*”It’s my first role as feature film director,” said Elaine Bogan, a DreamWorks director that started at DreamWorks Animation in 2005 as a storyboard artist (Riders of Berk). The feature film Elaine is talking about is the animation Spirit Untamed – in theatres via Universal Pictures. “There were so many challenges, a massive amount of people. We were halfway through and received the message to work from home. We had to do it in our living rooms. But through separation we came together.”
The finished Spirit Untamed animated feature film is a delightful piece that is a spin-off of the DreamWorks Animation’s Emmy winning series “Spirit Riding Free” (Netflix). Development of Spirit Untamed began in October, 2019 and shortly afterwards everything went remote because of the pandemic.
“It became unique. It kept us focused,” Elaine pointed out. But the bright-side, she said, was, “The ability to work with creative people…their knowledge.”
I would normally list the people involved behind the scene at this point but as Bogan said, it’s a massive number of people. However, Spirit Untamed is voiced by Isabel Merced (Dora and the Los City of Gold) as Lucky the young 12 year-old that tamed the wild Mustang and Oscar nominated Jake Gyllenhall (Spider-Man: Far from Home) as Lucky’s estranged father Jim. Jim suddenly has to take care of an already independent child that is as wild her as her mother, who died during an accident working as a horse-riding stunt performer. Karen Foster is producer on the project and it is also voiced by Eiza Gonzalez (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw); Academy Award winner Julianne Moore (The Lost World: Jurassic Park); Mckenna Grace (Captain Marvel); Marsai Martin (Little); Emmy nominated Walton Goggins (FX’s Justified), and Emmy winning Andre Braugher (Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”). Spirit Untamed received writing help from John Fusco, the original Spirit film writer, with Arran Baker and Jose Luis de Locas as senior animators.
“I feel I’ve changed,” Elaine said when I asked about her history with DreamWorks, going from storyboard artist to director of television animated series, to now, director of a full-feature animated film.
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A native of Canada, Elaine Bogan’s first directorial debut was in 2010, though un-credited. However she was in the credits for the animated series “DreamWorks Dragons” (2013 – 2014); animated series “Dragons: Race to the Edge” (2013 – 2016); video short animation Dragons: Dawn of the Dragon Racers (2014); animated series “Trollhunters: Tale of Arcadia” (2016-2018), and animated series “3Below: Tales of Arcadia” (2018-2019) as director. I see steady growth since 2005, which serves as a testament to her talents as a well-rounded animation artist.
DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed, distributed by Universal Pictures, was a small budget project that used an outside producer. However, under Elaine Bogan’s guidance, as of June 6, 2021 it has “grossed” 6.2 million in the U.S. (7.3 million worldwide) and was #4 at the box office upon release. In its first day it made 2.4 million. www.Dreamworks.com/movies/Spirit-Untamed
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 22nd year. Next events are coming to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall via Zoom Conferencing and Los Angeles Saturday, November 6, 2021 via Zoom Video Conferencing. The ULMII event is a free entertainment conference offering a Business Management Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]