Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) has hired Alison Mann as VP of creative/strategy, a newly created role at the studio. Mann joins from her position at Illumination Entertainment as VP in talent where she was responsible for industry outreach, artistic talent acquisition, and development.

In her new role, Mann will help expand Sony Pictures Animation’s efforts to foster international talent She will also advise on a variety of film and series-based projects in development across the SPA brand, among other duties. Mann will report directly to SPA president Kristine Belson.

In an internal studio memo, Belson welcomed Mann to the studio: “This is a new position at our studio that will collaborate with our creative executives to continue to expand and elevate animation boundaries. Alison shares SPA’s passion for telling meaningful stories and working with inspiring artists and creators from around the world.”

Mann is a 17-year industry veteran, who has worked across tv, film, and gaming, at Nickelodeon/MTV, Paramount Pictures Animation, Zynga, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Interactive, and most recently, Illumination.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mann shared excitement for this new chapter in her professional life:

At the same time that Sony made the announcement about Mann, the studio also announced that it is promoting Katie Baron and Eric Tovell to the position of vice president. “Both Katie and Eric have been integral to the development of recent and upcoming projects at SPA and we are proud to have them as part of our leadership team,” Belson wrote in an internal memo.

Last month, director Rich Moore joined the ranks of SPA after spending the last decade at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Moore, who co-directed the Wreck-It Ralph franchise and Zootopia for Disney, cited the freedom Sony Animation gives its artists as a key factor in his decision.

“Sony Animation has emerged as a major player among animation studios,” he said. “Their vision to give filmmakers and artists the freedom to take risks, and to really push the envelope when it comes to visual style and breadth of storytelling is impressive, and I can’t wait to be a part of shaping the studio’s future.”

Sony Animation won its first Academy Award for best animated feature this year with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The studio’s upcoming projects include The Angry Birds Movie 2, scheduled for release in the U.S. on August 16, 2019; Wish Dragon directed by Chris Appelhans, which will debut in China on July 26; and two 2020 releases: The Mitchells Vs. The Machines directed by Mike Rianda and Vivo by Kirk DeMicco.

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