UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, January 10, 2017—Universal Filmed Entertainment Group today announced the appointment of Chris deFaria to President of DreamWorks Feature Animation Group (DWA). In this newly-created position, he will oversee all aspects of the studio’s feature animation business, including slate strategy; development, production; innovation and technology; and business affairs. deFaria will report to Universal Pictures Chairman, Donna Langley.
Illumination Entertainment Founder and CEO, Chris Meledandri, who has been working closely with Langley and the Universal team since the studio acquired DWA, will continue to act as Senior Advisor to DWA.
deFaria, a veteran of Warner Bros. Pictures, has been President, Animation and Innovative Technology for the studio for the past four years. In this capacity, he oversaw the creation of Warner Animation Group, and has been responsible for feature film animation as well as the application of emerging technologies for Warner’s feature film slate development and key hybrid projects.
Bonnie Arnold, President of DreamWorks Feature Animation, will continue in her executive role for the studio reporting into deFaria.
“Chris deFaria is ideally suited for this role,” commented Langley. “He has excellent creative instincts, a strong business sense, deep relationships and most importantly, a proven ability to harness technology to push the boundaries of animation and innovative, hybrid filmmaking. We are grateful to have Chris Meledandri as Senior Advisor so that we can benefit from his unparalleled expertise while he continues to build the Illumination brand.”
“Having the opportunity to shape the future of DreamWorks Animation and build on its storied legacy is an unbelievable honor,” said deFaria. “I can’t wait to get started with Donna and Chris, as well as Bonnie and the incredibly talented artists at DWA, on bringing more iconic stories and characters to audiences around the globe.”
While at Warner Bros. Pictures, deFaria served as an executive producer for Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, Mad Max: Fury Road, Happy Feet Two and Sucker Punch. Other notable projects in which deFaria played a key role include The Lego Movie franchise, The Great Gatsby, 300, Edge of Tomorrow, the Harry Potter films, Storks, and The Matrix trilogy.
deFaria joined Warner Bros. as Vice President of Physical Production in 1996. When the Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Production departments merged in 2006, he was named Executive Vice President, Digital Production and Animation, where he managed animation projects and visual effects-intensive scripts, explored co-production opportunities with outside animation studios and oversaw visual effects for all features and direct-to-DVD projects.
Earlier, deFaria produced television documentaries, movies and primetime specials in San Francisco. He sits on the board of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Writers Guild of America. deFaria is also a founding board member of FilmAid International, a non-profit organization that screens educational and informational films in refugee camps around the world.
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