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 is President, Domestic Distribution, Paramount Pictures, overseeing all domestic theatrical distribution and sales for the United States and Canada.
Previously, Aronson was President, Domestic Distribution for 20th Century Fox.
Aronson has also served as Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distribution Company, and prior to that, served as Senior Vice President for Rentrak Corporation and started their theatrical division, which provides comprehensive box office data collection, analysis, and reporting for the film industry.
Chris is past Chairman and President of the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneer Foundation and a member of the Academy’s Executive Branch and a member of the Executives Branch Executive Committee.
Chris and his wife Melissa live in Los Angeles, and he is also the proud father of three children: Christopher Jr., Lyndsay, and Daniel Payne. Chris is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
Carolyn Blackwood is Chief Operating Officer of Warner Bros. Pictures Group. Blackwood is responsible for the day-to-day operations of WBPG, including physical production, business affairs, music and other related matters. She also jointly leads New Line Cinema where she most recently served as President and Chief Content Officer. Additionally, Blackwood has managerial oversight of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, the live stage play division of Warner Bros. Entertainment, and theatrical film acquisitions.
Under Blackwood’s leadership, New Line Cinema crossed $1 billion at the global box office for the third consecutive year in 2019. The division has produced some of the most iconic and profitable horror franchises of all time, including the top two and only horror film series to surpass the billion-dollar benchmark worldwide, “The Conjuring” universe and the two-film adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel “IT.” New Line is also a leading producer of a diverse film slate and the home of the global blockbuster franchises “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” the latter of which Blackwood shepherded at the Studio.
A veteran of the company, Blackwood joined New Line Cinema in 1999 and worked her way through the ranks, serving in a variety of leadership roles, including business and legal affairs, film acquisitions, co-productions, content strategy and operations.
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. She is a member of the Executive Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on the Board of Lollipop, a children’s charity. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
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 Theater Network Board in 2018.
In September 2019, Elizabeth Gabler formed and is President of a newly founded multi-media division at Sony Pictures Entertainment, entitled 3000 Pictures. This new company represents a partnership between Sony Pictures, HarperCollins Publishers and what was formerly Fox 2000. 3000 Pictures will focus primarily on literary adaptations, both fiction and non-fiction for theatrical feature films, television, and streaming services.
In November 1999, Ms. 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,” “Marley & Me,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” “The Hate U Give,” “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” Academy Award-nominated “Hidden Figures,” and “Life of Pi” which was released in 2012 and was the winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Director for Ang Lee. The final film under the banner of Fox 2000, “The Woman in the Window,” based on the best-selling novel by A.J. Finn and directed by Joe Wright, stars Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, and Julianne Moore, will be released by Fox/Disney in May of 2020.
She 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” and “Castaway.”
A graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in English Literature, she began her career at International Creative Management as an assistant in the Motion Picture Department, eventually becoming a Literary Agent 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 oversaw the development and production of “Rain Man,” winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Ms. Gabler lives on a horse farm in Santa Barbara with her husband Lee and their daughter Annalise. She currently serves on the Foundation Board of Trustees of UCSB, the Advisory Board of the Carsey-Wolf Multi-Media Center at UCSB, the founding board of MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Innovation and Exploration in Santa Barbara, the Advisory Board of the Storyteller Organization, a daycare center for homeless and economically challenged families in the Central Coast, as well as the Lollipop Theater Network, an organization that brings films to hospitals for children dealing with life threatening diseases.
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.
While serving as Chairman/CEO of Christie Digital Systems until April 2019. Jack Kline, a pioneer in digital cinema technology and architect of the innovative Virtual Print Fee (VPF), provided the leadership and guidance in growing Christie’s global expansion. Kline remains at the company as an Executive Advisor to the current CEO.
During his 40-year tenure at Christie, Kline was responsible for the company’s visionary acquisition strategy, which included the purchase of Canada’s ‘Electrohome Projection Systems’ in 1999, and shortly thereafter, Christie became the first OEM to license and bring to market digital cinema projectors using Texas Instruments’ DLP Cinema® technology. The move catapulted the company from a 35mm projector manufacturer to a global provider of high performance, digital projection solutions. It established Christie as a leader in the exhibition industry and set the stage for Christie’s dramatic growth, with annual revenue surging from several hundred million to nearly a billion dollars.
In 2005, Kline successfully created strategic partnerships with major Hollywood studios, exhibitors and technology providers to advance the deployment of digital cinema. He then played a critical role in developing the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) financial solution and the Christie/AIX deployment program. Kline was presented with the ‘Ken Mason Inter-Society Award’ at CinemaCon in 2014 and the ShowEast Hall of Fame award in 2019. The award honors individuals who provide “outstanding long-term contributions leading to the overall improvement of the motion picture experience.”
Kline is a member of various industry organizations, including the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE), the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers and the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA). He is also actively involved with numerous charities, including Lollipop Theater Network, where he serves as member of the Board of Directors, the National Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) Society, Rise against Hunger, Orange County Business Leadership Committee, and Variety – The Children’s Charity of the United States.
Kline holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Tampa, Florida. He also received engineering training as a Combat Engineer Officer, United States Marine Corps, 1972-1976 and was honorably discharged as a Captain. Kline has 2 daughters and currently resides in Newport Beach, California with his wife of 47 years, Betsy.
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.
Tommy Oliver, producer of the Sony thriller THE PERFECT GUY starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut, which opened as the #1 film in the country to $26M+, recently co-created and executive produced the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network hit docu-series, BLACK LOVE, featuring the likes of Viola Davis and Sterling K. Brown and premiered as the most-viewed unscripted series in the network’s history.
Oliver also produced the Sundance Audience Award winner KINYARWANDA, a film Roger Ebert ranked number six on his top ten films of 2011 and 1982 (a film he also wrote & directed), which premiered at TIFF to critical acclaim and was distributed by Lionsgate Entertainment.
His films have earned dozens of accolades and awards, including grants from the San Francisco Film Society, Cinereach and Tribeca Film Institute, and awards including the Marquee Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival, the World Audience Award at AFI Fest, a special jury award from SXSW and Best Film at UrbanWorld and ABFF.
Oliver is the founder of the LA-based production company Confluential Films, co-founder of Black Love, Inc, an all-encompassing digital media brand, and his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, recently honored him with their prestigious 2018 Alumni Achievement Award.
Jim Orr is President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution for Universal Pictures. Orr is responsible for the strategy and management of the studio’s North American theatrical film releases.
Orr joined Universal in June 2016 as Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager of Domestic Distribution. Previously, he served as President of Domestic Distribution for the studio’s specialty division, Focus Features. While at Focus Features, he oversaw the releases of such hits as London Has Fallen and The Theory of Everything.
Prior to transitioning to Focus Features in 2012, Orr served as President of Distribution at FilmDistrict, was Partner in Park Circus US, and also served as Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager at MGM, where he was involved with every aspect of the studio’s theatrical distribution activities. Orr began his entertainment career at Paramount Pictures, where he rose to Senior Vice President, Domestic Distribution. Orr received his undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University, and his JD from New York Law School.
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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