, customer training and both technical and artistic support. Priestnall and Harris both report directly to executive vice president of technology Richard Miller, who will continue to lead strategic development of the TrueCut platform.

“We’re excited to bring Sarah and Bruce on board as we ramp our efforts in Hollywood and continue the success of our TrueCut technology around the globe,” Miller says. “We are working with studios, streaming services, post production facilities and creatives to ensure that original intent of artists and filmmakers is displayed on screens across all sizes, from the cinema to the home and beyond.”

Priestnall has been evangelizing new technologies for movie, television production and post throughout her career. She was deeply involved in the development of the digital intermediate process at Cinesite, working closely with Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC, and the Coen Brothers on O Brother, Where Art Thou? She also led Codex’s worldwide marketing efforts. Priestnall is a board member of the Colorist Society International and an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers. She wrote the chapter on digital post production in the latest ASC manual.

Harris began his career working on movie sets as a propmaker, including on major motion pictures such as Pulp Fiction and A River Runs Through It. He then transitioned into visual effects, becoming a longstanding member of the Visual Effects Society. Working all over the world, he has used his artistic talents as a compositor on productions such as The Aviator and Guardians of the Galaxy.


Senior colorist Paul Ensby rejoins Technicolor London

Paul Ensby, a third-generation Technicolor employee, will be returning to the studio’s London facility this month. Following in his grandfather and father’s footsteps, he worked in Technicolor’s London film laboratory in the early ‘90s. Ensby then landed a role as a 35mm trainee feature grader before becoming a full-fledged color grader, working with directors such as Ridley Scott, Jane Campion, Ken Russell, Neil Jordan, Bill Forsyth and Stephen Frears. He comes to Technicolor from Company 3.

Recently Ensby reunited with his longtime friend director Asif Kapadia on the HBO documentary Diego Maradona. He had previously worked on Asif’s Oscar-winning documentary Amy and the BAFTA-winning documentary Senna. Ensby also recently finished grading miniseries Quiz for ITV and Left Bank Pictures, directed by Stephen Frears.

Ensby’s previous credits include The Lady in the Van with cinematographer Andrew Dunn, BSC; Allegiant with cinematographer Florian Ballhaus, ASC; Johnny English Strikes Again with cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, BSC; and Mary Queen of Scots with cinematographer John Mathieson, BSC.

“Technicolor has always been home to me,” says Ensby.  “They have and will continue to be a standard of excellence and I’m happy to be starting the next chapter in my career with Sherri [Potter, worldwide president of Technicolor Post Production].

 


Unit9 signs trilingual director Maya Albanese  

Production studio Unit9 has signed director Maya Albanese to its roster. She specializes in emotional and comedic stories that highlight diverse characters and under-represented social themes. Albanese brings experience in filmmaking, branded entertainment and screenwriting.

As a trilingual director, she has crafted work in English, Spanish and French for brands including Disney, Warner Bros, Chevrolet, L’Oréal, IBM, Visa and Google. Albanese is fresh off directing a series of magical-realism spots for Bic and comedy spots for Visa, all of which combine her expertise in directing talent, visual effects and animation.

Earlier this year, she finished a dark surrealist comedy called Freeze, which she wrote and directed about women’s fertility. It stars Chris Parnell, Adrian Grenier, Mindy Sterling, Nora Zehetner, Rick Overton, Kel Mitchell and Queen Jazzmun.  “Freeze” is an official selection of the Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase at the 73rd Cannes Film Festival.

Albanese has shot and directed three documentaries: Cuba’s Violin (2014), which screened at festivals worldwide; Blind Date (2015), which premiered at Doc NYC; and Bigger Than Us (2020), which is an intimate behind-the-scenes story of the first-ever, SAG-registered feature film made made by a cast and crew, more than half of whom have a disability.

Albanese found her way to Unit9 through the Commercial Directors Diversity Program fellowship. In 2018, she was one of six directors chosen by the Directors Guild of America and Association of Independent Commercial Producers for the competitive fellowship.

“Telling moving stories that create more inclusivity in front of and behind the camera, whether that’s about women, minorities or people with disabilities, is what drives me,” says Albanese. “I believe we need to continue pushing for this now more than ever. I’m really looking forward to working with the Unit9 team to make bold new stories come to life on screen. Together, I believe we can make sure that all kinds of people get to see themselves reflected in media and advertising.”

Caption: Maya Albanese is pictured left, on set.


Framestore adds three to London film team

During these difficult times, it’s great to hear that Framestore in London has further beefed up its staff. Three new hires will join the VFX studio’s entire workforce (approximately 2,500 people) working from home at the moment.

Two-time VES Award-winner Graham Page joins the company as VFX supervisor after 14 years with Dneg, where he supervised the company’s work on titles such as Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Infinity War. He brings Framestore’s tally of VFX supervisors to 24 — all of whom from pre-production to on-set supervision through to the final delivery.

Mark Hodgkins, who rejoins the company after a 12-year stint with Dneg, will serve as Framestore’s global head of FX, film, and brings with him technical knowledge and extensive experience working on properties from Marvel, DC and J.K. Rowling.

Anna Ford joins Framestore as head of business development, film. Formerly sales and bidding manager at Cinesite, Ford brings knowledge of the global production industry and a passion for emerging technologies that will help identify and secure exciting projects that will push and challenge Framestore’s team of creative thinkers.

“While working in different areas of the company’s business, Graham, Anna and Mark all share the kind of outlook and attitude we’re always looking for at Framestore. They’re forward-thinking, creative in their approaches and never shy away from the kind of challenges that will bring out the best in themselves and those they work with,” says Fiona Walkinshaw, Framestore’s global managing director, film.

The Embassy opens in Culver City with EP Kenny Solomon leading charge

Vancouver-based visual effects and production studio The Embassy is opening an office in LA office in Culver City. EP Kenny Solomon will head up the operation. The move comes following the studio’s growth in film, advertising and streaming, and a successful 2019.The LA-based office will allow The Embassy to have a direct connection and point of contact with its growing US client base and provide front-end project support and creative development while Vancouver — offering pipeline and technology infrastructure — remains the heart of operations.

New studio head Solomon has worked in the film, TV and streaming industries for the past 20 years, launching and operating a number of companies. The most recent of which was Big Block Media Holdings — an Emmy-, Cannes-, Webby-, Promax- and Clio-winning integrated media company founded by Solomon nine years ago.

“We have a beautiful studio in Culver City with infrastructure to quickly staff up to 15 artists 2D, 3D and design, a screening room, conference room, edit bay and wonderful outdoor space for a late night ping-pong match and a local Golden Road beer or two,” says Solomon. “Obviously, everyone is WFH right now but at a moment’s notice we are able to scale accordingly. And Vancouver will always be our heartbeat and main production hub.”

“We have happily been here in Vancouver for the past 17 years plus,” says The Embassy president Winston Helgason. “I’ve seen the global industry go through its ups and downs, and yet we continue to thrive. The last few months have been a difficult period of uncertainty and business interruption and, while we are operating successfully out of current WFH restrictions, I can’t wait to open up to our full potential once the world is a little more back to normal.”

In 2020, The Embassy reunited with Area 23/FCB and RSA director Robert Stromberg (Maleficent) to craft a series of fantastical VFX environments for Emgality’s new campaign. The team has also been in full production for the past 16 months on all VFX work for Warrior Nun, an upcoming 10-episode series for Netflix. The Embassy was responsible for providing everything from concept art to pre-production, on-set supervision and almost 700 visual VFX shots for the show. The team in Vancouver is working both remotely and in the studio to deliver the full 10 episodes.

Solomon is excited to get to work, saying that he always respected The Embassy’s work, even while he was competing with them when he was at CafeFX/The Syndicate and Big Block.

As part of the expansion, The Embassy has also added a number of new reps to the team — Sarah Gitersonke joins for Midwest representation, and Kelly Flint and Sarah Lange join for East Coast.

Dolores McGinley heads Goldcrest London’s VFX division

London’s Goldcrest Post, a picture and audio post studio, has launched a visual effects division at its Lexington Street location. It will be led by VFX vet Dolores McGinley, whose first task is to assemble a team of artists that will provide services for both new and existing clients.

During the COVID-19 crisis, all Goldcrest staff is working from home except the colorists, who are coming in as needed and working alone in the grading suites. McGinley and her team will move into the Goldcrest facility when lockdown has ended.

