Founders & The Board
Our Founder’s and Board Member’s Biographies
In January 2001, Janis Fischer was a volunteer in the pediatric ward at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. Every Friday the hospital held a special movie night in the playroom where they showed movies that recently came out on video.
Janis thought it would be a treat for these sick children, who often can’t go to theaters because of their illnesses, to see the biggest blockbuster of the holiday season without having to wait months for its video release. And so she brought in a special screening copy of the Jim Carrey movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Janis shared her idea with her friend, children’s book publisher Joshua Gaspero, who immediately went to work helping her put together an organization to do just that. With incorporation and not-for-profit status in the works, the next challenge was getting the movies.
Thanks to the insight of a mutual friend, Tracy Tarrant, Janis was introduced to Evelyn Iocolano who had the right studio contacts to make it happen. With Evelyn’s help and relentless persistence LOLLIPOP became a reality.
An author of children’s books and screenplays, Josh is Co-Founder of Lollipop Theater Network and is a member of the Advisory Board. He is also Founder of The Jane Gaspero Memorial Library in Altomonte, a multilingual teaching library instructing over 100 children annually.
He was Chairman of Joshua Tree Publishing from 1995-2002, Chairman of Readers Digest Young Families from 1992-1995, and President & CEO of Harlequin Publishing from 1982-1992.
He received a BA in International Marketing in 1964 from St. Joseph’s College, Philadelphia, PA and attended American University, Washington, DC-Graduate School of International Business.
Three years after co-founding LOLLIPOP his son, Fabian, was diagnosed with A.L.L. (acute lymphatic leukemia) and he found out first hand how parents coped with a child suffering from a serious illness.
In 2001, Evelyn Iocolano was approached with a simple, yet soon-to-be life-changing idea – how can we bring the magic of movies to hospitalized children undergoing long-term care?
It was then, working with Janis Fischer, that LOLLIPOP was born.
As Executive Director of LOLLIPOP, Evelyn has helped bring more than 338 movies and TV series to children in hospitals nationwide since the program’s inception.
In addition to her work at LOLLIPOP, Evelyn has worked on a number of motion pictures, including Craig Ferguson’s I’ll Be There and Kevin Allen’s The Big Tease. She has also worked as executive assistant to the vice president and general counsel of Edison Schools, Inc., and as executive assistant to the chairman and CEO of RKO Pictures.
Through her experience, she has developed countless relationships within the entertainment industry, which have been invaluable to LOLLIPOP’s mission.
Evelyn has also volunteered with Free Arts for Abused Children in both New York and Los Angeles, and she has produced a performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues which benefited the Step Up Women’s Network and its partners, Break the Cycle and Alexandria House.
Evelyn attended University of South Florida and Pace University, where she majored in advertising.
Christopher Aronson has served as President, Domestic Distribution for Twentieth Century Fox since 2012, overseeing all domestic theatrical distribution and sales for the United States and Canada. Aronson was Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distribution Company, where he was responsible for all of MGM’s theatrical distribution activities in North America.
Previously, he served as Senior VP for Rentrak Corporation and started their theatrical division, which provides comprehensive box office data collection, analysis, and reporting for the film industry. He was head of distribution at Destination Films and also held senior positions at Signature Theatres, Columbia Pictures, Vestron Pictures and New World Pictures. Aronson started his career at Universal Pictures in his hometown of San Francisco.
Chris currently serves as Chairman of the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneer Foundation and previously served as Vice President of United States Variety and was past president and chairman of Variety Club of Southern California. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles in 1999, he served as president of Variety Club of Northern California. He is the proud father of three: Christopher Jr., Lyndsay, and Daniel. Chris and Lyndsay are graduates of the University of California.
Carolyn Blackwood is President and Chief Content Officer of New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. In addition to playing a lead role in the strategic direction for the division, Blackwood oversees the company’s operations, with hands-on involvement in all production, business and legal matters. Blackwood also serves as the liaison with the marketing, distribution, home entertainment, interactive, consumer products and cable and SVOD sales divisions of Warner Bros. on behalf of all New Line films. In recent years, her duties have expanded to encompass leadership of film acquisitions and managerial oversight of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, the live stage play division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Blackwood joined New Line Cinema in 1999 as a production attorney and rose through the ranks to Senior Vice President of Business Affairs. Later, as Executive Vice President of Business Affairs and Co-Productions, she specialized in film acquisitions, co-productions and co-financing ventures. In 2005, she played a key role in the launch of Picturehouse, New Line’s joint-venture specialty label with HBO, and spearheaded Picturehouse’s business and legal affairs team. Over the next 10 years, Blackwood’s role at New Line expanded to Executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations before being named President, Operations & Content Strategy in 2015.
