Director / Writer / Producer / CEO
KEVIN LIMA was born and raised in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and has been drawing for as long as he can remember. He traces his fascination in animation back to seeing Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK on the big screen, where he pointed to the screen and exclaimed to his mother, “I’m going to make that when I grow up!” In his young teens, inspiration from his grandmother led him to an association with Marc Kohler’s professional puppetry theater, The Puppet Workshop in Providence, RI, where he designed, created, performed, wrote and directed puppet shows through his high school and college years. He also spent a summer with the renowned Eaves-Brooks Costume Company in New York City creating clown costumes for Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus. These eclectic experiences began his life-long fascination with bringing characters of imagination to life. Lima studied acting and theater design at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts before going on to graduate from the California Institute of the Arts Animation Program.
He took his first animation job designing characters and going to Taiwan for six months to work as an animator for the independently produced feature, THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER. Upon returning, he helped develop a project with TOASTER’s director Jerry Rees, called SAMURAI CAT and animated on feature animated film, THE CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE. In 1987, he joined Walt Disney Animation to animate the character of ‘Fagin’ for OLIVER & COMPANY. Lima worked in many capacities on each of Disney Animation’s next five features. He helped design ‘Ursula,’ ‘Flounder,’ and many of the incidental characters for THE LITTLE MERMAID; he played a key role in creating the characters of ‘Lumiere,’ ‘Mrs. Potts’ and ‘Cogsworth’ for the 1991 feature, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST; and he storyboarded sequences for ALADDIN. During this period, Lima concurrently pursued his passion for live theater; directing a community theater productions of Stephen Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS and Charles Dickens’ classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
In 1992, ready to direct an animated feature, left Disney, only to return a year later as the director of Disney’s A GOOFY MOVIE. The film was a critical and commercial success and breathed new life into a classic Disney character. Lima’s unexpectedly sensitive handling of material about the ‘Goofy’ character and his son gave the film a surprisingly real, everyday quality that moviegoers of all ages related to. He followed this by directing the hugely successful and critically acclaimed TARZAN. More than two decades after its release, A GOOFY MOVIE continues to surprise with its popularity amongst millennials and the TARZAN franchise has evolved into a DVD/Blu-ray/streaming success, an attraction at the Disneyland Parks, a Broadway musical and has spawned 2 video premiere sequels. At the Oscars that year, “You’ll Be In My Heart,” a song from the film written by Phil Collins, won an Academy Award for Best Song.
Again, ready for new challenges, in 2000 Lima went on to make his live-action directing debut with 102 DALMATIANS starring Glenn Close. He parlayed that experience by directing Julie Andrews in the television movies ELOISE AT THE PLAZA and ELOISE AT CHRISTMASTIME (2003) for ABC. His work on the latter film won him the Director’s Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs.
His next endeavor, ENCHANTED, represented a culmination of Lima’s eclectic artistic experiences by being a fairy tale for all ages, which contains a mixture of traditionally hand-drawn animation, computer-generated characters, romantic comedy, music, song, and action-adventure. ENCHANTED was released during the Thanksgiving holidays, November 2007, and amongst its many nominations and wins that film season, it had three songs nominated in the same year for Best Song at the Academy Awards.
After ENCHANTED’s success, Kevin developed a myriad of films, 18 in total, for numerous studios. Many made it up to the starting gate, but unfortunately, none made it through production. The most heartbreaking of this long list was the DreamWorks Animation animated Bollywood musical, THE MONKEYS OF MUMBAI, with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and music by the international superstar composer, A.R. Rahman.
Currently, Kevin and his wife Brenda Chapman, the Academy Award-winning director of THE PRINCE OF EGYPT and BRAVE, have combined their talents in ‘Twas Entertainment which is set up at 20th Century Fox to produce live-action, animated and hybrid theatrical features.