Shaw Rocket Prize

International Jury

We’re honoured to have had prestigious members of the industry sit on our International Jury throughout the years.

Donna Andrews

Dandy Productions, Australia
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2007

Donna Andrews possesses a rare blend of television expertise spanning both broadcasting as well as production. Donna’s extensive experience in Australian television broadcasting includes senior positions at Network Ten, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Nickelodeon and Channel [V]. Her roles and responsibilities included Programming/Acquisitions, Production and Television Management. In 2000 Donna jumped the fence into independent television production and now runs her own business Dandy Productions.

She is also a founding partner and producer with production company Sticky Pictures, and a founding partner and producer with Buster Dandy Productions. In 2001, Donna consulted to the ABC and was responsible for the set up and launch of their children-dedicated channel ABC Kids – Australia’s first digital multi-channel, and consulted on the introduction of the ABC Kids branding of the children’s blocks on the ABC network.

Previously the Director of Programming at Nickelodeon Australia, Donna was responsible for all series production and programming, including acquisitions from 1997 to 2000. She commissioned / executive produced both live action and animation series and was part of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Program Development Group. Prior to this she was responsible for the launch and running of Channel [V] in Australia, a locally produced 24-hour music youth station. Donna also spent six years at Network Ten in the Programming and Production areas, responsible for the network schedule and heavily involved in program acquisitions. She also executive produced three years of Video Hits and consulted on numerous TEN in-house productions including The Big Breakfast.

Prior to this Donna worked in television ratings and research at AC Nielsen.

Since launching Dandy Productions Donna has developed / produced / executive produced a variety of programs both for Network and Cable Television targeted at preschool, children and youth audiences. Series include Bambaloo, Active Kidz, Girl TV, Junior, Blue Water High, Raggs and the international hit preschool series Five Minutes More.

Finn Arnesen

Senior VP and GM for Original Series and International Development, Turner Broadcasting
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2008

Finn Arnesen is Senior Vice President and General Manager for Original Series in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA) and Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS) International Development. Arnesen represents all of TBS International on the global Greenlight Committee for Cartoon Network Originals, and liaises with the Company’s Asian and Latin American channel heads to ensure that it is developing the most impactful and popular new content for the future.

In this pan-regional role, he is tasked with increasing original content in the region by developing more wholly owned and co-produced content. In addition, he plays a key role in the distribution of Turner’s original content to third parties throughout EMEA.

Based in Turner’s London office, another facet of Arnesen’s role is responsibility for the Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, which opened in Soho, London in Q1 2007 following substantial investment by the company. The studio is set up with a view to wholly owning and producing original series from Europe, as well as continuing to co-produce with European partners.

Arnesen reports directly to Jeff Kupsky, President of TBS Europe Limited, for EMEA and for his international development role, reports to Juan Carlos Urdaneta, President of TBS Latin America; Steve Marcopoto, President of TBS Asia and Jeff Kupsky.

Arnesen joined Turner Entertainment Networks International in 1993 and has been instrumental in developing the programming for the networks and beyond. He supervised all day to day programming, operations and development for Cartoon Network, including creative input into on-air promotions and themes as well as the development of scheduling strategy.

Committed to bringing cartoon fans original European animation, Arnesen has worked on hit European co-productions of The Cramp Twins with TV Loonland, based on books by British author Brian Wood, and Robotboy with Alphanim, which also airs on Cartoon Network USA, and all other Cartoon Network regions. Coming soon are co-productions of a completely new Fantastic Four 2-D/3-D series based on the classic comic strip with Moonscoop/ M6 and Marvel Comics, and Chop Socky Chooks with Aardman/Decode which is the UK’s first high quality CGI action comedy for TV. Additionally Arnesen commissioned and executive produced Cartoon Network’s first wholly owned UK produced show Skatoony, which is also the first animated game show with real life kid contestants. There is a second series currently in production.

Prior to joining Turner, Arnesen worked for ScreenSport (the European Sports Network) from 1989-93 as well as a brief stint as Sky Sports. He has a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in French and Drama from the University of Warwick and is a proud Charlton Athletic Season Ticket holder.

Evan Baily

President, Consolidated Baily Inc
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2013

Evan Baily is a writer, showrunner, and entrepreneur focused on reinventing world-class family entertainment brands and developing new ones. His work is informed by a longstanding interest in video games, interactive products, and content experiences that span multiple platforms. Current and recent projects include serving as showrunner and Executive Producer of a CG animated TV series based on one of the world’s most iconic video game properties; working closely with Nintendo of America on the launch, branding, programming, and original production for its 3D video channel, Nintendo Video; setting up and running a team to produce content for Nintendo’s other digital channels; and developing the creative vision, brand identity, content strategy, and information architecture for an early-stage kids’ mobile startup.

Previously, Evan was Executive Vice President of Production and Creative Affairs at Classic Media (now DreamWorks Classics), where he was responsible for shepherding and reinventing some of the world’s best-known family entertainment properties; produced four animated films, including “Casper’s Scare School,” for DVD and TV release; served as Executive Producer of four TV series which reached audiences in more than 100 territories, including “George of the Jungle” for Cartoon Network and Teletoon; and played a key role in growing Classic’s valuation from approximately $150 million to more than $300 million in 3.5 years.

Before joining Classic, while operating an earlier incarnation of Consolidated Baily, Evan developed the BAFTA Award-winning series “LazyTown,” pre-sold 40 half-hours to Nickelodeon with its creator, co-wrote the first episode, and served as Consulting Producer; developed and served as Supervising Producer of Nickelodeon International’s first original series, “Yakkity Yak”; and wrote the brand bible for the Nicktoons network prior to its launch, among other projects.

