Wrapping up DNEG Animation’s 2023 Inspire Series


Over the past few months, we’ve been delighted to welcome a variety of incredible speakers to DNEG Animation’s INSPIRE series!

Launched in 2021, our INSPIRE series consists of talks and panel discussions designed to… well, inspire our teams!

Earlier in the year we had an INSPIRE series event with Richard Curtis, Peter Souter and Simon Otto where they shared some insight on the upcoming animated film That Christmas. This year we wrapped up 2023 with an extra-special line-up of several remarkable filmmakers, who joined us to share more about their recent projects. From an exclusive pre-screening of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget followed by a Q&A with the director, to welcoming Nimona creator ND Stevenson to our London studio, read more about these fantastic sessions below!



Joining us in Montreal, the directorial duo behind Nimona, Troy Quane & Nick Bruno, took part in an insightful panel discussion moderated by acclaimed director Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Robots)! After sharing more about the making of the film, they hosted a Q&A and signed autographs for the team.



Shortly after, we were thrilled to welcome Troy & Nick again, this time to our London studio and alongside Nimona creator ND Stevenson! Their panel was moderated by Anthony Kemp (DNEG Animation Digital Producer), who shared:

“It was an absolute honour to have ND join Nick and Troy as we finally brought everyone together under the same roof. It was emotional, it was illuminating, it was special, it was everything you’d dream it could be! It was such a great way to celebrate our release and look back on how the world has received Nimona with open arms!”



Our DNEG Animation team was delighted to welcome Mitra Shahidi, director of Tribeca Prize-winning animated short Starling – her first film!

Mitra joined us over Zoom to share the animated short with our team, which tells the story of a mischievous star spirit that travels home to celebrate her birthday with her family. Then, in a conversation with Moderator Guillaume Chartier (Animation Supervisor), she opened up about the creative process behind the film and more about how Starling came to life.



Following the session, Guillaume said:

“It was such a privilege to host Mitra for this very special presentation on her film Starling. The insight she provided regarding her original and very personal reason to make the film, as well as the process of realizing such a beautiful independent film with a global crew, while working at Pixar full-time no less, was truly inspiring for everyone in attendance.”


Our INSPIRE series continued with a talk from Samantha Cutler and Daniel Snaddon, Directors of The Smeds and the Smoos, a TV-movie from Oscar-nominated studio Magic Light Pictures!

Both Samantha and Daniel joined us over Zoom, with the session moderated by Denis-Jose Francois (DFX Supervisor). They delved into the process of adapting the beloved children’s book into an animated film, sharing insights into the production process and more.



Denis-Jose shared:

“Engaging with the directors about their creative process on The Smeds and the Smoos was truly inspiring and their openness was enlightening. On a personal level the story’s exploration of mixed relationships resonated deeply with my own personal experiences and it was great being able to talk with them about that, in addition to the nitty-gritty of production.”


Next, the team was thrilled to dive into Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget with an exclusive pre-screening of the film followed by a conversation with Academy Award® and BAFTA-nominated Director Sam Fell!

Moderated by Simon Otto, Director at Locksmith Animation, Sam joined us at our London studio – alongside some very special stop motion guests! – to share a behind the scenes look at the making of this highly-anticipated sequel.



Bridget Dash, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, was in attendance. On the session, she said:

“What a month and what a cool industry! Whether its old school techniques of Chicken Run’s stop motion, inspiring short form stories or the beautiful and forward thinking gift that is Nimona… the INSPIRE series we do at DNEG keeps me motivated to hire folks to make films that do everything these films do, and more.”


Last but not least, we welcomed the team behind The Day I Became A Bird, Oscar-winning Director Andrew Ruhemann and Producer David Park!

Andrew and David joined us at our London studio for a conversation on the making of this inspiring short film, based on the celebrated book of the same name by Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi. The insightful session was also live-streamed for our global teams to tune in!



We’re so happy to have been joined by so many esteemed and inspiring guests for this important series!

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to all of our speakers for joining us for these special INSPIRE events.




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