“Having been immersed in such a diverse range of projects over the past five years, we identified the need to expand into VFX some time ago,” explains Goldcrest MD Patrick Malone. “We know how essential an integrated VFX service is to our continued success as a leading supplier of creative post solutions to the film and broadcast community.

“As a successful VFX artist in her own right, Dolores is positioned to interpret the client’s brief and offer constructive creative input throughout the production process. She will also draw upon her considerable experience working with colorists to streamline the inclusion of VFX into the grade and guarantee we are able to meet the specific creative requirements of our clients.”

With over two decades of creative experience, McGinley joins Goldcrest having held various senior roles within the London VFX community. Recent examples of her work include The Crown, Giri/Haji and Good Omens.

Agency vet Hal Dantzler joins Charlieuniformtango as EP/Creative Content

Hal Dantzler has joined Charlietango  as executive producer/creative content. Most recently he was SVP, broadcast production at TM Advertising in Dallas. In his new role at he will executive produce all video production, among other things.

Dantzler has over 20 years of experience, working with clients such as Nissan, Reebok, American Film Institute, Bausch + Lomb and Universal Orlando. He also has several Super Bowl spots under his belt for clients like Nationwide Insurance, American Airlines and Tabasco — many of which have garnered top honors at Cannes, One Show and the Effies.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with the current team of directors to help hone their skillsets and fine-tune their creative voices,” Hal continued. “I know what advertisers and agencies are looking for because I’ve been there. Tapping into my decades of agency-side experience will allow me to bring a hard-earned POV to each production.”

“I’ve worked with tango for 25 years,” Dantzler continues. “Lola Lott and Jack Waldrip were starting up the business at the same time I moved to the Dallas market to work at the DDB office here. In fact, my first production in Dallas was Charlieuniformtango’s first job. I’ve watched them grow from a one-editor offline facility to a post house with video production capabilities.”

Goldcrest adds Wade Rudolph as head of production

New York City’s Goldcrest Post has hired Wade Rudolph as head of production. Rudolph joins after holding a similar position at Deluxe Creative Services, New York, and brings 15 years of production and post experience, spanning episodic and long-form television, independent features and documentaries. At Goldcrest, he will oversee picture finishing and work with clients and the facility’s colorist and editors to ensure projects hit their creative and delivery deadlines.

In addition to his six years at Deluxe as head of production and senior producer, Rudolph’s background also includes senior producer roles with Technicolor PostWorks and Post Factory. He began his career with MTV Networks. His recent credits include the HBO series High Maintenance, the Amazon Prime feature Sea Oak and the HBO feature The Night Of.

“I’ve known Wade for more than a decade and watched as he’s developed into one of the best in-house producers in the industry,” says Goldcrest Post managing director Domenic Rom. “He is smart, understands current workflows and knows how to help clients manage projects efficiently and take advantage of the latest technical resources.”

Rudolph said that he was attracted to Goldcrest by the opportunity to work with Rom, whom he previously served under at Technicolor PostWorks. “Dom gave me my first job in post production,” he says. “I admire the way he treats his staff, his values and his commitment to his clients. I’m thrilled to work with him again.”

Editor Brandy Troxler joins SF’s 1606 Studio

San Francisco editorial boutique 1606 Studio has hired editor Brandy Troxler. Having worked in the Bay Area for more than a decade, Troxler has edited spots for Mini USA, Yelp, Toyota, Texas.gov and others. Most recently, she was an in-house editor at San Francisco agency Heat.

1606 Studio executive producer Jon Ettinger has known Troxler for years; she worked at Beast Editorial when he was executive producer there. “She’s a great collaborator and good team player,” he observes. “She fits the vibe established here by our partners, Doug Walker, Connor McDonald and Brian Lagerhausen, which is to work hard and form long-term partnership with our clients.”

Troxler joined Heat in 2019 after six years at Beast Editorial. A graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, she also worked at Footpath Pictures in Raleigh-Durham, and Barbary Post in San Francisco.

Her first spot for 1606 Studio was a PSA produced for International Women’s Day by UN Women, a United Nations organization working for global equality. It’s from the agency Erich & Kallman and was directed by Caruso Company’s Doug Walker. The spot begins with what appears to be a news broadcast from the 1950s as a male newscaster recites a litany of workplace issues that negatively affect women. As he speaks, the scene around him becomes more modern and it becomes apparent that the issues he is referring to apply today.

“It’s simple, but powerful,” Troxler says. “As a woman of color, it was awesome to have the opportunity to tell that story. First and foremost, I am a storyteller and I like to tell diverse stories. While docu-style is a focus of mine, I quite enjoy cutting comedy as well.”

Signiant expands Latin American efforts, hires JP Garza

Signiant has hired JP Garza to lead its expansion in Latin America. As a 25-year veteran of the media and entertainment industry, Garza has worked at building the presence of companies like Sony, HP, Harris, Omneon and Ooyala across the region. He will be based Miami which will serve as Signiant’s hub into all corners of Latin America.

Signiant offers intelligent file transfer software and its own cloud-native SaaS platform. Customers include studios, broadcasters, sports leagues and teams, gaming companies, streaming providers as well as folks working in post production and media distribution. With more companies finding ways to work remotely, Signiant expects business to expand not only in Latin America, but globally as well.

VFX studio One Of Us adds CTO Benoit Leveau

Veteran post technologist Benoit Leveau has joined London’s One of Us as CTO. The studio, which is in its 16th year, employs 200 VFX artists.

Leveau, who joins One of Us from Milk VFX, has been in the industry for 18 years, starting out in his native France before moving to MPC in London. He then joined Prime Focus, integrating the company’s Vancouver and Mumbai pipelines with London. In 2013, he joined Milk in its opening year as head of pipeline. He helped to build that department and later led the development of Milk’s cloud rendering system.

The studio, which depends on what it calls “the efficient use of existing technology and the timely adoption of new technology,” says Leveau’s knowledge and experience will ensure that “their artists’ creativity has the technical foundation which allows it to flourish.”

Editor Anthony Marinelli joins Northern Lights

Editor Anthony Marinelli has joined post studio Northern Lights. Marinelli’s experience spans commercial, brand content, film and social projects. 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 includes projects for Mercedes, FedEx, BMW, Visa, Pepsi, Scotts, Mount Sinai and Verizon. He also edited the Webby Award-winning documentary “Alicia in Africa,” featuring Alicia Keys for Keep a Child Alive.

Marinelli is also an active in independent theater and film. He has written and directed many 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.

He works on Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere. You can watch his reel here.

Kent Zambrana joins design house ATK PLN as senior producer

Dallas-based design studio ATK PLN has added Kent Zambrana as senior producer. Zambrana has over a decade of experience in production, overseeing teams of artists working on live action, animation and design projects. Over the years, he has worked at a number of creative shops across the agency and production sides of the business where he developed media campaigns for omni-channel video ecosystems, interactive projects and future tech.

Adds Zambrana, “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, who studied radio, television and film at the University of Texas in Austin, started his pro career in 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 brought that experience with him and returned to Texas where the became a supervising producer at Invodo, building out the video content library of the startup’s digital video platform. He then landed as head of production, producing animation, live action, 2D and 3D work. When the company was acquired by Industrial Color in 2018, he led both the Dallas and Austin offices as senior director of production before joining The Marketing Arm to lead their in-house production shop.

How does Zambrana relax? He can be found rehearsing, recording and performing with his indie pop band, Letting Up Despite Great Faults.

The Den editorial boutique launches in Los Angeles

Christjan Jordan, editor of award-winning work for clients including Amazon, GEICO and Hulu, has partnered with industry veteran Mary Ellen Duggan to launch The Den, an independent boutique editorial house in Los Angeles.

Over the course of his career, Jordan has worked with Arcade Edit, Cosmo Street and Rock Paper Scissors, among others. He has edited such spots as Alexa Loses Her Voice for Amazon, Longest Goal Celebration Ever for GEICO, #notspecialneeds for World Down Syndrome Day out of Publicis NY and Super Bowl 2020 ads Tom Brady’s Big Announcement for Hulu and Famous Visitors for Walmart. Jordan’s work has been recognized by the Cannes Lions, AICE, AICP, Clio, D&AD, One Show and Sports Emmy awards.

Yes, with Mary Ellen, agency producers are guided by an industry veteran that knows exactly what agencies and clients are looking for,” says Jordan. “And for me, I love fostering young editors. It’s an interesting time in our industry and there is a lot of fresh creative talent.”

