Pixar’s first female supervising animator is Pinoy

GINI SANTOS. Pixar’s first female animation supervisor is Pinoy. Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar via rappler.com

By Vernise L. Tantuco/rappler.com – Pixar’s Dia de Muertos-inspired film Coco is visually stunning and, as expected, a major tearjerker. At the helm of the film’s animation team is Gini Santos, the 31-year-old studio’s first female supervising animator and a Filipino to boot.

A few members of the press were given the chance to see Coco on Monday, November 6, and to get to know Gini herself. Here’s what we found out about this “Pixnoy” (Pinoys working at Pixar) during our time with her.

She was born in Manila, moved to Guam when she was 3, then took up advertising arts at the University of Santo Tomas.

She later got a job in advertising in Guam, a small island where she said she felt like a “big fish in a small pond,” so it wasn’t hard for her to get a job at an agency’s art department.

Gini worked in advertising for 5 years before going back to school to study computer animation.

At the time, in the 1990s, desktop publishing was just starting to trend. Gini recalled: “I remember encouraging the owner and say, ‘Hey we should start getting computers.’ And so after 5 years, I decided I needed to go back to school and I said, I should study about computer art. So there was a computer art course in the School of Visual Arts. And so I ended up entering that, it was an MFA, major in computer art and they had computer animation, which I had never seen. So I joined that, I made a student reel, and then sent it to Pixar when Toy Story came out.”

She’s been with Pixar since 1996.

Gini’s first project with Pixar was Toy Story 2, where she was a character animator. She has since worked on films like A Bug’s Life, Monster’s Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up.

Coco, which is set in Mexico, reminded her a bit of Filipino culture.

Gini said: “I was able to relate because I felt that the dynamic of the family was the same that we had here. And you know, the example of like in the States or in the Western world, your personal space is really big. Whereas here in the Philippines, your personal spaces are really tiny. Like, people stand really close to each other on the streets. And even for family members, that’s also the case.”

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