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Film News Roundup: Disney Promotes Marketing Execs Martha Morrison, Ryan Stankevich

In today’s film news roundup, Disney announces key promotions in film marketing, Film Independent announces more than two dozen grants and Alamo Drafthouse will celebrate the VHS format.

MARKETING PROMOTIONS

Walt Disney Studios has promoted Ryan Stankevich and Martha Morrison to the posts of senior vice president of marketing.

Studio marketing president Asad Ayaz made the announcement Tuesday. Stankevich will focus on titles from Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm, while Morrison will oversee titles from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.

They will also handle Disney’s other live action film projects and lead global campaigns and strategy for Disney’s entire theatrical slate.

“This is a truly amazing team and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done together over the past several years,” said Ayaz in a statement. “Martha and Ryan are talented and fearless leaders who will set a bold course for our film campaigns, and with several team members taking on new and expanded roles, this marks an exciting evolution of our group as we look to the future.”

Stankevich is a 20-year Disney veteran. She was responsible for designing and executing comprehensive global publicity rollouts, including the campaigns for “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” this year.

Morrison started her career in creative marketing at Miramax before transitioning to Disney in 2010 as VP of international creative. She has overseen the international marketing efforts for all studio releases across all brands, spanning more than 50 markets worldwide.

Ayaz also announced that in Global Publicity, Chris Coxall and Michelle Rasic have been promoted to VP of publicity; in Digital Marketing, Pat Cole and Dustin Sandoval have been upped to VP; in Global Promotions, Ty Ervin has been named VP for promotions, partnerships, creative and product placement. In research, Erik Crouthamel has been named VP.

FINANCE GRANTS

Film Independent announced 15 projects and 28 filmmakers selected for the 16th annual Fast Track film finance market.

The ninth annual Alfred P. Sloan Fast Track Grant, a $20,000 production grant, will be awarded to writer/producer Jenny Halper and producer Kate Sharp for their fiction feature film “Burning Season”; the 12th annual Alfred P. Sloan Producers Grant, a $30,000 development grant, will be awarded to producer Clay Pruitt for his fiction feature “Bell”; and the second annual Alfred P. Sloan Episodic Lab Grant, a $10,000 development grant, will be awarded to Mirella Christou for her pilot “Seven Eternities.”

Recipients in fiction are “Belonging,” Zoe Sua Cho and Simone Ling; “Brooke & Sam,” Ally Pankiw and James Weyman; “The Burning Season,” Jenny Halper and Kate Sharp; “Cowboys,” Anna Kerrigan and Anil Baral; “Down with the King,” Diego Ongaro and Rob Cristiano; “Hombrecito,” Miguel Nuñez and Roberto Fiesco; “I Was a Simple Man,” Christopher Makoto Yogi and Sarah S. Kim; “Scenes from Our Marriage,” Yolonda Ross; “The Seahorse,” Devon Kirkpatrick, Steven J. Berger and Kimberly Parker; and “Toughest Mofo in Portland, Oregon,” Ryan Velasquez.

Non-fiction recipients are “Dilemma of Desire,” Maria Finitzo and Diana Quon; “Flood,” Katy Scoggin; “God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines: The Story of Detroit Techno,” Kristian Hill and Jennifer Washington; “Mayor,” David Osit; “Rebel Hearts,”  Pedro Kos and Judy Korin.

VHS FESTIVAL

Alamo Drafthouse, the American Genre Film Archive and Lunchmeat VHS are announcing the first VHStival, presented at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh and Video Vortex Raleigh on Oct. 20 and 21.

“I am absolutely VHStoked to help bring this rewind-inclined bash to life, man!” said Josh Schafer, VHStival creator and Lunchmeat VHS editor-in-chief. “It’s all set to be an unbridled explosion of appreciation and celebration in the name of the most radical, ridiculous, and influential home video format of all time. We want to really immerse the crowd in the incredible spectrum of culture that VHS has to offer.”

“Not only is this weekend going to be amazingly fun, it is also important,” says Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League. “Thousands of films were only ever released on VHS and very few people are archiving, protecting and sharing this strange, important and very vulnerable chapter in our film history. In addition to the screenings and parties, VHStival will be infused with workshops, education and initiatives that allow others to get involved with the American Genre Film Archive’s preservation efforts.”

Programming includes a screening of the “Videovore” culture documentary “Adjust Your Tracking: the Untold Story of the VHS Collector”; an all-new edition of “Found Footage Festival”; experimental film “Stand by for Tape Back-Up,” created out of fragments of old films, television shows, and commercials by director Ross Sutherland; “Remote Control,” including a live Q&A with director Jeff Lieberman; 1987 shot-on-video shocker “Video Violence”; and 1993’s “America’s Deadliest Home Video,” starring Danny Bonaduce.

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