In her career, Duggan has headed production departments at both KPB and Cliff Freeman on the East Coast and, most recently, Big Family Table in Los Angeles. In addition, she has freelanced all over the country.

“The stars aligned for Christjan and I to work together,” says Duggan. “We had known each other for years and had recently worked on a Hulu campaign together. We had a similar vision for what we thought the editorial experience should be. A high end boutique editorial that is nimble, has a roster of diverse talent, and a real family vibe.”

Veteran producer Rachel Seitel has joined as partner and head of business development. The Den will be represented by Diane Patrone at The Family on the East Coast and by Ezra Burke and Shane Harris on the West Coast.

The Den’s founding roster also features editor Andrew Ratzlaff and junior editor Hannelore Gomes. The staff works on Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere.

LVLY adds veteran editor Bill Cramer

Bill Cramer, an editor known for his comedy and dialogue work, among other genres, has joined the editorial roster at LVLY, a content creation and creative studio based in New York City.

Cramer joins from Northern Lights. Prior to that he had spent many years at Crew Cuts, where he launched his career and built a strong reputation for his work on many ads and campaigns. Clients included ESPN, GMC, LG, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, MLB, Wendy’s and American Express. Check out his reel.

Cramer reports that he wasn’t looking to make a move but that LVLY’s VP/MD, Wendy Brovetto, inspired him. “Wendy and I knew of each other for years, and I’d been following LVLY since they did their top-to-bottom rebranding. I knew that they’re doing everything from live -action production to podcasting, VFX, design, VR and experiential, and I recognized that joining them would give me more opportunities to flex as an editor. Being at LVLY gives me the chance to take on any project, whether that’s a 30-second commercial, music video or long-form branded content piece; they’re set up to tackle any post production needs, no matter the scale.”

“Bill’s a great comedy/dialogue editor, and that’s something our clients have been looking for,” says Brovetto. “Once I saw the range of his work, it was an easy decision to invite him to join the LVLY team. In addition to being a great editor, he’s a funny guy, and who doesn’t need more humor in their day?”

Cramer, who works on both Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere, joins an editorial roster that includes Olivier Wicki, J.P. Damboragian, Geordie Anderson, Noelle Webb, Joe Siegel and Aaron & Bryan.

Senior colorist Tony D’Amore joins Picture Shop

Burbank’s Picture Shop has beefed up its staff with senior colorist Tony D’Amore, who will also serve as a director of creative workflow. In that role, he will oversee a team focusing on color prep and workflow efficiency.

Originally from rural Illinois, D’Amore made the leap to the West Coast to pursue an education, studying film and television at UCLA. He started his career in color in the early ‘90s, gaining valuable experience in the world of post. He has been working closely with color and post workflow since.

While D’Amore has experience working on Autodesk Lustre and FilmLight Baselight, he primarily grades in Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve. D’Amore has contributed color to several Emmy Award-winning shows nominated in the category of “Outstanding Cinematography.”

D’Amore has developed new and efficient workflows for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10, coloring hundreds of hours of episodic programming for networks including CBS, ABC and Fox, as well as cable and streaming platforms such as HBO, Starz, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

D’Amore’s most notable project to date is having colored a Marvel series simultaneously for IMAX and ABC delivery. His list of color credits include, Barry (HBO), Looking for Alaska (Hulu), Legion (FX), Carnival Row (Amazon), Power (Starz), Fargo (FX), Elementary (CBS), Hanna (Amazon), and a variety of Marvel series, including Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Defenders, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. All of these are available on streaming platforms

Adam Milano joins Hecho Studios from Live Nation

Hecho Studios in LA has named Adam Milano as head of development, a new title at the company. He makes the move from Live Nation where he served as SVP of production. Milano will report directly to Hecho Studios’ president, Briony McCarthy.

In addition to creating and producing content, Hecho has 11 editorial bays, two audio suites, full finishing capabilities with color and picture, and an animation and motion graphics team.

During his time at Live Nation, Milano produced the GLAAD-awarded and Emmy-nominated Believer documentary with Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds. He also worked across Live Nation’s slate of music-driven projects, including The Afterparty, a hip-hop comedy directed by Ian Edelman, which premiered on Netflix in 2018, and Gaga: Five Foot Two.

Milano’s previous posts include SVP of gilm at Simon Cowell’s SYCO Entertainment, where he helped Cowell launch the US division and SYCO’s scripted film/television division. While there, he produced the One Direction movie, This is Us. Milano began his career at Sony Pictures Entertainment, working from 2002-2012 as VP of production.

“Adam is both radically in tune with culture and a consummate experienced creator and producer,” says McCarthy. “As our first head of development, he’ll focus on developing our upcoming slate of reality, pop culture and music content and support our newly formed branded content division.”

Milano will lead the charge in diversifying Hecho’s originals entertainment and branded content productions into more scripted, reality and music-based programming in the context of current culture.

Alkemy X adds all-female design collective Mighty Oak

Alkemy X has added animation and design collective Mighty Oak to its roster for US commercial representation. Mighty Oak has used its expertise in handmade animation techniques and design combined with live action for brands and networks, including General Electric, Netflix, Luna Bar, HBO, Samsung NBC, Airbnb, Conde Nast, Adult Swim and The New York Times.

Led by CEO/EP Jess Peterson, head of creative talent Emily Collins and CD Michaela Olsen, the collective has garnered over 3 billion online views. Mighty Oak’s first original short film, Under Covers, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Helmed by Olsen, the quirky stop-motion short features handmade puppets and forced-perspective sets to glimpse into the unsuspecting lives and secrets that rest below the surface of a small town.

“I was immediately struck by the extreme care that Mighty Oak takes on each and every frame of their work,” notes Alkemy X EP Eve Ehrich. “Their handmade style and fresh approach really make for dynamic, memorable animation, regardless of the concept.”

Mighty Oak’s Peterson adds, “We are passionate about collaborating with our clients from the earliest stages, working together to craft original character designs and creating work that is memorable and fun.”

Post house DigitalFilm Tree names Nancy Jundi COO

DigitalFilm Tree (DFT) has named Nancy Jundi as chief operating officer. She brings a wealth of experience to her new role, after more than 20 years working with entertainment and technology companies.

Jundi has been an outside consultant to DFT since 2014 and will now be based in DFT’s Los Angeles headquarters, where she joins founder and CEO Ramy Katrib in pioneering new offerings for DFT.

Jundi began her career in investment banking and asset protection before segueing into the entertainment industry. Her experience includes leading sales and marketing at Runway during its acquisition by The Post Group (TPG). She then joined that team as director of marketing and communications to unify the end-to-end post facilities into TPG’s singular brand narrative. She later co-founded Mode HQ (acquired by Pacific Post) before transitioning into technology and SaaS companies.

Since 2012, Jundi has served as a consultant to companies in industries as varied as financial technology, healthcare, eCommerce, and entertainment, with brands such as LAbite, Traffic Zoom and GoBoon. Most recently, she served as interim senior management for CareerArc.

“Nancy is simply one of the smartest and most creative thinkers I know,” says Katrib. “She is the rare interdisciplinary – the creative and technological thinker that can exist in both arenas with clarity and tenacity.”

Bill Baggelaar promoted at Sony Pictures, Sony Innovation Studios

Post industry veteran Bill Baggelaar has been promoted to executive VP and CTO, technology development at Sony Pictures and executive VP and general manager of Sony Innovation Studios. Prior to joining Sony Pictures almost nine years ago, he spent 13 years at Warner Bros. as VP of technology/motion picture imaging and head of technology/feature animation. His new role will start in earnest on April 1.

“I am excited for this new challenge that combines roles as both CTO of Sony Pictures and GM of Sony Innovation Studios,” says Baggelaar. “The CTO’s office works both inside the studio and with the industry to develop key standards and technologies that can be adopted across the various lines of business. Sony Innovation Studios is developing groundbreaking tools, methods and techniques for realtime volumetric virtual production — or as we like to say, “the future of movie magic” — with a level of fidelity and quality that is best in class. With the technicians, engineers and artisans at Sony Innovation Studios combined with our studio technology team, we will be able to bring new experiences and technologies to all areas of production and delivery.”

Baggelaar’s promotion is part of a larger announcement by Sony, which involves a new team established within Sony Pictures — the Entertainment Innovation & Technology Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment, which encompasses the following departments: Sony Innovation Studios (SIS), Technology Development, IP Acceleration and Branded Integration.

