EXCLUSIVE: Pixar co-founder and longtime Disney Animation President Ed Catmull has joined the Board of Directors and Creative Advisory Board at Baobab Studios.
Honored with five Academy Awards as well as the A.M. Turing Award (referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing”) for his contributions to 3D graphics and CGI filmmaking, Catmull brings over 50 years of experience to Baobab’s board. He served as President of both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, from Pixar’s acquisition by Disney in 2006 through his retirement in 2019, and oversaw numerous groundbreaking films from both studios, including Disney’s Big Hero 6, Frozen and Zootopia, and Pixar’s Finding Nemo, Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4, to name a few. As a member of the independent animation studio’s boards, Catmull will guide creative and operations, as the studio accelerates its award-winning storytelling across both emerging and traditional mediums.
“I’m honored to join the board of directors of Baobab Studios and to be part of their creative journey,” said Catmull. “Baobab is at the forefront of telling incredible stories across mediums, and I look forward to supporting the entire team as the company evolves into the preeminent animation studio of the future.”
“I have followed Ed’s work for years and am proud to welcome him to our board of directors,” added Baobab Studios’ co-founder and CEO, Maureen Fan. “Ed’s leadership and innovative genius in the world of animation is unparalleled, and his insight will be invaluable as we imagine new characters and worlds, as well as an active role for our audiences inside of them.”
Catmull is joined in his roles at Baobab by Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, as well as Glenn Entis—the former Chief Visual and Technology Officer at Electronic Arts, whose computer animation company PDI was acquired by DreamWorks SKG in 2000.
Lin is one of the two pioneering founders of Twitch, the world’s largest live social video platform for gamers and creators, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for over $1 billion. As one of the most respected entrepreneurs and executives in digital media, Lin and Twitch function as a center of gravity to the multi-billion dollar esports industry that is reimagining gaming, traditional sports, content and other interactive technologies. Lin is also a co-founder of Gold House, the leading Asian and Pacific Islander changemaker community that unites, invests in and promotes API creative and companies.
Entis is an Academy Award-winning animation pioneer and games industry veteran who co-founded Pacific Data Images (PDI) and wrote its first animation system, thereby earning a Scientific and Technical Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts and Sciences. DreamWorks SKG later acquired PDI to enable DreamWorks Animation’s pivot to computer graphics. Together, they created the studio’s first animated feature, Antz!, which was directed by Baobab Studios’ co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Eric Darnell.
While CEO of DreamWorks Interactive, alongside Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Entis oversaw the creation of video games including the groundbreaking Medal of Honor series, whose story was directed and produced by Spielberg, with music composed by Michael Giacchino. Its commercial and critical acclaim spawned 14 sequel installments and a new video game genre—the WWII first-person shooter. Electronic Arts acquired Dreamworks Interactive in 2000, with Entis joining the gaming giant as its Chief Visual and Technology Officer.
Fan, Darnell and Larry Cutler founded Baobab Studios in 2015 and have already seen the studio win nine Emmy Awards, including consecutive Best Interactive Media trophies for Invasion!, Asteroids!, Crow: The Legend, and last year, Baba Yaga. Baobab is known for working across the mediums of traditional animation, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and has also released projects including Jack, Bonfire, Paper Birds and Namoo. Named Fast Company‘s 2018 Most Innovative Company, its works have been viewed millions of times and have starred such talents as John Legend, Oprah, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Hudson, Glenn Close, Daisy Ridley, Constance Wu, Diego Luna, Liza Koshy, Tye Sheridan, Elizabeth Banks, Ethan Hawke, Lupita Nyong’o, Ali Wong and Edward Norton.
The company at the intersection of film and games most recently boosted its team with five new additions across their creative and marketing teams, bringing in Oscar nominee Erick Oh and Jony Chandra as Directors, Hayley Porter as Director of Marketing, and Michael McCormick (The Sims) and Brian Tinsman (Pokémon) as Games Creative Directors. Baobab recently announced that it is teaming up with Disney Branded Television to create The Witchverse, an event anthology series for Disney+. The series is based on Baba Yaga, Baobab’s three-time Emmy-winning short film and VR experience, starring an all-female ensemble of Kate Winslet, Jennifer Hudson, Daisy Ridley and Glenn Close. The studio’s IP is also currently being adapted into books, as well as additional films, original series and games.
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