Eight Filipino animators have made their marks in Hollywood’s visual effects and animation film industry, according to the new quarterly Philippine Animation Magazine.
In its second issue dated July, 2009, the specialty publication, which produced by AnimaDreams, Inc., printed capsule write-ups on the eight Filipino animators (presented hereunder in alphabetical order):
Ruben Aquino—As art director, animator, supervising animator, he has had quite a distinguished career at Disney. This Filipino-American animation artist was born in Okinawa. He has served as a supervising animator in several films. His credits include Dr. Dawson (The Great Mouse Detective, 1986); Fagin (Oliver & Company, 1987); Ursula (The Little Mermaid, 1989); Maurice (Beauty and the Beast, 1991); Mc Leach (The Rescuers Down Under, 1992); Adult SimbaI (The Lion King, 1995); Powahatan (Pocahontas, 1996); Li Shang, Fa Li (Mulan, 1998); and Pacha (Kingdom of the Sun, 2000). He won an award at the 6th Annual International Animated Society’s Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Character Animation of Shang in Mulan (1998). The latest additions to his filmography are Tarzan (1999), Fantasia (2000), Lilo and Stich (2002), Brother Bear (2003) and Meet the Robinsons (2000).
Nelson Bohol—He works at Disney/Pixar Studio. He is one of the animators of the movie Cars (2006). He designed Radiator Springs, the idyllic town where the hero car, Lightning McQueen, detoured and learned that “life’s a journey, not the finish line”. He was also part of several animation movies like Finding Nemo, the Nickolodeon show Rugrats, Anastasia and Titan A.E. The latest credits to his name are Ratatouille (2007) and as a production artist in the movie Wall-e (2008). In 1996, 20th Century Fox’s animation division held an exam for local artists, intent on finding talent they could bring to the US. Thinking he had noting to lose, he took the exams and became one of the 50 animators who got accepted. A native of Catbalogan, Samar, he never forgets to draw subtle symbols of his homeland. In Finding Nemo, the protagonist, Nemo, lives in a bahay kubo. The animation film, set in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, had some local Filipino touches because of Nelson.
Mars Cabrera—He is an animator, layout artist and currently works as storyboard artist in Vancouver, Canada. He is a graduate of fine arts from the University of Santo Tomas. Companies he worked with are Wildbrain, Dreamworks TV, Walt Disney TV, Hahn Film, Nelvana and Cinar. He was a two-time daytime Emmy winner for his work on Arthur, a TV series. His filmography includes: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Silverwing, Joseph, King of Dreams, Sabrina the TV series, The Mask and Pirates of Dark Water.
Ronnie del Carmen—He is an animation storyboard, story artist and designer. He is currently story supervisor on Pixar’s tenth full-length computer-animated film titled Up (2009) and director of its accompanying short film on DVD, Dug’s Special Mission. Ronnie is currently working for Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville. Before Pixar, he worked at Dreamworks and Warner Bros., all in the capacity of story artist, story supervisor, character designer, illustrator. He has also been dabbing in comics over the years for DC and Dark Horse, among others. He self-publishes his own comic book, Paper Biscuit. His filmography includes: WALL-E (story/character design, 2008); Rataouille (story, 2006); One Man Band (production design, 2005); Finding Nemo (story supervisor, 2003); Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (story supervisor, 2002); Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (storyboard, 2000); The Road to El Dorado (story supervisor, 2000); The Prince of Egypt (story, 1998); Freakazoid! (director, 1995); and Batman: The Animated Series (story board, character design, 1991-95).
Ralph Fernan—Based in Altadena, California, he is the Filipino behind Disney’s Chicken Little. Ralph is a fine arts graduate of the University of the East who made it to be one of Walt Disney’s great, talented animators. His filmography includes: Chicken Little (2005); Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights (2002); The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000); The Tigger Movie (2000); The Iron Giant (1999); Quest for Camelot (1998); Once Upon a Forest ; and The Pagemaster.
Anthony Ocampo—He went to the United States in 2000 to provide a better life for his family and found a job at a visual; effects company. Anthony is a fine arts graduate from the University of th Philippines. In his college days, he knew that the best visual effects that fed Hollywood came from the Southern California-based companies. Two months after he arrived in the US, he found himself working at Stargate Digital, the visual effects studio founded by visual effects supervisor and director of photography Sam Nicholson. After just four years with Stargate Digital, Anthony was nominated and won a Visual Effects Society Award in the category of Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial, for his Trojan horse work on the USA Network Productions special, Helen of Troy.
Gini Cruz Santos—She lives in the bay Area of Los Angeles, California. She was one of the animators who worked on Pixar’s The Incredibles, the Oscar-winning animated movie in 2005. Born in manila, her parents moved to Guam when she was three years old. She moved back to the Philippines, completed high school and earned her degree in fie arts with a major in advertising from the University of Santo Tomas. With her stint in Pixar, she has animated Woody and Jesse the Cowgirl in Toy Story 2, Sulley and Mike in Monsters, Inc. and Dory from Finding Nemo. For The Incredibles, she worked on Helen Parr, Dash, Violet, Edna Mode and Frozone.
Armand Serrano – He is a visual development artist at Sony Pictures Animation in Culver City, California. He has completed one of the studio’s very first animated features, Surf’s Up shown in 2007. Armand studied engineering at the University of Santo Tomas and received his bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in 1989. He worked as an apprentice engineer only to give up that career after six months of practice to go back to his first love—drawing. Eversince, he has been involved in animation projects of international nature in companies in the Philippines. In 1996, Armand moved to the US to work for 7th Level Inc., a multimedia company developing video games, in Glendale, California and finished Layout Visualization and Background Design course at Associates in Art in Sherman Oaks, California. He made a major step in his career by moving to Walt Disney Feature Animation Studio in 1997 to work on their long-ongoing project Mulan. His film credits include Mulan (1998), Tarzan (1999), Lilo & Stich (2002), Brother Bear (2003), and the cancelled A Few Good Ghosts (aka My Peoples). In 2004, he joined Sony Pictures Animation. He has since worked on animation projects such as Surf’s Up (2007), Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) and Open Season 2 (2009).
Joy I. Bacon, PAM editor-in-chief, has sent a letter to Film Academy Director General Leo G. Martinez. Dated October 26, 2009, the letter is quoted in part as follows:
“…We hope it will spark your interest as we seek you support in this pioneering endeavor. We welcome any article you may wish to be included in this magazine subject to our policies. An endorsement to other agencies/companies who might be interested to be part of our magazine will truly be appreciated. ..
Convinced that your organization and AnimaDreams are one in the pursuit of Filipino creativity, we look forward to a partnership with you.”
Your FEEDBACK can be posted at www.filmacademyphil.org/forum/