Prior to founding Consolidated Baily, Evan held a variety of creative leadership positions at Nickelodeon. As Senior Director of Convergent Development and Production, he developed breakthrough interactive content and helped usher the company into the age of digital media. As Director of Development, East Coast, he ran the New York TV development office, overseeing the development of the Emmy-winning “Invader Zim” and the writing of the first season of the Emmy-nominated “As Told By Ginger.” As Editorial Director of the Brand Creative Group, he was responsible for all off-channel consumer and trade communications for Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Nick at Nite; wrote the first communications materials for Nick’s long running prosocial initiative The Big Help; and wrote Nick Elementary, a comprehensive guide to Nick’s organizational structure, history, philosophy, and brand identity.

Evan graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts with a B.A. in Studio Art. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife, Cate, and their two children.

Andrew Beecham

Senior Vice President Programming, Sprout®
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2012

Andrew Beecham is Senior Vice President, Programming for Sprout, the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for kids ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers. Beecham is responsible for program and digital strategy, original programming, scheduling, program operations and acquisitions for Sprout’s digital cable channel and video on demand (VOD) and online offerings.
Prior to joining the network, Beecham was Senior Vice President for HIT Entertainment where he developed the overall look and feel, programming strategy and launch for Sprout in September 2005.

For nine years previously, Beecham worked for ABC Cable Networks where he launched the Disney Channel in the UK. As Director, Playhouse Disney for the Worldwide Programming Strategy Group, he created and rolled out the International Playhouse Disney format to Disney Channels worldwide and executive produced over 50 studio production series. He is also credited with creating the world’s first preschool cooking show, Bite Size.

Beecham also worked for BBC TV in the UK as a writer/producer creating on air promotions, as well as launching BBC Prime. Previous to this, he ran Pink Hippo Productions, a corporate training video production company, where he won numerous awards including Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Beecham earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Television and Music from Kent University in the UK. He and his wife now reside in Philadelphia with their two children, Hannah and Ollie.

Malcolm Bird

SVP and GM of AOL Teens & Kids
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2007

As Senior Vice President and General Manager of AOL Teens & Kids, Malcolm Bird is responsible for the programming, production and development of online experiences for AOL’s younger audiences. He was responsible for launching three new services for AOL including KOL for kids, KOL Jr. for preschoolers and RED for teens. Mr. Bird, who joined the company in 2002, is an Emmy award-winning children’s media expert with more than 20 years of experience as a TV and radio producer and a programmer of children’s content.

Most recently, Mr. Bird secured a television deal with DIC Entertainment to co-produce the Saturday morning kids’ block on CBS called KOL’s Secret Slumber Party while also creating the companion website. Additionally, he has created innovative original online programs including Project Freshman and Be A Red Star and is responsible for developing the first fully licensed online property inspired by the original animated series Princess Natasha.

Prior to working for AOL, Mr. Bird played key roles in three major network launches — Nickelodeon UK, TeleMonticarlo in Italy, and Miami USA network for Barry Diller’s USA Broadcasting. Additionally, he was a producer of the hit series “Operation Junkyard” for Discovery Kids. Before that, he was an Executive Vice President for Production and Development for Craftsman Productions and worked on a variety of series, including It’s My Life for USA Broadcasting among many other projects.

Prior to his work with Craftsman Productions, Mr. Bird was Executive Producer and Head of Kids Programming for Miami USA Broadcasting, where he produced 20 hours of live programming per week for the network’s most popular show, Wami on Miami, which won two Emmy awards. He also served as Creative Director/Director of International Programming and Production for Cartoon Network Productions. Prior to that, Mr. Bird was Head of International Programming for Hanna-Barbera/Turner Entertainment, responsible for TV production in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, and was credited with producing the network’s first real-time animated talk show using Hanna-Barbera’s Top Cat. He was also part of the launch team for Nickelodeon UK and a producer for the BBC.

Julien Borde

Head of SVOD, France Télévisions
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2016, 2012

Julien Borde is Head of SVOD for France Télévisions.

Up to September 2015, he was SVP of New Projects at France Télévisions Programming and Digital Department in charge of the public broadcaster multichannel development on the web, more than 135 non linear channels on Youtube and Dailymotion. A large portfolio included children and kids content to general entertainment and original series.

Before that, he was General Secretary of Programmes and Deputy Director of Programming at France 3, 4th terrestrial generalist channel in France.

Between October 2008 and June 2012, he created and ran the children’s and youth programming department for France Télévisions, the first commissioner of animation in Europe. He was in charge of animation coproductions, acquisitions and youth programming for all France Télévisions channels and digital services. He has commissioned international hits such as Raving Rabbids, Garfield, Noddy, Kind of Magic, The Owl, Jungle Bunch and Zorro.

In 2005, Julien Borde joined France Télévisions to run the children’s and youth programming unit of France 3.

Previously, between 1997 and 2005, he successively held the position of deputy Programming Director, Programming Director and then Executive Director of Programming and Production at Disney Channel France.

He holds a postgraduate degree from the IEP (Institute of Political Studies) in Bordeaux and a Master’s in Media from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Paris. Julien Borde began his career at Canal J as a programming assistant.

Jules Borkent

SVP, Global Acquisitions and International Programming, Nickelodeon, Viacom International Media Networks
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2016, 2014, 2012, 2010

Jules Borkent is Senior Vice President, Global Acquisitions and International Programming, Nickelodeon, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN). In his role, which he assumed in 2008, Borkent is responsible for leading global acquisitions for Nickelodeon around the world, as well as programming strategies for Nickelodeon International. Borkent works in close partnership with Nickelodeon in the US, and worldwide channels, across development, production and program financing. Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is comprised of many of the world’s most popular premier multimedia entertainment brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, VIVA, Paramount Channel, BET and Tr3s: MTV, Musicá y Mas. Viacom brands are seen globally in more than 700 million households in approximately 170 territories and 37 languages via more than 200 locally programmed TV channels and more than 550 digital media and mobile TV properties.

