Independent French animation producer/distributor Xilam Animation announced a new organizational structure for its production division, effective as of January 1, to prepare for market growth in the coming years — both in terms of volume and in value, and in particular on platforms.
- Dorothée Lanchier, formerly Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed Deputy Managing Director and is now responsible for Development & Production for the Xilam Group. In this role, she will develop and manage the implementation of the group’s entire creative and production strategy, reporting to CEO Marc du Pontavice. Lanchier has worked in animation production since 2002 for studios including MoonScoop (production manager) and Ellipsanime (exec producer) before joining Xilam in 2017 as a series exec producer for Oggy and the Cockroaches S5. As operations manager for Xilam Group, she led production on Oggy Oggy and Lupin’s Tales, steered the studios in Lyon, Angoulême and Ho Chi Minh City (Armada) and supervised the technical and R&D aspects.
- Jean Cayrol, one of the most prolific creators/directors at Xilam Studio, is now Creative Director of the group, and will report directly to du Pontavice. He will be responsible for managing all artistic matters (development & production) for kids’ series. Du Pontavice retains direct responsibility for special formats and feature films. Cayrol started his career as an animator at Praxinos. He then moved to Korea where, for nearly four years, he supervised the layout and animation of various animation projects. Back in France, he joined Xilam as a layout supervisor on the feature film Go West, then on the series Oggy and the Cockroaches and The Daltons. Since 2011, he has co-directed two seasons of Floopaloo, where are you?, directed the studio’s first pre-k series Paprika (78 x 7′) and in 2018 was entrusted with creating the graphic bible for Oggy Oggy. Cayrol also directed Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life for Disney+.
- Cécile Hergaux-Essame, formerly Head of Cube Creative, a subsidiary of Xilam, has been appointed Executive Vice President to oversee all Xilam Group’s studios and to lead the supervising and coordinating of all the group’s production resources. She will report to Lanchier. A graduate of Gobelins, Hergaux-Essame got her start on internationally recognized programs like Totally Spies! before joining Cube Creative in 2014 as production manager and then studio manager. She has overseen in-house productions Kaeloo, Athleticus, Tangranimals and Pfffirates as well as services for Mush-Mush and the Mushables (La Cabane) and Brawl Stars (Supercell).
- Valentin Moriceau, formerly Head of R&D of Cube Creative, has been appointed R&D Executive Vice President of the Xilam Group and will head up the research and technical development department. He will roll out the group’s visual innovation strategy by coordinating all the studios’ technical teams. He will also report to Lanchier. Moriceau, a graduate of Supinfocom Arles, joined Cube in 2014 as a pipeline engineer. He brought improvements to the Tube in-house solution, utilized for Kaeloo, Stella (Rovio) and Bad Piggies (Rovio), among others. After spending almost a year at Unit Image as Pipeline Supervisor, he joined Cube again in 2017 as R&D Manager. In 2018, a new pipeline was developed for Blender, the studio’s main software since, used for Mush-Mush, Tangranimals, Pfffirates, etc.
As Superprod Group continues its rapid growth, it announced today the appointment of Virginie Créance as Senior Vice President for Animation to centralize the organization and ensure the coordination of its numerous divisions in France and abroad. The studio currently employs nearly 600 people and recently began construction on a new, 1,600 sq. m. studio in Angoulême (Sept. 2022). Créance will manage operations, studios and manufacturing centers in France, supervise the operations of the Group’s foreign subsidiaries in the animation field, and pursue business opportunities in France and abroad. She is also determined to expand the presence of human resources within the group.
After commencing her professional journey with musical and digital project management, first in New York then later in London at Microsoft, Créance advanced her career in animation by supervising series productions at Blue Spirit studio. She then moved on to become the Operations and Production Manager of Superprod and its studios, overseeing the production of all animation projects. Most recently, as Deputy General Manager, she orchestrated operations for the entire Superprod Animation business network.
