Georgia Latino Film Alliance Appoints Julie Ann Crommett Board Chair

The Georgia Latino Film Alliance (GALFA) has appointed Julie Ann Crommett, a former Walt Disney Studios, NBC Universal and Google exec, as its new board chair.

Crommett will work closely with the board of directors to grow the organization into a valuable resource and support system for next-generation Latino filmmakers, students, executives and content creators in Georgia, according to GALFA.

“It is my great honor to welcome Julie Ann Crommett as the newest elected GALFA board chair, “said Jose Marquez, CEO and founder, GALFA, in a statement. “Her unique business experience in the DEI [diversity, inclusion and inclusion] space, her creative insights and ongoing commitment to advocating for systematic change will undoubtedly help our organization scale to greater heights under her strategic guidance.”

“We are so fortunate to have Julie Ann join us in our mission towards achieving new benchmarks in the film and entertainment industry,” Yvette Moise, president and co-founder of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Festival, said in a statement. “Together we will work towards making this place a whole new world.”

The Georgia Latino Film Alliance and Film Festival conducts the Georgia Latino Film Festival in the state of Georgia, which features Latino-directed, -produced and -acted films among other national and international entries. The mission of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance is to build awareness of independent films and film as an art form, provide educational opportunities for students and Georgia Latino filmmakers, and create opportunities for the Georgia communities to experience high-quality Latino films.

Crommett has been working in the diversity, equity and inclusion space for more than a decade in the film, media, entertainment and tech industries.

“I am humbled to join the GALFA board and look forward to working with the talented board, partners and members who tirelessly foster Latino development in the film industry,” Crommett said in a statement. “GALFA is moving ahead stronger than ever. I’m excited to join Jose and Yvette and their outstanding team in giving voice to America’s next generation of Latinx Storytellers.”

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Crommett has worked at The Walt Disney Studios and NBC Universal as well as Google. She is currently founder and CEO of Collective Moxie, a consultative agency that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, narrative and community engagement.

While serving as VP of multicultural audience engagement at The Walt Disney Studios, she spearheaded efforts to diversify talent in front of and behind the camera, connect creative projects with communities they touched, and build a more inclusive culture within the studio. She played an integral role in contributing to key film release projects including Disney/Pixar’s Soul and Coco, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon, and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. She also created Disney’s “Launchpad: Shorts Incubator,” a program that provided six directors from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to produce a short film for Disney+. Additionally, and in partnership with Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, she launched and co-chaired Disney’s first-ever Creative Inclusion Council dedicated to increasing inclusion and accountability in Disney’s creative endeavors.

Crommett has been recognized by The Hollywood Reporter’s “35 under 35,” the IMAGEN Foundation’s Influential Latinos in Entertainment list and as an ADCOLOR Innovator. She hosted a TEDx Talk in 2016 covering equity and storytelling and serves on the boards for the Hispanic Federation, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers and Women in Animation.

A Puerto Rican and Cuban American, Crommett was raised in Atlanta and earned her B.A. in English from Harvard University.

Whip Media Hires Former Warner Exec Debbie Neveu

Entertainment software platform and data provider Whip Media has hired Debbie Neveu as VP of global enterprise client success.

In this newly created role, Neveu will further develop and grow the company’s content value management (CVM) platform customer relationships, including focusing on strategy, product adoption, sales assistance, and customer retention and support.

Neveu joins Whip Media with more than two decades of experience leading the accounting and financial reporting teams at some of the biggest companies in entertainment. Prior to joining Whip Media, Neveu served as the VP of accounting, financial reporting, financial systems and financial deal review at Warner Bros., where she spearheaded more than 300 deals and led the expansion of the company’s digital business into more than 130 countries. The areas of emphasis during her 15 years at Warner Bros. included the company’s digital sellthrough, VOD, PVOD, PPV and AVOD businesses. Before joining Warner Bros., Neveu served as the director of global operations at The Walt Disney Company for Disney’s interactive video gaming business.

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“Debbie’s invaluable knowledge of the entertainment industry and proven track record of success makes her an ideal fit for Whip Media,” Saj Jayasinghe, Whip Media’s SVP of global enterprise account management, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have her on board, and I know our media partners will feel the same way, too.”

