'Blindspotting,' 'Unlovable' Filmmakers Among New Directors of Disney's Upcoming Animated Movies

Suzi Yoonessi - Carlos Lopez Estrada-Josie Trinidad- Marc Smith- Publicity - Split - H 2019
Walt Disney Animation

Two of the new hires have made award-winning projects, while the others are veteran story artists with credits on 'Zootopia,' 'Wreck-It Ralph' and more.

Walt Disney Animation on Tuesday revealed that four filmmakers have been appointed to create new animated projects for theatrical release.

Those filmmakers include Carlos Lopez Estrada (he debuted with Blindspotting in 2018) and Suzi Yoonessi (her musical comedy, the Duplass brothers film Unlovable, won a special jury award at SXSW in 2018). Joining them are story artists Josie Trinidad (Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Marc Smith (Big Hero 6, Zootopia). 

"We aim to have Walt Disney Animation Studios serve as the premiere home for filmmakers interested in telling engaging stories within the limitless animation medium," said Jennifer Lee, Walt Disney Animation chief creative officer and the director/writer of Frozen 2

"Carlos and Suzi are two incredible, inventive filmmakers who have both received acclaim for their work," she continued. "Josie and Marc, master, lead story artists, have been instrumental in shaping such films as Zootopia and Frozen 2. We are so thrilled to have these four talented artists join our 96-year-old studio as directors and help us build the stories of our future — adventures in completely original worlds, stories from around the globe, and the next generation of musicals."

Animation has made recent moves to diversify its creative teams, including those in positions of power — a chief diversity officer now exists at Dreamworks Animation — and in talent pipelines (take Pixar's SparkShorts, a series that gives directing roles to women and people of color) following monotony in their directing pool in recent years. According to CartoonBrew, a website that tracks diversity in animated projects, only one major animated film was helmed by a woman between 2010 and 2017.