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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 painting-mostly abstract 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 he worked."

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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