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Checking in with Modern VideoFilm’s new CEO Scott Avila

By Randi Altman

Recently there have been some management changes at Modern VideoFilm, the 30-year-old independently owned LA-based post house. CEO Moshe Barkat and CFO Hugh Miller have left the company and Scott Avila is now CEO. Avila most recently held a similar position with The Culver Studios, where he oversaw a major expansion and renovation.

Others joining the Modern executive team include president Cooper Crouse and CFO Roxanna Sassanian. Longtime Modern VideoFilm execs, such as president of digital media services Bill Watt, president of creative services Mark Smirnoff and EVP/sales Jon Johnson, have taken on added managerial and operational responsibilities. Modern employs nearly 500 people in its Burbank and Santa Monica locations.

It’s been business at usual at the studio, with post work being done for titles such as Madam Secretary (pictured, below), Modern Family, Sleepy Hollow, Book of Life and Rio 2. In fact, Modern VideoFilm senior supervising colorist Dave Cole just won the award for Outstanding Color Grading — Television for his work on the pilot for Reign during the Hollywood Post Alliance’s Annual HPA Awards.

Game On Game On

Since it’s been a month since this changeover took place, what better time to reach out to Avila about how it’s going and what the future holds.

What has changed at Modern VideoFilm since your arrival?
Nothing has changed. As has been the situation for years, Modern’s day-to-day activities are being led by Bill Watt and Mark Smirnoff, with the support of the same dedicated group of professionals delivering high-quality work to our clients.

So, what’s next?
We’re building on our legacy of partnering with our clients. The business is evolving very rapidly and our clients’ needs are also evolving…and growing. We are adapting to keep pace. Whether that requires new technology, new staff or new facilities, we are going to do what we need to do to help our clients.

Additionally we are working more closely with our technology suppliers to create more efficient work flows and move to the next level of format offerings, like 4K and UHD.

What are the advantages of being an independent post house, and what do you believe are Modern’s strengths?
We are very well positioned to service an industry that is becoming fully reliant on a file-based infrastructure. We also believe we have the best talent base, and by that I mean everyone on our staff from the account representatives to the producers to the artists to the engineers. They are going to drive our future and enable us to continue to evolve and adapt.


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