THE CALL OF THE WILD
Born into an artistic household in Colorado, CHRIS SANDERS
(Director) grew up drawing and penning short
stories. Although Sanders drew throughout school and served as the cartoonist
for the Arvada High School
newspaper, he hadn't considered art as something he could do for a living. But
when his grandmother found
a random article about the California Institute of the Arts (or CalArts) in the
Denver Post, everything changed.
Sanders applied for and was accepted to CalArts' Animation Program, and went
on to work for Marvel
Productions, and then Disney Studios. He worked as a story artist on "The
Rescuers Down Under," "Beauty
and the Beast," "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" before he was made head of story
on "Mulan." Near the end of
"Mulan," then-head of feature animation Tom Schumacher asked Sanders if there
was anything he wanted to
develop. "I remembered a story from eighteen years before that I had tried to
write as a children's book but
had given up on, because I couldn't compress it into a short story format. Over
a sushi dinner at the Walt Disney
World Swan Resort, I pitched that story-a tale of a strange forest creature,
shunned by all, and unaware of his
own origins. Tom liked it, and when he suggested I relocate the tale of the
lonely little monster into the human
world, 'Lilo & Stitch' was born."
Sanders wrote, boarded and directed "Lilo & Stitch" with Dean DeBlois. In
2006, Sanders left Disney Studios to
join the filmmaking team at DreamWorks Animation. When he was given the
opportunity to direct "How to Train
Your Dragon," he jumped at the chance.
Born March 12, 1962, in Colorado Springs, Sanders was the middle of three
children. He remembers, "Art was
the dominant thing in our house as we grew up. My dad was always sketching and
stuff and Buck Rogers-style spaceships. On Friday nights, we all sat at the
dining room table around big glasses of
water and painted as a family. We were always welcome to draw at my dad's desk,
and we had a constant supply
of Blackwing pencils and computer paper he had liberated from the office where
When he wasn't drawing or gathering things from other people's trash, Sanders
used a manual Underwood
typewriter to tap out short stories. "Tiny tales that usually ended in
misfortune, misery and disaster. I proudly
passed the finished work out to my family. Rather than seek emotional counsel
for me, they just asked for more
stories, which I happily supplied, trying to invent new accidents more terrible
than the last."
At DreamWorks, Sanders also wrote and directed the comedy-adventure feature
film "The Croods" with Kirk
DeMicco, which was released on March 22, 2013.
In 2015, Sanders made his publishing debut with the young-adult novel "Rescue
Sirens: The Search for the
Atavist," a concept created by Sanders' wife and co-author, Jessica
Steele-Sanders. In addition to co-writing the
book, Sanders also provided the character designs and cover illustrations.
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