The group is headed by Yasuhiro Ito, executive VP, Entertainment Innovation & Technology Group. Don Eklund will be leaving his post as EVP /CTO of technology development at the end of March. Eklund has had a long history with SPE and has been in his current role since 2017, establishing the foundation of the studio’s technology development activities.

“This new role combines my years of experience in production, post and VFX; my work with the broader industry and organizations; and my work with Sony companies around the world over the past eight and a half years — along with my more recent endeavors into virtual production — to create a truly unique opportunity for technical innovation that only Sony can provide,” concludes Baggelaar, who will report directly to Ito.

Kevin Lau heads up advertising, immersive at Digital Domain

Visual effects studio Digital Domain has brought on Kevin Lau as executive creative director of advertising, games and new media. In this newly created position, Lau will oversee all short-form projects and act as a creative partner for agencies and brands.

Lau brings over 18 years of ad-based visual effects and commercial production experience, working on campaigns for brands such as Target, Visa and Sprint.

Most recently, he was the executive creative director and founding partner at Timber, an LA-based studio focused on ads (GMC, Winter Olympics) and music videos (Kendrick Lamar’s Humble). Prior to that, he held creative director positions at Mirada, Brand New School and Superfad. Throughout his career, his work has been honored with multiple awards including Clios, AICP Awards, MTV VMAs and a Cannes Gold Lion for Sprint’s “Now Network” campaign via Goodby.

Lau, who joins Digital Domain EPs Nicole Fina and John Canning as they continue to build the studio’s short-form business, will help unify the vision for the advertising, games and new media/experiential groups, promoting a consistent voice across campaigns.

Lau joins the team as the new media group prepares to unveil its biggest project to date: Time’s The March, a virtual reality recreation of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Digital Domain’s experience with digital humans will play a major role in the future of both groups as they continue to build on the photoreal cinematics and in-game characters previously created for Activision, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft.

CVLT adds Joe Simons as lead editor

Bi-coastal production studio CVLT, which offers full-service production and post, has Joe Simons as lead editor. He will be tasked with growing CVLT’s editorial department. He edits on Adobe Premiere and will be based in the New York studio.

Simons joins CVLT after three years at The Mill, where his edited the “It’s What Connects Us” campaign for HBO, the “Top Artist of the Year” campaign for Spotify and several major campaigns for Ralph Lauren, among many others. Prior to The Mill, he launched his career at PS260 before spending four years at editing house Cut+Run.

Simons’ addition comes at a time when CVLT is growing into a full concept-to-completion creative studio, launching campaigns for top luxury and fashion brands, including Lexus, Peloton and Louis Vuitton.

“Having soaked up everything I could at The Mill and Cut+Run, it was time for me to take that learning and carve my own path,” says Simons.

London’s Freefolk beefs up VFX team

Soho-based visual effects studio Freefolk, which has seen growth in its commercials and longform work, has grown its staff to meet this demand. As part of the uptick in work, Freefolk promoted Cheryl Payne from senior producer to head of commercial production. Additionally, Laura Rickets has joined as senior producer, and 2D artist Bradley Cocksedge has been added to the commercials VFX team.

Payne, who has been with Freefolk since the early days, has worked on some of the studio’s biggest commercials, including; Warburtons for Engine, Peloton for Dark Horses and Cadburys for VCCP.

Rickets comes to Freefolk with over 18 years of production experience working at some of the biggest VFX houses in London, including Framestore, The Mill and Smoke & Mirrors, as well as agency side for McCann. Since joining the team, Rickets has VFX-produced work on the I’m A Celebrity IDs, a set of seven technically challenging and CG-heavy spots for the new series of the show as well as ads for the Rugby World Cup and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

Cocksedge is a recent graduate who joins from Framestore, where he was working as an intern on Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. While in school at the University of Hertfordshire, he interned at Freefolk and is happy to be back in a full-time position.

“We’ve had an exciting year and have worked on some really stand-out commercials, like TransPennine for Engine and the beautiful spot for The Guardian we completed with Uncommon, so we felt it was time to add to the Freefolk family,” says Fi Kilroe, Freefolk’s co-managing director/executive producer.

Main Image: (L-R) Cheryl Payne, Laura Rickets and Bradley Cocksedge

Alaina Zanotti rejoins Cartel as executive producer

Santa Monica-based editorial and post studio Cartel has named Alaina Zanotti as executive producer to help with business development and to oversee creative operations along with partner and executive producer Lauren Bleiweiss. Additionally, Cartel has bolstered its roster with the signing of comedic editor Kevin Zimmerman.

Kevin Zimmerman

With more than 15 years of experience, Zanotti joins Cartel after working for clients that include BBDO, Wieden+Kennedy, Deutsch, Google, Paramount and Disney. Zanotti most recently served as senior executive producer at Method Studios, where she oversaw business development for global VFX and post. Prior to that stint, she joined Cartel in 2016 to assist the newly established post and editorial house’s growth. Previously, Zanotti spent more than a decade driving operations and raising brand visibility for Method and Company 3.

Editor Zimmerman joins Cartel following a tenure as a freelance editor, during which his comedic timing and entrepreneurial spirit earned him commercial work for Avocados From Mexico and Planters that aired during 2019’s Super Bowl.

Throughout his two-decade career in editorial, Zimmerman has held positions at Spot Welders, NO6, Whitehouse Post and FilmCore, with recent work for Sprite, Kia, hotels.com, Microsoft and Miller Lite, and a PSA for Girls Who Code. Zimmer has previously worked with Cartel partners Adam Robinson and Leo Scott.

HitFilm Pro supports After Effects plugins from Video Copilot, Red Giant

FXhome’s HitFilm 14 is the newest version of the editing, VFX and compositing platform for content creators, filmmakers, editors and visual effects artists. Among the upgrades is support for After Effects plugins from Red Giant and Andrew Kramer’s Video Copilot directly within HitFilm.

From Red Giant, HitFilm 14 supports:
– Trapcode Particular – for creating organic 3D particle effects and complex motion graphics elements

From Video Copilot, HitFilm 14 supports:
– Element 3D – for importing and animating realistic 3D models
– Optical Flares – for creating customizable, realistic lens flares
– Saber – for creating high-energy beams, neon lights and other similar effects
– Orb – for creating 3D spheres and planets
– Heat Distortion – for simulating realistic heat waves and mirage effects

Other new features in HitFilm 14 are:
– Video Textures for 3D Models: Allows creators to use a video layer as a texture on their 3D model to add animated bullet holes, cracked glass or changing textures.
– Chromatic Aberration Effect: Added as an effect in HitFilm Pro, this feature allows creators to replicate the red, green and blue fringes around edges when light is refracted through a lens. This allows for creative effects and can be pushed to extremes with parameters for distance (the distance between RGB channels), strength (opacity of the effect), radius (blur radius of the RGB channels) and “Use Lens,” which lens warps the effect around a point of choice.
– Improvements to the export process: In HitFilm 14, the Export Queue is now an Export Panel and is now much easier to use. Exporting can also now be done from the timeline and from comps. These “in-context” exports can apply to the content between the set in and out points or to the entire timeline using the current default preset (which can be changed from the menu).
– Additional Text Controls: Customizing text in HitFilm 14 has been further simplified, with Text panel options for All Caps, Small Caps, Subscript and Superscript. Users can also change the character spacing, horizontal or vertical scale, and baseline shift (for that Stranger Things-style titling).
– Usability and Workflow Enhancements: In addition to the new and improved export process, FXhome has also implemented new changes to the interface to further simplify the entire post production process, including a new “composite button” in the media panel, double-click and keyboard shortcuts.

HitFilm 14 is available now for $349 for a three-seat professional license, which includes 12 months of free upgrades and 12 months of free technical support. From November 30 to December 2, FXhome is offering HitFilm 14 at a discount from the FXhome Store as part of its Black Friday promotion.

Chris Hellman joins Harbor as ECD of editorial

Harbor has added award-winning editor Chris Hellman as executive creative director of editorial. Hellman brings 35 years of experience collaborating and editing with producers, art directors, writers and directors working on commercials. He will be based at Harbor in New York but available at its locations in LA and London as well.

During his long and distinguished career, Hellman has garnered multiple Cannes Lions, Addy Awards, Clios, The One Clubs, London International Awards, CA Annuals, and AICP Awards. Chris served as senior editor at Crew Cuts for 16 years. He was owner/partner and senior editor at Homestead Editorial and then became senior editor at Cutting Room Films. Hellman then took up the role of creative director of post production with the FCB Health network of agencies. His work has been seen in movie theaters, during concerts, and the Super Bowl and as short films and spoof commercials on Saturday Night Live.

