SciFi Japan

    ULTRAMAN: RISING Official Press Notes From Netflix

    ULTRAMAN: RISING premieres worldwide on Netflix on June 14th. Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS

    Source: Netflix
    Official Site: (US), (Japan)

     Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    When Tokyo is threatened by rising monster attacks, an all-star athlete reluctantly returns home to take on the mantle of Ultraman, discovering that his greatest challenge isn’t fighting giant monsters: It’s raising one.



    With Tokyo under siege from rising monster attacks, baseball star KEN SATO reluctantly returns home to take on the mantle of Ultraman. But the titanic superhero meets his match when he adopts a 35-foot-tall, fire-breathing baby kaiju. Sato must rise above his ego to balance work and parenthood while protecting the baby from forces bent on exploiting her for their own dark plans. In partnership with Netflix, Tsuburaya Productions, and Industrial Light & Magic, ULTRAMAN: RISING is written by Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes, directed by Shannon Tindle, and co-directed by John Aoshima.



    RELEASE DATE: June 14, 2024
    RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 48 minutes
    DIRECTED BY: Shannon Tindle
    PRODUCED BY: Tom Knott, p.g.a. & Lisa M. Poole, p.g.a.
    CO-DIRECTED BY: John Aoshima
    WRITTEN BY: Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes
    EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Takayuki Tsukagoshi, Masahiro Onda, and Kei Minamitani
    FEATURE ANIMATION BY: Industrial Light & Magic
    KEY CAST: Christopher Sean (Ken Sato/Ultraman), Gedde Watanabe (Professor Sato), Tamlyn Tomita (Emiko Sato/Mina), Keone Young (Dr. Onda), Julia Harriman (Ami)
    ART DIRECTOR: Sunmin Inn
    PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Marcos Mateu-Mestre
    HEAD OF STORY: Rie Koga
    EDITOR: Bret Marnell, ACE
    CASTING BY: Tanya Giang, CSA
    VFX SUPERVISOR: Hayden Jones
    MUSIC BY: Scot Stafford
    ORIGINAL SONGS BY: Diplo and Oliver Tree, Alicia Creti


    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    “WHEN I WAS A KID, I loved sitting on the floor with my parents, watching kung fu movies, Godzilla, and, most of all, Ultraman. The image of a towering, monster-fighting superhero was forever burned into my brain (and heart) and would eventually inspire this film – a celebration of the iconic superhero and my experiences as both a son and a father.

    Before my daughter was born, I thought I had it all figured out. I had a job I loved, money in the bank, and I was pitching a new idea around town about a cocky, young superhero who has to raise a giant baby monster. That was way back in 2001. Then my daughter was born, and life turned upside down.

    Kids don’t come with instruction manuals. I didn’t know when to feed her, how to get her to sleep, and work, well, it became a struggle. After weeks of sleepless nights, I called the only people I knew who could help: my incredible parents. Listening to their struggles raising my brother and me was helpful beyond measure. I began to better understand my parents, my daughter, and myself. And that understanding began to work its way into that film I had been pitching.

    Team Ultra, the nom de guerre of the incredible collection of folks who’ve come together to make this film, have poured their souls into making an action-packed popcorn movie with a big, beating heart. It’s informed by our collective experience as children and parents – the struggles, the victories, the laughs, and the love. ULTRAMAN: RISING is an exploration of what happens when a titanic superhero rediscovers the power of family thanks to a sweet, 35-foot-tall, fire-breathing baby kaiju. And, if you’re so inclined, I’d highly suggest you watch the film cuddled on the floor next to the people you love most.”



    EMMY-WINNING ARTIST and filmmaker Shannon Tindle (LOST OLLIE, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS) enlisted long-time collaborator Marc Haimes (KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, ZERO) to co-write ULTRAMAN: RISING and relied on good friend John Aoshima (DUCKTALES, AMERICAN DAD!) to help oversee the film as co-director.

    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS

    “John and I have been friends for a long time. We met at Cal/Arts in the late ’90s and nerded out about Ultraman long before this film came about,” Tindle says. “He was my head of story on KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS and began as the head of story on this film, so I knew he had insane storyboarding chops. And his experience growing up between the U.S. and Japan helped provide specificity to Ken’s journey. He’s also got an incredible eye for detail that enriched the film throughout.”

