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Jerry W. Rees (born November 15, 1956) is an American film director and animator, best known for the Emmy-nominated animated film The Brave Little Toaster (1987)[1] and creating many of the visual effects for the cult classic Tron (1982).

Jerry Rees
Jerry W. Rees

(1956-11-15) November 15, 1956 (age 62)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, animator, film producer
Years active1978-present


Early lifeEdit

Rees was mentored as an animator from the age of 16 at Disney Studios, by one of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men, and was trained and taught at California Institute of the Arts, along with classmates John Lasseter, Brad Bird, John Musker, Tim Burton and Doug Lefler.[2]


In 1978, Rees worked as an animator for the Christmas children's film The Small One. He also worked on the Disney film The Fox and the Hound (1981), and the following year served as one of the visual effects supervisors for the cutting-edge science fiction film Tron.

In 1987, Rees and science fiction writer Thomas M. Disch collaborated on adapting Disch's short story The Brave Little Toaster into an animated film. The resulting film was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and nominated for Best Animated Program at the 1988 Emmy Awards. He also teamed up with fellow CalArts alum Tim Burton to co-write and co-direct the cult classic featurettes Doctor of Doom and Luau.

Rees directed the Neil Simon-penned The Marrying Man (1991)[3] and served as an animation producer on the film Space Jam (1996). He directed the award-winning Back to Neverland documentary starring Robin Williams and Walter Cronkite, shown as part of the animation studio tours at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He also directed the educational films Tourist from Hell and The Editing Story, which screened as part of the backstage tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

In 1993, Rees wrote and produced (with Steven Paul Leiva) a new Betty Boop feature film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Seventy-five percent of the film was storyboarded, but two weeks before voice recording was to begin, MGM switched studio chiefs and the project, tentatively called The Betty Boop Feature Script, was abandoned.

In addition to his film credits, Rees helped produce and direct a record-setting 13 multimedia features at the various Disney theme parks, including Sounds Dangerous at Disney-MGM Studios, the live-action sequences of Cranium Command at EPCOT, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! at Disney-MGM Studios, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney-MGM Studios and Walt Disney Studios Paris, Extra-Terrorestrial Alien Encounter at Magic Kingdom, Michael & Mickey at Disney-MGM Studios, and the new Cinemagique show at Walt Disney Studios Paris. Rees also directed the pre-ride film at Disney's Animal Kingdom ride Dinosaur.

For some time, Rees was attached as director to a project called Rand Robinson, Robot Repairman, financed by Interscope and Philips. The film was set in a futuristic Los Angeles, and Philips expected to use the film to showcase their emerging technology. Rees storyboarded various scenes in the film,[4] but eventually several key players left the project and it was shelved.

In 2010, Rees and voice actress/writer Deanna Oliver made an appearance at California State University, Northridge to discuss the making of their film The Brave Little Toaster.[5]

Currently, Rees is a full-time creative consultant at the San Francisco film studio Wild Brain, where he is developing CGI Features. Rees is also attached to direct a Casey Silver Productions CGI feature.



Year Title Director Writer Animation
1978 The Small One Yes Character animator
1979 Doctor of Doom Yes Short film
Co-directed with Tim Burton
1981 The Fox and the Hound Yes Character animator
1982 Luau Yes Yes Short film
Co-written and directed with Tim Burton
Tron Yes Computer image choreographer
Storyboard artist
1987 The Brave Little Toaster Yes Yes Yes Storyboard artist
1991 The Marrying Man Yes
1996 Space Jam Yes Animation producer
2003 Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks Yes Yes Special effects animator
2013 Susie's Hope Yes Yes


  1. ^ Burbank Leader
  2. ^ "Jerry Rees - Executive R&D Imagineer - Walt Disney Imagineering - LinkedIn". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent (April 5, 1991). "The Marrying Man (1991) Review/Film; Marriage as Eternal Punishment". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Bob Camp Cartoonist: Rand Robinson storyboards". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  5. ^ 2010 interview with Jerry Rees and Deanna Oliver - Cal State, Northridge

External linksEdit