“Creating great commercial advertising is about collaboration,” says Hellman. “Harbor is evolving to take that collaboration to a new level, offering clients an approach where the editor is brought into the creative process early on, bringing a new paradigm and a singular creative force.”

Hellman’s clients have included AT&T, Verizon, IBM, Intel, ESPN, NFL, MLB, NBA, Nike, Adidas, New Balance, 3M, Starbucks, Coke, Pepsi, Lipton, Tropicana, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Ford, Jaguar, GMC, Chrysler, Porsche, Pfizer, Merck, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Unilever, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Macy’s, TJ Maxx, Tommy Hilfiger, Victorias Secret, Lands End and The Jon Stewart Show, among many others.

Alkemy X adds Albert Mason as head of production

Albert Mason has joined VFX house Alkemy X as head of production. He comes to Alkemy X with over two decades of experience in visual effects and post production. He has worked on projects directed by such industry icons as Peter Jackson on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tim Burton on Alice in Wonderland and Robert Zemeckis on The Polar Express. In his new role at Alkemy X, he will use his experience in feature films to target the growing episodic space.

A large part of Alkemy X’s work has been for episodic visual effects, with credits that include Amazon Prime’s Emmy-winning original series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, USA’s Mr. Robot, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, Netflix’s Maniac, NBC’s Blindspot and Starz’s Power.

Mason began his career at MTV’s on-air promos department, sharpening his production skills on top series promo campaigns and as a part of its newly launched MTV Animation Department. He took an opportunity to transition into VFX, stepping into a production role for Weta Digital and spending three years working globally on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He then joined Sony Pictures Imageworks, where he contributed to features including Spider-Man 3 and Ghost Rider. He has also produced work for such top industry shops as Logan, Rising Sun Pictures and Greymatter VFX.

“[Albert’s] expertise in constructing advanced pipelines that embrace emerging technologies will be invaluable to our team as we continue to bolster our slate of VFX work,” says Alkemy X president/CEO Justin Wineburgh.

Carbon New York grows with three industry vets

Carbon in New York has grown with two senior hires — executive producer Nick Haynes and head of CG Frank Grecco — and the relocation of existing ECD Liam Chapple, who joins from the Chicago office.

Chapple joined Carbon in 2016, moving from Mainframe in London to open Carbon’s Chicago facility.  He brought in clients such as Porsche, Lululemon, Jeep, McDonald’s, and Facebook. “I’ve always looked to the studios, designers and directors in New York as the high bar, and now I welcome the opportunity to pitch against them. There is an amazing pool of talent in New York, and the city’s energy is a magnet for artists and creatives of all ilk. I can’t wait to dive into this and look forward to expanding upon our amazing team of artists and really making an impression in such a competitive and creative market.”

Chapple recently wrapped direction and VFX on films for Teflon and American Express (Ogilvy) and multiple live-action projects for Lululemon. The most recent shoot, conceived and directed by Chapple, was a series of eight live-action films focusing on Lululemon’s brand ambassadors and its new flagship store in Chicago.

Haynes joins Carbon from his former role as EP of MPC, bringing over 20 years of experience earned at The Mill, MPC and Absolute. Haynes recently wrapped the launch film for the Google Pixel phone and the Chromebook, as well as an epic Middle Earth: Shadow of War Monolith Games trailer combining photo-real CGI elements with live-action shot on the frozen Black Sea in Ukraine.  “We want to be there at the inception of the creative and help steer it — ideally, lead it — and be there the whole way through the process, from concept and shoot to delivery. Over the years, whether working for the world’s most creative agencies or directly with prestigious clients like Google, Guinness and IBM, I aim to be as close to the project as possible from the outset, allowing my team to add genuine value that will garner the best result for everyone involved.”

Grecco joins Carbon from Method Studios, where he most recently led projects for Google, Target, Microsoft, Netflix and Marvel’s Deadpool 2.  With a wide range of experience from Emmy-nominated television title sequences to feature films and Super Bowl commercials, Grecco looks forward to helping Carbon continue to push its visuals beyond the high bar that has already been set.

In addition to New York and Chicago, Carbon has a studio in Los Angeles.

Main Image: (L-R) Frank Grecco, Liam Chapple, Nick Haynes

Final Cut ups Zoe Schack to editor

Final Cut in LA has promoted Zoe Schack to editor after working at the studio as an assistant editor for three years. While at Final Cut, Schack has been mentored by Final Cut editors Crispin Struthers, Joe Guest, Jeff Buchanan and Rick Russell.

Schack has edited branded content and commercials for Audi, Infiniti, Doritos and Dollar Shave Club as well as music videos for Swae Lee and Whitney Woerz. She has also worked with a number of high-profile directors, including Dougal Wilson, Ava DuVernay, Michel Gondry, Craig Gillespie and Steve Ayson.

Originally from a small town north of New York, Schack studied film at Rhode Island School of Design and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her love for documentaries led her to intern with renowned filmmaker Albert Maysles and to produce the Bicycle Film Festival in Portland, Oregon. She edited several short documentaries and a pilot series that were featured in many film festivals.

“It’s been amazing watching Zoe’s growth the last few years,” says Final Cut executive producer Suzy Ramirez. “She’s so meticulous, always doing a deep dive into the footage. Clients love working with her because she makes the process fun. She’s grown here at Final Cut so much already under the guidance of our editors, and her craft keeps evolving. I’m excited to see what’s ahead”

James Norris joins Nomad in London as editor, partner

Nomad in London has added James Norris as editor and partner. A self-taught, natural editor, James started out running for the likes of Working Title, Partizan and Tomboy Films. He then moved to Whitehouse Post as an assistant where he refined his craft and rose through the ranks to become an editor.

Over the past 15 years, he’s worked across commercials, music videos, features and television. Norris edited Ikea’s Fly Robot Fly spot and Asda’s Get Possessed piece, and has recently cut a new project for Nike. Working within television and film, he also cut an episode of the BAFTA-nominated drama Our World War and feature film We Are Monster.

“I was attracted to Nomad for their vision for the future and their dedication to the craft of editing. They have a wonderful history but are also so forward-thinking and want to create new, exciting things. The New York and LA offices have seen incredible success over the last few years, and now there’s Tokyo and London too. On top of this, Nomad feels like home already. They’re really lovely people — it really does feel like a family.”

Norris will be cutting on Avid Media Composer at Nomad.

 

VFX house Blacksmith now offering color grading, adds Mikey Pehanich

New York-based visual effects studio Blacksmith has added colorist Mikey Pehanich to its team. With this new addition, Blacksmith expands its capabilities to now offer color grading in addition to VFX.

Pehanich has worked on projects for high-profile brands including Amazon, Samsung, Prada, Nike, New Balance, Marriott and Carhartt. Most recently, Pehanich worked on Smirnoff’s global “Infamous Since 1864” campaign directed by Rupert Sanders, Volkswagen’s Look Down in Awe spot from Garth Davis, Fisher-Price’s “Let’s Be Kids” campaign and Miller Lite’s newly launched Followers spot, both directed by Ringan Ledwidge.

Prior to joining Blacksmith, Pehanich spent six years as colorist at The Mill in Chicago. Pehanich was the first local hire when The Mill opened its Chicago studio in 2013. Initially cutting his teeth as color assistant, he quickly worked his way up to becoming a full-fledged colorist, lending his talent to campaigns that include Michelob’s 2019 Super Bowl spot featuring Zoe Kravitz and directed by Emma Westenberg, as well as music videos, including Regina Spektor’s Black and White.

In addition to commercial work, Pehanich’s diverse portfolio encompasses several feature films, short films and music videos. His recent longform work includes Shabier Kirchner’s short film Dadli about an Antiguan boy and his community, and Andre Muir’s short film 4 Corners, which tackles Chicago’s problem with gun violence.

“New York has always been a creative hub for all industries — the energy and vibe that is forever present in the air here has always been a draw for me. When the opportunity presented itself to join the incredible team over at Blacksmith, there was no way I could pass it up,” says Pehanich, who will be working on Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve.