    ULTRAMAN: RISING marked the first time Aoshima stepped up as a co-director after years of working as a story artist and head of story.

    “The opportunity for me to co-direct really helped me put a creative eye on everything across production, including a cultural eye,” Aoshima says. “We have our external cultur- al consultant and we have our internal consultant team. The internal team is made up of Japanese and Japanese-American members on the team, and they were gracious enough to spend the extra time and put in their thoughts about how to approach certain cultural elements in the film and offer corrections and guidance.” Tindle and Aoshima pursued a unique animation style that blends different styles without adhering to a single one.

    “You can see there’s a lot of influence from anime, but this movie is not anime,” Aoshima says. “This is an animated CG feature that takes inspiration from Japanese manga such as Katsuhiro Otomo’s AKIRA series and anime like the EVANGELION TV series.”

    In partnership with Tsuburaya Productions, the Japanese studio that created the Ultraman franchise in the 1960s, Tindle assembled a roster of renowned talent. From 16-time Oscar-winning studio Industrial Light & Magic (RANGO), Emmy-winning VFX supervisor Hayden Jones (LOST OLLIE, THE MANDALORIAN) and animation supervisor Mathieu Vig (READY PLAYER ONE) worked closely with production designer Marcos Mateu-Mestre and art director Sunmin Inn. Emmy-winning composer Scot Stafford (LOST OLLIE) and two-time Oscar-winning supervising sound designer Randy Thom (THE INCREDIBLES, THE RIGHT STUFF) layered their work alongside original songs by three-time Grammy-winning pop producer Diplo and singer Oliver Tree and newcomer Alicia Creti.



    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS

    Hayden Jones, VFX supervisor (Industrial Light & Magic), on how Tokyo is its own character:

    “We based our model of Tokyo, as much as possible, on real-life Tokyo. So the bookstore [Tsutaya] in Daikanyama or Tonkatsu Tonki in Meguro are all based on real places that you can actually visit. We even took reference of one of the famous chefs at Tonkatsu Tonki and used that as a basis for one of the characters in the movie. Even down to a street level, they’re all based on actual streets and locations within the actual city. We really wanted to make Tokyo feel like a character in our movie. So we were always trying our best to be as authentic as possible. Everything we created – from models, textures through the layout – it all had to go through a cultural committee that would make sure that it was as accurate as possible. This attention to detail, in everything we created, really helped us capture the feeling of Japan and what it feels like to be in the streets of Tokyo.”



    Mathieu Vig, animation supervisor (Industrial Light & Magic), on achieving the film’s unique visual language:

    “We were trying not to be too cartoony, and at the same time we were not trying to be obviously photorealistic in any way. It’s really a fine line between a stylized animation that sometimes feels realistic but with very toned-down movement. Obviously, sometimes we have to go a bit bigger and exaggerate everything for the fun of it. Something that was really important for us and one of the directions that every animator was trying to stick to is that we needed to have in every shot some little true-to-life detail.”



    Marcos Mateu-Mestre, production designer (Netflix Animation), on convey- ing moments big and small:

    “From a production design standpoint, there are very interesting things in this movie. One of them is its epic scale and the challenge of creating the environments with this in mind, emphasizing the complex contrast between really large structures and the human-sized ones. We also had to take into account the process of creating other elements of the visual language including shape, color, and lighting, and how they were all directly connected to the emotion of each scene. Everything has a purpose in this movie. There’s nothing that is random or there just because it looks good. At the end of the day, one of the reasons why you want to see the movie is because the visuals really emphasize and frame the story that’s being told.”



    Diplo, pop producer and musician, on how he created an original song with vocals by Oliver Tree:

    “The filmmakers were very specific about this version of Ultraman being a culmination of all the past versions and how they wanted my song to feel like Tokyo being brought into a wild new frontier. They mentioned wanting math rock, prog rock, synth wave, and pop to all influence how the music was approached — it was so helpful to have such specific guidance on what they envisioned. I watched as many eras of Ultraman as I could, did a lot of deep dives on YouTube, and became really fascinated with learning as much as I could before diving into the music creation process. And Oliver really tailored his sound for this and brought both elements of fun and seriousness to the song that only he can do.”


