Mary Coleman has been named Chief Creative Officer at the London-based CG animation firm Locksmith Animation. Coleman previously worked as the Head of Creative Development at Pixar Animation Studios. In July, she will start working for LSA.
Coleman worked directly with a number of A-list animation directors during her 23 years at Pixar, looking to support their vision from conception to final draught. Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Cars 3, Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Onward, Soul, Luca, and Turning Red were among the modern classics that were brought to life there during her tenure.
Coleman is credited for helping screenwriters such as Dan Fogelman (Cars), Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Meg Le Fauve (Inside Out), and Kemp Powers establish their careers (Soul). She was the first woman to serve on Pixar’s Brain Trust, providing creative feedback on in-development films, and she’s especially proud of co-founding (with producer Nicole Grindle) The Story Artistas, Animation Artistas, and Art Artistas—successful Pixar programs that empowered female artists and paved the way for female directors and creative leaders.
Coleman was invited into Pixar by co-founder Ed Catmull in 1999 to assist establish the studio’s development department. She has a BA from Amherst College and an MFA in Theater Directing from the University of California in San Diego. She previously served as Associate Artistic Director at San Francisco’s renowned Magic Theatre.
“Having Mary Coleman join Locksmith as Chief Creative Officer is a watershed moment in our company’s history,” stated Locksmith CEO Fischer. “As we looked for the appropriate CCO, we kept her sharp eye for material and good relationships with filmmakers in mind.” We are delighted to welcome her to Locksmith Animation as we expand our development slate, broaden our aesthetic perspective, and increase our thirst for success in the animation industry.”
President of Production & Co-Founder of Locksmith “Few persons are equally effective at narrative development and filmmaker cooperation,” Julie Lockhart, whose producing credits include Ron’s Gone Wrong, Shaun the Sheep Movie, and Pirates! Band of Misfits remarked. Mary is a seasoned industry professional, and we are thrilled to have her on board.”
“Ultimately, what pulled me to Locksmith was the fact that, between Julie Lockhart’s two decades at Aardman, Natalie Fischer’s ten years at Illumination, and my two decades at Pixar, the three of us had helped to construct phenomenally successful studios,” Coleman continued. “Locksmith’s goal is grand, and the company’s slate is already brimming with possibilities. I’m honored that they’ve asked me to assist them in fulfilling their promise of generating engaging entertainment for families all across the world.”
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As part of the Sister group of companies, Locksmith Animation was established in 2014. In 2021, The Walt Disney Company released the studio’s premiere picture, Ron’s Gone Wrong, in theatres worldwide. It won the Best Animation Award at the British Animation Awards, and it’s available on Disney+ and HBO Max. The holiday feature That Christmas is now in production at LSA, based on the children’s novels by writer-director Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral). As LSA just revealed, DNEG Animation will handle digital production on the studio’s second feature, which will be directed by acclaimed character animation and story artist veteran Simon Otto (How to Train Your Dragon trilogy). Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, a bestselling series of novels published by Feiwel & Friends about recreating famous fairy tale heroines, was also recently optioned by the studio.