In Brief: Liz Kohn to join TIFF in VP role

Plus, Film Training Manitoba and Sonar Entertainment up executives within their ranks.

Liz KohnLuminato exec to join TIFF

Former Luminato VP of stakeholder relations and business strategy, Liz Kohn (pictured), has been named TIFF’s VP of marketing and communications. Reporting to TIFF executive director and co-head Joana Vicente, Kohn will lead TIFF’s brand and media department, which consists of the organization’s communications, brand, video, web, creative and editorial teams. Additionally, she will be responsible for TIFF’s brand both locally and internationally, as well as developing and executing its marketing and communications strategy. Previously, Andrea Grau served as TIFF’s VP, public relations and corporate affairs, before leaving the role this April. Kohn’s resume also includes working as director of marketing and communications for Artscape, a group of international not-for-profit organizations, for 17 years. The executive will officially join the organization on Sept. 3, ahead of TIFF’s 44th annual edition.

FTM ups Smoluk

Film Training Manitoba (FTM) has appointed Adam Smoluk as managing director. In his new role, he will be responsible for all operations, financial and training activities at Winnipeg-headquartered organization. He’s been with FTM since 2006, when he started as an administrative assistant. In addition to his work at FTM, Smoluk is also an actor, writer, director and producer. His credits include his debut feature Horse Thieves, which was awarded the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Winnipeg International Film Festival in 2005, and directing TV series In Plain Sight.

Netflix international films exec departs

Funa Maduka has departed Netflix as director of international original films and acquisitions. Maduka was part of the international team that commissioned the company’s first Quebec production, an untitled film by Patrice Laliberte under the director’s Couronne Nord production banner. Netflix’s international division is led by David Kosse, who joined the streamer in March 2019.

Sonar promotes David Ellender as CEO

Los Angeles-based production company Sonar Entertainment has promoted president of global distribution and coproductions David Ellender to CEO. Effective immediately, Ellender steps into Tom Lesinski’s shoes, while Lesinski moves to the company’s board of directors.

Ellender has been at Sonar since 2016 leading worldwide sales programs for the studio’s series across traditional and digital media platforms. He was also responsible for overseeing the company’s growth into Europe, Asia and LatAm and growing its slate of co-pros. Prior to his time at Sonar, he worked as the CEO of indie prodco Slingshot Global Media, which he founded in 2014. Lesinski, meanwhile, oversaw Sonar’s expansion into the kids and family space back in 2017 when he led the company’s acquisition of Toronto-based producer/distributor Tricon Films.

Last month, the company hired Matt Loze as EVP, development and production and Scott Packman as EVP, chief strategy officer, general counsel and head of business affairs. Sonar has produced a number of Canadian series, including the upcoming CBC Gem original Utopia Falls and HGTV Canada’s Farmhouse Facelift.

With files from Kidscreen

Image of Kohn courtesy of TIFF