Wed, Nov 18th
6:45PM - 6:46PM
Director and Writer, Ron Clements, will be kicking off our 2020 festival with the opening keynote address. Ron is best known as the director of Disney classic films such as Moana, The Princess & The Frog, Treasure Planet, Hercules, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
RON CLEMENTS (Director) is a renowned storyteller and filmmaker at Walt Disney Animation Studios. With his longtime collaborator, John Musker, Clements has written and directed iconic feature films that have become part of Disney’s legacy, including beloved classics like “The Little Mermaid” in 1989 and “Aladdin” in 1992, as well as Disney’s 2009 return to hand-drawn animation, “The Princess and the Frog.”
Clements teamed up with Musker again, this time venturing to ancient Oceania for an epic adventure about an aspiring wayfinder, on the Academy Award®-nominated “Moana.” “Moana is a vibrant, tenacious 16-year-old growing up on an island where voyaging is forbidden,” says Clements. “But Moana has been drawn to the ocean since she can remember. She’s torn between what’s expected of her and what she is compelled to do.”
Born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa, Clements traces his interest in animation to his first viewing of “Pinocchio” at age 9. As a teenager, he began making super-8 animated films, including “Shades of Sherlock Holmes,” a 15-minute featurette he animated single-handedly. “Shades” won critical acclaim and led to a part-time job as an artist at a television station, where he animated commercials for the local market.
After graduating from high school, Clements came to California to try his luck at animation. Because there were no openings at Disney, he worked for several months at Hanna-Barbera while studying life drawing in the evening at Art Center. With persistence and determination, Clements was finally accepted into Disney’s Talent Development Program, a training ground for young animators.
After successfully completing the training program, Clements served a two-year apprenticeship under Disney legend Frank Thomas. He quickly progressed through the ranks from in-betweener to assistant to animator-storyman. His credits include “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too,” “The Rescuers,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Fox and the Hound” and “The Black Cauldron.” Clements made his writing-directing debut with Musker on the 1986 feature “The Great Mouse Detective.” Their credits also include 1997’s epic comedy “Hercules” and the intergalactic adventure “Treasure Planet” in 2002.
Clements and his wife, Tami, live in the San Fernando Valley.