 

Jacki Sextro opens commercial production company Kin

Founder and executive producer Jacki Sextro has launched LA-based production company Kin. For over a decade, Sextro has been part of award-winning teams at production companies including Hungry Man, Biscuit and The Directors Bureau. In making the leap from executive producer to business owner, Sextro, says, “I had a list of goals — a commitment to diversity, green practices and creating memorable original content. I looked around for a company that shared these goals but didn’t see it. I knew that if I felt that way, directors must be searching for it too.”

Kin’s directorial lineup includes Ric Cantor, a D&AD, British Arrow and Cannes Lions-winning director who is known industry wide for elevating lifestyle, auto and comedy campaigns with a cinematic eye; Jeff Baena, a Lions-winning comedy filmmaker whose features have starred Alison Brie, Thomas Middleditch and Aubrey Plaza; Minhal Baig, a writer (BoJack Horseman, Dune: The Sisterhood) and director whose feature, Hala, about a Muslim teenager coping with the unraveling of her family as she comes into her own, will be released by Apple TV+; JD Dillard, who weaves genre with emotional, character-driven stories as showcased in his Sundance-premiering features Sleight and Sweetheart; Liza Mandelup, an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has explored what it means to be a mom, athlete, coder and fangirl; and Ryan Reichenfeld, who connects viewers with dynamic subjects, from skaters to footballers, by creating vivid scenes in everyday moments.

As for the directors she’s drawn to Sextro says they are makers “whose ideas and work surprise me. The biggest error you can make is to be forgettable or average.

“I love that we’re in an era where there is a spectrum of tone in advertising,” she continues. “Ultimately, my role is to help the directors shape ideas in a way where creative teams walk away with an elevated finished product.”

Main Image: (top L to R) Minhal Baig, Ric Cantor, JD Dillard
(Bottom L to R) Ryan Reichenfeld, Jeff Baena, Liza Mandelup

Nice Shoes Toronto adds colorist Yulia Bulashenko

Creative studio Nice Shoes has added colorist Yulia Bulashenko to its Toronto location. She brings over seven years of experience as a freelance colorist, working worldwide across on projects with such top global clients as Nike, Volkswagen, MTV, Toyota, Diesel, Uniqlo, Uber, Adidas and Zara, among numerous others.

Bulashenko’s resume includes work across commercials, music videos, fashion, and feature films. Notable projects include Sia and Diplo’s (LSD) music video for “Audio,” “Sound and Vision” a tribute to the late singer David Bowie directed by Canada for whom she has been a colorist of choice for the past five years; and feature films The Girl From The Song and Gold.

Toronto-based Bulashenko is available immediately and also available remotely via Nice Shoes’s New York, Boston, Chicago, and Minneapolis spaces.

Bulashenko began her career as a fashion photographer before transitioning into creating fashion films. Through handling all of the post on her own film projects, she discovered a love for color grading. After building relationships with a number of collaborators, she began taking on projects as a freelancer, working with clients in Spain and the UK working on a wide range of projects throughout Europe, Mexico, Qatar and India.

Managing director Justin Pandolfino notes, “We’re excited to announce Yulia as the first of a number of new signings as we enter our fourth year in the Toronto market. Bringing her onboard is part of our ongoing efforts to unite the best talent from around the world to deliver stunning design, animation, VFX, VR/AR, editorial, color grading and finishing for our clients.”

Good Company adds director Daniel Iglesias Jr.

Filmmaker Daniel Iglesias Jr., whose reel spans narrative storytelling to avant-garde fashion films with creativity and an eccentric visual style, has signed with full-service creative studio Good Company.

Iglesias’ career started while attending Chapman University’s renowned film school, where he earned a BFA in screen acting. At the same time, Iglesias and his friend Zack Sekuler began crafting images for his friends in the alt-rock band The Neighbourhood. Iglesias’ career took off after directing his first music video for the band’s breakout hit “Sweater Weather,” which reached over 310 million views. He continues working behind the camera for The Neighbourhood and other artists like X Ambassadors and AlunaGeorge.

Iglesias uses elements of surrealism and a blend of avant-garde and commercial compositions, often stemming from innovative camera techniques. His work includes projects for clients like Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, Skyy Vodka and Chrysler and the Vogue film Death Head Sphinx.

One of his most celebrated projects was a two-minute promo for Margaux the Agency. Designed as a “living magazine,” Margaux Vol 1 merges creative blocking, camera movement and effects to create a kinetic visual catalog that is both classic and contemporary. The piece took home Best Picture at the London Fashion Film Festival, along with awards from the Los Angeles Film Festival, the International Fashion Film Awards and Promofest in Spain.

Iglesias’ first project since joining Good Company was Ikea’s Kama Sutra commercial for Ogilvy NY, a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the boudoir. Now he is working on a project for Paper Magazine and Tiffany.

“We all see the world through our own lens; through film, I can unscrew my lens and pop in onto other people and, by effect, change their point of view or even the depth of culture,” he says. “That’s why the medium excites me — I want to show people my lens.”

We reached out to Iglesias to learn a bit more about how he works.

How do you go about picking the people you work with?
I do have a couple DPs and PDs I like to work with on the regular, depending on the job, and sometimes it makes sense to work with someone new. If it’s someone new that I haven’t worked with before, I typically look at three things to get a sense of how right they are for the project: image quality, taste and versatility. Then it’s a phone call or meeting to discuss the project in person so we can feel out chemistry and execution strategy.

Do you trust your people completely in terms of what to shoot on, or do you like to get involved in that process as well?
I’m a pretty hands-on and involved director, but I think it’s important to know what you don’t know and delegate/trust accordingly. I think it’s my job as a director to communicate, as detailed and effectively as possible, an accurate explanation of the vision (because nobody sees the vision of the project better than I do). Then I must understand that the DPs/PDs/etc. have a greater knowledge of their field than I do, so I must trust them to execute (because nobody understands how to execute in their fields better than they do).

Since Good Company also provides post, how involved do you get in that process?
I would say I edit 90% of my work. If I’m not editing it myself, then I still oversee the creative in post. It’s great to have such a strong post workflow with Good Company.

Harbor adds talent to its London, LA studios

Harbor has added to its London- and LA-based studios. Marcus Alexander joins as VP of picture post, West Coast and Darren Rae as senior colorist. He will be supervising all dailies in the UK.

Marcus Alexander started his film career in London almost 20 years ago as an assistant editor before joining Framestore as a VFX editor. He helped Framestore launch its digital intermediate division, producing multiple finishes on a host of tent-pole and independent titles, before joining Deluxe to set up its London DI facility. Alexander then relocated to New York to head up Deluxe New York DI. With the growth in 3D movies, he returned to the UK to supervise stereo post conversions for multiple studios before his segue into VFX supervising.

“I remember watching It Came from Outer Space at a very young age and deciding there and then to work in movies,” says Alexander. “Having always been fascinated with photography and moving images, I take great pride in thorough involvement in my capacity from either a production or creative standpoint. Joining Harbor allows me to use my skills from a post-finishing background along with my production experience in creating both 2D and 3D images to work alongside the best talent in the industry and deliver content we can be extremely proud of.”

Rae began his film career in the UK in 1995 as a sound sync operator at Mike Fraser Neg Cutters. He moved into the telecine department in 1997 as a trainee. By 1998 he was a dailies colorist working with 16mm and 35mm film. From 2001, Rae spent three years with The Machine Room in London as telecine operator and joined Todd AO’s London lab in 2014 as colorist working on drama and commercials 35mm and 16mm film and 8mm projects for music videos. In 2006 Rae moved into grading dailies at Todd AO parent company Deluxe in Soho London, moving to Company 3 London in 2007 as senior dailies colorist. In 2009, he was promoted to supervising colorist.

Prior to joining Harbor, Rae was senior colorist for Pinewood Digital, supervising multiple shows and overseeing a team of four, eventually becoming head of grading. Projects include Pokemon Detective Pikachu, Dumbo, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Mummy, Rogue One, Doctor Strange and Star Wars Episode VII — The Force Awakens.

“My main goal is to make the director of photography feel comfortable. I can work on a big feature film from three months to a year, and the trust the DP has in you is paramount. They need to know that wherever they are shooting in the world, I’m supporting them. I like to get under the skin of the DP right from the start to get a feel for their wants and needs and to provide my own input throughout the entire creative process. You need to interpret their instructions and really understand their vision. As a company, Harbor understands and respects the filmmaker’s process and vision, so for me, it’s the ideal new home for me.”

