VFX Passion studio appoints Nicki Cortese as head of development for animated features and series  -

Passion studio appoints Nicki Cortese as head of development for animated features and series 

Passion today announces the hire of executive producer Nicki Cortese as head of development for animated features and series. The appointment is part of a bold and rapid expansion by Passion of their long-form animation department spearheaded by Pixar veteran executive producer and head of production David Park, and executive producer Debbie Crosscup.

With her extensive experience in both animation and live-action Hollywood features, Cortese will be focused on creating and developing IP alongside Passion’s in-house directors and creative team as well as acquiring outside IP before taking the projects to the broader market for distribution, building on the company’s existing successes, Love, Death and Robots, Headspace (Netflix) 101 Dalmatian Street (Disney) and Lego City Adventures (Nickelodeon).

Cortese joins ahead of this year’s Annecy Animation Festival, where she led development for the two Passion projects selected for MIFA Pitches in the TV series and specials category. Passion is the only studio to have two projects selected for MIFA reinforcing its bold push into the long-form genre.

Cortese says, “I am thrilled to be joining the innovative and accomplished team that Andrew and

Nick have built and I am excited to be working with David, Debbie and the wider Passion team to develop and expand the company’s ambitions in long-form animation features and series.”

A department of Passion Pictures, the multi-faceted, full-service animation studio

works across features, series, commercials and gaming. With an established global reputation for premium, original content, it is home to a multi-award-winning team at the forefront of innovation and creativity; with a team dedicated to developing technology that allows the company’s creative pioneers to realise their full potential. Overseen by Passion’s founder and creative director Andrew Ruhemann and CEO Nick Southgate, the team is in a period of dynamic expansion; currently, in production on a highly anticipated animated series for a major streamer, the team is also working on a broad range of original features and episodic series, with several major streamers and studio partners with development deals already in place.

“We are thrilled to have Nicki join our rapidly expanding features and series team to develop our original long-form animation slate. A creative pioneer, Nicki possesses the perfect mix of an independent filmmaking mindset with vast experience in developing and producing major studio feature productions. This exciting combination perfectly complements Passion’s intention to

create original animated productions with a unique voice and clear vision that will appeal to the global market,” said Ruhemann on Nicki’s appointment.

Cortese has a unique track record of building feature and television slates for multiple production companies and studios. Prior to joining Passion, Cortese served as the head of development for Elisabeth Murdoch’s Locksmith Animation, where she worked on Disney’s Ron’s Gone Wrong as well as the upcoming Netflix feature, Richard Curtis’ That Christmas. Previously, Cortese had a first-look deal with Brian Robbins’ studio, Awesomeness Films, where she oversaw the Divergent franchise at Red Wagon and she started her career as vice president of Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures while their deal was at Warner Bros, leading projects such as Paranormal Activity and Dark Tower.