Coco director Lee Unkrich announces that he’s leaving Pixar after 25 years

Lee Unkrich has been with Pixar Animation Studios since the very beginning, having had a hand in nearly all of their feature films as well as co-directing TOY STORY 2, MONSTERS, INC., FINDING NEMO, and serving as the main director on TOY STORY 3 and COCO, but all good things must come to an end.

After twenty-five years, Lee Unkrich has announced that he's leaving Pixar. In a statement to THR, Unkrich said "I'm not leaving to make films at another studio; instead, I look forward to spending much-needed time with my family and pursuing interests that have long been back-burnered." THR's sources say that the parting is amicable, especially as Unkrich is leaving on a high-note after COCO became a huge box-office sucess and even took home the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Pete Docter (INSIDE OUT), who is now serving as Pixar's chief creative office after John Lasseter exited due to allegations of workplace misconduct, was full of praise for Unkrich's contributions to the studio.

Lee arrived at Pixar as we were crafting Toy Story, and he’s had a profound effect on all Pixar films since. He literally taught us rookie filmmakers about staging, composition, and cutting. His artistry and expert craftsmanship as an editor and co-director became a major reason for the high quality of our filmmaking, and as Lee went on to direct, his ability to find the deep humor and emotion enabled him to create some of the strongest films we’ve made.

Pixar President Jim Morris added, "If you look at the sweep of contemporary cinema, it would be difficult to find someone more brilliant in the filmmaking arts than Lee Unkrich. He has been a key player in elevating virtually every one of Pixar’s films." In a further statement, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said, "Lee has left an indelible mark on the world of film, and we are so grateful for the passion and talent he has brought to each movie he has worked on. He’ll always be part of the Disney-Pixar family, and we will miss him."

Source: THR

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.