Culver City, Calif. – Michelle Raimo-Kouyate has been named president of production for Sony Pictures Animation, it was announced today by Bob Osher, President of Digital Productions for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The respected industry veteran joins SPA from Dreamworks Animation, where she was serving as executive producer for the upcoming feature Puss in Boots, a spin-off of the blockbuster Shrek.
"Michelle is an extraordinarily talented executive who loves both the art and artistry of animation and understands that superior storytelling must always come first," said Osher. "Michelle and I worked together for many years at Miramax. She earns the respect of her peers through her leadership and is someone who candidly speaks her mind. Because of her extensive experience in both live action and animation, she is the perfect choice for this position, especially as we produce both all-CG features and hybrid productions like The Smurfs. We have an outstanding slate in place at Sony Pictures Animation and know she will provide great creative direction as we continue to grow and nurture the best CGI artists and storytellers in the business."
“I am so thankful to Bob, as well as Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal for this exciting opportunity. Sony Pictures Animation is home to some of the best creative and innovative minds in the business and I am looking forward to working alongside them to continue the tradition of great storytelling for which Sony is so well known. I am especially thrilled to be working once again with Bob. "
Raimo-Kouyate began her career in the film business 14 years ago when she joined Miramax Films, rising through the development and production ranks from an assistant to Senior Vice President of Development and Production. During her tenure at the studio, Kouyate was responsible for executive producing and overseeing the development and production of numerous feature film projects, including the Academy Award(r) nominee Chocolat, as well as The Shipping News, Ella Enchanted, The Great Raid, and An Unfinished Life. Her responsibilities also included negotiating various deals for entertainment properties and talent (writers, directors, actors, and musicians) with the largest and most diversified talent and literary agencies, as well as assessing independent films with an eye for acquisitions and distribution.
In 2005, Raimo-Kouyate relocated from New York to Los Angeles to serve briefly as senior vice president of production at Paramount Pictures, where she was responsible for overseeing the acquisition, development and production of feature film projects as well as specific producer accounts, including Nickelodeon, MTV Films, Lynda Obst Productions, and Foxxhole. In early 2006, she transitioned to Nickelodeon Movies to serve in the same capacity until the end of 2006.
In the coming weeks, Raimo-Kouyate will work closely with SPA's president of production Hannah Minghella as Minghella transitions to her new role at Columbia Pictures as president of production. The two executives are longtime colleagues and friends who worked together for many years at Miramax and their strong relationship will ensure the seamless transition of all SPA projects where Minghella will continue to remain actively engaged.
Raimo-Kouyate grew up in New York City and currently lives in Los Angeles. She received her B.S. from St. John's University and her M.F.A. from USC School of Cinema.