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Lion Forge hires Hello Sunshine and Guru executives, launches sales division

L-R Kirsten Newlands, Jonathan Abraham and Koyalee Chanda

US-based children’s entertainment company Lion Forge Entertainment has made a trio of new appointments and launched a sales division ahead of Mipcom next month.

Kirsten Newlands, who was formerly VP of kids’ animation production at Hello Sunshine, has been named executive VP of production and content partnerships, while veteran children’s exec Koyalee Chanda was appointed senior VP of animation and Jonathan Abraham, previously VP of sales and development at Toronto-based Guru Studio, was made director of distribution.

The new arrivals will join the content team led by Stephanie Sperber, Lion Forge’s president and chief content officer.

Abraham will lead the newly launched global media sales division, created to handle international sales and distribution of projects owned and financed by Lion Forge, reporting to Newlands.

The new sales arm will make its market debut at Mipcom in October, selling key titles including Nigerian anime-inspired series Iyanu, based on Roye Okupe’s graphic novel, and the new animated kids’ series BugTron.

“I am thrilled to join Lion Forge Entertainment and work alongside David and Stephanie to create global financing partnerships and best-in-class animation production capabilities to increase diversity in front of and behind the camera to shape the future of children’s entertainment,” said Newlands.

Founder and CEO David Steward II and Sperber said in a statement: “With the launch of our global media sales division, we are reaffirming our commitment to delivering exceptional kids and family content to audiences worldwide and are poised to take our beloved IPs like Iyanu and BugTron to new heights internationally.”

The news follows last week’s announcement that Lion Forge has entered a partnership with Penguin Young Readers to develop TV and film projects based on books released by the children’s publisher. Under the deal, Lion Forge will develop and adapt a multi-project slate of titles across animation and live-action.


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