Baobab Studios at 5: Innovations in Animated Storytelling
Jan 30th, 2021: Free, online conversation with Baobab Studios founders and creative leads.
Baobab Studios at 5: Innovations in Animated Storytelling
Saturday, January 30th, 2021 (10am PST / 6pm UK / 19:00 CET). Click here to register for free.
The six-time Emmy Award-winning team from Baobab Studios share their insights on the studio’s first five years of creating a new generation of real-time animated stories from Invasion! to their latest work, Baba Yaga. They will share the challenges and achievements of developing new ways of animated storytelling and how it applies to the future of animation including new insights into the latest animated experience, Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga is a contemporary portrayal of the Eastern European legend breathed to life with illustrative 2D pop-up animation, as well as hand-drawn and stop-motion styles, creating a modern visual language for VR inspired by classic animation. From using dynamic AI to create expressive characters to designing interactivity to connect you with the characters, Baobab Studios mission continues to be making YOU matter.
- Maureen Fan, CEO and Co-Founder, Baobab Studios
- Eric Darnell: Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Baobab Studios
- Larry Cutler, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Baobab Studios
- Kane Lee: Head of Content, Baobab Studios
Moderated by Shannon Tindle, creator of Kubo and the Two Strings
Saturday, January 30th, 2021
10:00 PDT PDT / 6:00pm UK / 19:00 CET
Maureen Fan, CEO and Co-Founder, Baobab Studios
Maureen Fan is CEO & Co-Founder of 6-time Emmy-award winning and leading independent interactive animation studio Baobab Studios, whose mission is to "Bring out your sense of wonder. Inspire you to dream. Make YOU matter.” Named Fast Company's 2018 Most Innovative Company, Baobab is creatively led by Eric Darnell (Antz, 4 Madagascar films). Baobab has released Invasion!, Asteroids!, Jack, Crow: The Legend, and Bonfire to commercial and critical acclaim. Their latest, Baba Yaga, premiered at Venice Film Festival this year. They’ve won 6 Emmy awards, including 3 Best Interactive Emmys, the first ever Best VR Annie Awards, and SIGGRAPH’s first Best in Show Award. In a first, Hollywood is taking Baobab's VR IP to become a feature film: Roth Kirschenbaum Films has signed on to adapt Invasion!, Baobab’s first interactive movie into a traditional feature film. Penguin Random House has partnered to turn Baobab's The Magic Paintbrush into a multi-book series, and MacMillan has partnered to turn Intercats into a graphic novel series.
Maureen has held leadership roles in film, gaming and the consumer web. She was most recently vice president of games at Zynga, where she oversaw three game studios including the FarmVille's, which contributed 40 percent of the company’s revenues. Previously, she worked on Pixar's Toy Story 3 film and at eBay in product management and UI design. Her collaboration, The Dam Keeper, directed by Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo, was nominated for the 2015 Oscar Best Animated Short. Maureen was also named one of ‘The Most Creative People of the Year’ by Ad Age and more recently Variety crowned her as one the execs to watch.
Eric Darnell: Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Baobab Studios
Eric Darnell is Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Baobab Studios, the world's leading independent interactive animation studio, Baobab Studios. Baobab’s mission: Inspire you to dream by bringing out your sense of wonder. Make YOU matter. Under Eric’s leadership, Baobab Studios has won 6 Emmys (3 Best Interactive Emmys), 2 Annie’s (first-ever Annie Award for Best VR Production), and first ever SIGGRAPH Immersive Best in Show Award. His interactive animation has achieved over 25 million views. Baobab has released Invasion!, Asteroids!, Jack, Crow: The Legend, and Bonfire to commercial and critical acclaim. Baobab’s latest VR piece, Baba Yaga, made its world premiere at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.
