Passion Pictures announces the hire of Academy Award-winning director Alan Barillaro as a Creative Director for Passion Pictures Animation division, marking the studios ambitious expansion into animated features and TV series.

Barillaro is the Oscar winning Writer and Director of the Animated Short-Film, Piper. His recently announced global three-book deal with the leading US children’s publisher Candlewick Press and the Walker Books Group will see Barillaro make his publishing debut with Where the Water Takes Us due out in May 2023.

Barillaro began his career in animation at 16 years of age and joined Pixar Animation Studios in January 1997 where he worked for nearly 25 years, animating on feature films, from A Bug’s Life, to Lightyear. Barillaro took the role of Directing Animator for Finding Nemo, and the role of Supervising Animator for The Incredibles, WALL•E, Brave and The Incredibles 2. In 2021 he directed the TV Series short, Chore Day - The Incredibles Way.

Barillaro has been honoured with an ASIFA-Hollywood Award, an ICFF Award for Outstanding Career and in 2018, was recognised by the House of Commons of Canada for his artistic and cultural contribution to the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Barillaro’s addition further expands the team following the hire of fellow Pixar veteran David Park as Head of Production and Executive Producer last year, and Nicki Cortese as Head of Development earlier this year. Barillaro will work closely with Park, Cortese, Executive Producer Debbie Crosscup and Passion Pictures Founder, Executive Creative Director and fellow Oscar-winner, Andrew Ruhemann, to build and develop the production slate in all areas from writing and directing through to research, development and full service production.

Andrew Ruhemann said: “Alan is a true pioneer in the animation world and an inspiration to many, so we are delighted to welcome him to the Passion Pictures family. A creative powerhouse, Alan will bring invaluable experience and creativity to the studio and we are excited to be a part of the stories he’s going to tell. As well as crafting his own work, Alan will act as a creative consultant on new and existing projects and will be instrumental in developing our ambitious slate within animated Features and TV Series.”

Alan Barillaro added: “I’m thrilled to be at Passion Pictures as they embark on such an exciting chapter in their already celebrated history. Passion’s move into Feature Animation is what I and the industry has been waiting for, as Passion has long been a creative hub for some of the most talented and celebrated artists in the industry. I’m honoured to join this global studio as they continue to expand their creative and storytelling reach.”