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Canadian-born Dean DeBlois is equally at home in the worlds of live-action and animation filmmaking. Having most recently written, directed, and executive produced the Golden Globe®-winning How to Train Your Dragon 2, Dean is currently writing and directing the third installment of the Academy Award®-nominated How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. Prior to collaborating on the original How to Train Your Dragon with Chris Sanders, the pair had written and directed Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Lilo & Stitch and served as co-heads of story Mulan. In 2007, Dean stepped behind the live-action camera to direct the indie critical darling Heima, which documents alternative/post-rock band Sigur Rós’ series of free, unannounced concerts performed in their home country of Iceland. He followed up the concert documentary with Go Quiet, a feature length music film for Sigur Rós front-man, Jónsi.
In addition, Dean has set up several live-action projects on which he is serving as writer, director, and producer. They include The Banshee and Finn Magee at The Walt Disney Studios, Sightings at Universal Studios, and The Lighthouse at Buena Vista.
Dean started his career at Hinton Animation Studios and worked as animator on the television series The Raccoons. He next joined Don Bluth’s Sullivan Bluth Studios in Ireland and worked as a layout artist on the animated features Thumbelina and A Troll in Central Park.
Kyle Balda has been working in feature character animation for over 20 years, most notably with Illumination Entertainment and Pixar Animation Studios. He began his career in early 90’s as a student at Calarts and soon after joined to crew of Industrial Light and Magic where he animated on such films as The Mask (1994), Mars Attacks! (1996) and as supervising animator on Jumanji (1995). After animating the Grim Reaper for Peter Jackson's The Frightners (1996) at Weta Digital in New Zealand, Kyle returned to California to work at Pixar on A Bug's Life (1998), Monsters, Inc. (2001) and as directing animator of Toy Story 2 (1999).
Following a number of years conducting 3D animation masterclasses at renowned European and Asian film schools and directing short form animation projects, Balda returned to feature production in Paris as the head of layout for Illumination’s Despicable Me (2010) followed by co-directing The Lorax (2012). Balda has since directed a number of short films for Illumination and is presently directing Minions along side Pierre Coffin which is due to release this summer.
Illumination Mac Guff is one of the world’s leading studios for animated feature films. Based in Paris, the company is known for such global blockbusters as Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, and The Lorax – all produced by Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures.
The studio is currently in production on Illumination’s slate of five films, with MINIONS directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda which is due to release this summer.