“As a former client, I’ve spent years partnering with Whip Media and utilizing their CVM platform to automate, scale and streamline internal studio finance, rights and avails,” Neveu said in a statement. “Now that I am part of the Whip family, I look forward to bringing this knowledge to improve the satisfaction and success of our clients while also supporting the sales and product teams to refine and expand customer offerings.”

Q&A With Garson Foos: The Ever-Expanding Universe of Shout! Factory

Garson Foos is CEO of Shout! Factory, a leading independent film distributor that since its launch in 2003 has branched out into streaming while doubling down on its commitment to physical media. A cousin to the legendary Rhino Records label, co-founded by older brother Richard and sold to Warner Music in 2001, Shout! is known for its lavish boxed sets and collections like last year’s award-winning collection of “Friday the 13th” movies as well as its support of anime and other niche genres.

Media Play News spoke with Foos as part an ongoing series of conversations with home entertainment leaders past, present — and future.

MPN: At a time when the big studios are still suffering from the lack of fresh product resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of movie theaters, you seem to be releasing more content, both digitally and on disc, than ever. Can you put a number on how many titles you’ve released over the past year and how that compares to the prior year? And what’s the driver?

Foos: Our deal and release flow is stronger than ever. We had a lot of titles in the pipeline prior to the pandemic, and we benefited from the vast majority of our releases not requiring a theatrical release. We released two to four new films a month, and another 10 to 15 library releases. Beyond that we released a good number of library films and shows digital only. We released hundreds of episodes of both “The Johnny Carson Show” and “The Carol Burnett Show” only digitally. We have broadcast rights to the entire Stephen J. Cannell library worldwide, and we have other digital rights on a smaller number of those shows. We also started releasing seasons of the “Ultraman” series for digital streaming, largely on our TokuShoutsu channels. So a large amount of content is released physically, as well as a lot of additional content coming out digital only.

MPN: Shout! Factory continues to be particularly strong in anime. What prompted this, and how do you market your product to anime fans?

Foos: We’ve always been really good at playing in the niches. We’re pop culture junkies from way back, and we got into the kids business big in 2009 with Hasbro and their animated “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” series, as well as “My Little Pony.” There were several rare Japanese-made “Transformers” series that we distributed.  We also had big success with the the “Power Rangers” series years later, and uncovered the Japanese versions — “Super Sentai” — and did well with those series. It made sense to move into anime from our roots. Melissa Boag is our head of Kids & Family and she had her eye on the anime business for years. She helped us acquire the film In This Corner of the World, which was beautiful and exceeded our expectations. Soon after that we struck up a relationship with GKIDS, who are the best in the business in anime film. Through them, we got the Studio Ghibli library in late 2017. Together with GKIDS we released new deluxe versions of the films on DVD and Blu-ray, and the sales were far beyond expectations. In late 2019 GKIDS was able to make the titles available for the digital transactional business and we worked with them on that. We’ve (via GKIDS) put out many other new and library films, including Promare and Weathering With You last year, which have performed extremely well. We also work with Eleven Arts, which had the film Silent Voice in 2019, which did very well, and we have several more really good projects coming with them. Anime is one of the best categories that is not dominated by the major studios, and it’s a growing category for us that we see continuing.

MPN: Despite your obvious commitment to transactional and, in particular, physical media, Shout! does have other business models. Can you give us a brief rundown about other distribution platforms you have under the Shout! umbrella?

Foos: We distribute directly to just about every account in all revenue streams. We’ve been highly focused on growing our digital and broadcast business in the last many years. Our combined non-physical businesses have doubled each of the past two years and will again this year. Our TVOD business and ad supported streaming are the two biggest areas. Licensing sales for streaming services and broadcast is growing rapidly and is also significant. The Shout! Factory TV business, including our Mystery Science Theatre 3000 channel, The Carol Burnett Show channel, Johnny Carson TV and TokuShHOUTsu channels are a big part of the ad-supported digital streaming business. They are FAST channels on some platforms and on demand on others, and they’re everywhere you’d want to be. We see a lot of growth potential in our channel business, and in our digital distribution business in general. As we continue to get more and better content both on the library and new film side, and see the number of platforms and market size grow, we’re going to see big growth for Shout.

MPN: What’s next for Shout, other than the growth areas you mentioned already?