Just ahead of the launch of its adult comedy Doomlands as a Roku Original, Look Mom! Productions, a Blue Ant Media company, has tapped development executive and producer Mia Di Pasquale to serve as Vice President of Development as part of the animation studio’s ongoing expansion in North America. Reporting to Managing Director Josh Bowen, Di Pasquale will be based in Los Angeles and will lead efforts to expand Look Mom!’s development slate and studio presence in the U.S. market. She will identify emerging talent and creators and develop original adult animation content out of the U.S., working closely with Bowen and the Toronto-based team to produce new projects for buyers in North America and around the world.
Di Pasquale joins Look Mom! from Superplastic, where she was Head of Entertainment & Media Development and led creative development for the studio’s animated feature films, TV series and webcomics. In her work as a producer, her recent credits include animated and live-action projects in development with Peacock and Bandera Entertainment, Adult Swim and Abso Lutely Productions, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and Blink Industries. She served as executive producer on Super Punch, Twitch’s first original series, and provided casting and locations for Nathan for You. Previously, Di Pasquale was VP of Original Series at Super Deluxe, where she developed Ghost Story Club for TruTV and the award-winning pilot The Passage, which screened at Sundance. She has also produced content for JASH/BUH and CBS Interactive.
Tippett Studio, founded by two-time Academy Award-winning artist, animator and filmmaker Phil Tippett, has announced two major promotions. With recent projects including The Mandalorian S2 (Disney+), Lock and Key S2 (Netflix) and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the studio has recently moved into content production for themed entertainment in addition to its work as a leading post-production house.
- Michael Root, currently Director of Technology, has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer. Root began at Tippett Studio in 2007 as a Compositor/Pipeline Engineer/Graphics Software Engineer before being promoted to Head of Research and Development in 2010, and then DT in 2015. He has used his experience as both an artist and a programmer to modernize Tippett’s infrastructure and pipeline at every level while ensuring that multiple concurrent productions all finish on schedule. Previously, Root helped start Tweak Films/Tweak Software in 2001 (sold to Autodesk in 2015) and worked at Weta Digital on The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) and King Kong (2005) as a Compositor and Lead Lighting Technical Director, respectively.
- Dale Taylor has been promoted to Head of Production, having previously worked as VFX producer at Tippett Studio. Prior to Tippett, Taylor worked for ILM and Atomic Fiction on projects including Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars: Episodes 2 & 3, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and War of the Worlds.
Award-winning VFX studio Framestore has named Simon Devereux as its new Director of Global Talent Development. Joining from Sony PlayStation, Devereux’s 20-year career spans VFX, games and TV, as well as founding and leading ACCESS:VFX — the transatlantic industry body seeking to build a more inclusive and representative VFX industry. This new role will see Devereux spearhead Framestore’s training offer, ensuring the company’s talented global workforce remains front and centre when it comes to technology, creativity and innovation.
At Playstation, Devereux was responsible for the company’s pan-Europe learning and development program, as well as driving the company’s diversity and mental health learning agenda. Previous roles included overseeing the global training curriculum for The Mill, and time with U.K. broadcaster Channel 4.
More exec moves:
- 9 Story Media Group bolsters its Franchise Management team with the appointments of Katrina Hitz-Tough as SVP, Franchise Strategy & Marketing; promotion of Candice Chambers to VP, Franchise Management; and last year’s hire of Nygia Hearn as Director, Franchise Management. The division will drive the growth of 9 Story’s IPs beyond the screen, including animated series Karma’s World (Netflix).
- Genius Brands International promotes Kerry Phelan to the newly-created position of Chief Brand Officer; the 30-year consumer products vet has previously held roles at Lucasfilm, DreamWorks Animation and Pixar.
- Hasbro promotes Sally Carnota to Senior Director of U.K. Licensed Consumer Products.
- Nice Shoes (Toronto) adds award-winning filmmaker and colorist Tricia Hagoriles to its roster as Senior Colorist, for global representation.
- Peacock names former Hulu business & ops SVP Annie Luo as Executive Vice President, Global Partnerships & Strategic Development, based in LA and reporting to Kelly Campbell, President.
- Rodeo FX appoints VFX artist Jean-François Bachand as its new Vice President, Advertising & Experience.
- Zodiak Kids & Family Studio U.K. (Banijay Kids & Family) brings on Cheryl Taylor as Creative Director. The live-action children’s & comedy TV vet takes over for Steven Andrew, who is retiring from the industry.