    Scot Stafford, composer (Pollen Music Group), on why the score is so captivating and yet hard to describe:

    “It’s an incredibly eclectic score in terms of instrumentation and tone. We go from massive battles to the most intimate scenes; from epic Japanese [Taiko] percussion with a full orchestra, to vintage 8-bit sounds, to a solo harp, and it turns on a dime. But at the same time, and this was the hardest balance to achieve, it had to be culturally authentic and have some real emotional depth to it. That’s something that you absolutely feel in the story. These are real emotions, and the stakes are very high. That was probably one of the biggest challenges of my career. When I read the script, the first thing I noticed as both a sound and music person is that Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes, the film’s writers, wrote a lot of sound into the script, which is amazing and rarely happens so early on.”



    Randy Thom, supervising sound designer (Skywalker Sound), on the film’s nuanced approach to sound:

    “One of the things I loved about working on ULTRAMAN: RISING is that the filmmakers understood what, unfortunately, not very many people understand about sound, which is that it’s important to get sound involved on some level as early as possible. The main thing that I worked on was the voice of Emi, the baby kaiju. Shannon and John knew that they needed to animate a voice and knew that she was going to have a wide range of emotions and really needed to have a pseudo language at least. So they wisely made the decision early on to get me involved, to start making experiments to see what she was going to sound like. And I did that intermittently over a period of three years.”


    Director Shannon Tindle attends a special screening of ULTRAMAN: RISING at Netflix Tudum Theater on June 01, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS



    It’s for everyone. My goal was to take a show I loved as a kid, something that’s considered niche in the U.S., and make a film that would connect with everyone. That’s one of the things I try to do with any film I make. Animated films take a long time to create, so, for me, they have to be meaningful. The film has to say something. I had the idea a while ago, but it really came to life when my daughter was born. I didn’t know what I was doing as a parent. So I would call my parents and ask for advice. That’s the heart (and theme) of the film – how parents learn as much from their children as their children learn from them.


    The original ULTRAMAN series was in syndication on a local station. I came across it on a Sunday afternoon when I was about 3 or 4, and my dad and I watched it together. I was a nerd from birth, so I was already into comic books. But Ultraman was different. There was something arresting to me about that image of a giant silver superhero fighting monsters. It always stuck with me, and years later, when I moved to L.A, I rediscovered Ultraman. I learned that he is massive in a way that we don’t understand here – for people in Japan, and all over Asia, he’s bigger than Superman or Spider-Man.


    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS

    I absolutely love working with Tsuburaya and want to continue to work with them. I think they’re such an open-minded group of folks, and they have done nothing but support us, which is not typically the case when you have a character this big. People are so protective of it that you feel like the  story you’re telling is a pulled punch. We didn’t compromise anything, and we made the movie better because they were constantly reminding us what this character means to people.


    Our goal was for Japanese folks to see themselves in the film, from how people engage with one another to what their houses and signage look like – little tiny details like that. We worked with our cultural consultant, Mayumi Yoshida, who is a talented filmmaker in her own right, and we also had our own internal team that included both Japanese and Japanese-American folks who would have weekly meetings to review all of our materials. Then we’d sit down together and talk it through. We really wanted to make sure that we were doing things that were not just acceptable, but thoughtful.


    Although family has always been a part of the Ultraman legacy, we’re leaning into parent- hood in a way that hasn’t been ex- plored before. What does it feel like to have this incredible power and still be overwhelmed by a child? There’s something deeply emotional and incredibly entertaining about that shared experience. It’s universal, something we can all relate to, both superfans and folks who might be new to Ultraman.


    Man, 23 years. That I’ve been trying to get this sucker made for so long is proof of the stubbornness my parents dealt with when I was a kid. While this film has always been about the struggles and triumphs shared by parents and children, it began much more focused on my experience as a son. When my daughter was born, it shifted. I understood what it was like to be a new parent and was better equipped to empathize with my mom and dad – their joys, their fears, their doubts.

    There’s a lot of the younger me in Ken – the immaturity and that stubbornness I mentioned earlier. But there’s also a lot of my daughter in Emi. She truly tempered me. I recently showed her the film. She had big tears in her eyes and gave it two thumbs up. Ever since she could hold up her thumbs, it’s always been her highest expression of praise. So, I guess, two and a half decades was worth it.


