The University of Utah’s Department of Film and Media Arts and J. Willard Marriott Library will host two top creatives and Utah natives from Disney’s “Moana” for a behind-the-scenes presentation in the Film and Media Arts Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. The presentation will be moderated by Department of Film and Media Arts chair Kevin Hanson, and is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.
“This is the third year we’ve been able to connect our students with top Disney artists and the impact has been immeasurable in terms of the connections made and inspiration generated among our students,” said Hanson. “Our own animation program is gaining real momentum thanks to the great faculty and graduate students we have working with our students on both their digital and traditional projects.”
As co-head of animation on the film, Hyrum Osmond oversaw the animation production with one of the highlights being the creation of an ocean character, an animated, emotive portion of the sea that interacts with the main character, Moana.
Born in Provo, Osmond was a lifelong fan of Disney animation, but it was the studio’s 1992 feature “Aladdin,” helmed by “Moana” directors John Musker and Ron Clements, that inspired him to pursue a career in the industry. He joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2008 and served as animation supervisor for Olaf in the Academy Award-winning feature “Frozen,” and also worked on “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Tangled.”
Also speaking at the event will be David G. Derrick, Jr. who worked on “Moana” as a story artist, helping visualize the film by working with the directors, writers and music team. Derrick says he quickly developed an affinity for the title character.
“I felt like I was on the journey with Moana. I have ancestors from Samoa and just as Moana comes to understand her heritage, working and researching this film brought me closer to my own.”
Born and raised in Farmington, Derrick decided to pursue a career in the animation industry after seeing “Tarzan” while in college. He joined Walt Disney Animation Studios to work on the movie. He previously worked at DreamWorks Animation where he served as a story artist for “Megamind,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Guardians,” among others.
The Department of Film and Media Arts began its own official animation emphasis two year’s ago, which focuses on the integration of critical, historical, theoretical and practical components of animation studies and production.
Osmond and Derrick will also join the Department of Film and Media Arts’ student-led Animation Club for an exclusive industry-specific Q & A at 1 p.m. in FMAB 105 prior to larger public event.