Eric's career spans 25 years as a computer animation director, screenwriter, story artist, film director and executive producer. He is the second highest box office grossing writer and director of animated feature films. Darnell was a director and screenwriter on all four films in the Madagascar franchise, which together have grossed nearly $3 billion at the box office. He was also executive producer on The Penguins of Madagascar. Previously, Eric directed DreamWorks Animation's very first animated feature film, Antz, which features the voices of Woody Allen, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, and Sharon Stone. Eric earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and a master's degree in experimental animation from The California Institute of the Arts.
Larry Cutler, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Baobab Studios
Larry Cutler is the Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of the 6 time Emmy, Annie and Webby award-winning interactive animation studio, Baobab Studios. Crow: The Legend, both a linear animated short film and an interactive VR experience, won the most awards of any animated program or series, traditional and/or interactive, at the 2019 Emmy Awards. In a first, Hollywood is taking Baobab's VR IP to become a feature film: Roth Kirschenbaum Films has signed on to adapt Invasion!, Baobab’s first interactive movie into a traditional feature film. Penguin Random House has partnered to turn Baobab's The Magic Paintbrush into a multi-book series, and MacMillan has partnered to turn Intercats into a graphic novel series. Baobab has won the 1st and 2nd-ever Annie Awards for Best VR Production. Baobab has released Invasion!, Asteroids!, Jack, Crow: The Legend, and Bonfire to commercial and critical acclaim. Baobab’s latest VR piece, Baba Yaga, made its world premiere at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.
Cutler brings deep technical leadership over the past 20 years in the area of animation creation and development. Larry currently serves on the Digital Imaging Technology Subcommittee for the Oscar Technical Achievement Awards. He was most recently the Vice President of Solutions at Metanautix, a big data analytics startup company (acquired by Microsoft). Prior to that, Larry spent 10 years at DreamWorks Animation where he served as Global Head of Character Technology and held several leadership positions in the areas of character development, animation workflow, rigging, and character simulation. Larry began his career at Pixar Animation Studios as a Technical Director on the films Monster’s Inc., Toy Story 2, and A Bug’s Life. Larry holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in computer science from Stanford University.
Kane Lee: Head of Content
Multi-Emmy Award-winning producer Kane Lee heads content for Baobab Studios and has served as executive producer for the immersive studio’s groundbreaking works directed by animation luminary Eric Darnell, including 2017 Emmy Award winner Invasion!, 2018 Emmy Award winner Asteroids!, 2019 4 time Emmy Award and 2019 Annie Award winning Crow: The Legend, the 2020 Annie Award winning experience Bonfire, and most recently, Baba Yaga. He also serves as producer of the studio’s VR immersive theater multisensory narrative, Jack, the first part of which premiered to great acclaim at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
Lee has always led at the intersection of technology and media. He masterminded the first- ever adaptation of VR IP (Invasion!) into a traditional feature film. With new technology mediums, IP is usually adapted the opposite way, from Hollywood to new medium, but Roth Kirschenbaum Films signed on to partner with Baobab to bring Invasion! to the silver screen. Lee is lead producer of 20th Century Fox’s feature film based on the Academy Award - nominated short, The Dam Keeper, and is on producing teams for projects ranging from The School for Good and Evil at Universal Pictures to Frozen writer/director Jennifer Lee’s The Way Between to the international award-winning children’s series Spooksville. Previously Lee was Vice President of Development and Production for Jane Startz Productions and worked on Horton Hears A Who!, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and Robots for Blue Sky Studios. He is an advisor in interactive media for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Emmy® award-winning artist and 4 time Annie Award nominee, Shannon Tindle, began working in the film industry in 2000 after attending the California Institute of the Arts.
Tindle has served as a designer, story artist, writer and director for both television and feature films, collaborating with Dreamworks, Disney, Cartoon Network, and Universal Studios on a wide range of projects including FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS, THE CROODS and CORALINE.
His most recent film, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, was nominated for two Oscars and won the BAFTA for Best Animated Feature. He is currently writing and directing a new film for Sony Pictures Animation.