- Friday, Aug. 18, 2000
INTELEFILM, headquartered in Minneapolis, has created a new office of the president, headed by Jim Gilbertson and Patrick Knisley. Residing under the banner of the publicly held firm is a family of commercial production houses, including bicoastal/international Chelsea Pictures, bicoastal Curious Pictures and bicoastal/international The End.
Gilbertson was promoted from his post as iNTELEFILM COO. He continues to serve as CEO of iNTELEFILM subsidiary webADTV.com, a Minneapolis company that offers Web-enabled communications serv-ices and workflow tools to the ad agency community. Knisley, who came aboard iNTELEFILM several months ago as executive VP after serving as Toronto-based president of Bates Canada, will have responsibility primarily for iNTELEFILM's commercial production operations. Gilbertson's presidential focus will be on new media.
According to iNTELEFILM CEO Christopher T. Dahl, the two presidents will often team on various endeavors. For example, as the iNTELEFILM production companies seek to diversify beyond commercialmaking into new media, they can not only turn to Knisley for help but can tap into Gilbertson's new-media expertise.
Dahl explained that the office of the president was set up in order to expand the resources iNTELEFILM could offer to its companies. He noted that, as COO, Gilbertson had been working extensively with the iNTELEFILM ensemble of production houses on strategic planning, operational and other support-related matters. But with the formation of webAdTV earlier this year, much of Gilbertson's focus had been diverted to building that Internet-based business. Knisley now fills the void as iNTELEFILM's point person on the production company front. Dahl said that Knisley brings a different management perspective to the commercial production arena, citing a résumé that includes the earlier-alluded-to Bates tenure, and prior to that his work in New York on international business for the Miller Brewing account.
Gilbertson and Knisley assume their presidential posts at a time when iNTELEFILM has been active in both the production company and new-media arenas. On the latter front, webADTV has expanded the scope of its relationship with Vienna, Va.-based Excalibur Technologies Corp. Per the agreement, Excalibur will receive cash and stock in webADTV. In return, webADTV will receive a three-year, paid-up license for the Excalibur Screening Room and Excalibur RetrievalWare products.
Additionally, webADTV gains the right to exclusively market the Screening Room product line to advertising agencies through iNTELESource, webADTV's web-enabled, video-assist management system, for the next 18 months. And if certain business benchmarks are met, that time frame will be doubled to three years. INTELESource provides ad agencies with the ability to digitize, encode, archive and stream television commercials. Among the users of iNTELESource is J. Walter Thompson, Detroit. Through that agency, other JWT offices are accessing iNTELESource from remote locations around the world.
Originally developed in conjunction with AT&T and Excalibur, iNTELESource was launched this past April. Under terms of an earlier agreement, Excalibur and webADTV agreed to jointly provide Web-based digital video services to the advertising community. Gilbertson noted that Excalibur is also in the process of forming a venture with Intel.
"From our perspective, being able to have a close relationship with Excalibur and leading technology companies such as Intel and AT&T is invaluable, and will ultimately benefit our clients from both ad agencies and production companies," commented Gilbertson, who described iNTELESource as being one resource in a grab-bag of tools that webADTV is developing for the advertising community.
WebADTV also expects its acquisition of Cincinnati-based Cosmic Inventions to be finalized later this month. Cosmic Inventions is perhaps best known as the creator of Spot Rocket, a product that facilitates the transmittal of approval-quality video, CD-quality audio tracks, animatics, photographs, storyboards, animations and various multimedia components. Gilbertson said that the Cosmic Inventions deal fortifies the services webADTV provides, adding that Spot Rocket is widely embraced in the ad sector, currently being used by eight of the world's top 10 agencies.
While webADTV's prime clients are ad agencies, Gilbertson envisions the company branching out more significantly in the near future to production houses as well.
Not all of iNTELEFILM's activity has been expansive. Dahl confirmed that New York-based Populuxe Pictures, a production house launched by Children's Broadcasting Corp. (now iNTELEFILM) some two and a half years ago (SHOOT, 1/13/98, p. 1), has closed. Dahl said the shuttering was mutually agreed upon by iNTELEFILM and Populuxe's executive producer, William K. Near.
"For whatever reasons, we fell a little short in terms of what we hoped would materialize for that company [Populuxe]," related Dahl, who added that the current actors' strike against the ad industry wasn't a factor in the decision to pull the plug on Populuxe.
Near said that another career opportunity for him figured in the decision. He related that around the time he was considering whether to sign a new two-year contract with iNTELEFILM, the chance to become a partner/executive producer at Picture Park, Boston and Santa Monica, emerged. Picture Park partner/ executive producer Eric Korsh had left the filmmaking business altogether to study public policy at Harvard, creating an opening which Near described as being "the ideal opportunity for me." When approached about the position by Picture Park partner/executive producer Mark Hankey, Near opted to make the move.
Not yet known at press time were the plans of Populuxe's directors, Wayne Gibson, Jonathan Lennard and Greg Whiteley.
Dahl noted that the other production houses under the iNTELEFILM umbrella—Chelsea, Curious and The End—have been performing well despite the actors' strike. He said that some directorial additions are pending for The End, which has lost some helmers in recent months, including Anouk Besson, who joined bicoastal Epoch Films (SHOOT, 8/4, p. 7), and Jaume, who went to bicoastal/international Partizan (SHOOT, 5/26, p. 1). Dahl said he wasn't surprised by the departures of several directors from The End, acknowledging that such movement was anticipated when company founders, executive producers Luke Thornton and Liz Silver, left the company late last year. Thornton and Silver subsequently formed bicoastal Believe Media and teamed with director David van Eyssen to launch Hollywood-based sister interactive shop iBelieve Media (SHOOT, 2/18, p. 1).