Warner puts Premiere team in place for '07

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Warner Premiere, the recently launched direct-to-DVD and direct-to-platform production arm of Warner Bros. Entertainment, has staffed its senior executive ranks as it gets ready to be fully operational for 2007.

The division, created in August and run by Diane Nelson, has hired Irika Slavin as senior vp marketing, Geoff Shaevitz as vp production, Sean Wimmer as vp postproduction, Stephanie Schroeder as vp business affairs and Eva Davis as vp acquisitions.

"Starting a new business unit can be daunting, but I could not have a better executive team in place for this undertaking," Nelson said. "Since our operation combines elements of traditional production, distribution and marketing with a new and constantly evolving business model, we sought executives at the top of their game, with the versatility to break new ground, push the envelope and truly establish Warner Premiere as the leader in direct-to-DVD and emerging platform space. Irika, Geoff, Sean, Stephanie and Eva each bring a unique skill set to their new posts as well as a shared enthusiasm and forward-focused outlook that will serve us well."

Before joining Warner Premiere, Slavin was vp global brand management at Warners, and was responsible for managing the "Batman Begins," "V for Vendetta" and "The Ant Bully" properties as well as the company's rebranding efforts for Warners-owned DC Comics and the introduction of that company's new logo. Before that, she was director of theatrical marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures, and senior publicist.

As senior vp marketing, Slavin will work with filmmakers, creative executives, vendors and in-place Warner Home Video marketing and sales teams to devise publicity, promotional and online campaigns.

Shaevitz was a production executive at Warner Bros. Pictures, overseeing such films as "We Are Marshall," "Zodiac," "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Batman Begins." Before joining Warners, he was vp at Eaglecove Entertainment and worked was a creative executive at Riche/Ludwig Prods.

At Premiere, Shaevitz's mandate is to build a long-term creative strategy and a slate of original releases, overseeing projects from script to screen.

Wimmer worked at Warner Bros. Pictures as director of feature postproduction, working on such films as "Good Night, and Good Luck," "A Scanner Darkly" and "March of the Penguins." Before that, he was a freelance postproduction supervisor for production companies and studios, overseeing such projects as "Being John Malkovich" and "The Weight of Water," on which he also was a co-producer. Wimmer will oversee post on projects produced by Warner Premiere.

Schroeder joins Premiere from Paramount Pictures, where she was vp business and legal affairs and helped build that company's DVD production group, working on such titles as "Neil Young: Heart of Gold" and "Save the Last Dance 2." She also worked in Paramount's motion picture legal department. Schroeder will be responsible for structuring and negotiating all talent, production and financial agreements for Premiere.

Davis is coming over from WHV, where as vp acquisitions and multicultural marketing, she was responsible for starting a new ethnic marketing division, which not only acquired video content targeted at diverse consumers but also executed multicultural marketing for WHV's mainstream releases. Davis will retain her multicultural marketing responsibilities for WHV, and certain projects she was involved with at that division will remain under her aegis at Premiere, including nontheatrical acquisitions for a sports league and several animated franchises. Davis' mandate is to bring in previously produced content suited for Premiere's release.

Premiere was founded with the mandate to be at the forefront of original feature-length content created specifically for DVD, as well as new and emerging digital platforms. In its initial stages, Premiere will focus on releases that are either sequels or prequels to existing titles or brands in the Warner Bros. library. Other movies will bank on a well-established creator, talent or brand, while further movies will focus on story lines that expand upon projects in production at the studio. The goal is to make about 15 movies a year. The division's first release will be "The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning."
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