Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment Establishes Feature Animation Unit; Animation Executives Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkelman Cox Named to Top Posts

May 09, 2002, 01:00 ET from Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment

    CULVER CITY, Calif., May 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Sandra Rabins and Penney
 Finkelman Cox have been named to head a newly created feature animation unit
 within Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, it was announced today by Yair
 Landau, president of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.
     Rabins and Cox will be responsible for the development and production of
 all-CG animated features and will report to Landau.  The establishment of this
 new unit enables the studio to tap into the vast imagination of the creative
 community, develop properties that are best realized through digital
 production and bring entertainment for audiences of all ages to the screen.
     "This new generation of animation is creatively and financially
 significant in the opportunities it presents," said John Calley, CEO of Sony
 Pictures Entertainment.  "Yair Landau deserves enormous credit for building
 Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment into a top-notch organization ideally
 positioned to attract talent of Sandra and Penney's caliber.  We are delighted
 that they have chosen to make their home here."
     In establishing the feature animation unit, the team will work closely
 with SPDE's Imageworks division as it extends its character animation
 capability while maintaining its premier visual effects business.  Rabins and
 Cox will collaborate with Columbia Pictures creative executives.
     "The future of the entertainment industry clearly includes a healthy and
 progressive animation business, and we are approaching our expansion into
 original all-CG feature animation with the same level of commitment the studio
 exhibited by building Imageworks into an industry leader," said Yair Landau,
 President of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment.  "Sandy and Penney are,
 quite simply, the most talented team in CG animation production.  Their track
 record speaks for itself."
     "I am excited that Sandy and Penney are joining us.  They have an
 exceptional story sense that is a key ingredient to a successful all-CG
 feature," said Tim Sarnoff, Executive Vice President and General Manager of
 Imageworks.  "Beginning with 'Stuart Little' and continuing over the past
 several years, Imageworks has steadily advanced its digital character
 creation, earning accolades and Academy Award(R) nominations for its artists."
     Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkleman Cox most recently served as executive
 producers on the computer animated hit comedy "Shrek" the blockbuster box
 office hit of 2001 and winner of the first Academy Award(R) for best animated
 film.  The two joined DreamWorks in February of 1994 to start the Animation
 Division and produce "The Prince of Egypt."  They focused on the creative
 development of animation material at DreamWorks and were also instrumental in
 transforming commercials visual effects house, PDI, into a feature film
 facility for DreamWorks' and executive produced their first computer-generated
 movie, "Antz".
     "Animation is such a great way to create movies that the whole family can
 enjoy together," said Penney Finkelman Cox.  "These movies are ambitious
 because they can and should appeal at all levels and ages -- a real cross
 spectrum of our hearts and imaginations.  Precisely because of that depth,
 they take a great deal of care and time to develop and produce properly."
     "There are so many wonderful stories ideally suited for this medium and
 only a handful of companies with the capability to make them," Sandra Rabins
 observed.  "This is a wonderful base from which to build this unit.  Talent
 now has a new outlet."
     Attorney Harley Williams negotiated the deal in conjunction with Ellen
 Goldsmith-Vein and Julie Kane-Ritsch of AMG Animation.
     Born and raised in Hollywood, Rabins began her career at Paramount
 Pictures, serving as a production accountant on many projects including "Terms
 of Endearment."  In 1985 she moved to Walt Disney Studios, where she remained
 until 1993, achieving the title of Senior Vice President of Production and
 Finance for Buena Vista Pictures.   During her tenure at Disney she was
 responsible for establishing the production entities to create and animate
 "Roger Rabbit" in England, Tim Burton's "The Nightmare before Christmas" and
 "James and the Giant Peach" in San Francisco.  She was also instrumental in
 helping Pixar establish itself as a digital film entity to create "Toy Story".
 She left Disney in 1993 to executive produce "Dangerous Mind."
     In addition to their producing responsibilities, Rabins and Cox both
 fulfilled executive roles at DreamWorks from 1994 to 2001.  Rabins was
 responsible for the preparation of the studio business plan (television,
 animation, theatrical, distribution, marketing and music).  She helped to
 establish the animation and interactive divisions while producing DreamWorks
 first animated film.  Cox worked with Aardman Animation on its first
 stop-motion animated feature, "Chicken Run" and served as the executive
 producer on DreamWorks' first direct-to-video animated release, "Joseph: King
 of Dreams."
     Penney Finkelman Cox came to animation from a background in live-action
 production.  Her feature producing credits include: "Honey I Shrunk the Kids,"
 "Welcome Home, Roxie Carmichael" and "Till There Was You".  She served as
 executive producer for James L. Brooks on "I'll Do Anything" and co-produced
 two other films for Brooks: "Broadcast News" and the Oscar(R) winning "Terms
 of Endearment."
     Born in Havertown, Pennsylvania, Cox made her entrance into the performing
 arts as a press assistant for the Joffrey Ballet, and did a training
 internship with the National Endowment for the Arts.  She segued into film
 production with her acceptance into the Directors Guild of America producer
 Training Program in New York.
     About Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment
     Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (SPDE), an operating unit of Sony
 Pictures Entertainment (SPE), oversees the activities of SPE's digital
 production and online assets including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Online
 Entertainment, the Digital Networks Division which includes SoapCity and
 Screenblast, and SPIN, which represents the studio's online promotional
 presence.  SPDE focuses on three areas: 1) producing and developing visual
 effects and computer-generated imaging (CGI), digital character animation, and
 original content for motion picture, television, online and PlayStation
 audiences; 2) developing new forms of online content, games and interactive
 programming; and 3) leading SPE's efforts to provide online, open-access
 video-on-demand, interactive television and wireless entertainment.
     About Sony Pictures Imageworks
     Sony Pictures Imageworks is an award-winning state-of-the-art visual
 effects and animation company dedicated to the art and artistry of digital
 production.  Its most recent projects include "Spider-Man," "Harry Potter and
 the Sorcerer's Stone," "Stuart Little," "Cast Away," "What Lies Beneath," and
 the upcoming "Stuart Little 2," "Men in Black II," "I Spy," and "Charlie's
 Angels 2."
     About Sony Pictures Entertainment
     Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a division of Sony Corporation of
 America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation.  SPE's global
 operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television
 production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution;
 worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and
 distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment
 products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment
 in 67 countries.  Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide
 Web at .
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here

SOURCE Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment