Lionsgate boosts production

Ellzey named exec vp as company prepares for VOD, premium TV deal

Lisa Ellzey has been appointed executive vp motion picture production at Lionsgate as the company continues to beef up its production department.

Ellzey most recently was executive vp production at 20th Century Fox, which she joined in fall 2005. Before Fox, she was president of Scott Free Entertainment, president of Sonnenfeld/Josephson and a vp at Doug Wick's Red Wagon.

At Lionsgate, Ellzey will report to Mike Paseornek, president of motion picture production. John Sacchi, senior vp motion picture production, will continue to report to Paseornek.

"Lisa is precisely the person we need on our team as we broaden the scope of our motion picture offerings," Paseornek said. "Her talent and fantastic network of creative relationships will give us access to major opportunities as we take Lionsgate to the next level and beyond."

Ellzey arrives at a time when Joe Drake — named COO of Lionsgate's motion picture group in the fall after its acquisition of Mandate Pictures — is putting his mark on the company by expanding its production unit, though per the studio's business model it still expects to make 18-20 films per year.

Meanwhile, Alli Shearmur, the former co-president of production at Paramount, is in discussions to join Lionsgate.

This year, Jim Miller joined the team as vp production. Wolfgang Hammer, a director at Media Rights Capital, is a name that has been floated as another possible addition to the department.

Lionsgate's agenda includes working to offer its content on multiple platforms like FearNet, the VOD and Internet horror channel. In 2009, Lionsgate plans to launch a premium television service with Viacom, Paramount Pictures and MGM.

At Fox, Ellzey served as executive producer of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Her credits at Scott Free include producing "In Her Shoes."

Lionsgate's Jason Constantine was promoted to president of acquisitions and co-productions last week. (partialdiff)