Harbor has also announced that colorists Elodie Ichter and Katie Jordan are now available to work with clients on both the East and West Coasts in North America as well as the UK. Some of the team’s work includes Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Irishman, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Maleficent, The Wolf of Wall Street, Anna, Snow White and the Huntsman and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Quick Chat: Frame.io’s new global SVP of innovation, Michael Cioni

By Randi Altman

Production and post specialist Michael Cioni, whom many of you might know from his years at Light Iron and Panavision, has joined Frame.io as global SVP of innovation. He will lead a new LA-based division of Frame.io that is focused on continued investment into cloud-enabled workflows for films and episodics — specifically, automated camera-to-cutting room technology.

Frame.io has been 100 percent cloud-based since the company was formed, according to founder Emery Wells. “We started seeding new workflows around dailies, collaborative review and realtime integration with NLEs for parallel work and approvals. Now, with Michael, we’re building Frame.io for the new frontier of cloud-enabled professional workflows. Frame.io will leverage machine learning and a combination of software and hardware in a way that will truly revolutionize collaboration.”

Quoted in a Frame.io release that went out today, Cioni says, “A robust camera-to-cloud approach means filmmakers will have greater access to their work, greater control of their content, and greater speed with which to make key decisions,” says Cioni. “Our new roadmap will dramatically reduce the time it takes to get original camera negative into the hands of editors. Directors, cinematographers, post houses, DITs and editors will all be able to work with recorded images in real time, regardless of location.”

We reached out to Cioni with some questions about Frame.io and the cloud.

Why was now the right time for you to move on from Light Iron — which you helped to establish — and Panavision to join Frame.io?
After 10 years at Light Iron and over four at Panavision, I have been very fortunate to spend large portions of my career focused on both post and production. Being at both these groups gave me more access to the unique challenges our industry collaborators face, especially with more productions operating on global schedules. Light Iron and Panavision equipped me with the ideal training to explore something entirely new that couples production and post together in an entirely new way. Frame.io is the right foundation for this change.

What will your day-to-day look like at the company?
I will be based in LA and helping build out Frame.io’s newest division in Los Angeles. I will also be traveling regularly to New York to work directly with the engineers and security teams on our roadmap development. This is great for me because I loved living in New York when we opened up Light Iron NY, but I also love working in LA, where so many post and production infrastructures call home.

Frame.io was founded by post pros. Why is it so important for the company to continue that tradition with your hire?
I find that the key to success in any industry is largely dependent on how deep your knowledge well goes. Even though we in media and entertainment serve the world through creative means, the filmmaking process is inherently complex and inherently technical. It always has been.

The best technologies are the ones that are invisible and let the creative process flow without thought about the technology behind what is happening in your mind. Frame.io CEO Emery Wells and I have a profound respect for post production because we were both entrepreneurs and experts in the post space. Anyone who has built or operated a post facility (big or small) knows that post is a hub linking together nearly all workflow components for both creative and technical team members.

Because post lives at the core of Emery and myself, Frame.io will always be grounded in the professional workflow space, which enables us to better evolve our technology into markets of every type and scale.

Your roadmap seems in line with the MovieLabs white paper on the future of production, which is cloud-based. Can you address that?
MovieLabs is arguably the best representation of a technological roadmap for the media and entertainment industry. I was thrilled to see an early copy because it parallels a similar vision I have been exploring since 2013. I believe MovieLabs paints an accurate picture of the great things we are going to be able to do using cloud and machine learning technology, but it also demonstrates how many challenges there are before we can enjoy all the benefits. Frame.io not only supports the conclusions of the MovieLabs white paper, we have already begun deploying solutions to bring a new virtual creative world to reality.

Main Image: (L-R) Michael Cioni and Emery Wells

Uppercut ups Tyler Horton to editor

After spending two years as an assistant at New York-based editorial house Uppercut, Tyler Horton has been promoted to editor. This is the first internal talent promotion for Uppercut.

Horton first joined Uppercut in 2017 after a stint as an assistant editor at Whitehouse Post. Stepping up as editor he’s cut notable projects, such as a recent Nike campaign “Letters to Heroes,” a series launched in conjunction with the US Open that highlights young athletes meeting their role models, including Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. He also has cut campaigns for brands such as Asics, Hypebeast, Volvo and MOMA.

“From the beginning, Uppercut was always intentionally a boutique studio that embraced a collaborative of visions and styles — never just a one-person shop,” says Uppercut EP Julia Williams. “Tyler took initiative from day one to be as hands-on as possible with every project and we’ve been proud to see him really grow and refine his own voice.”

Horton’s love of film was sparked by watching sports reels and highlight videos. He went on to study film editing, then hit the road to tour with his band for four years before returning to his passion for film.

Cinelab London adds sound mastering supervisor and colorist

Cinelab London, which provides a wide range of film and digital restoration services, has added two new creatives to its staff — sound mastering supervisor Jason Stevens and senior colorist Mike David.

Stevens brings with him over 20 years of experience in sound and film archive restoration. Prior to his new role, he was part of the archive and restoration team at Pinewood Studios. Having worked there his whole career, Stevens’ worked on many big films, including the recent Yesterday, Rocketman and Judy. His clients have included the BFI, Arrow Films, Studio Canal and Fabulous Films.

During his career, Stevens has also been involved in short films, commercials and broadcast documentaries, recently completing a three-year project for Adam Matthew, the award-winning digital publisher of unique primary source collections from archives around the world.

“We have seen Jason’s enviable skills and talents put to their best use over the six years we have worked together,” says Adrian Bull, co-founder and CEO of Cinelab London. “Now we’re thrilled to have him join our growing in-house team. Talents like Jason’s are rare. He brings a wealth of creative and technical knowledge, so we feel lucky to be able to welcome him to our film family.”

Colorist Mike Davis also joins from Pinewood Studios (following its recent closure) where he spent five years grading feature films and episodic TV productions and specializing in archive and restoration. He has graded over 100 restoration titles for clients such as BFI, Studio Canal and Arrow Films on projects such as A Fish Called Wanda, Rita, Sue & Bob Too and Waterworld.

Davis has worked with the world’s leading DPs, handling dailies and grading major feature films including Mission Impossible, Star Wars: Rogue One and Annihilation. He enjoys working on a variety of content including short films, commercials, broadcast documentaries and Independent DI projects. He recently worked on Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming, which won Best British Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June.

Davis started his career at Ascent Media, assisting on film rushes, learning how to grade and operate equipment. By 2010, he segued into production, spending time on set and on location working on stereoscopic 3D projects and operating 3D rigs. Returning to grading film and TV at Company 3, Davis then strengthened his talents working in long format film at Pinewood Studios.

Main Image: (L-R) Stevens and Davis

Flavor adds Joshua Studebaker as CG supervisor

Creative production house Flavor has added CG supervisor Joshua Studebaker to its Los Angeles studio. For more than eight years, Studebaker has been a freelance CG artist in LA, specializing in design, animation, dynamics, lighting/shading and compositing via Maya, Cinema 4D, Vray/Octane, Nuke and After Effects.

A frequent collaborator with Flavor and its brand and agency partners, Studebaker has also worked with Alma Mater, Arsenal FX, Brand New School, Buck, Greenhaus GFX, Imaginary Forces and We Are Royale in the past five years alone. In his new role with Flavor, Studebaker oversees visual effects and 3D services across the company’s global operations. Flavor’s Chicago, Los Angeles and Detroit studios offer color grading, VFX and picture finishing using tools like Autodesk Lustre and Flame Premium.

Flavor creative director Jason Cook also has a long history of working with Studebaker and deep respect for his talent. “What I love most about Josh is that he is both technical and a really amazing artist and designer. Adding him is a huge boon to the Flavor family, instantly elevating our production capabilities tenfold.”

Flavor has always emphasized creativity as a key ingredient, and according to Studebaker, that’s what attracted him. “I see Flavor as a place to grow my creative and design skills, as well as help bring more standardization to our process in house,” he explained. “My vision is to help Flavor become more agile and more efficient and to do our best work together.”

Colorist Jimmy Hsu joins Encore Vancouver

Seasoned colorist Jimmy Hsu has joined Encore Vancouver, bringing with him experience in content creation and color science. He comes to Encore Vancouver from Side Street Post Production, where he began as an online editor in 2012 before focusing on color grading.

Hsu’s work spans live action and animated projects across genres, including features, video game cinematics and commercials for clients such as Universal Studios, Disney and Lifetime.

