LA post-production house The Orphanage has appointed independent producer Amy Israel as head of production. Israel, the former senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions at Miramax, will oversee a broad range of film-maker-driven projects as the company seeks to develop its production slate. While budgets will vary, all productions will have access to The Orphanage's high-end visual effects and animation resources.

Among the first projects for development is the adaptation of Blackwater, a Southern Gothic horror book series written by the late Michael McDowell, whose screenwriting credits included Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Israel will serve as producer on the project.

"Amy has devoted her career to bringing intelligent, high-quality, commercially viable projects to the screen," The Orphanage CEO Carsten Sorensen said in a statement released today (Jan 16). "Her years of experience matched with her strong creative vision will be a tremendous asset to the company as we strive to make The Orphanage a major producer of exciting and successful motion pictures."

As an independent operator, Israel produced HBO's Hysterical Blindness, which has been nominated for two Golden Globes. She founded Blum Israel Productions with her former business partner, Jason Blum, which secured a first-look deal at Miramax. Prior to that she spent eight years at Miramax, where her acquisition and co-production credits included Alejandro Amenabar's The Others; Michael Radford's The Postman (Il Postino); and Danny Boyle's Trainspotting.

"I'm thrilled to be joining a team that shares my commitment to producing a diverse slate of film-maker-driven projects that have compelling stories told in bold and innovative ways," Israel said in a statement. "The Orphanage has already established itself as a leader in visual effects and film-making technology. As a producer it's incredibly exciting be able to draw on so many creative assets within one company to help filmmakers truly realize their visions."

The Orphanage was founded by former Industrial Light & Magic visual effects artists Jonathan Rothbart, Stuart Maschwitz and Scott Stewart, with a focus on high-end visual effects services and animation for features and broadcast, original motion picture and television production, and digital filmmaking technology development and licensing. Its first feature production, Ten Tiny Love Stories, written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia and starring Kathy Baker, Alicia Witt and Rhada Mitchell, was co-produced with the Independent Film Channel for Lions Gate. The company's Emmy-nominated effects team recently completed work on the upcoming MGM release Jeepers Creepers 2 and the Jet Li action epic Hero for Miramax.