Ex-ILM topper named Pixar general manager

The Mouse House has upped the leadership of its toon shops.

Andrew Millstein has been named general manager of Walt Disney Animation Studios, while former Industrial Light & Magic topper Jim Morris now serves as general manager of Pixar Animation Studios.

The newly created positions represent promotions for the two execs who have overseen the digital direction of Disney Animation and Pixar — an important role considering the extent to which technology has affected how animated films have been produced over the years.

Millstein and Morris report to Ed Catmull, prexy of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

Both execs are responsible for running the day-to-day operations at the facilities and overseeing the production of full-length features, short films and special animated projects.

The two execs had already essentially been running the companies. The new titles recognize their work, Catmull said.

Millstein has been working for the Mouse since 1997, when he started there as a production exec in the studio’s motion pictures group.

Soon after that, he became general manager of Dreamquest Images and the Secret Lab, a former division of Walt Disney Feature Animation that produced the digital f/x for “101 Dalmatians,” “Reign of Fire,” “Armageddon,” “Mighty Joe Young” and “Inspector Gadget.

In 2001, he was named senior VP and general manager of production for Walt Disney Animation Florida, where he oversaw all operations and production on “Brother Bear.” That led to an exec VP post at Disney’s Circle 7 Animation unit.

Millstein’s background in visual f/x also includes a stint at Digital Domain, where he worked on “Apollo 13,” “The Fifth Element,” “Dante’s Peak” and “Titanic.”

Morris, who produced “Wall-E,” joined Pixar in 2005, and managed the production of the studio’s features, shorts, DVD content and theme park projects.

Before that, he served as prexy of Lucas Digital, where he managed ILM and Skywalker Sound. He spent 13 years as general manager of ILM.

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