Walden Media specializes in entertainment for the whole family, creating movies, books and television series that spark the imagination and delight all generations. A subsidiary of the Anschutz Film Group, Walden Media movies include adaptations of notable books, compelling biographies and thrilling accounts of historical events. The company’s films are entertaining and commercial, while also telling stories that are inspirational, aspirational and explorational. Past award-winning films include: “The Chronicles of Narnia” franchise, the “Journey to the Center of the Earth” franchise, “Nim’s Island,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Holes,” “Amazing Grace,” and the Sundance Audience Prize Winning documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman.’”
President & CEO, Anschutz Film Group and Walden Media
Frank Smith is President and Chief Executive Officer of Anschutz Film Group (AFG) and Walden Media. Smith has been with AFG since 2003, and currently oversees all aspects of AFG’s operations (development, physical production, publishing, marketing and outreach, finance, legal and business affairs). He also works directly with The Anschutz Corporation on strategic planning and general operational issues. During his tenure with AFG, Smith has been lead counsel overseeing large budget motion picture franchise projects, co-production finance and distribution deals with major studios, as well as structuring foreign corporations for multijurisdictional film production tax incentives. In the past, Smith has overseen business and legal affairs for AFG and Walden Media, on numerous films including the Academy Award®-winner The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, along with Journey to the Center of the Earth and the second and third Narnia films, Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Parental Guidance, and others.
Prior to joining AFG in 2003, Smith was Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at New Line Cinema/Fine Line Features, in charge of legal acquisitions of motion picture content, as well as overseeing business affairs for development, production, financing, and distribution of motion pictures.
Smith received his J.D. from New England Law and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Pepperdine University. Smith is a noted published author in the area of copyright law.
Senior Vice President, Development and Production
As Senior Vice President of Development and Production at Walden Media, Naia Cucukov has a passion for identifying inspiring projects and helping them grow into movie magic. Since her start at Walden Media in 2013, Naia has cultivated a diverse slate of films and television projects. On behalf of Walden she has overseen production for: The Giver, based on the bestselling book by Lois Lowry; Universal and Working Title’s Everest, based on the true story of the 1996 Everest disaster; Disney’s The BFG, a Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved novel; and A Dog’s Purpose, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and based on the bestselling novel. Upcoming projects include: Lionsgate’s Wonder, based on the bestselling middle grade novel, directed by Stephen Chbosky; and Sony Animation’s The Star, told from the perspective of the animals in the manger.
Prior to joining Walden Media, Naia worked alongside Sir Richard Branson as Director of Development at Virgin Produced. While there she oversaw creative programming for the Virgin Produced Channel onboard Virgin Airlines and co-produced the award-winning short film Departure Date, the first film shot on a plane and edited while 35,000 feet in the air. While at Virgin, she also worked on such films as Limitless, Machine Gun Preacher and Immortals.