    I hope they’ll have fun. I hope they’ll come to love Ultraman as much as I do. But most of all, I hope the film opens a dialogue between parents and children. The thing I’m proudest of when people watch it is a unanimous connection with Ken’s struggles as both a son and a parent. They’re pleasantly surprised by it. It’s something they weren’t expecting from a tentpole superhero film. They love the action, they love the comedy, but the thing they’ve expressed again and again is how much they appreciated the honest approach to family- the messiness of it all. You can’t ask for a better response than that.


    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    IN JAPAN AND OTHER PARTS OF ASIA, Ultraman is part of the pop-culture fabric, a superhero whose legacy bridges multiple generations since his debut in 1966 on the TV show ULTRA Q. Created by special-effects director Eiji Tsuburaya (co-creator of the Godzilla franchise), the science-fiction character has spawned hundreds of series, films, video games, comic books, spinoffs, and even various iterations of the hero known as Ultras. Racking up billions of dollars in merchandising revue, Ultraman eventually became an international phenomenon and still looms large in superhero lore.

    His enduring appeal is simple, says Takayuki Tsukagoshi, chairman and CEO of Tsuburaya Productions. “Ultraman is an inspirational character in a sense that people can associate him with their own individual imagination, interpretations, and wishes,” Tsukagoshi says. “To the audience, not only will they feel that Ultraman is their biggest supporter, but simul- taneously they will be inspired by his devoted and selfless actions. But above all, I believe that the storytelling of each work is what makes Ultraman really special.”

    Director Shannon Tindle, a diehard fan since he was a kid in Kentucky, was mindful of Ultraman’s footprint but also felt empowered to reveal a different shade of the hero. Throughout the creative process, Tsuburaya Productions, which owns the Ultraman franchise, supported Tindle and his team’s vision.

    “The film embraces and is true to the heart of the original Ultraman series,” Tsukagoshi says. “On the other hand, it is filled with ideas and creativity that make the story relatable and enjoyable to modern audiences worldwide.”



    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    A cocky baseball star in the U.S., Ken Sato has a lot to learn when he comes home to Tokyo to embark on a harrowing mission unlike anything he has ever known.

    “Ken Sato is confident, sexy, cool, and definitely dealing with his own issues. And Ultraman in our story is still learning how to be Ultra. Aside from being extremely powerful and awesome, he’s brand new at being a hero and has a big learning curve to overcome.” – CHRISTOPHER SEAN








    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    Emiko is Ken Sato’s mother, who cares deeply about her family and tries to mend the tensions that have fractured it.

    “Emiko is a loving, kind, and com- passionate mother – one who cares, supports, and loves in big ways ... someone you would want cheering you on!” –TAMLYN TOMITA












    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    Ami is a hard-hitting reporter who pulls no punches when it comes to uncovering what really makes Ken Sato tick.

    “Ami is a confident, dedicated, and strong- willed sports reporter, mother, and friend. She is quick-witted, stubborn, to the point, but also has the biggest heart and loves to get to know people down to their core.” – JULIA HARRIMAN







    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    As the father of Ken Sato, Professor Hayao Sato struggled to find balance between his role as a parent and his duties as a superhero. But Sato comes to his son’s rescue when he needs him the most.

    “I think Professor Sato is filled with regrets about the sacrifices he made with his family to save the world.” – GEDDE WATANABE







    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    The leader of the Kaiju Defense Force, Dr. Onda is single-minded in his mission to settle the score with the kaiju and Ultraman.

    “Dr. Onda is every man who had a dream but it was taken away from him. Not just stolen, but crushed. The only contradiction that makes him different is that he is a brilliant man who cannot digest logic with pain and hurt. He must seek revenge but knows himself that because of it he will bring his own demise.” - KEONE YOUNG








    Leading the team is Emmy Award-winning artist and seven-time Annie nominee Shannon Tindle. Since graduating from the California Institute of the Arts (Class of 2000), Shannon has served as a designer, story artist, writer, and director for both television and feature films. He has collaborated with, among others, Dreamworks, Disney, Cartoon Network, and Universal Studios on a wide range of projects, including FOSTER’S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS, TURBO, THE CROODS, and CORALINE.

    At Laika, Shannon created, wrote, designed characters, and directed the actors on KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (nominated for two Oscars and winner of the BAFTA for Best Animated Feature). For Google’s Spotlight Stories, he created and directed the Annie-nominated ON ICE. At Netflix, in addition to writing and directing ULTRAMAN: RISING, he was the creator, writer, and executive producer on the Emmy-winning series LOST OLLIE.

