11:11am PT by Carolyn Giardina
Peter Jackson's Weta Expands Board While Launching Los Angeles and San Francisco Offices
Peter Jackson's Weta Digital — the studio behind the Oscar-winning visual effects on The Lord of the Rings and Avatar — is expanding its board of directors while launching offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Wellington, NZ-headquartered facility, which is currently at work on productions including James Cameron's Avatar sequels and in 2020 launched its Weta Animated unit to produce animated content--has brought on board members Tom Staggs, Jeff Huber and Ken Kamins.
Staggs brings more than 26-years of experience at The Walt Disney Company, most recently as its COO, and also serves on the board of Spotify. Huber was former founding CEO and vice chairman of cancer diagnostic company Grail and previously served as senior vp at Google. Kamins is founder and CEO of Key Creatives and earlier was exec vp at ICM. He has represented Jackson and Fran Walsh since 1992, and his exec producer credits include The Hobbit trilogy. The trio join a Weta board that includes Jackson, Walsh, Sean Parker, Joe Letteri and Weta CEO Prem Akkaraju.
“Tom, Jeff and Ken are extraordinary additions to the board of Weta Digital,” Akkaraju said in a released statement. “Their combined business acumen and collective depth of experience perfectly positions Weta Digital for exponential growth. Opening offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco enables storytellers to tap Weta’s production pipeline and work with concept designers, animation supervisors and other key creatives, in both the U.S. and New Zealand."
Further details on the planned Los Angeles and San Francisco offices were not immediately available. In addition to the Avatar sequels, Weta's work includes upcoming Black Widow, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Godzilla vs. Kong, The King's Man, Jungle Cruise and Zack Snyder's Justice League.
Addressing the impact of the pandemic on the film industry, Akkaraju said in a statement, "We’re extremely fortunate that New Zealand got in front of the curve early - it’s one of the few places in the world that has managed community transmission, where you can make a film safely, without the restrictive protocols of other markets.”