Prior to his role at VIMN, Borkent was the Vice President, Programming, Nickelodeon International, based in London. He was responsible for Nickelodeon’s global programming and acquisitions strategy, with a particular emphasis on working with local programming heads to coordinate and develop pan-regional deals for Nickelodeon’s localized channels across Europe. In addition to acquisitions, Borkent also managed programming activities for Nickelodeon’s international channels.

Borkent joined Nickelodeon in 1998 as the Senior Director of Programming, Acquisitions and Development for Nickelodeon Europe and Africa where he was responsible for local acquisitions as well as various pan-regional programming initiatives and productions.

Deirdre Brennan

Director of Television, BBC Worldwide Channels Australasia
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005

Deirdre Brennan joined BBC Worldwide Australia as the Director of Television for its Channels business in August 2010.

She is responsible for production, programming, acquisitions, on-air promotions and presentation for BBC Worldwide’s portfolio of channels within Australasia: UKTV and UKTV NZ, BBC Knowledge and CBeebies.
Deirdre’s television career spans 25 years. She joined BBC Worldwide from Nickelodeon Australia, where she was Director of Programming, and where she led the channel to win ASTRA’s Channel of The Year in 2007 and 2009.

From 2001-2007, Deirdre Brennan was ABC Kids Programmer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

She became one of Australia’s first female television announcers when she joined ABC TV in 1986 whilst studying Economics/Law at Sydney University.

She extended her on-air experience with radio broadcasting, as well as becoming a director, stage manager and choreographer. She also spent three years as ABC TV’s Marketing Planner.

Deirdre is a Member of the International Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences.

BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the licence fee payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights.

The company has six core businesses: Channels, Content & Production, Sales & Distribution, BBC Magazines, Home Entertainment and Global Brands.

In 2009/10, BBC Worldwide generated profits of £145 million (operating profit before specific items) on sales of £1074 million (including Group revenue and the Group’s share of joint-ventures’ revenue).

Tim Brooke-Hunt

Controller Children’s, ABC TV
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2011

Tim Brooke-Hunt joined ABC Television in September 2007 as the Executive Head of Children’s Content, responsible for in-house production, development and commissioning of programs with independent producers, the acquisition of Australian and international programs, the programming and scheduling of children’s programs, and ABC’s on-line destinations for children.

In December 2009, the ABC launched Australia’s first free-to-air dedicated digital channel for school–age children, ABC3, and significantly expanded the pre-school block on ABC2. Under Tim’s leadership, ABC TV became Australia’s pre-eminent broadcaster for children, providing 32 hours of content daily, across three channels.

Tim was appointed Controller Children’s in August 2010.

Previously, Tim worked with leading Australian production companies including Sticky Pictures (which he co-founded), Yoram Gross Film Studios, Beyond International, New World Pictures and Burbank Films. He was Executive Producer of a number of well-loved Children’s programs including Blinky Bill and Yakkity Yak.

As a Screen Producers Association of Australia council member from 2005 to 2009, Tim was actively involved in the formulation of SPAA Policy for the Producer Rebate, the review of C-Drama regulations and other issues facing Children’s producers.

He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate Business School.

Marc Buhaj

Senior Vice President of Programming, Jetix Europe
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2008

Marc Buhaj was appointed Senior Vice President of Programming, Jetix Europe, in April 2007. In this capacity, he oversees all aspects of Jetix Europe’s content, including production, development, acquisitions, scheduling, on-air promotions, multi-media programming and administration. He reports to Jetix Europe’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Taylor.

Marc previously held the position of Vice President of Programming and Scheduling at Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the U.S. from 2004. He directed all aspects of programming for both networks and was part of the core team driving Cartoon Network’s multiplatform initiatives, including the broadband networks CN Video and Toonami Jetstream. Marc was also the Executive in Charge of Production for Cartoon Network Japan Productions.

He has also worked as executive director of programming and acquisitions for Turner Entertainment Networks Asia (TENA) in Hong Kong. Prior to joining Turner Broadcasting’s Sydney office in March 2001, he worked for the Seven Network Australia.

Jennifer Canham

Publisher, Owlkids
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2006

Jennifer Canham is the Publisher of Owlkids, the English-language youth division of Bayard Canada. In this capacity, she oversees Chirp, chickaDEE and OWL – Canada’s award-winning magazines for children 3 to 13 – and is spearheading the launch of a children’s book publishing department.

With more than 250,000 subscribers in Canada and the US, Owlkids magazines have consistently had the highest paid circulation of children’s magazines in Canada since OWL was started 30 years ago. With the launch of its book division in 2005, Owlkids continues its tradition of nurturing the potential of children and instilling in them a love of learning – about themselves and the world around them.

Jennifer lives with her husband Chris Howden, Director of CBC Radio’s As it Happens, in downtown Toronto.

Michael Carrington

Chief Content Officer, EMEA, Turner Broadcasting
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2011, 2008

Michael leads the creative development and production of all original series, plus co-productions and programme acquisitions for Turner Broadcasting’s portfolio of children’s channels within the UK, Middle East and Africa. He also oversees Franchise Management, Compliance, and shared Creative Services.

Since starting at Turner Broadcasting in April 2010 Michael has helped set up the Cartoon Network Animation Academy in the Middle East, and is about to open the CN Development Studio Arabia. He has redeveloped the Franchise Management process across Turner International and is currently working on the global launch of The Amazing World of Gumball, and the rollout of preschool brand Cartoonito across EMEA.

Michael has a deep understanding of how to deliver great content for children. Prior to joining Turner, he worked at the BBC where he successfully commissioned programmes like BAFTA award winner Charlie & Lola, International Emmy award winning, Shaun the Sheep, and critically acclaimed pre-school comedy drama hit Grandpa in My Pocket.

Throughout his career Michael has worked for some of the world’s premier media companies including Network Ten Australia, Discovery Channel (Europe), LEGO Media, and the BBC.