     John Aoshima. Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    John Aoshima is an Emmy- and Annie-nominated director known for Disney’s GRAVITY FALLS, DUCKTALES, and Fox’s Primetime animated comedy series AMERICAN DAD! John was born in Japan and raised in Southern California from an early age. He turned his passion for art and film into earning his BFA degree at California Institute of the Arts (founded by Walt Disney and famously known as CalArts). After his early career working in animated television series, he shifted his focus toward feature films and worked on Laika’s Oscar-nominated feature KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS as Head of Story. Since joining Netflix Animation in 2018, John has taken a role as Sequence Director for Annie- and Emmy-winning limited series MAYA AND THE THREE, and joined ULTRAMAN: RISING in 2019.



    Producer Tom Knott has more than 30 years of experience in the motion picture industry. He moved from his native Canada to Los Angeles in 1995 to recruit artists for Warner Bros Feature Animation. There, he worked on projects such as SPACE JAM, THE IRON GIANT, OSMOSIS JONES, and LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION, among others. In 2005, he joined Portland’s Laika to work on CORALINE. Since returning to Los Angeles, after stints in Toronto and Dublin, he has worked on various projects including THE LITTLE PRINCE. Tom produced Shannon Tindle’s ON ICE for Google’s Spotlight Stories. He has taught animation history, written on animation, and is the former Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.


    Producer Lisa M. Poole got her start in animation on ALADDIN and has been helping shape iconic films ever since. She has earned credits on many films including THE LION KING, MULAN, LILO & STITCH, and BOLT. Lisa was the Animation Line Producer on the Annie-winning MARY POPPINS RETURNS. Most recently, she served as Line Producer on the Netflix – Pearl Studio co-production OVER THE MOON.


    Julia Harriman, Gedde Watanabe, Keone Young, Shannon Tindle, Christopher Sean, John Aoshima and Tamlyn Tomita. Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS



    Most recently seen recurring in Netflix’s hit series You, Christopher Sean has appeared in a variety of popular television shows, including HAWAII FIVE-0, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, and DAYS OF OUR LIVES, where he played the role of Paul Narita for nine years with more than 300 episodes. Sean has also made his mark on the performance capture world, appearing as DC’s Nightwing in GOTHAM KNIGHTS and lending his voice to the character of Kazuda Xiono in the Disney animated series STAR WARS RESISTANCE.



    Gedde Watanabe began as a street singer on the streets of San Francisco. There he began a formal study of acting at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) and became a company member at the San Francisco Poverty Theater.

    In 1975, he debuted on Broadway in the original production of Pacific Overtures, written by John Wideman and music by Stephen Sondheim and directed by Harold Prince. He worked at New York Shakespeare Festival, under the legendary Joseph Papp, appearing in productions including Dispatches and The Music Lesson. Off Broadway he was in Sansho the Bailiff (written by the great Terrence Malick) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Poor Little Lambs. At the La Jolla Playhouse he appeared in Good Person of Szechuan, an adaptation by Tony Kushner. At the Pasadena Playhouse he was seen in Ikebana and The Fantasticks.

    Ultraman display at Netflix Tudum Theater. Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS

    His big-screen films include the John Hughes comedy teenage hit SIXTEEN CANDLES, co-starring opposite Tom Hanks and John Candy in VOLUNTEERS, PARENTAL GUIDANCE with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, and two films directed by Ron Howard, GUNG HO with Michael Keaton and EDTV with Matthew McConaughey. He was also featured in GREMLINS, VAMP, BOYS ON THE SIDE, BOOTY CALL, UHF, GUINEVERE, ALFIE AND THE LAST WORD.

    On the small screen, he starred in the television series adaptation of GUNG HO, was a series regular on DOWN HOME with Judith Ivy, recurred on ER and most recently can be seen in THE SEX LIVES OF COLLEGE GIRLS and the new web series THE DISAPPOINTMENTS. On SESAME STREET, he played the artist Hiroshi for five seasons. Special appearances on television shows include L.A. LAW, SEINFELD, MURPHY BROWN, HOME IMPROVEMENT, MAGNUM P.I., CALL ME KAT and the legendary last episode of Bob Newhart’s series NEWHART.

