Newark, N.J., August 11, 2005 – IDT Entertainment is pleased to announce two key executive appointments. Neil S. Braun, currently President and Chief Operating Officer of Vanguard Animation and former President of the NBC Television Network, Chairman and CEO of Viacom Entertainment, and President and COO of Imagine Films Entertainment, has been named President of Feature Films and Television for IDT Entertainment. Also, veteran animation producer and creative affairs executive Jerry Davis, who counts Robots, Ice Age, Iron Giant, and Toy Story among his high profile credits, has been named Chief Creative Officer, Animated Features.
The executives will spearhead IDT Entertainment’s aggressive expansion of its feature film and television production slate. Mr. Braun will be the lead financial architect for all business deals regarding feature film and television properties. Mr. Davis heads up the search for, and development of, creative content and talent for all of IDT Entertainment’s animated feature films. He will explore content sources from both within the IDT Entertainment framework of subsidiaries and from the larger entertainment community.
“With Mr. Braun and Mr. Davis in our corner, IDT Entertainment has the perfect business/creative one-two punch,” said Jim Courter, CEO of IDT Corp. “Neil and Jerry’s combined business acumen and filmmaking experience will supercharge an already powerhouse IDT Entertainment management team.”
Mr. Braun and Mr. Davis join IDT Entertainment as the company moves into both feature film and television production. IDT Entertainment intends to distribute its first full-length CG animated feature, Yankee Irving, through its recently announced two-year, multi-picture distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox. Developed and originally directed by the late Christopher Reeve, Yankee Irving was the last project he worked on before his passing.
“Our company is willing and able to invest in executives and filmmakers who create magical, emotionally resonant family entertainment,” said Morris Berger, CEO of IDT Entertainment. “Neil and Jerry’s expertise is evidenced by the hundreds of millions of dollars the films they’ve been involved with have earned at the box office.”
As part of his corporate IDT Entertainment responsibilities, Braun will continue to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of Vanguard Animation, a leading independent feature film animation production company he co-founded with John H. Williams, producer of the Academy Award® winning Shrek. IDT Entertainment is the principal investor in Vanguard Animation. At Vanguard, his responsibilities include negotiating worldwide financing and distribution arrangements. Vanguard’s first full length animated feature film, Valiant, distributed through Walt Disney Pictures, will premiere in the United States on August 19th. The company has a full slate of animated projects in various stages of production and development.
Prior to co-founding Vanguard Animation, Braun was President of the NBC Television Network. Before that, he was Chairman and CEO of Viacom Entertainment, where he was responsible for the turn-around of the production and distribution divisions for prime-time programming, first-run syndicated programming, licensing & merchandising, and worldwide exploitation of the television library. During his tenure as President and COO of Imagine Films Entertainment, the film and television production company owned by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Braun took the company public. He also headed HBO’s film financing and home video activities.
“IDT Entertainment empowers the creative process,” said Neil Braun. “Its management strength and financial muscle allow for timely and strategic decisions.”
Jerry Davis has proven himself a successful producer and executive in several sectors of the entertainment industry. Prior to joining IDT Entertainment, he was an executive at Blue Sky Studios, the animation arm of Twentieth Century Fox, where he was a producer on Robots and a production supervisor on Ice Age. He was also Director of Creative Affairs for Warner Bros. Feature Animation, where he spearheaded the adaptation of the classic Ted Hughes children’s book, Iron Giant, and led the pioneering effort to integrate CG and traditional animation into the film version. While at Walt Disney Studios, he worked closely with Pixar as a production executive to bring Toy Story to the screen. Davis was also a theatrical producer, starting with Alexander H. Cohen Productions, and lists many regional and Off-Broadway productions among his producing credits.
“IDT Entertainment had the right strategy at the right time and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” said Jerry Davis.
IDT Entertainment is a vertically integrated entertainment company that develops, produces, and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment content. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), an international telecom, entertainment, and technology company
Important Note: In this press release, all statements that are not purely about historical facts, including, but not limited to, those with the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate, “target” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. While these forward-looking statements represent IDT Corp’s current judgment of what may happen in the future, actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied by these statements due to numerous important factors, including, but not limited to, those described in IDT Corp’s most recent report on SEC Form 10-K (under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”), which may be revised or supplemented in subsequent reports on SEC Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings IDT Corp. may make with the SEC.