Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Director: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Screenwriter: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: PG
Born into an artistic household in Colorado, CHRIS SANDERS (Writer / Director) grew up drawing and penning short stories. Although Sanders drew throughout school and served as the cartoonist for the Arvada High School newspaper, he hadn’t considered art as something he could do for a living. But when his grandmother found a random article about the California Institute of the Arts (or CalArts) in the Denver Post, everything changed. Sanders applied for and was accepted to CalArts’ Animation Program, and went on to work for Marvel Productions, and then Disney Studios. He worked as a story artist on “Rescuers Down Under,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” before he was made head of story on “Mulan.”
It was towards the end of production on the film “Mulan” when then-Head of Disney Feature Animation Tom Schumacher asked Sanders if there was anything he wanted to develop. Sanders recalled a story from 18 years before that he had tried to write as a children’s book, but had given up on because he couldn’t compress it into a short-story format. Over a sushi dinner with Schumacher at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort, he pitched the story—a tale of a strange forest creature, shunned by all, and unaware of his own origins. Schumacher liked it, and when he suggested that Sanders relocate the tale of the lonely little monster into the human world, “Lilo & Stitch” was born.
Sanders wrote, boarded and directed “Lilo” with Dean DeBlois. In 2006, he left Disney Studios to join the filmmaking team at DreamWorks Animation.
Canadian-born DEAN DeBLOIS (Writer / Director) is a film director, screenwriter and animator who is equally at home in the worlds of live-action and animation filmmaking. Although already an accomplished animator and writer at the time the film became a worldwide hit, DeBlois is perhaps best known for co-writing and co-directing Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Lilo & Stitch.” He later stepped behind the live-action camera to direct the indie critical darling “Heima,” which documents alternative/post-rock band Sigur Rós’ series of free, unannounced concerts performed in their home country of Iceland. He also previously served as head of story on the Disney hit “Mulan.”
He is set to write, produce and direct the live-action comedy “The Banshee and Fin Magee” for Walt Disney Pictures. In addition, he has several live-action projects in development at Universal Studios and The Walt Disney Studio, on which he is serving as writer, director and producer.
DeBlois started his career at Hinton Animation Studios and worked as animator on the television series “The Raccoons.” He next joined Don Bluth’s Sullivan Bluth Studios in Ireland and worked on the animated features “Thumbelina” and “A Troll in Central Park.”
BONNIE ARNOLD (Producer) is an accomplished filmmaker in nearly every genre. She recently produced the Sony Pictures Classics release “The Last Station,” which received two Oscar® nominations as well as award nominations from the Screen Actors Guild; the Golden Globes; and the Independent Spirit Awards, including a nomination for Best Picture. In addition, she produced the 2006 DreamWorks release “Over the Hedge,” the Disney blockbuster “Tarzan” and the history-making film “Toy Story,” which combined have earned more than $1 billion in worldwide box office revenue.
Arnold’s previous production credits include a list of titles, among them the Oscar ®-winning epic Western “Dances with Wolves” and the hit comedy “The Addams Family.” Arnold’s interest in journalism led to her first entertainment industry assignment as the unit publicist for American Playhouse’s debut production, “King of America.” Following that, she worked with several independent filmmakers via the American Film Institute and the Atlanta Independent Film and Video Festival.
Her work in promoting independent films influenced her decision to pursue a career as a producer. Arnold is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Producers Guild of America.
KRISTINE BELSON (Executive Producer) is currently pulling double duty for DreamWorks Animation, handling producing duties for both “How to Train Your Dragon” and “The Croods.” Belson brought to DreamWorks Animation more than 15 years’ experience developing and producing both live-action and animated films. She most recently spent eight years as Executive Vice President of Production at the Jim Henson Company. During her tenure, she developed a slate of more than 40 live-action and animated films. In addition, she served as an executive producer on “Muppets from Space,” producer on “Good Boy!” and co-producer on “5 Children & It” and “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.”
Prior to joining The Jim Henson Company, Belson held the post of Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures, overseeing such films as “Big Daddy” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Before her stint at Columbia, she served as Senior Vice President for Turner Pictures, and also spent two years as Director of Production at 20th Century Fox.
TIM JOHNSON (Executive Producer) most recently co-directed the hit computer-animated comedy “Over the Hedge” and the animated action-adventure “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” for DreamWorks Animation. In addition, he served as co-director of the 1998 computer-animated hit “Antz” during his tenure at PDI/DreamWorks.
Johnson joined PDI in 1988, and two years later co-founded the studio’s Character Animation Group. He later served as animation director on the 1995 “The Simpsons” Halloween special “Homer3,” leading the team in transforming the 2-dimensional Homer into a 3-dimensional world. The episode has remained a favorite of fans of “The Simpsons,” and has become a classic to animation aficionados.
Johnson’s background in film and animation dates back to his college years. While earning a BA in English Literature at Northwestern University, he produced two animated films, both of which earned Richter Grant Organization Awards. Upon graduation, he worked for two years as a freelance cel animator and director. His introduction to computer animation came in 1985 while he was on staff at Post Effects in Chicago.
KATHY ALTIERI (Production Designer) was the first artist hired when DreamWorks Animation opened its doors in 1994, serving as Art Director on the studio’s first film, “The Prince of Egypt.” She later served as Production Designer on “Over the Hedge” and “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.”
Before joining DreamWorks, Altieri worked at Disney Feature Animation as a background supervisor on “Aladdin,” the featurette “The Prince and the Pauper,” and the Roger Rabbit short “Tummy Trouble.” She was also a background painter for such animated successes as “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and another Roger Rabbit short, “Roller Coaster Rabbit.” It was this opportunity at Disney, working directly with Jeffrey Katzenberg, that made her talent and work ethic known.
