Annapurna Launches Animation Division Led By Former Disney Animation Execs Robert Baird & Andrew Millstein

Former Disney animation execs Robert Baird and Andrew Millstein have joined Megan Ellison’s Annapurna to establish and co-lead an Animation division at the independent studio. 

The first film set for release via Annapurna’s new division is Nimona, directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane and produced by Julie Zackary and Karen Ryan. The film set for release on Netflix next year follows Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz) who is the only person that can help Knight Ballister Boldheart (Riz Ahmed) to prove his innocence, when he is framed for a crime he didn’t commit.

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Baird and Millstein previously headed Fox/Disney’s Blue Sky Studios, where they led over 500 filmmakers and were responsible for the development and production of Blue Sky’s feature animation slate. Millstein also previously served as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, with the company during his tenure releasing such blockbuster hits as Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet, to name a few. Baird is also a veteran screenwriter whose credits in that arena include Monsters, Inc., Cars, Monsters University, Big Hero 6 and Ferdinand, among other titles.

“We are excited to have Andrew and Robert joining Annapurna,” said the company’s Founder and CEO, Ellison. “Working with them and the Nimona team has been an incredible experience and we cannot wait for audiences to see the film. We believe adding animation alongside our other divisions, in combination with the depth of our catalog, will lead to tremendous opportunities. Anything is possible.”

“Animation is a natural extension for us and it became an instant fit when we started to collaborate with Andrew and Robert,” said Annapurna President Nathan Gary. “They both bring the kind of energy, quality and creative vision that connects all Annapurna divisions and projects.”

Remarked Millstein: “Robert and I have had an inspiring experience collaborating with Megan, Nathan, and Annapurna. We’re excited to bring incredible animated stories to Annapurna’s portfolio of talent-led projects.”

Added Baird: “We instantly felt at home at Annapurna. Their vision is extremely compelling and is a deep match with our values and the types of impactful stories we want to help bring to life.”

Annapurna is an entertainment company spanning film, TV, games, and theater that was founded by Ellison in 2011. The reconfigured studio, which dodged bankruptcy in 2019, recently produced the #MeToo drama She Said for Universal Pictures and is currently in post-production on both Corey Finley’s Landscape with Invisible Hand for MGM and Marielle Heller’s Nightbitch for Searchlight Pictures. 

Annapurna recently garnered 12 Emmy nominations for its series The Staircase and Pam & Tommy, also premiering the Vanessa Bayer-led Showtime comedy series I Love That for You in May. The company is currently in production on the animated series Sausage Party: Foodtopia — stemming from its R-rated 2016 animated feature, Sausage Party — for Prime Video, with Sony and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at Point Grey. Series coming up next for release include The Changeling for Apple TV+ and Dead Ringers for Prime Video, both of which are currently in post-production.

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