Company Info

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.’”

Frank Smith, President & CEO, Anschutz Film Group and Walden Media

Frank Smith

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.

Naia Cucukov, Executive Vice President, Development and Production

Naia Cucukov

Executive Vice President, Development and Production

As Executive 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. A native of southern New Jersey, she grew up loving film and ultimately discovered her passion for production while receiving her B.A. in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University. Like many entertainment executives before her, Naia started in Hollywood as an assistant at CAA followed by a post at Legendary Pictures. She then made the transition into the role of Creative Executive at Bold Films followed by the opportunity to work with Sir Richard Branson as the Director of Development at Virgin Produced. While at Virgin, Naia oversaw all creative programing 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. Since her start at Walden Media in 2013, Naia has hit the ground running, cultivating a diverse slate of films. 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; Sony Animation’s The Star, told from the perspective of the animals in the manger and Lionsgate’s Wonder, based on the bestselling middle grade novel, directed by Stephen Chbosky, which has grossed over $300 Million Dollars Worldwide. She is currently overseeing a diverse slate of films including the live action Dora the Explorer, the animated feature Monster on the Hill and John Cena vehicle, Playing with Fire with Paramount Animation/Paramount Players; the sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey and the Tom Hank’s starring scifi film, Bios with Amblin and Universal Pictures. She will executive produce both The Baby-Sitters Club series and Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting film with Netflix, and continues to push the company into television and streaming alike.

Additionally, Naia is an active board member of CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment), and a captain for the Times Up Entertainment AAPI group, and is a member of Women in Film. She spends her free time volunteering with Reading to Kids and the Brown University Alumni Organization, or with her Miniature Dachshund, Sharky.

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