Michael is a member of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, sits on The Children’s Media Conference committee, and regularly speaks at industry events.

Rick Clodfelter

Director, Content Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Cartoon Network and Boomerang
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2010

Rick Clodfelter is Director, content acquisitions and co-productions for Cartoon Network and Boomerang. In this capacity, Clodfelter is responsible for acquiring pre-produced series, specials, short-form product and series co-productions that fit the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands for exposure on all platforms. He represents the U.S. networks at all major programming markets including MIPTV, MIPCOM, Kidscreen and NATPE.

Previously, Clodfelter was manager of programming and scheduling for the Discovery Kids Channel. In this position, he developed program scheduling strategies that supported current and long-term programming plans for the Discovery Kids Channel, Ready Set Learn on TLC and Discovery Kids on NBC.

Clodfelter earned a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education and a bachelor’s of arts degree in music from Culver-Stockton College and a master’s of arts in teaching from Webster University.

Dea Connick Perez

VP of Programming and Operations, Discovery Kids, USA
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2007, 2006

Dea Connick Perez is currently the vice president of programming and operations at Discovery Kids, which broadcasts TLC and the Discovery Kids Channel. She has over twenty years of experience in radio, television and media, the majority served in the kids business.

Beginning with a long tenure at Nickelodeon/Nick-at-Nite/TV Land in programming and acquisitions, Perez transitioned to Cartoon Network in 1997, where she worked for five years before coming to Discovery Kids. Perez attended the College of Mt. St. Vincent, and lives and plays in New York area with her husband, Dominique and her daughter Gemma.

Frank Dietz

Head of Acquisitions & Co Productions, Deputy Programme Director, Super RTL/RTL Disney Fernsehen GmbH & Co.
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2008, 2006, 2005

Frank Dietz started his professional career in 1990 at Bertelsmann Music Group France after finishing his studies at Mainz Business School with a Business Degree in Management and Marketing.

He worked as the Assistant of the Managing Director, BMG France, until 1992, when he was promoted to Manager of International Exploitation. From 1994 on, he was Manager of New Business Activities and Strategic Development.

After moving back to Germany in 1996, he worked for ZDF Enterprises in Mainz, Germany, as Manager of Acquisitions and later Co-productions.

Since September 2000, Frank has been serving as Head of Acquisitions and Co-productions at Super RTL. He manages the channel’s content supply dealing with major distributors and producers worldwide. Super RTL is the market leader in kids television in Germany.

Joe Godwin

Director, BBC Children’s
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2011

As Director of BBC Children’s Joe Godwin is responsible for all of the BBC’s services for children – the two digital channels, CBBC and CBeebies and their websites, as well as children’s blocks on BBC ONE and BBC TWO.

After reading History at Manchester University, Joe joined the BBC in 1986, working at BBC Southampton in regional news. In 1989 he joined the Children’s Programmes department as a trainee, and worked as an assistant producer, studio director and producer on shows such as Blue Peter, Going Live and Record Breakers. From 1997-2000 he was Editor of Children’s Presentation.

In 2000 he moved to Nickelodeon UK, holding a number of posts including Head of Original Production and VP Interactive Director.

Joe returned to the BBC in 2005 as Head of Children’s Entertainment, and in 2008 became Head of News, Factual & Entertainment.

This year, Joe is leading the move of the entire Children’s department to its new home at MediaCityUK in Salford.

Joe is Chair of The Network & Fast Track, the youth talent schemes of the Edinburgh TV Festival, and is a member of the BAFTA Children’s Committee, The Advisory Panel on Children’s Viewing of the British Board of Film Classification, and represents the BBC on The UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

Geoffrey Goodwin

Head of BBC Switch
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2009

Appointed in September 2007 he is responsible for delivering a portfolio of high-quality multi-platform content to younger British teenagers, aged 12 to 17. BBC Switch has slots on BBC Two, BBC Radio 1 and includes impact events and concerts. This traditional broadcast output is underpinned by a digital team who build dynamic teen content in digital spaces, including the web and mobile. BBC Switch also has a keen focus on delivering “new narrative formats” – broadband content that mixes high quality A/V storytelling with interactive, casual gaming.

Geoffrey has 14 years of media and entertainment experience, ranging from television, motion picture and web production through to communications, project management and strategy.

In September 2002, Geoffrey was appointed BBC Head of Strategy for Drama, Entertainment and CBBC (DEC) working to Alan Yentob. Key projects included: creating and maintaining strategic projects and policy across DEC programme-making departments; writing the BBC’s Film Policy and Strategic Lead for the BBC’s Creative Future Project: Kids and Teens workstream.

Geoffrey gained an MBA from the University of Edinburgh in 2000. Prior to this, Geoffrey worked for Alliance Atlantis Communications, Paragon Entertainment and in various TV and motion picture production roles in his native Canada.

His Executive Producer credits include, on television: Sound; Class of 2008; Them?; Meta4orce; Mission Beach; Revealed; Scene Stealers; and on radio/online: The 5.19 Show; Switch with Nick Grimshaw; and The Surgery with Kelly Osbourne.

Stephen Green

EVP Kids Content and Distribution, ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2014

Stephen Green has built businesses based on Entertainment brands for the last 15 years. He has worked across all genres and entertainment formats. At Hasbro he held roles in both the acquisition of 3rd party brand rights and the extension of Hasbro’s brands through strategic partnerships. He was responsible for Global brand operations at Chorion plc where he managed Noddy, Enid Blyton, Mr Men and Agatha Christie. Following this he was CEO of Galleon Holdings PLC launching a digital publishing business in online and mobile in China and creating multiplatform brand funded formats such as Super Soccer Star with Chelsea Football Club. After this he provided strategic planning to media operators like Ford, BBC Worldwide, Egmont and Spurs through Corinthian Entertainment. Currently he is EVP Kids at ITV Studios.