Foos: We’re starting to do some of our own original productions and see a lot of opportunities here, while doing it with a low-risk approach. We partnered on the production of the Western Old Henry starring Tim Blake Nelson. It comes out in October and premiered at the Venice Film Festival to a fantastic response. We’ve made deals in all the major international territories thanks to the Venice success.  We had seen indie Westerns succeeding transactionally, and thought that it would be a good genre to produce ourselves. We had been trying to get one made for years, and finally with Hideout Pictures we were able to get Tim Blake Nelson to take the lead role, and it came out extremely well. We’re going to do another one with them.

With our partner Joel Hodgson we had rebooted “Mystery Science Theater 3000” after buying the rights to the library and brand in 2015. Given the passionate loyalty of the audience we had crowd-funded to raise the money for the first reboot season (11). We then sold it to Netflix, which ordered a second season but didn’t continue after that. We crowd-funded again this year and raised $6.5 million so we’re making another 13 episodes. The first one should premiere in February for the Kickstarter “backers” initially.

We also just completed a remake of the Roger Corman classic Slumber Party Massacre for the Syfy channel. It comes out in October. We own 270 films from the Corman library and have remake rights, so we’re working on films and series born out of that fertile I.P. We have other films and shows in the works as well, and it will be a growing part of our business.

We’re highly focused on buying film and TV libraries. We’ve bought a handful over the years and are looking to do a lot more in that area. We have a number of large library film distribution deals in the works and we’ll be announcing several soon, and more as they close.

We’re doing bigger new film pre-buys and pick-ups. The recent Mark Duplass/Natalie Morales film Language Lessons is a good example. It’s getting excellent reviews and we’ve licensed it to a major streamer to start next year. We intend to continue to up our game in genre films, and in smart and quirky indie films as well.

We see opportunity in the international business. Our business is growing there and we’re having good success with Cannell library, our Corman films and other content that we control internationally. We see continuing to partner with strong independent companies in each territory, and eventually having our own staff, or investing in local companies locally to make sure that we really understand the nuances of each significant territory.

Tell us about the Shout! Factory backstory — starting with the name.

Foos: We had a really hard time coming up with a name. Every time we liked one we couldn’t get the URL, or it was already taken. We wanted something that sounded active, and a little retro. We were coming off of our success at Rhino Entertainment, which was mainly a retro music business, and we thought that we would be a music, film and TV company. Shout! felt classic and then there’s the Isley Brothers song that everyone loves. We were going to be Shout! Entertainment then we had trouble getting that trademarked. We were told to add something to it to distinguish it so we came up with Factory.

And now tell us the Garson Foos backstory.

Foos: I grew up in Los Angeles, and went to college at U.C. Berkeley. I was entrepreneurial early on and started several cafes in Oakland with a friend. I realized that the restaurant  business wasn’t for me, and thought that maybe I’d like the entertainment business. I had worked at the Rhino Record Store that my brother owned in high school, and he had started the Rhino label years later. He gave me a paid internship at the label and my timing was great. Rhino was starting to take off, and I was able to learn the business and move up the ranks as the company expanded. I eventually became the EVP of marketing and one of the key executives. Richard and his partner Harold Bronson sold the company to Warner Music Group in 2001, and Richard decided to leave in 2002 and start another company. He asked me and our other partner Bob Emmer, who had been our head of BA at Rhino and later became an EVP of BA at Warner Music, to join him in his new venture. We started Shout in 2003, and over the years Richard has stepped out of the day to day of the business, and Bob and I are co-CEOs.

Fandango’s Cameron Douglas Re-elected Chairman of OTT.X

Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment for Fandango, has been re-elected chairman of OTT.X, the national trade association for the OTT/streaming industry. This will be his third term as chair.

Joining Douglas as officers are vice chair Erick Opeka, president and chief strategy officer of Cinedigm; treasurer Michele Edelman, head of growth at Premiere Digital Services; and secretary Rich Hull, president of Vix (a Univision Company). Jason Peterson, CEO of GoDigital Media Group; Katherine Pond, VP of business development for VIZIO; and OTT.X past vice-chair Suyin Lim, senior director of content acquisitions and partnerships for Sony Playstation, will also serve on the association’s executive committee as at-large members.

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Other members of the board are Jill Allen, SVP of digital distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment; Elissa Brown, VP of finance and operations for Movies Anywhere; Paul Colichman, CEO of Here Media; Jude Fitzmorris, principal product manager of Amazon; Marty Graham, SVP of Comscore; Bill Kotzman, partner product manager of TV/Film for YouTube/Google; Anthony Layser, VP of content partnerships and programming at Xumo; Silvana Moretti, VP of partner marketing and strategy at CuriosityStream; Quincy Newell, CEO of TwentyOne 14 Media; and Gordon Prince, SVP of operations and technology at Vubiquity.

