Disney Appoints Andrew Millstein Blue Sky Co-Prez, Clark Spencer Upped to Disney Animation Prez

With the recent addition of Blue Sky Studios to Disney’s portfolio of film studios, The Walt Disney Studios’ Chief Creative Officer and Co-Chairman Alan Horn and Co-Chairman Alan Bergman announced today that Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) President Andrew Millstein and Zootopia producer and longtime creative executive Clark Spencer are stepping into new leadership roles at Disney’s animation studios.

As Blue Sky prepares to build out its upcoming film slate, Millstein will join the studio as Co-President alongside Co-President Robert Baird. Baird will continue to drive the creative direction of the studio reporting to Horn and Bergman, and Millstein will oversee day-to-day operations. Millstein will report to Jim Morris, who will expand his duties with a supervisory role at Blue Sky outside of his role as President, Pixar Animation Studios.

Spencer has been named President, Walt Disney Animation Studios, reporting to Bergman and working alongside WDAS Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee, who continues to report to Horn and Bergman.

“We are incredibly proud of the strength and depth of leadership in our animation studios, and Andrew, Clark, and Jim are all exemplars of that. The remarkable success of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios over the past decade is due in large part to the respective leadership of Andrew and Jim and their ability to foster creativity, technology, and culture in equal parts, and we are thrilled that they will be lending their experience to the Blue Sky team along with Robert Baird’s creative guidance,” said Horn and Bergman. “Clark has been an invaluable leader and contributor at Disney Animation, combining exceptional creative and business instincts, and we’re so pleased he will be leading this historic studio in a key role alongside Jennifer Lee.”

A 22-year Disney veteran, Andrew Millstein has served as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios since 2014 and General Manager of WDAS since 2008. Under his leadership, the studio has produced such creative and commercial successes as the Academy Award-winning billion-dollar hits Frozen and Zootopia, as well as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Big Hero 6 and Moana.

Clark Spencer has been with Disney for nearly 30 years, during which he has produced five Oscar-nominated feature films for Walt Disney Animation Studios. He received both an Academy Award and a Producers Guild Award for Zootopia, as well as a PGA Award for Wreck-It Ralph, and is also the producer of hit films Lilo & Stitch, Bolt and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Spencer began his career at Disney in strategic planning and finance, later overseeing all production and operations at Florida-based Disney Feature Animation as Senior Vice President and General Manager. He earned his MBA in 1990 at Harvard Business School.

Jim Morris has been with Pixar since 2005. As General Manager since 2008 and President since 2014, Morris has overseen a hugely successful and critically acclaimed slate of films that include Wall-E, which he produced, Up, Toy Story 3, Inside Out, Coco and, most recently, Toy Story 4. Prior to joining Pixar, he spent nearly 20 years in executive roles at Lucasfilm.

Animation Magazine

FOX Developing ‘Gerald’s World’ from Dillon Francis & Spencer Porter

Twentieth Century Fox TV is looking to add another animated comedy to its lineup. In development is Gerald’s World, an original concept co-created by DJ, producer and actor Dillon Francis and writer Spencer Porter (Family Guy, We Bare Bears). The toon is based on Francis’ piñata best friend, Gerald, who has become a favorite with the DJ’s fans on social media.

Gerald’s World will be executive produced by Francis and Porter. McG and Mary Viola are producing through Wonderland Sound and Vision, along with Corey Marsh.

Francis is known for pioneering the Moombahton music genre. He has headlined festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Ultra, EDC, Hard Summer and Electric Zoo, and has worked alongside the likes of DJ Snake, G-Eazy, Martin Garrix, Major Lazer, Calvin Harris and Zedd.

In addition to writing for Family Guy and We Bare Bears, Porter served as assistant to Fox favorite Seth MacFarlane on the former series, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show.

[Source: Deadline]

Animation Magazine

Chris Waters, Spencer Griffin to Head Animation, Live-Action at Stoopid Buddy

Stoopid Buddy Stoodios — the shop behind hit series Robot Chicken, SuperMansion and Buddy Thunderstruck founded by Seth Green, John Harvatine IV, Matthew Senreich and Eric Towner — has announced that Chris Waters has been appointed Head of Animation Development, and Spencer Griffin has been named Head of Live-Action Development.

“Spencer and Chris are extremely talented executives with a wealth of creative experience that line up perfectly with the Stoopid Buddy Stoodios mindset. We couldn’t be more excited to have them lead our development team,” said Senreich.

Waters spent the last 20 years as a senior level executive in animation development and production. He recently served as a Creative Executive at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, where he specialized in strategic partnerships and developed content for emerging platforms, OTT and kids, and expanding the studio’s 2D and puppet slate. Prior to his time with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Waters co-founded Oktobor Animation. The New Zealand-based visual effects and animation studio developed and produced original content for Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation and others, including the Emmy Award-winning series The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Robot and Monster.

“I’m excited to continue my journey here at the studio, and especially in this new role,” said Waters. “Working with the talent this studio champions is absolutely a dream come true. Not all dreams should come true. Like the one where you don’t know the answers to the test. That dream can stay where it is.”

Griffin joins Stoopid Buddy Stoodios from Big Breakfast, where he served as Senior Vice President and Executive Producer. His credits include Adam Ruins Everything for TruTV, Hot Date for PopTV, and The Middle of the Night Show for MTV. While at Big Breakfast, he helped earn the CollegeHumor brand over 12 million YouTube subscribers and 20 Webby Awards. In addition, he was recognized with a Webby and Telly Award for his co-direction and production of a video starring a rapping First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I’m thrilled to expand the Stoopid Buddy Stoodios creative vision into live-action,” said Griffin. “This new and innovative art form of ‘live action’ is the cutting edge of storytelling. Shows with humans as actors? It’s crazy, but it just might work.”

Learn more about the Stoodios at www.leagueofbuddies.com.

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Animation Magazine

Idris Elba, Octavia Spencer and More Join ‘Zootopia’

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Disney has revealed a slew of voice cast members who will be joining previously announced stars Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin and Shakira in its upcoming original flick, Zootopia (in theaters March 4, 2016). The actors’ I.D.s were revealed in USA Today, along with some pics of the characters they’ll be portraying.

Newly announced are:

Idris Elba as the voice of Chief Bogo, stern cape buffalo head of the Zootopia Police Department.

Octavia Spencer as Mrs. Otterson.

J.K. Simmons as noble Mayor Leodore Lionheart.

Tommy Chong as enlightened, laid-back Yax the yak.

Nate Torrence as ZPD’s Benjamin Clawhauser, a charming cheetah who loves sweets and pop stars.

Jenny Slate as Assistant Mayor Bellwether, a meek sheep.

Alan Tudyk as big-mouthed small-time crook Duke Weaselton (a shout-out to his Frozen role as the Duke of Weselton).

Raymond Persi as Flash, the fastest sloth at the DMV (Department of Mammal Vehicles).

Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake as Judy Hopps’ mom and dad, carrot farmers from rural Bunnyburrow.

Directed by Byron Howard and Riche Moore and co-directed by Jared Bush, Zootopia is set in a major metropolis inhabited entirely by cosmopolitan animals. The story centers on Officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), the first bunny on the Zootopia police force who is determined to prove herself. She’ll do anything to crack a tricky case – even if it means teaming up with con artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).

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Animation Magazine