Michelle Henderson

President – The Children’s Group Inc., Canada
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2005

With more than twenty-five years experience in the music industry, Henderson is a respected and seasoned professional with a particular expertise in the development, packaging and marketing of music and entertainment for children. Henderson has been at the helm of The Children’s Group since its inception in 1990. Under her leadership, The Children’s Group has distinguished itself as Canada’s most successful independent producer of classical music and story-based entertainment for children with a vision to instill a lifelong love of classical music, great storytelling and stimulating activities in young children. The Children’s Group has earned sales exceeding four million CDs, including four Canadian Recording Industry Association-certified Gold and two Certified Platinum Records in the best-selling Classical Kids series (Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Tchaikovsky Discovers America, Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage, to name only a few). In 1999 and again in 2000, two of The Children’s Group’s Mozart Effect Music for Children/Music for Babies CDs appeared within the Top 15 in Billboard magazine’s year-end Classical Best-Sellers list, with the label’s producer, Don Campbell, designated the #3 best-selling classical artist behind Andrea Bocelli and Yo-Yo Ma. Overall, The Mozart Effect series spent more than 85 weeks on the Billboard Charts. Over the past fifteen years, Henderson has worked to develop CDs with Classical Kids producer Susan Hammond (the record holder for Juno Awards in the Best Children’s Recording category with an unprecedented six statues to her name); The Mozart Effect Music for Children/Music for Babies producer Don Campbell; television personality and author Dini Petty (The Queen, The Bear & The Bumblebee); children’s television and live performing artists Judy and David; and most recently, best-selling and best-loved children’s author/storyteller, Robert Munsch. The label’s reach as a producer of audio entertainment for children has expanded to include the Emmy Award-winning film/DVD, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, live concerts, literary books, interactive multimedia and educational resources with a worldwide audience. During the course of her career, Henderson has contributed to the careers of virtually all of Canada’s children’s music superstars, including Raffi, Sharon, Lois & Bram, Fred Penner, Charlotte Diamond, Jack Grunsky, Judy & David, Al Simmons, and Carmen Campagne in addition to The Children’s Group’s current talent roster and many, many more. Henderson was also the first to introduce Canadian children’s television icons OWL/TV and Theodore Tugboat to the home video market. Henderson’s leadership has contributed to the industry in a variety of ways, including six years as chair of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) Juno Awards nominating committee for Best Children’s Recording. Henderson is still an active member of the committee. For two years, Henderson sat on the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through the Arts advisory board. In 1996, Henderson was named as one of the “Music Women to Watch” by Music Women International.

Bob Higgins

Head of Creative, W!LDBRAIN
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2009, 2005

A longtime champion of children’s programming and an esteemed veteran of the entertainment industry, Higgins joined W!LDBRAIN in October, 2007 as Head of Creative, where he oversees the company’s television and feature film development, production and acquisition activities. Higgins is also an executive producer on the feature film, Underdog. Before joining W!LDBRAIN, Higgins was Senior Vice President, Programming and Development for Cartoon Network’s kids businesses, where he managed Cartoon Network’s development, production and programming departments and oversaw new original animated series, shorts, Cartoon Network features and specials. He also supervised acquisition for Cartoon Network US, of both international and domestic off-net kids’ programming, including anime series and theatrical feature films. Among the many accomplishments during his tenure with the network, Higgins oversaw the development, production and launch of a number of hit series, including Chowder, Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, My Gym Partner’s A Monkey and Camp Lazlo. Prior to Cartoon Network, Higgins was the Senior Vice President and Executive Producer for Classic Media, Inc. in New York City. Prior to his role at Classic Media, Inc., Higgins served as Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs for Sony Pictures Family Entertainment (SPFE), Vice President of Creative Affairs at Columbia TriStar Television Children’s Programming and acted as Director of Development at Nelvana Communications. Higgins is based in the New York City office.

Estelle Hughes

Consultant, former Controller of Children’s ITV
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2007

Estelle has over 15 years experience in television broadcasting and programming….despite still being, obviously, only in her 20s. In 2007 she has begun a new phase in her career in the independent children’s media industry with consulting roles in policy advising, programme production and channel launches. This comes after 6 years in senior roles at the 2 biggest UK children’s broadcasters, BBC and ITV. As Controller of Children’s ITV Estelle programmed all children’s airtime for the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster and successfully launched the CITV Channel on freeview and cable/satellite. She commissioned across all genres and for all ages up to 12 years, examples being Bafta-winning dramas and animations My Life As A Popat, The Giblet Boys, Adrenalini Brothers, Pocoyo and The Little Reindeer as well as live Saturday shows and on-going commissions of Grizzly Tales and Art Attack. As Controller Estelle over-saw all on-air material, branding and re-branding, as well as the channel’s website and on-air sales and marketing activities. Prior to this Estelle was Deputy Head of Acquisitions and Animation at BBC Children’s, working on shows such as Fairly Odd Parents, The Koala Brothers, Cramp Twins, Clifford The Big Red Dog and Corneil And Bernie. During her 3 years with the BBC she was heavily involved in the launching and programming of its 2 children’s channels CBBC and CBeebies. Estelle joined the BBC in 2000 after a freelance year as a programme consultant, much of which was spent script and story-editing in Australia. In the long cold weeks of English winters she tries hard not to think too much about life in the sun. Estelle’s first role specifically in children’s TV was at the UK Disney Channel, the first channel launched by Disney outside of the UK. As Head of Development she was responsible for identifying, negotiating and creatively overseeing all programmes for the UK and for a growing number of other European channels. During her 3 years of multi-territory programming from the UK, channels were launched in Italy, Spain, Australia and France. Prior to Disney Estelle’s first job in the industry was with BSkyB, spanning 5 years of various roles during the company’s earlier years 1990-95. Working on the movie output deals, compliance, acquiring films and later launching BSkyB’s first joint venture channels in History and Travel this began her career after early stints as a drama teacher, cinema projectionist and damn good barmaid.

