Benjamin Gluck: The magnificent story Builder, Director and Creator of Animation

Ben was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri. His knack for visual storytelling showed early. While still in high school, he created a series of animated short films which aired on a late-night cable channel, and he wrote and illustrated a weekly comic strip for the small-town newspaper.

It was this work that led him to attend California Institute of the Arts, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Character Animation. Ben’s student film, Man’s Best Friend, about Man’s companion in the Garden of Eden, a dog, won the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences First Prize Student Emmy. The short toured the world theatrically in Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation and aired in heavy rotation on the MTV network’s Cartoon Sushi show.

About the Animation Story Builder

Ben’s talent for storytelling was spotted by Oscar-winning Pixar director Brenda Chapman who recruited Ben at DreamWorks SKG. Ben was the first story trainee on The Prince of Egypt and used as live action reference the animators for the character Moses. Ben was recruited by Walt Disney Feature Animation, where for the next ten years, he was as a key member of the feature animation story team on the 2D feature animated films: The Emperor’s New Groove, Home on the Range and Piglet’s Big Movie. The work on those films impressed the studio and Ben was made the first Head of Story for Disney Television. Tasked with elevating the quality of DTV sequels. Ben served as Head of Story on Bambi 2, which earned a theatrical release, and he was given the supervising director role on Brother Bear 2. This film had a total of only an eighteen-month schedule. Once completed it was the highest selling DVD in August 2009 and a higher rating on Rotten Tomato than its’ predecessor.

After a ten-years at Disney, Ben was ready to push storytelling boundaries and create more diverse characters for animation. This landed him the opportunity to work with producer Tim Burton, as the Head of Story on the post-apocalyptic science-fiction fantasy 9. Ben’s work on this film caught the eye of George Lucas who hired Ben to work at Lucas Film at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County California. Ben collaborated with Mr. Lucas on emerging and innovative filmmaking technology and script development on the film Strange Magic.

Ben collaborated with Charles “Chuck” Roven, who hired Ben to adapt the popular anime series, Gatchaman for the modern audience. Ben also collaborated with producer Tyler Perry to turn his wildly popular Madea character into animation.

Ben’s continued passion to push storytelling boundaries led him to Lionsgate Entertainment where he was supervising director on the unconventional love story Alpha and Omega, starring the late Dennis Hopper. This low budget indie animated feature film, budgeted at $13 million, grossed over $50 million worldwide, and launched the Alpha and Omega Franchise composed of nine sequels to become Lionsgate Films highest-grossing original animated brand.

This attracted the Alpha Group, a Chinese multinational entertainment conglomerate, who enlisted Ben as the senior executive Head of Story. In his new executive role, Ben was tasked with creating a full slate of original high-end animated feature film projects for a global audience, while recruiting for the studio.

Ben was attached as Head of Story on the feature film Foster for Blue Sky Studios where he was collaborating with Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul until Disney acquired and dismantled the studio. Currently, Ben is Head of Story on the Peanuts For Auld Lang Syne, the first Peanuts holiday special in ten years and an Annie Award nominee for Best Special Production. Ben is also Head of Story on the 49th Peanuts holiday special. Both specials are in collaboration with the Charles Shultz family and the creative development team at Apple TV+. 

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