People on the Move: ‘Detective Pikachu 2’ Director, New Exec Appointments & Artist Signings

Jonathan Krisel
Jonathan Krisel [Caviar]

Portlandia co-creator Jonathan Krisel is in talks to direct Legendary Entertainment’s sequel to Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Deadline reports. Chris Galletta (The Kings of Summer) is writing the script inspired by the smash hit video game franchise. Krisel is repped by  UTA, Mosaic and Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich & Gellman. Galletta is repped by UTA and Anonymous Content.

The first Detective Pikachu flick, directed by Rob Letterman, was released by Warner Bros. Pictures in 2019 and grossed more than $430 million worldwide. The live-action outing featuring 3D CG Pokémon starred Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu, Justice Smith, Ken Watanabe and Kathryn Newton; Reynolds is presumed to make a return appearance in the sequel.



Toonz Entertainment (Pinocchio and Friends, Zoonicorn, Rat-a-tat, Briko, Darwin and Newts), the distribution wing of global kids and family entertainment major Toonz Media Group, has appointed Bernhard Stephan as Director, Commercial Distribution and Maria Romanelli as Senior Sales Manager for Italy. These newly created roles in the sales arm are part of Toonz Ent. restructuring with the aim to become a leading distribution partner across different geographies.

“We are adding 258 hours of additional content to our distribution catalogue this year and together with our partners we are optimistic about acquiring new business, as there is always demand for quality kids and family entertainment content,” said Bruno Zarka, President – TV Co-production, Distribution & Syndication Division.

Bernhard Stephen
Bernhard Stephen

Stephan started his media career in 2000 with TV Loonland AG as Head of Licensing before moving on to Discovery Networks as Manager EMEA in the Program Sales & Licensing Division (today Warner Media), based in Munich & Moscow. He has also worked as Country Manager Russia & CEE at Red Bull Media House (representing and managing all media of Red Bull Media House & Terra Mater Studios), based in Moscow and took management roles as CCO at YFE AG and Head of Media at Animaccord.

Maria Romanelli
Maria Romanelli

Romanelli, an industry veteran having over four decades of experience in developing international business and Licensing & Merchandising, started her career in mid-’80s in the U.K. at CPLG as Head of International, Maria was instrumental in setting up the Italian division of Consumer Products for Warner Bros and restructuring the U.K. one. Further on, she joined Saban and was involved over the  years with  Fox Kids and Jetix. In addition to her Licensing & Merchandising work, she was involved in TV Coproduction, TV and Video Distribution (6,000+ of programs).


Boris Hertzog
Boris Hertzog

Arles- and Annecy-based animation studio/prodco TNZPV (formerly Tu Nous ZA Pas Vus; Pachyderm, Whit e Fang, Marona’s Fantastic Talil, Two Birds, The Coop Troop) welcomes Boris Hertzog to its strategy committee. Hertzog is the former Managing Director of Mikros Animation and has just formed his consulting company, BH Conseils. He will support and advise TNZPV from its historic site in Arles and in its activities, notably on the international market.

Hertzog began his animation career in 2002 after 10 years in legal and finance, helping form Attitude Studio and serving as MD and Board member. In 2004, he was awarded the Entrepreneur Magazine Grand Prize for Emerging Company, and in 2005 took part in the creation of Cap Digital, of which he was vice-President in charge of SMEs. He set up OuiDO! Entertainment with Sandrine Nguyen in 2007, selling the Series division to Groupe Lagardère in 2008. Between 2008 and 2013, he and Nguyen ran Genao Productions before creating OuiDO Productions and bringing back from Lagardère all developments on the series Alvin and the Chipmunks, Sonic Boom, Mini Wolf and The Legendaries.

In 2015, they accepted an offer from Technicolor to buy OuiDO Productions. They continued to run the company, now called Technicolor Animation Productions, which has produced more than 10 animated series since 2013. In 2021, Technicolor announced that it would be grouping together its CGI animation studios – Technicolor Animation Productions, Technicolor Animation and Mikros Animation – under the brand Mikros Animation. Hertzog was appointed MD of the new group, organized between Paris, Montreal and Bangalore. He remained in this position until late February 2023.