Nicole Keeb

Head of International Coproductions, Development and Acquisitions, ZDF
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2011

After Nicole had finished her first animation experiments (featuring playmobil figures) at the age of 6 years on a kitchen table, she decided to study film (as well as sculpture and history) at the “Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste” in Braunschweig, Germany (Masterstudies and State Exam). She worked for pubcaster WDR on the “Show with the Mouse” for two years and did her internship at SAT 1, the first private channel in Germany, in the news department. After 2 years, she was hired by Premiere (Germany’s leading pay tv channel), was responsible for tv movies and entertainment, and worked as an editor in children’s dep. until she was promoted to be head of the department. After 5 years, she went to Mainz to work for ZDF as a Commissioning Editor for acquisitions and co-productions for 9 years. She has been recently promoted to work as Head of International Coproductions, Development and Acquisitions in the same department.

 

David Levine

Vice President, Programming, Production and Strategic Development, Disney Channels Europe, Middle East and Africa
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2014, 2009

David Levine is Vice President, Programming, Production and Strategic Development, Disney Channels EMEA. In this role, he is responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of Programming across Disney Channels EMEA, including the development of the linear and multi-platform programming strategy. In addition, he is responsible for determining the direction of original production and overseeing the development and production slates of originally produced content, acquisitions and co-productions. As part of the Disney Channels EMEA leadership team, David also advises on the overall strategic direction for Disney Channels across the region. David joined Disney ABC Cable Networks Group in March 2004 and most recently served as Vice President and General Manager, Disney XD Worldwide where he was responsible for overseeing the Disney XD including strategic oversight and scheduling, identifying acquisition and co-production opportunities. He was responsible for establishing new and innovative programming initiatives such as Pranksgiving, Disney Fandom, Disney Tryathlon and other long and short form content initiatives. His operational scope also included strategic direction for the Disney XD brand and 24-hour, ad supported channel in the U.S. and support of the Disney XD channels around the world. David previously served as Vice President, Worldwide Programming Strategy, Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Disney Channels Worldwide. He led the task force to launch Disney XD channel in the U.S. and guided its roll out worldwide. David also led the global programming launches of Hannah Montana, Phineas and Ferb and the High School Musical franchise. He was responsible for overseeing global programming and acquisition strategies for the Disney ABC kids’ brands worldwide, and created the business model and led negotiations for Disney Channel’s global television movie co-productions, identifying 16 Wishes and Radio Rebel as co-production projects. Before joining Disney, David was Vice President of Business Affairs and Development, Ragdoll USA, where he oversaw all legal matters and North American television sales. Previously, he was General Counsel to The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, overseeing the legal group supporting the billion dollar Teletubbies franchise in North/South America. He got his start in the industry at Marvel Entertainment Group overseeing legal compliance of its licensees and assorted intellectual property matters. David was also member of the New York State Bar, and is a law graduate from George Washington University. He received an undergraduate degree from CUNY-Queens College and resides in London, England.

 

Layla Lewis

Director Programming Acquisitions and Development, Turner International Asia Pacific Limited
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2012

Based in Hong Kong, Layla is responsible for the development and planning of Turner International’s Asia Pacific’s regional acquisition strategies for its kids’ network, including flagship channel Cartoon Network, POGO and Boomerang. Having spent over 10 years working in kids broadcasting in the UK, Layla brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role and has made key acquisitions and co-production agreements across the Asia Pacific region including Oggy and the Cockroaches from Xilam Animation, Chaplin from DQ Entertainment and Horrid Henry from Novell Entertainment. Layla’s current focus for acquisitions is on comedy animation, pre-buy and co-production opportunities. Prior to joining TBSAP, Layla worked at Nickelodeon UK for over 10 years, where she played a key role in the expansion of the award-winning networks. She was also instrumental in the launch of Nick Jr. and Nicktoons, and the roll-out of video-on-demand and mobile TV services for the company. A regular Juror in the UK at the Children’s Bafta’s and RTS awards, internationally at the Kidscreen Summit and in Asia at ATF and SCICAF, Layla is also credited as being executive-producer for BAFTA award-winning and nominated pre-school series Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and Humf.

 

Sarah Muller

Head of Acquisitions and Drama Development, CBBC
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2013

Sarah Muller is currently Head of CBBC Acquisitions and Drama Development. Passionate about both drama and animation, commissioned projects include Spirit Warriors, Dr Who – Dreamland, Halfmoon Investigations, My Almost Famous Family, Tracy Beaker Returns, Strangehill High, Sadie J, Wolf Blood, Just William and Muddle Earth. Previously, she was Managing Director of Elephant Productions – a well-known company specialising in the development and production of animation and children’s programming. As a producer, credits include 6 series of the multi-award winning, ratings success Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids (CITV) – winner of the Best Children’s Series and Children’s Choice awards at the BAA and nominated for Best Animated Series and Best Original Writer awards at BAFTA, 2 series of Animal School (CBBC), 2 series of Pop Skool (BBC1), 2 series of animated Short Change (BBC1), 3 Brothers Diamond (C4), the top-rated New Willo The Wisp (Disney) and Johnny Casanova (C4), as well as developing the BAFTA-winning drama series The War Diaries of Alastair Fury (BBC1). After graduating with a BA in Drama from Middlesex University, Sarah moved from fringe theatre to work as a runner at BBC Bristol and the old Canary Wharf studios. From there, she went into the Art Department, working mainly on prestige adult and children’s drama programming – freelancing for companies including TVS, TSW, Thames, BBC Bristol, HTV Wales and many more. A move into Location Management took her to Talkback to work on 3 series of Smith & Jones prior to starting at Elephant. Sarah was also Head of Development at Isle of Man start-up venture Lough House Animation – now Cinnamon Animation.