“I look forward to another two years leading this engaged and vibrant group of Directors,” Douglas said in a statement. “OTT.X connects and nurtures our ecosystem, enabling innovation, collaboration and competition. I am proud to devote my time to an organization so important to our industry.”

“The companies on the OTT.X Board of Directors represent the spectrum of our industy,” Mark Fisher, OTT.X president and CEO, said in a statement. “They range from smaller independent studios to multi-billion dollar retailers, and include channels, networks, platforms, digital retailers, content providers, and service and technology providers. This breadth enables the Board to guide our path to stability and growth and ultimately the best support and services for our members.”

OTT.X is the 501(c)6 not-for-profit trade association that has been supporting the home entertainment industry for more than 30 years.  OTT.X members form a global community of organizations throughout the OTT streaming industry and include content, service and technology providers, channels, platforms and retailers.  OTT.X (formerly EMA — the Entertainment Merchants Association) was established in April 2006 through the merger of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA), founded in 1981, and the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), organized in 1997.

Redbox Names Christina Chu VP of Technology

Redbox has named Christina Chu VP of technology.

She will lead a team developing next-generation technologies and product improvements for the company’s growing streaming platform and its established kiosk business.

Chu comes from Fullscreen Media, where she led efforts to mature and expedite the launch of the company’s first SVOD product. Also, she developed feature enhancements to the SVOD platform and led engineering strategy and execution for the company’s B2C and B2B lines of business. Prior to joining Fullscreen, Chu spent more than a decade at NBCUniversal, where she transformed a legacy broadcast and supply chain into a digital‐based platform. As VP of media technology services, she drove the creation of a media asset management system comprised of metadata and workflows for more than 1 million assets and led the development of a portfolio of software applications.

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“Christina brings expansive end-to-end engineering expertise and domain knowledge in media and streaming platforms which will have an immediate impact,” Stephen Lavin, chief technology officer at Redbox, said in a statement. “I know she will create and execute product and technology enhancements with the Redbox team that will make the viewing experience on our apps even more enjoyable.”

Talent Talk: ‘Thomas and Friends,’ ‘Mumfie’ Creator Britt Allcroft Has Always Loved Stories

Britt Allcroft has always loved stories and telling them.

“As a little girl, I wanted to be told wonderful stories that would light up my imagination, comfort me when I was frightened (which was often), make me laugh when I needed cheering up, and inspire me,” she recalls.

At the age of 7, she wrote her first original story.

“I illustrated it in yellow and red crayons and have it to this day,” says the British born creator, writer, director and producer.

Allcroft is the creator of the children’s television series “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” (later retitled “Thomas & Friends”), “Shining Time Station” (with Rick Siggelkow) and “Britt Allcroft’s Magic Adventures of Mumfie” — which have become fixtures of children’s television and home entertainment. She wrote, co-produced and directed the film Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000), which was recently released on Blu-ray Disc for the first time from Shout! Factory Kids. The disc included scenes deleted (to her dismay) from the original release.

Allcroft grew up in a small seaside town in England. She had an absent father, the family had no money, no car or TV, but they loved the radio, the ocean and exploring the local countryside. Foreshadowing her future career as a storyteller, she would put on plays in the family backyard with a small entry charge for the neighborhood. Trains played a soothing role in the life of the young Allcroft.

“We lived in a house from which I would walk to school each day and that meant crossing over the railway bridge,” she says. “I would always stop and wait for a steam train to puff along and pass underneath me. My Auntie Tro lived with us and she shared her love of poetry with me. I soon learned to read poems out loud with her and was immensely soothed by the rhythm and cadence of poetry. The sound of the engine wheels going round on the tracks and the sound of the lines of poetry shared that wonderful way of calming me and easing the fear that was often present in my life.”

Later, as a television producer, Allcroft acquired the rights to the Reverend Wilbert Awdry’s “The Railway Series” of children’s books from the 1940s. That was the beginning of “Thomas.”

