Peter Hans Docter (born October 9, 1968) is an American filmmaker and animator. He is the chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios. He is best known for directing the animated feature films Monsters, Inc. (2001), Up (2009), Inside Out (2015), and Soul (2020), and being a key figure and collaborator at Pixar. He has been nominated for nine Oscars and has won three for Best Animated Feature—for Up, Inside Out and Soul—making him the first person in history to win the category three times. He has also been nominated for nine Annie Awards (winning six), a BAFTA Children's Film Award and a Hochi Film Award. He has described himself as a "geeky kid from Minnesota who likes to draw cartoons".
Peter Hans Docter
October 9, 1968
Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S.
|Education||California Institute of the Arts|
|Employer||Pixar Animation Studios (1990–present)|
|Awards||Academy Award for Best Animated Feature|
Inside Out (2015)
Early life edit
Docter was born in Bloomington, Minnesota, the son of Rita Margaret (Kanne) and David Reinhardt Docter. His mother's family is Danish American. He grew up introverted and socially isolated, preferring to work alone and having to remind himself to connect with others. He often played in the creek beside his house, pretending to be Indiana Jones and acting out scenes. A junior-high classmate later described him as "this kid who was really tall, but who was kind of awkward, maybe getting picked on by the school bullies because his voice change at puberty was very rough."
Both his parents worked in education: his mother, Rita, taught music and his father, Dave, was a choral director at Normandale Community College. He attended Nine Mile Elementary School, Oak Grove Junior High, and John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington. Unlike his two sisters, Kirsten Docter, who was the violist and a founding member of the Cavani String Quartet, and Kari Docter, a cellist with the Metropolitan Opera, Docter was not particularly interested in music, although he learned to play the double bass and played with the orchestras for the soundtracks of Monsters, Inc. and Up.
Docter taught himself cartooning, making flip books and homemade animated shorts with a family movie camera. He later described his interest in animation as a way to "play God", making up nearly living characters. Cartoon director Chuck Jones, producer Walt Disney, and cartoonist Jack Davis were major inspirations.
He spent about a year at the University of Minnesota studying both philosophy and making art before transferring to the California Institute of the Arts, where he won a Student Academy Award for his production "Next Door" and graduated in 1990. Although Docter had planned to work for Walt Disney Animation Studios, his best offers came from Pixar and from the producers of The Simpsons. He did not think much of Pixar at that time, and later considered his choice to work there a strange and unusual one.
Before joining Pixar, Docter had created three non-computer animations, Next Door, Palm Springs, and Winter. All three shorts were later preserved by the Academy Film Archive. He was a fan of the company's early short films, but he knew nothing about them otherwise. He commented in an October 2009 interview, "Looking back, I kind of go, what was I thinking?"
He started at Pixar in 1990 at the age of 21 after John Lasseter asked his former classmate the late Joe Ranft, who was one of Docter's teachers at CalArts, to recommend any students who would be a good fit for the company. Deciding to follow his instincts and what "felt right" at the time, he accepted the job offer from then obscure Pixar and began work there the day after his college graduation as the tenth employee at the company's animation group and its third animator. Docter instantly felt at home in the tight-knit atmosphere of the company. He has said, "Growing up ... a lot of us felt we were the only person in the world who had this weird obsession with animation. Coming to Pixar you feel like, 'Oh! There are others!'"
Docter had been brought in with limited responsibilities, but John Lasseter quickly assigned him larger and larger roles in writing, animation, sound recording, and orchestra scoring. He was one of the three key screenwriters behind the concept of Toy Story, and partially based the character of Buzz Lightyear on himself. He had a mirror on his desk and made faces with it as he conceptualized the character.
I like the more character-driven stuff, and Paper Moon brought that home to me in a way that I had not seen in live action, really focusing on the whole story just about characters. It was almost theatrical in the same way you might see a stage show because you're locked in a room. It's got to be about characters, and yet it was so cinematic, a film that couldn't be done in any other medium. It just kind of blew my socks off.
