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 hundreds of movies, TV series and virtual programs to pediatric patients 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 is a member of the Academy’s Executive Branch and a member of the Executives Branch Executive Committee.
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 also a member of the Executive Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 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 films. In 2010, together with Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Riva Marker, Dan founded Red Crown Productions to continue his work in independent films exploring a wide range of genres and budgets. Red Crown focuses on smart and commercial pictures in both the independent and studio space. Dan is a producer on the Prime Video documentary Reggie, about baseball legend Reggie Jackson, directed by Alexandria Stapleton and optioned the television rights for a scripted series Lights, Camera, Crime.
Dan is an executive producer of the film Honey Boy from Amazon Studios, written by and starring actor Shia LaBeouf, and Monster, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, starring Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, and Jennifer Ehle and distributed to Netflix. Red Crown also recently acquired the transgender screenplay Queen, a high school coming-of-age story about activist and model Corey Rae and produced the independent feature Topside directed by Celine Held and Logan George.
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 the 2015 SXSW film festival and was released by Roadside Attractions/Sony Worldwide.
Dan produced 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 a Golden Globe nomination.
Dan’s additional credits include The Family Fang (2016), Susanna Fogel’s Life Partners (2014), and the critically acclaimed What Maisie Knew (2013).
Dan currently serves on the Board of Lenox Hill Hospital, Hamptons International Film Festival, The Jerusalem Foundation, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, The Lollipop Theater Network, The Gotham, and We Are Family Foundation. 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.
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 is an entrepreneur whose companies work with series ranging from NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA, NHRA to the Formula series and with industries ranging from film, television, music, X Games, technology, national defense, space, gold mining and even beverage. He has worked and advised brands ranging from Red Bull, Coca-Cola, Monster Energy, Ford, Schwan’s, Checkers and Rally’s, Rubbermaid, Harley Davidson, Playboy to NBA2K. He has produced and worked with networks ranging from NBC, CBS, ESPN, FOX, Discovery, CMT, National Geographic to 20th Century Fox and has contracted talent and worked with shows ranging from TODAY, Ellen, Celebrity Apprentice, Undercover Boss Gold Rush to MythBusters.
His tech company has tech on NASA’s RS-25 engines for the Space Launch System which will blast astronauts to the Moon and to Mars and is being tested to go into their spacesuits to walk on the Moon and on Mars. His exploration company JRS Explorations has located a shipwreck from the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War from 1781, complete with seven cannons and so much more to discover!
Ryan and his partner Carlos even own two authentic Formula One cars which provide the feeling of what an F1 driver feels during a race!
Ryan also served 15 years honorably in the United States Army’s Aviation branch deploying to hotspots ranging from Bosnia, Kuwait, Haiti to South Korea near the DMZ.
Ryan has helped various charities over the years, doing his part to help raise millions of dollars over the years for charities like the Lollipop Theater Network to those who support wounded veteran’s and sadly, those whom they leave behind when they didn’t make it home. 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.
Fun tidbit, Ryan serves as a hockey coach for his youngest son Ezra’s team in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has formed a new company with his partner which will provide hockey sticks to NHL stars and to the youth starting the game! His daughter Ainsley attends college at the Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA and his oldest son holds down the fort at the family home in Virginia while also holding down the fort at one of the biggest resorts in Williamsburg, VA.
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.
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.
Alessandro Uzielli created and heads up Ford Motor Company’s Global Brand Entertainment (FGBE) office in Los Angeles. Uzielli and his team execute placements in film, television, and digital media for the Ford and Lincoln brands, as well as engaging the entertainment community as a marketing extension for Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
FGBE has managed integrations into top network and cable tv shows as well as feature film co-promotions with the James Bond franchise, Need for Speed, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2. He has also brought such relationships as Geena Davis, Ryan Seacrest, Karlie Kloss, Matthew McConaughey and Gina Rodriguez to the Ford and Lincoln brands. A Faster Horse, the pivotal Ford Mustang documentary produced by Uzielli, was in competition at The Tribeca Film Festival and was distributed by Netflix.
Uzielli partnered with Imagine Entertainment to produce John Bronco and John Bronco Rides Again for Hulu. The mockumentary re-introduced the Ford Bronco nameplate ahead of the recent launch of the vehicle.
He lives in Beverly Hills with his wife, Kimm and daughters Eleanor and Olivia.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest LOLLIPOP news and updates