Skydance Media Appoints Bill Damaschke as President of Animation and Family Entertainment
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – October 10, 2017 – Skydance Media has named Bill Damaschke as President of Animation and Family Entertainment, effective immediately. Alongside Chief Creative Officer Dana Goldberg and Chief Executive Officer David Ellison, to whom he reports, Damaschke is responsible for helping to set the overall creative direction and strategy for Skydance’s animation and family entertainment division.
In the newly created role, Damaschke will curate and oversee a team dedicated to producing a bold and original slate of both animated and hybrid family programming, in conjunction with the Company’s feature film and television divisions. Damaschke most recently served as Chief Creative Officer at DreamWorks Animation.
In March of this year, Skydance formed a multi-year partnership with Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios and in July, announced its first two animated feature films: Luck, which comes to theaters on March 19, 2021, and Split. Veteran creative leadership teams are already attached to both. Under Damaschke’s leadership, this new division at Skydance will rapidly expand within the U.S., resulting in a significant footprint for the team in both Los Angeles and Madrid.
“Bill is a well-loved creative executive whose oversight of the DreamWorks Animation feature slate resulted in such global successes as Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon,” said Skydance Media’s Chief Executive Officer David Ellison. “Bill will now serve as the key architect of our family entertainment business and I look forward to working alongside him to extend our vision for world-building into animation and beyond.”
“In a very short time, Skydance has made a real commitment to the animation business by bringing best-in-class creative leadership teams into its first two fantastic feature projects,” added Damaschke. “I am inspired by David and Dana’s deep dedication to filmmakers, artists, and compelling stories and I’m eager to work with them and the teams both in the U.S. and at Ilion to establish Skydance as a place where the best family content creators on the planet can call home.”
Skydance’s first two animated features are Luck and Split. Luck, directed by Alessandro Carloni and written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger, is a comedy that pulls back the curtain on the millennia-old battle between the organizations of good luck and bad luck that secretly affects our daily lives. Split, directed by Vicky Jenson and written by Linda Woolverton, tells the story of Elian, a teenager who comes of age using her magical powers to defend her family when the opposing forces of light and darkness threaten to divide her kingdom.
Damaschke previously enjoyed a 20-year career at DreamWorks Animation, most recently as Chief Creative Officer, wherein he was responsible for leading the creative, artistic, and operational direction of the company. His tenure oversaw the release of some of animation’s most beloved franchise films, including Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Croods. Damaschke also oversaw all of DreamWorks Animation’s live theatrical productions, including the award-winning “Shrek The Musical.” He began his career in animation working on the hit feature, Pocahontas. A native of Chicago, Damaschke graduated from Illinois’ Wesleyan University with a BFA in Music and Theatre.
Damaschke continues to produce theater projects through his production company, StoryKey Entertainment. These include HALF TIME, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, which will be presented at the PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE in Spring of 2018 and THE PROM, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, which is eyeing a Broadway debut next year. Damaschke also serves as Executive Producer on the upcoming stage adaptation of MOULIN ROUGE, directed by Alex Timbers.
About Skydance Media
Skydance is a diversified media company founded by David Ellison in 2010 to create high quality, event-level entertainment for global audiences. The Company brings to life stories of immersive worlds across its feature film, television, and interactive platforms. Its feature films include LIFE, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Star Trek Beyond, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Terminator Genisys, World War Z, Star Trek Into Darkness, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Jack Reacher, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and True Grit. Skydance’s next feature film to release is Geostorm on October 20th. In 2017, Skydance formed an animation division to develop and produce a slate of high-end feature films and television series in partnership with Spain’s Ilion Animation Studios. Skydance Television launched in 2013. Its current slate includes Emmy-nominated Grace and Frankie on Netflix, Altered Carbon on Netflix, Jack Ryan on Amazon, Condor on AT&T Audience Network, Ten Days in the Valley on ABC, and Dietland on AMC. Skydance Interactive launched in 2016 to create and publish original and IP-based virtual reality experiences and video games. Skydance Interactive’s first VR offering, Archangel, launched in the summer of 2017 across all VR platforms.