“I was very sure that I wanted classic ‘Thomas and Friends’ to look like a world for children that could indeed exist, and I was greatly inspired by book two of ‘The Railway Series’ of books, which had an illustration of Thomas on its cover,” Allcroft says. “I also wanted it to be told in such a way that a little child who might well be on his or her own could feel comforted and loved by the storyteller. I am still so touched by the messages I receive from folks of all sorts of ages and all sorts of places that share with me the fact that this is exactly how they felt and still do when they watch their own collections of tapes and discs.”

In 1989, Allcroft and American producer Rick Siggelkow created “Shining Time Station,” a live-action children’s program fronted by the magical character of the miniature Mr. Conductor, who introduced two “Thomas” stories in each half-hour program. Then, in 1994, Allcroft created the cartoon-animated “Magic Adventures of Mumfie” inspired by the artworks of Katharine Tozer. The series, featuring original musical numbers, follows Mumfie, a lonely elephant who lives in a cottage in the woods and sets out on a magical journey to meet new friends.

“Magic is arguably an over-used word, but not in Mumfie’s World,” Allcroft says. “Here magic is just a matter of fact — part of life and living — woven into everyday situations, emotions and experiences familiar to children and to grown-ups.”

Again Allcroft’s childhood inspired ‘Mumfie.’ Her mother would often take her to London to see musicals, and the series features songs prominently.

“‘Mumfie’ is full of wonder, magic and music,” she says. “There are around 22 songs in the classic ‘Mumfie’ library, and this is part of the ‘Mumfie’ trademark and is mentioned so often by fans who grew up with the series and love it to this day. It’s wonderful that classic ‘Mumfie’ will be available again and likewise all the songs.”

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The movie Mumfie’s Quest is available now digitally and on DVD at Amazon and on iTunes from Giant Interactive.

While ‘Thomas’ and ‘Mumfie’ are different in production style and characters, the series have a common theme, she notes.

“Both speak directly to human feelings and experience through the power of enchantment,” Allcroft says. “They share in common what I have come to call stories of the spirit — which now includes, of course, my ongoing projects.”

Zodiak Kids is producing a new animated preschool comedy series “Mumfie” with Allcroft based on “Magic Adventures of Mumfie.” The new series features the optimistic young elephant Mumfie along with his best friends Pinkey the flying pig and Jelly Bean the color-changing jellyfish. As the trio embarks on their daily adventures, they meet an eclectic bunch of animal friends: a cheeky crocodile who thinks he’s a king and his mischievous cat confidant; a hermit crab mayor and a giraffe who runs a hotel on an iceberg; a jolly yellow whale and a skateboarding zebra; and some pirate wolves and a Greek chorus of funny frogs.

“It has its own style, and I love it,” she says. “New ‘Mumfie,’ with a new look and new characters, is already well into production, and I love my role as a producer who is always happy to share my thoughts and ideas.”

The final release plans for the new Mumfie series are still be finalized by Zodiak Kids with details expected later this fall.

Remy Merriex Joins Prime Video Marketing Team

Remy Merriex will join Prime Video’s marketing team as global executive creative director.

In this new leadership role, he will oversee the development of global creative campaigns across Prime Video brand, content and originals marketing.

Merriex most recently served as global head of creative, messenger, at Facebook. Prior to that, he led creative on entertainment and brand marketing for Facebook Watch, gaming, live and Lasso. He is also an advisor and mentor for The One School, supporting the advertising and design industry by offering diversity, education, leadership programs and more for all creatives.

Merriex reports to Ukonwa Ojo, CMO for Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

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Comscore CFO Departing

Comscore CFO Greg Fink is leaving the company “to pursue new interests,” the company announced.

Fink, who joined the media research firm in 2017, will depart at the end of August 2021. Comscore has retained a leading executive search firm to identify a new CFO, and Fink has agreed to provide support during the search process to ensure an orderly transition, according to Comscore.

“I thank Greg for his many contributions toward helping set the company on a course for success,” Comscore CEO Bill Livek said in a statement. “He has built a strong team, which I am confident will carry on the foundational work that enables us to continue our evolution to provide the best modern measurement services for the future of media.”

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“Over the last four years, we have developed a strong finance team, rebuilt our processes, implemented a new ERP, and refinanced our balance sheet.  I’m proud of the work we have done, and grateful for the opportunity to work with this team,” Fink said in a statement.

Lionsgate Names Ryan Lowerre President of Domestic TV and Digital Distribution

Ryan Lowerre has joined Lionsgate as president of domestic television and digital distribution.