Altieri attended the University of California at Los Angeles as an Art Major and also studied Illustration at Pasadena’s Art Center for three years. She frequently teaches and speaks at conferences, festivals and various schools about art, animation and hard work.
PIERRE-OLIVIER VINCENT (Art Director) most recently worked on the computer-animated DreamWorks Animation and Aardman comedy “Flushed Away.”
Vincent joined the studio as a layout artist on “The Road to El Dorado” and went on to character design for the animated adventure “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.” He also served as lead sequence design artist on “Shark Tale.”
Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, Vincent worked as a visual development artist at Gaumont Multimedia on various television animation projects.
CRAIG RING (Visual Effects Supervisor) most recently served as Visual Effects Supervisor on the animated comedy “Over the Hedge” and on the mini-movie “Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure.” He previously served as the Digital Supervisor on “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.”
Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, Ring was based at PDI/DreamWorks in Redwood City, California. While there, he worked as a CG Supervisor on the traditionally animated “The Road to El Dorado” and was also the lead lighting supervisor for DreamWorks’ first computer-animated release, “Antz.” In addition, Ring worked on such live-action features as “Batman and Robin,” “The Peacemaker,” “The Arrival” and “Batman Forever.”
Before joining PDI/DreamWorks, Ring was a Technical Director at Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on the Oscar®-winning feature “Forrest Gump.” He began his career working in product design, software design and digital hardware design at Hewlett-Packard. He has a dual BS degree from Stanford University in Product Design and Electrical Engineering.
Prior to joining the crew of “How to Train Your Dragon,” ALESSANDRO CARLONI (Head of Story) worked as a supervising animator on the Academy Award®-nominated “Kung Fu Panda,” and as a story artist and animator on “Over the Hedge.” As story artist, Carloni was responsible for using rough sketches to take the script and translate it visually. As an animator, he breathed life into characters by providing movement and actions. Carloni first joined DreamWorks in 2002 as an animator working on the lead character in “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.”
Carloni has a wide variety of experience within the animation industry and has often held several positions during the course of production on any given animated project. In the realm of feature animation, Carloni worked as a supervising animator and sculptor on “Help! I’m a Fish,” as a character animator on “Tobias Totz” and as an animator and clean-up artist on “The Fearless Four.” As for animated shorts, Carloni served as a director, designer, storyboard and animation supervisor on “Fire Flies,” which he created for the national Italian broadcast outlet Canale 5, and for which he won an Image Award for Most Outstanding Television Commissioned Film of 2001 at the Image Award Festival. He was also a co-director, animation director, sculptor, special effects supervisor, storyboard and visual development artist on “The Shark and the Piano,” which merited several awards, including the Prix Air Nova Award for Best Short Film at the International Canada Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Short Animation Film at the Castelli Animati Animation Festival.
Hailing from Bologna, Italy, Carloni has studied a number of fine arts disciplines at various institutions. He has an Art Degree from Art Iyceum and Art College, and has also studied music composition, harmony and arrangement at the CPM Music Institute.
SIMON OTTO (Head of Character Animation) has been a key artist at DreamWorks Animation for nearly 13 years. He previously worked as an animator on the hit comedy “Bee Movie” and as a supervising animator on the DreamWorks Animation/Aardman Features computer-animated comedy “Flushed Away.” He was a character designer on the hit 2006 animated comedy “Over the Hedge,” and served as an animator on the studio’s Academy Award®-nominated hit comedy “Shark Tale.”
In addition, he worked as a supervising animator on the title character of Sinbad, as well as his crewmates Jin and Li, on the studio’s animated adventure tale “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.” Additionally, he worked as an animator on the lead character in the Academy Award®-nominated adventure “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” and also supervised the animation of the eagle in that film. Otto began his career at DreamWorks in 1997, as an animator on the epic “The Prince of Egypt,” as well as the comedy adventure “The Road to El Dorado.”
Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, Otto studied animation at the renowned Les Gobelins in Paris, France, and received additional training during an internship with Walt Disney Feature Animation in Paris. He began his career in the arts industry as a snow sculpture artist and news cartoonist. Otto is a native of Switzerland.
PHIL McNALLY (Stereoscopic Supervisor) most recently served as stereoscopic supervisor on DreamWorks’ “Monsters vs. Aliens.” Hailed as the expert on all things 3D, McNally was introduced to stereoscopic photography in 1990 while studying at the Royal College of Art in London. This hobby soon became his passion and has developed over the years through a range of creative projects—from Viewmaster promotional reels to gallery installations.
In 2001 McNally moved to California to work as an animator at Industrial Light & Magic after the success of his short animated film “Pump-Action.” His stereoscopic experience was rewarded when Disney tasked ILM with converting “Chicken Little” into a 3D release in 2005. Since then, McNally has supervised the stereoscopic work on Disney’s “Meet the Robinsons” and advised on the 3D conversion of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
MATT BAER (Head of Effects) joined PDI/DreamWorks in 1999, handling cloth effects for “Shrek.” He then went to work as an effects animator on “Shrek 2” and the television special “Shrek the Halls.” Baer served as Visual Effects Lead on the studio’s “Madagascar” and as Supervising Effects Lead “The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper.”
Prior to joining PDI/DreamWorks, Baer worked as an effects animator at Tippett Studio. He began his career at Grayphics in Santa Barbara as a designer and color corrector before joining Alias|Wavefront as a software consultant. Baer also did work as a freelancer with Santa Barbara Studios.
Baer received an MA in Business and Arts from Westmont College, Santa Barbara and also took various physics and programming classes as enhancements to his education.
Studio photos, notes and videos © 2010 DreamWorks Animation