HPA 2016: Silverman Steps Down, U.K. Tech Retreat Added

INDIAN WELLS, CALIF.—Lots of changes are going on in the desert this year. Leon Silverman is stepping down as president of the Hollywood Post Alliance, which is now officially the Hollywood Professional Association, which will put on a second tech retreat this year in England.

Silverman announced his departure Tuesday morning during his traditional opening remarks at the Retreat. The co-founder and president of HPA, Silverman is handing over the reins to board pick Seth Hallen, senior vice president of Global Creative Services at Sony DADC New Media Solution. Silverman made the announcement this morning in his traditional opening remarks today at the 2016 HPA Tech Retreat.

Hallen has been an HPA board member since 2007, working with Silverman and the board on a number of key initiatives and management of the organization. Silverman will continue to serve on the board of directors in the newly created role of past president.

Silverman started HPA with a group of post production executives in 2002. Originally envisioned as a place where individuals and companies would share information, build a community voice, and provide education, the HPA quickly established its role as an important trade organization. The HPA has grown and taken root under his stewardship, and formalized an alliance with SMPTE in November 2015.

Silverman, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the HPA Awards in November, 2015, said, “Launching and leading HPA, shoulder to shoulder with a dedicated and impressive board, staff, and volunteers, has been one of the most exciting and rewarding accomplishments of my career.

“It has been a true honor to work together with so many colleagues within our phenomenal community, especially during these exciting times of industry transition and expansion. With the stability of our organization, especially now that we are part of SMPTE and with the strength of our newly expanded and reinvigorated Board, it is a terrific time to pass the baton to the next generation of capable and committed leadership. Seth is a passionate leader with the focus and vision for the future that is needed to continue the growth of the HPA. Equally important, he is a wonderful friend, and a great team builder. I am proud to be working with Seth and the broadened HPA board as we head towards a future in which our HPA mission and message is increasingly relevant.”

Newly elected HPA board member, Bill Roberts, chief financial officer of Panavision, will assume treasurer responsibilities on the board as Phil Squyres steps down from that post, which he has held since HPA’s founding. Squyres will remain on the board. The HPA board of directors has grown over the past year with a number of key additions, including newly elected members Craig German, senior vice president of Studio Post at NBCUniversal Media; Jenni McCormick, executive director of American Cinema Editors; and Chuck Parker, CEO of SohoNet.

Wendy Aylsworth, past president of SMPTE, was appointed as SMPTE representative on the HPA board. Barbara Lange serves as executive director of SMPTE and HPA. The new board members join Mark Chiolis, Carolyn Giardina, Vincent Maza, Kathleen Milnes, Loren Nielsen, and Vice President Jerry Pierce on the HPA board.

Hallen commented on his new role, “The HPA is a unique and important place where creative talent, technical talent, and companies join forces to learn and share as they expand their perspectives and shape our industry. It is a distinct honor to continue the important work that Leon has undertaken for this organization, and I am clearly dedicated to making the next phase of HPA a great one. Enabling our industry to evolve by fueling our community with ideas, opportunity and recognition remains our goal. I look forward to working with our incredibly talented and dedicated board and continuing our collaboration with our colleagues at SMPTE, and the staff, volunteers and community that are the heart and soul of HPA, as we build upon the work of the past 14 years and look toward the future.”

As for the change from “post” to “professional,” the organization’s transition from an alliance to an association was revealed last year at the 2015 HPA Tech Retreat, and it formalizes the broader mission and focus of the organization while acknowledging the changing nature of the industry. Along with the name, a new corporate identity was unveiled.

HPA and SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange said, “The nature of the work and responsibilities that our community is engaged in has changed, and will continue to change. After carefully exploring how to address this growth, it became clear that “professional” more accurately and inclusively identifies the creative talent, content holders, global infrastructure of services as well as emerging processes and platforms. As an organization, we are dedicated to seeing beyond the horizon to the wider future, and bringing a wide array of individuals and companies into the organization. Our new name and identity makes that statement.”

The addition of the second retreat marks a first, as the popularity of the annual February sojourn to sunny Coachella Valley has grown over the years, with the casual and welcoming dialog of Silverman and Pierce, the succinct promptness and intellect of Mark Schubin, and a gathering of television and movie engineering minds unlike any other, in five days of wide-ranging discussions, some under swaying palm trees. The new event will be held July 13-14 in Oxfordshire, England at the Heythrop Park Resort. It was hinted there may be drone racing on the tony grounds of the resort.