 

Cecilia Persson

Vice President, Acquisitions & Co-Productions, EMEA and International, Turner Broadcasting, Kids
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2014

Cecilia Persson is Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions for all Turner Broadcasting’s kids’ channels across EMEA and International, including Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito and Boing. In this role, Persson oversees and negotiates shared acquisitions for Turner Broadcasting’s international kids business, working closely with the local heads of programming and acquisitions of each of the channels and the content heads within EMEA, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Persson was previously VP, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, EMEA. She joined Turner Broadcasting in 2005 as Director of Acquisitions and was promoted to Vice President of Programming, Acquisition and Presentation in 2006. Her role expanded in 2009 to take overall responsibility for Turner Broadcasting’s acquisition and co-production strategy across EMEA. Prior to this, Cecilia was Director of Acquisitions, Planning and Channel Development at Showtime, the Viacom co-owned digital satellite broadcaster. There she was responsible for acquiring a wide variety of products, ranging from kids content to feature films, and oversaw planning and presentation for the company’s seven owned and operated channels. Based in the UK, Cecilia was responsible for output deals with major studios including Fox, Universal, Paramount, Sony and DreamWorks. Prior to Showtime, Persson was Channel Manager at Carlton Cinema.

 

Adina Pitt

Vice President, Content Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Cartoon Network and Boomerang
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2016, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2008

Adina Pitt is vice president, content acquisitions and co-productions for Cartoon Network and Boomerang. In this capacity, Pitt is responsible for identifying, negotiating and acquiring pre-produced series, specials, movies and short-form product that fit the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands for exposure on all platforms. She continues to oversee those programs once they have been acquired and positioned at each of the networks. Pitt also serves as a liaison with international Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels to coordinate global acquisition contracts, and she represents the U.S. networks at all major programming markets including MIPTV, MIPCOM, Kidscreen and NATPE. Pitt is based in New York City and reports directly to Robert Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. Previously, Pitt was vice president of acquisitions for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. In this position, she developed acquisition strategies that supported current and long-term programming plans for Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr, Nick at Nite, The N and Noggin. In addition to these duties, she oversaw channel inventory, cable and network television series and movie deals, competitive pricing, theatrical and made-for-TV movie availability, and competitive inventories, both domestically and globally. Pitt joined Nickelodeon in 1998 as a coordinator of acquisitions and, over the course of nine years, has worked on Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Nicktoons Network, Noggin, The N, Nick Jr., TNN and Spike TV. She previously worked in film programming acquisitions at HBO. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Pitt earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in elementary education from Brandeis University and a master’s degree in educational communication and technology from New York University. Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in more than 97 million U.S. homes and 166 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s ad-supported cable service now available in HD offering the best in original, acquired and classic entertainment for youth and families. Nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET, PT), Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired animated and live-action series for young adults 18-34. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

 

Theresa Plummer-Andrews

Managing Director Plum Trees TV, UK
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2006, 2005

Theresa Plummer-Andrews, formerly Head of Acquisitions & Co-Productions for Children’s BBC, began her career in theatrical agencies, before joining Portman Productions and progressing into Global Television. In 1981 she became Overseas Executive at TVS International, responsible for acquiring programming outside the network showings. Eventually she became responsible for searching out and recommending suitable programming for purchase by the Network. In 1986 she joined the BBC as Executive Producer, Children’s Programmes and was extended to Head of Acquisitions and Co-Productions BBC TV’s Children’s Department. She was responsible for assessing projects which were suitable for transmission on BBC TV and had potential for video, publishing and merchandising. Once a decision was made to invest in a project she then saw the creative development through to the final production. Profits from these ventures were then invested back into production. Theresa Plummer-Andrews served as Executive Producer on such series as Animals of Farthing Wood, Albert The 5th Musketeer, Noddy, William’s Wish Wellington’s, Prince Of Atlantis, Bob The Builder, Fireman Sam, Postman Pat 11, Angelmouse and the multi-award winning half hour special The First Snow Of Winter.

 

Sander Schwartz

Executive VP, Head of Children’s & Family Entertainment for FremantleMedia Enterprises
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2010

Prior to joining FME, Schwartz was President, International Production for Sony Pictures Television International, overseeing all of Sony’s local language television efforts outside of the United States. Schwartz was also responsible for growing the production auspices of SPTI in new markets worldwide. Before joining SPTI, Sander was President of Warner Bros. Animation and responsible for the production of theatrical, television and made-for-video animated programming. As a producer, Sander has received multiple Emmy Award nominations and was awarded a Daytime Emmy for “The Batman” series. He has also received numerous other awards, including the Peabody and the Prism Awards. Additionally, Sander has served as President. Sony Pictures Family Entertainment and EVP/General Manager of Columbia TriStar Children’s Programming.

 

Larry Schwarz

CEO, Larry Schwarz and His Band
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2012

Larry Schwarz is the CEO of Larry Schwarz and His Band, currently producing Alien Dawn for Nicktoons Network and Team Toon for Cartoon Network. Both series, produced in partnership with Fremantle Media Kids and Family Entertainment, were created by Schwarz. He previously founded Animation Collective, where he created and produced Kappa Mikey, Thumb Wrestling Federation, Three Delivery, Leader Dog, Tortellini Western, Ellen’s Acres and Dancing Sushi. Animation Collective was also the leading multi-platform content provider for kids and teens to America Online. In 2009, Animation Collective was sold to Handmade Films, the British independent film company founded by George Harrison. Schwarz served first as head of Handmade’s kids’ division and then President of Handmade Films USA before leaving to found Larry Schwarz and His Band. Prior to Animation Collective, Schwarz founded Rumpus, the multimedia children’s toy and entertainment company. Rumpus operated kids’ entertainment and community websites Rumpus.com and Zeeks.com and produced interactive programming. Rumpus is best known for its line of award-winning toys all based on characters and ideas created by Schwarz. A former child actor and stand-up comic, Larry Schwarz is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

 

Alison Stewart

Head of CBeebies Production, Animation and Acquisitions, CBeebies
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2014

Alison has worked in TV Production for 25 years, first at the BBC and later as a freelance Producer, Director and Scriptwriter. She returned to the BBC in 2007 as Executive Producer in CBeebies Production, and moved to her current position in June 2010. CBeebies is the BBC’s pre-school channel, making mixed genre content for children from 0 – 6 years. She leads a trimedia team which creates, develops and produces TV, interactive and radio content for the channel, both for the domestic audience and for the international market via co-productions. She also heads up the Channel’s Acquisitions team, which offers pre-buy investment in animated titles.

