Sony Pictures Animation has named Kristine Belson as the new president of its Sony Pictures Animation division. Belson, who most recently worked at DreamWorks, will lead the development and production of Sony’s animation films while “focusing on creating an environment that nurtures animators and artists.” Belson will report to Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group chairman Amy Pascal.

Kristine Belson.
Kristine Belson.

Belson spent nearly a decade at DreamWorks Animation, where she produced The Croods and executive produced the first installment in the How to Train Your Dragon series. More recently, she was the executive producer on B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which was unceremoniously halted in mid-production last Thursday as part of the DreamWorks’s restructuring plan.

To clear the way for Belson at Sony, Michelle Raimo Kouyate stepped down as president of production of Sony Pictures Animation last Friday. She had been in the role for four years. Raimo Kouyate will stay on the Sony lot with a first-look producing deal; the first project she is expected to produce is the previously-announced Medusa, for which Lauren Faust has been recruited to direct.

Belson originally joined DreamWorks Animation in 2005 as head of development, where she oversaw the development and acquisition of all feature film projects for the company. Prior to joining DreamWorks, Belson had exec produced Muppets from Space and produced Good Boy! She credits Amy Pascal as her “first mentor.”

Pascal seems to view Belson’s appointment as a reset for Sony’s animation division, which has a poor track record of letting creative people make films. “Kristine is a visionary who will make our animation studio a home where the animation industry’s best talent can come and make the films they want to make,” said Pascal in a statement.

The most interesting part of the announcement is that Belson will report directly to Pascal, leap-frogging Bob Osher, president of Sony Digital Productions, who oversees both the animation division and the studio’s vfx arm Imageworks. It was revealed last month that Sony CEO Michael Lynton had hinted in emails to Pascal that Osher was performing poorly and should be let go.

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