A young animator amongst the giants of the animation industry Maarten Lemmens, only 24 years old, is a current full time animator at DreamWorks Animation in their feature film department. He might seem like a young soul, but he has already engraved his name among the top animators in the industry after his first film became nominated for an Oscar just a few weeks ago.

He recently animated the Oscar nominated Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which may receive the award for “Best Animated Film” on 12March. It has since received other nominations at the BAFTAs, Annie Awards, and Golden Globes. His previous experience includes working on the DC Comics film Black Adam. Maarten is currently working on an unannounced feature film with DreamWorks, which will be coming out this summer. He previously also worked in the game industry on emote animations for the most played video game, Fortnite, cinematics for the hit- game, Horizon: Forbidden West, and fatality animations for the upcoming Mortal Kombat 12 from the ever-popular Mortal Kombat series. 

Born and raised in Belgium, he moved to the United States on his own at the age of 18 to study computer animation at Ringling College of Art and Design, where he created the award-winning short film Goalie. This short film won awards such as “Best Animation” at the highly acclaimed Los Angeles Film Awards, Oniros Film Awards, Hollywood Gold Awards, New York Movie Awards, and New York International Film Festival. Not to forget overseas awards, including “Best Animated Film” at the Milan Gold Awards. There has also recently been a natural growth for an animator to become a film director, recently seen with Pierre Perifel’s The Bad Guys and previously seen with Brad Bird’s The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and The Iron Giant. Maarten’s awards for “Best Director” for a short film, “Best Micro Film,” and “Best Original Story” at the Los Angeles Film Awards also demonstrate this directorial potential. 

This award-winning short film covers a foosball player’s frustration at not being able to get involved in the action. He feels less than important to his team. When his foosball pole breaks, he tries to show he is meant to be more than ‘just’ a goalkeeper. Maarten’s passion for watching and playing football (soccer) helped him produce something he knew he would love all the way through. He wanted to create something that couldn’t be filmed in live action, so he turned to animation, which took over. After seeing multiple inspirations, including Gatorade: Heart of a Lio, Nike Football: The Last Game, and the 2018 film, The Keeper, it led him to the idea of exploring being a goalkeeper, despite his fantastic ability, not feeling so important to his team anymore, and seeking out his own motivation.

He grew up with three VHS tapes: Spirit, The Road to El Dorado, and The Lion King. His story went full circle when he ended up at DreamWorks, the studio that came out with two of those movies. His aspirations go as far as becoming a supervising animator at DreamWorks, teaching online classes to up-and-coming animators, and even possibly directing. However, he is currently wanting to enjoy his life in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and celebrate his hard work so far before taking any next steps. A risk paid off after he moved to America on his own to pursue his dreams. We hope to hear more from Maarten in his adventures to come and are excited to see where his career may lead.