His appointment completes the reconfiguration of the company’s Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Operations.

Lowerre will be responsible for overseeing the distribution and licensing of Liongate’s 17,000-title film and television library, feature films and first-run television series to clients in the SVOD, AVOD, basic cable and free TV space across the United States and Canada.

“The demand for premium content is increasing all the time as more new buyers emerge to compete in the domestic marketplace,” Lionsgate president of worldwide television distribution Jim Packer, to whom Lowerre will report, said in a statement. “Ryan’s past work experience and business relationships make him the perfect candidate to help Lionsgate capitalize on the growing opportunities of an ever-changing media environment. He understands the needs of our buyers and brings a fresh and invigorating perspective to the team and our domestic business.”

“Lionsgate is an entrepreneurial content leader at the forefront of innovative and bespoke distribution models, with a slate of current releases and a robust library that reach every corner of the world,” Lowerre said in a statement. “I’m proud to join Jim and the Lionsgate family in positioning the Company as a partner of choice to domestic streaming and linear buyers as their appetite for content continues to grow exponentially.”

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Prior to joining Lionsgate, Lowerre served two stints at Amazon Prime Video, most recently as head of licensed content, U.S., where he was overseeing the licensed content portfolio. During his tenure at the streamer, Lowerre’s responsibilities also included licensing first run TV series as well as leading the company’s content acquisition efforts for international expansion into the VOD/EST space. Lowerre also worked at Hulu where he oversaw content investment of hit television series such as “Black-ish,” “Power,” “The Good Doctor” and “Golden Girls.”

Lowerre began his professional career at 20th Century Fox in International Television Distribution with roles in finance and deal valuation as well as licensing deal negotiations in international markets for premium pay TV and SVOD. He holds an MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Former Dreamworks and Pixar Exec Kerry Phelan Joins Genius Brands as EVP and GM

Genius Brands International, a global brand management company that creates and licenses multimedia entertainment content for children, has appointed Kerry Phelan to the newly created position of EVP and GM of global franchise management.

Phelan will report to both Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO, and Harold Chizick, president of global content sales, marketing and consumer products.

In her new role at Genius Brands, Phelan will be responsible for global management of the company’s existing IP across licensing, merchandising, retail and promotions, including Stan Lee’s “Superhero Kindergarten,” “Shaq’s Garage,” “Stan Lee Universe” and “Rainbow Rangers,” as well as properties currently in development.

A 30-year consumer branding executive, Phelan successfully launched the “Star Wars” brand at Lego Systems and was recruited directly to Lucasfilm, where she led the global consumer products and promotional licensing business for the multi-billion-dollar “Star Wars” franchise in more than 60 countries worldwide. She then joined Pixar Animation Studios, reporting directly to Steve Jobs, where she launched, in concert with Disney Consumer Products,  the original “Cars” consumer product program, which became franchise totaling more than $8 billion in retail sales. Following her stint at Pixar, Phelan spent seven years at DreamWorks Animation as head of consumer products and licensing, driving the development of franchise management plans for the studio’s film and television properties, including “Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” At DreamWorks, she managed the retail consumer products business and doubled the consumer products revenue in just three years.  Most recently, she served as president of global franchise management at Lionsgate Entertainment, where under her leadership, the studio created brand extensions spanning location-based and live entertainment venues, consumer products, licensed merchandise, brand partnerships and an array of promotional ventures for such blockbuster franchises as “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight.”

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“Kerry’s pedigree and reputation in entertainment branding is unparalleled as she has driven the global revenue streams of some of the most lucrative franchises in history,” Chizick said in a statement. “In the coming year, we have multiple properties launching into the global retail marketplace, including Stan Lee’s ‘Superhero Kindergarten,’ which just premiered on Kartoon Channel!, as well as ‘Shaq’s Garage’ and ‘Stan Lee Universe’ plus more categories coming to market around ‘Rainbow Rangers.’ Kerry’s leadership and strategic guidance will be instrumental in driving the growth of our brands around the world. She is a dream executive to have on board to help us achieve our long-term goals.”

“The majority of my career has been spent building properties into global franchises, specifically in the children’s space.  Having had a peek at the coming pipeline, I am excited about the future at Genius Brands and the opportunity to build bigger brand ecosystems around their properties,” Phelan said in a statement.