Goldsmith-Vein expands group for production

Sony Pictures Animation has inked a first-look production deal with Ellen Goldsmith-Vein’s the Gotham Group.

Deal marks the first-ever first-look pact for SPA, a unit of Sony Pictures Digital Prods., which was overhauled in March with Hannah Minghella being named prexy of the division.

As the leading management firm for toon and kids content creators, Gotham Group offers a nice fit for SPA, which is looking to ramp up its efforts after a number of its projects have stalled in development. In recent years, Goldsmith-Vein has expanded Gotham into a full-fledged production company, having produced such films as “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”

“Ellen Goldsmith-Vein has impeccable taste in material and phenomenal talent relationships,” said Bob Osher, who took the reins of Sony Pictures Digital Prods. at the same time Minghella was upped to her post. “With her client base and Gotham’s association with the top publishers, we are excited to team with Ellen and her team to find original stories, characters and talent.”

Gotham represents some of the top animation directors and writers as well as a broad range of young-adult authors, publishing houses and comicbook companies including Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, HarperCollins Children’s Books (U.S. & U.K.), Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt and Dark Horse Entertainment.

Gotham is currently in production on “Dead Space,” an animated feature for Starz! Media, and the 3-D CGI film “Quantum Quest,” the first film ever initiated by NASA/JPL. The company also recently linked with the Chungnan Techno Park, Chungam province of South Korea and several South Korean corporations in a pubic-private partnership to form an animation fund totaling more than $300 million for the purpose of financing, producing and distributing six to eight animated and live-action/animated hybrid feature films.

Gotham has a slate of more than 30 films set up at studios across town including “Spanking Shakespeare” at Paramount; “The Devil You Know” for 20th Century Fox with Shawn Levy directing; and “Big Brave Brian” for CBS Films.

SPA’s slate includes “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” which is currently in production, and a direct-to-video “Open Season” sequel.

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