People on the Move: SPA’s Karen Toliver Named Netflix Animation VP, eONe Taps Ruedilyn Cox to Lead ‘Kiya’

Oscar-winning producer Karen Toliver (Hair Love), who as a production executive has helped usher some of the most successful and celebrated animated features to the big screen, is taking the next step in her illustrious career as Vice President of Animated Film at Netflix, Variety reports. Toliver will be responsible for two to three animated features per year, working alongside Gregg Taylor, VP Animated Feature Content. She will officially join the Netflix team in March, reporting to VP Kids & Family Melissa Cobb, who describes her incoming colleague as “an executive with exceptional passion for animation” and “a strong vision for the future of storytelling in the medium.”

Karen Toliver
Karen Toliver

Toliver is joining the global streaming giant from Sony Pictures Animation, where she currently serves as EVP Production under President Kristine Belson, and most recently developed the Oscar-nominated SPA/Netflix collab The Mitchells vs. the Machines and produced Matthew A. Cherry’s Academy Award-winning short Hair Love (with Lion Forge Animation). She joined the studio as EVP Development in 2017, and was named EVP Creative in 2019. Belson noted in the announcement that Toliver has been “so impactul” at the studio in the last four years.

Toliver joined SPA from Blue Sky Studios, where she developed Ferdinand, and supervised production on both Rio movies and three of the Ice Age feature films. Prior to that, she was a production executive at Disney, where her credits include Brother Bear, Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, and she is credited with bringing in the story inspiration for The Princess and the Frog.

Toliver told Variety: “It has been an absolute dream working with Kristine Belson and her game-changing team at Sony Pictures Animation. The experience has been instrumental in shaping how I approach producing. Storytelling in animation continues to evolve and expand, and I am excited to join the team at Netflix to continue to break new ground.” Netflix’s animated feature slate for 2022 includes Henry Selick’s Wendell and Wild, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon, Chris Williams’ The Sea Beast and Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood, premiering at SXSW.

Ruedilyn Cox
Ruedilyn Cox

Hasbro’s Entertainment One (eOne) announced the hire of Ruedilyn Cox as VP Global Franchise Strategy & Management for Kiya, effective immediately. Cox will be based in London and report to Esra Cafer, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Management, Family Brands at eOne. Greenlit last year, the new 52 x 11′ preschool series centers on a young superhero and her best friends, featuring a diverse cast of characters inspired by the natural beauty and culture of Southern Africa. The show is due to launch in multiple markets in 2023 through linear/digital platforms including Disney Junior/Disney+ (worldwide) and France Télévisions. “Kiya is our next big preschool IP, and we are thrilled to see where she takes the brand. We are confident that Kiya will be successfully positioned as the next great preschool franchise under her strong leadership,” said Esra Cafer, SVP Global Brand Management, Family Brands.

Cox will be responsible for driving long-term franchise and content strategy and vision for growth of Kiya across Hasbro’s Blueprint globally. She will partner with multiple functions to set, align and drive the long-range global brand strategy and global content production and rollout plans for the exciting new-to-market brand, leading a small and empowered team of directors and coordinators to maximize potential and efforts both within her team and across the business. Cox will be working cross-functionally with teams, including Production, global and regional Toys & Games, Content Sales, Digital Gaming, YouTube & Social Media, Consumer Products, LBE, Promotions, Entertainment Brand Marketing, Legal and Finance.

Prior to Hasbro, Cox was the Head of Marketing at Acamar Films where she was globally responsible for franchise development and marketing communications of the preschool animated series Bing and its many touchpoints including cinema releases, apps and consumer products. Previously, she spent years at Warner Bros. as Senior Brand & Marketing Manager, Harry Potter Global Franchise Development.

[Sources: eOne, Variety]




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