Hannah Minghella Takes Over As Netflix’s Head Of Feature Animation

Just two-and-a-half months after taking over Netflix’s film division, Dan Lin has made his first major organizational change to the animation department, dismissing both the head of animation film Karen Toliver and v-p of animation film production Traci Balthazor.

In a statement, Lin said he had “immense gratitude” towards Toliver and Balthazor for having “helped build our animated film division into a powerhouse in the industry, with hit films like Leo, Academy Award winner Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Sea Beast, and Nimona, while also integrating Animal Logic Studios and expanding key creative partnerships.” Toliver lasted a little less than two years as head of the streamer’s feature animation department.

Lin has appointed Hannah Minghella as the streamer’s new head of feature animation and live-action family film.

Lin said about Minghella’s hiring, “Hannah brings her unique skill set and experience to this role, along with strong relationships with top filmmakers. As a studio executive and producer, Hannah has overseen many franchise films across animation and live action. I believe her expertise will deepen our efforts to bring variety and quality to both our animation and live action family film slate.”

Minghella, daughter of Oscar-winning English director Anthony Minghella, is 45 years old, making her one of the youngest people to currently lead a big-studio feature animation division. She was at Sony Pictures for 14 years, including a stint as president of production at Sony Pictures Animation in 2008, where she oversaw the launch of franchises such as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania, and The Smurfs.

Minghella later became president of production for Sony’s Columbia Pictures and president of the Tristar Pictures. During her time at Columbia, she oversaw the development and production of a wide slate of pictures including the R-rated Sausage Party and launched family franchises such as Goosebumps, Peter Rabbit, and the reboot of Jumanji.

In 2019, she moved to J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, where she headed up film production across live action, animation, and documentary. Among her credits was serving as a producer on last year’s Academy Award winner for animated short, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse. She was also overseeing the company’s Dr. Seuss adaptation of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! for Warner Bros. Animation.

Here is the full statement from Minghella on joining Netflix:

I am thrilled to be joining Netflix and the incredibly talented team working on feature animation and live-action family film. In such a short time, the studio has already distinguished itself within the animation community as a home for bold and original voices. I am so grateful to Bela and Dan for the opportunity to build on that foundation and collaborate on a dynamic slate of both animation and live-action movies. I have loved my time at Bad Robot with JJ Abrams, Katie McGrath and my wonderful colleagues there. It is hard to leave those people and those projects behind but I return to being an executive with an even deeper appreciation and respect for all artists, storytellers, filmmakers and producers who give so much of themselves to the process of creating.

Concurrent with Minghella’s hiring, the streamer also announced today that Sharon Taylor was returning to Netflix to lead production on feature animation based out of Vancouver. Taylor was previously CEO of Animal Logic Studios, which was acquired by Netflix in 2022.

Lin, who previously worked with Taylor on The Lego Movie, said in a statement, “I know firsthand that she brings a wealth of experience leading production with a world class team of animators and I look forward to her continuing to build on that success.”

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