Blackwood oversaw production on all three films in “The Hobbit” Trilogy, for which she served as executive producer. She played a critical role in working with the New Zealand government and continued to serve as chief liaison with the New Zealand government for the length of the production. With the contributions of Blackwood’s ongoing cross-divisional involvement and leadership in safeguarding the brand, “The Hobbit” Trilogy has become one of the most successful film franchises in history.
Prior to joining New Line Cinema, Blackwood served as a business affairs and legal executive for independent production and sales company MDP Worldwide. She is a graduate of Fordham University, where she studied American Studies and Fine Arts, and earned a law degree at Pepperdine University.
Named as one of Esquire magazine’s “10 Men,” Billy Bush is anchor of the nationally syndicated daily entertainment newsmagazine, Access Hollywood which is now in its 17th season and provides the most fun, smart and comprehensive coverage of entertainment news and personalities on television.
Bush joined Access Hollywood as East Coast correspondent in December 2001, was promoted as co-anchor in June 2004, and became anchor in 2009.
Through his role at Access Hollywood, Bush has covered countless high-profile red carpet events including the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Academy Awards as well as hosted ABC’s live pre-show for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Academy Awards and NBC’s live pre-show for the 2010 Emmy Awards. In addition, he has reported the Olympic games for NBC since 2004.
Bush began in radio and returned to his roots in April 2008 with the launch of The Billy Bush Show, a nationally syndicated talk and music radio show with Dial Global. The show, which airs evenings Monday-Friday, focuses on the top entertainment stories and personalities in the news and features celebrity guests and listener calls and has a weekly audience of 11 million listeners. The show can be heard in 128 markets across America including New York City and Los Angeles.
Bush is also co-host of the new daytime entertainment news talk show Access Hollywood Live, now in its third season. The syndicated daily live show provides viewers with the latest celebrity dish, pop-culture, Hollywood happenings and daily news. A spin-off of the hit entertainment newsmagazine, Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood Live, debuted in September 2010, and was featured in Entertainment Weekly’s coveted ‘Must List’ as the magazine called hosts Billy Bush and Kit Hoover a “refreshingly hilarious duo.”
After 15 years in the exhibition business, Daniel Crown sold his theater circuit in 2007 and began investing in and producing independent films. In 2010, Dan founded Red Crown Productions together with Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Riva Marker.
Dan is a producer on Cary Fukunaga’s African child soldier film Beasts of No Nation, which was released in Fall 2015 as the first feature film acquisition distributed by Netflix. The film received two awards at the Independent Spirit Awards,Outstanding Independent Motion Picture at the NAACP Awards, a SAG award for Best Supporting Actor Idris Elba and one Golden Globe nomination.
In March 2016, Red Crown premiered Michael Showalter’s Hello, My Name is Doris, which stars Sally Field and Max Greenfield. The film won the Audience Award at last year’s SXSW film festival and was released by Roadside Attractions/Sony Worldwide. Red Crown also produced Jason Bateman’s sophomore directing effort The Family Fang, starring Bateman, Nicole Kidman, and Christopher Walken, which was acquired by Starz and released May 2016.
Dan is also a producer with Adama Pictures and Legende Films on HHhH, a feature chronicling the assassination of the most ruthless Nazi leader-Reich-protector Reinhard Heydrich, Head of the SS, the Gestapo, and the architect of the “Final Solution”. The film will be released by The Weinstein Company in the last quarter of 2016.
In May 2013, Red Crown released the critically acclaimed What Maisie Knew starring Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard, and Steve Coogan. In November of 2014 Red Crown released Susanna Fogel’s Life Partners starring Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, and Adam Brody.
Dan currently serves on the Board of Lincoln Center, Lenox Hill Hospital, Hamptons International Film Festival, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, The Jerusalem Foundation, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, The Lollipop Theater Network, and is a Trustee of Vanderbilt University. A native of Chicago, Dan resides in New York City where he and his wife, Ellen, are the proud parents of four children.
