Penny Verbe, the former director and CEO of Smoke & Mirrors, has joined Passion Pictures as chief operating officer. Verbe will oversee Passion's London, New York, Paris and Australian offices, and will also focus on establishing a new division at the company's London office, further details of which are to be announced shortly. Verbe, who returns from a year's sabbatical, was instrumental in the founding of Smoke & Mirrors and oversaw the growth of the company from start-up to becoming part of the TAG group and the acquisition of Red Post Production.
Partners has added Neil Tardio, director of Domino's Behind the Pizza campaign for Crispin Porter + Bogusky, to its roster. His resume also includes spells at Saatchi & Saatchi and DDB Chicago as a producer and writer.
Mothership, Digital Domain's hybrid production company, has brought Neil Huxley on board as creative director. Huxley will work across advertising, games marketing, films and all media at California-based Mothership and Digital Domain, directing commercials and productions under the Mothership banner. Originally from London, he has worked in Australia and Los Angeles, and joins after a stint designing fantasy user interfaces, stereo 3D graphics and heads-up displays for movies including James Cameron's Avatar. His first work for Mothership is a 90-second fully CG trailer for Bethesda Softworks' The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim videogame for AKQA.
Blair Stribley, who has split with Backyard partner Roy Skillicorn, is launching Mighty Film, a creative production company for filmmakers, writers and artists who work across a variety of media, including TV commercials and digital content. Partnering with Stribley on the post-production side is Optimus president Tom Duff and his Optimus partners (Chicago and Santa Monica); the two companies will remain completely autonomous. The Mighty roster will initially consist of directors Rob Sanders, Phil Brown, Rob Pritts and Jesper Ericstam. Also joining Mighty are executive producers Kris Mathur and Eric Bonniot, and head of production Cori Cooperider.