Bonnie Taylor Forsyth
Bonnie Taylor Forsyth

Nexus Studios has signed Bonnie Taylor Forsyth to its animation talent roster. “Bonnie is an exciting new directorial voice coming up in the industry. Her versatile and fluid approach to 2D animation means she always hits the brief, crafting vibrant and compelling stories for every project. We’re thrilled she’s joining our roster,” said Chris O’Reilly, Co-Founder & CCO, Nexus Studios.

Taylor Forsyth previously worked as a 2D animator at Nexus sister studio Mighty Nice (Sydney), mentored by founder Darren Price. Her portfolio includes work for Apple, Nike, ReMarkable and J Balvin along with local talent Heaps Gay, SummerCamp Festival, VIVID, the AEC & Victoria Bitters. Her first film received a nomination for Best Short Animated Film at The AACTA Awards and a recent Emerging Director of the Year win at the AWARD Awards. Her work has been screened internationally at over 20 film festivals.

The animator has recently directed two films as part of an animated docuseries, produced at Nexus Studios in partnership with the global charity Room to Read, which will be released later this year.


Top L-R: Deborah Thorpe, Duncan Fraser, Tracy Liddell. Bottom L-R: Richard Scott, Sean Clarke, Richard Gordon

Animation UK — the collective voice for animation in the U.K., acting as advocates for the sector and seeking to influence key decision makers including the U.K. government, U.K. public sector broadcasters, industry bodies and OFCOM — has appointed six new Council representatives, including Duncan. The Council decides Animation UK’s policies affecting the animation sector. Member elections take place every two years, with each representative serving two terms.

The newly elected members are Sean Clarke, MD at Aardman Animations; Duncan Fraser, Head of Production at A Productions Ltd.; Deborah Thorpe, Founder and Creative Director at Kelebek Media Ltd.; and Tracy Liddell, Joint MD and Producer at Studio Liddell.

Richard Gordon, MD and Producer at JAM Media, and Richard Scott, CEO at Axis Studios, have been co-opted onto the Council to give representation for Scotland and Northern Ireland. All four nations are now represented on the Council, reflecting the animation sector as the most geographically diverse sector of the screen industries.

These representatives join the existing Council: Phil Dobree, CEO at Jellyfish Pictures; Ruth Fielding, Joint MD at Lupus Films; Ed Galton, CEO at Cake Entertainment; Oli Hyatt, MD at Blue Zoo; Erica Angell, MD at Spider-Eye and Eagle vs Bat; Barney Goodland, Producer at Magic Light Pictures; Jon Rennie, MD at Cloth Cat Animation; Jamie Badminton, Creative Director and Senior Producer at Karrot Entertainment; and Britt Gardiner, CFO at Locksmith Animation.

Ian Mackinnon, MD at Mackinnon & Saunders; Mark Taylor, MD at A Productions; and Kerry Lock, Finance Director at Aardman Animations, will be stepping down from the Council.



Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos
Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos

The Youth Media Alliance (YMA) announced that Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos will chair the Awards of Excellence jury. The gala will honor Canada’s best youth programming productions on May 31 in Toronto at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio. Nominees for the awards will be announced at the end of March.

Prior to joining the Ottawa Film Office, Pechels de Saint Sardos worked in sales and distribution at Radio Canada/CBC, growing their kids’ catalog. At Rocket Launch Media and Sanden Media, she created kids’ content from published book properties and distributed content domestically and internationally. She worked at Groupe Média TFO as Director, Acquisition and Co-production.

Before TFO, Pechels de Saint Sardos spent nine years with Bejuba! Entertainment as EVP of Sales & Acquisitions. She built a catalog of over 600 half-hours of kids’ TV and secured co-development and co-production deals. Prior to Bejuba, Sandrine worked in NYC for an array of major entertainment companies in creative development, co-production, and distribution. This includes Sunbow Entertainment (TransformersMy Little PonyG.I. Joe, etc.), Sony Wonder/Sony Music, TV-Loonland, Hallmark and Classic Media/DreamWorks, where spearheaded WW sales and co-productions on CasperGeorge of the Jungle and other titles.



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