Osher tapped digital biz leader at SPE

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Bob Osher will succeed Yair Landau as president of the Digital Production division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Additionally, Hannah Minghella was named president of production at Sony Pictures Animation.

Landau is leaving Sony in April to begin a new games and animation venture. Osher joined Sony Pictures in 2004, and has been serving as COO of the Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group; he will continue to have oversight over his current areas of responsibility within that group.

The Digital Production division, formerly known as Sony Pictures Digital, comprises visual effects unit Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation. Sony Online Entertainment is moving from Sony Pictures Digital to Sony Computer Entertainment.

In 2007, SPE generated attention when it retained an investment bank to place a value on Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation. "There were discussions about selling Imageworks. Strategically, we made a decision to take that off the table," Osher said. "We think it is a terrific business to be in."

Imageworks president Tim Sarnoff and Minghella will report to Osher. Sandra Rabins, who had been in charge of Sony Pictures Animation as senior executive vp, will return to her roots as a producer and continue working with Sony Pictures Animation in that capacity.

"It was a personal choice for her to go back to being a producer, but I expect her to be very involved," Osher said of Rabins. "She is going to be a real big help for all of us, she helped build the company and has incredible institutional knowledge." Rabins is not yet attached to any specific productions as a producer.

"Bob's unique blend of experience in production and finance, along with his strong background in animation, make him superbly qualified to lead our Digital Production division," Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Michael Lynton said.

The daughter of Anthony Minghella, Hannah Minghella was director of creative affairs for SPE co-chairman Amy Pascal, a position she has held since 2005. She recently was responsible for helping to bring "Edwin A. Salt" to Columbia.

"She's been a key part of my team, actively engaged in our creative process every step of the way," Pascal said of Minghella. "She's going to do a great job working in concert with the incredibly accomplished team of writers, artists and all who make Sony Pictures Animation such an exciting part of this studio."

Sony Pictures Imageworks has completed visual effects for features including Oscar winner "Spider-Man 2." Imageworks also houses Imageworks Interactive, a full service creative group that produces Web sites and supports digital marketing for the studio and outside clients. Sony Pictures Animation recently created Academy Award nominee "Surf's Up," and is producing "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."

Sony Pictures also has a deal with Aardman Features to produce animated films for the studio.

Before joining Sony, Osher was co-president of production at Miramax Films for more than six years, where he oversaw the production of "Shakespeare in Love" and "Chicago" and served as executive producer of films including "Cold Mountain."

He previously was co-founder and executive vp at Turner Pictures Group. That role included co-running Turner Feature Animation, which worked closely with its sister company Hannah-Barbera Prods. Osher worked for Walt Disney Studios from 1989-1995, where he rose to be senior vp in charge of business and legal affairs for Walt Disney and Touchstone Pictures, as well as Disney's feature animation business.

Minghella previously spent four years at Miramax Films, where she was the creative executive for Meryl Poster (Poster and Osher were co-presidents of production).
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