Upon graduating from British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University with a bachelor’s in interactive arts and film production, Hsu held various roles in production and post production, including as a creative editor and motion graphics artist. Having edited more than a hundred movie trailers, Hsu is well-versed in project deliverables and specs, which helps inform his color process. He also draws from his artistic background, leveraging the latest capabilities of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve to incorporate significant compositing and visual effects work into his projects.


Senior colorist Maria Carretero joins Nice Shoes

NYC-based post studio Nice Shoes has hired senior colorist Maria Carretero, who comes to Nice Shoes with nearly two decades of global experience in color grading under her belt. Her portfolio includes a wide range of feature films, short films, music videos and commercials for brands like Apple, Jeep, Porsche, Michael Kors, Disney and Marriott, among many others. She will be based at Nice Shoes’ NYC studio, also working across Nice Shoes’s Boston, Chicago, Toronto and Minneapolis spaces and through its network of remote partnerships globally.

She comes to Nice Shoes from Framestore in Chicago, where she spent nearly two years establishing relationships with agencies such as BBDO, FCB, DDB, Leo Burnett Chicago and Media Arts Lab LA.

Carretero is originally from Spain, where she received an education in fine arts. She soon discovered the creative possibilities in digital color grading, quickly establishing a career for herself as an international artist. Her background in painting, coupled with her natural eye for nuanced visuals, are the tools that help her maximize her clients’ creative visions. Carretero’s ability to convey a brand story through her work has earned her a long list of awards, including Cannes Lions and a Clio.

Carretero’s recent work includes Jeep’s Recalculating, Disney’s You Can Fly and Bella Notte, Porsche’s The Fix and Avocados From Mexico’s Top Dog spot for Super Bowl 2019.

“Nice Shoes brings together the expertise backed by 20 years of experience with a personal approach that really celebrates female talent and collaboration,” adds Carretero. “I’m thrilled to be joining a team that truly supports the creative exploration process that color takes in storytelling. I’ve always wanted to live in New York. Throughout my whole life, I visited this city again and again and was fascinated by the diversity, the culture, and incredible energy that you breathe in as you walk the city’s streets.”

Nigel Bennett upped to managing director at UK’s Molinare

Molinare has promoted Nigel Bennett to the role of managing director. He joined the studio earlier this year from Pinewood Studios, where over a 20-year period he worked his way up from re-recording mixer to group director of creative services, a position that he held since 2014.

Bennett’s responsibilities include growing revenue across feature film, TV drama, feature documentaries and reality TV. Over the coming months he will work with the existing senior team at Molinare to implement a new business growth and investment plan with the full support of Molinare’s shareholders, Saphir Capital and Next Wave Partners.

Bennett replaces Julie Parmenter, who has left the company after seven years. While at Molinare, Parmenter was integral to maintaining the successful Molinare brand, subsequent acquisition of Hackenbacker and expansion into Hoxton.

Danielle Katvan joins 1stAveMachine’s directorial roster

Film and commercial director Danielle Katvan has joined the roster at Brooklyn-based production company 1stAveMachine. Her work includes the Clio-winning spot for Vogue and Free People, as well as commercials for The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and Service Now’s The Future of Work. Her short film, The Foster Portfolio, premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

Katvan grew up in her parents photography studio in New York City, so she was exposed to the art of storytelling from a young age. She began by taking 35mm photographs, developing the film in their home’s darkroom. This fascination evolved into an interest in moving images, and she bought her first video camera at age 12.

Katvan’s style includes adding offbeat humor into highly stylized, cinematic worlds. “It’s like our world, but with the volume turned up a bit,” she explains. “The beauty of filmmaking is that you can escape to another place but still feel emotionally connected to what you’re watching – and good performances are such a huge part of making that connection.”

“We have been big fans of Danielle’s work for some time. Her eye for authentic performances and beautiful cinematography, set against thoughtful art direction, have made for some incredibly compelling films,” says Sam Penfield, a partner at 1stAveMachine.

Technicolor adds Patrick Smith, Steffen Wild to prepro studio

Technicolor has added Patrick Smith to head its visualization department, partnering with filmmakers to help them realize their vision in a digital environment before they hit the set. By helping clients define lensing, set dimensions, asset placement and even precise on-set camera moves, Smith and his team will play a vital role in helping clients plan their shoots in the virtual environment in ways that feel completely natural and intuitive to them. He reports to Kerry Shea, who heads Technicolor’s Pre-Production Studio.

“By enabling clients to leverage the latest visualization technologies and techniques while using hardware similar to what they are already familiar with, Patrick and his team will empower filmmakers by ensuring their creative visions are clearly defined at the very start of their projects — and remain at the heart of everything they do from their first day on set to take their stories to the next level,” explains Shea. “Bringing visualization and the other areas of preproduction together under one roof removes redundancy from the filmmaking process which, in turn, reduces stress on the storytellers and allows them as much time as possible to focus on telling their story. Until now, the process of preproduction has been a divided and inefficient process involving different vendors and repeated steps. Bringing those worlds together and making it a seamless, start-to-finish process is a game changer.”

Smith has held a number of senior positions within the industry, including most recently as creative director/senior visualization supervisor at The Third Floor. He has worked on titles such as Bumblebee, Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

“Visualization used to involve deciding roughly what you plan to do on set. Today, you can plan out precisely how to achieve your vision on set down to the inch – from the exact camera lens to use, to exactly how much dolly track you’ll need, to precisely where to place your actors,” he says. “Visualization should be viewed as the director’s paint brush. It’s through the process of visualization that directors can visually explore and design their characters and breathe life into their story. It’s a sandbox where they can experiment, play and perfect their vision before the pressure of being on set.”

In other Technicolor news, last week the studio announced that Steffen Wild has joined as head of its virtual production department. “As head of virtual production, Wild will help drive the studio’s approach to efficient filmmaking by bringing previously separate departments together into a single pipeline,” says Shea. “We currently see what used to be separate departments merge together. For example, previz, techviz and postviz, which were all separate ways to find answers to production questions, are now in the process of collaborating together in virtual production.”

Wild has over 20 years of experience, including 10 years spearheading Jim Henson’s Creature Shop’s expending efforts in innovative animation technologies, virtual studio productions and new ways of visual storytelling. As SVP of digital puppetry and visual effects at the Creature Shop, Wild crafted new production techniques using proprietary game engine technologies. He brings with him in-depth knowledge of global and local VFX and animation production, rapid prototyping and cloud-based entertainment projects. In addition to his role in the development of next-generation cinematic technologies, he has set up VFX/animation studios in the US, China and southeast Europe.

Main Image: (L-R) Patrick Smith and Steffen Wild

Harbor expands to LA and London, grows in NY

New York-based Harbor has expanded into Los Angeles and London and has added staff and locations in New York. Industry veteran Russ Robertson joins Harbor’s new Los Angeles operation as EVP of sales, features and episodic after a 20-year career with Deluxe and Panavision. Commercial director James Corless and operations director Thom Berryman will spearhead Harbor’s new UK presence following careers with Pinewood Studios, where they supported clients such as Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

Harbor’s LA-based talent pool includes color grading from Yvan Lucas, Elodie Ichter, Katie Jordan and Billy Hobson. Some of the team’s projects include Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, The Irishman, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Maleficent, The Wolf of Wall Street, Snow White and the Huntsman and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Paul O’Shea, formerly of MPC Los Angeles, heads the visual effects teams, tapping lead CG artist Yuichiro Yamashita for 3D out of Harbor’s Santa Monica facility and 2D creative director Q Choi out of Harbor’s New York office. The VFX artists have worked with brands such as Nike, McDonald’s, Coke, Adidas and Samsung.

Harbor’s Los Angeles studio supports five grading theaters for feature film, episodic and commercial productions, offering private connectivity to Harbor NY and Harbor UK, with realtime color-grading sessions, VFX reviews and options to conform and final-deliver in any location.

The new UK operation, based out of London and Windsor, will offer in-lab and near-set dailies services along with automated VFX pulls and delivery through Harbor’s Anchor system. The UK locations will draw from Harbor’s US talent pool.

Meanwhile, the New York operation has grown its talent roster and Soho footprint to six locations, with a recently expanded offering for creative advertising. Veteran artists on the commercial team include editors Bruce Ashley and Paul Kelly, VFX supervisor Andrew Granelli, colorist Adrian Seery, and sound mixers Mark Turrigiano and Steve Perski.

Harbor’s feature and episodic offering continues to expand, with NYC-based artists available in Los Angeles and London.