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HomeCraftsPostproductionHarbor Acquires London-Based Cheat Studio for Premium Advertising Color Grading

Harbor Acquires London-Based Cheat Studio for Premium Advertising Color Grading


(L-R) James Corless, Toby Tomkins, Thom, Dan Bennett (photo supplied by Harbor)

In a move that further enhances its prominent position in London, Harbor has acquired CHEAT, a premium color & finishing studio, announced Harbor Founder and CEO Zak Tucker. Clients will benefit from having access to the colorist rosters of both Harbor and Cheat for their post-production projects across entertainment and advertising. Harbor has appointed Dan Bennett as Managing Director, Advertising, UK 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 color grading offerings in the UK. The Cheat acquisition will allow Harbor to further invest in cross-over and emerging talent in advertising seeking to segue into entertainment. Now uniquely positioned at Harbor’s Turnmills studio, the company offers scaled solutions for premium content while maintaining a boutique feel, servicing UK-based global studios and agency clients across advertising and entertainment.

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 centerpieces of Harbor’s promise to clients and ourselves.”

CHEAT Founder and Senior Colorist Toby Tomkins stated: “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 UK Commercial Director stated “I’ve long admired CHEAT and what Toby has built with the team there. It’s an artist lead 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 UK.”

EVP of Strategy and Operations at Harbor, Massimo D’Avolio, commented on the move: “When our business leaders in the UK 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.”

Dan Bennett (L), Toby Tomkins (photo supplied by Harbor)

Dan Bennett, Managing Director, Advertising UK and Toby Tomkins, Senior Colorist and Founder of CheatHarbor’s Advertising UK division will be led by Dan Bennett, who joins Harbor in the role of Managing Director, Advertising, UK. With over 15 years of experience in the VFX industry, Dan brings a wealth of strategic thinking, entrepreneurial leadership, and a proven track record of success to his new role.

As Managing Director, Advertising, United Kingdom, Dan will oversee creative operations of Harbor’s advertising business in the UK and EMEA region whilst working in tandem with Tony Robins, Managing Director, Advertising, North America, to continue bolstering the artistry offering for Harbor’s clients globally.

Dan Bennett’s career in the VFX industry began as a VFX Producer, where he worked on numerous high-profile projects, including Ridley & 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.’ His exceptional work and dedication earned him a promotion to Managing Director of Absolute Post, a leading VFX and animation studio, in 2015.


In 2012, The Harbor Picture Company was launched as an independent studio crafting premium content for the feature film, episodic, and advertising industries.

Founded as a home for moving image creativity at the forefront of the digital media era, Harbor disrupted a fragmented approach to filmmaking by bringing together all production and post-production disciplines under one roof – a unified creative process

Since then, HARBOR has grown to a global company with operations in New York, Los Angeles, London, Chicago, and Atlanta. Relentlessly focused on talent, technical innovation, and protection of artistic vision, Harbor hones every detail throughout the moving image-making process: live-action, dailies, creative & offline editorial, design, visual effects, sound & picture finishing.

Notable feature and episodic post-production projects include, Netflix’s Hand of God, A24’s Beau is Afraid, HBO’s Love & Death; Netflix’s El Conde; Bardo: A False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, directed by Alejandro IñárrituArmageddon Time, directed by James Gray, Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage, directed by Andy Serkis for Marvel and Sony, and more.


Founded in 2015, Cheat has established itself as a globally recognized leading post-production studio known for its color, finishing, visual effects, online editorial, and mastering work across commercials, TV, film, and music videos. Approaching each project with client experience in mind, Cheat tailors its ways of working to the project, in service of exceptional quality and award-winning work.

Cheat’s offering of premium color grading with a roster of award-winning colorists have garnered them top accolades in the past years culminating with nominations at The British Arrows, Televisual, and UKMVAs for their work. In 2022, Cheat was also nominated as ‘best post-production company’ at the UKMVAs and was featured in Televisual’s Top 10 list. Alongside advertising work, Cheat has recently supported filmmakers to complete high-end TV series and features such as This Is Going to Hurt (BBC/AMC), Heartstopper (Netlfix), Mood (BBC), and The End of the F***ing World (Netflix).


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