Former Lionsgate director of development Zachary Studin is named production vp at the fledgling production and financing venture while Jennifer Semler is promoted to director of production.

Studin will source projects and oversee development and production of the slate. Longtime Linde associate Semler will coordinate post-production. Both report to production head Tory Metzger.

Lava Bear is backed by Reliance Entertainment and has a first-look deal with Universal Pictures, who has first option to co-finance projects and distribute them in the US and “other significant international territories.”

“As we begin to ramp up our production slate it is important to create a team of executives who are experienced in identifying material and passionate about bringing projects from the page to the screen,” Metzger said. “Both Zachary and Jennifer exceed these criteria and we are proud to have them as part of the Lava Bear team.”

Prior to Lionsgate, Studin served as director of development for Alli Shearmur’s production company and worked at Paramount as executive assistant to the co-president of production as well as assistant to Scott Rudin. 

Semler started with Linde as his executive assistant when Linde was chairman of Universal Pictures. In 2010, prior to the founding of Lava Bear, Semler worked closely with Linde in his various producorial roles on the upcoming 360 and Heroes Of Nanking, as well as Biutiful.

Linde’s separate network of international output alliances with such companies as eOne for the UK, Canada and Benelux, Italia Films for the Middle East, Greece and Turkey, Nordisk Film for Scandinavia, Revolutionary Releasing for Eastern Europe excluding Russia, Sun Distribution for Latin America and Tele Munchen Group for Germany, Austria, parts of Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. Reliance will distribute in India.