Pixar’s Mary Coleman Joins Locksmith Animation As Chief Creative Officer

The London-based CG animation studio Locksmith Animation has appointed Mary Coleman as Chief Creative Officer. Coleman joins Locksmith from Pixar Animation Studios, where she served as Head of Creative Development. She will begin her work at LSA in July.

During her 23 years at Pixar, Coleman worked closely alongside numerous A-list animation directors—looking to support their vision, from original concept through final draft. Modern classics brought to life there during her tenure included Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Cars 3, Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Onward, Soul, Luca and Turning Red.

Coleman is known for helping to launch the careers of such screenwriters as Dan Fogelman (Cars), Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Meg Le Fauve (Inside Out) and Kemp Powers (Soul). She was the first woman to participate on Pixar’s Brain Trust, providing creative feedback on films in production, and is particularly proud of co-founding (with producer Nicole Grindle) The Story Artistas, Animation Artistas and Art Artistas—successful Pixar programs that empowered the studio’s female artists and paved the way for women directors and creative leaders. 

Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull brought Coleman into the fold to help create the studio’s development department in 1999. She previously served as Associate Artistic Director at San Francisco’s renowned Magic Theatre, having earned a BA from Amherst and an MFA in Theater Directing from the University of California at San Diego.

“Having someone of Mary Coleman’s professional stature come on board Locksmith as Chief Creative Officer is a milestone in our company’s journey,” said Locksmith CEO Fischer. “Her keen eye for material and her strong relationships with filmmakers were top of mind as we searched for the perfect CCO. We feel honored for her to join Locksmith Animation as we bolster our development slate, widen our artistic vision and expand our appetite for success in the animation space.”

Locksmith Co-Founder and President of Production Julie Lockhart—whose producing credits include the award-winning Ron’s Gone Wrong, Shaun the Sheep Movie and Pirates! Band of Misfits—said, “Few individuals are equally adept at story development and filmmaker collaboration. Mary is a respected industry veteran and we feel incredibly lucky for her to join our stellar team.”

“Ultimately, what drew me most to Locksmith is that between Julie Lockhart’s two decades working with Aardman and Natalie Fischer having helped launch and then worked with Illumination for a decade and my two decades at Pixar, the three of us have helped to build wildly successful studios,” added Coleman. “Locksmith’s vision is ambitious and its slate is already full of potential. I’m thrilled that they have asked me to help them deliver on their promise of creating compelling entertainment for families around the world.”

Locksmith Animation was founded in 2014, as part of the Sister group of companies. The studio’s debut feature, Ron’s Gone Wrong, was released theatrically worldwide by The Walt Disney Company in 2021. It took the top prize at the British Animation Awards and is currently streaming on both Disney+ and HBO Max. LSA is currently in production on the holiday feature That Christmas, based on writer-director Richard Curtis’ (Four Weddings and a Funeral) series of children’s books. DNEG Animation will handle digital production for the studio’s second feature, which renowned character animation and story artist veteran Simon Otto (How to Train Your Dragon trilogy) is directing, as LSA recently announced. The studio also recently optioned Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, the bestselling series of novels published by Feiwel & Friends, which focus on a reimagining of classic fairy tale heroines.

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