Monday, April 2, 2012
Sanders joined Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1987 as the first person hired into Feature Animation’s newly formed visual development department. His first project at Disney was The Rescuers Down Under, where he started as part of the visual development team before making the transition to the story department. He repeated that pattern on Beauty and the Beast, for which he storyboarded several sequences, including the Beast’s death and magnificent resurrection. Following Beauty and the Beast, Sanders developed new concepts for Disney’s Fantasia 2000, but was quickly drawn into The Lion King as the film’s production designer. For The Lion King, he worked on the design sensibilities for sequences that were a departure from the film’s main style, including the “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” song sequence and Mufasa’s ghost. For the 1998 Disney animated feature, Mulan, Sanders lent his talents as co-head of story and screenwriter. His work on that film earned him two Annie Awards in the storyboarding and screenwriting categories.
For the next step in Sanders’ distinguished animation career as an artist, designer and story supervisor, Sanders made his directorial debut on Lilo & Stitch. Starting with his own, original idea, Sanders guided Lilo & Stitch through all stages of its creative journey from story sketch to the screen in his role as screenwriter/director (along with Dean DeBlois). Demonstrating yet another facet of his talent, Sanders also provided the voice of the mischievous title alien, Stitch.
After 20 successful and inspired years at Disney Animation, Sanders recently moved to Dreamworks Animation where he is currently directing his next animated feature film. An avid outdoor adventurer, Sanders resides in Los Angeles where he enjoys spending time with his daughter. In addition to his directing responsibilities, Sanders also works as an artist, author and illustrator.