AGBO Launches Innovation Department

AGBO Innovation, led by recently appointed Chief Innovation Officer Jake Aust, expands and advances company’s tech-enabled creativity

LOS ANGELES, May 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — AGBO, the Russo Brothers’ artist-led media company, today announced the formation of a new Innovation department that strategically expands AGBO’s storytelling capacity, blending its physical and virtual production capabilities. Under the new framework, AGBO’s best-in-class technologists will build proprietary creative tools for storytellers, fostering production innovation and cost efficiency for content across diverse platforms. 

The group will consist of three verticals – production technology, immersive technology, and creative – and will be led by Jake Aust, who was recently promoted to Chief Innovation Officer. With a 20-year career as a producer on titles such as “The Office,” “Community,” Cherry, and executive producer on The Gray Man, and most recently serving as AGBO’s President of Physical Production, Aust has an extensive history in post-production and a track record for harnessing the power of evolving technologies.

The establishment of AGBO’s Innovation team comes at a time of accelerated growth for the company across virtual storytelling and linear media landscapes. Recently, AGBO added to its executive ranks with the appointments of storytelling visionary Donald Mustard, the director of Fortnite, and business strategist Chris Brearton, the chief architect of MGM’s $8.45 billion sale to Amazon, as Partners, signaling the company’s commitment to building the infrastructure for a studio of the future. Spearheading this transformation is Chief Creative Officer Angela Russo-Otstot, whose expertise in fostering innovation and cultivating captivating narratives will continue to shape AGBO’s growth.

The strategic expansion enables AGBO and its creative partners to access the company’s full suite of innovative tools at every stage of the development, production, and post-production processes.

The newly established group will be led by industry veterans reporting into Aust:

  • Glenn Derry, President of Production Technology – One of Hollywood’s leading technological innovators, Derry is a longtime practitioner of cutting-edge tools at the forefront of modern filmmaking. As the chief technological architect on films such as Avatar, The Jungle Book, Real Steel, and Minority Report, Derry introduced the concept of “virtual production” to the film and gaming industries. As President of Production Technology, Derry will further develop and expand AGBO’s virtual production pipeline to enhance artists’ storytelling capabilities and optimize production economics across mediums.
  • Josh Andersen, President of Immersive Technology – Andersen joins AGBO from Epic Games, where he served as lead programmer and a vision-holding leader in game development. Over more than a decade at Epic, Andersen steered the development of blockbuster video game franchises such as Fortnite, Shadow Complex, and Infinity Blade and was instrumental in metagame design and critical success factors on innovative mobile games. Andersen’s Immersive Technology team will be fully integrated within AGBO and support expressions of its assets across different mediums.
  • Ryan McNeely and John Cranston, Creative Directors – As co-founders of the state-of-the-art virtual production studio VisualCreatures, McNeely and Cranston have deep experience working with high-profile companies like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Allstate, Apple, and Epic Games. In 2023, VisualCreatures was acquired by AGBO, resulting in a natural synergy of the pair’s creator-driven ethos. Now as Creative Directors, McNeely and Cranston will collaborate to expand the boundaries of artist-driven storytelling powered by cutting-edge technology.

“Through years of close collaboration with Ryan, John, and Josh at Epic Games, I’ve witnessed firsthand the dedication and ingenuity they bring to every project. With Jake at the helm, this team will fulfill AGBO’s long-term ambition of developing wholly original IP from scratch in-house,” said AGBO Partner Donald Mustard. “Together, we’re forging a dynamic, silo-less pipeline designed to seamlessly share assets among expressions that exist in different media and different narratives – a pivotal juncture in our evolution as a modern studio.”

“Jake, Glenn, Josh, and the entire Innovation team will lead a strategic evolution of our brand. They bring expertise from the forefront of bold filmmaking, television, and video game production where they leveraged decades of cutting-edge technologies,” said AGBO Chief Creative Officer Angela Russo-Otstot. “Their collective mastery of production innovation, immersive technology, and emerging tools supports a central pillar of AGBO’s transformational approach to fuel creative breakthroughs and unlock practical efficiencies in universe-building and storytelling.”

“At AGBO, we pride ourselves on defying industry norms and pushing the boundaries of traditional production to deliver exceptional entertainment across media platforms,” said AGBO Chief Innovation Officer Jake Aust. “Now armed with the sharpest minds in the business, our Innovation team will usher AGBO into an exciting new era of large-scale universe storytelling that maximizes the most sophisticated technological tools available to empower artists to reach new creative heights and provide even more meaningful opportunities for fans to explore, play, and live through our worldbuilding.”

ABOUT AGBO

As a powerhouse independent studio, AGBO has consistently shattered audience records with its globally resonant content. The company has particularly excelled with a collection of hits across both film and TV. “Citadel,” which launched an original IP in the action-thriller genre for Prime Video, instantly landed as the platform’s second-most viewed title outside of the US behind LOTR. This flagship series boldly introduced a groundbreaking model of interconnected, locally originated series that span the globe, and the franchise is set to release additional AGBO-produced chapters from Italy and India later this year. A second season of “Citadel,” directed by Joe Russo, will begin production this fall. On Netflix, the Chris Hemsworth starrer Extraction introduced a new franchise centered around marquis masterful practical stunts with stories set in untapped global locales and featuring local talent. With the release of Extraction 2 this summer, the franchise was cemented as the platform’s most successful to-date and plans for Extraction 3 have already been announced. Other noteworthy successes from previous years include the Russo Brothers-directed film The Gray Man, which sits in the top five of Netflix’s “most viewed of all time” list, and the AGBO-produced film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which broke records for A24 and won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2023. Established in 2017 by acclaimed directors Anthony and Joe Russo, AGBO’s mission is to pioneer and propel the next era of storytelling by developing and producing genre-driven intellectual properties that span film, TV, gaming, and publishing expressions.

CONTACTS

Marian-Koltai Levine
[email protected] 

Adam Blickstein
Molly Bloom
Kristen Kehlet
[email protected]  

SOURCE AGBO

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/agbo-launches-innovation-department-302139759.html

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