    Gedde lives in Los Angeles and continues to work with the distinguished Asian-American theater group East-West Players where he was seen in their productions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pippin, La Cage aux Folles, and Assassins.


    Julia Harriman is an actress, singer, and songwriter who starred as Eliza Hamilton opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Puerto Rico production of Hamilton, as well as the first national tour of “And Peggy.” She also recently starred in Pat Benatar’s Invincible - The Musical at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Julia was a co-writer and featured artist on the soundtrack for the Netflix series THE EDDY. Her music as a singer-songwriter can be found on all music streaming platforms. Julia is a Los Angeles native.



    Tamlyn Tomita, an Okinawan/Japanese/Filipina-American actress with a career spanning over three de- cades, has showcased her talent in a variety of roles across film and television. She first captured audiences’ hearts as Kumiko in THE KARATE KID PART II, and has since graced the screens in leading and supporting roles in notable films such as COME SEE THE PARADISE, THE JOY LUCK CLUB, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, and PICTURE BRIDE. In addition to her roles in films, Tamlyn has made appearances in various TV productions, including QUANTUM LEAP, LIVING SINGLE, HIGHLANDER, MURDER, SHE WROTE, CHICAGO HOPE, and WILL & GRACE among several others. Most recently, Tamlyn portrayed Yukari, Suki’s mother, in the Netflix live-action adaptation of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. Known for her passion for nurturing young talent, especially within the AAPI community, Tamlyn is a caring individual who is dedicated to uplifting and supporting the next generation of rising stars.



    Keone Young has been a performer for more than 50 years, spanning the fields of films, TV, theater, animation, and video games. He is well known for his role as Storm Shadow on the original G.I. JOE series, as well as Grandpa in Disney’s AMERICAN DRAGON: JAKE LONG and Commander Sato in STAR WARS REBELS. He cut his teeth in comedy doing shows like CHEERS, THE JEFFERSONS, DIFF’RENT STROKES, GOLDEN GIRLS, MIKE & MOLLY, WILL & GRACE, and MOM, as well as hundreds of other sitcoms. In drama series he has worked on NYPD BLUE, SONS OF ANARCHY, TRUE BLOOD, DEEP SPACE 9, and he portrayed the iconic character Mr. Wu in HBO’s DEADWOOD. In films he has been seen in MEN IN BLACK 3, DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR?, CRANK (1 & 2), THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, and STRIPTEASE, to mention a few. He is also known as Chen Stormstout in Blizzard’s WORLD OF WARCRAFT: MISTS OF PANDARIA and Joe Hayabusa in NINJA GAIDEN.



    Hayden Jones. Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS


    A multi-Emmy Award-winning visual effects supervisor, Hayden Jones has more than 25 years of ex- perience in the industry. In 2023, he was honored with a Children’s & Family Emmy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects for a Live Action Program for his contribution to Netflix’s LOST OLLIE, a live-action/animation hybrid family series directed by Peter Ramsey.

    Jones joined ILM in 2019 to launch the studio’s episodic portfolio, while serving as a VFX supervisor on Season 1 of THE MANDALORIAN. Working with the team tasked with bringing “the Child” (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) to the screen, he received both a Primetime Emmy and Visual Effects Society Award for his work on the show.

    In addition to his contributions to feature films such as ARMAGEDDON, LES MISÉRABLES, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2, and TOMB RAIDER, Jones has worked on a multitude of episodics, including BLACK MIRROR, THE YOUNG POPE, and THE STAND. Winning a BAFTA with the team on the “Metalhead” episode of BLACK MIRROR, he has also been honored with a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for his work on Discovery’s four-part television documentary HUMAN BODY: PUSHING THE LIMITs and the mini-series adaptation of Margaret George’s 1997 historical fiction novel The Memoirs of Cleopatra.

    Prior to ILM, Jones was one of the founding three members of DNEG TV where he oversaw all creative aspects of the department as Executive VFX Supervisor. Jones is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a mentor of the BAFTA Scholarship Program.



    Mathieu Vig is a Visual Effects Society Award-winning animation supervisor who has worked on films such as Alfonso Cuarón’s GRAVITY, Steven Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE, and STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Shortly after joining ILM in 2014, he began work on J.J. Abrams’ STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in which he developed the face rig for the Maz Kanata character as well as being the animation lead on the sequences involving Maz and Emperor Snoke.