Docter has been an integral part of some of Pixar's most seminal works, including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc., all of which received critical acclaim and honors. He contributed to these animated films as a co-author to the scripts, and worked with CGI stalwarts such as John Lasseter, Ronnie del Carmen, Bob Peterson, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird, and Joe Ranft. Docter has referred to his colleagues at Pixar as a bunch of "wild stallions". He is also one of the five founding members of the Pixar Braintrust, which came together during the making of Toy Story (the other four being Lasseter, Stanton, Ranft and Unkrich).
Docter made his directorial debut with Monsters, Inc.—the first Pixar film not directed by Lasseter—which occurred right after the birth of his first child, Nick. Docter has said that the abrupt move from a complete, single-minded devotion to his career to parenting drove him "upside down" and formed the inspiration for the storyline. In 2004, he was asked by John Lasseter to direct the English translation of Howl's Moving Castle. Docter then directed the 2009 film Up, released on May 29, 2009. He based the protagonist of Up partially on himself, based on his frequent feelings of social awkwardness and his desire to get away from crowds to contemplate. Following the success of Up, Docter and fellow Pixar veterans John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich as well as long-time collaborator and director Brad Bird were honored with the Golden Lion Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. Docter directed the 2015 film Inside Out to critical acclaim. His next film, Soul, was released on Disney+ on December 25, 2020, to critical acclaim.
Docter appeared at Comic-Con 2008 and the 2009 WonderCon.
In May 2009, Docter remarked retrospectively to Christianity Today that he had lived "a blessed life" so far. The A.V. Club has called him "almost universally successful". He has been nominated for eight Oscars (winning three), three Annie Awards (winning two), four BAFTA Film Awards (winning two), a British Academy Children's Award (which he won), and a Hochi Film Award (which he won). Accepting his first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, he said, "Never did I dream that making a flip book out of my third-grade math book would lead to this." Docter served as Vice-President of Creativity at Pixar Animation Studios through June 2018, and following John Lasseter stepping down from the role, became the studio's chief creative officer. TheWrap reported that Docter planned to complete the film he was currently working on, which ultimately became Soul.
Docter is expected to receive the Winsor McCay Award at the 2023 Annie Awards ceremony along with fellow animators Craig McCracken and Evelyn Lambart, for his "unparalleled achievement and exceptional contributions to animation".
Personal life edit
Docter is a fan of anime, particularly the work of Hayao Miyazaki. Docter has said that Miyazaki's animation has "beautifully observed little moments of truth that you just recognize and respond to". He is also a fan of the filmography of Pixar competitor DreamWorks. Referring to the competitive environment, he has said: "I think it's a much healthier environment when there is more diversity".
During an interview in 2009, Docter confirmed that he is a Christian and said that it influences his work. However, he went on to say that he did not envision himself ever creating a Christian film. About the relationship between his faith and his filmmaking, Docter has said:
I don't think people in any way, shape, or form like to be lectured to. When people go to a movie, they want to see some sort of experience of themselves on the screen. They don't come to be taught. So in that sense, and in terms of any sort of beliefs, I don't want to feel as though I'm ever lecturing or putting an agenda forth.