 

Karen Vermeulen

SVP Global Sales and Coproduction, Zodiak Kids; SVP Global Projects, Zodiak Rights
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2013

Karen has a long and successful history in the kids’ arena and a wealth of television distribution and co-production experience. As SVP Global Sales and Coproduction, Karen is responsible for global television sales across Zodiak Kids’ portfolio and securing co-production partners for kids programming. In addition to her existing role, Karen has recently taken on a new and expanded role as SVP Global Projects, Zodiak Rights. In this post, Karen heads scripted coproduction for Zodiak Rights, and deficit finance raising – supporting the efforts of Zodiak’s local companies and third party. Before joining Zodiak Kids, Karen’s most recent role was as Director, Programme Distribution, UK and Eire at The Walt Disney Company where she worked across their wide portfolio of Kids, prime-time series, news and reality formats, working closely with other lines of business to maximise franchise opportunities. Prior to this she headed up the Kids’ Sales and International Operations at National Geographic Kids Entertainment / NGTI, where she was responsible for sales worldwide, as well as securing co-production partners. Other roles include Territory Manager, UK, Ireland, and German-speaking Europe at Entertainment Rights PLC.

 

Alice Webb

Director, BBC Childrens and BBC North, BBC
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2016

Director of BBC Children’s since February 2015, Alice added the BBC in the North to her remit in May 2016. Alice is responsible for the UK’s two most popular networks for our youngest audiences, CBeebies and CBBC, along with their associated websites, YouTube channels, apps and radio stations. In September 2015, she launched the BBC’s Big Digital Plan for Children, outlining how the corporation will keep pace with the rapidly changing way in which children consume content. This was followed by the launch of a dedicated children’s iPlayer app in April 2016. The BBC is the leading children’s broadcaster in the UK, investing huge amounts in home grown content that reflects all of its audience. Among its top shows are the BAFTA award-winning Katie Morag, Tilly and the Ramsay Bunch, The Dumping Ground, Justin’s House, Wolfblood, Blue Peter, Newsround, The Clangers and Horrible Histories. Based in Salford since 2011, BBC Children’s commissions programmes from independent producers and in-house departments. There is also a strong Children’s base at BBC Scotland in Glasgow. Passionate about the BBC’s presence in the north, Alice’s extended remit will see her drive creativity, collaboration and local partnerships across the whole of the north of England, building on what has been achieved in the last five years. She has already played a huge part in the success of BBC North since the move in 2011 and is relishing the opportunity to lead the BBC right across the North in her increased role and championing it to the whole of the BBC. Prior to joining BBC Children’s, Alice was Chief Operating Officer (COO), BBC England – overseeing all aspects of technology, people, workspace, migration and future ways of working across the BBC sites in Salford, Bristol and Birmingham. She also led a comprehensive review of BBC training and oversaw the BBC’s end-to-end digital production capability. From 2011 to 2014, Alice was Chief Operating Officer (COO) for BBC North and successfully orchestrated the biggest BBC move outside of London when key BBC departments including Sport, BBC Children’s, 5 live and BBC Learning moved to Salford. Around 35,000 hours of output a year across TV, Radio and the Red Button are now made in the North, with 3,000 staff based at MediaCityUK. Alice joined the BBC over a decade ago from PA Consulting Group where she worked with organisations including Orange, The Cabinet Office, Reuters and Deutsche Bank. In her first BBC role with Vision Productions (in-house television producers making everything from Strictly Come Dancing to EastEnders) Alice played a central role in reshaping how the world’s biggest programme making operation went about its business. Originally Alice was a charted civil engineer – working on large scale engineering projects in the UK and overseas. Alice is a member of the Children’s Commissioner’s Taskforce: Growing Up Digital, a Trustee of the Greater Manchester Art Centre (Home), a member of the CEO’s Advisory Board for Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and a member of the Altrincham Fab Lab Advisory Board. She lives in the North West with her family.

 

Brian Wright

Senior Vice President of Live Action Development, Nickelodeon Group
Shaw Rocket Prize Juror: 2013

As Senior Vice President of Live Action Development, Nickelodeon Group, Brian Wright oversees all live action development and pilot production for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TeenNick and international co-productions. He started his television career as crew member of NBC’s hit show, Scrubs, after which he worked for comedy writers Scherick and Ronn through their Touchstone Television overall deal, and later with Greg Berlanti’s production company at Warner Brothers Television. In 2005 he moved to Lifetime Television Network, where he developed Army Wives and oversaw the critically-acclaimed Jane Lynch series, Lovespring International. Wright joined Nickelodeon in 2007 as Vice President of Live Action Development, Nickelodeon. He has shepherded a number of series from pilot to air including: Big Time Rush, BrainSurge, Victorious, Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures, Supah Ninjas, How To Rock, Marvin Marvin, Sam & Cat, The Haunted Hathaways and The Thundermans. In addition to his Nickelodeon duties, Wright guided Nick at Nite’s foray into original programming, developing a slate of original family sitcoms that includes the Scott Baio series, See Dad Run, Wendell & Vinnie and Instant Mom.