Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc., founded by Jeff Gomez and Mark Pensavalle, is a leading creator and producer of highly successful transmedia franchises, maximizing the value of entertainment properties and consumer brands by preparing them for extension across multiple media platforms. Starlight Runner Entertainment also produces animated and live-action feature films, as well as digital content.
The company packages books, comics and graphic novels, and develops video games and alternate reality experiences with world-renowned partners and clients. Since the company launch in 2000, Starlight Runner has been commissioned by corporate giants including Disney, Hasbro and Coca-Cola, offering guidance on how to expand and broaden storyline universes of intellectual properties that can then be marketed in concert across a variety of platforms simultaneously or gradually.
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President & Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Gomez is an expert at transmedia storytelling, incubating new entertainment properties, strategic planning and production for cross-platform implementation.
As CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, an animation and live-action feature film production company and leading creator of highly successful fictional worlds, Jeff transforms intellectual properties into highly successful transmedia franchises. He also extends niche properties such as toys, animation or videogame titles across multiple platforms, evolving them into high quality persistent narratives, which in turn generate multiple revenue streams for his clients.
Jeff has worked on such blockbuster universes as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia and Tron, Microsoft’s Halo, James Cameron’s Avatar, Hasbro’s Transformers, Mattel’s Hot Wheels and Coca-Cola’s Happiness Factory.
Prior to launching Starlight Runner with partner Mark Pensavalle in 2000, Jeff Gomez was a prominent figure in the adventure game and video game industries serving as a producer for Acclaim Entertainment’s comic book division. He helped create the Acclaim Comics super hero universe, in addition to adapting Valiant Comics super heroes into videogames for Nintendo and PlayStation consoles. Characters, concepts and game-play Jeff conceived, wrote and produced for Acclaim’s Turok, Dinosaur Hunter and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil helped that franchise to gross over $420 million. Turok was recently revived as a new videogame franchise from Disney Interactive and as an animated feature from Starz Entertainment.
In addition to serving as a brand extension consultant to such corporations as Disney, Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Coca-Cola, Scholastic, Wieden+Kennedy, Mattel, Showtime, Konami and Hasbro, Jeff has also delivered his seminar, Creating Blockbuster Worlds: Developing Highly Successful Transmedia Franchises, to the MIT Futures of Entertainment Conference, Game Developers Conference, International Game Developers Association, the NewTeeVee Conference, the New York State Bar Association and the Producers Guild of America.
A board member of the Producers Guild of America with over 20 years experience developing, writing and producing content, Jeff has been featured and quoted in such periodicals as Forbes, Business Week, Los Angeles Times, Variety, Investors Business Daily, Publishers Weekly, Produced By, Wizard, and Animation, and he has been profiled on MTV News and American Latino.
As a Latino who spent his childhood in the housing projects on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Jeff champions the concerns of young people with his Never Surrender inspirational seminars and curricula. He has also recently worked with Operation Respect, the international non-profit education and advocacy organization founded by Peter Yarrow and dedicated to instilling the values of leadership and empathy in young people. He earned a BA in Film Studies and Communication Arts & Sciences from Queens College, CUNY.
Mark Pensavalle brings sixteen years of experience to his position as Executive Vice President at Starlight Runner Entertainment. Being part of Starlight Runner since its inception in 2000, Mark works closely with business partner Jeff Gomez on the development of the company. He is an expert in transmedia development and production for some of the world’s largest and most lucrative entertainment franchises from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean to Showtime’s Dexter and Microsoft’s Halo. As a producer and production manager, he contributes to literary, live-action, animated and gaming content, grooming intellectual properties to reach the largest possible international audience. Mark’s adaptability in working with multiple media properties demonstrates the diverse and creative tenacity that the Starlight Runner team offers to clients.
Mark played a key role in pitching and implementing the production of Starlight Runner Entertainment’s Hot Wheels World Race Highway 35 cross-media campaign for Mattel, Inc. With only six months to bring the Hot Wheels products to market, Mark supervised the production of two property bibles (guidelines) and thirty-six comic books. Mark simultaneously supervised design work for a five-episode animated television series based on Starlight Runner’s Hot Wheels World Race storyline for Mainframe Entertainment. He also developed a special promotion package for Target department stores, convention displays, and an animated teaser to coincide with the property release. Mattel has acknowledged this campaign as unprecedented in the toy industry.
Aside from producing content for the company, Mark manages the overall business demands and operational needs for Starlight Runner and oversees Kissena Park Press, a trade book imprint of Starlight Runner Entertainment. Designed to cultivate new authors and launch original intellectual properties, Kissena Park Press projects are distributed into the mass market through Perseus Distribution. The imprint’s first book, Marathon, by W. William Winokur, won in the category of Best Fiction in the USA News Best Books 2006. Winokur’s second book with the press, The Perfect Game, became a feature film starring Louis Gossett, Jr. and is set for release in late 2009.
A native New Yorker with a B.A. in Business Management from Baruch College, City University of New York, Mark entered the book trade in 1987. He has since served as Production Manager for such major publishers as HarperCollins, where he worked on high-profile “secret” projects such as Under Fire by Oliver North. Later at Random House, he became renowned in the industry for taking Thomas Harris’s Hannibal from manuscript to print in less than five weeks.
Starlight Runner Lead Writer Fabian Nicieza wrote and created dozens of characters and storylines for Marvel Entertainment’s X-Men franchise, which generated hundreds of millions in revenues from comic sales, animation, action figures, videogames and feature films for Marvel, Toy Biz, Fox Entertainment, Sega, Capcom and Activision.
The titles Mr. Nicieza has also written include Superman, Batman, Robin, Spider-Man, Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Power Rangers and Captain America, while he has edited titles as diverse as Barbie, Ren & Stimpy and William Shatner’s TEKWorld, with combined sales in excess of 100 million copies, grossing over $220M.
Starlight Runner’s Production Director, Darren Sanchez entered the comic book industry in 1991 as Production Manager at Valiant Comics, later moving on to VP Production for Wizard Entertainment producing hundreds of magazines, comic books and hardcover publications for Wizard, Marvel, Disney, Aspen, Black Bull and Valiant to name a few.
Publisher and co-founder of independent comic company, After Hours Press, Sanchez has created, written and optioned numerous titles including, Celestial Alliance, JAAT, Foxwood Falcons and Impossible Tales. A former US Army officer and attack helicopter pilot, Sanchez is also a comic book writer, artist, graphic designer and youth sports coach.
Caitlin Burns has been involved in the analysis, strategic planning and development of campaigns for video games, comic books series, movies, television shows, toy lines and animation. With a background in event and production design, she has created live experiences attended by thousands in and around the New York City area, from guerilla street parades, warehouse events, festival installations and New York’s Fashion Week.
As a transmedia producer and editor at Starlight Runner for over six years, Caitlin Burns has been involved in the analysis, strategic planning and development of campaigns for video games, comic books series, movies, television shows, toy lines and animation.
She is also an active blogger about transmedia and the entertainment industry. Her articles have been seen in Multichannel News, The Social Robot and at her own blog The Mystery of Girls Media where she curates commentary on properties aimed at women and girls.
Steele Tyler Filipek has been an active, professional writer since graduating from New York University in 2006. In addition to his work for Starlight Runner, he has had plays produced in both the United States and England, published numerous short stories, written children’s books, produced sketch comedy, and is the writer of the comic book, Tiara: Mistress of Time.
Steele was born in Pittsburgh but now resides in New York City. When not writing, he enjoys homebrewing, hockey, and having a good time.