|1995||Toy Story||No||Original Story||No||Yes||Supervising Animator, Story Artist|
|1998||A Bug's Life||No||No||No||Yes||Additional Storyboarding|
|1999||Toy Story 2||No||Original Story||No||No|
|2001||Monsters, Inc.||Yes||Original Story||No||Yes||CDA Agent 00002||Animator - uncredited |
|2003||Finding Nemo||No||No||No||No||Brain Trust - uncredited|
|2004||The Incredibles||No||No||No||Yes||Additional Voices|
|2005||Howl's Moving Castle||No||No||No||Yes||Director: English Dub, U.S. Version|
|2006||Cars||No||No||No||No||Brain Trust - uncredited|
|2008||WALL-E||No||Original Story||No||Yes||Additional Voices||Pixar Senior Creative Team|
|2009||Up||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Campmaster Strauch / Kevin||Animator - uncredited |
|2010||Toy Story 3||No||No||No||Yes||Pixar Senior Creative Team|
|2015||Inside Out||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Dad's Anger|
|The Good Dinosaur||No||No||No||Yes||Pixar Senior Creative Team|
|2019||Toy Story 4||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|2024||Inside Out 2||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Shorts and series edit
|1985||Behind the Scenes at Camelot||No||No||No||No||Yes||Himself|||
|1989||Palm Springs||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Sigmond Dinosaur|||
|1990||Next Door||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Old Man||Composer|
|2002||Mike's New Car||Yes||Original Story||No||No||No|
|2005||Mr. Incredible and Pals||No||No||No||No||Yes||Mr. Incredible|
|2009||Dug's Special Mission||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|George and A.J.||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Let's Pollute||No||No||No||No||Yes||Musician: Bass|
|2015||Riley's First Date?||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Dad's Anger|
|Disney+ Original Short Films, Series, and Specials|
|2019–20||Forky Asks a Question||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Dory's Reef Cam||No||No||Yes||No||No|||
|22 vs. Earth||No||No||Yes||No||No|||
|2023||Win or Lose||No||No||Yes||No||No|||
Other credits edit
|2007||Fog City Mavericks|
|The Pixar Story||Himself; Very Special Thanks|
|2010||Day & Night|
|2013||The Blue Umbrella|
|Toy Story of Terror!||Extra Special Thanks|
|2014||Toy Story That Time Forgot|
|2015||Sanjay's Super Team|
|2017||Baby Driver||Special Thanks - uncredited|
|One Night in Miami...|
|Borat Subsequent Moviefilm|
|2021||Monsters at Work|
|A Spark Story||Himself; Special Thanks|
|Ciao Alberto||Special Thanks|
|Pixar 2021 Disney+ Day Special||Himself|
|2022||Embrace the Panda: Making 'Turning Red'||Special Thanks|
|Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to 'Lightyear'||Himself; Special Thanks|
|Cars on the Road||Special Thanks; Pixar Senior Creative Team|
Critical, public and commercial reception to films Docter has directed as of January 9, 2021.
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||CinemaScore||Budget||Box office|
|Monsters, Inc.||96% (196 reviews)||79 (35 reviews)||A+||$115 million||$577.4 million|
|Up||98% (295 reviews)||88 (37 reviews)||A+||$175 million||$735.1 million|
|Inside Out||98% (369 reviews)||94 (55 reviews)||A||$175 million||$857.6 million|
|Soul||95% (309 reviews)||83 (55 reviews)||N/A||$150 million||$120.9 million|
Awards and nominations edit
Academy Awards edit
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result||Ref.|
|1995||Toy Story||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|||
|2001||Monsters, Inc.||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|||
|2002||Mike's New Car||Best Animated Short Film||Nominated|||
|2008||WALL-E||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|||
|2009||Up||Best Animated Feature||Won|||
|Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|2015||Inside Out||Best Animated Feature||Won|||
|Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|2020||Soul||Best Animated Feature||Won|||
Annie Awards edit
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result||Ref.|
|1996||Toy Story||Best Individual Achievement in Animation||Won|
|2000||Toy Story 2||Outstanding Achievement in Writing||Won|
|2002||Monsters, Inc.||Directing in a Feature Production||Nominated|
|2010||Up||Directing in a Feature Production||Won|
|Writing in a Feature Production||Nominated|
|2016||Inside Out||Directing in a Feature Production||Won|
|Writing in a Feature Production||Won|
|2021||Soul||Directing in a Feature Production||Nominated|
|Writing in a Feature Production||Won|
Other awards edit
Collaborators (actors) edit
Pete Docter has cast certain actors and crew members in more than one of the films he has directed
|Monsters, Inc.||Up||Inside Out||Soul|
|Ronnie del Carmen|
See also edit
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- Lang, Brent (June 19, 2018). "Jennifer Lee, Pete Docter to Run Disney Animation, Pixar". Variety. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
- Covert, Colin (May 27, 2009). "Pete Docter: The Wizard of Up". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011.
- Awards for Peter Docter. Imdb.com Accessed June 8, 2009.
- "Person Details for Peter Hans Docter, "Minnesota Birth Index, 1935-2002" — FamilySearch.org". familysearch.org.
