Disney Appoints Andrew Millstein Blue Sky Co-Prez, Clark Spencer Upped to Disney Animation Prez

With the recent addition of Blue Sky Studios to Disney’s portfolio of film studios, The Walt Disney Studios’ Chief Creative Officer and Co-Chairman Alan Horn and Co-Chairman Alan Bergman announced today that Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) President Andrew Millstein and Zootopia producer and longtime creative executive Clark Spencer are stepping into new leadership roles at Disney’s animation studios.

As Blue Sky prepares to build out its upcoming film slate, Millstein will join the studio as Co-President alongside Co-President Robert Baird. Baird will continue to drive the creative direction of the studio reporting to Horn and Bergman, and Millstein will oversee day-to-day operations. Millstein will report to Jim Morris, who will expand his duties with a supervisory role at Blue Sky outside of his role as President, Pixar Animation Studios.

Spencer has been named President, Walt Disney Animation Studios, reporting to Bergman and working alongside WDAS Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee, who continues to report to Horn and Bergman.

“We are incredibly proud of the strength and depth of leadership in our animation studios, and Andrew, Clark, and Jim are all exemplars of that. The remarkable success of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios over the past decade is due in large part to the respective leadership of Andrew and Jim and their ability to foster creativity, technology, and culture in equal parts, and we are thrilled that they will be lending their experience to the Blue Sky team along with Robert Baird’s creative guidance,” said Horn and Bergman. “Clark has been an invaluable leader and contributor at Disney Animation, combining exceptional creative and business instincts, and we’re so pleased he will be leading this historic studio in a key role alongside Jennifer Lee.”

A 22-year Disney veteran, Andrew Millstein has served as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios since 2014 and General Manager of WDAS since 2008. Under his leadership, the studio has produced such creative and commercial successes as the Academy Award-winning billion-dollar hits Frozen and Zootopia, as well as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Big Hero 6 and Moana.

Clark Spencer has been with Disney for nearly 30 years, during which he has produced five Oscar-nominated feature films for Walt Disney Animation Studios. He received both an Academy Award and a Producers Guild Award for Zootopia, as well as a PGA Award for Wreck-It Ralph, and is also the producer of hit films Lilo & Stitch, Bolt and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Spencer began his career at Disney in strategic planning and finance, later overseeing all production and operations at Florida-based Disney Feature Animation as Senior Vice President and General Manager. He earned his MBA in 1990 at Harvard Business School.

Jim Morris has been with Pixar since 2005. As General Manager since 2008 and President since 2014, Morris has overseen a hugely successful and critically acclaimed slate of films that include Wall-E, which he produced, Up, Toy Story 3, Inside Out, Coco and, most recently, Toy Story 4. Prior to joining Pixar, he spent nearly 20 years in executive roles at Lucasfilm.

Animation Magazine

Sony Names Randy Lake Prez of Studio Ops, Imageworks

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Sony Pictures Entertainment has appointed Randy Lake as President, Studio Operations & Imageworks. He is tasked with overseeing all operations, strategy and planning for Sony Pictures Imageworks, post production services, production services, global mastering and servicing and asset management.

Lake previously held the position of EVP of Studio Operations and General Manager of Imageworks. He will continue to report jointly to Sony’s Television Chairman, Steve Mosko, and Motion Picture Group Chairman, Tom Rothman.

Lake joined Sony Pictures in 2006 from Booz Allen, where he served as a strategy consultant to the entertainment, media, and technology industries. He began his career as a securities attorney with Brobeck, Pheleger, Harrison in San Francisco, advising emerging growth technology companies, underwriters and venture investors. Lake holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in Political Economy of Industrial Societies from UC Berkeley.

Randy Lake

Randy Lake

Animation Magazine

Peter Lord Named Prez of European Animation Pride

Peter Lord

Peter Lord

Last year, top players in the European animation industry announced the intent to found an annual award event to celebrate the best in the artform from across the continent, the European Animation Pride Awards (EAPA). The honors are meant to fill gaps left by existing film awards for specific countries such as the Cesars, Goyas and BAFTAs and expand on the multiregional reach of the Cartoon d’Or short film award.

The EAPA is founded by producers Didier Brunner (The Triplets of Belleville, Ernest & Celestine), Olivier Catherin (Kiki of Montparnasse) and Moomins on the Riviera assistant director Denis Walgenwitz. The founders have announced that Aardman Animations co-founder Peter Lord has been appointed as the association’s president.

“As professionals working in Europe in the great, inclusive and multi-faceted world of animation, we can and should feel pride every day to be involved in such a dynamic industry,” Lord said. “What a wonderful idea it is, then, to make that pride in our profession as public as possible through this new initiative – the European Animation Pride Awards. In all its forms, in all its marketplaces and across all media, European animation leads both technically and artistically and I welcome this opportunity to celebrate its scope and diversity.”

The EAPA will be modeled on ASIFA Hollywood’s Annie Awards with the scope of its categories, and hopes to adequately consider and recognize the works of over thirty European countries. The organizers plan to include between fifteen and twenty categories in the inaugural ceremony, which they are planning to present in December of 2017.

In addition to Peter Lord as President, the board includes Jean-Paul Commin (consultant and former producer/distributor) as General Secretary; Cho-Chairs Marie Bro (producer, Dansk Tegnefilm), Didier Brunner (prod., Folivari; VP of SPFA) and Paul Young (prod., Cartoon Saloon); Treasurer Ton Crone (director of the Assoc. of Dutch Animation Producers); and board members Olivier Catherin (dir., Noranim), Doris Cloven (dir., Anima Festival), Juan Carlos Concha (dir./prod., Apeman Studio), Odile Perrin (coordinator, Gobelins), Stephan Roelants (prod., Melusine), Michael Rose (prod., Magic Light Pictures), Luc Toutounghi (prod., Se-Ma-For) and Denis Walgenwitz (dir. & president of AFCA).

Peter Lord

Peter Lord

Animation Magazine

Disney Names Leslie Ferraro Consumer Products Prez

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Leslie Ferraro, formerly an EVP in the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division, has been appointed President of Disney Consumer Products, effective immediately. Ferraro takes over from the position vacated by Bob Chapek, who was named chairman of the Parks division earlier this year.

A 16-year Mouse House veteran, Ferraro was EVP of global marketing sales and travel operations for Parks and Resorts, where she was responsible for leading the marketing and sales teams in developing consumer campaigns worldwide. She joined Disney in 1999 as director of marketing for the division, and went on to hold a series of marketing leadership positions. She also served on the Hong Kong Disneyland board of directors.

Ferraro previously held senior-level marketing positions at McCann-Erickson, Johnson & Johnson and SmithKline Beecham. Disney Consumer Products is the world’s largest licensor, taking in $ 46.2 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise in 2014, according to a special report from License! Global.

Leslie Ferraro

Leslie Ferraro

Animation Magazine