    With a strong background in creature animation and character acting, Mathieu is known for his facial animation and rig development work. He has a knack for overcoming technical challenges, having led the animation team on the 13-minute long opening shot for the Academy Award-winning film GRAVITY. His contributions to the film earned him a VES Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Character.

    Vig has received two awards from the VES, including Outstanding Virtual Cinematography for the New York Race in READY PLAYER ONE and Outstanding Animated Character for his work on the animated character Dobby in HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1.



    Born and raised in South Korea, Sunmin Inn began her artistic journey at the Korea Animation High School. Since graduating from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design in 2014, she has applied her skills at Disney, Sony, Warner Bros, and Google on such projects as STORKS, VIVO, MARY POPPINS RETURNS and the Oscar-winning virtual-reality short PEARL. She has worked in different areas of the industry ou side of animation, including theme parks, comics, games, and commercials.

    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS



    Marcos Mateu-Mestre is a widely respected animation designer and author. With more than three decades of experience in feature animation, Marcos began his animation career at London’s Amblimation on WE’RE BACK! A DINOSAUR’S STORY and BALTO. He was part of the original creative team at Dreamworks Animation contributing to THE PRINCE OF EGYPT and THE ROAD TO EL DORADO. Other credits include SURF’S UP, PUSS IN BOOTS, TURBO (on which he shared an office with director Shannon Tindle), HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, and PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. His books Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers and Framed Perspective and Framed Drawing Techniques have been translated to different languages and become key textbooks at schools around the globe. Marcos has also taught drawing, illustration, and visual storytelling techniques for more than a decade.



    Scot Stafford is a multiple award-winning composer and sound supervisor in features, series, and immersive media. Following his musical score for the Oscar-nominated PRESTO (Pixar/Disney), in 2010 he co-founded Pollen, an integrated and multidisciplinary team of composers, sound designers and audio visionaries in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. Scot has since scored more than 30 projects, including ULTRAMAN: RISING (Netflix, 2024); the live-action/CG-animated series LOST OLLIE (Netflix), nominated for 10 Emmys in 2023, including MUSIC (created by Shannon Tindle and directed by Peter Ramsey); TRASH TRUCK (Netflix), directed by Max & Glen Keane; and LONG LIVE THE ROYALS (Cartoon Network). As musical director and sound supervisor, Stafford pioneered music, sound, and spatial audio on dozens of AR and VR projects with the likes of Eric Darnell, Jamie Hewlett/Gorillaz, Aardman Animation and THE SIMPSONS, as well as all 17 Spotlight Stories (Google) with animation luminaries like Glen Keane, Jorge Gutierrez, and Patrick Osborne. His projects have picked up more than 70 nominations and 40 wins so far, including 12 Annies, six Emmys, three MPSE Golden Reels, two Oscar nominations, and a Peabody. The music-driven interactive VR experience Sonaria was his directorial debut and was also nominated for an Emmy.



    Randy Thom is Director of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound, but still spends most of his time working on films. His credits include: APOCALYPSE NOW, RETURN OF THE JEDI, NEVER CRY WOLF, WILD AT HEART, FORREST GUMP, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, THE THIN BLUE LINE, WAR OF THE WORLDS, CORALINE, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, GHOST IN THE SHELL, and RATATOUILLE. He has worked with a diverse list of directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, David Lynch, Guillermo del Toro, John Waters, Errol Morris, Henry Selick, Peter Jackson, Brad Bird, and Chris Wedge. Randy’s essay “Designing a Movie for Sound” is used in many universities.

    Randy has been nominated for 15 Oscars, an Emmy, and a Grammy. He has received two Oscars: one for THE RIGHT STUFF, and one for THE INCREDIBLES. Randy was honored with the C.A.S. Career Achievement Award in 2010 and the MPSE Career Achievement Award in 2014.

    Photo courtesy of Netflix ©TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS

    About Netflix

    Netflix is the world`s leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.


    About Tsuburaya Productions

    Tsuburaya Productions is a leading independent Japanese production company, founded in 1963 by Eiji Tsuburaya.  The company has continued to produce content that has been licensed to both the domestic and international markets. The company also engages in licensing, merchandising, publishing, and live stage shows and events, exploiting the IP it creates and owns.

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