Walden Media specializes in entertainment for the whole family, creating movies, books and television series that spark the imagination and delight all generations. Past award-winning films include: “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Nim’s Island,” “Charlotte’s Web” and the Sundance Audience Prize Winning documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman.’” Walden Media’s most recent theatrical release is the family comedy “Parental Guidance,” starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, which was the biggest comedy hit of the 2012 holiday season.
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Chief Operating Officer of Anschutz Film Group and Walden Media
Frank Smith is Chief Operating Officer of Anschutz Film Group (AFG) and Walden Media. Smith has been with AFG since 2003, but currently oversees all aspects of AFG’s operations (development, physical production, publishing, marketing and outreach, finance, legal and business affairs) and 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®-winners 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.
President of Walden Media
Micheal Flaherty is the President of Walden Media, a company he co-founded in his apartment in 1999. Since that time, Walden has gone on to produce over 30 films, publish a number of award-winning books, develop standards-based curriculum for dozens of subjects, and even break a couple of Guinness World Records.
Flaherty serves on a number of boards including the Salvation Army National Advisory Board, The Deseret News Editorial Advisory, Rachel’s Challenge, and Vision 360, an organization dedicated to supporting and founding churches across the country. He has been published in a number of newspapers and magazines and writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Tufts University, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts where he helps his wife Kelly homeschool their three children.
Francis X. (“Chip”) Flaherty, Jr.
Executive Vice-President and Publisher of Walden Media
Francis X. (“Chip”) Flaherty, Jr. is Executive Vice-President and Publisher of Walden Media. He has been with the Company since its founding. As Publisher, Flaherty oversees all Walden Media publishing efforts and initiatives, including the formation of the publishing co-venture with Penguin Publishing that resulted in a number of award-winning books, including Savvy, which garnered a Newbery Honor and appeared on the New York Times Children’s Best Sellers List; Scumble, which appeared on the New York Times Children’s Best Sellers List; and Mike Lupica’s Comeback Kids series, which teaches a new generation of young athletes and readers about the power of perseverance and sport. Flaherty also oversaw the formation, and now oversees all efforts and initiatives, of the Walden Pond Press imprint, a publishing co-venture with HarperCollins. Among its titles, Walden Pond Press has published the critically acclaimed Cosmic (six starred reviews) and Breadcrumbs (five starred reviews). A number of Walden Media publishing titles have been optioned for film.
Prior to his tenure at Walden Media, Mr. Flaherty served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an assistant district attorney (Essex County) and, later, as an assistant attorney general. While serving as an assistant attorney general, Flaherty issued decisions addressing over $1 billion in publicly procured contracts. Mr. Flaherty is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School and The College of the Holy Cross.
Vice President, Development and Production
Naia Cucukov oversees creative development, outreach and current projects for Walden Media. After graduating from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media, she began her career as an assistant at CAA and Legendary Pictures. She then transitioned to Creative Executive at Bold Films and most recently, was Director of Development at Virgin Produced, Sir Richard Branson’s production company. While at Virgin, she worked on such films as LIMITLESS, MACHINE GUN PREACHER and IMMORTALS, as well as co-producing the award winning short film DEPARTURE DATE, the first film shot and edited at 35,000 feet, and overseeing creative programming on the Virgin Produced Channel onboard Virgin airlines.