- "Pete Docter:reddit AMA - December 2012". Interviewly. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
- What's Up, Doc(ter)? By Mark Moring. Christianity Today. Published May 26, 2009.
- "Fun Factory". The Daily Telegraph. December 31, 2001. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022.
- Up Blu-Ray extra features
- Sharon Gallagher (1999). "Interview with Pete Docter". Radix. 26 (1). Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
- Worden, Leon (February 29, 2016). "CalArts Grad Pete Docter Takes Home 2nd Oscar". SCVNews.com.
- Pete Docter. by Tasha Robinson. The A.V. Club. Published May 28, 2009.
- Simon, Ben (December 27, 2012). "Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2". Animated Views. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
- Pixar Movies Are Lousy ... at First. The Wrap
- Chaudoin, Kim (March 26, 2021). "Pixar's Pete Docter shares experiences with animation students". Lipscomb University. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
- "Q&A: Pete Docter". The Hollywood Reporter. May 12, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
- To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios
- Going 'Up' with Minnesotan Pete Docter. By Euan Kerr. Minnesota Public Radio. Published May 29, 2009.
- "The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark: Robert K. Elder: 9781556528255: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon. January 1, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
- Docter, Pete. Interview by Robert K. Elder. The Film That Changed My Life. By Robert K. Elder. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2011. N. p171. Print.
- Inside The Pixar Braintrust - Fast Company
- O'Connor, Aine (October 4, 2009). "Docter keeps Pixar magic on the Up". Irish Independent.
- Interview with Up Director Peter Docter. By Beth Accomando. KPBS. Published May 29, 2009.
- "Disney/Pixar to Receive Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival". California Institute of the Arts. August 24, 2009.
- "66th Venice International Film Festival – Press Kit". Venice Film Festival. November 23, 2020.
- "It's All In Your Head: Director Pete Docter Gets Emotional In 'Inside Out'". NPR.org. NPR. February 19, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
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- "End of an Era: Inside Pixar on the Eve of John Lasseter's Departure". TheWrap. June 22, 2018.
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- Flores, Terry (June 10, 2015). "'Inside Out' Director Pete Docter Talks About Animation Influences, Pixar at LAFF Master Class". Variety. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
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- "Pete Docter". May 28, 2009.
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- Prudom, Laura (January 29, 2020). "Disney Plus' Lamp Life Sneak Peek: What Happened to Bo Peep Between Toy Story 2 and 4? - IGN". IGN. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
- Coffey, Kelly (November 23, 2020). "NEW 'Dory's Reef Cam' Coming Soon to Disney+". insidethemagic.net. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
- Julie & T.J. (December 10, 2020). "Disney Investor Day 2020 — Pixar Announces Series, Shorts, & 2 Films for 2022 'Turning Red' and 'Lightyear'". Pixar Post. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Haring, Bruce (April 21, 2021). "Disney/Pixar Spins Off Animated Hit 'Soul' With '22 Vs. Earth' Short Bowing On Disney+". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
- Beck, Michelle (January 17, 2023). "'Dug Days: Carl's Date' Disney+ Release Date Announced (US)". DisneyPlusInformer. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
- Julie & T.J. (December 14, 2020). "Pixar's First Original Series 'Win or Lose' Coming to Disney+ Fall 2023". Pixar Post. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
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- Palmer, Roger (November 10, 2021). "Pixar 2021 Disney+ Day Special Details Revealed". What's On Disney Plus. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
- Palmer, Roger (February 17, 2022). ""Embrace The Panda: Making Turning Red" Coming Soon To Disney+". What's On Disney Plus. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
- Brown, Jeremy (June 14, 2022). "Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to Lightyear Review". What's On Disney Plus. Retrieved July 2, 2022.
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- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
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- "'Inside Out' Takes Animation Golden Globe". Animation Magazine. January 11, 2016.
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- Davis, Clayton (February 2, 2021). "Viola Davis, Tyler Perry and Regina King Up for Entertainer of the Year at 2021 NAACP Image Awards". Variety. Retrieved March 2, 2021.