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Kyle Balda is an American animator and film director, best known for co-directing the animated films The Lorax (2012), with Chris Renaud, and Minions (2015), with Pierre Coffin. He has also worked as animator on several films including Jumanji, Toy Story 2, and Despicable Me. He has worked for Pixar for years and is now with Illumination Entertainment.

Kyle Balda
ResidenceParis, France
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts
OccupationAnimator, film director
Years active1994–present
EmployerIllumination (2010-present)
Notable work

Early lifeEdit

Balda was born in Tucson, Arizona, to a Maltese mother.[1] He studied at the California Institute of the Arts in the early 1990s and dropped out after two years for a job he was offered.[1][2][3]


During his time at CalArts, Balda was hired by LucasArts as an intern to create the animated opening credit sequence for the graphic adventure game Day of the Tentacle.[4]

He started his career as an animator by working at Industrial Light & Magic, in the films including 1994's The Mask as graphics animator, 1995's Jumanji as animation supervisor, and in 1996's Mars Attacks! as character animator.[2] He also worked at Weta Digital once in New Zealand, on the 1996 film The Frighteners, he animated the Grim Reaper for the film.[2] Later Balda started working at Pixar, and his works included 1998's A Bug's Life as an additional animator, 1999's Toy Story 2 as the directing animator, and 2001's Monsters, Inc. as animator.[2] In 2010, he joined the Illumination Entertainment in Paris, and worked in the 2010s Despicable Me as the head of layout. Balda has also directed several short films and lectured at different animation schools.[2]

In 2012, Balda co-directed the Illumination's animated film for his directorial debut The Lorax along with Chris Renaud, starring Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Ed Helms, and Taylor Swift.[3][5] The film was released domestically on March 2, 2012 by Universal Pictures and grossed over $348 million with a budget of $70 million.[6]

In 2015, Balda directed another Illumination animated film, Minions, along with Pierre Coffin. The film's voice cast included Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, and Michael Keaton.[5][7][8] The film was released domestically on July 10, 2015, by Universal and has grossed over $1.1 billion.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Balda is currently living in Paris.[1]



Year Title Notes
1994 The Mask Graphics animator
1995 Jumanji Animation supervisor
1996 Mars Attacks! Character animator
1996 The Frighteners Character animator
1998 A Bug's Life Additional animator
1999 Toy Story 2 Directing animator
2001 Monsters, Inc. Animator
2010 Despicable Me Layout supervisor
2012 The Lorax Co-director
2015 Minions Director
2017 Despicable Me 3 Director
2020 Minions: The Rise of Gru Director[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Life amongst Minions... for Kyle Balda". The Irish Independent. June 22, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Kyle Balda, Illumination Mac Guff, Director". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Fraser, Paul (March 9, 2012). "Alumnus Kyle Balda's Co-directed Film The Lorax Opens Strong". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  4. ^ Mackey, Bob (March 7, 2016). "Behind the Art of Day of the Tentacle". USgamer. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Brew, Simon (June 26, 2015). "Kyle Balda interview: Minions, Day Of The Tentacle". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  6. ^ "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  7. ^ KOURBETI, KAT (June 30, 2015). "Interview: Directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda talk Minions". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  8. ^ Cecco, Leyland (July 10, 2015). "Kyle Balda and Peter Coffin". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  9. ^ "Minions (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Ableson, Brad (19 July 2017). "Excited to share some news: I'm co-directing Minions 2! Proud 2 be working with @IllumEnt director Kyle Balda & writer @BrianLynch". @BradAbleson. Twitter. Retrieved 19 July 2017.

External linksEdit