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PARIS — Preparing to expand its animation business in U.S., French powerhouse Gaumont has appointed L.A.-based industry vet Nicolas Atlan to a new position as president of animation. Another L.A.-based exec, Terry Kalagian, has been tapped creative VP of animation.

Both executives will report directly to Sidonie Dumas, Gaumont CEO and Christophe Riandee, vice CEO of Gaumont.

Prior to joining Gaumont, Atlan was co-CEO of Splash Entertainment (rebranded from Moonscoop) since February 2014. He has also presided over Kabillion, a VOD platform for kids.

Kalagian, meanwhile, has previously worked as VP of business development for Rainmaker Entertainment. During her tenure at Turner, she led acquisitions and co-productions for Cartoon Network U.S. and Boomerang U.S..

The idea behind these appointments is to give the animation activities more of a U.S. heft and allow the outfit to ramp up its animation film division; it seems like a logical evolution considering the company has a large portfolio of toon franchises — notably, “Belle and Sebastien” and “Calimero” — to build on.

Gaumont is also aiming to spark more synergies with other divisions in Gaumont’s empire.

The shingle is already well established in the States via its TV branch Gaumont Television U.S., the studio behind “Narcos” (Netflix), “Hannibal” (NBC) and “Hemlock Grove” (Netflix). Gene Stein was appointed president of Gaumont Television U.S., taking over from Katie O’Connell, in September. Gaumont will therefore be able to tap into these U.S. connections to develop ambitious toon pics for the international market.

“Having worked in the both Paris and Los Angeles, Nicolas has an excellent track record in the world of animation. While at Splash Entertainment, he produced and sold ‘Kulipari: An Army of Frogs’ to Netflix and the animated feature film ‘Norm of the North’ to Lionsgate,” said Riandee. “He is the perfect executive to blend our European and new U.S. animation divisions, as well as helping Gaumont expand into the arena of animated feature films and increase its production activity on the television side. I welcome Nicolas to the team along with Terry, whom with 20-plus years of experience, will be a great addition to Gaumont.”

Up until now, Gaumont Animation, the Paris-based branch, was handling TV series rather than movies. Gaumont’s film studio, meanwhile, has been co-producing a few animated films, such as “Ballerina,” a Pixar-style adventure tale produced by Quad Films.

Atlan who will split his time between the L.A. and Paris offices, and will work closely with Cecile Gaget, Gaumont’s president of sales for Gaumont’s movie studio, Stein; as well as Erik Pack, president of international distribution for Gaumont Television. Pierre Belaisch, based in Paris, will continue heading the company’s European TV animation activities and will now report directly to Atlan.

“Growing up in France watching many of Gaumont’s well-known productions, and now witnessing all of the company’s recent success in the U.S., I am very proud to be a part of the team and to be given this tremendous opportunity to expand its animation division,” stated Atlan.

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