After 15 years at Pixar working on other people’s projects in various roles, David Park is ready to build his own IPs from the ground up. In March, the UK’s Passion Pictures recruited Park as its first head of long-form animation, and he’s tasked with developing new series and films that target a wide range of audiences, including kids and families.
Based in London, he will expand the studio’s existing pipeline to handle longer projects, develop new IPs, and hire artists and talent with experience in 2D and 3D animation.
Passion Pictures is best known for live-action documentaries such as I Am Ali, and for its service work on series (Disney Channel’s 101 Dalmation Street), shorts (Rocket & Groot) and ad campaigns for brands including LEGO
It recently expanded into proprietary animation when it produced a “Zima Blue” episode of Love, Death & Robots, and based on that successful experience, Passion is ready to dive in deeper.
“Passion Pictures has a history of short-form animation, and now I have the opportunity to take it to a new level as it shifts into long form,” says Park. “I can be more entrepreneurial, really setting something up and building out a team, which is an exciting challenge for me.”
Park previously served in a series of production roles at Pixar, and the management experience he gained there gives him many insights into building a thriving studio culture, he says. He hopes to implement opportunities like crew screenings and regular sessions for the talent to share their concerns during production. That sort of transparency and openness to ideas served him well while working as animation department coordinator on WALL-E, an animation department manager on Toy Story 3, and a production manager on Monsters University and Coco, he adds.
After leaving Pixar in 2018, Park joined London-based Locksmith Animation to help build its development pipeline and produce family-friendly film Ron’s Gone Wrong, which will be released in theaters this October. Locksmith has since inked a deal with Warner Bros. Pictures to co-develop and co-produce family-friendly features.
Passion Pictures has hired Park to repeat that success. He’ll work to build up the studio’s capabilities so it can produce more CG animation, as well as experiment with hybrid 2D/3D styles so it has more to offer clients.
The company already has several original projects in development, and while it’s too early for him to share specifics, Park plans to target all age ranges with the new content, he says.
“My long-term goal is to empower and develop Passion’s existing talent to tell the long-form stories and feature ideas that are special to them,” he says. “I’m excited to help this colony of artists expand what they’re doing and creating.”