Skydance Media has hired animation industry veteran Bill Damaschke for the newly created role of president of animation and family entertainment.
The company made the announcement Tuesday and said the appointment is effective immediately. He will report to chief executive officer David Ellison and be responsible with Dana Goldberg, chief creative officer, for helping to set the overall creative direction and strategy for Skydance’s new animation and family entertainment division in conjunction with the feature film and television divisions.
Damaschke most recently served as chief creative officer at DreamWorks Animation. He worked on “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”
Skydance formed a multi-year partnership in March with Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios and in July, announced its first two animated feature films — “Luck,” which opens on March 19, 2021, and “Split.”
“Luck,” directed by Alessandro Carloni from a script by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, centers on the battle between the organizations of good luck and bad luck that secretly affects our daily lives. “Split,” directed by Vicky Jenson and written by Linda Woolverton, tells the story of a teenager who comes of age using her magical powers to defend her family when the opposing forces of light and darkness threaten to divide her kingdom.
Skydance said the new division will rapidly expand within the U.S., resulting in a significant presence in both Los Angeles and Madrid.
“Bill is a well-loved creative executive whose oversight of the DreamWorks Animation feature slate resulted in such global successes as ‘Madagascar,’ ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon,'” said Ellison. “Bill will now serve as the key architect of our family entertainment business and I look forward to working alongside him to extend our vision for world-building into animation and beyond.”
In addition to overseeing film projects at DreamWorks Animation, Damaschke also oversaw all of DreamWorks Animation’s live theatrical productions, including “Shrek the Musical.” He began his career in animation working on Disney’s “Pocahontas.”
“In a very short time, Skydance has made a real commitment to the animation business by bringing best-in-class creative leadership teams into its first two fantastic feature projects,” Damaschke said. “I am inspired by David and Dana’s deep dedication to filmmakers, artists, and compelling stories and I’m eager to work with them and the teams both in the U.S. and at Ilion to establish Skydance as a place where the best family content creators on the planet can call home.”
Damaschke continues to produce theater projects through his StoryKey Entertainment, including “Half Time,” directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, which will be presented at the Paper Mill Playhouse in the spring, and “The Prom,” directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, which is eyeing a Broadway debut next year. Damaschke also serves as executive producer on the upcoming stage adaptation of “Moulin Rouge,” directed by Alex Timbers.
Ellison founded Skydance in 2010 and it became a financier and producer on Paramount franchises including “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek.”