What do Inside Out (2015), Up (2009), Ratatouille (2007), Coco (2017), Toy Story 4 (2019), and Soul (2020) have in common? These amazing animated films by Pixar involve the creative genius of Filipino Ronnie del Carmen.
Now the writer, director, storyboard artist, designer, illustrator (and Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay at the 88th Academy Awards!) is about to take Philippine pride to a whole new level. In collaboration with streaming giant Netflix, he’s set to develop and direct an animated feature rooted in the lore and mythology of the Philippines. (Read: ICYMI: Filipino Animations Are Coming to Netflix!)
“The older I get, the more it became crucial for me to get those stories out there because when am I going to get this shot?” said the former Pixnoy (that’s Pinoy working at Pixar) in an interview on his move to Netflix. “Stories from my own culture are a huge part of what I am as a storyteller.”
While we wait for more news about this exciting project, here are five things we need to know about the accomplished Pinoy creative:
#1: Ronnie Is Not the Only Animator in the Family
His brothers Louie and Rick work as animators in rival studios. Born in Cavite City, Ronnie studied fine arts (major in advertising) from the University of Santo Tomas (UST). (Read: This Artist Paints Romantic Pictures of the Past Using Coffee)
#2: Ronnie’s First Hollywood Film Was Shot in the Philippines
In 1979, Ronnie worked as a painter for Apocalypse Now, the critically acclaimed Francis Ford Coppola war movie made in the Philippines. In the US, where he moved to in 1989, he was a storyboard artist for Warner Bros’s Batman: The Animated Series, and a story supervisor for DreamWorks’s The Prince of Egypt (1998), The Road to El Dorado (2000), Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron (2002), and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003), before joining Pixar in 2000.
#3: Ronnie Is One of Several Filipinos to Be Nominated for an Oscar
Film buffs will recall Hailee Steinfeld, who got a Best Supporting Actress nom for her riveting performance in True Grit (2011); and Robert Lopez, who bagged Oscars for his original songs “Let it Go” from Frozen (2014) and “Remember Me” from Coco (2018).
#4: This Filipino Animator Has Done Voiceovers, Too!
Check out the movie Soul, where he voices the character of Windstar. (Read: 3 Lessons ‘Over the Moon’ on Netflix Teaches Us About Grief)
#5: Like Most Filipinos, Ronnie Is a Family Man
Ronnie and his wife Tess, his classmate at the UST College of Fine Arts, are parents to two kids.