Monday, September 25, 2023
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Lion Forge Bolsters Team, Enters Distribution


Lion Forge Entertainment has made a trio of new hires supporting production, development and distribution.

Former Hello Sunshine executive and award-winning executive producer Kirsten Newlands joins as executive VP of production and content partnerships. Emmy-nominated children’s media creative Koyalee Chanda has been appointed senior VP of animation. Kids’ distribution and sales executive Jonathan Abraham has come on board as director of distribution.

The team will serve under Stephanie Sperber, Lion Forge Entertainment’s president and chief content officer.

Lion Forge is launching a global media sales division to handle international sales and distribution for the company’s financed and owned IP. Abraham will lead the global media sales division and report directly to Newlands.

The division will be attending MIPCOM and MIPJunior, showcasing the Nigerian anime-inspired series Iyanu, based on Roye Okupes acclaimed graphic novel, and the new animated series BugTron.

Newlands is overseeing all physical production, studio alliances, financing, co-productions and sales at Lion Forge Entertainment. She has executive produced more than 800 half-hours of animated children’s television, including hits such as My Little Pony, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Carmen Sandiego, The Deep and Pikwik Pack. Prior to joining Lion Forge, Newlands served as the VP of kids’ animation for production at Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine.

Chanda will lead Lion Forge’s animation department. Most recently, she served as the VP of kids and animation for Hello Sunshine. She previously worked as a VP of production and development for Chris Nee’s shingle Laughing Wild at Netflix Animation.

Before joining Lion Forge, Abraham built the international sales and consumer products division of Guru Studio, known for producing hits like Netflix’s True and the Rainbow Kingdom and Disney Jr.’s Pikwik Pack.

David Steward II, founder and CEO of Lion Forge Entertainment, and Sperber said jointly, “We’re incredibly excited to welcome Kirsten, Koyalee and Jonathan to the Lion Forge family. Their impressive track records, wealth of experience and dedication to creating outstanding children’s content will play a pivotal role in our continued growth and success. With the launch of our global media sales division, we are reaffirming our commitment to delivering exceptional kids and family content to audiences worldwide and are poised to take our beloved IPs like Iyanu and BugTron to new heights internationally.”

Producing engaging kidscontent is a lifelong passion of mine,” said Newlands. I am thrilled to join Lion Forge Entertainment and work alongside David and Stephanie to create global financing partnerships and best-in-class animation production capabilities to increase diversity in front of and behind the camera to shape the future of children’s entertainment.”


About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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