Modern VideoFilm Sets Up New Management Team, "No Plan to Sell"

The postproduction company behind films such as 'Whiplash' severed its relationship with longtime CEO Moshe Barkat and CFO Hugh Miller last month
Courtesy of Festival de Cannes

Burbank-headquartered postproduction house Modern VideoFilm (The Book of LifeWhiplash), which has been the subject of much speculation since it severed its relationship with longtime CEO Moshe Barkat and CFO Hugh Miller last month, has set up a new management team and its board has "no plan to sell" the company.

Modern, the largest privately-owned postproduction company in L.A., has upped Scott Avila (who joined Modern last July) to CEO and named Cooper Crouse as president and Roxanna Sassanian as CFO. Prior to joining Modern, the trio held similar positions with The Culver Studios.

Additionally, the 33-year old business expanded the managerial responsibilities of Bill Watt, president of digital media services; Mark Smirnoff, president of creative services; and Jon Johnson, evp, sales. “Bill, Mark and Jon each have been in leadership positions with the company for more than 20 years, as have many other people on our team. They remain the backbone of the company,” Avila said.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Avila only said of the change that “the board of directors made is a decision that this was in the best interest of the long term vision of the business." He also asserted that the board has “no plan to sell” the company.

Modern maintains a roster of colorists that include David Cole, Jill Bogdanowicz and Natasha Leonnet. Cole won the Hollywood Post Alliance Award for feature color grading in 2013 for Life of Pi. Bogdanowicz and Leonnet are current nominees in that category for The Grand Budapest Hotel and Labor Day, respectively. Television series work at the company includes Sleepy Hollow, Madam Secretary, Jane the Virgin and Modern Family. Avila said Modern employs between 400 and 450 people.

Asked about strategy, Avila related that the company plans to more closely "partner" with clients and expand its services, saying that postproduction “requires a fundamental shift in how we service the needs of our clients. ... With the media landscape changing rapidly, we need to be a nimble, forward-thinking company. We are excited about our future.”

The Burbank headquarters has a file-based infrastructure for both its postproduction and content management/delivery divisions. The company has steadily been expanding its 4K capabilities (including for 4K VOD platforms) and is working on support for high dynamic range work.

It also maintains an additional postproduction base in Santa Monica and a Scottsdale, Ariz., operation that is part of an electronic delivery system.

Twitter: @CGinLA