Effective next year, Walt Disney Animation Studios is throwing the doors open to a new facility in Vancouver, BC that will focus on long-form series and special projects for Disney+. The first in the pipeline is the anticipated, feature-quality musical series Moana.
Animation veteran Amir Nasrabadi will serve as head of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Vancouver. He most recently served as EVP/General Manager at WildBrain Studios. Previous roles include overseeing Pixar Canada as VP/General Manager as well as senior leadership roles with Illumination and Paramount Animation. Nasrabadi’s role with WDAS marks a return to the studio, where he served as a finance lead.
The Burbank studio will also expand its more than 900 employees as it remains Walt Disney Animation Studios’ exclusive hub for feature film projects as well as shorter form series such as the recently announced Baymax! and Zootopia+. Story development, storyboarding and production design for all projects will be based on the Burbank lot.
“Disney Animation is creating more original storytelling for Disney+, expanding into series for the first time in our history with Iwájú, Tiana, Moana, Baymax and Zootopia+,” says Jennifer Lee, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios. “As we continue to grow our original slate of projects, there are more creative, artistic and technological opportunities than at any previous time.”
Said WDAS President Clark Spencer: “With Burbank and Vancouver both home to some of the world’s most talented artists and technicians, we believe the storytelling and visual quality created within each location will meet the incredibly high standards we set for ourselves and audiences have come to expect from Disney Animation.”
Added Nasrabadi: “I am so honored and excited to be joining the Disney family again. I can’t wait to dive in and collaborate with the talented teams at Disney Animation on a new slate of projects for Disney+ starting with Moana. I continue to be amazed at the high level of artistry and technical advancements coming out of the animation industry here in Vancouver and I am so proud to be a part of this community. This is really a dream come true for me.”
The Vancouver studio is currently hiring. Working on Moana, which is set to debut in 2024 on Disney+, is Oscar-nominated producer Osnat Shurer.
Marvel Studios is also ramping up its internal animation ops with the MCU’s first Disney+ animated series What If…?, which drops on August 11. Marvel Studios is said to be hiring around 300 California-based positions in a variety of production roles to create a slate of animated shows for Disney+.