Harbor has acquired Cheat, a London-based colour and finishing studio. Clients will benefit from having access to the colourist rosters of both Harbor and Cheat for their postproduction projects across entertainment and advertising. Harbor has appointed Dan Bennett as managing director, advertising, U.K. to oversee the division.
The transaction accelerates advertising capabilities for Harbor in London, a central piece to its business, and expands the company’s VFX and colour grading offerings in the U.K. The Cheat acquisition will allow Harbor to further invest in crossover and emerging talent in advertising seeking to segue into entertainment. Now positioned at Harbor’s Turnmills studio, the company offers scaled solutions for premium content while maintaining a boutique feel, servicing U.K.-based global studios and agency clients.
Harbor founder and CEO Zak Tucker stated, “Bringing Cheat and its team into the fold extends our ability to locally serve our global entertainment and advertising clients from Los Angeles to Chicago and Atlanta, to New York, and now the United Kingdom. Moreover, it adds very special, sought-after artists and producers to our crew, affording for multi-geographical opportunities and creative collaborations, both centrepieces of Harbor’s promise to clients and ourselves.”
Cheat founder and sr. colourist Toby Tomkins said, "I’m delighted to join the Harbor team and be part of such a creative and forward-thinking company. The combined strength of our artistry will continue to propel our teams and creativity forward. I can’t wait to see what we will achieve together."
James Corless, Harbor’s U.K. commercial director, stated “I’ve long admired Cheat and what Toby has built with the team there. It’s an artist-led facility that has been at the forefront of identifying and supporting new talent both on the client side and in house with its colorist roster. I look forward to working with the team there as both Harbor and Cheat continue to expand in the U.K.”
EVP of strategy and operations at Harbor, Massimo D’Avolio, commented, “When our business leaders in the U.K. approached us with the option to acquire Cheat, we quickly agreed that it was aligned with the ethos of Harbor as we are committed to foster entrepreneurs and give them the opportunity to expand creatively and facilitate their ability to increase capabilities by leveraging Harbor’s global presence.”
Bennett brings to his new roost some 15-plus years of VFX industry experience. He will oversee creative operations of Harbor’s advertising business in the U.K. and EMEA region while working in tandem with Tony Robins, managing director, advertising, North America, to continue bolstering the artistry offering for Harbor’s clients globally.
Bennett’s career began as a VFX producer, where he worked on numerous high-profile projects, including Ridley and Luke Scott’s TED 2023 (Prometheus), the Netflix series Maniac, A24 feature American Animals, and Baz Luhrmann’s H&M collaboration "The Secret Life of Flowers." Bennett's work earned him a promotion to managing director of Absolute Post in 2015.