Dan Fellman is the past president of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros., where he was responsible for the theatrical distribution of the eight Harry Potter films; The Matrix trilogy; The Dark Knight trilogy; The Hobbit trilogy; Gravity; The Lego Movie; and many more. Prior to his thirty-seven-year career at Warner Bros., he was the founder and president of American Theatre Management in New York City. Dan is currently CEO of the Fellman Consulting Corporation in Beverly Hills, CA.
He has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1988 and was elected to the Board of Governors in 2014. He’s also a member of the Executive Board of the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television, and serves on the Advisory Board of the LA Kings. He joined the Lollipop Theatre Network Board in 2018.
In November of 1999, Elizabeth Gabler became President of Fox 2000 Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox. The division is proud to have shepherded such films as “Unfaithful,” “Walk the Line,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Man on Fire,” “The Family Stone,” “Marley and Me,” “Water for Elephants,” “The Book Thief,” Academy Award nominated “Hidden Figures,” and “Life of Pi,” which was released in 2011 and was the winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Director.
Mrs. Gabler initially joined Twentieth Century Fox in 1988 as a senior vice president. Some of the highlights of her tenure in the main production division were “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Waiting to Exhale,” “Hope Floats,” “Entrapment,” and “Castaway.”
A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, she began her career at ICM as an assistant in the motion picture department, eventually becoming an agent in the literary department there. She began her studio career at Columbia Pictures as a creative executive, leaving for United Artists as a vice president of production, where she was in charge of “Rain Man,” winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Mrs. Gabler lives on a horse farm in Santa Barbara with her husband, Lee, and daughter, Annalise. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Carsey-Wolf Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the founding board of MOXI, the Museum of Innovation and Exploration in Santa Barbara, and the advisory board for the Storyteller Organization, a daycare center for homeless and economically challenged families in the Central Coast. She was elected a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation in 2014.
Anne Hathaway is an American actress. After several stage roles, she appeared in the 1999 television series Get Real. She came to prominence after playing Mia Thermopolis in the Disney film The Princess Diaries (2001) and in its 2004 sequel.
Since then, Hathaway has starred in dramatic films such as Havoc and Brokeback Mountain, in 2005. She has also starred in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) with Meryl Streep and in Becoming Jane (2007) as Jane Austen.
In 2008, she won several awards for her performance in Rachel Getting Married and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In 2010, she starred in the box office hits Valentine’s Day, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and Love and Other Drugs and won an Emmy Award for her voice-over performance on The Simpsons.
In 2011, she had a voice role in the animated film Rio, and starred in Lone Scherfig’s adaptation of One Day. In 2012, she portrayed Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and Fantine in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables.
Her performance in the latter earned her rave reviews and several accolades, including the Golden Globe Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the BAFTA Award and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. People magazine named her one of its breakthrough stars of 2001, and she appeared on its list of the world’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2006.
Ryan Johnston has served as President and Chief Executive of InterPhase Entertainment, LLC since he formed the company in 2013. Ryan produces television and film as well as handles integration opportunities with sponsors throughout many platforms of entertainment and sports.
Ryan’s film credits include Co-Producer of The 5th Quarter starring Andie MacDowell, Aidan Quinn, and Ryan Merriman – a true story about the 2006 ACC Championship Demon Deacons football team and the loss of one of one of the key players Jon Abbate’s younger brother; Executive Producer of Sons of the Fallen starring Clint Black, Ryan Merriman, and Bill Goldberg – a LIVE Fathom Event seen in 500 AMC and Regal theaters nationally depicting 25 boys that lost their fathers serving overseas; and Executive Producer of country star Clay Walker’s Jesse James music video that debuted #6 on CMT’s charts.
Ryan’s work is seen throughout the industries of NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA, X Games, music and touring, in the tech sector, and even in the space industry. Ryan has produced events ranging from 2013’s ArenaBowl XXVI at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida that was seen LIVE on CBS and the AFL’s Annual Awards Gala where he launched KISS’ new football team “LA KISS” to producing KISS’ last date of their global Monster Tour at the same arena.
Ryan also serves at the President and Chief Executive of Champion Motorsports Marketing, LLC, a company he formed in 2006 which has diversified their roster throughout motorsports globally. Ryan recently announced PowerFelt, Inc. that he formed with his partners out of Wake Forest University’s Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials Center. PowerFelt, Inc. is developing products and currently has them being tested with leading technology and space companies to put its products around the globe, helping to power your cell phones, aircraft systems, placed on deep space missions to Mars, and even purifying water for third world countries. Ryan’s work moves to change the world historically and better life on our planet.
