Sweetland Joins Sony Pictures Animation to Direct "The
Doug Sweetland Joins Sony Pictures Animation to Direct THE FAMILIARS
CULVER CITY, California
/PRNewswire/ -- Doug Sweetland, the Academy Award®-nominated director of
the 2008 Pixar short "Presto," is set to direct THE FAMILIARS
for Sony Pictures Animation. Sam Raimi & Josh Donen are executive
producers. Adam J. Epstein and Andrew Jacobson are writing the screenplay
for THE FAMILIARS, based on their just published novel.
Sweetland joins Sony Pictures Animation after sixteen years at Pixar
Animation, a run that began right out of California Institute of the Arts
as an animator on TOY STORY (1995) and continued with A BUGS LIFE, TOY
STORY 2, MONSTERS, INC, and FINDING NEMO. Sweetland's trajectory at Pixar
elevated him to animator and storyboard artist on the Academy
Award-winning THE INCREDIBLES and supervising animator on John Lasseter's
CARS. He is the winner of two Annie Awards for Individual Achievement in
Character Animation for his work on MONSTERS, INC and FINDING NEMO. He was
also nominated for an Annie Award for his character animation on TOY STORY
After CARS, Sweetland pitched to Pixar the idea of a magician who
forgets to feed his rabbit and suffers the consequences when his neglected
co-star exacts some clever revenge. The idea evolved into Sweetland's
directorial debut and the animated short, PRESTO, which was released
theatrically with Pixar's 2008 hit, WALL-E. The short earned nominations
for both an Academy Award and an Annie Award.
"It was clear from our first conversation with Doug that we'd
found our director," said Hannah Minghella, president of production
for Sony Pictures Animation. "Not only does he possess a keen story
sense and a wonderful sense of humor but his passion for animation and for
this project are unrivaled."
"We are very excited about THE FAMILIARS and the production team
we've assembled," says Sony Pictures Digital Production President Bob
Osher. "Doug Sweetland is an extraordinary animation talent who has
developed his own style under the tutelage of remarkable mentors. We are
delighted that our project affords him the opportunity to make his feature
THE FAMILIARS, the first volume in the series published this month by
HarperCollins, is a magical adventure and an unforgettable celebration of
fantasy and friendship between wizards in training and their animal
Publisher's Weekly wrote, "Screenwriters Epstein and Jacobson's
children's book debut is a grand adventure with entertaining characters
and magic-induced fun, written in an appropriately cinematic style."
And School Library Journal said, "The consistently suspenseful
narrative moves quickly and is full of twists and turns. This winning
combination of action and humor will keep readers turning pages right up
to the ending."
Sony Pictures Animation acquired THE FAMILIARS in June 2009. Alexa Amin,
Sony Pictures Animation's vice president of development, brought the
project into the studio after Russell Hollander, an executive at Raimi and
Donen's production company introduced her to the property. Sweetland and
author/screenwriters Epstein and Jacobson are all represented by UTA.
SOURCE Sony Pictures Animation