Ryan served 15 years in the Aviation branch of the U.S. Army, from the years of 1991-2006. He believes in giving back to the military and continues to serve on that front. He has personally lost more than a dozen friends to conflicts overseas and serves to help watch over children that have lost their parents while serving both within the Special Operations (SEALS) ranks and all branches of service.
Ryan has helped many charities over the years, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for children’s charities. He encourages clients and partners to support him in these efforts and believes that we all need to give back to help those less fortunate than ourselves. He believes we should not wait until a misfortune happens to our own families before we care about a cause, but that we should act now to help everyone. Ryan resides in Virginia with his two children Brandon and Ainsley.
Jack Kline is responsible for leading Christie’s global sales and marketing, and has helped to strengthen and expand Christie’s worldwide distribution of high performance projection displays and visualization solutions across the company’s five major product portfolios. These include Cinema/Digital Cinema, Fixed Installation, Rental/Staging, Control Rooms, and Advanced Visualization & Simulation.
Kline joined Christie in 1979 and was promoted to Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1988. He was named Executive Vice President & COO in 1997. He became President & COO in 1999 and was promoted to his current position as President and CEO in 2014.
Among Kline’s major accomplishments was developing Christie’s new acquisition strategies that helped rapidly establish Christie as a major force in the digital arena. In 1999, Christie acquired Canadian based Electrohome Projection Systems, and Christie then became the first licensee of Texas Instruments DLP® cinema technology.
This move catapulted the company from a 35mm analog projector manufacturer to a global provider of high power, high performance digital projection solutions and the global leader in digital cinema development.
In 2005, Kline played a critical role in designing the industry’s first practical framework for the conversion from film to digital cinema. After successfully creating strategic partnerships with major Hollywood studios, exhibitors, projector manufacturers and technology providers, Christie helped launch the digital cinema revolution.
Kline holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Tampa in Florida. He served as a Combat Engineer Officer in the United States Marine Corps from 1972–1976 and was honorably discharged as a Captain. Jack is a member of the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE), Motion Picture Pioneers, and International Theatre Equipment Association (ITEA). He is actively involved in Stop Hunger Now, with the mission to stop world hunger in our time, and is also a member of the Hoag Hospital 552 Club.
A native of New York, he currently resides in Newport Coast with his wife Sarah, their dog and are proud parents of two children.
Since 2005, Ari Levin has been an agent at Creative Artists Agency in the Comedy Department and Co-Head of the Podcast Department. He represents clients such as Jo Koy, Michael McIntyre, Jack Whitehall, Jonathan Van Ness, and Michael Carbonaro. In the podcast space, Levin works with networks such as The Ringer, Gimlet, and Maximum Fun, as well as talent such as bestselling author and motivational speaker Rachel Hollis and her podcasts Rise and Rise Together, The Bill Simmons Podcast, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, Pat McAfee 2.0, Masters of Scale hosted by Reid Hoffman, and the McElroy Brothers’ The Adventure Zone and My Brother, My Brother, and Me, among others
Since graduating from Indiana University in 2004, Levin has built his career at CAA. He’s a sports enthusiast, cinephile and runner. He loves playing basketball and golf. But mostly, he revels in spending time with his wife Erica, and his 3-year-old son and best buddy, Ryder.
Robinson serves as President of Morgan Creek Productions, one of Hollywood’s most successful film and television production companies. In this capacity he oversees all aspects of the filmmaking process, including development, production, marketing, and distribution.
During Robinson’s tenure, Morgan Creek has generated a string of commercial and prestigious hits including The Good Shepherd, starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie; Man of the Year, starring Robin Williams; Georgia Rule, starring Jane Fonda and Lindsay Lohan; Two For the Money, starring Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey; and Dream House, starring Daniel Craig.
Up next will be the biopic of the late rapper, songwriter and actor, Tupac Shakur. Robinson graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia and currently sits on the board of the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation of Los Angeles County. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, son and two dogs.
Al heads up Ford Motor Company’s Global Brand Entertainment office in Los Angeles. His team manages Ford Motor Company’s entertainment marketing and product placement efforts in film and television.
Al owns the classic Beverly Hills restaurant, La Dolce Vita and the UK luxury brand, Halcyon Days LTD.
He lives in Beverly Hills with his wife, Kimm and daughters Eleanor and Olivia.
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